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WWW.TIMESSW.COM • FEBRUARY 5, 2009 / VOL. 14, NO. 3

Valentine’s Day

Indulgences

Young Adults and the Computer

Shopping for Bandwidth in SWLA

Restoring the Wetlands


febr uar y 5, 2009 Volume 14 • Number 3

contents

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GENERAL . . . . . . . . . . . 617 Drew St., Lake Charles, LA 70601 Phone: 337-439-0995 Fax: 337-439-0418 PUBLISHERS Patrick Marcantel Scot Hebert

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NEWS . . . . . . . . . . . MANAGING EDITOR Lauren de Albuquerque lauren.dealbuquerque@timessw.com

EDITOR Lisa Yates timesedit@timessw.com

E N T E R P R I S E B O U L E VA R D State’s Top Priority . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4

COLUMNS

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Who’s News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Jindal Guest Column . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Biz Bytes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 Inside Baton Rouge . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11 Perspectives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 Legal Eagle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14

COVER STORY Valentine’s Day Indulgences . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15

F E AT U R E S Restoring the Wetlands . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 Arts and Humanities Grant . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 Home Grown: Wendi’s Flower Cart . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 Young Adults and the Computer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18 Shopping for Bandwidth in SWLA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20 Texas Service Provider War . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21

CONTRIBUTORS L. Kay Andrews Sarah Blackwell Jim Doyle Michelle Fosha Richard Horvath Matt Jones Bill Krull Lisa Miller Terri Schlichenmeyer POLITICS John Maginnis Dan Juneau ADVERTISING SALES MANAGER Andy Jacobson

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ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Patricia Prudhomme Shanda Sonnier GRAPHICS . . . . . . . . ART/PRODUCTION DIRECTOR Darrell Buck BUSINESS . . . . . . . . . OFFICE MANAGER Shalonda Gims

E N T E R TA I N M E N T Night at the Movies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22 Book Beat: The Little Giant of Aberdeen County . . . . . . . . . . .24 Times Picks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25 Crossword Puzzle: Signal Ahead . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26 The Shadow: Living the Dream . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27

Visit us online at: www.timessw.com Clarification: The Times would like to clarify that Radford Mazda is not for sale. A story on page 10 in the Jan. 22 issue stated, “One would think that the Mazda franchise would be up for sale…” which was conjecture on the writer’s part. PAGE 2

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The Times of Southwest Louisiana is published every two weeks by Patsco Publishing, 617 Drew Street, Lake Charles Louisiana 70601. Phone (337) 439-0995. SUBSCRIPTIONS: $30 per year. Bulk mailing permit #9 paid at Lake Charles, La. Postmaster: Send address changes to The Times of Southwest Louisiana, 617 Drew Street, Lake Charles, LA 70601. FAX to (337) 439-0418. The Times of Southwest Louisiana cannot be held responsible for the return of unsolicited manuscripts, photographs or illustrations, even if they are sent to us accompanied by a self-addressed envelope. Copyright 2009 The Times of Southwest Louisiana all rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without prior written permission is prohibited. DISTRIBUTION: The Times of Southwest Louisiana is available free of charge, limited to one copy per reader. The Times of Southwest Louisiana may be distributed only by The Times of Southwest Louisiana authorized distributors. No person may, without prior written permission of The Times of Southwest Louisiana, take more than one copy of each monthly issue from its racks.


BUSINESS CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital has been named by Forbes Magazine as a Gold Fit Friendly Company for the American Heart Association START Walking Program. A special ceremony was held recently at the hospital to celebrate the achievement with an award presentation from the American Heart Association. Time constraints and job responsibilities are employees’ biggest obstacles to exercising. By implementing the Start program, companies can encourage their employees to walk while at work and choose healthy meal options. St. Patrick Hospital is having great success with their involvement in the program, and the Fit Friendly status recognizes their commitment to promoting physical activity and health in the workplace. Studies have shown that implementing a worksite physical activity program and promoting a culture of physical activity will help companies increase productivity, reduce absenteeism, lower turnover and reduce health care costs. To find out more about implementing the Start! program in your workplace, call 4917555. Lake Charles Memorial Hospital for Women has taken the lead in delivering more babies in Lake Charles over the past year—and just in time for the hospital’s sixth anniversary. Deliveries at Memorial’s Family Birth Center increased by nearly 10.5 percent in 2008 as compared to 2007, delivering an all-time high of 1,689 babies. Since Jan. 16, 2003, Memorial for Women has delivered more than 6,500 babies and has increasingly become the hospital of choice for mothers-to-be. Combining comprehensive inpatient and outpatient services with special attention to detail, Memorial’s Family Birth Center provides 24 specially designed LDRP suites, where labor, delivery, recovery and postpartum occur in the same spacious room; family-centered maternity care; state-of-the-art technology for mothers and their babies, including a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care; and a staff of highly credentialed, experienced and caring obstetricians/gynecologists whose combined deliveries total more than 30,000—and counting.

notes online weight-loss subscription service that provides subscribers with diet and fitness information, tools, experts and motivation to achieve their weight-loss goals. For more information on how to become a member, contact any trainer at (337) 479-2477.

Left to right standing: Deraldine Davis CAN., Bridget Durr R.N., Sandra John CAN., Marla Mitchell R.N., Glenn Broussard RN., Dawn Hinton R.N.Unit Manager, Timeko Dispany – Unit Secretary. Kneeling: Alisha Manuel R.N.

W. O. Moss Regional Medical Center received several awards during the 12th annual LSU Health Care Services Division (HCSD) Health Care Effectiveness Forum. The Moss Congestive Heart Failure program received first place in Clinical Excellence and second place in Clinical Excellence for their HIV, Diabetes, and Cancer Screening programs. In addition to those awards, Moss’ inpatient service received first place recognition for Clinical Excellence for Patient Satisfaction. For more information on the forum or other topics related to the LSU Health System – Health Care Services Division, go to www.lsuhsc.edu/hcsd/cmo/hcet. Safari Realty has developed a new Web site that provides homebuyers and sellers a wide variety of interactive features to help them on their quest. The site address is www.SafariRealtor.com, and it includes the most comprehensive listings of properties in the greater Lake Charles area. In addition to the easy-touse customizable property search engine, the site provides calculators for loan amounts, mortgage qualification, affordability and whether you should be renting or buying. Other features include educational articles and tips, home evaluation, community event calendar, sports schedule and other helpful real estate links. Call 478-1601 or visit www.SafariRealtor.com for more information.

From left to right: GRACE Solicitors and campaign coordinators; Chris Dutridge, Jeremy Armstrong, Jerry Schaefer, Tina Trahan, Marlene Garrett, Troy Rizzuto, Sheriff Tony Mancuso, Lisa Borel, Stacey Judice and Cory Duhon.

On behalf of the United Way of SWLA, Sheriff Tony Mancuso, the 2009 Campaign Chair, accepted a $142,500 check from the Employees of GRACE Davison and Corporation for their 2009 giving. This check represents employee contributions of $95,000; an increase over the 2008 pledge. GRACE corporate matched the employee amount 50 cents on the dollar. South Ryan MRI has changed its name to Southwest Louisiana Imaging. Located at 650 Dr. Michael DeBakey Drive (formerly South Ryan Street), Southwest Louisiana Imaging offers advanced MRI and CT Imaging technology. The physicians and staff at Southwest Louisiana Imaging began using their new name on Jan. 19. Referring physicians and patients will continue to receive the same great customer service and exceptional image quality offered for the past five years. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Curves of Lake Charles, the business is offering 50 percent off the initial service fee and the first 30 days FREE., Curves of Lake Charles offers various programs to help motivate and assist women in obtaining a healthy lifestyle, including: CurvesSmart™ personal coaching system, a new technology pioneered by Curves that offers a precision designed workout, moment to moment feedback and progress reports to keep members motivated while they work out; and www.CurvesComplete.com, an

AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) is working in collaboration with Rebuilding Together Calcasieu for two months to rebuild and restore homes affected by Hurricanes Ike and Rita. The team is based in Denver, and members are from throughout the country, from Washington to Massachusetts. AmeriCorps members will be working on four to five houses over their two-month stay in Lake Charles, including repairing clapboard siding and roofs, replacing doors and windows, and making houses handicap-accessible by installing wheelchair ramps. Rebuilding Together is a national non-profit organization that works to preserve and revitalize houses and communities, assuring that homeowners in need, particularly the elderly, disabled, and lowincome families, live in warmth, safety and security. For more information about AmeriCorps NCCC, visit the Web site at www.americorps.gov/nccc. Cameron Communications Marketing Coordinator, Shireen Santhanasamy presented Louisiana Christian Rodeo with a check for $1,300. Cameron Communications is the premier event sponsor for the Louisiana Christian Rodeo 2008-2009 Tour. The tour kicked off Nov. 2008 and will run through Mar. 2009. All events will be held at the West Cal Arena in Sulphur, LA. For more information on tour schedule and events, call (337) 625-3177 or visit www.lcrprodeo.com.

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NEWS

ABOUT

SOUTHWEST

LOUISIANA

ENTERPRISEBOULEVARD Who’s News Warren Davidson has been named Director of Slots at Coushatta Casino Resort. In his new position, he will oversee the resort’s slot operations. Davidson has a total of 16 years of casino management experience including 10 years as Director of Slots for Bullwhackers, a Penn National Gaming property in Colorado. He also served as Director of Gaming Operations for The Canyon Casino, a former Harrah’s property, and Harrah’s in Central City and Black Hawk, Colorado.

George Swift, Chamber Southwest President, and Dick Myers, Greater Beauregard Chamber of Commerce President, meet with Stephen Moret, La. Secretary of Economic Development.

State's Top Priority Develop and Retain Businesses By Lisa Yates ouisiana Secretary of Economic Development Stephen Moret said the state’s top priority is to develop and retain businesses. Moret delivered the keynote address at the Greater Beauregard Chamber of Commerce’s Business and Community Leader’s Luncheon, Jan. 16, in DeRidder, talking about economic highlights of 2008, and what’s ahead for 2009. More than 50 businessmen and women were present at the event, held at the Wooten Theatre. One of the ways Moret suggested making the state better for business is to move up in national rankings. “We’re not where we want to be, but clearly we’re headed in the right direction,” he said. Moret said Louisiana’s has perennially been listed at the bottom of many significant national rankings. However, with policy changes implemented by Gov. Bobby Jindal and the Legislature, the state is reversing decades of negative trends.

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Moving up in the national rankings He cited several improved rankings, including: La. is ranked fifth, up from 46th, in the country in the Better Government Association’s 2008 Integrity Index, which is the most comprehensive national ranking of state governmental ethics and transparency laws. PAGE 4

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La. is ranked 22 (2008), from not being ranked in the top 25 (2007), in Site Selection magazine’s Top State Business Climate Rankings. Forbes magazine increased La.’s growth prospects to 17th (in 2008) from 45th (in 2007) among the 50 states. La. improved to No. 43 (2008) from No. 47 (2007) in CNBC’s rankings of America’s Top States for business. Industrial Info Resources ranked the state second, behind Texas, for the number of significant industrial projects expected to begin in 2009. Attracting new jobs and capital investment In spite of a lingering national recession, Moret told the audience Louisiana is well-positioned to secure new business in the year ahead. He praised George Swift, SWLA Economic Development Alliance President and CEO, for his help attracting 1,400 new jobs to the state. “Louisiana is the first state in the country to attract a nuclear fabrication and assembly facility,” Moret said. “The facility in Lake Charles – a joint venture between Westinghouse and The Shaw Group – will generate $100 million in capital investment and create 1,400 new jobs in the region.” Continued on Page 5

The Calcasieu Parish Public Library welcomes as its new director, Michael Sawyer, of Oakland, California. Sawyer most recently served as the Deputy Director of the Tulare County Library in Visalia, California. Sawyer earned a Master of Library Science Degree plus a Certificate of Advance Study (24 specialized credit hours beyond the MLS degree) from the University of Pittsburgh. His Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Government is from Columbia College, in Columbia, Missouri. In his long career, he has been the director of Auglaize County Public District in Wapakoneta, Ohio, and the Clinton Public Library in Clinton, Iowa as well as director of the Northwestern Regional Library, a consortium of 13 libraries across four counties in rural North Carolina. Theresa Woods, FACHE, Chief Operating Officer at West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital, has recently achieved certification as a Certified Professional in Health care Quality. As the COO, Woods is an integral part of the West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital executive manageTheresa Woods ment group and is responsible for monitoring the performance of vice presidents in certain areas of responsibility and overseeing multiple departmental managers and their Continued on Page 7


Ent. Blvd., Continued from Page 4

Working with local and regional partners, Moret said the state secured 34 major project wins in 2008, including 24 company expansions and 10 new organizations. He said included were projects in the state’s traditional industries like agriculture, shipbuilding and petrochemicals, as well as projects in newer growth industries like nuclear energy, digital media and alternative energy. The secretary said several companies decided to move headquarters to Louisiana and others committed to expand in the state, including: Albemarle Corporation, a Fortune 1,000 company, moved its corporate headquarters from Richmond, Va. Bercen, Inc., a specialty chemicals manufacturer, relocated its corporate headquarters, as well as its research and development and technical service laboratories, from Cranston, R.I. The Shaw Group announced plans to keep its Fortune 500 corporate headquarters in the state for at least 15 more years, and to grow its professional, non-craft headcount by 1,500 new jobs – an increase of roughly 75 percent. Moret added Louisiana’s film industry is the largest in the country outside of California and New York. He said, in 2008, the state set a record with more than 80 major film and television project, which represent more than $800 million in production budgets with $500 million spent in state. Major advances in economic competitiveness Moret gave an overview of initiatives in 2008, that have improved Louisiana’s economic competitiveness. Besides ethics reform, the state’s government launched additional initiatives making Louisiana more attractive for business development, including:

• Eliminating several business taxes, including the sales tax on manufacturing machinery and equipment, the franchise tax on corporate debt and the sales tax on natural gas and business utilities. They also implemented the largest personal income tax cut in state history. • Passing a comprehensive workforce development reform plan. • Launching the Louisiana FastStart program, a turnkey workforce solution for relocating and expanding businesses that will provide customized employee recruitment, screening and training services. Jeff Lynn, a top leader in Georgia’s No. 1-ranked Quick Start program, was recruited to lead Louisiana’s program. • Establishing a new Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) Group to focus special attention on retaining and growing Louisiana’s existing business and industry. • Launching a first-in-the-nation, Web-based suite of community education modules – LouisianaCommunityNetwork.com. The program has already won a major national award. Moret concluded his presentation with a promise. “My goal is to deliver the best state agencies in the country,” he said. Kay Fox, Beauregard Electric Vice President of Marketing and Member Services, praised the secretary’s presentation. “I know working at Beauregard Electric, I was very encouraged to hear Secretary Moret’s positive announcements about Louisiana,” she said. “And, I look forward to attracting new businesses to the area.”

