ASH Industries, the now notorious injection molding business that got its start in the Davidson family's Girard Park Drive back yard 15 years ago, is finally moving to a legitimate business location at 1330 W. Willow St. ("Horse Play: Cottage Industry," Oct. 19, 2005).
Lafayette attorney Jimmy Davidson's 4-acre Girard Park site, which is zoned single-family residential, is part of the controversial land swap proposal involving UL Lafayette's Johnston Street horse farm.
ASH's new location will be a $1 million, 13,605-square-foot facility, according to its construction permit. But before that move happens, the plastics manufacturer will have to come in compliance with its grandfathered, or "non-conforming," zoning status. On Dec. 16, Lafayette Consolidated Government cited the company with illegal expansion for adding a building between 2001 and 2004. A city-parish ordinance prevents such businesses from increasing their square footage.
ASH also was cited for having an invalid certificate of occupancy. Owned by Davidson's son-in-law, ASH received a CO for a "novelty sales" business in 1992, listing Davidson's law office as its address.
ASH initially had until Jan. 3 to remove the building and secure a valid CO, but it has requested an extension to Jan. 16. If the company does not meet that deadline, Zoning Manager Denise Womack says her office will pursue a formal zoning violation against it, which may lead to misdemeanor prosecution and penalties. The crime is punishable by either a fine of up to $100 per day or 30 days in jail (or both) for each day the company is in violation.
ASH's attorney, Glenn Edwards, has asked to review aerial photographs local government used to support the expansion claim. "I'm still looking at the two issues they brought up," he says. ' Leslie Turk
LANDRIEU'S GOP MOVE
U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu has hand-selected her new chief of staff ' and he's a Republican. Ron Faucheux, a Louisiana native, will replace departing chief of staff Norma Jane Sabiston. Faucheux may be best known as the former owner and publisher of Campaigns and Elections magazine, a must-read rag for political junkies. This could be a sign that Democrat Landrieu is considering softening her liberal edge in coming months, especially in the face of an electorate turning more conservative and a state losing its Democratic voting base due to the storm. This might also be a sign that Faucheux ' a former state representative ' won't be running again for mayor of New Orleans, at least in 2006 (He faced off against Dutch Morial in 1981).Â ' Jeremy Alford
The political stars still aren't lining up for Louisiana's embattled governor. The latest poll conducted by SurveyUSA, which is funded by a consortium of media organizations, shows Gov. Kathleen Blanco continuing to slip in popularity. From the 600 samples taken from Dec. 9-11, the governor yielded a 33 percent approval rating ' compared to 55 percent in May. Her approval ratings among women and blacks, however, hover in the mid- to high-40s. Meanwhile, in a very unscientific poll on the Web site of Moon Griffon, a statewide conservative syndicated talk show host, Blanco isn't faring any better. When asked if they felt the ongoing effort to recall the governor is "necessary," 249 out of 270 respondents answered "Yes." To top it all off for the holidays, black female Democratic Rep. Charmaine Marchand, who represents the lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans, told The Advocate that Blanco would need something "miraculous" to rebound in time for re-election in two years. ' JA
OUTSIDE CITY LIMITS
State officials have been quite busy lately issuing procedural ' and ceremonial ' rules for the communities outside Lafayette. The Attorney General's Office recently released an opinion allowing the police department in Broussard to rent out its off-duty patrol cars to private organizations for security details. (Renters would have to pay for gas and other expenses.) The governor also issued an executive order last week reclassifying the town of Youngsville to the city of Youngsville. A recent census discovered that Youngsville had swelled to a population of 5,108 residents pre-Katrina and Rita, thus qualifying it as a city ' by only 108 residents.Â ' JA
Cattle ranchers in Acadiana are still trying to deal with the salty aftereffects of Hurricane Rita. While scientists investigate saltwater contamination, many ranchers are still waiting for cattle forage to grow back. "We are still short of hay," says Gary Wicke, an LSU AgCenter county agent in Cameron Parish. Even if adequate forage were available, Wicke says it would be impossible to move cattle to the pastures due to all the destroyed fences. Cattle owners in the area evacuated a large number of cattle in the three days before Rita struck, but some were left behind. An estimated 4,000 head of cattle in Vermilion Parish alone died in last year's storm, and as many as 4,000 have been sold since Rita. Bob Felknor, executive secretary of the Louisiana Cattlemen's Association, says donations are coming in to help ranchers, but the need will exist until they're able to grow grass again. "Fields are still under water, and there are cattle starving right now," Felknor says. ' JA
Despite sweeping changes enacted by Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration, the health insurance program for state workers and public school employees will have to use $88 million from its reserve fund to cover its costs this year.
