Thursday, March 25, 2010

Shreveport historical buildings bulldozed for parking lots.

Shreveport's skyline attracts visitors and big time movie business, but what you see could slowly disappear. People are bulldozing historical buildings downtown, one after the other. No law protects these treasures from the past. Nbc 6 news reporter Karen Hopkins discovered a group is fighting back to preserve Shreveport history.

You may remember the old Nanking building. It was about 100 years old. Now it’s gone. A parking lot has replaced it. About a dozen old buildings have been torn down in recent years. These two structures on Milam Street across from the courthouse could go next. The facades people gaze at from the Robinson film center---also at risk of demolition. “I hate to go downtown and see block after block where there was once six buildings and now there are two. The thing to remember is you cannot rebuild history," Neil Johnson of Shreveport Historic Preservation society.

History is not always protected by law in Shreveport. Owners have the right to demolish their property.
Many can't afford to renovate and putting in a parking lot is profitable. “Many people don't come downtown, and don't notice we've got a brand new vacant lot here. A parking lot. "21:35 i just see shreveport's heritage disappearing," Conway Link, Vice President of Shreveport Historic Preservation Society says.

“One of the reasons the film and production business is so prominent in Shreveport these days is because we have this inventory of interesting looking buildings that make good sets,” Don Shea, Executive Director Downtown Development Authority says.

“I saw my downtown deteriorating and wanted to do something about it," Sarah Wilkerson President of Shreveport Historic Preservation Society says.

People are taking action. The historic district committee will start a commission to watch over Shreveport’s treasured buildings. The plan will add tax incentives for people to invest and establish a law to delay demolitions.

“A whole line of buildings that each has a 100 years in this town gives that whole block a spirit,” Johnson says.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Economy hurts home that cares for sick children, families

Imagine having a sick child, and dealing with thousands in medical bills at the same time.
As the health care debate rages on in Washington, people in Shreveport are taking action, helping children with cystic fibrosis.

A fundraiser at the fairgrounds today will benefit the Hilman House. The center helps families afford lifesaving treatment.

The Hilman House relies on donations to support cystic fibrosis patients, but tough times have money tight and people fighting to keep services. Nbc 6 reporter Karen Hopkins spoke with a mother who says the home keeps her child alive.

Meet 3-year-old Kolten. While he looks like any happy kid, he suffers from an incurable, genetic disease.
Cystic fibrosis causes his tiny body to make thick mucus that could keep him from breathing.
“You just want to give him the best childhood, when he's sick and constantly in the hospital having blood drawn. Like most children, he's always got a smile on his face even when he's in the hospital," mom Rebecca Simms says.

The Simms family drives from the Ruston area to visit doctors in Shreveport every month.
Everyone stays at the Hilman House. It's a homelike place for CF patients and their families to live and eat for free, while undergoing treatment in Shreveport.

Families like the Simms, also get help from the center with bills not covered by health insurance.
On average, cystic fibrosis patients pay $10,000 to $250,000 a year in medical costs. “If we didn't have places like the Hilman House, you'd have to pay a hotel. Some people don't have the money. We'd have to miss a doctor’s appointment because we can't afford to come," dad Steven Simms says. “It has kept him alive. “I've got my home away from home. We could go there refresh, take baths, eat, anything we needed," Rebecca Simms says.

About 200 volunteers, like Scott Boswell, help run the Hilman house. The center relies solely on donations. Boswell says the economy has corporate giving down. They're organizing more fundraisers to keep help here. “I've been fortunate to do things in my life to help, help out." Boswell says your support could gives kids like Kolten a chance.

Anyone can donate or volunteer at the Hilman House. Visit its website for how to help.

Banning Energy Drinks for Kids

Children are gulping down energy drinks, to manage demanding schedules: like school, sports and homework. But doctors say, each sip brings dangerous health risks. Nbc 6 reporter Karen Hopkins joins us now live in the studio to tell us about, an effort to keep the "high caffeine cans" out of the hands of kids.

This energy drink has three times the amount of caffeine than this can of soda. Your kid has the right to buy this without you even knowing it but that could change.

With names like Crunk, Rip It and Monster, kids are drinking them to get high on caffeine. They're doing it, to get a boost at school or on the court. “It makes you more powerful, have more energy.”

If you read the label, there's two main ingredients sugar and caffeine. One serving has double the kick of coffee. Pediatrician Neera Chhabra says that’s a lot, especially for a kid. “It’s more detrimental to children because their systems are more sensitive. Caffeine does effect the absorption of calcium which could decrease bone mass at a time when they are growing and trying to deposit calcium into their bones. Children may replace caffeine drinks for milk so they don't get the calcium they need in addition to loosing it."

Too much caffeine can make children irritable, cause anxiety and insomnia. Drinking while playing sports can lead to severe dehydration. Chhabra says Australian researchers found even more risks. “They have gone as far as saying it could affect the growing brain. The brain is growing until at least 16.”

For children under 16, Louisiana State Sen. Robert Adley wants to ban the sale of energy drinks. The bill would make it illegal for storeowners, like Ronnie Toney, to knowingly allow kids to buy the beverages. “If they make it illegal for me to sell it to kids, kids are going to come in to try to buy it. When I sell it, they will try to write me a ticket." That ticket, could cost him up to $500 under the proposed legislation.

In 2008, Kentucky, Maine and Michigan tried to ban energy drinks for kids. None of the bills passed. Other countries have been more successful. The French government banned Red Bull after the death of an 18-year-old athlete who drank four cans at a game. Denmark and Norway have also outlawed Red Bull.

Energy drinks became popular in Asia long before they reached the US. Japan began making the beverages in 1962. The first drink to reach the US was "jolt cola" in the 1980s. Then Red Bull hit the shelves in the US in 1997.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Pastor speaks about church controversy.

When people tithe at their church, they trust it's in the right hands. However, for nearly two years, there's been controversy over money at one Shreveport’s most beloved and historic churches.

The pastor of Little Union Baptist Church, C.E. McLain is speaking out only on Nbc 6 news, hoping to set the record straight. Reporter Karen Hopkins did some investigating and sat down with McLain.
Karen what did he tell you?

Pastor McLain says people are envious of the power of the pastor. A former church member argues he just wanted to see the financial records. The drama came down to a vote. Should McLain stay as pastor?

“You are saddened to see this because it was so unnecessary but you also know people feed on this drama,” McLain says. “You have friends against friends, family members against family members; everybody chooses sides and nobody really wins,” former church member Carl Pierson says.

The battle at Little Union Baptist Church in Shreveport started nearly two years ago.
Former church member Carl Pierson says a group became suspicious after some bills were not paid on time. “We never missed a bill,” McLain says.

Pierson wasn't convinced. He and ten others wrote a petition asking for financial records.
State law gives church members the right to view them. McLain says he was caught in the middle.
“I was told by members who didn't want their records exposed that they would sue if I gave the records. I don't want anyone seeing what I contribute or I would be so embarrassed pastor.”

