Biden administration reopens public lands for oil and gas drilling

On Friday, April 15, 2022, the Biden administration announced its plans to reopen public lands for oil and gas drilling for the first time since Biden took office in January 2021. The announcement is a result of pressure to expand US oil production as recovery from the pandemic and the war in Ukraine have created a surge in oil prices. On Monday, April 18, leases for 225 square miles of land in the western United States will be offered for sale.

The royalty rates will increase to 18.75% from 12.5%, and the parcels for sale will cover 30% less land than originally proposed by officials in November, and 80% less land than originally nominated by the oil industry. The increased royalties and decreased land amounts stem from efforts to compromise between the need for more oil production to drive prices down and the need to protect the planet and decrease greenhouse gas emissions.

To read more about the Biden administration’s decision, visit https://bit.ly/3vLb7lx.

Statement on the recent racist remarks from the home of Judge Michelle Odinet.

Let me express my disappointment, as words are inadequate to describe my pain after reviewing the family video at the home of our current city court judge, Mrs. Odinet.  

We have struggled miserably to garner public support for our judicial system at every level in this country.  The political landscape has become so toxic that the negative impact has been identified and evident from the United State Supreme Court to the Lafayette City Court.  I can assure you that the late Judge Kaliste Saloom, Jr. did not allow and would never condone this racist discourse from any of his children, in his residence or in his neighborhood.

The Lafayette community deserves and must have loyal political leadership if it is to be respected and recruit businesses and families that will ultimately call Acadiana their home.  I respectfully request and will officially petition that the Judiciary Commission of Louisiana investigate the ethical conduct and actions associated with the recent developments.

This situation and the comments are reprehensible, offensive and totally unacceptable from anyone serving as a judge.  The comments fail to identify any form of lamentation and cast a cloud relative to the impartiality of the judge to serve as an unbiased arbitrator in cases involving African Americans.

As the Advent season continues, I pray for justice and peace and for a keen awareness from all members of our community, especially when we identify and address sensitive, cultural and racial issues.  The improper handling or the continuous denial, contributes to a high level of tension, divisiveness and destruction.  I once again appeal to the community to speak out against the chaos and confusion that has infiltrated Washington, D.C. and is now evident in Lafayette, LA.

While some might say our brightest days are ahead of us, this situation illuminates the dark past that has destroyed many communities.  Remaining silent when it is time to speak out is indicative of complicity.  Our community deserves better and we should not stop until we have accountability and transparency.

My Statement on the Removal of Lafayette Chief of Police Thomas Glover

Chief Glover, I want to express on behalf of the citizens of Lafayette our gratitude for your exemplary ten months of loyal and dedicated service to our community. You were hired during a difficult time, approximately four months after the August 21, 2020 shooting of Trayford Pellerin, which escalated division and tension in this community. You were confronted and handled immense pressure from the African American community and was labeled an outsider. I commend you on the timely and professional manner in which you attended meetings and presented your action plan that was developed to advance twenty-first century policing in our city.  Your participation and presence was evident in many neighborhoods as you displayed strength by developing partnerships with community organizations and groups. The billboards and television clips with you and our youth on the basketball courts exemplified the positive actions you implemented to address the negative culture that has led to the escalation of crime and violence. Even more evidence of your service was the last evening before your departure you joined with Councilman Naquin and Councilwoman Cook to discuss constituent issues with residents in their respective districts.     

You have provided the local media with specific details and information relative to your ultimate departure as the Chief of Police in Lafayette.  I acknowledge the civil service rules that mandate a twelve month working or probationary period for the position that you applied for and was hired by a community panel in late 2020. The silence from this administration attempts to stain or tarnish your thirty-six plus years of service in law enforcement. The lack of a response implies that you have violated the oath of office; that you have done something illegal or wrong. Your career has been without controversy and your integrity beyond approach which apparently led to you being selected as the third Chief of Police in the past two years for the City of Lafayette. This community and your family deserves a public response on your performance and should not be told by a media relations employee that this is a “personnel matter”.  From all reports that I have reviewed, your tenure as Chief for ten months did not allow ample time to implement the goals and objectives you have shared with the community.

To our Lafayette Community, I simply state that we cannot remain silent and be in denial about law enforcement issues. There has to be accountability and transparency at every level and step of the process. The rules of respect and dignity have to be applied to all of the stakeholders. An action plan to combat crime and violence must be developed and communicated. The fact of the matter is since January 2020, we had a Chief that remained on board for twenty days, an interim Chief was appointed for 11 months and the third Chief was hired and dismissed after 10 months of service. Without stability in the Chief of Police’s office we will continue to witness the escalation of crime and violence while the appointing authority remain silent. The office of the Chief of Police should not be compromised by anyone at any time. It is not a political football, it is the office that ensures accountability and transparency of law enforcement in our community.  

