Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Louisiana is finally getting creative with people who welsh on their obligations to their children. In another savvy move, the state is ensuring deadbeats pay their back child support before they get a dime of BP disaster money, according to a report this week in The Advocate. Louisiana residents owe a staggering $1.2 billion in outstanding child support payments, and the state Department of Children and Family Services, in coordination with the Gulf Coast Claims Facility, is comparing those who file claims with BP to the list of those who are behind on court-ordered child support. More than 9,000 people owing about $101 million have been identified thus far. To date, the effort has intercepted $5.5 million — a drop in the proverbial bucket but a start nonetheless. Also in the queue: The Department is gearing up to begin skimming child support obligations from casino winnings.
There’s no question that LSU is great at recruiting the top athletic talent in the country, but recruiting the top faculty could get tougher. The American Association of University Professors, in a blistering 30-page report issued Monday, stops short of placing LSU on its Censure List, but says it reserves the right to do so — tantamount to a black eye in academic circles that could make it difficult to recruit and retain faculty in the future, according to The Associated Press. The AAUP is a 50,000-member organization devoted to protecting academic freedom. The LSU report focuses on the firing in 2009 of coastal researcher Ivor van Heerdon, an outspoken post-Katrina critic of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers who has a federal suit pending against the university; and the 2010 ouster of biology professor Dominique Homberger, who was yanked from the classroom mid-semester amid student complaints that her grading and policies were too severe. LSU had no comment on van Heerdon’s lawsuit, but the university’s Faculty Senate president tells The Advocate the issue is “more about the ‘systemic problems’ of higher education budget-cutting issues in Louisiana, and the pressures to increase graduation rates, which are part of the calculation for how much funding a university receives.”
OK, we took some heat from readers this week for questioning why some prominent companies in Lafayette are partnering with District 3 Councilman Brandon Shelvin for an “equipping our kids to learn, back to school rally” in light of Shelvin’s ongoing financial and ethics issues. Just to make sure we weren’t speaking out of turn, we contacted Kathleen Allen, chief administrator of the Louisiana Ethics Administration, to see if Shelvin had caught up on the $1,900 (of a $2,000) fine he owes Ethics for a campaign reporting violation tied to his 2007 run for office. Turns out he hasn’t. Shelvin is a case study in why the Legislature this year overwhelmingly approved a bill that requires candidates for public office to pay their ethics fines before qualifying to run. Previously, as was the case with the District 3 councilman, a candidate only had to enter into a payment plan before qualifying. Now the fine has to be paid in full before qualifying. We applaud efforts to help disadvantaged children get the supplies they need to start the school year. But we can’t help thinking that in Shelvin’s case, this is less about the children and more about the District 3 councilman’s re-election and public relations campaigns.
The state labor department figures released Friday show the initial claims decreased to 2,312 from the previous week's total of 2,543. For the comparable week a year earlier, there were 2,627.
In a statement, Michael Ranatza, executive director of the association, said Landrieu's "senior status" and her continued support for the sheriffs throughout her career were deciding factors.
The position puts him at odds with GOP Gov. Bobby Jindal, but could bolster support from the business community as the senator raises money for the 2015 governor's race.
On the cusp of a new school year, with the fallout from The IND’s special report, “What’s the Matter at Fatima,” still settling, the administration at Our Lady of Fatima is reaching out to the school “family” to offer reassurances about the academic and spiritual health of the institution.
The Hayride — Louisiana’s one-stop shop for far-right perspectives — has come to the defense of state Rep. Lenar Whitney following her embarrassing, early-exit interview last week with Cook Political Report analyst David Wasserman.
Bright colors, ecletic prints
The Catholic Diocese of Lafayette says a 1992 investigation cleared the Rev. Gilbert Dutel of pedophilia allegations, yet when asked to produce those records, church officials came up empty-handed.
The former president and longtime board member of the Council on the Development of French in Louisiana has taken a Texas lawmaker to task over his use of the slur “coonass” during a legislative hearing.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Hundreds of new laws take effect Friday, with the start of August. A look at some of the changes on the books:
Marques Colston let out a laugh and shrugged his shoulders when the subject of his NFL longevity arose.
The state is accepting public comments on a plan that would invest $1 million in a new Homeowner Rehabilitation Program for low- to moderate-income residents whose homes were damaged after Hurricane Isaac.
A Senate Bill passed Thursday now awaits the president’s signature authorizing long-awaited reforms of the Veterans Affairs Administration, including new clinics for Lafayette and Lake Charles.
The DIY birthday done right
Bump and baby friendly wares
A comprehensive listing of special menu features, pairings and events for the week of Aug. 4-9
Behind the scenes a growing number of parents are saying, ‘We want our school back!’
Is sending a 16-year-old boy to prison with men for up to 99 years really the way to address juvenile crime?
How Lafayette’s family businesses have survived despite the odds
Lafayette is ready to embark on a master plan for growth, but will old habits impede our progress?
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
The IND's Nick Pittman weighs in on new records from Taylor Verret, Plush Claw, Steven Joubert and Lee Benoit.
The Cajundome rocked in July when the first ever Girls and Guys Rock Louisiana Awards Show hit the place.
Allen & Gooch reunites with Whitney Bank to sponsor the sixth annual event honoring Acadiana’s top companies.
Juicing’s health benefits lead to a proliferation of sellers in the Lafayette market.
‘The Tribe’ reflects on Fred Daspits incalculable contributions to Lafayette’s cultural life.
The recently concluded World Cup is awash in analogies.
Style that shines
Go inside the kitchen with chef Michelle Youngberg
It’s an exciting time in life as you prepare to meet your new bundle of joy — get ready to plan out the next nine months so when your baby arrives, you can stress less and love more.