Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Written by The Independent Staff
After mounting pressure from several environmental groups threatening legal action and an intervention by the Department of Natural Resources, the St. Martin Parish School Board met last Wednesday and voted to renegotiate its deal with Good Hope Inc. to log several acres of cypress trees on a patch of swampland the board owns in the Atchafalaya Basin. According to Superintendent Richard Lavergne, the board has given him authority to negotiate with DNR to turn the Section 16 land into a conservation easement. What exactly is a conservation easement? Lavergne admits he’s not totally sure but says fundamentally it’s an agreement that would protect the basin’s natural habitat and ensure that the beloved cypress trees would stand for many generations to come. “I see this as a great victory for the kids of the parish,” says Dean Wilson, executive director of the nonprofit Atchafalaya Basinkeeper organization. “The Atchafalaya Basin and the cypress forest are the biggest asset that they have for the future. Finally they’re going to get a permanent easement and the forest will be permanently protected. Now one day, those trees are going to be 150 feet tall; that’s very rewarding.”
A hearing officer’s report on state Rep. Vincent Pierre’s request to reduce his monthly child support payments confirms what The Independent first reported in November 2011: Pierre lied about “what he does for a living” prior to the election — and now as a state lawmaker, he says his decrease in salary qualifies him for a reduction in child support payments to his two children. Pierre repeatedly maintained throughout his campaign that he was a businessman and co-owner of a local dry-cleaning business. But when he recently asked for a reduction in child support payments due to his decrease in salary as a state rep, the facts of a hearing officer conference contradict much of Pierre’s pre-election employment claims; we no know he was canned by the majority owner of the dry cleaning business in March 2010, months before announcing his candidacy. The hearing officer sided with his ex-wife, finding that because he has a college degree and is capable of earning more than his $1,400 per month lawmaker salary, Pierre is therefore “voluntarily unemployed.” The rep’s request for a child support reduction was denied.
Baby, meet bath water. A pending lawsuit against Lafayette Consolidated Government led to a bizarre turn of events at last week’s council meeting during which Councilman Brandon Shelvin directed city-parish attorney Mike Hebert to draft an ordinance that would exempt Lafayette residents who don’t use the city’s curb-side recycling program from paying the $2.30 per month fee attached to their Lafayette Utilities System bill. Shelvin initially inquired about canceling LCG’s contract with Progressive Waste Solutions of LA, the parent company of the Recycling Foundation. Progressive Waste is suing LCG over that Sunbeam Lane waste transfer facility fracas last year, and Shelvin doesn’t think the company should be making money off consolidated government. Fair enough. But a contract is a contract, and it runs into 2016. Even after Shelvin was told the contract can’t be breached and that Lafayette’s curb-side recycling program can only operate if everyone pays the fee, he still gave Hebert his marching orders. Hopefully the council will shoot down this petty example of gamesmanship.
Joshua Dore of Breaux Bridge was sentenced Tuesday to 1.5 years in prison for counterfeiting, according to a press release issued by U.S. Attorney Stephanie Finley’s office on Wednesday.
Last month, 19,629 passengers boarded planes at the airport, and another 19,627 passengers deplaned, also the highest number on record for the month, according to the airport’s figures released Wednesday.
School super Pat Cooper alleges Lafayette Parish School Board member Mark Allen Babineaux, an attorney, publicly disclosed the details of a closed-door executive session.
The Silverbacks Improv Theatre presents their annual “holiday” show tonight at Theatre 810.
A legal tug-of-war continues in a state levee board's lawsuit against 97 oil, gas and pipeline companies over the erosion of wetlands.
A former BP drilling engineer was convicted Wednesday of deleting text messages from his cellphone to obstruct a federal investigation of the company's massive 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Sun Belt commissioner presents title and practice gets under way in preparation for Saturday
In Louisiana's latest tax amnesty period, Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration added a new twist, letting companies settle their back-owed taxes with unused tax credits, instead of paying cash.
Kerry Bertrand’s charge was upgraded Tuesday by an Acadia Parish grand jury from manslaughter to second-degree murder for his alleged role in the drowning death of his stepdaughter, Skylar Credeur.
Sean Payton announced Wednesday that veteran Shayne Graham was New Orleans' new kicker, and that rookie Terron Armstead would get his first start at left tackle.
It’s the season for saving by helping Lafayette Animal Aid
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Wednesday, December 18, 2013
NOLA Bowl outfits with flowy pieces
The lawsuit filed in New Orleans alleges that more than half the Social Security numbers on Mikal Watts’ client list were fake — either dummy numbers or numbers belonging to someone else, living or dead.
Industry veteran named GM and CEO of Cypress Bayou's casino and hotel operations.
The IND's directory, the most comprehensive in the market, includes health clubs, gyms, health and sports drinks, medical fitness facilities, and studios and classes to keep you healthy and fit in the new year.
More local companies expected to take advantage of economic boom.
Should new parents be required by law to attend special classes before being permitted to raise their child? It’s an idea state Rep. Regina Barrow, D-Baton Rouge, is seriously considering.
The National Conference of State Legislatures estimates $800 million of sales tax revenue annually in Louisiana is not collected and remitted by internet vendors.
State Treasurer John Kennedy argues in a new op-ed emailed to media Tuesday that, with an anticipated $100 million surplus from the last fiscal year, Louisiana should invest the funds in I-49 South.