Chief Glover, thank you for your honorable service and professionalism. I recently read in one of the articles that you were told they “had your back”.  This community will pray for you and your family as you move to the next chapter of your life.  And Sir, God has your back!

A Message on behalf of the Boudreaux Family

In the midst of losing my daughter, Brittney, to a rare form of breast cancer and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, we have been put through trials that we would never wish on anyone. We have persevered through our faith, and largely thanks to the community surrounding us. I would just like to sincerely say on behalf of the Boudreaux family that your kind words, gifts, and prayers were greatly appreciated and have helped us through this extremely difficult time. If Brittney were still with us, she would educate and encourage all to take the Covid-19 vaccine, especially with the recent FDA approval. Do it for your loved ones, those around you, and yourself. Help us to regain a sense of normalcy in the state of Louisiana. God bless you, your family, and the great state of Louisiana.

Covid-19 Vaccination Sites

Louisiana is seeing a large increase in reported COVID-19 cases statewide. Vaccinations are widely available, and I am encouraging the continuous increase in vaccinations that are taking place in our region. Here is a list of vaccination sites within the state of Louisiana.

Visit the link here to find a vaccination site near you.

Gov. Edwards, FEMA Administrator Join Forces to Promote Preparedness, COVID Vaccinations

BATON ROUGE — Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards and FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell released three Public Service Announcements today aimed at helping people with their emergency preparedness efforts, including getting vaccinated against COVID-19, hurricane preparedness and the importance of flood insurance.

“This year, being prepared for hurricane season doesn’t just mean buying bottled water and extra batteries – it means taking your COVID-19 shot so you’ll be protected against the coronavirus,” Gov. Edwards said. “We are lucky to have three safe and effective vaccines against COVID-19 that are readily available across Louisiana today. Already more than 1.7 million Louisianans have gotten at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and are one step closer to a more normal life.”

“Gov. Edwards and I share the philosophy, that getting a COVID-19 vaccine is the start of any disaster preparedness plan,” said Administrator Criswell. “Being more resilient in our communities and states always starts with each individual person. Take the time today and have a conversation with your family to start your preparedness efforts if you haven’t already.”

The two filmed the PSAs following the National Hurricane Conference that was held in New Orleans earlier this month.

The PSAs can be viewed online:

•           “The Importance of Flood Insurance”

•           “Hurricane Preparedness”

•          “COVID-19 Vaccines”

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Women of Wisdom June 2021 newsletter

President Biden Approves Gov. Edwards’ Request for Major Disaster Declaration Following May Flash Flooding

BATON ROUGE — The White House has approved Louisiana’s request for a Major Disaster Declaration following the flash flooding in mid-May, which damaged several thousand homes and left five people dead, Gov. Edwards announced Wednesday. This makes affected residents in five parishes eligible to apply for aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“I want to thank President Biden for his quick approval of our request for a Major Disaster Declaration, which will go a long way to help the thousands of people affected in Louisiana by quick and severe flash flooding that damaged homes and left five people dead,” Gov. Edwards said. “As people continue to recover, I encourage everyone who was affected in Ascension, Calcasieu, East Baton Rouge, Iberville and Lafayette parishes to register for FEMA aid. If your parish is not yet declared and you suffered damage, you may continue self-reporting it online atdamage.la.gov.

Gov. Edwards’ initial request was for FEMA Individual Assistance for five parishes – Ascension, Calcasieu, East Baton Rouge, Iberville and Lafayette. Individual Assistance includes aid from FEMA related to housing and other needs. The White House also approved Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funding statewide.

If additional parishes have sufficient damage identified through the state’s preliminary damage assessment process, the Governor’s request will be amended to request these parishes.

The Governor declared a state of emergency for this disaster on May 17, 2021.

So far, more than 2,900 homes have reported damage from the severe weather, including six that were reported as destroyed, 737 suffering major damage and 1,209 homes having minor damage. Louisiana continues to collect reports from the public via a self-reporting process at damage.la.gov.  Everyone with weather related damages is encouraged to take the survey, as additional parishes may be added to the request.

Residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated parishes can begin applying for assistance by registering online athttp://www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA(3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.

