In honor of Black History Month this year, the Delta Regional Authority highlighted black leaders and organizations from each of the eight states of the Delta region who have dedicated their careers, resources, and energies to developing and supporting communities throughout their city, state, and region.
Last week, the DRA highlighted the work of the Rev. James Smith of Rayville with the following statement:
The Rev. James Smith is committed to the betterment of his community and willing to help anywhere a need is found – whether that help finds an outlet in the city, its schools, or the church.
“Rev” lives out his beliefs through every role he takes – serving his community as economic development advisor for the city of Rayville, truancy officer for Richland Parish Schools, and as the pastor of Pioneer Missionary Baptist Church.
As an economic development advisor to Mayor Lewis of Rayville, Smith played an active role in gaining many investments to support the city – including $12 million to improve its water and sewer infrastructure, a portion of which came from a Delta Regional Authority investment. This emergency funding provided clean water to a community with nothing but brown water supplying local homes and businesses. His efforts have also helped to bring the city’s tax revenue from $800,000 to nearly $2 million.
One of Reverend Smith’s most effective and dedicated commitments is his service as truancy officer in the Richland Parish School District. Through his hands-on approach to working with troubled students in the district’s 12 schools over the last 15 years, he has helped the district’s dropout rate fall by more than 10 percent from 13.5 percent in 1997 – one of the highest in Louisiana, which also ranks second in the nation in state dropout rates – to a current rate of 0.8 percent.
Smith was also played a critical role in replacing the alternative school option at Rayville High School with a vocational program to involve more at-risk students, giving them a greater chance to graduate and to be successful in the workforce. He has been an advocate for the importance of parental involvement in supporting students to work toward higher scores on statewide testing, avoiding poor scores that can keep students behind their classmates and put them at higher risk to drop out before receiving their diplomas. In 2000, Smith directly advocated for the passage of a Louisiana law that prevents any student below the age of 18 to drop out of school without a parent’s permission.
Smith says that his efforts to make sure that students are able to graduate and have every opportunity to succeed are part of the larger picture of economic development within the community. He believes education a “key to growth” and notes the importance of having a trained workforce to build the economy.
As an African American, Reverend Smith says he is inspired by everything that his forefathers overcame and the limitless opportunities they helped to ensure for all Americans.
“You can be anything you want to be,” Reverend Smith said. “All you have to do is believe. I live in the greatest country in the world and I have these opportunities, and if I don’t take advantage of them it’s no one’s fault but mine.”
Reverend Smith serves as the first official chaplain of the Delta Regional Authority, appointed in 2002 under the George W. Bush administration. He was able to continue that role under President Obama when Chairman Masingill was appointed Federal Co-Chairman. He was invited by Senator David Vitter of Louisiana to lead the opening prayer of the U.S. Senate’s 2012 session, one of his proudest achievements. He is also frequently invited to lead prayers for Louisiana House and Senate sessions in Baton Rouge.
As Reverend Smith demonstrates in his community each day, the ways that an individual can better their community are not limited to a single role or effort. Opportunities to serve can take shape anywhere for those who are willing to look.
Delhi native Marvin D. Smith has been selected to serve as Scout executive of the Tukabatchee Area Council in Montgomery, AL.
Smith is the son of Leon and Joann Smith of Delhi.
He began his Scouting career in the Denver Area Council in Colorado, serving first as district executive and then being promoted to district director. Promoted again, he successfully served as field director in the Chickasaw Council in Memphis, TN, as most recently as director of field services in the Greater Cleveland Council in Ohio.
An avid outdoorsman and sportsman, Smith enjoys spending time with his wife, Danielle, and children Jabari and Zoie. He graduated from Southern University A&M College in Baton Rouge with a bachelor’s degree in science and agriculture.
“His character, his leadership, his remarkable work ethic, his consumate professionalism, his ability to develop people and build relationships and his relentless desire to succeed, have all contributed to his worthiness for this wonderful promotion,” Scout executive Barry Norris said. “Those same traits will bring him continued success in Montgomery and beyond.”
