Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tune in KSCL on Mon @ 5 pm to hear about the Aspire program for at-risk youth as helmed by Brian Salvatore, PhD, LSU Shreveport

On KSCL's "Time for a Better Shreveport" radio program on March 7 Dr Brian Salvatore will talk about the A.S.P.I.R.E. program. This stands for "After School Program for Innovation and Respect for Education". It is a youth mentorship program that was started by the LSUS Foundation, with funding from the Community Foundation.

"It is serving some of Shreveport's most at-risk schools and neighborhoods. I don't think that anyone can or should underestimate the power of youth mentorship by young adults and what that can accomplish," says Salvatore.

"Shreveport is now 54% black. When I first started working with the inner city school students and some of the churches last year, my biggest fear was, "what if these people look at me and the LSUS student mentors as people who are displaying an air of superiority by coming into their neighborhoods and schools and thinking that he should be mentoring us". I half expected them to laugh in my face and walk away. Fortunately, that has not been the case. At the very worst, the attitude I got was "what took you so long to take notice of our needs and start to invest some of your time into our schools and our neighborhoods?". That is a feeling that I wholeheartedly understand. It is what motivates me to want to do more to reach those students who have not had high enough standards placed upon them yet in their lives."

Perfect season to stride leaf-carpeted Coates Bluff Nature Trail, Shreveport

A friend from Salem, OR, came through on Tues and we effortlessly hiked the Coates Bluff Trail end to end. It was gorgeous.

Two improvements have been made this week. Thanks to a Jon Soul-led work crew on Sat, the auto tire gallery seating has been completed. At this mini-amphitheater, it's easy to imagine students giving brief lectures to each other on the topics of sycamores, native pecans and southern beavers.

Near the Valencia / Magnet HS end, a recent tree fall had presented a dual-trunk, stiff under-tree challenge. That has been cleared out and it is now an easy dual-trunk underpass.

At the Valencia Park end, a softball game was underway between Magnet and Airline girls' teams.

Near Montessori, ducks were playing on the water. Several sub-teen fishermen were learning the art of angling.

All in all, it is the perfect time to make the trek. No poison ivy, no snakes; just tall trees and beautifully calling birds.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Podcast: Caddo Schools, money, poverty, race and why creating independent school districts ought to be considered: D. Scott Hughes ofthe Alliance4education.org, Shreveport

Click here to listen to the Scott Hughes interview at KSCL on Feb 27, 2012, on Shreveport's Alliance4education and the problems facing Caddo Schools.

Interviewers are Carolyn Manning and Robert Trudeau for the weekly program Time for A Better Shreveport.

Check the show Mondays at 5 pm, KSCL, 91.3 fm.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Bike Sharing & Bike Boulevards Discussed at Last Meeting

In attendance: Ken Hawkins, David Young, Cynthia Keith, Susan Fontaine, Garrett Johnson, John Gilliland, Kathryn Brandl, Feico Kempff, Loren Demerath, Maurice Loridans, Robert Trudeau.

ABS Financial Report

Garrett distributed a printout of the finances of the organization. There are monies in the General Fund, the Coates Bluff Fund, the Bike Co-op Fund, and the Dog Park Fund.

The Dog Park Fund has a substantial amount, and it was noted that many people worked hard for that, including Cynthia Keith, Steph Pedro, Carolyn Manning, Kathryn Brandl, Susan Keith, Garrett Johnson, Susan Fontaine, Maurice Loridans, William Hartman, and others--many of whom do not have dogs but who see the value of a dog park for the city. having fund raised Could have a list of things that we spend general funds on and on what we want. Velo Dendro comes out of it. We got $500 from Pratt, and ended up $200 down from that.

It was noted that ABS could be more explicit about what funds are used for. The general fund is for miscellaneous operating costs, for example, but much of it went towards Velo Dendro last fall.
The group discussed the need to have that be a separate fund. Garrett and Robert were in charge of it last year and noted that the overall cost was $1200; that went for t-shirts, printing of fliers and insurance. It was also noted we could keep Velo Dendo tighter and count on fewer people. We do have a regular expert at the ready in Dr. Hallie Dozier.
The group also discussed the possibility of having other bike tours, such as for local history, architecture, etc. Highland has a set tour we could use. The Christmas light tour is lightly attended but fun. It might be worthwhile to some sort of social ride with a twist every quarter. In the future we might be able go through Barksdale base with John’s help.


