Wednesday April 11, 2012
A portion of the “racino” revenues state Treasurer John Kennedy says “rightfully belongs” to the St. Landry Parish School System has been restored to the struggling district after Gov. Bobby Jindal unsuccessfully tried to funnel the money to the state’s Medical Assistance Trust Fund (read DHH). According to a joint press release from Kennedy’s office and Democratic state Rep. Ledricka Thierry of Opelousas (pictured), $800,000 has been restored to the St. Landry Parish Excellence Fund, a state fund set up to support St. Landry Parish public education by dedicating 5 percent of taxes collected from the Evangeline Downs Racetrack and proceeds from the casino’s slot machines. According to The Daily World, the fund had somehow acquired a $1.8 million reserve, which Jindal tried to take from the local school district and move to state coffers. Though Thierry is still working to recoup the rest of the money in the fund, the $800,000 is good news for a school board deep in the red.
Three of The Daily Advertiser’s longtime newsroom employees — a wealth of institutional knowledge — have accepted early retirement offers and will leave the company mid-month. Departing are sports writer Bruce Brown, photographer Brad Kemp and Photo Editor Peter Piazza, according to a Sunday story in the paper. Two advertising employees — Brenda Morvant and Debbie Credeur — will also be retiring. In February The Independent reported that the paper’s parent company, Gannett Co., had extended the retirement offer to 665 eligible U.S. Community Publishing employees at least 56 years old with 20 years or more of service. The offer provides for salary continuation of two weeks’ pay for each complete year of service, capped at 52 weeks, and ongoing health, dental and vision coverage during this period. Brown, who has been with the Advertiser for 37 years, having previously served as sports editor for two decades, is the newspaper’s most senior staffer. Piazza got his start as a photographer in 1973, and Kemp started in 1988. Each knows Lafayette like the back of his hand. Their departure is a loss for local media and news consumers.
Steve Dimmick, owner of The Wild Salmon, a Foreman Drive bar and welcome addition to Lafayette’s live music scene, was outed as the man with a plan from a can following a recent profile in The Times of Acadiana. The Times reported a bartender saying the bar is named after the salmon Dimmick catches during annual summer trips to his brother’s fishing lodge in Alaska — fish he packs and brings south for the restaurant’s signature salmon burgers. One problem in this fish tale: It’s illegal in Alaska to sell sport-caught fish, and when an Alaskan online newspaper caught wind of The Times’ profile, it did some asking around. After a little sleuthing, The (Alaska) Dispatch reported, “[Dimmick] called back from the Southern state shortly thereafter to confess he’d been trying to pull a fast one on his fellow Louisianans. [He] said he packs a few fish to take home himself when he heads south — but none for the bar and grill. “That comes 100 percent out of the can,” he said.
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