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Sean Green

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Sean Green is managing editor of the Bossier Press-Tribune.

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The 2015 PRWC officers sworn in, pictured left to right, are: Anita Braswell, Corresponding Secretary, Susan Taylor, Treasurer, Ms. Gore, Kerry Kimler, President & Pam Gutekunst, Vice Present.

The 2015 PRWC officers sworn in, pictured left to right, are: Anita Braswell, Corresponding Secretary, Susan Taylor, Treasurer, Ms. Gore, Kerry Kimler, President & Pam Gutekunst, Vice Present.

Inspiritional and motivational speaker Kelly Johnson spoke at the December meeting of the Professional Republican Women of Caddo held at Savoies Catering Place on E. 70th Street in Shreveport.

The 2015 PRWC officers were sworn in by Gena Gore, Executive Vice President of the Louisiana Federation of Republican Women. Officers are: Anita Braswell, Corresponding Secretary; Susan Taylor, Treasurer; Ms. Gore; Kerry Kimler, President;  Pam Gutekunst, Vice Present. Absent was Pat Roach, Recording Secretary.

The PRWC meet on the third Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m. in Savoie’s. Dinner reservations can be made by calling 318-797-0802  or e-mailing prwc1989@gmail.com.

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The Cyber Innovation Center’s National Integrated Cyber Education Research Center (NICERC) has spread to the West Coast.

This past Wednesday, NICERC partnered with California State University at San Bernardino, and Girls Scouts of San Gorgonio to bring a collaborative STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and cyber experience to middle and high school girls from the San Bernardino area.

“Cyber Pathways” was designed to show 300 female students and underrepresented minorities the numerous possibilities in the fields of engineering and cyber security. The event’s focus on females was to help increase the number of women pursuing science-related fields, including cyber security.

“Thousands of cyber security jobs go unfilled every day so it’s imperative we build a cyber workforce for the future by engaging students and teachers early and often,” shared Kevin Nolten, NICERC’s Academic Outreach Coordinator. “Our programs build a strong STEM foundation while integrating a cyber context.”

Featured at the event was NICERC’s STEM: Explore, Discover, Apply (STEM EDA) curriculum. The modular nature of STEM EDA provides the ultimate flexibility in the classroom. The curriculum can be incorporated into an existing class, implemented as a standalone course, or provided as an afterschool program. In San Bernardino, students used the engineering design process to explore forces related to aircrafts. Using this knowledge, teams designed, built, and tested glider airplanes powered by slingshots, and studied how the components of design affected the gliders’ flight. The full Glider module examines factors including time in the air, distance, and accuracy.

Dr. Krystal Corbett, NICERC’s Director of Curriculum noted, “STEM EDA modules are a great way to engage students while providing teachers with resources to create a truly innovative, integrated, and relative learning environment in their classrooms.”

In addition to working with the STEM EDA Glider module, the students also experienced a flying drone demonstration and participated in a cyber obstacle course where they learned how to create secure passwords to withstand a sophisticated hacker program.

While in San Bernardino, the NICERC curriculum team also hosted a STEM EDA teacher workshop on California State University’s campus. Thirty-three middle school teachers from the San Bernardino area were guided through multiple STEM EDA modules. Those who attended the workshop gained access to the STEM EDA curriculum to implement in their classrooms after the new year. NICERC will host similar workshops across the country in the next nine months. Through these efforts, professional development will be provided to over 1,500 teachers.

NICERC curricula and professional development opportunities are being implemented nationwide through a grant with the Department of Homeland Security. To learn more about STEM EDA and other NICERC curricula, please visit www.NICERC.org.

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Carnival season is quickly approaching in Louisiana, and Shreveport-Bossier’s Mardi Gras krewes are gearing up to present a busy schedule of parades, float-loading parties, extravagant bals and more.

The fun begins with the traditional 12th Night Party, 6:30 p.m.-12 a.m., Saturday, Jan. 3 at the Bossier Civic Center, and continues until Carnival season is officially brought to a close on Fat Tuesday, Feb. 17, during the annual Texas Street Bridge Closing Ceremony held at midnighton the Texas Street Bridge in downtown Shreveport.

