Wednesday, July 27, 2011
By The Independent Staff
When Washington Parish-based Smith Creamery’s dairy plant exploded a couple of weeks ago, scattering debris for miles, the blast should have been music to the ears of Baton Rouge’s Kleinpeter Farms Dairy, Louisiana’s largest family-owned operation. Instead, Kleinpeter President Jeff Kleinpeter and Smith Creamery founder Warren Smith announced a week later that the competitors had entered into an agreement whereby Kleinpeter would take over production of Smith’s milk, half and half, and heavy cream products. When Smith rebuilds, assuming the company chooses to, operations will move back to the Mount Hermon headquarters of the smaller company. So is this just a public-relations stunt by Kleinpeter? Hardly. According to the Associated Press, both companies will earn a profit on the arrangement — Kleinpeter, obviously, for taking over the operation; but Smith will as well because Kleinpeter can package and distribute Smith’s products more cheaply than the smaller operation could before the explosion. And besides, we’ve met Jeff Kleinpeter. He’s a genuinely good guy. Good PR, yes, but good will, too.
When a suspect in a brutal home invasion, robbery and rape failed to show up for his trial last week in Lafayette, it may have been a surprise to District Judge Ed Rubin. It shouldn’t have been. Nineteen-year-old Nelson Chambers of Opelousas is facing an aggravated rape charge and life sentence for the 2009 attack in Lafayette. The day before his scheduled Tuesday trial, according to published reports, Chambers’ two co-defendants cut a deal with prosecutors, agreeing to testify against him in exchange for reduced sentences. Chambers should have been sitting in the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center awaiting that trial, but several months ago, Rubin ruled against the prosecutor, who requested that Chambers be held without bond until his trial date. Assistant D.A. Keith Stutes wanted Chambers held because, Stutes pointed out to Rubin, since his initial release on bond for the rape arrest, the teen was arrested three more times in St. Landry Parish for drug and property crimes, and for failing to appear at court for traffic offenses. The soft-hearted judge countered that Chambers had made all his hearing dates in Lafayette and therefore didn’t pose a flight risk. By press time Monday for this issue of The Ind, Chambers remained on the lam. While hindsight is 20/20, we wish Judge Rubin had a little more foresight.
The town of Wa$hington might be good at catching speeders, but Mayor Joseph Pitre just can’t catch a break. Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera, according to the AP, reiterated last week that Wa$hington owes the state more than $220,000 for traffic fines it collected on Interstate 49 from motorists busted travelling less than 10 miles per hour over the posted speed limit. A state law designed to clamp down on speed traps like Wa$hington, which pad their meager budgets — in Wa$hington’s case about half its annual budget — requires redirecting the fines to the state when the offense is less than 10 miles over. The town and its beleaguered mayor have tried various means of keeping the cash, namely begging to keep the money and characterizing the law as racist. Pitre’s latest tactic: asking that a member of the legislative advisory council hearing the matter — state Rep. Ledricka Thierry, D-Opelousas, who represents the town of Wa$hington — be recused because Pitre plans to run against her in the fall election.
New menu items ready for the Lenten season
The Cane Fire Film Series screens “MaidenTrip” on Monday, March 10, at the AcA.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
The vibe of the tribe done modern
The Louisiana Workforce Commission said Friday that initial claims rose to 2,125 from the previous week's total of 1,964. There were 2,887 initial claims during the comparable week in 2013.
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has stalled action on a $3.5 billion annual school funding formula due to state lawmakers by March 15.
The New Orleans Saints have yet to make it official as of this writing, but popular wide receiver Lance Moore has reportedly been cut by the team to free up salary-cap space on the roster.
While two medical marijuana bills are slated for the upcoming legislative session, what some Louisianans might not know is that the plant was approved for therapeutic use by state lawmakers in 1991.
The agenda is shaping up to be lighter than in previous years. But Jindal is term-limited, with fewer than two years remaining in office, and he saw his last big initiative — a proposed rewrite of Louisiana tax law — collapse without getting a vote in 2013.
Sharper has been held without bail because of an arrest warrant issued by Louisiana authorities accusing him and another man of raping two women.
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.