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Common Ground: Teen readers to pick their top books

The polls don’t lie. If you think teen readers are a dying group, then it might be worth visiting Scotlandville Magnet High today when hundreds of students will cast ballots for the year’s top teen book. The 2015 Louisiana Teen Readers’ Choice Award program is fueling the excitement, said school librarian Evangelynn Clark, whose library… Continue reading →

Common Ground: We all need support from others

From overcoming the death of a parent to strengthening bonds between a father and son, winners and nominees in area Student of the Year contests have pushed though life’s challenges to become academic scholars, star athletes and activists in their communities. While reading essays on Iberville Parish students, I discovered the sources behind their success: Families, teachers,… Continue reading →

Common Ground: Growing up with my growing girl

After my daughter turned 12 last summer, I knew it was time to start talking more with her about puberty. She was changing both physically and emotionally. Where do I start? Woman’s Hospital registered nurse Meghan Bardwell helped me find the answers after my daughter and I attended her 90-minute class, Body Basics for… Continue reading →

Need a pick me up? Chante Warren: Poetic Van Davis Sr. finds unique ways to deliver smiles, inspiration to Rosedale school community

Photo provided by CHANTE WARREN -- Van Davis Sr. is an Iberville Parish School custodian who writes and shares his poetry with school staff each day.

In between cleaning classrooms, buffing floors, tending to emergencies in pre-k restrooms or fixing equipment, Van Davis Sr. delivers an infectious smile and poetic inspiration to teachers, staff and principals throughout the Rosedale school community. “How are you doing?” he often will ask me and other staffers. “Is is still sunny inside?” If… Continue reading →

Common Ground: Escaping the problems of the past year

It is challenging to sum up 2014. One poll found that about 53 percent of Americans say race relations are worsening. Ebola fears stirred mandatory quarantines throughout the globe, and national protests were widespread against police use of force. And our Saints did not fare very well. And it does not stop there. Leading up to… Continue reading →

Common Ground: How’s your Web IQ measure up?

I wrote my last old-fashioned letter on a Hewlett-Packard typewriter about 25 years ago. That machine is now tucked away in the attic along with its dinosaur cartridges and accessories. Today, we use sleek laptops, wireless printers and handheld tablets stocked with apps, photo wizards, WiFi and all kinds of stuff that can make shopping,… Continue reading →

Common Ground: Pecans are Louisiana’s giving tree

Photo provided -- The Rev. Frank Collins III and his wife Sandy pick pecans by the bucket in their yard during the harvest season.

Grosse Tete resident Rev. Frank Collins III is loyal to his backyard duo of pecan trees he planted as a young boy. The trees have become a source of business for his roadside store where he sells vegetables, pork skins and the pecans that he and his wife, Sandy, pick to make his creamy, nutty pecan… Continue reading →

Common Ground: Thankful for some time to catch up

If your children are not in a holiday camp, chances are they are doing what my children are doing today — watching Netflix movies, snacking and asking questions about which relatives homes they’ll visit tomorrow. Holiday and winter break periods can be tricky for parents. Fortunately, because my job follows the same schedule as my… Continue reading →

Common Ground: Make lunch a priority for your kids

I thought I was doing a pretty good job of packing my children’s lunch boxes by filling them with all of their favorites — pepperoni pizza Hot Pockets, ham and cheese Lunchables, mini Oreos, an orange and a juice box. It’s what they wanted, and I didn’t have to listen to them complain about… Continue reading →

Chante Warren: Are all your eggs in one cell phone?

How many times have I jumped into my car, merged into traffic, fumbled inside my purse for my cell phone and felt that sinking feeling I get after realizing that I probably left home without it. Whether we want to admit it or not, cell phones are just as important as our own wallets,… Continue reading →

Common Ground: Children fall short with pet project

Almost two years ago, my 8-year-old daughter, then 6, begged us to adopt the guinea pigs that had been in her classroom. The first-grade teacher even offered us the cage, food and bedding. I refused until my daughter’s eyes streamed tears. “But mommy, I promise that I will feed them everyday, clean the cage and… Continue reading →

Chante Warren: Common Ground, Don't ignore workplace check-ups

If your job offers health checkups, go ahead and sign up. When my workplace offered its employees a free flu shot, health evaluation and a wellness game plan, I signed up with no hesitation. That — coupled with a chance to win an HD television and cash for our respective school — made it more appealing.… Continue reading →

Common Ground: Southern Law Center to host event to highlight progress made in racial diversity

Civil rights lawyers have litigated for human rights through the decades, resulting in landmark decisions that have changed America for the better. There’s Brown vs. Board of Education, which 50 years ago made it unconstitutional to allow separate public schools for black and white students, and the Civil Rights Act of 1954, which outlawed discrimination based… Continue reading →

Common Ground: Our choices are our responsibility

While everyone wants their children to grow up to be polite and kind, there is another character trait that trumps them all: responsibility. We all need someone we can depend on. President Abraham Lincoln addressed acting responsibly before Congress in 1862. “Men,” he said, “should utter nothing for which they would not willingly… Continue reading →

