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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Click here to learn more about criminal justice reform.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    Edwards makes more appointments to boards, commissions

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

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

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

     

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

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

     

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

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

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

     

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

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

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

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

     

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

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

     

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

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

     

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

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

     

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

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

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

     

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

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

     

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

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

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

     

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

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

     

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

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

     

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

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

     

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

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

     

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

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

     

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

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

     

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

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

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

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

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

     

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

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

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

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

     

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

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

     

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

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

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

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

     

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

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

     

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

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

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

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

     

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

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

     

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

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

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

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

     

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

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

     

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

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

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

     

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

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

     

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

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

     

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

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

     

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

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

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

     

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

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

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

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

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

     

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    Trump Approves Louisiana Emergency Declaration

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

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

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

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

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    Licensing law changes for Louisiana contractors

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

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

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

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

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

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    Louisiana has one of the highest rates of child gun deaths

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    By Della Hasselle
    Louisiana Weekly reporter
    New America Media

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

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

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

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

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

    Mandy LaCrete

    Mandy LaCrete

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

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    Legislators send multiple bills to Gov. Edwards to signs, vetoes

    Gov. John Bel Edwards announced that he signed several bills into law and vetoed a number of bills either entirely or partially using his line-item veto authority.The following bills were signed into law:

    ACT 365 – HB 20:  Provides relative to exemptions from the requirements for school instructional time under certain circumstances

    ACT 366 – HB 33: Provides relative to legislative staff attendance at executive sessions of the boards of trustees of state and statewide retirement systems

    ACT 367 – HB 211: Provides relative to business filings with the secretary of state

    ACT 368 – HB 304: Expands definition of “racketeering activity” to include armed robbery and armed robbery or attempted armed robbery committed with a firearm

    ACT 369 – HB 341: Amends laws relative to behavioral health and mental health to provide for current practice and appropriate terminology

    ACT 370 – HB 395: Amends the procedures for involuntary mental health treatment

    ACT 371 – HB 423: Authorizes the secretary of the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality to establish and administer a water quality trading program

    ACT 372 – HB 450: Provides relative to the Upper Audubon Security District in Orleans Parish

    ACT 373 – HB 483: Provides relative to disclosure of data maintained by the Louisiana Tumor Registry and for a cancer investigation initiative

    ACT 374 – SB 1: Renames the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts as the Jimmy D. Long, Sr. Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts.

    ACT 375 – SB 25:  Sunsets the individual income tax education credit.

    ACT 376 – SB 54: Provides relative to exploited children.

    ACT 377 – SB 95: Changes the rebate for donations to certain school tuition organizations to a nonrefundable income tax credit.

    ACT 378 – SB 97:  Provides relative to the sales and use tax exemption for feed, seed, and fertilizer used by commercial farmers.

    ACT 379 – SB 102: Creates and provides for Louisiana Educational Workforce Training Fund to provide opportunities for educational training in the Louisiana Community and Technical College System.

    ACT 380 – SB 117: Requires certain insurance producers to maintain professional liability insurance

    ACT 381 – SB 121: Provides relative to terminology of court-ordered and other mandatory examinations in civil and administrative matters and claims.

    ACT 382 – SB 148: Creates the Waterway Dredging and Deepening Priorty Program.

    ACT 383 – SB 170:  Provides relative to the use of student assessment data for school accountability purposes for the 2016-17 school year for parishes in declared disaster areas.

    ACT 384 – SB 177:  Provides relative to the Motion Picture Tax Credit Program for the withholding of income tax for performance of services on a state-certified production.

    ACT 385 – SB 182: Provides for the tax credit for ad valorem taxes paid on inventory by taxpayers included in one consolidated federal income tax return.

    ACT 386 – SB 183: Provides termination dates for certain tax incentive and rebate programs.

    ACT 387 – SB 187: Provides for establishment of a pilot evidence-based budget proposal process for mental health programs administered by the Louisiana Department of Health.

    ACT 388 – SB 189: Provides for ethical standards for public servants.

     

    Edwards vetoed the following bills for various reasons. Click each bill number to read the corresponding veto letter.

    HB 598 was amended in a fashion that would prevent the Department of Transportation and Development from meeting the infrastructure needs of the state.

    HB 269 would be unnecessary and overly burdensome to Louisiana colleges and universities as the freedoms this bill attempts to protect are already well-established by the bedrock principles declared in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article 1, Section 7 of the Louisiana Constitution.

    HB 568 would create legal inconsistency among civil and criminal penalties incurred in the case of a violation of authorized uses of student information collected.

    HB 132 would create overly burdensome red tape in administrative reporting to the Joint Legislative Committee on the budget where current practice is sufficiently transparent and responsive.

    Edwards line-item vetoed portions of HB 1, which passed during the 2017 Second Special Session. Click here to read the veto letter.

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    LETTER: Ask legislators for more health centers in schools

    Dear Citizens:

    Did you know that there are 63 School-Based Health Centers in 27 parishes in Louisiana? They are medical offices in a school, staffed by physicians, nurse practitioners, registered nurses and licensed behavioral health professionals. School-based health centers keep children in school by providing medical and mental health care on campuses. More than 70,000 students have access to health care through these centers. There are many benefits including reducing absenteeism and tardiness, reduction in hospital emergency care, the prevention of suicide and depression, and keeping children in school so that they can graduate. We know that 96 percent of students treated in a center RETURN to class.

    We need more school-based health centers in our schools and in more parishes throughout Louisiana. Yet, today the funding for existing School Based Health Centers is in danger due to state budget cuts to healthcare.

    As the president of the Louisiana School-Based Health Alliance and a health professional, I have spent countless hours working with partners across the state to get MORE health centers in our schools. Why? Because they keep students in school and parents at work. They provide Louisiana children with acute care for minor illnesses and injuries, prescriptions for medications, immunizations, diagnosis and treatment of chronic diseases and mental health services. Parents must give permission for their children to be treated.

    Please ask your legislator to fight for School-Based Health Center funding. It’s for children and parents. I encourage you to contact your legislator today and ask him or her to restore funding for School-Based Health Centers.
    Louisiana School-Based Health Alliance

    Tabitha J. Washington, MHA
    President

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    Louisiana genealogist finds Black boys at Florida reform school were modern day slaves

    Antoinette Harrell is a genealogist, activist, and peonage detective in Harvey, Louisiana, who spent decades tracking down slavery in the deep south. The peonage research of Harrell led her to investigate peonage at the Arthur G. Dozier Reform School in Marianna, Florida – also called the Florida Industrial School for Boys. Her research led her to dig deep into Dozier files at the Tallahassee State Archives in the sunshine state of Florida in search of signs of peonage practices on the campus. The school opened its doors in 1900 and closed the doors in 2011 after operating for 111 years. More than 500 former students have alleged they were brutally beaten, sexually abused, as well as mentally abused by Dozier’s staff. Some even alleged that they were used as modern day slaves, working to grow crops, raise livestock and cut timber.

    Harrell focused her research on child labor and wanted to follow the money trails. Boys as young as seven years old worked at Dozier’s child labor camp. They grew everything from sweet potatoes, butter beans, string beans, turnips, okra and other agricultural produce. They raised and slaughtered livestock for sale. Each division made its own money and was headed by school staff. What happened to the money? Who was buying the produce? A general farm produce report on October 1958 from the poultry, dairy, garden and swine division documented the money that was made from each division. A total of $10,980.36 was made that quarter. The reports were made quarterly each year.

