News for Friday 062014
By Dave Graichen
It’s happened again, Louisiana College has been placed on probation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. SACS cited issues related to trustee board governance, institutional integrity, personnel policies and audit findings that pertain to some financial control matters and student financial aid. LC interim President Argile Smith says Fortunately, the issues don’t bring into question in any way the excellent classroom work being done by our professors and students. The issues have to do with administrative areas. Smith said he’ll work with key administrators at LC on preparation of a “monitoring report” before a SACS team visits the campus in April 2015.
State Civil Service director Shannon Templet has approved an employee layoff plan associated with the closure of LSU’s hospital in Pineville. The plan involves abolition of 123 positions at Huey P. Long Medical Center which is scheduled to close June 30. The hospital is the third LSU facility to close as a result of a Jindal administration plan to move public hospital care into private control.
The Pineville based Cleco Power's customers will start to see a reduction in their electricity bills and get a refund because a new rate plan was approved by the Louisiana Public Service Commission. The one time refund will mean an average of $46 for an average residential customer and should show up on September bills.
TheDeal.com is reporting that Pineville-based utility Cleco Corp. is exploring the possibility of a sale to a Canadian Corporation. Citing unnamed sources, the website dedicated to news on mergers and acquisitions reported Cleco has retained Goldman Sachs to advise on a sale. Cleco received an unsolicited bid from a Canadian group called Borealis Infrastructure. Cleco has had no comment so far on the report. However, Cleco’s stock price jumped more than 6 percent Thursday to an all-time high of more than $56.
US House Republicans elected Jefferson Congressman Steve Scalise to be the new Majority Whip, the number 3 position in the leadership. He defeated Reps. Peter Roskam of Illinois and Marline Stutzman of Indiana. Scalise is the first Congressman from Louisiana to hold such a high position since the early 70s.
According to a new report from the Violence Policy Center, Louisiana once again leads the nation in gun-related deaths. The report states that Louisiana's gun-related death rate nearly doubles the US average. The report used data from 2011, the most recent year such data is available. Louisiana is followed by Mississippi, Alaska, Wyoming, and Montana on the list. Executive Director Josh Sugarmann says weak gun laws and high gun ownership rates are contributing factors for the top 5 states. The figures show that nearly 19 out of every 100,000 Louisiana citizens died by gunfire in 2011.
A quick thinking clerk at Tiger Truck Stop in Gross Tete blew the whistle on a teenager abduction by a registered sex offender. The employee called 911 after recalling a TV story about a 16-year-old girl from Florida who has been missing since last week. Once deputies spotted the suspect, forty-one year-old Steven Patrick Myers fled the scene and led them on a chase to Lafayette, where he crashed his vehicle and stabbed his victim, and apparently stabbed himself. Sixteen year-old Ashley Lyon is in the hospital in serious condition but stable condition.
The Wednesday debate between Governor Bobby Jindal and the Department of Education over Common Core has left many people in a state of confusion. So what's next? Council for a Better Louisiana President Barry Erwin says he feels the DOE and BESE will stand firm
and continue with the implementation of the national academic standards. Even though Jindal announced he's working toward removing Common Core from Louisiana, Erwin doesn't see a way the governor would legally be able to do that. Erwin says the education system in Louisiana now has no active contract to buy standardized tests for next year.
Governor Bobby Jindal signed legislation that will create the WISE fund, which is a $40 million pool of money for colleges and universities linked to research and workforce development. LSU
System President and Chancellor Dr. F King Alexander sys with so many high tech jobs coming to Louisiana, this money will be put to good use. The WISE fund gives every public college or university in the state a chance to collect a share of this money based on how many graduates they produce in high-demand fields like computer science and engineering.
Louisiana was once again featured on "The Daily Show" on Comedy Central. The show sent correspondent Al Madrigal to the Bayou State for a segment that aired last night entitled "Chicken boxing vs. cockfighting". The piece featured interviews with New Orleans Senator JP Morrell and Opelousas Senator Elbert Guillory. It can be viewed online at The Daily Show dot com.