BISCO NEWS

Check out our "Calendar" and look for the latest events by year on the sub-bar !


 



 
 


BISCO MONTHLY GROUP MEETINGS

  •  BISCO meets once a month in Terrebonne Parish
  •   BISCO meets once a month in Lafourche Parish

 


BISCO THIBODAUX SWIMMING PROJECT

  June - July  :BISCO Thibodaux Recreation Action/Celebration.  For many years the BISCO Thibodaux Group has worked on the issue of providing free swimming lessons to children from low-income families.  The need for water safety instruction (swimming) was brought about when several small children nearly drowned one summer because their parents couldn't afford the registration fees that would have allowed them to take swimming lessons and water safety.  BISCO "Leaders" undertook the project to promote the development of a citywide program to address this need.

We are indeed honored that for the last eight years the City of Thibodaux and its Recreation Department have granted BISCO vouchers to give to families for these free swimming lessons at the public swimming pool in Thibodaux.  As each summer closes, BISCO gathers together the local public officials, the swimmers and their families, and BISCO "Leaders" to celebrate the completion of another year of the program and to give officials an opportunity to update residents on the plans and progress of the City government. 


BISCO ACADEMY

To meet an unfulfilled community need for informal adult education related to issues of importance to local residents, we have created BISCO ACADEMY.  The subject areas covered include:

  • Health Literacy
  • Financial Literacy
  • Housing 101
  • Civics 101
  • Community Organizing

The Health Literacy Academy currently in progress is made possible in part through the generosity of the Greater New Orleans Foundation's IMPACT Grant Program, for which we, and the people we serve, are very grateful.  Thanks GNOF !


BISCO JUNIOR YOUTH GROUP

The BISCO Junior Group had another successful year with their December 2014 Toy Drive.  The group was able to give out new or gently-used toys to over 300 children. 

In 2014 the BISCO youth partnered with the Lafourche Parish Drug Court program to provide toys to children of people in the drug rehabilitation programs of the court.   Also added in 2014 was the donation of coats to needy families. 

We also partnered with the United Houma Nation to coincide with their Indian Santa program, and we are thankful for Chief Thomas Dardar's participation in handing out toys as the "Indian Santa." 

 BISCO is very proud of the work of these young people who are truly making a difference in their community ! 

 

They are currently beginning the process of collecting items for the 2015 Toy and Coat Drive, email Maryal Mewherter at biscomaryal@yahoo.com


BISCO Participates in Gulf Coast Council Meeting

BISCO attended the Gulf Coast Council Meeting in Mobile, AL, and made public commends on the need for local people to be given local jobs and training. BISCO also addressed community participation and the needs of socially vulnerable populations.

Jeffrey Buchanan, Senior Domestic Policy Advisor for OXFAM America wrote: "Big, big congrats to Rev. Tyronne Edwards, Kaitlin Trong, and David and Sharon Gauthe for taking the time to come to Mobile and doing such a good job at the public comment portion of Tuesday’s session of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Councils' first meeting! Cheers to Howard from Steps for attending too. Reverend Edwards actually had the distinction of delivering the very first comment, to pretty strong applause! The public comment was closed out by a friend of our coalition goals, Patrick Barnes of BFA Environmental, echoing points on local hiring and training of disadvantaged residents in ecosystem projects. Combined with some other allies’ similar statements, it was all great to hear! we’re heard positive things, like EPA Administrator Jackson’s call for the creation of a Citizens Advisory Committee to the Council as one of the most important recommendations of the GCERFT the Council could implement. Certainly while much of the talk focused on the environment, many of the state members and Council Chair Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank did a good job of also putting focus on livelihoods and communities."


BISCO Stafff Donald Bogen/ David Gauthe helps restore the coast.

SEEDS joined with CCA, Bisco and local school children in Isle de Jean Charles to once again plant and launch floating islands as part of an effort to restore wetlands in this fast-eroding area of southern Louisiana. Check out the video here, 

 
 
  

BISCO Leader Eloise Taylor Wins LANO Membership!

BISCO learned that long-time Leader, Eloise Taylor, was the recipient of a six-month LANO membership extension. BISCO is also a featured member on LANO's website.


The BISCO Terrebonne, BISCO Thibodaux, BISCO Junior and Grand Isle Youth Groups got together and went to the state capitol in Baton Rouge for a day of learning how the state legislature works. They were thrilled to meet with Representative Dee Richard, Representative Joe Harrison and Senator Norby Chabert and staff. Another highlight of the bus trip was a special "Civics 101" class taught by Patty Whitney, to learn about the different branches of government and the balance of powers. It was a great day for all!
 