On the heels of that topic, and in light of the recent bike accidents, the recent frustrations with moving the bike-ped plan ahead, and the fact that several regular transportation cyclists were in attendance (3 biked to the meeting), the group turned to the issue of how make the city more bike-able as we enter an optimal time of year for biking.
More media used for bike safety will help. John Settle will be honored through Robert’s blogging on the ABS blog and elsewhere. On the radio show we’ll bring several from ABS to talk about biking for transportation. John Gilliland noted that the principle of “build it and they will come” is true with biking infrastructure. Loren noted that one study has show that if there is a bike path within a half mile of your house, you’ll be likely to use it. Maurice noted that the functions of them can vary as well. Minneapolis, a city with long winter, uses them to ski on when there’s snow. Shreveporters complain about the heat with reason, but Loren notes that when it’s hot out the breeze you get biking can make it preferable to walking.
Goathead Thorns
Another local difficulty discussed was goathead thorns; they’ve have discouraged some people from using the bike path. After mowing they tend to get thrown onto the path if they’re out. Maurice has taken a sample to Tim Wachtel and suggested that his workers could attack them with pesticides.
The group discussed the issue of how riding bikes is perceived, whether is seen as being elite white males, or, in lower income neighborhoods as for those without cars. Susan said she most wants people educated on bike safety and laws. A brochure on bike laws was mentioned as a possibility.

Bike Lanes
The value of bike lanes was discussed--Shreveport has none--and it was noted that Shreveport isn’t likely to sweep and maintain bike lanes. When drivers see people on bikes they are made aware of them and are more likely to be safe around them. John will be certified soon as a safety instructor and can give classes in a big parking lot where people would be seen riding around.
Bike Racks
Other ideas discussed: Bike racks are important, and knowing what a cyclist wants in a rack is important. An example is the improperly positioned bike rack along the wall outside the Brookshires on Line Ave.
Sciport Partners
Helping the profile of cycling could be Karen Wissing bicycling from Sciport to Magnet for her demonstrations at the school of energy conservation. Sciport might be a potential partner in a bike share program that lots of cities are doing now.

Bike Share Programs
And Shreveport doesn’t have the “city at the bottom of a bowl” problem that Barcelona had, where all the bikes end up at the bottom of the hill in the town center and the city has to haul them back to the ‘burbs at the end of every day. Typically, though, the programs work well: bikes are in docks, and you can swipe an i.d. card to borrow a bike and you leave in some other docking station at your destination.
Bike Boulevards
The group also discussed the possibility of having bike boulevards in Shreveport where there would be lower speed limits that would be enforced. These would be along certain routes and neighborhoods and the lights would be timed and stop signs would be oriented to maximize cycling flow and minimize auto flow.
Bike Route Network
The cumulative result of such bike boulevards could be a network of routes covering the city where people feel safe and are more likely to ride. A number of people have mentioned in ABS meetings or to members elsewhere that they stopped riding when they came to Shreveport because they perceived it as unsafe. Kings Highway and Line Avenue are not inviting. That said, those that have been more determined have discovered Shreveport is quite bike-able if you know the right routes; just ask Maurice, Loren, Robert, Garrett, John, Jon Soul, Carolyn Manning, Steph Pedro, Ian Webb, or the many others who’ve attended ABS meetings via bicycle! A network of bike boulevards could be based on those routes, and it’s publication via a map, “bike route” signage, and/or painted sharrows could allow others to experience the same bike-able Shreveport those cyclists have already experienced.


The co-op has possibilities in terms of space, but there’s been nothing firm yet.

An itemized inventory for what we’ll need in terms of equipping work stations will be coming from Ian. The group could be in a position to make a push in May about getting partners. Matthew Linn sounded positive about the possibility of partnering with the Rutherford House; if the Parish is going to fund auto-mechanic training, why not for bicycle mechanics. So, we might be able to write to the Parish for funding help.


The Parish has awarded us funding for work on Coates Bluff, and that team will be moving forward to use those funds. Maurice got excited when Genn Prickett came as he was thinking that the Nature Conservancy could be the entity set up to be the repository of the property rights, but it turns out they’re not interested in it. Feico thinks we might be able to piggy back with Land Trust of Southeast Louisiana. Who are the parties? That’s the key legal question.

Maurice noticed there are several trees newly down on the trail, but Robert has taken150 Magnet High students down there and it was a fun. Jon, Maurice, and several Centenary students from the living learning community studying sustainability (the “greenhouse”) constructed the first level of an outdoor classroom by buring tires ¾’s down into the earth. It’s notable the trail has become a success. While they were constructing the classroom some people walked through; they’d come just to see the trail. The signage could be better etc., but the schools are using it and we’ve accomplished a lot with it.