“I think that was a way to make excuses for not giving us the records,” Pierson says. A Caddo parish judge ordered McLain to hand over the information. McLain says the church could not find all documents dating back to 2000. Next the judge called for an election.Church members would decide if McLain stays.
An outside court appointed panel counted the votes. McLain came out on top. “Now that it’s over how do you feel? Relieved. There is no sense of joy and happiness because the church has been fractured and divided under my watch,” McLain says. “I think the good Lord spoke and he said that enough was enough and he wanted Rev. McLain to remain there, and we're through with it, it's over,” Pierson says.

But anyone. At any church can take note. “The church is also a business people pay into it,” Pierson says. “The congregation needs to be kept abreast more than maybe she wants to know,” McLain says.

Little Union formed more than a century ago in 1892, and played a pivotal role in the civil rights movement. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke there in 1962.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Veterans take shot at Hollywood.

Veterans are coming home from war and ending up unemployed in a tough economy.
Some are taking a shot at another action packed career, Hollywood. Nbc 6 news reporter Karen Hopkins found how the film industry is putting American heroes in the spotlight.

“The whole time I was gone that's what I thought about. I love my wife. My son was my buddy and that's all that was on my mind when they took me was I may not see my son again.” Paul Murray says he was kidnapped by Iraqi soldiers during desert storm. He was a prisoner of war for a couple days before escaping. Coming home wasn't easy. “It takes some adjusting. It took me a good two years to adjust back to being in a civilian mode.”

Many military people have trouble transitioning, especially into the workforce. The national unemployment rate last year for young Iraq and Afghanistan veterans hit 21.1 percent. “It's depressing; you fall into a slump trying to find work in what you've trained for and not being able to do that you stare at the walls a lot. Their training in weapons, tactics there's not many careers that you can really come back to.” Former police officer Dave Valle knows how hard it is. An injury took him off the job. “Becoming disabled, I found my way into the film industry.

He partnered with Murray who owns a local shooting range. The pair started Tac One Ops 6 months ago.
The nonprofit helps people with law enforcement and military training use those skills on the big screen. 18 people in Shreveport have signed up. The latest role--playing extra officers in Nick Cage's new movie, Drive Angry. “So the vets that really enjoy military service, there's a way to use that knowledge and training. If you're on a set and simulating a battle that happened they’re getting to do what they're trained to do and what they like doing.”

Veterans can advise movie makers how to handle explosives. Others are trained to make blank bullets and teach actors how to shoot them safely. Even shooting blanks can cause a lot of damage.

Valle says vets can make up to $300 a day on set. While the business in Shreveport has been busy,
it’s not always steady. “I hope it keeps going.” So does the community. Murray says a Shreveport veteran who owns a uniform company donated thousands of officer outfits to keep Tac One in action.

The group has other vets signed up to be body guards for the stars of Twilight when they visit New Orleans. Anyone with law enforcement background can get involved with Tac One.
Visit the website for more information:

Monday, March 15, 2010

Facebook could help fix flooding.

No one wants to wake up to water rushing inside their home. Internet technology could help solve some flooding problems here in the Arklatex. Nbc 6 news reporter Karen Hopkins discovered how Facebook's playing a role to prevent devastating disasters.

Imagine walking home to this, water damage. Susan Thomas is one of many Shreveport homeowners who have dealt with flooding. For years the city, parish, levee board and LSU have researched the problem separately. Now all are coming together, forming the Caddo Parish Stormwater Partnership.
“We're trying to work outside the box.” It starts online. Caddo parish commissioner Matthew Linn says social networking will help the group come up with plan to eliminate flooding for the next century. “Principally the citizens who have suffered from flooding can look at everything we've done and put their two bits in."

Once the Facebook site is ready, anyone can report water troubles. Red River Watershed researchers will compare the data to previous records. “If some homeowner documents minute by minute, hour by hour flooding in their neighborhood, that could provide data not available without their help." Red River Watershed assistant, Amanda Lewis says.

After all information is organized, engineering students will find ways to fix flooding in Caddo parish.
Linn says the University of Iowa designs solutions for the entire Mississippi flood plain. The planning is a senior project, at no cost to taxpayers. “If they're qualified to do the Mississippi flood basin, they're qualified to do bayou Pierre. Those are the people we'll be looking for to help us with these issues," Linn says.

Help means a lot to people like Thomas. She's dealt with two floods in two years.

The plan is gaining speed. The levee board has already endorsed it, the Caddo commission will vote on Thursday. The Facebook page could launch within a month.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

High school coach faces charges of touching girls.

A high school coach accused of having sexual relations with underage girls, is facing a Caddo parish judge. Nbc 6 reporter Karen Hopkins listened to a woman testify that the coach seduced her inside a school office.

“I can't explain to you the feeling that comes over my body whenever I hear something that's not true about him, because I know him.” Bree Helmick played on Greg Frazier's softball team at Shreveport’s Southwood High school. The coach was arrested three years ago, charged with sexually touching underage girls. If convicted, he could spend up to 15 years behind bars.

“The allegations are Mr. Frazier has molested multiple girls, but it’s up to the jury to determine if any of that is true,” Assistant District Attorney Hugo Holland says.

Frazier’s ex wife testified she was a sophomore cheerleader at Parkway High school in the 1980s, when she caught his eye. She says what started as flirting, kissing and touching at school lead to much more. She told the judge, she had sex with coach Frazier on the high school football field when she was just 15 years old.
“I feel as strongly about this as any other case, where the state believes that children have been molested,” Holland says.

Helmick is standing behind her coach. “It makes me very mad because I played for him. He is an amazing coach, guy. He has never done anything inappropriate or touched me.”

Frazier's ex wife said in court, she divorced him after discovering he was having sex with another high school girl. Frazier denies having any inappropriate relations with underage students.

Frazier's trial could last for a few more days. Holland says the coach could face more charges for having sexual relations with underage students.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Plan to save GM jobs.

The drive to save hundreds of Shreveport General Motors jobs is speeding up.

Wednesday the automaker announced the Hummer brand sale to a Chinese company failed. Workers hoped the deal would keep our facility open longer. GM says Shreveport’s plant could close in the coming months.

Nbc 6 reporter Karen Hopkins joins us live in the studio, with more on a plan to not only save jobs, but boost our local economy as well.

There's a lot we can do with the plant if GM leaves. Leaders say some creative options could keep work for hundreds of families here in Shreveport.

“I got to go where life says I got to go." General Motors worker Jo Gates knows the end of the line is near. The Hummer sale to a Chinese company failed. Demand for Shreveport’s other brands, the GMC Canyon and Chevy Colorado, is down. GM says the plant will close no later than June 2012. “June 2012 will come quickly."

Leaders are preparing. This morning, Caddo parish attorney Charles Grubb participated in a conference call held by the Louisiana secretary of economic development. Grubb says state leaders are strategizing ways to keep jobs in Shreveport after GM pulls out. “The bottom line is we are all optimistic that other uses will be found for this plant."

