Gospel concert benefits Make-A-Wish

A gospel concert benefiting the Make-A-Wish Foundation Texas Gulf Coast and Louisiana took place March 17 at First United Methodist Church in Baker. Brenda Thomas-Nero organized the concert.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation is a nonprofit national organization that, since 1980, has granted more than 285,000 wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses. More than 400 children in the Texas Gulf Coast and Louisiana chapter were granted wishes this past year.

Participants included the Rose Hill Baptist Church choir of Rosedale, accompanied by Director of Music David Gordon; Darius Spurlock; Michelle Thomas; Camryn Hayes; Delisa Delpit-Bae; the Community Male Chorus and the East Feliciana Male Chorus, accompanied by Henry Robins; Kelly Hudson; Jackie and Leon Scott; Malik Muse; Willie Gordon; Marcus Selders, accompanied by Jarius Selders; Henry Burton; Melanie, Michael and Kristopher Vallien; Fonda Nero; Dontina Taylor; Regina Thomas and Gladys London. The Rev. Connie Saizon, a Christian comedian, performed. Saizon is the pastor of Hughes and St. Landry United Methodist churches.

Orchid Society holds potting workshop

The Baton Rouge Orchid Society held its annual Orchid Potting Workshop on March 21.

Members contributed overgrown plants that needed to be divided and shared. Tables were set up with experienced members demonstrating how to properly divide large plants and pot the resulting divisions. Everyone in attendance went home with at least two or more new orchid plants. There was discussion and demonstration of proper potting techniques and the various types of potting mixes that can be used. The society provided potting materials.

The Green Growers group for new growers meets at 7 p.m. on May 9 at 425 Nelson Drive. These meetings are free and open to interested persons.

Society meetings are held at 7 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month at the Burden Center, 4560 Essen Lane. All meetings are free and open to anyone who is interested in learning about orchid culture in Baton Rouge's unique climate. Visit batonrougeorchidsociety.com for information and to subscribe to the monthly newsletter.

Blazek speaks to Amateur Radio Club

Michael Blazek introduced the Automatic Packet Reporting System to members of the Baton Rouge Amateur Radio club at its March 27 meeting.

APRS was developed in the late 1980s to enable transmission of real-time digital information such as geographic position, text messages and telemetry data over radio waves by using radios, the internet and, later, cellphones. Blazek said the real value of APRS is the support of emergency communication and geographical location mapping in the event of conventional communication failures.

President Robin Hudson went over events the club will participate in over the next months. Jon Reise received a certificate of appreciation as the club's past president and his work in advancing amateur radio.

For information about amateur radio, visit brarc.org.

LSU Retirees observe Bataan Death March

Advocate feature writer George Morris spoke about WWII veterans he has interviewed to the LSU Faculty and Staff Retirees Club on April 9.

Because the date was the 76th anniversary of the Bataan Death March, Morris spoke about Staff Sgt. J.S. Gray, who survived the horror. In the false hope of being reinforced while defending Bataan, Gray and fellow soldiers held out for 120 days without support, reduced to quarter rations until they surrendered. Gray lost more than 100 pounds.

Adding insult to injury, the Japanese ordered the soldiers to burn their American flag. In a clever deceit, however, the troops cut out the flag’s stars and burned the rest. As their liberation neared, the men sewed together a new flag with those stars and the red, white and blue from parachute cloth of U.S. airdrops. That flag is now displayed at the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, Texas.

Morris also noted many vets had LSU ties. Bomber pilot Paul Dietzel became LSU’s head football coach. Cargo pilot John Ferguson was “the voice of LSU football.”

Barbara Aldrich, Marsha Arrighi, Jintana Cochran, Donna Day, Barbara and Don Franke and Pat Lee provided refreshments.

The club holds meetings, tours and social events through the academic year and is open to all retirees and their spouses. Contact lsu.faculty.staff.ret.club@gmail.com.

Three speakers address FGBRCA

The Federation of Greater Baton Rouge Civic Associations, which represents area homeowners associations, met April 12.

Speakers were Federation Secretary Margrett Fels, President Nancy Curry and Ginger D'Antoni, of the Santa Maria HOA.

Fels gave a synopsis of the Baton Rouge Health District, which is designed to shape the growth of Baton Rouge by supporting healthy lifestyles. A 7.4-mile walking and biking trail around the Health District is included in the plan. Other components will be establishing a four-year medical school and a diabetes and obesity treatment center. Fels encouraged members to read the 162-page document online at brla.gov.

Curry reviewed the land use section of FuturEBR. She advised all homeowners to review the Planning Commission agendas each month and identify developments near their subdivisions that may be requesting a zoning change that can change the characteristics of an area.

D’Antoni recapped the struggle Santa Maria residents experienced with Blue Bayou Water Park. She said homeowners need to educate themselves on the code to be able to successfully argue the points at meetings.

The Federation meets the second Thursday of each month at the East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library auditorium. The next meeting will be May 10. Single-family homeowner associations are invited to join. Contact Curry, (225) 925-1674 to join or attend a meeting.

CADAV announces Unsung Hero Awards

Community Against Drugs and Violence honored 10 area volunteers with its Unsung Hero Awards on April 15 at the Belle of Baton Rouge Casino.

Honorees are Simone Higginbotham, Leatha Kay, Tammy T. Dugas, Tekko Foxx, Jackie R. Wright, Gracie Perkins, Wisdom Adikema, Baton Rouge Police Sgt. Riley Harbor, L.C. Thomas and Bishop Lee Dell Maxie.

The event was held in conjunction with the Community Against Drugs and Violence's celebration of 25 years of service to the Baton Rouge community, particularly the Banks neighborhood. About 200 people attended. Ebony Galloway handled decorations.

Major sponsors were Oliver and Renita Thomas with In Loving Arms pediatric care. Other sponsors were Genesis, EXXONMOBIL, Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport, Baton Rouge Community College, Together Baton Rouge, ECO Services, Solvay, Scotlandville CDC and United Healthcare.

The organization will host its 25th Juneteenth celebration from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 9, in the Scotlandville Park at 72nd Avenue. For information, email Cadavcares@gmail.com.

Pride High School reunion Saturday

The annual Pride High School reunion will take place starting at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, April 28, at Duke’s Seafood and Steakhouse in Watson. Cost is $20 per person, which includes meal, beverage, tax and gratuity. Contact Shirley Forbes McCoy, (225) 654-5384.

Istrouma Class of '68 sets 50-year reunion

The Istrouma High School Class of 1968 will hold a 50-year reunion from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, July 14, at Drusilla Seafood Restaurant, 3482 Drusilla Lane, Baton Rouge. Cost is $60 per person in advance. For information, email istrouma68reunion@gmail.com or call (225) 268-6892 or (713) 249-5992.

Compiled by Advocate staff writer George Morris. The “Community” column runs every Tuesday and Friday in The Advocate. Items should be submitted to “Community,” Advocate eatplaylive section, P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821, or emailed to people@theadvocate.com. Events should be submitted in a timely fashion. By submitting photos to The Advocate, you agree that they can be published in any of The Advocate’s print or digital publications.

Follow George Morris on Twitter, @GWMorris.