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    Dr. Leonard Weather appointed to the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners

    The Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners announced that Dr. Leonard Weather was appointed to one of two positions on its board of directors as a representative for the Louisiana Medical Association.

    Weather is an obstetrician-gynecologist. Prior to Hurricane Katrina his practice was in New Orleans; it is now in Shreveport. He received his bachelor of science in Pharmacy from Howard University in 1967, and his MD from Rush Medical College in Chicago, Illinois, in 1974. He completed his internship, residency and fellowship in Gynecology and Obstetrics at Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland and finished the program in 1978. 

    Dr. Weather is a health educator and professor, ordained minister, artist, author and photographer. He has authored three inspirational poetry books and an infertility handbook. He is an active gynecological clinical trials researcher, has presented over 190 peer reviewed presentations and papers on pelviscopic surgical treatment of infertility, endometriosis, pelvic pain and fibroids. He invented the surgical procedure Optical Dissection Pelviscopy, to assist in the prevention of organ injury during laparoscopy. Dr. Weather is a past president (2010-2011) of the National Medical Association, the New Orleans Medical Association and the Louisiana Medical Association, and currently serves as the president of the Northern Louisiana Medical Association. He is a member of the Board of Scientific Advisors to the Endometriosis Association, World Endometriosis Society, a fellow of the Academy of Physicians in Clinical Research, and Grand President of the Chi Delta Mu Medical Fraternity.

    The mission of the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners is to protect and improve the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of Louisiana through licensing, regulation, research, and discipline of physicians and allied health professionals in a manner that protects the rights and privileges of the licensees.

    ONLINE: www.lsbme.la.gov

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    LEH is calling all aspiring young artists, illustrators for scholarship opportunity

    Applications are due November 1 for the Gustave Blache III Art Scholarship, offered by the LEH and the School of Visual Arts in New York City and open to all aspiring artists from Louisiana interested in attending SVA.

    The scholarship helps cover tuition and housing costs associated with pursuing either Bachelor or Master of Fine Arts degrees in Illustration at SVA, one of the nation’s premier art schools. Applications are due November 1.

    Full scholarship and application details can be found on LEH’s website.

    Feature photo of previous scholarship winners Marguerite Michel and Paul Michael Wright

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    Tuquisha Adams takes marines to the fight aboard U.S. Navy Warship

    SAN DIEGO – Petty Officer 3rd Class Tuquisha Adams, a native of Shreveport, Louisiana, was inspired to join the Navy after her mother passed away.
    “I lost my mom and I was on a mission to make her proud,” Adams said. “One morning I woke up and the military was on my mind just out of blue.”

    Now, two years later, Adams serves aboard one of the Navy’s amphibious ships at Naval Base San Diego.“This is my first command,” Adams said. “Every day is a different experience. You never know what you’re going to get, but so far so good. I have had a learning experience. I have grown since I’ve been here.”

    Adams, a 2008 graduate of Fair Park High School, is an aviation boatswain’s mate handler aboard USS Essex, one of four Wasp-class amphibious assault ships in the Navy, homeported in San Diego.

    “I am a landing and launching aircraft petty officer,” Adams said. “I’m also training petty officer and assisting yeoman.”

    Adams credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in Shreveport. “I learned to choose my friends wisely and never let anyone determine my future,” said Adams.

    Essex is designed to deliver U.S. Marines and their equipment where they are needed to support a variety of missions ranging from amphibious assaults to humanitarian relief efforts. Designed to be versatile, the ship has the option of simultaneously using helicopters, Harrier jets, and Landing Craft Air Cushioned (LCAC), as well as conventional landing craft and assault vehicles in various combinations.

    Because of their inherent capabilities, these ships have been and will continue to be called upon to support humanitarian and other contingency missions on short notice.

    Sailors’ jobs are highly varied aboard Essex. More than 1,000 men and women make up the ship’s crew, which keeps all parts of the ship running smoothly, from handling weaponry to maintaining the engines. An additional 1,200 Marines can be embarked.

    “They’re hard workers,” Adams said. “It comes with the field that they’re in.”

    Serving in the Navy means Adams is part of a world that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.

    A key element of the Navy the nation needs is tied to the fact that America is a maritime nation, and that the nation’s prosperity is tied to the ability to operate freely on the world’s oceans. More than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water; 80 percent of the world’s population lives close to a coast; and 90 percent of all global trade by volume travels by sea.“Our priorities center on people, capabilities, and processes, and will be achieved by our focus on speed, value, results and partnerships,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “Readiness, lethality and modernization are the requirements driving these priorities.”

    Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community, and career, Adams is most proud of earning a promotion to third class petty officer.

    “I was proud to see that my hard work didn’t go unnoticed,” said Adams.

    As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied-upon assets, Adams and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes contributing to the Navy the nation needs.

    “Serving in the Navy means that I’m a part of something huge,” Adams said. “I am fighting for people I would never meet a day in my life and that’s a good feeling.”

    By  Jerry Jimenez
    Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class
    Navy Office of Community Outreach
    Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jackson Brown
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    Panel to explore art as a tool for building awareness around health issues, Oct. 13

    On Sunday, October 13, the result of a partnership between Baton Rouge Gallery and CreActiv, LLC, BRG’s Sundays@4 series will host a special panel discussion, Invisible Illness Awareness through the Arts, on CreActiv’s invisible illness awareness project, The Picture of Health, to explore art as a tool for building awareness around the taboo subject of health issues.

    Panelists will discuss the creation of the project, stigmas surrounding disclosing illnesses, what it is like to have an invisible illness, ways to elicit compassion for those among us who suffer every day, and more. The program will also feature a musical performance by Invisible Illness Warrior, Chris “The Madd Katt” Lee, that will depict the pain of sciatica through drum beats. The panel will be moderated by Donney Rose. A few pieces from the exhibit will be on display.

    Panelists include:
    Leslie D. Rose, photographer, The Picture of Health and CreActiv, LLC founder and COO
    April Baham, Project Manager, Louisiana Division of the Arts and Curator of The Picture of Health
    Rani Whitfield, MD, Family Practice Physician
    Tamiko Francis Garrison, Invisible Illness Warrior and Patient Advocate

    Danny Belanger, Director of Arts Education and Accessibility/ADA/504 Coordinator, Louisiana Division of the Arts

    The Picture of Health is an invisible illness awareness program inspired by CreActiv, LLCfounder and COO, Leslie D. Rose’s own struggles with invisible illness. It seeks to highlight individuals living with invisible physical, chronic, and mental illnesses. Through the art of photography, the project shows people living with these illnesses in the manner in which they present themselves daily, focusing on the perceived ‘normalcy’ of people housed in ill bodies. The exhibit kicked off its preview run on May 29 at The Healthcare Galley and held a three-month showing at Southern Grind Cofé this past summer. Pieces are still being added to the exhibit and a full showing is being scheduled for May 2020.

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    AUDITION NOTICE: New Venture Theatre seeks performers for ‘Black Nativity’

    Audition Location
    Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge, 2nd Floor
    427 Laurel Street, Baton Rouge, LA 70801
    Audition Date
    Saturday, October 19 2019 at 1:00 p.m.
    Rehearsal Dates
    Mondays – Thursdays, 6:00 – 9:30 PM
    Some Sunday’s, 3:00 – 6:00 PM
    Performance Dates
    Friday, December 13 at 9:30 a.m. (school performance)
    Friday, December 13 at 7:30 p.m.
    Saturday, December 14 at 7:30 p.m.
    Sunday, December 15 at 3:00 p.m.m.
    4 Performances at the LSU Shaver Theatre
    Audition Requirements
    Please prepare 90 seconds of a song that shows your range and vocal ability
    ALL SONGS WILL BE PERFORMED WITHOUT MUSICAL ACCOMPANIMENT.
    (Dance / Movement Audition Required)
    Bring or wear comfortable dance attire, as all auditions will be required to learn a short dance / movement combination.
    No monologues required for this production.
    Characters
    Role(s) for Black Actor(s)
    Seeking male and female dancers with strong ballet, modern, and jazz dance experience.
    Seeking male and female vocalist with strong gospel, and r&b style.
    Read more »
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    Formerly incarcerated Louisianans to met Monday, cast first vote together

    After becoming eligible to register on March 1, local activist Checo Yancy along with others will vote for the first time Monday.

    On March 1, approximately 40,000 Louisiana citizens on probation and parole regained their right to vote under Act 636. The law was made possible by members of Voice of the Experienced (VOTE), who advocated for the passage of House Bill 265 at the State Capitol during the 2018 legislative session. The majority of these activists were people who are directly impacted by felony disenfranchisement. Thus, come March 1, when Act 636 goes into effect, they will be able to register to vote.

    Yancy, who directs Voters Organized to Educate (VOTE), registered the first day he could. “Now, I’ll be able to elect people who actually have my best interests in mind,” he says. He’ll also be taking advantage of the early voting period for Louisiana’s upcoming Oct. 12 primary election.

    “We have come from out of prison to do all this, and we are doing it,” said Yancy.

    For him and thousands of others, it has not been an easy race to the finish line of the ballot box. People who have a conviction have to go through extra steps in the registration process. This includes getting paperwork from their local probation and parole office, even if they have finished their probation or parole time five, 10, or 20 years ago. For those living in rural Louisiana, the nearest office is a half-day’s drive away. Due in large part to the employment barriers that formerly incarcerated people, many cannot afford to buy a car or hire transportation to obtain that paperwork.

    Find more info here.

     

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    Deltas, NAACP, Urban League host Sept 24 Candidates’ Forum

     On Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 6 p.m. at Baton Rouge Community College’s Magnolia Theatre, 201  Community College Drive, the Baton Rouge Sigma Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority,  Inc., the Baton Rouge NAACP, and the Urban League, are hosting an East Baton Rouge Candidates’ Forum.

    All candidates are invited to attend. The candidates will have a few minutes to give remarks and there will be questions afterward. After the forum, candidates will have a chance to meet with the attendees. The public is invited to attend.

    “This is a very important election, so our Sorority and partners are committed to help inform and educate our residents on who the candidates are and where they stand on issues of concern to our community,” said Chi Joseph Franklin, president of Baton Rouge Sigma.  “We’re looking forward to a great discussion.”

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    Southern University System selected as pilot institution for CIA’s White House Initiative

     Initiative focuses on HBCUs Recruitment and Workforce Development Program 

     

    The Southern University System and the Central Intelligence Agency entered into an unprecedented partnership to benefit students and faculty. President-Chancellor Ray Belton, Executive Vice President-Chancellor James Ammons, and representatives from the CIA signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Sept. 16 that will serve as the foundational framework for the university system’s participation in the CIA’s recruitment and workforce development initiative, which is part of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The Southern University System Board of Supervisors will ratify the agreement at Friday’s board meeting on campus.

    According to the MOU, the CIA chose Southern as the first participant based on the university system’s accredited programs, the graduation rate of its students, and the CIA’s track record of onboarding highly skilled and well-qualified talent.

    “Southern University is honored to have been chosen as the first institution to partner with the CIA for this initiative,” Belton said. “The reputable stature of the CIA alone is an asset to the university, students, and faculty, and we believe that the outcomes will be mutually beneficial for all involved.

    “For nearly 140 years, Southern has been a leader in innovation and scholarship. This opportunity with the CIA adds to our extensive portfolio of public and private partnerships that allow our students and faculty to expand their knowledge and to enhance their technical skills.”

    The MOU allows the CIA to engage in a broad range of classroom workshops, curriculum development, and recruitment activities to foster ongoing relationships with key university staff and personnel on Southern’s five campuses, and will provide for immediate contact with a qualified and diverse applicant pool.

    The Southern University System is comprised of Southern University Baton Rouge, Southern University New Orleans, Southern University Shreveport, Southern University Law Center, and Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center. The System is the only HBCU system in the nation.

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    Public invited to submit questions for LPB, CABL Governor’s debate, Sept 26

    Louisiana Public Broadcasting and the Council for a Better Louisiana will present a Louisiana Governor’s Debate, live on Thursday, September 26 from 7PM to 8PM from the campus of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. The public is invited to submit questions at lpb.org/debate.

    Participating candidates include incumbent Governor John Bel Edwards (D), U.S. Representative Ralph Abraham (R), and Baton Rouge businessman Eddie Rispone (R). The debate will be broadcast statewide on LPB and in New Orleans on WYES and WLAE. It will also be streamed live at LPB.org/live and on public radio stations.

    Debate moderators Beth Courtney, President of LPB, and Barry Erwin, President of CABL will be joined by a panel of distinguished journalists who will pose questions to the candidates. Journalists are: Mark Ballard, The Advocate; Greg Hilburn, USA Today Network; and Natasha Williams, LPB. Candidate-to-candidate questions will also be allowed.

    Courtney said, “For forty years, LPB has presented live candidate debates as an essential part of the democratic process. It is important for voters to hear from the candidates for governor in a candid forum where they can answer questions and explain their positions on vital issues.”

    “We are really pleased to be able to partner once again with LPB to bring this debate to voters across Louisiana,” said Erwin, CABL President. “It’s our hope with this forum to focus on issues that are of importance to the state and give citizens a chance to hear straight from the candidates about their positions and what their priorities will be if elected.”

    As in years past, CABL has set criteria for participation in the debate. For this debate, candidates were invited if they: Have established a campaign committee with a treasurer and campaign staff, and filed campaign finance reports with the Federal Election Commission prior to the debate; AND polled at least 5% in a nonpartisan or news media poll recognized by CABL released after qualifying; AND raised at least $1 million in campaign funds prior to the debate.

     

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    Tekema Balentine Crowned Miss Black USA 2019

    Newly-crowned Miss Black USA 2019 Tekema Balentine, who has a strong desire for civic engagement, plans to use her platform to advocate on for mental health awareness.

    Balentine is an activist, scholar, and social justice advocate from Madison, Wisconsin who is a also pursing a nursing degree at Madison College.  She is a caregiver, track and field coach and sits on the board for the P.A.T.C.H organization (Providers and Teens Communications for Health), which is an organization founded to advocate for health awareness and mental health resources for teens and adults.

    Balentine said she has a strong desire for civic engagement and plans to use her platform to advocate on for mental health awareness in the Black community. During her reign, she will serve as a celebrity advocate for the Heart Truth campaign to raise awareness of heart disease and promote healthy lifestyles.

    According to Black PR Wire, the pageant, a week-long event kicked off August 7 and culminated with the crowning of Balentine on August 11.  The event was live streamed as contestants opened with an upbeat dance number wearing heels by Liliana footwear, the official shoe sponsor.  Contestants were judged in Evening Gown, On Stage Interview, Talent and Personal Fitness.

    1st Runner up –  Miss Black Nevada USA – Aisja Allen

    2nd Runner up – Miss Black New York USA – Shannon Alomar

    3rd Runner up – Miss Black Tennessee USA – Alexis Cole

    4th Runner up – Miss Black Virginia USA – Hollis Brown

     

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    Dr. Rani G. Whitfield announces run for EBR Coroner

    Dr. Rani G. Whitfield, a board-certified Family Medicine Physician, has officially announced his candidacy for Coroner of East Baton Rouge Parish.

    As coroner, Whitfield would conduct or oversee death investigations, orders of protective custody, Coroner Emergency Certificates, and sexual assault investigations throughout the parish.

    “My mission is not just documenting death, but preserving life,” said Dr. Whitfield whose campaign has been endorsed by the AFL-CIO and the Louisiana Democrats. The election is Oct. 12, 2019.

    Whitfield is a lifelong resident of Baton Rouge. After graduating from University High Laboratory School, he went on to earn a bachelors of science degree from Southern University. He completed his medical school training at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, TN, his residency in Dayton, Ohio, at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center, and a Sports Medicine Fellowship at The Ohio State University. He has a certificate of added qualification in sports medicine.

    He is deputy coroner in East Feliciana and an active member of the American Academy of Family Practice, American College of Sports Medicine, American Medical Society of Sports Medicine, Louisiana State Medical Association, and East Baton Rouge Parish Medical Society. He is also an ambassador/national spokesperson for the American Heart Association, a board member for the organization’s Southeastern Affiliates, and a member of the American Stroke Association’s Advisory Committee. He is a sought-after lecturer and educator, addressing health-related issues in front of local and national audiences.

    As “Tha Hip-Hop Doc,” Dr. Whitfield shares health messages to people across the globe. What started as a simple nickname from students has become a persona that allows him to connect with a generation that needs a deeper understanding of the health issues they face. “Young people respond when they feel that you are sincere and actually care about them,” he said. “To be easily accessible to young people makes a big difference.”

    Dr. Whitfield said he will continue to use his grass-roots and hands-on approach as Coroner for the people of East Baton Rouge Parish, actively engaging the public, conducting outreach to citizens, and working to address the many challenges facing citizens of East Baton Rouge Parish. He has served on the boards of educational and civic organizations including the Southern University Board of Supervisors and has received multiple awards. He served as a physician volunteer and medical director of the National Association of Free Clinics Communities are Responding Everywhere (C.A.R.E) which provides free health care to the underserved patients across the USA.

    Married to registered nurse Kiara and the father of two children, Dr. Whitfield is also a lifetime member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc and a bass player in the band U4ria.

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    Grambling State awards more than $300,000 in technology scholarships

    Grambling State University announced it has awarded tuition and fee scholarships to 10 incoming freshman majoring technology-related degree programs as a part of its Technology Tour Scholarship program.

    “This scholarship is one of the many ways we are working to make higher education attainable for the next generation of cybersecurity and computer science leaders,” said GSU President Rick Gallot. “We look forward to supporting the success of these students who made the great decision to choose Grambling State.”

    This year’s Technology Tour Scholarship recipients are all incoming incoming freshmen who have at least a 3.0 GPA and 21 ACT score. The students, who have declared majors in cybersecurity, computer science, computer information systems, or engineering technology, will receive four years of tuition and fee scholarships which are funded in part by contributions from Louisiana Economic Development and AT&T.

    This year’s recipients include:

    • Stephon Hardim, Computer Engineering major from Winnsboro, Louisiana
    • Cazembe Zubari, Cybersecurity major from Cincinnati, Ohio
    • Jyron Bell, Computer Science major from Arcadia, Louisiana
    • Arlon McCrea, Construction Engineering major from Jennings, Louisiana
    • Damaine Thomas, Computer Science/Law major from New Orleans, Louisiana
    • Anthony Bell, Mechanical Engineering major from Walker, Louisiana
    • Mikayla Jackson, Cybersecurity major from Monroe, Louisiana
    • Destney Johnson, Cybersecurity major from Atlanta, Georgia
    • Ralynn Rand, Computer Engineering major from Little Rock, Arkansas
    • Tenaj Reliford, Cybersecurity major from Shreveport, Louisiana

    Alumni and supporters who are interested in sponsoring or supporting scholarship funds are encouraged to email advancementservices@gram.edu or donate at gram.edu/giving.

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    SU graduates 14 farmers from Ag Leadership Institute

    SU Ag Center holds Graduation Ceremony for 7th Small Farmer Ag Leadership Institute

    Fourteen small farmers from seven states received certificates of completion during a graduation ceremony for Cohort VII of the SU Ag Center’s Regional Small Farmer Agricultural Leadership Institute.

    The ceremony was held on Friday, August 16 in the Cotillion Ballroom of Southern University’s Smith-Brown Memorial Student Union.

    Fourteen participants from Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Virginia, Texas and Ohio graduated from the year-long course.

    Dawn Mellion Patin, Ph.D., Vice Chancellor for Extension and Outreach at the SU Ag Center, served as the keynote speaker for the ceremony. During her presentation, Patin discussed how the leadership institute was developed and encouraged the graduates to help other small farmers.

    “We expect you to share what you have learned in conversations with aspiring small farmers,” said Patin. “We expect you to host field days, workshops, and pasture walks so others can see what you are doing,” she said.

    The Small Farmer Agricultural Leadership Institute is designed to guides small, limited-resource and minority farmers through the process of becoming more competitive agricultural entrepreneurs.

    The overriding goal of the Institute is to promote small and family farm sustainability through enhanced business management skills, leadership development and the utilization of United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs and services.

    The Cohort VII regional graduates of the Regional Small Farmer Agricultural Leadership Institute are:
    Anthony Barwick, Ohio; Kay Bell, Texas; Keisha Cameron, Ga.; Mark Chandler, Va.; Debora Coleman, Miss.; Felton DeRouen, II, La.; Hilery “Tony” Gobert, Ga.; Royce Martin, Ala.; Lennora Pierrot, Ala.; Gregory Smith, La.; Brad Spencer, Miss.; Joy Womack, La.; Virgil Womack, La.; and Oliver Whitehead, Va.

    ONLINE: http://www.suagcenter.com/page/small-farmers.

    By LaKeeshia Giddens Lusk

     

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    Key decisions to help memorialize a loved one

    (Family Features) Despite the certainty of death, many Americans delay dealing with the fact and avoid funeral planning.

    In fact, nearly 3 in 5 Americans aren’t confident they could plan a funeral for themselves, let alone a loved one, according to a survey conducted by RememberingALife.com, which was created by the National Funeral Directors Association to empower families in their funeral planning, help them understand memorialization options and support them as they navigate their grief after a death.

    One of the main challenges in planning a funeral for a loved one is ensuring the service captures the person’s life and memories. However, according to the survey, just 41.2% of respondents know the deceased’s preferences for a funeral, burial or cremation, and 26.5% have not discussed their preferences with loved ones, though they do feel confident their family and friends would plan an appropriate funeral or memorial service for them.

    To kickstart the planning process, consider discussing these decisions with your loved ones:

    1. Cremation or Burial: Despite the growing popularity of cremation, burial is still important to many families. There are many factors that go into this decision, such as religion, environmental factors, cost and more.
    1. Service Options: Regardless of a preference for cremation or burial, how a family pays tribute to its loved one is also important. There are a variety of ways a funeral, memorial service or celebration of life can reflect the life of the person who died, such as through pictures, location of the service, music and more.
    1. Eulogy: One of the most impactful parts of the service can be the eulogy. Think about who knows you best and would be comfortable speaking. Some choose to write their own eulogy. Either way, eulogies can provide closure and honor a life.
    1. After the Service: While services are an opportunity for loved ones to grieve and heal together, it’s important to consider how to keep memories alive, such as by planting a tree, scattering cremated remains in a special location or visiting a gravesite. Any of these options can help a family continue to pay tribute to the deceased.

    To find more information about how a funeral director can help plan a meaningful service and resources to help you understand your own and others’ grief and loss, visit RememberingALife.com.

    Photo courtesy of Getty Images

    ONLINE: National Funeral Directors Association

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    SU Child Development Center set to hold an Enrollment Fair

    The Southern University Child Development Laboratory will hold an Enrollment Fair for the 2019-2020 school year on Saturday, August 3 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at its facility located on E. Street on the Southern University Baton Rouge campus.

    Parents interested in enrolling their children at the laboratory can do so during the enrollment fair by bringing the child’s birth certificate; social security and insurance cards; and updated immunization, physical (well-child exam), and dental records (if applicable).

    Applications will be available to be picked up from the Laboratory on July 29.

    The Laboratory, which will open August 12, is accepting children six weeks to 4 years old. It will operate from 7:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. with before and aftercare available from 6:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. for an additional fee.

    To obtain an application or for additional information, call 225-771-2081 or email suchdvlab@subr.edu.

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    Awards ceremony honors top football recruits, Aug 1

    Tiger Rag magazine’s inaugural High School Football Kickoff Awards ceremony on Aug. 1 will honor four top high school football recruits from the Greater Baton Rouge area. A reception begins at 6pm at the Embassy Suites by Hilton at 4914 Constitution Ave. with the ceremony starting at 7pm.

    Tickets are required, though the event is free. It includes dinner and photo opportunities with former LSU football players. Tickets are available through the Tiger Rag website until July 31.

    TJ Finley

    TJ Finley

    Joel Williams

    Joel Williams

    Jalen Lee

    Jalen Lee

    Jaquelin Roy

    Jaquelin Roy

     

    The ceremony will honor quarterback TJ Finley from Ponchatoula High School, defensive tackle Jalen Lee from Live Oak High School, defensive tackle Jaquelin Roy from University High School, and cornerback Joel Williams from Madison Prep High School.

    Former LSU and NFL quarterback Matt Flynn will serve as guest speaker. Flynn played for LSU from 2003-07, earning offensive MVP honors in the Tigers’ 2007 BCS National Championship win over Ohio State.

    The ceremony will also recognize David Brewerton of Zachary High School as High School Coach of the Year. Since taking over in 2014, Brewerton has led teams to three state titles.

    ONLINE:  tigerrag.com

     

    Photo credit: 247Sports

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    Teens earn Emergency Medical Responder Certification

    Urban Restoration Enhancement Corporation presented the 2019 graduating class of the College & Career Ready Emergency Medical Responder  Institute. The graduates, all Baton Rouge area high school students, obtained Emergency Medical Responder certification upon their successful completion of the 10-week EMR Institute.
    UREC’s 2019 College & Career Ready EMR Institute graduates are:
    • Adrianna Brown (Valedictorian)
    • Bridget Calhoun
    • Alexus Maiden
    • Leah Ruffin
    • Abria Scott
    • Aisha Smith
    UREC’s College & Career Ready EMR Institute prepares students attending high schools in Baton Rouge for careers in the medical field, while providing a pathway to industry-based certification. During the institute, scholars learned life-saving skills such as CPR, how to detect vital signs, trauma response and injury care management under the instruction of Bob Brankline with the East Baton Rouge Parish School’s Career and Technical Education Center (CTEC).
    Throughout the institute, scholars participated in lecture-based instruction at Southern University School of Nursing and hands-on, skills-based instruction at CTEC. Scholars also participated in work site visits with the Mayor’s Office of Homeland Security (Red Stick Ready), Baton Rouge General Mid-City, ExxonMobil, Baton Rouge EMS & 911 Operations, Baton Rouge Fire Department, and Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University (Fran U).
     
