Christmas program, poems showcase children

More Photos

Little Angels perform a liturgical dance routine during St. Matthew Baptist Church's Christmas program held Wednesday, Dec. 16. Photo by Sherri L. Jackson. More photos

By Sherri L. Jackson
The Light

Attending St. Matthew Baptist Church’s annual Christmas program held Wednesday, Dec. 16, brought back many childhood memories.

As I heard the children recite their poems and play parts, I couldn’t help but think of those days at my home church in Hammond.

It was during those times I gained confidence to stand before crowds of any size. I firmly believe that program coordinators’ firmness in making me learn my poems by hard gave me a giant step in life.

While looking at the children at St. Matthew’s program, I couldn’t help but believe those angels, shepherds and innkeepers may one day lead us old folks to the promise land.
If you haven’t gone to any Christmas program this season, may sure you do so. You’ll be surprised what the children can and will do.

Until then, Happy Holidays.

Make a child smile this Christmas

As the Christmas season is here, it is a perfect time for me to focus on the many children who will go without this Christmas year. Yes, it’s true. Many children will not have a requested toy under the tree. They will not have a gift to open on Christmas morning. They will not have new clothes or a traditional Christmas meal to eat. Some of them are right here in Alexandria.

For those of you who had gifts for your children on Christmases past, you know how happy they are on when the jolly fat man in the red suit comes and leaves them what they’ve requested. Many children’s faces will be minus a smile this Christmas. Their eyes will be sad and full of tears. Their voices will tremble with these word as they asked, “why didn’t Santa Claus bring me anything?”

Every child should experience the joy of Christmas, and every child should get at least one toy or gift. That one toy or gift, even something that cost less than $5 could make a difference in whether that child’s Christmas will be a wonderful one or not.

I don’t want any child to be sad on Christmas morning, and I know that many of you don’t want that either. Yet, as we know, there will be hundreds of thousands who will be just that because there will be nothing under the Christmas tree for them. That’s why I am asking you to pick up a small toy, clothing items or nonperishable food item to donate to your religious or charitable organization to distribute to those less fortunate than you.

Organizations such as the Salvation Army would welcome your contribution or donation. You’ll be surprise the difference your item will make the lives of many children. You will turn a sad face into a face filled with a wide smile.

The Light, Dec. 15:Special Day for Special Ladies

Read The Light: Dec. 15, 2009

Alexandria Council, adminstraction back in room together

Mayor Jacques Roy and City Attorney Chuck Johnson sit at the table in the Council Chambers. The mayor and his staff returned to the chambers at the invitation of President Roosevelt Johnson. Photo by Sherri L. Jackson

By Sherri L. Jackson
The Light

In less than 30 minutes, the Alexandria City Council conducted all of the city’s business on its Dec. 15 agenda with little fanfare, with one noticeable exception: Mayor Jacques Roy and his staff were seated at their table inside the Council Chambers.

By all accounts, it appears Council President Roosevelt Johnson may be on his way to reach his goal of bringing a spirit of unity and cooperation among the Council and the Administration.

“It gives me great pleasure to invite the administration back to the council chambers…,” Johnson said.

Johnson gave Roy an opportunity to address the Council.

“Let’s move forward united together,” Roy said during his first Council meeting back in the council chamber since Councilman Myron Lawson, under his presidency, removed Roy,  and his staff away from the table to seats in the audience.

Meanwhile in the brief meeting, the Council after discussion of concerns gave the administration the approval to accept the Ducote Wrecking Inc. low bid of $86,200 to demolish the former Dominique-Miller stockyard.

Previously, District 2 Councilman Everett Hobbs, who owns a construction company, was concerned that the bid was much lower than the estimated $290,000.

However, at Tuesday’s meeting Hobbs said he spoke to Tom David with Pan American Engineers about the project and still came away with some concerns that Ducote could have the site “construction-ready” at such a low price.

Yet, Kay Michiels, Roy’s chief operating officer, explained the price was such because “the demolition contractor actually wants to use (salvaged) materials personally.”

District 1 Councilman Ed Larvadain III said he wanted assurances that there wouldn’t be any additional costs related to the demolition.

Demolition work should begin by the end of the year, Ken Juneau, mayoral assistant told District 3 Councilman Jonathan Goins.

In another matter, the Council accepted the administration’s recommendation to continue its relationship with Charlie Anderson, site coordinator, programming for the Area 4 Weed & Seed Initiative funded through the U.S. Department of Justice.

During the Public Safety Committee, Larvadain asked the administration whether the city was looking to expand the program to include District 1.

Roy said the administration was looking to expand the scope of the program’s services or to find similar program, such as Safe Streets, which the city previously had.

Larvadain asked that the discussion continue at a February council meeting.

Alexandria woman accused of damaging her girlfriend’s property

By Sherri L. Jackson
The Light

Donnetra McNeal, 21, 4047 Heyman, Alexandria, was arrested on a charge of criminal damage after she allegedly damaged her girlfriend’s computer and printer then poured honey on the sofa, according to the Alexandria Police Department.

Police reports indicate around midnight Monday, McNeal and her girlfriend had an argument when McNeal left, then returned and allegedly damaged the girlfriend’s belongings.

When officers arrived, they saw McNeal allegedly stomping around, throwing items, she claimed belonged to her, and loudly cursing. McNeal allegedly admitted to the damage.

Serving people is Roosevelt Johnson’s only desire

By Sherri L. Jackson
The Light

Roosevelt Johnson is not on the mayor’s side. Roosevelt Johnson is not on the Alexandria City  Council’s side.

Johnson, who will preside over his first Council meeting today as president, said he is on God’s side, which means his ultimate goal is to do what he can to help people.

