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.
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 Houston firm said Friday in its weekly report that 1,575 rigs were exploring for oil and 338 for gas. One was listed as miscellaneous. A year ago there were 1,776 active rigs.
A crew began erecting the 25-foot mini-wheel late morning Friday in anticipation of the evening’s Hottest Night of the Year party at the park.
Frances Boothe of Nunez, who also happens to be filmmaker Stephen Meaux’s grandmother, prepares a cool-weather fave.
The magazine's senior football writer also predicts a break-out year for Saints fourth-year running back Mark Ingram.
New Iberia colonial or Broussard traditional home
The LPSB is poised and ready to move forward with the termination of Pat Cooper following a discussion Thursday with the attorney hired for the investigation of the superintendent, but a decision of this magnitude should be left up to the new board seated in January, especially with three pro-investigation board members bailing out come the new year.
Fiery style for game day
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
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.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is set to put the kibosh on the legal ownership of monkeys trained to help the disabled, and the agency wants to know what you think.
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.
Three bedroom Port Barre cottage or three bedroom historic district Opelousas home
No laboring for shoppers this holiday
It will be next month before Gov. Bobby Jindal will likely get a chance to change the membership of a South Louisiana flood board that is suing dozens of oil, gas and pipeline companies.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
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.
The Acadiana Center for the Arts and the Lafayette Economic Development Authority have announced a new artist stipend program, ArtSpark, designed to offer financial aid to local artists.
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.
Three bedroom traditional or two bedroom Victorian cottage