Gov. Bobby Jindal’s efforts to reform the sad state of public education in Louisiana were hit with staunch opposition from school boards and teacher unions during his first term, but the governor says he’s not backing down. Jindal, in announcing his top priorities for the first year of his second term, is focused on more choices for parents on where children can attend schools and expounding on teacher evaluations to link teacher rewards to improvements in student performance. The two measures are sure to keep the opposition camp fiery, and we’re happy to hear he’s ready for the fight. We still argue that Jindal’s backing of the Louisiana Science Education Act (read an entry for creationism in school science class) is the antithesis of forward-thinking education for the state, but his early commitment to inching our national education rankings up from the last rung of the ladder earns the governor an A for effort.
The courts will decide the issue of the controversial ordinance the City-Parish Council adopted to block construction of a waste facility already permitted and under way on Sunbeam Lane, and regardless of where you stand on this issue, that means taxpayers will take a hit on legal fees — and what could amount to millions in damages. Equally troubling is that this issue has the potential to discourage developers from setting up shop in Lafayette. City-Parish President Joey Durel told the council that he would not veto the ordinance, “even though my conscience tells me to do otherwise.” City residents on Sunbeam Lane began publicly opposing the facility in early October, roughly nine months after waste company IESI started the permitting process through LCG’s Planning, Zoning and Codes Department. The site is adjacent to a residential area of north Lafayette, but because the property is in a small pocket of unincorporated Lafayette Parish with no zoning regulations, PZC could not deny the permit. The company’s owners have publicly said they plan to sue if the permit is revoked, maintaining they’ve already put more than $1 million into the project.
Within days of climbing his way up to pas bon status, Louisiana’s education governor had already dropped down to the bottom rung. The website stimulatingbroadband.com reported last week that the Jindal administration prompted the termination of an $80.6 million broadband stimulus project by the U.S. Department of Commerce. The Louisiana Broadband Alliance project would have supported the major academic institutions of the state with expanded optical fiber networking capacity — and helped rural areas no private company wants to serve. In an Oct. 26 letter, a grants officer at the U.S. Department of Commerce informed the Board of Regents, which had applied for the grant, that the $80.6 million grant had been rescinded. Based on stimulatingbroadband.com’s tracking of the status of all such federal projects, Louisiana’s cancellation is the largest termination to date, by dollar value of federal funding, of any such project under the Obama Administration’s $7.2 billion broadband stimulus program. U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu blamed the Jindal administration: “Despite receiving the green light for more than $80 million in federal funds, the state fumbled the ball and was either unable or unwilling to complete the project, which could have been a tremendous boost to central and Northeast Louisiana,” she stated. Jindal’s Commission of Administration Paul Rainwater called the grant a “government-heavy approach that would compete with and undermine, rather than partner with, the private sector and locals.”
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.