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Better is Bigger

Our Emergency Department’s renovation and expansion helps us better respond to the emergent needs of our region. It’s also comforting to know that exceptional service, enhanced patient care, and the latest technologies are all close by.

Throughout the holidays and everyday, our doors are always open!

Wishing You a Healthy and Happy New Year!


TO HEAR NO EVIL.... would be a shame.








On December 6, Neville High School student, Skylar Sorrell accepted an athletic and academic scholarship from Northwestern State University. She began playing soccer as a young child and for the last 8 years, she has played at the highest level in the state and country with highly competitive teams. She has also played for the Louisiana Olympic Development Team for the past 5 years. During her time at Neville, she has scored ans astonishing 92 goals and 44 assists. Congratulations, Skylar! We wish you luck playing in the NCAA Southland Conference!

General Manager, Randy Stone is happy to announce the appointment of Carolyn Clampit to the position of Director of Sales. “Carolyn brings a wealth of experience and success to our station. We are lucky to have found such a great fit for our company,� says Stone.



Units 2 and 10 Available For Lease

Monroe’s Premier Office Condominiums Build Equity Sustainably - Buy Green. LISA HOLYFIELD 318-5477083 •

JOE HOLYFIELD 318-366-6307 •

DAVID SORRELL 318-547-7084 •





Twin Cities Rotary Presents:


ULM School of Pharmacy Presents:

7:30-11:00pm • 401 Lea Joyner Memorial Expressway

8:00-10:30am • ULM School of Pharmacy

The Food Bank of Northeast Louisiana presents:



West Monroe Farmer’s Market or Monroe Civic Center

JAN. 27 • EMPTY BOWLS 11:00am-2:00pm Ouachita Candy Company



JAN. 11 • BEER & BARDS 7:00pm • Enoch’s Irish Pub

5:30-7:30pm • Brass Monkey Pub & Patio


Country Club at 7:00PM


JAN. 20 • KREWE OF JANUS MARDI GRAS BALL 6:30pm • West Monroe Convention Center


6:00PM • Downtown West Monroe/ Monroe

Ladies Night Benefiting The Wellspring | November 30 | Trinity Diamonds Direct

Cherry Morris, Sherry Lett

Kristina Lawrence, Kim Stanley

Kathy Sills, Pam Holdman, Krystle Leonard

Cherry Morris, Scotty Sills

Lauren Tumey, Amanda Speights

Christy Gwin, Lisa Longenbaugh, Melanie Aycock

Oglesby Christmas Party | December 5 | Strauss Theater

Greg Copeland, Mike Pollard, Cindy Pollard, Joyce Copeland

Tina Fox, Austin Mills

Norlyn and Leo Hyde

Nilanthi & Upali Siriwardane

Cynthia Montcalm, Delores Cooper

Margaret and Raymond Horne, Monica and Jim Addison


Geeks Along the River | November 18 | Downtown RiverMarket

Bob Milkint, Dr. John McClendon, Joan Hampton, Gary Hampton, Blanche Betz, Scarlett Boles, Victoria Sexton

Jonathan, Melissa, Sidney Switzer

Cheyenne Shirey

Andy and Becky Tripp

Scarlett and Bill Boles

Nathan Tremaine

Tom Collins

2nd Annual Holiday Tasting | November 30 | Washington Wine & Spirits

Nikki Wright, Teresa Taylor, Kandace Stroo, Kristen Lambrecht

Jessica Hamlin, Nikki Blackwelder

Stephen Jester, Shane Brodes


Iantha Thomas, Chaneika Jackson, Melanie Jackson

Katie Hodge, Wendy Holden

Delia Sivils, Scott Terral

Dustin Ward, Heather and Mark Smith

Monroe Chamber of Commerce Holiday Gala and Auction December 7 | Bayou DeSiard Country Club

Joe and Linda Holyfield, Todd Burgess, Charlen Campbell

Bill Cheek, Mike Echols, Nate Smith

Alise & Mac Oliver, Debbie & Herschel Ryan

Amanda Regan, Daniel & Linda O'Neal

Stephanie & Nate Smith

Dr. Nick Bruno, Linda Holyfield, Sue Nicholson

2017 Kiwanis Club Christmas Parade | December 2 | Downtown Monroe/WM


Garden District Block Party | December 1 | Ouachita Candy Co. Warehouse

Roy Bullock, Judge Elvis Stout, Adrienne LaFrance, Nell Calloway

Tara Ambrose, Rita Tucker, Savanna Harrison, Joan Hampton

Monique Jones, Rick Snead, Friday Ellis

Ryle and Amanda Regan

Chad and Meredith Brooks

Josh Mitchell, April Salsberry

Clinton Coleman, Robert Knight, Andrew Canales

Vitus Shell

Carrie Genusa, Laura Kilpatrick, Philip Medford, Zeke Wetzel


Jill Bailey, Byron Bailey, Adrian Fontenot, Sidney Deville





Providing Free Comprehensive Financial Education to Local Teens, Sponsored by Capital One

United Way of Northeast Louisiana recently hosted the Dollars & $ense Reality Fair, sponsored by Capital One, for Carroll, Neville, Ouachita, Richwood, West Monroe, and Wossman High School students. Thank you, Capital One, for investing in our students’ financial future by supporting the Dollars & $ense Reality Fair!

UPCOMING VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES: Thursday, January 11, 2018, 7:45 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. Sterlington High School (233 Keystone Rd, Monroe, LA 71203)

Wednesday, February 14, 2018, 7:45 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. Ruston Civic Center (401 N Trenton Street, Ruston, LA 71270)

Thursday, February 15, 2018, 7:45 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. Ruston Civic Center (401 N Trenton Street, Ruston, LA 71270)

For more information, or to volunteer NOW, call 2-1-1, or visit:

Viva-La-Pets Loving In-Home Pet Sitting Services

Rebecca Mixon


MA, M.Ed.

“Clearing the Air”

Why It’s Hard to Quit Smoking Presented by:

Rebecca Mixon St. Francis Tobacco Cessation Program Manager Thursday, January 11th

12:00 Noon - Lunch Provided

St. Francis Community Health Center

2600 Tower Drive, Monroe | Community Room, 2nd Floor

Seating is limited, so please register early. RSVP (318) 966-4792

Melanie & Leo McStravick 912-308-8303 (Local Cell)

Talks on Tower is a series provided by St. Francis Medical Group.

Medication and Wound Care Qualified

Licensed, Insured & Bonded




King and Queen Janus XXXV Keith and Rhonda Joyner




Jennifer Haneline Monroe City School Board member talks about her passion for people and education.

Brittany Ramsey chats with Jennifer Haneline about Education GARY GUINIGUNDO


Jennifer Haneline is originally from Chicago but has planted her roots deep here in Northeast Louisiana. She has earned a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Psychology from the University of Illinois at Chicago and her Master’s degree in Social Work from Aurora University. She relocated to Louisiana in 2007, after working for the National Alzheimer’s Association and helping the local Alzheimer’s chapter provide support and education in shelters after the hurricanes in 2005. She now is the Regional Manager for the Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco Free Living and has achieved success in passing smoke free ordinances. The passion she has for supporting and enriching the people’s lives around her led to her position as a Monroe City School Board member. 24 | JA NUARY 2018 | DE LTAS T YL E M AGAZINE

What is your position on the Monroe City School Board? I am the elected member of District 2, the largest populated district in Monroe, in terms of the actual population. How long have you actively served as a member of the Monroe City School Board? I’m in my third year, so next year will be an election year. What made you want to be a member of the school board? I wanted to do my part to be a mediating force to help support the good things that are going on in the schools. My thinking at that time is that I could help bring us to a better place, or be a part of it. I had just worked in the community helping get smoke free measures pushed forward and it was empowering to get that done. I thought, “Wow. One person really can help make a difference.” As I was working with the school district on their smoke free pol-

icies, it was suggested that I should think about running one day. The other motivating factor is my own kids! I have children in the school system and I want to advocate for their education and opportunities, as well as all students. What did you enjoy most about running for the position? I qualified and met with Vickie Krutzer, whose position I assumed on the board. I had mentioned to her in the year or so prior, that if she ever decided not to run, that I was interested and that I would like to learn from her what I needed to know, because I knew nothing about politics! So, I began my campaign process; I went door to door, with my kids! They were doing a fundraiser for Lexington Elementary at the time, so it was like double duty! It was a great platform that worked out well. We rode around on a threewheeled bike with a sign on the back. It was a very “home-town, Americana kind of thing.” It was neat getting to meet so many neighbors and members of the community that I had never met. I enjoyed that part of it. How did it feel in that moment, to be announced as the elected member, even though you already knew? It was unbelievable. I never had any intention of being in politics. I’m a social worker. My training and background is in social work and my job was helping others make positive change in their lives, to identify their strengths, and to help them see them. But this wasn’t anything I had ever considered, so to run and get elected, especially in a community I didn’t grow up, felt so humbling. Do you have a background in education? No. My mom was a high school teacher, so I grew up with her as her whole career teaching Latin & English. Then prior to running I had taught Developmental English at Delta Community College. So, that was another piece of the puzzle. I saw some of these students come in to this class, which means they didn’t qualify for English 101. They needed to take this course to get them up to speed. I saw many students come in, who had just graduated high school and were very intelligent, but

Jennifer campaigning door-to-door with her kids for the Monroe City School Board

couldn’t do the work. It told me that something happened in the earlier educational system that they couldn’t perform certain assignments but with even just a little time and investment, they could, because they were very bright. Also in my social work career, I observed students in the schools, usually elementary because I have a background in Infant Mental Health from my fellowship at Tulane. I got to see a lot of teachers and students in action at various schools in our city and it made an impression. We have such great talent in these schools and I wanted to help promote that, too. How do you feel about your experience as a board member? We’ve certainly had some rocky times but there comes a point where you must bring it back to the table and work together to get through making the necessary changes. It’s also very important to me to remember that people are coming to

the table with their own historical references and lenses. So, the way they hear something versus the way I or someone born and raised in a different part of town hears something, they are all very different. I’ve seen us grow as a board because when I came on there were only two holdovers, everybody else was new. When you see the advancement of overall grades in these schools over a short period, that’s unreal. Dr. Vidrine has done amazing work in the schools. We have no failing schools right now, which is exciting. Would you say that you have a passion for advocating for educators? Absolutely! As well as the students and even the community, too. That was one thing when I was going door to door campaigning, some people would say that their child or children went to a private school so this didn’t really matter to them. I asked them, “Do you understand how your property values

are based? Your public schools are very important to your home value, whether your kids are using them or not.” Public education is one of those things that is important to every single person who lives in a community, regardless if you are using the schools or not, or have children or not. It impacts the economic viability of the community. It also has potential for advancing the community. Why do you feel like education is one of the fundamentals to living better? There are a few things to it, in my eyes. In public education, you get such a spectrum of great people coming together and that reflects life and how you are going to socialize as you move forward in life and get older. Education is empowering. The more you know, the more you are knowledgeable about, the more you are aware of things outside of your community, then the more hope you can have as a person. You can have vision.



“We’re More Than Just A Lumberyard” Tom Sanders Building Mart is your local Monessen Fireplace dealer featuring Gas and Woodburning units. We offer a large selection of realistic Gas Logs Sets to suit any décor. From Traditional To The Latest In Contemporary Designs.

431 Downing Pines Road West Monroe, LA 318-325-9677 1-800-256-7263 DELTA STYLE MAGA ZIN E | JA N UA RY 2 018 | 2 7


One thing I have always lacked is spontaneity. In 2018, I hope to shed (some) of my level-headed ways and take more risks. I’m young, I’m healthy, and life is too short to not live with a little excitement! -Mallory Parks, Account Executive For 2018, I want to manage my time better. I, too often, get caught up in the task at hand whether it be work or remodeling my home. My resolution is too slow down and enjoy my time with my kids, they are growing too fast! -Katie Burke, General Manager/Editor My New Year’s resolution is to get more organized! I tend to fly by the seat of my pants too often & I know having a more organized plan would save me a lot of sanity! -Brittany Ramsey, Account Executive A common term among my generation is “adulting,” which I feel I did throughout 2017. Adulting is the action of living in the “real world.” My resolution for 2018 is to continue to “adult” in a positive direction! -Emma Sager, Editorial Assistant There are so many things to be thankful for every day, but often we get too busy to notice. My resolution for 2018 is to keep a gratitude journal to help me focus on each day’s blessings. - Barbara Leader, Editor of The News-Star


New Year “Wishes” Delta Resolutions Reflect Hope Traditions are those time-honored actions that we earnestly --- and eagerly --- repeat on special occasions. Blowing out the candles on our birthday cakes,popping fireworks on the Fourth of July, throwing rice at newlyweds as they depart for their honeymoon --- these are traditions that have stood the test of time. There are some traditions, however, that remain in our culture even though failure is the almost universal result. Making New Year’s resolutions year after year --- in spite of the majority of individuals making them almost never follow through on them --- certainly falls within this category. Why do we persist in doing this? Is it some self-defeating impulse? I don’t think so. I think it is because we --- perennial Delta optimists --believe that THIS year it will be different. Maybe. Perhaps. OK, maybe not, but the ACT of self-reflection that making resolutions requires is worth plenty. By taking the time to look inward, not for selfish reasons but for seeking self-improvement in our lives, we learn something important about ourselves. And that “review” just might be justification enough to try once again. GP


Delta folk have always taken New Year’s resolutions seriously, at least where and when I grew up. Certainly making New Year’s resolutions on Kenilworth plantation was no hasty activity. No, it required considerable thought and time --- at least for my grandfather. Shortly after the Christmas feast leftovers had disappeared (finally!) and the house had been put back in order, my grandfather would begin his annual reflections on the year that was coming to a close. There were certain markers that helped color Daddy Moore’s opinion of the passing year. If a new baby had been born into his family or a friend’s family, if the crops had been harvested safely and at a profit, if America were in peacetime and enjoying prosperity, and if his family were well and happy --- these were the kinds of things that mattered to him when he evaluated the passing of time. If they were in order, he would consider the closing year a success. After spending several evenings thinking and talking about the past, Daddy Moore


would invariably turn his thoughts to the future. And from those thoughts would come his own resolutions for the New Year. I remember walking with him as we “looked over the place” together on winter afternoons, and listening to him talk about what he hoped might happen in the approaching year. These hopes were helping him to form the basis for his own resolutions, though at the time I did not realize that. I, still a young girl in those years, thought that he was simply thinking out loud about a variety of things, most of which held little or no meaning to me. For Daddy Moore --- and I suspect for Mom Moore while she was living --- a new year meant a new beginning in countless ways. It marked the beginning of a new growth cycle for our crops and herds, as field preparation for planting would start soon and new calves would appear before the New Year was much more than a toddler. These life cycles on Delta plantations repeated themselves decade after decade with very little variation except for the introduction of more and more sophisticated machinery to do the hard work required or to make the homes more “livable.” Daddy Moore called it “progress” --- but not always in a positive tone. Oh, make no mistake. Daddy Moore had no objection to indoor plumbing and improved appliances (although he insisted until his death that the ancient wood stove in Kenilworth’s “old kitchen” produced far better meals than did the modern electric range in the “new kitchen”), nor was he opposed to improved farm equipment. What concerned him most was how the people who had lived and worked on the place for decades --- some there even before our family came --- would be able to adapt to this “modernization.” It was a good question, one that he did not live to see answered fully. It is still a good question to which the Delta continues to find an equitable answer.

Cheers to the New Year . . . After the last firecracker had been popped, the final shot fired into the night sky, and the final glass of champagne (or

“New Year's Day — Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual. Yesterday, everybody smoked his last cigar, took his last drink, and swore his last oath. Today, we are a pious and exemplary community. Thirty days from now, we shall have cast our reformation to the winds and gone to cutting our ancient shortcomings considerably shorter than ever. We shall also reflect pleasantly upon how we did the same old thing last year about this time. However, go in, community. New Year's is a harmless annual institution, of no particular use to anybody save as a scapegoat for promiscuous drunks, and friendly calls, and humbug resolutions, and we wish you to enjoy it with a looseness suited to the greatness of the occasion."“ -Mark Twain Letter to Virginia City Territorial Enterprise January 1863

whiskey, in Daddy Moore’s case) had been drained, we all went to bed knowing that the New Year had begun and our feast was only a few hours away. At the New Year’s Day meal, we enjoyed what countless others in the Delta and beyond were enjoying. Family and occasional neighbors and friends would often join us. Black-eyed peas floating in bacon-infused broth, cabbage so fully aromatic that the doors were flung open if weather permitted, and cured ham formed the traditional meal. Cornbread hot from the oven seemed to beg to soak up the juices gathering on the plates. After dessert and coffee had been served, the speaking of the resolutions would begin. Around the table, each person present was required to tell at least one resolution for the New Year. Even we children were expected to participate. It was an interesting exercise, as the resolutions cited generally ran the gamut from light-hearted to deadly serious. Daddy Moore


was always the last to speak, and his resolutions sounded more like a benediction than anything else. As he listed his goals, he ended by expressing both thanks for the blessings from the year just passed, and “wishes” for the New Year just beginning.

