Posts tagged ‘video’

Biden returns to SW La.

Vice president back in Cameron today for first time since 2006

Vice President Joseph Biden will be in New Orleans and Grand Lake today, discussing how the administration is helping with recovery and rebuilding efforts along the Gulf Coast.

A schedule released by the White House says his day will start at about 11 a.m. in New Orleans with a visit to Delgado Community College’s City Park campus.

After touring the school, he will be joined by Gov. Bobby Jindal, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu at the St. Bernard Recreation Center.

They will discuss Recovery Act investments and hear updates on the area’s hurricane recovery. Biden, his wife, Jill, and Landrieu will continue on to Grand Lake at about 3 p.m. They will meet with Cameron Parish officials to get updates on hurricane recovery in the area and will speak at the Grand Lake Elderly Apartments.

To see video of the Vice President’s visit, CLICK HERE.

Landrieu brought Biden — then a U.S. senator from Delaware — to south Louisiana in early 2006 to see the devastation caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. He was the only non-Louisiana senator to view Southwest Louisiana.

Biden acknowledged that most politicians focused on New Orleans, and he pledged to help Landrieu lobby for funding to rebuild Cameron, saying the area reminded him of Delaware Bay, which also supports the fishing and oil industries.

He promised to return, and has kept tabs on the area. As Hurricane Gustav made its way toward Louisiana in September 2008, Biden, then a vice presidential candidate, called Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach on his cell phone.

“He said he was praying for our safety and wanted us to know we were on his mind,” Roach said at the time. “And it wasn’t an assistant — it was him.”

link: (advance story)
daily article BY ELONA WESTON:

January 15, 2010 at 10:26 pm

Re-opening of Cameron Wildlife Refuge

*published Oct. 15, 2009

Video by Brad K. Puckett and Claudette Olivier
Editing and Voice by Vanessa C. Deggins

To see the video, CLICK HERE.

October 15, 2009 at 7:45 pm

Law enforcers stand by Taser usage, policies

*published Sept. 7, 2009

A recent incident with an autistic teen has raised questions within the community.

Despite the controversy surrounding the usage of Tasers and less-than-lethal weapons, many law enforcement agencies stand by the devices.

In a recent incident, a Taser was used on a 14-yearold autistic boy, which has raised questions about the use of the devices.

On Aug. 31, Lake Charles police officers were questioning the boy’s twin brother, who was a suspect in a robbery.

The officers heard someone scream, turned and saw another person coming towards them.

“The officers initially dodged the young man, which caused him to fall on the suspect, who we later determined was his brother,” said Lake Charles Police Sgt. Mark Kraus.

When officers tried to pull the boy off the ground, he reportedly bit one officer and scratched the other in the face.

The autistic boy’s sister later said she screamed at an officer not to use a Taser on him because he was autistic, but he ignored her.

The mother believes the officers were big enough to physically restrain her son and considered the use of the Taser unnecessary force.

“He (the officer) said he did not remember hearing the sister at all, but the entire situation happened very quickly,” Kraus said.

Less-than-lethal option

The use of force is an issue that law enforcers and residents tend to disagree on.

“For us, force is based on reasonableness, totality of the circumstances and the necessity,” said Lt. Frank Adams, who oversees training in the city police department. “Do I have time to use a Taser to stop this threat?”

Most law enforcement agencies in the parish use Tasers and other less-than-lethal weapons that include impact batons and pepper spray.

All officers and deputies are required to be stung by Tasers for five seconds before they are allowed to carry the device.

Adams said that officers very rarely have the option of 20/20 hindsight, especially when they are in a rapidly evolving, uncertain situation.

“Some tend to focus on one single circumstance and say this changes everything,” Adams said. “And it may be a determining factor, but it does not make the whole situation go away.”

Adams said officers have to prepare themselves on the way to any call.

“If that person has a previous violent criminal record, the officer has to consider that he’s less likely to comply,” Adams said.

Adams said over a 10-year period, less-than-lethal weapons have led to a reduction in suspect and officer injuries.