    Adrianna Brown, class valedictorian, said the program taught her technical, leadership and effective communication skills. “I learned how to take blood pressure, splint legs and arms, and how to listen to and analyze people’s airways,” she said. “I would definitely recommend this program to others.”

    UREC held a graduation and pinning ceremony on June 12, 2019 at Southern University School of Nursing. Dr. Latricia Greggs, Chair of the Southern University’s BSN Program, delivered the keynote address. Greggs encouraged graduates to exercise empathy, patience, continued education, self-care, humor, trust and teamwork as they embark upon future studies and careers in the healthcare field.

    Photo (L-R): Danielle Duncan, UREC, Youth Program Coordinator; Adrianna Brown; LeahRuffin; Alexus Maiden; Dr. Latricia Greggs, Chair, Southern University School of Nursing BSN Program; Abria Scott; Bridget Calhoun; Aisha Smithand Kathryn Robinson, UREC, Youth Program Director.
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    Teens complete Emergency Medical Responder Institute

    Urban Restoration Enhancement Corporation presented the 2019 graduating class of the College & Career Ready Emergency Medical Responder Institute. The graduates, all Baton Rouge area high school students, obtained Emergency Medical Responder certification upon their successful completion of the 10-week EMR Institute.
    UREC’s 2019 College & Career Ready EMR Institute graduates are:
    • Adrianna Brown (Valedictorian)
    • Bridget Calhoun
    • Alexus Maiden
    • Leah Ruffin
    • Abria Scott
    • Aisha Smith
    UREC’s College & Career Ready EMR Institute prepares students attending high schools in Baton Rouge for medial careers while providing a pathway to industry-based certification. During the institute, scholars learned life-saving skills such as CPR, how to detect vital signs, trauma response and injury care management under the instruction of Bob Brankline with the East Baton Rouge Parish School’s Career and Technical Education Center.
    Throughout the institute, scholars participated in lecture-based instruction at Southern University School of Nursing and hands-on, skills-based instruction at CTEC. Scholars also participated in work site visits with the Mayor’s Office of Homeland Security (Red Stick Ready), Baton Rouge General Mid-City, ExxonMobil, Baton Rouge EMS & 911 Operations, Baton Rouge Fire Department, and Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University (Fran U).
     
    Adrianna Brown, class valedictorian, said the program taught her technical, leadership and effective communication skills. “I learned how to take blood pressure, splint legs, and arms, and how to listen to and analyze people’s airways,” she said. “I would definitely recommend this program to others.”UREC held a graduation and pinning ceremony on June 12, 2019, at Southern University School of Nursing. Dr. Latricia Greggs, Chair of the Southern University’s BSN Program, delivered the keynote address. Greggs encouraged graduates to exercise empathy, patience, continued education, self-care, humor, trust and teamwork as they embark upon future studies and careers in the healthcare field.

    Photo (L-R): Danielle Duncan, UREC, Youth Program Coordinator; Adrianna Brown; LeahRuffin; Alexus Maiden; Dr. Latricia Greggs, Chair, Southern University School of Nursing BSN Program; Abria Scott; Bridget Calhoun; Aisha Smithand Kathryn Robinson, UREC, Youth Program Director.
    ONLINE: www.urec.org here.
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    SU Ag Center Uses Hydroponic Growing System to teach students, urban entrepreneurs

    Scientists at the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center have partnered with Tera Vega to conduct research on a new Hydroponic Growing System. Hydroponics is a process of growing plants without soil in either sand, gravel or liquid.
    Through this research, the Center will train students and urban entrepreneurs on new technologies that will maximize crop production with limited space.
    Professor of Urban Forestry Yemane Ghebreiyessus, Ph.D., and senior research associate Milagro Berhane are working to perfect the system with aspirations of teaching potential urban entrepreneurs how to effectively grow crops in areas with limited space and generate personal and community wealth opportunities.
    For additional information about this research project, contact Milagro Berhane at milagro_berhane@suagcenter.com or Yemane Ghebreiyessus, Ph.D., at yemane_ghebreiyessus@suagcenter.com.
    Read more »
  • ,,

    Bayou Soul Youth Literary Conference returns to BRCC, July 2

    Baton Rouge Community College will once again be home to The Bayou Soul Youth Literary Conference. The 6th annual conference will be held on Tuesday, July 2 in the Magnolia Theatre, 201 Community College Drive, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

    toya2019

    Toya Wright

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    Lance Gross

    The conference will feature master class and empowerment breakout sessions, a preview of the forthcoming stage play, “Voices from the Bayou,” an oratorical contest, and celebrity authors and guest speakers, including Lance Gross (Star, Fox) and Toya Wright (T.I. & Tiny: Friends and Family Hustle, VH1), among others.

    The event is free and open to Louisiana high school students and BRCC students, although registration is required at bswliteraryconference.com.

    In the spirit of this year’s theme, Empowering Young Voices, students will have the opportunity to participate in a Maya Angelou-inspired oratorical contest presented by Angelou’s niece Sabunmi Woods and great-niece Samyra Woods. The daylong event will also feature a preview of the stage play, “Voices from the Bayou,” based on BRCC student narratives from the book of the same name, that explores racism, police brutality, and the historic flood. Actor Lamman Rucker (Greenleaf, OWN) will star in the production, written for the stage by Clarence Nero, assistant professor of English at BRCC, and directed by Andrew Vastine, managing director of Swine Palace Theatre at LSU. The preview will also feature monologues performed by LSU MFA students, as well as song and dance performances that highlight events that occurred in Baton Rouge in the summer of 2016.

    Schedule of Events

    10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. – Preview of the “Voices from the Bayou” play, starring actor Lamman Rucker

    1:45 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. – Master Class/Empowerment Breakout Sessions (Participants choose one)

    • Acting, Drama, Entertainment – led by actor Lance Gross and publicist Love Logan
    • Poetry – led by BRCC professors Carrie Causey and Eric Elliott
    • Creative Writing – led by literary agent and editor Maxine Thompson and BRCC professor and author Clarence Nero
    • Culinary Arts – led by Lauren Von Dor Pool, chef for celebrities Common, Venus Williams and Serena Williams
    • Arts & Crafts – led by Sabunmi Woods and Smyra Woods
    • Visual Arts/Painting – led by Sharika Mahdi, Essence Magazine Emerging Artist 2015
    • Empowerment Seminar For Young Girls – led by dating expert, Monique Kelley (NBC’s Access Hollywood Live) and BRCC faculty members Carolyn Smith, Bea Gymiah and Shelisa Theus
    • Empowerment Seminar Young Men – led by Lamman Rucker, Hilton Webb, and Kent Nichols

    3 p.m. to 4 p.m. –

    • Dr. Maya Angelou Oratorical Essay Contest presented by Sabunmi Woods and Smyra Woods, nieces of Angelou

    The program is made possible through the support of the Office of Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome, RECAST, BRCC Foundation, and BRCC’s Student Government Association.

    ONLINE: bswliteraryconference.com

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  • ,,,

    Black Out Loud Conference to explore criminal justice reform, mental health awareness and financial empowerment, Aug. 2-4

    The second annual Black Out Loud Conference – a three-day event designed to highlight Black-centered narratives along the themes of mental health awareness, criminal justice reform and financial empowerment will be held Aug. 2-4 on the campus of Southern University and A&M College. Deriving its name from the February 2017 book from conference founder, Baton Rouge poet and Kennedy Center fellow, Donney Rose, Black Out Loud seeks to assist participants with resources to better push their narratives from outside the margins to center. The conference weekend will feature a special kick-off performance by GRAMMY-nominated singer and hip hop artist, Maimouna “Mumu Fresh” Youssef.  For complete conference information, visit www.blackoutloudbr.com53327448_2097110513669569_2987495043968794624_o-1

     “Some key conversations that persist in the African-American community are around financial empowerment, mental health, and criminal justice reform. There are more tie-ins and overlap around these subject areas than we often recognize” said conference founder Donney Rose. “Last year’s conference was primarily centered around themes I am intimately familiar with (the arts, media, and activism). This year I wanted to be able to really lean into topic areas that I have a personal curiosity about, but not expertise in. I thought it was important to reach out to local experts in these fields to give attendees of the conference a more nuance dive into conversations that impact us daily”

    The 2019 conference will kick off on Aug. 2 at Southern University’s Smith-Brown Memorial Student Union with performances, a video presentation on the power of voice/advocacy, and a networking cocktail hour. On Aug. 3, attendees will convene in the Union for workshops and panel discussions featuring subject matter experts in the finances and mental health awareness sharing best practices and dialogue around the value of financial equity and the importance of addressing the stigma surrounding mental health in the black community. The conference will end on Aug. 4 in the Union with a brunch highlighted by a “speed dating” style series of peer interviews with experts on criminal justice reform.

     Confirmed speakers and panelists include Stan Adkins, president of S & K Adkins, Inc. dba Subway Restaurant; Klassi Duncan,director of the Women’s Business Resource Center and the Contractor’s Resource Center at the Urban League of Louisiana; Terrica Matthews, CEO and senior credit consultant of Premier Property and Consulting Group, LLC; Shamyra Howard, licensed clinical social worker, founder of “On The Green Couch;” Viveca Johnson, owner of Forward Moving Counseling and Consulting Services, LLC; and Harry Turner, licensed clinical social worker.

     The mission of Black Out Loud is to center Black/African American narratives and visibility through cultural events/activities with the purpose of amplifying voices that exist outside the margins. The 2019 conference is an extension of Black Out Loud programming that has continued since the 2018 conference including a diverse array of events such as an open mic/mental health expo (Mind.Body.SOUL- September 2018), voting symposium (Voting While Black, October 2018) and financial equity symposium (The Color of Currency, February 2019). Black Out Loud Conference 2019 is presented by Black Out Loud Conference, LLC, Dr. Rani Whitfield, MetroMorphosis and Southern University and sponsored in part by CreActiv, LLC, The Bluest Ink, WTAA Engineers and Parker’s Pharmacy.

    ONLINE: Blackoutloudbr.com

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  • ,

    Ponchatoula wastewater has a fascinating journey

    PONCHATOULA–Traffic and greenery at the junction of I-55 and U.S. Highway 51 hide one of Ponchatoula’s great feats of modern technology – its Wastewater Treatment Plant.

    A recent private tour of the facility was a real eye-opener as to how advanced the city is in yet another area of caring for its people.

    Sewerage and Water Department Director Dave Opdenhoff proudly pointed out the treatment is accomplished by biological rather than chemical means.

    In the city itself, wastewater drains southward by gravity. With the highest elevation about 26 feet, to get enough “fall”, the original sewer lines in some places are 20 feet underground, making repairs to the 80-plus-year-old system extremely difficult.

    Thus, the grants Mayor Bob Zabbia and his administration have secured mean work will begin soon on the Sewer Rehabilitation Project, aiding tremendously in a smoother transfer from across town to its 31-acre site in the southeast corner at the edge of the swamp.

    The plant has 23 lift or “pumping” stations, pumping electronically at all times with a back-up generator on a major lift station so during an outage, the wastewater can keep moving.

    Looking across the “aerated lagoon” (official name for what’s called the “Pond”), one can see the 3 cells that make it up.

    Treatment begins as the wastewater enters Cell One on the northwest section where 4 electric floating aerators mix and discharge the wastewater into the air adding oxygen to the water to begin the biological breakdown of the wastewater using aerobic bacteria. This process began in 1992 with the first upgrade to the facility since its installation in the early ’60s, changing it from an oxidation pond to an aerated lagoon.

    Wastewater then moves into Cell 2 via a 36” conduit on the far side from where it entered the facility. Air in this cell is provided by underwater diffusers. Three 50-horsepower compressors are configured to run only one at a time. They can be run concurrently but they are alternated every thirty days. As the oxygenated wastewater enters Cell Two, it meets a combination of aeration and Duckweed to shade the water, helping with the growth of anaerobic bacteria. Using a grid system keeps the Duckweed covering from floating into another area. Wastewater then exits Cell 2 on the western side of the lagoon via an opening in a curtain used to divide the lagoon into separate cells. The back-and-forth of the flow creates a serpentine flow pattern and a theoretical 30-day detention time in the lagoon.

    The current multi-million-dollar upgrade over the past 18 months is nearly complete. The upgrade included raising the levies 18” and added an automated “weir”. An ultrasonic depth chamber registers the depth of the outflow and sends a signal back to the weir gate to regulate the rising and falling of the wastewater in the lagoon.

    Upon leaving Cell Three, final treatment uses ultraviolet disinfection. Four groups of 6-feet long lights are in a trough through which the water passes. These are sequentially turned on and off based on the flow and are capable of disinfecting 2.5 million gallons of wastewater a day. (An average Ponchatoula day is 1.4 million gallons.) This device sends data to a control panel, monitoring flow and level and giving daily, monthly and annual reports.

    Also new is a dissolved oxygen probe for continuous monitoring of oxygen as well as pH numbers. The Department of Environmental Quality establishes the outfall quality for the city and data is collected and sent in monthly.

    A sampler calibrated to flow grabs hourly samples and creates a composite sample which is transported daily to Curtis Environmental in La Place for analysis. Results from the testing lab are compiled and reported to DEQ.

    The permit is for 200 parts per million fecal matter bacteria per day, as well as dissolved oxygen, pH, total suspended solids, and biological oxygen demand. The upgrades have allowed the city to meet the permit requirements and only a few minor adjustments to the system are still needed.

    At one-time nutria rats were undermining the levees but alligators moved in as watch-dogs, solving that problem. In fact, they work so well Opdenhoff says, “Crew members just have to be cautious when working around the lagoon that we don’t encounter a mama gator in the tall grass on the sides of the levees!”

    At the end of its to-and-fro journey through the three cells, treated wastewater exits the plant to enter the swamp on the southeast through what the DEQ’s map shows simply as “Drainage Ditch”.

    Ponchatoula Wastewater Treatment – a successful combination of man, science, and nature.

    By Kathryn J. Martin

     

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  • ,,,,

    South Baton Rouge Wellness Walk and Talk focused on ‘saving a life’

    The 2019 South Baton Rouge Wellness Walk and Talk was held on Saturday, May 18, 2019 at at the Dr. Leo S. Butler Community Center on East Washington Street.

    The half-day event commenced with opening remarks from State Representative Patricia Haynes Smith. The welcome was given by Theta M. Williams, and Mada McDonald, Chair and Co-Chair.  The opening prayer was led by the Reverend Dale Flowers of New Sunlight Baptist Church.  Warm-up exercises were conducted by Theresa Townsend and the Sensational Seniors.  The Walk was led by Grand Marshal Helen Turner Rutledge and the Michael Foster Project.  Different arrangements of music were played, leading the crowd in Second Line renditions.

    first pic

    After the Walk, it was time to Talk.  The Program began with Greetings, offered by Jeffery Corbin, assistant director of the Dr. Leo S. Butler Community Center.  Delores Newman gave a soul-stirring prayer, and a beautiful song was sung by Candace Addison, soloist.  The Walkers were then welcomed by Jared Hymowitz, as a representative of Mayor Sharon Weston Broome’s Office, and also by Theta M. Williams and Mada McDonald, Chair and Co-Chair of the SBR Wellness Committee.

     

    Acknowledgments of the 2019 SBR Walk and Talk Committee were made.  Grand Marshall and Committee Honorary Chair was Helen Turner Rutledge. She conceived of the 2018 South Baton Rouge Breast Cancer Walk and Health Fair.  In her honor, she led the Walk riding in a fully decorated white Mercedes Benz. It was also her idea to host the 2019 South Baton Rouge Wellness Walk and Talk. All of the SBR Wellness Committee members were introduced.

    Jeffery Corbin introduced the Keynote Speaker and the Panelists taking part in the discussion about various health concerns.  The Keynote Speaker was Dr. Cordel Parris of Parris Cardiologist, CIS. The panel consisted of Dr. Rani “The Hip-Hop Doc” Whitfield, who served as the panel facilitator; Shirley Lolis, executive director of Metro Health Education; Dr. Burke Brooks, of the Ochsner Health Care System; and Randy Fontenot, speaking about Mental Health.  Following the panel discussion, the attendees participated in a Q and A session.nine

    Lunch was prepared and served by SBR Wellness Committee member Ann Brown Harris and her Supporting Angels. The meal was healthy and delicious.

    There were 18 vendors on-site from numerous and various groups and organizations giving out valuable information.  Booths and tents were set up to meet and greet all attendees.

    Outside, several mobile units were present: Cancer screenings – breast, prostate, and colorectal – were conducted by Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center/Prevention On-the-Go Program; Mobile Mammography was done by Woman’s Hospital; HIV testing was provided by Metro Health in their clinic within the Leo Butler Community Center.

    The East Baton Rouge Police Department provided on-site security.  The walk began at the Leo Butler Community Center and proceeded up East Washington Street to Eddie Robinson Sr. Drive, up to Louise Street, passing McKinley Middle Magnet School, leading to Thomas Delpit Drive, left in front of the McKinley Alumni Center, and back down to East Washington Street, to the Leo Butler Community Center where the walk ended.

    In 2018, the focus of the South Baton Rouge event was Breast Cancer, which was an outstanding event.  In 2019, the goal was to introduce healthy initiatives, health awareness tips and techniques to the participants.  The primary concentrations of this year’s event were heart health, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, HIV/AIDS and mental health.

    On May 18, 2019, a testimony that touched many touched and saved one life after a female had her mammogram screening.  Immediately she was sent to one of the local hospitals for further testing, after having an abnormal screening result.  Talk about “saving a life”.

    Joseph London of “A Family Blessing” was the photographer for the event and captured all aspects of the Walk and Talk.

    The South Baton Rouge Wellness Walk and Talk Committee members are: Jacqueline Addison, Marian Addison, Jeffery D. Corbin, Jr., Jennifer Cortes, Linda Daniel, Jonathan Dearborn, Sandra Elbert, Ann Brown Harris, Jared Hymowitz, Cynthia Jones, Glinda Lang, Mada McDonald (Co-Chair), Dynnishea Miller, Helen Turner Rutledge, DeTrecia Singleton, Christine Sparrow, Rene Smith, Dr. Susan Thornton and Theta M. Williams (Chair).

    All of the attendees and participants received a gift bag full of assorted items.  Special thank you to all individuals, businesses, and organizations that provided the items for the bags in support of the event, and to the Baton Rouge Community for their support of the 2019 South Baton Rouge Wellness Walk and Talk.

    By Mada McDonald
    Community Writer

    Photographs by Joseph London
    A Family Blessing

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  • ,,,

    To Dad, With Love

    Gift ideas for a fantastic Father’s Day

    Dads can be notorious as the hardest family members to shop for, but come Father’s Day, there’s little doubt you’ll need a gift that shows dad just how much he means.

    Truth be told, your company is probably all dad really needs, but you can help deliver a little something he wants with these diverse ideas for all different kinds of dads. Remember, the secret to great gifting is giving something that shows you know and care about his personal interests.

    Find more ideas for all your gifting occasions at eLivingToday.com.

    A Sizzling Gift14734_B_UF
    Gift dad everything he needs to throw an impressive cookout any time he wants with the Father’s Day Gift Package from Omaha Steaks. He’ll be set for summer barbecues with steaks and more on-hand, including two tender filet mignons; two rich and indulgent ribeyes; four robust, juicy burgers and more. The package also includes German Chocolate Cake for a sweet way to end a backyard meal. Find more information and gift packages for dad at omahasteaks.com.

     

     

    Keep Him Connected14734_C_UF
    For the dad who’s always tuned in, there’s a way to provide him with entertainment and connectivity while protecting his hearing all at once. Whether he’s using a power saw or mowing the day away, dad can stream his favorite music with the 3M WorkTunes Connect Hearing Protector with Bluetooth wireless technology to make his day both enjoyable and comfortable. With built-in features like high-fidelity audio, comfortable ear cushions and a low-pressure headband, he can even make and take phone calls without missing a beat. Find more information at 3M.com/WorkTunes. (Content courtesy of 3M)

    Subscribe to Style14734_D_UF
    Keep dad in style with all the latest looks with a clothing subscription. You can choose from services that coordinate complete outfits, options for accessories only or providers that select a handful of garments for each shipment. It’s a simple solution for a dad who takes pride in his appearance but never has time to shop or dislikes the shopping experience itself. Pricing varies quite a bit; in some cases, dad will need to pay a styling fee while with other services he’ll pay only for the items he keeps.

    A Cut Above
    Practical tools can be the perfect gift, and a pocket knife is such a useful choice that it’s hard to go wrong. For a more sentimental approach, consider a knife with a laser-cut personal message, or go ultra-functional with a multi-tool design. Keep in mind that lesser quality blades may require more frequent sharpening, but they’ll generally do the job just as well as pricier models. Also be conscious of the weight and features like safety catches that may affect comfort and usability.

    Game for Golf
    An avid golfer never tires of golfing gear, so it’s usually a safe bet for gifting. If you’re knowledgeable enough about his preferences, you can always add a new club to his collection. However, there are plenty of other useful gifts a golfer can appreciate, from a sleeve of quality balls to a book about a legendary player. A new set of gloves can improve his grip (and his game) while a new hat or shirt can give him something he can sport on the course.

    By Family Features

     

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  • ,,,,

    Kamala Harris earns first endorsements for Helena Moreno, Rep. Ted James

    Senator Kamala Harris has earned her first endorsements in Louisiana, a critical early primary state, from New Orleans City Council President Helena Moreno and State Representative Ted James earlier this month. Louisiana’s 2020 Democratic primary will be on Saturday, March 7, just four days after Super Tuesday. Fifty delegates will be up for grabs.

    Moreno and James are pointing to Harris’ commitment to help working families through policies like the LIFT Act and her recently released equal pay plan as reasons for their early support. Moreno is the first Latina to serve as New Orleans City Council President. The two will serve as Harris’ campaign co-chairs for the state.

    New Orleans City Council President Helena Moreno

    New Orleans City Council President Helena Moreno

    “Kamala Harris is just the type of bold,  courageous leader our country needs and I couldn’t be prouder to endorse her for President,” said Moreno. “I’m inspired by Kamala’s commitment to building coalitions and connections that unite us around priorities that America needs to work for all people, not the just the wealthy and well-connected. I look forward to helping elect the first woman president who is champion for paying teachers their worth, closing the gender pay gap and uplifting working class families.”

    “There is no better leader to unite our country at this time of paralyzing divisiveness than Kamala Harris,” said James. “Kamala has spent the balance of her life fighting to ensure everyone has equal and adequate access to health care, fair wages and safe communities. Louisianans, and Americans across the country, can count on her to be their champion in the White House, and I’m proud to endorse her for President of the United States.”

    State Rep. Ted James

    State Rep. Ted James

    “I’m so proud to have the endorsement of Helena and Ted in this race,” said Harris. ‘They understand that when we lead with our values we move closer to a more perfect union. I look forward to working with them to build a better future for our children – that includes ensuring access to quality education, clean air and water and affordable healthcare. Louisiana will play a critical role in determining the nominee and I look forward to earning the support ofLousianan’s across the state.”

    These endorsements come ahead of Senator Harris’ southern campaign swing with stops in Alabama and South Carolina. Harris has been to Louisiana twice as a candidate and was last in New Orleans in April to speak to more than 10,000 members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. at their South Central regional conference.

     

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    After burning bridges, a singer struggles to get back on top

    New Venture Theatre continues its 12th season with a new musical written and directed by managing artistic director Greg Williams Jr., running July 26-28 at the LSU Shaver Theatre.

    SWEET GEORGIA BROWN tells the story of the diva herself, Georgia, who has thoroughly burned her bridges in the music industry. Rumor has it she physically assaulted Etta James, cursed out Dr. Martin Luther King, and maybe even stole the Tree of Hope from the Apollo Theatre. Determined to get back on top of the charts, Georgia takes a gig in a hole-in-the-wall club. In the process, she befriends a group of colorful characters who help her grow out of her wild ways and get back on top.

    Featuring a live on-stage band and chock-full of memorable blues songs of the ’60s and ’70s, like “I Put a Spell on You,” “Let the Good Times Roll” and “Down Home Blues,” SWEET GEORGIA BROWN is sure to move audiences with its songs and funny, heartwarming story.

    Featured cast members include: Khari Moise Smith (Cadillac), Roderick Tevan Jarreau (Herschel), Ingrid Roberson (Nippie), LaNea Wilkinson (Ruby), Krystal Gomez (Ida Mae), Latosha Knighten (LaWanna-The Juke Joint Jezebel), Shika Crayton (Sippie), Keyarron Harrold (Mojo), Angela Smith (Ollie), Hope Landor (Sugga), Erika Pattman (Georgia), Christian Jones (Pound Cake), and Christopher Johnson (Hatch.)