    A sale report of proceeds items for the period ending March 31, 1966 showed that for that year, Dozier made $118,160 in swine and $156,108 in beef sales. Each item of produce and livestock was itemized. Harrell interviewed Johnny Lee Gaddy who was 11-years old in 1957 when he was sent to Arthur G. Dozier Reform School for skipping school because he had a speech impediment and was tired of the other students in his class teasing him. He was picked up by a police officer and placed in a jail cell for one night. The next morning Gaddy was sent directly to Dozier without appearing before a juvenile court.

    Gaddy informed Harrell of the hard work he did at Dozier. He said he cut down timber in the swamps; he worked in the fields planting and harvesting the produce. Harrell asked Gaddy if he knew where the produce was going? “I saw the trucks coming and going,” said Gaddy. “But I couldn’t tell you where they were taking the produce or meat. You better not asked any questions. If you want to live and didn’t want to get a bad beating for questioning the overseers, you better keep your mouth shut.”

    The campus was segregated up until the late 60′s.

    Over the years, Harrell has helped the African-American male victims to organize a group called “Black Boys at Dozier” and she helped them to bring their plight of abuse and modern day slavery to the eyes of the public. She also helped them gain national and international attention for their stories. She even took the men back to the Dozier campus for a press conference. It was the first time that the men set foot back on the campus in over 50 years.

    Harrell is always on the hunt for new stories of slavery and peonage that have been swept under the rug in America. She has spent hundreds of hours researching private collections and public documents from the National Archives in Washington, D.C. on peonage. She had climbed in dark and dusty courthouse attics to search for any evidence that pointed to peonage practices. Sometimes driving late night hours on back dusty roads that seem never ending, looking for modern day plantations, and in search of people live in peonage.

    A resolution acknowledged that treatment of boys sent to Dozier and Okeechobee was cruel, unjust and “a violation of fundamental human decency.” Within the first 13 years of Dozier School’s operation, six states led investigations were conducted in response to reports of children being chained to walls in iron, severely beaten, and used for child labor.

    Sen. Darryl Rouson (D-St. Petersburg) carried the Senate resolution, apologizing to the men who say they endured physical, sexual, and emotional abuse at Dozier Reform School and Okeechobee in the state of Florida. Senate Resolution 1440 recognized the widespread abuse. “The bill expressed regret for this shameful part of our history, sincerely apologizes on behalf of the legislature, and declares a commitment to make sure that these atrocities and tragedies never occur again.”

    By

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    Urban League supports investigation by Louisiana Attorney General, state police in Alton Sterling case

    The Urban League of Louisiana released this official statement regarding the Alton Sterling decision, May 3:

    The world is watching. Our community is on high alert. Tensions are high. Hearts are broken.  And “justice” continues to evade us. 

    For ten months, the family of Alton Sterling has patiently waited to learn about the fate of Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake, the Baton Rouge Police Department (BRPD) officers involved in their loved one’s murder. Yesterday, the family and the rest of the world learned through an article published by the Washington Post that the officers would face no federal civil rights charges. The Sterling family deserved to be notified directly by the Department of Justice long before this decision became front-page news in a national media outlet.

    Many have become desensitized to police shootings, and do not feign shock when officers are not held accountable.  Instead, it’s chalked up to flaws in the system. However, we must confront the real criminal justice reform that’s needed in this country so that our laws do more to actually provide justice rather than shield those with the greatest responsibility to the public from the law. It is incumbent upon us to give our voices and our votes to the continuing battle for equity and justice.  As the Sterling family said today, the battle is not over; it has only just begun.

    While bitterly disappointing, the DOJ’s announcement comes as no surprise. According to Kelley et. al, (2016) charges are filed in only one percent of fatal shootings involving police. [1] This precedent equates to government sanctioned murder, a status quo the community and the Urban League at large is simply unwilling to accept. So, now all eyes are on Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, who has released a statement announcing that the Louisiana State Police will launch its own investigation into the conduct of the officers and the appointment of a special prosecutor who will determine if officers Salamoni and Lake will face criminal charges by the state. While the Urban League fully supports this step, we will be vigilant in our commitment to ensure that a fair and neutral process is conducted in the pursuit of justice for Alton Sterling, his family, and the city of Baton Rouge. We also encourage the BRPD to examine the conduct of these officers to determine if it meets the expectations of the departments’ standard of professionalism. Based on new details released in today’s press conference by the Sterling family and their attorneys, it appears that there may be grounds for the officers’ termination.

    ULLA is actively involved in advocating for criminal justice reform and is encouraged by Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome’s work to establish new policies within the BRPD regarding use of force guidelines. The League is continuing to pursue its own reform-centered, criminal justice policy agenda, which includes a push for expanded trainings on de-escalation, bias police recognition, crisis intervention, and other pertinent issues.[2] The cost to implement these trainings is far less than the cost of losing a life, settling civil suits, and losing public trust. By providing the law enforcement community with this training, those who are entrusted with securing our public safety will have the tools to execute their role more effectively and safely.  We are also reigniting our call for the establishment of an independent, civilian review board or an independent agency to monitor excessive force complaints, officer-involved shootings and fatal force incidents in East Baton Rouge.

    For the past five months, ULLA staff has convened hundreds of community members including law enforcement officials, youth, young professionals, community leaders and a cadre of African American residents in East Baton Rouge to facilitate dialogues generating community-based solutions to address public safety and community-police relations. The League surveyed approximately 200 East Baton Rouge residents about their perceptions and experiences with police. Over 60% of respondents indicated that police do not treat all citizens equally according to the law, 67% agreed that the police do not make enough contact with residents and about 80% indicated that they want police to partner with community members and groups to solve problems in their communities. The Urban League of Louisiana is committed to working with the community to develop partnerships with law enforcement to bring about the necessary change.

    The world is watching. Our hearts are broken, but our resolve is strong. And we will not stop our fight until the status quo is transformed into justice for all.

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    Civil Rights group calls for investigation of La. Legis. Auditor, state offices for discrimination

    After a succession of African-American officials and directors have been investigated by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor (LLA) a local think tank, Justice & Beyond, is asking the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus and Governor John Bel Edwards’ office to investigate the LLA. The group is also calling for a review of the state’s compliance with federal Equal Employment Opportunity Act rules.

    The LLA is a joint committee of the Louisiana Legislature. The Council is composed of five senators and five representatives. The Council is charged with oversight of the legislative auditor and, most importantly, resolving audit findings contained in audits issued by the legislative auditor and private accounting firms performing governmental audits in-lieu of the legislative auditor.

    “Our coalition has been presented evidence that suggests racial targeting and disparate legislative outcomes depending on who is being investigated by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor,” Justice & Beyond leaders wrote when requesting the investigation.

    Justice & Beyond issued the call when it noticed suspect findings in an LLA Report of the Health Education Authority of Louisiana, headed by Jacob Johnson, another African-American man. In fairness to the LLA, it does investigate a range of state-funded entities, but relative to the above cases, the findings amounted to much ado about nothing.

    Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin N. Gusman, Civil District Court Judge Kern A. Reese, and Arthur Morell, Clerk of Criminal District Court, all African-American elected officials, have been investigated by the LLA.

    “They spent two years investigating my office. Initially, they came to investigate the claims of guys who went to jail but the investigation turned up nothing,” said Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman.

    Read more by C.C. Campbell-Rock, Louisiana Weekly contributing writer

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    Globalstar Career Fair scheduled for April 7

    Globalstar, a leading provider of mobile satellite voice and data services, will conduct a career fair on Friday, April 7, 8am at the new Northshore Technical Community College campus in Lacombe, Louisiana. The company is hiring customer-care team positions for the Globalstar office in Covington. LED FastStart® – the nation’s No. 1 state workforce development program – is providing support for the career fair.

    The career fair will take place at the new NTCC Lacombe Campus, located at 65556 Centerpoint Blvd. off Louisiana Highway 434, two miles north of Exit 74 on Interstate 12.

