News for Friday 030113
By Dave Graichen
The Rapides Parish School Board is expected to select 10 semifinalists to become the district's next superintendent at a special meeting on Monday. Applications for superintendent of Rapides schools will become public at the meeting after the Board receives them from the private search firm the Board hired in back August. The Board intends to discuss the applications while in executive session and later vote in open session on the 10 candidates to be interviewed. Yet another special meeting of the school board on April 4 will serve as a "second supplemental interview,"
Some thought it would never happen, but It’s now official, the final piece of the puzzle that fill bring SunDrop fuels to central Louisiana is finally in place. Ballina Farms sold 1,213 acres to Sundrop Fuels for more than $4.7 million yesterday. The land surrounds the Cowboy Town property, which Sundrop purchased last December for $2.5 million. The combined sale is around $7.2 million. When all is said and done, Sundrop will spend $500-million to build the facility.
Eighty-five billion dollars in automatic spending cuts will go into effect at 11:59 tonight unless legislation is passed to delay or avoid the so-called sequester. Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu says 7,000
civilian defense employees will be furloughed and the state will lose millions in education funding. President Obama and Congress have not been able to come up with a plan to prevent the across-the-board cuts. The democrats want to pass legislation that cuts the budget, but also raises revenues by closing tax loopholes that mostly benefit the wealthy. Republican Senator David Vitter says he's not interested in increasing taxes and he believes President Obama is playing a political game with
the American people.
The president of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System said he is "more than optimistic" that funding for a new community college campus in the Alexandria-Pineville area will pass the state legislature. A new, $20 million home for the Alexandria campus of Central Louisiana Technical Community College is included in a $245.5 million facilities upgrade request for the state's community colleges.
The Louisiana School Board Association says districts need more per pupil funding in order to keep up with the state's educational reform requirements. Executive Director Scott Richard says school districts are heading into the fifth year without an increase in per pupil allocation and many are on the verge of financial crisis. The formula the state uses to allocate per pupil funding is called the Minimum Foundation Program or MFP. Richard says class sizes are increasing while reserve funding is being depleted and districts are struggling to continue to provide quality service. Money from the MFP also goes to funding the school voucher program.
State Superintendent of Education John White said Thursday he has talked with plaintiffs in the lawsuit challenging Louisiana’s expanded voucher law about a new way to fund the program. But Scott Richard, executive director of the Louisiana School Boards Association, which is one of the plaintiffs, said his group remains opposed to any funding method that results in state school aid dollars going to students attending private or parochial schools.
If you thought we woke up to some cold temperatures this morning, just wait till this weekend. State Climatologist Barry Keim says a cold front is going to move through the state tonight and re-enforce these already cold temperatures for the weekend. He says we can expect near freezing temperatures everywhere north of the I-10 tonight. We can expect even colder temps Sunday.
Houston-based Waller Marine will build a small-scale liquefied natural gas facility at the Port of Greater Baton Rouge in Port Allen to supply vessels with the cleaner-burning fuel they will need to keep up with tougher environmental standards. The facility is small compared with the billion-dollar LNG projects announced in south Louisiana in recent years. Waller Marine plans to spend $200 million initially, though that amount could double as Waller Marine adds capacity. The facility would create upward of 300 construction jobs. It will employ 45 people initially and could double that when fully built out.
An Austin, Texas, clean energy company on Thursday officially announced plans to develop a previously reported methanol plant at the Port of South Louisiana in LaPlace. The Billion Dollar plant, billed as “the largest methanol production plant in North America,” will convert 163,000 million British thermal units of natural gas to 5,000 metric tons methanol each day. The state says the plant will create 63 direct jobs with an average salary of $66,500 a year, plus 374 indirect jobs. Construction will begin later this year, with completion expected in 2016.
There is still plenty of concern about the millions of pounds of explosive material that is improperly stored at Camp Minden in Webster Parish. State lawmakers heard from State Police and others
today, about what's been done and what remains to be done to secure that area and the nearby town of Doyline. State Police Captain Taylor Moss says a bit over 6-million pounds of the M-6 propellant
has been moved to safe storage, but over 3-million pounds remains in a precarious place. Moss says the only way to get rid of the remaining propellant is to burn it, if it cannot be sold. But Moss says enough work has been done on the site to make sure nearby residents are not in harm's way
Well control operations have after an accident earlier this week where a crewboat hit a wellhead causing a leak in the shallow water near Plaquimines Parish. The well, owned by Swift Energy, is estimated to be leaking roughly 840 gallons of oil a day. Containment booms have been put in place.
The annual college football bowl game in Shreveport is changing its name from the Independence Bowl to the AdvoCare V-100 Bowl. Advocare has been the title sponsor of the bowl game for the last four years, and bowl chairman Jack Andres says this will allow the health and wellness company to provide great financial backing to the bowl. Andres says Advocare plans to make the Shreveport Bowl a great
destination for college football teams and their fans.