Chuck Smith

News Producer

Chuck Smith brings more than 30 years'  experience to Red River Radio  having started out as a radio news reporter and moving into television journalism as a newsmagazine producer / host,  talk-show moderator, programming director and managing producer and news director / anchor  for commercial, public broadcasting and educational television.  He has more recently worked in advertising, marketing and public relations as a writer, video producer and media consultant.   In pursuit of higher learning,  Chuck studied Mass Communications at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia and motion picture / television production at the University of California at Los Angeles.   He has also taught writing for television at York Technical College in Rock Hill, South Carolina and video / film production at Centenary College of Louisiana, Shreveport.

Cane River Creole National Historical Park

Last month’s 16-day partial government shutdown is a fading memory for park rangers at Cane River Creole National Historical Park in Natchitoches. They’ve resumed their 90-minute walking tours in downtown Natchitoches. In all, 15 rangers at the park were furloughed during the shutdown, including Nathan Hatfield. He’s the park’s chief of interpretation. He said it didn’t take long to get the park humming again. The walking tours are being expanded during the holidays.

The city of Shreveport has signed on to a nationwide initiative to encourage residents to open checking accounts and use them to their full advantage, even if they’ve had banking problems in the past. Bank On Shreveport aims to help local residents move toward financial stability and reduce the reliance on high-cost check cashers and payday lenders, according to Ebony Mapp, the city’s economic development special projects manager.

“It’s a real loss for our community. It’s those types of services -- some of them are predatory -- that can dilute the wealth of a city," Mapp said.

Town Talk

The United Way of Central Louisiana is leading an effort to create a Family Justice Center in Alexandria. It will be the third one in the state after Monroe and New Orleans. The center will be a one-stop location for all the services to assist victims of domestic violence, according to David Britt, CEO of the United Way of Central Louisiana.

Kate Archer Kent

It’s been less than a month since a 500-page biography of the great American writer Jack London was published. But it’s gained traction in national literary circles. One reviewer called it the definitive biography of the larger-than-life writer. Whatever the take, “Jack London: An American Life” has been a long time coming for Earle Labor, professor emeritus of American Literature at Centenary College and director of its Jack London Research Center.

Kate Archer Kent

The new online animated short commercial for Chipotle Mexican Grill has gone viral -- more than 5 million YouTube views and counting. It has Shreveport creative firm Moonbot Studios to thank. Moonbot partner Brandon Oldenburg is surprised by how many people have checked it out.

“We’re abashed. We’re amazed by watching these numbers go up as far as the amount of views," Oldenburg said, during an interview at Moonbot's Shreveport office.

Kate Archer Kent

Benteler Steel/Tube has started construction on its hot rolling steel tube mill at the Port of Caddo-Bossier. Gov. Bobby Jindal joined Benteler officials for a groundbreaking ceremony yesterday to formally kick-off the project that is slated to cost $975 million. It will be the Germany company's first factory in the United States.

Two nonprofits based in Lafayette, La., and Lufkin, Texas, are among more than 120 to receive a one-year federal grant to help people shop for health insurance premiums and understand their subsidies under the Affordable Care Act. That grant is to train and hire full-time "navigators" who provide in-person education and enrollment assistance for the healthcare marketplace that opens Oct. 1. Brian Burton is directing the $1.3 million navigator grant for the consortium of Area Health Education Centers across Louisiana.

PBS.org

Families USA, the Washington-based health care consumer advocacy group, says more than 353,000 Louisianans will be eligible for financial assistance to purchase premiums through the new health insurance marketplace under the Affordable Care Act. What’s more, according to executive director Ron Pollack, nearly 2 million Louisianans with pre-existing conditions won’t be denied coverage or charged higher premiums due to their health ailments.

Kate Archer Kent

At Bossier City’s terraced water feature Liberty Garden, emergency personnel and area residents gathered yesterday to reflect on 9/11 and those who’ve fallen in the line of duty. The ladders of two fire trucks hoisted an enormous American flag high into the air at the ceremony site. Christi Rhodes performed the National Anthem.

Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities

The national family literacy program Prime Time is underway in schools across Louisiana. The program works to refine family reading habits and attitudes about books. The weekly 90-minute session held in the evening brings together elementary school children and their parents to listen to and discuss classic literature. Miranda Restovic, deputy director of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, said Prime Time brings parents into the fold of learning, and makes the school a more welcoming place for them.

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