    Globalstar is targeting applicants to fill certain skilled positions, including: customer retention representative; customer care representative; bilingual customer care representative, fluent in Portuguese; bi-lingual customer care representative, fluent in French; and technical support representative. Candidates for these positions must be eligible to work in the United States and must be able to accommodate a flexible schedule, as shifts may vary in length and the Globalstar service center operates 24 hours per day, seven days per week.

    Interested applicants may apply online for roles with the company, before or after the career fair, at the Globalstar website, www.globalstar.com/careers. Hiring will begin following a job-screening process for applicants, which includes a pre-employment drug screening, background check and pre-employment assessment.

    In July 2010, Globalstar announced the relocation of its corporate headquarters from Milpitas, California, to Covington. The move also included the relocation of several other Globalstar business functions to Covington, including product development, engineering, network operation & control center, finance, accounting, sales, marketing, corporate communications and customer care.

    About Globalstar
    Globalstar is a leading provider of mobile satellite voice and data services. Customers around the world in industries such as government, emergency management, marine, logging, oil and gas, and outdoor recreation rely on Globalstar to conduct business smarter and faster, maintain peace of mind, and access emergency personnel. Globalstar data solutions are ideal for various asset and personal tracking, data monitoring, SCADA and IoT applications. The company’s products include mobile and fixed satellite telephones, the innovative Sat-Fi satellite hotspot, Simplex and Duplex satellite data modems, tracking devices and flexible service packages. For more information, visit globalstar.com.

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    The Roosevelt seeks the most deserving mom for giveaway

     The Roosevelt New Orleans, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel, is offering everyone the opportunity to take their Mother’s Day gift to the next level this year with an over-the-top luxurious weekend for mom. The iconic Crescent City hotel is excited to award the Mother’s Day surprise of a lifetime to the “Most Deserving Mom.” Everyone is called to nominate a mom to win an overnight stay at The Roosevelt New Orleans, as well as a luxurious spa treatment at the Waldorf Astoria Spa and full breakfast with the family in the hotel.

    “At The Roosevelt New Orleans, we see first-hand that mothers are the ones making plans and taking care of their family members every minute of the day,” said The Roosevelt New Orleans Resident Manager Sebastian Stutz. “This Mother’s Day, we are thrilled to provide the ultimate luxurious experience to the mom who truly deserves relaxing and care-free family time.”

    To make a nomination, visit this link and explain why your nominee is the most deserving mom. All are asked to share their favorite story or heart-warming examples of the many ways their nominee has been a devoted and selfless light in someone’s life. Upon receipt of all nominations by the closing date of Wednesday, April 19, The Roosevelt New Orleans team will select the winner and bestow the gift of a lifetime to the “Most Deserving Mom.” The Roosevelt New Orleans will publically announce the “Most Deserving Mom” on April 26,  on the hotel’s Facebook page.

    This is one of two awards The Roosevelt New Orleans proudly honors local women with throughout the year. The Reigning Spirit of the Sazerac, honored by the hotel during its annual Stormin’ of the Sazerac event in September, is a woman embodying strength, determination and courageousness who makes an indelible impact in her community.

    The Roosevelt New Orleans, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel, is one of America’s most luxurious and revered properties in one of the world’s greatest cities. This iconic hotel offers 504 rooms, including 125 suites, along with ballrooms and meeting space for every event from elaborate galas to private groups, weddings and more. Built in 1893 and boasting its signature block-long golden lobby with dozens of sparkling chandeliers, The Roosevelt has created its own history with the renowned Blue Room, Sazerac Bar, Waldorf Astoria Spa, fitness center, Rooftop Bar, Teddy’s Café, Fountain Lounge, Emporium Gift Shop and its true Waldorf world-class service. Located steps from the history and excitement of the French Quarter, The Roosevelt New Orleans is the crown jewel of New Orleans luxury.

    ONLINE: www.waldorfastoria.com/theroosevelt

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    New app helps flooded homeowners with title problems

    Flood Proof: Free Legal Help for Homeowners with Title Problems launched a new iPhone app to streamline the process for homeowners seeking to obtain a clear title to inherited property.

    “Homeowners who were affected by the August floods and lack clear title to their home need to gather information and documents to prove title.  The Flood Proof App is a tool that will allow flood victims to do exactly that from their home or place of temporary residence, and hopefully minimize the number of times that they have to take off of work or arrange child care in order to make multiple trips to an attorney’s office,” said Judy Perry Martinez, Special Advisor to the newly created American Bar Association Center for Innovation and former chair of the ABA Presidential Commission on the Future of Legal Services.

    Many homeowners living in homes passed down from family members are unable to qualify for federal or state recovery aid due to the floods, loans to repair their homes, or insurance proceeds because they cannot prove they own their property. This typically happens when a loved one dies and a relative still living in the home then has legal rights to the inherited property. Title does not automatically pass to the relative as a legal matter until he or she takes legal action to open a succession, file documents with a court and obtain a judgment of possession.

    “From making repairs to their homes, to finding new schools for their children, to caring and taking in loved ones, victims of the August floods already have so much that they have to wrap their heads around,” said Martinez. “The goal of this overall project and of the app is for homeowners to begin the process necessary to obtain a clear title to their homes in the quickest and most efficient way possible and afford free legal services to those who qualify. We already are seeing results.”

    As of March 3, almost 130 individuals had begun the process of obtaining clear title by attending legal fairs hosted by Flood Proof attorneys or by calling the 1-844-244-7871 hotline number. People affected by the August 2016 flooding can use the app to find out what information they will need, quickly and safely upload relevant documents, and find out if they are eligible for free legal services.
    Flood survivors can download the app by searching for “Flood Proof: Louisiana Legal Help” in the iTunes App Store or by visiting the Flood Proof: Free Legal Help for Homeowners with Title Problems website. The app is also available for download for Android users in Google Play.

    The Flood Proof app was developed with support from Southeast Louisiana Legal Services, the American Bar Association’s Center for Innovation, Stanford University Law School and the LSU Law Center.  The project is led by Southeast Louisiana Legal Services in collaboration with the Baton Rouge Bar Foundation, Southern University Law Center, LSU Law Center, Louisiana Appleseed, and the American Bar Association’s Center for Innovation.  Generous support funding the project is provided through grants from the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Louisiana Bar Foundation, the Equal Justice Works Foundation, and the Greater New Orleans Foundation.

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    FEMA releases Louisiana recovery numbers

    About $4.7 billion in federal disaster assistance has flowed to Louisiana after the August flood.

    • The National Flood Insurance Program has paid more than $2.3 billion in claims
    • SBA loans have been approved for more than $1.2 billion to help businesses, private nonprofits, homeowners and renters.
    • FEMA has obligated $756 million to individuals and households and $294 million to public assistance.
    • The U.S. Department of Agriculture approved $133 million in food benefits to flood survivors.

    Individuals and Housing Program (IHP)

    • $755 million has been approved for individual and housing assistance.
    • Other Needs Assistance (ONA)
    • 42,227 households have been approved for $161 million in other needs assistance.

    Rental Assistance

    • $134 million cumulative total for approved rental assistance.
    • 66,805 households are eligible.

    Home Repair Assistance

    • 34,757 households are eligible for $456 million.

    Public Assistance (PA)

    • 301 project worksheets have been obligated for $294 million.
    • $60 million of that amount pays for temporary facilities for schools and to clean and remove flood debris.

    Transitional Sheltering Assistance

    • 4,332 cumulative survivors have been checked in for TSA.
    • 968 households are checked into 175 hotels in three states.

    Department of Agriculture

    • USDA approved $133 million in food benefits to flood survivors.

