Community News for Nov. 12, 2013

AMIkids honors Birkett for service to youth

AMIkids Baton Rouge Board of Trustees member Brenda Birkett was honored for her years of service at the 2013 AMIkids Annual Board Meeting in Clearwater Beach, Fla.

AMIkids presented Birkett with the Wind in our Sails Award for individuals who provide long-time service to the nonprofit youth organization.

AMIkids has served Baton Rouge area teenagers since 1987. The organization helps youths make positive decisions through programs that inspire learning, leadership and personal growth. About 105 teens are in this year’s program.

Birkett, former dean of the Southern University Business School, is a long-time AMIkids Baton Rouge board member and was chair and secretary-treasurer. She also helped reinvigorate AMIkids in Lake Charles.

In addition, two AMIkids Baton Rouge board members were appointed to national executive committees. Leonard Wyatt and Judge Curtis Calloway will serve two-year terms. Calloway was one of three board members receiving a Board Governance Award for work over the past year to maintain funding for the local program. Other recipients were AMIkids Baton Rouge founder Newton Thomas and board Chair Ron Phillips.

Purple Heart group topic for Audubon DAR

Richard O’Brien, state legislative officer for the Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 177, spoke to the John James Audubon Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution on Oct. 21 at the Bluebonnet Branch Library.

Guests attending from MOPH were Harry T. Brady, Roosevelt B. Gipson Sr., Commander Tommy Jarreau, Bob Schilling and Women Auxiliary member Lela V. Brady. Ann LaCour, sister-in-law of chapter Secretary Georgia LaCour, was introduced.

MOPH’s mission is to foster goodwill and camaraderie among combat wounded veterans, promote patriotism, support necessary legislative initiatives and provide service to veterans and their families.

Project Patriot Committee Chairwoman Karen White distributed a list of soldiers who have been deployed with the National Guard. Care packages with items submitted from the wish list will be delivered by the DAR sponsors at the November meeting.

Glenda Carlile, Literacy Committee chairwoman, said she and Margaret Tyler delivered about 1,500 books for the District V Regent’s Project. About 1,100 books went to the Raven Shelter for Homeless Veterans, 350 children’s books to Sweet Dreams Shelter and the rest ones to Connections for Life.

Hostesses were Dianne Frazier, Lynda Normand, Sue Blanchard and Betty Jo Snellgrove.

Brusly High observes Red Ribbon Week

Brusly High School observed Red Ribbon Week Oct. 23-31. A national tobacco, alcohol and drug awareness campaign since 1988, the effort was led by special education teacher Gale Jones.

The school’s special needs students provided daily readings, distributed drug education pamphlets at a lunch table designed by the gifted art students, hosted an exhibition of a drug-trained dog for the student body, held a red ribbon tying activity around the school’s oaks and myrtle trees, and distributed red ribbons to every student, staff and administrative member.

Assistant Principal and BHS Positive Behavior Club Coordinator Faye Davis organized the distribution and delegated the rosters and ribbon-counting to student worker Johneshia Batiste.

Brusly Mayor Joey Normand and Lions Club representatives Gerald Mabile and Melvin Abbott visited to deliver the red ribbons, for distribution to our staff and student body on Oct. 30.

Local students honored for honesty, integrity

Baker Masonic Lodge 441 presented Honesty and Integrity Awards to three local students on Oct. 28.

This year’s recipients are Olivia Ann Jenkins, daughter of Dana and Pam Alexander of Zachary; Brittany Danielle Manuel, daughter of Janet Kimble of Baker; and Veronica Newman Michelsen, daughter of Rolf and Wendy Michelsen of Baker.

Jenkins is a senior at Zachary High School and plans to attend LSU and major in business after graduation. Manuel graduated in 2013 from Faith Baptist Academy and plans to attend the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine. Michelsen is home-schooled and will graduate in 2014. She plans to attend Our Lady of the Lake School of Nursing.

The honorees received certificates, an Honesty and Integrity charm and a monetary gift. District Deputy Grand Master Ben F. Melanson and Baker Past Master Rory Bozeman. Robert Foreman, master of the lodge, welcomed everyone and introduced the guest speakers for the presentations.

Each year the Masons select young people in the 11th and 12th grades who exhibit honest values and show integrity in their daily lives.

St. Francisville Rotary hears United Way CEO

Capital Area United Way President Darrin Goss Sr. spoke to the St. Francisville Rotary Club on Oct. 29.

Goss, who began his job July 1, spoke about the impact CAUW makes on thousands of children, youth, individuals and families in the 10-parish area through the organization’s 47 partner agencies and 113 funded programs.

