Tuesday, 17 November 2009 21:00
by IND Monthly Staff
Louisiana — Lafayette in particular — continues to outperform much of the nation in weathering the recession. The Hub City is ranked ninth in the latest annual list of America’s 25 best-performing cities. The Milken Institute, an independent think tank, ranks cities based on a number of factors including job creation, salaries and industrial/economic activity. Baton Rouge landed at 18th on the list and Shreveport-Bossier came in at 24th. All three metro areas showed improvement over last year’s rankings: Lafayette moved up from 14th; Baton Rouge from 40th; and Shreveport-Bossier from 67th.
Lafayette may be riding out the recession relatively well, but it’s been a bumpy ride for many of our community’s non-profit agencies as individuals and companies pull back their charitable donations. Acadiana Outreach, which helps individuals and families affected by substance-abuse transition to healthy, productive lives, is one such agency in desperate need of help. One estimate that crossed our collective desk has AO’s donations down 50 percent in the last several months. Tomorrow’s Palates & Paté fundraiser could be a make-or-break event for the non-profit. For more, see this week’s LivingIND cover story.
Just when we think we have state Rep. Rickey Hardy figured out, he hits the enigma button. The colorful, quotable Lafayette lawmaker and former school board member last week found the sweet spot where legislative power and hurt feelings converge, sticking it to the Lafayette Parish School System to the tune of $746,000 in Louisiana Educational Excellence Fund money. The funding, drawn from the 1998 court settlement with Big Tobacco, is distributed to public school systems for drop-out prevention and other programs. The LPSS apparently failed to honor the protocol of contacting its House representative (Hardy) to supplicate, “Please? Pretty please? With sugar on top?” In a pique, Hardy offered a motion during a joint House-Senate Education Committee hearing to distribute the funding to all parishes except Lafayette. Twenty-four hours of crackling brouhaha later, Hardy softened his stand and suggested he may revisit the funding in December. Heretofore, Hardy has proven himself a champion of public education, but this latest episode has left us scratching our head.
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AUG 29 Everyone who cares about Louisiana should take time to peruse this story about coastal loss from Bob Marshall of The Lens. It's not enough to call it a story; it's an interactive experience packed with data and amazing graphics, timelines, history, photos and excellent writing. Set aside some time, because you can't go through this one in a few minutes.
JUN 29 This bizarre story from the Advocate on the shooting of a Baton Rouge television personality reads like the script of a soap opera - but not a good one. The allegations against him include sexual abuse of children, including the alleged shooter, and a sham immigration marriage involving his own daughter. The other side? He was a chaplin for the Sheriff's Office in Baton Rouge and preached in a local church.
AUG 29 Here's a story from CBS News about a killer amoeba found in the water system of St. John the Baptist Parish. The story made all three networks (CBS, ABC, NBC) as well as Fox "News," although they have not yet found out how it is Obama's fault. Seriously, the good news is that so far officials know of no one sickened by the water.
AUG 29 Huffington Post has a blog called Love Letters, which is grandly described as "an anthology of reflections on places the world over." This entry is from LSU Football Coach Les Miles, who, it appears, loves Baton Rouge. (Of course he does; he's a rich straight white man.) And certainly Baton Rouge loves him - unless he loses (ask Curley "Golden Flake" Hallman about that) or leaves (ask Nick Saban).
AUG 29 Blogger Bob Mann comments here upon Governor Bobby Jindal's federal lawsuit about Common Core. Mann calls it a "thinly veiled campaign document" and that might be the nicest thing he says in this post. Most troubling for Jindal and his aspirations, Mann has unearthed what Bobby said just a few years ago when he first decided to shove Common Core down our throats.
AUG 29 Blogger Tom Aswell has several developments here related to the so-called Edmonson amendment. The most entertaining one is possibly Tom's acknowledgement that a State Police official is (allegedly) calling the bloggers covering the story some colorful names. Listen up, cowboy: You really think two veterans like Tom Aswell and CB Forgotston care if you call them idiots?
AUG 29 Gotta love those journalists who write something with the enthusiasm that implies they're the first one to figure something out. Mostly, they're not. This is one of those times; the post on Slate Magazine says that Bobby Jindal's Common Core lawsuit is a political stunt. Well - Duh.
AUG 29 This story by WVLA tells us about a guy who got busted for speeding in Baton Rouge. Who cares? This guy took that infraction to new heights by going 129 miles per hour on Nicholson Drive. Poor fella - he probably has spent so much time sitting in Baton Rouge traffic he just had to cut lose.
AUG 28 As the controversy surrounding the Office of Group Benefits intensifies, blogger Tom Aswell gives us some background on the current problems. The OGB, which handles health insurance for current and retired state employees, is deep in the red since it was privatized by Jindal, and Aswell gives us the skinny: this great plan was designed by ALEC. The company handling it? Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana - a longtime member of ALEC.
AUG 28 Blogger CB Forgotston has a concept for a new reality show: the wives of the "Dork Dynasty." That's the name that some troopers have given to State Police Commander Mike Edmonson and his inner circle. The ladies CB has picked for his cast are not just housewives, however, and the connections here are pretty interesting.
AUG 28 Blogger Ian McGibboney is writing about the strife in Ferguson in this post, and articulating what many people down south are saying. There's a fairy tale about how there's tons of racism in the South, but it's all hunky dory up North. (Really? Look again.)
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