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Sites (VITA) offer free tax filing assistance to qualifying taxpayers with lowto moderate-incomes (generally, $42,000 and below). IRS-certified community volunteers can assist with special credits, such as Earned Income Tax Credits, Child Tax Credits, and Dependency Tax Credits for the elderly and disabled. In addition to free tax return preparation assistance, sites also offer free electronic filing (e-filing). Individuals taking advantage of the e-file program may receive their refunds in half the time compared to paper filed returns. Call 2-1-1 or (888) LA HELP U for more information. 2009 Proposed VITA Sites Free e-filing will be available at most site locations. Site locations and phone numbers: Calcasieu Parish: McNeese 2-1-1 Care/Help of Sulphur 528-2273 Martin Luther King Recreation Center 491-1497 Foreman/Reynaud Community Center 436-2509 United Way SWLA Office 433-1088 ACORN 494-6261 Allen Parish: Allen Council on Aging (318) 335-3195 Beauregard Parish: BeauCARE (337) 462-2273 Beauregard Christian Academy (337) 463-9595 Cameron Parish: Cameron Council on Aging (337) 905-6000

Jeff Davis Parish: Big Brothers/Big Sisters (337) 824-4847 Partners in the coalition include the City of Lake Charles, The Internal Revenue Service, the Louisiana Department of Social Services, the United Way of SWLA, Louisiana Department of Revenue, ACORN, Volunteer Center of Southwest Louisiana/211, Care Help of Sulphur, BeauCARE, Beauregard Christian Academy, Allen Parish Council on Aging, Cameron Council on Aging, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Calcasieu Women’s Shelter, McNeese State University, Foreman-Reynaud Community Center, Martin Luther King Recreation Center, Office of Youth Development, Office of Family Support, Probation and Parole, First Federal Bank of Louisiana, Southern University, Calcasieu Parish Police Jury, LSU Agriculture Center, and other local agencies. When coming to an appointment with a VITA volunteer, taxpayers should bring: • Photo ID; • Social Security card or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) card or letter for yourself and each person to be claimed on your tax return; • Birth dates for every person to be claimed on your tax return; • W2 or 1099 forms for all jobs held in 2008; • End of the year statements for other income you received; • End of the year retirement plan statements (401 (k), IRA, etc.); • Child care provider name, address and tax ID number; • Record of expenses (child care, education, medical, dental, etc.); and • A blank check, with your account number and bank routing number.

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A Smarter, More Efficient Government By Governor Bobby Jindal

It is not news to anyone that our nation is currently undergoing the most difficult economic situation in several generations, and no state is immune to this national economic downturn. Last month, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities said that at least 44 states are facing shortfalls in their budgets for this year, with at least 38 states are anticipating deficits for next year and beyond. The Center reported that 14 states have already raised taxes or taken other revenue raising measures to make up their shortfalls. At least 20 states are cutting K-12 and early childhood education, and 26 states are cutting higher education funding. Rhode Island and New York are implementing mid-year tuition hikes

on students, and Washington state officials are considering slashing school funding by $1 billion. It is common knowledge that when governments face economic shortfalls, there are only three possible solutions: Go into debt, raise taxes, or tighten your belt and cut spending. When the federal government faces this problem, they usually make the wrong choice, preferring to first incur mountains of debt and then raise taxes; rarely do they ever cut spending in any meaningful way. That is the Washington Way. And that is the exact opposite of how we will run our government in Louisiana on my watch. When a small business or a family

Arabie Roofing has recently completed construction on our second location at 109 Hwy. 108 to better serve the industries and the rapidly expanding Sulphur/Carlyss area.

Sulphur • 558-7491 Lake Charles • 477-6765

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FEBRUARY 5, 2009

delaying the implementation of certain new initiatives. Other savings were achieved through reductions or eliminations in lower-performing programs. These were strategic and programmatic shifts that focused on streamlining government services and producing more efficient operations. We have also implemented a hiring freeze for many state government positions that aims to save the state $25 million. Many of these positions will most likely be eliminated next year to continue saving costs for the state in the future. These savings were achieved without taking money out of the state’s rainy day fund or raising taxes on you – the hardworking people that make our state run. Raising taxes on families is no way to help our state’s future. In short, the goal is to make government do more with less. In some areas of government, cost savings were achieved by stopping the cre-

In short, the goal is to make government do more with less.

License #24001

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in Louisiana faces economic difficulty, they are forced to find ways to cut spending. They cannot simply send their neighbors a bill or print more money; they have to tighten their belts. Government should take this same approach. Recently, the Revenue Estimating Conference released that our state would be facing a $341 million shortfall for the current fiscal year. We have since identified and implemented aggressive ways to eliminate this shortfall and save our state money for both the current year and into the future. As has been widely noted, general fund expenditures in health care and higher education in Louisiana are the most vulnerable because they make up a sizable amount of the discretionary portion of the general fund. There were reports that current year cuts for these two areas could be in the $160 million range for health care and the $109 million range for higher education. However, we

worked hard to make strategic reductions in every department in order to mitigate the level of reductions in health care and higher education. As a result of these efforts, current year spending reductions for DHH are $118 million, and higher education’s necessary cost-savings measures were reduced by half – down to $55.2 million. Even with these cuts, both of these areas are still receiving an increase in funding over last year’s budget. Departments statewide have identified cost-saving measures. For many departments, these savings came as a result of freezing operational expenses in travel, supplies, acquisitions, operational services and professional services, and halting or

ation or expansion of new programs. State government has to be able to afford the programs we already have. Additionally, by reducing spending this year, we can prepare to translate current fiscal year savings into sustained savings for next year and beyond. While reductions in government spending are essential to making government more efficient, the administration will continue to pursue strategic new programs and initiatives focused on moving the state forward, making Louisiana the best place in the world to raise a family and have a great career.


Who’s News, Continued from Page 4

assigned employees as well. She recently played a key role in the establishment of the new Wound Healing Center at WCCH. She has been with West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital for almost 31years, having served as a Registered Nurse, VicePresident of Nursing Services, and in her present capacity as COO.

offices at Christian World, also in Lake Charles, and at First Methodist Church of DeRidder. Five McNeese music education students have been named to the 2009 Louisiana Intercollegiate Band. The students are: Travis Fraser, Harlington, Texas, French horn; Jose Ochoa, Corrigan, Texas, euphonium, Eric Boyett, Lake Charles, percussion, Brent Gibson, Bridge City, Texas, percussion, and Tiffany Smith, Kirbyville, Texas, French horn. This year’s Intercollegiate Band includes 90 students from 10 universities. L’Auberge du Lac Casino Resort recently announced its Employee of the Year for 2008 along with its Manager of the Year and Supervisor of the Year. The honored employees are chosen for their dedication to exceptional customer service at the award-winning casino resort. Pam Siverand, a slot technician, was named Employee of the Year. Siverand, who joined L’Auberge in Sept. 2007, received a cash prize, a personalized L’Auberge suitcase, VIP parking for one year and a crystal trophy. She will use that luggage to fly to Las Vegas with a guest and join winners from all of the Pinnacle Entertainment properties for a private reception. Slot shift manager Timothy Ferguson was named Manager of the Year for 2008; he joined L’Auberge in Dec. 2004. Jared Rising, an accredited Sous chef, earned top honors as Supervisor of the Year. Rising joined the company in Jan. 2006. Both winners received a custom trophy, a cash prize and a gift.

From left to right: Floyd Manuel, retired CITGO employee and a member of the board of directors of Families Helping Families; Darrell Crochet, CITGO supervisor; and La. Sen. Willie Mount.

Floyd Manuel and Sen. Willie Mount recently presented the Angel Award to CITGO employee Darrell Crochet for his devotion and volunteer service to Families Helping Families of Southwest Louisiana. Families Helping Families would like to thank CITGO for their support of this worthwhile organization. Janice Ackley has been named Executive Director for West Calcasieu Association of Commerce. Ackley replaces Glenda Vincent, who retired in December 2008 after more than 33 years of service. The WCAC currently has more than 120 members, and closely works with the network of chambers of commerce operating throughout Southwest Louisiana. Ackley’s work history includes marketing director positions for Women & Children’s Hospital of Lake Charles, Humana Hospital in Baytown, Texas, HealthSouth in Beaumont, Texas, and Lake Charles Memorial Hospital. She also has a background in pharmaceutical sales and commercial advertising. Ackley Janice Ackley received her degree in Mass Communication from McNeese State University and attended University of Houston—Clear Lake. She recently received a Fellowship in the Academy of Politics at Louisiana State University. Kevin Turner, BECi’s former vice president of Operations and Construction Services, was recently selected as the locally owned cooperative’s new general manager. Turner has served in various capacities at BECi over the past 17 years, and has amassed a wide range of experience in the day-to-day operations. In his most recent role, Turner was responsible for the safe and efficient construction, operation and maintenance of the co-op’s system, including warehousing, line materials, vehicles and the mechanic shop. Turner, who holds an associate degree in industrial electronics from Sowela Technical Community College, resides in Grant with his wife, Pylla and two children, Christa and Lance. Samaritan Counseling Center has announced its Board of Directors for 2009. They are Charles St. Dizier, president; Pam Spees, vice president; Mary Kay Scalisi, secretary; Randy Miller, treasurer; Marlene Moore, fund raising; and Betty Ross, Bernell Ezell, Hope Snider, Louis Adams and Allen Abshire, members at large. Wanda Cooper and David DeWitt will serve as advisory board members. Samaritan Counseling Center offers counseling services for clients of all ages. Fees are subsidized based on income and most insurance plans are accepted. The Center is a United Way agency and is supported financially by an interfaith group of partner churches in the Lake Area. Samaritan’s mission is to provide help and hope to mind, body and spirit through interfaith pastoral counseling. The main office is located at 833 Hodges St. in Lake Charles, with satellite

Nearly 3 in 4 People Killed in Home Heating Fires used Space Heaters Nearly three in four people killed in home heating fires in 2006 died in fires that involved (stationary or portable) space heaters, according to a new report released by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). In 2006, heating equipment was involved in an estimated 64,100 U.S. home structure fires, 540 civilian deaths, 1,400 civilian injuries, and $943 million in direct property damage. The peak months for home heating fires are December, January, and February. NFPA urges the public to be cautious when using heating equipment. Other key findings from Home Fires Involving Heating Equipment include: • Home heating fires are more likely to occur in the evening and peak between 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. • Fatal home heating fires are more likely to occur between midnight and 10 a.m. • The leading factor contributing to home heating fires was when heating equipment was left too close to things that can burn. • Sixty percent of the confined chimney and flue fires (2003-2006) occurred because the chimney was not cleaned. NFPA offers the following heating safety tips: • Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, such as the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable heater. • Only use heating equipment that has the label of a recognized testing laboratory.

• Never use your oven for heating. • Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters, or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer’s instructions. • Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected annually by a qualified professional. • Turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed. • For fuel burning space heaters, always use the proper fuel as specified by the manufacturer. • Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to prevent sparks from flying into the room and burn only dry, seasoned wood. Allow ashes to cool before disposing in a metal container, which is kept a safe distance from the home. • For wood-burning stoves, install chimney connectors and chimneys following manufacturer’s instructions or have a professional do the installation. • Make sure all fuel-burning equipment is vented to the outside to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. • Install and maintain carbon monoxide (CO) alarms to avoid the risk of CO poisoning. • If you smell gas in your gas heater, do not attempt to light the appliance. Turn off all the controls and open doors and windows. Call a gas service person. • Test smoke alarms at least monthly.

