News for Wednesday 081314
By Dave Graichen
State Climatologist Barry Keim says we’ve had northerly breezes move into Louisiana causing the humidity levels to drop dramatically. He says the weather outside is feeling much more comfortable that what you’d expect in The Bayou State for the middle of August. On the down side, Keim says this blast of Canadian air won’t drop temps all that much.
In the Common Core hearing yesterday, the attorneys for the Jindal administration argued that parents and educators have no authority to file a lawsuit against him for blocking Common Core. The argument was also made that – in case Judge Todd Hernandez rules against Governor Bobby Jindal-that the administration cannot be forced to testify, or give depositions. Hernandez says he will issue his written ruling soon.
A committee of Louisiana’s top school board Tuesday afternoon rejected a bid to derail Common Core test plans. The vote was 3-6 to use LEAP and iLEAP exams in the current school year, which were the tests used during the 2013-14 school year. But state Superintendent of Education John White urged the panel to stick with plans to have a test lineup in place by Aug. 31. A court hearing is set for Aug. 18 on a bid to allow Common Core tests to be given to students in March.
Jefferson Parish President John Young announces he’s running for Lt. Governor in 2015. The seat is being left open by Jay Dardenne who intends to run for Governor next year. Young says the Office of Tourism is a major growth industry for Louisiana. Young joins already announced candidates Baton Rouge Mayor President Kip Holden and Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser.
We’re a week away from the start of the three-day qualifying period, where candidates officially sign up to run in the November election. Political Analyst Bernie Pinsonat does not expect any surprise candidates to enter the US senate race. Pinsonat says democratic incumbent Mary Landrieu will face two main republican challengers, Bill Cassidy and Rob Maness. A large field of candidates is expected in the six district congressional race. He says former governor Edwin Edwards is the favorite to make a run-off. Pinsonat says the fifth district congressional race will also have a large field, as challengers see Vance McAllister as a vulnerable incumbent.
5th district congressman Vance McAllister had a message for Gov. Bobby Jindal yesterday, that after the governor, while on a weekend trip to Iowa, once again called the congressman "an embarrassment" who he won't be endorsing because of McAllister's kissing scandal with a former staffer. McAllister told the media to “Thank the governor” McAllister says he wasn’t the Governors hand-picked candidate when he ran to replace Rodney Alexander and he won’t be this time either. The congressman had some advice of his own for the governor, saying "If the governor actually spent time in Louisiana listening to the concerns of his voters rather than those of the voters in Iowa he would better serve the people of Louisiana.
The VA announced yesterday a new, much-enlarged Veterans Affairs medical clinic should open in Lafayette 18 months from now to provide outpatient care to eligible veterans in the area. The path to opening the new Lafayette clinic was smoothed last week, after years of delay, when the President signed a VA reform bill that included approval for that outpatient clinic and 25 others around the country, including one in Lake Charles. The existing Lafayette VA clinic occupies the War Memorial Building . The new clinic, which will move to a building constructed for it, should be roughly double the size of the current one.
The New Orleans Police Department is still searching for the gunman who opened fire on a house in the Lower Ninth Ward that killed two and left five people injured. 33-year-old Terrance McBride and 16-year-old Jasmine Anderson were killed in the shooting. Mayor Mitch Landrieu says it is vitally important that citizens help police identify the shooter. A mother and her two children, both under the age of 5, remain in critical condition.
Hundreds of thousands of people who signed up under the new health care law risk losing their taxpayer-subsidized insurance unless they act quickly to resolve questions about their citizenship or immigration status. The government warned on Tuesday that they have just over three weeks to show that they're eligible. No numbers yet on how many people in Louisiana will be affected.
The recent death of actor-comedian Robin Williams has opened a discussion about suicide across the country. The death of the 63-year-old entertainer has been officially ruled a suicide. LSU Mental Health expert, Dr. Howard Osofsky, says the actor showed several risk factors for suicide. Williams was said to have been battling severe depression as of late. That along with his history of alcohol and substance abuse made the actor susceptible for suicide. Osofsky says, after a suicide, friends and family are often left wondering if they could have done something to prevent it. He says if you notice a loved one’s behavior changing, you may want to seek help. But, bottom line, even with help, sometimes suicides still occur.
According to Louisiana Oyster Task Force Chairman John Tesvich, since the BP spill, oyster production along Louisiana’s coast has reached lows that have not been seen in decades. Last year, just under a million pounds of oyster meat was produced and Tesvich says early numbers for this year are only slightly better. Prior to the BP spill, Louisiana public reefs would produce three to seven million pounds of oyster meat a year. As of now, there is no scientific evidence citing the oil spill as the sole factor for the decline in oyster populations.