hit tracker <body><script type="text/javascript"> function setAttributeOnload(object, attribute, val) { if(window.addEventListener) { window.addEventListener('load', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }, false); } else { window.attachEvent('onload', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }); } } </script> <div id="navbar-iframe-container"></div> <script type="text/javascript" src="https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> gapi.load("gapi.iframes:gapi.iframes.style.bubble", function() { if (gapi.iframes && gapi.iframes.getContext) { gapi.iframes.getContext().openChild({ url: 'https://www.blogger.com/navbar.g?targetBlogID\x3d23615820\x26blogName\x3dCenLamar:+A+Blog+on+Life+in+Alexandri...\x26publishMode\x3dPUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT\x26navbarType\x3dBLACK\x26layoutType\x3dCLASSIC\x26searchRoot\x3dhttp://cenlamar.blogspot.com/search\x26blogLocale\x3den_US\x26v\x3d2\x26homepageUrl\x3dhttp://cenlamar.blogspot.com/\x26vt\x3d7276229209213654946', where: document.getElementById("navbar-iframe-container"), id: "navbar-iframe" }); } }); </script>

Saturday, September 30, 2006 by Blogger

And the Winner Is.... Sources tell me to expect official returns to be posted around 9:15- 9:30 PM. Get ready. Turn-out seems very strong. We may be looking at record turn-out in some precincts. Click here to watch the results as the pour in.

Friday, September 29, 2006 by Blogger

It's the Final Countdown! Election predictions, LSU football game predictions.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006 by Blogger

What Do You Think Now?

by Blogger

Roosevelt Johnson

by Blogger

Jacques Roy

by Blogger

Charles F. Smith

by Blogger

Delores Brewer

by Blogger

Joe Fuller

by Blogger

John Sams

by Blogger

Alice "Red" Hammond

by Blogger

Maltuzi Holdings, LLC a.k.a. NameKing.Com A few weeks ago, I wrote about how I was surprised and dismayed to find the domain name www.cenlamar.com was purchased by a company called Maltuzi Holdings, L.L.C. Since then, I have learned a little bit more about Maltuzi. I've been contacted by a number of different people and businesses who have also had their domain name scooped up by Maltuzi. They seem to be experts at this. Someone called me yesterday and told me that Maltuzi purchased their small business's domain name on the day it went up for renewal. Their business (a flower shop, I believe) had owned the domain for seven years. They used it in all of their advertising. I received this e-mail today:

"I don't know if you're aware of the Trenton Duckett case in Florida. Trenton is a 2 yr. old boy who his mother claimed was taken from his bedroom while she and some friends watched a movie. About a week and a half after he went missing, his 21-yr. old mother, who is now the prime suspect, killed herself in her grandparents home. She was uncooperative with police, left vague notes, refused a polygraph and had other odd or suspect behaviors. They still have not found Trenton.
This case has really been bugging me and this morning I wondered why I hadn't thought to offer to set up a website for these people or if they even had one. So when I went to check on TrentonDuckett.com, I found it was taken by Maltuzi Holdings on September 9, the day AFTER the mother killed herself. In short, (and in my opinion) these people are scum. What's even a little bit worse (if it can get worse) is that when you go TO trentonduckett.com it comes up with all of these links for things like real estate, mortgages, airline tickets and other things people shop for. Well, these losers have it so that those links come up with the domain name inserted in them. For instance, if you were looking for shoes, it would say Maltuzi Holdings has shoes! So, you guessed it, it says things like "Maltuzi Holdings has Trenton" and "Looking for Trenton?" Scum. Absolute scum."
Well, it certainly seems like Maltuzi just uses keyword searches to pick up domains, milk them for traffic, and then (hopefully) sell them for a premium. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be any real method to their madness. They buy the domain names of existing businesses (which, I imagine, probably inspires many business owners to pick up the phone and call their lawyer). They bought CenLamar.com, and they didn't even know what it meant. And it looks like they also bought trentonduckett.com, because the missing boy was in the news-- and perhaps they felt that there was money to be made in someone else's misery. We should protest! I don't have any problem with their business buying domain names, but when you purposely co-opt someone's identity and when you use the name of a missing baby to make money, well, I think you need to answer questions about your professional ethics. Maltuzi Holdings, LLC's listed e-mail address is admin@maltuzi.com. I found their phone number somewhere, but now I can't seem to locate it. For people who have had their domains purchased by Maltuzi, I'm not sure if this really made a difference (but I like to think it did). Here's the letter I wrote:
To Whom It May Concern: My name is Lamar White, Jr. I attempted to contact your company earlier tonight, and I was directed straight to a cell phone voice mailbox. Your company recently purchased the domain name CenLamar.com, a product of my imagination, obviously named after the blogsite I created in March of 2006, considering the site's top searches inventory. That said, I hope that we can reach a cooperative agreement regarding my intellectual property before we need to involve employment lawyers regarding your company's decision to co-opt my brand name and identity. I will ask now that, before any legal work is filed, you please relinquish the domain name CenLamar.com at fair cost to my company, considering your only obvious intention in purchasing said domain is to rely on my blogsite's keyword searches and unique content. If any agreement cannot be reached within 36 (thirty-six) hours, I will take the necessary steps to pursue litigation against your company. Sincerely, Lamar White, Jr.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006 by Blogger

Bolton High School: What's Next?
Guess what? The conversation is not over. We've talked about what has happened. Now, what happens next? (And isn't this postcard awesome?)

by Blogger

Cenla's Newest Resident: Bernard Ebbers!
Former WorldCom CEO and head engineer of the largest corporate scandal in the history of our nation (yes, at $11 billion, WorldCom was still bigger than Enron), Bernard "Bernie" Ebbers, drove himself (in his new white Mercedes sedan) to prison today in nearby Oakdale, where he will likely serve the majority of his twenty-five year sentence. Welcome to the neighborhood, Bernie. Ebbers, who was born in Canada, first made his fortune during the 1980s by creating his own chain of motels in Mississippi. He was convicted of fraud and conspiracy in March of 2005. (From what I understand, the Oakdale Correctional Complex isn't exactly a country club prison. Should be a learning experience for him). See Also: WeSawThat: "Louisiana's Newest Resident"

Monday, September 25, 2006 by Blogger

Noteworthy: Local Landscape Architect Jeff Carbo Featured in Wall Street Journal Reprinted on Pantagraph.com Loren Scott in the Houston Chronicle: Louisiana Loses 175,000 Since Katrina. However, Alexandria Has Created 2,600 New Jobs Since Katrina (We're ahead of Houma and Monroe but still far behind Baton Rouge, Lafayette, and Shreveport in new job growth).

by Blogger

The Home Stretch. Vote for Roy. The election is less than a week away, and during this final week, I think it's important for us to remember what we're voting for and what, in my opinion, we should be voting against. When I first began blogging back in March, other bloggers and concerned citizens sent me letters with information about consulting companies, backdoor ordinances, and insider deals. Granted, we bloggers are known to suffer from a healthy amount of paranoia, and some of this material was more innocuous than they first thought. However, where there is smoke, there is fire. In my humble opinion, in the course of an election, it's not negative to tell the public about an opponent's professional record; it's informative. It provides an insight into the way our local government currently operates. Have we all forgotten this? Why is it rude, at this point, to remind people about the issues? When a candidate lies to the public why is it that our first inclination is to kill the messenger? (And we're not talking about a little white lie. We're talking about a lie that goes to the core of a candidate's ability to operate with a governing body that must be dealt with on a daily basis). I understand: We like our campaigns to be polite. But friends, at one point does our desire to be polite impede on the public's right to know the truth? We deserve a government that believes in and practices honesty and transparency. Let's really talk about this. Is it okay for the mayor's chief of staff to create an acquisition company to place a six-figure bid on a government-sponsored relocation contract? (And doesn't this at least deserve a thorough explanation?) The chief of staff and the city attorney's wife BOTH bid on a contract to be decided by a board in which four out of five members are appointed by the mayor. How is this fair? During the past twenty years, Alexandria has undergone a number of positive changes, and yet, we continue to recycle the same consultants, lawyers, insurance salesmen, and engineers. Unfortunately, most people aren't paying attention, and of those who do, some (even those who express the best intentions) are still complicit in the enterprise. Why? Because during those twenty years, these consultants, lawyers, insurance salesmen, and engineers aren't just business partners; they've become friends. If Alexandria is to take advantage of our growing economy, we must look toward young, fresh, and unconnected leadership. As much as people want to discount the Town Talk's endorsement, there's a good reason they selected Jacques Roy. Mr. Roy met with their editorial board for two hours, answering very specific questions and accounting for his vision of Alexandria's future. They selected him, because he presented a clear plan, not just a series of talking points and abstractions, and he demonstrated his committment. During this election, Jacques Roy has been the only candidate to really tackle the issue of smart growth. Campaigns can make promises about cleaning up crime and revitalizing our downtown, but without clear principles and a plan to accommodate for our growth, Alexandria will continue down the same path-- disconnected, disjointed, and inefficient. After my initial endorsement of Jacques, I've shied away from blogging about his candidacy, but with less than a week away, I want to share some of the things I've learned during his campaign. First, Jacques has always been approachable, willing to listen, and willing to answer the most difficult questions. I have listened to Jacques campaign at block parties, coffee shops, music events, restaurants, and living rooms throughout our community. But don't just take my word for it. Ask others who attended these events. Ask Robert Randow, a local musician, who was so impressed by Jacques' enthusiasm and honesty during an event at the House of Java, that he wrote a letter about it to The Town Talk. People who otherwise felt disinterested and disenfranchised, particularly young professionals, from our government are now speaking out and taking an active interest. On a personal level, no one has promised me anything, and I do not expect anything. No one has ever told me what to write, for better or worse. I support Jacques Roy, because I recognized, from the first letter he sent me in early July, that he truly wants good government. And I know what my naysayers will say: That I'm star-eyed and naive, that I'm too close to Jacques to have an objective perspective. Perhaps these are valid criticisms, but it doesn't make them relevant. Let me make this clear: I simply want what is best for our community. (I've never claimed to have all of the answers, but after reading and writing about Alexandria every single day for five months, I think I have a good handle on the issues). In two years, it's possible I'll be in graduate school. Contrary to the opinions of some, I do not have a vested financial interest in any candidate. My immediate family has not donated a dime to any political candidate. And after a lengthy due diligence period on the downtown Weiss and Goldring building, my family's company has decided to move onto other projects (primarily, improving our existing inventory). As many of you may know, my two objectives are to reopen Bringhurst Golf Course as a non-profit and to create a truly independent press. That's it. I hope that my opinion will be read for what it is: That of someone motivated and inspired by the opportunity for change, someone who has carefully followed this campaign, someone dismayed by the insider deals, the lies, the consulting contracts, and the lack of transparency, and someone willing to speak out, even if it means catching a lot of anonymous grief.

Sunday, September 24, 2006 by Blogger

Louisiana College: Rename the School Contest! Last week, it was reported that LC President Joe Aguillard may take the road less traveled and create a law school. I'm on the fence about it. Considering the droves of faculty members who were forced out of LC (I've heard something like six out of ten department heads and a combined total of over 470 years of academic experience) due to Aguillard's bizarrely invasive Christian Committment policies (which, among other things, bans professors from being "seen in public" imbibing), I find it hard to trust any law school under the direction of the present administration, an administration which, from day one, has been battling a host of lawsuits. At the same time, a law school could be great for our community. I'll withhold my opinion until all the facts are on the table. That said, if LC does create a law school, it will be in store for a name change! In America, the term "college" applies only to four year undergraduate institutions. As Wikipedia explains: "In American English, the word, in contrast to its many and varied British meanings, almost always refers to undergraduate university studies or to a school providing professional or technical training on a (loosely) comparable level. It can therefore refer to both a self-contained institution that has no graduate studies and to the undergraduate school of a full university (i.e. that also has a graduate school)." So now the question is: What do we rename LC?

by Blogger

Election Predictions We're less than a week away. Seven candidates. We all know who they are. How do you think they'll finish? As of today, the completely unofficial and totally unscientific poll in the Town Talk has received over 10,500 votes. It breaks down like this: Delores Brewer: 30.8% Joe Fuller: 5.2% Red Hammond: 3.1% Roosevelt Johnson: 11.6% Jacques Roy: 33.2% John Sams: 8.8% Charles F. Smith, Jr: 7.4% Source: The Town Talk These results have 72.8% of the vote going toward three white candidates and only 27.2% going toward four African-American candidates. The overall racial make-up of Alexandria among registered voters is approximately 52% African-American and 48% white. This poll implies significant racial crossover. Will this happen on September 30th? Or are these numbers the result of the poll's limited sample pool? What do you think?

Saturday, September 23, 2006 by Blogger

Guide to the Constitutional Amendments Download here

by Blogger

ASH Graduate Casey Parks (And One of CenLamar's Ten Under Thirty) Blogging for The New York Times Update: Casey will be appearing on the Today Show on Monday at 8AM. She will also be appearing in a segment on CNN at 11AM on Tuesday. Her work is now appearing on the front page of the online version of The New York Times. She's currently blogging about her experiences in Africa. The blog, entitled On the Ground with Nicholas Kristoff, can be located at parks.blogs.nytimes.com You'll need a premium membership to access it. Here is an excerpt:

5 p.m.

Prudence died at 5 p.m. today.

I see this in an e-mail, and it should make sense. It should be what I expect.

But I don’t. That thud in the stomach is back.

I’ve hashed through the reasons, though none of them make sense (not together, not as individual pieces of blame).

It is too easy to look at numbers of maternal mortality or mortality in Africa in general, and feel distance from them. It is easy to think of death in Africa and not feel it close at hand. It’s harder to see this woman as a daughter whose mother stayed awake for days at her bed side, whose eyes blared red from tears and no sleep. It’s harder to see her as a mother whose children were at school when she left for the hospital on the back of a motorcycle taxi. It’s harder to understand that in death there is a persisting struggle, a weeklong fight through vomit and blood and infection.

I have thought myself so humane in the past because my heart broke over the slightest glint of poverty, because I cared about genocides in other countries. Tonight, I read my e-mail: Prudence passed away at 5 p.m., and I recognize the distance I have kept. I don’t know how to live and have these realities constantly close at hand, but I know that I cannot live anymore with them as a story, as a facts-and-figures news article that speaks but does not move. I cannot hear of tragedies and blanket them under the term “tragedy,” because even that has become a cliche that is so easy to recognize, it’s now too hard to understand.

Friday, September 22, 2006 by Blogger

Tonight in Alexandria: Fall in Downtown. A Block Party. When? 4PM- 10PM. Downtown Alexandria. City Hall, Diamond Grill, Alex 1805. Featuring three bands. Food from two restaurants. Valet parking. Security. Free to the public. Theresa Anderson. Live at Spirits. 10PM. Tickets at the door.

Thursday, September 21, 2006 by Blogger

Coming Soon: CenLamar.Com
I'm happy to report that after writing a vaguely worded letter about intellectual property rights and employment law cases, Maltuzi Holdings LLC has relinquished its ownership of the domain name www.cenlamar.com, allowing me the opportunity to purchase the domain for a very reasonable price. The website will still utilize Google's blogger technology, and it will take some time before I can get things off of the ground. We will need:
  1. Additional writers. CenLamar.com will be a team effort. Anonymous posting will still be enabled, but team members will be allowed full access to posting and editing capabilities.
  2. Graphic designers. C'mon, it's gotta be pretty.
  3. Advertising. CenLamar will give a 10% commission on advertising. Find us an ad and make yourself some money.
  4. Grassroots encouragement. Spread the word. This month, the blog has already received 12,000 visitors (with a projected monthly total of 20,000). But the more people we get, the bigger the enterprise, the better our independent press can become. (A print version is still a dream, but with the help and encouragement of people in our community, it can quickly become a reality).
Information for Advertisers (This is basically what the mail-out will look like): What Is CenLamar? CenLamar (cenlamar.blogspot.com) is an online blogging community created by Lamar White, Jr. in March of 2006. Initially, CenLamar was intended to be an experiment-- a case study on life in Central Louisiana and a series of archived news stories and commentary concerning the issues uniquely affecting our community. But as the website grew so did its purpose. Today, CenLamar receives between 600- 1,100 hits per day, drawing the attention of people from all across the world. Because the website utilizes Google’s blogging technology, CenLamar is also capable of generating original commentary from anyone with an opinion. During the next month, CenLamar will expand in both size and scope. The website will have a new look, a new location (www.cenlamar.com), and a team of writers and artists all committed to sharing information and news on Central Louisiana. It will position itself as Central Louisiana’s first true independent press, and with the community’s support, will also appear as a stand-alone free monthly print publication, likely with a different name and look. Why Are You Telling Me This? Because we need your help. Think of this as a grassroots movement. A collection of people all working toward the same cause: a real independent press unafraid to tackle the issues, a sounding board for concerned citizens to express themselves, and a venue for locals to exchange information. You’re Asking Me To Advertise My Business On Your Website. How Would This Benefit My Business? 1. The numbers are great. 13,503 hits in August, 12,400 already in September (as of the 21st), and over half of all visitors return frequently. 2. The Internet is the ONLY media that allows people to see specific numbers on productivity. Other larger markets have already tapped into the growth potential the Internet provides. Alexandria has a little catching up to do, but the right components are already in place. 3. Your business would be directly reaching the perfect demographic-- young, intelligent people with an interest in this community and the willingness to express themselves, people engaged in their community, people who want to buy LOCAL, opinion leaders, writers, artists, Gen X, Gen Y, politicians, City Hall, doctors, lawyers, and small business owners. 4. You’d be getting in at the ground level, and once we go to print, you’d be right there in the middle of things. 5. CenLamar reaches people from all over the world. Last month, we had readers in Italy, Nepal, England, Australia, and South Africa and over twenty different U.S. states. People who want to feel connected to Alexandria, and the website gives them immediate access. 6. The Internet’s not just for nerds anymore. The stats don’t lie. Take a look at them: As of September 21, 2006: A few things to notice: 1. Growth has been exponential. 2. More than half of all visitors return, which means 3. The rest of all visitors are first-timers. 4. During the month of August, CenLamar received 8,523 unique visitors OR 17% of the population of Alexandria. Who’s Visiting? How to read the pie chart: 1. 40.5% of visitors return frequently. 2. 14.3% of visitors return at least once. 3. 14.3% of visitors return at least three times. 4. 31.0% of visitors are first-timers! Wow. That’s Impressive. I Like the Idea of an Independent Press. So, How Does This Work? Quite simple, actually. You tell us you want an ad, and we can guarantee a certain number of impressions. Ads will all be the same size, but the number of hits you receive depends on your level of commitment. Let’s take care of this first: 1. CenLamar will only accept LOCAL advertisement. 2. CenLamar will not accept advertisement by businesses of ill-repute. We don’t think this deserves much explanation. You know what we mean. 3. CenLamar, when it goes to print, won’t be called CenLamar. We haven’t picked out a name yet, but CenLamar is the online blog community, not the print publication. Here’s what we’re looking for: 1. Official sponsorships. Businesses that officially sponsor CenLamar will be listed and linked directly under the banner. 2. Advertisers. There are different levels of commitment to suit your needs. 3. Readers. If you’ve never checked us out, go now (cenlamar.blogspot.com). What are we talking about: Corporate sponsorships: $7,000 a year. Think about it. It may sound pricey, but it’s probably still less than some of you spent on your phone book ad, and it will DEFINITELY be seen by more people. Advertisement: One week a month, hyperlinked graphic ad: $150/month or $1,650/year. Two weeks a month, hyperlinked graphic ad: $275/month or $3,025/year. All month long, hyperlinked graphic ad: $450/month or $4,750/year. All advertisers will be guaranteed reduced rates for our first print publication and will be cherished forever. Additionally, as one of CenLamar’s sponsors, you’re entitled to FREE events promotion. How cool is that? Our pricing may seem a little high, but remember: We can prove our numbers. You'd be helping to create an independent press. And after we start, there's no stopping. Final Sales Pitch (We Promise): Alexandria NEEDS an independent press. This isn’t just our opinion; it’s one shared by CenLamar’s thousands of readers, each hungry for an alternative source of news and a place to voice their opinions. Other communities, like New Orleans, Lafayette, and Jackson, already have independent presses, and they are a cherished part of each community. Okay. Count Me In. What Should I Do Next? Call Lamar. Right now. 318-542-2969. He’ll rush right over. Or send him an e-mail at lamarw@gmail.com. We’ll need to discuss the specifics personally. Thank you for your help and support.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006 by Blogger