The plant is owned by Motors Liquidation, after the automaker filed bankruptcy. Grubb says the liquidation company has a government obligation, to help find a new tenant. “Whatever we need to do to get other uses for plant."

The uses range from any manufacturing, not just auto.
Grubb says one large company could use the facility or several businesses. “That plant has a lot of things going for it." Like location, it's close to rail access, and interstate highways.
The parish says it could even offer tax incentives to lure business
And save jobs; about 970 people work at the plant, according to
United auto workers president Doug Ebey. “It's going to affect their families. Neighborhoods, you'll see signs going up for sale. People's houses and property values will go down."

Gates say she's already leaving Shreveport, to transfer to an Indiana plant. “I want to stay with GM."

Not just GM employees are affected. About 450 people work for six local auto industry suppliers. 30 percent of their business was with Hummer. The Shreveport supplier union president says no word on any layoffs yet.

General Motors has a long history in Shreveport. Back in 1970 Caddo parish donated the land where the plant was built. Then twenty years later in 1990, the parish donated more land for the plant's expansion, and 7 years ago, in 2003, Shreveport GM started building hummer.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

GM Hummer Deal Fails, Shreveport workers react

General Motors’ attempt to sell its Hummer brand to a Chinese "heavy equipment maker" fell through. GM and the Chinese company, ended talks today after it failed to get final approval from the Chinese government.

Nbc 6 reporter Karen Hopkins joins us live with how this will affect hundreds of workers in Shreveport.

Shreveport's United Auto Workers president Doug Ebey says a number of GM workers could get laid off in the coming weeks, but not due to the Hummer deal falling through.

Instead, because demand for Shreveport’s other brands, the GMC Canyon and Chevy Colorado is down. Shreveport already stopped making Hummer in January.
About 970 people work at our plant.

GM told Nbc 6 its figuring out on a plan for workforce reduction. Ebey says he’s not sure how many people could lose their jobs or even when. "We've been trying to put pressure on GM and Detroit to tell us something, give us something definite to tell our people because people's lives are at stake here," Ebey says.

“We're somber anytime a place closes your heart goes out to family friends,” GM worker Jo Gates says.

Ebey says Shreveport workers can apply to transfer to other GM plants that are increasing production.

GM says it has no plans to bring a new brand to Shreveport. The company told Nbc 6 Shreveport’s plant is scheduled to close no later than June 2012.

Monday, February 22, 2010

More women suit up as police.

Shreveport police is training 22 new officers. Chief Henry Whitehorn addressed the new recruits today.
The academy will last until June. These officers will undergo rigorous training, from sharp shooting to physical fitness.

The job of policing the streets can be strenuous and dangerous. Nbc 6 reporter Karen Hopkins discovered more women are "taking that risk" to keep you safe.

The guns, danger and action: policing the streets was once seen as a male-dominated profession.
Now, when you call for help, there's a good chance a woman will come to your rescue. Sgt. Laura Sorrells is one of 98 lady officers for the Shreveport police department. She joined 17 years ago. She says more women are suiting up these days. “The economy has a role to play, but with the new era of females coming out the mindset is different."

Shreveport has highest percentage of female officers in the Arklatex.
18 percent of SPD cops are women. More than double the percentage of Texarkana Texas (7%) and Bossier City (6%), even higher than Dallas (16%).

Some women who ride in these cars, don't stick with the job. Since 2007, 33 percent of women SPD hired have left, for many reasons. “The mother instinct: a lot of them might be mothers and they see crimes against children It's hard to get rid of the nightmares," Sorrells says.

Women can do any job on the police force. Physical fitness requirements are determined by age and gender. “I know others are larger. I can definitely hold my own. You have to use your brain. It's not just physical strength," new recruit Heather Boucher says. “You just have to prepare yourself to come in like everyone else and get the job done," new recruit Tiffany Reynolds says.

Heather Boucher and Tiffany Reynolds are the two newest recruits. Spd's history of female officers started in 1977. Assistant chief of police Cheryl Jeter holds the second highest rank in the department. She joined in 1981. “The ones who came before me set the precedent," Sorrells says--that anyone can rise to the top, regardless of race or gender.

Spd says it’s looking for more qualified applications to sign up. The next Shreveport police academy starts in July. You can apply now. The deadline is March 8th. Visit the department at 1234 Texas Ave, Shreveport to pick up an application.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Doctors click iphones to diagnose patients

Cell phones are being used for more than just talking.
Doctors are now using iPhones to help diagnose patients. But is the practice safe?
Nbc 6 reporter Karen Hopkins found why doctors say this technology can improve your medical care.

When you walk in to see your doctor, don't be offended if he pulls out a cell phone. Apple reports 70 percent of doctors use iPhones. The handheld is part of your treatment, with more than 1,500 medical applications. “It's really good to look on there. I'm a new patient and if he's not familiar with me he can look in just one second," Red River parish resident Jack Huckabee says.

With just a click, Dr. Steen Trawick checks drug interactions, making sure the medicine he prescribes won't harm the patient. “We've always had information in books to cross check but that would take forever."
If you call your doctor in pain, Trawick says some physicians can access your medical history right away, in their pocket. “I can click patient on the phone and pull of a lab chest x-ray." If a phone gets into the wrong hands, Trawick says patients’ personal information is always protected by password.

“I think the reason this has exploded in the last few years is because the iPhone has become a ubiquitous tool." Dr. Mark Platt speaks at national Apple conventions about how doctors incorporate iPhones.

As the Asst. Dean of Students at LSU medical school in Shreveport, he's bringing the technology to the classroom, with interactive anatomy diagrams and video lectures.

Lsu physician assistant student Shannon Spaw uses her handheld as a reference to diagnose patients.
She compares healthy and abnormal images. “Having a reference to bring graphical images and written text to be sure of their decision is clearly going to save lives,” Platt says.

Platt says Lsu medical school in Shreveport is researching new iphone applications to incorporate into the curriculum for medical students next fall.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Animals end up in crowded cages.

Animals without a home are ending up in crowded cages. A local parish shelter says the overcrowding is putting helpless puppies at risk of infection and disease. Nbc 6 news reporter Karen Hopkins found action to improve conditions and what you can do to help.

This dog is too violent to share a cage. The majority of stray puppies live huddled together in one kennel. The Caddo parish animal shelter is about 20 years old. An outdated ventilation system leaves germs in the air, this puppy could breathe in helplessly. “It's our job to provide a voice for those who can't speak for themselves."

Director Matthew Pepper says while the shelter meets all state sanitation requirements, that's not good enough. Disease spreads easily through close contact, "hacking cough, running nose, discharge in eyes."

Giving each animal more space isn't an option. The Caddo parish animal shelter stays more than full-- at 200 percent capacity. “We have a capacity issue. We are looking seriously at. We will have to make decisions in the near future on how we will address that issue."

