Monday, November 30, 2009

Budget cuts could end Sex Ed for teens

"Sex," an issue many parents of teenagers have trouble talking to their kids about. Now, a local program that teaches hundreds of young people pregnancy prevention could close and put people out of work.

Nbc 6, reporter Karen Hopkins, spoke with teens fighting to save what they call a life saving program.

Sophomore Rahji Baskerville knows a thing or two about sex.
In Caddo parish, 20 percent of babies are born to moms under 19 years old; one is his friend. “He had sex with one girl and had twins, she was only 14. He felt like it was the biggest mistake of his life.”

But these children are learning to make good decisions in the becoming a responsible teen or Bart program. It teaches pregnancy prevention. “Most people can't talk to parents about stuff like that, but our teachers they're open," student Le'sheedeonia Prude said.

One of those teachers is Lakeshia Mosley. She knows from experience. When she was just 15, she became pregnant. “There's a misconception that it's easy. It's not easy. If I had to do it all over again, I wish there was programs like this available to me."

The Bart program meets three times a week from 5 to 7 at night.
It started two years ago, and out of the 400 children that have gone through, Mosley said just two became pregnant. “We feel comfortable and we can listen and get good advice."

But that could change. With state budget cuts, the Bart program is scheduled to end December 31st. “We need to keep the program, it really helps us," Prude says.

If the Bart program ends, it would put the people who run it out of a job. “This is how I feed my family, how I keep my lights on, pay my mortgage, it would be devastating,” Mosley says.

The Bart director says there's still a chance to get last minute state funding. It’s also seeking private donations. The program cost about $115,000 per year to run.

A Better Shreveport plans bike path

There could be more opportunities to ditch the gas guzzler for a more scenic route.

A nonprofit group called “A Better Shreveport is working on a new bike path. The mile route would go through a forested area, from East Washington street, to Stoner Ave. Bikers could ride to three schools along the route and two city parks.

"There’s not a lot of biking options in Shreveport. Many people are disappointed they can't bike around," Loren Demerath says.

A Better Shreveport says the path could increase property values and even reduce crime. The group is looking for federal and state grants to pay for the project.

To get involved with A Better Shreveport, visit its blog:

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Shreveport man gives thanks for miracle

Almost a month ago, a tornado ripped off the steeple of First United Methodist church in downtown Shreveport. The steeple crushed a car, but the driver inside survived.

That driver, Michael Williams, says it's a miracle he survived. This Thanksgiving he's grateful just to be alive.

Nbc 6 news reporter Karen Hopkins spoke with Williams on a Thanksgiving Day like no other before.

"I've been given the gift of human kindness, so much love and prayer." And now on Thanksgiving Day, Michael Williams wants to give thanks. "I've been given a new pair of glasses and I view the world and people differently."

Everything changed for Williams on October 29th. Tornado winds snapped a massive church steeple in downtown Shreveport. The 25,000 pound steeple crushed his car. "The decision was made that I would survive; so that was a huge miracle."

And another miracle, Williams says came next. “It's not just what happened on the 29th, it's the story after the story,"
The story picks up with family, friends and even strangers showing support any way they can. But at the same time, becoming part of a rare, unbelievable story. “People have connected with each other because they have seen a miracle happen.

Williams’ story has touched people around the nation, but especially here in Shreveport, where all you have to do is look up to remember a miracle.
“It’s a possible tragic moment that turned out good. It’s a really good ending where people all rallied together to support someone."

And there's also a lesson for anyone watching, Williams says don't take the little things for granted. “Waking up in the morning, being with Judy, still being here."

Still, Williams has to recover. His body is working to heal multiple broken bones, the most severe, a vertebrae in his back. He'll have to learn how to walk, even how to use his hands again. Meanwhile, he'll have plenty of time to think. “Why am I still here? What am I supposed to do? I can tell you this it's going to be really good." By next Thanksgiving, Williams says he can only imagine where he'll be.

My thoughts: Michael Williams is really awesome. I asked him one question and he just poured out his heart. He's really in touch and sees life for what it is. His wife Judy is so lovely too!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Swat team takes over school

An elite law enforcement team took over local school today. Nbc 6 reporter Karen Hopkins witnessed an extraordinary mission to keep kids safe.

It’s a hostage situation at a school, but don't worry it’s just practice.

Mom Stepanie has a child at St. Josephs school, but her husband is an agent on Shreveport SWAT team. Monday, officers practiced worst case scenarios, like a child bringing a gun to school. Negotiators make sure the kids get out safe and sound.
"If you don't know what to do, something bad could happen,” student Francisco Cimoncini says.

Spd has all the gear, from ballistic vests to bullet proof shields all to keep kids safe. “If somebody got hurt that would be really bad," student Ashley Bergeroe says.

