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Cane River Green Market to Host the Great Outdoors Adventure on May 5

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Cane River Green Market to Host the Great Outdoors Adventure on May 5

Featured activities include fly casting, fly tying, and canoeing/kayaking demonstrations

NATCHITOCHES – The Cane River Green Market (CRGM) will continue its summer season on Saturday, May 5 with an exciting array of activities in celebration of National Salsa Month and National Physical Activity and Sports Month.


Natchitoches’ local farmer’s market will take place every Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon on the downtown riverbank in the Natchitoches Historic District through July 28.


Featured activities this Saturday will include the Great Outdoors Adventure, a free Zumba class, free salsa samples while supplies last, a kid’s coloring station, and an animal adoption day with Hope for Paws. Live musical entertainment will be provided by Monty & Marsha.


The Great Outdoors Adventure will run from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. and feature fly casting, fly tying, and canoeing and kayaking demonstrations on Cane River by Pack and Paddle of Lafayette, Gray Wolf Fly Shop, Green Trout Fly Shop, and Custom Nets by Jim Gill. Real outdoor artists and instructors from Louisiana, Arkansas, and Texas will be on hand for instruction. These vendors will also be selling their specialty products and offering an exciting array of raffle and door prizes throughout the day.





The following educational programs will also be offered:


  • What Fish See and Hear {Yep’ they communicate!} by Bill Heugel
  • What’s a Mussel Good for Anyway? {Things you should really know} by Tony Brady
  • Project Healing Waters {For our Disabled Veterans}


The free Zumba class will be offered every Saturday during the month of May from 8:30 – 9:30 a.m. in celebration of National Salsa Month. Zumba is a Latin-inspired dance fitness workout. The class will be instructed by Kimberly Davis who regularly teaches Zumba at Northwestern State University’s Wellness, Recreation, and Activity Center. Participants of all ages and fitness levels are welcome to attend and encouraged to bring water and a towel. 


In addition to all of the family fun activities, market customers can choose from a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables from Green Market produce vendors. Customers can also enjoy a selection of value-added products including farm fresh eggs, baked goods, jams, jellies, pickles, honey, fresh flowers, herbs and much more. Hand-crafted items are also available including jewelry, woodwork, stained glass and other items.


The market will feature special programming and activities throughout the season including regular live musical performances, children’s activities, speakers and demonstrations.


To learn more about these special programs or how to become a vendor, please call the market office at(318) 352-2746 (CRGM). A calendar of events and vendor applications can be found online


Written by demon53

May 2, 2012 at 4:39 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Louisiana legislative session reaches halfway point

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Associated Press 

BATON ROUGE — Halfway through this legislative session, Louisiana lawmakers have given their final approval to sweeping education changes. But the one item they have to complete before they can wrap up their work remains an unbalanced jumble.

Next year’s $25.5 billion budget faces a list of troubles: falling income estimates, ties to uncertain retirement changes and disputes over how much one-time money should be plugged into the spending plan.

It’s not an unusual place to be with six weeks to go before the legislative session must end June 4. But the uncertainties are a bit larger than lawmakers often see, with more than $1 billion tied to unresolved issues.

The House Appropriations Committee continues to comb through Gov. Bobby Jindal’s budget recommendations for the fiscal year that begins July 1. Lawmakers on the committee won’t craft their version of next year’s budget until they get the latest revenue projections.


Legislative leaders say they plan to tweak the state’s income estimates by early May and the expectations are grim, with revenue figures expected to drop.
That dip will combine with legislative changes to Jindal’s pension proposals and lessen any savings for state agencies below what was contained in the governor’s budget recommendations.


“It seems like we’ll have a double whammy going forward,” said Senate Finance Chairman Jack Donahue, R-Mandeville.


Jindal’s chief budget adviser, Commissioner of Administration Paul Rainwater, said his office doesn’t yet have estimates of what size hole the changes to the retirement bills have made in the governor’s budget proposal.


“Do you have some thoughts about where we might look to fill that deficit?” Donahue asked.


Rainwater didn’t give senators any suggestions but said the Jindal administration will work with lawmakers on ways to shrink the 2012-13 budget once the shortfalls become clear from the retirement legislation changes and from whatever changes are made to state revenue projections.


