Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Southeast Louisiana Small Business Recovery Conference Convenes on New Orleans


October 27, 2008


Kevin Williams

Christina Stephens
Louisiana Recovery Authority

THURSDAY: Southeast Louisiana Small Business Recovery Conference Convenes on New Orleans

Conference will provide critical information to small business owners, bankers and accountants about tax credit opportunities

NEW ORLEANS, La. - Small business owners, bankers and accountants are encouraged to attend the 2008 Southeast Louisiana Small Business Recovery Conference in New Orleans Thursday, October 30, 2008, to learn about tax credit programs to assist entrepreneurs and participate in networking opportunities.

Hosted by the FDIC, the Small Business Administration, 100 Black Men of Metro New Orleans, Rebuilding Our Communities, Inc., UEP Gulf Coast, Inc. and the Southeast Louisiana Alliance for Economic Inclusion (AEI), the conference aims to inform entrepreneurs across South Louisiana about opportunities to stabilize and grow their businesses.

Southeast Louisiana cannot recover from the disaster caused by hurricanes Gustav and Ike without a stable small business base to help return essential basic retail and services to our severely damaged communities.

WHAT: Southeast Louisiana Small Business Recovery Conference
WHEN: Thursday, October 30, 2008, from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
WHERE: UNO - Lindy Boggs Conference Center, 2045 Lakeshore Drive in New Orleans, La. 70148
For directions or more information, call 504-309-2073 ext. 107 or visit the Web site at www.aeiconference.org

"The conference is focused towards providing valuable resource assistance information to small businesses in the entire southeast Louisiana region ranging from Houma-Terrebonne to Baton Rouge Metro to Hammond/Tangipahoa and the New Orleans Metro/St. Tammany Parish region," said Kevin Williams, FDIC Community Affairs Specialist for Louisiana. "Establishing cohesive small business relationships between entrepreneurs, bankers, and credit unions involved in small business lending through the use of private-public financing partnerships is another key focus area of the conference."

"Small business owners form the base of Louisiana's successful recovery from hurricanes Katrina and Rita," said Paul Rainwater, executive director of the Louisiana Recovery Authority. "Conference attendees will have access to a wealth of information regarding municipal, state and federal government agencies, including the availability of $10 billion in federal tax incentives."

Business attire is requested. Attendees are encouraged to bring business cards, as this will be an excellent networking opportunity for businesses of all capacities. Continental breakfast and plated lunch will be served. Registration is required, and will take place during the first hour of the conference. Registration forms also can be submitted online at www.aeiconference.org. Registration is $35 in advance and $45 at the door.

General Douglas O'Dell, the Federal Coordinator for Gulf Coast Rebuilding, will be the keynote breakfast speaker and Mr. Lee Bowman, National Community Affairs Officer for the FDIC, will deliver the luncheon keynote address. Click here for a copy of the conference agenda.

"Local and regional experts will be presenting information on topics such as: Capital Access, Marketing with Technology, Special Non-bank Financing Programs, Doing Business with the Film Industry, Government and Major Corporations, Go Zone Tax Incentives, State Hurricane Assistance Initiatives and other useful information for entrepreneurs, their accountants and bankers," according to conference co-host, Reuben DeTiege of Good Work Network.

Southeast LA AEI will also host a networking reception following the conference with an expo of approximately 40 small business resource providers and lenders in the region.

This event is sponsored by 100 Black Men of Metro New Orleans, Inc., First NBC Bank, Good Work Network, Kauffman Foundation, Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA), Regions Bank, Regional Loan Corporation, Rebuilding Our Communities, Inc., and Whitney National Bank, Capital One, Liberty Bank and South Louisiana Bank.

For more information about the event, or to schedule a media interview with Reuben DeTiege of Good Work Network or Kevin Williams of the FDIC, please call 504-309-2073 ext. 103 or 107, or email Reuben at reuben@goodworknetwork.org, or visit goodworknetwork.org.

The Southeast LA Alliance for Economic Inclusion (AEI) was organized in October 2007 by the FDIC to focus on community issues resulting from Hurricane Katrina, The Southeast LA AEI represents a coalition of the region's financial institutions, small business development groups, affordable housing nonprofits, economic development officials, community-based organizations and federal bank regulatory officials. Assisting in the creation, expansion, and recovery of small businesses is one of several focus areas of the AEI.

Created in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita in 2005, the Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA) is the coordinating and planning body leading the most extensive rebuilding effort in American history. The central point for hurricane recovery in Louisiana, the LRA works closely with the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) and partners with state and federal agencies to oversee more than $20 billion worth of programs, speed the pace of rebuilding, remove hurdles and red tape and ensure that Louisiana recovers safer and stronger than before. For more information about the LRA and its 17-member board, visit lra.louisiana.gov.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Road Home Applicants have One Week Left to Return Benefit Selection Forms


October 27, 2008


Christina Stephens
Louisiana Recovery Authority

Road Home Applicants have One Week Left to Return Benefit Selection Forms

BATON ROUGE, La. -- Road Home applicants who have not returned their benefit option letter, which indicates to the program their decision about what to do with their homes, have only one more week to do so.

