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  • Natasha Williams joins LPB

    Natasha Williams joins Louisiana Public Broadcasting as co-anchor and reporter, pairing up with managing editor and co-anchor Andre’ Moreau on LPB’s weekly program Louisiana: The State We’re In, the state’s longest-running statewide news magazine program. Williams is a veteran News Anchor, having spent nearly 20 years as Anchor and Investigative Reporter at the #1 CBS affiliate in the country, WHIO-TV.

    “We are delighted that Natasha has joined Louisiana: The State We’re In, she will bring her journalistic expertise to LPB, informing the citizens of our state on the news and events that connect us all,” said LPB CEO Beth Courtney.

    Williams began her broadcast career as Anchor/Reporter at WBBJ-TV in Jackson, Tennessee, also holding the same positions at WTVO-TV in Rockford, Illinois, WCPO-TV in Cincinnati, Ohio and WRGT-TV/WKEF-TV, the FOX/ABC affiliate in Dayton. She was named Journalist of the Year by Public Children Services Association of Ohio in 2009, and was awarded for best broadcast writing by the Ohio Associated Press in 2008. Williams was also honored by the Associated Press for a homelessness investigation, which led to policy changes in the city of Dayton that same year. She has been honored by the Society of Professional Journalists and won an Emmy Award for her coverage of the 2001 Xenia Tornado.

    Williams earned an undergraduate degree from Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina and a Master’s degree from Ohio State University. Williams received an honorary PhD from Wilberforce University in May of 2008, for her commitment to area youth and charitable causes in Southwest Ohio.

    She comes to LPB from KTVE/KARD in Monroe, LA where she was most recently an evening anchor for the NBC Affiliate.

    Louisiana: The State We’re In airs on Fridays at 7PM and encores Sundays at 4:30PM on LPB’s network of channels that include stations in Alexandria, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Monroe and Shreveport. It also airs on LPB’s sister station WLAE-TV32 in New Orleans on Fridays at 7PM.  This award-winning weekly program combines in-depth coverage about the important issues throughout the state along with expert analysis.

     

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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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  • Southern University System Board installs new chair, members

    The Southern University System Board of Supervisors today convened for its first meeting of the new year at Southern University Baton Rouge. Atty. Domoine D. Rutledge and the Rev. Samuel C. Tolbert Jr. were installed as the new chair and vice chair, respectively.

    “We have been entrusted with a tremendous responsibility by way of Southern and I approach it with a seriousness of purpose that it warrants,” Rutledge said.

    The two-time Southern alumnus said he had three major objectives for himself and his fellow board members of the system of five campuses — Southern University Baton Rouge, Southern University New Orleans, Southern University Shreveport, Southern University Law Center and Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center.

    “…Increased attention and focus to enrollment management,” he said. “Students are the lifeblood of this university. We have to ensure that they have a quality experience academically and otherwise. We must also focus on the alignment of the academic inventory with workforce demands. It is one thing to have a degree but another to have a job. We must ensure our students have marketable skills to compete in a global marketplace.

    “And finally, we cannot ignore how a disinvestment in education — particularly higher education — forces us to create new revenue streams through public and private partnerships and other means that will bear tremendous fruit for this institution for years to come.”

    Also installed to the 16-member board were Raymond Fondel and Leon R. Tarver II — both reappointed by Gov. John Bel Edwards. New appointees, Sam Albert Gilliam and Arlanda Williams, were installed as well.

    Gilliam is a former member of the Board (2000-2006) and most recently served as interim chancellor at Southern University Shreveport. Williams represents Louisiana’s 1st Congressional District and is vice chancellor for workforce development and institutional advancement at Delgado Community College. CrBOekRI

    The Board and others presented tokens of appreciation to Ann A. Smith, outgoing chair, and the Rev. Donald R. Henry, outgoing vice chair, as well as immediate past members Michael Small and the Rev. Joe R. Gant. The Board’s “Above and Beyond” award for Southern University System exemplary employee service went to Patricia Coleman, a payroll accountant at Southern University Baton Rouge.

    Other meeting highlights included more information on the rollout of Southern University System President Ray L. Belton’s working strategic plan for the system; reports from campus chancellors and other administrators; and infrastructure update. The board is scheduled to meet again on Feb. 22 on the campus of Southern University Shreveport.

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  • Courtney M. Scott named chief service officer

    Courtney M. Scott has been named chief service officer for Mayor-President Sharon Broome. Scott has over 15 years of multi-faceted experience in project management, community engagement, and communications. She has deep relationships with Baton Rouge’s arts, cultural, non-profit, academic as well as business and civic communities. Her passion and commitment to the city are unparalleled.

    Scott earned both a bachelor and master’s degree in Mass Communication from Southern University and is a graduate of Baton Rouge Magnet High School.

    As Chief service officer Scott will support the development of strategic city initiatives focused on increasing volunteerism, community engagement, and new partnerships with businesses and philanthropic leaders. Upcoming initiatives that fall under the chief service officer include Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program and Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council.

    “Service has shaped my character and success, and I am honored and humbled to serve the Baton Rouge community in this role,” said Scott. “My goal is to create a collaborative experience for residents by developing action-oriented plans that deliver concrete results and continuously improve quality of life while furthering progress in our community.”

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  • Young received distinction honors

    Angela Nichols Young, Ph.D., of Lake Providence, has been selected for inclusion in the upcoming Trademark Women of Distinction 2018 Honors for demonstrating dedication and professional excellence. She is CEO of Healthy Minds Counseling Angency and the House of Hope for Boys in Bastrop.

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  • Master Sergeant Bianca S. Sellers-Brown retires with 30 years civil service

    USAF - 1980-1Master Sergeant Bianca S. Sellers-Brown retired Nov. 3 with 30 years federal civil service and 34 years in the U.S. Air Force.State Rep. Barbara Norton acknowledged the occasion as Bianca Brown Day. Brown also received proclamations from Gov. John Bel Edwards and Senator W. Jay Luneau. According to her husband, Tony Brown, she has “commuted from Woodworth to Barksdale AFB in Bossier–282 miles a day–for more than 15 years. She has driven 1.1 million miles in that time she says for God and Country.”

    Master Sergeant Bianca S. Sellers-Brown is the Noncommissioned Officer in Charge for the 307th Mission Support Group Commander’s Support Staff, Barksdale Air Force Base, LA, responsible for managing the administrative support functions for over 400 personnel. She has the additional responsibility of Wing Focal Point for the Unit Training Assembly Processing System (UTAPS), managing the participation records for over 1,400 Reserve personnel assigned to the 307th Bomb Wing. As a Wing Focal Point, she also provides training and helpdesk support to all personnel requiring access to UTAPS and the Air Force Reserve Orders Writing system (AROWS-R). Because of her wide breadth of experience and expertise in her career field, she was also appointed to the Wing Inspection Team. Her willingness to assist when required resulted in her being requested by name to provide backfill administrative support to almost 200 personnel assigned to the 489th Bomb Group at Dyess AFB, TX. She has served over 34 years in the United States Air Force and the Air Force Reserves combined.

    Sergeant Sellers-Brown was born in Redlands, California and enlisted in the Air Force through the delayed enlistment program in January 1980, while a senior in high school. After graduating high school, she departed for basic military training in July 1980. She graduated Administrative Support Specialist technical training school at Keesler AFB, MS in October 1980. Her first active duty assignment was overseas at RAF Fairford, England with the 7020th Air Base Group. In January 1983, she was transferred to the 23rd Tactical Fighter Wing, the “Flying Tigers”, at England AFB in Alexandria, Louisiana where she attended Noncommissioned Officer Leadership School in November 1987 and received the award of Distinguished Graduate. Her final active duty position was serving as the Military Secretary to the 23rd Tactical Fighter Wing Commander. She separated from active duty in December 1992.

    In March 1997, she joined the Air Force Reserve, serving with the 917th Transportation Squadron at Barksdale AFB, LA. While assigned to the Transportation Squadron, she deployed as a transporter to RAF Fairford, England in support of Coronet Astro (Jun 1998), Elmendorf AFB, Alaska (Jun 1999), Australia in support of Operation Tandum Thrust (May 2001) and Istres, France (Sep 2001).

    In July 2001, she accepted a full-time position as an Air Reserve Technician (ART) with the 917th Maintenance Squadron. She earned recognition as the 917th Wing Noncommissioned Officer of the Quarter, Apr-Jun 2002. In April 2004, she was hired as the Noncommissioned Officer in Charge of the Commander’s Support Staff (CSS) with the 917th Mission Support Group (MSG), working directly for the Mission Support Group Commander and promoted to the rank of Master Sergeant in May 2004. In Jan 2011, the 917th Wing inactivated and was reactivated as the 307th Bomb Wing. She remained assigned to the 307th MSG as the Unit Program Coordinator until 1 Oct 2017 when she was assigned the task of standing up the newly reorganized Group CSS for the 307th MSG.

    Her awards and decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Achievement Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, Air Force Good Conduct Medal, Air Reserve Forces Meritorious Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Nuclear Deterrence Operations Service Medal, Air Force Overseas Ribbon Long Tour, Air Force Longevity Service, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, USAF Noncommissioned Officer Professional Military Education Graduate Ribbon, Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon (Rifle) and the Air Force Training Ribbon.

    Sergeant Sellers-Brown is married to Tony Brown of Lake Charles, LA and together they have three children, Shayne (Danielle) Daney, Joseph Brown, and Sydney Brown and six grandchildren, Jaynila, Joseph Jr, Joeria, André, Adrian, and Jylell. Tony is a news journalist and owner of Eyes Open Productions, who was recently featured in a television documentary by Investigation Discovery.

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  • Williams inducted as first Black chief judge of the Second Circuit

    Chief Judge Felicia Toney Williams, of Tallulah, has been inducted Dec. 13 to the Second Court of Appeals in Shreveport. On Oct. 4, Williams became the first Black chief judge of the Second Circuit, which serves 20 parishes in North Louisiana. She has served four years on the Louisiaiana Judiciary Commission, and chair of the Louisiana Conference of Court of Appeal Judges. She was elected unapposed to a third, 10-year term. She is married to attorney Moses Junior Williams. She had three children Rhonda, Myra and Justin, and two grandchildren Christian and Camryn.

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  • Cookies and Ice Cream! Business is sweet in Zachary

    Business is sweet for Josh and Leah Collins who are making history less than one year after opening Great American Cookies and Marble Slab Creamery at 20103 Old Scenic Hwy in Zachary.

    Zachary Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Scott joked that the Collins were in business for “five minutes” before taking home Minority Enterprise honors, but Josh Collins is a homegrown success story much like Scott.
    Josh Collins explained that he was born and reared in Zachary and felt it was an excellence business environment for his new franchise. 46492447_1944047952569613_1750653340141748224_n

    “We chose Zachary for the simple reason that there were not other options like this in Zachary,” Josh Collins said. “We lived in Zachary and we said ‘what does Zachary not have and let’s bring something to Zachary that it does not have.’”
    The Collins fondly remembered that their first date was Marble Slab so that make the choice to bring the franchise to Zachary. The roll of the sweet dice has paid off in tremendous ways. “Honestly, it’s been overwhelming,” Josh Collins said. “We broke the franchise record in sales so the initial plans we had were scrapped and we had to go back to the drawing board.”

    ONLINE: facebook.com/GreatAmericanSlab

    By Frances Spencer
    Contributing Writer

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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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  • 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.
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    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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  • E. Keith Cunningham of LHC earns Sterling Achievement Award

    The Council of State Community Development Agencies has recognized the Louisiana Housing Corporation for its efforts to house families displaced by the 2016 floods. The council recently presented LHC executive director E. Keith Cunningham Jr., with the Sterling Achievement Award during its Annual Meeting. “Receiving the Sterling Achievement Award is an incredible honor and accomplishment – one that recognizes our dedication to serving the citizens of Louisiana,” said Cunningham. “We have a dynamic team, who despite experiencing personal loss during the flood, demonstrated exemplary commitment and compassion for helping families impacted by the flood.” The Sterling Achievement Award recognizes state programs that demonstrate positive results in improving the lives of people who are experiencing homelessness or on the verge of being homeless. This award is presented annually to one state agency.