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Gov. Edwards Requests Major Disaster Declaration from President Biden Due to Severe Weather



Gov. Edwards Requests Major Disaster Declaration from President Biden Due to Severe Weather, Flash Flooding in Five Parishes in Louisiana

BATON ROUGE — Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards requested that President Joseph. R. Biden declare a federal disaster declaration for Louisiana following severe weather and flash flooding earlier in May, which caused damage to at least 2,000 homes. The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness anticipates that damage levels exceed the actual damage reported.

Gov. Edwards’ request is for FEMA Individual Assistance for five parishes – Ascension, Calcasieu, East Baton Rouge, Iberville and Lafayette. Individual Assistance includes aid from FEMA related to housing and other needs. The Governor also requested Small Business Administration assistance and Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funding statewide. The Governor declared a state of emergency for this disaster on May 17, 2021.

“The severe weather that quickly affected Louisiana in mid-May caused flash flooding and at least one tornado. Five people died, thousands were without power and many businesses and schools were forced to close,” Gov. Edwards said. “In Calcasieu parish, many people who were impacted in this severe weather also faced damage from Hurricanes Laura and Delta last year, which is heartbreaking. Areas in Southeast Louisiana that flooded had similarly been affected in 2016 during historic flooding in Louisiana. We are coming off of an incredibly active hurricane season, an ongoing pandemic and facing down the next hurricane season in just a few days. I am hopeful the President will grant this disaster declaration to assist our people with their rebuilding process.”

Click here to view the Governor’s request.

In total, 1,729 houses were validated damaged from the severe weather, including 5 that were reported as destroyed, 640 suffering major damage and 1,084 homes having minor damage. Louisiana collected reports from the public via a self-report process at damage.la.gov.

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232-HELP/211 and United Way of Acadiana announce the launch of the Ride United Vaccine Access Campaign

Lafayette, Louisiana (April 20, 2021) – 232-HELP/211 and United Way of Acadiana announced the launch of the Ride United Vaccine Access Campaign. This program gives residents who have transportation challenges free rides to COVID-19 vaccination sites in Lafayette and surrounding area with Lyft. Residents can access this transportation assistance or learn more by dialing 211.  This effort is made possible through a grant from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation in partnership with United Way Worldwide, and United Ways serving the Acadiana region.

As parish, state and federal officials continue scaling up the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, the Ride United Vaccine Access Campaign will help more eligible people get immunized to protect their health and the health of the community. Rides are provided through Lyft ride credits, which you can activate on a Lyft smart phone app. Or, you can call 211 to schedule a ride, Monday to Friday 8am to 4:30pm, subject to Lyft availability. 

“Now that the COVID-19 vaccines are available to everyone 16 and older in Louisiana, we want to help as many people as possible get their shot,” said Michael Tipton, President of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation. “Unfortunately, lack of transportation prevents many people who would otherwise sign up from getting the COVID-19 vaccine. That’s why we’re proud to support the Ride United Vaccine Access Campaign and make free rides available to and from vaccine appointments for those who need them. Vaccination not only improves health and lives, it’s how we can get back to the things and the people we love.”

232-HELP/211 serves help seekers dialing 211 from a 10 parish area and work as part of the Louisiana 211 Statewide Network. 211 call specialists are trained to address the root causes of a caller’s problem by locating available help in their communities – whether it’s transportation, food, disaster assistance, crisis counseling, health care or housing.  Since the COVID-19 response effort began in March 2020, Louisiana 211 has partnered with the Louisiana Department of Health to serve the state’s hotline for general COVID-19 questions, which has so far helped more than 165,000 Louisianans get COVID-19 specific information and assistance for their needs.

“232-HELP/211 has worked to give personalized attention to the elderly and vulnerable populations, ensuring that they have information to take effective steps to stay well as we navigate COVID-19,” says Chris Roy, Executive Director of 232-HELP/211.   “Through this partnership, 232-HELP/ 211 is able to now provide transportation help through the Ride United Vaccine Access effort. 

As of Tuesday, April 20, the program is underway in Lafayette and the immediate surrounding area.  If outside of the Lafayette immediate area, visitlyft.com/vaccine-access and click “Get a ride” to see if there are eligible services in their local communities.

“United Way of Acadiana is proud to partner on this initiative with 232-HELP/211 and looks forward to helping those with transportation needs with access to the vaccine,” says Carlee Alm-LaBar, CEO of United Way of Acadiana.  “We have been working through the COVID-19 pandemic to help our neighbors in need, and supporting the vaccine rollout is a critical part of the recovery.”