Making and Keeping Resolutions . . . Mark Twain, that great teller of truths (well . . . MOST of the time), once wrote that we Americans would like as not be “paving Hell” with our resolutions about a week after making them. He was on to something, it seems. Many researchers have attempted to measure the frequency in which resolutions are made and kept, and there are some reliable figures. According to, approximately 40-45% of adults in our country make at least one resolution each year. Getting more exercise and losing weight are on just about everyone’s list, so I think it is safe to say that

“health” is a primary consideration for many. Interestingly, these same researchers found that about onefourth of those making resolutions toss them aside by the second week in January. Two weeks is a pretty short time to give up on something, but then perhaps the resolution was unrealistic to begin with. I think in the exuberance of this “new beginning,” many find themselves overreaching and thereby nearly always ensuring their failure. Daddy Moore never overreached, nor did he ever list resolutions that were in any way frivolous. I do not remember a single time, for example, that he ever said that “losing weight” was an important goal for his New Year. His beloved pipe, never far from his hand whether in active use or not, meant that he certainly would not be listing “quit smoking” as resolution. That would have been something akin to giving up life to him! By the same token, he never considered listing “working out more.” Mercy! Just handling the day-to-day management of running a working plantation was exercise enough --and taking those walks “around the place” with me filled in any gaps in exercise for both of us! Resolutions for Daddy Moore were always practical and yet turned toward self-improvement. He loved to read, and so he always included “read more” in his list. He also cherished his family, and included finding more ways to help them out if they needed it. Both of my maternal grandparents were devoted, serious Presbyterians. Central among their beliefs was that they should do everything possible to support their church and its people. Because of this, Daddy Moore always resolved to do more in the coming year to further that work. Oprah Winfrey once said that the New Year gives us all “another chance to get it right”. I think that, as she often does, Winfrey has summed this annual transition up nicely. The real basis for resolutions, it seems to me, is to try and do as Daddy Moore did --- think toward the future with clear eyes and a realistic vision. By doing this, maybe we Delta folk will come closer to “getting it right” this time.

When Frozen Pipes Become Busted Pipes, Call

318 - 397 - 8477 DELTA STYLE MAGA Z I N E | JA N UA RY 2 018 | 31

The stripe d line n s hi r t w i th be ll s l e e ve s pai r s pe r f ect wi t h m a ro o n , vel vet s k i n n y pa n t s a n d t a n b o o t i es . An easy, casual lo o k f o r te ach e r s o n the go. Pre pa re for c o l de r we athe r w i th bl ac k b o o t i es a n d t h i s p r i n ted j a cket t h a t wi l l keep yo u wa rm a n d l oo k st ylish in t h e sch o o l h alls.

In no particular order, here are your women that shape the Delta:

Jamie Mayes Marsha Baker Donna Underwood Anita Watson Deborah Chandler Patricia Turner Melanie Soignier

Meet the


Kathy Terricina Melissa Kiper Norlyn Hyde Ginger Knight Claudia Flintroy Tiffany Rials O’Neal Cindy Hampton Nicole Morris “Education is the key to success in life, and teachers make a lasting impact in the lives of their students.” – Solomon Ortiz

34 | JA NUA RY 2018 | D E LTA S T Y LE M AGA ZI NE

EDUCATORS These hese outstanding omen were nominated women nd selected for their and nfluence, leadership, influence, nd contribution to and education in North Louisiana. It is our honor to recognize each educator that was nominated.

Jamie Mayes Math teacher at Bastrop High School, Independent author and speaker What experience has had the greatest impact on your career? Several years ago, I designed a lesson called “Lemons to Lemonade� for my English students. During this lesson, we used the ingredients of lemonade to represent the different and unpredictable experiences in life. Each was given a sheet of paper with three lemons drawn on it. They were asked to write down three things that had made the feel bitter. I talked to students about what the lemons represented and how we have the power to transform those things that have made us bitter into something sweet by focusing on our goals and the good things in life. It was a very emotional lesson for all of us, but it revolutionized my classroom and my relationship with my students. It changed how I approached teaching to reach my students beyond the text and to help them reach their best potential. What has been your most rewarding personal experience? My most rewarding personal experience has been becoming a five-time indie-published author. Reading is the key to knowledge and empowerment. I want to provide society with the next generation of intellectual reading material to encourage reflective discussions and personal inspiration. I want to continue to create poetry and fiction that make readers, laugh, cry, cringe and talk! Who has been your greatest mentor and what did he/she teach you? My mother has been my greatest mentor. As a child, teen, and even an adult, she has always expressed the importance of maintaining character and dignity even when man is not looking, because God is always looking. She has pushed me to stand up for my beliefs, to be an example I want to see in the world and to never be afraid to stand alone when what I stand for is right. Those are priceless lessons that have helped me become who I am, and I am so thankful. What drives you to succeed? Waking up in the morning drives me to succeed. There are so many people who do not get another day, and I am continually blessed to see a new sunrise. With each acknowledgment of that, I try to pursue my dreams with an undying hunger. On those mornings when waking up is just not enough, I am blessed to see the smile of my son, who reminds me that everything I sacrifice is for a better life for him and an honorable legacy for me. Describe your perfect weekend. My perfect weekend is spending Friday night making homemade pizza with my three-year old son, Lee. We love cooking and it is one of the best ways we can have fun at home together. On Saturday, we usually find something we can do together, like driving to a nearby town, working in the garden or going to the park. On Sunday, we go to church to help set a positive tone for another week. I usually close out the weekend with a nice home-cooked Sunday meal and a nap. Why is education important to you? Education revolutionized my life and how I saw my future. I was blessed to have some amazing teachers who saw my gift and my light. They challenged me in the classroom, let me direct school plays, helped pay for school trips, and took me places I would not have been able to go as a child in a single-parent, poverty-stricken home. I know what education did for me, so I know what education can do for others. My mother taught me to be a leader, but education taught me how to lead.


Where School Spirit is Year Round


2252 TOWER DR, SUITE 108 MONROE • 323-7223

Marsha Baker Early Intervening Services Facilitator – Ouachita Parish Schools What experience has had the greatest impact on your career? Just reflecting on all the students' lives for whom I hope I have made a difference; seeing their successes makes teaching worth every moment! Current Volunteer/Organizations/Positions. Working with the Laity Team from First United Methodist Church in delivering church services to St. Joseph Nursing Home on a monthly basis What do you like most about your job and why? Though my job now is away from the school setting, I still get to visit many classrooms and see the great things that our tremendous teachers are doing on a daily basis and that gives me hope for the future of our students and our community Who has been your greatest mentor and what did he/she teach you? My mother was my greatest mentor; even though she passed away from cancer a month before I graduated from NLU. Wilma Hailey taught me to be a kind, caring person who always tries to see the best in people What tips do you have for college students today? Work at a job that is meaningful to you; do your job to the best of your ability and treat others as you wish to be treated Describe one thing you would like to accomplish in your life time away from the office. In my private life, I would hope to be considered a worthy friend to others and work to make our community a better place through mission. Share with us what you consider to be your motto at work. Get to work early, work all day, go home satisfied you did your best! How well has your career matched your personal expectations? I guess I never really thought I would do anything more than be a teacher; being a teacher was the most important goal I had and that was the ultimate prize; moving into administrative positions was not something that I really ever thought about, but I tried to be the best leader I could be in whatever position I held. What advice do you have for professionals? BE PROFESSIONAL! It matters! What is success? Success for me is to see students leading successful and productive lives in our community. Who inspired you to become a teacher? I loved Mrs. Dickerson! She was my first and second grade teacher and she made me feel special. I always remembered how that made me confident and I hoped to make other students feel that way too. Why did you decide on the specific subject you teach? My early teaching career was Health and Physical Education. I was always athletic and enjoyed teaching others about sport and movement, so it was a natural transition to teach HPE. What’s your favorite aspect of teaching? Seeing that moment when the teaching makes the connection for the student and the light bulb goes on! What’s your least favorite aspect of teaching? Paperwork! Why is education important to you? Education is the ticket to every destination! If students could learn one thing from you, what would you want that to be? Care about your fellow human being! Be consistent and follow your heart!


The Board of Directors of QuesTECH Learning is pleased to congratulate QTL Director Donna Underwood. Delta Style Magazine has honored •

Full-time day school for grades 2-8

Donna as one of the

Full-time online school for grades 6-12

“Women who Shape the Delta” for “showing

Blended learning online & on site at QTL for grades 6-12

exemplary leadership in education.” We Concur!

Individual online courses for grades 6-12

After school 1:1 tutorial services

Summer programs for remediation/enrichment

ACT preparation - Workshops, Speed Reader, Tutorials

QuesTECH Learning has an open, non-discriminatory admissions policy. QTL welcomes and admits qualified learners regardless of race, creed, color, ethnic identity, religion, sex, gender, nationality, or place of origin.

QTL 2401 Oliver Rd. Monroe, LA 71201 318-322-6000 MN-1000677449


Congratulations Donna! You are the BEST. QuesTECH Learning Board of Directors Alex George—Founder

Cyndi Foust—President

Valerie Finley

Dr. Meade O’Boyle

Christi Holt Howard

Bud Ray

Ann Hayward

Charles McDonald

Kim Sherrell

Dr. Terry Thomas

Donna Underwood Director, QuesTECH Learning What hat experience has had the greatest impact on your career? In 1997, Alex George asked me to initiate a journey to help children who needed a smaller, non-traditional approach to education. That impact of trust has created a 20-year partnership enabling NE Louisiana families to help their children find success in QuesTECH Learning’s full time school or after school/summer programs coupled with all of our newest virtual educational opportunities through our partnership with FuelED. Of course, my son’s becoming an exceptional educator has impacted me in an especially personal way. What has been your most rewarding personal experience? My most rewarding personal experience is student success. Building selfconfidence and witnessing the resulting smiles keep my colleagues and me ready and eager to begin each school day at QuesTECH Learning. What do like most about your job and why? Meeting with parents to discuss educational options is what I like most about my job. Often parents search for ways to ensure their children’s success. If I am able to suggest viable options and if the children are indeed successful, my heart happy dances. Who has been your greatest mentor and what did he/she teach you? Definitely, I have been blessed with mentoring from so many educational and business leaders including family members. Educationally, Harry Pankey taught me to understand the whole student, not just the classroom student. Of course, Alex George remains my greatest business mentor, teaching the importance of working with board members and other community professionals to create a learning environment conducive to students’ writing their success stories. Describe one thing you would like to accomplish in your life time away from the office. I want my grandchildren—Grace, Emma, and Roger—to realize that they can accomplish anything they choose with determination, diligence, and kindness. Define your passion and how you find time to pursue it? One of my passions is needlepoint. What fun I’ve had completing needlepoint canvases, especially recreations of the paintings of primitive artist Clementine Hunter. Whenever time permits, I escape from daily professional responsibilities to needlepoint. Describe your perfect weekend. With my toes in the sand and a John Hart novel in hand, I would spend a perfect weekend on Pensacola Beach with my family. Of course, eating a Caesar salad with fried oysters atop at Peg Leg Pete’s would be a treat for lunch! Why did you decide on the specific subject you teach? Teaching young people the power of words and the love of reading is one reason I chose English. A highlight of my day at QuesTECH is teaching 8th grade language. With the deployment of Chromebooks this year, I use Google Classroom to teach written expression. What fun for an educational dinosaur to teach writing in way that is fun and enjoyable to my students! Also, I am possessed about ACT English/Reading prep. Helping students reach ACT goals enriches my life. What’s your favorite aspect of teaching? My favorite aspect of teaching is working with second generation students. To have taught their parents in high school and now to work with the children of those former students is an aspect of teaching that I will always treasure. If students could learn one thing from you, what would you want that to be? KINDNESS MATTERS.


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Anita Watson Principal at Northeast Baptist School What experience has had the greatest impact on my career? My career transitioned from being a stay-at-home mom who home schooled three of my five children when I found myself a widow at 37 to becoming a working mom when my youngest turned 3. As I was praying about how God would want me to school my five-year-old, I sensed God telling me to call the Baptist school. That seemed like a far-fetched idea since as a stay-at-home widow, there were no funds available for private school. I followed where I sensed God was leading me and began working at Northeast Baptist School that fall enrolling four of my five children. At the end of that school year, I was offered the job of being Principal. It’s been 18 years of investing in the lives of children, their families, and employees and their families. So, the greatest experience that impacted my career was listening and following where God was leading me. Define your passion and how you find time to pursue it. I once read the book, The Five Love Languages, and discovered that my love language is ‘quality time’ and then ‘acts of service.’ I knew that I thrived on conversation with people I enjoyed or could help but I had never given it a name. So, I love spending time with people, listening, responding, asking questions, and encouraging. I like doing projects and being productive but if I am investing in people, I feel complete. That is just how God has made me. I seldom watch the clock when I am talking to people. That can be good or bad, depending on when my next appointment is, but I have to work at schedules because of that. The ‘Sanguine’ in me enjoys the person who is in front of me. Now that my children are grown, I cherish the times we can sit and just chat about life and what God is doing in their lives. The days when they would get up early to snuggle with me on the couch, then watch a few cartoons while I made homemade pancakes, are long gone. My children who were 2 months, 2.5, 7, 9, and 11 at the time their dad passed, are now all grown. The youngest is now 21. They navigate between jobs, friends, school, and hobbies so a conversation with mom is a cherished moment. I try each Sunday to provide some type of lunch at our house and invite the kids over so we can eat, and enjoy each other. Why is education important to you? Education provides students an opportunity to gain life-skills and set a work-ethic or learn life lessons about poor choices. Our school is also committed to teaching students to look to God for direction for their lives. Working at NBS is an opportunity to encourage mature believers and teach new believers as well as point students who are not believers to their creator and lover of their soul.


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Since 1931, the University of Louisiana Monroe has been the setting of students in pursuit of excellence. Its campus spans over 200 acres of pecan groves, green fields, and the beautiful Bayou Desiard. From its inception, ULM has sought to serve the educational needs and desires of all people. The University prides itself on continually exceeding boundaries through innovation and inclusion, and is well positioned to continue a strong tradition of greatness in the future.


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Deborah Chandler Director of Choral Activities at University of Louisiana Monroe / Conductor of the Monroe Symphony Chorus / Director of Music - Northminster Church What do you like most about your job and why? The saying “If you love what you do it’s not a job” is so true. I am surrounded by some of the most talented and dedicated students and colleagues. We share our passion for the arts on a daily basis. Don’t get me wrong, it is hard work, long hours...but the rewards are life changing for us and those who hear. I also love spreading the word about ULM. I thought I would only work in Monroe for a couple of years.... move on. I am now half way through my 14th year.... this is a wonderful university and Monroe is a great place to live. What tips do you have for college students today? In the field of tip is to NOT give up...don’t ever quit! Many do not realize how much work goes into the study of music. History, theory, languages, discipline to rehearse. You must spend a great deal of alone time in a practice room. It is a learned discipline. You can never let a step backwards keep you from experiencing the certain leap forward. Describe one thing you would like to accomplish in your life time away from the office. I would love to spend a whole summer traveling in Europe. I have been to 36 countries but work related or leading a tour group. I want to be on my own or with my family and go and do with no schedule. I want to spend time where JS Bach lived and worked. Maybe do some research.... but just for me! Share with us what you consider to be your motto at work. Well really there are two mottos: One of them my students would tell you I say alot “Fake it til you make it”! I’m trying to tell them to be comfortable on stage or share the text.... the more they work on this...fake it if they will begin to be real. The second motto I borrow from Theodore Roosevelt. “Do something with what you have, where you are.” I love this! You can be successful and make others be successful if you know you group or your audience. Everybody can contribute something!! What do you enjoy doing away from the work place? I love spending time with my family. My daughter, Olivia, is four years old. I never thought I would be a parent. Since her birth, I understand so much more about giving and sacrifice. I have now experienced and understand the kind of love my own mother felt for me. It is amazing. It has changed my life. How do you balance career and life away from the work place? When I work, I am very focused. When I play, I am very NOT! You must make the most of the small amount of time you have at home. One of my favorite things is to watch and listen to my daughter play. She combines so many things in her world and makes a wonderful story. She will talk and talk about shows me how much she takes in from many places. Sure, makes one be careful around this little one. What is your ultimate career goal? My goal is to be kindly remembered by those whose lives cross with mine. Why is education important to you? Education is all there is! I mean a subject and the more you know the more you can share, can help others. It is the only way to be the change you wish to see in others. You must have the tools, the correct tools, the right information, the current information to affect others in a positive way. If students could learn one thing from you, what would you want that to be? I tell my students that even if they don’t agree with me on how to do something...they still have learned. Also, I tell them that they can always call on me, always, I mean that. They know if I don’t know the answer, I know someone who will.


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Patricia Robinson Turner Performing Arts Dept. Chairman and Varsity Speech & Debate Coach at Neville High School What do you like most about your job and why? Helping students find their voices and discover their potential; producing plays linked to the English Curriculum and coaching debaters on how to create bills for the annual Youth and Government Conference in Baton Rouge, LA. Current Volunteer/Organizations/Positions. Neville’s Fellowship of Christian Students and Athletes (FCA) Sponsor; Spokesperson for the Neville Military Ball; Co-Chairman of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Teen STEMS program entitled ASCEND; Dual Chairman of Omicron Iota Omega Cameo Awards, Founder of the YES Project against teen dating violence. Who has been your greatest mentor and what did he/she teach you? My greatest and most beloved mentors were the late Ad Agency guru Garland Shell and former Mayor W.L. “Jack” Howard. Mr. Shell taught me great public relations skills and Mayor Howard taught me how to function in the business world. They both taught me how to create projects with very little money and lots of sponsorships. LOL! What tips do you have for college students today? I encourage college students to go into the field of study that best expresses their personal passion, something they love or already enjoy, then, show up PRESENT and ready to learn with strong work ETHICS. Share with us what you consider to be your motto at work. My work motto is, “Always be fair and consistent.” I work with young people who notice even the slightest hypocrisy. It is important that I model what I teach. I teach CHARACTER! My definition for character is WHO YOU ARE WHEN NO ONE IS LOOKING. Define your passion and how you find time to pursue it. I took my own advice by going into a field that I enjoy. I adore working with young people. My passion is imbedded in my work. Even my volunteer projects involve working and playing with teens. Therefore, the time is already measured in my daily schedule. No worries! Lol! What do you enjoy doing away from the work place? Travel! Lately, I’ve begun taking quick weekend or pre-holiday trips (when possible) to view sites and reconnect with friends or discover new events. The short trips act as a buffer against work burnout and rejuvenate my drive to teach. What’s your favorite aspect of teaching? My favorite part of what I do is linking the subject matter to the realworld. My debaters have been coached to present congressional bills in the Louisiana Youth Legislature; two of these bills were actually presented by real congressmen and signed by the sitting Governor. My actors produce a real radio show called TigerBeat! which airs during the fall on 101.9 FM. This show broadens our audience and tells the local community what’s happening on our campus. Students who have participated in these projects have gone on develop careers in those fields. Why is education important to you? Education is paramount! It is the door opener, the key! Learning is a journey filled with pitfalls, valleys, highs and lows, that all make up the discovery terrain. But, it’s an expedition that never ends! There are moments filled with accolades on this infinite journey that the scholar strives to achieve: the diplomas, the degrees. And, it’s those moments that make education the key to opening all the doors toward a successful, productive life.


