Good to Know is a monthly roundup of news, business and other information happening throughout Shreveport-Bossier City.

Shreveport Pediatrician Writes Book to Help Kids Tackle Mental Health Issues

Dr. Gretchen Petterway’s new children’s book focuses on what she wished she knew as a kid.

“One of the most alarming trends that I see in my pediatrics practice is the continuing rise of mental health issues among children,” Dr. Petterway said. “It’s not just in my area; it’s a national trend. Anxiety and depression are the very natural results of living in a world where you feel like your success or failure is completely out of your control.”

I Am Cool is not just a fun book for kids; it’s a tool for parents and educators to start an honest conversation and let kids know that it’s OK to choose friends who look different or are good at different things and, maybe even more importantly, to be different themselves. The idea is that parents will read the book with their kids, enjoy the adventures, and ask some questions. 

“I have written I Am Cool to help the kids in my practice — and kids worldwide — learn how to cope with differences. It is the first of a series of books that will address some of the most common challenges kids face,” she said.

Now more than ever, kids need to learn how to value themselves. A strong and positive self-image, the kind that comes from developing the skills to overcome challenges, goes a long way toward ensuring a healthy, happy life. In I Am Cool, Mike and JoJo experience fun adventures in a magical park where the creatures don’t look like they “should.” Snails shouldn’t be blue, frogs shouldn’t be red, and eagles shouldn’t be purple. And none of them should talk. But in this world, the “shoulds” don’t matter.

I Am Cool is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple Books, Kobo, Scribd, Playster, Tolino, 24Symbols, Overdrive, Bibliotheca, Baker & Taylor, and Google Play Books.

Dr. Petterway is an American Board of Pediatrics certified pediatrician at Christus Pediatric Associates. Her patients and their parents call her Dr. G, Dr. Pepper, or Dr. Gretchen, but her two boys, Dillan and David, just call her mom. As a “Doc-Mom,” she is passionate about approaching every clinical decision from two perspectives, as a physician and as a parent. Dr. G recognizes that mental and emotional health play a critical role in a child’s physical health. Her goal is to help all kids build a strong foundation for a successful life, one that starts with a healthy self-image. More details are available at whatmakesmecool.com.

Art of the Dog reception April 6

The Rainforest Art Foundation is hosting a public reception for Art of the Dog as an early Earth Day celebration from 5-7 p.m. April 6 at the Marlene Yu Museum, 710 Travis St., Shreveport. Admission is free with a suggested $10 donation to benefit the Rainforest Art Foundation. The reception is a collaboration between the Foundation and Robinson’s Rescue during the Downtown Development Authority’s Downtown Pup Crawl, which will feature special dog-friendly activities from 5-9 p.m.

Art of the Dog features artwork from Dawn Ash, Maria Ashcraft, Baygent Baker, May Elizabeth Berry, Julie Burton, Christy Chavez, Cathy Cobb, Trudy Daniel, Adena Helm, Jim Huckabay, Jenny Lankford, Douglas Luedeman, Janet Maines, Nina Murray, Karen K. Pearce, Jeanne Marie Reed, Rhonda Rogers, Jessica H. Stevens, Robert Streeter, Wesley Touchstone, Jessica Trihn and Debbie Unversagt. For more information visit MarleneYuMuseum.org or RainforestArtFoundation.org. 

United Way of NWLA & Caddo Schools Partner for Day of Service

United Way of Northwest Louisiana has partnered with Caddo Schools to provide the largest district-wide volunteer day for students, parents, educators and more. Day of Service took place March 9 and offered more than 250 volunteers an opportunity for a hands-on approach to community service while learning about civic needs.

Volunteers are the backbone to nonprofit organizations. Nonprofits often don’t have the financial resources or manpower to hire outside help to complete everything needed for upkeep. That’s where volunteers come in.

During Day of Service, 18 teams mostly representing different K-12 Caddo schools were partnered with a nonprofit agency across Caddo and Bossier parishes. The teams completed projects such as repainting a curb at the Family Justice Center, organizing donations at Christian Service, to landscaping a yard and building an outdoor art display at Renzi Center.

“Day of Service is a tremendous value to both nonprofits and volunteers,” said Bruce Willson, president and CEO of United Way NWLA. “This event offers students a chance to become immersed with community and develop a sense of compassion for people in need.”

This is the second Day of Service that United Way NWLA has organized for Caddo Schools. Since its start in 2017, participation has increased by 30 percent.

Participating nonprofits included Christian Service Program, Geaux 4 Kids, Holy Angels, Philadelphia/Mercy Center, Providence House, Renesting Project, Inc., Renzi Center, Roy’s Kids, Shreveport Green, United Way of Northwest Louisiana, and Volunteers of America.