Because just last Friday, and nearly every day, the classroom is full of students. And these days, anything could happen. “He works around school to keep us safe.” Student Morgan Feliciano says her dad's also a man in uniform. And that's what these officers say motivates them: keeping children, sometimes even their own safe.

My thoughts: I really enjoyed my day at St. Josephs! It was great talking with parents and the SWAT team. I really have an appreciation for law enforcement! Officers put their lives on the line for us all the time. It's neat to see what goes into SWAT training. But always remember, all the action is to save lives someday!!!

Man to spend life in prison for shooting police officer in face.

A Caddo parish judge sentenced a man to 58 years in prison today for shooting a police officer in the face.

In January of 2008 Shreveport officer John Madjerick pulled over 27-year-old Lucien Trammel during a routine traffic stop. After Trammel resisted questioning and a fight broke out, Madjerick says Trammel shot him in the face. About four months ago, a jury found Trammel guilty of the crime.

Officer Madjerick and his wife say, it has been, a long and extremely, emotional journey. Nbc 6, reporter Karen Hopkins, got a chance to speak with the couple outside the courthouse.

“He was shot but it's something the whole family goes though," Krista Madjerick says. And Monday was the latest step in the healing process. Officer John Maderick and wife Krista walked inside the Caddo parish courthouse for sentencing and some closure. “I'm just glad it’s over."

But you can still see the scar on Madjerick's face. Two years ago, Lucien Trammel shot him while on duty: a nightmare for his family. “Relationship wise, we appreciate each other more, we don't sweat the small stuff,” Krista says.

In July, a Caddo parish jury found Trammel guilty of attempted first degree murder. While he faced 33 to 100 years in prison, district court judge Leon Emmanuel sentenced Trammel to 58 years hard labor, with no option of probation or suspended sentence. “We believe that for the circumstances his sentence was excessive,” Trammel’s lawyer Anthony Hollis says.

But judge Emanuel justified his sentencing, by saying Trammel carelessly shot and severely injured a police officer and showed no remorse in court.

While cameras were not allowed inside the courthouse, we sat inside. Judge Emmanuel said Trammel has a history of mental health and behavioral problems. He called him, a product of a failed community, “I know it’s tough out there. I’m out policing every day, but people have to be responsible for their actions,” Madjerick says.

And keeping people in line is still Madjerick's job. He got back on the streets just eight months after the shooting.

We tried to speak with Trammel's family members but they were too emotional to talk. Trammel has the right to appeal his sentence, within thirty days.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Get into the holiday spirit!

Celebrate Highland: A Holiday Home Tour returns in December! On December 5 and 6, the holidays will be celebrated in a distinctly Highland way and you're invited to participate! The very popular holiday home tour returns with a Saturday night candlelight tour and a Sunday afternoon tour of architectural gems throughout the Highland and Fairfield Historic Districts.

Celebrate Highland: A Holiday Home Tour, will kick off Saturday evening at 5 p.m. at the Noel Mansion at 555 Herndon with complimentary wine and hors d'oeuvres. Visitors can choose to leave their cars at the Noel United Methodist Church parking lot and take the free shuttle to the houses on the tour or drive using a provided map.

On Sunday, the tour will begin at the beautiful Randle T. Moore Center at 3101 Fairfield Avenue at 1 p.m. Coffee, cookies and live music will be provided. The free shuttle will run from the Moore Center to the homes and a map will be provided for those who chose to drive. The tour allows a glimpse into Highland's multiple architectural styles: Four Square, Tudor, Bungalow, Mediterranean; even a 1920s-era grocery store will be on the tour!

Be aware that DIFFERENT homes will be on the tour Saturday and Sunday so to see all that Celebrate Highland has to offer, you will want to purchase the two-day tour pass available on line at or by calling 318-221-5629. Special thanks go to tour sponsors John David Stewart of ISA/Stewart Insurance, Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau and Republic National Distributing Company. Their sponsorship dollars and support will help make the 2009 home tour the best ever.

Presented by the Highland Restoration Association.

Saturday, December 5, 5-9:00 p.m.

Sunday, December 6, 1-5:00 p.m.

Parish to start program for troubled children

Each year, thousands of children get into trouble with the law and face serious consequences. But what if you could change how these kids think?

Nbc 6 news reporter Karen Hopkins found a new technique coming to a local parish that could help lots of children get back on track.

Derrick Thompson says as a child, he got into trouble, especially at school.
“I terrorized the classroom, pushing chairs and tables out of the way." He says he grew up in a single parent home, without a lot of guidance and attention. "I never knew how to adjust so I just acted out.”

Now Thompson along with 18 Volunteers for Youth Justice are learning how to help children before it’s too late. About 40 kids go through the Caddo parish juvenile court system each month.