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Melanie Soignier Assistant Principal in the Union Parish School District What experience has had the greatest impact on your career? The most recent impactful experience in my educational career is having the honor of learning and working collaboratively with our school Superintendent Dr. George Cannon, the 2018 Principal of the Year David Gray, and several other committed district leader personnel and stakeholders within Union Parish School District who demonstrate a powerful combination of tenacity in bringing about system wide change to benefit students and educators. What has been your most rewarding personal experience? Family, Coaching, Educational Opportunities and Certifications, Years of teaching experience. What do you like most about your job and why? Children are our future! WE, as a community of educators, greatly impact the success of our youth! As a school administrator, it is empowering to be successful in reflecting and planning using collective data from previous years (SPS data) to set goals and improve instruction for our ever-changing society of learners. Share with us what you consider to be your motto at work. The mission of the Union Parish School System is to ensure that all students will succeed academically and vocationally and will become productive citizens through the efforts of dedicated parents, teachers, and administrators, in order to assure a sound community economy and a family oriented quality of life. How well has your career matched your personal expectations? It has been a philosophy and motto that I am humbled and blessed to have the opportunity to impact positive change in children’s lives throughout the day within education, as well as, positively impact families’ lives communities as a top producing real estate agent. How do you balance career and life away from the work place? My career is my life! My career choices impact society as a whole which will in turn bring gratification and fulfillment in knowing the positive influential impact hard work, dedication, and team work can bring upon our future society. What is your ultimate career goal? As a school administrator, asserting safeguards ensuring a safe, disciplined environment conducive to learning, working collaboratively with school home and community, communicating with the La. Dept of Education setting academic improvement goals, assisting in support of collaboration in providing opportunities for professional growth of high quality teacher leaders using Common Core rigor and assessments, and setting a vision of ambitious, data-driven achievement goals that invests teachers, students, and other stakeholders is my ultimate educational goal . Why is education important to you? Knowledge is Power!




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Kathy Terracina Physical Education teacher at Jesus the good Shepherd School for the 4th year. Prior to that, she taught for 32 years, 23 of which were in Ouachita Parish, and 9 years with Monroe City. What experience has had the greatest impact on your career? When I was in college at NLU, I took a job at GB Cooley teaching swimming lessons to students with special needs. It led me to getting a Special Education degree. What has been your most rewarding personal experience? My most rewarding experience was raising 2 boys who are both doctors, Joey who is a doctor of anesthesia and Jake who has his PHD in Nano systems engineering. (they are my greatest achievement) I would say qualifying and running Boston Marathon plus going to nationals in tennis top the list, plus finishing a half iron man. Starting the Rising Runner program at JGS has been a great experience. We average 100 runners on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Passing my National Boards was very rewarding, because it was a lot of hard work. What do you like most about your job and why? I love teaching the kids new sports and games. We just started an archery program and most of the students had never shot a bow. It was great to see the improvement and the satisfaction they receive from accomplishing something new. Who has been your greatest mentor and what did he/she teach you? When I was at NLU getting my masters Dr. Skeet Creekmore was who we looked to for all the answers in Early Childhood Special Education. My friends that are PE teachers are really an asset; they are always giving me new games, ideas and resources. What tips do you have for college students today? Stay on top of the newest and most innovative classroom ideas, the days of standing in front of your class and lecturing are obsolete. Share with us what you consider to be your motto at work. My motto use to be, “I am not going to teach anyone I can’t pick up and move, but now that I teach up to 6th grade that motto went out the window. Define your passion and how you find time to pursue it. It’s pretty obvious that I like to exercise, so I get up every morning at 5, and work out. The only thing I am giving up is sleep. What drives you to succeed? I am naturally competitive, and I think if you are going to do a job, you should do your best. What do you enjoy doing away from the work place? Exercise, bike, run, swim, play tennis, yoga, lift weights. Why did you decide on the specific subject you teach? After I retired, I was not ready to stay at home, so I went to Lisa Patrick, the principal at JGS, and she said teaching PE would be perfect for me, so here I am! What’s your least favorite aspect of teaching? Discipline, in PE you want them to have fun, but they can’t be out of control. Do you prefer working with younger or older children? Why? I like small kids. They love you, they are not afraid to try new things, and they still know how to have fun. If students could learn one thing from you, what would you want that to be? To give a 100% at everything you do, because God gave you the ability, so use it.


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Melissa Kiper Business Teacher at West Monroe High School. Currently teaching Desktop Publishing, Photo Journalism and Yearbook. Current Volunteer/Organizations/Positions.

President of the Junior League of Monroe, Dorm Hostess with the Miss Louisiana Organization, Art Instructor for Park Kids Art Camp at Fair Park Baptist Church, Volunteer painter for the lion’s den at the Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo

What tips do you have for college students today?

Major in something you enjoy, not what you think is the “right” major; everything will eventually fall into place and you’ll be happier in the long run. Live on campus at least your first year. Get involved in campus organizations and take advantage of all the fun activities the school offers. Get to know your professors. They are invaluable networking tools when it comes to internships, applications to graduate schools, and for jobs. Don’t rush this experience. You’ll look back and realize it was the best time of your life.

What do you enjoy doing away from the work place?

I like to stay active. I run and have completed in numerous 5Ks, a couple 10Ks and a few half marathons. I kayak and recently completed the 2017 River Rat Paddle Challenge, a 7-mile kayak race down the Ouachita River. I play tennis and have been a member of the Ouachita Women’s Tennis Association (OWTA) since 2012. I love to dance and take and adult hip hop class at Linda Lavender School of Dance. I also love to read and listen to audio books. My favorite author is John Grisham, and I’ve read ALL his books. I love music and attending concerts with friends. My favorite concerts to date are Prince, Adele, and Beyonce.

How do you balance career and life away from the work place?

I take time for myself and do things that make me smile. I travel as much as I can; I crave it like most people crave sweets. It’s one of the only ways I can truly relax and not think about everything that’s waiting on me at home. I challenge myself physically and mentally and try things that are out of my comfort zone. I try to eat healthy and stay active so I have the stamina to so my daily activities. I pray and ask God for patience, strength, and the ability to ask for help when I need it. Describe your perfect weekend. Taking a road trip with friends. Reading a book or magazine in the car, chatting about super girly things, catching up on life, laughing until I cry, walking around the town like tourists, dining at good restaurants, and taking lots of pictures. Who inspired you to become a teacher? I didn’t initially major in education in college; I majored in business. I like to say that I didn’t choose a career in education, it chose me. However, once I decided to make this career change, I looked to my mother for guidance and continually ask her for advice. She taught math for 27 years (I even had her for 3 years) and was a math instructional specialist for the parish for 11 years. She recently retired and is currently an adjunct instructor at ULM. She is the epitome of a dedicated teacher! I strive every day to have the integrity, knowledge, and kindness she demonstrated throughout her teaching career.


Norlyn Hyde Instructor in the Nursing Skills Lab of the Louisiana Tech Division of Nursing.

She began teaching at Louisiana Tech in 1984, then returned to Tech in this position in 2014 after having retired as a Professor of Nursing in 2011. What has been your most rewarding personal experience? One of the most rewarding experiences is running into Louisiana Tech graduates as I go about Louisiana and reminiscing about their time in the Nursing Program at Louisiana Tech. They consistently express appreciation for the excellent education they received. I love hearing about how they have grown and contributed to the profession, many of them continuing on to receive advanced degrees and become nurse educators themselves. One of my favorite things to hear from them is that they still remember things that I taught them many years later. Many times, I have heard, “I still hear your voice in my head saying….”. It is quite gratifying that at the present time, two of our faculty at Louisiana Tech are students that I taught. To see these faculty making such a positive difference for our students and knowing that I played a small part in their professional development is rewarding. Current Volunteer/Organizations/Positions. One of the most rewarding experiences where I have been able to use my nursing skills is through participation in an annual medical mission trip to Nicaragua through my church. I have been able to travel to Nicaragua 8 times to help meet physical and spiritual needs of some of the poorest people in the Western Hemisphere. This has truly been a life changing experience. For the past 30 years, I have been a member of Epsilon Sigma Alpha International, a philanthropic organization, whose national project is raising money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. I have assisted with the Radiothon in Ruston for many years as well as other fundraising efforts for St. Jude’s. Local philanthropic projects have been part of my service through this organization, also. I also serve as a Camp Nurse for WinShape camp for children each summer at my church. I also participate in fund raising for March of Dimes, American Heart Association, and other charities. Who has been your greatest mentor and what did he/she teach you? It is difficult to narrow my list of mentors down to just one. There were so many seasoned nursing faculty that helped me develop into a nursing educator. Program Director, Dr. Virginia Pennington was a great leader for all of us. Roberta Fullerton, Lou Murphy, and Sue Pyles as a great influence on my development as a Nursing Educator, but probably the one that mentored me the most and really taught me “how to teach” was my colleague Pam Moore. We really had “a connection”. I grew to become a better nurse by my association with her, also. What tips do you have for college students today? My best tip for college students today is “Find your passion, and go make a difference”. Describe one thing you would like to accomplish in your life time away from the office. I would like to learn the art of quilting and make quilts for my grandchildren. Why is education important to you? Education is important to me because I am dedicated to the concept of life-long learning. Our world is changing rapidly, so healthcare is changing rapidly. To be a safe practitioner, one must continually learn. I feel that investing myself in the next generation of nurses is the best way for my contribution to my beloved profession to continue.



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Ginger Knight Teacher, Grace Episcopal School MakerSpace T

Grace MakerSpace is a designated classroom which provides a place for innovation and creativity. Students work in teams to address challenges which focus on the principles of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics). This is a “think tank” type of atmosphere that students attend weekly to create, share ideas, and try things out. What do you like most about your job and why? I love watching the students brainstorm possible solutions to a specific challenge. It is so much fun to watch as they enthusiastically share their ideas. it can be fascinating to see how the students will address a challenge, and they frequently surprise me with their approach. Who has been your greatest mentor and what did he/she teach you? My greatest mentors are my parents who continue to be an example of living a full and rich life. They have exhibited a lifetime love of learning by consistently taking classes and making connections with people from different walks of life. They have shown me the importance of embracing change and continuing to evolve and grow as a person. Dr. Beth Ricks, headmaster at Grace Episcopal School, has been a great example of someone that is always looking forward. She continues to encourage growth and change at our school and is always seeking new approaches to enhance what we do at Grace. What tips do you have for college students today? I would encourage students to take advantage of all that the university has to offer in terms of tutoring, career planning, and job searching. Prepare now for upcoming graduation. It is important to set goals but it is also vital to realize that life is a journey. You will learn from any job you take, whether it is your dream job or not. Think of work experience as building blocks for your future and learn as much as you can in whatever you do. You will be surprised at how that all comes together a few years down the road. How well has your career matched your personal expectations? I became a teacher at the age of 40, so I had a pretty good idea of what to expect. I am extremely grateful to be able to work in an environment which encourages thinking outside of the box. Teaching has provided a wonderful creative outlet for my life and has brought many friendships that will last forever. What advice do you have for professionals? Be open to the advice of colleagues. We can always learn from others and sometimes an outside eye will give us perspective on a situation. In the teaching profession, it is important to be able to see things from the perspective of the student or parent. Try to remember what it was like to be in school and create a setting that you would have thrived in as a student. Describe your perfect weekend. The perfect weekend would be spent with family. My husband and I have four sons, one still in high school and three of them have left home for college and careers. When we are all together, it is treasured time. We enjoy hiking and attending outdoor events in the mountains of Colorado. Why did you decide on the specific subject you teach? Having attended several STEAM workshops and also learning about the concept of a MakerSpace, I was inspired to create a setting which would bring these two elements together for our students. With the support of our headmaster, Dr. Beth Ricks, the dream became a reality three years ago with the creation of Grace MakerSpace. What’s your favorite aspect of teaching? My favorite part of teaching is without a doubt when you get to see that lightbulb moment for your students. It is so rewarding to know that they have connected with the material.



Claudia Flintroy Currently a Mathematics Teacher at Bastrop High School with 47 years of experience What experience has had the greatest impact on your career? Growing up in West Monroe with hard working parent in the late sixties made me determined to get a professional career that I could use as a platform to encourage other young people to develop the mindset that says, “I can achieve if I try.” Current Volunteer/Organizations/Positions. I am a deaconess and mother of the First Missionary Baptist Church, where I work with Mission and the Youth Department. I am also a member of the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, where we work with civic and social organizations. I am a March of Dimes community contact volunteer. I am a mentor for teachers at the school and Homecoming, Prom, SGA, Beauty & Beau Pageant coordinator. What has been your most rewarding personal experience? My most rewarding personal experience has been seeing the fruit of my labor result in positive actions. To see students that I taught become successful persons in the community is the most rewarding feeling ever. My commitment to my students has earned the honor of Favorite Teacher by students many times. It is a wonderful feeling. What do you like most about your job and why? Since elementary school, I have always loved math. I also love working with children, so I like teaching math. It is amazing to see the light in a child’s eyes when he or she discovers that math is not so difficult. Who has been your greatest mentor and what did he/she teach you? My husband, Lawrence, has taught me that nothing is too hard if you just go for it. His motivation and support as a wonderful husband and best friend helped me tremendously. What tips do you have for college students today? My advice to college students today is to enjoy your young life and pursue the career that will benefit retirement. Always plan for a rewarding future. Share with us what you consider to be your motto at work. My Motto life is “Treat everyone like the Lord wants you to treat them.” What do you enjoy doing away from the work place? Away from work, I enjoy sewing, quilting, reading and communicating with my friends. What inspired you to become a teacher? When I was in school, my teachers would allow me to help teach the math class. It made me feel really good inside, and it inspired me to help others learn. If students could learn one thing from you, what would you want that to be? I want students to learn that it is possible to be successful in math by just trying and having a good attitude.



Tiffany Rials O’Neal Kindergarten Teacher at Lexington Elementary

Tiffany has been teaching for 14 years – last seven years have been kindergarten at Lexington Elementary. She was the teacher of the year in 2015-2016 and Lexington Kindergarten Lead Teacher 20142015. She also has presented workshops on reading and math curriculum to co-workers at Lexington and all kindergarten teachers in Monroe City, she helped design a kindergarten reading curriculum for all of Monroe City, and mentored reading block and student teachers from ULM. Currently, she serves as the Courtesy Club Chair at Lexington. Current Volunteer Organizations: Junior League of Monroe: Current active member for 3 years and Community Outreach Committee Chair She has volunteered for events such as Zoobilation, Chennault Aviation Museum, Mardi Gras Pet Parade, Big Bass Fishing Tournament, Mercy Multiplied and Cinderella Project. Pilot Club of the Twin Cities: Active member for 5 years and Louisiana Anchor Chair Volunteered with various organizations such as ARCO, Veteran’s Home and several nursing homes to assist individuals with traumatic brain injuries. Also, has volunteered with Junior Miss, Miss Taste of the Twin Cities and Miss Heart of Pilot pageants Share with us what you consider to be your motto at work. My motto is “Be Your Best Self.” In my profession, all students are not created equal, but my goal is to instill in them that doing one’s best every day is the most important thing that they can do. If they are their “best self,” I can always build on that. What do you enjoy to do away from the work place? Volunteering has always been important to me. I have volunteered with several different organizations, and am currently the Community Outreach Committee Chair for the Junior League of Monroe. Through this position, I have the opportunity to meet many different people in difference professions who want to make a difference in our community. What is your ultimate career goal? The teachers that I know desire to make an impact on every student’s life. My goal would be to have a positive impact on as many lives as I can. Because it is important to me to positively influence my students, I strive to do my best every day. Who inspired you to become a teacher? My mother inspired me to become a teacher. As a child, I remember helping her decorate her classroom and bulletin boards. Her passion and love for education and children inspired me to follow in the same career path. Have you always loved working with children? I began taking dance lessons when I was six and continued them throughout high school. When I was a senior, I had the opportunity to teach a three-year-old class in the dance company. I truly enjoyed the younger children. To them, everything is a new and exciting experience. They seem to accomplish so much in such a short time. What was your favorite subject in school and why? My favorite subject in school was reading, and it is still a passion of mine. As a child, my mother and teachers encouraged me to read as many books as possible. My love for reading grew as the words on the page opened up new adventures for me. My desire is to pass the tradition on to my three-month-old daughter Sage



Cindy Hampton Assistant Principal at Cedar Creek School in Ruston What do you like most about your job and why? What I like most about my job are the wonderful people that I work with, both students and peers. Most days I will tell you that I have one of the best jobs in the world. Who has been your greatest mentor and what did he/she teach you? My greatest mentor was my father. He was a coach, science teacher, principal, and superintendent. He loved working with young people and positively impacted so many lives. I wanted to emulate him and follow in his footsteps. He always stressed to me that teaching was about the child and not about the subject and often told me that some of the most valuable classroom lessons would not come from a textbook, and he was right. What tips do you have for college students today? My advice to college students would be to set realistic life goals and select a career path that will help them achieve these goals. I would also advise them to continuously work on their listening and communication skills and their observations skills. Share with us what you consider to be your motto at work. My motto, if you will, is to help make someone’s life a little better each day and to lead by example as best I can. Define your passion and how you find time to pursue it. My passion is teaching and trying to make difficult concepts easier for students to understand. Whether it is teaching a lesson myself, or observing another teacher as he/she is teaching, I find the learning process to be fascinating. I love to see and hear children when they have discovered something or understand something for the first time. What do you enjoy doing away from the work place? My husband and I enjoy going out to eat and having some quiet time in the evenings to catch up on the day’s events. We have very hectic lives and cherish these times together. How do you balance career and life away from the work place? Being in education, a lot of my life away from work still centered around school activities with my children and is now centered around school activities with my grandchildren so, balancing the two is a bit easier for me than for some. It is a blessing to have the same holiday vacation schedule as your children and grandchildren and to have flexible summer work hours. Describe your perfect weekend. My perfect weekend would be spent cooking for my family, eating, visiting, and playing games with my grandchildren, and the perfect end to the weekend would be quiet time, at home with my husband, watching TV after the children and grandchildren have gone home. Who inspired you to become a teacher? My father was my first inspiration followed by my middle school and high school science teachers. Why did you decide on the specific subject you teach? Science was always one of my favorite subjects when I was a child. I enjoyed learning about nature and about how things worked. My high school biology teacher introduced me to the microscope and to laboratory experiments, and after those experiences, I was hooked. She was an amazing teacher and had a profound impact on my love of science and teaching.