    FACT SHEET
    WHAT:
    SWEET GEORGIA BROWN
    WHERE:
    LSU Shaver Theatre
    Louisiana State University
    Music and Dramatic Arts Building, #105
    Baton Rouge, LA 70802
    SCHEDULE:
    Thursday, July 25 at 7:30 p.m.
    Friday, July 26 at 7:30 p.m.
    Saturday, July 27 at 2:00 p.m.
    Saturday, July 27 at 7:30 p.m.
    Sunday, July 28 at 3:00 p.m.
    TICKET PRICES:
    Regular Admission | $30
    Kids and Students With Valid ID | $25
    Groups of 10 or More | $15 must purchase prior to performance day
    BOX OFFICE:
    225-588-7576 or www.nvtarts.org
    PG-13 Show (Recommended for Ages 14+)
    Show contains adult content and language. No one under the age of four will be allowed in the theatre and all children ages 4-13 must be accompanied by an adult.
    Call 225-588-7576 or visit www.nvtarts.org to purchase tickets or subscriptions.
    Read more »
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    ‘Not Charity Lord, but a Chance’

    On the heels of winning an international People’s Choice Award for her aromatherapy pillow business, Condoleezza Semien, 13, shared a poem during the Baton Rouge African American History Museum’s Juneteenth celebration on June 3.

    She was invited to read the poem at the event and was recognized as an “inventor” by museum curator Sadie Roberts-Joseph. The museum sits in midcity Baton Rouge and hast hosted the celebration for 15 years as the Odell S. Williams Now and Then African American Museum. Roberts-Joseph led the Louisiana Legislature to approve statewide recognition of the day–June 19th–that commemorates American slaves being freed in 1865.

    Sadie Roberts-Joseph and Condoleezza Semien share a smile June 3, 2019, following the annual Juneteenth Celebration at the Baton Rouge African American History Museum. Photo by Yulani S. Semien.

    Sadie Roberts-Joseph and Condoleezza Semien share a smile June 3, 2019, following the annual Juneteenth Celebration at the Baton Rouge African American History Museum. Photo by Yulani S. Semien.

    The poem, “Not Charity, Lord, But a Chance,” is a petition for fair opportunities in America. Its message is timely and symbolic for this middle-schooler whose business has won two pitch competition within three months.

    “Blacks demanded a fair chance and were brilliant and excellent in what they did. That’s my goal,” said Semien.

    Semien created Beluga Bliss™, pillows infused with specialty blends of essential oils. For seven months, she participated in the Young Entrepreneurs Academy of Baton Rouge. As she worked through weekly assignments, she saw the need to create a product that could help people who are living with mental health conditions and incurable chronic illnesses.

    Then, she won the YEA pitch competition at LSU to receive the YEA Saunders Scholarship and seed funds for her business. On May 4, the eighth-grader traveled to the YEA-USA competition in Rochester, NY, vying for the top award against 60 teen entrepreneurs from across the USA, China, and India. Semien was the sole competitor from Louisiana.

    Fellow YEA-BR teen entrepreneurs and her classmates at Westdale Middle School cheered her on at the semi-final competition. More than 37,000 viewers watched the live stream and more than 300 viewers were in the audience at the Rochester Institute of Technology as she pitched Beluga Bliss.

    “You have a great stage presence,” one judge commented and another expressed how her aromatherapy blends and pillows were well developed.

    “You were above average and it shows… the smell was very pleasant,” said Lenin and Gian from California. “We could smell them where we sat!”

    At the end of each round of pitches, all viewers were able to text-to-vote on their favorite business. Back home in Baton Rouge, the class bell was held for Westdale students to cast their votes. “We are so excited and proud of Condi,” said Aliah James, advanced art teacher. Hours later it was announced that Beluga Bliss™ won the People’s Choice Award.

    “Winning People’s Choice is an assurance to me. To know that people who didn’t even know me thought that I had a very good product without even smelling my scents. It was an eye-opener. I’m proud of myself and grateful for the support I got from everyone. It feels good to know people around the world think that I had a great product.”

    Condoleeza Semien along with YEA winners and VC

    “There have been so many requests for pillow packs that we have to open our online preorders June 1 instead of this fall,” she said.

    This summer, she and her family are creating pillows, bottles of a specialty blended essential oils, and car fresheners.

    Semien is also conducting a BlissTour where she visits summer programs and events to motivate youth to apply to YEA-BR, move on their dreams, and do everything that makes them happy.

    Reach her at www.belugabliss.com for the first opportunity to receive pillows before the official launch. Guests can download custom color sheets, playlists, and bliss tips. Beluga Bliss is also on Instagram @Beluga_Bliss.

    ONLINE: www.belugabliss.com

    READ MORE:

    • WAFB: Young entrepreneur uses pillows to chase her dreams – WAFB.com https://www.wafb.com/2019/04/11/young-entrepreneur-uses-pillows-chase-her-dreams/
    • EBR Schools Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/EBRPschools/posts/condoleezza-semien-8th-grader-at-westdale-middle-is-already-an-entrepreneur-she-/2044889712276961/
    • WVUE FOX 8 News - Condoleezza Semien, 13, is on a journey https://www.facebook.com/…/condoleezza-semien-13-is…/10157599869834610/
    • BATON ROUGE BUSINESS REPORT. Baton Rouge investors give over $18K to 15 Young Entrepreneurs Academy startups. https://www.businessreport.com/business/baton-rouge-investors-give-over-18k-to-15-young-entrepreneurs-academy-startups
    Read more »
  • ,,

    ‘Lessons We Learned from Our Fathers’ encourages overwhelmed dads

    David Miller, a husband, father of three, writer, and social entrepreneur has released Lessons We Learned from Our Fathers: Reflections from the Men In Our Lives. The book is a valuable edition of the books written about the life-affirming power of Black fathers.

    Miller, a former public-school teacher, felt it was necessary to highlight ordinary Black fathers who in many situations overcame obstacles to become great fathers. Miller believes that while many new articles, reports, and documentaries focus on the “war stories” of Black fatherhood, he felt it prudent to highlight the awesome relationship between Black fathers and their children.

    Lessons We Learned from Our Fathers contains hundreds of interviews with Black fathers across the country, soliciting quotes and advice from fathers, grandfathers, uncles, coaches, friends and others who have stood in the gap providing men with fatherly advice. Many of these men were haunted by their own traumatic relationships with their fathers, yet they were able to draw wisdom from “village dads” and elders within the greater community who helped guide their fatherhood journey.

    For example, Craig is a father Miller met while conducting research for the book. Craig, a young father with multiple children, had become overwhelmed with his fatherly responsibilities and previous poor life choices including spending five years in prison. Currently, Craig is engaged to Tina, a hospital receptionist. He and Tina both have two children and are raising four children as a blended family. Craig works at a hotel by day and stocks shelves at night. He’s hard-working, and he’s a loving and committed father. Craig’s story is a shining example of Black fatherhood; his story and countless others, provide ample opportunities to rewrite narratives about fatherhood in the Black community.

    “Without a doubt, responsible fatherhood in the Black community is the antidote to the long list of self, family and group adversities. In Lessons We Learned from Our Fathers, Brother David Miller highlights the quiet strength, the profound courage, generous spirit and the amazing love of Black fathers that refuse to give in, give up or go away,” says Richard A. Rowe, author of Wanted Black Fathers: Only Serious Black Men Need Apply.

    The book provides motivation, strength, and encouragement for all the days fathers feel like giving up, for the days that many fathers are overwhelmed or the days their children make bad decisions that fathers take personally. The book is designed to inspire Black fathers to keep pushing and to never give up despite how difficult their fatherhood journey may get. Black fathers will also glean nuggets of wisdom from the book to strengthen their connectedness with their children.

    This book is ideal for young men who have grown into adulthood without a sober, responsible, spiritually guided father or father figure. Essays and quotes in the book provide fuel for new and expecting fathers. The book begins with forty powerful questions every father should ponder. 


    About the author
    A Baltimore native who holds degrees from The University of Baltimore (Political Science) and Goucher College (Education), Miller is widely known for designing Dare to Be King: What if the Prince Lives? A Survival Workbook for African American Males. The 52-week curriculum is designed to teach adolescent males how to survive and thrive in toxic environments.

    Miller is an author with a knack for writing children’s books (Khalil’s Way, The Green Family Farm, Gabe & His Green Thumb). His work has been featured on CNN, PBS, NPR, BBC Magazine, The Baltimore Sun, The Huffington Post, and a variety of other publications. 

    Miller has written extensively on strategies for engaging Black fathers and strengthening Black families. His new book, Lessons We Learned from Our Fathers, celebrates Black fathers through a series of thought-provoking essays and quotes by ordinary dads sharing their unique fatherhood experiences.

    Read more »
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    Residents urged to prepare for 2019 hurricane season

    The 2019 Atlantic hurricane season officially begins on June 1, 2019 lasting through November 30, 2019. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Climate Prediction Center is forecasting a “near-normal” 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season.

    Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome and the Mayor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (MOHSEP) urge the residents of East Baton Rouge Parish to plan ahead for the potential threat of hurricanes. Throughout the 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season, Mayor Broome advises East Baton Rouge Parish citizens to, “Be Red Stick Ready by having a plan that will keep you and your family safe from any severe weather that may affect our area, stay informed, build a disaster supply kit, and use the Buddy System™.”

    2019 Hurricane Preparedness Tips:

    • Make a Family Communication Plan at www.brla.gov/DocumentCenter/View/5697/Family-Emergency-Communication-Plan?bidId=
    • Restock your emergency supply kit with the necessary items.
    • Make sure your home is prepared.
    • Trim or remove damaged trees and limbs.
    • Secure and clear all gutters.
    • Fuel your vehicles, generators, and gas cans. Consider purchasing a portable generator.
    • Use the BuddySystem™ to check on your neighbors, friends and family.
    • Check your insurance coverage.
    • Visit www.redstickready.com for more preparedness tips.

    For more information contact MOHSEP at  (225) 389-2100, follow @RedStickReady on Facebook and Twitter, and download the Red Stick Ready mobile application – free on Apple and Android devices by searching “Red Stick Ready”.

    Read more »
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    Teens invited to apply to UREC’s 2019 IGNITE Fellowship

    Urban Restoration Enhancement Corporation is accepting applications for the 2018 College & Career Ready IGNITE Fellowship.  IGNITE is an interactive summer and after-school initiative that prepares high school students to create the jobs of tomorrow through entrepreneurship training, college and career readiness and ACT Prep. Complete the IGNITE Fellowship application here.

    Read more »
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    Christian Davenport named Baton Rouge’s first Poet Laureate

    Christian Davenport has been named the first poet laureate by Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome.

    Davenport, also known as Cubs the Poet, is a native of Baton Rouge and earned a bachelor of arts in psychology from Dillard University. He has traveled the world since, with the desire of bringing perspectives and inspiration back to his home city where he plans to release his first book of poetry under his publishing company, Poetry Still Matters. Davenport is a spontaneous poet, drawing his inspiration from the connections that he makes with other people in a diverse array of settings. His poetry has taken him from Baton Rouge to Preservation Hall in New Orleans to a Ted Talk in Rapid City, South Dakota, where he was a featured speaker.  Davenport relays that he sees each opportunity to connect with another person as a new poem. 32842186_921822594608903_4260217759285116928_o

    “Christian’s impressive body of work represents new styles in poetry which require collaboration and communication, attributes that will serve him well as the city’s Poet Laureate,” said Broome. “ I look forward to adding this great work to the cultural conversation across our city.”

    The Baton Rouge Poet Laureate Program, initiated by Broome and facilitated through the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge, celebrates Baton Rouge’s rich culture and diversity through the work of a poet who will represent Baton Rouge by creating excitement about poetry through outreach, programs, teaching, and written work.

    During a celebration at the East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library on Tuesday, May 7, Christian was named the 2019 Poet Laureate. The evening included performances by the Poetry Out Loud Regional Winner, Lily Carter, Louisiana School for the Deaf Poet Jordan Howard, and Seth Finch, Baton Rouge High School jazz musician. State Poet Laureate, Dr. Jack Bedell was in attendance and spoke at the event. Dr. Joanne Gabbin, founder and director of The Furious Flower Poetry Center at James Madison University, was the evening’s keynote speaker.

    The term of service of the Poet Laureate is one year and comes with a $5,000 stipend, which covers community engagement events by the Poet Laureate over the term. Funds raised for this position were contributed by private donors.

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    Baton Rouge children need more Court Appointed Special Advocates

    Each year, a startling number of children enter the foster care system due to abuse and neglect. Court Appointed Special Advocates, or CASA volunteers, provide a voice for these children to help them reach safe, permanent homes.

    May is National Foster Care Awareness Month, a time to recognize the role each of us can play in the lives of children and youth living in foster care. CASA volunteers play a crucial role in many of these children’s lives by speaking up for their best interests during this challenging time. Volunteers are appointed by juvenile court judges to help a child reach their forever home.

    In 2018, over 5,000 reports of abuse and neglect were reported in the Baton Rouge region and over 300 children were being served in foster care each month on average, according to the Department of Children and Family Services (DCSF). Of the CASA children whose cases closed in 2018, 88 percent were living in permanent homes at the time of closure with the help of their CASA volunteer. CASA volunteers work with the court and DCSF to serve every child that needs a voice; however, children are continually coming into foster care, and more volunteers are needed.

    CASA volunteers do not provide legal representation, nor do they replace social workers, but they help provide information to the court, and resources to the children. They are an independent voice speaking solely for the best interests of the child. The CASA volunteer may be the only consistent adult in their lives during this time.

    CASA is now accepting applications for the next training course in East Baton Rouge Parish which begins on June 11. CASA is seeking caring adults – especially male and African American individuals – to become advocates for abused and neglect children in East Baton Rouge Parish.

    The training course prepares volunteers to be the best advocates with a three week, 32-hour curriculum which covers topics such as The Well-Being of the Child; Trauma, Resilience and Communication Skills; Mental Health; Poverty and Professional Communication; and Substance Abuse and Cultural Competence to name a few.

    No special background is required to become a CASA volunteer. The first step is to attend a 45-minute orientation session at the CASA office, 848 Louisiana Ave.

    Upcoming orientation dates:

    12 p.m., Monday, May 13

    10 a.m., Saturday, May 18

    4 p.m., Monday, May 20

    3 p.m., Wednesday, May 22

    5 p.m., Tuesday, May 28

    9 a.m., Thursday, May 30

     

    To learn more about CASA or to RSVP for an orientation visitwww.casabr.org/volunteer or call 225-379-8598.

    Read more »
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    Multiple sclerosis survivor named chief student marshal for spring commencement

    After being diagnosed with a sometimes debilitating illness, Chacity Simmons felt even more determined to continue her education and reach her goals. Because of her tenacity and hard work, Simmons is the chief student marshal for the 2019 Spring Commencement for Southern University Baton Rouge set for Friday, May 10 at 10 a.m. at the F.G. Clark Activity Center.

    “This is an unbelievable honor,” said Simmons, who is graduating with a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice. “As I go through life, I strive to do my best. I remain extremely humble and most grateful for Southern University’s recognition of one of my most important achievements. I extend my sincere gratitude for this honor.”

    Though she has consistently performed well academically, life has placed obstacles in her way that attempted to discourage her from continuing her education. In 2016, a semester before attending Southern, Simmons was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a potentially disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system). As a result, she became temporarily disabled, unable to walk unless assisted by a cane.

    “After a month of treatment, I fully regained my physical strength and was able to care for myself,” Simmons said. “Throughout the struggle with my health, I felt that I should make the best out of my life and continue my education at Southern University. Despite my medical diagnosis, I chose to persevere no matter the circumstance.”

    It has not been easy to manage life with yet another hurdle. Simmons, who is a single mother and a paralegal at the East Baton Rouge District Attorney’s Office, knew that she could not give up. Being a role model for her family and friends, including her son, was very important.

    “My son is a constant reminder of how I should fight through the pain and continue my education,” Simmons said. “My son helps keep me on my toes. He’ll remind me to take my medication whenever he notices that I’m swamped with homework. Some days are better than others, but overall I’ve adjusted to my life well.”

    Because of her challenging lifestyle, she chose the online criminal justice program because of the convenience of the self-paced learning environment. She mentioned that it was easy and accessible to browse course materials and respond to discussion posts through the app on her phone.

    As Simmons prepares to turn the tassel, she prepares for the next chapter in her life. Her future plans include attending law school at the Southern University Law Center and becoming an attorney.

    “In my current position, I have the ability to observe and assist attorneys and it definitely encourages me to pursue a career in law,” said Simmons, who is prepping to take the LSAT. “It’s quite an honor to learn from some the Southern University’s Law School alumni.”

    Before she departs the Bluff, she wants to pass along one piece of advice to students who are balancing a challenging diagnosis and wanting to pursue a college experience: Do not be discouraged.

    “Throughout life, we may experience situations that are unwanted or unexpected, but with hard work and determination, you shall overcome,” she said. “Remain focused on your goal no matter the circumstance. Adjusting to a new diagnosis may be difficult, but the ultimate reward for endurance is satisfying.”

    By Jasmine D. Hunter
    Special to The Drum

    Read more »
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    Public invited to second Baton Rouge Zoo & Greenwood open house public meeting

    Round #2 of the Greenwood Community Park and Baton Rouge Zoo Master Planning Meetings.

    We heard you! Join us to see how our nationally renowned consultants took your ideas and created preliminary master plans for the Baton Rouge Zoo and Greenwood Community Park. You will choose which ideas you like best for the next phase of the park and learn how your Zoo will be completely transformed one phase at a time.

    Thursday, May 2, 2019

    6 – 8 pm
    Highland Road Community Park
    Recreation Center
    N. Amiss Rd., Baton Rouge, LA
    (From Highland Rd., turn north onto Amiss Rd., then east onto N. Amiss Rd. Destination will be on the right.)

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    Mid City Micro-Con! returns to Baton Rouge

    Do you love comics? Cosplay? Creators? Of course you do!

    Come to the Main Library on Goodwood Saturday, April 27 for Mid City Micro-Con: Building Worlds, Breaking Molds. We’re celebrating the diversity found in comics, their fans, and their creators. This year’s featured guest is Ashley A. Woods, whose work includes Niobe (now in development with HBO!); Tomb Raider: Survivors Crusade; and Lady Castle.

    Ashley A. Woods

    Ashley A. Woods

     

    The Mid City Micro-Con features creators from all across Baton Rouge and Louisiana area, such as cosplayer Ninja YoYo, cartoonist Keith “Cartoonman” Douglas, podcasters Blerdish, and so many more, all in the arts and comics market in the large meeting room. (Thanks to LSU’s School of Library and Information Sciences for sponsoring our market!)

    There will be workshops and panels on everything from how to design, storyboard, and draw diverse characters in comics; to “The Influence of Ink: How Comics Can Change the World” with moderator Rodneyna Hart and speakers Ashley A. Woods, Jason Reeves, Keith Chow, and Chip Reece; to a whole room dedicated entirely to cosplay, with events running all day. You can find a complete list of artists and events on this infoguide.

    Speaking of cosplay, the East Baton Rouge Parish library is having a contest! Come as your favorite character – maybe it’s Sherlock Holmes, from our One Book, One Community read, The Hound of the Baskervilles! Maybe it’s Captain Marvel, or Black Panther, or Storm! Find out how to participate. All are welcome!

    With a green screen photobooth, more talks and activities than you could ever dream of, and absolutely TONS of prizes, there’s somethng for every single human in Baton Rouge.

    by Erica Villani

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    Youth Summer Employment program kicks off April 13 in Baton Rouge

    Baton Rouge Mayor Sharon Broome will kick off the 2019 Mayor’s Youth Workforce Experience on Saturday, April 13 at 9 am. This new initiative evolved from the original Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program.

    Students may choose to attend the 9 am or 11 am session. Attendees will have the opportunity to pre-screen for worksites and get detailed information about employment opportunities from partners such as Excel, BREC, Raising Canes, and more.

    Broome has called together a collaborative of youth-serving agencies, led by Big Buddy and Employ BR, to serve a minimum of 500 local youth. The program serves both in-school and out-of-school youth ages 14 to 24 who reside in East Baton Rouge Parish. Teens and young adults are placed in various public sector, private sector, or non-profit jobs throughout the parish for eight consecutive weeks during the summer.

    The Mayor’s Youth Workforce Experience will offer participants a valuable educational and employment experience, exposing them to potential educational or career paths.

    Applications will open to the public on Monday, April 15 at www.brla.gov/mayorsyouthworkforce. Applicants will receive a notification of acceptance during the first week of May.

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    More juvenile human trafficking victims identified in Louisiana

    The number of reported juvenile trafficking victims rose by 20 percent in 2018, while the number of adult victims decreased by 17 percent, according to data submitted to the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) for its 2019 report on human trafficking.

    The annual report, now in its fifth year, compiles data from human trafficking service providers throughout the state for reporting to the Legislature under Act 564 of 2014. Of the 58 service providers identified by DCFS, 35 agencies (60%) provided information for the 2019 report – the highest response rate for any year to-date. Twenty-four agencies provided data for last year’s report.

    While the number of service providers who report trafficking data to DCFS has increased steadily over the past five years, the majority of sexual assault centers and refugee/migration service agencies do not participate. This limits the amount of information available on adult sexual abuse and labor trafficking.

    “We have to do everything we can to prevent and end the heinous crime of human trafficking,” said Gov. John Bel Edwards. “It’s the fastest growing and second largest criminal industry in the United States, with thousands of victims identified in Louisiana alone in recent years. One of the reasons we’re identifying more victims is our work with law enforcement and other agencies who come into contact with these victims. Increasing awareness, collaboration and information sharing are essential to ending this modern form of slavery.”

    Earlier this year, Gov. Edwards announced Louisiana had been awarded a $1.2 million federal grant to help fight human trafficking. The grant will fund a multi-year federal project known as the Louisiana Child Trafficking Collaborative, being implemented by the Governor’s Children’s Cabinet.

    “Trafficking is not just a problem happening somewhere else. It’s a problem right here in our own back yards,” said DCFS Secretary Marketa Garner Walters, who serves on the Governor’s Office’s Louisiana Human Trafficking Prevention Commission (Act 181 of 2017). “Victims are often from vulnerable populations – domestic violence and sexual assault survivors, homeless or runaway youth and even young children. The more we know and the more we work together as a state and a community, the better we can fight against it and protect those who are most at-risk.”

    Overall, 744 confirmed and high-risk (prospective) victims of human trafficking were identified in 2018 – an increase of 63 victims (9%) over 2017. The overwhelming majority were victims of sexual trafficking (710 victims or 95.4%) and female (678 victims or 91.1%).

    Victim Ages

    Juveniles accounted for 428 (57.5%) of the reported victims, a 20 percent increase over 2017, when service providers reported 356 juvenile victims. Some 223 adult victims were identified in 2018, compared to 269 in 2017. Age was unknown or unreported for 93 victims this past year, compared to 56 in 2017.

    Forty-two victims identified in 2018 were age 12 or younger, down from 72 victims reported in 2017.

    The reported ages for all victims ranged from 5 months to 65 years old.

    The increase in reported juvenile victims can be partly attributed to an increase in the number of agencies providing data. Additionally, there have been increased efforts in identifying juvenile victims.

    Trafficking Locations

    Orleans, Caddo and East Baton Rouge were the parishes most frequently identified as the trafficking locations for both adult and juvenile victims. However, the proportion of adults to juveniles varied by location.

    Orleans and Caddo parishes both saw significantly more juvenile victims reported than adults: 83 juveniles and 34 adults in Orleans; 92 juveniles and 16 adults in Caddo. Whereas, East Baton Rouge saw a more even distribution that tilted toward adults: 59 adults and 47 juveniles.

    Those three parishes were also the most common parishes of origin for victims, along with neighboring parishes Jefferson and Bossier. Overall, victims were from more than 30 parishes throughout the state.

    Some 54 victims were from outside Louisiana, and 10 were from other countries.

    Other Findings

    Other findings in the 2019 report:

    • 710 victims (95.4%) were sexual trafficking victims; 7 (0.9%) were labor trafficking victims; 18 (2.4%) were victims of both sexual and labor trafficking. There were also 9 victims for whom the type of trafficking was not identified.
    • 678 (91.1%) of the victims were female; 44 (6%) were male; 13 (1.7%) identify as transgender; and 9 (1%) did not have a gender identified.
    • 366 (49%) of the victims were African American; 233 (31%) were white; 8 (1%) were Asian; 25 (3%) were multiracial; 58 (8%) were reported as other; and 54 (7%) were unknown.
    • 333 (45%) were confirmed trafficking victims, and 285 (38%) were reported as high-risk or prospective victims. Another 126 victims (17%) did not have a victim status identified.

    The most frequently provided services by the agencies reporting data were mental health services, referral to community services, health services, forensic interviewing, housing and education services.

    View Reports

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    Louis A. Berry Institute for Civil Rights & Justice honors Black Panther Malik Rahim

    The Center for African and African American Studies at Southern University at New Orleans partnered with Southern University Law Center’s Louis A. Berry Institute for Civil Rights & Justice to honor and recognize Louisiana’s own Malik Rahim (formerly known as Donald Guyton) at an inaugural Living Legend Award Celebration, Jan. 18, at the Millie M. Charles School of Social Work on SUNO’s campus.

