Brad Goins Thursday, May 14, 2015 Comments Off on A BREWER’S PLATE

A Brewer’s Plate will take place on Saturday, May 16 at 6 pm at the Cash and Carry building in downtown Lake Charles. This is the main fundraising event for the St. Nicholas Center for Children, a local non-profit group that provides services to children with autism and developmental delays.

A Brewer’s Plate, now in its seventh year, will feature a four-course meal and premium beer pairings. Other big features will include an auction and live music by the Flamethrowers. Attire will be dressy casual. A total of 400 are expected to attend.

Tables of 8 will cost $800. For ticket info, sponsorships or to donate an auction item, call 491-0800.

The St. Nicholas Center for Children was formed in 2007 to provide therapeutic, educational and social services for autistic children and others. Early intervention for at least two of the preschool years results in improved outcomes in most young children with autism and other special needs. Services are provided by a professional team of Board Certified Behavior Analysts, clinicians and educators.

Staff provide occupational, speech and physical therapy; social skills training; after-school tutoring, assessments and outreach services. There’s support for the entire family at the center, whose objective is to provide services to each child in a fun, loving and educational environment.

The St. Nicholas Center for Children is located at 2519 Ryan St. in Lake Charles. Contact info is 491-0800 and saintnicholascenter@gmail.com.


I’ll Give You $270,000 Not To Do Your Job

Would you believe LSU just hired a general counsel who doesn’t have a license to practice law in Louisiana?

You wouldn’t? You think I made a pretty good funny there? You’re slapping your knee and saying, “Ha Ha! An LSU counsel without a Louisiana law license! Good one, Brad! Laugh it up, son! Laugh it up, ya freak!”

Well, if you think that first question was funny, try out this one: Would you believe LSU is paying this new legal counsel with no Louisiana law license $270,000 a year?

Maybe that question isn’t quite so funny. In fact, it may inspire a few people to think that LSU is having a joke at our expense.

Thomas Skinner — LSU’s new legal counsel — is a lawyer from Illinois, where he does have a license.

In the April 16 edition of the Advocate, James Gill quotes Skinner as saying that even without a Louisiana law license he could do “everything short” of “representing LSU in state court, something that LSU’s general counsel has never done anyway.”

Gill says simply, “he is wrong,” and notes that former LSU counsel Ray Lamonica represented the school in court on several occasions.

Gill goes on to say that Louisiana stipulates that individuals who don’t have a Louisiana license are forbidden to “render or furnish legal services or advice” in return for a “pecuniary benefit.” State law says more about those without a license; it is illegal for them to be “advising or counseling another as to secular law” or “assisting in the drawing or procuring of a paper, document or instrument.”

So, what is Skinner going to do to earn more than a quarter of a million dollars a year — sit in his office and read Sad Sack comics? If so, I recommend the March, 1965 issue. That one has a really big close-up of Sad Sack’s face on the cover.

How does a guy who is forbidden by law to do the job wind up getting hired for the job? My guess is he knows the right people. Skinner’s been an advisor to the Illinois Governor’s Office and an EPA official for President W. Bush. He was chief of staff for President G.H.W. Bush. And his sister is the wife of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

So the Bushes even control LSU? Guess those Skull and Bones conspiracy theories aren’t just theories.


Don’t Do It Again!

Louisiana isn’t losing its edge. It’s now the home of an assistant principal who’s accused of spanking a teacher with a paddle. That’s right — principal paddling a teacher.

On April 15, the Natchitoches Police Dept. arrested Hugo Vogel after a female teacher at the Frankie Ray Jackson Sr. Technical Center in Natchitoches reported to the school’s resource officer that a battery had been committed on her by Vogel, who’s the school’s assistant principal.

Of course, we don’t yet know the full story behind this. I fear we never will. It may be that Vogel just thought he was being playful. But it might not be a good idea to be playful with a big piece of wood. And when you’re 64, as Vogel is, you might be old enough to think it over carefully before you decide to be playful in any way with school faculty.

This probably wouldn’t be as big a deal as it is if the principal at the very same school — one Bobby Joe Benjamin, Jr. — hadn’t been arrested just a month earlier. He was, the Monroe News-Star reported, “charged with cruelty to juveniles, aggravated battery, simple battery and second-degree battery.” The News-Star reported, “an 11-year-old boy’s mother complained that Benjamin had taken her son into an empty bathroom, threw him against a wall and punched him.”

What goes on at this school? I guess whatever it is, the judge who heard the case didn’t think it was much of a thing. He set Vogel’s bail at just $3,000. Of course, Vogel bonded out. Oh — and uh, yeah, Vogel is back at work at the same job. All right! Go Pelican State! Let’s keep Texas Justice in Texas!

Perhaps when the Louisiana judge set the $3,000 bond, he uttered the same words spoken by the discipline-minded Roman centurion in Monty Python’s movie Life of Brian: “Right! Now don’t do it again!”