Beyond the budget, lawmakers have a slew of contentious items awaiting their decision in the second half of the regular session. 


Of the more than 1,900 bills filed for consideration, only a handful have reached final passage, nearly all of them tied to a series of significant changes to public education sought by Jindal and hurried through the session as a priority.
Those measures, signed into law last week, will create a statewide voucher program for some low- and moderate-income students to attend private schools with taxpayer dollars; expand charter school programs; make it tougher for teachers to reach the job protection know as tenure; and give more authority to school superintendents to decide teacher pay and hiring.


Jindal has since turned his focus to retirement changes that would make about 50,000 rank-and-file state workers and higher education employees pay more toward their retirement and wait longer to collect full benefits.


Those measures await debate on the Senate floor as early as this week, with strong opposition from retirement system leaders and others who call the bills unconstitutional, violating a provision that protects public pension benefits from being diminished.


The governor also is seeking to start a 401k-style retirement plan for new state employees that is tied to investment earnings, rather than offering a guaranteed monthly pension tied to a worker’s salary.

Written by demon53

April 25, 2012 at 5:28 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Ex-BP engineer arrested in Gulf oil spill case

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The Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS — Federal prosecutors brought the first criminal charges Tuesday in the Gulf oil spill, accusing a former BP engineer of deleting more than 300 text messages that indicated the blown-out well was spewing far more crude than the company was telling the public at the time.

Two years and four days after the drilling-rig explosion that set off the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history, Kurt Mix, 50, of Katy, Texas, was arrested and charged with two counts of obstruction of justice for allegedly destroying evidence.

The U.S. Justice Department made it clear that the investigation is still going on and suggested that more people could be arrested. In a statement, Attorney General Eric Holder said prosecutors “will hold accountable those who violated the law in connection with the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history.”

Federal investigators have been looking into the causes of the blowout and the actions of managers, engineers and rig workers at BP and its subcontractors Halliburton and Transocean in the days and hours before the April 20, 2010, explosion.

But the case against Mix focuses on the aftermath of the blast, when BP scrambled to plug the leak. Even then, the charges are not really about the disaster but about an alleged attempt to thwart the investigation into it.

In court papers, the FBI said one of the areas under investigation is whether the oil company intentionally lowballed the amount of crude spewing from the well.

In outlining the charges, the government suggested Mix knew the rate of flow from the busted well was much greater than the company publicly acknowledged. Prosecutors said BP gave the public an optimistic account of its May 2010 efforts to plug the well via a technique called a “top kill,” even though the company’s

internal data and some of the text messages showed the operation was likely to fail.

An accurate flow-rate estimate is necessary to determine how much in penalties BP and its subcontractors could face under the Clean Water Act. In court papers, prosecutors appeared to suggest the company was also worried about the effect of the disaster on its stock price.


Written by demon53

April 25, 2012 at 5:19 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

1 in 2 new graduates are jobless or underemployed

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Written by
Hope Yen
Source: The Associated Press




WASHINGTON — The college class of 2012 is in for a rude welcome to the world of work.

A weak labor market already has left half of young college graduates either jobless or underemployed in positions that don’t fully use their skills and knowledge.

Young adults with bachelor’s degrees are increasingly scraping by in lower-wage jobs — waiter or waitress, bartender, retail clerk or receptionist, for example — and that’s confounding their hopes a degree would pay off despite higher tuition and mounting student loans.

An analysis of government data conducted for The Associated Press lays bare the highly uneven prospects for holders of bachelor’s degrees.

Opportunities for college graduates vary widely.

While there’s strong demand in science, education and health fields, arts and humanities flounder. Median wages for those with bachelor’s degrees are down from 2000, hit by technological changes that are eliminating midlevel jobs such as bank tellers.

Most future job openings are projected to be in lower-skilled positions such as home health aides, who can provide personalized attention as the U.S. population ages.

Taking underemployment into consideration, the job prospects for bachelor’s degree holders fell last year to the lowest level in more than a decade.

“I don’t even know what I’m looking for,” says Michael Bledsoe, who described months of fruitless job searches as he served customers at a Seattle coffeehouse. The 23-year-old graduated in 2010 with a creative writing degree.

