News for Wednesday 120512
By Dave Graichen
Former Alexandria Mayor Carroll E. Lanier passed away yesterday at the age of 86. Lanier was mayor from 1977 to 1982. Lanier also served as the city's commissioner of finance and utilities from 1969 to 1973 and as the executive director of the Alexandria Housing Authority from 1988 until his retirement in 2000. Visitation will be Thursday from 5 to 9 p.m. at Hixson Brothers in Alexandria, and from 8 a.m. until services at 1 p.m. in the Hixson Brothers chapel.
The Rapides Parish School Board Approved a new time line at its meeting yesterday in its search for a new School Superintendent . Under that time line, the Board would vote to appoint a replacement for former superintendent Gary Jones at a special meeting on April 9. and we could see a new top educator in place later that month. By the way, the board still has to advertising for applicants in January and February and conduct interviews in March. On a side note, The School Board also approved entering into a new contract with MacPherson & Jacobson, a private firm hired by the Board in August to advertise for the position, accept applications and perform background checks.
The Louisiana Workforce Commission is providing assistance to workers who lost their jobs when Hostess Brands ceased operations. L-W-C Rapid Response Manager, Greg Anders, Anders says they'll go over things like how to prepare a good resume and how to conduct a proper interview. He says people who haven't had to look for a job for many years may need to be refreshed on the basics of re-entering the workforce. Anders says they'll also be answering questions about retirement and insurance. Hostess Brands employees can find out more about their re-employment sessions by visiting la-works-dot-net. Anders says they've also partnered with several companies who are looking for employees with similar skills. www.laworks.net
The voluntary evacuation in Doyline has been extended until Thursday and possibly into Friday as the movement of millions of pounds of explosive gun power continues at Camp Minden. State Police spokesperson Lt. Julie Lewis says the weather has been a factor in the delay and they are monitoring those conditions closely. School in Doyline has been cancelled through at least Thursday and the December 8th voting precincts will be moved to a church about two miles south of town.
The University of Louisiana System announces Dr. Les Guice will be the next president at Louisiana Tech. Guice will replace the retiring Dan Reneau in July 2013. Guice has been a part of the Louisiana Tech family for nearly four decades, not only as a student, but also as a faculty member and an administrator.
Louisiana's top school board backed nearly four dozen organizations Tuesday to offer courses to Louisiana's public school students through online classes and other nontraditional means, despite a judge's ruling that the program's planned financing is unconstitutional. Superintendent of Education John C. White recommended 45 course providers receive contracts to participate in the "Course Choice" program, scheduled to begin next year. The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education backed the list in an 8-2 vote, with final authorization planned for today.
Most of the 1,500 state employee layoffs scheduled for Jan. 21 at LSU hospitals across south Louisiana have been put on hold. LSU officials said Tuesday they will not proceed with layoffs as negotiations continue with private partners for operations of the seven hospitals under LSU’s Health Care Services Division, including those in Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Lafayette. A DHH official announced yesterday, since those discussions are ongoing and the partners have indicated a desire to maintain as many services as possible, the state will hold off the layoffs for now.
Despite concerns about adequate funding, a committee of Louisiana’s top school board Tuesday approved plans to overhaul the state’s often-criticized pre-kindergarten system. The plan was endorsed by a committee of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education without dissent. Most of the full board sat in on the meeting, which means that final approval on today is all but certain. The plan that won approval is aimed at revamping what critics call a pre-K system that features uneven quality, standards and availability. The state will establish early learning performance guidelines for those from zero to age 3 and academic standards for 3- and 4-year-olds. Pre-K centers and schools will get letter grades, and state aid will be linked to how the centers perform. Pilot projects are set for the 2013-14 school year. All the changes take effect for 2015-16.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation breaks ground on a major widening and resurfacing project in St. Landry Parish. State D-O-T-D spokesperson Jodi Conachen says the three-point-five million dollar project on La. Highway 93 is important to improve access to several heavily travelled roads. Conachen says Highway 93 is a vital link for motorists to various transportation facilities in south Louisiana. Construction could last up to two years.
Over one-in-five Louisiana young people, between ages 16 and 24, are not in school and not holding down a job. That comes from the annual "Kids Count" report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Casey's Laura Speer says the poor U.S. economy is a contributing factor. The report finds that employment among youths is at its lowest level since World War 2. In Louisiana, just 41% of people between 16 and 24 had jobs in 2011.
According to a new survey, about 1/3 of students in middle school are using their phones or tablets to do their homework. Justina Nixon- Saintil is the education director for The Verizon Foundation which commissioned the study. She says the main way students are using these devices is to do research for school projects, she also says there are thousands of free applications students can turn to in order to help them conquer things like math concepts or "virtually" dissect an animal. She says as a teacher, she sees her students using apps like this all the time. The study also found that the students who use their smart phones for learning take a greater interest in the subject.
A report from the Louisiana legislative auditor's office says the state department of transportation has failed to collect millions of dollars in toll money on Highway 1 Leeville Bridge in Lafourche Parish. The auditor's report found that the department of transportation allowed up to 300-thousand cars and trucks to use the toll bridge without paying. According to the audit the D-O-T-D failed to send 40-thousand delinquency notices to violators. The state is still trying to recover that money. DOTD officials say the problem has been corrected and collections are now above 95%.