    National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)

    • More than $2.3 billion in claims has been paid.
    • More than 28,000 claims have been closed.

    Small Business Administration (SBA)

    • 17,223 SBA loans have been approved for more than $1.2 billion to help businesses, private nonprofits, homeowners and renters.

    Manufactured Housing Units (MHUs)

    • 4,060 households licensed-into 4,192 manufactured housing units.

    Total projection for MHU installation is 4,502.

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    COMMENTARY: Special session, what it brings

    I had the good fortunate of being a part of the Together Louisiana that was invited to set in the balcony and hear firsthand the (Governor John Bel Edwards’) speech as he opened the special session on Sunday, Feb. 14. We were of course in the House of Representatives and watched as they talked with each other hugged and seemed glad to be there. I watched the new legislators including the one from my hometown as they tried to figure out just what to do and who to engage with. It was amazing how many of them are seated close together. Finally the speaker opened the house and had read into the minutes certain pieces of information that no one on the floor paid any attention to, I guess because it was only formality. Then the speaker sent a group of four to announce to the senate that the house had convened and he sent a group of four to announce to the governor that the house had convened. It became evident that the senate had done the same thing because a group of four came and announced that the senate had convened.

    Finally at five the governor arrived with the members from the senate and house as part of his escort team. The colors were presented and an excellent rendition of the Stars Spangled Banner was sung a Capella by a member of the staff.

    The governor began his speech, now it seems as if he has presented in my opinion a bleak state of affairs for Louisiana. He also presented his proposals for alleviating the deficit. His plan does include cutting (160 million) and of course raising additional revenue.

    On my way to the capital, I was walking behind a lady carrying a sign and of course I asked her what the sign was for and she said it had to do with the waivers parents had gotten for disabled children that Governor Edwards wanted to do away with. Then she made the off comment, I wish he had not gotten elected. She set in the balcony where our group set and I wondered if after she heard the speech if she still felt the same. I hope not. It became perfectly clear to me that we have had so many tricks over the last eight years to balance the budget that now the time has come to really reckon with the deficit. No one wants a tax increase, but as I look at the situation I can live with the one cent. I can also live with the tobacco and alcohol taxes especially if they bring in enough revenue to fix the budget.

    I remember last year when the past administration talked about the tax credit for college students and how that credit that brought in no dollars would balance the budget and how the presidents of all the universities with Ph.D. degrees would go along with that particular smoke and mirror screen. I understand the politics of the agreement, because I know the governor could have put pressure on the various boards to get rid of those presidents who did not agree, but for the life of me I still don’t understand how they felt that the universities would have any additional revenue, even an illiterate person could see through that disaster.
    I watched as the governor made his speech who clapped and of course who did not. It was amazing to watch especially the elected state level officials setting behind the podium and there lack of applause. It was also amazing to watch the members of the legislature as some and an awful lot of them chose to not clap even when he mentioned the couple who needed health insurance and had them stand. It was amazing to also watch when the mother of a disabled child stood who had a wavier for her child and who needed the help. I took note of those I knew who were so inclined to dismiss the governor’s plan to balance the budget.

    Now here is where it is interesting, after his speech, one legislator said he cut 160 million that is not meeting us half way, what he did not offer was his solution, just criticism. The governor asked for help and for other options. It also baffled me that one of the great opponents of the Jindal mess was the state treasure who now thinks that we don’t need additional revenue. He must know some of us remember when he was the biggest critic of the Jindal smoke and mirrors.

    So, I wrote before that I caught the breeze of change, after Gov. Edwards’ speech, I am willing to do whatever the governor needs to balance this great mess we are in and hope the legislators will remember they are elected by the people to do what the people want and that the people elected John Bel Edwards overwhelmingly.

    By Linda M. Johnson
    Plaquemine, LA

    Linda Johnson is a former Louisiana BESE representative.

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    St. Tammany Parish Government awarded excellence in financial reporting

    The St. Tammany Parish Department of Finance was awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada, for the 12th consecutive year. This is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting. The comprehensive annual financial report, or CAFR, is evaluated every year and the award is given based on standards reached in the report. These include, demonstrating a constructive “spirit of full disclosure” to clearly communicate its financial story, and motivate potential users and user groups to read the CAFR.

    Leslie Long, director of finance, Laura Reine Lyons, senior accounting manager, and Annie Perkins, assistant director of finance are the recipients named on the award.

    “This award is validation for St. Tammany Parish Government, as well as the taxpayers of our Parish, that we continue to exercise best practices when investing tax dollars,” said Pat Brister, St. Tammany Parish President. “We once again applaud our finance department for their impeccable record-keeping and for their work as a cohesive team.”

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    Louisiana’s new SCLC president announces 7-point plan for social justice

    Charles Steele Jr., president of the National Southern Christian Leadership Conference announced the official return of the historic civil rights organization to Louisiana on January 4 in New Orleans.

    Louisiana has met all of the requirements to have its charter reinstated under the leadership of the Rev. Reginald Pitcher who the organizing state chair and Baton Rouge Chapter president.

    Steele, national and state officers, and SCLC members met at New Zion Baptist Church in New Orleans. The church is the historic site where the national organization–established by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr–began more than 60 years ago. of the beginnings of SCLC.

    During the ceremony, Pitcher shared this seven Point Plan for Social Justice through Nonviolent Direct Action:

    1. We will continue to embrace the doctrine of the beloved community. We will work to bring about the creation of a truly multi-racial, multicultural democracy, where individual human rights are protected and the dignity and worth of human personality is respected.
    2. We reject the doctrine of modern-day lynching. We will continue to combat and resist the vigilante actions of rouge police officers who continue to commit hate crimes on the streets of our cities by murdering unarmed black and poor people without fear of retribution. We will also continue to address the black on black murders that cannibalizes our communities
      and deprives them of vital human resources through the school-to-prison pipeline.
    3. We reject the doctrine of unequal justice. We will continue to protest against the racial disparities that impose harsher and unequal penalties on Black and poor people on a routine basis in the court systems throughout this state. And until this system is changed, we will continue to embrace the age old cry of “No Justice, No Peace!”
    4. We reject the doctrine of the new Plessey vs. Ferguson. We will continue to fight against the hypocritical opportunists both black and white, who are bent on the destruction of Public Education, who under the guise of Charter Schools have raped and pillaged public school systems throughout this state.
    5. We reject the doctrine of the New Jim Crow. We will continue to resist any attempt to abuse the 13th Amendment as it relates to the school-to-prison pipeline and the mass incarceration of Black and poor people in this state. We will actively lobby our legislature to design and implement alternatives to incarceration, especially as it relates to our youth.
    6. We reject the doctrine of guilty until proven innocent. We will continue to resist any attempt to violate the 14th Amendment and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as it relates to due process under the law. We are tired of our people being arrested, charged, tried and executed on the streets of our cities throughout this nation. They are being lynched by those who have been commissioned to protect and to serve. This practice has got to stop and it’s got to stop now, not tomorrow, not next week, not next month, not next year, but now!
    7. We reject the doctrine of No Vote, No Voice. We will continue to resist any attempt to water down or violate the 15th Amendment and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 as it relates to voter nullification and voter suppression. We will continue to organize our people through voter education, registration and participation drives, and we will continue to aid and assist Black and poor people in understanding and utilizing the power of the vote.
    Read more »
  • ,,

    Louisiana to reinstate SCLC charter

    Charles Steele Jr., president of the National Southern Christian Leadership
    Conference, announced the official return of the historic civil rights organization to Louisiana.

    Under the leadership of the Reverend Reginald Pitcher, Louisiana has met all of the requirements to have its charter reinstated.

