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

AEP Foundation Awards $50K to Merkle Center of Hope 

The Salvation Army’s local homeless shelter recently received a generous grant award from the American Electric Power (AEP) Foundation.  Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO), an AEP company presented a $50,000 check on behalf of the AEP Foundation to the Salvation Army on Jan. 31 

Merkle Center of Hope is open year-round to provide shelter to those who are homeless. In recent days the facility has been a warm refuge from the frigid winter temperatures in the area. “This generous contribution will go a long way in helping to meet the basic needs of the veterans, men, women and children staying at our shelter. A night stay includes a bed to sleep in, hot meals and a place to take a shower in a safe, comfortable environment,” said Major Whitney Morton, Corps Officer, The Salvation Army of Northwest Louisiana. 

“SWEPCO is proud to partner with the Salvation Army and support programs to meet our communities’ most basic needs — food and housing,” said Brian Bond, SWEPCO vice president of External Affairs. “It’s an amazing opportunity for us to engage and assist an organization that does so much for northwest Louisiana.” 

You can learn more about Merkle Center of Hope on The Salvation Army’s website,

Willis-Knighton Opens Second Stroke Unit

Willis-Knighton Health System opened a new stroke unit at WK Bossier Health Center in February. The six-bed unit is the second in the system that consolidates stroke patients into an area where a team with specialized training provide care.  

The health system’s first stroke unit opened at WK Pierremont Health Center in 2016 and in 2017 it received The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for Advanced Certification for Primary Stroke Centers. The certification indicates it is a facility that gives highly reliable care for stroke patients. The protocols developed by the WK Pierremont stroke team have been replicated for all Willis-Knighton emergency departments. 

“The goal for the WK Bossier stroke unit is to provide the best possible treatment and care for stroke patients by applying best practices consistent with the guidelines,” said Todd Blanchard, WK Bossier Health Center administrator. “WK Bossier will strive to achieve recognition as an accredited center of excellence for stroke.” The benefits of consolidating stroke patients in one area will be immediate, Blanchard adds.  “When patients are cared for by a staff trained in stroke care, their length of stay is decreased and their access to rehabilitation and recovery is expedited in a more efficient manner. Our team not only will provide individualized care but will make recommendations for the continued care of each patient.”

Stroke is the number five cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the U.S., according to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. On average, someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds; someone dies of a stroke every four minutes; and 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year. 

Symptoms of stroke should not be ignored. Early recognition of stroke symptoms and prompt treatment will provide the most favorable outcomes. These are easily identified by the word “FAST.” FACE: Is one side of the face drooping? ARM: Is there weakness in the arm? SPEECH: Is speech difficult or unintelligible? If so, it is TIME to call 9-1-1. Emergency responders are trained to deal with these, so someone experiencing these symptoms should not risk a drive to the ER. 

Shreve Memorial Library Art Club Introduces Teens to Fine Arts Through Fun 

Shreve Memorial Library (SML) is introducing teens to fine arts through fun and application. SML Art Club introduces teens and pre-teens age 10 to 17 to the works of artists like Vincent Van Gogh and Pablo Picasso. The Art Club meetings take place at different Shreve Memorial Library branches each month and require no registration or previous artistic experience to attend.

In March, the SML Art Club will explore the work of Pablo Picasso (1881 – 1973), a Spanish artist most famous for co-founding the Cubist movement. Cubism was an early 20th century avant-garde art movement that revolutionized European painting and sculpture. The works of Cubism feature objects that have been broken down and reassembled in abstract form. During SML Art Club: PiCatSo, teens will learn about Picasso and Cubism while using collage and paint to create their own Cubist version of Pete the Cat. SML Art Club: PiCatSo will take place at the following Shreve Memorial Library branches on the following dates: 4-5 p.m. March 6 at Atkins Branch; 4-5 p.m. March 13 at David Raines Branch; 4:30-5:30 p.m. March 15 at North Caddo Branch (615 North Pine St.) in Vivian; and 4:30-5:30 p.m. March 20 at Hollywood/Union Avenue Branch. 