    Rahim was selected because of his lifelong commitment to community activism.

    He enlisted in the United States Navy and after an honorable discharge, he became a founding member of the Louisiana Black Panther Party. He later served as a founding member of Sister Helen Prejean’s anti-death ministry, Pilgrimage for Life, as a founding member of the Fisher Projects Health Clinic and GED studies program and as the founder of the Angola 3 Support Committee. Following Hurricane Katrina, he served Louisiana citizens in need through immediate rescue efforts and later founded Common Ground Collective, which offered free healthcare, legal, rebuilding and clean up services in homes, schools and commercial buildings in nine parishes. By the time his work with CGC ended, approximately half a million Louisiana citizens had been served at no cost. From the 1970s until the present, Rahim has been a fierce and committed advocate for environmental and social justice, housing and prisoner rights and civil and human rights.

     

    Feature photo of Malik Rahim is from BlackSourceMedia.com

     

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    HERITAGE presents annual Festival of Negro Spirituals at The Church Baton Rouge

    HERITAGE, a non-profit professional choral ensemble, will host its 28thAnnual Festival of Negro Spirituals, Saturday, February 2, at The Church Baton Rouge – 2037 Quail Dr. – Baton Rouge, at 3pm. The event, which HERITAGE has hosted since 1991, will feature performances of spirituals by HERITAGE and several outstanding high school, community and university ensembles. Admission to the Festival is free.

    Clarence Jones, the founder and director said, “HERITAGE has been sharing its love of the Negro spiritual with the world for more than three decades. We always look forward to the festival and sharing our love of the spiritual with all the great choirs that participate. The Negro Spiritual has a rich legacy that we must pass on to future generations.”

    Other choral ensembles scheduled to perform at the 2019 HERITAGE Festival of Negro Spirituals include:

    • Southern University Concert Choir -Baton Rouge
    • Acadiana Ecumenical Choir – Lafayette
    • The Bennie L. Williams Spiritual Voices – Denver
    • Grambling State University Choir – Grambling
    • McKinley High School Chamber Choir – Baton Rouge
    • New Dimensions Choral Society- Shreveport

    HERITAGE is committed to educate, elevate and enhance the cultural level and appreciation for the Negro Spiritual. Spirituals grew out of the earliest musical expressions of enslaved Africans in the farmlands of Colonial America.

    Located in Baton Rouge, HERITAGE’s mission is to perpetuate the “Negro Spiritual” as a distinctive art form, as an expression of the Negro ancestors’ struggles and aspirations; to preserve the legacy of the Negro Spiritual in its original medium and foster its influence for all people of the community. HERITAGE strives to maintain a standard of professional excellence and to sponsor and support other worthwhile cultural activities.HERITAGE is celebrating its 40th Anniversary this year. Since 1976, HERITAGE has lent its talents to many civic and charitable causes in and around Baton Rouge and has performed to critical acclaim and thunderous ovations and applause in some of the finest and most prestigious concert halls at home and abroad.

    The ensemble has presented concerts throughout Louisiana as well as Mexico City, Mexico, Washington, D.C., Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Nashville, Memphis, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Atlanta, Paris, and London. In Rome, HERITAGE was received in an audience with Pope John Paul II. Recent performances have included Hampton, VA, Los Angeles, CA, West Palm Beach, FL., Saginaw, MI, Huntsville, AL, Denver, CO and the 2018 Performing Arts Discovery/American Sounds program in Orlando, FL.

    Read more »
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    Life In Living Color! New Venture Theatre welcomes Season 12

    “Since its launch in 2008, New Venture Theatre has premiered more than 60 shows bringing fresh voices to our arts community. We have hired, nurtured and developed more than 800 artists of color. “We have pressed our audiences to confront difficult issues and lead them with compassion towards transformational dialogue. We have raised our voices in harmony to joyfully lift the human spirit. We did more than build a theatre, we made a home for a hungry arts community. And we’re not done yet—twelve years is just the beginning,” said director Greg Williams Jr.
    Now the community theatre group welcomes season twelve with the following productions.
    CROWNS
    A GOSPEL MUSICAL
    By Regina Taylor, adapted from the book by Michael Cunningham and Craig Marberry
    February 14-17
    LSU Studio Theatre | $30
    Crowns is a moving and celebratory exploration of history and identity as seen through the eyes of Yolanda, a young African-American woman who comes down South after her brother is killed, and is introduced to her grandmother’s circle of hat queens. Each hat holds the story of one of life’s joys or struggles, as Yolanda comes to realize that these hats aren’t just fashion statements, but testimonies of sisterhood—they are hard-earned Crowns.
    JAMBO! TALES FROM AFRICA
    THEATRE FOR YOUNG AUDIENCES!
    BOOK BY ALVIN A TEMPLE
    February 22
    Southern University Hayden Hall Theatre | $15
    “Jambo, human beings!” Take a trip to Africa, where Lion, Monkey, Elephant and their larger-than-life animal friends share three stories of people and animals who find themselves in sticky situations and use their clever minds to escape. Brimming with African folklore, storytelling, and music, each tale is taken directly from the stories passed down through the folklore of many nations and cultures—including East Africa, Kenya, and the Kalahari Bushmen—and offers important lessons for children of all ages.
    FETCH CLAY, MAKE MAN
    By WILL POWER
    March 29-31
    LSU Studio Theatre | $20
    Contains some adult content/themes. Recommended for ages 13 and up.
    In the days leading up to one of the most anticipated fights for Cassius Clay—soon to become Muhammad Ali—the heavyweight boxing champion forms an unlikely friendship with controversial Hollywood star Stepin Fetchit. With a rhythmic script, the play explores the bond that forms between two drastically different and influential cultural icons trying to shape their legacies amidst the struggle of the Civil Rights Movement of the mid-1960s and examines the true meaning of strength, resilience, and pride.
    THE COOKOUT
    A DANCE MUSICAL
    April 5-7
    Southern University Hayden Hall Theatre | $20
    You’ll be dancing in the streets with this new dance musical! It’s time to bring multiple generations of the family together for one big outdoor dance party. And let’s face it: At least half the fun of meeting up is having the young folks teach you the latest moves while the older relatives show how they used to get down back in the day! The Cookout is a dance musical that features all of your favorite songs to groove to. They transcend time and inspire you up off that picnic bench after a day of grilling and dining.
    DISNEY’S ALADDIN JR.
    THEATRE FOR YOUNG AUDIENCES!
    Music by ALAN MENKEN
    Lyrics by HOWARD ASHMAN, TIM RICE, and CHAD BEGUELIN
    Book by CHAD BEGUELIN
    Based on the Disney film written by RON CLEMENTS, JOHN MUSKER, TED ELLIOTT & TERRY ROSSIO
    June 21- 23
    LSU Shaver Theatre | $20 for Adults and $15 for Kids
    Disney’s Aladdin Jr. is based on the 1992 Academy Award-winning film and 2014 hit Broadway show about the “diamond in the rough” street rat who learns that his true worth lies deep within.
    SWEET GEORGIA BROWN
    By GREG WILLIAMS, JR.
    Music by VARIOUS ARTISTS
    July 25-28
    LSU Shaver Theatre | $30
    This new musical is chock-full of sweet blues songs of the ’60s and ’70s, like “I Put a Spell on You,” “Let the Good Times Roll” and “Down Home Blues.” The diva herself, Georgia, has thoroughly burned her bridges in the music industry, including physically assaulting Etta James, cursing out Dr. Martin Luther King, and stealing the Tree of Hope from the Apollo Theatre. Determined to get back on top, Georgia takes up singing in a hole-in-the-wall club, ready to do whatever it takes to be number one again.
    PIPELINE
    By DOMINIQUE MORISSEAU
    August 9-11
    LSU Studio Theatre | $20
    Contains adult language, content and themes. Recommended for ages 16 and up.
    The play’s title refers to the “school-to-prison pipeline,” and within it, inner-city public high school teacher Nya is committed to her students but desperate to give her only son Omari opportunities they’ll never have. When a controversial incident at his private school threatens to get him expelled, Nya must confront his rage and her own choices as a parent. But will she be able to reach him before a world beyond her control pulls him away? Don’t miss this deeply moving story of a mother’s fight to give her son a future—without turning her back on the community that made him who he is.
    HAIRSPRAY JR. 
    THEATRE FOR YOUNG AUDIENCES!
    Book by THOMAS MEEHAM and MARK O’DONNELL
    Music by MARC SHAIMAN
    Lyrics by MARC SHAIMAN and SCOTT WITTMAN
    Based on the New Line Cinema film written and directed by JOHN WATERS
    Date: Fall 2019 (to be announced May 1, 2019)
    LSU Shaver Theatre | $20 for Adults and $15 for Kids
    It’s 1962, and spunky, plus-size teen, Tracy Turnblad, has one big dream—to dance on the popular “Corny Collins Show.” When she finally gets her shot, she’s transformed from social outcast to sudden star. In balancing her newfound fame with her desire for justice, Tracy fights to dethrone the reigning Miss Teen Hairspray, Amber von Tussle, and integrate a TV network in the process. With the help of her outsized mom, Edna, and guest DJ, Motormouth Maybelle, the rhythm of Tracy’s new beat just might prove
    ONE NIGHT ONLY 
    A FUNDRAISER FOR NEW VENTURE THEATRE
    SATURDAY, MAY 25, 2019
    SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY HAYDEN HALL THEATRE
    BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND…
    POLKADOTS
    THE COOL KIDS MUSICAL
    FRIDAY, OCTOBER 4, 2019
    SEASON 12
    NEW V AWARDS 
    DECEMBER 7, 2019
    SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY HAYDEN HALL THEATRE
    BOX OFFICE:
    225-588-7576 or www.nvtarts.org
    Read more »
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    EBR Councilwoman to host second meeting on acquiring adjudicated property

    East Baton Rouge Councilwoman Chauna Banks is hosting a second series pathways to acquire property in East Baton Rouge Parish. The event is free and open to the public. The meeting will include details on getting title insurance and paying the outstanding taxes.
    The second session will be held on Thursday, February 28, 2019, 5:30 p.m., Louisiana Leadership Institute, 5763 Hooper Road, Baton Rouge, LA  70811
    The goal is to help bring new life to blighted, abandoned or tax-foreclosed properties.  Agency representatives will present five unconventional pathways to acquire these properties.   Both residential and commercial investors will learn how to purchase tax-delinquent assets by attending these informational.
    A list of invited agencies and programs:
    • East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office “sheriff sale”, a public auction of property repossessed to satisfy an unpaid obligation.
    Parish Attorney’s Office, which handles the sale of adjudicated properties through public bids and donations.
    Civic Source, a company partnered with the City-Parish to offer an online process for the sale of adjudicated property in excess of 5 years.
    Mow to Own Program,  allows certain parties to avoid the public bidding and receive a preference in making an offer to purchase adjudicated properties  in excess of 3 years;
    East Baton Rouge Redevelopment Authority has the ability to acquire and quickly clear title to tax sale and adjudicated properties.
    For more information, contact the District 2 Office at (225) 389-8331 or email cbanks@brla.gov.
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    ‘Nature’ recognizes LSU chemistry professor Isiah Warner for mentorship

    Nature, the leading, international weekly journal of science has selected LSU Boyd Professor Isiah Warner for the Nature Award for Mentoring in Science. The Nature Awards for Mentoring in Science were founded in 2005 to celebrate mentorship, a crucial component of scientific career development that too often goes overlooked and unrewarded. Through Warner’s leadership and mentorship, the LSU Department of Chemistry has become the leading producer of doctoral degrees in chemistry for African Americans in the U.S. Under his direction, the LSU Office of Strategic Initiatives has mentored countless numbers of students across eight programs from the high school to doctoral levels.

    “I am delighted at the achievements of our awards winners, including Dr. Warner, and I am especially delighted this year at the diversity of their experiences and of their commitments to mentoring. I know that the judges had a strong field of applicants. It’s terrific for Nature to be able to celebrate researchers who have been so outstanding in their encouragement of a strong scientific ethos in those who come after them,” said Sir Philip Campbell, editor-in-chief of Springer Nature.

    Warner is considered one of the world’s experts in analytical applications of fluorescence spectroscopy. His research aims to develop and apply chemical, instrumental and mathematical measurements to solve fundamental questions in chemistry.

    Warner has recently been recognized as the 2016 SEC Professor of the Year, member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, American Chemical Society, Royal Society of Chemistry and American Association for Advancement of the Sciences. He also received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring from President Clinton and the American Chemical Society Award for Encouraging Disadvantaged Students into the Sciences.

    “Dr. Warner’s dedication to teaching, service and research embodies the LSU mission. We congratulate him on this international recognition,” said LSU President F. King Alexander.

    Warner is also the Phillip W. West Professor of Chemistry, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor at LSU and has achieved the highest professorial rank in the LSU system — LSU Boyd Professor.

    Each year, Nature gives the awards in a different geographical region, and this year’s awards honor excellent mentors in the South of the United States. Awardees are nominated by a group of their former trainees, from different stages of the mentor’s professional life; and the winners of the awards have demonstrated outstanding mentorship throughout their careers.

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  • Community invited to celebrate United Methodist Women Sunday, Jan 20

    On Sunday, January 20, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. at St. Mark United Methodist Church will Celebrate United Methodist Women Sunday.  The speaker for this occasion will be Sharron Hills, the wife of Acadiana District Superintendent Derrick Hills and former pastor of St. Mark United Methodist Church.

    The theme for the occasion is “Celebrating a Faithful Future” with the scripture coming from Proverbs 3:3.  The president of St. Mark UMW is Julia Carnes and the senior pastor is Reverend Simon Chigumira.

    For additional information, call the church office at 357-6150.  The public is invited to attend. The church is located at 6217 Glen Oaks Drive in Baton Rouge.

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    ‘Carrying on the Dream’ exhibit brings MLK hearse to Baton Rouge, Jan 15.

    The Capitol Park Museum announces a preview of a new exhibit, “Carrying on the Dream” which features a rare display of the hearse that carried prominent civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s body, at the time of his death more than 50 years ago. The public is invited to preview the exhibit at a kickoff event at 6:00 pm on Tuesday, January 15, 2019 – the actual birthday of the iconic civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The event will also include a special screening of the documentary “I am MLK Jr.” which celebrates the life and explores the character of the American icon.

    Planned in conjunction with The Walls Project, the museum event kicks off the organization’s The MLK Festival of Service – a four-day service event January 18-21 that involves more than 150 local organizations and businesses.

    On Tuesday, doors open at the event at 5:30 p.m. The documentary screening will begin at 6:15 pm. Light refreshments will be provided. The Hearse exhibit preview begins Tuesday at 5:30pm and includes counter stools from the Kress store that were used during the 1960 Civil Rights protest in downtown Baton Rouge. The stools are on loan from Preserve Louisiana.

    Todd Graves, founder and CEO of Raising Cane’s, led the preservation of hearse and through its exhibit at Capital Park Museum wants to remind young people what Martin Luther King, Jr contributed to society. “It’s important that the next generation really understands how the contributions of Martin Luther King Jr. changed the world,” said Graves. “Many of us did not get a chance to hear MLK during his lifetime, so I am hoping they will be able to appreciate him and his work through this tribute to honor his life.”

    “We are excited to kick off MLK Fest with this event. We hope the exhibit and documentary will encourage even more people to come out this weekend and show their support,” said Helena Williams of The Walls Project.

    “This is an opportunity for people to view Dr. King’s hearse as it is such an important piece of history compelling us to contemplate the lasting significance of the civil rights movement,” said Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser. “The hearse will serve as the centerpiece of a tribute to the struggles of the civil rights movement here in Baton Rouge where the early stages of that time in our nation’s history got its start.”

    Tuesday’s event is free and open to the public.

    Read more »
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    Negro League Bobblehead series raises $56K in funding

    The Kickstarter Campaign to create a series of officially licensed, limited edition bobbleheads to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the founding of the Negro National League has raised over $56,000 with five days remaining. The project was launched on December 12, 2018, by the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum and Dreams Fulfilled in conjunction with the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. The goal of the series is to honor and celebrate the league and its players, many of whom were never honored with a bobblehead, while also educating the public about the Negro Leagues and its players.

    Two stretch goals have been added since the start of the campaign, with the first being a bobblehead of Effa Manley, the only female in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Since the campaign hit the $40,000 mark, that bobblehead is being produced. If the $60,000 mark is reached, the first Milwaukee Bears bobblehead will be produced as part of the second stretch goal. Two additional stretch goals are in the works if the campaign’s momentum continues through the final days. Since the campaign hit the goal, the production process began for several of the other bobbleheads in the series, and Kickstarter backers were the first to see those bobbleheads.

    Kickstarter Backers can secure the best pricing by supporting the project before production of the series begins. Several options are available through the Kickstarter Campaign for people wishing to support the project. As soon as the campaign reached the goal, production of additional production process for the remaining bobbleheads in the series will begin and the bobbleheads will be available in the National Bobblehead HOF and Museum’s online and retail stores, Dreams Fulfilled’s website, www.NegroLeaguesHistory.com, the Negro League Baseball Museum Store and other outlets throughout the country.

    Each bobblehead in the series will be individually numbered to 2,020 and come in a collector’s box with a “back story” of the player. The bobblehead series is officially licensed by the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and is being produced by the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum in conjunction with Dreams Fulfilled and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. Approvals have been received from all the identified estates of players featured in the series. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of each Negro Leagues bobblehead will go to the relatives of the Negro League players and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum located in Kansas City, Missouri.

    The players comprising the Negro Leagues Centennial Team were announced at a special event at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM) in Kansas City on December 12th. Bob Kendrick, President of the NLBM, announced the team in conjunction with Jay Caldwell, founder of Dreams Fulfilled, and the Kickstarter was launched. Within 24 hours, the Kickstarter Campaign reached the initial $10,000 goal. The Kickstarter Campaign concludes on National Bobblehead Day — January 7, 2019 — at 7:07pm central time.

    The Negro League Centennial Team (1920 – 2020) is comprised of 30 of the greatest African-American and Cuban players from 1895-1947. Each player is being depicted on a baseball-shaped base with a replica of Kansas City’s Paseo YMCA, the site where the Negro National League was organized on February 13, 1920. Satchel Paige was the first player selected, and his bobblehead has been completed. Paige will be joined by 10 additional pitchers, three catchers, five outside infielders (1B, 3B), three inside infielders (2B, SS), seven outfielders, one utility player, a manager and an owner as voted on by an online poll at www.NegroLeaguesHistory.com and supplemented by five additional players.

    “We are thrilled to commemorate a historic number of former Negro League players with bobbleheads, which are the ultimate honor,” said Phil Sklar, Co-Founder and CEO of the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum. “Many of these players have never had bobbleheads, and these bobbleheads will help ensure that their legacy and vital contribution to baseball and society is always remembered. We have been overwhelmed by the excitement for the series and can’t wait to produce and distribute them.”

    Jay Caldwell, founder of Dreams Fulfilled stated, “The Negro Leagues Centennial series will bring long overdue recognition to players who were not only among the best to ever play the game, but also early civil rights pioneers who helped pave the way for integration in baseball and the country.”


    About the Negro Leagues:
    The first successful Negro League was founded by Rube Foster on February 13, 1920 at the Paseo YMCA in Kansas City. Foster believed an organized league structured like major league baseball would lead to eventual integration of the sport and racial reconciliation. Foster did not live to see his dream come true. Others picked up his cause and in 1947 Jackie Robinson broke Major League Baseball’s color line.


    About the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum:
    The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum is finishing set-up of its permanent location, which is expected to open this winter. The HOF and Museum was announced in November 2014 and hosted a Preview Exhibit in 2016. The HOF and Museum also produces high quality, customized bobbleheads for organizations, individuals and teams across the country. Visit us at www.BobbleheadHall.comFacebook.com/BobbleheadHall or Twitter.com/BobbleheadHall


    About Dreams Fulfilled:
    Dreams Fulfilled was organized to promote the Negro National League Centennial in 2020. Its founder, Jay Caldwell, has been selected by the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum as the primary exhibitor for an art and artifact exhibition at the museum between February 1 and May 31, 2020. Dreams Fulfilled will be exhibiting 300 original pieces of art honoring Negro League players and nearly 100 artifacts of African American baseball dating back to 1871. Visit us at www.NegroLeaguesHistory.com or www.facebook.com/NegroLeaguesHistory


    About the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum:
    The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM) is the world’s only museum dedicated to preserving and celebrating the rich history of African-American baseball and its profound impact on the social advancement of America. The NLBM operates one block from the Paseo YMCA where Andrew “Rube” Foster founded the Negro National League in 1920. In 2006, the NLBM was designated as “America’s National Negro Leagues Baseball Museum” by the United States Congress.

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    Symposium to discuss ‘The Color of Currency’ in Baton Rouge, Feb. 2

    The Color of Currency is a one-day symposium designed to assist prospective Black entrepreneurs and current business owners with best practices around raising capital/providing resource information to aid in the enhancement of an existing business and development of a start-up business. Presented by Black Out Loud Conference, LLC in association with 100 Black Women of Baton Rouge, MetroMorphosis, and other community organizations.

    The event will feature a panel discussion with Black economic leaders in the Baton Rouge area, break out sessions, a keynote address from ExemptMeNow CEO, Sevetri Wilson, mini consultation sessions, food, music and more.

    Sponsored in part by Renee Marie.

    ONLINE: Color of Currency

    Read more »
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    Free library programs scheduled for all ages January

    The following special East Baton Rouge Parish Library programs will be held for all ages throughout January 2019. For more information about or to register for all the programs listed, call the branch where the event is scheduled directly or visit www.ebrpl.com. Can’t visit any of our 14 locations, which are open seven days a week? The Library is open 24 / 7 online at www.ebrpl.com.

    The Library’s Featured Events, www.ebrpl.com (225) 231-3750
    Library Closures in Observance of January Holidays
    All locations of the East Baton Rouge Parish Library will close early at 6 p.m. Monday, December 31, and all day Tuesday, January 1, 2019, in observance of New Year’s Day. The Library also will be closed Monday, January 21, 2019, in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. For more information about these holiday closures, call (225) 231-3750. Check out the Digital Library 24 / 7 online at www.ebrpl.com/DigitalLibrary.

    Join the Job Club Networking Group!
    The Career Center of the East Baton Rouge Parish Library is sponsoring an ongoing search and networking group for adult job seekers in professional careers. Job searching can be a lonely and discouraging activity, and this group will provide you with a safe space to meet and network with likeminded professionals who are challenged by the same job hunting process. Attendees will share job search experiences, network tips and encouragement, and they’ll learn the latest job search techniques and so much more. Patrons are welcome to join us at the Main Library at Goodwood from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. every Friday in January. It’s FREE and open to those in professional careers who are seeking employment. Certified Career Coach Anne Nowak will lead the meetings, and topics discussed will differ each week. For more information, call 225-231-3733. To register, go online to https://www.careercenterbr.com/events/.

    *Get a Jump on Success, Take the ACT Practice Test!
    Your Library will offer a FREE American College Testing (ACT) practice exam at two locations this month! Teens can come to the Greenwell Springs Road Regional Branch at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, January 5, and the Bluebonnet Regional Branch at 2 p.m. Saturday, January 26, to take the practice test. Spots are limited to 25 students per location, so you must register. Please note that preference will be given to teens who are currently enrolled in high school, and middle school students who wish to take the test will be permitted to do so only if there are still spots available the Monday before the test date. The paper practice test will be administered by Library staff through the Homework Louisiana database. Results will be sent to students via email; please allow 7-10 days to receive scores. Registration is required. To register, call the Library location directly.

    *Mastering the Job Interview
    Are you searching for a new job? Your performance during an interview can determine whether or not you get your dream job. Learn how to perfect your job interview skills through this FREE seminar! Adults can come to the Main Library at Goodwood at 10 a.m. Saturday, January 12, to get tips for a great interview, common traps and pitfalls to avoid and interactive demonstrations for answering the most common interview questions. Registration is required. For more information and to register, call the Career Center at (225) 231-3733 or visit www.careercenterbr.com/events/.

    Get Organized in the New Year!
    Are you looking for tips and tricks to clean up the clutter and get organized? Join Certified Professional Organizer Alyssa Trosclair at the Main Library at Goodwood for a FREE seminar that’ll help you do just that! Adults are invited to the Library at 2 p.m. Saturday, January 12, to learn strategies that can help bring order to any space.

    The FBI & the Clementine Hunter Art Forgery Case
    Did you know that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has an Art Crime Team? The East Baton Rouge Parish Library Special Collections Departments invites adults to the Main Library at Goodwood at 7 p.m. Wednesday, January 16, for a presentation led by Special Agent Randy Deaton of the FBI’s Rapid Deployment Art Crime Team’s New Orleans Division. Deaton will discuss what the Art Crime Team does, as well as his investigation of the forgery of artwork by Clementine Hunter, a renowned Louisiana folk artist. Hunter was from north Louisiana, and in her earliest years, she sold her paintings for only 25 cents! By the time she died in 1988, many of them were valued in the thousands of dollars, some worth even more today. Several of Hunter’s paintings will be on display during the talk.