    Steele, officers, members and friends will mark the return of the SCLC with 11 am, Jan. 5, 2016, at New Zion Baptist Church, 2319 Third St, New Orleans, LA 70113, where C.S. Gordon, Jr. is pastor.

    Sixty years ago in the same church, Dr. Martin Luther King Jrl, Rev. T.J. Jemison, and attorney Israel Augustine of New Orleans signed documents to incorporate the organization.

    Elected officials and state leaders of many civic, social, and religious organizations, including the National Baptist Convention, the NAACP, National Urban League, Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus, MICAH, Nation of Islam, the AFL-CIO and more, are expected to be in attendance.

    ONLINE: www.sclcnational.org

    Read more »
  • ,

    Keep Louisiana Beautiful asks, “Do You Know an Everyday Hero?”

    Anti-Litter Organization Opens Nominations for Awards Honoring Exceptional Community Leaders

    Keep Louisiana Beautiful (KLB) invites each Louisiana resident to “Be an Everyday Hero” by presenting seven awards honoring groups and individuals whose exemplary efforts, large and small, help to keep our state beautiful. The organization will honor the winners with the distinction of “Everyday Hero” at KLB’s state conference awards banquet in Lafayette, Louisiana, on Oct. 1, 2015.

    Nonprofits, KLB affiliates, businesses, professional groups, governmental agencies, civic and community organizations, schools, churches and individuals are eligible to be nominated, and nominations are open to the public. To nominate a deserving Everyday Hero, visit: keeplouisianabeautiful.org for the application and instructions.

    Everyday Hero Awards will be presented in the following categories:

    • Alice Foster Award – An individual volunteer with exceptional leadership in litter prevention, waste reduction, recycling and beautification.
    • Golden Can Award – A public servant who displays a deep commitment to KLB’s mission in their daily work by going above and beyond the call of duty.
    • Most Innovative Program – A successful beautification, litter prevention or waste reduction program led by a school,
    • civic group, nonprofit or KLB affiliate.
    • Youth Award – A student or youth-led group that displays creative thinking, demonstrates effective leadership, engages peer participation and makes a significant impact on their community.
    • Outstanding Affiliate – A KLB affiliate that shows fortitude, leadership, creative, diverse programming and community engagement.
    • Outstanding Affiliate Director – A KLB affiliate director who demonstrates exceptional dedication to KLB’s mission and leadership in building a strong and sustainable organization.
    • Corporate Leadership Award – A business that exhibits a consistent dedication to KLB’s mission, environmental stewardship and community enrichment.

    KLB’ s 12th annual state conference will be held Oct. 1-2 at the Lafayette Science Museum and marks the yearly culmination of the most up-to-date information on the impact of litter and expert resources for state beautification. The first night of the conference will feature the awards dinner, with special guest speaker Marcus Eriksen, co-founder of 5Gyres. KLB encourages affiliates, teachers, partners, volunteers, community leaders, state agency representatives, and parish and city officials to register now to secure their spot at the 2015 annual conference. To register or learn more, visit www.keeplouisianabeautiful.org .

    Read more »
  • ,,

    Chief Justice Johnson declares May 1 as Law Day

    The Louisiana Supreme Court issued a resolution urging all Louisiana state court judges to dedicate the month of May 2015 to reaching out to schools to provide students with an opportunity to learn about the law, the role of judges, and the court system from members of the judiciary. Law Day was established in 1958 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to strengthen our heritage of liberty, justice and equality under the law. In 1961, Congress issued a joint resolution designating May 1 as the official date for celebrating Law Day. Every president since then has issued a Law Day proclamation on May 1st to celebrate the nation’s commitment to the rule of law. The 2015 national Law Day theme is “Magna Carta: Symbol of Freedom Under Law.”

    “During the month of May, the Louisiana Supreme Court will host school students participating in Law Day activities including: mock trials and tours of the Royal Street courthouse which include visits to the Louisiana Supreme Court Museum and the Law Library of Louisiana,” said Chief Justice Bernette Joshua Johnson.

    On this 57th anniversary of Law Day, the resolution states in part that “all judges have a unique ability to educate young people about our legal system and respect for the law.” Teachers or principals interested in coordinating a Louisiana Supreme Court tour or a Law Day presentation with a local judge, contact the Louisiana Supreme Court Community Relations Department at 504.310.2590.

    Read more »
  • ,

    Turner takes 3rd at state science fair

    Tyler Turner

    Tyler Turner

    Lake Forest Charter School 8th grade student Tyler Turner won 3rd place at the Louisiana Science and Engineering Fair in the environmental science category. Tyler’s project was titled “Alternative Roofs” and studied the most cost effective and energy efficient ways of roofing. His results found that grass covered roofs absorbed less energy than tile and wood. The fair was held March 23-25 in the LSU Union.

    Read more »
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    FEMA says ‘Get ready now for potential severe weather’

    People living in parts of Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas are urged to get ready now for potential severe weather that could strike over the next few days in the form of possible severe thunderstorms, hail, strong winds, flash flooding, tornadoes and wildfires.

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Region 6 office continues to monitor the situation and stands ready to support state and local partners as needed and requested in any affected areas.

    “We encourage people to keep listening to their local and state officials for updated instructions and information. The safety of people is the first priority,” said FEMA Region 6 Administrator Tony Robinson. “We encourage people to have an individual or family emergency plan in place, practice that plan and put together an emergency kit.”

    Become familiar with the terms used to identify a severe weather hazard including:
    Watch: Meteorologists are monitoring an area or region for the formation of a specific type of threat (e.g. flooding, severe thunderstorms, or tornadoes); and
    Warning: Specific life and property threatening conditions are occurring and imminent. Take appropriate safety precautions. www.getagameplan.org. The Get a Game Plan App is available for download to your smart phones or tablets.
    .
    More tools and resources are available online to help prepare for, respond to and recover from any type of disaster. Visit www.Ready.gov.

    Read more »
  • ,,

    Prefiled bill seeks to require DHH to provide health care coverage for La residents

    State Senator Ben Nevers of Bogalusa, has prefiled Senate Bill 40 for the upcoming legislative session.

    The health care bill would require the Louisiana  Department of Health and Hospitals to provide health care coverage with essential health benefits to every legal Louisiana resident whose household income is at or below 138% of the federal poverty level.

    The legislative session begins Monday, April 13 in Baton Rouge. SB40 will be heard in the Senate Health and Welfare Committee. Follow this bill at La Leg Website: http://www.legis.la.gov/legis/BillInfo.aspx?i=226625

    Read more »
  • ,,

    Forum to detail voter suppression in Louisiana

    Louisiana Progress will present a public forum, “Jim Crow Tactics: Voting and Not Voting in Louisiana,” moderated by Jim Engster, 7pm,  Thursday, October 23, at the LSU African American Cultural Center.

    This forum on voter suppression in Louisiana will feature panelists Chris Tyson, associate professor of law at LSU Law Center;  Roland Mitchell, associate professor of higher education at LSU; Alfreda Tillman Bester, General Counsel for NAACP Louisiana; and State Representative Patricia Haynes Smith.

    The panelists will discuss their expert opinions regarding the effect of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby v. Holder, gerrymandering in Louisiana, and how the legacies of race discrimination in voting continue to have consequences for Louisiana today.