Participating schools included Broadmoor Middle Laboratory, C.E. Byrd High School, Cherokee Park Elementary, Caddo Parish School Board, Huntington High School, Magnolia School of Excellence, North Caddo High School, University Elementary School, Walnut Hill Elementary/Middle School, Woodlawn High School and Youree Drive Middle School.

For nearly 100 years, United Way of Northwest Louisiana has improved lives of individuals in our community. The organization fights for the education, health, and financial stability for everyone, while helping those in crisis. United Way of Northwest Louisiana serves agencies throughout a 10-parish region, and operates eight human service programs of their own. Each United Way organization operates independently of each other and makes decisions by local leaders.

Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce Launches ‘JobPort’ Employment Website

The Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the launch of JobPort, a local employment website hosted by the Chamber that enables local job listing and resume posting.

JobPort was developed in response to discussions held in 2018 as part of the Air Force Community Partnership program. Based on input from the Airman and Family Readiness Center about the specific employment needs of transitioning airmen and military spouses, the Chamber worked to construct JobPort as a simple site that enables local companies to post job openings and local residents to post their resumes. Job seekers can peruse and apply for jobs while employers can post jobs and peruse resumes.

“Barksdale Air Force base is a critical part of the Shreveport-Bossier talent pipeline.  Military spouses bring tremendous experience with them and we want to do our part to help them find employment,” stated Chamber President Dr. Timothy J. Magner. “We hope JobPort, will enable them to post their resumes and look for employment opportunities even before they arrive, so the time between PCS and employment can be reduced.  We also recognize that individuals transitioning from the Air Force do so with skills and a work ethic that are in high demand in our community.  By helping them find employment with local companies, we want to encourage our Barksdale Airmen to choose Shreveport-Bossier as their permanent home.” 

While the website was initially designed to focus on supporting Barksdale airmen and families, the Chamber has opened JobPort to the public and welcomes jobs and resumes from companies and individuals throughout the Shreveport-Bossier City region.

“We know there are great jobs available in Shreveport-Bossier, as well as individuals eager and ready to work,” said Dr. Magner. “Our hope is that by having a very simple local site, we can help great local companies find great local talent.”

To post jobs or resumes or to view them on JobPort, visit www.jobs4bafb.com or www.shreveportchamber.org/jobbank. 

American Heart Assoc. to Host Lace Up & Walk for Your Heart, April 6

Several hundred participants are expected to lace up and take steps to improve their heart health on April 6 when they participate in the 2019 Northwest Louisiana 3.1 mile/5K with a 1-mile optional walk on the campus of LSU Shreveport. This non-competitive event includes teams of employees from local businesses, hospitals and industries; along with friends and family members of all ages. Walkers can bring their dogs on a leash to walk as well. Jill Lucero, the new NWLA Regional Director for the American Heart Association said her goal is to have 500 walkers this year. To accomplish this, she needs the community’s help by having companies register teams, re-new teams that have participated in previous years and increase the number of participates from over the past few years. She said this walk will directly increase awareness of staying active and eating healthy.  

The NWLA is among 300 Heart Walks held in communities across the nation. Nearly 1 million people walk each year for a singular mission to cure heart disease and stroke.

The annual event, which raises funds to fight heart disease and stroke, the No. 1 and No. 5 killers in the U.S., begins at 8 a.m. with a pre-event activity area. The walk to improve heart health begins at 9 a.m. Kenley Hargett, from KSLA is the emcee for this year’s event. 

Each day, about 2,150 Americans die from cardiovascular disease- the No. 1 killer in the United States. Stroke, the No. 5 killer and a leading cause of severe disability, claims the lives of nearly 219,000 each year. A leading risk factor for heart attack and stroke is lack of physical activity. Research has also found that individuals may gain two hours of life expectancy for every hour of regular, vigorous exercising they do. Nearly one in three children and adolescents in the U.S. is overweight or obese, and this event will raise awareness about heart disease and get our children and community moving.

The American Heart Association, the world’s leading voluntary health organization dedicated to building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke, is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Heart Walk, an event that has been instrumental in innovative breakthroughs over the last 25 years. Since the inception of the Heart Walk in 1993, mortality rates from cardiovascular disease and stroke have plummeted by 45 percent. Each walker and each donation have helped to transform health statistics into lives saved, but there is more work to be done.  

“While we are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Heart Walk, the event is still focused on its initial assignment, funding groundbreaking research through the passion of walking together to change lives,” Lucero said. “I am honored to serve and play a role in the promise of a better future for younger generations to live. The walk is a celebration of life and more time survivors and their families have together.” 