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will host seven public meetings to present details on the proposed 2014-16 hunting seasons and the 2014-15 Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) general rules and regulations. One meeting will be held on March 1 beginning at 2:00 p.m., LDWF Monroe Office, 368 Centurylink Drive, Monroe
LDWF’s Wildlife Division will accept public comment that will be reported to the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission prior to final approval of seasonal dates, rules and regulations at their April 3, 2014 meeting.
Some of the proposed changes include:
- Allowing small game hunters to carry buckshot and/or slug while small game hunting on private lands.
- Modification of a portion of Iberville Parish from Deer Area 9 to Area 6.
- Modification of a portion of St. Mary Parish from Deer Area 7 to Area 9.
- Modification of a portion of Iberville Parish within Deer Area 9 from gun with dogs to still hunt only.
- Elimination of requirement for an annual military permit on Camp Beauregard, Fort Polk, and Peason Ridge WMAs.
- Addition of general turkey lottery hunt on Pearl River WMA.
- Addition of youth turkey lottery hunt on Richard K. Yancey WMA.
- Implementation of a Self-Clearing Permit requirement for turkey hunters on Catahoula and Red Dirt National Wildlife Management Preserves within Kisatchie National Forest.
- Expansion of deer hunting opportunities on Lake Boeuf WMA.
- Addition of a youth shotgun deer season on Pass-a-Loutre WMA.
- Expansion of fishing opportunities on Pointe-aux-Chenes WMA.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is surveying dove hunters across the state to share their experiences and opinions about dove hunting. Topics include season dates, hunting activities, hunting success, ammunition used, as well as demographic variables.
To participate in this on-line survey visit the LDWF website at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/hunting and follow the link provided. Interested hunters will have until March 16, 2014 to participate in the survey. The full survey consists of 13 questions and an additional section provides space for comments. The survey can be taken by anyone, but LDWF is interested in the opinions of dove hunters.
The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana's abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at www.wlf.louisiana.gov on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.
By Melba Hendrix
Here I come again, on the job to write another weekly Outlook column. And, this is my first column to write in this new month of March. I suppose I’ve been kind of thinking that we would be having some spring-like weather from now on. But, that doesn’t seem to be working out with the weather forecasts which I heard earlier today. I do believe they are forecasting a low temp of about 28 degrees tonight and then maybe a little warmer tomorrow and later on....
We just have to take it the way it comes and do the best we can.
I have really been enjoying the mild temps of the past few days. My little dog, “Cookie” and I have gotten out for a long walk nearly every afternoon. I don’t know which one of us enjoys that the most. Cookie can’t speak in actual words; but, she has a way of expressing it when she feels it the most.
And, I am sure that our school children are eagerly looking forward to vacation time when school will end until it resumes in the early Fall. As I’ve said before, kids get so many more holidays out of school than we did back in my ancient times. We got out a couple of extra days for Thanksgiving and then the time from Christmas through New Year’s Day and that was about it until school was let out for the summer - usually near the end of the month of May. And. I really don’t know just when school will end for the summer break. My grand-daughter, Kristi Wiggins, teaches first grade at Mangham and will know when school ends. Oh, yes.....
CHUCKLE #1 - Joe, a student was putting himself through the University of Texas by working nights which meant that he barely made it to his eight o’clock class on time.
One morning his professor commented on the Yosemite National Park T-shirt which Joe was wearing and asked if Joe had really been there.
“Oh, yes,” Joe replied. “It’s my home.”
The professor frowned at him for a moment and then said, “Well, it’s no wonder that you are always late!”
I wish that I had some new and/or exciting news to report; but, it’s just about the same old routine. However, if you think about that - it could always be worse. So, as I’ve said before, I just kind of “go with the flow” and try to handle things as they come along. And, I don’t worry about what may be coming in the future - I figure it will take care of itself in due time if I don’t neglect it too long......Oh, yes......
And, we do have some elections coming up soon for various offices in our fair town of Rayvile. I don’t recall the exact date nor the names of all the candidates; but, I’m seeing their advertising signs all over Rayville - even up on my hill on the south side of our town. We’ll be seeing and hearing a lot more about that in the coming days. You betcha,,,,,,
CHUCKLE #2 - The Sunday School teacher was explaining the story of Elijah the prophet and the false prophets of Baal. She told of how Elijah built the altar, put wood upon it, cut the bull in pieces and laid them on the altar. And, she said that he then commanded the people of God to fill four barrels of water and pour over the alter four times.
