News for Monday 031113
By Dave Graichen
Much of the budget savings associated with the Jindal administration’s privatization of LSU public hospitals comes from a $400 million reduction in funding for employee pay and benefits as hospital workers lose their state jobs across south Louisiana. Gov. Bobby Jindal’s proposed $24.7 billion budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, strips funding for hospitals in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Lafayette, Houma, Bogalusa and Lake Charles, impacting potentially about 5,000 employee jobs.
A Lafourche Parish House member files legislation that would prevent lawmakers from earning a fat state paycheck immediately after leaving the legislature. Thibodaux Rep. Dee Richard says his bill would prohibit any House or Senate member from taking another job with the state for two years after leaving the legislature. A number of state lawmakers have been appointed to high-paying jobs with agencies, immediately after the end of their last term at the Capitol. In some cases, their qualifications for those jobs have been questioned.
Environmental activist Erin Brockovich told a group of Bayou Corne residents on Saturday that standing up and taking legal action against the company that owns a failed salt dome cavern believed to have caused the Assumption Parish sinkhole is the only way they will find relief from the emergency.
The sinkhole was discovered Aug. 3 in a swampland area between Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou. About 350 residents nearby remain under evacuation orders.
Assumption Parish officials are in Baton Rouge today to meet with Governor Bobby Jindal to discuss the sinkhole in Bayou Corne. Assumption Office of Emergency Preparedness Director John Boudreaux says they plan to outline in detail what is needed from the state to mitigate the situation that's left hundreds of residents under an evacuation order:
33-year old Jeremy Pierce is behind bars in Caddo Parish and his troubles with the law are starting to pile up. He was in jail for allegedly molesting a student at the school where he taught. But now, says Caddo Parish sheriff's office spokesperson Cindy Chadwick, says he' suspected of molesting at least one other student at the school. Chadwick says Pierce is still in the parish jail, pending a 750-thousand dollar bond.
A Port Allen state Senator proposes legislation establishing some rules and regulations for small business bakers, who work out of their own home. Senator Rick Ward says current state law doesn't
really recognize such home-based bakeries as businesses. Ward says bakers who gross over $50-k yearly would have to be recognized by the Department of Revenue and be subject to inspections and regulation by the Department of Health & Hospitals.
Two Ascension Parish businessmen embark on a mission to produce the first-ever flour and corn tortillas made in Louisiana. Rod Olson and his partner, Kevin Holden, are former executives with Zapp's Chips. He says they call their product "Hola Nola" tortillas. Olson says they broke ground last week on the 12-thousand square foot bakery in Geismar. Once they're up & running, He anticipates having up to 50 employees.
Many farmers are having a difficult time planting their crop, because of the wet winter Louisiana has experienced. That's according to LSU AgCenter weed scientist Jim Griffin. He says all of the wet weather has made it difficult for producers to rid their fields of weeds, before they plant. Griffin says many fields are too soggy to use a tractor to spray for weeds, so some farmers are using planes to spray the anti-weed chemicals. Farmers are starting to plant corn. Soybeans and cotton will follow. Griffin says at least commodity prices are high, which will help offset the costs of using planes to spray fields.
The third ranked LSU Baseball swung the bats well this past weekend and it resulted in a three-game sweep over Washington. . Coach Paul Mainieri says Washington provided a good test for his team heading into Friday's SEC opener.