     

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  • Bell directs New Venture’s ‘Love, Whitney – A Choreoplay!’

    New Venture Theatre recently announced the cast of the upcoming Love, Whitney – A Choreoplay!, October 19-21 at the Hayden Hall at Southern University. An original production, conceived by Greg Williams Jr.,  as a way to pay honor and tribute to one of the great voices of our time. Performed only through dance, Love, Whitney is a celebration of one of America’s greatest talents, Whitney Houston! The show catalogs her career while expressing the themes behind her music and her story. The show features all her greatest hits, and will have you dancing in the aisles. The cast are: Trinity Star Alexander, Zaria Brown, Adaya Robertson, Aleriya Griffin, Ambre Porter, Dion Sideboard Jr., Elise Patin, Elisha Jenkins, Jamaal Edwards, Jamin Brock, Jasmine Elliott, Kali Jones, Karenna Mitchell, Kari Johnson, Kayla Mitchell, Kerrington Griffin, Kodie Danay Brown, Krystal Gomez, Kyle Smith, Mariyah Osborne, MiKesha Anderson, Navaeh Robertson, Omarion Jones, Queline Ketchens, Raymond Turner, Rontrevius Foreman, Shira Brown, Tameia Hayes, and Trinity Simmons. Dwight Bell is director and choreographer. ℜ

     

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  • Dr. Joia Crear-Perry joins state commission for healthy babies

    Dr. Joia Crear-Perry of New Orleans, was appointed by Gov. John Bel Edwards to the Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies Advisory Council. Crear-Perry is an obstetrician and gynecologist and the President of the National Birth Equity Collaborative. She will serve as a representative of a community-based organization that works to prevent maternal mortality. The Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies Advisory Council was created to address racial and ethnic disparities in maternal health outcomes and incorporate a community-engaged, equity-focused lens into current programs and campaigns which seek to prevent maternal mortality and severe maternal morbidity. The council shall promote safe and equitable care for every mother and every birth in this state.

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  • School board selects Kenyetta Nelson-Smith to lead

    The seven-member East Baton Rouge Parish School Board unanimously selected Kenyetta Nelson-Smith Ph.D., as vice-president of the board following the resignation of Rep. Connie Bernard last month. Nelson-Smith has represented District 3 in North Baton Rouge since 2011. She is the assistant professor/program leader of child development at Southern University and an assistant specialist of community and economic development with the Ag Center. She will hold the vice president position through Nov. 6 when she seeks re-election.

     

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  • Who to Watch: Niki’ H. Morrow

    As a child growing up in Lake Charles, Niki’ H. Morrow wanted to “save the world.” It is a passion that she said has led her to earn a degree in sociology from LSU and to hold a career in social services. “It has been my passion since a very young age,” said Morrow who has recently been selected as one of 30 professionals to participate in the state’s Adverse Childhood Experience Educator Program. The program will train-the-trainers on the impact of childhood adversity and traumatic experiences such as abuse, neglect, or sexual assault.

    A case manager for a local nonprofit, Morrow also mentors young girls at Star Hill Baptist Church. She often used craftmaking to release stress and express herself creatively. But, what began as a hobby has become a growing business in Baton Rouge.

    “My father, who was an entrepreneur, always wanted me to follow in his footsteps, but I refused not knowing it would be my saving grace in life years later,” she said. HarloweHearts

    In 2015, Morrow, established Harlowe Enterprises LLC and Harlowe Hearts Custom Designs. “Harlowe Hearts is a lifestyle brand that takes pride in bringing you exclusive custom made designs and products that fit every occasion in your life. Our staff has an amazing eye for detail, vast knowledge of products, and constant growing proficiency in the latest printing methods,” said the 37-year-old.

    Moves made: Harlowe Hearts Custom Designs opened in 2015. Since that time, we have grown into a full-service custom design boutique that offers screenprinting, vinyl designs, and embroidery.

    What to expect from you: We will begin to provide embroidered school uniforms and expand services provided to business such as promotional items and uniforms.

    Personal resolution: Constantly strive for growth and excellence

    Life/business motto: Let’s make something amazing together.

    Business resolution: To double our company’s net worth by the end of the year.

    What is your #1 priority right now? Growing Harlowe Hearts into a full-service, brick and mortar embroidery boutique.

    Best advice you’ve ever received? NO simply means “Next Opportunity.”

    Role Models:  My father, Lawrence Morrow, founder and owner of Gumbeaux Magazine, and my mother, Jacqueline Malveaux

    What has been a deciding moment or an experience that pushed you forward? The joy and excitement we get from our customers.

    What music are you listening/dancing to? Trevor Jackson, Ella Mae, and Shamar Allen

    What are you reading? The Art & Science of Respect by J. Prince and  Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

    What’s entertaining you? Ted Talks

    ONLINE: www.harlowehearts.com and @harlowehearts

     

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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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  • Who to Watch: Steven C. Baham

    Steven C. Baham, 40, is a computer scientist and owner of Baham Laboratories, LLC, in Baton Rouge. A native of Slidell, Baham is the son of Les and Eva Baham. As a child, he and his brother, Michael, wanted a Nintendo game system, but their father wanted them to build computers to play video games instead. Since 1994, Baham has been gradually building clientele as a technology consultant. He established Baham Laboratories, LLC in 2004, and today the company has more than 600 clients and nearly 30 business IT service agreements in Baton Rouge, Hammond, New Orleans, and Slidell.

    Moves made from 2015 to 2017: The 2016 flood was challenging because with my home office damaged, I had to learn to operate with a small amount of equipment with minimal space. Even so, we were able to build a custom e-mail cloud server for Baham Labs clients with special security features, recover valuable data for clients who had their office computer flooded.

    What to expect in 2018 from you? My biggest topic I keep reinforcing is digital security. I think most people don’t take it seriously until something really bad happens to them. It’s my job to help protect and educate people/organizations on how to protect themselves. When you’re a person like me who sees the worse things happen to some people online, it makes it easier to explain to others the steps they should be taking. I still have a few surprises for 2018 that I can’t reveal yet, but watch our social media accounts in the next couple months.

    Baham Laboratories

    Baham Laboratories

    Role models: My parents are my main role models.

    What is your #1 priority right now? I have a small team finishing the data wiring for the new Geico building in Baton Rouge. That’s my priority since the next business steps will take place after that.s complete.

    Best advice you’ve ever received? Prepare yourself for what you want to do in the future, as well as prepare yourself the best you can for what might happen.

    What has been a deciding moment or an experience that pushed you forward? It took me missing a wedding anniversary, and my daughter’s birthday one year because a client didn’t follow my advice… which lead to a system crash which they expected me to fix on those days respectively. I think when I realized that I could tell people what they HAD to do to improve their data systems, and if they refused, I could tell them to sign off on a form showing that I wasn’t liable for what might happen, was when I realized I had more power over how I could run my business.

    Personal resolution: More vacation time

    Business motto: “We organize digital chaos.”

    What music are you listening/dancing to? I’m enjoying my 80s station on XM radio.

    What are you reading? Currently a lot of technical information online.

    What’s entertaining you? I love going to the movies! I’m also a Marvel movie fan, and a lifelong Star Wars fan.

    ONLINE: www.bahamlabs.com 

     

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  • Local businesswoman to be featured in Avon campaign

    Baton Rouge-local and Avon Representative Starsky Clark will be starring in iconic beauty brand Avon’s upcoming campaign. From top-sellers to accomplished leaders, Avon’s Campaign 19 will feature all real-life Avon Representatives as models in their newest catalog, launching August 21.  A former Marine, Clark works as a full-time pharmacist.

    Starsky’s tips for success:

    1.  Be passionate about your business by using the products yourself, and share your authentic, personal anecdotes with others to build personal relationships and special connections with your customers.
    2. Always give samples – customers love to touch and feel before purchasing, and it makes them feel special to be able to try new products before they buy. 
    3. Invest your earnings back into your business by supporting, motivating, and mentoring your team! 

     

     

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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.

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  • Commissioner Kim Hunter Reed to deliver LSU Fall Commencement keynote address, Aug. 3

    LSU alumna and Louisiana Commissioner of Higher Education Kim Hunter Reed will deliver the keynote address at LSU’s summer commencement ceremony on Friday, Aug. 3, in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

    Reed, who received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the university, was named the Louisiana Commissioner of Higher Education in April. Prior to being named commissioner, Reed served as executive director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education. She also served in President Barack Obama’s administration as deputy undersecretary at the U.S. Department of Education.

    “We are proud to welcome alumna Kim Hunter Reed back to campus to speak at commencement, and back to Louisiana to serve as the Commissioner of Higher Education at the Board of Regents,” said LSU President F. King Alexander. “Kim has a deep love for and commitment to higher education, and we have no doubt that she will both inspire and motivate our graduates with her message.”

    A Lake Charles native, Reed chaired Louisiana’s higher education transition team in 2015 and served as the state’s policy director. Reed also served as chief of staff and deputy commissioner for public affairs for the Louisiana Board of Regents and executive vice president of the University of Louisiana System.

    Reed received a doctorate in public policy from Southern University, a master’s degree in public administration and a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from LSU. She has received numerous honors, including LSU Alumna of the Year, Public Administration Institute; and Mom of the Year, Jack and Jill of America, Baton Rouge Chapter. She has been featured in Daughters of Men, a national publication highlighting outstanding African American women and their fathers.

    “I am honored to celebrate the accomplishments of these new LSU graduates at my alma mater, a place that was so integral to my success,” Reed said. “There is nothing more rewarding than joining families and faculty at commencement as we applaud our students hard work and focus on increased talent development in Louisiana.”

    Commencement will begin with the procession at 8:45 a.m., with the graduation ceremony beginning at 9 a.m. There will be no separate diploma ceremonies for August commencement.

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  • Facing the nation: Making inclusion a priority in Baton Rouge aviation

    Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport and its commission chairman Cleve Dunn Jr. are facing two national nominations for being catalysts for diversity inclusion. This first-time praise comes from the Airport Minority Advisory Council, the only national, non-profit trade association dedicated to promoting the inclusion of minorities and women in contracting opportunities within aviation and aerospace industries. Dunn has been nominated for the AMAC Advocate of the Year Award and the AMAC Inclusive Leader Award. As a result, the airport earned the nominations as well. The advocate award recognizes an outstanding spokesperson, educator, innovator, advocate,  and strategic partner with AMAC for diversity inclusion. The leadership award honors an organization for demonstrating diversity inclusion within its corporate structure of procurement and employment.

    Earlier this week, Dunn discussed the nominations and the airport’s work with minority-owned and women-owned businesses.

    THE DRUMSince this is the first time you and the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport have been nominated, what does this nomination say for the BR Airport?

    DUNN: It simply says that the leadership has changed and the culture at the Baton Rouge Metro Airport is changing and becoming more inclusive.

    THE DRUM: What were the specific actions/programs you initiated or completed that encourages minority opportunities at the Baton Rouge airport?

    DUNN: During my time on the Baton Rouge Metro Airport board of commissioners there has been no new program rollout to encourage minority opportunities. What I chose to do as a commissioner for the past 5 years and now the chairman of the board is to aggressively advocate for inclusion and diversity in every thing that we do at the Baton Rouge Metro Airport (BTR). That includes assuring that minorities receive jobs and career advancement opportunities at the airport, making sure minority owned and disadvantaged businesses are in our pipeline for contracting opportunities, and making sure that we are exposing children from our community to the aviation industry. As a result, our administration is more culturally diverse than it was five years ago, BTR is much more visible in the community and BTR is supporting more North Baton Rouge businesses, organizations and non profits than ever before.