    *Geaux Science for Girls Storytimes
    Girls in kindergarten through third grade are invited to enjoy a special Geaux Science for Girls storytime at four Library locations this month! Girls can go to the either the Main Library at Goodwood, Baker Branch, Bluebonnet Regional Branch or Eden Park Branch at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, January 26, to have fun with science and math-themed stories, plus hands-on science and math experiences led by some of Louisiana State University’s (LSU) top women scientists and mathematicians. Sponsored by Halliburton and the LSU College of Science, this unique storytime is designed to inspire the next generation of women innovators! Registration is required. To register, call the Library location directly.

    The BREC Baton Rouge ZooMobile Visits Libraries in January & February!
    The BREC Baton Rouge ZooMobile has come back to the Library! Children ages 4-11 are invited to the Library in January and February to enjoy these FREE informative and entertaining programs designed to educate audiences about wildlife conservation. Attendees will be amazed as they get up close and personal with several live animals at each program and learn about their bone structures, fur and more! Each presentation lasts about one hour. Registration is required for all. For more information and to register, call the Library location directly. Here’s the ZooMobile schedule:

    • 10:30 a.m. Thursday, January 3, Pride-Chaneyville Branch
    • 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, January 16, Zachary Branch
    • 11 a.m. Tuesday, January 22, Greenwell Springs Road Regional Branch
    • 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, January 23, Fairwood Branch
    • 4 p.m. Wednesday, January 23, Delmont Gardens Branch
    • 10 a.m. Thursday, January 24, Carver Branch
    • 4:30 p.m. Thursday, January 24, Central Branch
    • 4 p.m. Friday, January 25, Scotlandville Branch
    • 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, February 6, Baker Branch
    • 10 a.m. Wednesday, February 13, Main Library at Goodwood
    • 10 a.m. Tuesday, February 19, River Center Branch
    • 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, February 20, Jones Creek Regional Branch
    • 4 p.m. Thursday, February 21, Eden Park Branch
    • 4 p.m. Thursday, February 28, Bluebonnet Regional Branch

    Bluebonnet Regional Branch Library, 9200 Bluebonnet Blvd., (225) 763-2250
    Organizing for Your Weight Loss Goals
    Do you want to lose weight but feel overwhelmed by the mere thought of it? Adults are invited to the Bluebonnet Regional Branch at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, January 8, for a FREE presentation led by Certified Professional Organizer Alyssa Trosclair that will explore the connection between the struggle with weight and disorganization. The seminar will offer simple organizational strategies that can help make achieving your weight loss goals easier. Start the New Year with positive action!

    Teen Bookmark Contest
    Grab your squad and head over to the Bluebonnet Regional Branch at 3 p.m. Wednesday, January 16, to design a handcrafted bookmark with other teens, and then submit it for consideration in a contest! Prizes will be awarded to the top two winners.

    Stress Survival Workshop
    Stress wears away at your energy, immune system function, and emotional wellbeing. Prolonged, chronic stress can cause vulnerability to illness and disease. There is something you can do about it, however. Adults are welcome at the Bluebonnet Regional Branch at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, January 17, for a FREE stress survival workshop led by Dr. Karen Dantin, MD. The presentation will offer tools that can be used to identify and eliminate recurring daily stressors, plus relaxation techniques that can help reduce the strain life can bring.

    Carver Branch Library, 720 Terrace St., (225) 389-7450
    *Code It: Programming a Piano Story/Craft
    Kids ages 9-11 can come to the Carver Branch at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, January 16, to hear a reading of Girls Who Code: The Friendship Code by Stacia Deutsch, and Code It! Programming and Keywords You Can Create Yourself by Jessie Alkire. Later, each child will learn how to code using simple software.

    *DIY Lemon Raspberry Lip Balm
    Adults can come to the Carver Branch at 4 p.m. Monday, January 28, for a fun craft that can help provide some much-needed relief in the winter months. Using simple, household ingredients, you’ll learn how to make sweet raspberry lemon-flavored lip balm. Limited to 10 participants.

    Greenwell Springs Road Regional Branch Library, 11300 Greenwell Springs Rd., (225) 274-4450
    *Octaband Movement Program
    This is a program for children ages 6-8 with physical disabilities. Come to the Greenwell Springs Road Regional Branch at 5 p.m. Thursday, January 10, to hear a reading of excerpts from Being Fit by Valerie Bodden. After the story, we’ll move like an octopus by stretching, shrinking, flowing, flexing, cooperating and connecting to fun music!

    Pride-Chaneyville Branch Library, 13600 Pride-Port Hudson Rd., (225) 658-1550
    Make a Classy T-Shirt Necklace!
    Teens can head over to the Pride-Chaneyville Branch at 3 p.m. Saturday, January 5, to make the perfect accessory for turtleneck shirts and sweaters. With five strips of T-shirt fabric formed into rings and an artificial flower for flair, you can create a simple and fabulous necklace!

    Rubber Band Bracelets
    You won’t believe how fast you can make these cool bracelets! Come to the Pride-Chaneyville Branch at 3 p.m. Saturday, January 26, to craft with other teens. We’ve got colors for both guys and girls, so bring your squad with you to make fun creations without a loom!

    Scotlandville Branch Library, 7373 Scenic Hwy., (225) 354-7550
    Envision Your New Year: Vision Board Craft
    Start the New Year with optimism to reach your goals! Teens are invited to the Scotlandville Branch at 3:30 p.m. Monday, January 7, to think about your goals, and then create a vision board using a poster and magazine clippings. After the craft, we’ll enjoy a sweet treat and discuss our plans for 2019!

    *You Can Be a King Story/Craft
    Kids ages 3-7 can come to the Scotlandville Branch at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, January 19, to hear a reading of You Can Be a King by Carole Boston Weatherford. Later, each child will create a Martin Luther King Jr. dreamcatcher craft.

    For more information about any of these January 2019 events or others, call the Library location where the event is being held directly or visit the schedule online at www.ebrpl.com. For general information about the Library, call (225) 231-3750 or visit the Library’s online calendar at www.ebrpl.com.

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    Youth ambassadors travel to the nation’s capital

    A panel of judges selected Kentwood High Magnet School 4-H’ers Jayla Berry and Ronny Johnson Jr. to represent Tangipahoa Parish at the National 4-H Council Walmart Healthy Habits Programming Training. The selection was made during an Impromptu Essay Contest on October 10.  These students were tasked with guiding their peers and communities, into living healthier lifestyles through the use of The Healthy Young People Empowerment (HYPE) Project. 

    The training was held at the National 4-H Council Headquarters in Chevy Chase, Maryland on November 1– 3. 4-H youth and adult leaders from the Southern University Land-Grant Campus attended workshops on implementing the HYPE Project Curriculum. While attending the training, youth also had an opportunity to learn about health disparities, community access, policies, systems, and environmental changes through hands-on activities.

    Since attending the training, Berry and Johnson have hit the ground running and have committed to revitalizing Kentwood High Magnet’s school garden and building a Humanity Box for the Town of Kentwood.  During a regular 4-H Club meeting on November 14 the Youth Ambassadors presented their plans, and solicited their club members for feedback in getting the projects underway.

    The HYPE Project is a five-phase model which teaches youth ambassadors how to impact their communities by establishing youth-led campaigns. The phases of the project are: Think, Learn, Act, Share and Evaluate.

    For additional information about 4-H programs in Tangipahoa Parish, contact Nicolette Gordon, assistant youth development Agent at 985-748-5462.

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

    Photo:  Kentwood High Magnet School students Ronny Johnson, Jr. and Jayla Berry attended the National 4-H Council Walmart Healthy Habits Programming Training in Chevy Chase, Maryland on November 1-3, 2018. The two youth ambassadors are developing plans to make their school and community healthier. (Photo courtesy of Nicolette Gordon, SU Ag Center.)

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    Professor researches link between ADHD, entrepreneurship

    Reginald L. Tucker, assistant professor in the Stephenson Department of Entrepreneurship & Information Systems at LSU’s E. J. Ourso College of Business, recently published an article in Journal of Business Venturing that examined the influence of ADHD on business start-up.

    “It’s my most cited paper, and I think seminal to the Mental Health and Entrepreneurship literature stream,” said Tucker, adding, “We found that ADHD did influence business start-up when impulsivity was present.”

    There has been increased interest recently in how negative traits associated with mental disorders, such as ADHD, may have positive implications in entrepreneurship. While this research has the potential of producing important results, it is still in its infancy and consequently has received limited attention. To that end, Tucker’s study developed and tested a model that ADHD influences entrepreneurship through the multifaceted trait of impulsivity or the tendency to act on impulse rather than thought.

    “Findings demonstrate that entrepreneurship is indeed a unique area where negative traits, such as ADHD, may represent valuable assets,” Tucker said. There are at least two important practice implications associated with the results. First, the results imply that individuals with ADHD symptoms may be empowered to craft their own jobs to fit their special needs. Second, the findings suggest that people with ADHD symptoms and impulsivity will tend to prefer action speed over action accuracy and that this may be functional in the context of entrepreneurship.”

    ONLINE: https://www.lsu.edu/business/sdeis/index.php.

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    Council on Aging purchases property to expand services

    The East Baton Rouge Parish Council on Aging Purchases Property to Expand Meal Services.

    The East Baton Rouge Parish Council on Aging has purchased 2.8 acres to meet the demands of meals on wheels and congregate meals services.  The property, located on North 18th Street, will be the site of a new 25,000 square feet facility that will provide much-needed space for preparing home-delivered meals to seniors and congregate (hot) meals that are delivered to the 26 senior centers and feeding sites across the parish.

    “We have performed miracles in the current, but outdated, facility and I am eager to begin construction on a new state of the art building that will accommodate the ever-increasing needs of seniors in our Parish,” said Tasha Clark-Amar, CEO.

    The East Baton Rouge Council on Aging has been housed at the 5790 Florida Boulevard location for over 30 years.  The new facility will not only include a commercial kitchen and meal packing facility, but also a space for administrative offices for more than 60 employees and parking for the agency’s fleet of Meals on Wheels vans.

    “The North 18th/Fuqua site has been an abandoned property in my district for a number of years.  I am proud the Council on Aging is not only expanding services for seniors but investing in a much-needed area of the Parish,” said Councilwoman Tara Wicker.

    The Council on Aging will begin the design phase of the new development in January, with hopes of moving into the new building in approximately 18 months.

    “Many thanks to our board of directors and staff for all their hard work bringing this vision to fruition.  The entire parish will benefit from this investment in seniors, and the community as a whole,” said board chairwoman Jennifer Moisant.

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    Dyslexia screening provision included in new criminal justice reform bill

    Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), a member of the Senate health and education committee, announced that his provision providing for the screening of inmates for dyslexia is included in the new version of the First Step Act (S. 3649), legislation endorsed by President Trump to reform America’s criminal justice system. Cassidy announced his support for the legislation two weeks ago.

    “Having treated patients in prisons, I learned that illiteracy often leads someone to turn to a life of crime. Dyslexia is a leading cause of illiteracy, so to address illiteracy and incarceration, we must better address dyslexia,” said Dr. Cassidy. “I’m pleased Chairman Grassley, Jared Kushner and the White House agreed to incorporate my proposal for screening inmates for dyslexia into this bill. It makes sense that if a someone learns to read, they’re less likely to end up in prison and more likely to be a productive member of society. And if someone ends up in prison, they’re more likely to get a job and keep it once they are released. In the end, I think this will save some people from the prison system, make our streets safer, and save taxpayers money.”

    A study found that 80 percent of prison inmates at the state prison in Huntsville, Texas, were functionally illiterate and 48 percent were dyslexic.

    The First Step Act will formally define dyslexia as “an unexpected difficulty in reading for an individual who has the intelligence to be a much better reader, most commonly caused by a difficulty in the phonological processing (the appreciation of the individual sounds of spoken language), which affects the ability of an individual to speak, read, and spell.” The bill requires the U.S. attorney general to incorporate an evidence-based, low-cost, readily available dyslexia screening program into the new risk and needs assessment system, including by screening for dyslexia during the prisoner intake process and each periodic risk reassessment of a prisoner. It also requires the U.S. attorney general to incorporate dyslexia treatment programs into recidivism reduction programs.

    In October, Cassidy and his wife, Dr. Laura Cassidy, coauthored a column about their family’s personal struggle to overcome dyslexia.

    In June, Cassidy met with Senior Advisor to the President Jared Kushner about prison reform, and Cassidy stressed the need to identify and address dyslexia in early education in order to prevent students from being consigned to a path of illiteracy, crime, and incarceration.

    Ameer Baraka

    Ameer Baraka

    In May 2016, Cassidy chaired a HELP Committee hearing on understanding dyslexia. The hearing featured actor Ameer Baraka, a New Orleans native who struggled with dyslexia as a student and turned to selling drugs. Barak discussed how he taught himself to read in prison on Fox News in April 2017.

    In February 2016, Cassidy’s READ Act was signed into law by President Obama. The legislation requires the National Science Foundation (NSF) to devote at least $2.5 million to dyslexia research every year.

    In 2015, Cassidy hosted world experts on dyslexia for a discussion at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, and chaired HELP Committee field hearings on dyslexia and education in New Orleans and Baton Rouge.

    Each year, Cassidy introduces a resolution in the Senate designating October as National Dyslexia Awareness Month.

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    Dr. Maurice Sholas inspires SU grads at fall commencement

    Nearly 500 graduates earned degrees from Southern University at its fall commencement, December 14. Led in by Traci Smith, chief student marshal, graduates convened to receive bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees, as well as commissions to the U.S. Army and the U.S. Navy. The newest alumni heard from one of their own, Dr. Maurice Sholas, a physician and principal for Sholas Medical Consulting LLC.

    “You may look at today as a glorious ending, but it is a glorious beginning,” Sholas said to the graduates.

    The Baton Rouge native reflected on his family legacy of Southern alumni, beginning with his parents, who met each other at the university.

    “My first visit to Southern was while I was in my mother’s womb,” Sholas said. “My heart was set on Southern from the start in spite of naysayers — those who said I could go to a “good school” because I had good grades. Well, Southern University wasn’t just good to me. It was great.

    “I came here to see what is possible for people like us. I became a part of a community that cares for and cared about me.”

    Sholas said that Southern prepared him for life beyond the Bluff in a number of ways, including him going on to Harvard to earn his M.D. and Ph.D.

    “Southern gave me the confidence to stand with those from corners of the world I’d never heard of,” he said.

    Sholas told the graduates to not fret about tomorrow as they celebrated their achievements today.

    “You don’t have to know today (what’s next),” he said. “When I was sitting here, I had no idea what I would be doing for the next 20 years. While you sort it out, keep moving forward. Excellence defines us. Pride sustains us. Tradition guides us. We are Southern.”

    Sholas closed by reminding the graduates that Southern is a family-oriented organization that reaches well beyond the acres in the capital city.

    “Your SU tribe is a short phone call or text away,” he said. “And my service to you is not over after this message. What I know… what I have experienced is yours. We are Southern.”

    Former Louisiana Sen. Diana E. Bajoie received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the university. The Southern University alumna who is a pioneer in state politics. In 1976, she was the only woman serving in the Louisiana House of Representatives; in 1991, she was the first black woman elected to the Louisiana Senate; and in 2004, she was the first woman elected as Senate President Pro Tempore.

    The ceremony can be viewed in its entirety at https://bit.ly/2SLS59d. The Fall 2018 Commencement program can be viewed at https://bit.ly/2S0ByhV.

    By Jasmine Hunter
    Special to The Drum

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    Louisiana Democracy Project gives Devil Swamp warning: ‘Don’t eat the coon’

    It may be cultural. It may be heritage but once cold weather and or holidays hit, a segment of the Louisiana population has a taste for wild game such as raccoon.

    Generally, this is not a problem but the Louisiana Democracy Project is continuing to issue warnings to its constituents to avoid eating wild life from the Devil Swam/Bayou Baton Rouge areas. “During the summer an advisory was issued by the Department of Health & Hospitals, along with the Department of Environmental Quality and the Department of Wildlife & Fisheries warning people not to eat fish or crawfish from the area. “We know many people enjoy eating raccoons and raccoons enjoy eating fish and crawfish. We think it is important to warn everyone to avoid not only the seafood but the seafood eating mammals as well”, said Stephanie Anthony, LDP president and chair of Pray for Our Air program.

    Paul Orr of the Lower Mississippi River Keepers agrees that people should not eat largemouth bass, channel catfish, crappie, bluegill, or raccoons from the area. Samples show HCB hexachlorobenzene, HCBD hexachlorobutadine, PCB polychorinateed biphenyls, arsenic, lead and mercury in the fish.

    There have been advisory’s out since 1993 telling citizens not to drink, swim or play in the water because of contamination. Whereas some citizens around Alsen, Baker and even the Cedarcrest area of East Baton Rouge Parish say they are vaguely aware of contamination, they do not relate this knowledge to fish-eating mammals.

    Devil Swamp covers over 8 miles and more than 6,000 acres of land. It is bounded on the north by Hall Buck Marine Road on the east, by the bluff and the Baton Rouge Barge Harbor and on the south and west by the Mississippi River.

    During the question and answer period after a presentation to the Green Army meeting at Greater King David Church, award winning scientist Wilma Supra remarked that there was not legislative funding to replace signs damaged or destroyed, to warn citizens about hunting, fishing or swimming in contaminated waters. During the 1980s then State Representative Joseph A. Delpit authored legislation requiring signs posting to warning of water contamination in English, Vietnamese, and Spanish. Today the population in Baton Rouge is 54.98 percent Black, 3.32 percent Hispanic and 3.48 percent Asian. That correlates to about 126,089 Black, 7,974 Asian and 7606 Hispanic equaling over 60 percent of the population.

    Veteran environmentalist Willie Fontenot is said to have named Bayou Baton Rouge, decades ago. He attests to the contamination in the area. He said Devil Swam area is so contaminated that only the devil would enjoy it at this point.

    Anthony said the Louisiana Democracy Project does not ordinarily tackle water issues but they see this is a true grassroots issue affecting the quality of life for citizens whose lives they touch on other issues. They encourage interested parties to contact them at 225-907-1459 or the Department of Health and Hospitals 888-293-7020.

    Feature photo by Jed Postman, taken from SeriousEats.com

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    North Baton Rouge Industrial Training Initiative selects 200 new students

    The North Baton Rouge Industrial Training Initiative has selected 200 local students to be part of the program’s fifth cohort, which will begin in January 2019. The students are predominantly from North Baton Rouge and are pursuing careers in electrical, pipefitting, millwright and welding crafts. Each student will receive free training and a National Center for Construction Education and Research Core, Level I, and Level II certification after completion of the program.

    The NBRITI program began in 2012 spearheaded by ExxonMobil in an effort to better connect community members to industry jobs. The training is based at Baton Rouge Community College’s Acadian Campus and provides no-cost training for high-demand crafts. For the past six years, several partners have supported the program and hired graduates including Baton Rouge Community College, ExxonMobil, Excel Group, Cajun Industries, ISC, Turner Industries, Performance Contractors, Jacobs Engineering, Pala Group, Triad, Brock Group, Geo Heat Exchangers, Stupp Corporation, GBRIA, Associated Builders and Contractors, Urban League of Louisiana, and Employ BR.

    “Our partnership is ensuring sustainable workforce educational opportunities in North Baton Rouge, as well as the entire region. ExxonMobil’s continued commitment to bring together business and industry, education institutions and the community is the model of corporate citizenship,” said BRCC Chancellor Larissa Steib.

    _G4A8249About 800 applicants for the fifth training class were screened by the Baton Rouge Community College and partner company representatives through a testing and interview process. Many attended the North Baton Rouge Career Fair in October to learn about opportunities in industry. The college will offer reduced-cost training opportunities for those students not accepted into the NBRITI program.

    “This training has the power to be transformative – not just for the graduates — but for their families as well. We will be hiring millwrights directly from this new class, and I pledge to continue to lead the initiative forward,” said ExxonMobil Refinery Manager Gloria Moncada. With the addition of a millwright track, this new class will triple in size compared to previous classes.

    A unique aspect of the program is a social skills component involving ongoing tutoring, financial literacy training, and resume and interview assistance. This involves additional support from organizations including the Urban League of Louisiana, BancorpSouth, and ExxonMobil YMCA Community Outreach Retiree Alliance.

    About 45 students of the current, fourth training class will graduate on Jan. 24, 2019, at a special ceremony at the Baton Rouge Community College Acadian Campus.

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    ‘Revolutionary health research initiative’ launched in Baton Rouge

    Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana and the National Institutes of Health launched a revolutionary health research initiative called “All of Us Research Program” in Baton Rouge.

    The All of Us Research Program is building the largest and most diverse health data resource of its kind by asking one million or more people from across the country of different races, ethnicities, age groups, geographic regions, gender identities, sexual orientations, and health statuses to share their unique health information. Many of these people have historically been underrepresented in medical research. Health data from such a large and diverse group of people will enable scientists to study how different factors – from genetics to exercise habits – affect a person’s health.

    Baton Rouge is one of the early cities in the nation to see a focused effort to recruit participants, led locally by Blue Cross. The All of Us Research Program recognizes Louisiana’s diverse population and unique health challenges and encourages residents to sign up for a chance to be part of the future of precision medicine.

    Precision medicine is an emerging approach to disease treatment and prevention that considers differences in people’s lifestyles, environments and biological makeup, including genes. With eyeglasses and hearing aids, we have long had customized solutions to individual needs. More recently, treating certain types of cancer is now possible with therapies targeted to patients’ DNA.

    By partnering with one million diverse people who share information about themselves, the All of Us Research Program will enable researchers to more precisely prevent and treat a variety of health conditions.

    “The All of Us Research Program is an opportunity for individuals from all walks of life to be represented in research and pioneer the next era of medicine,” said NIH director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. “The time is now to transform how we conduct research-with participants as partners-to shed new light on how to stay healthy and manage disease in more personalized ways. This is what we can accomplish through All of Us.”

    “Here in Louisiana, a state rich in diversity, we have the opportunity to be part of this important research initiative, one that can go a long way in helping to address some of the state’s health problems,” said Dr. Vindell Washington, Blue Cross executive vice president and chief medical officer. “We all know the state of health in Louisiana is poor. We have some of the highest rates of obesity and chronic diseases in the country, and we are consistently at or near the bottom of rankings of health statuses. All of Us will lead to healthcare breakthroughs we believe will be beneficial for our people.”

    Leaders from Blue Cross, the Urban League of Louisiana, Mayor-President Sharon Weston-Broome’s Healthy City Initiative, Louisiana Department of Health, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, the NIH and the YMCA of the Capital Area spoke in support of the program.

    “Through The Mayor’s Healthy City Initiative, we bring together many key stakeholders who make Baton Rouge a healthier place.” said Hymowitz “Good, timely data is something we always struggle to identify. All of Us will help us to make more data-driven decisions to better support our community.”

    Partners were also able to get a more thorough understanding of what it means to take part in the All of Us Research Program, what information participants are asked to provide and how the research is being used to further precision medicine.

    “This initiative is important to Baton Rouge and populations who often are underrepresented in medical research,” said Judy Morse, President and CEO of the Urban League of Louisiana. “Without the preventative healthcare measures of programs like All of Us, it would be nearly impossible to detect and cure the diseases that plague our community.”

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    Gregory Pierson appointed assistant director of aviation

    Gregory Pierson was appointed assistant director of aviation of the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport (BTR) by Mike Edwards, the director of aviation.

    Pierson has 12 years of airport management experience, and was serving as the Interim Assistant Director of Aviation. He was previously the BTR Airport Computer/Electronics Systems Manager (IT Manager). He first joined the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport 15 years ago as a PC LAN Specialist. Within his first three years, he was promoted to a PC LAN Administrator. In his most recent role as IT Manager, his Airport-wide involvement afforded him the experience to identify and manage the expectations and needs of various stakeholders, while ensuring the decisions and processes related to the Technology division were in alignment with the overall mission of the Airport.

    Pierson holds a bachelor of science degree in computer science with a minor in business management from Southern University, and a masters of business administration from the University of Phoenix. He has an ITIL Foundation and Software House industry certification and is currently preparing for his AAAE Certified Member certification. He is also a member of the National Association of Tax Professionals (NATP), and is an IRS Registered Tax Preparer.

    “I am truly humbled and excited about the opportunity to serve in this new capacity. I look forward to continuing to do my part to make BTR the airport of choice, and to facilitate improvements in our community outreach efforts.”

    Greg grew up in the Baton Rouge Area, graduating from Scotlandville Magnet High School in Baton Rouge. He and his wife LaToya have three children, Alyvia, Dylan and Skylar.

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    Uncle Chess and The Groove to perform at Pit-N-Peel

    Uncle Chess and The Groove will perform at the Pit-N-Peel on Friday, November 30 from 6pm to 9pm. The venue is located at 2101 Government Street, Baton Rouge, LA 70806. Venue phone is 225-421-1488. No Cover.

    Uncle Chess and the Groove, known for their smooth Southern soul songs have appeared at The Baton Rouge Blues Festival, the Baton Rouge Mardi Gras and Soul Food festivals, and at the Henry Turner, Jr. Day Music Festival.

    The band is Uncle Chess on vocals, Burnell Palmer on drums, Randy Hamilton on percussion, Dameron Bates on bass, Bob Johnson on keyboard, and Ron Griffin on lead guitar.