The Gris Gris Guide to Mardi Gras 
Parades are just the beginning when it comes to Carnival season fun. To help visitors enjoy local Carnival season food, off-the-beaten-path parties and more, the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau publishes an annual brochure called The Gris Gris Guide to Mardi Gras in Shreveport-Bossier. The 2015 edition of the guide is now available as a free download at www.shreveport-bossier.org/mardigras. The full-color, pocket-sized guidebook can also be picked up at the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau’s downtown visitor center at 629 Spring Street in downtown Shreveport.

Major Mardi Gras Parade Dates for 2015
The two largest Mardi Gras parades set to take place in Shreveport-Bossier are the Krewe of Centaur Parade XXIV, 4:30 p.m., Sat., Feb. 7, and the Krewe of Gemini Parade XXVI, 4:30 p.m., Sat., Feb. 14. Both parades begin at the intersection of Clyde Fant Parkway and Lake Street in downtown Shreveport and proceed south to Shreveport-Barksdale Highway and East Kings Highway. Both parades include an alcohol-free family zone located in the area surrounding Veteran’s Memorial Park on Clyde Fant Parkway. These two enormous, colorful parades include dozens of floats, marching bands, performing artists and more.

Daylight Parades
The Krewe of Harambee Martin Luther King Jr. Day Mardi Gras Parade, scheduled for 1 p.m., Mon., Jan. 19, is an enormous parade honoring the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. This distinctly musical parade attracts top marching bands from throughout the region and rolls through downtown Shreveport via Milam Street and Texas Street. The Krewe of Highland Parade XX, one of the largest neighborhood parades in Louisiana, will roll through Shreveport’s historic Highland neighborhood at 2 p.m. on Sun., Feb. 15. The Krewe of Highland is a funky, eclectic celebration known for unique “throws” including grilled hot dogs, Moon Pies, hand-made art items and more. The Krewe of Highland begins and ends at the intersection of Gilbert Drive and Gregg Street, traveling a circuitous route via Creswell Avenue, Olive Street and Centenary Boulevard.

For more information on Mardi Gras celebrations in Shreveport-Bossier, visit www.shreveport-bossier.org/mardigras.

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Project Celebration received a $5,000 donation for the organization from Ron Smith Sr. of Central Louisiana Electric Co.

Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell advocated CLECO to financially support Project Celebration and its work on behalf of victims of domestic abuse in northwest Louisiana.

The organization helps those affected by domestic violence in Caddo, Bossier, Webster, DeSoto, Natchitoches, Red River and Sabine parishes.  Darren Olagues, president of CLECO Power, said the electric company was pleased to support the work of Project Celebration in assisting individuals and families in distress.

“As we strengthen families, we better our communities,” Olagues said.

Campbell is the author of a PSC rule waiving utility deposits for victims of domestic abuse seeking to establish a new home.

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HAUGHTON – A funeral service for Juanita Mason King, 86, will be held at Hill Crest Memorial Mausoleum on Saturday, December 20, 2014 at 1:00 p.m. with Brother Billy Pierce officiating.

Ms. King was the business owner of King’s Corner convenience store in Haughton for many years.

Juanita was preceded in death by her parents, husband Jim King and brother Bobby Ray Lynn.

She is survived by her children Randy Mason, Billy Mason, Sandra Hooper and Sandra Shaner, grandchildren Russ Mason, Jeff Mason, Scott Diehl, Dana Misner, Kelly Hooper and Kiley Hooper and great grandchildren.

Words of comfort may be shared with the family by visiting www.hillcrestmemorialfh.com

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BENTON – Phillip Sapp Sr. was born March 31, 1932, to the late Eph and Sarah Sapp. He was the youngest of eight siblings. He entered into his eternal rest on Saturday, December 13, 2014.

After graduating high school in Montgomery, Louisiana, Phillip joined the Air Force and retired after 21 years. He then became a Library of Congress Police Officer, where he served another 20 years at our nation’s capital in Washington, D.C. He was also a Mason.

Phillip was a loving and kind man who touched the lives of many. He was a loving father and devoted to his family, friends, and the Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, where he was a senior usher. He had a passion for his children, cooking, and was an avid longtime fan of the Dallas Cowboys, Los Angeles Lakers and the Dodgers. Ever the family man, he was behind making sure the Sapp/Nash family reunions were fun, well-attended and a success. He was also very active in his community and supported the Benton High football and basketball teams with his famous tailgate parties.

