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.”
The Lafayette Parish School Board's mishandling of its insurance selection process over the last two years has caught the attention of the FBI.
Kids under 18 will have to pursue skin cancer the old-fashioned way.
The illustrious Ragin' Cajun alumni will receive the university's prestigious SPARK Award as part of the 10-day arts celebration.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Lafayette Parish School Board member Kermit Bouillion says he will defend his District 5 seat in the upcoming election.
The Louisiana chapter of Americans for Prosperity sent the pledge request to all 144 lawmakers in February.
The 5-foot-10, 203-pound former second-round pick has gone to three Pro Bowls in his five seasons.
The state argues that if they identify how they're getting the drugs, they could have trouble buying more because companies don't want to be known as helping in an execution.
The enrollment period ends this month.
Newsy tidbits for the fam
Irish style is smiling
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Wednesday, March 12, 2014:
Abshire has rejoined the Lafayette Bar Association, where she previously served as marketing coordinator under longtime Executive Director Susan Holliday
Home-grown Baton Rouge market/deli heads to Lafayette.
Deadline for submitting noms for annual competition is March 15
Whitney Bank officials have confirmed that the downtown branch will cease to exist when it relocates its regional headquarters to River Ranch at the end of May.
So far the Democratic agenda includes proposals to expand Medicaid; increase the minimum wage; offer equal pay to women; heighten regulations on predatory lending practices, like payday loans; and add more transparency in the governor’s office.
Hot-button education issues ranging from Common Core to charter schools have some lawmakers pushing to scrap the appointing process and go back to electing the state's super.
Downtown Lafayette restaurant launches new concept near Le Triomphe
Police say the handcuffed man fatally shot himself in the back, but his family isn't buying the story.
Yeah, it's smoked venison sausage stuffed in a suckling pig stuffed in a lamb and roasted over an open fire.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Gov. Bobby Jindal offered a budget proposal that suggests new education and health care spending, pay raises for state workers and an incentive fund to encourage colleges to enhance their science, engineering and technology training.
Reamco founders Brent Milam and Ashley Lane now shareholders in acquiring company and part of its management team.
Low heels, high style
The board hopes to recover all fees paid, plus one-half, along with what could amount to hundreds of thousands in additional penalties.
Oh, the irony... or something like that.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Hopefully he’ll be better prepared today than he was in that Feb. 20 deposition.
They came by the hundreds, arriving from all regions of the state to gather on the steps of our Capitol in protest of the Legislature’s long tradition of giving industry the go-ahead to abuse our air, our water and our coastline, all in the name of good economics.