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With each Louisiana coastal wetlands study, the alarm bells ring more stridently. Each year, the Gulf of Mexico captures 30 or more square miles of the state’s unique and priceless wetlands. “There are so many reasons why protecting our coastal wetlands is important, not only for Southwest Louisiana but also for our state. We know, studies have shown, every couple of miles of healthy wetlands reduces tidal surge by a foot. We know, studies have shown, we are losing our coast far too quickly—30 miles a year across our state—200 miles in 2005 alone,” said Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal at a Lake Charles press conference. “Studies have shown that the time to act—that window—is shrinking. We’ve got to act now. We don’t need more studies; we need more action.” That action came when Jindal, Garrett Graves, Director of the Office of the Governor for Coastal Activities, and Don Young, Executive Director of Ducks Unlimited (DU), signed a $3.26 million cooperative agreement at the Lake Charles Civic Center to bring back to life and safeguard nearly 2,500 acres of Southwest Louisiana wetlands. The funds—$1 million from DU thanks to federal funds from the North American Wetland Conservation Act, $2.1 million from the State’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) and the rest from private donors—will be used to build marshland terraces. Marsh terraces to be built The public/private venture will build almost 250,000 feet of marsh terraces in Black Lake Marsh and next door in the West Hackberry Marsh. The terraces will help restore areas that were seriously damaged by wave action and saltwater intrusion, largely from Hurricanes Rita and Ike. Rebuilding these marsh terraces will spur plant growth, improve water quality, PAGE 8

FEBRUARY 5, 2009

limit saltwater intrusion and break up waves that are the main cause of coastal erosion. Joint ventures such as this and a similar agreement signed last year between the State’s Department of Transportation and Development, Wildlife and Fisheries and the Coastal Conservation Association, illustrate the importance of government, the private sector and non-governmental organizations joining forces in a common-sense strategy to meet critical issues, Jindal said. “These projects show what we can accomplish when we work with organizations like Ducks Unlimited and the Coastal Conservation Association—organizations that share our mission of rebuilding our coastal wetlands and our central natural habitats while better protecting our people from future storms” Jindal said. “Let me tell you a little bit about the natural habitat, why it’s important. If you’re like me: a fisherman, a hunter or if you just enjoy the outdoors, these terraces will restore an area that is vital to the natural habitat for ducks, geese and other wildlife that depend on coastal marshes in our state for their survival,” he said. The eroding coastline and vanishing marshes are threats that most people understand in the abstract—they’re important but aren’t top of the mind concerns. Coastal system unique Yet, Louisiana’s Coastal Cheniere is unique in the world—a diverse and complex ecosystem vital not only to Louisiana, but also the nation. It’s host to 10 million wintering waterfowl—20 percent of the North American population. The eroding coastline and vanishing marshes help protect nearly 50 percent of the nation’s oil refining capacity and nearly a third of its oil and gas supply. The coast has five of the country’s busiest ports in the U.S., serving 10 of the nation’s


Picture by Brenda LaFleur major waterways. These facilities handle 19 percent of annual U.S. waterborne commerce. More than 26 percent of North America’s fisheries catch comes from Louisiana. The biggest threat, though, is to one of the most vibrant cultures in the world. More than two million people live and raise their families in South Louisiana—a cultural gumbo pot of Cajun, Creole, French, African American, Native American and many other cultures. “The state’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Master Plan not only aims to restore wetlands and protect communities, but also preserve and protect the cultural heritage and wildlife that make our coast so important and unique,” Graves said, “A project like this one, in which the state works with a conservation organization like Ducks Unlimited to provide better protection, better habitat for waterfowl and to preserve the resources that make our state such a tremendous place to hunt and fish are exactly the kind of projects we will be building.” Duck hunting in Louisiana is more than a sport—it’s a rite of passage that draws hunters from around the globe. Then, of course, is the world-famous fishing. Fishermen from all over the continent travel to the Louisiana coast to pursue redfish, speckled trout, and flounder, providing revenues to the state and livelihoods to its citizens. Louisiana, said Young, is the North American “capital” of natural resources. “Today’s agreement with the State of Louisiana represents yet one more tangible example of Ducks Unlimited’s commitment to protecting this vital coastline for wildlife and people. Conservation of the Gulf Coast’s wetlands is one of the key priorities of Ducks Unlimited’s continent-wide Wetlands for Tomorrow Campaign,” Young said. “This noteworthy undertaking will protect vital energy and social infrastructure as well as the wildlife and recreational opportunities

the coast of Louisiana is so well known for. We thank Governor Jindal for his strong leadership in making this project a reality.” Ducks Unlimited is the largest waterfowl conservation organization in the world, with close to 700,000 members in the U.S. and nearly 17,000 in Louisiana. One of the top priorities of Ducks Unlimited is to preserve essential habitat for ducks and geese. Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority Because of the devastation of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, in December 2005, the Louisiana Legislature restructured the State’s Wetland Conservation and Restoration Authority to form the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA). Act 8 of the First Extraordinary Session of 2005 expanded the membership, duties, and responsibilities of the CPRA and charged the new Authority to develop and implement a comprehensive coastal protection plan, including both a master plan and annual plans. “The Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority’s mandate is to develop, implement and enforce a comprehensive coastal protection and restoration master plan. This single state authority integrated coastal restoration and hurricane protection by marshalling the expertise and resources of the Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Transportation and Development, and other state agencies, to speak with one clear voice for the future of Louisiana’s coast,” Graves said. “Working with federal, state and local political subdivisions, including levee districts, the CPRA works to establish a safe and sustainable coast that will protect our communities, the nation’s critical energy infrastructure, and our bountiful natural resources for generations to come,” he added.

Jason Barnes

SWLA Arts & Humanities Calcasieu Parish Police Jury Grants $50k By Bill Krull One of the judges choosing the top students in Calcasieu Parish, Hal McMillin, found that students by a huge consensus believe funding the arts takes priority over even athletics. The Calcasieu Parish Police Jury President agrees with them. McMillan, along with CPPJ Special Programs and Cultural Affairs Coordinator Jason Barnes and Irene Vandever, Executive Director of the Arts and Humanities Council of Southwest Louisiana, announced a $50,000 grant program to enhance and build this vital aspect of Southwest Louisiana life. “This grant is about Calcasieu Parish and what we can do to support this critically important part of our community,” McMillin said. “The Police Jury so believes in the arts’ value that we passed this (grant) with no discussion. It needed no discussion. The money comes from riverboat gaming revenues. That’s money going right back to help Calcasieu Parish.” The grant funds are available to all sectors of the arts community, Barnes said. “One of the greatest strengths of our corner of Louisiana is our culture. It defines who we are,” he said. “The arts and humanities sector is our super-secret economic weapon. It’s the life of our area. You know, cooking here is an art in and of itself and grant money is available for it.” The Arts and Humanities Council will administer the funds, Vandever said. The grant monies will fund arts organizations and provide the impetus for art professionals and nonprofit groups to expand and enhance their cultural activities in the parish. While the arts may be one of those warm and fuzzies, they have a very real impact on Louisiana’s econ-

omy. The state’s cultural economy generates nearly $700 million annually, with nearly $14 in return for every dollar invested. Then, too, its contribution to the region’s quality helps retain its best and brightest people and lures new investment. Visitors to the state spend close to $6 billion each year, 3.8 percent of the State Gross Product. “The cultural economy of Louisiana has an enormous impact on the overall economy of the state, accounting for 144,000 jobs or 7.6 percent of the employment base. Cultural economy jobs were growing over twice as fast as job growth statewide before the Katrina and Rita,” said Dabne Whitemore, representing Lieutenant Governor Mitch Landrieu and executive director of the Louisiana Cultural Economy Initiative. The Arts and Humanities Council of Southwest Louisiana is the umbrella organization for the Arts and Humanities in the five-parish Imperial Calcasieu region. It strives to be at the “heart” of what matters with respect to the area’s cultural foundation. It is dedicated to supporting, developing and enriching all forms of cultural expression for the region. It strives to be a clearinghouse of information for artists, art organizations and the community in the region. The Council publishes a Cultural Resource Directory with information about the artists and organizations that contribute to Southwest Louisiana’s cultural life. For more information about the grant program or the Council, call (337) 439-2787 or visit their Web site at www.artsandhumanitiesswla.org. The deadline to apply for the grant is March 2 at 5 p.m. FEBRUARY 5, 2009

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Len Ford of LA Radio, Brenda Shelton of Suddenlink Media, and Richard Hinton of Ameriprise Financial Services

BIZ BYTES — by Dan Juneau

Is the Cost Worth the Cure?

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Geralyn Simon and Freddie Hawkins

Big Turnout for Chamber of SWLA Banquet There was a big turnout for the Chamber of Southwest Louisiana’s 105th annual banquet, held on Jan. 15 at the Lake Charles Civic Center. Members and guests got an opportunity to mix and mingle during the predinner cocktail hour. After socializing, we were ushered into the dining area for the main event. Master of Ceremonies, SWLA Economic Development Alliance president George Swift, introduced the guests and honorees. Ken Broussard, of the Broussard Group, 2009 Board Chair, indicated that his mission during his term is to advance the Chamber’s new five-year plan for economic development. Committee Liaison Dianne Dronet presented Mike Allen of Edward Jones with the Volunteer of Year Award. Mrs. Evangeline Palma Ordinario was awarded the 2008 Chamber SWLA

Civic Service Award by Greg Webb of Capital One. Ordinario is a patron of the arts, a champion of humanitarian efforts, and supporter of regional organizations and events such as the McNeese Banner Series, Foundation and Alumni Association, Family & Youth Counseling, New Life Counseling, the Sierra Club, the Eljay Foundation, the Literacy Council, the Children’s Museum, and the Calcasieu Medical Society. The keynote speaker was the very entertaining Peter Ricchiuti, a finance professor at Tulane and founder of the Burkenroad Reports investment research program. Ricchiuti kept hope alive by indicating that the country is going to come out of this economic morass we’re in just fine—and has the statistics to prove it. All in all, another successful event for the Chamber.

May Nixon, Michelle Pawlowski, and Jacki Nixon PAGE 10

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t would be funny if it weren’t so serious. Henry Waxman (D-Ca.) proclaimed that his powerful committee in Congress will rush “climate change” legislation to the House floor before the Memorial Day recess. This was announced concurrently with the coldest temperatures to hit the heartland of the country in over a decade. The President-elect and the Democratic majorities in Congress are about to launch legislation that will hit every pocketbook in America and could cost thousands of jobs as well. Their goal: To reduce carbon emissions that some claim is creating rising global temperatures that threaten life as we know it. But what if they are wrong? There is certainly a body of scientific evidence that indicates that the earth has never been in the complete balance of heat energy entering and leaving the atmosphere in equal proportions as “climate change” adherents believe is now being altered by manmade carbon emissions. Reputable scientists have strong evidence to show that global warming and cooling cycles have persisted in regular intervals throughout most of geologic time —long before the first carbon emission emanated from cavemen. Unfortunately, the scientists who have sound theories that stray from the orthodoxy of the man-made climate change “religion” are ignored by most of the media, as well as the agencies that fund scientific research. Indeed, some have their careers threatened by the “case closed” true believers of the carbon-induced climate change theory. The legislation that will be proposed in Congress will significantly drive up the cost for both the producers and consumers of carbon-based energy sources. The higher costs will lead to significant economic impacts immediately. The vehicle of choice - “cap and trade” legislation - will require a huge bureaucracy to administer a complicated system that would penalize some companies, reward others, and have consumers in some regions pay substantially higher energy costs than others due to the type of energy sources available to them.

Of course, the element that puts gleams in the eyes of some in Congress is that the federal government could reap huge windfall revenues from such a system. But where would the money come from? That’s easy: From you and me and millions like us. From businesses and industries already having a hard time making a profit for the goods and services they produce. Who will benefit most from the system (besides the revenue-hungry federal government)? Smatterings of companies whose lobbyists help influence the laws and rules to put them at an advantage over others. Who will come out the worst? The poor, the group that always seems to come out worst — the individuals who can illafford to pay more for basic energy needs.

CONGRESS SEEMS TO BE IN A MAD RUSH TO PUSH THROUGH LEGISLATION THAT CAN HAVE A HUGE IMPACT ON THE JOB SECURITY AND LIVELIHOOD OF AMERICAN WORKERS. Yes, Congress seems to be in a mad rush to push through legislation that can have a huge impact on the job security and livelihood of American workers. “Change” is the mantra in Washington, but change is a two-sided coin. Before dramatically altering the economic landscape of the nation, if I were a member of Congress, I would want to make darn sure that: • The “crisis” I was attempting to fix was real; • That my “cure” for it was definitely going to work; and • That the sacrifices that I was asking Americans to make was unquestionably worth the price they would have to pay. With all due respect, I don’t think our elected representatives in Washington can give us those assurances. Unfortunately, that probably won’t stop them from pushing through the biggest boondoggle since their “reforms” of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.


INSIDE BATON ROUGE — by John Maginnis

Students, Not Systems, Deserve Second Chance hen hundreds of citizens show up at a meeting to raise hell with a public body, it’s usually a healthy sign that people are engaged and government accountability is not dead. But the sound and fury that peppered a recent meeting of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education makes one wonder. At issue was the recommendation by State Education Superintendent Paul Pastorek to have his agency assume management of ten failing public schools in East Baton Rouge and Caddo parishes. They will join 71 other schools, mostly in New Orleans, that were moved into the Recovery School District in the past three years. Almost all attending the BESE meeting were there to protest the takeover, some by heckling Pastorek. They also cheered loudly for points made by Baton Rouge Superintendent Charlotte Placide, despite the fact that the schools she and her staff have run failed to meet minimum—very minimum—academic standards for four straight years. From the reaction of the crowd, what one wonders is: Where were they and their wrath when the parish school board last met? Or their Parent-Teacher Association? No doubt, many of the protesters are parents who are involved in their children’s education. But there are many other parents who show little interest in what goes on at their children’s school or see to it that their kids do their homework. That so many students in failing schools come from impoverished and/or dysfunctional families, however, does not let the principals, school boards and central office administrators off the hook. Despite their efforts, what they have been doing has not been working. After four straight years of failure—for some schools, decades—they are not the ones who deserve a second chance. The kids do. Many of the current Recovery School District schools have shown significant improvement in test scores, while some still struggle. Yet takeover opponents seem to think

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that the RSD, in only its third year, should prove itself more, while Baton Rouge and Shreveport systems should get the benefit of the doubt— when little doubt remains. Some speakers at the BESE meeting, describing themselves as “community activists,” demanded that the community be allowed to run its own schools. If they want to see real community activists, they should visit any of the dozens of RSD campuses in New Orleans now being run as charter schools. There, parents and teachers, even community volunteers, devise curricula and make management decisions formerly made by central office bureaucrats. Pastorek plans for eight of the ten schools being taken over to become charters.

A STRUGGLING STUDENT IN A FAILING SCHOOL IS ONE STEP AWAY FROM BEING A DROPOUT, AND THEN A BURDEN, IF NOT A DANGER, TO SOCIETY.