“And that translates to less taxpayers’ dollars going to medical care and worker’s compensation,” Adams said. “We’ve had officers who have had to retire because of injuries from fighting with a suspect.”

He said over a five-year period, fewer than 1 percent of those who were hit by Tasers died as a result of it.

“I just can’t see it as a fair trade to take away the mosteffective less-lethal weapon because of what happened to less than 1 percent of the total,” Adams said.

Dealing with mentally ill

Lt. David Anders with the department’s Crisis Intervention Team, or CIT, addressed the issue of dealing with mentally ill subjects.

CIT-trained officers go through a 40-hour training course which helps them recognize the behaviors people with certain mental illnesses. These officers will make in-thefield decisions over whether subjects they encounter will need to go to the hospital for evaluation instead of jail.

Anders said the program is voluntary, but most patrol officers have been through the training.

“And there are times when a person may be having an episode and you can’t talk to them to calm them down,” Anders said.

Anders said that through the CIT, the city and parish regularly consult with the Southwest Louisiana chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness for all training.

“In dealing with the families of the mentally ill, they are not happy that their child was tased, but you stop and look at the options,” Anders said. “Someone could get hurt, have broken bones and, God forbid, we go to deadly force.”

Clarice Raichel, executive director for the Southwest Louisiana chapter, helped craft the CIT training and said the use of a Taser should always be last result after attempts to verbally de-escalate the situation fails.

She expressed her support for the CIT program, citing a big change in law enforcement attitudes and perceptions toward the mentally ill.

“I’m going to suggest a scenario of an encounter with an autistic person for the next round of training,” Raichel said.

Determining use of force

Both the city and parish require officers to fill out useof-force reports for any incident. The report is reviewed by a shift supervisor, who, in most cases, goes to the scene of the incident.

Commander James McGee with the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office said he also reviews the reports.

Use-of-force techniques vary in levels of force, and there is no set protocol of which type of force the officer has to use first.

“The officer has the training and discretion to use what weapon or type of force they feel that is necessary,” McGee said. “They are the ones that are there with the subject.”

A little history

The Taser, an acronym for Thomas A. Swift Electric Rifle, was invented by NASA scientist Jack Cover in 1970. Tom Swift was the main character of a early 1900s novel series.

The Los Angeles Police Department in 1974 were the first major department to put the device to use, according to the June 2005 issue of the Police Disciplinary Bulletin.

On the Web: To see officers explain and demonstrate different less-than-lethal weapons, CLICK HERE.


September 7, 2009 at 4:32 pm

Virtual Tour: Southwest Louisiana Crime Lab


To go on a virtual tour of the lab, CLICK HERE.


August 20, 2009 at 7:36 pm

Real Cowboy Association Rodeo – Kinder, LA


To see the full video, CLICK HERE.


August 1, 2009 at 7:11 pm

Virtual Tour: New Lake Charles Airport


To see a virtual tour of the new Lake Charles Regional Airport, CLICK HERE.


July 28, 2009 at 6:52 pm

Fireworks set-up

published July 4, 2009
Employees with Artisan Pyrotechnics place shells in mortars while setting up a fireworks display in Lake Charles. Click here to load.

video link:

July 4, 2009 at 7:52 pm

Wild Art: Beauregard Watermelon Festival

*published June 28, 2009

Jamie Fischer of Stillwater, Minn., gives an axthrowing demonstration during the Watermelon Festival Saturday in DeRidder. Fischer was in town with cousin and fellow lumberjack, Tyler Fischer of Hudson, Wis. To view a video of the festival visit

Jamie Fischer of Stillwater, Minn., gives an axthrowing demonstration during the Watermelon Festival Saturday in DeRidder. Fischer was in town with cousin and fellow lumberjack, Tyler Fischer of Hudson, Wis. To view a video of the festival visit

Achillices Hanna, 4, and his father Matt of DeRidder come down the super slide at the Watermelon Festival Saturday in DeRidder. To view a video of the festival visit

Achillices Hanna, 4, and his father Matt of DeRidder come down the super slide at the Watermelon Festival Saturday in DeRidder. To view a video of the festival visit

Scenes from the 2009 Watermelon Festival from Vanessa Deggins on Vimeo.