This January, the parish plans to require all offenders take the Facts of Life course. The eight week program teaches how behavior affects happiness.
Dr. Douglas Ramm developed the Facts of Life in 2002. It centers around ten core values that children should try to enhance, from companionship to freedom.

Caddo parish juvenile court judge Paul Young says the program shows results. The Westmoreland county juvenile justice system in Pennsylvania started the Facts of Life 5 years ago. Today the number of children incarcerated has decreased 40 percent.

Young says the program could pay for itself by keeping children out of detention centers. It costs $10,000 dollars a year to keep one child at the detention center. Young hopes this new program will save not just taxpayer dollars, but lives.

The program would cost $100,000 to fund. The Caddo parish commission and state Office of Juvenile Justice would split the cost. Judge Young says both support the program, but still have to approve the funding before classes start this January.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Former Stockwell Principal Speaks Out

An award winning, elementary school principal who retired after a DWI arrest, is speaking out tonight only on NBC 6. Reporter Karen Hopkins spoke with the former educator who says, anyone can learn from his story.

“It’s a terrible feeling that you've worked so hard for your entire life to get to a certain point and then one silly decision you might make can jeopardize the whole thing." Tim Thompson dedicated 30 years of his life to the Bossier parish school system. But just last month, he retired, after a DWI arrest. “I certainly expect to be vindicated for all charges. “

“Our whole family was heartbroken and it was so difficult because we felt like everything was swept underneath us," wife Kay Thompson says.

As a principal and teacher, Thompson says his story is a life lesson about consequences that come from the choices we make. But also, learning how to pass a challenging test. “We got cards, phone, calls; people make the difference during tough times,” Kay Thompson says.

But now things are slowing down, and Thompson has time to look at his legacy: the principal of the year, and the leader of the highest rated school in Bossier parish. "We really believe everything happens for a purpose and there is a bigger plan."
And that plan, Thompson says could lead him back to school. He says he's considering working for a private charter school.

Mr. Thompson was arrested about two months ago. He is facing charges of DWI, littering, open container and speeding. His court date is pending.

My thoughts: Tim and his wife Kay are wonderful people. I really enjoyed talking with both of them. It's special to see Tim's passion for education. I think we can all remember teachers who inspired us. I remember my 7th grade teacher who really believed in me. I had a talk show called, "KH Talk." She loved it and always told me to reach for the stars! I still think of her!

I wish the best to the Thompson family!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Two shot outside apartment complex

Bossier City police are searching for a person who shot two people outside an apartment complex.

It started at the Scott street apartments around 8pm. Authorities say two men were shot there, but one man ran a few blocks away to Green Street.
Both were shot in the chest, but their injuries are described as non-life threatening.

Officers are investigating the motive of this crime. This is not the first shooting at the Scott street apartments. Police say a few months ago, someone was shot in the foot.

My thoughts: I don't understand the violence. Luckily both men shot, police say have non life threatening wounds. Life is too precious. Always remember that! Especially on the bad days.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Bossier Arts Council to protest funding cut

If you support the arts in Bossier City, you might want to show it at tomorrow's city council meeting (3pm Bossier Civic Center).

The city is proposing a $55,000 cut to the Bossier Arts council...all because of that $6 million budget shortfall.

We spoke with the Arts Executive Director Kelly Warner. She says the council would have to slash services many a summer camp for kids, theater shows, or money for art teachers.

Tomorrow wear red at the council meeting to support the arts!

Fema to start inspecting storm damage

Here's what I learned tonight, if you have flood or storm damage...document it. There's a chance the federal government could reimburse you OR offer you no interest long term loans.

The recent flooding and tornadoes have severely damaged hundreds of homes in our area. Many families say they simply cannot afford the costly repairs during these tough economic times. Nbc 6 reporter Karen Hopkins found out how the government can help these folks weather the financial storm.

William Goode Jr. says he's still cleaning up from the storm. Water crept inside his Shreveport apartment, destroying his carpet, clothes, shoes. He says insurance just won't cover it, and he can't afford to replace everything. "We already threw lots away.”

People with flood damage should document everything.
The Caddo Bossier office of homeland security says there's a chance the government will reimburse homeowners. Tuesday and Wednesday Fema teams will survey destruction at about 700 homes in our area.
The map shows the majority of Fema's stops will be Shreveport, then on to Bossier City where a tornado ripped through.

Don Weathersby says he has insurance, but he'll still have to pay about four thousand dollars. Fema inspectors will look at, those out of pocket expenses homeowners paid, and if a family lost income because the storm prevented them from working.

The Caddo Bossier office of homeland security says in about a month the government will announce if homeowners in our area are eligible for cash or a no interest long term loan. At that point people can fill out an application for help.

For questions on relief contact the Caddo Bossier office of homeland security at 425-5351.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Princeton Elementary Veterans Day

I had a wonderful time at Princeton Elementary! The school held a wonderful veterans day celebration. It was great to see family members teach students about serving our country. Thanks to everyone at the school for showing me around!

