Lafayette has been selected one of 25 cities across the country to hop on the US Ignite bandwidth wagon and attract national attention to the next-generation technologies the Hub City has to offer. Announced at a major media event at the White House last week, US Ignite is a national collaborative endeavor to incorporate the latest technologies for the betterment of six areas of “national priority.” In Lafayette, government agencies and UL Lafayette are teaming up with nonprofits and the private sector for a focus on all things health care with the creation of a Living Lab for Health Innovation, where health care professionals will work together to tackle “society’s toughest challenges” like childhood obesity, aging in place, emergency medicine and workplace health. It’s a “big win” for the city, as LUS Fiber Sales and Marketing Analyst Amy Broussard describes it, and a big blow to the local fiber initiative’s biggest critics: The 25 cities and the 60 universities that were chosen for US Ignite all have existing broadband networks.

Gov. Bobby Voucher is eager to siphon our tax dollars out of public education and pump them News3into private schools that teach kids pseudo-science and pseudo-history. French immersion? Not so much. Part of the (punitive) $2 million Jindal stripped from the Department of Recreation, Culture & Tourism’s marketing budget was a $100,000 cut to the Lafayette-based Council for the Development of French in Louisiana’s Escadrille Louisiane program. Escadrille is a primary component of CODOFIL’S mission to preserve and promote French in Louisiana, allowing French teachers to further their studies at French universities, thereby refreshing the pool of Francophone educators in our public school system. CODOFIL President William Arceneaux says he’s “terribly disappointed” by the line-item veto and speculates his organization might have to suspend the program for the foreseeable future.

U.S. Department of Justice attorney Rachel Hranitzky clearly needs a 1st Amendment refresher; then she needs to host a seminar for her bosses. The DOJ rep was in New Iberia recently to hear complaints about alleged racial discrimination in the city’s fire department and, according to an account in The Daily Iberian, tried to have Iberian reporter Matthew Beaton ejected from the meeting because he challenged her demand that she not be quoted in a news report on the meeting. Hranitzky could cite no law prohibiting the newspaper from attending the public meeting — because their is none — and reporting on it in any way it judged appropriate. She ultimately resorted to a threat, according to the Iberian, telling Beaton that her DOJ overlords “can call your editors and publisher at the paper, and trust me you don’t want to get on the Department of Justice’s bad side.” C’est what, Ms. Bossy Pants? Beaton, to his (and journalism’s) credit, didn’t back down, and in a separate Iberian story about the meeting itself Hranitzky is quoted several times.

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