Thor Submits To Arrest

As kooky as Vogel’s antics may be, he’s not the biggest freakazoid in this edition of “Up Front.” Not by a damn sight. That honor was stolen from us by the state of Florida, which is the home of one Kenneth Crowder, age 41.

Over Florida way, Crowder was just given some official time-out by Brevard County Police. Crowder is an enthusiast for the drug flakka, which is, apparently, even more potent than the “blue” of Walter White fame.

Here’s the tale of Crowder’s lift-off to celebrity. First Crowder was seen running naked through a subdivision. When police approached him, Crowder walked toward them and yelled out that he was God.

At this point, one officer Tasered Crowder. But the latter just pulled the probes out of his body and kept on coming. For a second time, the officer Tasered Crowder, who again just pulled out the probes.

By this time, Crowder was hitting the officer with his closed fists. Eventually a group of officers managed to subdue Crowder and bring him to the ground, at which time he changed his story a little by claiming he was Thor. As was befitting a deity of Thor’s prominence, Crowder was incarcerated in the luxury suite of the Brevard County Jail Complex.

Hose me Agnes! What a story! It sounds as if Thor put on quite a show — all free of charge. I wonder whether he’ll charge any admission fee in the jailhouse. In spite of Thor’s great success, I don’t think I’ll go outside naked. I just don’t think people should have to see that.


Thornton Gets On Hayride

“It’s an honor for us to even be in the building. I can’t believe we’re here. We got a chill when we walked on that stage.”

That was Billy Bob Thornton talking in mid-April at Shreveport’s Municipal Auditorium. Thornton and a bunch of Louisiana politicians appeared at an official ceremony at the auditorium to launch the “Year of the Louisiana Hayride.”

“I wouldn’t be surprised if Hank Williams doesn’t tap us on the shoulder today,” Thornton told the press.

As you may know, the Louisiana Hayride radio program was one of the vehicles Williams used on his meteoric rise to musical fame. From 1948 to 1960, the Hayride jump-started the careers of such musicians as Elvis Presley, Jimmie Davis and Johnny Cash and a bunch of other names you know if you’re my age.

These musicians were considered too daring by the organizers of Grand Ole Opry. As time went by, the sound pioneered on Louisiana Hayride came to be called “rockabilly.” It would dominate radio airwaves for half a decade.

Towards the end, the Hayride expanded to a TV show. Both the radio and TV show were broadcast from Shreveport’s Municipal Auditorium.

“The Year of the Louisiana Hayride” is a huge effort being spearheaded by musician Maggie Warwick, who’d like to revive the Louisiana Hayride radio and TV shows. She and her husband also want to develop a Louisiana Hayride Museum and Hall of Fame and get together a big Hayride TV concert this fall.

When she was young, Warwick was a regular cast member of Hayride, performing on the show with her band the Thunderbolts under the name Margaret Lewis. She developed a career as a songwriter; her biggest hit was probably the 1963 single “Mountain of Love” (recorded by David Houston). “The argument has been made that the Louisiana Hayride could actually qualify as the Holy Grail of rock and roll,” said Houston at the recent event.

“I wish that any historic building or entity at all would be saved,” said Thornton. “This one [Shreveport’s Municipal Auditorium], thank goodness, is not only going to be preserved — it’s going to be used.”

Thornton was doing double duty in Shreveport. He was also promoting a new release by his own band, the Boxmasters. The ensemble is dropping a two-disc set titled Somewhere Down The Road on 101 Ranch Records. They treated Bossier City fans to a live show.


Sarge’s Take

As I was working the Google, I came across what I thought was the official site for Louisiana Hayride. But it turned out this Louisiana Hayride was a political blog.

Believe me, if you like your stuff far, far to the right, you’re going to want to check out this site.

Here’s a taste of the writing in one op-ed piece: “Yeah. Hillary’s running. I only hope she keeps running out into traffic. Sooner or later she’s got to be hit by a campaign vehicle.” That was penned by a correspondent who calls himself SARGE.

Here’s a headline of a video on the site: “Turns Out The Toothless Mexican Guy Works For Hillary.”

A fairly careful read of the many headlines on the site revealed that Hilary Clinton was far and away the favored topic. I’m intrigued that people all over the political spectrum take it as a foregone conclusion that Clinton will win the Democratic nomination and that she’ll be hard — if not impossible — to beat in November, 2016.

I imagine Clinton is smart and a good campaigner. After all, she won an election for New York Senator when her New York background was precisely squat. But I’d be surprised if some hardball Democrat doesn’t give her a serious run for the nomination. And even if that doesn’t happen, any halfway intelligent or attractive candidate could beat her given the right set of unexpected or improbable events or revelations. That’s not a dig against Clinton; it’s just political reality.

Remember Goins’ First Rule Of Presidential Politics: Don’t even think about national polls until the September before the election.

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