Vol. 4 Issue 2
March 1-14, 2010
Two nationally-known personalities visit Alexandria in one week
STAR POWER — Shown are Gospel music artist and preacher Marvin Sapp (left) and radio personality and author Michael Baisden, who both appeared in Alexandria in separate events, which each brought large crowds. Sapp, who is best known for his song, “Never Would Have Made It,” preached and sang at Mt. Zion Baptist Church. Baisden was in town with his “One Million Mentor Tour.” Baisden presented a $5,000 check to the Boys & Girls Club of Central Louisiana. For more information and photos about these events, go to Page 4 and to www.everythingcenla.com.
The light – March 1-14, 2010
Celebrate women every day Now that Black History Month is over, we can now focus on Women’s History Month, which is observed during the month of March. Which brings me to a puzzling question? Why do we need a specific month to celebrate, recognize or commemorate specific groups of people? Does that mean we do not and should not remember the contributions of blacks in months other than February? And is it a crime to celebrate women in the other 11 months? Yes. It is true that we are not quick to readily recognize the contributions of blacks to these United States of America. No. It is not a crime to celebrate women during every month that is not March. In fact, I’ll go as far as to say there is no way around recognizing the contributions of women in this world. Every where you look, I guarantee
you’re looking at something that a woman’s hand has touched in some way. That’s why in this month, The Light, for the fourth year Sherri L. Jackson will recognize women who’ve made significant contributions to their homes, churches, and communities. These are women who don’t look for recognition. They often want to do their work under the radar. That’s all well and good, but on March 15, these Women of Distinction will be the belles of the ball. The red carpet will belong to them. Guess what. These are not the only ones. Women of Cenla. Look in the mirror. You too are a woman of distinction.
Officals join forces to prevent a Hurricane Katrina in Cenla By Bill Sumrall The Light Elected officials from Alexandria, Pineville and Rapides Parish rallied in an historic tri-governmental meeting to counter decertification of area levees. “In the beginning, when we first heard this information, I think it threw a lot of us in shock,” Rapides Parish Police Jury President Richard Billings told more than 50 people gathered for the Wednesday, Feb. 24 joint sessions of the Alexandria and Pineville city councils and police jurors meeting in the Alexandria City Hall’s council chambers. Federal Emergency Management Agency officials are in the process of drawing floodplain maps which local officials say would result in disastrous financial consequences for city and parish residents and businesses. Since Hurricane Katrina, FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers have revised levee and floodplain guidelines, officials say, which expanded 100-year floodplains but caused loss
of levee certification, which would increase flood insurance premiums and adversely affect property development. “Whether it be on the right-hand side of the levee or the left-hand side of the levee, we’re all in this together,” Billings said. “If we can’t get this to where it’s accredited, and try to keep the insurance rates down, who would want to come in our levee district and build anything? I don’t think nobody would, because they could not afford to,” Billings said. As for the police jury, Billings said he commends his colleagues for being willing to step forward and “try to do everything that we can possibly do to ensure the citizens not only of their safety but of (insurance) rating.” Billings added, “I know in my heart this is a money thing.” Roy O. Martin III later echoed this view. “My personal belief, as a private
Levees Continued On Page 7 Sherri L. Jackson, Publisher 1429 Third Street Alexandria, LA 71301
EYE CARE FOR SENIORS
The Alexandria Senior Vision Care Program will promote better eye health among residents of Alexandria who do not have enough disposable income to obtain eye examinations or prescription eyeglasses.
CALL MAKE APPLICATION TODAY! To qualify: Age 60 years or older Meet HUD income guidelines Resident of Alexandria Proof of Income and Age required CONTACT US TODAY Cenla Area Agency on Aging, Inc Call 318-484-2260 www.cenlaaging.org Funds made possible through the City of Alexandria CDBG. Phone: (318) 487-9254 Or drop us a line at Email: email@example.com www.cenlalight.wordpress.com
The light – March 1-14, 2010
Proposed Sugarhouse Road expansion yields traffic, safety, drainage concerns
Photo by Bill Sumrall CONCERNED CITIZENS — The Rev. Joe S. Green and Lou Howard, both District 3 property owners, and other Alexandria District 3 residents, listen to a presentation about the proposed Sugarhouse Road Extension. The presentation was held Feb.18 By Bill Sumrall The Light Sugarhouse Road area residents talked about safety, road repairs, economic development and drainage at an open house public meeting. The meeting to discuss three alternative routes proposed for Sugarhouse Road Extension was held from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Feb. 18 at Phoenix Magnet Elementary School, 4500 Lincoln Rd. “The proposed action is the development of a connector route in south Alexandria between Louisiana Highway 1 (LA 1), Interstate Highway 49 (I-49) and interconnected highways U.S. 167 and U.S. 71,” according to a meeting handout. “The proposed project was adopted by the local Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) as a part of its regional master transportation plan,” the handout document states. “This plan was funded by and vetted by the Federal Highway Administration and the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development. This project was initially funded for construction in July 2005 by the MPO, but monetary constraints have caused delay,” the handout states. “The proposed Sugarhouse Road extension would be constructed and sponsored by the City of Alexandria, and owned and maintained by the State of Louisiana,” the document states.
