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.
newsy bits for the fam
Festival International de Louisiane is right around the corner — April 23-27 — and IND Monthly’s second annual Fest fIND contest is along for the ride.
Acadian rep notifies would-be supporters that an April 25 fundraiser for the embattled U.S. rep won’t go on as planned.
Georgia-based fried chicken chain would go up against Raising Cane’s, Chick-fil-A and others (like the Popeyes near its proposed location).
While it isn’t all too unusual for public bodies to have hired security present during meetings, the LPSB’s push to do so is arguably a response to the antics of one board member.
“I’m running. Why would I be raising all this money? Just to have to return it to people?”
With incumbent U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu watching from afar, and with a united Democratic Party in her corner, the fight to get the GOP officially behind Congressman Bill Cassidy is gaining just as much momentum as it is hushed controversy.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
15th Judicial District Judge Durwood Conque has announced that he will not seek re-election after 27 years on the bench.
The perfect color for Easter Sunday
The controversial standardized tests are set to be used in third-grade through eighth-grade public school classrooms next year.
The Louisiana Senate has agreed to prohibit unmanned aircraft from flying over chemical plants, water treatment systems, telecommunications networks and other items considered "critical infrastructure" in Louisiana.
A Scott businessman has pleaded guilty to failing to report a conspiracy to award Opelousas Housing Authority construction bids to his company.
It didn’t take long for KATC TV 3 to jump all over the news of a dead body found in Girard Park, but in its rush to produce headlines, the local TV station got sloppy.
Egg-citing ideas for sharing at family gatherings
Tuesday's Blogs from the Bog!
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Tuesday, April 15, 2014:
An unholy trinity of civil-society upheavalers whose first names are not Conner, Tanner or Logan are facing charges in Eunice.
Now that lawmakers have shot down efforts to cap annual interest rates for payday loans, supporters for stricter regulations of the storefront lenders are rallying behind another strategy.
The Appropriations Committee held public testimony day, letting people talk about what they like or don't like about Gov. Bobby Jindal's budget recommendations for the 2014-15 fiscal year that begins July 1.
Court-appointed examiner says Lafayette businessman was “effectively on both sides” of transactions, opens door for legal action against him.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Lafayette-based insurance broker/risk management group bought by Florida firm for undisclosed sum; principals Landry and Harris continue to run local operations.
Lafayette police are investigating the death of a 21-year-old woman whose body was found early Sunday in a drainage ditch in Girard Park.
Former Grant parish District Attorney Ed Tarpley says he's running for the U.S. House seat currently held by Republican Vance McAllister of Swartz.
Louisiana-Lafayette got strong starting pitching and timely hitting to hold off Arkansas-Little Rock 6-3 in Sun Belt Conference baseball in Lafayette, La.
The life and legacy of Dave Perkins will be commemorated with a special INDesign Lifetime Achievement Award as part of the 2014 event on April 24.
Easy crafts in time for Easter
The Cane Fire Film Series presents “The Great Flood” on Monday, April 14, at the AcA.