Hokus Pokus on Lee Street Closed
What are they going to do with the legendary sign?See also: Brad Drell's Descants

by Blogger

The Town Talk: Louisiana College May Add a Law School This is great news, and kudos to President Joe Aguillard, who I have previously criticized for his Christian Committment policies. A local law school would be great for all of Cenla. Unless of course, the only reason for establishing such a law school is to train the radical right on how to "take over," which, I have heard from a legitimate source, is the real reason behind these plans. Incidentally, LC still has an outstanding lawsuit against them. Perhaps Aguillard show consider less stringent and less invasive hiring and acceptance policies for his new law school. Oh and Joe, you know you'll have to rename LC. Colleges don't have graduate programs or law schools; universities do.

by Blogger

An Open Letter to the Current Students of Bolton High School: Dear Students, It's been a week since I first posted a series of questions about your school, and during that time, we've heard from past and present teachers, principals, alumni, parents, concerned citizens, and a number of your classmates. Many of you have been concerned about the direction this forum has taken. You're rightfully worried that people will believe the lies told about some of your best teachers, and you've admirably come to their defense. It's important that faculty in-fighting doesn't distract us from getting the questions answered and finding solutions to the problems. Bolton students should be commended for understanding this. A few of you seem a little bewildered by the point of all of this discussion. One of you wondered why I would care about the plight of Bolton, considering I am a graduate of ASH. One of you asked for my address so you could find me and beat me up. (Again, it's 1000 Bolton Avenue, the big building with all of the cop cars in the parking lot). And one of you subscribed me to a litany of listserves. (Thank God for Gmail's spam blocker). I certainly understand why you're upset, but try to see the bigger picture: Discussions such as these, despite all of the bruises, are essential to finding solutions. Let's redirect the conversation. Let's focus on what can be done. Let's think about things that can be done, right now, to unify the school. Work with the alumni association and other concerned citizens and parents to build a coalition of support. I also think it's important for current students to petition recent graduates, ask them about their experiences, and what they think Bolton can do to turn things around. Like it or not, there are many people, some of whom have worked at Bolton for several years, who believe that without the proper leadership and political support, Bolton may have to shut its doors. Permanently. When you lose students, you lose money, resources, and teachers, and without those things, Bolton may become a shell of its former self (something many people believe has already happened). No doubt, it's not easy to remove yourselves from the daily experience of school and understand this issue in a greater context, but if you care about the survival of your school, you'd realize that no one is personally attacking you students. If anything, the concern people feel toward Bolton is because they care deeply about its students. Bolton's probably not as bad as its most vocal critics make it out to be, but that doesn't mean it's healthy. The issues raised in this forum should demonstrate that there are a great number of people who are worried. One final note: One of your fellow classmates accused me of being a "bad moderator." He believes that I should have shut down this conversation because, in his estimation, it became repetitive and redundant. I strongly disagree with his assessment. I never "lock" threads or prohibit people from contributing to a discussion, even when someone else has already made a similar point. You should understand, however, that even when people decide to post anonymously, they can still be held accountable for their words, and I caution all of you to choose your words wisely. (Incidentally, this same issue has come up in another conversation on another blog. Many of us in Alexandria are just now getting into the blogosphere, and some people make the mistake of believing that the Internet is a lawless new frontier. It's not. Libel is a real issue). I sincerely thank all of you for contributing. Hopefully, in the near future, this won't be a conversation relegated to an Internet blog. All the best, Lamar

Tuesday, September 19, 2006 by Blogger

Reposted: Penny Toney and Kelly Self Respond (A few readers complained that the forum became too cumbersome to locate these comments. It should be noted that this blog will provide equal opportunity to those who disagree with Ms. Toney and Ms. Self, but reposts will only be considered for those who use their real names). Penny Toney said...

When I saw that Lamar had posted a thread about Bolton, I was curious about what would be said and why. There was a time when I desperately wanted a spirited forum about our school and how to save it, but my efforts fell short. The superintendent was supportive of John Sams who saw me as the problem, and although I detailed “my side” in a registered letter to the superintendent, I doubt that he ever read it. He certainly never acknowledged a single point I made. The alumni association was formed too late to save my job and unknown to them, too late to save any semblance of the Bolton we all loved. All the years and time we spent growing a learning community were discounted and the volunteers who had led so many of the programs were summarily labeled as “my clique.” No mention was made of the fact that every leadership meeting was open to whoever wanted to attend and that we were about progress, not power. It is not hard to see that Bolton is involved in a mighty power struggle, one that has turned colleague against colleague. Those left there working for progress will be drowned out by those who are about power. It was apparently not enough to get rid of me. Those powers loose around and in the school have not stopped there. They have worked over the last year to have me reassigned to the most impossible situation. Failing that, they had me removed from summer school because John Sams did not like my bumper sticker. God knows what he will create for me when he loses the mayor’s position. I know, and can present witnesses, of several times John Sams has implied that not only am I gay, but that I maintain such a relationship with first one colleague and then another. He even shared this lie with the superintendent. He is always careful to phrase it as a question—Is it true that PT has a long standing relationship with ______? Did you know that Ms. Toney and ________ are together? It is done with intonation, with malice, and with glee and then it spreads. And there are several of his minions craving power who follow his lead and who will do whatever to shine in his eyes. I know all that and have depended upon the good people who know me to read between the lines. But even those people--do they know me well enough to know what goes on in my private life? Well, here it is. I am divorced. After my divorce, for some years, I lived alone until I moved in with my parents, my father being in poor health. I remained with mother after Dad’s death, and she and I live together. I am not in a relationship of the sort for which John Sams so wants to credit me. I do have friends, both male and female. I like and love many of them. In reading this blog, I am so reminded of my association with John Sams. Much of what is on this blog is the exact way he speaks of others. No matter how good a person might be, John is always able to say something hurtful and negative in the hope of having a lasting and damaging effect. I do agree with the blogger who says, “woe be to his enemies when he loses the election.” The hatred he had for the Bolton grads that created the Rapides Foundation, the hatred he had for Ron, and then me, he has enlarged to encompass the school. Forced by the alumni to clean the outside, he redoubled his efforts to rot the school from within. You have only to read this blog to see and feel his success. With human respect to those who are, I submit to you that I am not gay and am not in a “special” such relationship with anyone. I consider this just another hostile lie to hurt me. It was not enough for John to have the superintendent remove me as principal, or to have him interfere with my new job several times this year already. Now, he wants to make life so hard for my friends that he can make me and them lepers in our community. Lamar, before John Sams came along, Bolton was a great school. Now you can see what his association can do. No wonder so many say, “Anyone but Sams.” I hope that Bolton can regain its footing and become a school of academic excellence where students can enjoy successful football. Even during my tenure, we did exceedingly well in swimming, soccer, tennis, and other sports, but never in football. I hope that learning can once again be the focus in a school where people are treated with respect and with rights, where fear does not rule the day and where people are not afraid to express their real feelings. A risk-free environment must exist for people to try new methods and change education to meet each child’s needs. We cannot stay tied with Thailand. We need to be competitive with the world, a position we are swiftly losing. We need to maintain our democracy, something else of which I fear the loss. I wish Bolton the best. I am proud to work for Mr. Allen Bozeman, Director of Secondary Education. We work daily with 100% positive effort to make a difference, to help teachers in every way we can. My Bolton days are over. I am focused on this day and the future. I ask that all bloggers stop the recriminations and look for solutions to the problems that face a once great school. Whatever happens to Bolton, the education of Rapides Parish students must be the primary focus of all of our efforts. After graduating from Bolton, teaching there for 28 years, serving as curriculum coordinator for three years, and being principal for nearly five years, I am steeped in Bolton philosophy. I carry that with me. This is the one time you will read me on this blog because I will not let John’s sort of trash talk stand with strangers for who I am. I will go forth to the polls, with honor and with pride, and I will do my all to elect a man with optimism, youth, courage, and a positive plan for our city to lead us forward. The cure for corruption we most need is a moving van pulling away from Sam’s residence for good. Penny Toney Bolton Class of 1967

Kelly L. Self said...

I have just finished reading this forum and am disturbed by its hostility, innuendo, and plain meanness. For twelve years, I was blessed to be a teacher at Bolton High School. I served two excellent administrators in Ron Akins and Penny Toney. I loved my time there until last year. That year began in June when newly appointed principal, Mr. Higgins, called in the leaders under Ms. Toney to tell us he had the right to transfer us but was giving us a "chance,” even though we had been associated with the prior administration. John Sams had identified us as “the clique” and labeled us as dangerous to Mr. Higgins. On that day, I told Mr. Higgins that I would be loyal to Bolton High School but never to John Sams and that if I needed to request a transfer, I would. I believed in what we had created at Bolton: a learning community, full of opportunity for all students. I wanted to stay. But in staying I subjected myself to a horrific experience: the learning community fell apart, politics became a major factor for favor, and students dropped out of the center of the school’s attention. I hated to see all the years’ of the Rapides Foundation Initiative work simply disappear. We had made great strides in student learning and had the documentation to prove it. I was miserable as we abandoned practice after practice, not even having a faculty meeting all year. I am not perfect. I have flaws like anyone else and have incurred the wrath of the Sams’ supporters, but I have always had the best interest of students at heart. I have never been bitter nor vindictive. But I am impassioned and I refuse to compromise on certain issues. On July 18, this summer, Ms. Sharon Miller, personnel director, called me in to tell me Mr. Higgins was transferring me. I was surprised since every time I had seen Mr. Higgins, he had said my job at Bolton was safe; nor had he contacted me to tell me personally that he was ridding himself of me. I went to him that day, but he offered no real reason for my transfer except for my dislike of Nancy Monroe and my obvious hatred for John Sams. He had no complaint about my work and had, indeed, given me an excellent evaluation. While at Bolton, I devoted my passion for teaching to my students and served on state level committees, building the comprehensive curriculum, setting grade level expectations for each grade and developing a new and improved statewide assessment. I believe in education and represented my school well. I am proud to have been a part of the Bolton faculty when students were key and learning was the central focus. In July, I talked with Mr. Moreau and have been happily at ASH ever since. It is a privilege to teach without John Sams breathing down my neck and to work with an English department chaired by the kind and erudite Helen Hemingway, who recognizes modern methodologies and student-centered instruction. I look forward to serving many students as I put my passion to teach to work at Alexandria Senior High. Many have questioned the validity of these claims against John Sams. I, as many others, have verifiable evidence of these accusations, which will appear in a different forum at a different place and time. I am glad that Lamar is allowing people to voice their concerns and their experiences. I am sorry that some feel compelled to deal in innuendo and slurs. I believed in Ms. Toney’s approach to education; I admire her for her years of service to Bolton High School and to our community and for the way she has continued to do her best for the students of Rapides Parish in her new capacity. I am proud to call her my friend. Those who hint of other than a sincere friendship simply do not know either Ms. Toney or me very well at all. I am not a part of this “new” Bolton, nor do I want to be. The Bolton I believed in is long gone. I am involved with my present and my future, both of which are positive. I am sad for those who remain in the turmoil there, particularly the students who will suffer the most from all of this. However, John Sams was slighted by this school, and he has had his revenge. As with much of what he does, there will be no going back. As this blog continues, it will do so without me. I simply wanted to clarify my position. I do not want my life to be cluttered with hatred and meanness. I have put Bolton behind me and I am resigned to letting Nancy, Charlene, and John finish the job of tearing the remains apart. As for me, I am once again part of building a program that puts learning at the center. Bloggers: Write about those who still care about your plight. Kelly L. Self

Monday, September 18, 2006 by Blogger

The Town Talk Endorses Jacques Roy for Mayor Remember to vote (early if you can, which means right now).

Thursday, September 14, 2006 by Blogger

CenLamar On Vacation I'll be back on Monday. Bound for Austin City Limits Music Festival. By the way, kudos to Mr. Matt Ranson for bringing in Grayson Capps last night.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006 by Blogger

Bolton High School: When I left for college, Bolton High School had an enrollment comparable to ASH-- 1,100 or so students. Today, the Town Talk reported about how local schools are coping with population INCREASES. Five years ago, Bolton was one of the state's academic powerhouses, and perhaps it's still attracting top-notch students because of its gifted program (and then likely losing some of them to the Louisiana School). Today, the Town Talk reported that Bolton has an enrollment of 603 students. 603! I have a few questions: What happened? I've heard Bolton was seventh in the state in ACT scores just a few years ago. What is it now? Who is Bolton's principal and what are his/her qualifications/academic agenda? How does the School Board plan on turning Bolton around?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006 by Blogger

Your Reaction to the Mayoral Forum

by Blogger

LiveBlogging the Mayoral Forum! Come One, Come All, As We Instantaneously Scrutinize, Criticize, and Praise the Candidates While Watching From the Comfort of Our Own Homes. Let me explain: Instead of going to the debate, I will be liveblogging as it happens. Because 1) My life is that dull and 2) This will allow us to dissect candidate's statements right when they make them. This thread is open to anyone. Join the party.

by Blogger

KALB's Mayoral Forum In Two Hours. Free To The Public. Coughlin-Saunders Building. (Or Just Watch It On Channel 5)

Monday, September 11, 2006 by Blogger

Be There or Be Square · Young Professionals in Central Louisiana invited to a Mayor of Alexandria Candidates Public Debate · Monday, September 11, 2006 at 6PM · Rapides Foundation Building, Hearn Stage - Kress Theatre · 1101 Fourth Street (entrance at Third & Johnston Streets) · Reception immediately following in Kress Theatre Lobby · FREE for YPG Members / $5 for non-members

Sunday, September 10, 2006 by Blogger

CenLamar Advertising Opportunities When I first created this site, I opted not to utilize Google's advertising package for a few reasons:

  1. It relies on key words and searches to match users to content.
  2. It pollutes blogs with formulaic advertising.
  3. It just didn't seem right.
  4. It would have made me look like a tool.
  5. It would have been against the mission of this blog.
Recently, I have been approached by locally-owned small businesses regarding advertising opportunities and events promotion. I recognize a handful of readers will be put off by this prospect, but after contemplating this for a few weeks, I have arrived at the following conclusions:
  1. This would enable CenLamar to expand the website, buy a domain name (perhaps; however, Maltuzi Holdings, LLC from California recently purchased CenLamar.com as well as CenLamar.org on September 9, 2006), employ additional writers, and create a true, independent press here in Central Louisiana.
  2. Last month, CenLamar received 13, 503 visitors, 8, 553 of which were unique, first-time visitors.
  3. Central Louisiana desperately needs an indepedent press.
  4. Advertising dollars could allow us to publish a print version.
I promise the following to CenLamar's readers:
  1. The advertising content will never register your IP address.
  2. The advertising content will never interfere or disrupt the content of this website.
  3. The advertising content will never be political in nature. (Political content on the blog is free).
  4. The advertising content will never include businesses of ill repute.
  5. The advertising content will ALWAYS be local.
If your business is interested in advertising in CenLamar, please click here. Or e-mail me at lamarw@gmail.com.

Saturday, September 09, 2006 by Blogger

"Is Our Children Learning?" Part Two: Education Department Eases Stand On Teacher Quality, CNN

Friday, September 08, 2006 by Blogger

Upcoming Events: Monte Montgomery LIVE in Alexandria, Tonight 8PM, Spirits, tickets: $15 (if they're not already sold out) Wednesday, September 13, 2006 Grayson Capps, from New Orleans, LA Live @ the Frosty Factory 8PM Opening Act: Alexandria's own The Tim Turner Band with bass virtuoso Dale Le Boeuf www.myspace.com/thetimturnerband www.myspace.com/graysoncapps www.graysoncapps.com Media Releases on Grayson Capps: "He's f***ing awesome!" - Scarlett Johansson, Variety.com "This is stuff to stake the 'best bar band' claim on - slashing slide, crunching electric, a cooking rhythm section and soulful vocals..." - Keith Glass, Rhythms magazine (Australia) "His rough-hewn testimonial of a voice renders such a well-worn assertion, believable again." - Keith Spera, Times Picayune "Like a whiskey-soaked, back alley poet sired by Tom Waits and Robert Johnson, Capps' stripped-down sound is rooted in the dark side of the Delta." - Razor Magazine With a name that could only belong to a musician and a coarse, beer-besotted voice straight out of the backstreets of New Orleans , Grayson Capps evokes the swamp folk-soul made popular by Tony Joe White. He looks the part, too: One glance at his solo debut's cover conveys its lazy, creaky, homespun sound. Half relaxed blues-rock, half boozy, folksy introspection, Capps' rustic voice -- it sounds more like a relaxed version of Delbert McClinton's -- is front and center, leaving his words and sturdy but near faceless musicians to convey the soulful atmosphere with chipped, faded-paint backing. Anyone who's seen the movie A Love Song For Bobby Long -- based on a book written by Capps' father, with its alcoholic haze of good people falling on hard times and looking for redemption -- has pretty much heard this album. Capps performed four songs on the soundtrack, but each track from this graphic collection could be its own feature film. Echoes of J.J. Cale, the North Mississippi Allstars, old Ry Cooder, and the great Texas songwriter, Townes Van Zandt permeate these low-key but occasionally spirited blues-rockers. Songs such as "Mercy" and "I Can't Hear You" come alive thanks to gospel-tinged backing vocals, bringing out the God vs. the Devil undercurrent that rumbles like a latent volcano beneath the album's surface.