Caddo administrator Woody Wilson says the animal control budget has no money to expand.
May 1st. people can vote on a $25 million bond issue for parish wide improvements. If the bond is approved, the commission could dedicate money for a new shelter. “We are listening to what the community is saying. We have a lot of animal activists groups."

Pepper says the staff is doing everything to give these animals hope.
In the past two years, adoptions have increased 64 percent and euthanasia has dropped 15 percent.
"They are living creatures. We have an obligation to protect them."

Investing in a new shelter, Pepper says, will give more animals a chance at a healthy life and an opportunity to become someone's best friend.

Anyone can adopt a new animal friend. The shelter keeps on average, about 200 pets.
Nbc 6 looked into the costs of building a new shelter. The figure reaches the millions.
Desoto parish is building one for $3 million. Memphis, Tennessee is spending $9 million.

If adopting a pet is something you decide to do, there's a non-profit group that can help you spay and neuter your animal at a low cost. Robinson's Rescue in Shreveport wants to reduce or eliminate euthanasia. The group would like the parish to build a new animal shelter and have the rescue located next door. That way people could adopt and neuter in one location.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Shreveport General Motors plant loses work.

Shreveport's General Motors plant will shut down for an extra two weeks. The plant manager, Michael Dulaney, tells Nbc 6 the reason is because demand for the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon is down.

The two additional weeks are for May 3rd and May 10th. Workers will receive supplemental pay during the shutdown.

"We understand the plant is struggling and has to do what it can to catch up with inventory," GM worker James Ford says.

"I didn't think about it because I've been here long enough to know that could change," GM worker Shirley Hunter says.

Dulaney says if more people start buying Shreveport made trucks the plant could increase production.

Parish turns away 100 jobs over community concerns

“I'm upset we turned away 100 jobs and I don't understand it," Caddo commission president John Escude says. Outrage is brewing over a decision to pass up economic development at a time when many people are searching for work. A trucking company wanted to drive in business. But Nbc 6 reporter Karen Hopkins spoke with people who say the deal was too dangerous.

“Someone could fall asleep at the wheel and come barreling through here." Gaysha Triggs doesn’t want a major trucking company down the street from her son's daycare. She says the road's too narrow for semis. One accident could cost lives. “We have accidents there all the time. We don't know what material they would bring in, whether it's explosive."

Quality Transport moves cement and liquid petroleum. The Baton Rouge company wanted to buy 35 acres off Woolworth road in Caddo parish. The expansion would bring a hundred jobs, in trucking, mechanic and administrate positions.

"Of course I want jobs, but this is not the place for them." Caddo parish commissioner Ken Epperson introduced a plan to block any industrial company from building on the site, near daycares and churches.
The commission approved the ordinance in a close vote. “The parish itself is in good fiscal shape, but that doesn't mean our citizens are. People are out there hurting, struggling, having hard times,” Escude says.

“I'm not going to put a business where it's incompatible for the residents. There's no way I will do that."
Instead, Epperson says he'll work to turn the site into a park, giving these children a safe place to play, while attracting families to live and pay property taxes here.

The trucking company will not be able to build at another Caddo location. Leaders say the parish doesn’t have another site big enough for sale.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Historic Snow Storm

Shreveport gets most snow in about ten years!

State cuts medical services for veterans.

The people, who put their lives on the line for the safety of our country, are losing medical services because of Louisiana state budget cuts. But a battle is brewing to keep the care our veterans say they so desperately need.

Nbc 6 reporter Karen Hopkins spoke with people outraged over putting a price on our veterans' lives.

“How can you put money over lives?" Nikki Hayward says state budget cuts could put her best friend's life at risk. Ruth stone is one of 147 residents at the Northwest Louisiana War Veterans home.
She served 21 years active duty army. After suffering a double stroke, she has no voice.
“That could be me in there, and then I’d be looking to someone else to talk for me."

Louisiana faces nearly a billion dollar budget shortfall.
A state streamlining committee looked at the efficiency of all agencies and made recommendations on cuts. In response, the Department of Veterans Affairs eliminated in house pharmacies and nurse practitioners in the state's 5 veteran homes to save $1.5 million. “The family members are concerned of all the changes, the pharmacy is a big issue,” Northwest Louisiana War Veterans home administrator Byron Hines says.

The pharmacy closed last week. The shelves are already empty. If veterans need emergency medication, they'll have to order from a local pharmacy at a high price. “For Ruth it's not too bad, but for others it could be devastating. They might not have the money."

The home will lay off its only nurse practitioner Friday. Thirty-three nurses will remain, but
the practitioner has more training and can diagnose problems before it’s too late. “If it's eroded with budget cuts, who is going to look out for her? I can't."

Caddo parish commissioner Ken Epperson wants to send a resolution to the governor and legislators opposing the cuts. The budget isn't final. Lawmakers could restore funding. “Veterans should be the last ones to cut. We can find some other means instead of cutting services for our veterans."

Hayward says these veterans have already given up a lot and shouldn't have to sacrifice more.
“Lord knows there's enough people in here who have lost limbs."

The Northwest Louisiana War Veterans home opened in April of 2007. The nursing home has 156 beds. Veterans pay about $16,644 a month to stay.

Hayward writes:
"Wow what a great job you did on the editing, and the filming, and everything!!! Thank you, thank you for Ruth, thank you for all the patients, all the staff, all the patients' families, and for all those vets who may end up in this facility in the future!!! Fantastic job by Karen and Shane, AND Michelle!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Bollywood Film Festival at Robinson

The Louisiana Bollywood Film Festival kicks off this Saturday at the Robinson Film

The two week event will feature Indian movies...

Saturday night I went to the kickoff party with friends and my family who came from Cincinnati to visit. We danced to Indian music and met wonderful people! Many women wore beautiful saris, in turquoise, red, purple. I enjoyed the cultural experience in Shreveport! did my cousin and uncle!

If you haven't visited the Robinson, you're missing out. We're lucky to have such a neat center in Shreveport.

The Louisiana Bollywood Film Festival will be held at The Robinson Film Center February 13-February 21. Film selections for the festival range from the biggest hit in the history of the Indian film industry (1975's Sholay) to more recent films like A Wednesday!, Water, and The Namesake. The festival will also feature an opening night reception on Saturday, February 13 at 7:00 PM. The opening night reception will include authentic Indian cuisine, Bollywood music provided by DJ Abid Nazeer, and clips from the festival films. Dress is evening casual or Indian attire. Reception tickets are $50 each and are now on-sale at The Robinson Film Center or by calling (318) 797-5179 (credit card only if ordering by phone).

For a full listing of film programs and showtimes, click the "Showtimes" tab below. Normal Robinson Film Center ticket prices apply.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Most energy efficient building in the South, coming to Shreveport

An Arklatex city is developing the most energy efficient building in the south. Architects say the masterpiece will attract thousands of visitors, boosting the local economy.

In tonight’s Arklatex Green Nbc 6 reporter Karen Hopkins discovered how the green building could renew a community.

Shattered glass, it looks like an abandoned high rise without much hope. Bobby Walker passes it every day. “I have no idea what the city plans to do with this building.”