The deadline to return the Benefit Selection Form, commonly called the "yellow letter," to the Road Home program is November 1, 2008. All forms must be post-marked by this date.

Road Home deadlines announced earlier this summer were cancelled at the end of August. Aside from the Nov. 1 deadline to return Benefit Selection Forms, the only deadlines remaining in the program are regular timelines related to the appeals process. As many as 1,200 homeowners may be affected by this November 1 deadline.

"If you haven't returned your letter, if you have questions about your option selection or if you need assistance making a final decision, now is the time to contact the program," said Paul Rainwater, executive director of the Louisiana Recovery Authority. "We cannot move your Road Home application forward until you notify the program of your decision of what to do with your home."

Homeowners who do not return their benefit selection forms or call the program to verbally select an option by this deadline will no longer be eligible for the Road Home program. The state expects that some applicants may have chosen not to participate in the program without notifying the Road Home. These applicants are asked to inform the state of this by returning their Benefit Selection Form and indicating that they wish to decline their grant.

In August, the Road Home program held outreach sessions across South Louisiana that served more than 4,200 homeowners; more than one third of these applicants were able to move forward in the process at these events.

In September, the program also called applicants to remind them of the deadline and assist them with their selection, if necessary. More than 600 people moved forward based on those calls.

Homeowners with questions about their files can call the Road Home hotline at 1-888-762-3252 (TTY: 1-800-566-4224) or call the Road Home representative who has been handling their case. For more information, visit www.road2la.org.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Th Best Explanation of how the Market works

This came into my mailbox.... I had to share...

Yes, it really is this bad
Another example of humor that is deadly accurate.

I worked on Wall Street for a few years, elbow to elbow with "top" investment bankers.

It was one big casino with the saps in pensions funds and savings and loans (and us) being used to finance the game and cover the losses.

Amazingly, this was recorded in 2007.


Friday, October 17, 2008

Obama is a relative of the O' Henry's.

This comes from Bill O Rights, the creator of this video.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Guest Blogger

A friend of mine just sent this to me. I asked her if I could post it and she said yes. Here is her post. It is quite thought provoking.

Jo, thanks and great job.

As a proud American, I believe that any U.S. citizen who belongs to or openly agrees with a political party whose main objective is to secede from the union is a traitor to our country.
Alaska is the only state where such a body exists. It is the Alaskan Independence Party (AIP) created in 1978. As this factual article will show, Sarah Palin’s association with the AIP forces all Americans to question her credibility as a true American patriot.

The AIP’S official website includes the treasonous statement of party founder Joe Vogler: "I'm an Alaskan, not an American. I've got no use for America or her damned institutions."

In a March 21, 1991 interview with Margaret van Cleve (part of the British Petroleum sponsored "On the Road" series (http://uaf-db.uaf.edu/jukebox/yuch/htm/jvog.htm) Vogler stated:
"The fires of hell are frozen glaciers compared to my hatred for the American government and I won't be buried under their damned flag...and when Alaska is an independent nation they can bring my bones home to be buried in my country…Is America destined for the trash bin? I think so, the trash bin of history."
The party’s motto, :“Alaska First—Alaska Always” is clearly displayed on the website’s homepage.

As recently as August, 2008, Lynette Clark, AIP’s chair, told ABC News: "We are a state's rights party” and that the AIP has "a plank that challenges the legality of the Alaskan statehood vote as illegal and in violation of United Nations charter and international law."

So, these facts beg the questions:
Why did Alaska Governor Sarah Palin attend, via videotape, the AIP’s 2008 convention?
At this year’s convention, did she tell members to “Keep up the good work”?
Why did she wish the party luck and refer to the gathering as an “inspiring convention”?
Why, according to former AIP Chairman Mark Chryson, did Palin and her husband attend the party's 1994 convention in Wasilla, Alaska?
Logic dictates that Palin is clearly still a believer in Alaska’s “right” to be its own entity, separate from the United States of America.
Merrian-Webster Dictionary defines treason as “The offense of attempting by overt acts to overthrow the government of the state to which the offender owes allegiance.” Although there is no evidence that Palin has ever overtly acted to overthrow the U.S. government, according to Merrian-Webster Dictionary’s definition “traitor” as “One who betrays another's trust or is false to an obligation or duty,” how can Americans possibly trust a politician whose words and actions contradict that of a true American patriot?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

October 15, 2008

Christina Stephens

Recovery Authority
Louisiana Recovery Authority Moves Forward on Planning for Recovery Funding for Gustav, Ike

Board approves disposition plans for thousands of Louisiana Land Trust properties