A Night Under the Oaks A Night Under the Oaks

River Oaks School Auction Fundraiser


NIGHT UNDER THE OAKS”—ANOTHER ELEGANT, southern theme for the 2018 auction at River Oaks School. Incredibly, this event continues to get bigger, better, and more fun. And what better way to support the Mustangs than to be able to bid on outstanding and unusual items offered in the silent auction and then get even more competitive bidding in the live auction—all items tax deductible. Silent auction items often include jewelry, paintings, health and beauty products as well as lovely spa experiences. Fun group birthday parties and health and club memberships are also available for bidding. An experienced local auctioneer conducts the bidding for ski trips, guided hunts, and getaways to the beach. Group dinners, tailgating parties, and tickets to popular college games are also up for bid. The lively competitive bidding is fun to participate in and entertaining to watch. The proceeds will help keep classroom technology updated, buildings in peak condition, and athletic facilities top-notch. Over the last two years, the auction has paid for new bathrooms in the entire school and new playground equipment for the elementary school. This year the auction will benefit another oncampus project. Then, after all the fun and frivolity of the bidding “wars,” dancing the night away ensues. Beverages and delicious food will be provided by Catfish Charlie’s. This event always attracts alumni, parents, grandparents, teachers, and staff who get to enjoy this special night with one another while supporting the school they love. Of course, everyone in the community is invited to “A Night under the Oaks” to have a wonderful night out and learn more about River Oaks School, a leader in providing quality education. So please join us on Friday, February 16th starting at 5:30p.m. for a night of fun and fundraising. Tickets will be $50 if purchased before February 1st and they will be $60 after February 1st and at the door. There’s a special rate of $40 for alumni. This event will be held at 600 Finks Hideaway Road in the Harry Bell Memorial Gymnasium and is sure to be an elegant night of entertainment and charity.

For any questions or to buy tickets please call 318-343-4185 We hope to see you under the oaks! MN-1000677171


Please join us Friday, February 16, 2018 5:30 ‘til Featuring the Topcats Band from New Orleans

Live Auction, Silent Auction, Open Bar Tickets $50 if purchased before February 1st $60 after February 1st and at the door $40 Alumni Dinner provided by

River Oaks School

600 Finks Hideaway Road Monroe, LA 71201 318-343-4185 River Oaks has a Nondiscriminatory Open Admissions Policy.

Nicole Morris

Second grade teacher at River Oaks Elementary

What experience has had the greatest impact on your career? I have taught in several states across the country to children with different needs. These experiences have given me the opportunity to teach with and learn from amazing teachers, attend trainings that have helped me to become a more effective teacher, and to work with a very diverse group of students. What has been your most rewarding personal experience? One of the greatest benefits of being a teacher is seeing the “ah ha” moments when I child begins to understand. I think my most rewarding experience happened when I had a student in my classroom that told me on the first day of school that he hated to read. He insisted that he would never enjoy reading. Then on the last week of school, he gave me a letter thanking me for showing him how to find the right kind of books so that he can love to read. We still trade books that we love and we have our own little book club! Current Volunteer/Organizations/Positions. Along with being a second grade teacher, I also teach a class at Strauss Youth Academy for the Arts (SYAA) called Creative Kids. It is a beginning acting class for five to seven year olds. I also volunteer at SYAA making props, decorating, and helping with costumes for their productions. On weekends, I volunteer for a dog rescue called All Hounds On Deck. Who has been your greatest mentor and what did he/she teach you? When I lived in Colorado Springs, I was fortunate to teach with an amazing team of very talented teachers. I learned so much about being a teacher at that school. My teammates were my greatest mentors. They taught me that it is ok to laugh along with the students sometimes. They also showed me how to teach using games and fun activities instead of sticking to the books. Define your passion and how you find time to pursue it. Reading and dogs are two of my passions. I read every night before I go to bed. It helps me to leave the “real world” behind for a little while before I go to sleep. In addition to my four dogs that I have at home, I volunteer for All Hounds on Deck as often as I can. What drives you to succeed? Setting an example for my twelve-year-old daughter drives me to succeed. What do you enjoy doing away from the work place? My daughter is very active at SYAA. I love helping out there because that is something that we can do together. What is your ultimate career goal? I just started the graduate program at ULM to work towards getting a Master’s Degree in Reading.. Who inspired you to become a teacher? I was inspired to become a teacher by my second grade teacher, Ann Ford and my fourth grade teacher, Faye Poag. Both of these ladies left a lasting impression on me that I hope to pass on to all of my students. What inspired you to become a teacher? I have always felt like being a teacher is a part of who I am. What’s your favorite aspect of teaching? I love the daily interactions with the children. I love finding new ways to teach them. Do you prefer working with younger or older children? Why? I love working with younger children. I love watching them learn new things. They are so eager to learn about the world around them. I also get to be silly and dance and sing with younger students and they still think I’m cool.


212 WALNUT STREET, MONROE, LA 71201 (318) 323-3461 • WWW.MONROE.ORG Find us on Facebook!

2017 Auction and Gala

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Leadership Milestones



merican writer Mark Twain once quipped, “A classic is something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read.” For Twain it was assumed that most readers still knew what a classic was. They understood that a great book dealt in the permanent things, that which makes us human, the universal truths of mankind. This is what used to be meant by being a literate person: you were well read in the classics—the classics of literature (Homer, Dante, Milton, Shakespeare, Austen, Dostoyevsky), the classics of history (Herodotus, Plutarch, Josephus, Villehardouin, Gibbon), of math and science (Euclid, Galileo, Newton, Euler, Lavoisier), of theology (Athanasius, Augustine, Benedict, Luther, Bonhoeffer), as well as knowing great art and music (De Vinci, Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Praetorius, Chopin, Schubert). Not so today. Literacy is now more concerned with simply being able to read, and not so much about what is actually read. It is said that Teddy Roosevelt, the “Rough Rider,” was so well-read (reading three books per day) that he could speak to nearly any specialist in any field of knowledge intelligently. He was considered the most widely informed person in the country. Out of that reading and his experiences in life, he wrote over 35 books, including The Naval War of 1812, written at age 23, still considered the definitive book on the subject. Where has this education gone? There are still some great seasoned teachers who understand what an education is, but most education today deals in testing, technology, and training, rather than the good, the true, and the beautiful. We are preoccupied with getting through with our education, rather than our education getting through to us. A quality education shapes a great person—great, as in, magnanimus. (If you studied Latin along the way, you would see there the marriage of magna and animus = great soul.) Geneva Academy exists to cultivate Christian leaders in scholarship, virtue, and faith. Against the arrogance of the current system which deems history as bunk, we look for wisdom from our forefathers in both the methods of teaching and the content of our program. We desire our graduates to be articulate, winsome, wholesome, and wise, ready to navigate an uncertain future, because they know the Lord of the future. Students with this long view, this deep training, this exposure to the best that has been said and done, will be prepared to be leaders of the next generation. If you are interested to learn more about Geneva Academy, our curriculum, our graduates, or our teachers, please call or come visit us. We are glad to meet you.



A work of heART Local High School Student, Olivia Cuthbert, starts a non-profit to help children with dire medical conditions. EMMA SAGER

When she was 2-years-old, a little girl named “Katie Joyce” was diagnosed with a brain tumor called ependymoma. This type of tumor emerges from a tissue in the central nervous system. She was treated for years at St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and Le Bonheur Hospital in Tennessee until she passed on December 8, 2015 and became a young angel. A family friend, Olivia Cuthbert, had a special place in her heart for Joyce and knew she needed to do something to keep her memo-

ry alive. This 16-year-old student at Cedar Creek High School established a 501c3 nonprofit organization to make a difference in the lives of young children with dire medical conditions. “I had the idea to create the organization “A Work of HeART” since Joyce passed away, so I started brainstorming on exactly what I wanted to do,” Cuthbert said. “The month after I started it, it just took off, and I was very excited!” A Work of HeART was established in May 2017 to offer children and young adults at chil-

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dren’s hospitals the opportunity to use artwork to creatively express themselves as a form of therapy. Cuthbert explained that she wanted to help the local youth get their minds off their illnesses, even if it is just for a second. Cuthbert typically works with 12 to 20 children during each of her visits to local hospitals. So far, A Work of HeART has been to Shriners Hospitals for Children in Shreveport, LA, Our Lady of the Lake in Baton Rouge, LA, and Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock, AR. Shriners

Hospitals for Children has requested Cuthbert return on a quarterly basis after her huge success working with the children through art therapy. “The first time I went to Shriners Hospitals for Children, I went thinking it would be something completely different,” Cuthbert said. “It was not what I expected, but it was more than what I could hope for!” During her visits, Cuthbert provides all the supplies with donations such as canvases, easels, paint, paint brushes, paint pallets, rags, water and aprons. She wants to ensure that the hospitals do not have to worry about

purchasing anything for these visits. Cuthbert is always sure to arrive 30 minutes before the assigned time to work with the children to set up all her supplies. The kids come in one-byone, because sometimes they are in treatment having procedures done, so they come in as soon as they are finished. Upon their arrival, supplies are laid out and there is an artwork model available for them to have a base idea of what to paint. The children are, of course, free to paint anything their creative minds wish. “Some examples of the disabilities I see are kids with missing limbs or cancer,” Cuthbert said. “I just do not think about the bad stuff when I am with them, because we are having fun.” However, that first visit to Shriners Hospitals for Children, Cuthbert ran into a language barrier between herself and the children, who primarily only spoke Spanish. Since the kids did not understand the instructions Cuthbert tried to convey to her best efforts, most of them followed the paint model. Cuthbert did not let this get her down. She had taken two years of Spanish, but her skills were rusty and could not completely have a conversation with the children. “There was not a translator there, so I brushed up on my Spanish skills and had my teacher translate a few things for me, so I could talk to the kids and give them instruction,” Cuthbert said. “The next time I went, most of them did their own artwork.”

The Children During those few hours spent with the children, there could be an emotional weight to it, but not for Cuthbert. She explained that she does not struggle with emotions while she is with the children unless they have a deep connection will doing their artwork. Some children are more open about their illness and will discuss it with her, while others focus on their creativity through the art therapy. Cuthbert has made friends along the way with her organization, some that are even the same age as her. Typically, all the artwork is done as a group activity that ev-

him to develop sensory motor skills while painting. Cuthbert was excited by this, because she had never thought about the art therapy becoming physical therapy for the children.

The Organization and the Future

Katie Joyce in her hospital bed


ery one of the children can participate. However, there have been children that Cuthbert has encountered that are bed bound due to their disability. There was a bed bound cancer patient named “Demia” that truly impacted Cuthbert. She explained that upon her arrival, Demia was immediately a “big ball of fire.” Demia was so happy that A Work of HeART made its way to her room to specifically see her. As they painted together, Demia and Cuthbert chatted and created a friendship right away. When it came time for her to leave, Demia immediately began to cry. “Demia asked me if I was coming back to visit, because it meant so much to her,” Cuthbert said. “She gave me a hug and said that she hoped I would come back, because she really enjoyed it.” Another child that holds a special place in Cuthbert’s heart was Diego, a boy in his teens that was in a wheelchair. He had cerebral palsy, a permanent moving disorder that causes stiff or weak muscles, poor coordination and can include tremors. Diego’s condition made it difficult for him to hold a paint brush, so his father helped him paint his creation on the canvas. Cuthbert explained that he was outgoing, and he was constantly giving her fist bumps and high fives. Diego always seemed to have a smile on his face. He was able to not think about his disability while he made a heart painting based on the model that Cuthbert had set up. Diego expressed his unique

Cuthbert with a child and his painting OLIVIA CUTHBER T

creativity by adding his hand print to the center of the big, red heart he had painted with his father’s assistance. “That is one of my favorite stories, because Diego’s dad asked me if he could take the canvas back to his hospital bed, so he could paint whenever he had free time, which I thought was really cool,” Cuthbert said. “His dad came up to me and said in Spanish, ‘Thank you for creating this experience for my son, I have not seen him this happy in a long time.’” The youngest child that Cuthbert has worked with was an infant, and his mom had to help him paint. The infant was so little that he could not paint on his own. The baby’s mother ended up telling her child life specialist that it was really great for

A Work of HeART has only been established for eight months, and it has been noticed across the Delta. In August 2017, Cuthbert was selected for the “Everyday Excellence Award” from the Ruston-Lincoln Chamber of Commerce. This award is presented to those who represent the Ruston-Lincoln community on an everyday basis through excellence and good-natured activities. Also, Cuthbert was featured on KTVE/KARD News in September 2017. She has spoken at Kiwanis Monroe, P.E.O. and the Rotary Club to spread the word of her non-profit organization. Being a junior in high school and owning a heading a nonprofit organization can sometimes be overwhelming for Cuthbert. Luckily, her family, friends from her high school, church friends and friends in Ruston have volunteered to assist the good cause to help disabled children. Cuthbert’s cousin in Texas did a lemonade stand to raise money for A Work of HeART and was able to collect $250 that she immediately donated to the organization. “It is difficult to balance my school life, personal life and business life, but it is all worth it!” Cuthbert said. Her ultimate goal is to visit St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis, TN, because she wants to become a pediatric oncologist in the future. Cuthbert traveled to Houston, TX on November 20, 2017 to visit the Texas Children’s Hospital. Then on November 26, 2017, she was invited to the Wish I Could of Northeast Louisiana’s Annual Christmas Party at the Barack Shriners Temple in Monroe. Over 70 children attended to paint and the organization was invited to attend next year! To donate to A Work of HeART, visit the Facebook page or go to AWorkofHEART. The organization also accepts checks that can be delivered straight to Cuthbert.


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2501 Tower Drive Monroe, LA 71201 68 | JA NUARY 2018 | DE LTAS T YL E M AGAZINE

Cedar Creek School is building for its future. Not figuratively. Literally building. In the past eight years, the school has added an Early Learning Center and 12 classrooms in the new Hood Academic Center for the high school. Currently, a new cafeteria is under construction, and a new gym is in the future as well. Part of this growth is due to a marked increase in enrollment over the past five years. Another reason for the construction is the school, now nearly 50 years old, was in need of a facelift. In addition to the new construction, updates have been made to other major buildings that have included new awnings, painting, and classroom improvements. Physical enhancements have been coupled with aggressive upgrades in technology for the 21st century. The school became an all-iPad institution for its 6th through 12th grades in 2014. A new state-of-the-art Mac lab was funded for our advanced graphic art and publication classes. Most recently, a major upgrade was completed for the technological infrastructure, ensuring the bandwidth and other capabilities meet our growing needs. The school’s motto, Super Omnia – the Best of All, continues to be validated with multiple success stories. The 2016-2017 school year was no different: ACT scores way above the state and national averages; acceptances to some of the top colleges and universities throughout the nation; regional leadership in Advanced Placement and National Merit … the list is long, all providing the empirical data to back up the school’s claim of a tradition of excellence. It is not all textbooks and academics at Cedar Creek, however. Extracurricular activities have contributed to graduating students who enter the post-secondary world ready for the multiple challenges they may face. A myriad of clubs continues to provide opportunities for students to explore their God-given gifts. In the athletic arenas, Cedar Creek students have succeeded on many levels, capturing multiple state titles and awards. Most notably, the softball team won the state championship in spring 2017. The school’s students continue to live by the Biblically based motto, “To much is given, much is expected.” You will find Cedar Creek students using their time and talents to give to those in need throughout north Louisiana. They tallied up hundreds of community service hours as a school last year, which not only makes a difference in the region, but also affirms the belief we are called to make our world a better place. MN-1000677543


A New Year, A Renewed Promise Keyser and Family Promise reaffirm their commitment

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hose of us who have worked as volunteers ourselves over the decades in this community are well aware of those special individuals who never seem to be “too busy” to help others. There are many men and women in our area who have quietly made a tremendous difference in the quality of life for many, often without personal recognition. Some years ago, a group of like-minded individuals decided that Family Promise was an entity that was needed in our community. They recognized that often families find themselves homeless through circumstances beyond their control. A prolonged illness, a downturn in the economy, the loss of employment when a company moves away — there are any number of reasons that people find themselves needing help to get back on their feet. Family Promise has brought that help to countless individuals who have needed it most. Don’t be fooled — the heart and soul of this organization is not some government-supported program. No, it is the volunteers who make this “work” for those who need work. Recently I learned that Family Promise is merging the organization’s two thrift stores into a single location at Eastgate Mall in early 2018 and that Executive Director Shawn Keyser is leading that effort. Shawn Keyser has the responsibility to see that the “renewed promise” reflected by this physical move will be fulfilled. What makes Keyser willing to take on such an important responsibility at this point in his life? The answer lies in Keyser’s own life story. Sometimes how one’s life begins makes all the difference in how that life will turn out. Keyser looks to many in his family with gratitude for the influence they had on him and the way that they helped him feel safe and valued as he was growing up — just like his work with Family Promise is helping others to feel safe and valued once again. GP

Shawn Keyser’s mother was only 16years-old when her son was born, but her youth did not keep her from being one of the most important role models for him. Keyser remembers her as being very timid when he was a little boy, a trait that gradually disappeared as they both grew older. She was a stay-at-home mother (arguably one of the most underrated and yet important “jobs” in the world) as he was growing up. Her tenacity and incessant goal setting impressed Keyser and taught him a valuable lesson about life. Keyser’s paternal grandparents also played an important role in the young boy’s development. He spent most summers with them, enjoying great trips with them and the stability of their home. His grandfather was a retired Army captain who was never too busy to spend time with his grandson. “My grandfather is someone I looked up to very much,” Keyser explained. “I think he is the glue that held that family together. I have always wanted to be just like him.”

