Jostling for the 2007 District 24 state Senate election has already begun. District 44 State Rep. and former Lafayette City Councilman Wilfred Pierre is already off to the races with fund-raisers announcing his intentions to replace state Sen. Don Cravins. And Don Cravins Jr. isn't happy about it.
The elder Cravins is term limited out of his current seat in 2007 and recently announced his intentions to run for mayor of Opelousas in 2006. Pierre, now in his fourth term in the state House, also is prevented for running for re-election of his current seat in 2007.
In the past couple weeks, Pierre's office sent out letters inviting supporters to a $300 per person Baton Rouge fund-raiser for his Senate bid. Pierre did not return a call for comment by press time.
Pierre voted for term limits in 1995, but that does not prevent him from running for a different seat or taking a four-year break to run for his old seat again.
Don Cravins Jr., who many have speculated will also run for his father's District 24 state Senate seat in 2007, says Pierre is jumping the gun. "I think it's premature for anybody to come out and say we're running for something that won't come about until 2007," he says. "I can't do that. We've got so many things we need to deal with before the 2007 Senate election."
Cravins Jr. also contends it's disingenuous for legislators to approve term limits if they only intend to run for different legislative seats. "If everyone's just going to switch houses, we really didn't limit anything then," he says. "I hope new people are allowed to get involved in government."
The election for the District 24 Senate seat is now scheduled for October 2007. However, in the event that Sen. Cravins is elected mayor of Opelousas in next September's municipal elections, state Senate President Don Hines would need to call a special election prior to the 2007 spring legislative session to fill the Senate seat. ' NS
PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP FOR FIBER?
Lafayette Utilities System Director Terry Huval is seriously considering the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce's suggestion that LUS seek private partnerships in its effort to bring fiber into Lafayette Parish's homes. The chamber recommended a public-private partnership (which it says would be similar to a municipality constructing an airport terminal and runway and leasing space to airlines on the premises) in its unanimous endorsement of the LUS project last week. The chamber is encouraging LUS to conduct a nationwide request for proposal process if residents vote on July 16 to authorize the utility to sell $125 million in bonds for the project.
"There's no question we had that plan to begin with," says Huval, explaining that one likely scenario involves teaming with a company that runs a co-op specifically designed to buy cable programming in bulk for its members, both private and municipal small-system cable providers. "We'd be a member of that private company," he says.
Huval likens such partnerships to LUS' contract with a tree-trimming service, Asplundh, which helps maintain overhead utility lines obstructed by tree limbs. That company's base of resources and personnel across the country allows it to quickly deploy additional staff to Lafayette in the event of a natural disaster, Huval says.
If a full-fledged partnership opportunity emerges, LUS would have to rewrite its business plan, because it's likely the utility would not be able to use tax-exempt municipal bonds. Huval says such partnerships require extensive analysis. "I have seen way too many public entities go into public-private partnerships, which makes everybody feel good, and then the private company does not produce." ' LT
Around 1:15 a.m. Easter Sunday, French Teacher Xavier Colignon and his fellow French instructors were wrapping up a night of celebrating his birthday at the bar Marley's, in downtown Lafayette. After being punched in the face by an unidentified assailant, Colignon fell to the floor, fracturing his skull in two places. The assailant left through the bar's back door. Marley's co-owner Eric Cloutier says the entire incident was videotaped on his surveillance system, and the tape was handed over to Lafayette police. On Friday, Cpl. Mark Francis said that police had arrested 27-year-old Ben Thibodaux of Lafayette on charges of second-degree battery. Thibodaux is the son of Lafayette Parish School Board President David Thibodaux. ' RRF
It has been more than a year since the Lafayette Department of Environmental Quality held its last recycling day in November 2003. That event commemorated 15 years of recycling in the city and took in 20 tons of computers and electronics, 343 used car and truck tires and 150 large books for recycling and redistribution. This year, Environmental Quality Director Boyd Boswell says he is hoping to increase that haul by about 25 percent at "Recycling Spring Fling" from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturday, April 9, at 400 Dorset Ave. (near the railroad tracks off Pinhook Road).
This year's event will include a 4,000-gallon truck from Aaron Oil company in Berwick to collect any old automotive fluids. Workers will not be accepting household chemicals such as paints and pesticides or TVs, VCRs and small appliances such as toasters and microwaves. Environmental Quality will also be handing out copies of its first-ever Parish Residents Interested in their Direct Environment (PRIDE) Guide at the event. "Obviously, I want to see people come out to properly to dispose of the items we're collecting," says Boswell. "But, more importantly, by handing out this PRIDE guide, we're telling people how to get rid of everything we're collecting any day of the week for free." ' NS
A federal jury found attorney Daniel Stanford guilty Friday afternoon on eight of 13 counts for his role in the Curious Goods conspiracy.
Lafayette City-Court Judge Francie Bouillion has served on the bench for two decades since winning a special election to replace Judge Kaliste Saloom when he retired in 1994.
The magazine's senior football writer also predicts a break-out year for Saints fourth-year running back Mark Ingram.
Gulf Coast ceremonies marking the ninth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina have begun.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says there is little known about the effects of tiger prawns on indigenous Louisiana shrimp. But, officials say the reports they're seeking will help state biologists monitor the distribution of the prawns and determine the possible presence of spawning populations.
Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh rested his regulars and watched with delight as Ray Rice's backups ground out 214 yards rushing in a 22-13 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Thursday night.
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High-profile criminal defense attorney Daniel Stanford awaits his fate in the Curious Goods conspiracy trial.
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A federal judge on Thursday asked lawyers battling over Louisiana's new, restrictive abortion law for an agreement that apparently could let clinics stay open — at least for a while — after the law takes effect Sept. 1.
An abortion rights organization wants a federal judge to block enforcement of Louisiana's new abortion law while its lawsuit to overturn the law makes its way through court.
Republican presidential prospects Ted Cruz and Bobby Jindal are planning to speak at an Iowa Christian conservative event in September.
The attention surrounding Victor White III has spiked with the release of last week’s autopsy report, which has raised a number of serious questions about the night of his death and has put the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office under an increased wave of scrutiny as more national media outlets are jumping on the story, most recently seen on MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show.
A group supporting taxpayer-funded private school tuition vouchers is appealing a federal judge's order that Louisiana must provide regular reports to federal officials on the state's voucher program.
The Discovery Channel has canceled reality TV star Will Hayden's popular "Sons of Guns" show after his arrest on an aggravated rape charge.
The LPSB will finally hear from the attorney it hired to investigate the superintendent at a special meeting Thursday at 4 p.m.
Authorities are investigating a report that a student there warned the principal of impending violence similar to that depicted in the movie "The Purge."
Saints cornerback Champ Bailey has played for more than a handful of playoff teams during a career that has seen him selected to 12 Pro Bowls.
Police say a 56-year-old Lafayette man walking behind a dump truck died when the truck hit him as it was backing up.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees is a proud papa of new baby girl.
The books on Louisiana's last budget year have been closed, but it took a bit of borrowing from this year to make the numbers work.
The Iberia Parish Coroner responded Monday to the attention surrounding the questionable shooting of Victor White III, a black man from New Iberia who died April 2 while in the custody of local law enforcement.
Two months after lawmakers agreed to create a $40 million higher education incentive fund, no decisions have been made about how to divide the money.
With Drew Brees back healthy, the New Orleans Saints are free to work on the little things that can make the difference between a Super Bowl run and something less.