Local television broadcasting's loss is Matt Stuller's gain. Sixteen-year news and sports broadcaster Scott Brazda is leaving KATC-TV3 for a position as executive director of the Stuller Family Foundation, which provides grants to various community non-profit organizations and projects. Brazda and Stuller developed a relationship over the years through their mutual work with St. Jude Dream Home, KATC's biggest and most identifiable charitable project.
Brazda, 46, says he'll stay on at the station until a replacement is named, possibly till mid-August. Brazda likens his new post to his job as a reporter, as he'll be interviewing heads of organizations that make grant requests in order to assess the community's needs. "I'm going to be reporting back to [the foundation board] my thoughts on these requests," he says. As executive director of Stuller Family Foundation, he'll also be charged with helping various non-profits work together in order to avoid duplication of services. (Another primary responsibility will be coordination of one of the Stuller Family Foundation's major projects, the new Ascension High School in Sugar Mill Pond, slated to open in the fall of 2008.)
A 1982 UL grad who grew up in Lafayette, Brazda joined the station's sports department at the age of 30 and worked his way up to the coveted evening anchor spot. He was moved to sports director in December 2003 when Hoyt Harris returned to local TV. Though the sports post was a good fit for him, the transfer was a letdown ' Brazda had developed a greater zeal for the versatility of news.
Nonetheless, Brazda again excelled at the sports desk. "You can't go through life mad," he says. "The first six months weren't easy, because it wasn't my call. They made a business decision."
This time, it's Brazda who's made the call. "I was kind of looking for challenges," he says. "At TV3 I've done everything but weather. I was always open to new possibilities." ' Leslie Turk
GOP LINES UP BEHIND ROMERO
One of the biggest challenges state Sen. Craig Romero faced during the 2004 contest in the 3rd Congressional District ' aside from the fact it was one of the nastiest in the nation ' was tepid support from his own party. But now the New Iberia Republican is solidifying his base. The chairman of the Louisiana Republican Party has endorsed Romero's campaign, as has the national co-founder of the Christian Coalition. But last week Romero was truly brought into the conservative inner circle when House Speaker Dennis Hastert and House Majority Whip Roy Blunt wrote checks to Romero's campaign at a Washington, D.C. fundraiser. The event was also hosted by members of key congressional committees. ' Jeremy Alford
JINDAL: WASHINGTON, D.C. IGNORING BLANCO
Louisiana came one step closer last week to realizing its goal of increasing its share of offshore oil and gas royalties when the U.S. House approved legislation that would guarantee $9 billion over the next decade. Kenner Republican Rep. Bobby Jindal was the lead sponsor of the legislation, and didn't hesitate to use the victory for a subtle dig at Gov. Kathleen Blanco. The governor is pushing her own plan to up revenue sharing by refusing to sign off on offshore royalties in August, but Jindal says her threats aren't resonating. "D.C. never focuses on anything but today," he says. ' JA
NOLA OFFICIALS SOUND OFF ON ACADIANA PLANS
A few Crescent City officials have weighed in regarding The Independent Weekly's June 14 cover story, "The Tourism Trap," which detailed the plan by some Acadiana officials to market the region to tourists as an alternative to New Orleans while the southeastern part of the state recovers from Katrina. Steve Perry, president of the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau, says Acadiana should promote itself by any means necessary, but the new marketing message is off-base. "We're completely open and operating," Perry says. "Jazz Fest had a half-million people. This week marks the launch of three major conventions. The hospitality industry here is not only open, but it is thriving. The tourism experience is already back to normal." Perry also points to Jackson Square, which received minimal damage, and the aquarium, which is stocked full of fish and open to visitors. Sandy Shilstone, director of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation, says Acadiana isn't trying anything new, and she doubts it would help New Orleans transition back to pre-Katrina times. "We appreciate the help from the Acadiana parishes," Shilstone says with a hearty laugh, "but New Orleans is up and running." ' JA
OLD GLORY ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL
Several polls conducted in June bolster forecast that flag-burning will be a fiery topic during the upcoming congressional races. CNN reports that 56 percent of its respondents favor a constitutional amendment banning flag desecration, while FOX Network boasts that 73 percent in its poll want to criminalize the act. NBC, meanwhile, touts a survey revealing 44 percent of voters are more likely to back a candidate with these convictions. When the U.S. Senate took up a constitutional amendment banning the burning last week, Louisiana Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu threw a bone to conservatives with a press release touting her supportive vote. She called the American flag "our nation's most enduring symbol of freedom," and added, "Today's vote notwithstanding, I still believe this amendment and the Freedom of Speech can stand side-by-side in our Constitution." ' 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.