“Now,” said the teacher, “ can anyone in the class tell me why the Lord asked Elijah to pour water over the bull on the altar?”
A little girl in the back of the room raised her hand with great enthusiasm. “To make the good gravy,” was her joyful reply. (Oh, yeah, I love the gravy, I really do........)
So, I am looking forward to some warmer weather coming pretty soon. And you know that “daylight saving time” begins on the 9th of March - if I’m reading the calendar right. We set our clocks one hour ahead before we go to bed on Saturday night, March 8th. And, I will like having that extra hour of daylight in the afternoons.....Oh, yes - my little dog, Cookie, and I will enjoy that together........
Birthdays are coming up soon for: Candace McVay, Billy Whitten and Ashley Harris on 3/6; for April Cheek and Taylor Condrey on 3/8; Orville Lewis on 3/9; Mary Bois on 3/10; Dawn Everett and Doris Johnston on 3/11 and for Wayne Parker on 3/12. May all of these folks enjoy a special celebration of their natal day and we wish them many, many more....Oh, yes!!!
And that will just about bring another Outlook effort to a close for one more week. I hope our weather will moderate and start being more like spring-time. We’ll see......If all goes well, I will meet you again next week through this column - same way, same old and etc. You bet!!!
PARTING THOUGHT: Children are natural mimics who act much like their parents despite every effort to teach them good manners. (Author unknown)
By Shirley Thompson
An elderly lady was well known for her faith in God and for her boldness in talking about it.
She would stand on her front porch daily and shout, “Praise the Lord.”
Next door to her lived an atheist who would get angry at her proclamation he would shout, “There ain’t no Lord.”
Hard times set in on the elderly lady and she prayed for God to see her send her some assistance. Once again she stood on her porch and shouted, “Praise the Lord! God I need food! I am having a hard time. Please Lord, Send me some groceries.”
The next morning the lady went out on her front porch and found a large bag of groceries and shouted. “Praise the Lord!”
The neighbor jumped from behind a bush and said, “Ha! Ha! Ha!, I told you there ain’t no Lord. I bought those groceries. God didn’t!”
The lady started jumping up and down and clapping her hands saying, “Praise the Lord! He not only sent me groceries but he made the devil pay for them.
Praise the Lord.” Phillippians 4:19 “But my God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
Here from Baton Rouge for a few days with Jody Stokes was her little girl, Amber. Always good to visit but, oh the saying good bye.
Enjoying a night out at Logan’s Steak House to celebrate Diane Cobb’s birthday was. Diane, Louise Cater, Tanja Thompson and me. We did enjoy our meal. The next outing will be on Tanja’s birthday.
Coming over for a visit on Thursday was Hilda Clack and Lawrence Smith. They had to have ice cream. The next day they stopped by again but, they had been up to visit with Clayden and Myrtis Clack.
My little great grandson Carter Cheek, was selected as Star Student for the six weeks at Start Elementary. Carter is in the 1st grade. We’re so proud of him.
Here on Saturday was Elnora McNeese Brady from Shreveport. Her granddaughter Brittany and great grand Paisley were with her.
They had been visiting in Bethel Cemetery and come by to give her donation. She is very faithful for that.
Frank and Sue Knight from Tyler, Texas come by on Monday. They were here for the Memorial service of Frank’s class mate Sellers Aycock. They did take the time to stop in.
Congratulations to Joshua and Courtney Toney. They are the proud parents of twin girls. Hope I will have more info soon.
Happy birthday this week to: Ronald Rawls and Hunter Stewart (14 years) on March 9th, Shannon Williams, David Nix and my little red haired great grandson Cooper Thompson (6 years) March 10th, Cole Nix and my sister in law Nellie Thompson on March 11th, Landon Stewart and Lauren Stewart on March 12th, LeAnn Graham on March 13th. May these celebrate many, more happy ones.
Anniversary wishes to: Tray and Chuck Clack on March 11th. I wish them many more happy years together!
Have a good week! Please call and share!
Remember: The one thing you give and still keep is your word.
See you next week and hello to Frank and Sue in Texas.