Thursday, September 07, 2006 by Blogger

Any News On The Missing Brand New Dodge Durango and the Escapee? I've received a handful of e-mails about this story, one of which implied that the other media outlets have been dissuaded from reporting it due to "official influence." I don't know what that means, and I'm not sure if it's true. Are there any updates to be reported? See Also: Watch Out for the Escapee!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006 by Blogger

Whaaaat? Public and Media Not Allowed Into Political Forum Held By Police and Fire Unions, Reported by The Town Talk Quote of the day: “Once it’s public, then it becomes political,” Livingston said. “They have to be secretive. Unions in other places have done this. It’s important that it be private. They’re a private organization." Right. If you invite all the mayoral candidates to speak to your union and you close your doors to the media and the taxpaying public, it's somehow NOT political. But the moment you let the public in on the conversation, it becomes political. Geez.

by Blogger

The Town Talk: Thousands of Dollars Worth of Political Signs Stolen

Monday, September 04, 2006 by Blogger

Let's Try This Again: What Do You Think Of The Candidates For Mayor?

by Blogger

John Sams

by Blogger

Delores Brewer

by Blogger

Charles F. Smith

by Blogger

Alice "Red" Hammond

by Blogger

Jacques Roy

by Blogger

Roosevelt Johnson

by Blogger

Joe Fuller

Sunday, September 03, 2006 by Blogger

Jacques Roy on the Issues (Note: I've been told that the website is not 100% complete yet and to expect more later this week). City Council/Mayoral Relationship New Urbanism and Economic Development Absolute Transparency, Accountability, and Crime Citizen Participation

Saturday, September 02, 2006 by Blogger

What Are You Trying To Say? From today's Town Talk editorial:

"A recent Scripps Howard survey asked people "How many days each week do you get news from a blog on the Internet?" Eighty-eight percent of respondents said they never use blogs to get news.

These Web logs -- personal diaries and observations posted on easy-to-update Internet Web pages in a process called "blogging" -- are, however, gaining in popularity especially among certain demographic groups, the survey found. Well-educated single people, especially those without children, who live in major urban areas or along the high-technology centers of the West Coast are the biggest bloggers and blog readers. Blogs are least popular among Northeasterners, blacks and residents of rural areas.

We think: It's good to know that people understand the distinct difference between blogs and news Web sites. For many the best thing about a blog is that anyone can say anything. The worst thing about a blog is that anybody can say anything -- and it may not have any basis in truth. Blogs are merely opinion and are rarely ever aspire to any fair and balanced reporting of the news and issues of the day."

Here's what I read:

  • 12% of Americans receive their news from a blog. Wow!
  • Blogs are most popular among highly-educated people living in tech hubs. (Go figure!)
  • In between the lines: Please ignore the fact that this very newspaper launched a blog feature this very week.
  • I'd like to polish this line up a little bit. "For many the best thing about a blog is that it often reports news other sources are afraid to tackle, and it allows people the opportunity to express both facts and opinions on issues they'd otherwise never talk about in a newspaper."
How about this survey? Pew Internet and American Life Project, Phone Survey of 7,012 people:
  • Thirty-nine percent of U.S. Internet users, or about 57 million Americans, read blogs; 8 percent, or about 12 million Americans, write a blog; and more than half of bloggers are under the age of 30.
  • Pew found that 37 percent of bloggers cite "my life and experiences" as what they blog about, while only 11 percent cited public issues as typical topics. Sixty percent of bloggers are white, while 74 percent of the country's Web users are, according to the data. Fifty-five percent of bloggers write under a pseudonym.
  • Fifty-four percent of bloggers say that they have never published their writing or media creations anywhere else; 44 percent say they have published elsewhere.
  • Women and men have statistical parity in the blogosphere, with women representing 46 percent of bloggers and men 54 percent.
  • Seventy-six percent of bloggers say a reason they blog is to document their personal experiences and share them with others. Sixty-four percent of bloggers say a reason they blog is to share practical knowledge or skills with others.
  • Seventy-seven percent of bloggers have shared something online that they created themselves, such as their own artwork, photos, stories, or videos. By comparison, 26 percent of Internet users as a whole have done this.
So perhaps one of the reasons only 12% of people (still a high number) receive their news on a blog is because only 11% of bloggers write about the news.

Friday, September 01, 2006 by Blogger

Upcoming Events: Jacques Roy Question and Answer House of Java, Tomorrow, September 2, 2006, 3PM Open to the Public Monte Montgomary LIVE In Alexandria Spirits, September 8th, 8PM Tickets are on sale now. $15 Monte Montgomery has taken the acoustic guitar beyond anyone’s expectations. With his amazing fretwork, unique combination finger and pick style playing through trailblazing chordal thoroughfares often baffling even the most accomplished players. While Monte remains a huge enigma in the guitar universe, his legendary reputation has spread like wildfire since he appeared on Austin City Limits. In 2004 Monte was named on Guitar Player Magazine's list of "Top 50 Greatest Guitarists Of All Time" and in 2005 Monte appeared on the Covers of “Frets” and “Acoustic Guitar” magazines. Countless articles have been written about Monte. He’s been described as “The Evel Knivel of Guitar”, “Six Strings Attached To Dynamite”, “The Answer To The Fermi Paradox” and “The Acoustic Shred Master” just to name a few. In spite of all the “six-string notoriety”, and just in case you didn’t “know-tice”, Monte isn't just a “guitar hero”, “shred master” or “guitar god” as he’s most often described. No, actually Monte Montgomery is much more than just a world-class guitar virtuoso with more new tricks up his fret board than your average “guitar slinger”. What sets Monte apart from all others is that he’s one of the most accomplished songwriters of our time, a remarkable singer and an extraordinary music arranger. Many of Monte’s fans attend his concerts simply to hear his compelling vocals as he delivers his finely penned songs powerfully and passionately. To some, his incredible guitar pyrotechnics are simply an addition of tasty icing topping off a delicious cake. Monte’s latest release titled “MONTE MONTGOMERY AT WORKPLAY” (Harmonic Records - 2005), available in CD and DVD versions is a double barrel treat offering fans a new dimension of Monte’s incredible power packed live performance recorded Live at WorkPlay Theater in Birmingham, Alabama.

by Blogger

Fellow Blogger Spanky: Solutions to Alexandria's Growing Pains (Credit: Spanky, Originally from Cenla Antics) Spanky said...

I am sure Jacques will fully and eloquently explain his vision of urban condensation which more than likely parallels what I have been screaming. As Alexandria has grown, areas develop, age, and then blight, leaving in the blighted areas, the lower income folks, and abandoned properties that compound the problems of crime, property devaluation, fire safety, infrastructure maintenance, utilities, and sanitation, as the city cannot just choose to stop providing services in the city limits.

We do not have population increase, therefore we are consuming increasingly greater land mass to support the same number of people, while placing increased demand on all city functions over a greater area.

The natural solution would appear to be fair application of zoning and code enforcement to maintain the quality of the older neighborhoods and in the event of large scale degradation, mass demolition, and re-use of the area for re-development thereby providing for infill renewal.

One way to accomplish this would be to establish radius zones centered from the downtown area extending outward in bands gradiated to population levels and not to be expanded until the population levels are achieved.

City services would not be allowed to be extended beyond these boundaries, therefore providing economic and aesthetic incentive to look to the center to revitalize large blighted areas. While it may appear initially cost prohibitive, it may be less expensive to buy out, demolish, and redevelop older parts of town, if done on a large enough scale to retain infrastucture and condense the need for service extension.

While this may appear ludicrous on the surface, look at the areas bounded by Texas, Monroe, Rapides, and Bolton. There are approximately 2,000 addresses in that part of town that are rapidly degrading. Is it really so far fetched to believe that large numbers of dilapidated houses could be purchased for 15K a piece, reducing the lot ratio 2-1 and selling a lot for 50K thereby attracting upscale homes?

Sounds crazy until you realize that the police force would not be stretched so thin if they had less area to patrol and could focus on reducing and controlling crime in selected pockets, making them safer and more attractive. The rest is cosmetic. Once there is a base of similarly priced homes in an area, value will be supported for further development.

The main reason new development has gravitated to Jackson Street Extension and beyond has been the issue of perceived personal and property safety, combined with the ability to build modern, large, energy efficient structures. Provide those same conditions to empty lots in formerly blighted areas, and I feel people will chose to move closer to the center over time. Especially if Alexandria refuses to extend services beyond established population bands. If you don't think that is an incentive, then price what it takes to place a house in the country. These are estimates so use your knowledge of current pricing to adjust. 1. 3-6k for an acceptable sewerage treatment plant. 2. 5K for a well 3. $600. per pole to access nearest electricity 4. Driveway connection to nearest road. 5. Increased homeowners insurance due to reduced fire rating. One thing is certain, and that is that the city as an organization cannot continue to expand with the attending maintenance and static tax base and boost livability standards to attract population whether it is through retention of our youth or influx.

This is my town, I love it, but I can speak the truth and that is that we have had population loss from a peak of 58,000 in the mid '80's to our current 46,000.

The first step is to realize this single truth indicates decline, not growth and the folks that are talking about blue sky had better wise up and look at doing things differently or pay the price.

5 p.m.

Prudence died at 5 p.m. today.

I see this in an e-mail, and it should make sense. It should be what I expect.

But I don’t. That thud in the stomach is back.

I’ve hashed through the reasons, though none of them make sense (not together, not as individual pieces of blame).

It is too easy to look at numbers of maternal mortality or mortality in Africa in general, and feel distance from them. It is easy to think of death in Africa and not feel it close at hand. It’s harder to see this woman as a daughter whose mother stayed awake for days at her bed side, whose eyes blared red from tears and no sleep. It’s harder to see her as a mother whose children were at school when she left for the hospital on the back of a motorcycle taxi. It’s harder to understand that in death there is a persisting struggle, a weeklong fight through vomit and blood and infection.

I have thought myself so humane in the past because my heart broke over the slightest glint of poverty, because I cared about genocides in other countries. Tonight, I read my e-mail: Prudence passed away at 5 p.m., and I recognize the distance I have kept. I don’t know how to live and have these realities constantly close at hand, but I know that I cannot live anymore with them as a story, as a facts-and-figures news article that speaks but does not move. I cannot hear of tragedies and blanket them under the term “tragedy,” because even that has become a cliche that is so easy to recognize, it’s now too hard to understand.

|W|P|115904948143318939|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/22/2006 12:39:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Tonight in Alexandria: Fall in Downtown. A Block Party. When? 4PM- 10PM. Downtown Alexandria. City Hall, Diamond Grill, Alex 1805. Featuring three bands. Food from two restaurants. Valet parking. Security. Free to the public. Theresa Anderson. Live at Spirits. 10PM. Tickets at the door.|W|P|115895430779089414|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/21/2006 10:14:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|
Coming Soon: CenLamar.Com
I'm happy to report that after writing a vaguely worded letter about intellectual property rights and employment law cases, Maltuzi Holdings LLC has relinquished its ownership of the domain name www.cenlamar.com, allowing me the opportunity to purchase the domain for a very reasonable price. The website will still utilize Google's blogger technology, and it will take some time before I can get things off of the ground. We will need:
  1. Additional writers. CenLamar.com will be a team effort. Anonymous posting will still be enabled, but team members will be allowed full access to posting and editing capabilities.
  2. Graphic designers. C'mon, it's gotta be pretty.
  3. Advertising. CenLamar will give a 10% commission on advertising. Find us an ad and make yourself some money.
  4. Grassroots encouragement. Spread the word. This month, the blog has already received 12,000 visitors (with a projected monthly total of 20,000). But the more people we get, the bigger the enterprise, the better our independent press can become. (A print version is still a dream, but with the help and encouragement of people in our community, it can quickly become a reality).
Information for Advertisers (This is basically what the mail-out will look like): What Is CenLamar? CenLamar (cenlamar.blogspot.com) is an online blogging community created by Lamar White, Jr. in March of 2006. Initially, CenLamar was intended to be an experiment-- a case study on life in Central Louisiana and a series of archived news stories and commentary concerning the issues uniquely affecting our community. But as the website grew so did its purpose. Today, CenLamar receives between 600- 1,100 hits per day, drawing the attention of people from all across the world. Because the website utilizes Google’s blogging technology, CenLamar is also capable of generating original commentary from anyone with an opinion. During the next month, CenLamar will expand in both size and scope. The website will have a new look, a new location (www.cenlamar.com), and a team of writers and artists all committed to sharing information and news on Central Louisiana. It will position itself as Central Louisiana’s first true independent press, and with the community’s support, will also appear as a stand-alone free monthly print publication, likely with a different name and look. Why Are You Telling Me This? Because we need your help. Think of this as a grassroots movement. A collection of people all working toward the same cause: a real independent press unafraid to tackle the issues, a sounding board for concerned citizens to express themselves, and a venue for locals to exchange information. You’re Asking Me To Advertise My Business On Your Website. How Would This Benefit My Business? 1. The numbers are great. 13,503 hits in August, 12,400 already in September (as of the 21st), and over half of all visitors return frequently. 2. The Internet is the ONLY media that allows people to see specific numbers on productivity. Other larger markets have already tapped into the growth potential the Internet provides. Alexandria has a little catching up to do, but the right components are already in place. 3. Your business would be directly reaching the perfect demographic-- young, intelligent people with an interest in this community and the willingness to express themselves, people engaged in their community, people who want to buy LOCAL, opinion leaders, writers, artists, Gen X, Gen Y, politicians, City Hall, doctors, lawyers, and small business owners. 4. You’d be getting in at the ground level, and once we go to print, you’d be right there in the middle of things. 5. CenLamar reaches people from all over the world. Last month, we had readers in Italy, Nepal, England, Australia, and South Africa and over twenty different U.S. states. People who want to feel connected to Alexandria, and the website gives them immediate access. 6. The Internet’s not just for nerds anymore. The stats don’t lie. Take a look at them: As of September 21, 2006: A few things to notice: 1. Growth has been exponential. 2. More than half of all visitors return, which means 3. The rest of all visitors are first-timers. 4. During the month of August, CenLamar received 8,523 unique visitors OR 17% of the population of Alexandria. Who’s Visiting? How to read the pie chart: 1. 40.5% of visitors return frequently. 2. 14.3% of visitors return at least once. 3. 14.3% of visitors return at least three times. 4. 31.0% of visitors are first-timers! Wow. That’s Impressive. I Like the Idea of an Independent Press. So, How Does This Work? Quite simple, actually. You tell us you want an ad, and we can guarantee a certain number of impressions. Ads will all be the same size, but the number of hits you receive depends on your level of commitment. Let’s take care of this first: 1. CenLamar will only accept LOCAL advertisement. 2. CenLamar will not accept advertisement by businesses of ill-repute. We don’t think this deserves much explanation. You know what we mean. 3. CenLamar, when it goes to print, won’t be called CenLamar. We haven’t picked out a name yet, but CenLamar is the online blog community, not the print publication. Here’s what we’re looking for: 1. Official sponsorships. Businesses that officially sponsor CenLamar will be listed and linked directly under the banner. 2. Advertisers. There are different levels of commitment to suit your needs. 3. Readers. If you’ve never checked us out, go now (cenlamar.blogspot.com). What are we talking about: Corporate sponsorships: $7,000 a year. Think about it. It may sound pricey, but it’s probably still less than some of you spent on your phone book ad, and it will DEFINITELY be seen by more people. Advertisement: One week a month, hyperlinked graphic ad: $150/month or $1,650/year. Two weeks a month, hyperlinked graphic ad: $275/month or $3,025/year. All month long, hyperlinked graphic ad: $450/month or $4,750/year. All advertisers will be guaranteed reduced rates for our first print publication and will be cherished forever. Additionally, as one of CenLamar’s sponsors, you’re entitled to FREE events promotion. How cool is that? Our pricing may seem a little high, but remember: We can prove our numbers. You'd be helping to create an independent press. And after we start, there's no stopping. Final Sales Pitch (We Promise): Alexandria NEEDS an independent press. This isn’t just our opinion; it’s one shared by CenLamar’s thousands of readers, each hungry for an alternative source of news and a place to voice their opinions. Other communities, like New Orleans, Lafayette, and Jackson, already have independent presses, and they are a cherished part of each community. Okay. Count Me In. What Should I Do Next? Call Lamar. Right now. 318-542-2969. He’ll rush right over. Or send him an e-mail at lamarw@gmail.com. We’ll need to discuss the specifics personally. Thank you for your help and support.|W|P|115885927901224256|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/20/2006 04:53:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|
Hokus Pokus on Lee Street Closed
What are they going to do with the legendary sign?See also: Brad Drell's Descants
|W|P|115879662073628526|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/20/2006 04:04:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|The Town Talk: Louisiana College May Add a Law School This is great news, and kudos to President Joe Aguillard, who I have previously criticized for his Christian Committment policies. A local law school would be great for all of Cenla. Unless of course, the only reason for establishing such a law school is to train the radical right on how to "take over," which, I have heard from a legitimate source, is the real reason behind these plans. Incidentally, LC still has an outstanding lawsuit against them. Perhaps Aguillard show consider less stringent and less invasive hiring and acceptance policies for his new law school. Oh and Joe, you know you'll have to rename LC. Colleges don't have graduate programs or law schools; universities do.|W|P|115879373983024957|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/20/2006 01:06:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|An Open Letter to the Current Students of Bolton High School: Dear Students, It's been a week since I first posted a series of questions about your school, and during that time, we've heard from past and present teachers, principals, alumni, parents, concerned citizens, and a number of your classmates. Many of you have been concerned about the direction this forum has taken. You're rightfully worried that people will believe the lies told about some of your best teachers, and you've admirably come to their defense. It's important that faculty in-fighting doesn't distract us from getting the questions answered and finding solutions to the problems. Bolton students should be commended for understanding this. A few of you seem a little bewildered by the point of all of this discussion. One of you wondered why I would care about the plight of Bolton, considering I am a graduate of ASH. One of you asked for my address so you could find me and beat me up. (Again, it's 1000 Bolton Avenue, the big building with all of the cop cars in the parking lot). And one of you subscribed me to a litany of listserves. (Thank God for Gmail's spam blocker). I certainly understand why you're upset, but try to see the bigger picture: Discussions such as these, despite all of the bruises, are essential to finding solutions. Let's redirect the conversation. Let's focus on what can be done. Let's think about things that can be done, right now, to unify the school. Work with the alumni association and other concerned citizens and parents to build a coalition of support. I also think it's important for current students to petition recent graduates, ask them about their experiences, and what they think Bolton can do to turn things around. Like it or not, there are many people, some of whom have worked at Bolton for several years, who believe that without the proper leadership and political support, Bolton may have to shut its doors. Permanently. When you lose students, you lose money, resources, and teachers, and without those things, Bolton may become a shell of its former self (something many people believe has already happened). No doubt, it's not easy to remove yourselves from the daily experience of school and understand this issue in a greater context, but if you care about the survival of your school, you'd realize that no one is personally attacking you students. If anything, the concern people feel toward Bolton is because they care deeply about its students. Bolton's probably not as bad as its most vocal critics make it out to be, but that doesn't mean it's healthy. The issues raised in this forum should demonstrate that there are a great number of people who are worried. One final note: One of your fellow classmates accused me of being a "bad moderator." He believes that I should have shut down this conversation because, in his estimation, it became repetitive and redundant. I strongly disagree with his assessment. I never "lock" threads or prohibit people from contributing to a discussion, even when someone else has already made a similar point. You should understand, however, that even when people decide to post anonymously, they can still be held accountable for their words, and I caution all of you to choose your words wisely. (Incidentally, this same issue has come up in another conversation on another blog. Many of us in Alexandria are just now getting into the blogosphere, and some people make the mistake of believing that the Internet is a lawless new frontier. It's not. Libel is a real issue). I sincerely thank all of you for contributing. Hopefully, in the near future, this won't be a conversation relegated to an Internet blog. All the best, Lamar|W|P|115878642596467139|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/19/2006 11:48:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Reposted: Penny Toney and Kelly Self Respond (A few readers complained that the forum became too cumbersome to locate these comments. It should be noted that this blog will provide equal opportunity to those who disagree with Ms. Toney and Ms. Self, but reposts will only be considered for those who use their real names). Penny Toney said...