BESE’s action demonstrates that failing schools are no longer exclusive to New Orleans. The ten taken over could eventually be joined by 23 more in Shreveport, Baton Rouge, Alexandria, Lake Charles and a half dozen rural parishes that have been placed under state supervision while remaining under local control, for now. The fate of those schools, like those in New Orleans, should be of major concern statewide. An average student can survive a mediocre school and still do well in college and life. But a struggling student in a

failing school is one step away from being a dropout, and then a burden, if not a danger, to society. Students in schools that have failed should not be told to be more patient with the administrators who have let them down. They deserve a new, intensive and sustained approach, and not after four more years.

Another Success Story... We put our first ad in The Times and IMMEDIATELY the phone rang. The caller said they had just seen our ad in The Times and wanted to hire us! Now that's what I call successful advertising! — Mike and Rick Sanders

Such did not impress BESE member Louella Givens of New Orleans. She still hasn’t gotten over the 2006 transfer of schools there, which she called “repulsive” and told the Baton Rouge protesters, “Welcome to my nightmare.” Amazing what she finds repulsive: Well-maintained schools where there is a semblance of order and a chance for learning. What does she call the pre-Katrina dilapidated buildings, the chaotic classrooms and the dozens of system employees who were convicted of looting the system? The good ol’ days? Besides wounded pride, if one can put a price on a local school board’s loss of control, it comes to $3,850. That’s the amount the state pays each school district per pupil, which goes to the RSD when the state takes control. One wonders if that wasn’t the real motivation behind Ms. Placide’s call for public protest. FEBRUARY 5, 2009

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S O U T H W E S T

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The Business of Love: Wendi's Flower Cart By Lisa Yates ove means big business for several types of businesses this time of year – especially floral boutiques like Wendi’s Flower Cart. “This is the busiest season for us,” said Ray Bustillo, who owns the business with his wife, Wendi. Wendi’s Flower Cart, located at 3617 Common Street in Lake Charles, has been serving the area for more than 25 years. The friendly staff is dedicated to both creating the perfect arrangement and making sure it gets delivered on time. “Try to order as soon as possible,” Bustillo suggested. “Normally, we run 10 trucks on Valentine’s Day, but this year, it falls on a Saturday.” He expects Friday will be another heavy delivery day this year. “We deliver on Saturdays, but a lot of guys prefer to have their flowers

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For Your Valentine...

Chocolate and Champagne Pearls, Gemstones, Diamonds

2640 Common St., Lake Charles

(337) 853-2006 Mon.-Fri. 10am-5pm • Sat. 10am-2pm PAGE 12

FEBRUARY 5, 2009

delivered to where their wives, or girlfriends, work,” Bustillo said. You can stretch the celebration into a nice, romantic weekend that way, he said. What does it all mean? “For Valentine’s Day, the No. 1 selling flower is the red rose,” Bustillo said. He said roses are available in many colors with meaning associated with each. For example, here are some of the traditional meanings: • Red – Love, of course • Coral – Desire • White – Innocence • Lavender – Love at first sight • Yellow – Friendship Still, many have their favorite flowers and it’s all a matter of preference. Bustillo said his customers prefer fresh-cut flowers, with roses being the favorite. “We’re a full-service florist,” he said. “We do everything. We sell a lot of mixed arrangements, live plants, candy bouquets, silk flower arrangements and Teddy bears.” The season brings heavier traffic than the others because one day is at the heart of it. People start calling about Valentine’s Day ideas in January. Bustillo said business picks up steadily and doesn’t ease until the holiday winds down. But that’s okay with him – he, Wendi, and their floral designers love every minute of it. “This is very much a people business,” Bustillo said. “And, you don’t see people sending flowers to someone they’re mad at, or hate. It’s very pleasing to be in this kind of business.” Not for women only If you think floral arrangements are just for the women, you’re wrong, Bustillo said. “This might surprise some people, but 20 to 25 percent of our Valentine’s Day business is girls sending to guys,” he said. Sure, some guys might act embarrassed, but they “really do like it,” he said. Children are another good group to shower with flowers or other fun gifts, according to the florists.

Floral designers Linda Kelley, Faye Soileau, Danny Faye Miers, Ray Bustillo, owner, and Vickie Choates at Wendi's Flower Cart.

It’s not uncommon for them to deliver candy bouquets and Teddy bear arrangements to local schools. Valentine’s Day isn’t just for sweethearts, it’s for young and old. The florists suggest sending something to your parents to make the day fun for them, too. “It’s for all the loved ones in our life,” Bustillo said. Wendi’s Flower Cart is really in the business of love all year. “Mothers Day is our second busiest holiday,” Bustillo said. “Secretary’s Week is third. Christmas is fourth. Prom season starts in March, followed by spring and summer weddings.” This is a year round business, and while birthdays and anniversaries and holidays appear on calendars well in advance, illnesses, deaths and other occasions call for flowers on the spur of the moment. “Death is the hard part of what we do,” Bustillo said. “But, it’s a privilege to help someone and talk to them when they come in to order flowers or a casket cover. The hardest part is when children pass away. It’s very sad. My wife and I have three kids and three grandkids.” He said they have helped families through marriages, deaths, births and every occasion in between.

“We get to welcome babies being born and be there as young people plan their weddings,” Bustillo said. “One of our floral designers, Linda, specializes in weddings.” There’s always an occasion for flowers, he said. “Our business deals with human emotion,” Bustillo said. “Flowers convey human emotion really well.” Customer satisfaction Hand-crafting the arrangements and giving each one a special sparkle – down to the color and size the customer wants – is what keeps business blossoming, according to Bustillo. “Nobody can succeed 100 percent of the time, but we succeed 99.99 percent of the time,” he said. “We always strive to give people what they want. After all, they are the ones who pay our bills. “We appreciate our customers and we know they can go other places. It sounds cliché, but we treat people the way we want to be treated. We believe in that.” For more information, call 4745236, or (800) 882-0992; or visit, 3617 Common Street in Lake Charles; or online, at www.wendisflowercart.com.


PERSPECTIVES — by Jim Doyle

Songs of Love, but Not for Me ell, Lake Chuckers, spring is in the air and the sound of love is all around. Birds do it, bees do it, even educated fleas do it. I don’t know this from personal experience, you understand, only the odd movie and catchy tune. There is a scene in “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” one of my all-time favorites, when Hugh Grant realizes he will probably never get married. In the background Elton John is singing: “They’re writing songs of love, but not for me. . .” Yeah. Happy Valentine’s Day. Even though I’ve been married all but about six months of my life since I was 20 years old, now that I’m not, people all of a sudden are trying to pair me off. One of my friends hopefully tried to play cupid the other day, leading me to believe word had spread that I wasn’t going on a date with anybody absent a threat to shoot an arrow in my butt. Gee, you’d think those three divorces might be a hint that . . hmmmm. Let’s just say I am as good at relationships as Dick Cheney was at open government. Music choices might give you a clue. No Paul McCartney silly love songs for me. I like that angry woman music. Mary Chapin Carpenter used to be my favorite, until the Dixie Chicks came out with a song that contained these lyrics: “Like a fool I lent my soul to love, and it paid me back in change. God help me, am I the only one who ever felt this way?” Now that’s a singalong I can relate to. Not that being single is inherently bad. In fact, I’m enjoying every minute of it. Hell, I just bought a new car and didn’t ask anybody’s opinion first. I looked for reasons not to buy it. Tried real hard to think of more practical uses for the money. Bought a beautiful, black car with a push-button ignition. Doing the single thing, I first looked at a sporty car, the one on the commercials during football games with a push-button ignition and the David Bowie background music. Couldn’t get into it. Too tall (yeah, right). The salesman came up with the line of the month: “Doyle, I can probably get you in that car, but it would take the fire department and the jaws of life to get you out.” Since I needed the jaws of life to extricate myself from at least one mar-

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riage, that wasn’t an experience I wanted to repeat. But every experience is a teacher, and as a newly single guy, I have learned a few things: • You are never too old to enjoy the freedom of throwing your underwear on the floor when you’re through with them. I presume this applies only to men. • If you use a really sticky dish on top, there is almost no limit to how high your stack can build up in the sink until you remember to buy dishwasher soap. • Never have company more than one day after the maid comes to clean. • If your maid speaks only Spanish, it’s helpful to learn certain words. “Socks” are “calcetines.” • Empty bedrooms attract adult children.

In Paris With You Don’t talk to me of love. I’ve had an earful And I get tearful when I’ve downed a drink or two. I’m one of your talking wounded. I’m a hostage. I’m marooned. But I’m in Paris with you. Yes, I’m angry at the way I’ve been bamboozled And resentful at the mess I’ve been through. I admit I’m on the rebound And I don’t care where are we bound. I’m in Paris with you.

Don’t talk to me of love. Let’s talk of Paris, The little bit of Paris in our view. There’s that crack across the ceiling And the hotel walls are peeling And I’m in Paris with you. I talk a good game, as most of you know by now, but I am truly a cockeyed optimist about all things. There is no better wish to leave you than a trip to Paris with a new love for Valentine’s, wherever Paris may be for you. Go do it. And I’ll see you, smiling, on the flip.

LET’S JUST SAY I AM AS GOOD AT RELATIONSHIPS AS DICK CHENEY WAS AT OPEN GOVERNMENT. • Never leave a teenager in charge of a litter box. • Potted plants and kittens don’t mix, particularly when the litter box is full. • As a general rule, never date outside your generation. Either way. • If you ever give in to the temptation to join a computer-dating site, even “just to see who’s out there,” you will inevitably be matched with at least one of your exes. • One of the great rewards in life is becoming friends with an ex, particularly if you share children. Really. Men and women get along much better without the interference of sexual tension. Poetry and dreams are sweeter in my position, because they contain at least the promise of redemptive love. Here are a few stanzas from a good one by James Fenton, as published by Garrison Keillor in Good Poems for Hard Times. It is the favorite of a new friend of mine. FEBRUARY 5, 2009

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By Sara Blackwell

IS DRIVING BY MY EX’S HOUSE STALKING? If you have ever had your heart broken, then there may have been a time in which you were tempted, or you actually drove past your ex’s house, workplace or one of his (or her) frequent visiting places. On the other hand, you may have ended a relationship or refused to enter a relationship which was followed by undesirable behavior by the rejected person. In either case, it is helpful to know what constitutes “stalking” and the possible sentence if one is convicted of the crime of “stalking” in Louisiana. Stalking is defined by the Louisiana Legislature in Louisiana Revised Statute 14:40.2. The cases and jurisprudence address the specific terms and application of such statute. The statute and cases combined could be discussed and summarized in well over a hundred page synopses. However, thankful to the readers of Legal Eagle, this article discusses merely the basics of the crime of stalking. Note that there is also a statute for “cyber stalking,” which is not discussed here. Definition of stalking The crime of stalking is defined as the “intentional and repeated following or harassing” of a person in a way that would cause a “reasonable person” to feel emotional distress or alarm. Nonexclusive examples included in the statute are “the intentional and repeated uninvited presence” of the stalker at the victim’s house, place of work, school, or similar place in a way that would cause the alarm of a reasonable person or emotional distress to such person. The alarm or emotional distress inflicted in the example, which is included in the statute, derives from verbal or nonverbal threats of death, or injury to the victim, the victim’s family or an acquaintance of the victim. Remember that this is simply an example and not the sole illustration of stalking. Based on the language of the statute, a person can be convicted of stalking for “repeated following” or “harassment” — one or the other. “Repeated following” is not defined in the statute, but is discussed in cases and jurisprudence. On the other hand, harassment is specifically described in the statute as the “repeated pattern of verbal communications or nonverbal behavior” without the request of the victim. Examples include phone calls, e-mails, letters, photographs or messages through a third party. In addition to the definition in the statute, harassment is meticulously drawn out in cases and jurisprudence creating a myriad of examples and definitions of harassment as well as “repeated following.” A person’s repeated following or harassment of an individual is not enough to constitute stalking. The repeated following or harassment must be executed in a way which would cause a reasonable person to feel emotional distress or alarm. It is wholly subjective for a person who has been followed or harassed to allege that she (or he) felt emotionally distressed or alarmed. However, the statute does not state that the victim’s subjective emotional distress or alarm is imperative. Rather, it is whether a reasonable person in the situation of the victim would feel emotional distress or alarm. Reasonable man standard This “reasonable man standard” is common in state and federal legal statutes and jurisprudence. It prevents victims from alleging emotional distress or alarm in relatively innocent situations. Contrariwise, in a statute such as this, there is no account for the victim’s actual feelings of emotional distress or alarm. PAGE 14

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If the person was never in alarm and had absolutely no emotional distress, but a reasonable person in the victim’s situation would feel emotional distress or alarm, the person accused of stalking could be convicted. In other statutes, the language requires that a reasonable person feel the specific way as well as the individual victim. This provides an objective and subjective component to the statute. Reasonable person or reasonable man standard is thoroughly discussed and described in several Louisiana and federal cases and jurisprudence. Some courts argue that the definition of the reasonable person depends on the characteristics of the victim. For instance, if the stalking victim were an elderly woman in a wheelchair, then the issue would be whether a reasonable person of elderly maturity and confinement to a wheelchair would feel the emotional distress or alarm. This method uniquely combines the objective and subjective aspects. Perpetrators accused of stalking have argued that their behavior was constitutionally protected behavior. The perpetrator has freedom of speech and the right to be in public places as much as the victim. One court responded to such argument by affirming that the Legislature did seek to criminalize otherwise lawful (constitutional) behavior when enacting the stalking statute based on the impact of that certain behavior on the victim. The alleged stalker may have the right to be in a specific place; however, such person does not have the right to create alarm and emotional distress in the victim by disconcerting behavior. Penalties There are many elements and particular issues that must be proven when attempting to convict an individual for stalking. Nevertheless, if convicted, a stalker is to be fined between $500 and $1,000, and, in addition, imprisoned between 30 days and one year. Further, any individual convicted of stalking must undergo a psychiatric evaluation. The court then has statutory power to send written notice to the employer of a person convicted of stalking, describing the details of the conviction when it is considered important for the protection of the victim. The possible sentence for the crime of stalking is exacerbated if the stalker is in possession of a “dangerous weapon” or if the victim is under the age of 18. Similar to other criminal statutes, the possible sentence is increased with each consecutive conviction of stalking. It seems that driving past your ex’s house at 2 a.m. to determine whether he (or she) is home without stopping or creating any noise or action is probably not considered stalking as long as there is no harassment or “repeated following” of your estranged significant other. Instead of putting yourself in such a situation, realize your worth and let him (or her) go with dignity. Conversely, be aware of your surroundings and take care of your legal right to not be a victim of stalking. The provided information is fact-sensitive and jurisdiction-dependent; consult an attorney before employing the above legal concepts. Sara Blackwell is an attorney, writer and mother. She has worked as an attorney for the United State’s Department of Justice, a federal district judge and the United States Attorney’s Office. Her current legal interest is in immigration law, where she works part-time for an immigration firm. She is currently working on her second novel.


