Here’s a photo of my mother Margie Schrader enjoying a cupcake with lots of pink icing at a recent birthday party. She’d just turned 88. The Up Fronter also sends a big shout-out to the world’s greatest caregiver, Naikima Golden.
If you’ve wanted to learn more about the Heifer International project, you’ll have an excellent opportunity on Saturday, Sept. 14, 10 am to noon, when Margo Brault, a representative of the group, will speak at St. Luke Methodist Church at 1500 Country Club Road.
Heifer International is a charity organization working to end hunger and poverty around the world by providing livestock and training to struggling communities. If you want to get involved, you can donate the funding for a full heifer or a share of a heifer. You can do the same for numerous other animals: goats, pigs, sheep, ducks and so forth.
Heifer International was founded 75 years ago by educator Dan West. His vision of a worldwide program to end hunger and poverty was born out of his Christian faith.
At the Sept. 14 event, a $10 donation will get you breakfast, snacks and a light lunch. If you need more information, call Janey Pate at 496-7815.
New AITP Band
From time to time, the Up Fronter checks in with the SWLA Music School. Many young local musicians auditioned to be in the Advanced Industry Training Program band for the coming school year. The school just announced the winners; they are:
— Vocals: Olivia Desantos, Andie Jo Dyer, Sophia Tassin
— Guitar: Joseph Belcher, Andrew Draper
— Bass: Grayson Hobgood
— Drum Set: Evan Bernard, John Downer.
Classes are already underway at the SWLA Music School. If you want to learn more, visit swlamusicschool.com.
Path Home: A Salvation Army Boost
The Path Home is an initiative of United Way of Southwest Louisiana that focuses on homelessness in the Lake Area. The Path Home recently donated $15,000 to the local Salvation Army to help pay for modernization of its facilities.
These changes will enable The Salvation Army to double the number of its residents, create a separate dorm for veterans, revamp the kitchen and improve security for those at the facility. Three more dorms will be added.
The Path Home is a partnership between United Way and the City of Lake Charles. Its objective is to bring about long-term changes in the lives of homeless individuals and families by helping them move along a path toward stable housing, healthy lives and successful futures.
With the changes that are coming, the Salvation Army will have some new needs that Lake Area residents can help with. According to Lieutenant Leanne Marion, the shelter needs 52 metal lockers, metal frame industrial bunk beds, industrial laundry appliances, new twin mattresses, anti-microbial mattress covers and new linens. Refrigerators and three televisions are also needed for the new dorms.
To get more information or to donate to The Path Home, visit thepathhomeswla.org or call 433-1088.
Oil Still Hurting In Lafayette
Given the economic slump the city’s gone through the last few years, Lafayette residents are no doubt happy about recent stats that show increases in the number of jobs in the city.
The biggest increase in Lafayette jobs in July came — as it undoubtedly did almost everywhere — in the service industry. But in the “Mining and Logging” category — which includes oil and gas jobs in the Lafayette metro area — jobs were down by 200. That makes one more month in which the city can be certain it is no longer the state’s oil and gas capital.
Another Try At Using Nutria
The Baton Rouge pet food company Marsh Dog is the latest business to try to make a viable food product out of Louisiana’s peskiest giant rodent — the nutria. This new food product will be for dogs. The company has just released “its next generation of wild nutria dog treats.”
Marsh Dog states that nutria provides “lean, clean, nutrient-dense meat” that is “quite possibly the most eco-sustainable protein on the planet.” The bite-sized nutria dog treats, which come packaged in small bags, “taste good.”
The company hopes its product will ultimately help the state’s environment. Nutria are one of the major causes of Louisiana’s coastal erosion. They eat the roots of plants that are vital to the coastal ecosystem.
Company leaders say that those who buy the nutria dog treats are turning their dogs into “canine conservationists.” They say, “creating a market for wild nutria in the form of healthy, alternative treats directly supports science-based wetland conservation.”
The name of the product is Wild Nutria Soft Dog Treats. It comes in three flavors: cranberry, peach and blueberry. (The blueberry is a “Crunchy Dog Treat.”) Find Marsh Dog nutria treats at pet food retailers, veterinary clinics, specialty grocers or at marshdog.com.
The Illuminated Procession
I know we have an Art Walk every year in Lake Charles. But I’m not sure we have what this year’s Art Walk in Alexandria will have — an Illuminated Procession. It’ll take place Friday, Oct. 18, 7:30 to 8:30 pm. There’s no admission charge.
Based on the one photograph I’ve seen, I believe an Illuminated Procession is what you get when all the people walking in line after dark are wearing clothing that lights up or are carrying objects that light up.
The Alexandria Museum of Art calls these lit-up objects or pieces of clothing “illuminated creations” or “luminaries.” If you want to walk in the procession, the museum has a few luminaries that participants can borrow for the walk. But they’ll be given out on a first come, first served basis. To have the best chance to borrow a luminary for the walk, arrive at the Alexandria Museum of Art parking lot at 933 2nd Street at 7 pm for the line-up. The procession heads out at 7:30 pm.
One way to be sure you have a luminary or two to walk with is to learn how to make them. The museum will help you out by holding a free Community Luminary Workshop Thursday, Sept. 19, 6 to 8 pm. Museum educators Nancy Noles and Cindy Blair will show participants how to create their own luminary creations to carry in the procession on Oct. 18.
If you want to go to the workshop or volunteer to help with the procession, contact Cindy Blair at firstname.lastname@example.org before Oct. 1.
The Half-Million Dollar Straw
President Trump’s campaign manager Brad Parscale was drinking tea on a Jet Blue flight early in July when his paper straw fell apart. He Tweeted that he was “so over paper straws.” At his wife’s suggestion, Parscale sent a Tweet to his staff: “Let’s sell plastic Trump straws.”
By the time Parscale’s plane landed, someone had already manufactured a bright red plastic straw with the word “TRUMP” printed in big black letters on one end. The new product was marketed to Trump supporters with the line “Making straws great again.” The first run sold out within a few hours.
Novelty merchandise items such as the straws are sold on the Trump reelection campaign website (shop.donaldjtrump.com). Among the many items for sale are a “Collusion Delusion” shirt, a mug with the words “WITCH HUNT” and a cooler that says “NO COLLUSION.” These items sell well, and have given the president a sizable lead in financing for the 2020 election.
The new Trump straws are reusable and recyclable. Now, you might not think that would be enough to make a straw a big draw. But a recent news report said that within the first 10 days after they went on sale July 19, the straws sold to the tune of $456,000. The Trump campaign’s online store is marketing the straws as an alternative to the “liberal paper straws” that “don’t work.”
At least one Democrat is giving the president props for the new product. “I think something Trump has always understood very clearly is how to tap into a cultural moment or zeitgeist and leverage it to his advantage,” says Tara McGowan, a Democratic digital strategist who served on a pro-Hillary Clinton super PAC during the 2016 campaign.
The Trump campaign’s digital director says about the same thing. “We kind of let the news cycle pop, and when we have an idea around it, we just go. I think the president is the world’s most famous human being. What he says and does makes news and you can draft off of whatever he’s talking about.”
The primary reason this is of interest to Louisiana is that the Advocate reported that the state’s Attorney General Jeff Landry, a mover and shaker and a perennial favorite of the president, managed to secure an entire box of the Trump straws in spite of the buying frenzy. Landry is always at the right place at the right time.