Louisiana news briefs
PSC grills Cleco CEO
BATON ROUGE (AP) — Louisiana Public Service Commission members spent nearly two hours quizzing Cleco CEO Bruce Williamson about why he wants to sell the publicly traded utility based in Pineville.
Commissioner Clyde Holloway, of Forest Hill, called Wednesday for Williamson’s resignation.
Much of Cleco’s operations are in Holloway’s district, and he called for Williamson to quit or for the company’s board of directors to fire him because Holloway claims Williamson is only interested in selling, not improving the company.
Holloway complained that he talked to Williamson and other Cleco officials prior to the PSC recently renewing the company’s rate structure, essentially guaranteeing its stability, and he was never told that an offer was on the table.
Williamson said federal law prohibited him from talking about the offer.
LSU considers expanding med school to Lafayette
LAFAYETTE (AP) — Officials say LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans is considering offering a three-year medical school program in Lafayette to produce more new doctors for the state.
The school’s chancellor, Dr. Larry Hollier, was in Lafayette on Wednesday at the request of City-Parish President Joey Durel to discuss the feasibility of offering medical school training in Lafayette.
Some LSU medical school students interested in practicing as primary care physicians in rural areas currently spend the final two of their four years of education in Lafayette.
Hollier said LSU is considering condensing the four-year instruction and training program into three years in Lafayette and expanding capacity from 20 medical school students to 40.
to use dredged material
BELLE CHASSE (AP) — Material dredged from the lower Mississippi River for navigation purposes could find its way into marsh creation projects. It’s part of an agreement signed by Plaquemines Parish and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The different groups have long called for using more of this dredged material to create coastal wetlands instead of releasing the material into the river or the Gulf of Mexico.
Plaquemines President Billy Nungesser says it’s the latest step in making the Louisiana Coastal Area Beneficial Use of Dredged Material Program a reality.
Under the program, Col. Richard Hansen, the corps’ New Orleans district commander, says the Corps conducts normal dredging operations on the river through regular funding mechanisms but the LCA program then pays to move the material to a marsh-creation area.
considers zoning changes
THIBODAUX (AP) — The Thibodaux Planning and Zoning Commission has approved zoning maps and changes to the city’s zoning ordinance, sending them to the city council for ratification.
Ryan Perque, executive assistant to Mayor Tommy Eschete and administrative point-man on the project, said the maps and regulations will be before the city council at its Sept. 2 meeting and voted on Sept. 16.
The proposed zoning legislation would create three new zones: mixed use, central business district and campus.
Police: Man accused
of toddler’s death was drunk
HOUMA (AP) — State police say the driver accused of crashing his truck into a Schriever home while fleeing a hit-and-run and killing a sleeping toddler was heavily intoxicated at the time.
Milligan, 20, of Houma, remains jailed on vehicular homicide and other charges in connection with the June 27 crash that killed 2-year-old Taylor Strickland, injured her mother and left the family’s home unsafe to live in.
Trooper Evan Harrell says blood-alcohol tests back this week show Milligan was more than twice the legal limit of .08 percent for adults.
Milligan is being held in lieu of a $300,000 bond. He’s scheduled to appear in court Monday to enter a plea on the vehicular homicide charge.
LSU opens new agricultural sciences lab building
BATON ROUGE (AP) — The LSU AgCenter’s food, animal and veterinary science students and faculty have new laboratory and teaching facilities.
Gov. Bobby Jindal and university officials celebrated the ribbon-cutting Wednesday for a $17 million animal and food sciences lab building.
Construction of the two-story, 49,000-square-foot building began in 2012. It was paid entirely with state funding approved by the Legislature.
LSU President F. King Alexander says the lab building will give nearly 800 students and faculty the ability to expand their research on campus.
Among the many features of the new facility, it includes an oyster research lab and a sensory lab for food tasting.
14-year sentence for armed bank robbery in 2011
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The U.S. Attorney in New Orleans says a New Orleans man has been sentenced to more than 14 years in prison for a 2011 armed robbery at a bank.
Kenneth Polite said in a Wednesday news release that 35-year-old Robert Taylor was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Sarah Vance to 170 months in prison.
Taylor had pleaded guilty to armed bank robbery and a violation of the Federal Gun Control Law.
The robbery took place July 6, 2011. Taylor and others stole more than $65,000 from tellers and customers. An investigation by the FBI led to Taylor’s arrest and his May 1 guilty plea.