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Gov. John Bel Edwards issues call for second special session, 'bold decisions' to close budget gap

Advocate file photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Gov. John Bel Edwards on Friday ordered the state Legislature to begin a second special session in order to close the budget gap.

Louisiana legislators will get a 30-minute break when the regular session ends June 6 and then have 18 days to sort out a final version of the budget that begins July 1. Gov. John Bel Edwards on Friday ordered the state Legislature to begin a second special session a half-hour after the regular session ends,… Continue reading →

Slaughter charter school goes public with frustration over negotiations with East Feliciana School Board

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING - Glen LeDoux, left, President of the Slaughter Community Charter School Board, gestures as he describes the makeup of Slaughter Community Charter School's various buildings, background, Friday, May 27, 2016. He's with board member André Greenup, right. SCCS leaders are at odds with the East Feliciana Parish School Board, which wants the school to cut its maximum enrollment from 385 to 292 students, which could delay for a year the construction of a new school next door do the original charter school. It could also jeopardize school's future, perhaps forcing it to close at some point, they say.

A small charter school in Slaughter is threatening to bolt the East Feliciana Parish school system if it doesn’t give ground on a proposed operating contract that would require the school to enroll fewer students than previously allowed, delaying plans to rebuild the school and potentially putting its finances at risk. The parish School Board Continue reading →

Iberville schools superintendent Ed Cancienne negotiating with St. James Parish to return as its school system leader

Ed Cancienne

A former St. James Parish schools superintendent is returning to that role once again after the School Board voted unanimously to hire P. Edward Cancienne Jr. as its new superintendent. The current St. James schools superintendent, Alonzo “Lonnie” Luce, whose contract the board declined to renew, is stepping down May 31. Luce, meanwhile, is… Continue reading →

Up to 16 named storms projected for upcoming 'near normal' hurricane season, NOAA announces

FILE- In this Oct. 3, 2015 file photo, Dillon Christ, front, and Kyle Barnell paddle their canoe down a flooded street in Charleston, S.C. The U.S. government is set to release its forecast for how many hurricanes and tropical storms are expected to form over Atlantic and Caribbean waters in the next six months. It’s an annual reminder from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that coastal living comes with significant risks. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton, File)

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted Friday the 2016 hurricane season will be near normal, but reaching that conclusion was more challenging for federal scientists than usual. The forecast calls for the development of 10 to 16 named storms, four to eight of which could become hurricanes, with one to four of… Continue reading →

Power from pellets Drax facilities boost timber industry in Louisiana and Mississippi, port in Baton Rouge

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- A 25-ton log crane moves wood from the wood yard to the stem deck, where the wood is positioned for bark removal and chipping at the Amite BioEnergy facility operated by Drax Biomass in Gloster, Miss. Wood pellets produced at the facility are taken to the Port of Greater Baton Rouge.

Reducing dependence on fossil fuels has been one of the great issues of the 21st century for businesses and governments. Officials with a British power company think they have an answer to reducing carbon emissions, thanks to wood produced in Louisiana and Mississippi. Officials with Drax Group recently held an open house for their… Continue reading →

Sweet relief: Governor signs bill that will prevent lemonade stands from being ticketed

Advocate file photo by BRAD BOWIE -- Imogen Hebert, 8, serves a cup of lemonade to Chris Declouet on National Lemonade Stand Day in Lafayette.

Children will be able to operate lemonade stands without state interference under a bill signed Friday by Gov. John Bel Edwards. The change was among nearly three dozen bills signed into law. The legislation, Senate Bill 99, prohibits the imposition of any tax or assessments on a minor engaging in a business with sales of less… Continue reading →

Design team envisions vibrant stretch of neighborhoods along Lafayette's I-49 Connector

Advocate photo by PAUL KIEU -- Architect Steve Oubre speaks during a presentation on planning and design by the Evangeline Corridor Initiative on May 27, 2016 at  in Lafayette, LA.

A team hired by city-parish government unveiled a vision Friday evening of walkable, attractive and vibrant neighborhoods along the planned Interstate 49 Connector. The 5.5-mile stretch of I-49 through Lafayette would roughly follow the path of the Evangeline Thruway, a large road built decades ago that divided Lafayette and marred the historic neighborhoods it sliced up.… Continue reading →

Metro Buzz: Baton Rouge zoo critic tries to derail BREC award

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- The entrance to BREC's Baton Rouge Zoo on Thomas Road in north Baton Rouge, photographed Thursday, August 20, 2015.

