Yielding the Rotary Club’s floor

Ville Platte Rotary hears from Senator Eric LaFleur and from the Louisiana Chapter of Alzheimer’s Association

By: TONY MARKS
Associate Editor

The Ville Platte Rotary Club began its August meetings hearing from State Senator Eric LaFleur. He yielded the Rotary floor to representatives of the Louisiana Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.
Senator LaFleur is the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and explained ways to combat the budget deficits created during the Bobby Jindal administration. “We were using one time money to pay recurring expenses,” he said. “We undid the Stelly Plan, and we had to substitute it with something else. We never substituted it with any other source of recurring revenue.”
“For all those years we paid for those recurring expenditures with one time money,” he continued. “At that time Jindal was very much vested in the national scene and the national party apparatus, and he didn’t want to change his mind. No matter how foolish we thought it was, any effort to do something in the alternative of using one time money we knew would be met with a veto. A lot of the members who disagreed with the policy thought it was futile to do anything different because we would have never have been able to overcome that veto. By the end of the Jindal administration, we had run out of money to sustain what we were providing.”
According to LaFleur, the new governor John Bel Edwards “is faced with having to increase the revenue, eliminate some programs, or do a combination.” He went on to say that as a compromise the legislature did a combination of raising revenue and cutting some programs during this latest session.” As he said, “I’m hoping that in this upcoming year that we would formulate a real reform plan.”
LaFleur was then asked to explain ways to improve Hwy 167 N in Evangeline Parish. “Four laning it is the ultimate dream of the highway system, but if you go through Plaisance and those other little communities you have to knock out and do some right-of-way work,” he said. “It would be very expensive. What they then considered doing is three lanes in certain areas or four lanes in certain areas and maybe straightening it out.”
He continued, “Then the gas tax failed which we were hoping if it passed then a road like that would have been part of the big infrastructure improvement plan.”
The Rotary Club a week later heard from Luewana Hannon and Adrienne Mullens from the Alzheimer’s Association. “In the United States it’s known as the sixth leading cause of death,” said Hannon. “It destroys the brain cells, and it affects your body functions. You forget to walk, and you forget spacial recognitions. Your brain is slowly degenerating to where you can’t even function, and it ultimately results in death.”
Mullens is the Community Outreach Specialist for the Louisiana Chapter and told the Rotary Club about an upcoming community event set for September 16 in Lafayette. “Our Walk to End Alzheimer’s is a celebration where the community comes together,” she said. “We celebrate those that are still with us, and we also remember those who have left.”
“At our walk we have an opening ceremony which includes a promise garden ceremony,” she explained. “This year we are introducing one white flower that will represent our first survivor. I want to see a sea of white flowers one day. We’re fighting for that first survivor and to find a cure for the disease.”

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