    Sean

    Sean Joffrion

    Sean Joffrion, director of fine arts at the East Baton Rouge Parish School System, said, “Because of Mr. Dunn’s passion for showcasing Baton Rouge and what it has to offer, he advocated for one of Baton Rouge’s premier schools, McKinley Middle Magnet, to have a wall space in Baton Rouge Metro Airport. This space allowed our diverse multi cultural population the opportunity to showcase art work which depicted the students interpretation of Louisiana and its culture. It also gave travelers the opportunity to get a first hand look of what our school and school district could offer to prospective students/parents. This amazing partnership between the school, district, and airport allowed McKinley the opportunity to recruit students to our program. Cleve is an amazing guy who knows the importance of having relationships between our community and business.”

    THE DRUM: What had been barriers for diversity inclusion at the airport when you arrived as a commissioner? How are you leading or assisting the commission and the airport leadership in removing those barriers?

    DUNN: In my opinion leadership sets the tone and creates the culture for any business or organization. The leadership team has to be passionate about an issue or project and get buy in from the rest of the staff and/or team members in order for that initiative to be implemented successfully.  Our barrier at BTR was that our leadership was not passionate enough about inclusion and diversity as we needed to be to bring about a culture of inclusion at BTR. That is why I lead the charge in advocating for a national search for us a new aviation director. I felt it was very important for us to evaluate the best and brightest aviation professionals around the country; who could develop the land surrounding the airport, grow our air service by adding airlines and destinations and work with our board of commissioners to create a culture of inclusion at the airport. The airport’s aviation director search committee, made up of three metro council members and myself as one of four airport board commissioners concluded our work on July 9. After vetting the group of 39 candidates, conducting video interviews, reviewing their resumes and  several in person interviews; we narrowed the group down to three candidates that the committee chose to recommend to the metro council. The metro council is scheduled to choose a director from the group of three finalists in the weeks to come.

    Baton Rouge Airport Commission Chairman Cleve Dunn Jr.

    Baton Rouge Airport Commission Chairman Cleve Dunn Jr.

    THE DRUM: You are now in your second term on the commission and first term as chair, how do you plan to continue building business capacity for the airport? Plans for supplier diversity?

    DUNN: Supplier diversity has been and will continue to be a top priority for me. One of the first things I proposed as chairman is a board retreat where the commission and the staff could meet and develop the annual mission and goals for the airport. During my previous five years on the commission we had not been given the opportunity to have this level of input prior to budget review. Our first retreat will happen in the next 30 days or so; it is during this retreat where we will create and assign action items to board members and staff that will help us to build business capacity and increase our supplier diversity numbers.

    THE DRUM: Do you or other commissioners help develop aviation or aerospace career interests among local students? K-12, technical school, or college students? If not are there plans to do so?

    DUNN: Yes, I do help to develop aviation career interests among local students. I often times bring young people to the airport, give them a tour of the airport and let them sit in on our commission meetings. I also work with Big Buddy and local colleges to give students internships at the Baton Rouge Metro Airport.

    Lauren Smith Marrioneaux

    Lauren Smith Marrioneaux

    The program operations director for Big Buddy’s LevelUp program, Lauren Smith Marrioneaux  said, “After finding out that Cleve served on the Baton Rouge Metro Airport Board, I contacted him about the airport becoming a host site for the Big Buddy Level UP! Summer Internship Program. He committed to making it happen and he did just that! He made it happen and helped increase the employability of the youth in our program. Because of Cleve’s help and support the Level UP! Summer Internship Program and the Baton Rouge Metro Airport has exposed several teenagers in the Baton Rouge area to the aviation industry. After this experience some of our students later gained employment in the aviation industry.”

    THE DRUM: What is the status of the airport  as a growth opportunity for businesses and North Baton Rouge?

    Cleve Dunn Jr

    Cleve Dunn Jr

    DUNN: I’m a native of North Baton Rouge, and I’m very passionate about the areas growth and development, as well as the people of North Baton Rouge being benefactors of that growth and development by improving their quality of life through jobs and contracting opportunities. We have some 4,000 jobs at the airport and hundreds of contracting opportunities there as well. I will make sure that people living in and around North Baton Rouge are aware of the job and income opportunities and do what we can to help them get those opportunities.

    As director of programs and events for the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Black Chamber, Troy R. Lee, said, “it was imperative that I secured sponsorship for our Inaugural Minority Business Conference and Expo. I called Mr. Dunn and explained the need to have a successful expo and without hesitation he made sure we had sponsorship from the Baton Rouge Metro Airport. Without his timely assistance our expo would not have been the success that it was. BR Metro Black Chamber members and myself are eternally grateful for Mr. Dunn’s kindness and belief in the fact that it does take a village to make things happen especially in underserved communities.”

    THE DRUM: Who are you acknowledging as you receive this nomination?

    DUNN: I am honored to receive the Catalyst award nomination from such a prestigious organization like AMAC. I want to thank the AMAC Catalyst award nominating committee for valuing and recognizing the work that many of us do around the country to promote minority-owned businesses, increase contracting opportunities and professional advancement for minorities in the aviation industry. I do not accept this award nomination alone. I also accept it on the behalf of all the current and former Baton Rouge Metro Airport board of commissioners who have advocated for minority-owned and disadvantaged businesses while serving on our commission. Finally, I’d like to thank the Baton Rouge Metro Airport administration and numerous staff members who have been committed to inclusion and increasing the participation of minority owned and disadvantaged business enterprises.

    Winners of the AMAC awards will be announced during the 34th Annual Airport Business Diversity Conference in Seattle, Washington, Aug 21-25.

    ONLINE: http://amac-org.com
    ONLINE: www.flybtr.com

    By Zenobia Reed
    The Drum contributing writer

     

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  • Henry Turner Jr. to receive Slim Harpo Music Award

    Blues, soul and funk musician Henry Turner Jr. has used his musical platform to celebrate philanthropists and musicians in the Baton Rouge area. The city is awarding him with the 2018 Slim Harpo Blues Award, Thursday, November 15 at 6 p.m. at Time Out in Baton Rouge.

    Turner was named an “Ambassador” for his efforts to represent and share his enthusiasm for blues with music enthusiasts. It is an incredible honor that he shares with other 2018 recipients, Shannon Williford (“Legend”) and Mamie & Smokehouse Porter (“Pioneers”). Previous recipients of the Slim Harpo Music Award include Van Morrison, Keith Richards, Alvin Batiste, Buddy Guy and many others.

    Henry Turner, Jr. and his band, & Flavor, have released nine CDs and seventeen singles. Henry Turner & Flavor have toured the United States, Canada and Japan. In 2014, he opened Henry Turner Jr.’s Listening Room and Heritage Museum in Baton Rouge to celebrate and support touring musicians.

    Read more at OffBeeat Magazine

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  • Edwards announced his appointments to several Louisiana boards and commissions

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

    St. Bernard Port, Harbor and Terminal District
    The Board of Commissioners of the St. Bernard Port, Harbor and Terminal District Board has complete jurisdiction to regulate all domestic, coastwise, and intercoastal commerce and traffic of the district, and all commerce and traffic within the district where such is conducted by or a facility wholly owned by the district.

    William T. “Bill” Bergeron, of Arabi, was appointed to the St. Bernard Port, Harbor and Terminal District. Bergeron is a managing member of Bergeron Resources, LLC. As required by statute, he was nominated by a majority of the St. Bernard Parish legislative delegation.

    Patient’s Compensation Fund Oversight Board
    The purpose of the Patient’s Compensation Fund Oversight Board is to guarantee that affordable medical malpractice coverage is available to all Louisiana private healthcare providers and to provide a certain, stable source of compensation for legitimate injured parties of medical malpractice.

    Corey J. Hebert, M.D., of New Orleans, was appointed to the Patient’s Compensation Fund Oversight Board. Hebert is a physician and the president and Chief Executive Officer of Hebert Medical Consulting, Inc.

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

    Gerald A. Cvitanovich, M.D., of Metairie, was reappointed to the Louisiana Emergency Response Network Board. Cvitanovich is a physician and the Chief Medical Officer of MHM Urgent Care. As required by statute, he was nominated by and will serve as a representative of the Louisiana State Coroner’s Association.

    William W. Lunn, M.D., of New Orleans, was reappointed to the Louisiana Emergency Response Network Board. Lunn is a physician and the Chief Executive Officer of the Tulane Health System. As required by statute, he was nominated by and will serve as a representative of the Tulane Health System.

    Paul B. Gladden, M.D., of New Orleans, was appointed to the Louisiana Emergency Response Network Board. Gladden is a physician and Chief of Orthopaedic Trauma Surgery at Tulane University. As required by statute, he was nominated by and will serve as a representative of the Louisiana State Medical Society.

    Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners
    The Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners (LSBME) protects the health, welfare, and safety of Louisiana citizens against the unprofessional, improper, and unauthorized practice of medicine by ensuring that those who practice medicine and other allied health professions under its jurisdiction are qualified and competent to do so.   In addition, the Board serves in an advisory capacity to the public and the state with respect to the practice of medicine.

    Christy L. Valentine, M.D., of New Orleans, was reappointed to the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners. Valentine is a physician and Medical Director with Anthem, Inc. As required by statute, she was nominated by the Louisiana Medical Association.

    Roderick V. Clark, M.D., of Lafayette, was reappointed to the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners. Clark is a physician with Acadiana Renal Physicians. As required by statute, he was nominated by the Louisiana State Medical Society.

    J. Kerry Howell, M.D., of Baton Rouge, was reappointed to the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners. Howell is a physician in private practice and a veteran of the United States Air Force. As required by statute, he was nominated by Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center.

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

    Gregory K. Gormanous, Ph.D., of Alexandria, was appointed to the Louisiana State Board of Examiners of Psychologists. Gormanous is a licensed psychologist and Professor Emeritus of Psychology at Louisiana State University – Alexandria. He is also a veteran of the United States Army. As required by statute, he was nominated by the Louisiana Psychological Association.

    Louisiana Board of Pharmacy
    The Louisiana Board of Pharmacy serves to protect the public health, safety and welfare by the effective control and regulation of the practice of pharmacy; the licensure of pharmacists; and the licensure, permitting, certification, registration, control and regulation of all persons and sites, in or out of this state, that sell drugs or devices to consumers and/or patients, or assist in the practice of pharmacy, within the state. The board also serves as the controlled substance authority for the state, issuing controlled dangerous substance licenses to all qualified applicants desiring to manufacture, distribute, prescribe or dispense controlled dangerous substances within the state. Further, the board monitors its clients for compliance with the laws and rules relative to their activities with controlled dangerous substances.

    J. Robert Cloud, PharmD, of Chatham, was appointed to the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy. Cloud is a pharmacist and the Director of Pharmacy at the Glenwood Regional Medical Center. He will serve as a representative of the 5th Pharmacy Board District.

    Kevin LaGrange, of Lafayette, was appointed to the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy. LaGrange is a pharmacist at Professional Arts Pharmacy. He will serve as a representative of the 7thPharmacy Board District.

    Robert C. “Rock” LeBas, of Opelousas, was appointed to the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy. LeBas is a pharmacist and the owner of Glenn’s Family Pharmacy. He will serve as a representative of the 8th Pharmacy Board District.

    Rhonny K. Valentine, of Natchitoches, was reappointed to the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy. Valentine is a pharmacist who provides relief work for retail pharmacies. He will serve as a representative of the 4th Pharmacy Board District.