BATON ROUGE, La. - The board of the Louisiana Recovery Authority today voted to approve a preliminary plan outlining the concept for spending anticipated federal funds for recovery from hurricanes Gustav and Ike, directing LRA and Office of Community Development staff to seek input from local leaders and write a full plan to take back to the board in November and for federally required public comment.
The plan would allocate pools of funds to parishes for infrastructure and housing repair programs to be administered with local discretion and state oversight.
"Today's action starts the ball rolling on Louisiana's plan for recovering from Gustav and Ike, one which focuses on letting local governments set priorities for housing and infrastructure repair," said David Voelker, chairman of the LRA's board. "The next few weeks will focus on discussions with local leaders and input from the public that will refine our approach to ensuring that Louisiana rebuilds safer and stronger than before."
Click here to view the preliminary draft of Louisiana's plan.
The state of Louisiana will dedicate its allocation of federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds allocated for recovery from hurricanes Gustav and Ike to repair damaged housing and infrastructure, elevate and buy-out flooded homes and address unmet economic development, agriculture and fisheries needs. The plan will also include the possible use of funds for hurricane protection systems in coastal areas.
For infrastructure and housing programs, the state will allocate dollars to each affected parish based on its level of damage to housing and infrastructure according to data from federal, state and local agencies. Using this allocation, the parishes will determine which housing and infrastructure options they wish to pursue, based on local priorities for recovery, and then submit a plan to the state for approval.
"The state's top recovery priorities are repairing homes lost in the storms and rebuilding our damaged infrastructure to a safer standard," said LRA Deputy Director Robin Keegan. "But each of our parishes faces unique circumstances after the storms and our people will be best served by programs that account for these factors. So we will present a 'menu' of options for how parishes can address housing and infrastructure damage and allow local leaders to select a combination of programs and administer them locally, rather than out of central offices in Baton Rouge."
Preliminary damage estimates from Gustav and Ike in Louisiana show:
Approximately 12,000 homes flooded;
Agricultural losses total approximately $750 million;
Infrastructure damages total more than $1 billion;
Homes suffering some level of damage total 150,000 to 300,000;
K-12 and secondary educational facilities received $100-$150 million in damages; and
Business losses total approximately $2.5-$5 billion.
Louisiana anticipates that its damage level could garner the state as much as $1 billion in CDBG funding for the disasters. Congress approved the funds last month in a disaster relief measure signed by President Bush on September 30, 2008. The bill gives HUD until November 30, 2008, to push one third of the money to the states.
To use CDBG funds, the state first must publish an Action Plan outlining the use of the funds. The board's vote today allows LRA staff to design programs that fit within the preliminary plan, publish the Action Plan for public comment and then return it for approval by the LRA's board in November.
The board heard updates from officials from Cameron and Terrebonne parishes at its meeting today. In addition, LRA staff will meet with parish leaders to discuss the state's planned CDBG programs and incorporate this input into the Action Plan that is ultimately brought back to the board for approval.
Staff will present the Action Plan to the board in November to go to public comment and then send it to HUD in December after legislative approval. Subsequent programs and programmatic changes that HUD deems major must be approved as "Action Plan Amendments" through the same process.
Louisiana Land Trust plans
In other action, the board approved Louisiana Land Trust property disposition plans for Cameron, St. Bernard and Terrebonne parishes, which account for more than 3,500 of the properties owned by the organization. The LLT is the entity that temporarily holds, maintains and insures properties the state purchases through the Road Home when homeowners select "option 2" or "option 3" under the program. The LRA board must approve parish plans for using the properties before their titles can be transferred to the parishes for redevelopment.
As of the end of September, the LLT owned 8,701 such properties, including 89 in Cameron parish, 3,873 in St. Bernard parish and 36 in Terrebonne parish.
Cameron Parish has identified parcels of land it will use for the purpose "of enhancing economic development, providing housing, preserving recreation/open space and ancillary initiatives." The remaining properties the parish will offer the previous owners the right of first refusal. After the 10-day response period, properties will be offered to adjacent property owners through a "Lot Next Door" style program. If there is no interest by adjacent property owners the property will be sold by public auction.
St. Bernard Parish will dispose of properties using five strategies:
meeting public purpose use related to green space, recreation and draining;
sale to adjacent property owners (Lot Next Door);
meeting community identified neighborhood development priorities;
preserving the historic character of the Friscoville/Arabi area; and
sale to private entity for the development of new and affordable housing.
Terrebonne Parish is working to identify parcels whose reuse will address parish needs for:
public improvements and public facilities;
flood management;
workforce and elderly housing;
enhancing neighborhood;
stability (Lot Next Door); and
green space and spaces of ecological value.
The board had previously approved plans for Orleans and Jefferson parishes. The state received final approval on its plans from HUD in September. The state is completing federally required environmental reviews on LLT properties and signing cooperative endeavor agreements with the parishes in preparation for transferring titles for the properties to the parishes.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

EMail Humor....


Thursday, October 02, 2008

Palin Bingo Game

I wish I could've gotten this up sooner.... But for anyone who is looking to add humor to tonight's event, try playing Palin Bingo... This could be like watching a 7 car pileup.