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SLCC awards $80,000 in scholarships

South Louisiana Community College has awarded about $80,000 in scholarships to about 24 students for the current academic year. Several companies and individuals made scholarship donations that will help students pay a portion to almost all of their education expenses for the fall and spring semesters. “The impact of these scholarships… Continue reading →

Export records set by New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Lake Charles

Photo provided by the Port of Greater Baton Rouge -- Logs are loaded onto a ship bound for China earlier this year at the Port of Greater Baton Rouge. The Baton Rouge area set an export record last year and ranked 45th natiionally.

Goods exported from Louisiana supported 282,540 jobs in 2013, and the New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Lake Charles metropolitan areas ranked among the country’s top 50 exporters. All three of the state’s major port cities reported record exports in 2013 and are among 26 metro area reaching record export levels, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.… Continue reading →

LSU coach Les Miles says Malachi Dupre healthy; four suspended LSU players to return

LSU coach Les Miles yells to his players during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Wisconsin Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

LSU freshman receiver Malachi Dupre has returned to practice, and defensive tackle signee Travonte Valentine is practicing with the Tigers, coach Les Miles said during his weekly press conference Tuesday. Dupre didn’t make the trip to Houston because of what’s believed to be an ankle injury. Valentine, a Florida four-star prospect, has not been cleared to play… Continue reading →

Video purports to show beheading of U.S. journalist

FILE - This image made from video released by Islamic State militants on Aug. 19, 2014 purports to show journalist Steven Sotloff being held by the militant group. On Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014, an Internet video purports to show the beheading of Sotloff by the Islamic State group. (AP Photo/File)

BEIRUT (AP) — An Internet video posted online Tuesday purported to show the beheading by the Islamic State group of U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff, who went missing in Syria last year. The extremist group, which has claimed wide swaths of territory across Syria and Iraq and declared itself a caliphate, said Sotloff's killing was retribution for continued U.S. airstrikes… Continue reading →

Cristo Rey considers starting school in Baton Rouge

Advocate staff file photo by HEATHER McCLELLAND -- Southern University Chancellor James Llorens

Cristo Rey, a nationwide network of 28 Catholic high schools, known for arranging once-a-week jobs for its inner-city students to offset tuition costs, is talking to local business leaders to see if Baton Rouge is ready for such a school. If so, the new school would likely open in fall 2016 with about 125 ninth-graders,… Continue reading →

Mirabito earns praise for transforming troubled bus sytem

Advocate staff file photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- CATS CEO Bob Mirabito

When Bob Mirabito was selected to lead the Capital Area Transit System in 2013, the agency was facing a public image meltdown, undergoing a massive service expansion and dealing with allegations of board corruption and financial mismanagement. Many concerned transit advocates questioned handing the reins of a system under siege to a man with no… Continue reading →

Tropical Storm Dolly forms off Mexico’s coast

This NOAA satellite image taken Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014, at 012:45 a.m. shows Tropical Storm Dolly has formed over the Yucatan Peninsula. (AP Photo/Weather Underground)

MIAMI (AP) — Tropical Storm Dolly has formed off Mexico’s coast over the Bay of Campeche. The storm’s maximum sustained winds early Tuesday are near 45 mph (75 kph) with additional strengthening forecast until it makes landfall. The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Dolly will approach Mexico’s coast by Tuesday night and move inland by Wednesday morning.… Continue reading →

Lawsuit challenges residency of School Board member

A lawsuit filed by a former Lafayette Parish School System administrator challenges District 7 School Board member Mark Cockerham’s current residency and calls on him to vacate the seat he currently holds. Nancy Cech filed the lawsuit which asks the court to make Cockerham vacate the seat effective Aug. 20,… Continue reading →

LHC completes $10 million acquisition

LHC Group Inc., a Lafayette-based home nursing firm, has completed a previously announced $10illion deal for 13 home health agencies in six states. The Life Care Home Health agencies increase LHC’s geographical footprint to 350 locations in 29 states. LHC announced the deal in July. The agencies are expected to have no impact on Continue reading →

State GOP files ethics complaint against Landrieu

Advocate staff file photo by BRYAN TUCK -- U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu

Louisiana’s Republican Party has filed a complaint against Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu with the Senate’s ethics committee about her use of private chartered planes. The complaint, filed Tuesday by party executive director Jason Dore, accuses Landrieu of violating federal law by billing her taxpayer-funded Senate office for flights to attend campaign fundraisers. Landrieu is seeking… Continue reading →

Some fear auto industry returning to bad habits

FILE - In this Wednesday, May 8, 2013 file photo, a row of new 2013 Ford Fusions are on display at an automobile dealership in Zelienople, Pa. As the auto industry strives to sustain its post-recession comeback, car companies are resorting to tactics that some experts warn will lead to trouble down the road.  (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)

DETROIT (AP) — Big discounts. Six- or seven-year loans, in some cases to buyers who would have been turned down in the past. As the auto industry strives to sustain its post-recession comeback, car companies are resorting to tactics that some experts warn will lead to trouble down the road. Vehicle discounts have risen 5.5 percent… Continue reading →