    Blake P. Pitre, of Houma, was reappointed to the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy. Pitre is a pharmacist and the owner of B&J Pitre Pharmacy. He will serve as a representative of the 3rdPharmacy Board District.

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  • Who to Watch: Dawn C. Collins

    Dawn C. Collins is an East Baton Rouge Parish School Board member and community advocate. The Lee High School graduate and Baton Rouge native, is a governor’s appointee to the East Baton Rouge Parish Board of Elections Supervisors. She began her professional career at Louisiana Department of Health where she was responsible for program-related data management. A grassroots organizer, Collins, who is 42, gives data-driven strategic consultation to campaigns and handles government affairs and training programs for non-profit organizations.

    Moves made from 2015 to 2017:    Was elected to public service on the East Baton Rouge School Board, District 4, on March 6,2016.

    What to expect in 2018 from you: I will be fighting for teacher and support staff pay raises in order to retain and attract the best educators for our children. Several community-wide events are on the horizon that will not only galvanize support for schools but help develop a sense of togetherness on this side of North Baton Rouge.  We have tremendous community assets, and we should celebrate them.

    Personal resolution:  Seize the Day.

    Life/business motto: Integrity. PERIOD.

    Business resolution: Uplift community.

    What is your #1 priority right now? Getting re-elected to School Board so that I can keep fighting for progress in our schools.

    Best advice you’ve ever received? Breathe

    Role Models: My humble mother, Yolanda Castle Chanet; State Representative Patricia Haynes Smith; and political guru, Ben Jeffers

    What has been a deciding moment or an experience that pushed you forward?  A very bad experience when my children were in elementary school compelled me to be an education advocate.

    What music are you listening/dancing to? “Best of Me” by Anthony Hamilton and “Really Love” by De’Angelo

    What are you reading? “The Originals” by Adam Grant

    What’s entertaining you? “Queen Sugar” – The depth of each character is amazing, plus I absolutely love Violet and Hollywood›s relationship. Also, Netflix’s “Black Mirror” – It’s so on point in so many ways.

    Website: DawnChanetCollins.com

    Social media: facebook.com/littleorganizerthatcould

    @DDCollins76 on both Twitter and Instagram ℜ

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  • Dillon honored by Washington Parish sheriff

    Washington Parish Corrections Deputy Katie Dillon has been honored by Sheriff Randy Seal as the Corrections Deputy of the Quarter ending March 2018. Seal made the selection based on the recommendation of Chief of Corrections Jim Miller and the administrative staff of the jail.

    “Katie Dillon is tremendous asset to Chief Miller and the entire operation of the jail. She is a true professional who expertly manages the inmate population in a no-nonsense manner. All at the Sheriff’s Office are pleased to have Katie as a valuable member of our staff,” said Seal.

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  • Judge Piper Griffin named Louisiana Judicial Council Chairperson

    Louisiana boasts the largest number of Black  judges per capita and the Louisiana Judicial Council/National Bar Association prides itself on being the voice of its membership.  The Council recently installed as the organization’s 10th chairperson was Judge Piper D. Griffin during its 20th annual meeting in Baton Rouge last month.

    Griffin has served as the organization’s secretary for many years and most recently as its Chair Elect. Judge Griffin currently serves on the Orleans Parish Civil District Court since her election in 2001. She also serves as Chair of the 4th and 5th Circuit Judges Association, Secretary of the Louisiana Judicial Council Foundation/NBA, Treasurer of the Louisiana District Judges Association, President of the St. Katharine Drexel Prep Board of Directors (formerly Xavier Prep) and President of the Crescent City Chapter of the Links, Inc.

    Other judges installed to new board included Judge June B. Darensburg as chair-elect, Judge Regina B. Woods as treasurer, Judge Rachael Johnson as secretary, Judge Angelique Reed and Judge Adrian Adams as district representatives, and Judge Madeline Jasmine, past chair.

    With a theme of “Advancing Judicial Competence,” organizers said the meeting saw meaningful continuing legal education and dialogue amongst the bench and bar. The Conference began with a community service activity and frank conversation with civil rights activist and attorney, 99-year-old Johnny Jones. A reception honoring retired Baton Family Court Judge Luke A. LaVergne took place at the home of former Congressman and State Senator Cleo and Debra Fields. The meeting was chaired by Judge Wilson Fields of the 19th Judicial District Court. Chief Justice Bernette Joshua Johnson swore in the newly elected officers.

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  • New Orleans poet wins world title, uses platform to promote social change

    Kenyan-born New Orleans poet and activist, Mwende “FreeQuency” Katwiwa, has made her voice her life’s work. She has been a writer and performer since middle school, with her activism-based poetry amassing almost two million online views, including an official TED talk titled “Black Life at the Intersection of Birth and Death” in 2017. She has received recognition as an activist in the Movement for Black Lives and in the Reproductive Justice field through her work as a founding co-chair of the New Orleans chapter of BYP100, and her work with Women With A Vision, Inc. Now as Poetry Slam, Inc.’s 2018 Women of the World Poetry Slam (WOWPS) champion, FreeQuency intends to use her new platform to do even more.

    Most immediately, FreeQuency will travel to speak and perform at the Breaking down Borders African Youth Summit in Gauteng, South Africa, May 14-18. This performance and speaking engagement is perfectly aligned with her mission, as the summit’s theme is a call to action to African youth to start and continue taking steps and making strides in creating an Africa they imagine for themselves that can also be bequeathed to future generations. That visit will be followed by an intense summer working trip to Nairobi, Kenya, where she will continue co-creating a women’s activist poetry scene called Paza Sauti: Women of the Word. (Paza Sauti is Swahili for ‘Raise Your Voice’). The two upcoming visits to the African continent are not FreeQuency’s first travels abroad to elicit change, her activism track record consists of previous trips to South Africa, Kenya, and Brazil to connect, build and perform alongside local activists and artists, as well as her time working as a featured artist, workshop leader, and festival planning assistant for the 2017 Paza Sauti: Dar es Salaam Youth Poetry Festival, for which she is now partnering for her summer initiative.

    “I really want to use my WOWPS title to allow me to bring activist poetry into spaces that would not normally invite those kinds of poets,” FreeQuency said. “Similar to Darfur-born poet and activist Emi Mahmoud – who used her 2016 WOWPS title and platform to speak at the United Nations as a Somalian refugee and start a peace walking campaign – I view the title as less of an accolade and more as another piece of a platform. I plan to expand this platform for the antiracist, LGBTQ+ advocacy and decolonization work I do. It means something to be a Kenyan-born person winning this award too, and I hope it allows me to speak to more people back home as well.”

    FreeQuency often speaks to creating the world she wants to live in as she calls out this theme in her work, using what now seems to be the catchphrase: “Words Create Worlds.” Examples of such include the poetry she used to land her WOWPS title. Among these works are poems that address issues such as how Disney movies socialize girls into oppressive ways to exist, ways toxic masculinity shows itself on men with a happy resolution, black motherhood in the era of Black Lives Matter, ways religion has been used as a tool for colonization on the African continent, ways in which white supremacy manifests, and the lack of attention the deaths of black women murdered by the state receives.

    Through her poetry, activism and role as a youth worker, FreeQuency said she also hopes to inspire the young people that she works with from east Africa to New Orleans to use their voices as tools for social change. She is the coordinator of the New Orleans Youth Poetry Festival and a founding member of the New Orleans Youth Open Mic, and hopes to help cultivate this space into one focused on pushing community and societal change through writing, similar to the ways she was brought up in the tradition of poetry as protest. While she has been a change agent for much of her life, the 26-year-old finds that holding the highly-sought after poetry slam title will enable her to further her mission of utilizing her voice and words to promote social change. She will use her title to continue shedding light on various issues across the world.

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  • Perkins has been appointed as library’s PR director

    Kayla D. Perkins has been appointed as the new East Baton Rouge Public Library Public Relations Director. Perkins has been employed by the Library for five years. She will be responsible for coordinating marketing and promotion of all library programs, services and resources and direct responsibility for ads, news releases, media appearances and The Source, the library’s monthly newsletter. Perkins is a native of Baton Rouge, LA and a graduate of Southern University.

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  • Williams of New Venture honored

    New Venture Theatre’s artistic director Greg Williams Jr. is the recipient of the 2018 Man-Up Theatre of Arts Award from Patterson Enterprises who presents the 2018 Voice Awards, May 13, in New Roads. For 11 years, Williams has led New Venture’s productions in Baton Rouge.
    Greg Williams, Jr. is in his eleventh season as Artistic Director at New Venture Theatre. Before beginning his role at New Venture, he served as a co-founder of the King Little Theatre and also the Creative Production Company.

    His professional theatre background includes working with Don Holder (Tony Award Winning Lighting Designer for Disney’s THE LION KING), The Negro Ensemble Theatre Company (NYC), Black Theatre Network (New York), The Little Black Box Theatre Company (New Jersey), Northwestern State University (Louisiana) and American Family Theatre (Philadelphia.) He conceived the highly acclaimed musicals SHOUT! and SWEET GEORGIA BROWN, which both played to sold out audiences.

    As Artistic Director for New Venture, Mr Williams’ directing credits include over 35 productions such as August Wilson’s FENCES, the regional premiere of THE COLOR PURPLE, AIDA, DREAMGIRLS, FAT PIG and LADY DAY AT EMERSON’S BAR AND GRILl.

    Mr Williams is a graduate of Northwestern State University (Bachelor of Arts), Ellis College of New York (Masters in Business) and the International Association of Assembly Management Performing Arts School (Graduate Certificate.) He has earned many distinctions including a State of Louisiana Commendation for his contributions to the performing arts in the African American community, iHope Award for his dedication to the arts, MLK Leadership Award for leadership in the arts community, The Baton Rouge Links Louisiana Role Model Award for contributions to the performing arts community, and was nominated for the Fichandler Award under the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation. Under his leadership, New Venture has also earned distinction for productions of artistic excellence and highly praised theatrical diversity.

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  • Kina Kimble appointed commissioner of 19th judicial court

    Judges of the 19th Judicial District Court recently appointed Kina Kimble as one of two court commissioners after the resignation of Quintillis Lawrence. Commissioners are quasi-judges who make recommendations to judges. As a commissioner, Kimble can set bail for newly arrested prisoners, and also sign search warrants, arrest warrants, subpoenas, and seizure orders for foreclosures. She can also take indictment returns from grand juries. Kimble is a 2005 Southern University Law Center graduate who had been an assistant public defender since 2013. She was an adjunct professor of criminal and juvenile law in the Southern Law Center Clinical Educational Department from 2010 to 2015. As a commissioner, Kimble handles numerous prisoner lawsuits filed annually against the state Department of Public Safety and Corrections, applications for post-conviction relief, and uncontested applications to expunge certain criminal records. The court’s other commissioner is Nicole Robinson

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  • State epidemiologist receives The Reverend Connie Thomas Award

    Erica J. Washington, an epidemiologist for the State of Louisiana, will be presented with The Reverend Connie Thomas Award in honor and appreciation of her years of service and dedication to Luke’s House, the community and her robust work in the field of healthcare. Washington, a native of Baton Rouge, LA, moved to New Orleans in 2007 to pursue a master’s degree in public health from Tulane University’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. She began working with Luke’s House as the organization’s first public health intern, and recruited others to volunteer from Tulane SPHTM. In 2013, Washington was recognized as a White House Champion of Change for Prevention and Public Health. She was a 2016-2017 Informatics-Training in Place Program Fellow through Project S.H.I.N.E. – a collaborative between Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, and National Association of City and County Health Officials that seeks to increase the informatics capacity of health departments nationwide.