Each time someone laces up their shoes or a company, neighborhood or organization forms a team to participate in the Heart Walk, they are influential in groundbreaking breakthroughs that have taken place in the last 25 years. Every donation helps create new technologies such as the artificial heart valve, cholesterol drugs, stents, and the mechanical heart pump which helps extend the life of patients. Lucero explained how the donations impact us locally. “On a local level, since 1980, American Heart Association has granted over $8 Million to fund research in northwest Louisiana. LSU Health Shreveport right here in Shreveport, conducts many of the research projects.” 

The Heart Walk is open to the community as all are welcome to participate and change the story of heart disease and stroke in Shreveport-Bossier City and NWLA as a whole. Those who walk are committed to funding research that keeps hearts beating. 

Over the past 25 years the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association have funded $3.4 billion in research. The American Heart Association is nearing the $5 billion mark as we work to fund big ideas to pioneer breakthroughs in our understanding and treatment of heart disease and stroke.

The Heart Walk sponsors are: Christus Health, Capital One Bank, AutoBody Express, Bank Of Montgomery (BOM), Brookshires, Centerpoint Energy, Barksdale Federal Credit Union, AEP/SWEPCO. Sponsorship opportunities are still available for this lifesaving event. 

For more information or to register visit: www.nwlaheartwalk.org or download the mobile APP by searching, HeartWalk in Google APP store or I-Store.

Don Juanz Baja Beach Tacos Announces New Eat Fit Shreveport Certification

Don Juanz is proud to announce its certification and endorsement of Eat Fit Shreveport by Ochsner Health System with support by the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundations and LSU Health Shreveport.  Both Don Juanz restaurants meet nutritional criteria designated by Ochsner Health System, the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundations and LSU Health Shreveport.  

Currently, Don Juanz is the only restaurant north of I-10 in Louisiana to receive this distinguished certification. To become Eat Fit certified, Don O’Byrne, president of Don Juanz, Inc., was interviewed, had the premises of his restaurants inspected and his documented recipe booklets examined by Eat Fit registered dieticians and executive staff.   

Don Juanz has always maintained nutritious and delicious meals made with only the highest quality, regional and organic ingredients.  Guests desiring to eat clean, gluten-free, manage diabetes, blood pressure, cholesterol and maintain a gluten-free diet can now make the healthy choice an easy choice. Don Juanz has 13 Eat Fit Certified menu items to choose from. Eight of those 13 choices are their signature tacos. Visit EatFitShreveport.com and download the Eat Fit app for full nutritional facts.  

Taco Wars & Salsa Competition Return

The Louisiana Food Prize and Louisiana State University Shreveport are teaming up again for the second annual Taco Wars. On May 3, 12 local taquerias will come together to battle for the coveted Golden Taco. Taco Wars will also, once again, feature a free chips and salsa tasting where the audience will choose the Best Salsa and award a taqueria the Golden Molcajete.

This free indoor/outdoor family event will take place on the LSUS campus. The expanded, improved festival area will include free screenings of Coco and Three Amigos in the on-campus theater, live music on an outdoor stage, and room to dance to traditional salsa music. This year, a more developed line system will be in place for food vendors and advanced food ticket sales will be available online to provide the best possible experience for attendees. In addition to tacos, a variety of vendors will be on site with traditional snacks and desserts for guests to enjoy. Coca-Cola products will be for sale again this year, along with Modelo beers, margaritas, and sangria for those 21 and over.

“Last year, we found out how much our community loves tacos and how much they enjoy celebrating Latino culture,” said Gregory Kallenberg. “This year, we will be ready for the crowds but, more than that, we are honored to host one of our community’s most important food and music events, and pay homage to a great culture that is so important to the uniqueness of our city.”

There is no charge to enter the festival and all guests are invited to attend the film screenings and live performances and to vote in the salsa competition. All purchases of food and beverages will be made using a ticket system and, fulfilling the Prize Foundation’s mission of creating economic benefit for Shreveport-Bossier City and its small businesses, the taquerias and other food vendors receive 100 percent of proceeds on all sales.

The Food Prize team is currently recruiting local restaurants to participate in this one-of-a-kind event. The Golden Taco will be presented to the top-scoring taco, as rated by a panel of celebrity judges. The winner receives a coveted Food Prize trophy along with $1,000. Last year’s winner, Habanero’s, will be back to defend their crown. Attendees to the event will decide the winner of Best Salsa. Each taqueria will provide free salsa and chips for consideration, and each attendee will receive a voting token. Guests are invited to taste as many salsas as they like, and vote for their favorite. The salsa with the most tokens wins $500. Previous winner La Michoacana intends to take home the prize again.

Want to be more involved with Taco Wars 2? Several sponsor opportunities are still available, as well as volunteer positions during the event. Please email [email protected].

