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Vol. 4 Issue 2

March 1-14, 2010

www.cenlalight.wordpress.com

cenlalight@gmail.com

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

Page 2

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: cenlalight@gmail.com www.cenlalight.wordpress.com


The light – March 1-14, 2010

Page 3

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


Page 4

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 – March 1-14, 2010

Page 5

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The light – March 1-14, 2010

Page 6 Sugarhouse Road Continued From Page 3 age,” Swafford said. “The concern I have right now is that, why it took so long to get to this point, but other than that, I think they’re doing a wonderful job at moving forward, so I hope they keep going forward with it and we can see it end,” Swafford said. Swafford added that he liked the manner of this public forum and asking questions of “someone that knew exactly what was going on instead of a middle man.” “People who were actually involved in this, we were able to talk to about it and I got to congratulate the ones that are in charge, how they handled it, they did a wonderful job,” Swafford said. However, Jay Johnson, 50, of Acadian Village in District 3, said he’d have preferred a public meeting conducted in less of a piecemeal fashion because he thinks one doesn’t get a feel for the sentiment of the community. “We have the information available to us but to get on one accord I think we should speak with one voice and this way our voices are still scattered,” Johnson said. Dianne Gallien, 60, and her husband Joseph, 59, who live on Elaine Street

two blocks from Sugarhouse, also attended the meeting. Joseph Gallien said he’s concerned about how the project would affect their home and property. “We live right next to the Interstate,” Dianne Gallien said. “That’s why I came out to see, then, to find out what’s going on.” The public comment period continues until March 4, according to the Power Point presentation. An accurate traffic analysis on Hudson Road is expected to be completed on June 4 and a second public meeting will follow on June 15, with a public comment period extending until June 29, the Power Point presentation states. A public hearing will be held Nov. 2, with the public comment period xtending until Nov. 15, the Power Point presentation states, and the environmental assessment process is scheduled to conclude by Jan. 31, 2011. For more information, contact Rachel LeCompte or Perry Franklin with Franklin Industries, 1201 Main Street, Suite B, Baton Rouge, the consultants conducting the meetings, by calling (225) 768-9060 or by emailing rachellecompte@franklinindustries.net. Planning Organization (MPO) as a part of its regional master transporta-

tion 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.”

For more of this story, go to www.everythingcenla.com.

Spotlight on Religion

Bishop Joel White Sr. to celebrate anniversary Bishop Joel White Sr. will celebrate his 15th-year pastor’s anniversary March 6 and 7 at Fresh Gospel Comedienne “Fire” Anointing Ministries, 795 Chandler Drive, Ball. The program will begin at 6 p.m. Saturday, March 6 and 2 p.m. March 7.

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS 12th Friday Night “LIVE” with Gospel Comedienne “Fire” The Concert Supremes & “Fellowship” of Monroe, LA

14th “The Worship Experience” 8:00am, 11:00am & 6:00pm Main Sanctuary – 312 Hunter St.

The Concert Supremes

13th “Fun In the Sun” Saturday at Buhlow Lake 11-4pm Volleyball, Entertainment Spotlight, BBQ Contest, and much more ALL EVENTS ARE FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.

For more news, photos and videos every day go to www.everythingcenla.com

Greater Alexandria Chapter GMWA to celebrate 21years The Greater Alexandria Chapter of the Gospel Music Workshop of America will celebrate its 21styear choir anniversary March 6-7 at Antioch Baptist Church, 2308 Houston St., Alexandria. At 6:30 p.m. March 6, a musical celebration will feature Higher Level Gospel Choir at McNeese State University of Lake Charles and Ministers of Praise of Alexandria. At 4 p.m. March 7, the choir will present its annual musical tribute to the late Rev. James Cleveland, featuring the Greater Alexandria Chapter GMWA. The Rev. John Russell of Monroe will be the

guest director. Special guests will be Pastor Mitchell J. Stevens and the Pilgrim Baptist Church of Kenner. The guest soloist will be Dianne Robertson of New Orleans. For more information, call Charles Jones at (318) 443-6201. Providence Family Ministry to host conference March 13, 14 Providence Family Ministry will present its “Drawing Nigh to God Conference,” March 13 and 14. Minister Brenda Ellis, a Grammy nominee, psalmist, and recording artist, will be the workshop conductor. Ellis is a member of Potter’s House church in Dallas. The conference will center on “Ministry of the Psalmist.” The conference will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 13, with worship services at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Sunday worship will begin at 8 a.m. Registration is $5. To RSVP, call (318) 542-3944 or (318) 623-1016 ensure adequate accommodations. The church is located at 1350 Enterprise Rd., Alexandria.