BISCO has been collaborating with Bayou History Center (through Patty Whitney) to conduct eco-history tours of Terrebonne Parish, focused on promoting a greater understanding and interest in a holistic look at the ecosystem and communities of the Bayou Region. In the words of Bayou History Center, "Studying Yesterday to Understand Today and Improve Tomorrow." We find it very helpful in our advocacy work to focus policies and resources on restoring and protecting the coast and its people and communities.
 
Regionally
BISCO's advocacy on the regional level includes addressing the following issues:
  • 2012 LA First Hire Act signed into effect June 2012
  • Creation of a Restoration Economy along the Gulf Coast
  • Children’s Health Ins. Program(S-CHIP & La CHIP)
  • Changes to Louisiana Master Plan for Coastal Restoration to include the building of more wetlands in Terrebonne and Lafourche Parishes 
 
On July 19, 2012, Oxfam America, along with The Nature Conservancy, Restore or Retreat, and the Coast Builders Coalition held a forum at Nicholls State University entitled "Rebuilding the Economy, Restoring the Environment," focused on using restoration and its funding as an economic driver with opportunities for stimulating economic growth and job development. They were assisted by partners: BISCO, Bayou Grace Community Services, Louisiana SBDC, Zion Travelers Community Center, Greater New Orleans Regional Economic Alliance, Mary Queen of VietNam Community Development Corporation, Gulf Future Alliance, and the Environmental Defense Fund. Keynote speaker was Jason El Koubi (Asst Sec of Louisiana Economic Development Agency); followed by Jerome Zeringue (Director of Implementation, La Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority).
 
BISCO is part of a small coalition of nonprofits from Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama who are working on issues of homeowner's insurance in each of the states. The "Clarity Bill" is making progress in moving towards becoming law. We want to make a difference in access and quality of insurance for residents of coastal Louisiana and other Gulf states ! Thanks to Senior Organizer David Gauthe for taking the lead for BISCO on this important issue!
 
BISCO is a member of the Gulf Future Coalition to work on issues related to projects and funding under the NRDA process in connection with the BP Oil Spill, advocating for restoration of the Gulf.
 
BISCO's Executive Director Sharon Gauthe and Senior Organizer David Gauthe were panelists on the Blue Ribbon 
Lifetime_Achievement.jpg
Resilient Communities project of the America's Wetlands Foundation held in all five Gulf Coast states. And we congratulateSharon and David for receiving a AWF Lifetime Achievement Award at the conclusion of the BRRC gatherings !
 
BISCO is participating in Tulane University's U-19 project "GROH" to work on surveys on seafood safety and public health. The first kickoff meeting was held in Montegut in May. BISCO and other U19 grantees of the UTMB project hosted meetings for fisher families to discuss seafood safety and public health. There were meetings in St. Bernard Parish, Buras, Lafitte and Montegut. Contact BISCO at 985-227-9042 to learn more and participate in one of these exciting surveys.
 
BISCO initiated a campaign to educate and motivate local residents on the public comment process to the draft of the Louisiana State Master Plan for Coastal Restoration and Protection. We attended and spoke up at numerous CPRA presentations. We collaborated with other nonprofits to host the CPRA in presenting the draft to as many local residents as possible. We hosted our own public forums to explain the importance of commenting. We designed, handed out and collected numerous public comment forms to make commenting easier for those who wanted assistance. We assisted those who wanted to make oral comments in preparing their presentations or comments. Because of major public involvement, the Master Plan was amended to include some building of wetlands in southeastern Terrebonne Parish! People speaking up together can make a difference!!
 
Additionally, BISCO submitted detailed written comments to the CPRA on the draft of the Master Plan. One part of those comments objected to the omission of a Focus Group focused on communities. The CPRA agreed and created a Community Focus Group to work on future planning. And BISCO is proud to be selected to serve with other nonprofits from our area (like our friends at Bayou Grace) on that Focus Group.
 
BISCO has also been helping to host events in the Thibodaux area for the Louisiana Medicaid Office Covering Kids and Families Program to present and explain the latest in Medicaid changes to recipients, families and caregivers. It is very important that people who think they may be eligible learn as much as they can about all of the changes taking place.
 
Nationally
 
BISCO is involved in many advocacy campaigns at the national level, They include:
  • 2007 WRDA Act authorizing coastal restoration projects
  • 2012 RESTORE Act, to bring funds for coastal restoration
  • Gulf-wide “Clarity Bill” on Homeowner’s Insurance 

 

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