Childhood Memories . . . Family game night was always looked forward to when Keyser was growing up, and these were often accompanied by family meals that Keyser describes simply as “amazing.” When Keyser was born, all of his great-grandparents and grandparents were still living --- a rare treat. Although there were only infrequent large family gather-

ings on his mother’s side, his paternal grandparents in Austin, TX, lived close enough to aunts, uncles and cousins that there was always a full house when Keyser was there. When Keyser was in the third grade, his mother married his stepfather and the family moved to Swartz. “I liked the sense of stability and safety that came when we moved here,” Keyser explained. Because of the amount of moving about that he experienced during his early years, Keyser developed an understanding of what having a “forever home” really meant to children that would help him later in his career.

School Days . . . At Swartz Elementary, Keyser was placed in the gifted program. Those early grades were built upon as he moved to Ouachita Junior High and Ouachita Parish High School (OPHS). Among the activities that he enjoyed the most outside of the academic gifted curriculum were music and the Reserved Office Training Corps (ROTC). What Keyser loved most about music was the way in which lots of people come together and make something wonderful together. He cites band directors Charles Lacy and Myles Schexnayder as two who encouraged him to pursue music. ROTC was a natural for him, because much of his paternal family was military. The academic gifted curriculum in-

spired the most obvious transformation. “Through their patience and attention, Mrs. Judy Manning and Mrs. Kay Terry took me from being a distracted child who stayed in trouble for being extremely outspoken to being the kid who made the top grades in class,” he explained. After graduating from OPHS in 1999, Keyser enrolled at the University of Louisiana at Monroe (ULM). While still in high school, he thought that he would become a doctor or pharmacist. After he began his college course work, he realized that he was not where he needed to be in his life. He left school and did an internship with the Assembly of God at Steel City Masters Commission located in Birmingham, AL, as he considered a career as a preacher. In April 2000, he entered the Marine Corps. He selected the Marines because he thought that would be the most difficult. “I had been in church through my teen years and was extremely timid,” Keyser explained. “Joining the Marines really brought about a change that helped me step into adulthood.” The Twin Towers and the Pentagon coming under attack in 2001 found Keyser being deployed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Until Keyser joined the military in 2000, his mother remained at home working with her husband to make a stable home for Keyser and his siblings (a brother and two sisters). His stepdad is a truck driver whose example Keyser credits with keeping his


own life “ . . . going in the right direction." With her son in the military, Keyser’s mother started the First West Thrift Store and benevolence ministry. Her example did not go unnoticed by her son and served to reaffirm his desire to help others.

Music Calls . . . When Keyser returned from his deployment, he married and enrolled in college again looking forward to a career as a band director. Micah Everett, Dr. Deborah Chandler, and Myron Turner were three professors who spent extra time with him, each expecting him to put forward his maximum effort but none of them expecting perfection. “This is something that I apply in almost every aspect of my personal and professional life today,” Keyser said. “It made me aware that all people have limitations, but that we can all make a difference if we work for it.” The band fraternity, Kappa Kappa Psi, provided the perfect social outlet for Keyser. Here he developed close friendships with many whom he still calls his closest friends. Through working with this group, he learned the value of working with no “thank you” either given or expected. After four years pursuing a music education, Keyser began working in benevolence at the First West Thrift Store. Although he had considered various careers, Keyser felt that he had finally “found” himself by helping others who could not help themselves.

Joy Through Work . . . Keyser worked from the time he was 15years-old, and with each job he learned more about personal finance and the relationship between work and pay. A stint with Popeye’s taught him that working five hours a week would not pay his car expenses. A hot summer mixing concrete with Custom Curbing taught him to finish the job, even when that felt impossible. He loved the years he spent in retail working for Brookshire’s. This job taught him the importance of customer service and having high standards in one’s interactions with others and in presentations. It was his work with the First West Thrift Store/Compassionate Ministries that Keyser calls his greatest opportunity. Here he started a non-profit with his family and built something that did not exist previously. Through this work, the group could support many non-profits and offer individuals assistance with the profits made through the store. He worked at First West for a little over three years, and then became a case manager for Family Promise. Of all of the work that he has done, Keyser quickly said that running a nonprofit is by far the most taxing mentally. “Each day is a struggle just to keep the bills paid while balancing priorities,” he explained. “Balancing mission with bills, fundraising, employees, families who really need attention, ensuring support from the public, and gar-



nering support from other groups --- it is a challenge.”

Marriage and Family . . . Keyser met his present wife, Samantha Battaglia, at the First West Thrift Store. Her mother was one of Keyser’s favorite customers at the store, and he appreciated her good humor. The first time that he met Samantha (aka “Sam”), she was with her mother. Sam got a part-time job at the store, but she and Keyser didn’t really get along at first. Time changed that, and they married in 2012. Together, they parent three children, two daughters and a son. Karly is 13-years-old and is Keyser’s child from a previous marriage. Magi is 16-years-old and Thomas is 14-years-old, and they are Sam’s children. All three are interesting and bright children, always keeping Keyser and Sam on their toes. Both Keyser and Sam enjoy spending time with their family. Keyser describes a “perfect day” as one in which he can be around his family, good southern food, games, playing music with the children, and just relaxing and laughing.

Family Promise Opportunity . . . When the opportunity to become the third executive director for Family Promise came, Keyser knew that it was the right move at the right time. Here, he believes that he can make a difference and help change the community. Keyser names three individuals who have taught him by example. From Guy Barr he learned the importance of integrity and tenacity. Darrell Jans taught Keyser the importance of patience and compassion. George Schaeffer literally “rolled up his sleeves” and spent many days following Keyser around to get a better idea of what happens day-to-day and then walking Keyser through the finer points of time and resource management. Keyser oversees a staff of eight employees at the thrift store and three others beside himself at the day center. Through support from a strong Family Promise board and the community, the staff is doing significant work. According to Keyser, the thrift store averages 60 transactions a day, or about 1200 per month. Several foundations and banks have provided important capital for expansion including The Living Well, Modern Woodmen, Trinity Lutheran Women’s Group, and the Junior League of Monroe. Volunteers from churches, women’s groups, Geneva Academy, John Rea Realty, and Keller Williams help provide essential manpower. At times Keyser admits that a career working for a non-profit can be daunting. Tasks seem almost impossible, the pay is not commensurate with corporate work, the work is physically and mentally exhausting,

Family Promise Facts: •Family Promise was organized in Monroe in 2009 as a community effort to reach out to the homeless population in our area. The effort united churches, community volunteers, and businesses toward this common goal. •A study of Ouachita Parish schools revealed that there were 750 students who were homeless. The majority of families that have been helped locally are mothers with children. •In the USA today, one child out of five lives in poverty. Families with children make up 40% of the people in America who experience homelessness. •The Family Promise Thrift Store located at 3134 Louisville Avenue is the primary fundraising mechanism to support projects for the homeless. It provides quality goods at low prices. •Founding Family Promise Board members were Guy Barr, Clyde White, Rev. Allison Moody, Dr. Whit Holmes, Roslin Pogue, Phil McCrary, Sister Edith Schnell, Speck Lewis, Robert Williamson, and George Weaks. •Current Family Promise Board officers are Daryl Jans, president; Barney Tucker and George Schaeffer, finance; Bob Bozeman, legal; and Darlene Smith, fundraising. Members of the Board are Dianne Rosier, Guy Barr, William Clark, Matthew Debnam, Felicia Alexander, George Weaks, Robert Williamson, and Rev. William Smith. •Family Promise Primary Goals for 2018: To increase church participation, solicit more volunteers to work at the new enlarged thrift store, and increase public awareness of the work that is being done to help those who find themselves homeless.

there are constant demands on one’s time, but --- as Keyser said with a smile --- “It is totally worth it!” The rewards for this work are measured one family/one child at a time. The first time Keyser moved a child into a home who had never had his own room before, the child asked if this were really his room. Keyser answered yes and then the child said, “I have never had a room before.” When Keyser was growing up, he almost always shared a room with his brother, but his life had never been at the point where he did not have his own bed. “Momma always made sure we had that, and I never questioned that we would not,” he remembered. “Sometimes I would get in trouble and have to go to bed early, but I always had a bed to go to.”

Compassion and Commitment . . . Keyser and the Family Promise team are committed to helping the families who come to them for help. They are “there” on what may very well be the worst day of these children’s and their family’s lives. With compassion and respect, the team assists the homeless in making a plan to have a place to live of their own again. More importantly, the team helps them develop a self-

sustaining plan that will allow them to remain in that home once they’ve regained their independence. Keyser has established three goals that he will work to accomplish during his tenure as executive director. The first is to assist as many families as possible to get into homes with a viable self-sufficiency plan. Secondly, he wants to work with his board to establish a long-term plan that will sustain Family Promise. This will include creating a fundraising group, establishing a public relations plan to raise public awareness of the work that Family Promise is doing, developing staff, and increasing the volunteer pool. Finally, Keyser will work to expand the group’s services to ensure that they are presenting minimum barriers to the families who need these services. What is the driving force behind Keyser’s personal commitment to helping these families? The answer comes from his heart. “I want to leave a lasting change on this community,” he explained. “This was the first place I called ‘home," and I want it to be as awesome for future generations as it was for me.” To see how you can help, please contact Shawn Keyser at (318) 614-8962.




Annual Banquet Award Winners

Diplomat of the Year Jay Mulhern of Express Employment Professionals

2018 A.O. Evans Award Winner Mrs. Jean Halsell

Trinity Diamonds started 10 years ago, home grown right here in Northeast Louisiana, when Shane Ware and Newt Goings realized that several people in the Monroe/West Monroe community were looking for a way to buy jewelry from an honest, reputable source, that wasn’t sold at high marked up prices. They spent the next ten years refining their process and growing their customer base. In 2015, they determined it was time to establish a retail location so that they would be able to offer their diamonds and other fine jewelry to everyone in Northeast Louisiana. In October 2016, a decade removed from their first customer , Trinity Diamonds Direct was officially opened for business. At Trinity Diamonds Direct, we take pride in offering stunning diamonds and fine jewelry for prices at, and often better than, the industry wholesale price. We know that our customers are looking for honest, local people who care as much about them as we do our diamonds and jewelry. So come visit us, take a look around, and see what we have to offer. And when you’re ready to buy that ring you’ve been looking at, we’ll offer you the best price in town and maybe even save you enough money to get that necklace you’ve been looking at as well.


The 2017 Johnny Huntsman Entrepreneurial Success Award Winner J.E. Dupuy Flooring & Acoustical, Inc.

Trinity Diamonds 201 Blanchard St. | West Monroe, LA | (318) 329-3949


Avoid These 6 Big Mistakes of Auto Insurance Applications

To resolutions that last…

By: Paulen Luttgeharm Skipping a question when filling out a car insurance application may not seem like a big deal, but what you omit or enter incorrectly can create issues down the road: Errors on the application can result in a denied claim or even a policy revocation. Mistakes happen, but some applicants intentionally try to hide or alter information to get lower premiums. The cost of this insurance fraud is spread among all the other policyholders, typically causing their rates to go up. Be sure to avoid these mistakes when you’re applying for auto insurance: 1. Not reporting all the drivers for the vehicle: Most often, the people who aren’t listed on the application are teenage drivers or adults with traffic infractions on their records. If a driver who’s not rated for a vehicle is involved in an accident, your premiums may go up and your policy may be canceled. 2. Not listing the actual parking location for the vehicle: Vehicles that are housed in garages are typically safer and less prone to accidents than those parked on the street. If you do park on the street, make sure that’s what goes on your application, or a drive-by fender bender may not be covered.

3. Guessing about the miles driven: Report your mileage accurately. If you’re in an accident and file a claim, the repair estimate reveals the mileage discrepancy. Standard checks performed during smog emission testing or vehicle servicing also reveal the true number. 4. Forgetting to mention business travel: If you omitted that your vehicle is used for business, then later have an accident while performing business activities, your policy could be canceled. 5. Not mentioning your driving infractions: Any check of Department of Motor Vehicles records will quickly reveal this error. Always report the tickets you’ve received or the accidents you’ve been in. 6. Not updating policy information: If you neglect to update your insurance provider when your situation changes—a new job with a longer commute, adding another driver to a vehicle, a minor accident, etc.—you may end up paying more for coverage or losing important discounts. To update your auto policy, contact your agent for assistance, or visit to manage your account.

Paulen Luttgeharm Ins Agcy Inc Paulen Luttgeharm, Agent 2116 Forsythe Avenue Monroe, LA 71201 Bus: 318-388-2450 Fax: 318-388-2449

1101456.1 MN-1000677534


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Submissions open in January







One man’s goal to save our planet A visit with Ted Turner Ted Turner


Contributing writer, Jennifer Schmeer, takes a Ted Turner Expedition to Vermejo Park Ranch in New Mexico and gets an exclusive interview with founder of CNN. 76 | JA NUA RY 2018 | D E LTA S T Y LE M AGA ZI NE


Now this is going to be a great story, so pull up a chair. Ted Turner’s father highly recommended to him when he T was as a small boy to set his goals so high he could not achieve them in his lifetime and the goal to save our planet adheres to those words of wisdom.

Vermejo Park


Ted Turner Expeditions is preserving over two million acres of natural, private North American land acquired by Ted Turner as an investment in our future while balancing conservation and economic sustainability. As soon as I heard the words, Ted Turner Expeditions; I was ready to sign up! Ted Turner is a legend in so many ways and I knew this adventure would be educational, memorable, and breathtaking.

My Journey to Ted Turner’s Vermejo Park Ranch… With an early flight scheduled, I knew exactly who to call to assist with my travel plans. Limousines Unlimited was there to pick us up in the early morning hours for our flight to Vail, Colorado, so we could spend some time with our cousin before driving down to New Mexico to experience Vermejo Park Ranch which is part of Ted Turner Expeditions. It was great not to have to worry about airport parking and Limousines Unlimited got us there on time and we were able to relax in the back during the early morning drive. And it was nice not to have to worry about carrying bags when you are not even really awake just yet.

Four Seasons Resort & Residences… We arrived at Eagle airport

Inside of Vermejo Park


by noon and when we walked outside the airport; a small group rode by on horses in front of the airport on the frontage road as if on cue. We drove less than thirty minutes to Four Seasons Resort in Vail, so we could rest up for the night before our drive down to New Mexico. It was effortless to drive up to Four Seasons Resort and the valet takes care of my truck rental while escorting us to the front desk sharing highlights about the resort during this brief walk. Snow Angel, Kate was there to assist us with check-in and share all of the wonderful amenities Four Seasons had to offer during our stay which included

a Snow Concierge to assist with those snow runs. It was sweet to find cookies with my daughter’s name written in pink icing as a welcome treat beside our welcome note. Our suite holds a fireplace with mountain views, 75’’ flat screen TV, and room service will be enjoyed while the bathtub provided the perfect soak with bubbles included.

The Remedy Bar… Later that evening, we will join my cousin, Troy at The Remedy Bar located at the Four Seasons for a late dinner. The floor-to-ceiling windows let in the mountain views and the outside fire pits are roaring while

the outdoor, heated lap pool screams my name. It was wonderful to catch up with family while drinking glasses of Dom Perignon while my teenager enjoyed the famous haute chocolate and Buffalo wings. We will sample the spicy Tuna Huarache that consisted of ahi tuna, sriracha aioli, pickled jalapeno, and tortilla crisp which was refreshing. Troy will enjoy the Bi Bim Bap which is marinated short rib, fried rice, crunch vegetables, over easy egg and gochujang as well as a couple of evening cocktails. The Remedy Bar holds a TV screen that is 165’’ that can display multiple channels or one big sports event. We had the place all to ourselves and it was a great to relax and enjoy the night. After dinner and drinks, we head outside to feel the fire pits and take in the cool night air with dark mountains as the backdrop. Our first night is delightful and we are eager to begin our journey to Vermejo Park Ranch tomorrow.