An East Baton Rouge Parish Metro Council member’s criticism of the parish parks commission will not affect its chances of winning a national award for which the agency is a finalist, a spokeswoman has said. Councilwoman Chauna Banks-Daniel is a frequent critic of BREC’s handling of the Baton Rouge Zoo. In an interview, she said it… Continue reading →

Business Briefs for May 29, 2016

Financial services giant Morgan Stanley has named New Orleans as its eighth Healthy Cities location, launching the program with a playground build at Lake Forest Charter School. The Healthy Cities program, working with Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans, targets needy children and their… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Lafayette area Business Honors for May 29, 2016

Ashley Gary Higginbotham, Judiciary Commission of Louisiana

BATON ROUGE AREA Jerry Ceppos, dean of LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication and its William B. Dickinson distinguished professor, has been named a fellow of the Society of Professional Journalists. The honor is awarded for extraordinary contributions to the profession. Ceppos, who previously worked for the San Jose Mercury News and… Continue reading →

Business Briefs for May 29, 2016

Tiger Honda of Gonzales has opened at 13325 South Airline Highway in Gonzales. Tiger Honda is a 10-acre, 42,000-square-foot new and used car dealership, with parts and service departments. The dealership is owned by José Pozos and Sam Pack. Pozos owns the Ford Lincoln dealership… Continue reading →

Initial unemployment claims in Louisiana rise

First-time claims for unemployment insurance in Louisiana for the week ending May 21 increased to 3,165 from the previous week’s total of 2,969. The state labor department said there were 3,166 claims for the comparable week a year earlier. The four-week moving average, which is a less volatile measure of claims, increased to 2,881 from… Continue reading →

Former Oklahoma insurance executive to head La. Citizens Property Insurance

Oklahoma insurance executive Richard Newberry has been picked to head the Louisiana’s property insurer of last resort. Newberry’s first day as the chief executive officer of Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp. will be Tuesday, said state Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon. That’s also the start of hurricane season. Donelon said Newberry’s 23 years of experience… Continue reading →

Four booked on DWI in East Baton Rouge from between Wednesday and Friday

Authorities arrested at least four people suspected of driving while intoxicated in East Baton Rouge Parish and booked them into Parish Prison between Wednesday afternoon and Friday afternoon, booking records show. Those booked and the counts against them: — Maurdell Flowers, 33, 18733 Samuels Road, Zachary, first-offense DWI, failure to maintain control, reckless operation… Continue reading →

A St. Landry Parish grand jury this week indicted four people in three murder cases, KATC-TV reported. Suspects were indicted in the December killing of Akeem Ceasar and the March killings of Kevin Roberts and Kenric Castille. Read the story at KATC-TV.… Continue reading →

Judge clears way for seizure, sale of private land at Port of Iberia

A federal judge once again has cleared the way for New York investment bank Goldman Sachs to seize and auction property along Nicholson Drive in Baton Rouge and at the Port of Iberia. The properties were owned by Lafayette businessman Michel Moreno and used as collateral to secure a $52.4 million loan that has been in default… Continue reading →

Judge clears way for property sale

A federal judge once again has cleared the way for New York investment bank Goldman Sachs to seize and auction property along Nicholson Drive in Baton Rouge and at the Port of Iberia. The properties were owned by Lafayette businessman Michel Moreno and used as collateral to secure a $52.4 million loan that has been in default… Continue reading →

White vapor cloud from Rubicon Thursday night was much smaller than expected, company and state officials say

A storage tank at the Rubicon LLC chemical plant in Ascension Parish vented a white vapor cloud Thursday night that prompted roadblocks and orders for anyone within a mile of the facility to shelter in place, authorities said Friday. The liquid released was identified as maleic anhydride, which can cause skin and… Continue reading →

Nexstar selling Lafayette Fox, NBC stations for $40 million

The Fox and NBC television stations in Lafayette are being sold for $40 million. Nexstar Broadcasting Group Inc. is selling Fox affiliate KADN-TV and NBC affiliate KLAF-LD to minority-led Bayou City Broadcasting Lafayette Inc. Bayou City Broadcasting Lafayette is owned by affiliates of Boston private equity firm Bain Capital Credit LP and Houston-based Bayou City Broadcasting… Continue reading →

No cause for former Parkview Baptist student's arrest in alleged December rape, Orleans commissioner finds

Pryce Fletcher, 18

An Orleans Parish magistrate commissioner found insufficient evidence for the arrest in New Orleans last month of a Baton Rouge teenager accused of raping a 16-year-old girl the night after his high school’s state championship football game in December. Pryce Fletcher, 19, was booked on a simple rape count last month and released on… Continue reading →

In sharp departure, Common Core hearing sparks little interest

A topic that used to spark passionate arguments and lengthy hearings — Common Core — produced neither Friday. Instead, a public hearing on proposed revisions to the standards was over in less than 30 minutes. Only half a dozen or so speakers showed up for a gathering ordered by the Louisiana Legislature last year in a… Continue reading →