NWLA Master Gardeners Annual Spring Tour May 11-12

The Northwest Louisiana Master Gardeners will host its annual spring garden tour, 

Le Tour des Jardins on May 11 and May 12. This year’s garden tour will take you through five beautiful private gardens throughout Shreveport along with a tour of the Greenwood Cemetery. Tour hours will be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 11 and 1-5 p.m. May 12. Advance tickets are $10 and can be purchased at any Citizens National Bank or by calling the Master Gardener office at 318.698.0010. Tickets may also be purchased at any garden on the days of the tour for $15. Here is a glimpse of the gardens featured on the tour:

Dr. Gordon and Laurie Calahan Garden — Located in the Lakeside on Long Lake neighborhood, you will find ornamental azalea and annual plants in the front garden and enter through the gate to find native trees in back such as sassafras, maple, beech, mayhaw, bald cypress, American holly, shumard oaks, big elms and sycamore. There are dogwoods purchased from Dr. Willis that came from Tennessee, a thornless blackberry, Turk’s cap, hydrangeas, an Asian persimmon, banana magnolia and southern magnolia, sweet olive and a buckthorn that brings birds into the garden. The lake in back is beautiful surrounded by pond cypress, climbing muscadine grapes and Louisiana iris.  

Dr. Jim and Lynn Burke Garden — This gated garden off Overton Brooks Road fills 2.5 acres with a variety of shade and sun plants including hosta, azalea, lantana, forsythia, and bottlebrush in the large front drive area. Around the side garden is a snowball viburnum, daylilies, plumbago, agapanthus, roses, gingers and a gorgeous light pink camellia. Obedient plant attracts butterflies and bees. The backyard is landscaped around the stone-edged pool with yellow esperanza, Baptisia, grasses, oleander and a pond within a wooded area of cypress, willow and river birch trees.

Dr. Charles and Kim Lyon Garden — This large garden in Southern Trace backs up to the golf course with an expansive view.  There is a fountain in the circle drive planted with annuals around the border and a dry stream river rock bed crossing the circle. Holly trees anchor the front beds with annuals. Enter the gate to find palm trees in back around the pool and outdoor kitchen, roses, red oaks and terracing leading down to the basketball court and golf course view.

Mark and Nannette Crews Garden —This smaller garden in the Ellerbe Road area is packed with personality. The front beds are filled with annuals, and as you enter the side gate you will see pots filled with parsley, rosemary, basil and wire vine. There are camellia, sasanqua and sweet olives near the covered patio which overlooks a wooded area with a river rock creek and a variety of trees with layers of varying textured foliage including Little Gem magnolia, weeping willow and pines. In sunny spots, there are daylilies in orange, yellow and pale pink and a screen built as a great idea by the owners for a climbing pink mandevilla and pink sweetheart roses.

David and Peggy Murphy Garden—This shady garden in the East Ridge neighborhood with a rolling front yard is filled with crepe myrtles, Japanese red maples, sweet olive, azaleas, iron plant, agapanthus and ferns with annuals near the front door. Go through the gate to find a screened summer house in back with large oak trees, huge cedar screening the fence, vitex – chaste tree, plumbago, cannas and Little Gem magnolias. In one corner is a prayer garden with a variety of crosses and juniper ground cover. Along the walkway, you will see holly, shi shi sasanqua, society garlic, rosemary and grasses. Up on the raised back patio, there is a beautiful fire feature and an outdoor kitchen, water features, interesting art and small greenhouse.

Greenwood Cemetery — A former Master Gardener grant recipient, Greenwood Cemetery’s restoration began in 1997 as a joint partnership between the City of Shreveport and the Shreveport Garden Study Club, a member of Garden Clubs of America.  This major project of the garden club is designed to restore, preserve and beautify historic property. A gatehouse was added at the entrance and wrought iron fencing surrounds the property. Drive up the left lane to the beautiful pavilion built with a grant from the Community Foundation. A grant from the Master Gardeners assisted in adding 100 native trees around the pond and the grounds and a pollinator garden containing pink muhly grass, liatris, buttonbush and milkweed which is a host for the Monarch butterfly. Many gravestones are historic and are stunningly beautiful.  

A Garden Bazaar will take place during the tour at the Pioneer Heritage Center at LSU-Shreveport and while there, enjoy a tour of the Heritage Center Gardens, a project of the Northwest Louisiana Master Gardeners. The gardens contain an herb garden, a medicinal garden by the doctor’s office and native trees, plants, and flowers that grow well in the area’s climate. Admission to the Heritage Center is free. Proceeds from the garden tour fund future Master Gardener projects and help promote the Master Gardeners’ mission to enhance the quality of knowledge for gardeners in the community.

For more information contact the Master Gardener office at 318.698.0010 or www.nwlamg.weebly.com.