Friday, January 18, 2013
The city of Ville Platte and the American Civil Liberties Union have signed an agreement ending the ACLU's lawsuit against a pedestrians-only curfew. The city has agreed that any future curfew will be the least restrictive needed to meet a "compelling need." It did not admit liability but will pay the ACLU nearly $16,900 in attorneys' fees and costs. U.S. District Judge Richard Haik signed the consent decree Thursday.
Federal prosecutors have charged two more people in an ongoing investigation of bribes for favorable treatment in the Lafayette court system, including an assistant district attorney. According to court filings, Greg Williams, an assistant district attorney in the 15th Judicial District Attorney's office, faces one count of conspiracy. Prosecutors have also charged Denease Curry with one count of misprision (mis PRIZH uhn) of a felony for allegedly not reporting the bribery scheme when she had knowledge of it, though it was unclear Thursday for whom she worked. The Advocate reports the charges come after District Attorney Mike Harson's longtime secretary and office administrator, Barna D. Haynes, pleaded guilty Monday to accepting at least $55,000 in bribes to help criminal defendants get favorable treatment, mainly in DWI cases.
OFFICIALS WITH AUSTRALIA-BASED MAGNOLIA L-N-G WERE IN LAKE CHARLES YESTERDAY TO ANNOUNCE PLANS TO BUILD A MEDIUM SCALE LIQUIFIED NATURAL GAS PLANT ON PORT OF LAKE CHARLES PROPERTY. MAGNOLIA L-N-G WILL INVEST 2-POINT-2 BILLION DOLLARS FOR THE PROJECT WHICH IS EXPECTED TO CREATE 45 PERMANENT JOBS WITH AN AVERAGE SALARY OF 75 THOUSAND DOLLARS. MAGNOLIA WILL LEASE 90 ACRES FROM THE PORT OF LAKE CHARLES AT THE INDUSTRIAL CANAL. IF THEY GET THE NECESSARY PERMITS AND FINANCING, CONSTRUCTION WILL BEGIN IN 2015.
Education leaders are reviewing Louisiana school security procedures after the mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school. Superintendent of Education John White suggested lawmakers should tweak a state law from 2001 that requires all elementary and secondary public schools to have a written crisis management and response plan. White recommended that school districts get local law enforcement more involved in designing the plans, that the crisis plan be rehearsed and that more details be required in creating the plans. His suggestions were made to the House homeland security committee, which heard Thursday from education leaders and law enforcement officials about what crisis prevention and response plans already exist — and what could be done to strengthen them.
THE ST. LANDRY PARISH SCHOOL BOARD HAS AGREED TO A FEBRUARY SEVENTH MEETING TO SELECT A NEW SUPERINTENDENT. THE PROCESS HAS BEEN DELAYED CONSIDERABLY AFTER FEDERAL PROSECUTORS ACCUSED TWO BOARD MEMBERS OF SEEKING BRIBES FROM ACTING SUPERINTENDENT JOSEPH CASSIMERE FOR THEIR SUPPORT. BESIDES CASSIMERE, THERE ARE FOUR OTHER CANDIDATES FOR THE POSITION. THEY INCLUDE PORT BARRE HIGH SCHOOL PRINCIPAL WILLIAM DUPLECHAIN, ST. LANDRY SUPERVISOR OF CHILD WELFARE AND ATTENDANCE EDWARD BROWN, STEPHENSVILLE MIDDLE SCHOOL PRINCIPAL DANIEL RAWLS AND CHARLES MICHEL, A SPECIAL EDUCATION SUPERVISOR IN LAFOURCHE PARISH.
SOME OF LAFAYETTE’S MOST VALUABLE TEACHERS WERE RECOGNIZED DURING THE L-A-F TEACHER AWARDS.
A THREE-YEAR-OLD STUDENT AT THE J-D CLIFTON HEAD START CENTER IN LAKE CHARLES WAS LEFT ON A SCHOOL BUS FOR HOURS ON WEDNESDAY. THREE-YEAR-OLD DARREN ST. ROMAIN DIDN’T GET OFF THE BUS WHEN THE STUDENTS WERE DROPPED OFF IN THE MORNING AND THE BUS DRIVER DIDN’T NOTICE UNTIL HE GOT BACK ON THE BUS AT TWO P-M. THE CHILD’S MOTHER, YESSENIA (yes EN yuh) WILLIAMS, SAYS THE BUS DRIVER TOLD HER HE FOUND THE CHILD SITTING QUIETLY IN HIS SEAT AND HE CALLED HER FIVE MINUTES LATER. CALCASIEU PARISH SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT WAYNE SAVOY SAYS THE BUS DRIVER AND BUS MONITOR HAVE BEEN SUSPENDED WHILE THE SCHOOL SYSTEM’S RISK MANAGEMENT AND TRANSPORTATION DEPARTMENTS INVESTIGATE WHAT HAPPENED.
The chairman of a legislative study panel reviewing Louisiana's billions of dollars in tax breaks says he won't meet a February deadline to compile recommendations to lawmakers. Rep. Joel Robideaux, a Republican leading the Revenue Study Commission, says he'll have the report and its suggestions ready for the Legislature in early March, about a month before lawmakers return for the regular legislative session. The 14-member panel has spent months combing through more than 460 tax exemptions, credits and rebates, looking at how and if they are tracked for performance. Robideaux says he doesn't expect the panel to recommend eliminating specific tax breaks, but rather to suggest guidelines for giving them more oversight.