KSYL Local News

News For Friday 04/26/13


News for Friday 042613

By Dave Graichen

 

An article in today’s Town Talk reports a major Louisiana College donor has announced it no longer will support the college “due to actions of President [Joe] Aguillard.

The Cason Foundation has donated $5 million to the private Baptist college in Pineville over the last 2 1/2 years to fund the Caskey School of Divinity. Edgar Cason, who established the foundation along with his wife, Flo, sent a letter dated April 15 to members of the LC Board of Trustees announcing he was withdrawing all future financial support. A report after an investigation by an independent New Orleans law firm, found that Aguillard had improperly diverted nearly $60,000 in funds donated to the Divinity School for use in LC’s projects in Tanzania, Africa. A separate internal committee composed of five LC board members has issued a report saying Aguillard did nothing wrong.

 

The Rapides Parish School Board approved a three-year contract for Superintendent Nason “Tony” Authement, who will begin work June 1. The contract includes a $160,000 base salary, an $800 monthly expense account and $3,500 for moving expenses. Authement currently resides in Houma. Former Rapides Parish Superintendent Dr.Gary L. Jones earned $145,000 in the final year of his contract.

 

US Senator Mary Landrieu believes the  strong support that's been on display  from  the  local community could help  Fort  Polk  avoid  a reduction in troops.  The Army is considering whether to reduce Fort Polk's personnel in half  as  it  looks  to  reduce  its active duty ranks.  Landrieu  says the Army should not overlook the  significant investments that have been made on this base. Fort Polk is among  21 posts nationally that could see a significant reduction in soldiers.

 

A  House  committee approves legislation that delays implementing  a new performance  evaluation system for teachers for a year. The bill is by Minden Rep.  Gary  Reynolds.  He says this is because of fierce opposition  from teachers and teachers  unions,  who  feel  the  new review method is flawed. Reynolds says his bill puts the whole thing

on hold. The so-called Compass evaluation method, also called the Value added

Model, uses student  performance  on  standardized tests as half the teacher's performance evaluation. Reynolds  says during the one-year delay, the system can be fine-tuned to satisfy all parties involved.

 

House Speaker Chuck Kleckley says he doubts  legislative attempts to force Louisiana to accept federal dollars to expand Medicaid will go anywhere this session. He says a lot of the problem  is inconclusive data on what it would mean fiscally for the state to offer  Medicaid coverage to about 400-thousand more residents who can't afford their

own health insurance. A  House  Committee  rejected  a  Medicaid expansion bill this week. Kleckley says other proposed Medicaid  bills will likely go nowhere. Governor Jindal says he'll veto any such bill that come to his desk.

 

In response to Decembers Connecticut school shooting, the House has passed a bill that requires state schools  to  work  with  local law enforcement  to  create  a  written  crisis  response  plan,  and to rehearse that plan as well. The bill goes to the Senate for committee assignment and review.

 

The House has passed legislation  that allows anyone with a concealed weapon carry permit to bring their  gun  into a restaurant that serves alcohol. Haughton Rep. Henry Burns original bill applied only to off-duty cops, but during committee hearing  he successfully amended the measure to include ALL CCP holders. The final vote was 63-25, sending the bill over to the Senate

 

The  Senate Education Committee unanimously votes against a proposal to cap  the  TOPS  scholarship program. The bill by Jennings Senator Blade Morrish faced  opposition  from  the governor's office. Morrish  says  he  filed  the  bill  as a way to preserve  the  TOPS scholarship because it's becoming too  costly  for the for the state

to fund, as tuition costs continue to rise. The bill is essentially dead for the session.

 

The world famous New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival starts today, and  local tourism officials are hoping for record attendance. Kelly Schulz,  with the Greater New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau, says the  2012 Jazz Fest brought just over 450-thousand visitors, from all over  the globe, to the Crescent City. Also this weekend, the festival international continues in Lafayette.

 

A spokesman with Texas Brine says  a  seismic  survey shows that the subsurface below the sinkhole in Assumption Parish  is  stable. They say  hopefully  residents  in Bayou Corne will be able to return  to their homes in early August. That would be a full year after they were evacuated.

 

The LSU College of Engineering has received a $15 million gift  commitment from Phyllis M. Taylor to go towards the renovation of  Patrick F. Taylor Hall and construction of a chemical engineering  facility. Rick Koubek (Co-Beck), Dean of the LSU College of Engineering,  says this contribution is a game changer. Koubek says this is the largest private donation to the LSU College of  Engineering in its history. He says the entire project is $100 million  and the state has said it will come up with half if they come up with  the other half.

 

Because  of  the  federal  sequestration's  severe  budget  cuts  an on-going project  aimed  at  mapping the annual dead zone that forms off our coast each summer maybe  dropped. The dead zone is caused by large-scale agriculture being dumped into the Mississippi that feeds into the Gulf. Mapping helps detect  if  programs created to end the problem are working.

 

This year's attempt  at  a  law ensuring equal pay for men and women who do the same work has stalled.  The  Senate  Governmental Affairs Committee deadlocked with a 4-4 vote. Bill sponsor Senator Ed Murray of New Orleans can try it again in a future committee meeting.

 

Sports..

 

Two of the top baseball programs in the country over the last five years  meet in Alex Box Stadium tonight as LSU hosts South Carolina. Aaron Nola  will be on the hill for the Tigers. You can hear the entire series on 970 KSYL. Airtime tonight, 6:30.

 

 

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