Some veterans went back to school today to teach the next generation about our freedoms. Nbc 6 reporter Karen Hopkins visited Princeton Elementary, just outside Haughton, where military folks brought history to life.

Students at Princeton elementary learned lessons about our freedoms today from people they never thought of as teachers, like grandma.

Children embraced special guests who have served our country, like Beverly Debouver. She was one of few women air force mechanics in the 1970s. Vietnam vet Jim Hunter came to share his stories with grandson Gary. “It feels good because you can actually say that one of your family members was fighting for other people.”

Children also learned about the flag hands on. “I said what do those stripes stand for? They said the 13 original colonies. That was correct," St. Rep. Henry Burns says.

Take pride in being American and remember those who fight for the freedoms we all enjoy. That's what these children learned at school today.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Slow Money Movement: What do you Think?

Tasch said he wants to build and test the concept of something he calls "nurture capital" — a healthier and more sustainable alternative to venture capital for funding new businesses. It's time, he says, to shorten the distance between investors and their investments. It's also time, he says, to create new economic models that deliver a return but that also put community, soil fertility and the environment at the bottom line.

That's where the concept of "slow money" comes in. What if the money you invested stayed within 50 miles of where you currently live and was committed to local merchants and growers who put at least 50 percent of their profits back into the community? "What if, instead of making a double-digit return on a fast-money transaction that exploited Third World villagers and pumped up corporate profits artificially," Tasch says, "you could get a steady 2 percent to 3 percent return on money that dramatically improved the quality of life in your own neighborhood?

Families of Bossier City officers protest job cuts.

Bossier City council must decide whether to cut 80 fire and police positions. But tonight, family members of these officers are outraged. Nbc 6 reporter Karen Hopkins talked with a mother who says she's fighting to save her son's job.

Mom Susan McClain's holding her pride and joy, her only son. She says as a child, he always knew he'd be a police officer someday. "When he was a little, we would get the cars, trucks and always one would be a little police car."

And sure enough, McClain's son joined the Bossier City police department about four months ago. But now, his childhood dream, mom says has a harsh new reality. Bossier City plans to lay off 40 officers and her son is on that list. “We are going to still have a good Christmas, but the stress he'll be under as a family man, a husband, will be tough. But we'll make it through as a family."

McClain says it’s not just about the people who work at the departments. It could affect you, if you call for help. “Even with the tornados, these guys are out there 24/7, even saving my own home."

And it definitely hits home for Carrie Moore. Her husband's also a Bossier officer who could lose his job. She says now they're making new financial plans and even job hunting..together. “We're a team. As a wife, it affects me just as much as my husband."

You can show your support for the Bossier fire and police department on Facebook. Search for the group “Save our Bossier City Police and Firefighters” has nearly 4,000 members.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Highland Jazz and Blues Fest This Weekend!!!

Come enjoy some Jazz and a good time!

Come See Camelot...I am!

Come out and support the arts and the Strand! It's a beautiful theater.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Rediscover the grandeur of one of history's greatest love stories in Lerner and Loewe's timeless masterpiece, Camelot. Set in a land where honor and chivalry reign, Camelot follows the love triangle of King Arthur, his Queen Guenevere and the young Lancelot. With one of Broadway's most enchanting scores, Camelot is the definitive musical theatre fable. Recapture a golden time for one brief shining moment, at the Strand.

SPD could save thousands by hiring Bossier officers

The city of Shreveport hopes to save hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars by hiring fully trained officers from a nearby city. As NBC 6 reporter Karen Hopkins found, it could help prevent deadly crimes.

Cora Savannah's husband of nearly 30 years was stabbed to death about 4 years ago. “We went to school together, grew up together.” But in an instant, he was gone. “The pain you can't describe. I couldn't eat, sleep, my heart was so empty. I was thinking this is a dream.

But now, she's facing reality as an advocate against crime.
Savannah says Shreveport needs more officers on the streets. It could save lives. “It could be your family. We need more officers walking the streets, knocking on doors and saying we are here to serve and protect."

Spd says it’s a challenge keeping officers, due to retirement and people quitting. By February, it will have more than 20 open officer positions to fill.

But Spd says it could hire a handful of officer right away, from across the river, if Bossier City decides to lay off 40 police officers. “I feel for anyone in that situation. I have never been laid off but it's got to be a horrible feeling." Spd Asst. Chief Wayne Smith says.

Well here's the good news. Spd says it hopes to give jobs to as many officers as possible. If the department hires 20 Bossier officers, it would save Shreveport more than $130,000 in training.

Bossier City is training 5 new recruits right now. If the budget cuts pass, it will not hire the officers. Bossier has spent more than $101,000 in training and benefits for those five recruits.