When I saw that Lamar had posted a thread about Bolton, I was curious about what would be said and why. There was a time when I desperately wanted a spirited forum about our school and how to save it, but my efforts fell short. The superintendent was supportive of John Sams who saw me as the problem, and although I detailed “my side” in a registered letter to the superintendent, I doubt that he ever read it. He certainly never acknowledged a single point I made. The alumni association was formed too late to save my job and unknown to them, too late to save any semblance of the Bolton we all loved. All the years and time we spent growing a learning community were discounted and the volunteers who had led so many of the programs were summarily labeled as “my clique.” No mention was made of the fact that every leadership meeting was open to whoever wanted to attend and that we were about progress, not power. It is not hard to see that Bolton is involved in a mighty power struggle, one that has turned colleague against colleague. Those left there working for progress will be drowned out by those who are about power. It was apparently not enough to get rid of me. Those powers loose around and in the school have not stopped there. They have worked over the last year to have me reassigned to the most impossible situation. Failing that, they had me removed from summer school because John Sams did not like my bumper sticker. God knows what he will create for me when he loses the mayor’s position. I know, and can present witnesses, of several times John Sams has implied that not only am I gay, but that I maintain such a relationship with first one colleague and then another. He even shared this lie with the superintendent. He is always careful to phrase it as a question—Is it true that PT has a long standing relationship with ______? Did you know that Ms. Toney and ________ are together? It is done with intonation, with malice, and with glee and then it spreads. And there are several of his minions craving power who follow his lead and who will do whatever to shine in his eyes. I know all that and have depended upon the good people who know me to read between the lines. But even those people--do they know me well enough to know what goes on in my private life? Well, here it is. I am divorced. After my divorce, for some years, I lived alone until I moved in with my parents, my father being in poor health. I remained with mother after Dad’s death, and she and I live together. I am not in a relationship of the sort for which John Sams so wants to credit me. I do have friends, both male and female. I like and love many of them. In reading this blog, I am so reminded of my association with John Sams. Much of what is on this blog is the exact way he speaks of others. No matter how good a person might be, John is always able to say something hurtful and negative in the hope of having a lasting and damaging effect. I do agree with the blogger who says, “woe be to his enemies when he loses the election.” The hatred he had for the Bolton grads that created the Rapides Foundation, the hatred he had for Ron, and then me, he has enlarged to encompass the school. Forced by the alumni to clean the outside, he redoubled his efforts to rot the school from within. You have only to read this blog to see and feel his success. With human respect to those who are, I submit to you that I am not gay and am not in a “special” such relationship with anyone. I consider this just another hostile lie to hurt me. It was not enough for John to have the superintendent remove me as principal, or to have him interfere with my new job several times this year already. Now, he wants to make life so hard for my friends that he can make me and them lepers in our community. Lamar, before John Sams came along, Bolton was a great school. Now you can see what his association can do. No wonder so many say, “Anyone but Sams.” I hope that Bolton can regain its footing and become a school of academic excellence where students can enjoy successful football. Even during my tenure, we did exceedingly well in swimming, soccer, tennis, and other sports, but never in football. I hope that learning can once again be the focus in a school where people are treated with respect and with rights, where fear does not rule the day and where people are not afraid to express their real feelings. A risk-free environment must exist for people to try new methods and change education to meet each child’s needs. We cannot stay tied with Thailand. We need to be competitive with the world, a position we are swiftly losing. We need to maintain our democracy, something else of which I fear the loss. I wish Bolton the best. I am proud to work for Mr. Allen Bozeman, Director of Secondary Education. We work daily with 100% positive effort to make a difference, to help teachers in every way we can. My Bolton days are over. I am focused on this day and the future. I ask that all bloggers stop the recriminations and look for solutions to the problems that face a once great school. Whatever happens to Bolton, the education of Rapides Parish students must be the primary focus of all of our efforts. After graduating from Bolton, teaching there for 28 years, serving as curriculum coordinator for three years, and being principal for nearly five years, I am steeped in Bolton philosophy. I carry that with me. This is the one time you will read me on this blog because I will not let John’s sort of trash talk stand with strangers for who I am. I will go forth to the polls, with honor and with pride, and I will do my all to elect a man with optimism, youth, courage, and a positive plan for our city to lead us forward. The cure for corruption we most need is a moving van pulling away from Sam’s residence for good. Penny Toney Bolton Class of 1967

Kelly L. Self said...

I have just finished reading this forum and am disturbed by its hostility, innuendo, and plain meanness. For twelve years, I was blessed to be a teacher at Bolton High School. I served two excellent administrators in Ron Akins and Penny Toney. I loved my time there until last year. That year began in June when newly appointed principal, Mr. Higgins, called in the leaders under Ms. Toney to tell us he had the right to transfer us but was giving us a "chance,” even though we had been associated with the prior administration. John Sams had identified us as “the clique” and labeled us as dangerous to Mr. Higgins. On that day, I told Mr. Higgins that I would be loyal to Bolton High School but never to John Sams and that if I needed to request a transfer, I would. I believed in what we had created at Bolton: a learning community, full of opportunity for all students. I wanted to stay. But in staying I subjected myself to a horrific experience: the learning community fell apart, politics became a major factor for favor, and students dropped out of the center of the school’s attention. I hated to see all the years’ of the Rapides Foundation Initiative work simply disappear. We had made great strides in student learning and had the documentation to prove it. I was miserable as we abandoned practice after practice, not even having a faculty meeting all year. I am not perfect. I have flaws like anyone else and have incurred the wrath of the Sams’ supporters, but I have always had the best interest of students at heart. I have never been bitter nor vindictive. But I am impassioned and I refuse to compromise on certain issues. On July 18, this summer, Ms. Sharon Miller, personnel director, called me in to tell me Mr. Higgins was transferring me. I was surprised since every time I had seen Mr. Higgins, he had said my job at Bolton was safe; nor had he contacted me to tell me personally that he was ridding himself of me. I went to him that day, but he offered no real reason for my transfer except for my dislike of Nancy Monroe and my obvious hatred for John Sams. He had no complaint about my work and had, indeed, given me an excellent evaluation. While at Bolton, I devoted my passion for teaching to my students and served on state level committees, building the comprehensive curriculum, setting grade level expectations for each grade and developing a new and improved statewide assessment. I believe in education and represented my school well. I am proud to have been a part of the Bolton faculty when students were key and learning was the central focus. In July, I talked with Mr. Moreau and have been happily at ASH ever since. It is a privilege to teach without John Sams breathing down my neck and to work with an English department chaired by the kind and erudite Helen Hemingway, who recognizes modern methodologies and student-centered instruction. I look forward to serving many students as I put my passion to teach to work at Alexandria Senior High. Many have questioned the validity of these claims against John Sams. I, as many others, have verifiable evidence of these accusations, which will appear in a different forum at a different place and time. I am glad that Lamar is allowing people to voice their concerns and their experiences. I am sorry that some feel compelled to deal in innuendo and slurs. I believed in Ms. Toney’s approach to education; I admire her for her years of service to Bolton High School and to our community and for the way she has continued to do her best for the students of Rapides Parish in her new capacity. I am proud to call her my friend. Those who hint of other than a sincere friendship simply do not know either Ms. Toney or me very well at all. I am not a part of this “new” Bolton, nor do I want to be. The Bolton I believed in is long gone. I am involved with my present and my future, both of which are positive. I am sad for those who remain in the turmoil there, particularly the students who will suffer the most from all of this. However, John Sams was slighted by this school, and he has had his revenge. As with much of what he does, there will be no going back. As this blog continues, it will do so without me. I simply wanted to clarify my position. I do not want my life to be cluttered with hatred and meanness. I have put Bolton behind me and I am resigned to letting Nancy, Charlene, and John finish the job of tearing the remains apart. As for me, I am once again part of building a program that puts learning at the center. Bloggers: Write about those who still care about your plight. Kelly L. Self

|W|P|115869208051118604|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/18/2006 07:48:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|The Town Talk Endorses Jacques Roy for Mayor Remember to vote (early if you can, which means right now).|W|P|115859098348531745|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/14/2006 09:12:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|CenLamar On Vacation I'll be back on Monday. Bound for Austin City Limits Music Festival. By the way, kudos to Mr. Matt Ranson for bringing in Grayson Capps last night.|W|P|115825078263134062|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/13/2006 11:00:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Bolton High School: When I left for college, Bolton High School had an enrollment comparable to ASH-- 1,100 or so students. Today, the Town Talk reported about how local schools are coping with population INCREASES. Five years ago, Bolton was one of the state's academic powerhouses, and perhaps it's still attracting top-notch students because of its gifted program (and then likely losing some of them to the Louisiana School). Today, the Town Talk reported that Bolton has an enrollment of 603 students. 603! I have a few questions: What happened? I've heard Bolton was seventh in the state in ACT scores just a few years ago. What is it now? Who is Bolton's principal and what are his/her qualifications/academic agenda? How does the School Board plan on turning Bolton around?|W|P|115817102630289779|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/12/2006 05:00:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Your Reaction to the Mayoral Forum|W|P|115810565026187421|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/12/2006 02:25:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|LiveBlogging the Mayoral Forum! Come One, Come All, As We Instantaneously Scrutinize, Criticize, and Praise the Candidates While Watching From the Comfort of Our Own Homes. Let me explain: Instead of going to the debate, I will be liveblogging as it happens. Because 1) My life is that dull and 2) This will allow us to dissect candidate's statements right when they make them. This thread is open to anyone. Join the party.|W|P|115809663841021190|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/12/2006 01:04:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|KALB's Mayoral Forum In Two Hours. Free To The Public. Coughlin-Saunders Building. (Or Just Watch It On Channel 5)|W|P|115809162631867425|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/11/2006 12:22:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|
Be There or Be Square · Young Professionals in Central Louisiana invited to a Mayor of Alexandria Candidates Public Debate · Monday, September 11, 2006 at 6PM · Rapides Foundation Building, Hearn Stage - Kress Theatre · 1101 Fourth Street (entrance at Third & Johnston Streets) · Reception immediately following in Kress Theatre Lobby · FREE for YPG Members / $5 for non-members
|W|P|115800263939790740|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/10/2006 11:43:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|CenLamar Advertising Opportunities When I first created this site, I opted not to utilize Google's advertising package for a few reasons:
  1. It relies on key words and searches to match users to content.
  2. It pollutes blogs with formulaic advertising.
  3. It just didn't seem right.
  4. It would have made me look like a tool.
  5. It would have been against the mission of this blog.
Recently, I have been approached by locally-owned small businesses regarding advertising opportunities and events promotion. I recognize a handful of readers will be put off by this prospect, but after contemplating this for a few weeks, I have arrived at the following conclusions:
  1. This would enable CenLamar to expand the website, buy a domain name (perhaps; however, Maltuzi Holdings, LLC from California recently purchased CenLamar.com as well as CenLamar.org on September 9, 2006), employ additional writers, and create a true, independent press here in Central Louisiana.
  2. Last month, CenLamar received 13, 503 visitors, 8, 553 of which were unique, first-time visitors.
  3. Central Louisiana desperately needs an indepedent press.
  4. Advertising dollars could allow us to publish a print version.
I promise the following to CenLamar's readers:
  1. The advertising content will never register your IP address.
  2. The advertising content will never interfere or disrupt the content of this website.
  3. The advertising content will never be political in nature. (Political content on the blog is free).
  4. The advertising content will never include businesses of ill repute.
  5. The advertising content will ALWAYS be local.
If your business is interested in advertising in CenLamar, please click here. Or e-mail me at lamarw@gmail.com.|W|P|115795926071378780|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/09/2006 09:18:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|"Is Our Children Learning?" Part Two: Education Department Eases Stand On Teacher Quality, CNN|W|P|115786197184990434|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/08/2006 02:46:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Upcoming Events: Monte Montgomery LIVE in Alexandria, Tonight 8PM, Spirits, tickets: $15 (if they're not already sold out) Wednesday, September 13, 2006 Grayson Capps, from New Orleans, LA Live @ the Frosty Factory 8PM Opening Act: Alexandria's own The Tim Turner Band with bass virtuoso Dale Le Boeuf www.myspace.com/thetimturnerband www.myspace.com/graysoncapps www.graysoncapps.com Media Releases on Grayson Capps: "He's f***ing awesome!" - Scarlett Johansson, Variety.com "This is stuff to stake the 'best bar band' claim on - slashing slide, crunching electric, a cooking rhythm section and soulful vocals..." - Keith Glass, Rhythms magazine (Australia) "His rough-hewn testimonial of a voice renders such a well-worn assertion, believable again." - Keith Spera, Times Picayune "Like a whiskey-soaked, back alley poet sired by Tom Waits and Robert Johnson, Capps' stripped-down sound is rooted in the dark side of the Delta." - Razor Magazine With a name that could only belong to a musician and a coarse, beer-besotted voice straight out of the backstreets of New Orleans , Grayson Capps evokes the swamp folk-soul made popular by Tony Joe White. He looks the part, too: One glance at his solo debut's cover conveys its lazy, creaky, homespun sound. Half relaxed blues-rock, half boozy, folksy introspection, Capps' rustic voice -- it sounds more like a relaxed version of Delbert McClinton's -- is front and center, leaving his words and sturdy but near faceless musicians to convey the soulful atmosphere with chipped, faded-paint backing. Anyone who's seen the movie A Love Song For Bobby Long -- based on a book written by Capps' father, with its alcoholic haze of good people falling on hard times and looking for redemption -- has pretty much heard this album. Capps performed four songs on the soundtrack, but each track from this graphic collection could be its own feature film. Echoes of J.J. Cale, the North Mississippi Allstars, old Ry Cooder, and the great Texas songwriter, Townes Van Zandt permeate these low-key but occasionally spirited blues-rockers. Songs such as "Mercy" and "I Can't Hear You" come alive thanks to gospel-tinged backing vocals, bringing out the God vs. the Devil undercurrent that rumbles like a latent volcano beneath the album's surface. |W|P|115775253431874592|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/07/2006 09:54:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Any News On The Missing Brand New Dodge Durango and the Escapee? I've received a handful of e-mails about this story, one of which implied that the other media outlets have been dissuaded from reporting it due to "official influence." I don't know what that means, and I'm not sure if it's true. Are there any updates to be reported? See Also: Watch Out for the Escapee!|W|P|115764824416957592|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/05/2006 06:49:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Whaaaat? Public and Media Not Allowed Into Political Forum Held By Police and Fire Unions, Reported by The Town Talk Quote of the day: “Once it’s public, then it becomes political,” Livingston said. “They have to be secretive. Unions in other places have done this. It’s important that it be private. They’re a private organization." Right. If you invite all the mayoral candidates to speak to your union and you close your doors to the media and the taxpaying public, it's somehow NOT political. But the moment you let the public in on the conversation, it becomes political. Geez. |W|P|115750782950251938|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/05/2006 12:12:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|The Town Talk: Thousands of Dollars Worth of Political Signs Stolen|W|P|115748360386139772|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/04/2006 06:44:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Let's Try This Again: What Do You Think Of The Candidates For Mayor?|W|P|115742067481181423|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/04/2006 06:40:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|John Sams |W|P|115742044677663633|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/04/2006 06:40:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Delores Brewer|W|P|115742042948537463|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/04/2006 06:34:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Charles F. Smith|W|P|115742008778767759|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/04/2006 06:34:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Alice "Red" Hammond|W|P|115742006889085364|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/04/2006 06:33:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Jacques Roy|W|P|115742004597404978|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/04/2006 06:33:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Roosevelt Johnson|W|P|115742002670524429|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/04/2006 06:32:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Joe Fuller|W|P|115742000518254233|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/03/2006 06:41:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Jacques Roy on the Issues (Note: I've been told that the website is not 100% complete yet and to expect more later this week). City Council/Mayoral Relationship New Urbanism and Economic Development Absolute Transparency, Accountability, and Crime Citizen Participation|W|P|115733448369805127|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/02/2006 01:40:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|What Are You Trying To Say? From today's Town Talk editorial:

"A recent Scripps Howard survey asked people "How many days each week do you get news from a blog on the Internet?" Eighty-eight percent of respondents said they never use blogs to get news.

These Web logs -- personal diaries and observations posted on easy-to-update Internet Web pages in a process called "blogging" -- are, however, gaining in popularity especially among certain demographic groups, the survey found. Well-educated single people, especially those without children, who live in major urban areas or along the high-technology centers of the West Coast are the biggest bloggers and blog readers. Blogs are least popular among Northeasterners, blacks and residents of rural areas.

We think: It's good to know that people understand the distinct difference between blogs and news Web sites. For many the best thing about a blog is that anyone can say anything. The worst thing about a blog is that anybody can say anything -- and it may not have any basis in truth. Blogs are merely opinion and are rarely ever aspire to any fair and balanced reporting of the news and issues of the day."