s ’ e n i t n e l a V g n i n i D y a D gences l u d n I e querqu u b l A e uren d By La

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It’s hearts and flowers time—where we show the person we love just how much we love them. Here in SWLA, Valentine’s Day falls smack dab in the middle of the Mardi Gras season, and on a Saturday night, no less—so a lot of us will be celebrating that occasion at a Mardi Gras ball. But if you’re not doing the Mardi Gras thing, there are some very romantic restaurants to bring your special someone. Valentine’s Day is all about splurging and indulging. This isn’t the time to worry about extra calories—and hopefully, you’ve saved your pennies! So let’s take a look at some decadent, mouth-watering offerings at the finer places in town. Its intimate setting, attentive waiters and extensive wine list make La Truffe Sauvage the perfect romantic dinner spot. Even better, the restaurant has a special prix fixe four-course Valentine’s Day menu. It’s not for the faint of heart: It’s $250 per couple, not including liquor, tax and gratuity. But we’re talking about indulging here! There are three choices for each course. How about starting with a shellfish martini (colossal lump crab, Maine lobster and jumbo Gulf shrimp) with

avocado? Or Texas quail, with Morel mushrooms and black truffle ravioli? Follow that with Louisiana turtle soup with sherry and crème fraîche en croûte—and have your partner get the

about oysters…and Mazen’s does them right! Feed each another Oysters Rockefeller or Oysters Bienville, baked on the half shell, while sipping a vodka martini.

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Valentine’s Day is all about splurging and indulging. This isn’t the time to worry about extra calories — and hopefully, you’ve saved your pennies!

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watercress, arugula, baby spinach and fresh organic hearts of palm salad with warm goat cheese so you can sample some! For your main course, feast on Chilean sea bass in a puff pastry, roasted Colorado lamb loin, or pan-roasted filet of beef Rossini. And if you have any room left, end your evening with a nougat glace or crème brulée aux framboises. Chocolate-covered strawberries and a red rose accompany the meal. Talk about decadence! Mazen’s is another “special-occasion” restaurant and a big favorite of the locals. You know what they say

In honor of the day, share a hearts of palm and artichoke salad, and them move on to the main course. So much to choose from, and only two stomachs! Mazen’s is noted for its fine fish dishes, so why not try Fish Barataria, topped with jumbo lump crabmeat, or Fish Natchez, covered in pecans? Finish off your meal with a magnificent Grand Marnier soufflé and an after-dinner liquor. Get all dressed up in your Valentine’s Day finery and head on over to The Snake River Grill at L’auberge du Lac. They make wonderful Cosmos, but perhaps you’ll want a

bottle of champagne tonight. The endive salad with shaved pear, English cheddar and toasted walnuts is fantastic; so is the shrimp scampi appetizer. Since the Grill specializes in game, be adventuresome and have the cast-iron roasted elk chop. On our last visit, my husband had the pecan-crusted Idaho trout and he’s still talking about it. The horseradish créme fraiche is a wonderful touch. As your final indulgence, sink into the warm chocolate-macadamia nut pie with vanilla bean ice cream. Pujo St. Café is a huge favorite with the business crowd—bartender Brittany can’t keep the martinis coming fast enough at Happy Hour. It’s also a great place to bring your sweetie. Have a Lemon Drop Martini and the spinach and artichoke dip, served with delicious homemade pita chips. Or maybe you’d prefer the pan-sautéed crab cake appetizer, served on a base of lemon butter sauce. Since it’s a special occasion, try something new: An eight-ounce broiled lobster tail filled with jumbo lump crab stuffing. For steak loves, there’s always the filet mignon, topped with gorgonzola crème sauce and cooked to order. FEBRUARY 5, 2009

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The Origin of St.Valentine’s Day

Another Way to Say...

St. Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. But who was Saint Valentine, and how did he become associated with this ancient rite? Today, the Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men — his crop of potential soldiers. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death. One school of thought believes that he was a Roman martyred for refusing to give up his Christian faith. Legend has it that through the vehicle of his strong faith, he healed the blind daughter of his jailer, and then, before his execution, sent her a farewell note that was signed “From Your Valentine.”

Whoever he was, we know he was an actual person, because archaeologists have unearthed a Roman catacomb and an ancient church dedicated to a Saint Valentine. In 496 AD Pope Gelasius marked February 14 as a celebration in honor of his martyrdom. It’s no surprise that by the Middle Ages, Valentine was one of the most popular saints in England and France. During the medieval era of chivalry, the names of English maidens and bachelors were put into boxes and drawn out in pairs. Each couple exchanged gifts and the girl became the man’s sweetheart for a year. He wore her name on his sleeve and was bound by duty to attend and protect her (the accepted origin of the phrase, “to wear one’s heart on one’s sleeve”). This old custom of drawing names was considered a good omen for love and often foretold a wedding. In 1537, King Henry VIII declared, by Royal Charter, that all England would celebrate February 14 as “Saint Valentine’s Day” and with the passage of time, February 14 became the traditional date for exchanging love messages and simple gifts (such as flowers or candy), with Saint Valentine becoming the accepted patron saint of lovers.

Put the Romance Back in Your Relationship According to the folks at Honey Luv Lingerie and More, romance doesn’t have to wait until Valentine’s Day, ladies. They’re full of tips on how to rekindle that spark with your loved one. Here are some romantic and seductive ideas to get you started. Do them separately or in combination:

“I Love You.” A Lake Charles Tradition Since 1962

1025 Ryan St. • 433-3637 www.navarras.com

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• Leave an erotic love note on his pillow. • E-mail or text a fantasy you wish to enact with him. • Give him a sensual massage using your favorite massage candles. • Leave a trail of rose petals leading to the bedroom, or lead your lover to a candle lit bubble bath. • Have an indoor fruit and wine picnic after hours. • Play lover’s games or role play for fun.

• Kiss him longer and more often. • Find more reasons to touch your partner. • Perform an erotic striptease or pole dance. • Make eye contact more frequently. Give him that look. You know the one. • Share a book of erotica together. He reads one page and you read another. • Wear stilettos (only) for yourself and your lover… while cooking breakfast. Enjoy!


Special Gifts— for Him and Her

By Lauren de Albuquerque

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Guys aren’t always the best gift givers. If you’re stumped, Expressions on Ryan St. has a multitude of gifts for the woman you love. For example, scented candles by Primal Elements come in bejeweled glass containers of various shapes, sizes and scents. The 11-ounce “I Love You” wish candle is a big favorite. Lollia luminaries and eau de parfum come with dangling crystal prisms; the “Breathe” scent is lovely. We fell in love with a satin evening bag by Murval, and so will she. The front is decorated with lush red satin roses, and the clasp is reminiscent of the 1920s. There are also belts by Whimsical Originals (check out the rhinestone fleur-de-lis buckle!). If your girl is into collectibles, you’re bound to find something unique from the popular Mark Roberts limited edition fairy collection. Look for the Wine Lover Fairy decked out in purple grapes and a bottle cork hat! Use your imagination with heartshaped, sequin-trimmed boxes. They are perfect receptacles for chocolates, jewelry, or sexy lingerie. When the box is empty, it becomes a keepsake. There are lots to choose from at Expressions. Ladies, here’s the gift that keeps on giving. You can get yourself into shape and show your partner what you’ve learned—and make him happy, too! Honey Luv Lingerie & More and 360o Fitness, “ A Total Body Training Studio,” have teamed up to bring you a series of Erotic Fitness Classes to get you in shape and feeling sexy. Learn the art of pole dancing and sensual dance. Tone your abs, legs, glutes, and arms. Improve your body image and spice up your love life. You’ll learn technique; increase flexibility, hip exercises, footwork, transitions, proper hand positions, body posture and body language, and much more. Better still, you’ll learn seductive dance moves and etiquette that will enrich your passion, build your confidence and improve your sensuality. All classes are conducted by experienced instructors that are CPR-certified. Contact Honey Luv Lingerie & More at (337) 433-1609, or come by

2710 1/2 Hodges St. in the Cottage Shops for more info. How about something sweet? Delicious Donuts on Country Club Road offer chocolate-dipped strawberries that look like they’re dressed in tuxedos! Nibble on them with a bottle of champagne—what can be more romantic? Speaking of champagne, all kinds of exotic libations can be had at Homsi’s on Kirkman St. The store carries a large selection of fine wines, champagne, and liquor—and if they don’t have it, they’ll order it for you. And check out their HUGE imported ale section. If your guy likes ale, you’re all set. If he’s a little devil, you’ve got to get him a bottle of Satan, imported from Belgium. Is he a Monty Python fan? Get him some Holy Grail! You may have more fun shopping for the ale than he’ll have drinking it! For something incredibly special, Navarra’s jewelers in Lake Charles will create a one-of-a kind piece of jewelry that she will never forget. They can work with gemstones that you already have, or rework an outdated piece. They’ll help you put your ideas on paper, and create a beautiful piece in the metal of your choice. How about a romantic getaway? The Holiday Inn French Quarter-Chateau LeMoyne is a charming chateau in the romantic French Quarter of New Orleans. The Heart to Heart package includes an upgrade to a suite or balcony room, complimentary parking, and a delectable breakfast for two at Café Bienville. For more info, call (504) 581-1307. While you’re there, enjoy an unforgettable Valentine’s evening of dancing, dining, and romance with your favorite Valentine aboard the Steamboat Natchez. Boarding begins at 6:30 p.m., cruising from 7:30 until 9:30 p.m. The cost is $85 per person and includes a delicious dinner buffet that includes beer, wine and sodas. There’s complimentary champagne upon boarding, and music by a local DJ. For more info, call (800) 2332628.

The Crowne Plaza in downtown Houston offers the Romance Package. It includes deluxe overnight accommodations, champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries upon arrival, a full American breakfast for two delivered to your room or in Brazos Restaurant, and a late check-out —5 p.m. For $30 more, you can upgrade to a junior suite. For more info, call (713) 739-8800. The Moody Gardens Hotel and Convention Center in Galveston made it through Ike with minimal problems and is doing a brisk business. Check out their Romantic Rendezvous package. It includes a Jacuzzi suite for two, a bottle of champagne, and chocolate-covered strawberries and a rose delivered upon arrival. Enjoy a bountiful breakfast, either in your room or at the Terrace Restaurant. For more info, call (800) 233-2628. These are all great gift ideas, but remember, the gift of yourself is the most special. We often overlook our loved ones as we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of our daily lives. Cherish your special someone, and make every day count. Happy Valentine’s Day!

FEBRUARY 5, 2009

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Allyson Blackwell

The Times recently ran an article about senior citizens and their use of computers. It was interesting to learn how folks who did not grow up with the modern conveniences that we all take for granted have taken to Internet. Young adults, on the other hand, have been raised on computers. While both age groups share similarities in how they use them (networking, purchasing, Web-surfing), the younger generation uses computers much more extensively. According to survey results recently released by a nationwide telephone poll of more than 1,000 households commissioned by the Round Table Group (RTG), a U.S. consulting firm of university professors, the Internet is quickly displacing older media, such as television and newspapers, as the prime source of important information for the U.S.’s young adults. The poll revealed that 67 percent of Americans aged 18-24 live in households that use the Internet to gather key information, compared to a nationwide average of just 46 percent who use the Internet for that purpose. Among those young adults, 59 percent say their households currently receive more “useful information” from the Internet than from newspapers. Fifty-three percent say they receive more “useful information” from the Internet than from television. According to the study, 84 percent of young adult Internet users say their families are more likely to use the Internet to retrieve useful information than they are likely to go to the public library, and 68 percent of the those households are more likely to consult some specific questions on the Internet than turn to a newspaper. The Times interviewed some local PAGE 18

FEBRUARY 5, 2009

young adults to find out their computer habits. Chase Wilson, 26, is a financial analyst at ConocoPhillips who depends on his laptop for everything. “I was probably 3 or 4 when I used a computer for the first time,” he said. “At first, I didn’t think it was anything special; computers are something that I’ve been exposed to most of my life.” It wasn’t until his parents got AOL (he was in the sixth grade) that he really became interested in computers. “I thought it was fascinating to be able to communicate with friends over the Internet. I was also amazed at how quickly and easily you could get information without having to make a trip to the library,” he said. At home, he has a Toshiba laptop that he’s happy with. He’s an avid Internet user, although he doesn’t have time for computer games. “I’m working toward my MBA in an online program through the University of Tulsa,” he said. “I also use the Internet to trade stocks, pay bills, make purchases, and conduct research.” Wilson used to have a Blackberry, but he now owns a Sprint Instinct. “I can still get my e-mail on that phone, plus live TV, radio, GPS, etc.” He also has an iPod, “but not too many other gadgets.” Wilson does all of his work on his computer and the Internet. “I use a number of computer programs to analyze data and prepare presentations,” he said. “The Internet allows me to send and receive information and have web conferences with co-workers all over the word. I couldn’t even imagine how hard it would be to do the type of work that I do without using a computer.”