    RSVP Online: https://m.facebook.com/messages/read/?tid=mid.1413898987749%3A5f7b0a61b56eb3bb49&soft=notifications

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    Summit on the Plight of the African American Male starts Oct. 17

    NEW ORLEANS - While Post-Katrina New Orleans has experienced tremendous progress and some quality of life improvements, Pastor Tom Watson, organizer of the 20th Annual Citywide Summit on the African American Male, argues “that there still exists the ‘tale of two cities’ when juxtaposed with the harsh realities of African American males living in New Orleans.”  Fifty-two percent of New Orleans African American men are unemployed; disproportionate numbers of Black men and boys are still being incarcerated in mass numbers; NOPD continues overuse of serious force or racial profiling (noted in the Consent Decree) and, nationally, a recurring trend of unarmed Black men being murdered by police could make New Orleans ripe to become the next Ferguson, Missouri.
         
    Former Mayor Marc Morial is the summit’s speaker. The summit is free and open to the public, as it is intended to elevate a participatory solution-based dialogue addressing these issues with community residents and a distinguished panel of local experts/stakeholders including: Dr. Walter Kimbrough, president of Dillard University; Dr. Patrice Sams-Abiodun,executive director of the Lindy Boggs National Center for Community Literacy at Loyola University and co-author of Recognizing the Underutilized Economic Potential of Black Men in New Orleans; Jason Williams, New Orleans Councilman At-Large; and Kenneth Polite, U.S. Attorney will weigh-in on the state of Black men and boys in this city. The summit is free and open to the public.  WWL-TV Anchor Sally Ann Roberts will moderate.

    2014 Conference Events-Sponsored by Watson Memorial Teaching Ministries & The Family Center of Hope

    Stopping Murders-Rap Sessions & Workshops for 300 school-age males
                    Friday, 9:00 a.m.- Noon
                                            
    Restoring Men-20th Annual Summit– National Urban League’s Marc Morial
        Friday, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm


    Healing Mothers–Helping Mothers Heal Conference
                     Saturday, 9:00 a.m.- 4:00 pm


    Helping Mothers Heal-From Interruption to Intervention


    As an outgrowth of the 2012 Conference on The African American Male, Helping Mother’s Heal was born as an intervention to aid mothers and families victimized by the murder of their sons. Due to the overwhelming outcry for help, this year’s conference will feature a new convening for victim’s mothers and their families. Mothers will address law enforcement and justice system officials and share with them their grief from these egregious crimes and a persistent, lingering source of their pain, the fact that their loved ones murders remain unsolved. District Attorney Leon Cannizaro, Crimestoppers Darlene Costanza, Juvenile Judge Ernestine Gray and Police Chief Michael Harrison have agreed to take part in the conference. Rev. Patricia Watson, founder, states “our purpose is to turn these mothers’ pain into purpose.” Registration for the conference is $35. To register, call 504.891.3264 or visit www.fchnola.com.

    “These two very important convenings are about bringing community residents together to have a voice,” said  Pastor Tom Watson.  “We cannot wait for top-down government solutions to the issues related to violence that affect us-hence, the conference attempts to explore and influence better outcomes and greater accountability for prevention and intervention.”
     

    Read more »
  • Planting love for Mom

    MORE THAN 10,000 MOTHERS IN the Baton Rouge area received a Mothers Day gift that will keep on giving, thanks to
    Rotolo Pizza’s “Homegrown Love for Mom” program. The pizzeria collected cups to give to elementary school students
    throughout Baton Rouge–like the ones pictured from Dufroq Elementary– who prepared tomato plants for their mothers. The program encourages recycling, teaches students basic gardening techniques, and encourages healthy eating. “Programs such as Homegrown Love for Mom provide us with the opportunity to give back to the community, share our passion for pizza, and give hard-working moms a gift they can share with their families,” said Mitch Rotolo, founder and CEO of Rotolo’s Pizzeria.

    Read more »
  • 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

    Read more »
  • 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 

    Read more »
  • 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. 

    page4image31304

     

    Read more »
  • 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.

    Read more »
  • 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.

    Read more »
  • 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.

    Read more »
  • 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.

     

    Read more »
  • Burges says Baker audit positions city for financial ‘cleanup’

     

    By Leslie D. Rose

    The Drum Assistant Managing Editor

    Baker City Councilwoman Joyce Burges, District 3, said she doesn’t want citizens of Baker to be overly concerned with what may seem to be broken financially within the city.

    Her comments came after the city’s 2012-2013 annual audit’s findings caused the Louisiana Legislative Auditor to issue a “disclaimer of an opinion”.

    A disclaimer of opinion means the financial status could not be determined because of an absence of appropriate financial records, according to KJ Henderson of Demand Media.

    Because Baker is required by the home rule charter to appoint an auditor each fiscal year, the Baker City Council voted last year to hire a new auditor and remove Mary Sue Stages who served as auditor for nearly 50 years.

    Members of the council said then that fresh eyes needed to be on the city’s finances. Posterwaite and Netterville Firm was chosen to audit the city’s finances for the 2012-2013 fiscal year end which lead to the disclaimer.

    Burges said the findings provide an opportunity for the city to rebuild and improve on its financial picture. “We are positioning ourselves, as a city, to clean up the financial damages…this is an opportunity to rebuild and improve our financial statement and financial records,” she said.

    She continued to say that the process of rebuilding the city to good financial standings will take some time because the financial deficiencies are grave.

    Legislative auditor Joy Irwin said she will be available for comment once her report is published within the next three weeks. A brief summary of the audit will be available at the Baker City Council meeting, Tuesday, Jan. 28, at 6pm.

     

    Read more »
  • ,

    Leaders to be Honored with Martin Luther King jr. Leadership Award

    Nine community leaders will be recognized at The Baton Rouge MLK Leadership Awards, Monday, Jan. 20, 2014, at the Baton Rouge Marriott, at 7pm. These community leaders mirror the image, character, life, and works of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The 2014 award recipients are: JOHN G. DANIEL, executive director, Girls Hope and Boys Hope; GREG WILLIAMS JR., founding artistic director, New Venture Theatre; WENDELL JAMES, HIV/AIDS counselor,  Bernard Taylor Jr., East Baton Rouge Parish School Board Superintendent; JASON GARDNER, owner, Vivid Images Graphics and Printing; MICHAEL W. MCCLANAHAN, NAACP President; KEITH RICHARD,pastor,  Elevate Church; JARVIS BROWN, CEO Executive; TONYA G. ROBERTSON, executive director,The Young Leaders Academy.

     

     

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  • The Louisiana Sweet Potato Commission to host Sweet Rewards Contest

    The search for delicious sweet potato recipes is back and better than ever.  The Louisiana Sweet Potato Commission, along with Louisiana Cookin’ Magazine, is hosting its 10th annual Sweet Rewards Recipe Contest for fresh, frozen and canned sweet potatoes.

    All chefs are invited to enter their original recipes in the professional category. Recipes should include fresh, frozen or canned yams. There is no entry fee or limit of entries per individual. The contest organizers hope to show sweet potatoes’ versatility in a wide range of dishes.

    The contest will kick off January 1 with final entries being due June 1, 2014. One overall grand prize winner will be awarded $1,000. Additional winners from each of the categories will receive $500.

    Finalists’ recipes will be prepared by culinary students from the Louisiana Culinary Institute in Baton Rouge, which will also serve as the new location for the contest. A respected panel of food-industry professionals will judge recipes based on overall flavor, texture, visual appeal and creativity.

    In addition to the Louisiana Sweet Potato Commission and Louisiana Cooking Magazine, Bruce Foods and Alexia Foods will sponsor the 10th annual Sweet Rewards contest.

    The 2013 Sweet Rewards contest grand prize was awarded to Harvey Morris of Chicago, Illinois for his “Sweet Potato Bacon Biscuits.”

    Winners’ names and recipes are featured in Louisiana Cookin’ Magazine’s November and December issue, as well as on their website.