Here's what I read:

  • 12% of Americans receive their news from a blog. Wow!
  • Blogs are most popular among highly-educated people living in tech hubs. (Go figure!)
  • In between the lines: Please ignore the fact that this very newspaper launched a blog feature this very week.
  • I'd like to polish this line up a little bit. "For many the best thing about a blog is that it often reports news other sources are afraid to tackle, and it allows people the opportunity to express both facts and opinions on issues they'd otherwise never talk about in a newspaper."
How about this survey? Pew Internet and American Life Project, Phone Survey of 7,012 people:
  • Thirty-nine percent of U.S. Internet users, or about 57 million Americans, read blogs; 8 percent, or about 12 million Americans, write a blog; and more than half of bloggers are under the age of 30.
  • Pew found that 37 percent of bloggers cite "my life and experiences" as what they blog about, while only 11 percent cited public issues as typical topics. Sixty percent of bloggers are white, while 74 percent of the country's Web users are, according to the data. Fifty-five percent of bloggers write under a pseudonym.
  • Fifty-four percent of bloggers say that they have never published their writing or media creations anywhere else; 44 percent say they have published elsewhere.
  • Women and men have statistical parity in the blogosphere, with women representing 46 percent of bloggers and men 54 percent.
  • Seventy-six percent of bloggers say a reason they blog is to document their personal experiences and share them with others. Sixty-four percent of bloggers say a reason they blog is to share practical knowledge or skills with others.
  • Seventy-seven percent of bloggers have shared something online that they created themselves, such as their own artwork, photos, stories, or videos. By comparison, 26 percent of Internet users as a whole have done this.
So perhaps one of the reasons only 12% of people (still a high number) receive their news on a blog is because only 11% of bloggers write about the news.|W|P|115718657183444726|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/01/2006 04:22:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Upcoming Events: Jacques Roy Question and Answer House of Java, Tomorrow, September 2, 2006, 3PM Open to the Public Monte Montgomary LIVE In Alexandria Spirits, September 8th, 8PM Tickets are on sale now. $15 Monte Montgomery has taken the acoustic guitar beyond anyone’s expectations. With his amazing fretwork, unique combination finger and pick style playing through trailblazing chordal thoroughfares often baffling even the most accomplished players. While Monte remains a huge enigma in the guitar universe, his legendary reputation has spread like wildfire since he appeared on Austin City Limits. In 2004 Monte was named on Guitar Player Magazine's list of "Top 50 Greatest Guitarists Of All Time" and in 2005 Monte appeared on the Covers of “Frets” and “Acoustic Guitar” magazines. Countless articles have been written about Monte. He’s been described as “The Evel Knivel of Guitar”, “Six Strings Attached To Dynamite”, “The Answer To The Fermi Paradox” and “The Acoustic Shred Master” just to name a few. In spite of all the “six-string notoriety”, and just in case you didn’t “know-tice”, Monte isn't just a “guitar hero”, “shred master” or “guitar god” as he’s most often described. No, actually Monte Montgomery is much more than just a world-class guitar virtuoso with more new tricks up his fret board than your average “guitar slinger”. What sets Monte apart from all others is that he’s one of the most accomplished songwriters of our time, a remarkable singer and an extraordinary music arranger. Many of Monte’s fans attend his concerts simply to hear his compelling vocals as he delivers his finely penned songs powerfully and passionately. To some, his incredible guitar pyrotechnics are simply an addition of tasty icing topping off a delicious cake. Monte’s latest release titled “MONTE MONTGOMERY AT WORKPLAY” (Harmonic Records - 2005), available in CD and DVD versions is a double barrel treat offering fans a new dimension of Monte’s incredible power packed live performance recorded Live at WorkPlay Theater in Birmingham, Alabama.|W|P|115715317181668289|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/01/2006 01:33:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Fellow Blogger Spanky: Solutions to Alexandria's Growing Pains (Credit: Spanky, Originally from Cenla Antics) Spanky said...

I am sure Jacques will fully and eloquently explain his vision of urban condensation which more than likely parallels what I have been screaming. As Alexandria has grown, areas develop, age, and then blight, leaving in the blighted areas, the lower income folks, and abandoned properties that compound the problems of crime, property devaluation, fire safety, infrastructure maintenance, utilities, and sanitation, as the city cannot just choose to stop providing services in the city limits.

We do not have population increase, therefore we are consuming increasingly greater land mass to support the same number of people, while placing increased demand on all city functions over a greater area.

The natural solution would appear to be fair application of zoning and code enforcement to maintain the quality of the older neighborhoods and in the event of large scale degradation, mass demolition, and re-use of the area for re-development thereby providing for infill renewal.

One way to accomplish this would be to establish radius zones centered from the downtown area extending outward in bands gradiated to population levels and not to be expanded until the population levels are achieved.

City services would not be allowed to be extended beyond these boundaries, therefore providing economic and aesthetic incentive to look to the center to revitalize large blighted areas. While it may appear initially cost prohibitive, it may be less expensive to buy out, demolish, and redevelop older parts of town, if done on a large enough scale to retain infrastucture and condense the need for service extension.

While this may appear ludicrous on the surface, look at the areas bounded by Texas, Monroe, Rapides, and Bolton. There are approximately 2,000 addresses in that part of town that are rapidly degrading. Is it really so far fetched to believe that large numbers of dilapidated houses could be purchased for 15K a piece, reducing the lot ratio 2-1 and selling a lot for 50K thereby attracting upscale homes?

Sounds crazy until you realize that the police force would not be stretched so thin if they had less area to patrol and could focus on reducing and controlling crime in selected pockets, making them safer and more attractive. The rest is cosmetic. Once there is a base of similarly priced homes in an area, value will be supported for further development.

The main reason new development has gravitated to Jackson Street Extension and beyond has been the issue of perceived personal and property safety, combined with the ability to build modern, large, energy efficient structures. Provide those same conditions to empty lots in formerly blighted areas, and I feel people will chose to move closer to the center over time. Especially if Alexandria refuses to extend services beyond established population bands. If you don't think that is an incentive, then price what it takes to place a house in the country. These are estimates so use your knowledge of current pricing to adjust. 1. 3-6k for an acceptable sewerage treatment plant. 2. 5K for a well 3. $600. per pole to access nearest electricity 4. Driveway connection to nearest road. 5. Increased homeowners insurance due to reduced fire rating. One thing is certain, and that is that the city as an organization cannot continue to expand with the attending maintenance and static tax base and boost livability standards to attract population whether it is through retention of our youth or influx.

This is my town, I love it, but I can speak the truth and that is that we have had population loss from a peak of 58,000 in the mid '80's to our current 46,000.

The first step is to realize this single truth indicates decline, not growth and the folks that are talking about blue sky had better wise up and look at doing things differently or pay the price.

|W|P|115710001751977361|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com-->

5 p.m.

Prudence died at 5 p.m. today.

I see this in an e-mail, and it should make sense. It should be what I expect.

But I don’t. That thud in the stomach is back.

I’ve hashed through the reasons, though none of them make sense (not together, not as individual pieces of blame).

It is too easy to look at numbers of maternal mortality or mortality in Africa in general, and feel distance from them. It is easy to think of death in Africa and not feel it close at hand. It’s harder to see this woman as a daughter whose mother stayed awake for days at her bed side, whose eyes blared red from tears and no sleep. It’s harder to see her as a mother whose children were at school when she left for the hospital on the back of a motorcycle taxi. It’s harder to understand that in death there is a persisting struggle, a weeklong fight through vomit and blood and infection.

I have thought myself so humane in the past because my heart broke over the slightest glint of poverty, because I cared about genocides in other countries. Tonight, I read my e-mail: Prudence passed away at 5 p.m., and I recognize the distance I have kept. I don’t know how to live and have these realities constantly close at hand, but I know that I cannot live anymore with them as a story, as a facts-and-figures news article that speaks but does not move. I cannot hear of tragedies and blanket them under the term “tragedy,” because even that has become a cliche that is so easy to recognize, it’s now too hard to understand.

|W|P|115904948143318939|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/22/2006 12:39:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Tonight in Alexandria: Fall in Downtown. A Block Party. When? 4PM- 10PM. Downtown Alexandria. City Hall, Diamond Grill, Alex 1805. Featuring three bands. Food from two restaurants. Valet parking. Security. Free to the public. Theresa Anderson. Live at Spirits. 10PM. Tickets at the door.|W|P|115895430779089414|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/21/2006 10:14:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|
Coming Soon: CenLamar.Com
I'm happy to report that after writing a vaguely worded letter about intellectual property rights and employment law cases, Maltuzi Holdings LLC has relinquished its ownership of the domain name www.cenlamar.com, allowing me the opportunity to purchase the domain for a very reasonable price. The website will still utilize Google's blogger technology, and it will take some time before I can get things off of the ground. We will need:
  1. Additional writers. CenLamar.com will be a team effort. Anonymous posting will still be enabled, but team members will be allowed full access to posting and editing capabilities.
  2. Graphic designers. C'mon, it's gotta be pretty.
  3. Advertising. CenLamar will give a 10% commission on advertising. Find us an ad and make yourself some money.
  4. Grassroots encouragement. Spread the word. This month, the blog has already received 12,000 visitors (with a projected monthly total of 20,000). But the more people we get, the bigger the enterprise, the better our independent press can become. (A print version is still a dream, but with the help and encouragement of people in our community, it can quickly become a reality).
Information for Advertisers (This is basically what the mail-out will look like): What Is CenLamar? CenLamar (cenlamar.blogspot.com) is an online blogging community created by Lamar White, Jr. in March of 2006. Initially, CenLamar was intended to be an experiment-- a case study on life in Central Louisiana and a series of archived news stories and commentary concerning the issues uniquely affecting our community. But as the website grew so did its purpose. Today, CenLamar receives between 600- 1,100 hits per day, drawing the attention of people from all across the world. Because the website utilizes Google’s blogging technology, CenLamar is also capable of generating original commentary from anyone with an opinion. During the next month, CenLamar will expand in both size and scope. The website will have a new look, a new location (www.cenlamar.com), and a team of writers and artists all committed to sharing information and news on Central Louisiana. It will position itself as Central Louisiana’s first true independent press, and with the community’s support, will also appear as a stand-alone free monthly print publication, likely with a different name and look. Why Are You Telling Me This? Because we need your help. Think of this as a grassroots movement. A collection of people all working toward the same cause: a real independent press unafraid to tackle the issues, a sounding board for concerned citizens to express themselves, and a venue for locals to exchange information. You’re Asking Me To Advertise My Business On Your Website. How Would This Benefit My Business? 1. The numbers are great. 13,503 hits in August, 12,400 already in September (as of the 21st), and over half of all visitors return frequently. 2. The Internet is the ONLY media that allows people to see specific numbers on productivity. Other larger markets have already tapped into the growth potential the Internet provides. Alexandria has a little catching up to do, but the right components are already in place. 3. Your business would be directly reaching the perfect demographic-- young, intelligent people with an interest in this community and the willingness to express themselves, people engaged in their community, people who want to buy LOCAL, opinion leaders, writers, artists, Gen X, Gen Y, politicians, City Hall, doctors, lawyers, and small business owners. 4. You’d be getting in at the ground level, and once we go to print, you’d be right there in the middle of things. 5. CenLamar reaches people from all over the world. Last month, we had readers in Italy, Nepal, England, Australia, and South Africa and over twenty different U.S. states. People who want to feel connected to Alexandria, and the website gives them immediate access. 6. The Internet’s not just for nerds anymore. The stats don’t lie. Take a look at them: As of September 21, 2006: A few things to notice: 1. Growth has been exponential. 2. More than half of all visitors return, which means 3. The rest of all visitors are first-timers. 4. During the month of August, CenLamar received 8,523 unique visitors OR 17% of the population of Alexandria. Who’s Visiting? How to read the pie chart: 1. 40.5% of visitors return frequently. 2. 14.3% of visitors return at least once. 3. 14.3% of visitors return at least three times. 4. 31.0% of visitors are first-timers! Wow. That’s Impressive. I Like the Idea of an Independent Press. So, How Does This Work? Quite simple, actually. You tell us you want an ad, and we can guarantee a certain number of impressions. Ads will all be the same size, but the number of hits you receive depends on your level of commitment. Let’s take care of this first: 1. CenLamar will only accept LOCAL advertisement. 2. CenLamar will not accept advertisement by businesses of ill-repute. We don’t think this deserves much explanation. You know what we mean. 3. CenLamar, when it goes to print, won’t be called CenLamar. We haven’t picked out a name yet, but CenLamar is the online blog community, not the print publication. Here’s what we’re looking for: 1. Official sponsorships. Businesses that officially sponsor CenLamar will be listed and linked directly under the banner. 2. Advertisers. There are different levels of commitment to suit your needs. 3. Readers. If you’ve never checked us out, go now (cenlamar.blogspot.com). What are we talking about: Corporate sponsorships: $7,000 a year. Think about it. It may sound pricey, but it’s probably still less than some of you spent on your phone book ad, and it will DEFINITELY be seen by more people. Advertisement: One week a month, hyperlinked graphic ad: $150/month or $1,650/year. Two weeks a month, hyperlinked graphic ad: $275/month or $3,025/year. All month long, hyperlinked graphic ad: $450/month or $4,750/year. All advertisers will be guaranteed reduced rates for our first print publication and will be cherished forever. Additionally, as one of CenLamar’s sponsors, you’re entitled to FREE events promotion. How cool is that? Our pricing may seem a little high, but remember: We can prove our numbers. You'd be helping to create an independent press. And after we start, there's no stopping. Final Sales Pitch (We Promise): Alexandria NEEDS an independent press. This isn’t just our opinion; it’s one shared by CenLamar’s thousands of readers, each hungry for an alternative source of news and a place to voice their opinions. Other communities, like New Orleans, Lafayette, and Jackson, already have independent presses, and they are a cherished part of each community. Okay. Count Me In. What Should I Do Next? Call Lamar. Right now. 318-542-2969. He’ll rush right over. Or send him an e-mail at lamarw@gmail.com. We’ll need to discuss the specifics personally. Thank you for your help and support.|W|P|115885927901224256|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/20/2006 04:53:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|
Hokus Pokus on Lee Street Closed
What are they going to do with the legendary sign?See also: Brad Drell's Descants
|W|P|115879662073628526|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/20/2006 04:04:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|The Town Talk: Louisiana College May Add a Law School This is great news, and kudos to President Joe Aguillard, who I have previously criticized for his Christian Committment policies. A local law school would be great for all of Cenla. Unless of course, the only reason for establishing such a law school is to train the radical right on how to "take over," which, I have heard from a legitimate source, is the real reason behind these plans. Incidentally, LC still has an outstanding lawsuit against them. Perhaps Aguillard show consider less stringent and less invasive hiring and acceptance policies for his new law school. Oh and Joe, you know you'll have to rename LC. Colleges don't have graduate programs or law schools; universities do.|W|P|115879373983024957|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/20/2006 01:06:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|An Open Letter to the Current Students of Bolton High School: Dear Students, It's been a week since I first posted a series of questions about your school, and during that time, we've heard from past and present teachers, principals, alumni, parents, concerned citizens, and a number of your classmates. Many of you have been concerned about the direction this forum has taken. You're rightfully worried that people will believe the lies told about some of your best teachers, and you've admirably come to their defense. It's important that faculty in-fighting doesn't distract us from getting the questions answered and finding solutions to the problems. Bolton students should be commended for understanding this. A few of you seem a little bewildered by the point of all of this discussion. One of you wondered why I would care about the plight of Bolton, considering I am a graduate of ASH. One of you asked for my address so you could find me and beat me up. (Again, it's 1000 Bolton Avenue, the big building with all of the cop cars in the parking lot). And one of you subscribed me to a litany of listserves. (Thank God for Gmail's spam blocker). I certainly understand why you're upset, but try to see the bigger picture: Discussions such as these, despite all of the bruises, are essential to finding solutions. Let's redirect the conversation. Let's focus on what can be done. Let's think about things that can be done, right now, to unify the school. Work with the alumni association and other concerned citizens and parents to build a coalition of support. I also think it's important for current students to petition recent graduates, ask them about their experiences, and what they think Bolton can do to turn things around. Like it or not, there are many people, some of whom have worked at Bolton for several years, who believe that without the proper leadership and political support, Bolton may have to shut its doors. Permanently. When you lose students, you lose money, resources, and teachers, and without those things, Bolton may become a shell of its former self (something many people believe has already happened). No doubt, it's not easy to remove yourselves from the daily experience of school and understand this issue in a greater context, but if you care about the survival of your school, you'd realize that no one is personally attacking you students. If anything, the concern people feel toward Bolton is because they care deeply about its students. Bolton's probably not as bad as its most vocal critics make it out to be, but that doesn't mean it's healthy. The issues raised in this forum should demonstrate that there are a great number of people who are worried. One final note: One of your fellow classmates accused me of being a "bad moderator." He believes that I should have shut down this conversation because, in his estimation, it became repetitive and redundant. I strongly disagree with his assessment. I never "lock" threads or prohibit people from contributing to a discussion, even when someone else has already made a similar point. You should understand, however, that even when people decide to post anonymously, they can still be held accountable for their words, and I caution all of you to choose your words wisely. (Incidentally, this same issue has come up in another conversation on another blog. Many of us in Alexandria are just now getting into the blogosphere, and some people make the mistake of believing that the Internet is a lawless new frontier. It's not. Libel is a real issue). I sincerely thank all of you for contributing. Hopefully, in the near future, this won't be a conversation relegated to an Internet blog. All the best, Lamar|W|P|115878642596467139|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/19/2006 11:48:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Reposted: Penny Toney and Kelly Self Respond (A few readers complained that the forum became too cumbersome to locate these comments. It should be noted that this blog will provide equal opportunity to those who disagree with Ms. Toney and Ms. Self, but reposts will only be considered for those who use their real names). Penny Toney said...