The light – March 1-14, 2010 Levees Continued From Page 2 citizen, is, I think this is a federally caused situation that should be solved with federally caused dollars,” Martin said, which brought applause from the audience. Alexandria Mayor Jacques Roy emphasized the need to ensure the physical safety provided by the levees as well as the fiscal considerations. “If there are sand boils and there are issues that are undermining the levees, we need to know where they are and the exact cost, and we need to go fix them right now. We’re willing to do that,” Roy said. “We’re willing to find the funds and do that right now, but we don’t that to be lost with the politics, if you will, of moving this process as far as the remapping to grab (insurance) premiums instead of thinking about, number one, safety, and then what’s fair and right. So, that’s what this process is about,” Roy said. During the meeting, the Alexandria City Council passed resolutions and ordinances designed to form a committee to explore what is needed to fund and fix any problems found with the levees. At one point in the meeting, Alex-

Page 7 andria Councilman Chuck Fowler asked how much of Alexandria would be impacted by decertification of the levees, keeping in mind that federal flood insurance is required for mortgage lending. Alexandria city engineer Michael Wilkinson estimated 95 percent of Alexandria would be impacted. Mayor Roy said this is the reason he’s asking Alexandria’s City Council to consider at its next regular meeting to devote a small amount of funding toward helping in the joint effort to resolve the decertification issue. “Our tax base will be destroyed by that action,” Roy said. Though he didn’t have a percentage of the effect on his city, Pineville Mayor Clarence Fields said some may feel his city can opt out because it is located on higher ground but noted “it’s the overall picture that you actually have to look at.” “Just think about it, 95 percent of Alexandria is affected. It’s going to affect Pineville and every municipality around us,” Fields said. “It does not matter who’s in and who’s out. What matters is this region and the effect that it’s going to have economically,” Fields said.

HELPING PEOPLE BUILD COMMUNITIES IN CENTRAL LOUISIANA

-@QBG 4Q@HMHMF/EEDQHMFR BASIC COURSES

MINISTRIES IN ACTION

To Be or Not to Be a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Organization Speaker: Felicia Walker Date: Thursday, March 11 Time: 4 p.m. – 8 p.m.

The Redesigned Form 990 Speaker: Sharon McCall Date: Thursday, March 18 Time: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

New and Emerging Groups

Basic Grant Writing Speaker: Trudy Bell-Wickham Date: Tuesday, March 16 Time: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

GENERAL COURSES

Faith-Based Series

LEARNING LAB OFFERINGS Using the Foundation Center Directory Speaker: Felicia Walker Date: Thursday, March 25 Time: 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.

Emerging and Growing Nonprofits

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7Ê/À>ˆ˜ˆ˜}°

Managing People and Projects in the Nonprofit Sector Speaker: Nancy Burris Perret Date: Tuesday, March 23 Time: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

UÊ >ÃÃÊÈâiʈÃʏˆ“ˆÌi`Ê>˜`ÊÀi}ˆÃÌÀ>̈œ˜ÊˆÃÊÊ Ê ÀiµÕˆÀi`°

ADVANCED COURSES Mature Nonprofits

Fund Development: Raising Money from Individuals Speaker: Gerald Duhon Date: Tuesday, March 30 Time: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Funded by

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/œÊÀi}ˆÃÌiÀÊvœÀÊVœÕÀÃiÃ]Ê«i>ÃiÊV>ÊÊ 318.443.7880ʜÀÊ800.803.8075ʜÀÊÊ œ˜ˆ˜iÊ>ÌÊÊ Ê Ê Ê ÊÊÊ communitydevelopmentworks.org Ê

Community Development Works CDW’s mission is to create and support a community development infrastructure as the primary vehicle for citizen involvement in improving the health and well-being of Central Louisiana residents.

Call Publisher Sherri L. Jackson at (318) 308-2334 for more information or for tickets


St. Matthew Baptist Church Celebrates the 27th-Year Pastor’s Anniversary Of

Dr. Joe S Green & His Wife, Josephine “One Who Endures to the End”

3 p.m. Sunday, March 14, 2010 St. Matthew Baptist Church, 5605 Old Boyce Road, Boyce The Rev. Al Harris of Abundant Life Church, Speaker Natchitoches , LA

The Light, March 1, 2010  

The Light is a community-based newspaper in Alexandria, LA.

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