Rotary member Eric Olson of Entergy Riverbend, a former CAUW board member, delivered a $10,000 donation to the Imagination Library, a program through CAUW, to provide a book each month to any child age 5 or younger in West Feliciana Parish.

Alzheimer’s Services holds Wellness Day

Kicking off National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, Alzheimer’s Services held its first Wellness Day on Nov. 2 at St. James Place in Baton Rouge. More than people attended the “Before They Forget and After They Forget” presentation led by the Rev. Kathleen Rusnak.

The Wellness Day, sponsored by Spiritas Senior Services, included health screenings by nursing students from Our Lady of the Lake College and a photo display of the “Faces of Alzheimer’s.” Other sponsors were St. Joseph Hospice, Synergy Home Care, Hospice in His Care and Oakwood Village.

November Awareness Activities, entitled, “Navigating Through Dementia,” include Memory Screenings, a social event for caregivers, two lunch-and-learn programs and a candle-lighting ceremony to honor and memorialize those affected by Alzheimer’s. The activities are sponsored by the Baton Rouge General and Home Instead Senior Care.

11 GOLD Awards honor disability achievements

The Governor’s Office of Disability Affairs hosted the 2013 Governor’s Outstanding Leadership in Disabilities Awards Ceremony on Nov. 6 at the Old State Capitol. GOLD Awards annually honor individuals in the state’s disabled community for outstanding achievements.

The ceremony featured 11 award winners introduced by their nominators. More than 250 guests attended. Dr. Laura Brackin was guest speaker.

Receiving GOLD awards were: Veteran of the Year, William J. Heroman, of Baton Rouge; Employer of the Year, UpLIFTD, Baton Rouge; Educator of the Year, Danielle Price, Lafayette; Volunteer of the Year, Paulette Guthrie, Lafayette; Direct Support Professional of the Year, Dora Chandler, Basile; Service Animal of the Year, Pet Program, New Orleans; Family of the Year, Chiasson Family, Thibodaux; Youth of the Year, Katherine Pate, Thibodaux; Patsy Barrett Memorial Award, Crystal Smith, of New Orleans; Ken Vince Memorial Award, Myron Wright, Thibodaux; and Distinguished Merit Award, Marybeth Stringer, Thibodaux.

Three Runnels students on All-State Ensemble

Three Runnels High School students have been selected as members of 2013 Louisiana All-State Ensembles.

Junior Connor Matthews made first chair in the All-State Concert Band, senior Caroline Bonaventure was named second violin in the All-State Orchestra, and Amelie Kharey, also a senior, made fourth chair in the All-State Symphonic Band.

All-State concerts will be held in the convention center of the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Baton Rouge on Friday, Nov. 22, through Monday, Nov. 25.

At Runnels, Matthews and Kharey are members of the Advanced Band, conducted by Jill Swetnam, and Bonaventure performs with the Advanced Orchestra, which is directed by Jennifer Cassin.

Hernandez receives honor at Princeton

Allen Hernandez, a sophomore at Princeton University and a 2012 St. Amant High School graduate, has been selected as a 2012-13 recipient of Princeton’s Shapiro Prize for Academic Excellence.

The prize, awarded annually to sophomores and juniors, recognizes outstanding academic achievement during the previous school year. Forty-three of Princeton’s roughly 1,350 sophomores receive the prize.

Hernandez intends to enter the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, while also pursuing certificates in Spanish and linguistics. This past summer, he spent a month in Toledo, Spain, studying the Spanish language in addition to Spanish politics, art, and culture, through a Princeton study abroad program called “Princeton in Spain.”

He is a chair of his residential college council, campus tour guide, peer tutor and is a cast member in the Princeton Triangle Club, a 123-year old musical comedy troupe that performs an original student-written musical comedy each year.

Rothermel selected to All-State Mixed Choir

Grant Rothermel of Catholic High School has been selected for the Louisiana All-State Mixed Choir. The All-State Choir and Bands will perform at the Louisiana Music Educators Association Fall Conference Nov. 21-25 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Baton Rouge.

The Mixed Choir performance is scheduled for 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23 in the Premier Ballroom. Admission is free.

Broadmoor graduate named recruit trainer

U.S. Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Matthew Carson has been selected to train recruits at the Coast Guard Training Center, Cape May, N.J. He arrived in September and will serve a three-year tour of duty.

He is the son of Neil and Marilyn Carson of Baton Rouge and is a 2002 graduate of Broadmoor High School.

Compiled by George Morris

Advocate staff writer

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