When I saw that Lamar had posted a thread about Bolton, I was curious about what would be said and why. There was a time when I desperately wanted a spirited forum about our school and how to save it, but my efforts fell short. The superintendent was supportive of John Sams who saw me as the problem, and although I detailed “my side” in a registered letter to the superintendent, I doubt that he ever read it. He certainly never acknowledged a single point I made. The alumni association was formed too late to save my job and unknown to them, too late to save any semblance of the Bolton we all loved. All the years and time we spent growing a learning community were discounted and the volunteers who had led so many of the programs were summarily labeled as “my clique.” No mention was made of the fact that every leadership meeting was open to whoever wanted to attend and that we were about progress, not power. It is not hard to see that Bolton is involved in a mighty power struggle, one that has turned colleague against colleague. Those left there working for progress will be drowned out by those who are about power. It was apparently not enough to get rid of me. Those powers loose around and in the school have not stopped there. They have worked over the last year to have me reassigned to the most impossible situation. Failing that, they had me removed from summer school because John Sams did not like my bumper sticker. God knows what he will create for me when he loses the mayor’s position. I know, and can present witnesses, of several times John Sams has implied that not only am I gay, but that I maintain such a relationship with first one colleague and then another. He even shared this lie with the superintendent. He is always careful to phrase it as a question—Is it true that PT has a long standing relationship with ______? Did you know that Ms. Toney and ________ are together? It is done with intonation, with malice, and with glee and then it spreads. And there are several of his minions craving power who follow his lead and who will do whatever to shine in his eyes. I know all that and have depended upon the good people who know me to read between the lines. But even those people--do they know me well enough to know what goes on in my private life? Well, here it is. I am divorced. After my divorce, for some years, I lived alone until I moved in with my parents, my father being in poor health. I remained with mother after Dad’s death, and she and I live together. I am not in a relationship of the sort for which John Sams so wants to credit me. I do have friends, both male and female. I like and love many of them. In reading this blog, I am so reminded of my association with John Sams. Much of what is on this blog is the exact way he speaks of others. No matter how good a person might be, John is always able to say something hurtful and negative in the hope of having a lasting and damaging effect. I do agree with the blogger who says, “woe be to his enemies when he loses the election.” The hatred he had for the Bolton grads that created the Rapides Foundation, the hatred he had for Ron, and then me, he has enlarged to encompass the school. Forced by the alumni to clean the outside, he redoubled his efforts to rot the school from within. You have only to read this blog to see and feel his success. With human respect to those who are, I submit to you that I am not gay and am not in a “special” such relationship with anyone. I consider this just another hostile lie to hurt me. It was not enough for John to have the superintendent remove me as principal, or to have him interfere with my new job several times this year already. Now, he wants to make life so hard for my friends that he can make me and them lepers in our community. Lamar, before John Sams came along, Bolton was a great school. Now you can see what his association can do. No wonder so many say, “Anyone but Sams.” I hope that Bolton can regain its footing and become a school of academic excellence where students can enjoy successful football. Even during my tenure, we did exceedingly well in swimming, soccer, tennis, and other sports, but never in football. I hope that learning can once again be the focus in a school where people are treated with respect and with rights, where fear does not rule the day and where people are not afraid to express their real feelings. A risk-free environment must exist for people to try new methods and change education to meet each child’s needs. We cannot stay tied with Thailand. We need to be competitive with the world, a position we are swiftly losing. We need to maintain our democracy, something else of which I fear the loss. I wish Bolton the best. I am proud to work for Mr. Allen Bozeman, Director of Secondary Education. We work daily with 100% positive effort to make a difference, to help teachers in every way we can. My Bolton days are over. I am focused on this day and the future. I ask that all bloggers stop the recriminations and look for solutions to the problems that face a once great school. Whatever happens to Bolton, the education of Rapides Parish students must be the primary focus of all of our efforts. After graduating from Bolton, teaching there for 28 years, serving as curriculum coordinator for three years, and being principal for nearly five years, I am steeped in Bolton philosophy. I carry that with me. This is the one time you will read me on this blog because I will not let John’s sort of trash talk stand with strangers for who I am. I will go forth to the polls, with honor and with pride, and I will do my all to elect a man with optimism, youth, courage, and a positive plan for our city to lead us forward. The cure for corruption we most need is a moving van pulling away from Sam’s residence for good. Penny Toney Bolton Class of 1967

Kelly L. Self said...

I have just finished reading this forum and am disturbed by its hostility, innuendo, and plain meanness. For twelve years, I was blessed to be a teacher at Bolton High School. I served two excellent administrators in Ron Akins and Penny Toney. I loved my time there until last year. That year began in June when newly appointed principal, Mr. Higgins, called in the leaders under Ms. Toney to tell us he had the right to transfer us but was giving us a "chance,” even though we had been associated with the prior administration. John Sams had identified us as “the clique” and labeled us as dangerous to Mr. Higgins. On that day, I told Mr. Higgins that I would be loyal to Bolton High School but never to John Sams and that if I needed to request a transfer, I would. I believed in what we had created at Bolton: a learning community, full of opportunity for all students. I wanted to stay. But in staying I subjected myself to a horrific experience: the learning community fell apart, politics became a major factor for favor, and students dropped out of the center of the school’s attention. I hated to see all the years’ of the Rapides Foundation Initiative work simply disappear. We had made great strides in student learning and had the documentation to prove it. I was miserable as we abandoned practice after practice, not even having a faculty meeting all year. I am not perfect. I have flaws like anyone else and have incurred the wrath of the Sams’ supporters, but I have always had the best interest of students at heart. I have never been bitter nor vindictive. But I am impassioned and I refuse to compromise on certain issues. On July 18, this summer, Ms. Sharon Miller, personnel director, called me in to tell me Mr. Higgins was transferring me. I was surprised since every time I had seen Mr. Higgins, he had said my job at Bolton was safe; nor had he contacted me to tell me personally that he was ridding himself of me. I went to him that day, but he offered no real reason for my transfer except for my dislike of Nancy Monroe and my obvious hatred for John Sams. He had no complaint about my work and had, indeed, given me an excellent evaluation. While at Bolton, I devoted my passion for teaching to my students and served on state level committees, building the comprehensive curriculum, setting grade level expectations for each grade and developing a new and improved statewide assessment. I believe in education and represented my school well. I am proud to have been a part of the Bolton faculty when students were key and learning was the central focus. In July, I talked with Mr. Moreau and have been happily at ASH ever since. It is a privilege to teach without John Sams breathing down my neck and to work with an English department chaired by the kind and erudite Helen Hemingway, who recognizes modern methodologies and student-centered instruction. I look forward to serving many students as I put my passion to teach to work at Alexandria Senior High. Many have questioned the validity of these claims against John Sams. I, as many others, have verifiable evidence of these accusations, which will appear in a different forum at a different place and time. I am glad that Lamar is allowing people to voice their concerns and their experiences. I am sorry that some feel compelled to deal in innuendo and slurs. I believed in Ms. Toney’s approach to education; I admire her for her years of service to Bolton High School and to our community and for the way she has continued to do her best for the students of Rapides Parish in her new capacity. I am proud to call her my friend. Those who hint of other than a sincere friendship simply do not know either Ms. Toney or me very well at all. I am not a part of this “new” Bolton, nor do I want to be. The Bolton I believed in is long gone. I am involved with my present and my future, both of which are positive. I am sad for those who remain in the turmoil there, particularly the students who will suffer the most from all of this. However, John Sams was slighted by this school, and he has had his revenge. As with much of what he does, there will be no going back. As this blog continues, it will do so without me. I simply wanted to clarify my position. I do not want my life to be cluttered with hatred and meanness. I have put Bolton behind me and I am resigned to letting Nancy, Charlene, and John finish the job of tearing the remains apart. As for me, I am once again part of building a program that puts learning at the center. Bloggers: Write about those who still care about your plight. Kelly L. Self

|W|P|115869208051118604|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/18/2006 07:48:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|The Town Talk Endorses Jacques Roy for Mayor Remember to vote (early if you can, which means right now).|W|P|115859098348531745|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/14/2006 09:12:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|CenLamar On Vacation I'll be back on Monday. Bound for Austin City Limits Music Festival. By the way, kudos to Mr. Matt Ranson for bringing in Grayson Capps last night.|W|P|115825078263134062|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/13/2006 11:00:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Bolton High School: When I left for college, Bolton High School had an enrollment comparable to ASH-- 1,100 or so students. Today, the Town Talk reported about how local schools are coping with population INCREASES. Five years ago, Bolton was one of the state's academic powerhouses, and perhaps it's still attracting top-notch students because of its gifted program (and then likely losing some of them to the Louisiana School). Today, the Town Talk reported that Bolton has an enrollment of 603 students. 603! I have a few questions: What happened? I've heard Bolton was seventh in the state in ACT scores just a few years ago. What is it now? Who is Bolton's principal and what are his/her qualifications/academic agenda? How does the School Board plan on turning Bolton around?|W|P|115817102630289779|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/12/2006 05:00:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Your Reaction to the Mayoral Forum|W|P|115810565026187421|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/12/2006 02:25:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|LiveBlogging the Mayoral Forum! Come One, Come All, As We Instantaneously Scrutinize, Criticize, and Praise the Candidates While Watching From the Comfort of Our Own Homes. Let me explain: Instead of going to the debate, I will be liveblogging as it happens. Because 1) My life is that dull and 2) This will allow us to dissect candidate's statements right when they make them. This thread is open to anyone. Join the party.|W|P|115809663841021190|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/12/2006 01:04:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|KALB's Mayoral Forum In Two Hours. Free To The Public. Coughlin-Saunders Building. (Or Just Watch It On Channel 5)|W|P|115809162631867425|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/11/2006 12:22:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|
Be There or Be Square · Young Professionals in Central Louisiana invited to a Mayor of Alexandria Candidates Public Debate · Monday, September 11, 2006 at 6PM · Rapides Foundation Building, Hearn Stage - Kress Theatre · 1101 Fourth Street (entrance at Third & Johnston Streets) · Reception immediately following in Kress Theatre Lobby · FREE for YPG Members / $5 for non-members
|W|P|115800263939790740|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/10/2006 11:43:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|CenLamar Advertising Opportunities When I first created this site, I opted not to utilize Google's advertising package for a few reasons:
  1. It relies on key words and searches to match users to content.
  2. It pollutes blogs with formulaic advertising.
  3. It just didn't seem right.
  4. It would have made me look like a tool.
  5. It would have been against the mission of this blog.
Recently, I have been approached by locally-owned small businesses regarding advertising opportunities and events promotion. I recognize a handful of readers will be put off by this prospect, but after contemplating this for a few weeks, I have arrived at the following conclusions:
  1. This would enable CenLamar to expand the website, buy a domain name (perhaps; however, Maltuzi Holdings, LLC from California recently purchased CenLamar.com as well as CenLamar.org on September 9, 2006), employ additional writers, and create a true, independent press here in Central Louisiana.
  2. Last month, CenLamar received 13, 503 visitors, 8, 553 of which were unique, first-time visitors.
  3. Central Louisiana desperately needs an indepedent press.
  4. Advertising dollars could allow us to publish a print version.
I promise the following to CenLamar's readers:
  1. The advertising content will never register your IP address.
  2. The advertising content will never interfere or disrupt the content of this website.
  3. The advertising content will never be political in nature. (Political content on the blog is free).
  4. The advertising content will never include businesses of ill repute.
  5. The advertising content will ALWAYS be local.
If your business is interested in advertising in CenLamar, please click here. Or e-mail me at lamarw@gmail.com.|W|P|115795926071378780|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/09/2006 09:18:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|"Is Our Children Learning?" Part Two: Education Department Eases Stand On Teacher Quality, CNN|W|P|115786197184990434|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/08/2006 02:46:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Upcoming Events: Monte Montgomery LIVE in Alexandria, Tonight 8PM, Spirits, tickets: $15 (if they're not already sold out) Wednesday, September 13, 2006 Grayson Capps, from New Orleans, LA Live @ the Frosty Factory 8PM Opening Act: Alexandria's own The Tim Turner Band with bass virtuoso Dale Le Boeuf www.myspace.com/thetimturnerband www.myspace.com/graysoncapps www.graysoncapps.com Media Releases on Grayson Capps: "He's f***ing awesome!" - Scarlett Johansson, Variety.com "This is stuff to stake the 'best bar band' claim on - slashing slide, crunching electric, a cooking rhythm section and soulful vocals..." - Keith Glass, Rhythms magazine (Australia) "His rough-hewn testimonial of a voice renders such a well-worn assertion, believable again." - Keith Spera, Times Picayune "Like a whiskey-soaked, back alley poet sired by Tom Waits and Robert Johnson, Capps' stripped-down sound is rooted in the dark side of the Delta." - Razor Magazine With a name that could only belong to a musician and a coarse, beer-besotted voice straight out of the backstreets of New Orleans , Grayson Capps evokes the swamp folk-soul made popular by Tony Joe White. He looks the part, too: One glance at his solo debut's cover conveys its lazy, creaky, homespun sound. Half relaxed blues-rock, half boozy, folksy introspection, Capps' rustic voice -- it sounds more like a relaxed version of Delbert McClinton's -- is front and center, leaving his words and sturdy but near faceless musicians to convey the soulful atmosphere with chipped, faded-paint backing. Anyone who's seen the movie A Love Song For Bobby Long -- based on a book written by Capps' father, with its alcoholic haze of good people falling on hard times and looking for redemption -- has pretty much heard this album. Capps performed four songs on the soundtrack, but each track from this graphic collection could be its own feature film. Echoes of J.J. Cale, the North Mississippi Allstars, old Ry Cooder, and the great Texas songwriter, Townes Van Zandt permeate these low-key but occasionally spirited blues-rockers. Songs such as "Mercy" and "I Can't Hear You" come alive thanks to gospel-tinged backing vocals, bringing out the God vs. the Devil undercurrent that rumbles like a latent volcano beneath the album's surface. |W|P|115775253431874592|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/07/2006 09:54:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Any News On The Missing Brand New Dodge Durango and the Escapee? I've received a handful of e-mails about this story, one of which implied that the other media outlets have been dissuaded from reporting it due to "official influence." I don't know what that means, and I'm not sure if it's true. Are there any updates to be reported? See Also: Watch Out for the Escapee!|W|P|115764824416957592|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/05/2006 06:49:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Whaaaat? Public and Media Not Allowed Into Political Forum Held By Police and Fire Unions, Reported by The Town Talk Quote of the day: “Once it’s public, then it becomes political,” Livingston said. “They have to be secretive. Unions in other places have done this. It’s important that it be private. They’re a private organization." Right. If you invite all the mayoral candidates to speak to your union and you close your doors to the media and the taxpaying public, it's somehow NOT political. But the moment you let the public in on the conversation, it becomes political. Geez. |W|P|115750782950251938|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/05/2006 12:12:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|The Town Talk: Thousands of Dollars Worth of Political Signs Stolen|W|P|115748360386139772|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/04/2006 06:44:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Let's Try This Again: What Do You Think Of The Candidates For Mayor?|W|P|115742067481181423|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/04/2006 06:40:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|John Sams |W|P|115742044677663633|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/04/2006 06:40:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Delores Brewer|W|P|115742042948537463|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/04/2006 06:34:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Charles F. Smith|W|P|115742008778767759|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/04/2006 06:34:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Alice "Red" Hammond|W|P|115742006889085364|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/04/2006 06:33:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Jacques Roy|W|P|115742004597404978|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/04/2006 06:33:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Roosevelt Johnson|W|P|115742002670524429|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/04/2006 06:32:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Joe Fuller|W|P|115742000518254233|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/03/2006 06:41:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Jacques Roy on the Issues (Note: I've been told that the website is not 100% complete yet and to expect more later this week). City Council/Mayoral Relationship New Urbanism and Economic Development Absolute Transparency, Accountability, and Crime Citizen Participation|W|P|115733448369805127|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/02/2006 01:40:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|What Are You Trying To Say? From today's Town Talk editorial:

"A recent Scripps Howard survey asked people "How many days each week do you get news from a blog on the Internet?" Eighty-eight percent of respondents said they never use blogs to get news.

These Web logs -- personal diaries and observations posted on easy-to-update Internet Web pages in a process called "blogging" -- are, however, gaining in popularity especially among certain demographic groups, the survey found. Well-educated single people, especially those without children, who live in major urban areas or along the high-technology centers of the West Coast are the biggest bloggers and blog readers. Blogs are least popular among Northeasterners, blacks and residents of rural areas.

We think: It's good to know that people understand the distinct difference between blogs and news Web sites. For many the best thing about a blog is that anyone can say anything. The worst thing about a blog is that anybody can say anything -- and it may not have any basis in truth. Blogs are merely opinion and are rarely ever aspire to any fair and balanced reporting of the news and issues of the day."

Here's what I read:

  • 12% of Americans receive their news from a blog. Wow!
  • Blogs are most popular among highly-educated people living in tech hubs. (Go figure!)
  • In between the lines: Please ignore the fact that this very newspaper launched a blog feature this very week.
  • I'd like to polish this line up a little bit. "For many the best thing about a blog is that it often reports news other sources are afraid to tackle, and it allows people the opportunity to express both facts and opinions on issues they'd otherwise never talk about in a newspaper."
How about this survey? Pew Internet and American Life Project, Phone Survey of 7,012 people:
  • Thirty-nine percent of U.S. Internet users, or about 57 million Americans, read blogs; 8 percent, or about 12 million Americans, write a blog; and more than half of bloggers are under the age of 30.
  • Pew found that 37 percent of bloggers cite "my life and experiences" as what they blog about, while only 11 percent cited public issues as typical topics. Sixty percent of bloggers are white, while 74 percent of the country's Web users are, according to the data. Fifty-five percent of bloggers write under a pseudonym.
  • Fifty-four percent of bloggers say that they have never published their writing or media creations anywhere else; 44 percent say they have published elsewhere.
  • Women and men have statistical parity in the blogosphere, with women representing 46 percent of bloggers and men 54 percent.
  • Seventy-six percent of bloggers say a reason they blog is to document their personal experiences and share them with others. Sixty-four percent of bloggers say a reason they blog is to share practical knowledge or skills with others.
  • Seventy-seven percent of bloggers have shared something online that they created themselves, such as their own artwork, photos, stories, or videos. By comparison, 26 percent of Internet users as a whole have done this.
So perhaps one of the reasons only 12% of people (still a high number) receive their news on a blog is because only 11% of bloggers write about the news.|W|P|115718657183444726|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/01/2006 04:22:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Upcoming Events: Jacques Roy Question and Answer House of Java, Tomorrow, September 2, 2006, 3PM Open to the Public Monte Montgomary LIVE In Alexandria Spirits, September 8th, 8PM Tickets are on sale now. $15 Monte Montgomery has taken the acoustic guitar beyond anyone’s expectations. With his amazing fretwork, unique combination finger and pick style playing through trailblazing chordal thoroughfares often baffling even the most accomplished players. While Monte remains a huge enigma in the guitar universe, his legendary reputation has spread like wildfire since he appeared on Austin City Limits. In 2004 Monte was named on Guitar Player Magazine's list of "Top 50 Greatest Guitarists Of All Time" and in 2005 Monte appeared on the Covers of “Frets” and “Acoustic Guitar” magazines. Countless articles have been written about Monte. He’s been described as “The Evel Knivel of Guitar”, “Six Strings Attached To Dynamite”, “The Answer To The Fermi Paradox” and “The Acoustic Shred Master” just to name a few. In spite of all the “six-string notoriety”, and just in case you didn’t “know-tice”, Monte isn't just a “guitar hero”, “shred master” or “guitar god” as he’s most often described. No, actually Monte Montgomery is much more than just a world-class guitar virtuoso with more new tricks up his fret board than your average “guitar slinger”. What sets Monte apart from all others is that he’s one of the most accomplished songwriters of our time, a remarkable singer and an extraordinary music arranger. Many of Monte’s fans attend his concerts simply to hear his compelling vocals as he delivers his finely penned songs powerfully and passionately. To some, his incredible guitar pyrotechnics are simply an addition of tasty icing topping off a delicious cake. Monte’s latest release titled “MONTE MONTGOMERY AT WORKPLAY” (Harmonic Records - 2005), available in CD and DVD versions is a double barrel treat offering fans a new dimension of Monte’s incredible power packed live performance recorded Live at WorkPlay Theater in Birmingham, Alabama.|W|P|115715317181668289|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/01/2006 01:33:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Fellow Blogger Spanky: Solutions to Alexandria's Growing Pains (Credit: Spanky, Originally from Cenla Antics) Spanky said...