     

    Read more »
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    Afrikan-Centered School Opens in New Orleans

    Parents and organizers gathered in front of George Washington Carver Preparatory Academy in New Orleans at the official announcement of Liberation Academy, “an Afrikan-centered public high school”.  Students recently walked off the Carver campus in protest of the school’s disciplinary policies.  Liberation Academy founder Samori Camara, Ph.D., said the academy is a homeschooling cooperative for high school students that gives parents a free, public school alternative. Classes began January 6, 2014, at the St. James AME Church on North Derbigny

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  • Judge Rules in Favor of Inmates

    A FEDERAL JUDGE HAS RULEDTHAT conditions on death row at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola are,in fact, too hot in warm weather and constitute cruel and unusual punishment.The ruling means prison leaders at Angola will have to devise a way to cool cells and keep temperatures less than 89 degrees. This is the result of a lawsuit fi led by three death row inmates who com-plained of dangerously hot conditions.  Three con-demned inmates fi led a lawsuit last summer claiming the death row conditions were unsafe. A spokesperson for the Department of Corrections said the state plans to appeal the ruling

    Read more »
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    ‘Gift of Christmas’ Giveaway Benefits More Than 200 Families

    The true meaning of Christmas resounded loudly, Monday, December 16 at the Interdenominational Faith Assembly Church, during State Representative Regina Ashford Barrow’s 8th annual “District 29 – The Gift of Christmas Giveaway, wheremore than 275 children and their parents stood wide-eyed with excitement awaiting the arrival of Santa. This years’ giveaway was held in honor of Trevor Sims, the young boy who passed away in October of cancer, who even through his sickness made it his last dying wish to feed the hungry in the area.

    Trevor’s mother, Allison Sims, was also honored and presented with a commendation from the Louisiana House of Representatives for Trevor’s life’s work. “It amazes me that everyone is so touched by Trevor’s legacy, and his heart for people,” said Allison Sims. “That’s the way he lived his life and that’s who he was; he was selfless and thinking of others so it’s always like a reminder of him to see other people help each other.”

    Representative Barrow said, “There’s no doubt that Trevor lived a life that represented a true spirit of giving. It meant so much to me to honor him and his last wish, in giving to others in need.” U.S. Senator Landrieu also acknowledged Trevor’s contribution by letter and the Metro Council recently re-named a bridge in his honor.93

    Of the 300 toys on hand, the night concluded with more than 275 kids receiving a gift. The additional 25 toys were distributed to a local women’s shelter and various families that called in for assistance.Over 87 different families were present and more than 400 people in attendance received a wonderful meal.
    “The love and generosity among families, friends and neighbors here is what the spirit of Christmas is all about. I look across the room at the smiles on these children’s faces and feel humbled that because I have been elected to serve the 29th District, I can make the holidays a little brighter for the children and their families,” said Barrow. “Every child deserves to have a Merry Christmas, so this event is one way to ensure that needy children have a gift to open this holiday season.”

    111In an outpouring of seasonal generosity, individuals and organizations in the community donated financial resources and new toys in the weeks leading up to this holiday event. These sponsors were: Glen Oaks Security Dads;  Interdenominational Faith Assembly,  who hosted the event; Alejandro Perkins, Esq.; Coca Cola; Table is Bread;  Wal-Mart;  Albertsons;  Young Educated Males Against Drugs and Violence;  AFL-CIO;  and the Redevelopment Authority.

    Several exhibitors were also on hand to provide valuable information to participants. They were: Volunteers of America; Metro Health; BREC;  Anna Jones of State Farms Insurance;  Angels of Empowerment; and Family Roads of Greater Baton Rouge.

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    Meet the Doc McStuffins of Hammond, Zachary, Baton Rouge and Monroe

    In 2001 Disney introduced the world to The Proud Family, a cartoon centered on an African American family; headed by Oscar, a snack manufacturer and Trudy, a veterinarian. During the show’s air, two African American women from Louisiana were working towards becoming veterinarians. Something they said they never dreamed of, mostly because of its lack of representation in the black community, especially in Louisiana.

    Fast forward to 2012, and Disney once again brings us an inspirational show for black girls with Doc McStuffins. The series, which is in its second season, shows a brown cartoon girl playing make-believe veterinarian, operating on her stuffed animals. The show is wildly popular and has lots of girls desiring to become veterinarians.

    Now reality, Louisiana, which is the 25th most populous state of the union, is home to only six black, female veterinarians. All of the women completed her undergraduate studies at Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge and received her D.V.M. from the School of Veterinarian Medicine at Tuskegee University in Alabama. Three of the women are practicing veterinarians, one of them is in academia and two of them work for the government.

    An avid fan of Doc McStuffins and veterinarian hopeful, nine-year-old Samiya J. Phillips said she has been interested in treating animals since she was three. She said she learns from the cartoon, but wishes she could go on field trips and ask real life vets questions and see more women working as vets.future mcstuf

    “I think there should be more girls that take care of animals, because you really have to have caring heart , Phillips said. “Maybe there should be more schools to teach you more about being a veterinarian and field trips [so I can] ask a lot of questions on how they take care of animals and what kind of tools [are used] for animals.”

    Renita Woods Marshall, D.V.M. has been an associate professor of animal science at SUBR and the SU Ag Center resident veterinarian for six years. She said she always knew she wanted to become a doctor, but never dreamed she’d be a veterinarian, or a professor. Marshall, who grew up in rural Pelican, said she has always been around animals and agriculture. She decided to bring her degree home to work so she could help build the future of veterinarians in Louisiana, in particularly to inspire girls like Phillips.

    “I could have gone anywhere, but I decided to come back here and work in academia, and I look at as somebody made the sacrifice for me; somebody was teaching me, so I felt like I could come back and give to the next generation that’s coming in behind me,” Marshall said. “I’m so proud because two of my students are in veterinarian school right now and I have another one that’s getting ready to go next year. It makes me feel good to see that I’m training them up.”mcstuf1

    Marshall said she encourages her students to come back to Louisiana upon graduating from veterinarian school, in hopes of increasing the number of black, female veterinarians in this state. Two of her three vet school students are black females.

    “They’ve [former students] thought about coming back and they’re all from Louisiana,” Marshall said. “They’ve been in vet school for a couple of weeks and one of the courses is introduction to veterinarian medicine, and that’s exposing them to all the different fields that go along with it. And, a lot of them are like ‘you know, I may end up working at a university’ and I say ‘see, you just never know!’”

    Another one of Louisiana’s Doc McStuffins is Tyra Davis. Davis is from New Iberia and grew up around farms. While she said she never planned to become a veterinarian, she said she believes strongly in the phrase bloom where you are planted. She has now been a medical director and veterinarian at Hammond Animal Hospital and Pet Lodge for ten years.

    mcstuff 2

    “I grew up in a rural area and my family was sugarcane farmers so I spent a lot of time on the farm, but never did I have the desire to become a vet because I never saw a black veterinarian,” Davis said.

    Upon graduating from high school with a very high GPA, Davis was offered a scholarship to attend SUBR. When choosing a major, she was encouraged to pursue animal science and found that she enjoyed the classes. After a summer internship at the University of Missouri, she was sold on becoming a veterinarian. Now with the success of Doc McStuffins, she said she’s proud to see a show with the interest of inspiring young girls to start asking questions about the pursuit of careers in medicine.

    “When I grew up, I didn’t know any veterinarians who looked like me, let alone a woman veterinarian; I didn’t even have a woman pediatrician,” Davis said. “It just goes to show you how far we’ve come. It’s good for young girls in general, but especially African American girls to have a positive image and something to open the conversation about a profession, and especially about my profession.”