The group discussed who might help make information sheets/pamphlets on the flora fauna along; possibilities ranged from botany professors such as Ed Leuch, to Centenary students, to Magnet High students. The discussion was postponed considering that Jon wasn’t in attendance and might know more about it.

Since this is the time of year for bicycling, the next meeting will be focused on pushing forward these new ideas. Coates Bluff will also be on the docket, as will the dog park, and bike co-op, as need be.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Alliance4education.org director D. Scott Hughes chats on Time for A Better Shreveport on Mon, Feb 27, 5 pm

Magnet exams  by trudeau
Magnet exams , a photo by trudeau on Flickr.

The director of Alliance4education.org is D. Scott Hughes, a tireless advocate for improvements in Louisiana schooling as well as Caddo schools.

Today the Alliance is shaking up Shreveport by developing a proposal that would create 3 school districts from the current Caddo system.

The program is Time for A Better Shreveport, a weekly on-air chat with hosts Robert Trudeau, Loren Demerath and Carolyn Manning.

Stream at http://kscl.fm/
Questions, insights: 869 5297

Sunday, February 19, 2012

TABS, Mon @ 5 pm, KSCL: Krewe of Highland planners Sherry Walker, Emma McCarty and Matthew Linn; also, Vincent Williams

Managing Shreveport's biggest Carnival event, the Krewe of Highland Parade, is a story best told by its organizers, Emma McCarty, Sherry Walker and Matthew Linn.

Also to be interviewed: Vincent Williams, who is directing "The Marker," Reflections of Viola Liuzzo on Friday, February 24, at 7:30pm at the Scottish Rite Temple.

Updating Projects and Plotting New Strategies Monday

ABetterShreveport will be meeting Monday at our usual time & plance: 6:00 in the Wright Math Building on Woodlawn--across from the Centenary library and one block north of the Gold Dome.

We'll be updating projects like the bike coop, the dog park, and the Coates Bluff nature trail, and our new emerging one, which could be entitled: "the bike-ability project".

We'll also be discussing the new strategies recommended by our special guest last week, Glenn Prickett. Guest posters, newspaper engagement, relationship building, etc.

Join us!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Tracey Graham, City of Shreveport, Glenn Prickett, Nature Conservancy, Loren Demerath, A Better Shreveport

The ABS visit by the Nature Conservancy's Glenn Prickett drew a healthy crowd this week.

ABS member William C Hartman III noted, "Definitely encouraged by the potential for cooperation among public and private sectors! We have to make it happen."

And, said Robert E Trudeau: "One sort of eye-opening phrase: green infrastructure. That means you can't continue to curry a city without being mindful of its trails, parks and smart use of the empty lots and hidden fields."

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Open Meeting with the Head of the Nature Conservancy Monday NIght

Centenary College and ABetterShreveport.org will be hosting a meeting Monday night open to all members of the community with Glen Prickett, founder of Conservation International and head of the Nature Conservancy. ABS will be asking for feedback on a number of ideas it's been exploring for Shreveport related to ecological living and the conservation of natural habitats such as bike paths, nature trails, recreational waterways, and other quality of life improvements for our city. Mr. Prickett should also be able to give us some general pointers on how move forward on such projects through public-private partnerships--one of his specialties.

We will be meeting from 6 to 7 p.m. in the Whited Room of Bynum Commons, which is the big front room of Centenary's dining hall. Refreshments will be served. Please join us!

Also note that Glen Prickett will be our guest on "Time for ABetterShreveport" at 5:00 on KSCL, 91.3.

Monday, February 6, 2012

ABetterShreveport Meeting Tonight at Marilyn's Place

Dear Shreveport-Bossier,

Please join us tonight from 6-7:15pm for our monthly social themed meeting.  Marilyn's Place on 4041 Fern Ave is where we will be. We will chat about what's happening in town and reflect on January 2012.  As always, this meeting is open to the public!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Time for A Better Shreveport on Mon, Feb 6, 5 pm: music matters withJim Huckabay and Alan Dyson

The House Concert Series, acoustic Americana performed at Fairfield Studios, has been a part of Shreveport since 2004. Musician / producer Jim Huckabay chats about the history and future of the House sessions.

Singer-songwriter Alan Dyson has a new tune and uptown video; it offers a political perspective and is called "Louisiana Jive."
Dyson will be joined by co-writer Debbie Engle and video producer Marion Marks.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Radio Interview with Hallie Dozier, Baton Rouge Cyclist

Here's the interview on the 30-year old Baton Rougean who was killed by a drunk driver.  Just click download in the upper right corner.