Initially hopeful that his college education would create opportunities, Bledsoe languished for three months before finally taking a job as a barista, a position he has held for the last two years. In the beginning he sent three or four resumes a day. But, Bledsoe said, employers questioned his lack of experience or the practical worth of his major. Now he sends a resume once every two weeks or so.

Bledsoe, currently making just above minimum wage, says he got financial help from his parents to help pay off student loans. He is now mulling whether to go to graduate school, seeing few other options to advance his career. “There is not much out there, it seems,” he said.

His situation highlights a widening but little-discussed labor problem. Perhaps more than ever, the choices that young adults make earlier in life — level of schooling, academic field and training, where to attend college, how to pay for it — are having long-lasting financial impact.

“You can make more money on average if you go to college, but it’s not true for everybody,” says Harvard economist Richard Freeman, noting the growing risk of a debt bubble with total U.S. student loan debt surpassing $1 trillion. “If you’re not sure what you’re going to be doing, it probably bodes well to take some job, if you can get one, and get a sense first of what you want from college.”

Andrew Sum, director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University who analyzed the numbers, said many people with a bachelor’s degree face a double whammy of rising tuition and poor job outcomes. “Simply put, we’re failing kids coming out of college,” he said, emphasizing that when it comes to jobs, a college major can make all the difference. “We’re going to need a lot better job growth and connections to the labor market, otherwise college debt will grow.”

By region, the Mountain West was most likely to have young college graduates jobless or underemployed — roughly 3 in 5. It was followed by the more rural southeastern U.S., including Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee. The Pacific region, including Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington, also was high on the list.

On the other end of the scale, the southern U.S., anchored by Texas, was most likely to have young college graduates in higher-skill jobs.

The figures are based on an analysis of 2011 Current Population Survey data by Northeastern University researchers and supplemented with material from Paul Harrington, an economist at Drexel University, and the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington think tank. They rely on Labor Department assessments of the level of education required to do the job in 900-plus U.S. occupations, which were used to calculate the shares of young adults with bachelor’s degrees who were “underemployed.”


Read the rest here:

Written by demon53

April 25, 2012 at 5:10 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

NSU getting new building

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Written by
Icess Fernandez 

Source: Shreveport 













Northwestern State University students will soon be able to visit the registrar, the financial aid office and pay their fines all in one place.

A new building is being constructed that will place all student services under one roof.

The new Students Services building is being constructed in the heart of the campus and will be completed during the summer, said Marcus Jones, vice president for University Affairs.

“Prior to this, students had to go to three different buildings,” he said. “It will be a great place for the university and the students.”

The three-story building will be about 3,200 square feet and will house the offices of student life, recruiting, admission, the dean of students and student accounts.

Costing $6 million, the building is the first new construction on the campus in several years, Jones said. The money for construction came from the state.

“We were fortunate that the governor and our representative came through in getting us funding,” he said.

Chris Maggio, dean of students and assistant provost for student life, said that beyond just having a place for student business, the new building will be welcoming and inviting. For example, students will be greeted with television screens that will give them the latest information.

“It will be one-stop shopping for students, and it will help with recruiting and retention,” Maggio said.

The second floor will house the admissions and financial aid office. Both offices will have terminals that will allow students easy access to applications and aid forms.

Maggio said officials discussed how to make the building as student-friendly as possible. On the second and third floors, there will be conferences rooms where small group presentations could take place when needed.

“It’s one thing to say let’s have a financial aid office (for example) and another way to say how best do we deliver this service,” Maggio said.

Written by demon53

April 25, 2012 at 5:03 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Real Views Exclusive: Q&A with City Council Candidate Earnestine Armstrong

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Written By

Robert Brown

With early voting already underway for Natchitoches Parish , The Real Views has hit the campaign pavement to give you insight and interviews with local candidates during this exciting campaign season. Our first interview is with Earnestine Armstrong. Mrs Armstrong is a candidate for City Council of  District 2. After serving 19 years as the education coordinator for the Head Start Program in Natchitoches, Mrs. Armstrong has decided to enter politics and become the change that she wants to see. With an endorsement from The Real Views owner, Randy Stelly, I was given the privilege to interview Mrs. Armstrong for a short Q&A.

The Real ViewsWhat are some of the reasons that  you decided to enter this year’s election? 