Phillip leaves to cherish his memory, four children; Kathy Sapp, Phillip Sapp Jr. and his wife Patricia, Tia Sapp, and Christie Watkins and her husband Michael; two sisters; Ruth Mae Williams, Ida Mae Prince; six grandchildren and a host of other relatives and many friends.

Wake: Saturday, December 20, 2014, 6 pm until 8 pm

Good Samaritan Funeral Home, Shreveport, LA

Funeral Services: Monday, December 22, 2014

12 noon at Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, Benton, LA

Officiating will be Pastor Steve Anderson.

Interment will follow at the church cemetery.

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Bossier City Police Shop with a Cop was held Thursday night at the Walmart Super Center on Airline Drive sponsored by Bossier City Police Local 645 and the Bossier Chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #39.

Local 645 and the FOP were feeling extra generous tonight and spent $125 for each of the 40 children in need who took part so that they could have gifts this Christmas.

Money for the program came from the generous contributions from the Bossier City community that were collected by both organizations.

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BOSSIER CITY – Frankie Slade Hughes died December 13, 2014 after a lengthy illness but a full life. She was born January 3, 1927, in Hot Springs, Arkansas to Frank and Thelma Irwin. Frankie has been a resident of Bossier City, Louisiana since 1967 when her first husband, George was transferred to Barksdale Air Force Base. She worked in the banking industry for almost 30 years before retiring so that she could enjoy gardening, reading, bible study, and weekends at her lake house. She experienced the greatest joy when she was with her children and many grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her precious daughter, Martha Barca, her devoted son-in-law, Frank M. Walker, Jr.; and her beautiful granddaughter, Nina Elise Walker; and her husband, John. She was loved beyond compare by her two sisters Dorothy Doherty and Virginia Faubion who prayed for her and spoke with her by phone almost every day.

She is survived by her son, George H. Slade, Jr and wife, Catherine; her daughter, Suzie Walker Sharp and husband, Doug; and her grandchildren, Marc Prodgers and wife, Michelle, Jennifer Dysart and husband, Eric, Michael Prodgers, Brian Slade and wife, Kibbie, Keith Prodgers, Meredith Walker Price, Brooke Walker Strickland and husband, Ben, Matthew Barca and wife, Jenny, Amanda Slade, Sarah Mendez and husband, Thomas, Carmen Walker and Slade Walker. Her great grandchildren include, Ethan and Brian Dysart, Gavin and Gabrielle Prodgers, Lauren and Cam Slade, Ella, Maddie and Ava Price, Marriya Barca and Walker Strickland.

Our family sends our heartfelt thanks to Yolanda Hicks, Miss Frankie’s dear friend and caretaker for the last year.

Visitation will be from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Friday, December 19th at Osborn Funeral Home. A memorial service will begin at 11 a.m. on Saturday, December 20th, in the chapel of Osborn. Interment will be at Forest Park Cemetery following for family members.

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Players decorate former coach’s home in his memory

A holiday tradition is proving to be more meaningful for one Bossier City family as each year passes.

The Airline High School baseball team has been decorating the home of Jason Bland for six years now. Jason, a former athletic trainer and teacher at Airline High School, passed away from cancer in 2010.

The idea to decorate his home came when Jason was hospitalized right before Thanksgiving in 2009. Head baseball coach Toby Todd asked Jason’s wife, Jennifer Bland, if there was anything he could do to help the family while he was away.

“I said no, everything is fine,” Jennifer said.

However, there was something Coach Todd could do for the Bland family.

“Jason loved his Christmas lights. Some of the coaches even called him Griswold,” Jennifer said, referring to the character in the National Lampoon movie series. “It was too much for me to do all by myself.”

Todd didn’t want Jason’s daughters, Caroline and Hannah, to have a Christmas they weren’t used to. He rallied the baseball team together and decided they would decorate the Bland’s house.

The team, coaches and a few parents showed up and took care of all the lights and decorations. Jennifer went back to the hospital and told Jason what the team had done for them, showing him pictures and videos of the team working on his home.

Jennifer said “he thought it was awesome.”

Sadly, Jason Bland passed away June 7, 2010. Jennifer said she stayed in touch with Coach Todd and the Airline coaching staff after his death, but a familiar conversation arose the week of Thanksgiving.