A major transformation. The building will become the greenest, most energy efficient, in the entire south.

It will house the Community Renewal training center. People from around the world will stay there, and learn strategies to improve communities by reducing crime and poverty. “People from all over the world will come here to see what's been done in Shreveport."

Lead architect Kim Mitchell says the makeover will cost $70 million.
Tax credits could cover $54 million, the rest of the funding comes through donations. Mitchell says construction could start within a year. “It's Shreveport growing its own corporate head quarters for a new industry."

The hybrid green building will use a combo of solar, geothermal, and wind. The power generated will lower its energy bill 60 percent. “Community Renewal is about renewing the community, which means being sustainable."

A filtration system will recycle all water used for showers and even hand washing.
The building will collect rain to water plants. And on the roof, a garden will grow food and teach urban agriculture. “I think you have to set an example for everybody and Shreveport is taking the initiative. Maybe other little cities in Louisiana could do the same thing," Walker says.

Mitchell says the green investment will benefit, everyday people like walker, by attracting thousands to spend time and money in Shreveport.

The petroleum company donated the tower to Shreveport. The city had to remove asbestos first, about a year ago.

"Art a la Carte" visit Artspace!

Neat exhibit at Artspace. You can check out "Art a la Carte" until March 6th.
The show features what regular people can do, creatively, away from their usual jobs and home-life and volunteer duties -- "off the menu," so to say.
Shreveport, renowned artist Bill Joyce, juried the show.

Also..on the same floor with us at Artspace, there's a marvelous tribute to overcoming the Depression. Lucienne Simon got it together, and she called it "Harbingers of Hope in Hard Times."

I enjoy visiting art shows. It helps keep life in perspective and can challenge you to look at the world in a different perspective. Go support artspace! Do something different. Reach outside your box! -Karen

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Bossier to open multi-million dollar fire station.

The Bossier City riverfront attracts thousands each day to casinos and the boardwalk. Now the city, struggling with a major budget shortfall, is investing millions to keep you safe. Nbc 6 reporter Karen Hopkins joins us live from the new Bossier City fire station.

The station is high tech, and take the largest in Bossier City. It’s a huge improvement from the old station. The fire chief says it could save lives.

Fire driver Matt Lauterbach rushes to help people in need. He knows firsthand, the trauma of a family emergency. “I lost my mom when I was 22. This is the same fire department that worked on her. After I saw what these guys did, I said I got to be part of this force."

He now works at the busiest station in Bossier City. Built in 1957, it's nearly 60 years old. Times have changed. The station answered 300 more calls last year, compared to ten years ago. "We make a lot of responses to the casinos you've got thousands of people each week in there."

To keep up, Bossier City will replace the old facility. The new fire station number 6 cost $3.5 million.
Although Bossier faces budget shortfalls, the money came from casino taxes. The city uses the revenue only for building projects.

The old garage was too small, Chief Sammy Halpen points out the new one can fit a ladder truck to reach people in high rise casinos. “One bad event could affect thousands of lives in one building. We have those. We have to be prepared for that."

The city also invested in this high tech filtration system. It removes toxins brought in from fire trucks.
“They don't have to inhale anything harmful."

This is Bossier's first fire station with pole. “I like the tradition behind it, I think it's cool."
Fire driver Chris Dison says a station is like a home, he lives there while waiting for calls. "We're like family" The family will move from tight sleeping quarters to individual rooms, and from a cramped kitchen to a spacious one. “We're going to do the job no matter where we work."

The firefighters will move in here by the end of the month. It's location, near I-20 and the parkway makes it easy for firefighters to help other departments during major emergencies. The city says having this new station will attract other businesses to build in Bossier.

Another new, state of the art, fire station is already in the works. Station number 5, along Swan lake road should be complete by next year. A bond issue funded the construction of the station to keep up with the growth of cyber innovation.

Monday, February 8, 2010

People fight for city cash

People are fighting for city cash. Shreveport has $2.2 million up for grabs in unspent bond money. The city council held a meeting tonight to give citizens a voice.

Nbc 6 reporter Karen Hopkins spoke with another group, scrambling to save a historic church from destruction.

St. Paul United Methodist church is the oldest African American church in Shreveport. It was established in 1865 shortly after the end of slavery.
Chairman Alvin Kirk say a flooding problem could wash away history. "If you don't know where you've come from, it's hard for you to plan where you're going."

Just steps from this historic church, is this drainage ditch, with heavy rains, it overflows into the church. Kirk says the drainage build-up started in the 1990s, after the construction of I-49 changed the way water flows. Water has poured into church basement three times. “There was mold, mildew in the air. We had to strip everything out of there."

City engineer Ron Norwood says Shreveport spent $145,000 to build a concrete flood wall and pump outside the church. Kirk says the repairs did nothing to stop high water. “In May of 2008, we had five feet of water in the church.”

“It's just a question of how far do you want to go to fix a drainage problem, how much money do you want to spend?" Norwood says an option is build a holding pond to divert the water. That could cost millions.

Kirk presented his case to city council. Shreveport has $2.2 million in unspent bond money. Kirk wants the leaders to invest in saving a landmark. “The foundation is getting weaker and weaker. It would be crushing to so many of the members."

Mayor Glover says, the city should use $300,000 of the unspent bond cash, for drainage projects. St. Paul’s United Methodist Church could receive some of that money.

Glover would like to spend the rest of the money on other city repairs.Government plaza has a leak problem. Glover wants to spend $1.3 million to fix the roof and replace the air conditioning,
$600,000 would go to renovate Riverview hall.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Super Bowl and Domestic Violence

Homer officer cleared in shooting

Centaur Float Loading! Mardi Gras

There's more Mardi Gras fun next weekend. Friday, I'm going to the Krewe of Highland Bal, Saturday the Gemini parade and on Valentines day...Krewe of Highland parade!
Busy weekend of...good times! Come out and enjoy!


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Woman found dead inside parked car

Shreveport police are searching for a killer tonight.

A woman was found dead inside her car parked in the cedar grove neighborhood.
Nbc 6 reporter Karen Hopkins joins us live from the crime scene with more details on this gruesome discovery.

Police are not releasing the name of the woman killed yet. We have learned she was an active leader in the Shreveport community. She worked for a local non-profit.

People in the Wyngate area say they don’t feel safe at home, with a shooter on the loose.

“This guy's on the run right now we don't know if he's hiding in some bushes around here or what," Jazzmine Mcduffey says.

Shreveport officers say around 6:30 tonight on Wyngate boulevard, adriver saw an SUV stopped in the middle of the road facing the wrong direction. The person got out to check and found a woman dead inside. “An adult woman, suffered at least one gunshot wound to the upper body," Cpl. Bill Goodin.

If someone heard a gunshot, police say no one called to report it. "We can't like it, I didn't even hear a gunshot,” resident Quince Hallman says.