Chase Wilson

By Lauren de Albuquerque As the assistant director of the Children’s Museum in Lake Charles, Allyson Blackwell, 28, leads a busy life, and finds the computer invaluable. She looked back on the first time she ever used one. “I believe I was in the second grade, so I was about six years old. I was in the library during our library day and the librarian brought us to a group of computers and told us that we were going to read a story on the computer. I think it was about the mouse and the tiger… something about a thorn being


stuck in the lion’s paw. I remember being a little nervous.” She doesn’t think there are many days that’s she’s not on the Internet for either professional or personal use. “For work, it is a constant way of communication. I use it to receive and send messages (e-mails) to co-workers, board members and people in the community,” she said. “Part of my job is public relations, so I am constantly sending out information regarding events and programs. I also maintain our Web site, which gets information out to the public 24-7. I also use the Internet as a research tool. It is easier than going to the library, and the amount of knowledge on the Internet is almost endless.” At home, she uses her Compaq ( a PC—she’s said she’s not a laptop junkie!) for almost everything. “I use it to pay bills, check the weather, order gifts, research vacation spots and sometimes, just for entertainment. Recently, I used it to find a new home!” Blackwell also enjoys the social aspect of the Internet. “I use it to stay in touch with family, friends and colleagues,” she said. “Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and other social networks are wonderful ways to communicate, too. I use these networks to keep in touch and share pictures with friends from high school and college.”

Soon to be married, Blackwell said that the Internet played a huge part in her wedding plans. “The Internet made wedding planning a little easier. I was able to get ideas on decorations, cakes, hairstyles, music and so much more,” she said. “I would have never been able to pick out a wedding dress or bridesmaid dresses without seeing different styles online. Now, you can also find the “dos and don’ts” of wedding planning and wedding planning timelines on thousands of helpful Web sites. Couples can even make a Web site to share with family and friends the celebration of their day. They can post pictures, events and registries online.” If she had to, she could live without

a computer, but it wouldn’t be easy. “It would be very hard to get used to,” she said. “I am very spoiled by it. Technology and the Internet have made my life so much easier to send and receive information, it would be hard not to have it around. With it, it’s so much easier to stay organized.” “I believe that in today’s world, knowledge is definitely power,” she said. “Computers and the Internet offer so many uses and ways to gain knowledge! Without them, you are at a disadvantage.” Blackwell doesn’t have a Blackberry, but it’s on her wish list. Her fiancé, however, has a Sprint Instinct. “He loves it,” she said. “He’s also into Playstation 3 and X-box. I’m

not really into all that.” Because of her position at the Children’s Museum, Blackwell has a huge interest in how computers benefit children. “I believe the earlier a child has access to knowledge and the computer in today’s world, the better,” she said, cautioning that it has to be balanced with outdoor activity, play and interaction for a well-balanced child. “It helps promote imagination, growth and creativity. Parents must restrict what sites children can visit and how much time is spent on the computer. With these things in place, the sky is the limit on what can be learned.” Tiffany Gardner, 28, a pharmacy tech for a Lake Charles health care facility, used computers for the first time at school to do word-processing type of schoolwork. “The first thing I remember about the actual Internet was looking at chat rooms,” she said. As a pharmacy tech, she uses the Internet to purchase items for work, order medications, and check drug facts and information. “Personally, I use it to look up different things, share pictures and shop,” she said. But it’s not a huge deal in her life. “I’m not as attached to it as so many people are nowadays, but I do enjoy having it!” she laughed.

FEBRUARY 5, 2009

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HIGH Tech

Comparison Shopping for

Bandwidth in SWLA

By R.F. Horvath

Whether you are initiating your service for the first time, moving to a new location, or thinking of moving your Internet service to a different provider, you’re probably interested in getting the best deal that you can for your dollar. In most cases, this will probably mean determining how much bandwidth you can afford. For the past few years, communications companies have been seeking to meet all of your needs by offering all, or most, of these services, rolled together in convenient packages. Sorting all of this out can be time consuming, and unless you are well versed in “bandwidth-ese,” it can also be confusing. We’ll be examining the offers of the five main service providers in SWLA. Of these five, AT&T has the largest area of coverage. The other four, Cameron Communications, Century Tel, Communicomm and SuddenLink, provide service to various parts of our area. Most residents will have at least two choices of providers. We’re going to primarily focus on the basic - read least expensive Internet packages, with and without other bundled services. Keep in mind that every provider allows for cheaper costs for each individual package with the addition of the other services they offer. Before we begin, let’s cover some basic Internet terminology necessary in understanding what you are actually purchasing.

“kbps” is short for kilobit per second, or 1,000 bits of information per second. Bits of what? To get an idea of what is meant by the term kb, understand that a basic text document, as is created by Microsoft’s Notepad program, is about 4k. So, with an old 56k dialup modem, you could transfer a theoretical maximum of 14 “txt” documents per second. The term “Mbps,” or Megabit per second is 1,000 kb or 1,000,000 bps. This means you can receive 14,000 of our example txt documents per second on a 1Mbps line. So, when you see that a provider is offering a 1Mbps connection that is the capped limit of the download speed only. The upload speed is typically one-half to oneeighth of that speed. You’ll never get the same speed going out as you do coming into your computer. AT&T “Ma Bell” offers a basic DSL Internet package of 768kbps for only $14.95 per month. When you couple that with basic no-frills telephone service your bill is just $27.95 per month. AT&T’s Web site touts television and wireless Internet access but does not seem to be available to this area just yet. Of course, they also provide cell phone communications that can be coupled to your existing service as well. You can reach AT&T at (800) 626-9149 or at www.att.com for on their services. Cameron Communications The Carlyss-based telecom provides fiber optic Internet, television and telephone to the home and business in some parts of Calcasieu and Cameron Parishes. The base Internet package features a 6Mbps for only $39.95 a month. Adding a telephone line is only

$10 dollars extra; long distance calls are 8¢ a minute. Their-top-of-the-line package offers 89 channels of television, the previously mentioned telephone package as well as a 10Mbps connection, and other perks for $119.95 a month. All of Cameron’s services have a two-year agreement. You can contact Cameron Communications at (800) 737-3900 or visit their Web site at www.camtel.com for more information. Century Tel Century Tel provides telecom services to Allen, Jeff Davis, Beauregard parishes as well as Iowa and DeQuincy in Calcasieu. Their most basic Internet package includes a 512kbps connection for $29.95 per month with a basic phone line and $49.95 per month for a 1.5Mbps connection with no phone service at all. However, for just $10 a month more, Century Tel provides a connection that can reach 10Mbps, if that is all you are asking for. Century Tel also provides television access through DISH-TV as well as telephone services. Their most expensive package, that provides the most features, offers a 3 to 10 Mbps DSL connection, television access and many unlimited phone features for only $109.89 per month. Their contact information is 1800-831-1733 or www.centurytel.com. Communicomm Communicomm provides Westlake, Moss Bluff and DeQuincy with television and Internet service via cable access. If you just want Internet without television, they charge $31.95 for a 256k connection and offer up to 5Mbps for only $49.95 a month. Basic 256k connectivity with cable rounds up to only $52.99 per month. This allows you 63 channels of television, but if you’d prefer 200 channels of digital television for only an extra $9.95 per month, that is available as well. Communicomm does not provide telephone services. Their contact information is (800) 392-2662 and www.netcommander.com SuddenLink SuddenLink provides cable access

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FEBRUARY 5, 2009

to the Lake Charles and Sulphur areas. They charge only $33 for an Internet connection of 1Mbps. Unlimited phone services costs only an extra $10 per month. Bump that up to an 8Mbps connection and add basic no frills cable, and unlimited phone service and that becomes $117 a month. SuddenLink’s top of the line digital service bundle also a includes a 10Mbps connection, a rented cable modem, a digital video recorder and one premium channel for a flat $150 a month with no contract to sign. You can contact SuddenLink at (877) 6949474 or at www.suddenlink.com Final Considerations It isn’t overly possible to recommend one service over another. It all boils down to how much you want and how much you want to spend and who you are able to get service with. No one area in SWLA is covered by all five of the providers listed in this article. It isn’t always just as easy as picking and choosing from the rates and packages listed here. Many now choose to “blackline” traditional phone connections in favor of cell phones. Doing so can lower your communications costs somewhat, but usually not by more than $10-20 per month. The most important thing to keep in mind is that for each feature you tack on, the other features go down in cost. In other words, the more you spend, the more you get. Richard F. Horvath has 22 years experience in the Information Technology field and is co-owner of Infinity Prime Media, LLC (www.infinityprimemedia.com). You can contact him at richard@infinityprimemedia.com . In no way does the preceding article represent an actual consultation session. Richard F. Horvath, Infinity Prime Media, LLC or the Times SWLA are in no way responsible and do not accept any responsibility for any damages, legal fees, data failure or malfunction that may occur as the result of a person using advice given in the preceding article.


The TV Service Provider War in Southeast Texas When did it become so complicated to watch TV? I still remember the days when we had only three channels – decisions were much simpler then! Now, we are bombarded with ads from TV service providers, all vying for our attention through special pricing, packages, bundles and grandiose touts of why one is better than the other. When we finally accept one of these offers, our first bill comes in and most of us are left wondering where the “$32.99 per month” special went, for now it has increased to $45 with all the additional fees. In an effort to provide some clarity, we compared the products and services offered by DIRECTV, Time Warner Cable (TWC) and DISH Network to see what each provider actually offers. (DISH Network and DIRECTV are both satellite TV companies, but they are completely separate providers). In the Southeast Texas area, residents may have one of the major companies like Time Warner or DISH Network or a smaller TV service provider that serves the smaller communities. Many services offered are based on geographical location, so every area is different. Pricing Pricing, especially in this economy, is one of the main factors in choosing a provider. The first thing to remember is that the specials are the best deals - and they are reserved for the new customers. DISH currently offers 250 channels for $54.99 per month, plus limited-time access to movie channels and other perks. DIRECTV has a special of $39.99 per month for 12 months, which increases to $62.99 after the promo period. This includes 200 channels, including local, and a free HD DVR receiver and DVR service. They, too, offer free access to movie channels for a limited-time. TWC offers 250 channels, including local, for $51.99. Added to the cost of the packages are the fees. Most fees are about 4-5 percent of the total bill. In review of a TWC bill, a franchise fee added $4.83, state and local sales tax (Texas) added $7.25, and .06 was added for an FCC Regulatory Fee. This increased the

HIGH Tech

By Michelle Fosha

monthly charge by a total of $12.14. Customer Service DIRECTV has a definite advantage in this category. For the past eight years, they have ranked number one in the customer satisfaction ratings, leaving cable television providers and all other satellite companies in the dust. Installation/Equipment Both TWC and DIRECTV advertise “no equipment to buy.” This is because you must lease it. TWC adds $7.95 to your monthly bill for the digital receiver. DIRECT TV charges a $4.99 per month fee. Both providers typically offer free installation and activation. DISH usually waives the installation fee as well. However, the activation fee of $99 is only waived on a two-year contract, not on a month-to-month plan. They offer dual receivers, which permits two televisions access to DISH, at no additional charge, and their equipment lease fee is already built in to their packages. Local Channel Availability Local channel programming is important in an effort to keep up-to-date with local news, weather and sports. All three providers offer this service. Both DIRECTV and TWC include local channel access in all of its programming packages at no additional charge. However, DIRECTV local channel access is based on geographical location. DISH offers local channels in 174 cities – for an additional fee of $5.99/month. However, local channel access is not available in all areas, so remember to research this before committing to a contract! Extras Gone are the days when we have to leave our homes to rent a movie, thanks to Video on Demand (VOD). VOD is different from Pay-Per-View. The movies and events are similar, but VOD programming can be started and stopped at any time and some of the programming is free. TWC prevails in this area, as cable companies have invested a lot of money to perfect VOD. TWC offers hundreds

of programs on-demand, with just the click of the remote. DIRECTV also has a VOD product, but an Internet connection is required, which is sometimes difficult in rural areas where high-speed may not be readily available. DIRECTV offers a few on-demand programs via satellite, but nothing compared to TWC. DISH offers VOD as well (DISH on Demand), but it is not available on all receiver models and a phone line must be connected to the receiver. DIRECTV offers DVR service (digital video recording), which allows programs to be recorded and watched at any time ($5.99 per month). TWC offers perks such as RoadRunner (average $44.99 per month) and Digital Home Phone Service (average $44.99 per month). When these services are “bundled,” including the cable packages, the overall monthly cost is reduced. DISH offers DSL, home phone and wireless in some areas.

HD Content The last thing to consider when deciding on a TV service provider is HD (high definition) content. A large number of homes already have an HD television and this number is only expected to grow as prices continue to fall. DISH offers the only 100 percent HD packages, which can be added to select Standard Definition packages for $10 per month. They currently offer 100 channels in HD. DIRECTV leads the pack in quantity with over 130 HD channels for about the same monthly fee. TWC offers the least amount of HD programming, but it is free and includes an adequate selection (ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, PBS, TNT, FSN, ESPN, ESPN2 and others). In summary, TWC, DISH and DIRECTV all offer something a little different. Basically, it comes down to what is important to each individual in terms of pricing and options…because gone are the days of simply just turning on the TV.

Internet TWC offers Road Runner High Speed Internet for $44.99 per month. With a 5Mbps downstream, it offers up to three times the speed of most standard DSL packages. Also included in the package are five email accounts, 15 GB of web space and six IP addresses. DIRECTV doesn’t offer high speed Internet directly. However, they do offer discounts for Internet service through their preferred providers. DISH offers the same type of service, using AT&T. In addition, however, they offer high speed Internet powered through WildBlue. If DSL or Road Runner isn’t available in a geographical (usually rural) area, this is a good alternative, as WildBlue is available virtually anywhere. Plans start at $49.95 per month (Silver). The download speed is 512 kbps. Installation is free, and five email addresses are included in the package. The Gold Plan is $69.95 with a download speed of 1Mbps and for $79.95, the Platinum Plan is offered. The download speed is 1.5Mbps.