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  • Temple honored by Boys and Girls Club

    Candace Temple was honored by the Boys and Girls Club at its Great Futures Gala that was held on March 3, 2018. Temple serves as a member of the East Baton Rouge Parish Library Board of Control, East Baton Rouge Parish Complete Streets Advisory Committee, GBRA Realtors Government Relations Committee and Forum 35. She is also serves as co-chair of Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome’s Transition Team’s Housing and Land Use Subcommittee and a volunteer for the Bethany Church Kids Ministry. Temple is a full-time real estate agent with EXIT Realty Group. She is the mother of two daughters.

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  • SU law student asks, ‘Can Alexa Testify Against You?’

    We live in an age when increasing numbers of people rely on devices to turn off their lights, make a phone call, or set the morning alarm. This may explain why since its launch in 2015, Alexa—or what Amazon calls a “virtual assistant” —has become a virtual extension of the lives of its estimated eight-million-plus owners.

    This codependency however comes with its own set of risks, according to a research paper published in the Southern University Law Review. (Read the paper here.)

    The paper “Alexa, Pick An Amendment”: A Comparison of Fourth and First Amendment Protections of Echo Device Data,” asks whether Alexa owners are protected under the First and Fourth Amendments when their privacy rights are infringed upon. The paper was written by by Tara Melancon, a third-year law student at Southern University Law Center in Baton Rouge.

    Tara Melancon

    Tara Melancon

    Melancon writes that American society has been preoccupied with privacy rights since at least the late 19th century, when The Right to Privacy, a law review article from 1890, broached the perennially relevant subject of the need for “privacy laws to keep up with technological progress.”

    The issue has become increasingly relevant.

    The reason, as Melancon explains, is not only because Alexa might be used to collect evidence against owners entangled in the criminal justice system; but because recent technological advances, notably our smart phones—which track our every move and purchase—have made us vulnerable and possible targets for investigation.

    Read more at The Crime Report by Julia Pagnamenta.

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  • Rose selected for national recognition at The Kennedy Center

    Baton Rouge poet and teaching artist, Donney Rose, has been selected for the 2018-1019 Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Fellow Recognition. The Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Fellow Recognition is an award that highlights Citizen Artists across the country who utilize their art form for positive impact on communities and who live up to the ideals of service, justice, freedom, courage and gratitude that are inspired by President John F. Kennedy’s legacy.

    As part of the recognition program, Rose will attend the 2018 Kennedy Center Arts Summit, “The Future States of America: Using the Arts to Take Us Where We Want to Go,”  April 15-16, held in Washington, D.C. He is also invited to collaborate, share practices, and receive mentorship from Kennedy Center artistic partners and staff at the Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Fellows Retreat, tentatively confirmed for Sept. 21-24. He will receive ongoing professional development opportunities with Kennedy Center staff and partners; information regarding national convenings to attend, potential grant applications, and other resources from top partners such as the Aspen Institute, National Endowment for the Arts, ArtChangeUS, and Citizen University. Rose is also invited to attend, present, and participate in Kennedy Center’s 2019 Arts Summit.

    Rose was nominated for the fellowship by Maida Owens, Louisiana Folklife Director, Louisiana Division of the Arts. The nomination process included recommendation letters from which Rose received high praise in varying areas of his work by attorney and LSU Law professor, Chris Tyson; former Louisiana Poet Laureate Ava Leavell Haymon; LSU English professor Sue Weinstein Ph.D.; Love Alive Church pastor Ronaldo Hardy; and Humanities Amped co-founder Anna West, Ph.D.

    Rose began his work as a poet through spoken word and competing nationally in poetry slams. A graduate of Scotlandville Magnet High School, Rose has always sought ways to better his hometown and as such, is invested in the city’s youth development scene. He began working in youth development in 2008 through Louisiana Delta Service Corps. He has worked full time as a teaching artist and marketing director for Forward Arts, Inc. for nearly a decade. He was named to The Drum‘s Men to Watch in 2015 and  Business Report’s Top Forty under 40 class in 2017. He was the recipient of the inaugural Making a Mark award at the 2017 Ink Festival (Tupelo, Miss.) and the 2016 Humanitarian of the Year award from New Venture Theatre. His writing has been featured on Button Poetry, All Def Digital, and in Nicholls State’s Gris Gris literary journal. Following the turmoil of Baton Rouge’s summer of 2016, Rose was a pivotal voice in the community and was interviewed by the BBC, Democracy Now, the New York Times, Huffington Post, and The Advocate.

     

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  • Honoring Baton Rouge’s centenarian: Ann Isadore Wilson Gray

    Baton Rouge leaders, family, and friends celebrated the life of centenarian Ann Isadore Wilson Gray who was born January 21, 1918, in Covington, La., to Alexander and Viola Wilson. Affectionately known as “Mother Gray,” she has six children, 12 grandchildren, and 12 great-grandchildren. She attended Reddish Street Primary School and finished up at Our Lady of the Lake Nursing School. She loves to read books and will do so for hours. (Photo by Kat Turner-Thalleen)

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  • Bayou Classic Ranked Number One HBCU Classic

    The numbers have spoken. Bayou Classic enters its 45th year as the number one ranked HBCU Classic. With 66,550 attendees in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome for the November 25, 2017, battle on the gridiron between Grambling State University and Southern University, the attendance numbers surpassed their top four HBCU Classic competitors. Also on the list were Magic City Classic (#2 with 61,221 attendees), State Fair Classic (#3 with 55,231 attendees), Florida Classic (#4 with 47,819 attendees), and Southern Heritage Classic (#5 with 47,407 attendees).

    This ranking comes with another number one spot, as the Bayou Classic also topped the attendance rankings of the top 35 Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) games played in 2017.bayou classic

    The ranking should ignite pride and excitement amongst longtime Bayou Classic fans and newcomers. “As we look to the future of Bayou Classic, the possibilities are limitless. Building off this momentum, we hope to engage a larger fan base and provide even more opportunities to students, fans, and alumni.,” says Dottie Belletto, President and CEO of the Bayou Classic’s management company, NOCCI.

    Since 2011 when NOCCI took over as the Bayou Classic’s management company, the game experienced a 63.4% increase in overall attendance. The Bayou Classic has come a long way and hopes to hold on to that number one spot for years to come

    The 2018 Bayou Classic Game will be held on Saturday, November 24, 2018, in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

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  • Rene honored with Above and Beyond Award

    A long-time Southern University Baton Rouge employee and former assistant mass communications professor was presented the December 2017 Above and Beyond Award.

    Robert Rene’, Ph.D, also has served as interim director and associate director of the Office of Recruitment and Admissions. Rene’ worked in television news before serving at Southern University.

    In his current role, Rene’ meets with students, parents, principals, counselors, and alumni to guide students’ academic futures. He recently participated in the fall 2017 California Community College Transfer to HBCUs Caravan that took place October 31 -November 8. The caravan began in Northern California Sacramento area and concluded nine days later in the Southern California — Long Beach area.

    “Dr. Robert Rene’ was such an asset to this year’s caravan. He brought such a wisdom and calm to the caravan. I am personally appreciative of his flexibility and support during the entire trip,” said Helen P. Young, project director, California Community Colleges Transfer Guarantee Agreement to Historically Black Colleges & Universities.

    “I humbly accept this award for the service I enjoy doing,” said Rene’.

    The Above and Beyond Award was established to help inspire and motivate SU employees to reach their maximum performance. One award is presented at the SU Board of Supervisors meetings each month.

    Recipients of the award are nominated by their peers. Nominations are forwarded to the Board of Supervisors chair and vice chair for selection.

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  • NAACP Louisiana State Conference host swearing-in ceremony

     The NAACP Louisiana State Conference will host a swearing-in ceremony to install its newly-elected officers.

    Former Baton Rouge NAACP President Mike McClanahan  has been sworn in as the new NAACP State President along with other executive officers. Southern University Law Center Chancellor John Pierre served as the guest speaker and Judge Don Johnson presided. Other elected officials from throughout the city and state were also in attendance.

    “We’re excited to start this new chapter and continue the legacy and the mission of the NAACP,” McClanahan said. The event was held on Saturday, Jan. 6 at the Louisiana State Archives, 3351 Essen Lane, in Baton Rouge at 1 p.m.

    The following people will be officially sworn in:

    Newly-elected officers of the NAACP Louisiana State Conference:

    ·         President                                Mr. Michael McClanahan

    ·         First Vice President                 Dr. Levon Leban

    ·         Treasurer                                Mr. Charles Heckard

    ·         Secretary                                Ms. Michelle Ratcliff

    ·         Vice President (District H)      Mr. Lloyd Thompson

    ·         Vice President (District G)      Ms. Wendy Calahan

    ·         Vice President (District F)       Rev. Edward “Chipps” Taylor

    ·         Vice President (District E)      Mr. Alfred Doucette

    ·         Vice President (District D)      Ms. Janelle Chargois

    ·         Vice President (District B)      Mr. Jerome Boykins

    ·         Vice President (District A)      Rev. Kevin Gabriel

    ·         Members at Large                  Ira Thomas and Vincent Alexander

    Photos by Condi B.
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  • Historymaker: Landrum-Johnson named Chief Judge at Orleans Criminal Court

    In a historic appointment, Orleans Parish Criminal District Court Judge Keva Landrum-Johnson ascends to a higher role in the court. She will serve a two-year tenure as chief judge of criminal court, becoming the first Black woman to serve in that office. For the past 10 years, Landrum-Johnson has presided as judge of Section E of criminal court. She was first elected to that office in 2008, and is currently serving a second term. As chief judge, Landrum-Johnson will continue to preside over criminal trials and proceedings allotted to her section while also overseeing the administrative functions of the court and serving as an ex officio member on court committees. In 2007, she became the first African-American woman in Louisiana to serve as District. She also spent 10 years as an assistant district attorney in Orleans Parish. She worked in private practice, public defense, and as a criminal law professor at Southern University at New Orleans.

    ONLINE: Louisiana Weekly

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  • Edwards makes board appointments to Children’s Trust Fund, polygraph, others

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

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

    Alicia C. Kober, M.D., of Baton Rouge, was appointed to the Louisiana Children’s Trust Fund Board. Kober is a pediatrician at Ochsner. As required by statute, she will serve as the representative of the Louisiana State Medical Society.

    Shailindra M. “Lynn” Farris (photographed), of Baker, was appointed to the Louisiana Children’s Trust Fund Board. Farris is a licensed clinical social worker and a Title IV-E Director at Southern University Baton Rouge. As required by statute, she will serve as the representative of the Louisiana Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.

     

    Sabine River Authority
    The Sabine River Authority’s mission is to provide for economic utilization and preservation of the waters of the Sabine River and its tributaries by promoting economic development, irrigation, navigation, improved water supply, drainage, public recreation, and hydroelectric power for the citizens of Louisiana.

    Dayna F. Yeldell, of Zwolle, was appointed to the Sabine River Authority. Yeldell is a real estate broker and the owner of First Choice Real Estate Services, LLC. She will serve as a resident of Sabine Parish.

    Byron D. Gibbs, of Hackberry, was reappointed to the Sabine River Authority. Gibbs is a retired teacher, coach, and administrator with the Cameron Parish School Board and a veteran of the United States Air Force. He will serve as a resident of Cameron Parish.

     

    Louisiana State Polygraph Board
    The Louisiana State Polygraph Board issues polygraph examiners licenses and monitors the continuing education of polygraph examiners in the state of Louisiana.

    Don A. Zuelke, of Baton Rouge, was reappointed to the Louisiana State Polygraph Board. Zuelke is a licensed polygraphist and the owner of Don A. Zuekle & Associates.

     

    Fluoridation Advisory Board
    The Fluoridation Advisory Board assists public water systems with obtaining funding to implement water fluoridation, assists the director of the state Oral Health Program with the educating of the general public, and advises the state Fluoridation Program.