Time to head south… The next morning after my bubble bath, we head downstairs to meet my cousin at the Flame restaurant for breakfast. It is nice to just meet up with family as if we are locals. My cousin will enjoy the eggs benedict and I will partake in a fresh made to order omelet while my little one will have the


Huevos Rancheros with black beans, guajillo salsa, eggs over easy, sour cream, guacamole, and pico de gallo. This is a great way to start the day for all of us. We say our goodbyes and valet pulls up my mighty truck. I am ready to head south as we are excited to experience ranch life! After about five hours of driving and simple directions, we arrive in Raton, New Mexico. The drive to the gate of the ranch was thrilling in itself. Deer line the curvy roadside as we are full of anticipation of arriving.

Vermejo Park Ranch‌ Vermejo Park Ranch is a private ranch located on the border of New Mexico and southern Colorado holding 585,000 natural acres. Ted Turner purchased Vermejo Park Ranch in 1996 with a commitment to conservation of the land and the threatened species that call this land home with a goal to connect people with nature. From the time we started driving on the road through the ranch, we felt connected to our beautiful surroundings with mountains, streams and the deer that ran along the road. As soon as we drove through the


gate, we were greeted by majestic bison that stood still with power and grace. As we took each curve and drove through some of the most beautiful landscape I had ever seen, I felt like a kid again. We had stumbled upon surroundings that took us back to another time. All I could see was natural landscape. No cities nearby. No distractions. Just natural beauty. The history for this land runs deep and claims the first real settlement occurred on this

land between 600 and 700 A.D. This unique ranch holds coal and gold mining settlements, adobe ruins, petroglyphs and of course the wildlife that runs free with no restrictions including wild horses, turkeys, elk, deer, pronghorn, antelope, bison, black bears, mountain lions, Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep as well as over 180 species of birds including bald and golden eagles. I am in heaven and so excited to share this wild and natural ex-

perience with my daughter who admires the beauty of the bison and deer as we arrive. The land we are exploring is the same land that the Apache and Navajo once ventured across and called home. Fast forward to a Chicago businessman, William H. Bartlett, who purchased Vermejo Park Ranch from the Maxwell Land Grant Company in 1902 when Bartlett made the choice to leave Chicago for a healthier environment for his son’s; one which had tuberculous. Bartlett had a vision for this land and designed it for highmountain fishing and hunting excursions as well as reintroduced elk which had been hunted to extinction in the 19th century while developing the lakes and building Casa Grande, Casa Minor and the original Costilla Lodge for those hunting retreats. After different owners including the Pennzoil Corporation for 23 years, enters Ted Turner in 1996 and just recently completed a four year multimillion dollar renovation restoring the ranch to its original beauty while adding features like solar energy to power the beautiful Costilla Lodge which is the perfect place for large



groups to stay for hunting excursions or family holidays!

Casa Grande… We arrive in the evening and the staff is there to greet us in the driveway while we climb out of my truck as the sun goes down. They help us with our bags and guide us into Casa Grande which is Ted Turner’s privately owned home which is available to guests that want to experience something so unique and marvelous. We are the only guests at the ranch at this time and we have Casa Grande all to ourselves! Dreamy! Casa Grande was constructed by Joseph Silsbee, who was a mentor to the legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The home was completed by 1913 with Mr. Turner recently completing renovations to preserve this piece of art called Casa Grande. The historic home boasts 25,000 square feet of two floors with seven guest rooms, nine bathrooms, a Ballroom, Billiard room, sun room, a study, butler’s quarters, greenhouse and a library that you can get lost in. As we walked into Casa Grande, the mosaic tiles on the floor made me take off my shoes, so I could feel the tiles beneath my toes. The crown molding throughout makes my eyes wander down hallways. The details inside this home are astonishing and I am grateful to be able to call this home for the next couple of days. My daughter will find her way through the grand Ballroom and sit before the 1905 Steinway Concert Grand piano. She pauses to admire this work of art before playing music that will echo off the high, arched ceilings. After her private concert, she will make her way to the modern kitchen to find it stocked with drinks, juices and snacks; perfect for a teenager fresh out of a performance. I will be walking around this evening in awe of all of the details and antiques that fill this beautiful home. I notice a photo of Ted Turner with his black lab sitting on a table. He is a handsome man besides being extremely accomplished and generous in life. Recalling an interview I had seen of him when he was discussing his honor and


how he stayed true. Ted Turner is someone I admire and I am honored to be exploring around his house like a kid in a candy store; but careful not to break anything. Later in the evening, we will walk next door to have dinner in the Lodge that is decorated from contributions from the wilderness. A roaring fire lights up the room and we are able to sit right next to it and enjoy a pleasant dinner that held Caesar salads, Bear Creek Ribeye with aligot potatoes, braised collard greens and a mustard seed Demi-glace. And one must try dessert while traveling with crème brulee for the closer. We will sleep in Ted Turner’s master suite on the first floor of the Casa Grande that night and before I go to sleep; I will walk into the glass greenhouse under the dark night and inhale a few deep breathes taking in all the smells from the flowers and plants. I awake to find snow falling from the sky fast and hard. It is exciting since I grew up in Louisiana and snow can be a rarity. It feels like Christmas morning! Outside the mountains are covered with beautiful, white snow and Casa Grande is stunning with its architectural features with big snowflakes falling from the sky. For breakfast, we walk just a few steps to the Lodge next door to find Red, a young man who will be our host that will create our made to order omelets with hash browns, bacon, fruit and juices. Red is a warm gentleman,

who took really great care of us during our stay and made sure they did not cancel our horseback ride this morning due to the weather as we could not wait to get out in the snow storm! After breakfast, Red made sure to create lunches based on our wish lists and stored them in the large refrigerator for us for after our scheduled horseback ride. We are thrilled to be able to explore this ranch by horseback! How often do you get access to 585,000 acres of pristine, snow covered landscapes?

Exploring the ranch by horseback… Vermejo Park Ranch has one of the largest equestrian trail systems in the United States. I want to live here now, but I will continue. Cowboy Doug from Vermont will be our guide this morning for our horseback ride in the snow. Doug looks like he just walked out of a John Wayne western and has been on this ranch since the 70’s. He lets me borrow his work gloves for the ride and they are worn and have been put to good use. The horses are beautiful and my horse has spunk. Something about getting bundled up and riding through the elements that adds to the excitement. We are off riding through the terrain covered in snow with bald eagles flying above us. There are seventeen fishable lakes and thirty miles of streams that make Vermejo Park Ranch a world-class fishing destination and easy on the eyes.

Doug shares while we ride beside the mountains that he just had a hunting group from Monroe visit Vermejo. Small world! There are five eco-systems being preserved by Ted Turner on this ranch and are yours to explore when you visit Vermejo! The staff on the ranch includes full-time biologists to maintain a healthy balance for all that roam on this land. Mr. Turner has brought in Rio Grande cutthroat trout (native fish to New Mexico) and other endangered species such as the Black-footed ferret to aid in future growth and survival. There is something about a man that utilizes his hard earned money to save our planet! As we are riding back, we can hear coyotes howling just over a mountain and see turkeys scattering on a nearby hill. The snow slows down and finally stops. Exploring the ranch on horseback is one exciting activity and brings you back to another time filled with natural wonderment and simplicity. After our horseback ride, we enjoy the buffet lunch prepared by the fire in the main lodge before a game of pool in the Billiard room in our Casa Grande.

Private Ranch Tour… Pete is the Hunting & Fishing Guide at Vermejo Park Ranch and will be our guide today for our private ranch tour. There are several types of tours offered at the ranch such as Wildlife, Historic, and Conservation & Eco Tours. They also have professional photographers at the ranch that can accompany you on your adventures to ensure you capture the perfect photographs and offer seasonal photography workshops with the perfect scenery to enhance those photography skills. And with places like Castle Rock; this ranch is a photographers dream come true! Our guide, Pete will pick us up in the Vermejo Park truck and take us riding through the open wilderness passing by deer, turkeys and several lakes. We head up in elevation and the snow gets thicker. Pete pulls over and we get out of the truck to admire a herd of elk. You can hear them bugling in the near distance as we begin our elk surveillance. A bull is


kicking and establishing his dominance in the herd. It is fascinating to watch and you feel transported to somewhere wild and untamed. We stop off at the Costilla Lodge at the 10,000 elevation mark which is powered by solar and the design of this lodge; masterpiece! This truly is the perfect place for a hunting trip, corporate or family event! During our stay, there is also a Wounded Warrior hunt that is taking place at Vermejo Park Ranch which warms my heart! Such a noble cause! Our private tour will include information provided by Pete on how the ranch is maintained and how herd sizes are controlled as well as hunting and conservation tips. Very interesting! After a three hour ranch tour, we head back to Casa Grande to get ready for dinner by the roaring fire. That evening, we will feast on fresh Rainbow Trout that is pan seared and basted with brown butter and thyme served with mountain rose apples, baby beets, smoked farro and a lemon beurre blanc. My daughter will make the mature choice with the Quail Knots that has been marinated in buttermilk, breaded and fried; served with buttermilk, whipped potatoes, crispy brussel sprouts and green chili gravy. Impressed with her choice to try something new, dinner was relaxing by the fire and the perfect place to enjoy a merlot. Once back at Casa Grande, we will spend time in the Ballroom glancing through the library and admiring all of the books and antiques. I will find a biography on Ted Turner and spend the evening reading about his life which reads like an exciting movie.

Archery Skills… The next morning after another great breakfast, we schedule some archery time with Pete, who happens to have contributed design ideas to the 3D archery course on the ranch. There are plenty of activities to choose from while visiting Vermejo such as hiking, mountain biking, fishing, sport shooting, but they say the latest craze is archery, so we had to try it out. You never know when you


might have to hunt for your food, so you better be prepared. We arrive at the 3D archery course which holds eight stations that you hike to while crossing paths with 3D targets that depict different types of animals. It provides a great learning opportunity as well as training for the real thing. Pete took the time to show us how to handle the bow and all of the tips needed to make this a success. I can say that my daughter and I possess newly founded archery skills and hope to do it again real soon! The sky was clear and the snow had melted. The grounds back to golden. On the drive back to Casa Grande, we witness bucks chasing does. Love is alive at Vermejo Park Ranch! Red made sure to pack us boxed lunches for our departure. I am excited to start planning the next trip which will include visiting the other ranches that are part of the Ted Turner Expeditions such as the Sierra Grande Lodge & Spa and Ladder Ranch! Stay tuned for Part 2! While visiting Vermejo Park Ranch, I had the honor of interviewing Ted Turner and I will share with you!

My Exclusive interview with Ted Turner… Why did you choose New Mexico as the location for your Expeditions instead of Montana? Of the 2 million acres of land that I own, about half is located in the state of New Mexico; and three of my four New Mexico


properties are within an hour drive of one another in the southern portion of the state, which allows for more recreation options for our guests. Two of my four New Mexico properties, Vermejo Park Ranch and Sierra Grande Lodge & Spa, were also already operating as guest resorts, so a lot of the infrastructure was already in place in New Mexico. As beautiful as Montana is, the New Mexico vistas are absolutely breathtaking, as are the species on our properties. It’s an area of the country that’s very special to me and my family, and I knew that guests of Ted Turner Expeditions would enjoy it as much as we have. What is the ultimate goal with Ted Turner Expeditions? The idea for Ted Turner Expeditions (TTX) came to me many years ago when I realized that as much as my family and I enjoy my western ranches, our schedules kept us from visiting as much as we’d like. I wanted these properties to be visited by as many people as possible because they deserve to be seen and enjoyed! And ultimately, I hope that by visiting these ranches and seeing what my team and I are doing to help these lands and the animals living on them thrive, guests will develop a deeper appreciation for our environment and its fragility. Part of the mission of Turner Enterprises, TTX’s umbrella company, is to manage our lands in an economically sustainable yet ecologically sensitive man-

ner while promoting the conservation of native species. So, while my team and I are passionate about what we’re doing on these lands, it costs money. And TTX provides a way for us to give the public the opportunity for unique experiences, while also bringing in the means necessary to sustain these properties and the conservation initiatives taking place on them. What green initiatives have you implemented on your lands throughout the country? Over the past several years, we have devoted time and energy toward promoting the use of clean energy sources by urging others to make the switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. We have added solar panels on my numerous properties and ranches, and installed 25 solar canopies in the employee parking lots adjacent to my Atlanta offices. My foundations and family have also worked on their own green initiatives around the U.S. and abroad. What causes/charities are the dearest to you at this time? My five foundations – United Nations Foundation (UNF), Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), Turner Foundation, Turner Endangered Species Fund and Captain Planet Foundation – and the issues they address are my chief priorities. Each of my foundations focus on very different causes, but ones I believe to be crucial to the well-being of humanity and the environment. I think right now, the most immediate issue our world is facing is the threat of nuclear war, and I’m working diligently to fight that through my work with NTI. As humans, we’ve made a lot of headway, especially in recent years, but when it comes to how we treat one another and the Planet, there’s a lot more work to be done on our part. Thank you, Mr. Turner for your countless efforts to save our planet! Schmeer’s Travel Tips: Ted Turner Expeditions- 1877-288-7637/ Four Seasons Resort & Residences-1-970-477-8600/ Limousines Unlimited- 1-318325-5466/


NEW YOU FREE Health Education Seminar on Bariatric Weight Loss Surgery Tuesday, January 23rd at 6:00pm Glenwood Medical Mall Community Room

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Chef Moe Christy



uring my culinary escapades each month, I generally seek out brick and mortar eateries, restaurants or places to enjoy that occasional craft cocktail; however, this month I can’t help but think of those in the food service industry who serve the larger scale events in our area. Caught up in my own narrow-

Unexpected finds throughout the Delta Chef Moe Christy at the West Monroe Convention Center

mindedness, I’ve come to realize that there is so little focus is on those who stand out for their ability to blend in to the foreground, those who put forth an amazing product that seems to just “show up” on a plate without our ever seeing the masterminds behind the scenes. It is with this mindset that I set out on my “Culinary Crusade”, focusing on finding those who bring splendor and a version of artistic expression to the plates of the people of our community,

82 | JA NUA RY 2018 | D E LTA S T Y LE M AGA ZI NE

art one in a series that will part enceforth be dubbed “Unexhenceforth ected Finds Throughout the pected elta”. Delta”. The West Monroe Convenion Center has been the hub of tion any great events such as the many arch of Dimes’ Signature March hefs Auction, the Think Pink Chefs Tea, as well as hosting many luncheons and dinners for area charities. With two exquisitely decorated dining areas, the Convention Center can accommodate parties of up to 80. Hors d’ oeuvres, prime rib, light lun-

West Monroe Convention Center Where: 901 Ridge Avenue, West Monroe, Louisiana Telephone: (318) 396-5000 Website:

cheons, cocktails – all can be prepared by the Convention Center’s knowledgeable and highly trained staff. Playing host to some of our areas finest chefs, the Convention Center is now under the helm of Executive Chef Steven Christy, or “Chef Moe” as he is known. A native of Chicago, Illinois, Chef Moe came to the great state of Louisiana in 1991, but didn’t immediately start out in the culinary realm. After realizing his passion for food, Chef Moe began as a line cook with the local Chili’s chain. Gleaning knowledge and experience with every task presented, Chef Moe quickly rose through the ranks until his departure in 2001. Shortly thereafter, Chef Moe joined the ranks as a kitchen manager at Bennigans in West Monroe, and remained until their closure in 2007. From there, Chef Moe went on to gain additional experience and skills at some of our locally owned and operated restaurants such as the Pickle Barrel, Restaurant Sage (which has been home to two Kings of Louisiana Seafood – Chef Cory Bahr and Chef Blake Phillips), as well as taking on the role as a shift supervisor later on at Monroe’s original Ray’s PeGee. Realizing that he had more to give to the proverbial “plate” than simply holding down a position in area kitchens, Chef Moe took to the task and went back to school in culinary arts wherein he graduated within the top 3 of his class with high honors. With this skillset, Chef Moe took on the prestigious position at Copeland’s of Monroe as their Executive Chef, where he remained ever vigilant until his departure in 2015 when he joined the ranks alongside Chef Bahr at Restaurant Cotton. Notwithstanding the immense enjoyment that Chef Moe had during his time with Chef Bahr at Restaurant Cotton, the opportunity came in March of 2016 for him to expand his culinary resume and take over as the Executive Kitchen Manager at Willie’s Duck Diner, where he remained until the temporary closure for remodeling, an extensive redrafting of the menu and relaunch that occurred later this year. “Food is my PASSION, so there I just had to get back into

Pork Loin dish served at the West Monroe Convention Center

The staff at the West Monroe Convention Center

the kitchen as quickly as possible,” Christy states, and in keeping with the logic that one simply cannot keep a good chef down, it was then that Chef Moe joined the ranks at the West Monroe Convention Center, where he stands at the helm of a fabulous brigade of prep cooks, line cooks, sous chefs and servers. Coincidentally, it has been with the West Monroe Convention Center that Chef Moe has also had the utter joy of working alongside his own son, Nico Christy, who seems to be following closely in the footsteps of his father. As a father of two, Brianna

Christy and Nico Christy, Chef Moe states the importance of “family always being first”. “Everything I do, I do for my kids and my grandbaby, Nico Jr…. to make Bri and Nico proud of the man that they call their Father,” Christy explains. “It’s about cooking with your heart, your soul and with the passion of the profession… putting it all on a plate for everyone to enjoy… that’s why I do what I do, that’s why I strive to be the best that I can be… it truly is a chef’s life for me.” In addition to his many successes at the West Monroe Convention Center, Chef Christy re-

cently started his own small catering company, for those smaller events in the Delta, Brico Catering Services, LLC – named after his children. With all of your holiday celebrations coming in the New Year, Chef Moe and the crew at the West Monroe Convention Center hope that you would consider them for your next business, charity or social function. For photographs from Chef Moe and other local restaurants and chefs, follow Tara’s Taste of the Town on Facebook at


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OGLESBY FINANCIAL GROUP Will Interest Rates Move Higher?

