Gene Williams' stint at The Times of Acadiana will tally all of eight months when he leaves in late October to join the Cape Cod Times as managing editor. Williams joined The Times earlier this year as managing editor, having relocated here from Hattiesburg, Miss., where he operated -30- and Beyond, an online writing and editing service that lists Williams as its founder.
Owned by Dow Jones subsidiary Ottaway Newspaper Co. chain of Campbell Hill, N.Y., the Cape Cod Times is a daily newspaper in Hyannis, Mass., with a circulation of 50,000 ' comparable to The Daily Advertiser's 46,449 circulation, 55,730 on Sunday. The Advertiser and The Times, a weekly, are sister papers published by the Gannett Co. chain.
"I love it here; I love Lafayette, and I love The Times," says Williams, explaining that the opportunity to be managing editor of a "decent size" daily was too good to pass up. Williams also previously worked for the New York Daily News and says he's happy to return to the East Coast area.
Williams isn't sure who'll replace him as managing editor of the Lafayette weekly. "There are several people in house who would be good candidates, but I don't know if they'll be interested," he says. Â' Leslie Turk
JINDAL'S NOT DONE SPENDING
Like a ransom note, it made firm demands: "DEADLINE: $39,319.14 by midnight Saturday!!!" But no one had been kidnapped; it was the subject line from a fund-raising e-mail sent out last week by GOP Congressman Bobby Jindal.
The Metairie freshman blanketed supporters with the digital appeal just four days before quarterly finance reports were due to the Federal Elections Commission on Oct. 1. Aside from pushing to meet his goal, Jindal also wrote to his "friends" that the campaign would spend another $700,000 over the next few weeks ' and that's on top of the $1 million Jindal already spent during the second quarter, largely on a massive media buy.
Still, Jindal, who has roughly $1.8 million in the bank as of the latest count, faces no real competition. In fact, his closest opponent has cobbled together just over $16,000 to mount an offensive. "We are not taking anything for granted," Jindal writes. "With three opponents working to defeat me, we need your help." Obviously, the Louisiana Republican Party isn't taking anything for granted, either, as they continue branding everything from bumper stickers to Web sites with the elephant mantra of 2007: "Don't Blame Me, I Voted For Jindal." ' Jeremy Alford
FILLING CRAVINS' SHOES
While longtime St. Landry Parish state Sen. Don Cravins isn't expected to officially step down from the post until the end of the year, the race to elect his successor is already under way. Cravins was elected mayor of Opelousas Sept. 30 and says he will officially retire from the state Senate at the end of the year. Meanwhile, the Legislature wasted no time in making preparations for choosing his successor. Louisiana Senate President Don Hines issued a proclamation last week calling for a special Dec. 9 election to fill the pending vacancy.
Two popular local state representatives, Wilfred Pierre of Lafayette and Don Cravins, Jr. of Opelousas, have already announced their intentions to vie for the seat. Lafayette City-Parish Councilman Chris Williams has also been rumored as a potential contender but could not be reached for comment before press time. The short time span before the election may deter Williams from jumping in and also give Cravins Jr. a slight edge, given his father's popularity in the district and recent landslide victory as mayor of Opelousas.
District 24 covers both St. Landry Parish and the northern end of Lafayette Parish, with a majority (55 percent) of the district located in St. Landry. The District 24 state Senate election will be the only item on the Dec. 9 ballot, leading Lafayette Parish Clerk of Court Louis Perret to predict a very low turnout. "We would expect an abysmal turnout," he says. "So, it's going to come down to whoever can turn out their vote." ' Nathan Stubbs
LSU INCREASES COULD BE REVISED
It appears the state's flagship university will proceed with its ongoing push to raise tuition and/or fees, and it will do so with the support of regional business leaders. Stephen Moret, president of the Greater Baton Rouge Chamber of Commerce, says a funding increase for LSU will be among the top legislative priorities next year for his membership and others. Ideally, though, he says he would like to "see more support in general for LSU." At least indirectly, Moret is echoing the sentiment of various officials and alumni that LSU has taken a back seat under the current administration.