Common Ground: Sports lifts morale in North Iberville

Photo provided by Chante Warren -- Coach Marvin Price of Grosse Tete, reviews practice plays with the North Iberville Pee Wee Bears on Thursday night, 10/2, for this season's return of football games held at the school's stadium where Pee Wee quarterback

When North Iberville High School closed its doors in 2009, also lost were its football, basketball and track programs along with its loyal supporters. On Sept. 24, just before dusk, the school’s stadium lights shone for the first time in five years, drawing parents, students, business sponsors and faculty to the rural school’s… Continue reading →

Common Ground: Breast cancer awareness saves lives

Patricia Ray Carter’s life was going well. She was a working mother of two young boys, a dedicated wife and active in her community. In April 1991, she felt a lump. Following tests and a mammogram, doctors diagnosed Carter with Stage 3 breast cancer. “I was in a state of shock,” Carter… Continue reading →

Common Ground: Six million dollar memories

Anyone who watched television in the 1970s probably spent some time following “The Six Million Dollar Man.” The show was so popular in my elementary school that one boy used his show-and-tell spot to demonstrate Steve Austin’s bionic strength from the past night’s episode. He kicked and punched in the air, putting on quite… Continue reading →

Common Ground: Books give us a glimpse into others

The yards of yellow police tape wrapped around a stack of popular books and movie titles at one library might have some a little confused. Iberville Parish librarian Elizabeth Haynes is giving readers a chance to celebrate the freedom to read once-censored books at the Plaquemine library’s Banned Book Read-out on Sept. 25.… Continue reading →

Mr. Mom and creamy red beans

Shortly after arriving home from work, my husband called me to the bedroom where I found him sitting in his recliner, eyes wide and glued to the television. “Boo, you’ve got to see this,” he told me as he pressed the DVR button and paused an image of Dr. Oz on the television. I… Continue reading →

Common Ground: Cancer can strike anyone at any age

Andreka S. Boyd

At age 12, Andreka S. Boyd was a carefree youngster who loved hanging out in the mall, riding her bike and dancing. Her only complaint was the uncomfortable pain she sometimes felt in her stomach. On Jan. 31, 2000, the pain grew unbearable, and Boyd called her parents to excuse her from her sixth-grade history class at… Continue reading →

Common Ground: Shopping for convenience mid-week

Everything in my refrigerator seems to disappear on Wednesday. If I’m looking for an egg, it’s gone. If I want a glass of milk, the jug is empty; cereal is out, and the bread bag is reduced to one crusty slice. Without a doubt, it is time to head for the convenience store near my… Continue reading →

Common Ground: Sidelined star just fine with Coach Mom

Following my son’s sports physical exam this month, the doctor gave our 9-year-old a bit of crushing news. “You cannot play football right now,” the doctor told him. My son’s eyes filled with tears. He’d already told his uncles, cousins and friends that he was playing an offensive position in tackle football and traveling with… Continue reading →

Common Ground: Summer ends with a splash

My family bypassed this summer’s water park crowds, speed slides, extreme rides and wave pools for something much more relaxing and off the beaten path. In our quest to find a kid-friendly park in a quiet area, a cousin coaxed us into taking a last-minute before back-to-school day trip to an 80-acre, freshwater lake and aqua park… Continue reading →

Common Ground: Colorful B&W breaks from gloom

After spending much of the summer overdosing on zombie raids, alien invasions and apocalyptic clashes, it’s no wonder I have switched to Turner Movie Classics and “The Andy Griffith Show.” It’s a nice break from all of the noisy and sometimes just plain ridiculous doomsday plots that inundate television and movies these days.… Continue reading →

Common Ground: Shopping for school can be stressful

Like it or not, the second biggest shopping season of the year is here, and back-to-school ads and store uniform displays are in no short supply. Parents, including me, are already feeling the stressful financial pinch and searching for ways to save money, whether it’s through comparative shopping or finding apps that deliver mobile coupons or even… Continue reading →

Common Ground: July focuses on minority mental health

I was shocked to learn that mental illness is a leading cause of disability in the United States. The illness affects about one in four adults and one in 10 children. And although the figures are the same among minorities and multicultural groups, there are some differences. I have relatives and friends who live… Continue reading →

Common Ground: Walk a mall in their shoes this summer

Thank goodness for malls. Shortly after bringing my children to their summer camps each morning, I head to the mall in southeast Baton Rouge to join the mall walkers. I made a switch in my walking venue after the weather turned sweltering. I used to exercise on park walking paths with my sisters-in-law and… Continue reading →

Common Ground: Drinking in the cool side of summer

It is hard to pass up a fast food restaurant’s cool drink special in July when every outdoor moment in south Louisiana can leave you drenched in sweat. If the sign advertises discounted drinks (I’m not talking alcohol) in many delicious flavors and for a limited time, I’m there. I cannot refuse a… Continue reading →