FEBRUARY 5, 2009

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A Rotten Egg The Unborn (2009)  (Grade D) Starring Odette Yustman, Gary Oldman, Cam Gigandet, Meagan Good, James Remar, Atticus Shaffer, Jane Alexander, Idris Elba, Carla Gugino, Ethan Cutkosky Rogue Pictures — Rated PG-13 — Horror — 87 minutes

The plight of young starlets, compelled to accept turns in lesser films, prompts Odette Yustman to take on the under-gestated role of Casey Beldon. This horror succumbs to deformed thought when Yustman models her tighty-whitey undies while haunted by the specter of her unborn twin, Jumby (apparently a deviled egg). If Yustman’s plight is a sick Maxim fantasy, the rationale persuading Jane Alexander to till the film’s infertile soil

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escapes all reason. Alexander, an acclaimed veteran of stage and film at 70, lays an egg of her own when her character discloses the demon arose from Dr. Mengele’s Holocaust experiments on twins. Yustman, whose two facial expressions are blank and blanker, wears a procession of contact lenses that turn her brown eyes blue. These serve two purposes. First, as an indication Casey absorbed her twin’s DNA when he died in-utero, second, to provide something that merits filming her in close-up. Any doubt her twin is trying to take over is dispelled by Matty (Atticus Shaffer), Casey’s young neighbor, who warns, “Jumby wants to be born now.” Brown shadows encircling his dark eyes, Matty shows a newborn its reflection in the mirror and the baby subse-

quently dies. Though aware of that Matty is the devil’s pawn, Casey’s best friend Romy (Meagan Good) refuses to listen when the child declares, “I’ll kill you if you try to help Casey.” Granny Kozma, played by a vibrant Jane Alexander whose character is nonetheless banished to a nursing home, finally explains the demon’s origins to Casey. “It has fallen on you to finish what began in Auschwitz,” she informs poor Casey though the girl’s mother (Carla Gugino) died long since trying to do just that. Casey seeks a rabbi’s (Oldman) help with an ancient text on exorcism written in Hebrew. Soon the Rabbi, Casey, her boyfriend (Cam Gigandet) and eight others gather in a warehouse for a climactic showdown with the demon. No one seems concerned about the unborn twin’s physical manifestation in Casey’s DNA, a rare


condition and a fascinating one at that. Writer-director David Goyer manages a creepy visual when a couple of unfortunates (including an otherwise cute pooch) have their heads turned upside down by demonic possession. Otherwise, he relies on bugs and slimy things to convey a malevolent presence.

My screening, populated almost exclusively by the targeted PG-13 audience, frequently erupted in laughter. Normally the teen tendency to chat with one another, send text messages, or play electronic games during the movie would be a distraction, but this time I regretted not bringing a Game Boy of my own.

In the Theater Hotel for Dogs  1/2 (Grade B-) Starring Emma Roberts, Jake T. Austin, Lisa Kudrow, Kevin Dillion, Don Cheadle Paramount — Rated PG — Comedy Adapted from Lois Duncan’s popular children’s book, the story follows the heroic effort by orphans Andi (Roberts), and her younger brother Bruce (Austin), to keep their beloved terrier. When sent to live with their pretentious aunt and uncle (Kudrow and Dillion), the kids are warned by a social worker (Cheadle) this is their only chance of remaining together. Since their aunt claims she’s allergic to animals, the pair hide the terrier in an abandoned building already occupied by strays. Bruce rigs up a contraption to feed the animals when they’re away, but the dog catcher is a constant threat. It’s a cute scheme that ought to reward those primed for a doggie snack. My Bloody Valentine 3D  1/2 (Grade B-) Starring Jensen Ackles, Jaime King, Kerr Smith Lionsgate — Rated R — Horror — 101 minutes The sequel to the 1981 cult slasher revisits the mining town of Harmony on the 10th anniversary of a horrendous murder spree that saw 22 people get whacked with a pickaxe. When the murders start up again, returning townie Tom (Ackles), absent ever since the first attacks, finds himself in the thick of the action and suspected of being one of the perpetrators along with original killer Harry Warden and the town’s ill-tempered sheriff. Grisly and exciting in 3-D, guns go up against masked assailants armed with axes in this retroslasher that stresses the arts of stalking and shocking. Paul Blart: Mall Cop  1/2 (Grade B-) Starring Kevin James, Keir O’Donnell, Jayma Mays, Bobby Cannavale Sony — Rated PG — Comedy Kevin James, and a mall setting tailor-made for shopoholics in withdrawal, are the reasons to visit this slaphappy laugh-fest. James co-wrote the tale of a chubby guy who accepts a mall-security gig after failing to pass the police exam.

Paul (James), a dedicated single dad, dutifully masters the intricacies of a Segway to perform his new job and hopes to date the perky wig saleslady, Amy (Mays). His courtship has barely begun when a gang of nasty skateboarding shoplifters arrives to terrify customers and shopkeepers. Though Larry the Cable Guy is nowhere in sight, there’s enough slipping, sliding and body-slamming for any big man to show his detractors the error of their ways. Notorious  (Grade B) Starring Jamal Woolard, Anthony Mackie, Derek Luke Fox Searchlight — Rated R — Drama The life of rapper Christopher Wallace, aka Notorious B.I.G. (Woolard), is chronicled in this docudrama released 12 years after his untimely death. It details Wallace’s Jamaican parentage, unattractive looks, early life selling drugs in Brooklyn and rise to the top of East Coast hip-hop, occasionally revisiting the talented man’s music. But the heart of the story lies in the friendship turned sour with West Coast king, Tupac Shakur — another rapper snuffed out in his prime. The film avoids speculation regarding Wallace’s unsolved murder, yet it attempts to unravel an equally ambiguous subject when examining the relationships between rappers, gangs and hip-hop fans.

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Bride Wars  1/2 (Grade C-) Starring Anne Hathaway, Kate Hudson, Candice Bergen Fox 2000 — Rated PG — Comedy — 90 minutes The year’s first chick flick makes buffoons of Hathaway and Hudson, cast as lifelong friends who fight over the only wedding date and time available at New York City’s Plaza Hotel — the venue each covets. The trailer gives away the film’s distasteful pranks — a bad hair-dye job and a spray-on tan gone orange. Candice Bergen, playing a stern wedding planner, does her best to ground the unfunny antics, but the notion that women are this shallow is likely to resonate only with recently divorced men. FEBRUARY 5, 2009

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Book Beat By Terri Shlichenmeyer

A Little Giant of a Novel You know despair when you see it. And you were looking straight at it. The child was on the edge of the playground, all by herself. From the way she was kicking the dirt and from the angle of her head, you knew she was one of those kids who endures teasing and ostracism from classmates. It was heartbreaking. Even more so, if it happens to you. From the moment she was born, Truly Plaice was destined to be cast aside. In the new book The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker, Truly is largely invisible. For generations, there has been a Dr. Robert Morgan in the little town of Aberdeen. Legend has it that the first was a Civil War deserter who showed up because he heard a witch was healing people. They say the first Robert Morgan married that witch, who wrote her spells down and promptly retired from her herbs to raise the next Dr. Robert Morgan. Therefore, a Dr. Robert Morgan brought Truly into the world just as he ushered her mother out. Truly’s father blamed Robert Morgan for his wife’s death, even though Truly’s mother was hiding a fistsize tumor in her breast before the delivery and besides, there wasn’t much the doctor could do about a 14-pound baby. And Truly grew. In school, she was always bigger than the other kids, even the oldest ones. Her drab, tent-like wardrobe was homemade or from the boys’ department, so that it would fit a child of her size. The teacher, Miss Priscilla Sparrow, was quite unkind and so were the other children. It didn’t help any that Serena Jane, Truly’s older sister, was the prettiest girl in the world. But that was okay. Truly found family and comfort when her overwhelmed father left her at the bedraggled Dyerson farm. Amelia PAGE 24

FEBRUARY 5, 2009

Dyerson was like a sister, and August Dyerson taught the girls to play poker. Truly was truly happy. But it wouldn’t last. Bob Bob, the latest of the Dr. Robert Morgans, married Serena Jane, but when she disappeared, he demanded that Truly move into town to care for him and his son. Cruelly, he made it hard to say no. But when Truly finds a surprise solution to a town mystery, she knows she’s found an escape from her big dilemma. The Little Giant of Aberdeen County reminded me a lot of a Twilight-Zone-ish television show: It’s a dark, quirky, sometimescomic, sometimes-tragic story where strange people wander in and out and odd plot twists throw you off, just when you think you see what’s next. I liked this book for author Tiffany Baker’s main character, but more because of the peripheral townspeople. It’s kind of fun to watch the nasty characters get paid back for their badness, and I liked how the decent characters became gently complicated, despite their goodness. If your book group is in search of their next novel, or if you want something to escape into, here’s one to try. The Little Giant of Aberdeen County is hugely entertaining. The Little Giant of Aberdeen County By Tiffany Baker Copyright 2009 Grand Central Publishing $24.99 / $27.99 Canada 341 pages Terri Shlichenmeyer has been reading since she was 3 years old, and never goes anywhere without a book. She lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 11,000 books.


t i m e s

picks the best in lake area entertainment

REINAUER EXHIBIT AT ABERCROMBIE GALLERY THROUGH FEB. 12 — Lisa Reinauer, professor of art at McNeese State University, has a solo exhibition titled “Heart and Word” now showing through Feb. 12 in McNeese’s Abercrombie Gallery located in Room 125 of the Shearman Fines Arts Center. The public is invited to a closing reception for the exhibit at 6 p.m. Thurs., Feb. 12, in the gallery. The exhibit is sponsored by the McNeese visual arts department. The solo exhibition features acrylic and mixed media paintings that use hearts as the subject matter. Many of the works incorporate text with references from biblical, historical and literary sources. The body of work was completed as part of a Shearman Research Grant from the McNeese Foundation. For more information about the exhibit, call the McNeese visual arts department at (337) 475-5060. NASA ART 50 YEARS OF EXPLORATION AT 1911 CITY HALL FEB. 5 - APRIL 11 — In celebration of its 50th anniversary in 2008, NASA has collaborated with the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) and the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum on the exhibition “NASA | ART 50 Years of Exploration.” The 72 works of art will be on exhibit in the second and third floor galleries at 1911 Historic City Hall Arts & Cultural Center, 1001 Ryan Street, beginning Feb. 5 through April 11, 2009. The art featured in the exhibit date from the inception of the NASA Art Program in 1962. The City of Lake Charles will host an opening reception on Thurs., Feb. 5, from 6 – 9 p.m. at 1911 Historic City Hall Arts & Cultural Center. Guests can participate in a “NASA | ART” scavenger hunt throughout the galleries, designed to evoke awareness of art as well as space exploration. Space-inspired refreshments will be served. 1911 Historic City Hall Arts and Cultural Center is open Mon. through Fri., 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sat., 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission is free, but donations are gladly accepted. For more information, please call 491-9147 or visit www.cityoflakecharles.com. CTC’S ALICE IN WONDERLAND FEB. 6 - 15 AT CENTRAL SCHOOL — Kerry Onxley, Artistic Director of The Children’s Theatre Company (CTC) presents Alice in Wonderland. This one-act performance will be held on Feb. 6, 7 and 14 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 8 and 15 at 3 p.m. All performances will be held at Central School of the Arts & Humanities Center (809 Kirby Street) located in downtown Lake Charles. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for children. Tickets may be purchased by visiting the Web site at www.childrenstheatre.cc or calling the box office at (337) 540-1250. Character Dining for ALICE IN WONDERLAND will be held on Sat., Feb. 7 and 14 at 6 p.m. Ticket prices for this event are $25 per person. LIVIN’ THE MUSIC SONGWRITER’S NIGHT OB’S FEB. 7 — Come to OB’s at 7 p.m. for a special fundraiser. Livin’ the Music is a nonprofit organization founded on the idea that music can change the world. There will be music by local songwriters, and proceeds will go to raise awareness and support for the Ethel Precht Hope Breast Cancer Foundation. A great way to have fun and listen to local talent—all for a good cause. Cover charge is $10. For more info, e-mail info@livinthemusic.org, or visit www.livinthemusic.org

Brooks & Dunn

BROOKS & DUNN TO PERFORM AT COUSHATTA FEB. 13 — Grammy Award winners Brooks & Dunn will perform Fri., Feb. 13 in The Pavilion at Coushatta. This multi-award winning duo has a stellar list of accomplishments: Over 30 million albums sold with 23 number one singles, two Grammy awards, four-time Entertainers of the Year, CMA “Duo of the Year” 14 times, ACM “Duo of the Year” 14 times, and over 80 industry awards––making them the most awarded artists in ACM and CMA history. The doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the concert begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are now on sale at Ticketmaster.com, all Ticketmaster outlets, and the Coushatta Box Office. The resort is located in Kinder on Highway 165 (I-10 exit 44), featuring over 2,800 slots and more than 70 table games. Visit the Web site at coushattacasinoresort.com or phone (800) 584-7263 for more information. WOMEN’S SHELTER GEMS AND STEMS FUNDRAISER FEB. 13 — The Calcasieu Women’s Shelter and Rape Crisis Outreach will host the third annual Gems and Stems fundraiser on Fri., Feb. 13 at Treasures of Marilyn’s on Fifth Avenue. Each beverage purchase in the special stemmed glasses will have a small bag attached to the stem containing a gem suitable for mounting. Some gems are precious and some are semi-precious, and all are beautiful! Gems & Stems provides funding for the Women’s Shelter and programs in the community that address domestic violence and sexual assault, and the Rape Crisis Outreach Center. Diamond Sponsor for the sparkling event is Cameron State Bank. Tickets are available for $50.00 per person; tables for 8 are available for $400. Live music and dancing will add sparkle to the evening. To obtain tickets, please call the Shelter at (337) 436-4552 or (800) 223-8066.