    Alicia C. Kober, M.D., of Baton Rouge, was appointed to the Fluoridation Advisory Board. Kober is a pediatrician at Ochsner. As required by statute, she will serve as the representative of the Louisiana State Medical Society.

    Read more »
  • Former legislator Roy Burrell, others named to state commissions

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

    Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Commission

    The Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corporation is a nonprofit organization created to provide insurance products for residential and commercial property applicants who are in good faith entitled, but unable, to procure insurance through the voluntary insurance marketplace.

    Brian E. Chambley, of Baton Rouge, was appointed to the Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Commission. Chambley is the Director of Agency Development and the Specialty Products Sales Manager for Southern Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance Company. As required by statute, he was nominated by Farm Bureau Insurance Companies.

    College and Career Readiness Commission
    The College and Career Readiness Commission makes recommendations for the development of statewide policies, guiding principles, and programs that address the current and future economic needs of the state and promotes student success in high school and in life beyond secondary education.

    Melinda W. Mangham, of Lafayette, was appointed to the College and Career Readiness Commission. Mangham is the Interim Director of Middle School for Ascension Episcopal School. Additionally, she operates her own education consulting firm, Mangham Academic Planning Strategy.

     

    Early Identification of Hearing Impaired Infants Advisory Council
    The Early Identification of Hearing Impaired Infants Advisory Council advises the Office of Public Health on various aspects of the development and implementation of the Early Identification of Hearing Impairment in Infants Law, which includes making recommendations on risk factors for hearing loss, program standards and quality assurance, program integration with community resources, materials for distribution, and program implementation and follow-up.

    Marbely D. Barahona, of Jefferson, was appointed to the Early Identification of Hearing Impaired Infants Advisory Council. Barahona is a Parent Guide for Louisiana Hands & Voices.

    Ashley J. Nielsen, of Covington, was appointed to the Early Identification of Hearing Impaired Infants Advisory Council. Nielsen is an Inclusive Education Specialist for Northshore Families Helping Families.

     

     

    Human Trafficking Prevention Commission Advisory Board
    The Human Trafficking Prevention Commission Advisory Board provides information and recommendations from the perspective of advocacy groups, service providers, and trafficking victims to the Human Trafficking Prevention Commission.

    Taneka Harris Blacknell, of Prairieville, was appointed to the Human Trafficking Prevention Commission Advisory Board. Blacknell is a Special Agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. As required by statute, she will serve as a representative with expertise in advocacy for adult victims of human trafficking.

    Stacie S. LeBlanc, of Gretna, was appointed to the Human Trafficking Prevention Commission Advisory Board. LeBlanc is an attorney and the Executive Director of the New Orleans Children’s Advocacy Center and Audrey Hepburn CARE Center. As required by statute, she was nominated by the Louisiana Children’s Advocacy Centers.

    Richard M. Pittman, of Gonzales, was appointed to the Human Trafficking Prevention Commission Advisory Board. Pittman is an attorney and the Director of Juvenile Defender Services for the Louisiana Public Defender Board. As required by statute, he will serve as a public defender and was nominated by the Louisiana Public Defender Board.

    Kathleen S. Richey, of Baton Rouge, was appointed to the Human Trafficking Prevention Commission Advisory Board. Richey is an attorney and the Chief Executive Officer for LouisianaChildren.org. She will serve as the organization’s representative on the board.

    Rafael F. Salcedo, Ph.D., of Folsom, was appointed to the Human Trafficking Prevention Commission Advisory Board. Salcedo is a clinical psychologist in private practice. As required by statute, he will serve as a licensed psychologist with experience related to exploitation and was nominated by the Louisiana State Board of Examiners of Psychologists.

     

    Oilfield Site Restoration Commission
    The Oilfield Site Restoration Commission serves to: (1) approve and evaluate a priority list for site restoration annually; (2) approve lists of Contractors acceptable to conduct site assessment and site restoration; (3) review administration of site restoration activities and review the adequacy of site restoration assessments and reopen the funding needs and arrangements for site-specific trust accounts every four years; and (4) provide general administration and management of the Oilfield Site Restoration Fund and all site-specific trust accounts.

    Cynthia G. Dupree, of Lafayette, was appointed to the Oilfield Site Restoration Commission. Dupree is a member of the Louisiana Landowners Association’s Board of Directors and will serve as its representative on the commission.

     

    Southern Rail Commission
    The Southern Rail Commission serves to promote the safe, reliable and efficient movement of people and goods to enhance economic development along rail corridors; provide transportation choices; and facilitate emergency evacuation routes. The SRC engages and informs public and private rail interests to support and influence southeast rail initiatives.

    John M. Spain, of New Roads, was reappointed to the Southern Rail Commission. Spain is the Executive Vice President for the Baton Rouge Area Foundation. Additionally, he is a veteran of the United States Army.

    Roy W. Woodruff Jr., of Metairie, was reappointed to the Southern Rail Commission. Woodruff is an Adjunct Instructor at Tulane and a former District Fire Chief with the New Orleans Fire Department. He is also a veteran of the United States Navy.

     

    Louisiana Economic Development Corporation
    The board of directors is responsible for governing the Louisiana Economic Development Corporation, which serves as the single review board for all financial assistance loans, incentives or inducements, customized workforce training, investment programs, and any related appropriations, grants, or joint ventures administered by the Department of Economic Development, excluding those financial incentive programs administered by the state Board of Commerce and Industry or programs only authorized by the Secretary, the Governor, and/or the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget.

    Todd O. McDonald, of New Orleans, was appointed to the board of directors of the Louisiana Economic Development Corporation. McDonald is the Vice President of Strategy at Liberty Bank and Trust Company. As required by statute, he was nominated by the Louisiana Workforce Investment Council and will serve as its representative on the board.

     

    Water Resources Commission
    The Water Resources Commission is responsible for working with the Commissioner of Conservation to prevent waste of ground water resources and to prevent or alleviate damaging or potentially damaging subsidence of the land surface caused by withdrawal of ground water.

    Glenn L. Brasseaux, of Carencro, was reappointed to the Water Resources Commission. Brasseaux is the Mayor of the City Carencro and a veteran of the United States Army Reserve. As required by statute, he was nominated by and will serve as the representative of the Louisiana Municipal Association on the commission.

     

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

    Brian C. Wood, of Baton Rouge, was appointed to the Louisiana Rehabilitation Council. Wood is an intern with the Governor’s Office of Disability Affairs. He will serve as a former recipient of Vocational Rehabilitation Services on the council.

    Nanette J. Magness, of Shreveport, was reappointed to the Louisiana Rehabilitation Council. Magness is the Program Director and Clinical Director for the Low Vision Rehabilitation Center of the Louisiana Association of the Blind. She will serve as a former recipient of Vocational Rehabilitation Services on the council.

    Alexis D. Young, of Minden, was appointed to the Louisiana Rehabilitation Council. Young is a licensed clinical social worker and Webster Cares Grant Counselor for the Webster Parish School Board. She will serve as a former recipient of Vocational Rehabilitation Services on the council.

    Marvin R. Rush, of DeRidder, was appointed to the Louisiana Rehabilitation Council. Rush is a former educator. He will serve as a former recipient of Vocational Rehabilitation Services on the council.

    Susan G. Killam, of New Orleans, was reappointed to the Louisiana Rehabilitation Council. Killam is the Transition and Employment Initiatives Director with LSU Health’s Human Development Center. She will serve as a representative of individuals with disabilities who have difficulty representing themselves.

    Nicole D. Walker, of Baton Rouge, was reappointed to the Louisiana Rehabilitation Council. Walker is the Executive Director of UpLIFTD, an organization which assist persons with disabilities and the disadvantaged in achieving their goal of self-sufficiency through their desired employment. She will serve as a representative of service providers for the community rehabilitation program.

     

    Louisiana Manufactured Housing Commission
    The Louisiana Manufactured Housing Commission functions to: (1) License manufacturers, retailers, developers, salesmen, and installers; (2) Work with manufactured home consumers, manufacturers, retailers, developers, salesmen, and installers to hear complaints and make determinations relating to construction defects, warranty issues, and service complaints; and (3) conduct hearings on any violation of the provisions of the law.

    James Douglas Anderson, of Lake Charles, was appointed to the Louisiana Manufactured Housing Commission. Anderson is a Performance and Learning Consultant with Clayton Homes and a veteran of the United States Air Force. He will serve as an at-large representative.

     

    Louisiana Statewide Independent Living Council
    The Louisiana Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC) was established to support the efforts of our citizens with disabilities to live independently in the community of their choice. Some of the specific duties of the Statewide Independent Living Council are: (1) jointly develop a State Plan for Independent Living; (2) monitor, review, and evaluate implementation of the state plan; and (3) develop strong positive partnerships with the Louisiana Rehabilitation Council and other members of the disability community.

    Kandy S. Baker, of Baton Rouge, was reappointed to the Louisiana Statewide Independent Living Council. Baker is a licensed clinical social worker and a Program Coordinator for the Louisiana Workforce Commission. She will serve as the representative of the Louisiana Rehabilitation Council.

    Rosemary M. Morales, of Baton Rouge, was reappointed to the Louisiana Statewide Independent Living Council. Morales is a Program Manager for the Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities within the Louisiana Department of Health.

     

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

    Jennifer L. Marusak, of Baton Rouge, was appointed to the Workers’ Compensation Advisory Council. Marusak is the Vice President of Governmental Affairs for the Louisiana State Medical Society and will serve as its representative on the council.

     

    Louisiana State Board of Private Investigator Examiners
    The Louisiana State Board of Private Investigator Examiners licenses private investigators and businesses in the state of Louisiana in order to contribute to the safety, health, and welfare of the people of Louisiana.

    Paul C. Dugas, of Schriever, was appointed to the Louisiana State Board of Private Investigator Examiners. Dugas is a licensed private investigator and the Owner and President of Dugas Legal Investigative Services, LLC. He will serve as the representative of the 2nd Public Service Commission District.

     

    Louisiana Workforce Investment Council
    The Louisiana Workforce Investment Council serves to develop a strategic plan to coordinate and integrate a workforce development delivery system to assure efficiency and cooperation between public and private entities by advising the governor on the needs of Louisiana’s employers and its workforce as well as being responsible for occupational forecasting, which is used for driving programs and funding for job training.

    Leigh D. King, of Ferriday, was appointed to the Louisiana Workforce Investment Council. King is the Vice President of Cox Business. He will serve as a representative of the general business community on the council.

    Melissa H. Mann, of Baton Rouge, was appointed to the Louisiana Workforce Investment Council. Mann is the Director of Governmental Affairs for CenturyLink. She will serve as a representative of Louisiana’s information technology sector on the council.

     

    Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports
    The Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports serves to develop, foster, and coordinate services and programs of physical fitness and sports for the people of Louisiana. The Council encourages local governments and communities to develop local physical fitness programs and amateur athletic competitions.

    Benjamin J. Berthelot, of Lafayette, was reappointed to the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. Berthelot is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Lafayette Convention and Visitors Commission.

    Robert W. Boudreaux, of Broussard, was reappointed to the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. Boudreaux is the State Office Administrator for the Knights of Columbus Louisiana State Council.

    John B. Boyer, of Gretna, was reappointed to the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. Boyer is retired. He is a USA Track and Field Certified Official.

    Pamela G. Carey, of Atlanta, was reappointed to the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. Carey is the Sports and Recreation Consultant and GUMBO Coordinator for Families Helping Families at the Crossroads in Rapides Parish.

    Katherine F. “Kathy” Hill, of Baton Rouge, was reappointed to the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. Hill is an Adjunct Professor of Kinesiology at LSU.

    Kenneth W. Jenkins, of Baton Rouge, was reappointed to the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. Jenkins is retired. He is the former Director of Student Activities for the East Baton Rouge Parish School System.