It's SEC championship weekend, here's when LSU baseball plays next, whom they'll face, more

LSU pitcher Parker Bugg, center, high fives his teammates after winning against Mississippi State after a Southeastern Conference NCAA college baseball tournament game at the Hoover Met, Thursday, May 26, 2016, in Hoover, Ala. LSU won 6-2. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

. The LSU baseball team -- a.k.a. the fighting rally possums -- earned a well-deserved day off at the Southeastern Conference tournament Friday after beating Tennessee on Tuesday, Florida on Wednesday and Mississippi State on Thursday. The No. 5-seed Tigers are back in action in the tournament semifinals Saturday around 3:30 p.m. against the winner of… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge area adds 11,600 jobs over past 12 months, hitting a record 414,000 in April

An 11,600-job gain in the Baton Rouge area over the past 12 months wasn’t enough to offset oil industry-driven job losses in four of the state’s other eight metro areas and rural parishes. Metro-area losses were posted by Lafayette, New Orleans, Houma-Thibodaux and Shreveport-Bossier City against Baton Rouge’s gains and those in Hammond, Lake Charles, Monroe… Continue reading →

Arrest made in shooting death of East Feliciana Parish School Board member Broderick Brooks

Jacquez Tremaine Griffin, 19, of 2918 Chippewa St., was arrested Thursday night in the shooting death of East Feliciana Parish School Board member Broderick Brooks earlier this week, according to Baton Rouge police.

The 19-year-old man suspected of robbing and fatally shooting East Feliciana Parish School Board member Broderick Brooks earlier this week confessed to the crime after investigators searched his home, discovering the gun they believe was used in the crime, authorities said. The Baton Rouge Police Department announced Friday morning that Jacquez Tremaine Griffin, 2918… Continue reading →

Weinstein Nelson selected for high-profile Entergy site redevelopment on Government St.; see what proposal includes

Advocate staff filel photo by BILL FEIG -- A team led by Weinstein Nelson Development has been selected to redevelop the 6.1-acre former Entergy site at 1509 Government St. in Baton Rouge.

The East Baton Rouge Parish Redevelopment Authority voted Friday to negotiate with a team led by Weinstein Nelson Development for a $20 million redevelopment of the 6.1-acre former Entergy site on Government Street. Weinstein Nelson has been involved in the redevelopment of a number of downtown properties, including the mixed-use 440 on Third building and… Continue reading →

Lafayette arrest report for May 27

Arrests posted May 26, 2016, on the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s website. ANTONIA AMOS: 48, of the 200 block of Belfast Street, Lafayette. He was booked on two counts of warrant/bench warrant. RUDOLPH ARCHON: 18, of the 200 block of Odile Street, Lafayette. He was booked on simple burglary and resisting an officer.… Continue reading →

Tin Roof seeks LSU fans’ help deciding flavor of official school beer

Baton Rouge-based Tin Roof Brewing Co. said Friday it will release an officially licensed LSU beer in time for the 2016 football season, and the company wants Tiger fans to help decide the flavor. “We’ve created a slate of 8-10 test batches of various styles to sample in a blind tasting panel,” said Tin Roof co-founder William… Continue reading →

East Baton Rouge looking at mixed-use redevelopment options for Entergy site on Government St.

The East Baton Rouge Redevelopment Authority is considering proposals from eight teams who want to redevelop the 6.1-acre Entergy site on Government Street. At its meeting Friday morning, the RDA is hearing from a Fregonese and Associates team that reviewed the applications. The Fregonese team could give the RDA a list of several finalists for the redevelopment… Continue reading →

'Hate crimes will not be tolerated in Louisiana': New 'Blue Lives Matter' law first in nation

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards  (AP Photo/Melinda Deslatte)

Louisiana will become the first state in the country to treat attacks on police and firefighters as hate crimes and extend the same protections that are offered to people targeted for their race, gender or religion. Gov. John Bel Edwards on Thursday signed into law the so-called “Blue Lives Matter” legislation that has gripped national attention in… Continue reading →

‘Probably one of our better games all year’: LSU gets past Mississippi State 6-2 in SEC tournament

Advocate staff photo by ANDREA MABRY-- Jared Poche pitches as LSU faces Mississippi State in the third round of the Southeastern Conference baseball tournament in Hoover, Ala. Thursday, May 26, 2016.  ORG XMIT: LABAT

HOOVER, Ala. — Mike Papierski held both hands near his waist, jumping in agony after absorbing the fastball he tried to bunt up the first base-line in Thursday’s 6-2 win against Mississippi State in the Southeastern Conference. Papierski sat on the foul line, facing an 0-2 count while trainer Cory Couture ensured he was… Continue reading →