Mrs. Armstrong : Well, I decided to run because I think that it’s time for some changes with the way things are done in Natchitoches, especially in District 2, where we feel that we aren’t getting the proper representation that we deserve. I felt like the time was right this election.

The Real Views: What changes do you want to see as City Council woman of District 2? 

Mrs. Armstrong: My biggest concern is utility rates in the city; the numbers are astronomical. Another top priority on my agenda is the road for Town South and Payneham community that should have been fixed a long time ago. But, the electricity rates are really too high for a city of Natchitoches’ size. Repairing local roads and getting lower utility rates are definitely my top goals as becoming a member of City Council for District2.

The Real Views: Do you think you’re going to be able to accomplish most of your agenda once elected? 

Mrs. Armstrong: Well, that all depends on the collective effort of my fellow councilmen and the mayor of the city. I’ve never been someone to sit down and say what I’m going to do; I would rather let my actions talk for me. If elected, I would have the voice and influence to help my community, district, and the entire city.

The Real Views: Do you think the city of Natchitoches needs more of its people more politically involved? And by involved, I mean going to City Council meetings, being outspoken, writing letters to political leaders, etc. 

Mrs. Armstrong: I think they should. In the past, we didn’t have much positive reception when we would attend City Council meetings. I think the city council should be an entity where everyone should show up , share ideas, and try to promote a more united Natchitoches. I think the citizens have a right to come in and listen to city government.

The Real Views: How has your  experiences as a mother, grandmother and former Head Start coordinator help you prepare for a political position? 

Mrs. Armstrong: All of my children are grown, I have grandchildren coming up and I notice that many young people in Natchitoches don’t have much to do. There aren’t many activities targeted towards certain age groups of children, so that leaves them with nothing to do but walk the streets and get into trouble. The old saying an idle mind being the devil’s workshop holds true to some situations in Natchitoches when it comes to our youth. We need programs that promote productivity and positive experiences  for our children in Natchitoches.

The Real Views: Do you think experience is an overrated trait in politics? 

Mrs. Armstrong: Yes, I do. Everyone has to learn how to do a job. The people that get tenure in certain  positions had to start somewhere. I think the experience argument is an excuse for certain people to own those positions. Those are public positions that should be put out there for anyone that is capable of doing the job well. Change is good, and in this situation, change is needed.

The Real Views: Finally, education is always a hot button issue within Natchitoches. What changes do you want to see done within the school board for education to improve in Natchitoches? 

Mrs. Armstrong: I would like to see some changes done there. I think too many children are being expelled for things that aren’t worth losing an education over. Expulsion doesn’t help anybody. It doesn’t help the children, it doesn’t help the schools, and certainly doesn’t help the community. I would like to see some changes made that help the children get the most they can from our schools. 

The Real Views: Thank you for your time, Mrs. Armstrong. Anything you would like to leave our readers with?

Mrs. Armstrong: I would like to say that this journey for City Council has been a fun experience. I’m grateful for all of the candidates and the campaigns that they’re running. I think citizens of Natchitoches should feel empowered by seeing other locals step up and run for public office.

Written by demon53

March 13, 2012 at 5:21 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

La. budget could close some small museums, secretary says

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Written by
The Associated Press  




BATON ROUGE, La. — Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler says he will need to close some museums if lawmakers pass the budget proposed by Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Schedler outlined the situation Wednesday to the House Appropriations Committee, which is combing through Jindal’s proposals for the 2012-13 fiscal year.

The secretary of state oversees 17 museums, mostly tiny museums run by volunteers and part-time workers. Schedler says with the budget proposed, he could keep open the two largest museums, the Old State Capitol in Baton Rouge and the Louisiana State Exhibit Museum in Shreveport, but would have to shut down every other museum he oversees.


Schedler’s trying to get local communities to take over some museum operations. 
Jindal proposed a $70 million budget for Schedler’s office. Schedler says that includes a $1.5 million cut to museums.

Written by demon53

March 9, 2012 at 3:32 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Air Force plans to cut more than 600 positions at Barksdale AFB

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Written By 

Deborah Barfield Berry
Gannett Washington Bureau  






WASHINGTON — Barksdale Air Force Base near Bossier City would lose more than 600 positions next fiscal year, mostly due to the loss of A-10 combat planes, under a plan proposed by the Air Force.