    Joseph N. “Joey” Odom, of Lake Charles, was reappointed to the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. Odom is the Manager at Sports Productions. He formerly served as the Director of Public Relations and Parks for the City of Lake Charles.

    Charles W. “Bill” Skinner, of Hammond, was reappointed to the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. Skinner is a retired educator.

    Rani Gregory Whitfield, M.D., was reappointed to the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. Whitfield is a board certified family physician with a Certificate of Added Qualification in Sports Medicine.

     

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

    Roy A. Burrell, of Shreveport, (photographed above) was appointed to the Red River Waterway Commission. Burrell is the President of Best Communications Management Services and a former member of the Louisiana State House of Representatives. He will serve as an at-large member on the commission.

     

    Capital Area Groundwater Conservation District
    The mission of the Capital Area Ground Water Conservation District is to provide for the efficient administration, conservation, orderly development, and supplementation of groundwater resources in the parishes of East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Pointe Coupee, West Baton Rouge and West Feliciana. The board develops, promotes, and implements management strategies to provide for the conservation, preservation, protection, recharging, and prevention of waste of the groundwater resources over which it has jurisdictional authority.

    Jens P. Rummler, of Oscar, was reappointed to the Capital Area Groundwater Conservation District. Rummler is a USDA-certified master farmer and a Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry certified master cattle producer. As required by statute, he was nominated by and will serve as a representative of Pointe Coupee Parish.

    Nelson L. Morvant, of Gonzales, was reappointed to the Capital Area Groundwater Conservation District. Morvant is a licensed professional geoscientist and a Senior Environmental Analyst at Entergy Services, Inc. As required by statute, he was nominated by and will serve as a representative of industrial water users in the district.

     

    Red River Levee and Drainage District
    The Red River Levee and Drainage District was established to construct and maintain levees, drainage, and levee drainage, and to do all other things incidental thereto.

    Carl W. Carpenter, of Pelican, was appointed to the Red River Levee and Drainage District. Carpenter is the owner and operator of CWC Services. As required by statute, he was nominated by a legislator representing the district.

     

    Jimmy D. Long Sr. Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts
    The Board of Directors for the Jimmy D. Long Sr. Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts functions to establish and maintain the School and to provide the highest quality of instruction for the children of the School.

    Jimmy D. Berry, of Natchitoches, was appointed to the Jimmy D. Long Sr. Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts. Berry is a retired educator and principal for the Natchitoches Parish School Board and Northwestern State University.

     

    Louisiana Board of Drug and Device Distributors
    The Louisiana Board of Drug and Device Distributors issues licenses for and regulates the distribution of legend drugs and legend devices by distributors within and into the state of Louisiana in order to safeguard life and health and to promote the public welfare.

    Chad D. Gielen, of Crowley, was reappointed to the Louisiana Board of Drug and Device Distributors. Gielen is the President and CEO of Louisiana Wholesale Drug Co., Inc. As required by statute, he was nominated by the Louisiana Association of Wholesale Drug Distributors.

    Randall D. Brooks, of Prairieville, was reappointed to the Louisiana Board of Drug and Device Distributors. Brooks is the Facility Manager of PetNet Solutions. As required by statute, he was nominated by the Louisiana Association of Wholesale Drug Distributors.

     

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

    Wilkie J. “Jo” Travis, of Kentwood, was appointed to the St. Helena Parish Board of Supervisors. Travis is a retired dairy owner.

    Robert R. Gentry, of Many, was appointed to the Sabine Parish Board of Election Supervisors. Gentry is the retired publisher and owner of The Sabine Index Newspaper and a veteran of the Louisiana National Guard.

    Margie D. Bass, of Jonesville, was reappointed to the Catahoula Parish Board of Election Supervisors. Bass is a loan teller with Catahoula LaSalle Bank.

     

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

    Marty R. McKay, of Woodworth, was appointed to the Medicaid Pharmaceutical and Therapeutics Committee. McKay is the owner of Pearson Drugs #7. As required by statute, he was nominated by the Louisiana Independent Pharmacies Association.

     

    Louisiana State Polygraph Board
    The Louisiana State Polygraph Board issues polygraph examiners licenses and monitors the continuing education of polygraph examiners in the state of Louisiana.

    Judith C. Goodman, of Metairie, was reappointed to the Louisiana State Polygraph Board. Goodman is a licensed polygraph examiner and the owner and President of Professional Security Training.

    Calvin T. Bowden, of Denham Springs, was appointed to the Louisiana State Polygraph Board. Bowden is a licensed polygraph examiner and a detective with the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office.

     

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

    Angela S. Breidenstine, Ph.D., of New Orleans, was appointed to the Louisiana Children’s Trust Fund Board. Breidenstine is a licensed clinical psychologist and Assistant Professor at Tulane University School of Medicine’s Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. She will serve as a representative of the Louisiana Psychological Association.

    Yolanda T. Motley, of New Orleans, was appointed to the Louisiana Children’s Trust Fund Board. Motley is the Senior Administrator of Kingsley House, Inc. She is serve as a representative of the early childhood community.

     

    New Orleans Center for Creative Arts
    The Board of Directors for the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts oversees the management of the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA). The Board oversees the hiring of the President/CEO, the fiscal operations of the facility, and the development of policies necessary to operate the center. NOCCA is a state agency whose mission is to provide arts training for high school age students who aspire to be professional artists.

    Troy J. Broussard, of Prairieville, was reappointed to the Board of Directors for the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. Broussard is the Associate State Director of Advocacy and Outreach for AARP and a veteran of the United States National Guard.

     

    Louisiana Statewide Independent Living Council
    The Louisiana Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC) was established to support the efforts of our citizens with disabilities to live independently in the community of their choice. Some of the specific duties of the Statewide Independent Living Council are: (1) jointly develop a State Plan for Independent Living; (2) monitor, review, and evaluate implementation of the state plan; and (3) develop strong positive partnerships with the Louisiana Rehabilitation Council and other members of the disability community.

    Roszella J. Viltz, of Lafayette, was reappointed to the Louisiana Statewide Independent Living Council. Viltz is a Children’s Special Health Services Parent Liaison for the Louisiana Department of Health. She will serve as an advocate for individuals with disabilities.

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  • Brandon to serve on state ethics board

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

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  • Kaweeda Green Adams selected NY superintendent

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

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  • Edwards appoint several to councils, commissions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • Covington native serves in Japan aboard USS Germantown

    SASEBO, Japan – A 2016 Covington High School graduate and Covington native is serving in Japan in the U.S. Navy aboard USS Germantown.

    Seaman Recruit Nicholas Brumfield is an operations specialist aboard the ship operating out of Sasebo, Japan.

    A seaman recruit is the Navy’s entry-level enlisted position following graduation from boot camp. Brumfield graduated from the Navy’s Recruit Training Command at Great Lakes, Illinois in July and has begun his apprenticeship training on the Germantown.

    “I decided to become an operations specialist because it sounded cool,” Brumfield said. “It sounded like I would be actually doing something, playing an active role in protecting the ship and my shipmates.”

    With more than 50 percent of the world’s shipping tonnage and a third of the world’s crude oil passing through the region, the U.S. has historic and enduring interests in this part of the world.

    “Our alliance is rooted in shared interests and shared values,” said Adm. Harry Harris, U.S. Pacific Command Commander. “It’s not hyperbole to say that the entire world has benefited from the U.S.-Japan alliance. While our alliance helped stabilize the region after the Second World War, it also enabled the Japanese people to bring about an era of unprecedented economic growth. And for the last six decades, our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen have worked side by side with the Japan Self Defense Force to protect and advance peace and freedom.”

    Commissioned in 1986, Germantown is the second Navy ship named after the Revolutionary War Battle of Germantown. With a crew of more than 900 sailors and Marines, Germantown is 609 feet long and weighs approximately 16,000 tons. Designed specifically to operate landing craft air cushion small craft vessels, Whidbey Island-class dock landing ships have the largest capacity for these landing craft out of any U.S. Navy amphibious ship.

    “I like my chain of command, they really focus on us as junior sailors, helping us build up not only Navy-wise but far into the future about what we want to do when we leave the service. They genuinely care about us,” said Brumfield.

    Sea duty is inherently arduous and challenging but it builds strong fellowship and esprit de corps among members of the crew. The crew is highly motivated and quickly adapt to changing conditions. It is a busy life of specialized work, watches, and drills.

    “Serving in the Navy, not only does it have benefits for me but I’m doing something greater than myself,” Brumfield said. “Nothing is given to us, you have to work for everything you accomplish.”

    The Navy’s presence in Sasebo is part a long-standing commitment.

    “The U.S.-Japan alliance remains the cornerstone for peace and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region,” said Harris.

    By Chief Petty Officer Bill Steele
    Navy Office of Community Outreach

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  • Edwards appoints Boyce new DAL director

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

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

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

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

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

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  • Baton Rouge youth dominate, claim World Championship

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Imani Sundiata, 18

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

    Kalvin Morris, 17

    Chazzi Hayes

    Chazzi Hayes

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Mandy LaCrete

    Mandy LaCrete

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

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  • New Orleans native Adam Rodney ranked #1 Epee Fencer in the US

    NEW ORLEANS - New Orleans native Adam Rodney will represent the United States and his hometown of New Orleans, La. at the World Fencing Cup in Heidenhiem, Germany.  According to a recent announcement by the United States Fencing Association, Rodney is the #1 ranked Epee Fencer in the United States following his accomplishments at the December North America Cup in Richmond, Virginia this past weekend.

    After earning a bye in the first two rounds, 

    Rodney recorded three victories in the third round of pool play action and in the table of 64 he upset the No. 3 seed Yeisser Ramirez in a tightly contested 14-13 bout. He then cruised past his next two opponents to advance to the quarterfinals to set up a showdown with Zeyad Elashry. 

    In a back-and-forth bout on the strip, Rodney won the final touch to take a 15-14 triumph and moved to the semifinals. Next up, he defeated Lewis Weiss, 14-9, to advance to the championship, before falling to Jacob Hoyle in the finals to take home a silver medal.

    Rodney is a member of The Peter Westbrook Foundation in New York, a not-for-profit organization that uses the sport of fencing to enrich the lives of young people from underserved communities in the New York metropolitan area. Founded in 1991 by legendary sabre fencer and Olympic bronze medalist Peter Westbrook, the foundation is committed to empowering participants with essential life skills. The St. John’s alum competes as a member of the New York Fencer’s Club.

    Rodney, who was a close call to make the 2016 Olympic Team, has since represented the United States in the World Cup in Bern, Switzerland.   Rodney also roared to a Silver Medal finish in the North American Cup Championship in Detroit Michigan in November.  He is a graduate of the famed St. Augustine High School in New Orleans, and St. John’s University. Many of his matches are featured on you tube and fencing promotions. 

    Rodney, who always identifies himself as a New Orleanian, but fences with the Olympian Peter Westbrook in New York and as a member of the New York Fencer’s Club, was a close call for the 2016 Olympic Team. He has been selected to represent the United States in the World Cup in Bern, Switzerland later this month.  He is also scheduled to visit Cuba in an exhibition.

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  • Flournoy named Senior Sailor of the Year

    U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Brian Flournoy, a native of Alexandria, Louisiana, was selected as the Senior Sailor of the Year by Commander, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic (CNRMA) in Norfolk, Virginia. Flournoy is a 2002 Alexandria Senior High School graduate and has served in the Navy for 14 years.

    “It’s a tremendous honor to be selected as Sailor of the Year,” said Flournoy. “It’s great to be recognized for your hard work and it’s also a great example to your junior Sailors to help them stay focused and keep pushing because anything you want to achieve is achievable through determination and hard work. I’m incredibly humbled and ready to help others reach their goals.”

