In May 1973, Bean, a U.S. Army officer, was piloting Marine One, the helicopter that transported President Nixon. After Bean flew Nixon to Key Biscayne, Fla., the craft developed problems and crashed in the water. Bean was able to dive and help save six of the seven people still aboard the chopper, ingesting jet fuel that led to numerous health conditions.
Bean served three terms in the Senate, and Hainkel was a lawmaker for 38 years. Hainkel was the legislative force behind the TOPS plan, which was pushed by oilman Pat Taylor to help needy children go to college. The program didn't quite work as planned; Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance indicates most recipients of the scholarship program are in higher income brackets. The figures show that 40 percent of TOPS recipients are in families with incomes exceeding $75,000 annually. Thirty-four percent of the students are from families with incomes between $35,000 and $75,000. Only 23 percent of TOPS scholarships go to families earning below $35,000.
Rep. Bryant Hammett Jr., a state lawmaker closely tied to the Blanco Administration, has filed three bills calling for new local taxes on NFL tickets, Superdome concessions, rental cars and hotels. The measures are designed to pay for a Dome renovation and for annual state subsidies to the New Orleans Saints.
Gov. Blanco and team owner Tom Benson have been at odds over an agreement that former Gov. Mike Foster reached with Benson. Foster agreed to pay the team $186 million over 10 years, but the state was forced to borrow more than half of last year's $15 million payment.
Ferriday Democrat Hammett Jr. is chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee where the bills would be reviewed first in the legislative process.
AIMING AT ODOM
Some Republican lawmakers are taking aim at embattled Agriculture Commissioner Bob Odom in the session. A bill proposed by Republicans would strip the agricultural finance agency of $12 million in gambling money it receives annually. Another measure would require the agency to follow the public bid process to buy goods or services.
A senate panel has already voted to strip Odom of his authority to regulate a state law requiring gas stations to mark up their prices by at least 6 percent.
VITTER'S DAMAGE CONTROL
Sen. David Vitter informed the Federal Elections Commission last week that he failed to pay the expenses for a fund-raiser organized for him by Indian gambling lobbyist Jack Abramoff. A congressional panel is probing Abramoff's association with tribal clients, which resulted in $80 million dollars in fees. Melanie Sloan, who is executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, is accusing Vitter of a cover-up to conceal his association with Abramoff. "I think he's lying," Sloan said in the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
Vitter became the first elected Republican U.S. senator from Louisiana last November. Throughout his career, he has been a staunch gambling foe, a distinction that raised eyebrows when Abramoff's name appeared on an invitation to a Vitter fund-raiser in September of 2003.
NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT
When LSU Chancellor Sean O'Keefe quit as NASA chief earlier this year, he tripled his income. O'Keefe has now taken on a new and potentially lucrative additional responsibility. He's joining the board of the Sensis Corporation for an undisclosed sum. Sensis is located near Syracuse, N.Y., where O'Keefe once lived. The company provides sensors and information technology to airports, airlines, civil aviation authorities and the military. The chancellor says his duties in Syracuse won't interfere with his assignments at LSU.
JEFFERSON SWEET ON CAFTA
Louisiana's congressional delegation voted unanimously to get rid of the so-called death tax, which affects few residents of the state. But the delegation is splitting on the Central American Free Trade Agreement. The pact with five Central American nations would allow 2 million metric tons of sugar into the United States free of tariffs.
State sugar producers say the measure will depress their profits. Their concerns have made an impression on most members of the Louisiana delegation, but Congressman Bill Jefferson, D-New Orleans, says his district and the state will benefit from CAFTA.
Jefferson is backing CAFTA even though sugar accounts for 27,000 state jobs. He says his constituents will benefit from free trade, noting that port traffic in his district has quadrupled since the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Grads and gridiron fans gear up for game day and paint the town red
Jindal describes the privatization as a cost-cutting move to save the state more than $100 million this year, while improving services and medical training.
A Baton Rouge judge is reconsidering his decision to throw out Gov. Bobby Jindal's revamp of teacher tenure and salary laws.
Ambassador François Delattre will also receive an honorary doctorate of francophone studies at the commencement at the Cajundome.
During the past seven games, the Saints have forced two turnovers — a league low during that span. Now they're trying to figure out what has changed since their first seven games, when they forced 15 turnovers.
Choice cuts from Acadiana’s news media for Friday, Dec. 20, 2013:
For many fans, it was their third consecutive year participating in French Quarter parade.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, December 20, 2013:
Lafayette Parish School Board member Greg Awbrey deserves an attaboy for his unexpected vote during Wednesday’s meeting approving a mediation session between the board and Superintendent Pat Cooper.
The cable television network's suspension of Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson from the hit reality show has drawn criticism from the governor of Robertson's home state.
The State Bond Commission gave preliminary approval to the borrowing plan Thursday without objection.
The Pediatric Clinic is housed in the same location previously closed by state budget cuts in June 2012.
Three-term Louisiana senator facing tough re-election battle is next in line for Energy Committee chairmanship.
In a letter distributed during Wednesday night's meeting, Lafayette Parish School Board member Shelton Cobb, in his final meeting as board president, called on his fellow board members to start focusing on the children and stop battling Superintendent Pat Cooper.
Joshua Dore of Breaux Bridge was sentenced Tuesday to 1.5 years in prison for counterfeiting, according to a press release issued by U.S. Attorney Stephanie Finley’s office on Wednesday.
School super Pat Cooper alleges Lafayette Parish School Board member Mark Allen Babineaux, an attorney, publicly disclosed the details of a closed-door executive session.
Sun Belt commissioner presents title and practice gets under way in preparation for Saturday
Kerry Bertrand’s charge was upgraded Tuesday by an Acadia Parish grand jury from manslaughter to second-degree murder for his alleged role in the drowning death of his stepdaughter, Skylar Credeur.
Sean Payton announced Wednesday that veteran Shayne Graham was New Orleans' new kicker, and that rookie Terron Armstead would get his first start at left tackle.
Should new parents be required by law to attend special classes before being permitted to raise their child? It’s an idea state Rep. Regina Barrow, D-Baton Rouge, is seriously considering.
The agenda for Wednesday’s meeting of the Lafayette Parish School Board tells it all: The board has lost sight of its elected purpose.
A public Mass will be held Thursday in New Orleans for artist George Rodrigue, who died Saturday of cancer at age 69.
Eight former employees of The Times-Picayune have sued the newspaper and parent Advance Publications Inc., alleging their layoffs violated a longstanding "job security pledge" and age discrimination laws.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration hasn't done an independent performance review of its $363 million privatization contract for mental health and addictive disorder treatment services.
"Whether it's the tackle position, whether it's a player on defense ... we're going to look closely at what our options are and what gives us the best chance."