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Sean Green

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

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Amanda Michelle Crane and Gerrit Wade Simmons of Bossier City are pleased to announce their engagement and forthcoming wedding on Saturday, December 13, 2014 at the Taylortown Store in Bossier City.

Amanda is the daughter of Don L. Crane, Jr. and the late Janet W. Crane of Waskom, TX. She is the granddaughter of Ruby J. Westcott and the late Robert E. Westcott of Waskom, TX and Shirley M. Crane and the late Don L. Crane, Sr. of Chandler, TX. Amanda is a graduate of Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, where she received her Bachelors Degree in journalism and photography. She is currently employed with the Bossier Press-Tribune.

Gerrit is the son of John Carlin of Ragley and Charlotte Simmons of Sulphur. He is the grandson of Ruth Simmons and the late Ronald Simmons of Sulphur. Gerrit is a graduate of the Northwest Louisiana Technical College in Shreveport, where he received an HACR technical degree. He is currently employed with Fibrebond in Minden.

The couple will make their home in Bossier City.

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The Shreveport-Bossier Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) received two recent rankings that point to an upswing in the local economy. 

Forbes magazine named Shreveport-Bossier among the “Best Opportunity Cities.”  Shreveport came in at no. 17 among 19 places where it may be easier to make your mark.  Southern Business & Development (SB&D), an economic development journal that focuses on southern economies, ranked Shreveport-Bossier as a “Game Changing Community” in its current issue, placing us near the top of the list of southern communities that have won big projects.

“These recent rankings clearly demonstrate that we are not an economy on the decline as some would have us think.  Whether our economy has gained much momentum in the last few years,” said Scott Martinez, NLEP President. “The impact of our recent wins such as Benteler Steel/Tube, Libbey Inc., Module X, Lube-Tech and CSC will begin to show in the job numbers.”

To determine the ranking for “Best Opportunity Cities,” Forbes used unemployment rates and trends from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median home sales price, and census data for overall population growth.

According to Forbes, “Unlike major cities like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, where professionals in the early to middle phases of their careers (ages 25 to 39) might feel overwhelmed or lost in the shuffle, most of these cities (Best Opportunity Cities) are small enough that enterprising people can really make their mark. But they’re still large enough to offer amenities—museums, parks, and in many cases vibrant downtowns–that make for a high quality of life. Most importantly, because these places offer affordable housing, residents enjoy the opportunity to spend their energy getting creative, starting a company, or simply enjoying time off, without the pressure-cooker professional environment and stressfully high housing costs that are the hallmark of many of the nation’s biggest job centers.”

SB&D ranked Shreveport at no. 7 among “Game Changing Communities,” based on our top petrochemical manufacturing projects from 2010 to 2014 and no. 16 for all manufacturing projects during the same period.  Projects considered in determining the ranking must have created 200 jobs and/or $30 million in investment.

“There is one sector that has grown faster than any in the manufacturing arena, particularly in the South. Taken as a whole — meaning combining oil and gas projects with chemical projects — no industry in the region has expanded more so than petrochemicals, and that includes the automotive industry, the South’s manufacturing “rock” for three decades. Northwest Louisiana, anchored by Shreveport, has certainly taken advantage of the petrochemicals boom in the South as it is one of the top mid-markets in the region in capturing large projects from that industry sector over the past few years,” said Michael Randle, SB&D owner and publisher.

According to SB&D, Shreveport landed a total of six manufacturing projects with five of these projects in the petrochemical manufacturing sector.

“The Haynesville Shale remains a driving economic force, even though drilling has slowed due to low natural gas prices.  You see multinational corporations such as Benteler Steel/Tube locating at the Port of Caddo Bossier partly due our proximity to the Shale,” said Martinez.

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BENTON – Darla Jo Himes passed away peacefully into the loving arms of her heavenly Father at her home on Sunday, September 21, 2014.

A Graveside service will be held on Wednesday, September 24, 2014 at Hill Crest Memorial Park at 11:00 a.m. with Pastor Dave McKinney officiating. The family will receive friends on Wednesday at Hill Crest Memorial Chapel from 10:00 a.m. until time of service.