“As president and councilman-at-large, I want a working relationship with churches, civic groups and the Council so that we can change the quality of life in Alexandria,” Johnson said in a one-on-one interview Monday night with The Light.

Despite negative talk surrounding his election to to lead the Council through the 2010 year, Johnson said his focus is to see the “Council and Administration put all differences aside because we are elected to serve. If we are not together, the people hurt.”

His first move toward that end is to bring Mayor Jacques Roy and his staff back into their Council Chambers’ seats during the Council meetings. They will be in place at today’s Alexandria City Council Agenda, 12-15-09, which begins at 5 p.m.

Under Councilman-at-large Myron Lawson’s  presidency, the mayor and his administration didn’t attend Council meetings preferring to watch from upstairs after Lawson moved their seats to the audience rather than the table next to the Council.

“Bringing the mayor and administration downstairs is for all of us to work together. It’s beyond politics. We have a job to do whether we like each other or not,” Johnson said.

In Roy’s recent State of the City address, he said he looks forward to working with Roosevelt.

Johnson, 50, said his life’s guiding principles are workmanship, responsibility, accountability and commitment.

Those guiding principles, Johnson said, are the result of a knee injury he suffered while in the ninth grade in 1968. While out of school several months, he had time to reflect on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King and how he wanted to move forward in life since his dreams of playing professional football had been shattered.

“Since the ninth grade, I’ve had dreams to finish Southern University, to work in television and to be a councilman,” Johnson said. “I graduated from Southern University. I worked in television for 26 years. Now, I’m working to bring the city together as a city councilman in Alexandria.

In the coming year, Johnson said, he wants to make sure all city projects, especially Special Planned Activity Redevelopment Corridors, commonly called SPARC, and drainage issues.

In Johnson’s first move as Council president, he made committee assignments, which caused a small rumble in the community. In particular, District 1 Councilman Edward Larvadain III is no longer chair or a member of the Legal Committee.

In recent past Legal Committees, Larvadain and District 3 Councilman Jonathan Goins, probed whether or not Mayor Jacques Roy had a conflict of interest relating to the Cleco case. At times, the meetings resembled a courtroom filled with interrogations.

However, Johnson said moving Larvadain off of the Legal Committee had less to do with Larvadain’s wanting an investigation of Roy and more to do with wanting  Larvadain to grow and develop as a councilman.

“Each councilman needs an opportunity to grow in all areas. My goal is for all to do the best for the city regardless of whether they serve as a chairman or not,” Johnson said.

“I would like to see Jonathan and Ed be the best they can be to develop and grow,” Johnson said. “When you’re newly elected, you have your future in front of you. You need to be versatile. I’ve been on the Council seven years and I’ve not sat on the Finance Committee. Allowing people to move around and serve on different committees leads all of us to the future.”

Regarding Larvadain’s and his fact-finding probe relating to the mayor and Cleco, Johnson said, “As president of the Council, I feel it’s time to move forward. As I’ve viewed what is taking place, we’ve been there before.”

However, Johnson said, if there are any ethics violations  against any officials, they will eventually surface.

Meanwhile, Johnson, who has been on the City Council seven years, said he is not sure what his next political move will be regarding the 2010 mayor’s race.

“As we all of my other campaigns, I must sit down with my family and supporters before I go public. I will do so after the holidays,” he said.

Alexandria detectives investigate burglaries, one arrested

Klarens Tatum, 1302 FoisySt., Alexandria, was arrested Sunday morning on charges of simple burglary and possession of marijuana, according to the Alexandria Police Department.

Tatum, 19, was arrested inside the Rapides Parish Library, 411 Washington St., after officers allegedly found him inside the building. According to the police report, here is a narrative of the report:

Officers responded to an alarm at the library after the alarm company alerted police that the alarm had been activated and that employees could hear someone inside the building.

Officers arrived to find a small side window broken. They found a cast iron water meter cover on the floor. Police suspect the cover was used to break the window.

While searching the building, officers heard noise and noticed Tatum allegedly trying to kick open a door in the back of the library. Officers ordered Tatum at gunpoing to get on the ground and place his hands behind his back. He did so with no problems.

While patting him down, officers allegedly found 10 $1 bills, a roll of quarters, $8.25 of loose quarters and three dimes in Tatum’s front pocket. Officers also accuse Tatum of having a plastic bag of suspected marijuana.

While placing Tatum in the police car, an officer noticed mud on his shoe. At about the same time, police received a call in reference to a burglary at Fast Eddie’s Bail Bond, 1330 Eighth St., where coins and a safe were allegedly stolen. Also, officers found what appeared to be a muddy shoe print at the scene.

Officers also responded to CQ3, 729 Lee St., in reference to a burglary. Officers noticed the back door of the business had been kicked open. Officers also noticed what appeared to be a shoe print which may have matched those left at other burglary scenes.  The business owner said that it did not appear that anything was missing.

Meanwhile, the owner of The House of Styles, 628 Lee St., reported his business had been burglarized. Officers observed that the back door had been kicked in and that grass and dirt were on the door. The owner said he didn’t see anything missing except a small amount of coins.

Officers  then went to Tatum’s home and talked to his mother, who said she hadn’t seen her son since earlier that morning. While looking outside around the house, officers saw a small wooden fram box, which housed a not water heater. When the officer looked inside, he allegedly found a green backpack sitting inside. Officers allegedly found coins, two laptops, a camera, Pocket PC, cargers and several computer wires. A metal safe was found under the edge of another house. The safe appeared to have matched a safe taken from one of the burglaries.

Also burglarized were First Union Historic Baptist Church, 601 Lee St., and Gonzaque-Williams Mortuary, where computers and computer equipment were allegedly stolen.