SML Art Club meetings take place monthly at various Shreve Memorial Library branches. Future classes will explore the works of Claude Monet, Georges-Pierre Seurat, and Piet Mondrian, among others. For more information on these and other Shreve Memorial Library programs, please visit

Loyola Senior Reaches 100 Career Goals in Final Moments of Championship

Loyola College Prep soccer star Carson Berry excitedly reached 100 career goals after nearly 80 minutes of play against Union Parish on Jan. 28. The Flyers prevailed 7-1 for a fourth consecutive district championship.

The senior’s momentum surpassed the previous Flyer record of 74 set by class of 2001 alumnus, Stephen Slack, during a cold, away game in December against Division I team, Haughton High School.

“Once I started getting a whole lot more goals than I expected in the beginning, people started talking about 100 goals, and I didn’t really think it was possible,” Berry said. “But then it started getting nearer and nearer, and it just kind of happened.”

The two-year captain has been a part of the local soccer club, Shreveport United, since he could walk and additionally began recreational soccer at the age of nine. “He’s played and started every meaningful minute all four years that he’s been here,” said Head Coach Trey Woodham. “He’s been consistent, and he deserves it. He works hard off the field, and I think it’s just a nice accolade for him, which is one of many.”

The Loyola boys soccer program boasts a state championship with three other championship appearances. The Division III program has faced high-ranking teams in South Louisiana throughout its existence and Berry’s career.

Berry’s success on the field is no surprise when looking at his 32 ACT score and 3.6 grade point average. In addition to soccer, he participates in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Spanish Club. With graduation just months away, Berry has received acceptance letters from four reputable universities including Ole Miss University, University of Arkansas, Louisiana State University and University of Alabama Birmingham. No decision has been made, but he hopes to continue his career on the collegiate level.

Shreve Town Walking Parade to Take Place Fat Tuesday 

The 3rd Annual Fat Tuesday in Shreve Town Walking Parade will take place at 6:30 p.m. March 5. The festivities begin at 624 Commerce St. in Shreveport and participants will sing and dance their way to stops at the Spring Street Museum, Shreve Square, and end in the Red River District. Remember to dress crazy for this walking parade because you are the parade. A DJ will follow the parade providing music as the parade travels to different destinations to discover hidden Shreveport gems and secrets.

Themed “Everything SHREVE,” the parade will travel in time to the beginnings of Shreveport (Shreve Town) on Commerce Street and enjoy a purple, green, and gold toast to Captain Shreve. Captain Shreve himself will tell you about clearing the log jam, truly making Shreveport “open for business.” Witness a live duel at the Spring Street Museum, relive the good times in the old Shreve Square with music and pictures from its heyday, and walk to present time in the Red River District to partake in their version of “Rally in the Alley” with a Mardi Gras Log Jam Dodgeball game. Then enjoy specials served by local businesses.

Be the parade as opposed to watching one. Dress as crazy as possible. Streamers, banners, noisemakers, and other outlandish things are encouraged.

CHRISTUS Shreveport-Bossier Receives Four 2019 Women’s Choice Awards 

CHRISTUS Shreveport-Bossier Health System has been named as one of America’s Best Hospitals by the Women’s Choice Award®, America’s trusted referral source for the best in health care. The award signifies that CHRISTUS Shreveport-Bossier is one of the top health care providers in the country based on a review of nearly 5,000 hospitals.

CHRISTUS Shreveport-Bossier was awarded one of America’s Best Hospitals for Heart Care, Cancer Care, Bariatric Surgery and Outpatient Experience. 

“We are honored to be recognized for the effort and energy this system puts into ensuring our patients have the best possible experience and outcomes when they visit our facilities,” said Isaac Palmer, CEO CHRISTUS Shreveport-Bossier Health System. “I want to thank all of our associates and providers who live our mission every day. They provide exceptional care to our patients, work diligently on their behalf, and they are proud to be a part of this team.”

In the last year CHRISTUS Shreveport-Bossier has grown heart care services by adding a hybrid operating suite for high risk cardio patients, opened the area’s first outpatient cath lab by partnering with the physicians at Advanced Cardiovascular Specialists, and expanded a dedicated cardiac step-down unit at the hospital. 

CHRISTUS Cancer Treatment Center team provides patients with comprehensive cancer care and the physicians remain dedicated to treating the patient and not the disease.  The CHRISTUS Cancer Center is accredited by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer for 29 years. 