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    Dawn Mellion-Patin receives Iowa State’s 2018 George Washington Carver Distinguished Service Award

    Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center’s Vice Chancellor for Extension and Outreach Dawn Mellion-Patin, Ph.D., has been named the recipient of the 2018 George Washington Carver Distinguished Service Award by Iowa State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

    Patin has dedicated her career to educating and improving the lives of small farmers. In 2005, she developed the Southern University Ag Center’s Small Farmer Agricultural Leadership Training Institute, an intensive leadership development program that guides small, minority, socially-disadvantaged and limited-resource farmers through the process of becoming competitive agricultural entrepreneurs.
    aa8d40d7369d9be54015ed6f722c4bb9
    Her work in the field of agriculture has also provided her with the opportunity to serve as a panel manager for United States Department of Agriculture (USDA); chair of the Southern Region- Agricultural and Natural Resources Program Leaders Committee; grant committee member for the USDA’s  National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA); 1890 representative on the National Extension Disaster Education Network Executive Committee and historian for the National Society of Minorities in Agricultural, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) organization.

    She has received the SU Ag Center’s Outstanding Specialist Award, Tuskegee University’s Distinguished Service Award, the Association of Extension Administrators Excellence in Extension Award and USDA NIFA Cooperative Extension System Outstanding Leadership Award.

    Patin earned a bachelor’s degree in plant and soil sciences and a master’s degree in educational agriculture, both from Southern University, and a doctoral degree in Agricultural and Life Sciences Education from Iowa State University.

    The George Washington Carver Distinguished Service Award was established in 2005. The award honors distinguished College of Agriculture and Life Sciences alumni who have demonstrated outstanding achievement or leadership by making significant, influential, or innovative contributions to society.

    Patin received the award during the annual Honors and Awards Ceremony on October 26.

    By LaKeeshia Lusk
    The Drum Contributing Writer

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  • AKA, Lions Club partner to improve eye care

    Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, Gamma Eta Omega Chapter were guest speakers at the East Baton Rouge Lions Club International luncheon held on October 11, 2018. Candace Ford and Elle Virdure, Chairmen of the Gamma Eta Omega Chapter’s Lions Club International Committee, discussed Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated’s collaboration with the Lions Club International as part of the Global Impact Target. Gamma Eta Omega Chapter will coordinate with the Lions Club to implement activities and arrange for pick-up and delivery of donated eyeglasses. The Committee’s goal is to help decrease blindness, help to restore eyesight, and improve eye health and eye care for thousands of people around the world. Next, the Committee will work with the Louisiana Lions Eye Foundation by assisting with children’s eye screenings on October 30 and 31.

    Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated is an international service organization that was founded on the campus of Howard University in Washington, D.C. in 1908. It is the oldest Greek-lettered organization established by African-American, college-educated women. Alpha Kappa Alpha is comprised of more than 300,000 members in approximately 1,000 graduate and undergraduate chapters in the United States, Liberia, the Bahamas, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Germany, South Korea, Bermuda, Japan, Canada, South Africa, and the Middle East. Led by International President Dr. Glenda Glover, Alpha Kappa Alpha is often hailed as “America’s premier Greek-lettered organization for African-American women.” The President of the Gamma Eta Omega Chapter is Gwendolyn J. Thomas.

    ONLINE: www.aka1908.com.

    Submitted by LaMetrious Firven

     

    PHOTO: Elle Virdure, Zeke Dunaway, Tim LeBlanc, President of the local chapter of the Lions Club, and Candace Ford

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    Health department schedules statewide flu vaccine clinics

     With flu season starting, the Louisiana Department of Health is scheduling flu vaccination days to be held throughout the state. These one-day clinics will allow people to come in and get a flu shot at little or no cost to the patient.The flu causes approximately 500 deaths and nearly 3,000 hospitalizations each year in Louisiana. However, in Louisiana last year, there were more than 15,000 hospitalizations and more than 1,600 deaths from the flu. Of those more than 1,600 deaths, five were pediatric deaths.

    “Getting vaccinated not only protects you from the flu, but it also protects those around you, including those who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness,” said Dr. Frank Welch, immunization director for the Louisiana Department of Health. “A flu shot is your best defense in both reducing your chances of getting the flu and spreading it.”

    These community flu clinics are open to the public, and walk-ups are welcome. Wear short or loose-fitting sleeves and bring your private insurance, Medicaid or Medicare card with you. For those without insurance, the shot will cost $10.

    Click here for the listing of all clinics.

    Flu Shot Facts

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Louisiana Department of Health recommend a yearly flu shot for everyone over 6 months of age who does not have a complicating condition, such as a prior allergic reaction to the flu shot.

    A flu shot is especially crucial for people who may be at higher risk for serious complications. This includes babies and young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions and people 65 years and older.

    The flu shot is safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women, who can pass on antibodies to their babies that will help protect them.

    The flu shot starts to offer partial protection immediately but takes about two weeks to offer full protection.

    Flu shots are also available at local pharmacies, clinics, doctor’s offices and federally qualified (community) health centers. Check flushot.healthmap.org for a flu shot provider near you.

    Visit www.ldh.la.gov/fighttheflu for more information and resources.

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    COMMENTARY: Getting to the heart of America’s diabetes crisis

    About 30 million Americans have diabetes, and an estimated 1.5 million more are diagnosed each year. More than 25 percent of seniors have diabetes, and minority populations are at the greatest risk of developing this disease. African Americans, for instance, have a 77 percent higher risk of developing diabetes compared to White Americans. Hispanic Americans have a 66 percent higher risk.

    Most meticulously monitor their blood sugar, as they know that failing to keep diabetes in check can damage the kidneys, eyes, and feet. But even so, about 50,000 Americans start dialysis each year because of diabetes-induced kidney failure. More than three million Americans with diabetes experience partial vision loss. And over 70,000 undergo limb amputations due to diabetic ulcers.

    The disease also threatens the heart. People living with diabetes are more than twice as likely to develop a heart problem — and up to four times as likely to die from cardiovascular disease. Yet half of people living with diabetes aren’t aware of this risk.

    That needs to change. Educating doctors and patients about the connection between diabetes and heart disease could save millions of lives and billions of dollars.

    Type 2 diabetes changes how the body processes glucose — a sugar found in foods. This results in chronically high levels of blood sugar, which can lead to life-threatening health problems.

    People with type 2 diabetes are twice as likely to be hospitalized because of heart problems. And an estimated 68 percent of people with diabetes age 65 or older lose their lives to heart disease.

    People with diabetes also often develop high levels of bad cholesterol, low levels of good cholesterol, and high triglycerides — a situation that is often associated with coronary heart disease. And many struggling with diabetes are also obese, which puts the heart at greater risk.

    The combination of diabetes and cardiovascular disease is a major driver of healthcare spending. Diabetes alone costs our nation $245 billion a year in medical spending and lost productivity. Heart complications account for a quarter of the medical costs.

    Raising awareness of this diabetes-heart connection can motivate change that America needs to chip away at the increasing burden of chronic disease.

    Medical professionals play a crucial role in educating people about the diabetes-heart connection, recommending changes needed to manage diabetes, protect the heart, and following progress.

    People with diabetes and their families play a role, too — supporting healthier, active lifestyles, tracking and managing glucose levels, asking their healthcare providers about diabetes and heart health, and following through on treatment recommendations.

    Policymakers can also help. State and federal funds are used to educate the public about diabetes and heart disease. Making sure that efforts to address diabetes or cardiovascular disease effectively raise awareness of the linkage between them would spark impactful action.

    Getting to the heart of America’s diabetes crisis is long overdue. It’s time to make the diabetes-heart connection and save millions of lives and dollars in the process.

    By Ken Thorpe 
    Kenneth E. Thorpe is a professor of health policy at Emory University and chairman of the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease.

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    Scotlandville Interfaith Community Health Fair a success

    SUBMITTED NEWS–The 2018 Scotlandville Interfaith Community Health Fair was a huge success in the Baton Rouge Community.  Four churches, one common goal.  Theme: “Behold I will bring it health and cure, I will cure them, and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth.” Jeremiah 33:6.

     

    Hosted and sponsored by Allen Chapel AME Church, Pastor Demetrese Phillips, Camphor Memorial United Methodist Church, Pastor Elenora Mackey Cushenberry, Greater Mount Carmel Baptist Church, Pastor Clee E. Lowe and Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Pastor Thoma F. Clark, Sr., and congregation initiated, coordinated and planned the 2018 Scotlandville Interfaith Community Health Fair.

    Representation from all four hosted churches served as committee members.  Camphor Memorial United Methodist Church located at 8742 Scenic Highway, Baton Rouge, Louisiana was the site for the 2018 Health Fair held from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  The Faith Walk was from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.  Several health care practitioners/providers, medical pharmacy were available.   Exhibits/Exhibitors; on- site examinations; educational information; blood pressure checks; cancer awareness; cardiovascular-heart healthy tips; immunizations; mental health counseling; diabetes tests and consultations; cholesterol-glucose screening; foot examinations (podiatry); hearing screenings; nutrition consultation; oral health; prescription medication management; vision; and tobacco use dangers.  Insurance cards were accepted for vaccinations.  Healthy snacks, fruit, nutrition bars, water was provided to all in attendance.

    Door prizes were giveaways.  The Children’s Village was at the Camphor Memorial United Methodist Church located at the Outreach Center adjacent to the church.  Mr. Robbyn Matthews, Chair, Dr. Dell Mars, Co-chair of the CMUMC Health and Welfare Ministries, CMUMC served as the 2018 Health Fair hosted church.  The host church of the 2019 Health Fair will be Allen Chapel AME Church.  All the 2018 Health Fair Committee Members worked very diligently and hard in making this endeavor a huge success.

    Written by Mada McDonald
    Submitted by Katrina Spottsville

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    Searching for the Louisiana Young Heroes of 2019

    Louisiana Public Broadcasting and the Rotary Club of Baton Rouge are looking for the 2019 Louisiana Young Heroes. A Young Hero is an exceptional young person who has excelled in academics, given significantly of themselves through public service, overcome adversity, or inspired others through their deeds and strength of character.

    Nominations are now being accepted for the 24th annual Louisiana Young Heroes.

    Nominees must be Louisiana students enrolled in an academic institution or homeschool program, and cannot be older than 18 years of age. Nominations and supporting materials are submitted through the online form at lpb.org/heroes. Previous winners are not eligible. The deadline for entries is November 30, 2018. Louisiana Young Heroes Day will be Monday, April 15, 2019. This year’s honorees will receive a $1,000 tuition assistance grant and other special awards.

    Submit a nomination at lpb.org/heroes.

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    University View Academy promotes Michelle Clayton to Superintendent

    The University View Academy Board of Directors voted to promote Michelle Clayton, Ph.D., to Superintendent of the K-12 statewide online charter school at the first meeting of the 2018-19 school year.

    Over the past seven years, the school has grown from originally serving 500 K-12 students to a current enrollment of 3100 students from every parish of the state using an innovative model of online instruction by certified Louisiana teachers.

    Clayton has served as associate superintendent of University View for the past year under the leadership of Lonnie Luce, Ph.D., who move to a new leadership role as the school’s chief officer.

    Clayton’s prior experience includes serving as deputy superintendent of East Baton Rouge Parish School System and as the executive director of academics for the Zachary Community School System.

    “I am very excited about the opportunity to help students across the state and be part of the innovative delivery model at University View Academy,” said Clayton. “The school has a tradition of academic achievement, and I will continue to build on that strong foundation. Innovation resonates with who I am as an educator.”

    She is a graduate of Louisiana State University and earned a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from University of Louisiana Lafayette and a doctorate from Southern University in science and mathematics education.

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    Lashley means business in the Big Apple

    Growing up in Franklin, La., LSU graduate Victor Lashley may have come from a small town, but he’s making a name for himself in New York City.

    “My very first day in New York City was the day I moved here for my summer internship. I packed my bags, got in a cab and pretended to know the address that I gave my taxi driver,” said Lashley.

    Lashley said the internships and connections he made at LSU set him on a path for success.

    “The College of Business has a lot of good partnerships with a lot of different companies, so they would come into the Finance Club and with a lot of opportunities for internships or careers and JP Morgan was on my radar. I just worked with the Olinde Career Center to be a qualified candidate. I applied and started interning when I was a sophomore.”

    During Lashley’s first summer at JP Morgan, he worked in the prime brokerage operation within their investment bank. Lashley returned to JP Morgan for a second summer, this time working in treasury services. After graduating from LSU in 2012, he became an official employee of JP Morgan, working as a sales associate.

    “Every 6 months I went to a different role, so during my first two years I had four different jobs. And then after that program finished, I placed permanently in trade finance and that involves importing, exporting, and working capital transactions internationally.”

    Lashley has since worked his way up to vice president of global trade at JP Morgan.

    “The day-to-day responsibilities are connecting U.S. customers with either a buyer or seller in an international market. So, (working with) a U.S. manufacturer selling to an emerging market or a U.S. company that’s sourcing or purchasing somewhere overseas,” Lashley said.

    While a student at LSU, Lashley majored in business marketing with a minor in leadership development.

    “I did a program in the Honors College called LASAL (Louisiana Service and Leadership), which is all about partnering with Louisiana locally to address poverty and coastal land loss, so it was a combination of two unrelated topics that gave me a very diverse experience in terms of class and activities.”

    Lashley said that experience at LSU, along with everything he learned through his various internships, has helped him get where he is today. And he’s not the only LSU graduate who is enjoying success in New York City.

    “LSU gives you the world in South Louisiana. It’s definitely very cultural, very rich in spirit and the LSU brand will stay with you for the rest of your life. I meet people in New York City who may recognize my class ring, or maybe purple and gold when I wear it, and it’s a connection that’s always there.”

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    Local campers visit Baton Rouge City Hall, Mayor Broome

    2018 Camp U. N. I. T. E. D. participants visiting Baton Rouge City Hall and Mayor Sharon Weston Broome.  Standing on bottom row from left to right: Kayleigh Tran and Heaven Adams; Second row left to right:  McKenzie Milton and Madison Lathers; Third row left to right:  Aarionna Barg, Tyra Porter, and Haven Franklin (Teen Volunteer);  Fourth row left to right:  Brooke Butler, Nyrielle Davis, and Adelay Smith.

    2018 Camp U. N. I. T. E. D. participants visiting Baton Rouge City Hall and Mayor Sharon Weston Broome. Standing on bottom row from left to right: Kayleigh Tran and Heaven Adams; Second row left to right: McKenzie Milton and Madison Lathers; Third row left to right: Aarionna Barg, Tyra Porter, and Haven Franklin (Teen Volunteer); Fourth row left to right: Brooke Butler, Nyrielle Davis, and Adelay Smith.

    Several local campers spend a summertime of learning and fun by participating in a local program called, Camp U.N.I.T.E.D. over the past few weeks. Camp U. N. I. T. E. D. (Uplifted, Nurtured, and Inspired Together Each Day), they had the opportunity to participate in daily workshops that focused on leadership development, healthy nutrition and body image, time management skills, communication skills, internet safety, and community/public service.  The girls’ primary focus was on the three paths to empowerment as they start their journey into middle school.  Their unique journeys began with discovering their individual personal power or the power within.  Then, they moved to the power of team or the power of reaching across to work with others.  The final path was the power of community/public service or the power of reaching out.  The highlights of their camp were a 90 minute SKYPE session with girls their age in Migosi, Kenya, Africa and a field trip to City Hall to meet with Mayor Sharon Weston Broome, Councilwoman Tara Wicker, and Councilman Chandler Loupe.  Each girl received a certificate of commendation signed by Mayor Broome and was also given the opportunity to visit the new Metro-Council chambers where they were allowed to participate in a mock Metro-Council meeting.  These girls have experienced a unique summer filled with awesome opportunities.

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    NAACP honors Stewart with Cobb Award

    On July 16, Louisiana Center for Health Equity President Alma C. Stewart received the NAACP Dr. William Montague Cobb Award “For her outstanding efforts to advance health policy, health advocacy, and social justice in the State of Louisiana.” The award was presented at the NAACP Annual Convention in San Antonio. This award is given annually in recognition of the legacy of Dr. William Montague Cobb, who served as the President of the NAACP from 1976 to 1983, to honor individuals and organizations that have made a significant impact in the field of health.

    Stewart has served as the state health committee chair for the Louisiana State Conference of the NAACP since 2014. She also organized the statewide, multi-year Campaign for Healthcare for Everyone Louisiana in 2013. The goal of this campaign was to advocate for statewide policy change and build grassroots momentum to implement Medicaid expansion by 2016.

    In an effort to address Louisiana’s high rate of uninsured adults, keeping the Louisiana State Conference of the NAACP and HCEL partner organizations engaged, over the course of three years Stewart organized public testimony at legislative hearings, rallies, press conferences and prayer vigils under the mantra of “Dying for Coverage” as part of a movement to bring attention to this issue on a state and national level. HCEL was successful in shaping public opinion about Medicaid expansion which polls favorably in Louisiana despite cascading contributions from well-financed conservative out-of-state organizations that have opposed it. She coordinated the hosting and production of a gubernatorial candidate forum on healthcare that was televised and livestreamed across the state in 2015. Alma has personally penned numerous articles and delivered countless speeches and presentations.

    On January 12, 2016, Governor John Bel Edwards signed an executive order expanding Medicaid in Louisiana on his first day in office making Louisiana the first state in the Deep South to expand Medicaid. Not only was this a win for Stewart and her organization, the Louisiana State Conference of the NAACP and others, but also for the hundreds of thousands of people who gained health insurance when this law went into effect on July 1, 2016. “Many of the more than 470,180 Louisiana citizens who now have health insurance coverage, in rural and urban areas, under the Medicaid expansion are doing so for the first time, and are receiving preventive care, early diagnosis and treatment for cancer, diabetes, mental health conditions, and addictions. Early diagnosis and access to care both help reduce costs to the state and the healthcare system,” said Stewart.

    The infusion of federal dollars for Medicaid expansion created and supported 19,200 jobs that have brought in state and local tax receipts of $103 million and $74.6 million, respectively, according to a March 2018 report by the Louisiana State University’s Public Administration Institute. Medicaid expansion saved the state $199 million in fiscal year 2017, according to a 2017 report from the Louisiana Department of Health. The reasons include the state spending match is lower under Medicaid expansion than it was before, both for most Medicaid populations and for supplemental payments to hospitals. The decrease in the uninsured population has also reduced “disproportionate share payments” to hospitals for people without coverage who receive treatment.

    “Medicaid expansion has benefitted Louisiana in several ways and there is growing evidence to support the fact that it is working. Moreover, it is saving lives. That’s why the NAACP Dr. William Montague Cobb Award means so much to me,” said Stewart.

    About Louisiana Center for Health Equity

    Louisiana Center for Health Equity which is a statewide 501(c) (3) tax-exempt organization, dedicated to the mission of addressing health and healthcare disparities, and fostering health equity in Louisiana. Founded in January 2010, the organization has partnered with over forty other Louisiana organizations on a state, local and national level to eliminate health disparities caused by poverty, lack of access to quality health care, and unhealthy environmental conditions.

    Read more »
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    COMMUNITY EVENT: Virginia College Back to School Event, August 2

    Virginia College in Baton Rouge will host a Back to School Event for the community Thursday, Aug. 2 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the campus located at 9501 Cortana Place. The event is free and open to the public and will feature refreshments and candy for kids, a spelling bee, photobooth, campus tours, a scavenger hunt, backpack and school supply giveaways while supplies last and more. Additionally, attendees 18 and older can enter to win gift cards and other prizes.

    The event will also allow attendees to explore programs offered through Virginia College, including: Business Administration, Culinary Arts, Medical Assistant, Medical Office Specialist, Network Support Technician, Network and System Administration, Electrical Technician, HVAC-R Technician, Pastry Arts, Pharmacy Technician and Surgical Technology.

    WHAT: Virginia College Back to School Event
    WHEN: Thursday, Aug. 2 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
    WHERE: Virginia College in Baton Rouge – 9501 Cortana Place, Baton Rouge, LA 70815
    PHONE: (225) 236-3900

    “With the start of a new school year comes a great deal of excitement and anticipation, promise and possibility,” says Campus President Joe Dalto. “No matter your age or stage of life, we want to celebrate education and the aspirations of all members of our community. We invite everyone to come by our Back to School Event and say hello, and for those interested in pursuing a new career, talk with a member of our staff about the fast and focused career training we offer at our campus.”

    The event is part of Virginia College parent company Education Corporation of America’s national Back to School Events being held at 62 other Virginia College, Brightwood Career Institute and Brightwood College locations throughout 17 states.

    ONLINE: vc.edu/batonrouge.

    Read more »
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    Slave cemetery video released

    As the River Road African American Museum approaches twenty five years of preserving the history of the formerly enslaved and their descendants in Louisiana’s sugarcane plantation country, one of the greatest accomplishments this year is a successful collaboration with SHELL Convent to protect the African burial grounds found near the Tezcuco refinery.

    Watch the video here.

    Submitted news

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    COMMUNITY EVENTS: Scotlandville Interfaith Community Health Fair, August 4

    The Scotlandville Interfaith Community Health Fair is scheduled for Saturday, August 4, 8am – 1pm at Camphor Memorial United Methodist Church located at 8742 Scenic Highway, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

    There will be a Faith Walk to begin the event at 8am.

    The Health Fair will promote preventive health care services, to bring about awareness to the services that are available and to assist people in making improved health decisions for their family. The fair will also provide healthful information and practices to the Scotlandville Community.

    The Scotlandville Interfaith Community Health Fair will include on site examinations, educational information, blood pressure checks; cancer awareness; cardiovascular-heart healthy tips; immunizations, mental health counseling; diabetes tests and consultation; cholesterol-glucose screening; foot examinations (podiatry); hearing screenings; nutrition consultations; oral health; prescription medication management; vision; and tobacco use dangers. There will be drawings for gift cards and door prizes.

    The Baton Rouge Community is invited to attend.

    Submitted by Mada McDonald

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    COMMENTARY: Medicare steps up its fight against diabetes

    Diabetes affects as many as one in four older adults with Medicare. It costs hundreds of billions of dollars to treat and results in the loss of tens of thousands of lives every year.

    If we could better control diabetes, we’d be taking a huge leap toward creating a healthier America.

    Diabetes occurs when your body doesn’t make enough insulin or doesn’t respond to the insulin it does make. Insulin is what your body uses to process sugar and turn it into energy.

    When too much sugar stays in your blood, it can lead to serious complications and even life-threatening problems, including heart disease, strokes and kidney damage.
    Medicare is committed to fighting the diabetes epidemic.

    If you’re on Medicare and at risk for diabetes, you’re covered for two blood sugar screenings each year at no out-of-pocket cost to you. Risk factors include high blood pressure, a history of abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels, obesity or a history of high blood sugar.

    If you’re diagnosed with diabetes, Medicare will help pay for blood sugar self-testing equipment and supplies, as well as insulin and other anti-diabetic drugs. In the event of diabetic foot disease, it will also help pay for therapeutic shoes or inserts as long as your podiatrist prescribes them.

    Because living with diabetes can pose day-to-day challenges, Medicare covers a program to teach you how to manage the disease. With a written order from your physician, you can sign up for training that includes tips for monitoring blood sugar, taking medication and eating healthy.

    If you’d like to learn more about how to control diabetes, visit Medicare’s website at www.medicare.gov or call Medicare’s 24/7 help line at 1-800-633-4227 and visit with a counselor.

    In addition to the 30 million Americans with diabetes, another 86 million live with a condition known as pre-diabetes, where blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis.

    Pre-diabetes is treatable. But only one in 10 people with the condition will even know they have it. Left untreated, one in three will develop the full-blown disease within several years.

    Confronted with those statistics, Medicare is ramping up its efforts to prevent diabetes among the millions of Medicare beneficiaries who are at a heightened risk of developing it.

    Several years ago, Medicare partnered with YMCAs nationwide to launch an initiative for patients with pre-diabetes. The pilot project showed that older people could lose weight through lifestyle counseling and regular meetings that stressed healthy eating habits and exercise.

    About half of the participants shed an average of 5 percent of their weight, which health authorities say is enough to substantially reduce the risk of full-blown diabetes. Through adopting a healthier lifestyle, people diagnosed with pre-diabetes can delay the onset of the disease.

    Based on the trial program’s encouraging results, Medicare is now expanding its coverage for diabetes prevention. Using the pilot project as a model, it will help pay for a counseling program aimed at improving beneficiaries’ nutrition, increasing their physical activity and reducing stress.

    If you have Medicare’s Part B medical insurance and are pre-diabetic, you’ll be able to enroll in a series of coaching sessions lasting one to two years and conducted by health care providers as well as community organizations like local senior centers. There will be no out-of-pocket cost.

    Medicare is currently recruiting partners to offer the program so that it will be widely available to beneficiaries.

    Diabetes can be a terribly debilitating disease. It can mean a lifetime of tests, injections and health challenges. Every five minutes in this country, 14 more adults are diagnosed with it. And in the same five minutes, two more people will die from diabetes-related causes.

    If we can prevent more diabetes cases before they even start, we can help people live longer and fuller lives, as well as save money across our health care system. 