Darla Jo was born on July 16, 1959 in Sioux Falls, SD., to the late Orville and Leah Theel. After marrying Dennis Himes, she moved to Benton, LA, where she lived for 22 years. Darla Jo was a people person who enjoyed meeting people and traveling. Her grandchildren were the bright spot in her life.

Left to cherish her memory is her husband, Dennis, her son Jessie Morris and her daughter Jessica Finkley; four brothers and two sisters; ten grandchildren and several nieces, nephews and friends.

The family would like to express their appreciation to Julie, Natalie and Regional Hospice for their kindness, support and guidance. Darla Jo will be greatly missed by her family and friends.

You may share your memories with the family by visiting www.hillcrestmemorialfh.com

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Roma Ruth Thompson Parker went home to the Lord on September 20, 2014. She died at her home in Bossier City, Louisiana. Roma was born to Thomas H. and Margaret Gusweiler Thompson on December 17, 1919 in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Visitation will be 5:30 until 7:30 PM September 23rd, at Boone Funeral Home. Services will be held at 10:00 AM Wednesday, September 24th, at First Christian Church of Bossier City. Rev. Graham Riggs will be officiating. Interment will be at Hillcrest Cemetery on Highway 80. Pallbearers will be Brian France, Damian Rist, John Liner, Robert Latimer, Patrick Cole, and Creighton France.

Roma was preceded in death by her husband of 55 years, John W. Parker; infant son William Thornton; her parents; three brothers Thomas Thompson, Lawrence Thompson and Clarence Thompson; and sister Francis Millson.

Left to cherish her memory are Roma’s daughters Sharon Parker Liner and husband Charles, Barbara Parker Fanta and husband Troy, and Nancy Parker Rist; Stepson Wayne Eugene Parker and wife Elizabeth; grandchildren Brian Scott France and wife Michelle, Jill France Latimer and husband Rob, Kimberly Liner Robbins and husband Michael, John Miles Liner and wife Megan, Damian Michael Rist and wife Alysse, Heather Rist Cole and husband Patrick, Stephen Wayne Parker, and Kenneth Scott Parker and wife Eva; great-grandchildren Parker Dane Rist, Creighton France, Carlee France, Cora Latimer, Cale Latimer, James Robbins, Jack Robbins, Lauren Robbins, Alexis Liner, Evan Parker and Colten Parker.

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BOSSIER CITY – Maxine Young was born July 21, 1920. She grew up in Bossier City and attended Bossier Parish Schools, and later graduated from Louisiana College. While at Louisiana College, she met Bennett Henderson Young, who she later married. They settled in Bossier City where she was active in many church and civic activities. She also enjoyed serving as a substitute librarian at both her church, First Baptist Church, Bossier and various public schools.

Mrs. Young passed away on Saturday, September 20, 2014 at Pilgram Manor Nursing Home, Bossier City, LA after a lengthy illness.

Maxine Young is survived by two sons, Raynal Brent Young, Bennett Robert Young and wife, Rebecca, all of Bossier City. She had two grandchildren, Stuart Jacob Young and Emily Rebecca Young both of Seattle, Washington and niece, Carmen Gardner and husband, Gayle of Tyler, Texas. Her brother, Lester Raynal Eatman and sister, Iva Lynn Eatman Cameron preceded her as well as her husband, Bennett H. Young.

Graveside services will be held at 2:00 pm Tuesday, September 23, 2014 at Forest Park Cemetery, St. Vincent Ave., with Bro Sonny DePrang officiating. There will be a time of visitation on Sunday, September 21st from 6-8 pm at Rose-Neath Funeral Home, 2201 Airline Drive, Bossier City, LA.

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Bossier Sheriff Julian Whittington terminated a deputy Tuesday following the deputy’s arrest for domestic abuse earlier this morning.    

Billy BonacciBilly J. Bonacci, 45, of the 400 block of Joe Lewis Road in Haughton, was arrested and charged with domestic abuse battery by the Bossier Sheriff’s Office following a physical altercation with his wife of eight years at their residence around midnight Monday.  Injuries did not require medical attention.