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slide article link:
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June 28, 2009 at 5:29 pm

Life Cover: The write stuff

Brian Mattison spends his free time making handmade pens
*published June 28, 2009

Five years ago, Brian Mattison thought he needed a new hobby. He ended up getting a little more than that.

Just for kicks, he decided to attend a pen-turning class in Texas.

“I always like working with my hands and when I started putting things on the lathe, everything came naturally,” Mattison said.

It turned out, he also made pretty good money too.

Most of his pens have 24-karat gold pieces and are made out of exotic woods from places like Australia, Africa and southeast Asia.
Mattison and his son built his spacious shop in his backyard after Hurricane Rita. Mattison said when he retires, he plans to try and do a few big trade shows each year.

The pen starts as two small rectangles of wood. He drills a hole in the center and puts it on a lathe.


This is the longest part of the process, which takes a minimum of an hour.

The two pieces are shaped and sometimes, Mattison adds grooves or different types of designs.

Mattison assembles the pen with a press.

Mattison assembles the pen with a press.

“Sometimes I dye the wood or use naturally colored wood,” such as purpleheart wood from North Africa.”

Mattison, then sands the pen with four different grits of sandpaper to smooth out any bumps he missed.

The finished product

The finished product

“One of the neat things about these woods is they change color as you turn down toward the heart of the wood,” Mattison said.

Now Mattison applies a finish such as a lacquer or cellulose sealer, which soaks into the wood.

And finally his secret weapon — super glue.

“It creates a nice shine and hard cover on the pen,” Mattison said. “When you are constantly using the pen, the wood starts to dry out.”

The pen parts are assembled with a press machine and have refillable cartridges.

Making handmade pens from Vanessa Deggins on Vimeo.

Mattison reads magazines and Web sites to find out what types of pens people are making and the types of materials they are using.

He also makes wine bottle stoppers and letter openers and plans to start making duck and goose callers.

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June 28, 2009 at 2:08 am

Life Cover: Local women on track with afternoon exercise sessions

*published June 14, 2009

On any given weekday after 5 p.m., you might see a few people taking part in a different type of happy hour.

At many local high schools, adults are walking on the school’s tracks and many say the daily workout has become a perfect way to end the day.

“This is how I have been working out for three years,” said LaKesha Carter.

She said she had fallen off, but after seeing people on Lake Charles-Boston High School’s track every evening, she said she decided to grab a few friends and get back to it.

“I walk with my mom or my sisters,” Carter said. “My (teenage) son runs track, so he can go off and do his thing.” Carter said she is up to three miles right now and occasionally does a few sets of bleachers. “My goal is to work my way up to five miles,” Carter said.
For Debra White, 56, what began as a preventative measure is now something she said she doesn’t want to go without.

“My legs started to give me problems and a doctor said I could get an electric wheelchair,” White said.

She said the thought of being in a wheelchair was just unacceptable, so she started walking on her days off from work.

“It keeps me from stiffening up and you just feel better everyday,” White said.

White said she walks three miles at the track and is starting to jog parts of each lap.

“It just works,” White said. “And when you feel yourself getting tired, you just push a little harder and you feel even better about yourself.”

An ominous health forecast brought Edwardine Miller, 51, to the track, but she now says her daily walks are something she can’t do without.

She said she began her twomile walks in earnest after a doctor’s visit revealed dangerously high blood pressure.

“The hardest part was starting,” Miller said. “Now, there are some days when I can’t walk and I feel like something is missing.”

She has been walking for three years now.

Miller said she has steadily lost weight, her doses of medicine are lower and working at a local daycare, she has no problem keeping up with the 2- and 3-year-olds.

“At my last appointment, my blood work came back good, so I’m really hyped up,” Miller said.

She said the chance of not having to take any medicine keeps her walking and making sure she eats right.

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June 14, 2009 at 9:16 pm

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