The LPSB races are sure to get heated between now and Nov. 4, and with only 9 available seats, this year's field of 20 candidates will surely be wanting to set themselves apart from the crowd early; they'll get their chance next week, starting Tuesday with the kick-off of a three-day series of candidate forums.
Lawmakers say they've received complaints that waits have spiked, with people being forced to wait in line for more than an hour — and sometimes three hours — to handle routine tasks.
The campaign announced that Rep. Stuart Bishop of District 43 and Nancy Landry, District 31, have thrown their support behind the Naval Academy graduate and entrepreneur in his bid to unseat current Hunter Beasley in District 8.
A Lafayette man with an alleged taste for child porn was busted Thursday evening during a cyber crime sting launched by the Attorney General’s Office.
U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister says his chief of staff is on temporary leave after being booked with drunken driving.
It was a rare moment in Congress this week as Republicans briefly put aside partisanship in support of President Barack Obama's request to train and arm Syrian rebels, and while a number of Democrats opposed the measure, Louisiana's Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu found herself on the same side of the issue as her Republican challenger Rep. Bill Cassidy.
Home Depot breach bigger than Target; Alibaba IPO could be big; Rivers' last project and more national and international news for Friday, September 19, 2014.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
City-Parish President Joey Durel is asking the council to sign off on a resolution approving a pair of deals that would lead to razing the seedy Lesspay Motel at Four Corners to build a new police substation as well as transforming nearly a block Downtown where the old federal courthouse building now molders into a mixed-use development.
In 2013, the IRS — already the least popular governmental agency in the country — became the target of intense investigations after it was revealed that they had specifically and improperly scrutinized applications for tax-exempt status from organizations associated with the nascent Tea Party movement.
Improving the running game was "a point of emphasis" during the offseason and the results have manifested themselves in the form of substantially greater production.
Louisiana's health department said Wednesday that its evaluation of the state's Medicaid privatization was on target, despite criticism from the legislative auditor that it lacked key data and contained inconsistencies.
The feds converge on your office, seizing records on several employees as part of a pay-for-plea investigation. WWYD? If you’re Mike Harson, you give yourself a $12k raise.
It’s football season and after back-to-back winless weekends for the Saints and the Cajuns many citizens are finding it difficult to be civil much less happy. Well, chew on this.
Considering his repeated stays in the local penal system, David Narcisse Jr. should have known that having a semiautomatic shotgun, even one given to him by a friend, wasn’t the brightest of ideas.
A state district judge on Tuesday threw out a last-minute retirement hike lawmakers gave to the state police superintendent, ending a political firestorm over a pension boost passed without public scrutiny on the last day of the legislative session.
The House has passed a bill to increase oversight of veterans' hospitals under construction, following a report that some medical centers take three years longer to complete than estimated and cost an extra $366 million per project.
An obvious follow-up question for any Republican politician who accuses Democrats of being science deniers is one about science, to which Jindal bobbed and weaved like a welterweight champ.
The Lafayette City-Parish Council is expected to decide tonight (Tuesday) whether to go along with a proposal City-Parish President Joey Durel made in February’s State of the Parish Address and consolidate taxes for mosquito control and the parish health units into a broader tax program that would also cover animal control.
U.S. District Judge Richard Haik has dismissed Greg Davis’ lawsuit against the LPSB, yet in his ruling, the federal judge doesn’t bite his tongue in pointing out the "threat" being posed by certain board members.
Of all the political offices being contested throughout Lafayette Parish, the race for Broussard’s top police post has literally become one of the most heated.
A state district judge is deciding whether to issue an injunction against the enforcement of a last-minute retirement hike that lawmakers gave to the state police superintendent.
A new website is up for Louisiana's state government employees and retirees to choose their health insurance plans for next year, a choice they must make by October.
That fact that New Orleans led both games in the final 10 seconds of regulation, and lost each by a field goal or less, is of little solace.