FEBRUARY 5, 2009

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The Times of SWLA is distributed throughout our region and via the world wide web. Call Andy, Patricia or Shanda at 337-439-0995 and let them show you how to grow your business today. Across 1 Speeding punishment 7 Hydromassage facility 10 Mr. of the soft drink world 14 In heaven, in some Christmas carols 15 L.A. Lakers center Gasol 16 ___ about 17 Hullabaloo 18 "The Addams Family" cousin 19 "Just let ___, man" 20 "Try to chew your food a little more--don't scarf it" phrase? 23 Dalai ___ 24 Toddler's query 25 Dr. Evil's assistant 27 Spud bud 28 Fed. construction overseer 29 Like books without a numbered system 30 Drinks soup 32 Cloister group 33 Beat a NYC college athletic team? 36 Blue-green 38 "Space ___" ("Ground control to Major Tom" song) 39 Like crust covering some hard-to-clean dishes 42 3-D graphics in movie special effects, for short

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43 Common soccer score 46 Oriole Park at ___ Yards 47 It's illegal to pump yourself in Oregon 48 iPod variety 49 Whiz only on footprint indentations? 52 "Janie's Got ___" (Aerosmith song) 53 2007's Super Bowl 54 Yes-man's response 55 Put up 56 "The Tonight Show" announcer Hall 57 Nicole of "Charles In Charge" 58 Analogy words 59 Get the picture 60 Calls the shots Down 1 Mess up hair 2 Like balls used during a game 3 Bumper material 4 Plains Native American tribe that becomes a state if you drop the first letter 5 Quaint outburst 6 Loses what was originally put down? 7 Like cacti 8 Way to go 9 Back to school season

10 Ability to make a lasting impression 11 Whodunit theme 12 Imaginary threats (var.) 13 "My man!" 21 Penn's school of business 22 "___/Tuck" 26 Publishers' hirees, for short 28 Day-___ 29 Item on a lot 30 It's given after a great performance 31 University conferral 33 Overcome an obstacle 34 Filthy rooms 35 "Feliz cumpleaÒos ___" ("Happy Birthday To You," in Spanish) 36 1970 hit for The Jackson 5 37 Extinct African mammals related to zebras 40 Judge's highest rating, on "Dancing with the Stars" 41 Translucent quartzes\ 43 Mother-of-pearl materials 44 Comic book workers 45 Get beat by 47 Zagat Survey, e.g. 48 Prone to complain 50 ___ English 800 (Miller malt liquor) 51 Sitar music 52 Yellowfin tuna


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Living the Dream

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olene R. Constance, Assistant Warden at Phelps Correctional Center in DeQuincy, recognizes the value of art in our lives—especially in a setting with few options for selfexpression. Thus, an art program was created at Phelps. Susan Arnold and Vickie Gruca, Calcasieu Parish School art teachers, volunteered to teach the classes, committing time and resources to teach six instructional courses of art education. Arnold and Gruca presented an opportunity for inmates to express themselves in a manner that most had never attempted. To say the program is successful is an understatement. As Constance stated, “The first of its kind at Phelps Correctional Center, it was an overwhelming success with the offenders.” It was clear from the results, and the testimony of the artists that the time was not wasted, but was very much appreciated by these men. Art Behind Bars is on display at the Central School Arts and Humanities Center Black Heritage Gallery, is presented by Phelps Correctional Center, Black Heritage Gallery and the Arts and Humanities Council of SWLA. A publication containing each inmate’s work and accompanying letter describing what the class has meant to them is available as long as supplies last. Most of the art is for sale, with half the proceeds going to the artists and the remainder towards funding future classes and arts programs at Phelps. For more information, call 439-2787.

PHOTOS SHOWN: 1–Art Instructor, Susan Arnold with, Boyd Broussard, one of her Grand Lake students, ready for the opening of Art Behind Bars. 2–Shelly Appleby visits the Art Behind Bars opening exhibit at Central School Arts and Humanities Center. 3–Michael Butler, Jr. & Michael Butler, Sr. view various pieces of art at the Art Behind Bars exhibit. 4–Enjoying opening night of Art Behind Bars is Vickie Gruca and Jolene Constance.

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5–Attending the opening of Art Behind Bars at Central School Arts and Humanities Center are Suze’ Latour and Angie Sanders. 6–Paul and Sandi Campbell MacKnight and CiCi Campbell at the Burns Supper, celebrating the life and works of Scottish poet Robert Burns. 7–Ready and dressed for the occasion are Jim Serra, and Lisa and Adam McBride at the Burns Supper. 8–Tommy Curtis and Susan and Michael Jones are ready to celebrate at the Burns Supper.

FEBRUARY 5, 2009

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PHOTOS SHOWN: 9–Caprice and Grant Bush display items for sale at the Burns Supper as Kevin Comboy looks on. 10–Bob McCall with Pam and Sandra Abrahams at the Burns Supper. 11–Charles and Sharon Monlezun admire one of Kevin Leveque’s paintings at the artist’s reception presented by Henning Cultural Center. 12–Jerry Bordelon and Alice Fontenot at Henning Cultural Center for Kevin Leveque’s exhibit and artist’s reception.

Unique Gifts and Accessories 3204 Ryan St. • 337-433-6200

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FEBRUARY 5, 2009

Our Lady Queen of Heaven Family Life Center was the location for the 2009 Burns Supper to commemorate the 250th anniversary of Robert Burns’ birth. Burns (Jan. 25, 1759 – July 21, 1796) a poet and lyricist, is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland and is celebrated worldwide. Burns Suppers are held wherever there are followers, and basically follow the same basic program format of a Scottish meal, toasts to Burns, traditional bagpipe tunes and recitations of some of Burns most loved poems. The 2009 Burns Supper was presented by the Celtic Nations Heritage Foundation. After the piping in of the head table and the Haggis Ceremony, a lovely Bill O’ Fare of roast beef, tatties ‘n’ neeps, green beans, rolls and butter and assorted desserts was served. Toasts were raised as the program progressed with intervals of musical selections from the Lone Star Bagpipe Band. Danny O’Flaherty sang a ballad, and Andrew Blanton performed several selections accompanying himself on the guitar. Bobby Dower gave a Toast to the Lassies, and Lisa McBride gave the Reply from the Lassies. Mari Wilson of KPLC called for volunteers to read or recite selections of Burns’ work. Among those participat-


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PHOTOS SHOWN: 13–Daryl Flynn and Mark Miller visit with Pat Leveque, wife of the artist, at the Henning Cultural Center’s reception for Kevin Leveque. 14–Patricia and Brian Prudhomme look for their favorite painting by Kevin Leveque at the artist’s reception at Henning Cultural Center. 15–“Gravel Road” by Kevin Leveque is a favorite painting of Gloria and Triangle M Yang.

ing were Dr. Doug Hamer, Sandie Campbell MacKnight, Adam McBride, Amber Grumby and Bob McCall. The dinner ended with everyone singing the traditional Burns’ composition of “Auld Lang Syne.” Crossing the I-10 bridge did not deter the Shadow from attending the artist’s reception for Kevin Leveque at the Henning Cultural Center in Sulphur. Charles and Sharon Monlezun graciously agreed to pose for a photo as the Shadow entered the building. Thom Trahan and staff provided the usual southern hospitality with friendly smiles and a delicious spread of cheeses, crackers, dips and those wonderful strawberries. Thanks, Thom! The Henning Center is current-

ly displaying selected paintings by Kevin Leveque, many of which are based on his childhood memories. Jessie Kelly was seen admiring the painting “Next Door,” while Jerry Bordelon and Alice Fontenot viewed “Levee Pond and “Mockingbird Hill.” Fred and Dorothy Sahlman and Helen Swindle were among the guests enjoying landscapes depicting Leveque’s recollections from long ago, when life was simple and magical. Leveque took time to give some background information to a betrothed couple, Keri Fontenot and John Hawkins, explaining that the painting “Handy Broom” captures memories of helping his uncle in his woodshop

PHOTOS SHOWN: 16–Herbert Pete and Barbara Forsythe pour champagne at Krewe des Gens Extraordinaire’s Champagne Sip. 17–Sipping champagne are Wayne & Derricka Guidry at the Krewe des Gens Extraordinaire Mardi Gras Ball. 18–Ready for the Extraordinaire Ball are Shannon Ryan Moore and Lou Anna Papion.

behind his grandmother’s house on the corner of Pine and Bilbo Streets in Lake Charles. Some guests were quick to point out a favorite, while others had more difficulty deciding. Brian Prudhomme liked “Cooling Off,” while Heather Flynn’s favorite was “Kirby Street.” To learn more about the artist and his paintings, go to kevin-lawrence-leveque.fineartamerica.com. For additional information regarding Henning Cultural Center contact Thom at 527-0357. Being a guest at the Krewe des Gens Extraordinaire Ball was an extraordinary experience. Arriving a bit early, the Shadow located her host-

ess, Mallany Ryan, to get seating instructions for the evening. Johnnie Syas, Willie Hamilton, Herbert Pete and Barbara Forsythe kept the champagne flowing at the “Champagne Sip” that preceded the presentation of the ball. The theme this year was “Extraordinaire’s Journey,” and chronicled extraordinary events in AfricanAmerican history from the slave trade to the present. I was seated at Mallany’s table, which was all decked out in red, white and blue, with guests’ favors emblazoned with the image of President Barack Obama. The krewe, established in 1995, paid tribute to Faye Brown FEBRUARY 5, 2009

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PHOTOS SHOWN: 19–Queen Extraordinaire XIII Paula Nixon and King Extraordinaire XIII Duane Gauthier in all their Mardi Gras finery. 20–Ready to party are Debra & Jerome Lastrapes and Vivian Simon at Krewe des Gens Extraordinaire Mardi Gras Ball. 21–Leroy Steward & Vanessa Tillman sport their MLK shirts at the MLK Festival Parade.

Blackwell, of KZWA, for her untiring efforts and contributions, past and present, to the fulfillment of the “dream.” Scenes from the past were recalled as Mistress of Ceremonies, Diana Ross, introduced krewe members portraying the Rosa Parks story, the Earth, Wind, Fire & Desire African Dancers and a performance by the “Isley Brothers.” Shannon Ryan presented a soulful rendition of “A Change Is Gonna Come.” There was even an appearance by President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama (aka Mr. and Mrs. Bob Syas). Following the introduction of the PAGE 30

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Duchesses and Dukes, Queen Extraordinaire XIII, Paula Nixon and King Extraordinaire XIII, Duane Gauthier, the brass band, playing “When the Saints Go Marching In,” led the parade of royalty upstairs to the Mardi Gras celebration. The streets were lined with crowds on a breezy but sunny day when the MLK Festival Parade started down Broad Street. The Shadow was strategically placed for optimum viewing amid the crowd of children, teens and adults eagerly awaiting the first sight of the parade. Heading out from the Lake Charles Civic Center, the parade

PHOTOS SHOWN: 22–Front row seats for Mary Babineaux, Coco and Elijah Babineaux at the MLK Festival Parade. 23–Friends line up for the MLK Festival Parade – Hillary Lemelle, Delisa Carroll, Ronessa Lemelle and Matthew Carroll. 24–Antonio Scott gets a coloring sheet from Charlene Rosamore with the Lake Charles Recreation Department at the MLK Festival.

followed Broad, Enterprise and Mill Sts., ending back at the Civic Center where the MLK Festival activities continued. Queens riding in convertibles and on floats waved to the crowd and tossed candy and beads along the way. Various organizations and groups on a variety of modes of travel passed in review, including Moriah’s Christian Preschool, African-American Historical Museum/Thimco Historical Foundation, and the Buccaneers’ pirate ship with the mayor on board. There were young people on four wheelers, people on horseback and horse and buggies. Washington Marion’s Marchin’ Jukebox and Opelousas Marching Band did some high stepping, much to the delight of

the parade-goers. The Shadow strolled on down to the Civic Center for a continuum of food, music and fun. Games and activities for the children, shopping at vendor booths, etouffee, pralines, fried pies, gumbo cook-off and more; everything a festival should be. Joe and Vanessa Austin of Little Lee’s Day Care had some hot and spicy etouffee that the Shadow sampled, while The Candy Man, Edward Victorian, offered some delicious pralines to the Shadow. The competition was stiff for the Gumbo Cook-off; the winner was the Lake Charles Fire Department. The Shadow was pretty tired after this festival day!


FocalPoint Media & Marketing is currently seeking a Graphic Artist. The successful candidate must possess strong graphic art - design skills complimented with good organizational skills, excellent verbal and written communication skills, be attentive to detail, and able to juggle multiple projects in a creative environment. The candidate must have expert computer skills, consisting of experience with Adobe Products, Quark and other imaging or creative software used in conjunction with graphic design, illustration and web design.

Mail or drop off resume and samples of work to FOCALPOINT MEDIA & MARKETING 617 Drew St. Lake Charles, LA 70601

Below: Girls Night Out with Jami Jones Hemund, Peggy Smith, and Brenda McDuff.

Above: David McCleaf snaps a shot of fishing buddy, Patrick Guillory, a Lake Charles local now living and fishing the waters of Pine Island Sound in Cape Coral, Florida. Patrick is the nephew of Katsie Barbier Fanelli.

Below: Keely Saige celebrating her 4th birthday with a Little Mermaid themed party. Keely is the daughter of Candi Quebedeaux of Lafayette and granddaughter of Tim and Tammy Andreas of Lake Charles.

Parting Sh o ts

1) E-mail your snap shots to myphoto@timessw.com. Must include a contact name and phone number. 2) Photos should be attached as a file and not imbedded in copy or photoshopped into a format. Original size, please, do not compress the file. No mailed or fax photographs can be used.

3) Subjects in photo must be identified by name. Children should also be identified by parent or guardian. Unidentified or anonymous photos will not be considered for publication. 4) The Times reserves the right to decline publishing photos of questionable taste or subject matter, or for space limitations.

FEBRUARY 5, 2009

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