Detectives have taped up the crime scene and blocked off the streets.
Stephanie Jones was trying to reach her mom. “It made me nervous because I couldn't get down there. It's not a good feeling very uncomfortable. I don't like it but this is the only place she can live. She has to stay here a while.”

A crowd of curious neighbors gathered. People watched investigators hunt for a killer, just steps from their homes. “Is somebody going to be patrolling over here because I have three kids. I want to know that me and my kids are going to be safe, that somebody's going to be watching out for us.

“We're conducting neighborhood canvasses, with patrol officers and detectives as well, going door to door out here,” Cpl. Bill Goodin.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Parish could ban backpacks in schools.

A "heated debate" over a local school district trying to ban backpacks for thousands of students.

This, after Shreveport police arrested a 10-year old boy for taking a handgun to school in his backpack. It happened at Westwood elementary two weeks ago. Police took the weapon after another student alerted a counselor about the gun. The student is suspended, pending an on-going investigation.

Nbc 6 reporter Karen Hopkins found that incident could affect what your child is allowed to carry to school.

9-year-old Jaylen Collins packs his backpack every night. Next year he might have to leave it at home. The Caddo parish school board is looking into banning most backpacks, after a child recently brought a gun to school, hidden in a bag. Last year, 3 students brought guns to school disguised in backpacks. “I care about our children, employees, their safety. Something's got to be done, any baby could have been killed that day,” Bell says.

School board member Dottie Bell wants to allow only clear or see through backpacks for all students in Caddo parish, starting next year. The board will have to approve the plan.
“If we do clear backpacks, what about students who participate in cheerleading? They have bags for that. Are we going to make them carry clear ones?" Bonita Crawford says.
“I think see through back packs are a tool we can use. There is nothing wrong with see through back packs," Roy Murray says.

“Where do we draw the line? Anyone with an inclination to do something illegally will find a way to do it," Barry Rachal says.

“I don't know if it will work. Do they do it in other districts?"Charlotte Crawley says.

In Louisiana, Jefferson and Sabine parishes require clear backpacks, as well as, one school in east Baton Rouge parish. We found no studies showing if see through bags reduce violence.

“I really don't want people to see all things personal to me." Collins says if he hears of another child with something dangerous inside a backpack, he knows what to do. “Tell a grownup.”

The school board will vote on whether to ban most backpacks in two weeks.
The board is also looking into a plan to add more counseling to teach students how to resolve conflicts.

Monday, February 1, 2010

SPD can’t hire stimulus officers.

Shreveport police department is supposed to get a cut of federal stimulus money to bring in more than 20 additional officers. But as Nbc 6 news reporter Karen Hopkins found out, there is a catch that could prevent the city from seeing any money at all.

Officer Kimberly Washington does her best to answer calls for help. "We need more officers on the streets." Shreveport is about a 100 officers short for a city its size, according to a 2008 manpower study. “If it were one of my family members, and we don't have enough officers on the streets, if something happens it could be dramatic if another officer is handling another issue.”

Shreveport wants to add 27 new officers. The city was awarded stimulus cash to hire them. But, as of now, it can't use the money. “In order to apply for the grant funding we got to get back to our baseline,” assistant to the chief Duane Huddleston says.

The baseline is the number of police Shreveport must have. SPD needs 18 more cops before its eligible to hire with stimulus money. Assistant to the chief Duane Huddleston says keeping enough cops on the streets is tough.
“Between now and August how many people are going to leave? We don't know, so we're always looking for others to fill those holes."

The department holds two academies each year. Huddleston hopes enough qualified recruits will sign-up. The city has three years to take advantage of the federal funding. “We can normally extend that if we show a good faith effort that we've done everything we can to hire."

The stimulus pays for officers salaries and equipment, but the city will have to pay about $40,000 for each car. If the city can't afford new cars officers will share.

Huddleston says the most important thing is putting more officers, like Washington, on the streets to reduce crime and improve emergency response time.

The stimulus grant covers salaries for three years.
After that, the city picks up the tab. Shreveport has no payment plan yet.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Symphony Tonight!

The Shreveport symphony is back after a year and a half hiatus. I'm excited to see the

"Tchaikovsky Spectacular" tonight.

Come show your support for our local musicians!

Update: The symphony was amazing.

The musicians played with energy, passion and emotion! A sold out crowd welcomed the talent back with pride!

I appreciate their dedication to the arts and their ability to create such beauty that touches the soul.

You need to catch the next performances!
March 05, 2010 Cirque de la Symphonie
May 15, 2010 A Keyboard Extravaganza

Friday, January 29, 2010

95-year-old man patrols the streets.

We all want to feel safe at home, but the economy has forced some Arklatex police departments to cut jobs.

Bossier City police had to lay off six new recruits this year because of a major budget shortfall. The Bossier sheriff’s office says it's watching expenses and not hiring as many deputies

While police departments are trying to do more with less, a group of people you might not expect are suiting up to fight crime: hundreds of retired men. Nbc 6 news reporter Karen Hopkins rode along with one volunteer who's nearly 100 years old!!!

Officers help people all the time. But it's not every day a man like Frank Elliot comes to your rescue. He's 95 years old and still patrolling the streets for the Bossier parish sheriff's office. “I enjoy it and I enjoy the boys."

The boys are retired men over 50. The Posse program began in 1995 as a way for citizens to help fight crime. Elliot's one of the first volunteers. “It gives me something to do. I wouldn't have enough to keep me busy."

He wears a uniform and rides with another Posse member two times a month. Elliot doesn't carry a gun or make arrests. The team just watches out for homeowners. If Elliot sees a problem. He'll call a deputy to the scene. “I had one flag me down that had domestic trouble. I called somebody else in."

About 250 people volunteer. They get in cars each day to keep an eye out for crime. “The posse works with patrol, and they form a team that's helpful with the reduction of crime," Ed Baswell says.

Crime in Bossier parish has decreased the past three years. Bossier sheriff public information officer Ed Baswell gives some credit to people like Elliot.
“He is a remarkable man. He lives in a house he built. He takes care of 49 acres of property."

“I don't worry anymore. That will shorten your life. You get to moping and you'll go downhill." Elliot says that's his secret to living a long and active life.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Cities stop giving pay raises.

Unemployment, higher prices and an uncertain economic future have all of us keeping a watchful eye on our spending. Some are cutting back even more because many employers have stopped giving raises.

City workers on both sides of the state line in Texarkana and Bossier City will see no pay increase this year. Shreveport employees haven't had a raise in two years.

Nbc 6 news reporter Karen Hopkins found one leader taking a stand for these middle class families and even getting a little dirty in the process.

Mounds of trash! Otis Peoples and Kenneth Ferguson pick up it to support their families. They say the load is getting heavier. It’s the second year with no pay raise and rising costs are piling up. “Me and my wife put everything together. We can make it work for us," Ferguson says. “With the economy and shape it is in, it makes things tight." Peoples says.