I am sure Jacques will fully and eloquently explain his vision of urban condensation which more than likely parallels what I have been screaming. As Alexandria has grown, areas develop, age, and then blight, leaving in the blighted areas, the lower income folks, and abandoned properties that compound the problems of crime, property devaluation, fire safety, infrastructure maintenance, utilities, and sanitation, as the city cannot just choose to stop providing services in the city limits.

We do not have population increase, therefore we are consuming increasingly greater land mass to support the same number of people, while placing increased demand on all city functions over a greater area.

The natural solution would appear to be fair application of zoning and code enforcement to maintain the quality of the older neighborhoods and in the event of large scale degradation, mass demolition, and re-use of the area for re-development thereby providing for infill renewal.

One way to accomplish this would be to establish radius zones centered from the downtown area extending outward in bands gradiated to population levels and not to be expanded until the population levels are achieved.

City services would not be allowed to be extended beyond these boundaries, therefore providing economic and aesthetic incentive to look to the center to revitalize large blighted areas. While it may appear initially cost prohibitive, it may be less expensive to buy out, demolish, and redevelop older parts of town, if done on a large enough scale to retain infrastucture and condense the need for service extension.

While this may appear ludicrous on the surface, look at the areas bounded by Texas, Monroe, Rapides, and Bolton. There are approximately 2,000 addresses in that part of town that are rapidly degrading. Is it really so far fetched to believe that large numbers of dilapidated houses could be purchased for 15K a piece, reducing the lot ratio 2-1 and selling a lot for 50K thereby attracting upscale homes?

Sounds crazy until you realize that the police force would not be stretched so thin if they had less area to patrol and could focus on reducing and controlling crime in selected pockets, making them safer and more attractive. The rest is cosmetic. Once there is a base of similarly priced homes in an area, value will be supported for further development.

The main reason new development has gravitated to Jackson Street Extension and beyond has been the issue of perceived personal and property safety, combined with the ability to build modern, large, energy efficient structures. Provide those same conditions to empty lots in formerly blighted areas, and I feel people will chose to move closer to the center over time. Especially if Alexandria refuses to extend services beyond established population bands. If you don't think that is an incentive, then price what it takes to place a house in the country. These are estimates so use your knowledge of current pricing to adjust. 1. 3-6k for an acceptable sewerage treatment plant. 2. 5K for a well 3. $600. per pole to access nearest electricity 4. Driveway connection to nearest road. 5. Increased homeowners insurance due to reduced fire rating. One thing is certain, and that is that the city as an organization cannot continue to expand with the attending maintenance and static tax base and boost livability standards to attract population whether it is through retention of our youth or influx.

This is my town, I love it, but I can speak the truth and that is that we have had population loss from a peak of 58,000 in the mid '80's to our current 46,000.

The first step is to realize this single truth indicates decline, not growth and the folks that are talking about blue sky had better wise up and look at doing things differently or pay the price.

|W|P|115710001751977361|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com-->

5 p.m.

Prudence died at 5 p.m. today.

I see this in an e-mail, and it should make sense. It should be what I expect.

But I don’t. That thud in the stomach is back.

I’ve hashed through the reasons, though none of them make sense (not together, not as individual pieces of blame).

It is too easy to look at numbers of maternal mortality or mortality in Africa in general, and feel distance from them. It is easy to think of death in Africa and not feel it close at hand. It’s harder to see this woman as a daughter whose mother stayed awake for days at her bed side, whose eyes blared red from tears and no sleep. It’s harder to see her as a mother whose children were at school when she left for the hospital on the back of a motorcycle taxi. It’s harder to understand that in death there is a persisting struggle, a weeklong fight through vomit and blood and infection.

I have thought myself so humane in the past because my heart broke over the slightest glint of poverty, because I cared about genocides in other countries. Tonight, I read my e-mail: Prudence passed away at 5 p.m., and I recognize the distance I have kept. I don’t know how to live and have these realities constantly close at hand, but I know that I cannot live anymore with them as a story, as a facts-and-figures news article that speaks but does not move. I cannot hear of tragedies and blanket them under the term “tragedy,” because even that has become a cliche that is so easy to recognize, it’s now too hard to understand.

|W|P|115904948143318939|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/22/2006 12:39:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Tonight in Alexandria: Fall in Downtown. A Block Party. When? 4PM- 10PM. Downtown Alexandria. City Hall, Diamond Grill, Alex 1805. Featuring three bands. Food from two restaurants. Valet parking. Security. Free to the public. Theresa Anderson. Live at Spirits. 10PM. Tickets at the door.|W|P|115895430779089414|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/21/2006 10:14:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|
Coming Soon: CenLamar.Com
I'm happy to report that after writing a vaguely worded letter about intellectual property rights and employment law cases, Maltuzi Holdings LLC has relinquished its ownership of the domain name www.cenlamar.com, allowing me the opportunity to purchase the domain for a very reasonable price. The website will still utilize Google's blogger technology, and it will take some time before I can get things off of the ground. We will need:
  1. Additional writers. CenLamar.com will be a team effort. Anonymous posting will still be enabled, but team members will be allowed full access to posting and editing capabilities.
  2. Graphic designers. C'mon, it's gotta be pretty.
  3. Advertising. CenLamar will give a 10% commission on advertising. Find us an ad and make yourself some money.
  4. Grassroots encouragement. Spread the word. This month, the blog has already received 12,000 visitors (with a projected monthly total of 20,000). But the more people we get, the bigger the enterprise, the better our independent press can become. (A print version is still a dream, but with the help and encouragement of people in our community, it can quickly become a reality).
Information for Advertisers (This is basically what the mail-out will look like): What Is CenLamar? CenLamar (cenlamar.blogspot.com) is an online blogging community created by Lamar White, Jr. in March of 2006. Initially, CenLamar was intended to be an experiment-- a case study on life in Central Louisiana and a series of archived news stories and commentary concerning the issues uniquely affecting our community. But as the website grew so did its purpose. Today, CenLamar receives between 600- 1,100 hits per day, drawing the attention of people from all across the world. Because the website utilizes Google’s blogging technology, CenLamar is also capable of generating original commentary from anyone with an opinion. During the next month, CenLamar will expand in both size and scope. The website will have a new look, a new location (www.cenlamar.com), and a team of writers and artists all committed to sharing information and news on Central Louisiana. It will position itself as Central Louisiana’s first true independent press, and with the community’s support, will also appear as a stand-alone free monthly print publication, likely with a different name and look. Why Are You Telling Me This? Because we need your help. Think of this as a grassroots movement. A collection of people all working toward the same cause: a real independent press unafraid to tackle the issues, a sounding board for concerned citizens to express themselves, and a venue for locals to exchange information. You’re Asking Me To Advertise My Business On Your Website. How Would This Benefit My Business? 1. The numbers are great. 13,503 hits in August, 12,400 already in September (as of the 21st), and over half of all visitors return frequently. 2. The Internet is the ONLY media that allows people to see specific numbers on productivity. Other larger markets have already tapped into the growth potential the Internet provides. Alexandria has a little catching up to do, but the right components are already in place. 3. Your business would be directly reaching the perfect demographic-- young, intelligent people with an interest in this community and the willingness to express themselves, people engaged in their community, people who want to buy LOCAL, opinion leaders, writers, artists, Gen X, Gen Y, politicians, City Hall, doctors, lawyers, and small business owners. 4. You’d be getting in at the ground level, and once we go to print, you’d be right there in the middle of things. 5. CenLamar reaches people from all over the world. Last month, we had readers in Italy, Nepal, England, Australia, and South Africa and over twenty different U.S. states. People who want to feel connected to Alexandria, and the website gives them immediate access. 6. The Internet’s not just for nerds anymore. The stats don’t lie. Take a look at them: As of September 21, 2006: A few things to notice: 1. Growth has been exponential. 2. More than half of all visitors return, which means 3. The rest of all visitors are first-timers. 4. During the month of August, CenLamar received 8,523 unique visitors OR 17% of the population of Alexandria. Who’s Visiting? How to read the pie chart: 1. 40.5% of visitors return frequently. 2. 14.3% of visitors return at least once. 3. 14.3% of visitors return at least three times. 4. 31.0% of visitors are first-timers! Wow. That’s Impressive. I Like the Idea of an Independent Press. So, How Does This Work? Quite simple, actually. You tell us you want an ad, and we can guarantee a certain number of impressions. Ads will all be the same size, but the number of hits you receive depends on your level of commitment. Let’s take care of this first: 1. CenLamar will only accept LOCAL advertisement. 2. CenLamar will not accept advertisement by businesses of ill-repute. We don’t think this deserves much explanation. You know what we mean. 3. CenLamar, when it goes to print, won’t be called CenLamar. We haven’t picked out a name yet, but CenLamar is the online blog community, not the print publication. Here’s what we’re looking for: 1. Official sponsorships. Businesses that officially sponsor CenLamar will be listed and linked directly under the banner. 2. Advertisers. There are different levels of commitment to suit your needs. 3. Readers. If you’ve never checked us out, go now (cenlamar.blogspot.com). What are we talking about: Corporate sponsorships: $7,000 a year. Think about it. It may sound pricey, but it’s probably still less than some of you spent on your phone book ad, and it will DEFINITELY be seen by more people. Advertisement: One week a month, hyperlinked graphic ad: $150/month or $1,650/year. Two weeks a month, hyperlinked graphic ad: $275/month or $3,025/year. All month long, hyperlinked graphic ad: $450/month or $4,750/year. All advertisers will be guaranteed reduced rates for our first print publication and will be cherished forever. Additionally, as one of CenLamar’s sponsors, you’re entitled to FREE events promotion. How cool is that? Our pricing may seem a little high, but remember: We can prove our numbers. You'd be helping to create an independent press. And after we start, there's no stopping. Final Sales Pitch (We Promise): Alexandria NEEDS an independent press. This isn’t just our opinion; it’s one shared by CenLamar’s thousands of readers, each hungry for an alternative source of news and a place to voice their opinions. Other communities, like New Orleans, Lafayette, and Jackson, already have independent presses, and they are a cherished part of each community. Okay. Count Me In. What Should I Do Next? Call Lamar. Right now. 318-542-2969. He’ll rush right over. Or send him an e-mail at lamarw@gmail.com. We’ll need to discuss the specifics personally. Thank you for your help and support.|W|P|115885927901224256|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/20/2006 04:53:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|
Hokus Pokus on Lee Street Closed
What are they going to do with the legendary sign?See also: Brad Drell's Descants
|W|P|115879662073628526|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/20/2006 04:04:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|The Town Talk: Louisiana College May Add a Law School This is great news, and kudos to President Joe Aguillard, who I have previously criticized for his Christian Committment policies. A local law school would be great for all of Cenla. Unless of course, the only reason for establishing such a law school is to train the radical right on how to "take over," which, I have heard from a legitimate source, is the real reason behind these plans. Incidentally, LC still has an outstanding lawsuit against them. Perhaps Aguillard show consider less stringent and less invasive hiring and acceptance policies for his new law school. Oh and Joe, you know you'll have to rename LC. Colleges don't have graduate programs or law schools; universities do.|W|P|115879373983024957|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/20/2006 01:06:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|An Open Letter to the Current Students of Bolton High School: Dear Students, It's been a week since I first posted a series of questions about your school, and during that time, we've heard from past and present teachers, principals, alumni, parents, concerned citizens, and a number of your classmates. Many of you have been concerned about the direction this forum has taken. You're rightfully worried that people will believe the lies told about some of your best teachers, and you've admirably come to their defense. It's important that faculty in-fighting doesn't distract us from getting the questions answered and finding solutions to the problems. Bolton students should be commended for understanding this. A few of you seem a little bewildered by the point of all of this discussion. One of you wondered why I would care about the plight of Bolton, considering I am a graduate of ASH. One of you asked for my address so you could find me and beat me up. (Again, it's 1000 Bolton Avenue, the big building with all of the cop cars in the parking lot). And one of you subscribed me to a litany of listserves. (Thank God for Gmail's spam blocker). I certainly understand why you're upset, but try to see the bigger picture: Discussions such as these, despite all of the bruises, are essential to finding solutions. Let's redirect the conversation. Let's focus on what can be done. Let's think about things that can be done, right now, to unify the school. Work with the alumni association and other concerned citizens and parents to build a coalition of support. I also think it's important for current students to petition recent graduates, ask them about their experiences, and what they think Bolton can do to turn things around. Like it or not, there are many people, some of whom have worked at Bolton for several years, who believe that without the proper leadership and political support, Bolton may have to shut its doors. Permanently. When you lose students, you lose money, resources, and teachers, and without those things, Bolton may become a shell of its former self (something many people believe has already happened). No doubt, it's not easy to remove yourselves from the daily experience of school and understand this issue in a greater context, but if you care about the survival of your school, you'd realize that no one is personally attacking you students. If anything, the concern people feel toward Bolton is because they care deeply about its students. Bolton's probably not as bad as its most vocal critics make it out to be, but that doesn't mean it's healthy. The issues raised in this forum should demonstrate that there are a great number of people who are worried. One final note: One of your fellow classmates accused me of being a "bad moderator." He believes that I should have shut down this conversation because, in his estimation, it became repetitive and redundant. I strongly disagree with his assessment. I never "lock" threads or prohibit people from contributing to a discussion, even when someone else has already made a similar point. You should understand, however, that even when people decide to post anonymously, they can still be held accountable for their words, and I caution all of you to choose your words wisely. (Incidentally, this same issue has come up in another conversation on another blog. Many of us in Alexandria are just now getting into the blogosphere, and some people make the mistake of believing that the Internet is a lawless new frontier. It's not. Libel is a real issue). I sincerely thank all of you for contributing. Hopefully, in the near future, this won't be a conversation relegated to an Internet blog. All the best, Lamar|W|P|115878642596467139|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/19/2006 11:48:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Reposted: Penny Toney and Kelly Self Respond (A few readers complained that the forum became too cumbersome to locate these comments. It should be noted that this blog will provide equal opportunity to those who disagree with Ms. Toney and Ms. Self, but reposts will only be considered for those who use their real names). Penny Toney said...

When I saw that Lamar had posted a thread about Bolton, I was curious about what would be said and why. There was a time when I desperately wanted a spirited forum about our school and how to save it, but my efforts fell short. The superintendent was supportive of John Sams who saw me as the problem, and although I detailed “my side” in a registered letter to the superintendent, I doubt that he ever read it. He certainly never acknowledged a single point I made. The alumni association was formed too late to save my job and unknown to them, too late to save any semblance of the Bolton we all loved. All the years and time we spent growing a learning community were discounted and the volunteers who had led so many of the programs were summarily labeled as “my clique.” No mention was made of the fact that every leadership meeting was open to whoever wanted to attend and that we were about progress, not power. It is not hard to see that Bolton is involved in a mighty power struggle, one that has turned colleague against colleague. Those left there working for progress will be drowned out by those who are about power. It was apparently not enough to get rid of me. Those powers loose around and in the school have not stopped there. They have worked over the last year to have me reassigned to the most impossible situation. Failing that, they had me removed from summer school because John Sams did not like my bumper sticker. God knows what he will create for me when he loses the mayor’s position. I know, and can present witnesses, of several times John Sams has implied that not only am I gay, but that I maintain such a relationship with first one colleague and then another. He even shared this lie with the superintendent. He is always careful to phrase it as a question—Is it true that PT has a long standing relationship with ______? Did you know that Ms. Toney and ________ are together? It is done with intonation, with malice, and with glee and then it spreads. And there are several of his minions craving power who follow his lead and who will do whatever to shine in his eyes. I know all that and have depended upon the good people who know me to read between the lines. But even those people--do they know me well enough to know what goes on in my private life? Well, here it is. I am divorced. After my divorce, for some years, I lived alone until I moved in with my parents, my father being in poor health. I remained with mother after Dad’s death, and she and I live together. I am not in a relationship of the sort for which John Sams so wants to credit me. I do have friends, both male and female. I like and love many of them. In reading this blog, I am so reminded of my association with John Sams. Much of what is on this blog is the exact way he speaks of others. No matter how good a person might be, John is always able to say something hurtful and negative in the hope of having a lasting and damaging effect. I do agree with the blogger who says, “woe be to his enemies when he loses the election.” The hatred he had for the Bolton grads that created the Rapides Foundation, the hatred he had for Ron, and then me, he has enlarged to encompass the school. Forced by the alumni to clean the outside, he redoubled his efforts to rot the school from within. You have only to read this blog to see and feel his success. With human respect to those who are, I submit to you that I am not gay and am not in a “special” such relationship with anyone. I consider this just another hostile lie to hurt me. It was not enough for John to have the superintendent remove me as principal, or to have him interfere with my new job several times this year already. Now, he wants to make life so hard for my friends that he can make me and them lepers in our community. Lamar, before John Sams came along, Bolton was a great school. Now you can see what his association can do. No wonder so many say, “Anyone but Sams.” I hope that Bolton can regain its footing and become a school of academic excellence where students can enjoy successful football. Even during my tenure, we did exceedingly well in swimming, soccer, tennis, and other sports, but never in football. I hope that learning can once again be the focus in a school where people are treated with respect and with rights, where fear does not rule the day and where people are not afraid to express their real feelings. A risk-free environment must exist for people to try new methods and change education to meet each child’s needs. We cannot stay tied with Thailand. We need to be competitive with the world, a position we are swiftly losing. We need to maintain our democracy, something else of which I fear the loss. I wish Bolton the best. I am proud to work for Mr. Allen Bozeman, Director of Secondary Education. We work daily with 100% positive effort to make a difference, to help teachers in every way we can. My Bolton days are over. I am focused on this day and the future. I ask that all bloggers stop the recriminations and look for solutions to the problems that face a once great school. Whatever happens to Bolton, the education of Rapides Parish students must be the primary focus of all of our efforts. After graduating from Bolton, teaching there for 28 years, serving as curriculum coordinator for three years, and being principal for nearly five years, I am steeped in Bolton philosophy. I carry that with me. This is the one time you will read me on this blog because I will not let John’s sort of trash talk stand with strangers for who I am. I will go forth to the polls, with honor and with pride, and I will do my all to elect a man with optimism, youth, courage, and a positive plan for our city to lead us forward. The cure for corruption we most need is a moving van pulling away from Sam’s residence for good. Penny Toney Bolton Class of 1967

Kelly L. Self said...

