The die is cast ' the Lafayette Utilities System's fiber-to-the-home initiative is going to a public referendum.
At press time, City-Parish President Joey Durel was scheduled to announce on Tuesday, March 15, that Lafayette Consolidated Government and LUS will not appeal judge Byron Hebert's Feb. 26 ruling requiring LUS to start over on its bonding process. Rather than challenge Hebert's decision via legal channels, Durel and LUS are going to let the people decide whether fiber-to-the-home comes to Lafayette. The referendum will be placed on the ballot of the July 16 election.
In a statement, Durel wrote, "To appeal the ruling or to proceed without a referendum would be met by further lawsuits that will endlessly stall our momentum. We cannot delay this project any further."
Durel pulled no punches against BellSouth and Cox Communications in his statement. "Having been unsuccessful in stopping our project in the Legislature, the out-of-state telecom companies know by experience that the only way to defeat our Fiber for the Future plan is at the ballot box. â?¦ The telecom companies will spend unlimited dollars in advertising to try to convince you to vote against this project. They will attempt to confuse you with misstatements, scare tactics and outright false information about the project. I urge you to be cautious and study the issues carefully."
The public referendum became inevitable in recent weeks. If LUS appealed Hebert's ruling, it risked the appearance of ramming through the project without public consent. And even if Hebert's ruling was overturned, BellSouth would likely have appealed and tried to send the case to a higher court, setting off another tortuous round of delays.
With the referendum a full four months away, Lafayette residents can expect to be bombarded with a whole new level of government and private discourse and media coverage of the fiber initiative. ' SJ
UL SPORTS INFORMATION DIRECTOR RANTS TO 'USA TODAY'
Maybe UL Lafayette Sports Information Director Daryl Cetnar was having a really, really, really bad day. Maybe his dissatisfaction with his job had been building for some time. Maybe he wants to get fired from UL. Whatever the situation, Cetnar was clearly inspired by a USA Today poll that asked readers to write in their nominations for the Top 10 worst jobs in sports. On Feb. 27, Cetnar's response to the poll was posted on USA Today's Web site.
"My suggestion is sports information director for a mid-major football program," wrote Cetnar. "You make about $30,000 annually. The travel includes 50 events a year by bus or plane, covering 20,000 miles, and the cities are not New York or Los Angeles; think Moscow, Idaho, and Jonesboro, Ark. You work 12-hour days, designing, writing and editing press guides, releases, schedules, posters, to name a few of the duties.
"And the worst thing is small schools have no money, not even for office supplies, so SIDs are forced to take the pens and paper from hotel rooms."
As far as work rants go, it's an impressive showing. In just two quick paragraphs, Cetnar disses his salary and hours, the hometowns of UL rivals, and implies that UL's sports budget is so small that Cetnar uses Holiday Inns across the country for his stationery needs.
Reached by phone last week, Cetnar refused to comment on his comments.
Cetnar's missive isn't a big deal to UL Sports Director Nelson Schexnayder. Despite that it had been almost two weeks after Cetnar's comments appeared, Schexnayder said last Thursday that he hadn't spoken to Cetnar about the SID's letter. "I've been traveling and he's been traveling, so I haven't had a chance to talk with Daryl," says Schexnayder. Asked if he was concerned that Cetnar's comments might reflect poorly on UL, Schexnayder replied, "Frankly, no. Daryl works hard, does a good job and doesn't complain to me." ' SJ
NOT WHAT JIMMIE WALKER HAD IN MIND
Simoen Lebleu, a 44-year-old Lake Charles man, was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison for threatening to kill a Texas judge by sticking dynamite in his mouth. The Houston Chronicle reported last week that witnesses stated that Lebleu's threat was to show the judge "what it felt like to have somebody else control his life." On a separate conviction for threatening to have his wife killed, Lebleu will spend 10 years on probation after serving his 10-year prison sentence. On separate charges that he threatened to follow the judge home and shoot him as well as shooting him with a poisoned dart, Lebleu was found not guilty. ' RRF
Good, Bad, and Ugly are long-running items on the front page of the The Times of Acadiana's news section. In last week's edition, the paper misspelled Lafayette in the headline of its "Bad" item. ' SJ
RED STICK ROLLS
Tsunami Sushi opened its second location on the sixth floor of Baton Rouge's Shaw Center For The Arts on March 5. Located on the top floor of the $55 million multi-use center, Tsunami carries over its contemporary design from the Lafayette restaurant and looks out over the river. The Shaw Center will also include Capital City Grill, PJ's Coffee House and Wine Bar, LSU Museum of Art, Manship Theatre, LSU School of Art Gallery, a digital studio, Brunner Art Gallery and several classrooms. ' EZ
THE $225,000 QUESTION
Last week, a grand jury began hearing testimony in the investigation of alleged wrongdoing in the Opelousas Police Department. Questions as to how Chief Larry Caillier and former Maj. Ronnie Trahan handled $225,000 of federal grant money for bicycle patrols and other bookkeeping inconsistencies are at the heart of the investigation ("That Crazy Larry Caillier," Aug. 11, 2004). An audit by the State Legislative Auditor's Office released in January was highly critical of the department's handling of funds. Kris Wartelle, spokeswoman for state Attorney General Charles Foti, stated in an Associated Press story, "It's a wider, more complicated legal case than we ever thought, so we're coming back." ' RRF
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.