The plan calls for cutting 409 drill positions and 171 air reserve technician/civilian positions at Barksdale’s reserve unit in fiscal 2013, which begins Oct. 1. Six active-duty positions and 38 civilian positions also would be cut.

A total of 831 positions would be lost for the period covering fiscal 2012 and fiscal 2013, according to the report.


Fort Polk would add 32 positions, and there would be no personnel changes next year at the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in New Orleans.


The cuts are part of $487 billion in reductions approved last year when Congress agreed to increase the nation’s debt limit. The agreement also requires about $1 trillion in cuts over the next nine years unless Congress can come up with a plan to reduce the debt by that amount. Half of those cuts – about $500 billion – would come from the defense budget.


The Air Force budget-cutting plan is subject to congressional approval.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told lawmakers at a recent congressional hearing that proposed reductions at the Air National Guard focus more on equipment such as the A-10, and on whether the planes fit into the military’s strategy.


Defense officials decided that such single-mission aircraft “are the ones that we need to gradually reduce,’’ Panetta said.


Panetta said he asked Air Force officials “to do everything possible to try to mitigate the impact of those reductions.’’


Earlier this year, Air Force officials outlined plans to cut or transfer 24 of Barksdale’s A-10 combat planes.


Air Force officials plan to save money by retiring 200 aircraft in fiscal 2013. They would retire or reclassify aircraft from seven squadrons, including five A-10 squadrons, one F-16 squadron and one F-15 training squadron.


Most proposed cuts to the reserve unit at Barksdale relate to the A-10, officials said.

Written by demon53

March 9, 2012 at 3:28 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Early voting begins Saturday for March 24 elections in Cenla

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Source: Town 



Early voting for the March 24 presidential preference primary elections and local elections — including mayoral races in Natchitoches, Ferriday and four other Cenla municipalities, will begin Saturday.

Early voting, which takes place in parish registrars of voters’ offices, will continue Monday through Friday next week, March 12-17.

Hours for early voting at the Rapides Parish registrar’s office are 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on those days.

The deadline to accept requests for ballots to vote absentee by mail is 4:30 p.m. March 20, according to a news release from Rapides Registrar Joanell Wilson.

In addition to Natchitoches and Ferriday, the Cenla communities holding mayoral elections on March 24 are Chataignier, Clarence, Powhatan and Florien.

The Democratic presidential primary candidates on Louisiana ballots are “Bob” Ely, Barack Obama, Darcy G. Richardson and John Wolfe.

Listed on ballots for the Republican Party presidential preference primary, even though some of the candidates have dropped out of the race, are Michele Bachmann, Randy Crow, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Charles “Buddy” Roemer, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum.

Here are the March 24 elections, for which early voting begins Saturday:







Natchitoches Parish


Mayor, City of Natchitoches


Marvin Blake Jr. (D)


Juanita Howard Fowler (D)


Lee Posey (N)

Written by demon53

March 9, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

BP ready for lengthy oil spill trial

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Written By: The Associated Press


BP chief executive Bob Dudley said the company is able to fight a lengthy court battle over the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Dudley, who took control of BP in October 2010 after former chief executive Tony Hayward resigned amid criticism over the way he had handled the oil spill, told Sunday Telegraph newspaper that BP can continue to function even if the court case that begins in New Orleans Monday continues for years.

We have to remember we are a business that invests in decade-long cycles,” he said in an interview published Sunday. “For the vast majority of people now at BP, the company is back on its feet and it is starting to move forward,” he said.


BP has set aside $40 billion to deal with fines and associated costs of the April 20, 2010, blowout of BP’s deepwater Macondo well which killed 11 workers and injured 17. The burning drilling rig Deepwater Horizon toppled and sank to the Gulf floor, where it sits today.


It took engineers 85 days to permanently cap the well. By then, more than 200 million gallons of oil leaked from the well and had covered much of the northern half of the Gulf of Mexico — endangering fisheries, killing marine life and shutting down offshore oil drilling operations.


President Barack Obama called the BP spill “the worst environmental disaster the nation has ever faced.”


Dudley said BP had improved safety standards on its rigs, five of which are working again in the Gulf of Mexico, and that the company was still committed to deepwater drilling.

Written by demon53

February 27, 2012 at 2:47 pm

Posted in Uncategorized