    The Senior Sailor of the Year (SSOY) award is part of a program established in the interest of recognizing superior performance of enlisted personnel with emphasis on outstanding achievements, exemplary personal conduct and military bearing, and demonstrated initiative in the performance of duty.

    The SSOY award, in addition to recognizing outstanding performance, motivates personnel to strive for improvement in their assigned duties, military behavior, appearance, and leadership.

    Flournoy serves as the Food Service Leading Petty Officer. He is responsible for receiving, stowage, and issuing of galley supplies, and ordering management and delivery of materials to nine regional galleys as well as support of two northern galleys. He manages an inventory valued at $1.5 million for nine shore galleys that guarantees seamless and uninterrupted high quality meals to Sailors and Marines.

    Flournoy also serves as an assistant command fitness leader, command assessment team member, regional watch officer watchbill coordinator, and First Class Petty Officers Association president. Furthermore, he volunteers with the Newport News, Virginia, Crisis Management Center and Little Creek, Virginia, Elementary School.

    “The Navy definitely develops disciplined and well-rounded individuals,” said Flournoy..” I joined when I was 18, on my own, and with no real sense of being and in no time I was functioning as if I had been living on my own for a long time. The responsibility and sense of pride and ownership that is instilled in you, stays with you and it shows in your job accomplishments, taking care of friends and family, and completing goals.”

    “Congratulations to Petty Officer Flournoy for his selection as Senior Sailor of the Year,” said Rear Adm. Jack Scorby, Commander, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic. “With his history of sustained superior performance, command impact, mission contribution, dedication to self-improvement, and outstanding professionalism, Petty Officer Flournoy continues to represent the many highly dedicated professionals who ensure the success of Navy Region Mid-Atlantic.”

    CNRMA is regional coordinator for all shore-based naval personnel and shore activities in the mid-Atlantic region, encompassing 20 states, 14 installations, 50 naval operational support centers, and 168 special areas.

    As the naval shore installation management headquarters for the mid-Atlantic region, CNRMA provides coordination of base operating support functions for operating forces throughout the region in support of the Fleet, Fighter, and Family.

    “I thank my family for being very supportive over the years and creating the foundation that I was able to build upon when I entered the Navy; to my daughter for being brave and supporting me, and her patience and understanding through all the deployments – I’m incredibly grateful and I love you; and, to my fiancé for pushing me when I needed to be pushed and motivating me to exceed expectations,” said Flournoy. “I thank my Navy leadership and chain of command for having faith in me, guiding and mentoring me, and chewing me out when I needed to be kept in line. Finally, I thank my junior Sailors for their followership and support. I am a product of those I lead and it’s been a great pleasure to serve with some incredible Sailors here.”

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  • Opelousas ‘Hometown Hero’

    Opelousas Mayor Reggie Tatum presents SULC Chancellor John Pierre with the Hometown Hero Award and key to the city during the Southern University Law Center’s 30th Year Commemoration of Clark and Chislom Cases, October 21. Photo by Otis Henry.

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  • Governor Edwards appoints 27 to boards, commissions

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

    Louisiana Executive Board on Aging
    The Louisiana Executive Board on Aging is responsible for developing and implementing policies and procedures pertaining to the Office of Elderly Affairs within the Office of the Governor; for approving matters of policy and all rules and regulations pertaining to elderly affairs and all voluntary parish councils on aging; and for reviewing and making recommendations to the director of the Office of Elderly Affairs on matters of general importance and relevance to the planning, monitoring, coordination and delivery of services to the elderly.

    Harold L. “Digger” Ritchie, of Franklinton, was appointed to the Louisiana Executive Board on Aging. Ritchie is the owner of Poole-Ritchie Funeral Home and a former member of the Louisiana House of Representatives. He was nominated by the Washington Parish Council on Aging and will serve as a representative of the 1st Public Service Commission District.

    Ricco A. Thomas, of Addis, was appointed to the Louisiana Executive Board on Aging. Thomas is a district manager with the Social Security Administration and a part-time police officer for the Addis Police Department. He was nominated by the East Baton Rouge Council on Aging and will serve as a representative of the 2nd Public Service Commission District.

    Edward J. Walters Jr., of Baton Rouge, was appointed to the Louisiana Executive Board on Aging. Walters is an attorney and founding partner of Walters, Papillion, Thomas, Cullens, LLC. He was nominated by the Louisiana State Bar Association and will serve as a representative of the 3rd Public Service Commission District.

    Mona F. Gobert-Cravins, of Washington, was appointed to the Louisiana Executive Board on Aging. Gobert-Cravins is a 211 manager and assistant administrator with 232-HELP, Inc. She was nominated by 232-HELP, Inc. and will serve as a representative of the 4th Public Service Commission District.

    Worlita L. Williams, of Mansfield, was appointed to the Louisiana Executive Board on Aging. Williams is a licensed clinical social worker with the DeSoto Parish School Board. She was nominated by the Louisiana Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers and will represent the 5th Public Service Commission District.

    Volunteer Louisiana Commission
    The Volunteer Louisiana Commission is charged with encouraging community service as a means of community and state problem-solving, promoting and supporting citizen involvement in government and private programs, developing a long-term comprehensive vision and plan for action for community service initiatives in Louisiana, acting as the state’s policy-making body for the Corporation on National and Community Service, and serving as the state’s liaison to national and state organizations that support its mission. Appointments to the commission are made by the Governor in collaboration with the Lieutenant Governor.

    Jeremy C. Babers, of Shreveport, was appointed to the Volunteer Louisiana Commission. Babers is an attorney and the owner of The Law Office of Jeremy Babers. He will serve as a representative of business on the commission.

    Karen Moss-Barnes, of Shreveport, was reappointed to the Volunteer Louisiana Commission. Moss-Barnes is the fair share coordinator for the City of Shreveport’s Fair Share Program. She will continue to serve as a representative of local government on the commission.

    Carissa J. Graves, of Baton Rouge, was appointed to the Volunteer Louisiana Commission. Graves is a former educator and AmeriCorps alum. She also serves as a mentor for Kids Hope USA. She will serve as a member with expertise in educational, training and developmental needs of youth on the commission.

    Mitzi R. Hail, of Baton Rouge, was appointed to the Volunteer Louisiana Commission. Hail is an enterprise corporate delivery manager with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana. She will serve as a representative of business on the commission.

    Gwendolyn W. Hilliard, of Prairieville, was appointed to the Volunteer Louisiana Commission. Hilliard is a mentor with the Big Buddy Program and the Boys and Girls Club. She also serves as a frequent volunteer with Volunteer Ascension and the American Red Cross. Ms. Hilliard will serve as a representative of community-based agencies or community-based organizations within Louisiana on the commission.

    Angela S. Jouett, of Lake Charles, was appointed to the Volunteer Louisiana Commission. Jouett is the health initiatives and strategic partnership manager for the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury. She will serve as a representative of local government on the commission.

    Patrick C. Lawler, of Baton Rouge, was appointed to the Volunteer Louisiana Commission. Lawler is a team supervisor with Love Our Community and a City Year Baton Rouge corps member. He will serve as a member between the ages of 16 and 25 who is a participant or supervisor in a service program on the commission.

    Laurie A. Manley, of Slidell, was appointed to the Volunteer Louisiana Commission. Manley is the volunteer coordinator at Slidell Memorial Hospital. She will serve as a member with expertise in the delivery of human, educational, environmental or public safety services to communities and persons on the commission.

    William O. Stoudt, of New Orleans, was reappointed to the Volunteer Louisiana Commission. Stoudt is a self-employed manager and former executive director for Youth Rebuilding New Orleans. He will serve as a representative of a national service program on the commission.


    Washington Parish Reservoir District

    The Washington Parish Reservoir District was formed to study the feasibility of developing a reservoir in Washington Parish and to search for a potential site. Appointments to this board are made by the Governor from nominations received by the Washington Parish President, each of the seven Washington Parish Council members, and the three members of the Washington Parish legislative delegation.

    Charles E. Mizell Sr., of Bogalusa, was reappointed to the Washington Parish Reservoir District. Mizell is the former mayor of Bogalusa. As required by statute, he was nominated by the Washington Parish President.

    Michael K. “Mike” Garic, of Bogalusa, was appointed to the Washington Parish Reservoir District. Garic is the owner and operator of Alex’s Tamale Shack and a former Bogalusa Police officer. As required by statute, he was nominated by a member of the Washington Parish Council.

    Bob D. Bateman, of Franklinton, was reappointed to the Washington Parish Reservoir District. Bateman is retired and previously worked with the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security. As required by statute, he was nominated by a member of the Washington Parish Council.

    Michael L. Melancon, of Bogalusa, was appointed to the Washington Parish Reservoir District. Melancon is the director of revenue cycle for Our Lady of the Angels Hospital. As required by statute, he was nominated by a member of the Washington Parish Council.

    Clifton E. Roberts, of Angie, was appointed to the Washington Parish Reservoir District. Roberts is retired and previously worked at the LSU Bogalusa Medical Center. As required by statute, he was nominated by a member of the Washington Parish Council.

    William A. “Bill” Jenkins, of Angie, was reappointed to the Washington Parish Reservoir District. Jenkins is the owner of Bill Jenkins Forestry Services. As required by statute, he was nominated by a member of the Washington Parish Council.

    Jason M. Creel, of Franklinton, was appointed to the Washington Parish Reservoir District. Creel is the chief operating officer of Creel Brothers, Inc. As required by statute, he was nominated by a member of the Washington Parish Council.

    James F. “Jim” Beatty, Ph.D., of Mount Hermon, was appointed to the Washington Parish Reservoir District. Beatty is retired and previously worked as a dairy nutrition consultant with Purina Mills. As required by statute, he was nominated by a member of the Washington Parish Council.

    John E. Nichols, of Bogalusa, was appointed to the Washington Parish Reservoir District. Nichols is retired and previously worked as a senior consultant on nuclear energy projects. As required by statute, he was nominated by a member of the Washington Parish legislative delegation.

    D. Beryl Schilling, of Mount Hermon, was reappointed to the Washington Parish Reservoir District. Schilling worked in the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division for 29 years. As required by statute, he was nominated by a member of the Washington Parish legislative delegation.

    Jerry A. Thomas, M.D., of Franklinton, was appointed to the Washington Parish Reservoir District. Dr. Thomas is a family practice physician and a former member of the Louisiana State Senate and House of Representatives. As required by statute, he was nominated by a member of the Washington Parish legislative delegation.

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  • Stantec promotes aspiring engineer through North BR program

    Stantec, a Baton Rouge engineering and design firm, recently extended a full-time internship opportunity to Elvis Richard Jr.  Richard is a senior at Scotlandville Magnet High School and aspires to be an engineer.

    Richard was first introduced to Stantec through UREC’s North Baton Rouge Youth Development Program (NBR) two years ago. Through the NBR program, he was afforded the opportunity to job shadow and receive direct professional mentorship from engineers at Stantec.

    The exposure has resulted in significant growth for Richard, who says he is more disciplined and serious about his future as a result of the opportunities he has received.  He also has great respect and appreciation for his Stantec mentors for pointing him in the right direction.

    Since 2014, Stantec Engineer Matthew Davis has supervised Richard, ensuring that his understudy obtains the technical and soft skills needed to be competitive.  Similarly, Stantec Project Manager Joseph Cains III serves as the company’s NBR liaison; he holds Richard accountable on researching colleges and scholarship opportunities.

    “It builds you up. It motivates you to be successful because I wasn’t on the right track,” Richard said of his Stantec opportunities.

    Evlis Richard Jr_NBR 2014 - Copy

    As a result of the experiences, Richard improved his presentation and technical writing skills.  He also leveraged his NBR experience to grow his relationship with Stantec.

    ONLINE: www.urecbr.com

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