    By Bob Moos
    Southwest public affairs officer
    U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

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    COMMENTARY: Death in a EBR parish prison–too common

    Death in a local jail is pretty rare unless you are housed in the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison. The disturbing part of that sentence is the unfiltered sad, truth that 25 people died in this prison between 2012 and 2016. And these deaths were known and not investigated by any independent entity. What should be the safest, most secure place in the parish is instead by all involved, an unacceptable, destabilized, broken system that doesn’t offer either public safety for the general public or those employed in or those exposed to this system. More than 25 individuals whose lives had meaning to God, their families and their friends deserve this situation to be addressed. Many claim it is too hard but nothing could be further from the truth.

    For those families able to muster the resources to get legal representation they can sue but what remains most frightening is the false narrative that continues to live that everyone housed in the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison is a hardened felon who has been convicted of a violent crime. The truth is that 89% of all individuals held in the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison have not been adjudicated. That is a fancy way of saying they haven’t been convicted of anything. Many people are incarcerated because of minor non-violent offenses and a very large percentage of those who cannot afford to make bail will plea not because they are guilty but because that is the only way for them to be released. We do indeed have an active and thriving debtors prison system.

    Some of the deaths were caused be purposeful cruelty such as inadequate basic protections such as socks and blankets. Some of the deaths were caused by policy and procedures that disrespected the most basic protocols for treating healthcare (including mental illness). Almost all the deaths to some degree were caused by the care and feeding of a mass incarceration industry that specifically requires bodies in the building to make payroll and profit. And none of these deaths should have occurred.

    On Thursday, July 19th family and friends gathered at the levee in downtown Baton Rouge for a vigil to call for action and recognition. These individuals deserved each of their deaths to have an independent investigation as a standard practice of law and policy. Each person who loses their freedom under the authority of the state still retains their right to be treated with dignity. And none of the individuals who died had been sentenced to the death penalty EXCEPT they did receive the death penalty. To learn more about changing the narrative please check out the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison Reform Coalition.

    Rev. Alexis Anderson
    PREACH
    Baton Rouge, Louisiana

    Read more »
  • ,,,,

    Harris, first Black to walk in space, visits Baton Rouge

    On June 26, Dr. Bernard Harris, CEO of the National Math + Science Initiative (NMSI), visited Baton Rouge to kick off NMSI’s Laying the Foundation Teacher training at Woodlawn High School.  With ongoing support from ExxonMobil, the popular training program was recently expanded to an additional 400 teachers across the state, doubling the number of teachers from last year.  In addition to his role at NMSI, Dr. Harris is the founder of The Harris Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports math and science education programs for America’s youth.  Harris worked at NASA for 10 years, where he conducted research in musculoskeletal physiology and disuse osteoporosis.  During his career at NASA, Harris became the first Black person to walk in space.  A veteran astronaut for more than 18 years, he has logged more than 438 hours and traveled more than 7.2 million miles in space.

    Dr. Bernard Harris talks with Summer STEM Lab campers .

    Dr. Bernard Harris talks with Summer STEM Lab campers .

    Dr. Bernard Harris autographs a space mural in North Baton Rouge at Kuttin’ Kornerz Barbershop.

    Dr. Bernard Harris autographs a space mural in North Baton Rouge at Kuttin’ Kornerz Barbershop.

    While in town, Dr. Harris joined ExxonMobil for a tour of the local community.  He interacted with North Baton Rouge students at Summer STEM Lab, a BREC summer camp designed to curb effects of summer learning loss and to increase interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics topics and careers.  Campers were inspired by Harris to realize their potential through problem solving skills learned in STEM courses.

    Dr. Bernard Harris New Orleans artist, Lionel Milton, at Kuttin’ Kornerz Barbershop stand in front of a space-themed mural in North Baton Rouge.

    Dr. Bernard Harris New Orleans artist, Lionel Milton, at Kuttin’ Kornerz Barbershop stand in front of a space-themed mural in North Baton Rouge.

    Following the camp visit, he autographed a space-themed wall mural painted by New Orleans artist, Lionel Milton, at Kuttin’ Kornerz Barbershop.  He wrapped up his tour of Baton Rouge at Knock Knock Children’s Museum where he participated in space related pop-up activities with museum guests.

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    Jordan joins Urban Congress on African American Males

    The Urban Congress on African American Males welcomes James “Jay” Jordan who is currently interning with the organization. He is a second-year student pursuing his doctorate in LSU’s Sociology Department. His research interests include: African-American self-government, food security education, and community supported agriculture. Before moving to Baton Rouge, James led an organic gardening program at an elementary school in San Francisco. After falling in love with this work, he moved to Baton Rouge to create child-centered gardening programs and to study the benefits that they offer to people living in food deserts. Given his passion for teaching young children lessons associated with their health and happiness, James will be supporting Urban Congress Goal #3: Expand the number of African American boys entering kindergarten who are ready to learn and who are able to advance annually at or above their grade level. Jordan said he’s very grateful to have the opportunity to work with the Urban Congress because it enables him to join forces with people who are committed to empowering the marginalized citizens of Baton Rouge.

    Read more »
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    Son shares father’s legacy of Cook’s Theatre

    The North Baton Rouge Blue Ribbon Commission hosted “Meet and Greet with Dr. James Cook Jr., son of Cook’s Theatre founder, the late James Cook Sr.​, at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Scotlandville, June 10.
    Dr. Cook, a cardiologist in Medford, Oregon, discussed the history of his family, local community, and the theatre business. According to Councilwoman Chauna Banks, the event “brought back great memories of Cook’s Theatre and the legendary entrepreneurial spirit that was alive and well in the Scotlandville community.”
    Submitted by Rachel Emmanuel Ph.D.
    Feature photograph is of Myrtly Ricard, Lyle Mouton, Natalie Ricard, and Dr. James Cook
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    Congressional Black Caucus speaks out on immigration bills, family separation

    The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) – led by CBC Chair Cedric L. Richmond (D-LA-02) and the CBC Immigration Task Force Chair Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY-09) – released the following statement on two immigration bills that House Republicans are trying to pass this week, the Securing America’s Future Act and the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act.

    “Make no mistake about it, both of these bills – the Securing America’s Future Act and the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act – are extreme measures that seek to allow Republicans to avoid responsibility in an election year for a crisis that they themselves created, rather than actually bringing justice to the more than 1.5 million DREAMers who have been waiting for years for Congress to act.

    “Both bills would allocate billions of dollars to an unnecessary and ineffective border wall, rather than opening our borders and hearts to immigrants.

    “Both bills are an attack on immigrant families that would limit, if not completely eliminate, key family reunification policies, including sponsorships for married family members. In addition, children would still be able to be separated from their parents, or else forcibly detained with them for an indefinite period as many of them were over Father’s Day weekend. Uniting families strengthens communities, which is something the party of family values should support.

    “In addition, by threatening to end the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, a program whose recipients are typically from Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean, both bills seek to keep black and brown immigrants out of this country, even though recipients are required to have a high school diploma and pass a thorough background check.

    “Finally, both bills don’t have any Democratic support because Republicans chose to ditch the bipartisan approach to immigration that the House was taking until last week.

    “The most famous line from the poem mounted on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty says, ‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.’ It is in that spirit that the Congressional Black Caucus will continue to do all that we can to prevent these inhumane and unjust bills from becoming law.”

    —-
    The Congressional Black Caucus was established in 1971 and has a historic 48 members for the 115th Congress, including one Republican member and two senators. Congressman Cedric L. Richmond (D-LA-02) is the chairman of the caucus.

    Read more »
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    DrumCall: Our history is not something can just be cast aside.

    Black history, our history, matters. Yet the College Board, the massive non-profit that administers Advanced Placement (AP) classes, is in the process of removing Black and Brown history from their AP World History course – a course taken by millions of students every year.1

    Under new changes announced by the College Board, the AP World History course will no longer cover material prior to 1450—approximately the beginning of European colonialism. This alteration effectively erases the pre-colonial history of people of color from Africa, Asia, the Americas and the Middle East. Instead of being one of the few opportunities for students across the country to learn about diverse histories and perspectives, the course will now reinforce the false centrality of white European colonialism in history.

    Our history is not something can just be cast aside. But because of mounting pressure from students and teachers across the country to challenge the College Board’s decision we have a chance to make sure that it is not. The College Board has stated they are willing to reexamine their decision, but have not committed to any concrete changes, so we need to push for a full reinstatement of this content and a commitment to promote Black and Brown histories throughout their AP courses.

    Save Black history. Tell the College Board to keep Black history in their courses.

    These changes to the AP World History course matter. We live in a country where the people in power tell Black and Brown students every day that their history and their lives don’t matter.2 A just history curriculum may be the only place where these students are exposed to histories beyond that of white Europeans.

    In the past couple of years we’ve seen sustained efforts to erase Black and Brown histories from school curriculum. In Texas, the state school board pushed to downplay slavery as a cause of the Civil War and minimize the racial segregation of the Jim Crow era. Textbook publisher McGraw-Hill got caught calling African slaves “immigrants” and “workers.”3 Earlier this year, it was revealed that a far-right Koch Brothers backed group is offering free curriculum to budget strapped teachers, offering a revisionist version of slavery that paints it as a necessary evil to further freedom and democracy.4 And just this week, Michigan announced a proposed curriculum change that would eliminate references to the NAACP, scale down the importance of the civil rights movement and eliminate mentions of gay rights, Roe v. Wade, and climate change.5

    Our history is under constant attack, but because the College Board’s AP World History course is taught in thousands of schools to millions of students every year, the College Board plays a powerful role in setting de facto curriculum standards for all high school students. With this power, the College Board has the responsibility to ensure that students everywhere are exposed to histories beyond that of colonial Europeans and understand that the histories of Black and Brown people did not start when European colonists arrived in their lands.

    Demand the College Board keep Black and Brown histories in their AP World History course.

    What’s particularly cruel about the College Board’s decision to cut Black and Brown history from their AP course curriculum is that they are using it as an opportunity to push teachers to pay for their new and expensive “pre-AP courses” by offering to put the Black and Brown histories they removed into that course instead. But unlike the free curriculum for AP courses, pre-AP courses cost schools thousands of dollars a year effectively putting this content out of reach for most students.6

    All too often, the rich pre-colonial history of Africa, Asia, Americas and the Middle East is either erased or merely left as a footnote. For students of color, who rarely see themselves represented in high school courses, this erasure tells them that they do not matter. The College Board says that they are “dedicated to equity in education.” If they are dedicated to equitable education, then they must not play a role in erasing Black and Brown histories.

    Save Black history. Tell the College Board to keep Black history in their courses.

    Until justice is real, 

    –Brandi, Rashad, Arisha, Jade, Evan, Johnny, Future, Corina, Chad, Mary, Saréya, Eesha, Angela, Sam and the rest of the Color Of Change team

     References:

    “AP World History gets a makeover, and high school teachers rebel,” Politico, 11 June 2018 https://act.colorofchange.org/go/59248?t=9&akid=14668%2E2802358%2EPexbd2
    “Donald Trump Says ‘Our Ancestors Tamed a Continent’ and ‘We Are Not Going to Apologize for America’,” Newsweek, 25 May 2018 http://act.colorofchange.org/go/59249?t=11&akid=14668%2E2802358%2EPexbd2
    “Texas textbook calling slaves ‘immigrants’ to be changed, after mom’s complaint,” LA Times, 5 October 2015 http://act.colorofchange.org/go/59250?t=13&akid=14668%2E2802358%2EPexbd2
    “Millions of Students Are Quietly Being Taught the Koch Brothers’ Whitewashed Version of Black History,” The Root, 14 March 2018 https://act.colorofchange.org/go/59251?t=15&akid=14668%2E2802358%2EPexbd2
    “Proposed Michigan social studies standards erase references to gay rights, Roe v. Wade, and KKK ,” DetroitMetro Times, 12 June 2018 https://act.colorofchange.org/go/59252?t=17&akid=14668%2E2802358%2EPexbd2
    “Teachers Fight To Keep Pre-Colonial World History In AP Course,” Colorlines, 12 June 2018 https://act.colorofchange.org/go/59253?t=19&akid=14668%2E2802358%2EPexbd2

    Color Of Change is building a movement to elevate the voices of Black folks and our allies, and win real social and political change. Help keep our movement strong.

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    Historic independent police monitor bill heads to Governor’s desk

    The Louisiana House of Representatives unanimously passed legislation that recognizes the potential value for local law enforcement agencies of an independent police monitor.

    House Concurrent Resolution 98, sponsored by State Representative Marcus Hunter, D-Monroe, received final passage and heads to Gov. John bel Edwards’ desk for signature.

    The legislation provides responsibilities of an independent police monitor, recognizes the potential value for local law enforcement agencies of an independent police monitor, and encourages parish and municipal governing authorities to consider the advantages of such a position for its respective sheriff’s office or police department.

    Hunter presented the resolution on the house floor stating, “effective policing requires effective community support; policing is not done in a vacuum; if civilians are to be as safe as possible, they must work collaboratively with law enforcement officers and agencies, but if citizens come to perceive law enforcement officers to be as much of a threat to their safety as are criminals, the health of the community deteriorates rapidly.”

    Additionally, the resolution states, though citizens and local elected officials desire to hold sheriff’s deputies and municipal police officers to very high standards of integrity and service, many aspects of a law enforcement agency are unique to the law enforcement field. Special expertise is required to evaluate and improve internal practices, procedures, and culture. General management experts and local officials may not be in the best position to determine whether a particular department is fulfilling its duties in a way that meets such high standards; and an independent police monitor can fill that gap by combining law enforcement expertise with an outside-the-department perspective. Thereby playing a role that neither a member of the department nor a traditional government executive or inspector general can play.

    COMPLETE HCR 98

    This bill provides advisement and benefit of developing local police monitoring agencies to build trust and collaboration between law enforcement agencies and citizens. Cultivating agencies that strive for superior community service in every facet of life, including hiring and promotion, training, discipline, interagency cooperation and community outreach.

    By On Notice 4 Justice

    Read more »
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    Southern University wins in NIS national oral and poster competitions

    Southern University and A&M College was well represented by 30 undergraduate and 5 graduate students who participated in the 75th Joint Annual Meeting of the National Institute of Science and Beta Kappa Chi Scientific Honors Society, in Washington, DC.   This scientific conference, hosted by the University of the District of Columbia, aimed to provide young scientists the opportunity to disseminate their research findings and to network with students and peers of like minds.   This Diamond Anniversary Year represents the 75th one for the joint annual meetings of Beta Kappa Chi (BKX) and the National Institute of Science (NIS). Southern University students won several awards at the conference.

    Oral Presentations

    Irene Lewis   1st Place Agricultural Sciences undergraduate

    Kirstin Brooks 2nd Place Psychology undergraduate

    Gagandeep Kaur 1st Place Environmental Tox. graduate

    Poster Presentations

    Prathusha Bagam 1st Place Environmental Tox. graduate

    Demario Vallier 2nd Place Poster Biology graduate

    Students and faculty were elected to national offices as well.  Deadra James Mackie was elected as national executive secretary for the 18th year, student officer, Joenique Woods, was unanimously chosen as the Southcentral Regional Vice President for Beta Kappa Chi and secretary for the National Institute of Science.  Honors student, Ikea McKay, was elected president of the National Institute of Science and Darrell Harry was chosen as student secretary for Beta Kappa Chi Scientific Honor Society and Treasure for the National Institute of Sciences.  As expected, the Jaguar nation made an indelible mark on the conference.

    Beta Kappa Chi Honor Society was founded in Lincoln, Pennsylvania in 1921, and chartered in 1923.  BKX is a member of the certifying body, the National Association of College Honor Societies (www.achsnatl.org).

    Travel to this endeavor would not have been possible were it not for the financial support of the Dolores Margaret Richard Spikes Honors College and the Timbuktu Academy, both led by Diola Bagayoko, Ph.D., the Southern University Foundation, through the Office of Robert Easley, the College of Sciences and Engineering dean Patrick Carriere,Ph.D., and the Department of Biological Sciences.  Collective contributions from these units allowed the students to have scholarly and professional experiences. The students’ advisors were Eric Pugh, Deidra Atkins-Ball, Phyllis Okwan, and Deadra James Mackie. Bagayoko said “the Jaguar Nation is very proud of them for their intellectual and leadership accomplishments.”

     

    Pictured: (first row) Deadra J. Mackie, Dr. Deidra Atkins-Ball, Paige Mitchell, Wes Washington, Joenique Woods, Ashley Lewis, Irene Lewis, Eric Pugh, Chloe Washington, Tiara Johnson, Dr. Phyllis Okwan and Brandon Parker; (Second row) Terani Dillahunty, Kirstin Brooks, Kelvin Wells, Jacara Glover, Jonathan Sumbler, Ikea McKay Naila McCraney, Darrell Harry, Demario Vallier and Edgar Perez

     

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    AT&T Louisiana donation supports future coders in Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program

    Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome announced that AT&T Louisiana has contributed $40,000 to the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program as part of AT&T Aspire, the company’s philanthropic initiative which drives innovation in education to promote student success in school and beyond.

    The contribution supports a four-week coding and web development course conducted by The Future’s Fund as a part of the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program. The program will employ 250 young people and 50 of those students will participate in entrepreneurship, technology, and software development courses. This project-based learning environment promotes innovation and creativity to foster skills to meet the needs of the future workforce.

    “I’m grateful for AT&T’s continued dedication to improving access to educational opportunities through this generous contribution,” said Broome. “These STEM-based courses will give students a boost in learning more about the potential career opportunities ahead of them.”

    Sonia Perez, President of AT&T Louisiana, said, “Supporting education and workforce development efforts through contributions like this one to the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program and the coding course conducted through the Future’s Fund is another important way that AT&T Louisiana puts a high priority on growing the economy of the future for the people of Louisiana.”

    AT&T invests in education and job training to create a skilled and diverse workforce that powers our company – and our country – for the future. Through the AT&T Aspire initiative, AT&T helps provide access to education and training people need to get and keep good jobs. Since 2008, AT&T has committed $400 million to programs to help millions of students in all 50 states and around the world. AT&T Aspire brings together the power of our network – our employees, our technology and organizations – to connect people to opportunities through education and job training.

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    Developmental Disabilities Council seeks public comment by June 11

    Public Comment Sought on Council’s 

    FFY 2019 Action Plan

    During its April meeting, the DD Council approved its  Action Plan for Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2019 (October 2018 – September 2019).  Highlights of the Council’s Action Plan includes activities to support advocacy and self-advocate leaders; advocacy for adequate funding to ensure quality services are accessible statewide to people with unmet needs; advocacy for support structures for developing and implementing Individual Education Plans; training for people with developmental disabilities and their family members on sexuality, sexual abuse and exploitation; training and technical assistance to build the capacity of child care providers with including children with disabilities; and multiple initiatives designed to build capacity in both supported employment and customized employment, including mentoring in certification of Employment Support Professionals in Customized Employment.
    Comments on the Action Plan should be sent to Derek White at Derek.White@la.gov by June 11, 2018.
    Read more »
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    COMMENTARY: Bishop Curry’s message could’ve blended Malcolm X’s message that love equals self defense’

    Yesterday’s pomp-filled royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle was indeed a captivating, majestic, “heaven on earth” event. Despite the fact that it was held at the St. George church in Windsor, a vibrant American soul-stirring sermon on love stole the spotlight from the stars of the show. As millions of Americans witnessed history, the Most Reverend Bishop Michael Curry delivered a sermon that intertwined the power of love and the prophetic tradition.

    The first African-American Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church skillfully linked dynamic quotes of “The old slaves in the antebellum south who explained the dynamic power of love…,” “When love is the way , poverty will become history,” and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s quote, “We must discover the power of love , the redemptive power of love , and when we do that we will make of this old world a new world. For love is the only way.” The mentioning of Dr. King is what led me to write this opinion piece.

    Yesterday was also El Hajj Malik Shabazz’s birthday. Better known as Malcolm X, Shabazz was an African-American Muslim Minister who was an American icon who also preached the good news of love. He was a man who loved his people so much that he delivered a speech on Valentine ’s Day in 1965 at the Ford Auditorium in Detroit, Michigan after his house was firebombed the same day. America must begin to love the many contributions Malcolm X deposited into the spirit of the American narrative. After returning from his trip to Mecca, in this speech, he said, “And when I got back into this American society, I’m not in a society that practices brotherhood.” He also said, “Black people are victims of organized violence perpetuated upon us by the Klan, the Citizens Council and many other forms, we should defend ourselves.” His heart poured out much love when he mentions his observation of a Black woman in Selma, Alabama who was knocked down and dragged down the street while Black men just stood there.El Hajj Malik Shabazz Valentine

    He articulated love in another form: self-defense. His message was not of violence but of love or self-defense during a time of lynchings and brutal forces of discrimination terrorizing African-American communities. Even though he was an independent voter, if alive today he would probably join the ranks of those who staunchly support the second amendment of the United States constitution.

    Embarrassingly, in the year 2018, it is still considered by many Americans as a sign of heresy to openly quote the words of Malcolm X and this misguiding violent narrative of him must be revisited by all Americans. I’m pretty sure Bishop Curry thought of using a few quotes from perhaps another speech delivered by Malcolm X in honor of his birthday, but Curry probably knew he would have had to endure harsh consequences in the long run. I close by adjusting the closing words of Bishop Curry, “But if humanity ever captures the energy to love {Malcom X}, it will be a second time in history that we have discovered fire.”

    By Billy Washington
    Guest Columnist

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    COMMENTARY: Push for new constitution is suspicious

    A small group of apparently well-funded interest groups are pushing for a constitutional convention to draft a new constitution for the state of Louisiana. Lobbyists have been hired to promote the idea and rumors are circulating that big money will be spent on advertising and electing delegates to the convention. That’s enough to raise suspicions but there are more reasons to be concerned about a convention; primarily that the proponents, whether in the legislature or out, won’t say what the new constitution should contain. How better to sell an idea? Simply make it a vote for a blank slate and claim it’s the panacea for solving state budget problems without explaining how.

    The complaints about the current constitution made by the proponents of HB 500 (the legislative instrument needed to convene a convention) include that it is too long (because of amendments voted on by the people) and that it “locks up” too much state spending. Of course much of the spending that is locked up has nothing to do with the constitution. Mandated federal spending, contractual obligations, consent decrees, election costs and the like add up to billions. Moreover, the constitutionally dedicated fund that contains the real money is the K-12 education fund (the “MFP”) and most of the others are simply trust funds not dependent on yearly appropriations (Coastal Restoration, Rainy Day, various tobacco litigation funds) or have a dedicated funding source (D.O.T.D. funded by the gas tax) or are simply too small to matter. I haven’t heard any of my constituents screaming about the overfunding of public education or that our infrastructure is in great shape and thus we need to take money away from the Transportation Trust Fund. The proponents of HB 500 haven’t said such things either because if that’s what they’re after, it wouldn’t pass the legislature. So what do they want? Our homestead exemption? Our education funding? the prohibition against donations of public property? To eliminate the 2/3 vote required to raise taxes? Some suspect an effort to shift the tax burden to the middle class and simultaneously preserve tax breaks for special interests. We need some answers as to what these proponents of a new constitution actually want. Until we get some truthful answers the public should demand a no vote on HB 500.

    Sincerely,

    Jay Morris
    State Representative / District 14
    Monroe, La

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    Project Power Summer Camp opens registration for youth

    Applications are being accepted for the free American Diabetes Association’s Project Power Summer Camp at LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge. The camp will be from June 11–15, 2018, and is free of charge for children (ages of 7 to 12) who are at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes.

    For more information about the camp or to register a potential camper, please contact the American Diabetes Association office at 504-889-0278, extension 6078, or go online at www.diabetes.org/camppowerupbatonrouge. You can also contact Pennington Biomedical for more information at 225-763-2923.

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    South Baton Rouge Breast Cancer Walk and Health Fair start at 7am, May 19

    The Wall of Fame Committee, Councilwoman Tara Wicker, Susan G. Komen® Baton Rouge, State Rep. Patricia Smith, Sen. Yvonne Colomb, and other community groups and civic-minded individuals are hosting a community-wide breast cancer walk and health fair on Saturday, May 19, 2018, 7am—1pm at the Dr. Leo S. Butler Community Center, 950 East Washington Street.

    Woman’s Hospital and Mary Bird Perkins-Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center will have mobile units on site for health screenings; and other valuable information and services will be available, as well as free t-shirts, conference bags and other exciting giveaways. Please help us to encourage strong participation in this important community event!

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    COMMENTARY: What about the grandparents raising children?

    According to the U.S. 2010 Census, there were more than 2.7 million households with grandparents raising their grandchildren. Census Bureau reported that 67,000 Louisiana grandparents are responsible for meeting the needs of grandchildren. The reasons why are varied.

    There are cases where the parents are unable to care for the children because of drug abuse. Or the parents themself are struggling financially and grandparents have stepped in to help raise the child. And sadly some are raising their grandchildren due to domestic violence. Many were not prepared to do this all over again as they enter retirement age.Believe it or not, some grandparents are still in the workforce.

    The toll taking on the role of parent can be great. Increased household expenses, mental stress of the realities of raising children again.Not to mention having the energy to keep the children involved in extracurricular activities.

    What is also not realized is the legal and financial realities. There are grandparents who go through the process of getting guardianship of their grandchildren or the parent will sign a power of attorney. Doing this will allow them to make more decisions for the children while the parent still retains parental rights.

    What about life insurance ?

    In the middle of raising grandchildren grandparents can easily overlook having life insurance coverage for themselves and the grandchildren. According to LIMRA 2016 Facts About Life, only 44 percent of U.S. households have individual life insurance. That includes the grandparents raising their children.