So tight, many families are spending less. Less spending generates fewer sales tax dollars and a loss of revenue the city depends on. “Sales tax revenue is way down and that's where revenue comes from,” city council chairwoman Joyce Bowman says.
Unlike other Arklatex cities, Shreveport laid no one off. “I'm thankful I have a job,” Ferguson says.

If the economy picks up, these workers could get a raise. “If our sales tax revenue comes in looking better than it did, we'll be in a position to do that."
City council chairwoman Joyce Bowman put on a vest, rolled away bins and took a ride. “This has been a humbling experience for me to walk a mile in their shoes." She says we sometimes take for granted, the hard work of these city workers."

In April, council will take a look at the budget again. If sales tax revenue is high, Bowman says she'll fight to give workers a raise.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Arklatex business lays off dozens.

Many people are struggling to find work after an Arklatex business laid off dozens of employees.

Nbc 6 reporter Karen Hopkins spoke with one woman, who like so many, is out of a job and devastated.

“I was just shocked. I'm still in shock. I could not believe it, when I talk about it." Goldie Hall is now unemployed. She lost her job at Sam’s club. The company laid off around 10,000 workers nationwide: 40 in Shreveport and Texarkana stores. Hall was one of them.

Sam’s Club released a statement saying, "We do not make these decisions lightly, and know that this is a difficult development…"
“They do not care about hourly workers, and our families. How this will affect us,” Hall says.

Sam’s has hired another company to give out samples inside the store. Anyone, even former Sam’s workers can apply for those jobs. “Everything is part time. I'd lose seniority and have to start over at minimum wage."

Hall joins others in our area actively looking for jobs but can't find work as unemployment continues to rise. “It's like my dreams have been shattered, my granddaughter’s dreams have been shattered."

Hall worked at Sams 22 years. The 54-year-old was saving money to send her granddaughter to a leadership camp for future doctors. “Now that's out, her dream, that's ok."

Hall says, Sam’s club workers laid off will get severance pay. The amount depends upon years of employment.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Water Sewer system in dire need of repairs.

Shreveport must upgrade, or face millions in fines, plus trouble for homeowners.

Imagine having raw sewage backing-up into your home or not having water to shower.

Without some major investments in Shreveport’s water sewer system, people could certainly experience that kind of trouble, and some folks already have.
Plus, if the city does not make some expensive upgrades soon, leaders say, it could face millions of dollars in fines.
Nbc 6 reporter Karen Hopkins, joins us now live from government plaza, where officials are looking for some cash to keep Shreveport’s water safe.

We all want to have water to drink when we need it. Leaders say we’ll have to pay to fix major faults before people have to deal with problems at home.

A muddy mess. Dorothy Black has to look at it in her own front yard. Freezing temperatures burst her water line. Crews just repaired her driveway. “I hope that it does not happen to me anymore. I hope I don't have to go through this anymore."

More homeowners like Black could see problems.
Shreveport's water-sewer system is in dire need of repair.
“We have pipes collapsing on a daily basis."

Assistant city engineer Barbara Featherston says about half of the sewer pipes are more than 50 years old. She warns breaks could overflow this raw feces into homes, or in the streets. “It has bacteria, something you don't want kids to play in."

Exposed waste is an EPA violation, and Featherston says Shreveport is in trouble. “Basically the EPA said you have more violations than we would like to see.”
The EPA can order Shreveport to fix old pipes, or pay, “millions of dollars in fines."

Featherston says the sewer infrastructure needs a $200 million investment over 12 years. The city's water system could use $150 million to replace old pipes that break easily, especially in cold weather. “We need to try to get folks to understand that this is really a serious issue that we need to address."

Before it's too late, and people like, black have to deal with the problem at home. "Water was sitting in my driveway, just a pool of water."

Mayor Cedric Glover wants to have a bond election this fall.
So you, the voters, can decide if we should borrow money to fix our water sewer system.

Digital Technology could prevent flooding.

Storms last fall caused damage for our region and hundreds of homeowners.

Taking pictures with digital cameras is one way of capturing life's special moments. Now, that technology is helping engineers create life-saving plans to minimize the damage from flooding.

You might remember the tremendous effort by the National Guard and local law enforcement, to protect homeowners from high waters. Now, the focus is on "preventing" another disaster.

Nbc 6 reporter Karen Hopkins found the digital plan could save taxpayer dollars and give homeowners some peace of mind.

Stacks of sandbags, three feet high. Debbie Hewko can see them every day from her yard, a daily reminder of the floods last fall.
Her house is steps from the Red Chute levy in Bossier parish. The waters rose so high, she evacuated her entire family. “It was traumatic because you can lose everything over night."

The fear is real for hundreds of homeowners. Digital photography, recently used technology for the Northwest Louisiana Council of Governments, could help find ways to minimize the damage.

For three days in November, photographers shot aerial photos of Caddo and Bossier parishes. "Extremely detailed images."
So detailed, they show even water you can't see. "It detect areas turned into marshlands."

Executive director Kent Rogers says by seeing the path of the flood, engineers can design plans to divert water away from homes and businesses.
The photos show how high the water came up over these sandbags and which part of the levee engineers should build up.

“A lot of these homes would have been underwater. By telling how we can raise the levees, we can protect the homes,” Rogers says.

A plan Hewko says she can live with -- one that keeps her family and others safe.

Taking the aerial photos cost about $250,000. Rogers says, the federal government paid for 80 percent, while local oil and gas companies covered the rest, in order to have access to the images.

The Northwest Louisiana Council of Governments is organizing the flooding photos. The association works with our local governments. It helps plan transportation and regional development projects.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Tornado Aftermath

A tornado touched down in Waskom Texas. The twister rips apart a home, the woman inside survives.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Krewe of Highland Goes Green!!!!!!

Many of us will catch some beads this Mardi Gras season. But when the parade's over, the decorations often end up in the trash.

In tonight’s Arklatex Green, Nbc 6 reporter Karen Hopkins discovered how you can recycle your party favors and celebrate at the same time.

“We've been Mardi Gras since the very beginning!” Kathy Melancon is a Mardi Gras queen. This year her Krewe has a new theme: Highland Goes Green. “When we chose the theme we got into planning."

The plan is to help our environment and save cash.
It starts with recycling beads. The krewe has collected donated necklaces. But the Melancon’s have a personal collection. “My son never wanted to part with some. It's best to give them back to the community.”

Melancon says an average family of four throws out about a $1,000 worth of beads. By recycling, it cuts the cost in half and it's still a good time.

You'll find the recycling theme at the Highland bal. The krewe is saving hundreds of dollars by reusing decorations, and so are the guests.
“We're hoping people pull things out of the closet. we have Elvis coming wearing that costume."

Melancon says it's fun to recycle, and even trendy. “I'm hoping people will get on the bandwagon and start recycling beads."

You can still donate your old beads to the Krewe of Highland. Drop them off at Columbia Cafe, that's on the corner of Kings and Creswell.

On a personal note.....I am going to the Krewe of Highland bal AND recycling my GREEN sequenced PROM dress!!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Ministry helps people in revolutionary way.

