We won’t be climbing out of a fiscal hole like many communities — thankfully the Great Recession hasn’t sunk its teeth too deeply into our hide, and the administration and council have done a fair job of making sure we live within our means. The price of oil and natural gas will, however, figure greatly into our fortunes, as it does every year.
In the meantime:
Will the Lafayette Parish School System and the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce make nice after years of strained relations? Some current and former members of the chamber remain miffed over a 2001 agreement with the LPSS. In it, the chamber agreed to support a sales tax for the school system in exchange for the central office signing off on a massive, detailed plan to raise scores in public schools in the parish. The sales tax passed. The agreement was signed by both sides. Nine years later the scores in Lafayette Parish, one of the most affluent in the state, remain middle of the pack. They’ve climbed some, and the LPSS has shown an admirable knack for innovation in the interim, but today’s scores fall far short of the 2001 document. There’s been some behind-the-scenes bickering between the two lately over the agreement, which the chamber failed to periodically monitor (one source says chamber leadership can’t even locate the original document) and which the school system says no longer applies because the method by which the state gauges performance has changed.
But the LPSS will once again need the chamber, if not this year then probably the next. It wasn’t for naught that the LPSS hired a Baton Rouge planning firm to assess the physical condition of our public schools. Among the firm’s conclusions: More than a dozen schools are in such poor shape that the cost of repairing them — plugging the leaks, replacing the ducts, repairing the roofs — is at least 65 percent the cost of building new schools to replace them. These are public buildings maintained by public funds. Can we not expect the LPSS to approach taxpayers in the foreseeable future asking for a funding source (read, sales tax)? And can the LPSS do it without the endorsement of the chamber, which, its reputation as a vanilla booster club notwithstanding, comprises some heavy hitters in Lafayette’s civic life?
And what of the fizzled-in-the-frying-pan story of 2009, the “horse farm” — those 98 acres of serene, rolling hills in the heart of Lafayette that are supposed to become our own little Central Park? UL, the city and the Community Foundation of Acadiana, the players in this drama, say a benevolent Daddy Warbucks who prefers to remain anonymous is ready to gift $5.7 million to the CFA to buy the horse farm from the university, provided the Community Foundation can raise that same amount to develop and care for the park. As of last check there was no new news to report on the biggest story of last spring. It’s just kind of sitting there, like the horse farm.
Will the City-Parish Council come up with a solution to maintaining order in downtown Lafayette on weekend nights — a solution that satisfies both the bar owners, who take the brunt of the blame and who, given their druthers, would prefer status quo, and some of the downtown’s non-bar merchants who are calling for Draconian measures like curfews and banning 18 to 20-year-olds from the nightclubs?
And speaking of the CPC, will it resolve that nagging, annual cough we call NGO funding? Or will the same old battle over tossing a pittance to a handful of non-profit agencies return come budget time this summer? The CFA, which has offered to maintain an endowment for non-profit funding, could figure into this story line. Many, however, would prefer the CFA keep the blinders on and rein in the horse farm deal.
Congratulations to Stella Theriot and seven friends who will enjoy a private dinner hosted by INDEats and EatLafayette
The City-Parish Council on Tuesday will be asked to sign off on an agreement between UL Lafayette and Lafayette Consolidated Government that would expand mass transit opportunities for UL students by adding five additional buses to its shuttle run between Cajun Field and campus.
Four bedroom traditional or three bedroom French home
Louisiana's high school seniors are making increased strides on Advanced Placement exams.
The hip little River Ranch shop will open in the Acadiana Center for the Arts in time for the September ArtWalk.
Hot prints and cool wolves
The Alabama game is sold out but tickets for all other homes games can be purchased online at www.LSUtix.net.
Among the one-percenters nationally, Louisiana's fattest cat is a relative pauper.
The Republican governor sent a letter Thursday to the president, saying placement of the children in Louisiana could have "potential negative ramifications."
Many laws are minor, though some impact health care options, change educational programs and reach into people's everyday activities.
Responding to Tuesday’s federal appeals court decision to save Mississippi’s lone abortion clinic, Esquire magazine profiles the unique story behind one of the doctors working at the clinic in Jackson.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Lafayette’s first-ever Whole Foods Market will open its doors in September.
In reacting to the recently resurrected allegations of sexual abuse among local clergy, is the Catholic Diocese of Lafayette maintaining its old stance of protecting their own?
Louisiana's annual state sales tax holiday is Friday and Saturday.
Thursday's Blogs from the Bog!
Breakfast favorites served on a bubbly crust pair with a crisp salad
NJ lady beats Donald Trump; Israel calls up more troops; border hearings accelerated and more national and international news for Thursday, July 31, 2014.
State Rep. Lenar Whitney — one of a handful of Republican candidates vying for Louisiana’s 6th Congressional district — has been described by Cook Political Report analyst David Wasserman as one of the most “frightening or fact-averse candidate[s]” he’s ever met following her reaction to an interview last week.
West coast casual
Mid-August hearing dates have been set for dueling lawsuits over Louisiana's use of the Common Core education standards in public schools.
An investigation into the last-minute passage of a pension hike for the state police superintendent continues, despite Col. Mike Edmonson's decision not to accept the increase.
Four bedroom traditional Youngsville home or three bedroom traditional Broussard home
On Tuesday, a three judge panel (voting two to one) of the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down as unconstitutional Mississippi’s controversial law requiring that physicians who perform abortions maintain admitting privileges in a nearby hospital.
Safety Jairus Byrd practiced with the New Orleans Saints on Tuesday for the first time since his signing in March.
Sentencing has been delayed for a businessman who provided key testimony in the corruption case that resulted in the conviction of former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin.
The spectre of priest sex abuse has returned to haunt the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lafayette following the recent release of an investigative report by Minnesota Public Radio, revealing new allegations of another child predator hiding behind the clerical collar.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
A ballpark snack topped with BBQ meat can be found cruising town on a food truck
"Although the administration is moving forward with climate change regulations at home, we don't consider how policy decisions in the United States impact greenhouse gas emissions in other parts of the world," says Roger Martella, the former general counsel at the Environmental Protection Agency under President George W. Bush.