Bonacci was hired by the Bossier Sheriff’s Office on March 1, 2006.

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Bossier Parish Community College’s Open Campus™ initiative is seeing remarkable growth – and reaching worldwide audiences.

Users are accessing BPCC’s Open Campus™ videos in all 50 states and DC as well as in 74 countries on 6 continents around the world. Statistically, someone from somewhere in the world is accessing an Open Campus™ video every minute of every day.  Within the last 30 days, users spent 51,098 minutes (which translates to 71 minutes per hour/per day) viewing Open Campus™ lectures. Within a span of 18 months, the length of the initiative, viewers have spent 389,000 minutes viewing BPCC’s math, English, reading, science, and college success lecture videos.

“We’re seeing success at levels we never anticipated,” says Allison Martin, BPCC’s Director of Institutional Effectiveness Initiatives. “When we created the courses, we were confident that our students and potential students would benefit. What we had not considered is how hungry the world is for access to learning and education.”

The top 10 countries for number of Open Campus™ views:

  1. USA
  2. Philippines
  3. Canada
  4. India
  5. Saudi Arabia
  6. France
  7. Singapore
  8. UK
  9. Australia
  10. St. Vincent/Grenadines

BPCC’s Open Campus™—the College’s free, online, series of preparatory courses–offers underprepared students a user-friendly, video-lecture based pathway to success in math, English, science, college success skills, and reading comprehension. BPCC’s goal is to provide anyone, anywhere access to quality, preparatory instruction, without cost or obligation.

Open Campus™ courses are designed to prepare individuals for college-level placement testing, to enhance students’ study and practice sessions, or to help employees brush up on basic professional skills.

Course availabilities include:

  • Basic Math
  • Introductory Algebra
  • Intermediate Algebra
  • College Algebra
  • Fundamentals of Grammar
  • Fundamentals of Writing
  • Reading Comprehension
  • College Success Skills course
  • Introductory Science

Course content and progression mimic “for-credit” offerings with two exceptions:

  • no textbooks are used,
  • courses are self-contained (with no direct interaction between instructors/students.)

BPCC Chancellor Jim Henderson says Open Campus™ is a winner for both the College and the community.

“To meet the needs of students and employers in the 21st Century economy, community colleges must take a leadership role in the innovative delivery of education to our consumers,” says Chancellor Henderson. “Open Campus™ is great example of how our colleges can creatively utilize technology to expand access and improve college readiness.”

Martin says Open Campus™ is designed to reach a broad audience and provides open access to quality learning opportunities.

Open Campus™ seeks to reach prospective students preparing for placement testing, currently-enrolled students using the courses for supplemental instruction, and individuals unable to attend face-to-face–whether they are homebound, work-restricted, or deployed military members.”

Amey Sepulvado, a Northwest Louisiana Technical College-Mansfield student was able to earn LPN enrollment with the help of Open Campus™.

“My weakest subject is math so I knew I would need help. The first two times I tested on the Compass math section, I failed! The second time my score was actually lower. I knew then that the reading materials I was getting off the Internet were just not enough. I called my advisor at NWLTC-Mansfield and she mentioned BPCC’s online courses called Open Campus™, which were free to enroll. I enrolled immediately! After taking the courses, I was able to pass the math portion of the Compass Test.  My scores went up dramatically and I’m thankful for these courses.”

The Open Campus™ design is tailored for user-friendliness. Student sign-up is easy, and, once enrolled, students can log-in through popular social media sites. Each learning module contains at least one lecture video, printable handout, and multiple-choice, self-graded quiz. Students may access any lecture, handout or quiz as many times as they wish and in any order they choose.

Martin and team have been somewhat surprised with a few of the outcomes of Open Campus™.

“We knew the sites would help students prepare for placement testing, yet we had not fully considered the intangibles: confidence-building, reduction in test anxiety and a greater understanding of the impact of high-stakes testing,” says Martin. “Equally significant is the value we’re seeing when our enrolled students access the lecture-videos and practice quizzes as supplements to their face-to-face classes.”