More people are out of a job during these tough economic times and have trouble supporting their families.

Now a local group is reaching out to take care of people in a revolutionary way.

Nbc 6 reporter Karen Hopkins discovered how its touching people who have nearly lost everything.

“It’s just like your heart left and went to the pit of your stomach. All you can do is cry, pray and hope." Michael Hood and Cheryl Blair are unemployed. They live together in a van. Both say they never imagined they would end up homeless. “I pray. I have to hold on to God. If I didn't, I’d be living in hell."

“People carry around huge needs we don't know about so it helps us as an organization to connect them." So Cassie Hammett started the Hubb ministry in Shreveport about two years ago.

Volunteers feed people each week. But this year, the hubb is going beyond basic needs. “It is revolutionary because it's one on one.” Under the new "remedy" program, a volunteer adopts someone in need, like hood. The sponsor provides a bag of supplies each month, but most importantly, forms a personal relationship. “We believe life change happens when you have a support system a group of people behind you rallying around you and saying this is the right decision this is what you need to do. “

Hammett says now is the time to help. Louisiana's poverty rate is higher than Arkansas, Texas and the national average.

To get involved visit the Hub’s website:

Monday, January 18, 2010

Trusted company throws social security numbers in dumpster

Most of us trust our banks with our personal information, but an NBC 6 investigation found an Arklatex finance company throwing account statements, with social security numbers in a dumpster!

Watch the video to see me do some digging. I have a reputation in our newsroom for "not being afraid to dive into things!"

Who knew? Bossier City police say banks can throw your personal information in the trash. It's not a crime. You might want to ask your finance companies how it disposes of personal information. Most shred documents and will have a certificate of destruction as proof.

Shreveport remembers Martin Luther King Jr.

Tonight I enjoyed learning about Martin Luther King Jr. in the Shreveport area. History fascinates me. It’s sad that people can harbor so much hatred. On a positive note, amazing people like Dr. King can inspire good and most importantly, action.

Here's the story...

His speech, “I have a dream, inspired an entire nation to change and reject hatred and racism. Today our nation honored Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Nbc 6 reporter Karen Hopkins spoke with some local civil rights icons who knew Dr. King and of the steps he took in Shreveport to fight racism.

Shreveport pastor C.E. McClain was just 13 when he first saw Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “He maintained eye contact. It could be chilling when his eyes turned to you.”

Dr. King spoke twice in Shreveport: in 1958 at Galilee Baptist church and then 4 years later at the historic Little Union Baptist church. “He said some things about our town that were not very flattering, that we were the sickest city in America, the second most racist city.”

Shreveport historian Willie Burton says in 1963, activists organized a peaceful walk. “Here young black wanted to march." But the police commissioner, George D'artois, would not allow it. So instead, Little Union held a prayer service. “That's when the horses came up the steps and got him in the back of the collar and drug him out.”

Pastor McClain is referring Dr. Harry Blake, a prominent local pastor and civil rights legend. “People all down the street had to get out of the way because of the police brutality.”

The violence outraged students at Booker T. Washington. Classes marched in protest. Burton says, police tear gassed and beat students.

Decades later dr. King's legacy lives on. We have a black president, mayor, police chief.”

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Hello Readers!

I want to expand my blog and tell you a little about upcoming events with a personal twist.

Mardi Gras Season coming up!

I am an Ohio native. Last year was my first Mardi Gras experience. I dressed up in a sequenced gown for the Krewe of Centaur bal and enjoyed the celebration. I think Mardi Gras is a wonderful cultural, southern event. The bals are filled with impressive decorations, each table themed differently. The presentations of princesses and captains are entertaining and unique. The parades are a blast. I love being outside and enjoying good times, while meeting interesting people.

This year I'm excited to attend the Krewe of Highland Bal. My cousin Angelina, practically my sister, and Uncle John, like a father to me, are coming from Cincinnati as guests. Both are from up north and are pumped to experience the Shreveport! Over the past year, I've gotten to know the "port city" well. I'm always impressed by the warm people and its charm. "Laissez les bon temps rouler!"

DATES to remember: Centaur Parade Feb. 6th, Gemini Feb. 13th, Highland Feb 14th.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Homeless fill up shelters, trying to escape the cold

Local shelters need your help to keep people warm during this winter storm. Nbc 6 news reporter Karen Hopkins spoke with people literally trying to survive by escaping the dangerous cold.

“I'd much rather be here than out there when it's freezing,"
Christopher Dees says. With the freezing, dangerous, temperatures, the Shreveport Bossier Rescue Mission and Salvation Army shelters are filling up. Both centers expect dozens of more people to come in over the next few days.
“A lot of people are coming in now have disabilities. They come in without coats and freezing," Pete Carnes says.

Local shelters are setting up rows of cots to give people a warm place to stay. “We started with 18 now we have 40 cots.” If more shelter is needed, the Red Cross will set up warming centers at local churches or schools. "We're not going to turn anyone away in this type of weather." KC Kilpatrick Stone says.

“Having a warm place is really great. I got a lot of friends living on the street they tell me every day how cold it is and how much of a blessing it is to be here," Dees says.

Because outside, each winter homeless people die on the streets from the cold, suffering from frostbite or hypothermia. “I believe it is a true blessing we can provide places like this for people less fortunate with no place to go.”

The Rescue Mission needs more blankets, pillow cases, to keep people warm. You can donate by dropping items off here at 901 McNeil Street. Or you can pledge money online at this link:

Drunk Driver gets life in prison for killing high school student

“That boy sat on the windshield for hours and bled to death, wide awake, and that man gets life in prison?!" A Caddo parish judge sentenced Jimmy Ray White to life in prison. White drove drunk and ran into a Shreveport high school student who was on the side of the road, with friends, trying to help a stranded woman.

Tonight a teen who witnessed the devastating accident is speaking out. Nbc 6 reporter Karen Hopkins found he's still searching for closure after seeing his friend get killed before his very own eyes.

“I couldn't believe it, it was hard to believe." Tray Cummings and his friend, 15-year-old Adam Klingensmith, were standing on the side of the road trying to help a woman fix her car. That's when the unthinkable happened. “By the time I turned around, all I heard was a big boom and I couldn't find Adam anywhere."

A drunk driver named Jimmy Ray White hit Klingensmith and drove with the teen's body across his windshield before dumping him along the road, leaving him for dead. “It was scary it could have been either one of us."

Two years after the tragic accident, White was sentenced today to spend the rest of his life behind bars. White is a habitual felony offender with three prior convictions. “I don't want to talk about it. That man doesn't deserve to go to prison. He deserves torture.” Klingensmith was the boy next door for Charles Cummings. He watched him grow up. “It's emotional. He was a good boy. It didn’t have to happen to him."

“He was just goofy he liked to joke a lot. If you need a friend he was always there." Now he's gone. “They lost a good boy."

Cummings says don't take the people you love for granted. "We miss him."

Klingensmith was a freshman at Byrd high school in Shreveport when he died.