I have just finished reading this forum and am disturbed by its hostility, innuendo, and plain meanness. For twelve years, I was blessed to be a teacher at Bolton High School. I served two excellent administrators in Ron Akins and Penny Toney. I loved my time there until last year. That year began in June when newly appointed principal, Mr. Higgins, called in the leaders under Ms. Toney to tell us he had the right to transfer us but was giving us a "chance,” even though we had been associated with the prior administration. John Sams had identified us as “the clique” and labeled us as dangerous to Mr. Higgins. On that day, I told Mr. Higgins that I would be loyal to Bolton High School but never to John Sams and that if I needed to request a transfer, I would. I believed in what we had created at Bolton: a learning community, full of opportunity for all students. I wanted to stay. But in staying I subjected myself to a horrific experience: the learning community fell apart, politics became a major factor for favor, and students dropped out of the center of the school’s attention. I hated to see all the years’ of the Rapides Foundation Initiative work simply disappear. We had made great strides in student learning and had the documentation to prove it. I was miserable as we abandoned practice after practice, not even having a faculty meeting all year. I am not perfect. I have flaws like anyone else and have incurred the wrath of the Sams’ supporters, but I have always had the best interest of students at heart. I have never been bitter nor vindictive. But I am impassioned and I refuse to compromise on certain issues. On July 18, this summer, Ms. Sharon Miller, personnel director, called me in to tell me Mr. Higgins was transferring me. I was surprised since every time I had seen Mr. Higgins, he had said my job at Bolton was safe; nor had he contacted me to tell me personally that he was ridding himself of me. I went to him that day, but he offered no real reason for my transfer except for my dislike of Nancy Monroe and my obvious hatred for John Sams. He had no complaint about my work and had, indeed, given me an excellent evaluation. While at Bolton, I devoted my passion for teaching to my students and served on state level committees, building the comprehensive curriculum, setting grade level expectations for each grade and developing a new and improved statewide assessment. I believe in education and represented my school well. I am proud to have been a part of the Bolton faculty when students were key and learning was the central focus. In July, I talked with Mr. Moreau and have been happily at ASH ever since. It is a privilege to teach without John Sams breathing down my neck and to work with an English department chaired by the kind and erudite Helen Hemingway, who recognizes modern methodologies and student-centered instruction. I look forward to serving many students as I put my passion to teach to work at Alexandria Senior High. Many have questioned the validity of these claims against John Sams. I, as many others, have verifiable evidence of these accusations, which will appear in a different forum at a different place and time. I am glad that Lamar is allowing people to voice their concerns and their experiences. I am sorry that some feel compelled to deal in innuendo and slurs. I believed in Ms. Toney’s approach to education; I admire her for her years of service to Bolton High School and to our community and for the way she has continued to do her best for the students of Rapides Parish in her new capacity. I am proud to call her my friend. Those who hint of other than a sincere friendship simply do not know either Ms. Toney or me very well at all. I am not a part of this “new” Bolton, nor do I want to be. The Bolton I believed in is long gone. I am involved with my present and my future, both of which are positive. I am sad for those who remain in the turmoil there, particularly the students who will suffer the most from all of this. However, John Sams was slighted by this school, and he has had his revenge. As with much of what he does, there will be no going back. As this blog continues, it will do so without me. I simply wanted to clarify my position. I do not want my life to be cluttered with hatred and meanness. I have put Bolton behind me and I am resigned to letting Nancy, Charlene, and John finish the job of tearing the remains apart. As for me, I am once again part of building a program that puts learning at the center. Bloggers: Write about those who still care about your plight. Kelly L. Self

|W|P|115869208051118604|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/18/2006 07:48:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|The Town Talk Endorses Jacques Roy for Mayor Remember to vote (early if you can, which means right now).|W|P|115859098348531745|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/14/2006 09:12:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|CenLamar On Vacation I'll be back on Monday. Bound for Austin City Limits Music Festival. By the way, kudos to Mr. Matt Ranson for bringing in Grayson Capps last night.|W|P|115825078263134062|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/13/2006 11:00:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Bolton High School: When I left for college, Bolton High School had an enrollment comparable to ASH-- 1,100 or so students. Today, the Town Talk reported about how local schools are coping with population INCREASES. Five years ago, Bolton was one of the state's academic powerhouses, and perhaps it's still attracting top-notch students because of its gifted program (and then likely losing some of them to the Louisiana School). Today, the Town Talk reported that Bolton has an enrollment of 603 students. 603! I have a few questions: What happened? I've heard Bolton was seventh in the state in ACT scores just a few years ago. What is it now? Who is Bolton's principal and what are his/her qualifications/academic agenda? How does the School Board plan on turning Bolton around?|W|P|115817102630289779|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/12/2006 05:00:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Your Reaction to the Mayoral Forum|W|P|115810565026187421|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/12/2006 02:25:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|LiveBlogging the Mayoral Forum! Come One, Come All, As We Instantaneously Scrutinize, Criticize, and Praise the Candidates While Watching From the Comfort of Our Own Homes. Let me explain: Instead of going to the debate, I will be liveblogging as it happens. Because 1) My life is that dull and 2) This will allow us to dissect candidate's statements right when they make them. This thread is open to anyone. Join the party.|W|P|115809663841021190|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/12/2006 01:04:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|KALB's Mayoral Forum In Two Hours. Free To The Public. Coughlin-Saunders Building. (Or Just Watch It On Channel 5)|W|P|115809162631867425|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/11/2006 12:22:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|
Be There or Be Square · Young Professionals in Central Louisiana invited to a Mayor of Alexandria Candidates Public Debate · Monday, September 11, 2006 at 6PM · Rapides Foundation Building, Hearn Stage - Kress Theatre · 1101 Fourth Street (entrance at Third & Johnston Streets) · Reception immediately following in Kress Theatre Lobby · FREE for YPG Members / $5 for non-members
|W|P|115800263939790740|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/10/2006 11:43:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|CenLamar Advertising Opportunities When I first created this site, I opted not to utilize Google's advertising package for a few reasons:
  1. It relies on key words and searches to match users to content.
  2. It pollutes blogs with formulaic advertising.
  3. It just didn't seem right.
  4. It would have made me look like a tool.
  5. It would have been against the mission of this blog.
Recently, I have been approached by locally-owned small businesses regarding advertising opportunities and events promotion. I recognize a handful of readers will be put off by this prospect, but after contemplating this for a few weeks, I have arrived at the following conclusions:
  1. This would enable CenLamar to expand the website, buy a domain name (perhaps; however, Maltuzi Holdings, LLC from California recently purchased CenLamar.com as well as CenLamar.org on September 9, 2006), employ additional writers, and create a true, independent press here in Central Louisiana.
  2. Last month, CenLamar received 13, 503 visitors, 8, 553 of which were unique, first-time visitors.
  3. Central Louisiana desperately needs an indepedent press.
  4. Advertising dollars could allow us to publish a print version.
I promise the following to CenLamar's readers:
  1. The advertising content will never register your IP address.
  2. The advertising content will never interfere or disrupt the content of this website.
  3. The advertising content will never be political in nature. (Political content on the blog is free).
  4. The advertising content will never include businesses of ill repute.
  5. The advertising content will ALWAYS be local.
If your business is interested in advertising in CenLamar, please click here. Or e-mail me at lamarw@gmail.com.|W|P|115795926071378780|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/09/2006 09:18:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|"Is Our Children Learning?" Part Two: Education Department Eases Stand On Teacher Quality, CNN|W|P|115786197184990434|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/08/2006 02:46:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Upcoming Events: Monte Montgomery LIVE in Alexandria, Tonight 8PM, Spirits, tickets: $15 (if they're not already sold out) Wednesday, September 13, 2006 Grayson Capps, from New Orleans, LA Live @ the Frosty Factory 8PM Opening Act: Alexandria's own The Tim Turner Band with bass virtuoso Dale Le Boeuf www.myspace.com/thetimturnerband www.myspace.com/graysoncapps www.graysoncapps.com Media Releases on Grayson Capps: "He's f***ing awesome!" - Scarlett Johansson, Variety.com "This is stuff to stake the 'best bar band' claim on - slashing slide, crunching electric, a cooking rhythm section and soulful vocals..." - Keith Glass, Rhythms magazine (Australia) "His rough-hewn testimonial of a voice renders such a well-worn assertion, believable again." - Keith Spera, Times Picayune "Like a whiskey-soaked, back alley poet sired by Tom Waits and Robert Johnson, Capps' stripped-down sound is rooted in the dark side of the Delta." - Razor Magazine With a name that could only belong to a musician and a coarse, beer-besotted voice straight out of the backstreets of New Orleans , Grayson Capps evokes the swamp folk-soul made popular by Tony Joe White. He looks the part, too: One glance at his solo debut's cover conveys its lazy, creaky, homespun sound. Half relaxed blues-rock, half boozy, folksy introspection, Capps' rustic voice -- it sounds more like a relaxed version of Delbert McClinton's -- is front and center, leaving his words and sturdy but near faceless musicians to convey the soulful atmosphere with chipped, faded-paint backing. Anyone who's seen the movie A Love Song For Bobby Long -- based on a book written by Capps' father, with its alcoholic haze of good people falling on hard times and looking for redemption -- has pretty much heard this album. Capps performed four songs on the soundtrack, but each track from this graphic collection could be its own feature film. Echoes of J.J. Cale, the North Mississippi Allstars, old Ry Cooder, and the great Texas songwriter, Townes Van Zandt permeate these low-key but occasionally spirited blues-rockers. Songs such as "Mercy" and "I Can't Hear You" come alive thanks to gospel-tinged backing vocals, bringing out the God vs. the Devil undercurrent that rumbles like a latent volcano beneath the album's surface. |W|P|115775253431874592|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/07/2006 09:54:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Any News On The Missing Brand New Dodge Durango and the Escapee? I've received a handful of e-mails about this story, one of which implied that the other media outlets have been dissuaded from reporting it due to "official influence." I don't know what that means, and I'm not sure if it's true. Are there any updates to be reported? See Also: Watch Out for the Escapee!|W|P|115764824416957592|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/05/2006 06:49:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Whaaaat? Public and Media Not Allowed Into Political Forum Held By Police and Fire Unions, Reported by The Town Talk Quote of the day: “Once it’s public, then it becomes political,” Livingston said. “They have to be secretive. Unions in other places have done this. It’s important that it be private. They’re a private organization." Right. If you invite all the mayoral candidates to speak to your union and you close your doors to the media and the taxpaying public, it's somehow NOT political. But the moment you let the public in on the conversation, it becomes political. Geez. |W|P|115750782950251938|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/05/2006 12:12:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|The Town Talk: Thousands of Dollars Worth of Political Signs Stolen|W|P|115748360386139772|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/04/2006 06:44:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Let's Try This Again: What Do You Think Of The Candidates For Mayor?|W|P|115742067481181423|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/04/2006 06:40:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|John Sams |W|P|115742044677663633|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/04/2006 06:40:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Delores Brewer|W|P|115742042948537463|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/04/2006 06:34:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Charles F. Smith|W|P|115742008778767759|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/04/2006 06:34:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Alice "Red" Hammond|W|P|115742006889085364|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/04/2006 06:33:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Jacques Roy|W|P|115742004597404978|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/04/2006 06:33:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Roosevelt Johnson|W|P|115742002670524429|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/04/2006 06:32:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Joe Fuller|W|P|115742000518254233|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/03/2006 06:41:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Jacques Roy on the Issues (Note: I've been told that the website is not 100% complete yet and to expect more later this week). City Council/Mayoral Relationship New Urbanism and Economic Development Absolute Transparency, Accountability, and Crime Citizen Participation|W|P|115733448369805127|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/02/2006 01:40:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|What Are You Trying To Say? From today's Town Talk editorial:

"A recent Scripps Howard survey asked people "How many days each week do you get news from a blog on the Internet?" Eighty-eight percent of respondents said they never use blogs to get news.

These Web logs -- personal diaries and observations posted on easy-to-update Internet Web pages in a process called "blogging" -- are, however, gaining in popularity especially among certain demographic groups, the survey found. Well-educated single people, especially those without children, who live in major urban areas or along the high-technology centers of the West Coast are the biggest bloggers and blog readers. Blogs are least popular among Northeasterners, blacks and residents of rural areas.

We think: It's good to know that people understand the distinct difference between blogs and news Web sites. For many the best thing about a blog is that anyone can say anything. The worst thing about a blog is that anybody can say anything -- and it may not have any basis in truth. Blogs are merely opinion and are rarely ever aspire to any fair and balanced reporting of the news and issues of the day."

Here's what I read:

  • 12% of Americans receive their news from a blog. Wow!
  • Blogs are most popular among highly-educated people living in tech hubs. (Go figure!)
  • In between the lines: Please ignore the fact that this very newspaper launched a blog feature this very week.
  • I'd like to polish this line up a little bit. "For many the best thing about a blog is that it often reports news other sources are afraid to tackle, and it allows people the opportunity to express both facts and opinions on issues they'd otherwise never talk about in a newspaper."
How about this survey? Pew Internet and American Life Project, Phone Survey of 7,012 people:
  • Thirty-nine percent of U.S. Internet users, or about 57 million Americans, read blogs; 8 percent, or about 12 million Americans, write a blog; and more than half of bloggers are under the age of 30.
  • Pew found that 37 percent of bloggers cite "my life and experiences" as what they blog about, while only 11 percent cited public issues as typical topics. Sixty percent of bloggers are white, while 74 percent of the country's Web users are, according to the data. Fifty-five percent of bloggers write under a pseudonym.
  • Fifty-four percent of bloggers say that they have never published their writing or media creations anywhere else; 44 percent say they have published elsewhere.
  • Women and men have statistical parity in the blogosphere, with women representing 46 percent of bloggers and men 54 percent.
  • Seventy-six percent of bloggers say a reason they blog is to document their personal experiences and share them with others. Sixty-four percent of bloggers say a reason they blog is to share practical knowledge or skills with others.
  • Seventy-seven percent of bloggers have shared something online that they created themselves, such as their own artwork, photos, stories, or videos. By comparison, 26 percent of Internet users as a whole have done this.
So perhaps one of the reasons only 12% of people (still a high number) receive their news on a blog is because only 11% of bloggers write about the news.|W|P|115718657183444726|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/01/2006 04:22:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Upcoming Events: Jacques Roy Question and Answer House of Java, Tomorrow, September 2, 2006, 3PM Open to the Public Monte Montgomary LIVE In Alexandria Spirits, September 8th, 8PM Tickets are on sale now. $15 Monte Montgomery has taken the acoustic guitar beyond anyone’s expectations. With his amazing fretwork, unique combination finger and pick style playing through trailblazing chordal thoroughfares often baffling even the most accomplished players. While Monte remains a huge enigma in the guitar universe, his legendary reputation has spread like wildfire since he appeared on Austin City Limits. In 2004 Monte was named on Guitar Player Magazine's list of "Top 50 Greatest Guitarists Of All Time" and in 2005 Monte appeared on the Covers of “Frets” and “Acoustic Guitar” magazines. Countless articles have been written about Monte. He’s been described as “The Evel Knivel of Guitar”, “Six Strings Attached To Dynamite”, “The Answer To The Fermi Paradox” and “The Acoustic Shred Master” just to name a few. In spite of all the “six-string notoriety”, and just in case you didn’t “know-tice”, Monte isn't just a “guitar hero”, “shred master” or “guitar god” as he’s most often described. No, actually Monte Montgomery is much more than just a world-class guitar virtuoso with more new tricks up his fret board than your average “guitar slinger”. What sets Monte apart from all others is that he’s one of the most accomplished songwriters of our time, a remarkable singer and an extraordinary music arranger. Many of Monte’s fans attend his concerts simply to hear his compelling vocals as he delivers his finely penned songs powerfully and passionately. To some, his incredible guitar pyrotechnics are simply an addition of tasty icing topping off a delicious cake. Monte’s latest release titled “MONTE MONTGOMERY AT WORKPLAY” (Harmonic Records - 2005), available in CD and DVD versions is a double barrel treat offering fans a new dimension of Monte’s incredible power packed live performance recorded Live at WorkPlay Theater in Birmingham, Alabama.|W|P|115715317181668289|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com9/01/2006 01:33:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Fellow Blogger Spanky: Solutions to Alexandria's Growing Pains (Credit: Spanky, Originally from Cenla Antics) Spanky said...

I am sure Jacques will fully and eloquently explain his vision of urban condensation which more than likely parallels what I have been screaming. As Alexandria has grown, areas develop, age, and then blight, leaving in the blighted areas, the lower income folks, and abandoned properties that compound the problems of crime, property devaluation, fire safety, infrastructure maintenance, utilities, and sanitation, as the city cannot just choose to stop providing services in the city limits.

We do not have population increase, therefore we are consuming increasingly greater land mass to support the same number of people, while placing increased demand on all city functions over a greater area.

The natural solution would appear to be fair application of zoning and code enforcement to maintain the quality of the older neighborhoods and in the event of large scale degradation, mass demolition, and re-use of the area for re-development thereby providing for infill renewal.

One way to accomplish this would be to establish radius zones centered from the downtown area extending outward in bands gradiated to population levels and not to be expanded until the population levels are achieved.

City services would not be allowed to be extended beyond these boundaries, therefore providing economic and aesthetic incentive to look to the center to revitalize large blighted areas. While it may appear initially cost prohibitive, it may be less expensive to buy out, demolish, and redevelop older parts of town, if done on a large enough scale to retain infrastucture and condense the need for service extension.

While this may appear ludicrous on the surface, look at the areas bounded by Texas, Monroe, Rapides, and Bolton. There are approximately 2,000 addresses in that part of town that are rapidly degrading. Is it really so far fetched to believe that large numbers of dilapidated houses could be purchased for 15K a piece, reducing the lot ratio 2-1 and selling a lot for 50K thereby attracting upscale homes?

Sounds crazy until you realize that the police force would not be stretched so thin if they had less area to patrol and could focus on reducing and controlling crime in selected pockets, making them safer and more attractive. The rest is cosmetic. Once there is a base of similarly priced homes in an area, value will be supported for further development.

The main reason new development has gravitated to Jackson Street Extension and beyond has been the issue of perceived personal and property safety, combined with the ability to build modern, large, energy efficient structures. Provide those same conditions to empty lots in formerly blighted areas, and I feel people will chose to move closer to the center over time. Especially if Alexandria refuses to extend services beyond established population bands. If you don't think that is an incentive, then price what it takes to place a house in the country. These are estimates so use your knowledge of current pricing to adjust. 1. 3-6k for an acceptable sewerage treatment plant. 2. 5K for a well 3. $600. per pole to access nearest electricity 4. Driveway connection to nearest road. 5. Increased homeowners insurance due to reduced fire rating. One thing is certain, and that is that the city as an organization cannot continue to expand with the attending maintenance and static tax base and boost livability standards to attract population whether it is through retention of our youth or influx.

This is my town, I love it, but I can speak the truth and that is that we have had population loss from a peak of 58,000 in the mid '80's to our current 46,000.

The first step is to realize this single truth indicates decline, not growth and the folks that are talking about blue sky had better wise up and look at doing things differently or pay the price.

|W|P|115710001751977361|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com-->