Louisiana news briefs
Fri, 2013-10-18 14:10
From The Associated Press.
Jindal sets up conservative policy organization
BATON ROUGE (AP) — Gov. Bobby Jindal announced Thursday that he’s creating a nonprofit to push conservative policy ideas, a move that could bolster a possible 2016 presidential bid by positioning him as an intellectual leader for the Republican Party.
The Louisiana governor said conservatives have done a good job of talking about what they don’t like, but haven’t done enough to offer recommendations on issues such as health care, energy and education. He said his organization “America Next” will try to fill that gap.
“We can’t just be a movement that says no to everything. We’ve got to be providing real solutions,” Jindal said.
Police searching for
alleged tree-trim scammer
THIBODAUX (AP) — Authorities say they want to talk to a man they believe may have taken hundreds of dollars from Lafourche Parish residents for tree trimming services that weren’t performed.
Sheriff’s deputies say they have been unable to locate 33-year-old Howard James Sevin, whose last known address was in the Gray community. A reward is being offered for information on his whereabouts. An AP search showed there was no current telephone directory listing for Sevin.
Detectives believe Sevin took money from homeowners in Thibodaux, Raceland and Larose but left without doing the tree-trimming he was paid for.
Investigators say Sevin is wanted on two counts of theft of assets of an aged person, two counts of theft and a contempt of court charge.
Traffic tickets dismissed
SORRENTO (AP) — A district attorney says traffic citations issued by one Sorrento police officer before Sept. 10 have been dismissed.
The tickets were issued by Officer James Bell. The exact number wasn’t available but is believed to be in the hundreds.
District Attorney Ricky Babin told the TV station Thursday that the tickets were dismissed after Officer Bell admitted in traffic court in September that he did not calibrate his radar gun.
Evaluations to be studied
BATON ROUGE (AP) — The state plans to do a review of a key part of Louisiana’s controversial new evaluations for some public school teachers.
The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education directed Executive Director Heather Cope, in consultation with state Superintendent of Education John White, to come up with a plan by December on how the study will be done.
Hiring third party reviewers to do the work is one of the options.
About a third of public school teachers, including many who teach math, are evaluated annually through a complex formula called the value added model.
Backers say the new job reviews are superior to the old system, which relied simply on classroom observations by principals
Border dispute heats up
LAFAYETTE (AP) — The Lafayette City-Parish Council’s decision to void an agreement with Vermilion Parish on the location of the parish line could re-ignite a dispute that had lain dormant for a decade.
The council voted unanimously Tuesday to toss out the 10-year-old boundary agreement with the Vermilion Parish Police Jury.
The council’s action has little immediate effect because the drawing of a boundary between parishes requires more than a decision by just one parish.
Lafayette Councilman Don Bertrand said he hopes to set up a meeting with Vermilion Parish officials and present them with research he believes shows definitively that the parish line should be shifted south, farther into Vermilion Parish.
Lafayette Aug. retail sales up
LAFAYETTE (AP) — With sales of more than $485 million in August, 2013 year-to-date sales in Lafayette Parish have reached $3.93 billion, an increase of 4.8 percent over 2012.
The Lafayette Economic Development Authority reports August sales reflect an increase of 14.5 percent over August 2012.
As with retail sales, 2013 hotel/motel receipts continue to outperform 2012 totals. August hotel/motel receipts totaled $6.6 million, placing the year-to-date total 1.57 percent higher than 2012.
Afghanistan war awards Sunday for 75 guard members
BATON ROUGE (AP) — The Louisiana National Guard says about 75 soldiers who are back from Afghanistan will be awarded the Louisiana War Cross and other recognitions at a ceremony Sunday in Baton Rouge.
The ceremony is to begin at 12:45 p.m at the Crowne Plaza.
The ceremony ends a weekend of post-deployment training for more than 320 National Guard soldiers and family members.
Soldiers to be honored are in seven units. Those are the 756th Medical Company, based in Carville; the 204th Theater Area Operations Group, based in Hammond; the 205th Engineer Battalion, based in Bogalusa; the 2225th Multi-Role Bridge Company, based in Marrero; 225th Engineer Brigade, based in Pineville; the 922nd Engineer Company, based in Gonzales; and the 926th Engineer Company, based in Baker.
Police officer shoots pit bull
LAKE CHARLES (AP) — Lake Charles police say an officer shot a pit bull that ran toward him as he crawled under a house to look for a burglary suspect.
Deputy Chief Mark Kraus says the officer also used a stun gun on the dog, which died during emergency surgery.
Kraus says the K-9 officer had been told that a man he was chasing Thursday had hidden under the house. He says the officer was on his stomach and nearly underneath the house when the dog ran toward him.
Judge’s son pleads
not guilty to theft of drugs
BATON ROUGE (AP) — Two former East Baton Rouge Parish Clerk of Court Office employees — one the son of a state judge — pleaded not guilty along with four others Thursday to charges stemming from the alleged theft of 48 pounds of cocaine and five guns from the clerk’s evidence vault last year.
First Assistant District Attorney Prem Burns said after Thursday’s arraignments that attorneys for several of the indicted defendants have approached her about possible plea bargains.
Frank Holthaus, who represents William Bates Colvin, son of state District Court Judge Kay Bates, said Colvin intends to take responsibility for his actions.
The next court date for Colvin and his co-defendants is Jan. 27.