Darren Oglesby, Registered Financial Consultant

The last bear market in bonds began in the middle of the last century and lasted for about 31 years. Some investors who bought bonds in 1950 locked in relatively low rates of return for a very long time. On January 1, 1950, 10-year U.S. Treasury bonds yielded 2.3 percent.1 As interest rates moved higher, the market value of those bonds diminished. The good news was people could hold bonds to maturity and expect to receive a return of principal. The bad news was they missed an opportunity to earn higher returns in the meantime. By early 1960, when a 10-year Treasury bond would have matured, rates on newly-issued 10-year Treasury bonds had more than doubled to 4.7 percent.1 The current bull market in bonds began in the early 1980s. On January 1, 1982, the yield on a 10year U.S. Treasury bond was 14.6 percent.1 Since then, yields have dropped. In early December 2017, a 10-year Treasury returned about 2.4 percent.2 Treasury bonds have offered relatively low rates of return for almost a decade. For the last several years, analysts have been predicting the current bull market in bonds will end. In fact, Financial Times recently commented that forecasts for 2018 seemed awfully familiar:3 “The median analyst forecast is for the Fed’s favored inflation measure to quicken from 1.5 percent to 2 percent by 2019, the 10-year Treasury yield to climb to almost 3 percent by the end of 2018, and the S&P 500 to gain another 7 percent to hit 2,825 points…The problem is that this is, in broad terms, what most analysts have wrongly been predicting for years. Year after year, inflation has stayed stubbornly well-behaved, the Fed has tiptoed forward, and bonds have repeatedly defied the naysayers.”

Monetary policy will make a difference In 2008, following the global financial crisis, the U.S. Federal Reserve reduced the fed funds rate, which is its overnight lending rate, to nearly zero. When it became apparent low rates weren’t enough to restore our country’s economic health, the Fed engaged in several rounds of quantitative easing (QE).4 QE entailed purchasing billions of dollars of Treasury bonds along with mortgage-backed and U.S. agency securities. QE created the demand to keep interest rates low and encouraged banks to lend so entrepreneurs would have the money needed to build new companies and established businesses would have the capital to grow. By the time the last round of QE ended, the Fed’s balance sheet had more than quadrupled. The Fed owns a lot of bonds.4 Already, the Federal Reserve has begun taking steps to ‘normalize’ monetary policy. The St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank explained monetary policy normalization includes three elements:5 1. Gradually increasing short-term market interest rates. The Federal Open Market Committee increased rates for the first time in December 2015.4 2. Reducing the size of the Fed’s balance sheet. This began in late 2017. The Fed has not been rolling over all of the Treasury and mortgagebacked securities in its portfolio at maturity. This reduces demand for Treasuries and should help push yields higher.6 3. Transform the Fed’s current portfolio. This is so it resembles the Fed’s pre-Great Recession portfolio, which held mostly shorter maturity Treasuries.5 The Fed led the world in monetary policy stimulus, and it is the first central bank to begin normalizing its monetary policy. It isn’t the only one. The European Central Bank will begin to reduce its QE program by cutting its monthly bond purchases in half, and the Bank of Japan is under pressure to reduce stimulus efforts. BloombergView commented, “With the ongoing synchronized pick-up in global growth, systemically important central banks will likely be more willing and able in 2018 to start and, in one case continue, the normalization of monetary policy.”7

What will higher interest rates mean for investors? When central banks begin to push rates higher, the cost of borrowing also goes up. Higher borrowing costs mean individuals will pay higher interest rates on credit card debt and loans, governments will payer higher interest rates on outstanding debt, and corporations will pay more to borrow money to run or expand their businesses.8 Higher interest rates will also make bonds more attractive than they have been for a number of years because investors will earn more interest when they invest in bonds. Generally, investing in bonds means an individual is agreeing to lend his or her money to a corporation or government for a specific period of time. At the end of that time, the investor expects the principal amount to be repaid.8 Sometimes, rising interest rates will make stocks less attractive to investors. During the past decade, when bond rates were generally very low, some investors purchased dividend-paying stocks to boost their incomes. If they can earn a similar income by investing in bonds that have lower risk, they may choose to do that. However, it’s important to recognize bonds don’t have the potential to provide capital gains as stocks do.8 If you have any questions about the ways higher interest rates may affect your portfolio, please contact us to speak with your financial professional. Sources: 1 2 3 tagToFollow (or go to Peak+Documents/Jan_2018_FinancialTimes-Wall_Streets_Year-Ahead_ Forecasts_Have_a_Familiar_Ring-Footnote_3.pdf) 4 5 6 7 8 Securities offered through Oglesby Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. This material was prepared by Carson Group Coaching. Carson Group Coaching is not affiliated with the named broker/dealer.

Securities offered through Oglesby Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. The above material was prepared by Peak Advisor Alliance. Peak Advisor Alliance is not affiliated with the named broker/dealer.

W W W. O G L E S B Y F I N A N C I A L G R O U P. C O M




Flowers at Their Best The Monroe Garden Club gets flower ideas from Rasberry STORY & PHOTOS BY GEORGIANN POTTS

Gorgeous twin arrangements hanging on the French doors of Bayou DeSiard Country Club set the tone for a delightful late fall meeting of the Monroe Garden Club. The woven cone baskets held a mix of yard greenery spilling upward, out, and down. Centering each was a single magnificent white bloom. The simplicity of the design underscored the theme of the day’s special presentation --“Flowers at their Best.” Flanking the doors were complimentary designs incorporating the large urns that are a fixture at the club’s main entry. Yard greenery provided the perfect “nest” for gourds in shades of white to pale green. Standing guard to the left was an inquisitive deer, watching and greeting with flair. To the right, the design was repeated with variations. As the members and their guests entered the foyer, they were greeted with a stunning tablescape that featured another creature from the wild --- a perky pheasant. The pheasant was surrounded by shed antlers, assorted white gourds, bronze beeswax candles, seasonal nuts, and yard leaves. Awaiting the ladies was yet another stunning arrangement on the table centering the great hall. Designed by the multi-talented former Monroe Garden Club (MGC) president Kay Prince and her co-chair for this gathering, Kari Scott, the design was a feast for the eyes using natural materials. A deer pelt provided the base for the grouping, and a companion pheasant to the one in the foyer held a place of honor. White gourds in varying sizes were placed around a gorgeous rustic bowl designed as a pair of opposing stag heads complete with antlers. This bowl held

Co-Chairs for the MGC meeting were Kay Prince and Kari Scott

Ann McMickle and Dianne Cage

Beverly Sivils and Sister Smith

Brenda Adams and Jan McDonald

Designer Kathy Rasberry with her good friend, MGC member Debbie Stockstill

more gourds, seasonal grasses, and seasonal nuts. Elsewhere were seen cypress knees, fungi in shades of pale beige to a deeper brown, and additional seasonal nuts scattered about on leaf “plates.” The nearly monochromatic design was interrupted by a few strategically placed spots of green, placed in the way that only experienced designers know how. Speaker for the gathering

was Kathy Rasberry, a multitalented professional who works in both floral and interior design. She lives in Shreveport, LA, where she has morphed from teacher into in-demand speaker and design guru. Rasberry is no stranger to Monroe, and has a number of friends living here. “If I ever decided to relocate, I’d move here!” she told the group. “You have a terrific community filled with lots of


smart women!” Rasberry began her program by talking earnestly to the group about her own career in design. She assured them all that they, too, can do the things that she does. “Mine has been a remarkable journey,” she explained. “I am you. I am not some high-society designer living in Atlanta, GA. I am you, and you can do this!” The fact that MGC decorates the Club each month that the Club meets was not missed by Rasberry. She told the ladies that they literally transformed the space every month, and that their work is sincerely appreciated. “This is important work that you are doing here,” she said. “Everyone who walks in here is greeted by beauty. That deserves y’all giving yourselves a pat on the back!” Throughout her presentation, Rasberry used ordinary materials in extraordinary ways. If there were one phrase to describe her work, it would be “deceptively simple." From the ubiquitous Pampas grass so abundant in our area to the delicate Gloriosa lilies on stems that everyone loves --- Rasberry transformed each element into an amazing design that seemed “doable” instead of intimidating. Using two colors of floral spray paints, Rasberry changed the creamy Pampas “puffs” into fans in shades of faint maroon and brown. In an arrangement intended to evoke “Ladies Night Out” or Audrey Hepburn’s little black dress in that 1961 movie classic Breakfast At Tiffany’s, Rasberry used a simple black vase to hold the Pampas fans interspersed with spider mums (some of which she had also painted). Using clear floral tubes to keep the mums hydrated while hiding their water source easily among the fan cluster, Rasberry created an astonishingly easy, yet perfect, feminine arrangement. One of the most intriguing “lessons” that Rasberry taught the ladies was how to interpret a painting using floral design. She gave tips on how to do this suc-

cessfully as she simultaneously interpreted a lovely painting depicting a lakeside vista. From the vase with its varying shades of metallic purple to mauve, to the kumquats, to the joyous stems of Bird of Paradise, every element that she used reflected the colors and “feel” of the painting. The final touch was a large branch that mimicked the shape of the tree in the painting’s foreground. “Never, ever, try to do a literal interpretation of a painting,” she warned the ladies. “Always do an impression. That is the only way that it works. You can do it!” Among the designs that Rasberry executed during her demonstration, the one that perhaps elicited the most admiration from the group was actually the simplest. Using an oversized clear glass cylindrical vase, a frog for stabilizing the Gloriosa lily stems, a small handful of green floral stones, and water, Rasberry created a stunning design. The lilies swirling about in the water were meant to evoke the vision of koi swimming in a pond. The water magnifies the images within the vase making

Designer Kathy Rasberry interpreting a painting through floral design

Debbie Sawyer, Babs Oakley, and Johnette Mintz

Forsythe Church of Christ Youth Ministry Helping Students grow stronger in Faith, Friendship & Family Daniel, Brooke, Haddi Beth and Walker Kirkendall

Diane Walters, Sharon Brown, and Susan Marx

the colors and shapes ethereal. Votives in red holders, a pair of red cylindrical vases flecked with gold, gold star shapes --and simple branches laden with seasonal red berries work together to make the holidays bright! As Rasberry put these elements together, she reminded the group once again that they, too, could do these same designs. “I wanted today to be about things that you could take and do for yourselves,” she said. The ladies enjoyed a lovely brunch that featured a deepdish omelet, cinnamon spice cake squares, a medley of fresh fruits, pecan bars, and everyone’s favorite --- fresh apple fritters! Juice and coffee completed the offering. Serving with Scott and Prince as hostesses were Billie Barringer, Kathy Chandler, Linda Clark, Deborah Colvin, Charlotte Conley, Charlotte Gnemi, Phyllis Gordon, Beverly Graham, Nancy Johnston, Margaret Ann King, Sue McGinn, Bert Myers, Susan Neck, Jessica Priest, Debbie Ryan, Dawn Sager, Peggy Van, Marianne Wilcox, and Marion Zentner.

Faith. Family. Food. Hours: M-Th 10AM to 9PM • F-S 10AM to 10PM CLOSED SUNDAYS 125 Constitution Drive • 884-DUCK (3825) • DELTA STYLE MAGA ZIN E | JA N UA RY 2 018 | 8 9

Bromeliads, Crotons and Holiday Cacti Initial Care and Makeovers for these Seasonal Plants ROSE YOUNG-LEE


eginning in the fall and continuing throughout the Christmas holiday season, colorful seasonal plants can be found in abundance in entryways, on tables and down aisles of retail establishments. Such colorful displays inspire us to purchase one or more of these beauties either to take home to adorn our own environments or to present as gifts to others. However, once the season ends, it is common for many of the plants to be discarded along with other seasonal leftovers, especially if they appear to be withering or dying. Before throwing out that leafless croton, dried-up bromeliad or drooping holiday cactus, I encourage you to try these makeover tips offered by the LSU AgCenter for the long-term care of these plants. The good news is that with regular maintenance and a little TLC, these common

favorites can survive and thrive for many months and even years to come. Because of its simple requirements, the bromeliad is one of the most undemanding plants that can be grown inside. In order for this plant to thrive, its needs are simple: sufficient light, proper watering and good air circulation. Because the plant requires plenty of light, its long term location should be in an area that receives eastern, western or southern light exposure. During the summer, the plant can be placed outside in a site that receives morning sun but is shaded from the direct, intense midday and afternoon sunlight. However, because of its tropical origins, it must be brought inside to be protected from extremely cold or freezing weather. Although the pot of the plant may appear too small for its size, because of their relatively limited root system, bromeliads do not need to be repotted and can be grown in their original container. However, clay pots with drainage holes are recommended because of the stability

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and drainage they afford for the somewhat oversized plants. Other conditions that promote healthy growth of the plant are a well-drained potting mix and periodic watering that allows the plant to dry slightly between watering. Since the “vase-like” center of the plant typically holds water reserves, an important tip to remember is that these centers should be kept full of water in order to keep the plant leaves hydrated. The exotic flower spikes of the bromeliad usually stay attractive for an extended period of time. However, after the blooming period, the plants will go into a gradual decline and eventually die. Before they do, they produce one to several offshoots from their base called “pups.” Tips on how to make over the plant by dividing and transplanting the offshoots can be found at the official LSU Agcenter website. The croton is one of the most popular and colorful fall plants. Typically grown as a container plant, it is frequently used to accent both interiors and exteriors throughout fall. However,

unlike the bromeliad, which is relatively easy to care for and grow, the croton has a reputation for being finicky, or fussy. Yet, I am a personal witness that with the proper care this plant can be very resilient and can thrive for many years. As with any plant, proper lighting is important for the croton to thrive. However, it is important to know which variety you are growing, as some require high light while others need medium or low light. A rule of thumb to follow in determining lighting needs is that more variegated and colorful croton varieties tend to need more light than those with less color and variegation. Another reason the croton may be considered difficult to grow is that the plant may lose some or all of its foliage soon after it is purchased and brought home. While this is cause for alarm, it is also common croton behavior, since these plants do not like to be moved. However, if both the plant and you can get over the initial shock, with patience and the proper care the plant will make over itself with-

in a short period by reproducing leaves and will eventually grow into a colorful and resilient plant. As with other house plant, crotons need proper watering and humidity for long term survival. Being a tropical plant, it grows well in high humidity. Therefore, regular misting and placing the plant’s container on a tray of pebbles will help it to thrive. Also, like other container houseplants, the plant should be watered only when the top of the soil is dry to the touch and until the water flows from the bottom of the container. In addition, drafty and cold areas should be avoided. The plant should also be kept away from drafts and cold, as it cannot tolerate temperatures below 60 F. Consequently, if the plant has been used as an exterior decoration, it is important to bring it inside when temperatures begin to fall lower than 60 F. Otherwise, the croton will lose its leaves and possibly die. Visit the LSU AgCenter official website for tips on how to give new life to freeze-damaged crotons and other plants. The Christmas cactus is another seasonal houseplant that can bring long-term enjoyment. Although there are other species of holiday cactuses, such as Thanksgiving and Easter, according to information shared on the LSU AgCenter website, because of cross-breeding of the different species, the plants purchased these days are more than likely hybrids and should more accurately be referred to as “holiday cactuses.” Holiday cactuses are available in a wide range of colors – rose, red, magenta, pink, and lavender; also white, salmon, pale gold and orange – which contributes to their popularity. If the cactus plant was purchased or received during the holidays, more than likely some buds have dropped from the plant; but this should not be cause for alarm, as this is normal due to the rapid change in growing conditions from the store to the home. For the long term health of the plant, it should be placed in a brightly lit location that gets plenty of light during the day but stays cooler at night. Heat sources and drafty areas should be avoided, and care should be

Christmas cactus


taken to keep the plant from drying out while it is in bloom. Typically, the cactus should be watered often enough to keep it evenly moist (i.e., when the surface is dry to the touch) but not soaked; as this can lead to root rot, a major problem in growing the plant. During active blooming, each flower generally lasts from 5-7 days, and the plants remain in bloom for 2-3 weeks. Optimal growing conditions for

this plant include a well-drained container and a sterile potting medium high in organic matter. In addition, porous clay pots that provide stability and allow for some drying between watering are recommended. After flowering is finished, the soil should be allowed to dry to the point where it feels dry when you stick your finger in it prior to watering. If the plant has been previously displayed in a location other than a bright window, it should now be moved to a window. At this time, there is no need to fertilize. Also, as the cactuses develop new branches and buds, they may become topheavy and difficult to handle. A short, wide pot can be used to assist in balancing out this new growth. Once spring arrives, makeover options include both growing the plant indoors and moving it outside for the summer. If placed outside, the recommended location is in an area that receives some morning sun but shade for most of the day. For ideal growth, it is important to maintain temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees F. Al-

though the cactus can tolerate temperatures up to 90-100 degrees F, these extreme temperatures will cause the plant to grow slower. Hence, direct sun exposure should be avoided during late spring and summer. Following these makeover tips will increase the likelihood that the holiday cactus will continue to produce beautiful flowers for years. For continued long-term care of the plant; such as fertilizing, repotting and relocating the plant to accommodate varying day lengths and temperatures throughout the year; visit the LSU AgCenter official website. The proper care and periodic makeovers can prolong the lifespan of these popular seasonal staples and increase the likelihood that they will bring us beauty far beyond their season of purchase. More information on how to extend the life of these and other plants by cutting them back, transplanting them outdoors, or nurturing them indoors can be found on the LSU AgCenter official website,


An evening at Grandview Farm Members of P.E.O. Chapter AE meet at Grandview Farm for a social event.