“He called and said we’re coming over to put up your Christmas lights,” Jennifer said. “Of course I started crying.”

That’s how the tradition started. It’s now Caroline Bland’s favorite part of Christmas.

“It starts our holiday off,” Jennifer said. “It gives us something to look forward to.”

But what would Jason say about this tradition?

“I don’t think he would be surprised at all. That’s just the kind of close-knit relationship these coaches had,” Jennifer said. “[Jason] loved the kids and they loved him. I don’t think he would be surprised at all.”

Coach Todd said Jason’s death had a huge impact on his coaching staff.

“Players come and go, but this staff was a group that had been together for many years,” he said. “He was a jovial man, rarely ever angry and he worked great with the players. It’s unfortunate that none of the players today ever got the chance to work with him, but they will never forget him because of this [tradition].”

Senior outfielder Peyton Coker was a ball boy when Jason was still alive, but he didn’t get to spend much time with him. However, he is proud to carry on his legacy through this service.

“This is an incredible opportunity for us to serve a family that served us so diligently,” Coker said.

Tanner Daniel, a senior middle infielder, agreed, adding that it’s a “big deal” to see the family happy during the holidays.

“It’s great to know that giving back has effected them in many ways,” Daniel said. “It’s great to be part of the tradition.”

Jacob James, a senior outfielder, said decorating the Bland’s house is something he looks forward to every year. Not only does it serve as a bonding time for the team, but James said it’s about doing a service to the community.

That’s what Todd wants his team to always remember.

“The lesson of the game serves a bigger purpose,” he said. “This means a lot to us because baseball isn’t just about winning games. [Jason] wasn’t a man of many words, but when he spoke he meant it. I think this would really make him smile.”

Jennifer said this is one holiday tradition she will cherish and appreciate for years to come.

“I tell [Coach Todd] this every year – there aren’t enough words in the English language that can describe or tell you exactly how much it means to me and the girls for them to do this. There aren’t enough ways to say thank you or ways to show appreciation to let them know how we feel about it. This is something that’s very special to us.”

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Story by Tom Pace, Special to the Press-Tribune

“A lot of people on Social Security are just getting by,” says Max Richtman, a lobbyist and expert on America’s aging population of boomers, who continues to work for increases to help those on very limited incomes make ends meet.

So what about Social Security? Is it solvent? Just how long will Social Security be there for future generations?

In a very straightforward answer, the former staff director of the Senate Special Committee on Aging and 16-year veteran of Capitol Hill, answered:

“It’s not really what you believe or what I believe…it’s what the trustees of Social Security say…they issued a report this past April, early May, and they made it clear, Social Security is able to pay every beneficiary, every penny they’re entitled to, until the year 2034.”

Richtman

Richtman

“The only way Social Security could ever be bankrupt,” he continued, “is if we had 100% unemployment, and nobody was paying FICA tax. That would be bankruptcy.”

However, Richtman cautioned, “But the shortfall is about 18 to 20 percent. And that’s gotta be fixed, so that the program is solvent and can continue to pay everybody, every penny they’re entitled to beyond 2034. That’s what’s got to be fixed.”

“I hear a lot of the rhetoric, ‘Oh it’s broke, it’s bankrupt, there’s no money there’ and that’s not true.” Richtman acknowledged.

“There is a problem that needs to be addressed, we don’t have to do it today, we don’t have to do it in the context of a budget crisis, or a deficit reduction grand bargain, we have to do it to make sure the program itself continues.”

Currently, Richtman is the President and CEO of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare (NCPSSM), one of the nation’s most influential senior advocacy and education membership organizations.

Mr. Richtman, who joined the organization in 1989, also serves as Chair of the National Committee’s Political Action Committee (PAC) board, a non-partisan committee that endorses candidates for federal office who take uncompromising stands on social policy legislation which impacts the aging population.

In testifying before House and Senate committees, Mr. Richtman has provided expert political and policy commentary during appearances on CNN, C-Span, FOX, MSNBC, CBS and Pacifica radio networks, participated in hundreds of Congressional Town Hall meetings across the country and has been a featured speaker during numerous national and state conferences on aging.

The expert on Social Security and Medicare programs, Richtman was the special guest with Tom Pace on his “Talk of the Town” radio show, Thursday, December 4 that aired on The Promise 90.7FM.