    Both Marshall and Davis agreed that it is important to encourage youth who are interested in becoming veterinarians and said they recommend Louisiana students look into undergraduate studies at LSU or SUBR because of the very hands-on approach offered. Both women also give lots back to their community through organizational memberships, speaking engagements and mentoring. They make it known how important they feel it to be for students to bring their degrees back home, as they, along with Tasha Thomas, Evoicia Collins, Leah LeBouf and Andrea Poole, the other Louisiana’s Doc McStuffins, look forward to the number of mcstuf 3black, female veterinarians in the state to increase.

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  • Suit filed to Change District 2

    Three Louisianas are suing  the state in federal court, saying a panel of judges should redraw Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional District because it unlawfully con-

    centrates black voters in one area and diminishes their political clout in the process. The suit was filed by Yvonne and Leslie Parms and Maytee Buckley, residents of the

    2nd District, on Nov. 25 in the Middle District Court in Baton Rouge. Christopher Whittington, a capital area lawyer and former head of the state Democratic Party, is

    acting as counsel for the plaintiffs. According to court documents, prenatal and parenting classes, links with local medical clinics, and information on adoptions and

    maternity homes.  The alliance provides information to pregnant women and women who think they may be pregnant between the ages of 18 to 30 and their

    male partners to ensure healthy full-term pregnancies, rather than abortions. It is funded by the Louisiana’s Department of Children and Family Services and administered by Family Values Resource Institute.

    ONLINE:

    www.laallianceforlife.com

     

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  • Monroe preachers return city’s $10,000 donation

    MONROE—The city of Monroe gave a group of local preachers $10,000 to help sponsor the 2013 Louisiana Baptist State Convention which was housed in several local facilities with an opening musical at the Monroe Civic Center this summer.

    Last month, planners of the convention from the Northeast Louisiana 2013 Host Committee stood before the city council with a $10,000 check to return the contribution.

    The Reverend Van Brass, pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Rayville who chairs the committee, told the Monroe Free Press the event was so successful it contributed some $750,000 to the local economy. Brass said organizers were surprised when they had a significant surplus following the conference that they decided to “present back the money the city invested.”

    “Because you invested in us, we were successful,” Brass told the council.

    “I believe that this is the first event of its kind that money has been returned to the city,” said city council chairman Eddie Clark.

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  • Solomon Northup’s Home Opens in Alexandria

    ALEXANDRIA—The home where Solomon Northup tells of his experiences in his 1853 book, Twelve Years a Slave, opened Thursday, Nov.14  as a museum at the Louisiana State University Alexandria.

    Northup built the house with slave owner Edwin Epps who purchased him in 1843 although Northup was a kidnapped freeman who would later be rescued and returned to his family in Glens Falls, New York.

    The single story Creole cottage, called the Epps House, was originally located on Bayou Boeuf near Holmesville in Avoyelles Parish.

    The State Historical Marker near the home reads, “Built in 1852 by Edwin Epps, originally located near Holmesville on Bayou Boeuf about three miles away. From 1843 to 1853, Epps, a small planter, owned Solomon Northup, author of famous slave narrative Twelve Years A Slave.”

    Relocated to Bunkie, LA in 1976, the house was moved to the LSUA campus in 1999 and reconstructed, thanks to the effort of Sue Eakin, Ph.D., a former LSUA professor of history.

    Northup’s story in the recently released movie “12 Years a Slave” may never have made it to the big screen if not for Louisiana historians Eakin and Joseph Logsdon. Their 1968 edition of the book was well-received and became required reading at universities across the country.

    Screen-writer John Ridley, told the New York Times he leaned heavily upon their work for the movie released Oct. 18. Eakin published a final edition of her work on Northup in 2007. She died in 2009 at 90. The historical drama was shot in New Orleans.

    The exhibit will be open to the public on a weekly basis from Thursday through Sunday and from noon until 4:00pm.  It will also be open by appointment and will be free of charge to visitors.

     

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  • Violent Crimes Decrease in Baton Rouge

     

    Murder and violent crimes declined sharply in Baton Rouge in the first half of 2013 compared to 2012. Police department statistics also show a decline in property crimes also.

    The Advocate reported that the stats showed an overall decrease of more than 13 percent in crime during the first half of 2013 compared with first half of 2012. Murder, manslaughter, rape, robbery and assaults- are down nearly 25 percent while property crimes- theft; burglary, auto theft and arson are down by nearly 11 percent.

    Cpl. Don Coppola Jr. said the Baton Rouge Area Violent Elimination Project and police street operations aimed at curbing violent crimes are factors in reducing crime numbers in Baton Rouge.

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  • Students Invited to Testify on Issues

    MONROE—Two of the most powerful women in the state of Louisiana spoke to a gathering of eight grade students urging to them to strive to make the world better.

    State Sen. Karen Carter Peterson and State Rep. Katrina Jackson were in Monroe to meet with officials about education issues, but took time out to meet with those affected most by education policy: students.

    Peterson, chair of the Louisiana Democratic Party, and Jackson, head of the Legislative Black Caucus, are arguably two of the most powerful women in the state, yet they spent quality time touring the newly opened charter school Excellence Academy in Monroe and listening to the opinions and ideas of eight grade females.

    Peterson invited the girls to appear before her legislative committee in the spring to testify about violence, crime, and education.

    “When teachers come to Baton Rouge there were thousands who wanted to speak about how rules would effect them. No one came to speak on behalf of the students. We want you to come to Baton Rouge and tell us how the laws we make affect you.” said Peterson. She and Jackson will invite youth from other schools to join the upcoming legislative session.

    ONLINE:www.monroefreepress.com

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  • Be an Art Vendor at the 2014 Baton Rouge Blues Festival

    The 2014 Baton Rouge Blues Festival is accepting new applicants for our Arts Market vendors in the categories of painting, photography, ceramics, sculpture, glass, metal, wood, leather, mixed media, and other media. Applications will be accepted between December 1, 2013 and January 15, 2014. A jury will review the applications and selected vendors will be announced via the Baton Rouge Blues Festival website, batonrougebluesfestival.org, by February 1, 2014. There is a non-refundable $20 application fee. Vendor participation fees of $125 are due no later than March 15, 2014. All proceeds go to the Baton Rouge Blues Foundation, a not-for-profit charity that produces the festival. Application requirements and rules can be found at batonrougebluesfestival.org/art-vendor.html

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    St. George Incorporation Public Meeting Scheduled for Thursday Dec.12th

    The Committee to Incorporate the City of St. George will hold an important public meeting / town Hall on Thursday, December 12th from 6:30pm – 7:30pm at Woodlawn Baptist Church.

    Guest Speaker: Shreveport native C. L. Bryant is an outspoken Baptist minister, radio host, television host, former president of the NAACP’s Garland, Texas Chapter and creator of the current hit documentary Runaway Slave.

    Speakers:
    Senator Mac ‘Bodi’ White
    Norman Browning

    The purpose of this meeting is to:
    - Update the public with our progress to date
    - Inform the public of our plans for 2014.
    - Address inaccuracies/misconceptions in the media.
    - Answer current frequently asked questions.
    - Allow the public to sign the petition.

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  • Violent Crimes Decrease in Baton Rouge

    Murder and violent crimes declined sharply in Baton Rouge in the first half of 2013 compared to 2012. Police department statistics also show a decline in property crimes also.

    The Advocate reported that the stats showed an overall decrease of more than 13 percent in crime during the first half of 2013 compared with first half of 2012. Murder, manslaughter, rape, robbery and assaults- are down nearly 25 percent while property crimes- theft; burglary, auto theft and arson are down by nearly 11 percent.

    Cpl. Don Coppola Jr. said the Baton Rouge Area Violent Elimination Project and police street operations aimed at curbing violent crimes are factors in reducing crime numbers in Baton Rouge.

    Read more »
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