Support, however, does reach high places. House Speaker Joe Salter, a Florien Democrat, pushed a $150-per-semester increase for LSU during the regular session earlier this year. The proposal would have generated $15.6 million for the entire LSU system, including Eunice, New Orleans and Shreveport, but it failed to get out of committee. About 10 years ago, voters approved a constitutional amendment giving the Legislature the sole discretion to increase tuition and fees, thus sending academics to the capitol every year groveling for money. The growing support from public and private sectors for colleges and universities to have dependable plans for regular increases, though, may peak with the LSU debate during next year's regular session, giving way to what could be more change in the process. ' JA
HEITMEIER'S LEVEEE PROBLEMS
With only a few days to go before the primary election for secretary of state, the Louisiana Republican Party dropped dirt on state Sen. Francis Heitmeier, a New Orleans Democrat. But it was largely ignored for a variety of reasons, ranging from timeliness to the fact it was overshadowed by news that Mike Francis, a Lafayette Republican, wasn't reporting expenses related to his private jet. Nonetheless, it offers an early look at the mud that will be slung during the final days of the runoff campaign between Heitmeier and state Sen. Jay Dardenne, a Republican from Baton Rouge.
GOP Chairman Roger F. Villere Jr., is circulating a laundry list of curious deeds involving the infamous Orleans Parish Levee Board, Heitmeier and his friends and family. For instance, he points to a Los Angeles Times story linking Heitmeier's brother to an alleged multi-million dollar no-bid contract to purchase eyeglasses for the levee district. "Talk about defrauding the people of Louisiana," Villere says. There's little doubt the Republican Party will try to fracture Heitmeier's base in southeast Louisiana with related information, which ' not at all coincidentally ' is the same region that voted overwhelmingly last month to squash the old levee board system due to its crooked, fabled past. ' JA
Friends and family will celebrate Spider's life in September.
Saints safety Jairus Byrd has rarely been so eager to hit and be hit, if only to reassure himself that his surgically repaired back is as healed as doctors believe.
Jindal privatized nearly all the LSU hospitals without waiting for federal officials to sign off on financing arrangements that rely on millions of federal Medicaid dollars.
U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu and her main Republican challenger, Congressman Bill Cassidy, verbally sparred as they officially signed up on the opening day of qualifying for Louisiana's November election.
Superintendent tells crowd he'd just emerged from a four-hour meeting with the attorney hired to investigate him.
The start of the three-day qualifying period for November’s elections has so far yielded 10 official bids and one new announcement from candidates seeking a seat on the school board.
It’s been just over four months since attorney Barry Domingue committed suicide the morning before he was to stand trial for a second day in the federal Curious Goods case, leaving his fellow attorney/co-defendant Daniel Stanford with a temporary mistrial and awaiting his day in court.
Candidates for Louisiana's Nov. 4 election must officially sign up for the ballot this week.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's effort to derail Louisiana's use of the Common Core education standards was halted Tuesday by a state judge who said the governor's actions were harmful to parents, teachers and students.
New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram isn't letting a humbling start to his pro career lower his opinion of what he can still accomplish in the NFL.
Phoenix flooding stuns residents; Gaza truce talks collapse, NFL vets defy age label and more national and international news for Wednesday, August 20, 2014.
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
Visualize Lafayette’s next great thing from 3,000 feet.
A Baton Rouge judge issued a temporary restraining order Monday against enforcing a law that prohibits anyone 70 or older from running for justice of the peace or constable.
Gov. Bobby Jindal believes the last-minute passage of a pension hike for his state police superintendent, Col. Mike Edmonson, was improperly handled, according to the governor's office.
As the courts hash out the attempts to preserve and shelve Common Core in Louisiana, a group of six state lawmakers are planning an Aug. 22 trip to Oklahoma to meet with their counterparts and strategize for the 2015 regular session.
While hopes are high for turnout this fall, a new report from the Center for the Study of the American Electorate suggests that Louisiana's midterm face-offs may amount to nothing special in terms of votes cast.
The attorney hired by the Lafayette Parish School Board for a special investigation of Superintendent Pat Cooper has submitted his final report, though it may be another week before the findings are made public.
The Tea Party of Louisiana is calling Sen. David Vitter a “turncoat” for his newfound embrace of Common Core educational standards.
An annual report evaluating Gov. Bobby Jindal's privatization of Medicaid lacked important financial information and presented rosy performance reviews not corroborated by data, according to a review released Monday.
Lafayette attorney Michelle Meaux-Breaux has announced her plans to seek the Division E seat for judge in the 15th Judicial District.
A card-carrying member of Lafayette’s “tribe,” Milton “Spider” Guidry died over the weekend. IND music writer Nick Pittman remembers the character and the man.
As tensions continue to escalate in Ferguson, Mo., between law enforcement and residents protesting the shooting death of a local teen by police, we’re reminded of the peculiar circumstances surrounding the in-custody death earlier this year of a New Iberia man.
A group of teachers and parents who support Common Core is asking a state judge to invalidate Gov. Bobby Jindal's actions against the multi-state education standards.
Drew Brees walked up to the line of scrimmage early Sunday, taking a snap during the New Orleans Saints' pre-practice walk-through.