BPCC’s Open Campus™ team has presented its concept at seven national and four international conferences and has been featured both in Inside Higher Ed and Academic Advising Today.

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Bossier City police have arrested a suspect accused in an armed robbery of a local payday loan business.

Gary_Paul_MillerDetectives with the Violent Crimes Unit arrested 58-year old Gary Paul Miller of Zwolle, Louisiana on an arrest warrant charging him with armed robbery and theft of a motor vehicle in connection with a hold up that occurred this past Friday at the Quick Cash store in the 1400 block of Airline Drive. Miller is accused of robbing the business of an undisclosed amount of money while armed with a straight razor and then stealing a car belonging to one of the employees.

Over the course of the investigation, detectives were able to identify Miller as the suspect. Believing that Miller may return to Zwolle, detectives contacted authorities in Sabine Parish who were able to locate him over the weekend at a residence along with the stolen car and subsequently took him into custody.Detectives brought Miller back to Bossier City today and booked him into the Bossier City Jail. His bond is set at $500,000.

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HAUGHTON – A memorial service to celebrate the life of Betty Jo Shadrach, 73, will be held at 1:00 p.m., Saturday, September 20, 2014, at Hill Crest Memorial Funeral Home. Reverend Billy Pierce will be officiating the service.

Betty was born on September 8, 1941, in Citronelle, AL and passed away on Saturday, September 13, 2014. She was the daughter of Jerry and Mamie Pierce and sister to six siblings. Betty loved to spend time with her family and friends and she will be missed by all of them!

Betty is preceded in death by her parents, two sisters, one brother, and her son. Left to cherish Betty’s memory is her daughter, Tammy Kyson; granddaughter, Bailey Kyson; sisters, Bobbie Pierce, Jeraline Martin, and Carolyn Walker.

You may offer condolences and sign the on-line guest book by visiting www.hillcrestmemorialfh.com.

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BOSSIER CITY – Barbara Emelia Reger passed away at The Oaks Of Louisiana, her home for the past 13 years, on Monday, September 15, 2014 at the age of 86.

Barbara was preceded in death by her husband Rev. Paul E. Reger, by Clarence Burton Wright Jr., Alfred E. Wright, Edwin E. Wright and Richard A. Wright her brothers, and by a son, Mark Reger.

Barbara is survived by her children, son Edwin Reger and wife Barbara of Everett, WA, daughter Janet Reger Anderson of San Antonio, TX, son Alan Reger of Bossier City, LA, daughter Ruth Reger Hoffman and husband Mark of Haughton, LA, son Jonathan Reger and wife Lisa of Sachse, TX.

Barbara Reger is lovingly remembered by numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Her family was her pride and joy, and spending time with her grand and great-grandchildren would light up her eyes every time.

Barbara E. Reger was born in San Antonio, TX on May 12, 1928. She was much more than just a wife and mother through the years. She married Rev. and Lt. Colonel Paul E. Reger July 14, 1956. This meant that she moved wherever the military told them. She was his rock and never wavered in support of his career. First and foremost she was a pastors wife, supporting her husband not only while he was preaching, but on mission trips, hospital visits, and being a role model for other women around her. She took joy in raising her children in a loving, Christian home, no matter where that was, whether stateside, in Germany, or Goose Bay, Canada. She loved her family and loved her Lord.

Barbara enjoyed knitting and taught other women whenever given the chance. She would volunteer with her husband with time and money for Habitat For Humanity, the National Hospitality House, local church missions like the Heifer Project through Asbury United Methodist and helping to meet the needs of the church’s sick, homebound and elderly.

The memorial and life celebration service will be held Saturday, September 20, 2014 at 11am at Asbury United Methodist Church, 3200 Airline Dr, Bossier City, LA 71111. This is not a funeral, but rather a celebration of the life and impact Barbara had on so many people. She is rejoicing in heaven with her husband, and so we will rejoice with her!

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Asbury United Methodist Church, 3200 Airline Dr, Bossier City, LA 71111. She was passionate about helping her church in every way, so all donations made in her memory will help to continue her love and passion for helping.