    Thankfully life insurance rates are not as expensive as some would have you to believe.For grandparents over 50 who do not have life insurance they have options available to them for coverage.In addition there are policies that will not require medical exams.

    One would be a final expense burial life insurance policy. These are small face whole life insurance policies that will take care of their final expenses. Another option would a guaranteed universal life policy. This policy acts like a cross between term and whole life insurance. The death benefit is guaranteed up to certain age, while the policy accumulates cash value. An option younger grandparents may like.

    Then finally we have term life insurance.A term policy will terminate after a set number of years up to 30. It will provide pure life insurance for a grandparent. However the price of term life insurance can be pricey for individuals in their late 50′s into the 60′s. Some policies have questions that will automatically decline older clients. In addition the amount of coverage allowable decreases around age 64.

    Coverage for grandchildren ?

    In each example I cited above, grandparent can purchase a term rider to put their grandchildren on the policy. A rider is simply an add-on allowed to the policy at the time of applying. The term rider will put term coverage on the grandchildren until they are either married. Or they age out of the term coverage. The exact age varies by company. By the way a grandparent has another option at their disposal.

    Companies do sell whole life insurance policies for children ages 14 days old up 17. For the most part they are very inexpensive. Not to mention, the child can keep this policy well into adulthood. One carrier I personally use will you to purchase as much as $50,000 of life insurance on a child.

    Grandparents are being called to duty again as parents. They are answering the call with love and attention. At the same time we should make certain they have knowledge and access to affordable life insurance. Not only for them, but also the grandchildren they are raising.

    Submitted by Thomas Dickson

    Thomas Dickson is a licensed independent life insurance agent in Baton Rouge, La. His company is Acadian Insurance Group. Specializing in senior life insurance. He can be reached at thomas @ acadianinsurancegroup.com

     

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    An open letter to the citizens of Baton Rouge

    During the early morning hours of July 5, 2016, we were placed on a journey to determine how we would understand and respond to the tragic death of Mr. Alton Sterling. There have been moments along the way where we have been confronted by the truth of this journey and reminded it’s not just going to go away. The decision by state and local authorities to look to the United States Department of Justice, the announcement of findings by the DOJ, the passing of the issue to the State Attorney General, the announcement of his decision, the press conference by Police Chief Murphy Paul to share his decision, and then the release of the video footage from that senseless and horrible moment, have all served to remind us that we must all decide how we understand and respond to what happened in the parking lot of a convenience store in North Baton Rouge.

    I believe that any understanding and response must begin with Mr. Sterling’s family. They have endured loss and pain beyond imagination. And they have had to do so under the glaring lights of news cameras and public scrutiny. This family deserves our respect and compassion. We cannot just “co-opt” their loved one to suit our agenda, whatever it is. Alton Sterling is not a hashtag or a character in a horrific video. He was a member of our community with family and friends who cared about him greatly. Any effort to process all of this that does not begin with this reality if fatally flawed in my opinion.

    We must then be willing to be honest with each other about the perceptions and experiences of Black men in Baton Rouge wrapped up in the most difficult 90 seconds I have ever seen. In the last moments of Mr. Sterling’s life we are brought face to face with some harsh realities about our city. There are some people in Baton Rouge who must create ways to make money to live and provide for their families. Opportunity is not readily accessible for all. Those who are sworn to protect and serve are not always professional and respectful of every citizen. Black men are thought to be angry and violent and as a result must be treated differently. For 20 months I have said healing requires the acknowledgement of a wound. As a community we must speak the truth about these perceptions and experiences or all of this pain and strife will be for nothing. Until we do, any effort to understand and respond will be doomed to failure.

    My final belief is that we must move beyond responding to moments and begin to build movements. Moments last through the news cycle or until the next moment happens. Movements challenge what we think and demand that we do something. Movements bring about change, moments don’t. Political science professor Ron Walters, Ph.D, is quoted as saying the difference between a moment and a movement is sacrifice. This is certainly true in our situation. The only way Baton Rouge will learn, grow and change is if there are enough people who are willing to sacrifice and work to make it happen. We can all do something and we don’t all have to do the same thing. Find a place where you can connect with people who are serious about making this city better and get busy doing so. Don’t be distracted by the negative voices screaming for attention. That’s all they know and all they will ever speak. But we are better than their hatred and small minds.

    Most of my life has been lived in Baton Rouge. I have seen and experienced the good, the bad and the ugly in these years. It is my sincere desire to be a part of leaving a better Baton Rouge to the next generation. A Baton Rouge where Black men are seen as assets and vital members of our community. A Baton Rouge where we are all productive, connected, healthy and safe. A Baton Rouge where my neighborhood and zip code don’t determine my access to opportunity and resources. This is the movement I am determined to be a part of building. In April of 2016, I, along with a number of partners, convened the Urban Congress on African American Males in Baton Rouge for the first time. We did so because we could no longer ignore the realities associated with being a Black male in the community we love. Since that time we have continued to build a movement that matters. A movement that makes a difference. Today, I am more committed to the work of the Urban Congress than ever. And you are welcome to join us in this work. But if not the Congress, find something that allows you to get busy doing something that changes Baton Rouge for the better. My prayer is that these painful moments will motivate people us beyond the place of emotions and to a place of ongoing action. This city needs it.

    Sincerely,

    Raymond A. Jetson
    Chief Executive Catalyst
    MetroMorphosis

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  • High schoolers win at national court competition in DC

    On March 23-25, 2018, four East Baton Rouge Parish high school students competed in the Marshall-Brennan National High School Moot Court Competition in Washington, D.C. The competition was hosted by American University Washington College of Law. The East Baton Rouge Parish students, Constance Springer and Jaidyn Bryant juniors at McKinley High School, Maya Jones a senior at Southern University Laboratory High School, an​d Ariel Simmons a senior at Glen Oaks Magnet High School, competed against more than 70 high school students from across the United States. They argued a case involving issues relating to the First Amendment’s freedom of speech and expression, and the Fourteenth Amendment’s equal protection clause. Jaidyn Bryant earned second place in the petitioner category, and Constance Springer placed among the top ten in the respondent category.​ Bryant also received an award as a top four competitor.

    Ariel Simmons, Maya Jones, Constance Springer, and Jaidyn Bryant

    Ariel Simmons, Maya Jones, Constance Springer, and Jaidyn Bryant

     

    Jaidyn Bryant receives her award as a top four competitor

    Jaidyn Bryant receives her award as a top four competitor

     

    The students were the winners of the Southern University Law Center Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project Regional Moot Court Competition. The Southern University Law Center Marshall-Brennan Project is sponsored by the Louisiana Bar Foundation, Southern University Law Center, Wilson Fields, judge 19th Judicial District Court; Luke Thibodeaux, attorney in the law firm of Gordon McKernan Injury Attorneys; and Alejandro Perkins, partner in the law firm of Hammonds, Sills, Adkins and Guice.

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    COMMENTARY: 3 ways stress takes a toll on your body

    April is Stress Awareness Month

    Did the latest challenge at work bring on a tightening in your stomach? Does constant worry about a loved one’s health make you physically ill yourself?

    Everyone at some point feels the effects of stress. Not everyone deals with stress in the best way, though.

    “Often stressed-out people seek relief through alcohol, tobacco or drugs, but that just makes matters worse,” said Richard Purvis, a health and wellness practitioner and author of Recalibrate: Six Secrets to Resetting Your Age.

    “Instead of relieving stress, those toxic substances tend to keep the body in a stressed state, causing even more physical problems.”

    April is Stress Awareness Month, a good time to reflect on how the demands and anxieties of daily life put a strain not just on our minds, but on our bodies as well.

    Stress, of course, is not always a bad thing. It does serve a positive purpose.

    “It can keep us alert and prepares us to avoid danger,” Purvis said. “But stress becomes a negative factor when a person faces continuous challenges without any time mixed in for relief or relaxation.”

    As a result, he said, people become overworked, and stress-related anxiety and illness can occur. The strain leads them to suffer from such ailments as headaches, upset stomach, elevated blood pressure, chest pain and problems sleeping.

    Purvis says a few examples of how stress can play havoc on our bodies include:

    • Musculoskeletal system. When we experience stress, it’s natural for our muscles to tense up. “It’s the body’s way of guarding against injury and pain,” Purvis said. Usually, the muscles relax once the stressful event passes. But chronic stress keeps the muscles in a constant state of guardedness. “When muscles are taut and tense for long periods of time other reactions in the body are triggered,” he said. Chronic muscle tension in the shoulders, neck and head can lead to tension-type headaches and migraines.
    • Respiratory system. Stress causes people to breathe harder. “That’s not a problem for most people,” Purvis said. “But if you suffer from asthma or a lung disease such as emphysema, getting essential oxygen can be difficult.” He says some studies show that acute stress events – such as the death of a loved one – can trigger asthma attacks in which the airway between the nose and the lungs constrict. Also, rapid breathing associated with stress – or hyperventilation – can result in a panic attack in some people.
    • Gastrointestinal system. Sometimes people who are stressed will eat much more than usual. Sometimes they will eat much less. Neither is healthy. “You can get heartburn or acid reflux if you eat more food or different types of food, or if you increase how much alcohol you drink or tobacco you use,” Purvis said. When you’re stressed, the brain sends alert sensations to the stomach. Your stomach can react with “butterflies,” nausea or pain. “Severe stress can cause vomiting, diarrhea or constipation,” he says. “If your stress becomes chronic, you might develop ulcers or severe stomach pain.”

    So what’s to be done? Purvis pointed out that stress is a natural occurrence in life and happens to everyone.

    “Since you can’t avoid your job, bills, or other life experiences, the best thing to do is learn to manage stress,” he said. “You won’t avoid stress entirely, but it is possible to minimize the effects by eating healthy, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and taking care of yourself in general.”

     

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    COMMUNITY EVENT: Celebrate National Minority Health Month

    Submitted news

    UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Louisiana will celebrate National Minority Health Month in April 2018. This year’s theme released from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health  is “Partnering for Health Equity.” Join us for a time of Community Awareness and free events.

    According to OMH director Dr. Mathew Lin, “Partnerships at the national, state, tribal, and local levels are vital to the work of reducing health disparities.”  UnitedHealthcare will host a series of events that will partner with local government, private, and public community stakeholders.

    The Kick-Off event will be a Lunch and Learn held at the Exxon Mobil YMCA, 7717 Howell Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA. From 12:00 noon until 2:00 pm. This event will feature a key-note speaker, Robert L. Newton, Jr., PhD, Director of the Physical Activity and Ethnic Minority Health Laboratory Director of the Physical Activity and Ethnic Minority Health Laboratory and allow community partners in health equity to share available services that can benefit the community.

    UnitedHealthcare has a host of partners including EBRP District 2 Metropolitan Councilwoman Chauna Banks, the Jewel J. Newman Community Center, Baton Rouge Primary Care Collaborative, Southeast Community Health Systems, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, and the Exxon Mobil YMCA, Save-A-Lot Grocery Store, Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center Pediatric Residency Program, Southern University School of Nursing and Allied Health, Southern University AgCenter, and Smiles on the Go to name a few.

    These community partners and more will host a series of events throughout the month of April.

     

    Diabetes & Hypertension Awareness Fair – Wednesday, April 18, 2018

    Southeast Community Health Systems, 6351 Main St. Zachary, LA at 4:00 pm -6:00pm

    Health Equity Community Summit and Panel Discussion – Thursday, April 19, 2018

    Jewel J. Newman Community Center, 2013 Central Road, Baton Rouge, LA. Doors opening at 4:00 pm for vendor fair and panel discussion at 6:00 pm.

    Preparing Healthy Meals with Community Grocery Stores – Saturday, April 21, 2018

    Save-A-Lot Grocery Store, 12200 Plank Road, Baton Rouge, LA 70811 at 10:00 am until 2:00 pm

     

    Each event is free, opened to the public, and will provide, food, presentations, valuable health information, and more. Come out and learn what an important role partnerships play in health equity for our community!

    For more information, please contact Deborah Jones with United Healthcare Community Plan at 225-413-2198 or email deborah_w_jones@uhc.com.

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    SU Land-Grant Campus to host ‘One Health Symposium’

    The Southern University Agricultural Land-Grant Campus will host a symposium themed, ‘One Health Symposium: Promoting Sustainable Communities.’ The event will be held April 12-13 at the Southern University Law Center.

    The ‘One Health’ concept is a worldwide strategy for expanding interdisciplinary collaborations and communications in all aspects of health care for humans, animals and the environment.

    This symposium, which is free and open to the public, will bring the various disciplines of the One Health community – medicine, veterinary medicine, public health, social sciences, nutrition, food science, engineering, agricultural and environmental sciences – together to improve the health of people, animals and the planet.

    Participants will have an opportunity to come together and share strategies as well as learn about the latest educational tools and resources which could facilitate the improvement of their health, the health of their animals – both pets and livestock – and the overall health of the environment.

    Sessions during the symposium will include:

    • Bacterial Diseases and Zoonosis
    • Community and Economic Development
    • Designing Health Communities
    • Developing a healthy and vibrant food system in Louisiana
    • Diversity in the Health Care Field
    • Economics and Health Disparities
    • Environmental Health
    • Exercise, weight loss and well-being. Is weight loss imperative to obtain wellness?
    • Health Equity: “Health Care for all”
    • Healthy Child Development
    • Human Animal Bond
    • Human Disease Prevention and Intervention
    • Louisiana Opioid Epidemic
    • Mental Health Issues
    • Pet Equity
    • The Effects of Nutrition Policy on Population Health
    • The Science of Human “Sense of Taste and Health Diet”
    • True Care Health and Wellness “Healing with Herbs”

    This is the ideal event for new and beginning farmers, agricultural business owners, community leaders, non-profit and community based organizations, pet owners, students, faculty, staff and anyone eager to learn!

    The symposium is also designed to increase the marketability of the students in the SU College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences, while exposing them to individuals in their respective professions.

    Students will participate in FASpitch (elevator pitch), oral, and poster competitions. The students will also be able to participate in student ‘HUDDLEs’ where they will meet with agency representatives, academicians, and practitioners one-on-one to share their experiences and learn about job and scholarship opportunities.

    A highlight of this symposium will be a ribbon cutting for the SU Land-Grant Campus’ three institutes – the Southern Institute for One Health One Medicine, the Southern Institute for Medicinal Plants, and the Southern Institute for Food Science, Nutrition and Wellness.

    ONLINE: www.suagcenter.com/symposium.

    By LaKeeshia Giddens Lusk
    Contributing Writer

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    Senator Chabert writes ‘It’s time to end attacks’

    Dear Editor:

    Since 2014, several parishes have filed lawsuits in an attempt to make energy manufacturers pay for rebuilding Louisiana’s coast. These lawsuits are mostly being driven by plaintiff’s law firms that have built reputations for suing our state’s oil and gas companies.

    Restoring our coast and protecting our wetlands is an important mission, but these lawsuits are not the answer. The reality is that there are many parties that contribute to coastal and wetland degradation in our state, not just energy manufacturers. The energy manufacturers are good corporate citizens that contribute to their communities in many ways. These employers are the source of thousands of high paying jobs, tens of billions in economic growth, and billions more in state and local tax revenue. The recent approval of the Bayou Bridge Pipeline project is an example of this recent growth.

    These lawsuits attack the companies that are currently the largest contributors to our coastal restoration funds. If we truly want to grow and maintain our coastline, we should be doing everything possible to encourage the industries to locate and expand in our state. It’s time to end these attacks and come together to create a coastal protection plan that works for everyone.

    Sincerely,

    Senator Norbert “Norby” Chabert
    Louisiana Senate District 20

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    Southern rolls out Ag mobile during annual small farmer conference, hundreds in attendance

    More than three hundred small farmers from throughout Louisiana gathered at the Felton G. Clark Activity Center for the Southern University Land-Grant Campus’s 8th Annual Louisiana Small Farmer Conference. The three-day conference themed, “Transforming and Elevating Louisiana Small Family Farms,” was held March 15-17, 2018.

    Events kicked off on March 15 with a ribbon cutting for the Southern University Agricultural Land-Grant Campus’s Mobile Education and Technology Center.

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    The mobile center will be used to provide educational training, bring Internet access, hands on testing and live instruction to low-to-moderate income families residing in the most marginalized areas and remote corners of the state.

    Sessions held during the day included grant writing, emergency preparedness, and integrated pest management.

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    La Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain DVM

    The second day of the conference began with an address from Louisiana’s Department of Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, DVM. The keynote address was delivered by Leonard Jordan, the acting chief of the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Resources Conservation Service.

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    Leonard Jordan

    Session included Programs for Veterans, Intensive Small Scale Farming, Agro-Tourism, Farm Liability Insurance, Social Media Marketing, Biodiversity on Your Farm, Estate Planning, Record-Keeping and Urban Farms.

    The Louisiana Living Legends Banquet was held on the evening of March 16 following the conference’s sessions. This banquet honors individuals who have made significant contributions to Southern University in the areas of Agriculture, Family and Consumer Sciences.

    The 2018 honorees were Winzer Andrews, retired county agent/ parish chairman with the LSU AgCenter’s Cooperative Extension Service in Caddo Parish; State Representative Barbara West Carpenter, Ph.D., dean of International Affairs and University Outreach at Southern University; and Veeraraghava R. Bachireddy, Ph.D., professor emeritus of plant and soil sciences at the SU College of Agricultural, Family, and Consumer Sciences.

    The three join 24 others who have been honored with this recognition since 2005.

    Anthony Reed, director of special projects for the School of Agriculture and Applied Sciences at Alcorn State University, served as the speaker for the banquet.

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    The conference concluded with a workshop on Managing Feral Hogs. During the workshop Gene Cavalier, a biologist with the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry spoke to the attendees about the rules and regulations for feral hogs in Louisiana. Derrick Banks, extension agent at Prairie View A & M University also made a presentation on managing feral hogs.

    By LaKeeshia Giddens-Lusk
    Contributing Writer

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    There’s a Juke Joint in West Baton Rouge

    The West Baton Rouge Museum is pleased to announce the grand opening of the Juke Joint exhibit on April 6th at 6:30PM. This new permanent exhibit will interpret the rich blues heritage of West Baton Rouge. It is one of the first projects of the museum’s new curator of exhibits Kathe Hambrick.

    Kathe Hambrick, Curator of Exhibits, West Baton Rouge Museum

    Kathe Hambrick, Curator of Exhibits, West Baton Rouge Museum

    The Juke Joint grand opening is a tribute to Slim Harpo with living legends Henry Gray and Carol Fran along with tomorrow’s legends Carter Wilkerson and the Riverside Blues Band and Rudy “Trey” Richard, III. We will be frying fish and serving up Juke Joint beer from Tin Roof and the all new “Baby Scratch My Back” cocktail invented just for us by Cane Land Distilling Company, said museum planners.
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    Juke joints have a history that is deeply rooted in small towns throughout the south. West Baton Rouge was famous for the juke joints that provided relief to the workers coming in from the sugarcane fields and long hard days of work on the Mississippi River. The night time establishments in West Baton Rouge Parish drew crowds as the Blue Laws of East Baton Rouge did not apply on the west side. You could hear live music playing all night through open windows across the canebrake. Ernest Gaines is quoted in his memoir, Mozart to Leadbelly, “Baton Rouge was a dry town on Sundays; so I…would go across the Mississippi River into Port Allen, into The White Eagle bar.” He wrote about hearing Bobby Rush, Bobby Blue Bland, and Ernie K-Doe in The White Eagle.

    Learn more of the juke joints and the Blues musicians that made West Baton Rouge famous. Be prepared to dance and share your juke joint stories from West Baton Rouge Parish.

    ONLINE: http://westbatonrougemuseum.com

    Photos by James Terry III

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    Homecoming crowd celebrates Tasker Memorial’s anniversary

    Words from two favorite old hymns best describe the recent 150th anniversary celebration at Tasker Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church in Ponchatoula.

    Written after Tasker was organized in 1867 and, like the church, both songs have stood the tests of time: “O what a foretaste of glory divine” (“Blessed Assurance” 1873) and “What a day of rejoicing that will be” (“When We All Get to Heaven” 1898.)

    Indeed, the rejoicing by the congregation was just a sampling of the future awaiting Christians everywhere.

    Former City Councilman Wayne F. Foster was master of ceremonies and two choirs participated, Tasker’s and visiting Amite Butler Chapel A.M.E. Zion.

    The choirs led and were sometimes joined by the congregation in singing as well as solos by Barbara Dixon and Clifford Guy Walker. Songs heard: “He is Lord”, “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms”, “I’ll Go if I Have to Go by Myself”, “Hold to God’s Unchanging Hand”, and “How Great is My God.”

    One song, “He’s an On-Time God,” reminded everyone of God’s timing: “He may not come when you want Him to, but He’ll be right there on time!”

    During the service Jacqueline Brumfield extended a welcome, Debbie Brown gave history and Virginia Jeanpierre and Yvonne Elzy gave reflections.

    Pastor Rev. John E. Hurst Jr., welcomed everyone, introducing Mayor Bob Zabbia who thanked the church for the invitation, expressing what the church and its members mean to the community. He recognized Community Center Director Lynnette Jackson Allen who grew up in the church and introduced Kathryn Martin as the writer of the proclamation.

    Gwen Bankston, read with great feeling its words, some of which are:

    Whereas, Tasker Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church stands at the corner of South Sixth and West Ash Streets in Ponchatoula as a permanent monument and testimonial to the toil and sacrifice of its faithful leaders and members across the years; and

    Whereas, the church has always been of great historical importance to the City of Ponchatoula since its organization October 12, 1867; and

    Whereas, the leaders, members and friends who come and go from the place of the Holy on a regular basis help meet the needs of the church family as well as those of the community and many others through their support of home and foreign missions; and

    Whereas, the church and its family serve as a beacon to the feet and light to the path to lead the way for countless men, women, boys and girls to know our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ;

    Whereas, it is a privilege to extend the expression of our esteem and best wishes to Tasker Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church on its 150th anniversary;

    Now, therefore, I, Robert Zabbia, Mayor of the City of Ponchatoula, Louisiana, hereby proclaim this day as Tasker Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church Day.

    Rev. Dr. John Wesley Forbes III, pastor of Butler Chapel A.M.E. Zion, brought a rousing timely sermon.

    Those working behind the scenes to bring the special day about were the program committee: Helena Brown, Jacqueline Brumfield, Barbara Dixon, Wayne F. Foster, and Joyce Roberts; finance committee: Debbie Brown, Charles Dixon, Wayne F. Foster, M. Nathaniel Kelly, and Joyce Roberts; music committee: Linda Hodges and Lawrence Greely.

    The service was followed by a time of feast and fellowship and this blessed and wonderful day will long live on in the minds and hearts of everyone attending.

     By Kathryn J. Martin
    Contributing Writer

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    3 ways to prepare for a troubled teen’s return from a treatment center

    Raising a teenager can be a challenge under the best circumstances.

    But when a teenager’s addictions, learning disabilities, or emotional and behavioral issues become more than parents can bear, the young people often are placed in residential or wilderness treatment programs where professionals help them work through their issues.

    Success can quickly unravel when the child returns home, though, if parents aren’t ready with a game plan to help with the transition.

    “Parents often fear that their son or daughter is going to relapse into old, unhealthy or dangerous patterns,” said Tim R. Thayne, PhD, a marriage and family therapist and author of Not by Chance: How Parents Boost Their Teen’s Success In and After Treatment (www.drtimthayne.com).

    “They have fears about how their child will connect socially with other people and whether they will find the right friends. They fear their teen will fall further behind in academics.”Unknown-1

    Thayne suggests a few ways to help parents ease the transition:

    • Identify natural mentors for your teen. A natural mentor – such as a neighbor, teacher, relative or coach – is typically more effective than an officially assigned mentor. “Studies suggest that most formal mentoring relationships last less than a year,” Thayne said. “In contrast, natural mentoring relationships, which come from the church, school, family and neighborhood, are far more durable, with the average lasting nine years.”

     

    • Know when and how to grant back privileges and freedoms. Don’t let your teen pressure you into promising the return of certain privileges. Long before they come home, teens in treatment often begin asking what they are going to be able to do and how soon. “They want back the freedoms they once had, such as cell phone and car use, sleepovers, computer time, dating, time with friends and so forth,” Thayne said. “If there is ever a time not to buckle under pressure from your teen, it’s now while they are still in the program. If your teen is going to be angry, let the program deal with the fallout.” When they do come home, don’t make a rule you aren’t willing to back up. Consistency is key. Over time, as your trust grows, be ready to hand out rewards before being asked, but this doesn’t have to be done all at once. “Things can be handed out for a weekend trial, or at a level of 50 percent of what your child initially pushed for,” Thayne said.

     

    • Find someone to talk with. “Parents should have someone they can open up to about their emotions,” Thayne says. He suggests finding a therapist or a coach who has experience working with parents in this situation. “That counselor will be better equipped to help you through this transition,” he said. “Nothing will surprise them; not your fears, not your questions, not your situation.” In addition to an expert coach, Thayne said, it also helps to have a trusted friend you can vent to as well.

    “Long-term success doesn’t come about by chance, by hoping or simply because you shelled out a lot of money and sent your child away to get help,” Thayne said. “It requires work and changes on your part, and it takes a concrete plan.”

     

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