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.
New menu items ready for the Lenten season
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, March 07, 2014:
Two Lafayette men have been revealed by police as the infamous duo behind a caper that shook our fair city to its core.
She’s the daughter of the legendary Johnny Cash, but she’s been a gifted artist in her own right for three decades, and she’s coming to Lafayette.
The Lafayette Parish School Board has received a second letter of demand related to last year’s insurance debacle, this time from Key Benefit Administrators claiming it’s owed $93,000 from the school system.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
The Louisiana coastline is vanishing faster than mappers can keep track.
A bill that would have overridden local ordinances prohibiting public and private employers from discriminating against lesbian, gay and transgender people has been pulled within less than a week of being filed.
The panel that selects nominees for a controversial New Orleans area flood control board — a board that is suing more than 90 oil, gas and pipeline companies — is set to discuss legislation affecting its independence.
State prison officials cannot keep secret the seller and manufacturer of the two drugs purchased for executions at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
State lawmakers will not appeal a judge's ruling that it was improper to use $3.7 million from a probation and parole officers' retirement fund to balance the state's operating budget.
Prepare yourselves for sun
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Conservatives have been losing their minds over this satirical bit on the Colbert Report.
Due to the chaos of Mardi Gras and the weather, the entry deadline for this year's INDesign Awards has been extended by one week.
The Lafayette Parish School Board leaves a lot to be desired, but is scrapping the election process in favor of an appointed board the answer?
Queen Evangline and King Gabriel ruled Tuesday night
The House approved legislation Tuesday night to roll back a recently enacted overhaul of the federal flood insurance program, after homeowners in flood-prone areas complained about sharp premium increases.
IND Style does Gabriel
Newsy bits for the fam
The NFL has formally designated New Orleans' Jimmy Graham as a tight end for the purposes of his franchise tag value, which is now set at $7.05 million next season unless Graham and the Saints subsequently agree on a long-term deal.
A federal appeals panel ruled Monday that businesses don't have to prove that they were directly harmed by BP's 2010 Gulf Of Mexico oil spill to collect settlement payments.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development has closed Interstate 10 from I-49 in Lafayette to Seigen Lane in Baton Rouge.
Jim Bernhard, who engineered the sale of The Shaw Group for $3 billion, recently has told several people involved in Democratic politics that he intends to run for governor in 2015.
Saluting the red, white and blue — let freedom ring
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Feel the spectrum
Unless you work for an energy company, specific decisions related to the economics, risk, etc. are not conveyed to the public. They are a closely guarded secret.
A New Orleans levee board wants to hold the oil and gas industry accountable for decades of damage to our state’s coastline, but the Legislature may be poised to put the kibosh on the suit.
Lafayette native screenwriter returns