Grandview Farm, the home of Stewart and Wendy Gentry GEORGIANN POTTS

P.E.O. Chapter AE members and their husbands enjoyed a beautiful evening barbeque at Grandview Farm near Calhoun. Grandview Farm is the home of Stewart and Wendy Gentry, and is always just the perfect place for informal gatherings such as this one. Guests were invited to come to the farm by 5:00 in the evening so that they could enjoy a glass of wine while viewing the sun setting over the rolling hills. The view did not disappoint. In the foreground were the pastures where the Gentry horses graze and a beautiful lake. Just beyond, wooded hills punctuated the last rays of the sun. With the last light fading, guests enjoyed a traditional barbeque dinner. Small tables were draped in white tablecloths were located on the lawn overlooking the lake. Centering eaeh was a basket of fall flowers including vincas, pansies, and assorted greenery. The menu included pulled pork tenderloin on buns with a piquant sauce, crunchy coleslaw, baked beans, and a choice of tempting desserts including pound cake, chocolate fudge brownies, and caramel frosted yellow cake. Joining Wendy Gentry as hostesses for the occasion were Stephanie Schaeffer, Lauretta Tucker, and Loura Barr. A very special greeter from Grandview Farm joined the Gentrys in making everyone feel wel-


come. Pumpkin, a miniature horse and favorite in the Gentry stable, even came indoors to give his own special greetings to everyone gathered there. Enjoying the evening were Guy and Loura Barr, Armand and Travis Breard, Robert and Michelle Brown, Gordon and Carolyn Gates, Russ and Yvette Greer, Leo and Melanie McStravick, Carolyn Myrick, Tieise Ardito, George and Stephanie Schaeffer, and Barney and Lauretta Tucker. P.E.O. (Philanthropic Educational Organization), one of the pioneer societies for women, was founded on January 21, 1869, by seven students at Iowa Wesleyan College in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. Today, P.E.O. has grown from that tiny membership of seven to almost a quarter of a million members in chapters in the United States and Canada. The P.E.O. Sisterhood is passionate about its mission: promoting educational opportunities for women. Our sisterhood proudly makes a difference in women's lives with six philanthropies that include ownership of a two-year women's college, Cottey College; and five programs that provide higher educational assistance: P.E.O. Educational Loan Fund, P.E.O. International Peace Scholarship Fund, P.E.O. Program for Continuing Education, P.E.O. Scholar Awards, and P.E.O. STAR Scholarship.

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Enjoy a greeting from Pumpkin, the Gentry's miniature horse, and Loura Barr, past president of the Louisiana State Chapter and Chapter AE WENDY GENTRY

Be Prepared! P.E.O. Meeting P.E.O. discusses Wills, Powers of Attorney, DNRs, and Living Wills STORY & PHOTOS BY GEORGIANN POTTS

Members of P.E.O. Chapter AE met in early November to hear a program about the importance of making careful preparations for end-of-life or incapacitation issues. The ladies listened carefully to attorney Fritz Niswanger as he talked them through the major areas where people can inadvertently make costly mistakes. Niswanger began his talk discussing what he referred to as “non-probate assets” --- those assets not covered by wills. Annuities, 401Ks, life insurance, or any asset that has designated beneficiaries listed will automatically go to the designated beneficiary regardless of what the will stipulates. Powers of Attorney were discussed, with Niswanger reminding the ladies that these dissolve at the point of death and are no longer in effect. He also discussed the Durable Power of Attorney option. One area that the members were especially interested in was how to properly prepare for what happens to their various social media accounts, credit card accounts, and on-line banking accounts when they die. Niswanger urged them to prepare specific instructions, including appropriate account numbers and passwords, and to place these in a secure location that would be readily available to the executor of their estate when the time comes. Niswanger’s final bit of advice was to make certain that the will and those assets with designated beneficiaries are coordinated. This will reduce the likelihood of misunderstandings and mistakes. The lovely north Monroe home of AE Joy Loomis was the

setting for the informative program. Hostesses serving with Loomis were Margaret Brock and Gretchen Hamel. The Loomis dining room table was centered with a beautiful arrangement featuring garden cabbage roses in shades of pinks from pale to mauve tucked into a modern crystal and bronze epergne together with clusters of red miniature roses. On either side of the elongated arrangement were twin crystal vases edged in gold and “capped” with a white minipumpkin. Greenery accented the simple, yet elegant, design. Among the temptations offered were pigs-in-a-blanket, a ham and cheese omelet, a medley of fresh fruits with yogurt sauce, a variety of cookies, cheese straws, and a cunning cheese ball shaped like a pumpkin! Cookies, juice, and coffee completed the menu. P.E.O. (Philanthropic Educational Organization), one of the pioneer societies for women, was founded on January 21, 1869, by seven students at Iowa Wesleyan College in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. Today, P.E.O. has grown from that tiny membership of seven to almost a quarter of a million members in chapters in the United States and Canada. The P.E.O. Sisterhood is passionate about its mission: promoting educational opportunities for women. Our sisterhood proudly makes a difference in women's lives with six philanthropies that include ownership of a two-year women's college, Cottey College; and five programs that provide higher educational assistance: P.E.O. Educational Loan Fund, P.E.O. International Peace Scholarship Fund, P.E.O. Program for Continuing Education, P.E.O. Scholar Awards, and P.E.O. STAR Scholarship.

Frances Jakes and Ann Hargon

Michelle Brown and AE president, Felicia Kostelka

P.E.O. Chapter AE president Felicia Kostelka and guest speaker, Fritz Niswanger

Gretchen Hamel, Elnice Davis, and Mary Grace Bozeman

Tency Tarver and Stephanie Schaeffer

Lois Hoover Genevieve McDuff, and Lauretta Tucker


Make your Resolution a Reality Welcome 2018! How lucky are we to have another new year to play, discover, and appreciate the wonder in our world? I hope one of your New Year resolutions was to do just that, but, since I understand how difficult it is to just let go and try new experiences, I wanted to share some advice I read recently. In the book, The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be, the author suggests that, before we commit to doing something new--whether it is calling Monroe Travel Service and letting us help you travel the world or just starting an exercise program--we should think about it for 30 days in a row before we even try to move forward. For just a few minutes every day, it is important to meditate, study, and visualize how these experiences could expand our lives. In essence, we take stock, and, if we measure it a good idea, we must charge forward and expect great things to happen. He calls this process taking life inventory, and I thought about this whole life inventory concept as I cleaned out my closet during the holidays. You see, I always think I need new clothes, but, as I organized my closet, I discovered I had more options than I thought. In fact, I actually had everything I wanted at my fingertips: I just needed to see things differently. My sweet mama used to tell me: Dianne, sometimes, you need to slow down to speed up, and my closet inventory reminded me about how easy it is to stay busy, just piling on. Moving as fast as we can, we clutter

our lives, but what's the point of spending your days climbing a mountain if, at the end of the year, you've missed the view? Or worse yet, what if you have climbed the wrong mountain? So, my friends, with 2018 fresh on the books, it's time to take a quick life inventory. Make sure your days are measuring up to your expectations, because this is the only time you will ever have. I realize I am just a travel agent and certainly not qualified to advise you on the direction this self-inventory should lead. Yet, when you plan a little fun into your lives, the statistics speak for themselves: · You reduce your stress. Stepping away from the pressures at work and demands at home enables you to see things more clearly. You prioritize and balance your life and, when that happens, stress is decreased. A vacation saves you from a possible burnout in your daily life. · You do your health a lot of


good. A study by the State University of New York of 12,000 men discovered that those who take an annual vacation reduce their overall risk of dying soon by as much as 20%! How could that not be a reason to take a vacation? · You improve your productivity. A survey by Sam’s Club discovered that very few small business owners ever take days off. This resulted in exhaustion, impatience, poor decision making and illness. One of the perks of getting away from the everyday is that it makes you more productive simply because you feel better! A vacation helps you become more energized and maybe a little kinder to be around! · Even God rested on the 7th day! Our brain cells and bodies are wired to be recharged. We become more creative after we have rested--and, once again, it has been statistically proven that happiness levels improve. For example, in a study of 1500 Dutch adults who took a vacation, it was shown that taking time off led to a greater happiness. The excitement level of anticipating a vacation was sustained even after returning from the trip and, when perspectives are changed, it is invigorating. Be good to yourself and take a time-out in 2018! The facts show your quality of life is dependent on it, but don't take my word for it. Try the life inventory experiment. Study, meditate and visualize for just a few minutes for 30 days and evaluate your world, then I honestly think you will realize the old adage is true: "all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” And, when it is time for you to

re-charge your life, I hope you will call Monroe Travel Service because that's where fun begins. We sell all kinds of trips to get you away from life's routine. Whether you need a romantic relaxing beach vacation or want to climb Mount Blanc, we represent tour companies that sell the world, and, because we are just around the corner, you know where to find us if you need help--before, during or after the trip! Here are a few trips we sell at Monroe Travel Service that you might want to meditate on during your life inventory session. These guided trips give you the chance to experience unique locations without a worry in the world. All you need to decide is where you wish to unwind and spend your time: Hawaiian Explorer-8 daysHonolulu, Kona, Maui-from $2750 Enjoy all the highlights of 3 Islands, from the history of Pearl Harbor history to the volcanic action at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, as you island hop in Paradise. Don't worry, there is time to unwind and relax on the beaches, too! Best of the Canyonlands-7 days-Denver to Las Vegasfrom $1850 From Mile High City to the foothills of the Rockies, this tour takes you through the badlands, the canyons, the natural arches, and the ancient clifftop villages before arriving at the best of the best: America's Grand Canyon. Wild West, Cowboys and Buffalos-9 days--Salt Lake City to Rapid City-from$2650 Want to ride into the sunset in the mighty Rocky Mountains or the Badlands of South Dakota, trot through Montana's Big Sky

Country and see the geysers of Yellowstone, the awesomeness of Mount Rushmore or the history of Cody? Then, grab your boots and maybe the kids (or grandkids) and join this wild west adventure! America's Historic Highlights-8 days-Washington, D.C. to Philadelphia-from$2195 Discover America's past-the tenacity of pilgrims, the settlers and the Gettysburg, Jamestown, Williamsburg, Shenandoah, and Philadelphia. This journey through history helps us appreciate what we have today. The Great East Coast Cities-8 days-D.C. to Boston-from $2695 This leisurely trip meanders the East Coast and traces the footsteps of great Americans like Ben Franklin and the Vanderbilts who influenced a developing nation. See the corridors of power in D.C.,the lights of Broadway, the pure opulence of Newport, and the history of Boston on this amazing journey. Take a Ride on Route 66-15 daysChicago to Los Angeles-from

$3795 Buckle up for an American road trip you will never forget as you trace the famous Route 66 all the way to the City of Angels. This nostalgic ride stops in St. Louis, Branson, Oklahoma City, Amarillo, Albuquerque, Grand Canyon, and Las Vegas, so go enjoy The Main Street of America! Canada's Rockies Rule-7 daysround trip Calgary-from $1995 Venture to the land of grizzlies, glaciers, and alpine lakes and let Mother Nature take your breath away with all the beauty that surrounds you. All the places you must see--Jasper, Lake Louise, and Banff-have been included, plus there is at least one hidden treasure that will surprise, delight, and make this guided tour a memory to treasure always. The Charming Canadian Maritimes-11 days-Halifax round trip-from $2695 The salty Atlantic, the taste of fresh lobster, century old villages, and the wind-swept cliffs of the Maritimes is yours to enjoy. Beer brewing, catching lobster, crossing the Bay of

We travel

Fundy, moose spotting, the land of Anne of Green Gables, and learning about the Gaelic culture of the Nova Scotians is included on this guided group trip. Costa Rica Nature's Paradise-8 days-round trip San Jose-from $1195 If you want a highly affordable quality tour of Costa Rica, then, this fully guided trip with all meals included is it! This trip includes a visit to the wildlife rescue center, a coffee plantation, cruise on Cano Negro, Hanging Bridges, Lake Arenal, the beaches of Guanacaste, a float trip and an aerial tram adventure in Manuel Antonio, so what else could you want to do? Majestic Alaska-8 days-Fairbanks to Anchorage-from $2795 If you've seen Alaska by cruise ship or just want to see the interior of this great state where beauty reigns supreme, then, why not take a walk on the wild side and see snowcapped mountains, the tundra of Denali, the glaciers and fjords of Kenai National Park, which, by the way, is the home

to Black Bears, the Harding Icefield Trail and Resurrection Bay. Oh, and you even get to ride a domed train! Imagine, these trips are only in North America--and just a meager a sample of what we have to offer at Monroe Travel Service. Our office at 1908 Glenmar--right next door to the Muffin Tin--sells all sorts of experiences. From a hike to the Hanging Monastery in China to a camping safari at the Masai Mara Reserve, we can arrange it, so wherever you want to go in 2018, just ask! Make it exotic or just go lie on the beaches of the Bahamas, but just be a little bit selfish and do it in 2018. Bottom line. Our planet is such an incredible place. It is yours to enjoy. Dianne Newcomer is a travel agent at Monroe Travel Service, 1908 Glenmar. For your next vacation contact a travel professional at 318 323 3465 or for an appointment.

r u o y n a l p o t s u l l Ca se cape!!!

318 323 3465 DELTA STYLE MAGA ZIN E | JA N UA RY 2 018 | 9 5

What Really Sank the Lusitania? Potpourri Book Club enjoys Larson's take on what caused Lusitania to sink. STORY & PHOTOS BY GEORGIANN POTTS

Potpourri Book Club’s own Lynn Hodge kept members and guests spellbound recently when she reviewed #1 New York Times bestselling author, Gary Larson, and his newest hit, Dead Wake - The Sinking of the Lusitania. This is the first of two Larson books that Potpourri members will read during the club year. The setting for the afternoon meeting was the beautiful north Monroe home of member Dianne Cage. An adorable oversized bear near the front entry extended “hugs” to arriving guests. Hodge began her review by showing those gathered the invitation that Cage had designed

Barbara Cattar, Allison Cattar, and Denise Smith

96 | JA NUA RY 2018 | D E LTA S T Y LE M AGA ZI NE

announcing the meeting. There were three images on the invitation, and Hodge assured the group that these three held the keys to the mystery surrounding the sinking of R.M.S. Lusitania. The luxury liner was sailing from New York to Liverpool when it was stalked and fatally torpedoed by a German U-Boat. There were several issues that conspired to doom the great ship, according to Hodge. The ship’s captain, William Thomas Turner, believed in honor --- and that his civilian ship would not be attacked during wartime. The captain of the U-boat Unterseeboot-20 was Walther Schwieger, a German officer who was determined to do whatever was necessary to win the war --- including killing innocent civilians. Economic and meteorological pressures also conspired against the Lusitania. The economic pressure came from the cruise line, because the tickets for the transatlantic crossing were not selling as well as hoped. As a result, the ship’s captain was ordered to run with only three of the Lusitania’s four funnels functioning to save costs. The weather issue was a heavy fog that delayed the crossing. This added further pressure on the Captain Turner. Hodge did a masterful job of weaving in the true mystery of the sinking --- how did one torpedo cause two consecutive, not simultaneous, explosions? The answer remains “officially” a mystery, but the evidence is mounting pointing to the fact that the Lusitania was more than a passenger liner. She was carrying American-made arms for use by the British in fighting the war. Hodge pointed out that “Room 40”, Winston Churchill’s spy organization, was actually monitoring the U-Boat’s movements in the Atlantic. Following Hodge’s book review, the ladies enjoyed a lovely (and delicious!) holiday buffet prepared by hostess Cage and her co-hostesses, Allison Mead, Marilyn Stern, and Carol Ransom. Decorations on Cage’s lace-covered dining table and sideboards reflected a traditional holiday theme. Seasonal greenery was interspersed with shiny red lady apples and white blossoms. Pinecones nestled throughout completed the look.

Cage home bear

Carole Kilpatrick, Judy Worthen, and Nancy Staab

Marilyn Stern, Linda Reeves, and Martha Anderson

Book reviewer Lynn Hodge and Potpourri president Joy Loomis

Sue Nawas, Martha Hayden, and Rosemary Luffey

Kathy Hart and LaVerne Bodron

The menu reflected the creativity of the hostesses. They offered not only a mouth-watering shortbread and luscious layer cake, but also sherbet cups filled with the orange indulgence and offered with fresh fruit to top. For those preferring a savory treat, delicate country

ham filled petite phyllo “wraps.” Coffee and beverages completed the offering. Enjoying the gathering were Martha Anderson, Pat Blanchard, LaVerne Bodron, Dianne Cage, Allison Cattar, Barbara Cattar, Jane Conrad, Martha Hayden, Lynn Hodge, Mike

Husted, Nancy Inabnett, Carole Kilpatrick, Joy Loomis, Rosemary Luffey, Allison Mead, Sue Nawas, Lisa Nelson, Kellie Oakley, Kathy Patrick, Georgiann Potts, Linda Reeves, Denise Smith, Alpha Spence, Nancy Staab, Marilyn Stern, Camille Wood, and Judy Worthen.


Now Available For Lease at

Class A Office Space Available | 2 Conference Rooms Available | 7th Floor Terrace with Panoramic Views of Monroe & West Monroe $15 per head, The Think Tank provides a creative, productive atmosphere | Recently Developed Private Offices




Delta Style January 2018  
Delta Style January 2018