CHRISTUS Shreveport-Bossier offers comprehensive bariatric programs that provide surgical solutions and continued follow-up care for long-term weight loss success. CHRISTUS Highland Medical Center is accredited by MBSAQIP as a comprehensive center for bariatric surgery.

The methodology for the America’s Best Hospitals is unique in that it combines national accreditations, Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey results and hospital outcome scores with primary research about women’s health care preferences. It is the only award recognizing excellence in patient services based on robust criteria that consider patient satisfaction and clinical excellence. Additionally, each service line award has supplementary criteria that are specific to the service line. 

Founder and CEO of the Women’s Choice Award, Delia Passi, emphasized that CHRISTUS Shreveport-Bossier truly delivers on the care that matters most to women. “In addition to high-level performance on a national level, CHRISTUS Shreveport-Bossier provides the care that women value most, including easily accessible services, timely diagnosis, exceptional care and a true dedication to their community.”

Mia Is Bossier Schools’ Newest Deputy on the Beat

Meet Mia, the first official member of the Bossier Schools family with four legs and fur.

Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor who purchased the three-year-old Belgian Malinois and paid for her training, Mia is a certified detector dog with the Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office dedicated solely to Bossier Parish Schools. Sheriff Julian Whittington has also agreed to pick up all food and medical expenses to ensure Bossier Schools does not incur any costs.

Mia is paired with School Resource Officer Deputy Josh Cagle, who received his certification to be her handler. Home base for the two crime fighters is Airline High School, where Deputy Cagle and Mia report to work each day. The team serves in a proactive role, patrolling the campus for illegal drugs and firearms, but are available anywhere in the district where needed.

“Mia is going to be used to conduct random narcotic sweeps at middle and high schools as well as visit special needs students because of her gentle temperament,” Cagle said.

Bossier Sheriff Julian Whittington added, “We know that having an SRO on every campus makes our schools safer. Now with the help of our new K-9 ‘Mia’ and her handler SRO Dep. Cagle, we are better able to search for contraband in our schools.”

“Bossier is the only school district in the region with its own K9 officer walking campuses each day and we are fortunate to have Mia as an added layer of protection to ensure our students’ and employees’ safety,” said Bossier Schools Assistant Superintendent of Administration and Personnel Mitch Downey. “We cannot express our gratitude enough to this friend of Bossier Schools who has extended to us such a valuable resource.”

Willis-Knighton Medical Center Receives Chest Pain with PCI Accreditation Renewal

Willis-Knighton Medical Center has received a renewed designation as a Chest Pain Center with Primary PCI Accreditation from the American College of Cardiology. Willis-Knighton received its first Chest Pain Accreditation in January 2006 after establishing protocols for heart attack treatment throughout the health system. It is the only local hospital with this designation. 

The PCI designation means Willis-Knighton uses percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) as primary treatment for acute heart attacks. PCI, or coronary angioplasty, is a nonsurgical procedure that opens narrowed or blocked coronary arteries with a balloon to relieve symptoms of heart disease or reduce heart damage during or after a heart attack.

“This designation confirms Willis-Knighton’s commitment to providing the highest quality care for our patients,” said Kathy Walker, director of Willis-Knighton Heart & Vascular Institute. “It demonstrates our expertise in caring for heart attack patients or patients at risk for heart attacks by meeting or exceeding a wide set of stringent criteria.”

The accreditation was based on a rigorous on-site evaluation of the staff’s ability to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients who may be experiencing a heart attack.

Every year, more than 790,000 Americans have a heart attack, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The most common symptom of a heart attack for both men and women is chest pain or discomfort. However, women are more likely to have atypical symptoms. Other heart attack symptoms include, but are not limited to, tingling or discomfort in one or both arms, back, shoulder, neck or jaw, shortness of breath, cold sweat, unusual tiredness, heartburn-like feeling, nausea or vomiting, sudden dizziness and fainting.

Willis-Knighton Medical Center and the Willis-Knighton Heart & Vascular Institute feature the most comprehensive heart services in the Ark-La-Tex. As the region’s leading provider of cardiovascular services, conditions treated range from diseases of the heart to structural heart conditions to complex heart surgery.