20100421-Pooyie-0101Written by The Independent Staff
Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Festival International de Louisiane introduced several new innovations for this year’s event, an iPhone app and social media stage scheduling among them. And the best free festival on the planet is offering another innovation most of us will embrace: a smoke-free festival. FIL is merely encouraging smokers to snuff (and shake) their butts; there will be no cigarette police on patrol. And the country-come-to-town factor has always been far lower for Fest than it is for Mardi Gras, so it stands to reason that smokers — increasingly a blue-collar demographic — will be fewer anyway. But if even some of the festival-going smokers partake away from the populated areas — especially the stages where the humanity gets thick and the air is shared — we’ll all breathe a little easier.

Lafayette City-Parish Councilman Brandon Shelvin is continuing to shirk his financial obligations — and this time he’s hit a new low: The bishop of his church and the bishop’s wife have been pulled into Shelvin’s ever-expanding financial crisis. Last week Liberty Bank & Trust Co. filed suit against Shelvin, also naming Stanley and Cora Sinegal, claiming Shelvin defaulted on the loan. In early 2008, Shelvin borrowed $70,000, and the Sinegals pledged as collateral property they own at 755 JL Drive in Scott, valued at $100,000. When contacted by us Thursday, Stanley Sinegal said he was unaware of the lawsuit and did not even know Shelvin was in default. “This is news to me,” said Sinegal, the bishop of First United Full Gospel Assembly in Lafayette. The loan was to finance vehicles as part of his partnership with Shelvin in the used car dealership, Thrifty Way Car Sales. “The dealership went bottom up, but I had no idea it was at this extent,” he added, cutting the interview short. “I’m going to have to end this, because this is upsetting. I need to make a phone call. ... I’ll get back to you.” Sinegal could not be reached for follow-up by press time Monday; as usual, Shelvin did not return a phone call seeking comment.

Open letter to Kevin Ray, the Opelousas resident and former LUS employee sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for attempting to entice a minor to engage in sexual activity, and doing it on his LCG-issued laptop: Dear Kevin, seriously, you didn’t know that every 15-year-old girl in a sleazy online chat room is an undercover police officer trying to catch creeps? Teenage girls don’t frequent chat rooms, Kevin; they hang out at the mall, and on MySpace, Facebook and Twitter, and they’re feverishly texting. They’re not trawling the ’net for 45-year-old men sucking Viagra like lozenges at their work computers. We hope your time in the hoosegow is spent productively. Remember, don’t drop the soap.

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