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.
State Rep. Joel Robideaux, R-Lafayette, surprised few in the Hub City Wednesday afternoon when he made (semi) official what most of us have known for months: He is running to replace Joey Durel as city-parish president.
Two bedroom town home or three bedroom contemporary home
Let the party begin
Louisiana's first black Republican state senator since Reconstruction — who was a Republican before he was a Democrat before he was a Republican again — is accusing Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu of using the black community for votes and providing nothing in return.
LSU's governing board has backed new hospital privatization contracts that give hospital managers greater ease to leave the deal and fewer restrictions about must-have services.
Rachel Hector returns home to cultivate a generation of yoga instructors.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu is courting young voters in several appearances across Louisiana this week, talking about her support for legislation that could lower students' college costs.
It is distinctly possible control of the U.S. Senate will hinge on Louisiana, which is why, during the last several months, outside groups have made this the most expensive election in Louisiana history.
Coton de tulear joins Westminster; Paypal splitting from Ebay; first US Ebola diagnosis and more national and international news for Wednesday, October 1, 2014.
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
A constellation of South Louisiana musical stars descends on Parc Sans Souci to honor an ailing David Egan.
INDStyle Awards 2014 was one for the books; the American Cancer Society took over The Victorian's big tent; and the battle of the sexes was alive and well for Walk a Runway's Christmas fundraiser.
The Acadiana Symphony Orchestra teams up with choreographer Clare Cook for a modern take on a Stravinsky classic.
Local food pantries begin seasonal drives
A girl's best fashion friend
Stage 4 vet takes on cancer and reminds us all what it really means to get involved.
Creative living flourishes at Downtown’s artist hub
Four bedroom cottage or four bedroom traditional
Bold looks for fall define INDStyle Awards 2014
Statement pieces for the season
The gents venture out
Project Front Yard has been launched to help us change our image and our habits.
Alleged victim is a Navy vet with brain trauma resulting from a car accident three decades ago.
Is Mary fading as Vitter solidifies his lock on the fourth floor?
Richard Buswell was sentenced Tuesday to more than 10 years in prison for his role in an investment scheme that defrauded his clients of more than $6 million.
The Latin Music Festival returns to Parc International this Saturday, Oct. 4, from noon to 10 p.m.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration has renegotiated contracts for six LSU hospital privatization deals, hoping to reach a compromise with federal health officials that will keep Medicaid dollars flowing to the privatized patient services.
Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu is defending her record on gun rights, seeking to rebut sharp criticism from the NRA in a state where the right to bear arms is given special constitutional protection.