At intervals upon arrival, participants were directed into a school room to watch a brief Power Point presentation before going into the school’s cafeteria to ask their questions or give their comments to officials waiting near maps of the area. “I think it was an excellent opportunity for the citizens to come out and voice their opinions,” said Alexandria City Councilman Jonathan Goins, who represents District 3 where the proposed project is located. “I always support the voice of the citizens and that’s what I’m going to support when it comes down to a vote for any action taken about Sugarhouse. It’s going to be whatever the citizens ultimately decide,” Goins said. Goins agreed he’s also heard some of the concerns expressed about safety, road repairs, economic development and drainage. “Folks want a positive impact on the area and when it comes to a positive impact, most of the time here, they’re talking about economic growth, some sort of job creation, you know, some type of economic anchor, because we don’t have that on this side, OK, and that’s what we’re looking at, that’s a benefit of the road coming through here,” Goins said. As to side issues such as drainage, Goins said, “We definitely don’t want it to have a negative impact on drainage. If anything, we want the project as a whole to resolve many of the
drainage issues.” Rapides Parish Police Juror Ollie Overton, who represents District F where the proposed project is located, said, “What I would like to see happen, even though I know it’s a wetland but certainly I would like to see it stay south from the city as much as possible — that way you leave room for a lot of growth in the area.” Overton said keeping the Sugarhouse Road extension project to the south would avoid decimating growth to the north side, where the Rev. Joe Green of Rapides Station Community Ministries and Sibal Holt of S Holt Construction are building affordable housing. Drainage is also one of Overton’s concerns as well, he said. “I would like to see them maybe put drainage ponds down there to keep some of the drainage in flow and release some of the pressure off the city,” Overton said. “Also, those ponds could serve as recreation for the kids in the area,” Overton said. Alexandria City Council President Roosevelt Johnson said, “One of the things that’s real important about forums like this is that we give the best and provide the best information that we can possible for the citizens who live in this district.” Johnson said he’d like to see the Sugarhouse Road project move forward with funding as well as the best
results for the area to ensure growth and development along this route “somewhere, somehow.” “We have to review the wetlands, we have to review everything that must be done, but the main thing is to satisfy the residents of this area to make sure we make the best decision,” Johnson said. One of the residents of the area since 1958, Janette Franklin, 77, of Lincoln Road, who lives two blocks from Sugarhouse, said, “Tell them it’s time to get this on the ball.” Franklin said she doesn’t think too much of the project because “they have been going through this for years and they haven’t done anything, all they do is have meetings, and the meetings, they never end.” “We need a street rather than an outlet to Highway 1,” Franklin said. “Lincoln Road is torn up, from Hudson to Sugarhouse, and Sugarhouse is torn up. We have a time just driving up and down the street going different places. We need a street,” Franklin said, blaming heavy traffic for road conditions. “We don’t have a decent street down here except for from Hudson to Willow Glen,” Franklin said. “Any way they do it, just get us a street, we need a street.” Walter Vercher Jr., 54, of MacDonald Street, who has houses on Morris Street near Sugarhouse, said that he’s concerned about proper lighting of roads for the safety of children in the area. Also, Vercher said the project has been long promised. “I’m old enough I want to see it before I go,” Vercher said. In addition, the proposed routes would relieve heavy traffic off Lincoln Road and Hudson, Vercher said. “Safety is my main thing — if you’re going to do it, don’t just come in and dump a road in there,” Vercher said. Freddie Swafford, 40, of Jacks Drive off Lincoln near Sugarhouse, said that economic development in the community was his main concern. “We asked about the drainage,” Swafford added. “If they bring it down Hudson, it’ll take a lot of that water pressure off. When it rains, it does have a lot of tendency to flood in the area, so if they bring it down Hudson, it’ll help us out a lot with the drain-
Suguarhouse Road Continued on Page 6
The light – March 1-14, 2010
Radio personality Michael Biasden brings $5,000 to the Boys & Girls Club of Central Louisiana
BIG MONEY — Zina Paige, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Central Louisiana, Kytara Frazier, the Club’s Youth of the Year, and Michael Baisden, hold the symbolic $5,000 check that marks the donation Biasden’s foundation donated to the local club to help with its mentoring programs. At left, Joe Page with the City of Alexandria presents Baisden with a gift from the city.
Rev. Marvin Sapp wows packed crowd
Photos by Michael Bell and Al Cotton PREACH MARVIN — Preacher/singer Marvin Sapp preaches to a packed congregation at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Alexandria, during his “Never Would Have Made It Crusade Tour.” Carolyn Frazier, who was instrumental in bringing Sapp to Alexandria on Wednesday, Feb. 24, said almost 1,200 people were inside of the church with hundreds more turned away because of lack of space. At right, District 1 Councilman Ed Larvadain presents a city Proclamation to Sapp.
The light â€“ March 1-14, 2010
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