Louisiana man drowns during Florida vacation

NAVARRE BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Officials say a 65-year-old Louisiana man drowned in the Gulf of Mexico on Labor Day. The Santa Rosa Sheriff’s Office says Roderick M. Maybee of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was pulled unconscious from the water Monday afternoon off the Florida Panhandle beach where he’d been vacationing with his family. Red flags were… Continue reading →

State certifies first Livingston Parish property as development-ready

A 93-acre site in Walker is the first in Livingston Parish to be certified development-ready under the state economic development department’s certified sites program, according to the Baton Rouge Area Chamber and the Livingston Economic Development Council. The program allows companies to quickly and easily evaluate properties. Certified sites either have all the utilities and infrastructure in… Continue reading →

Shares mostly rise while dollar gains on euro, yen

The New York Stock Exchange is shown, Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2011, file photo taken in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

TOKYO (AP) — World stocks were mostly higher Tuesday as investors awaited central bank meetings later this week in Europe and Japan as well as U.S. employment figures. The dollar extended its rally against the euro and the yen on expectations the Fed will be the first major central bank to raise interest rates. KEEPING SCORE: By… Continue reading →

Mass. firm buys six properties in La.

Massachusetts-based Senior Housing Properties Trust has agreed to acquire 23 Class A medical office buildings, including six in Louisiana, for $539 million. The locations of the Louisiana buildings were not immediately available. However, Senior Housing Properties said the Louisiana properties have 40,575 square feet of space and their principal tenant is Fresenius Medical Care, a dialysis… Continue reading →

Marijuana’s hazy contribution to highway deaths

This  Oct. 8, 2012, file photo shows the wrecked Subaru Impreza in which four people died as it is loaded onto a flatbed truck on the Southern State Parkway in West Hempstead, N.Y., after an early-morning accident. At the wheel was a New York teenager, Joseph Beer, who had smoked about $20 worth of marijuana, before getting into the car with four friends, and driving over 100 mph before crashing into trees with such force that it split the car in half. As states liberalize their marijuana laws, public officials and safety advocates worry that more drivers high on pot will lead to a spike in traffic deaths. Researchers who have studied the issue, though, are divided over whether toking before taking the wheel in fact leads to more accidents. (AP Photo/Frank Eltman, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — New York teenager Joseph Beer smoked marijuana, climbed into a Subaru Impreza with four friends and drove more than 100 mph before losing control. The car crashed into trees with such force that the vehicle split in half, killing his friends. Beer, who was 17 in October 2012 when the crash occurred, pleaded guilty… Continue reading →

False River drawdown aimed at restoring lake’s health

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- From left, Austin Broussard, 19, Isabelle Smith, 13, Morgan Broussard, 13, and Kathy Broussard of Lafayette, enjoy the Labor Day weekend via jet skis on False River in New Roads, Sunday, August 31. The Pointe Coupee Parish Police Jury will begin a lake drawdown for False River on September 2, after Labor Day, which state and local officials are doing to improve the lakeÕs water quality. False RiverÕs water level will drop progressively for a three-week period, from approximately 16.5 feet to about 13.5 feet.

After more than 20 years of talking about it — a discussion that has often polarized Pointe Coupee residents — state and local authorities are taking their biggest step yet in trying to restore False River by instituting a man-induced drawdown of the ailing oxbow lake. State officials have given the Pointe Coupee Parish Police Jury… Continue reading →

Louisiana’s feral hogs won the survivability lottery

File photo provided by U.S. Fish and Wildlife ServiceFeral hogs on the Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge have been identified as a nuisance on public and private lands throughout Louisiana. The state Wildlife and Fisheries Commission has authorized the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to develop a set of regulations that would allow private landowners to take feral hogs from helicopters, a move some coastal landowners believe is the best way to control the state's increasing wild hog population.

Despite what you may have heard, feral hogs don’t give birth to three litters a year and no one female can have 300 piglets within a two-year period, says Kim Marie Tolson, associate professor of biology at University of Louisiana at Monroe. That said, the question of what to do about the increasing number of feral… Continue reading →

Ascension’s midyear sales tax collections soar amid growth

Photo provided by CF Industries -- A new urea plant takes shape earlier this month as part of the $2.1 billion expansion of the CF Industries' nitrogen complex near Donaldsonville. The 100-acre construction site off La. 70, which Friday had no fewer than 30 cranes towering over it, is one of several major industrial projects fueling a surge in sales tax collections in Ascension Parish. The new urea plant, one of three major facilities planned in the expansion, will be able to produce about 1.3 million tons of urea once completed in the second half of 2015. The entire expansion is expected to be finished in mid-2016.

Beneath a forest of cranes set against the backdrop of an already sprawling chemical plant, more than 2,000 construction workers are building a $2.1 billion expansion of CF Industries’ nitrogen complex on the west bank of Ascension Parish. Not expected to be finished until mid-2016, the 100-acre addition to the nation’s largest nitrogen… Continue reading →

Maurepas man dies in crash on La. 22

Photo provided by St. Amant Volunteer Fire Department -- Ascension Parish authorities investigate the scene of a single-vehicle crash on La. 22 that claimed the life of 37-year-old Robert G. Falcon Jr. of Maurepas on Monday, Sept. 1, 2014.

A Maurepas man was killed early Monday in a single-vehicle crash on La. 22 in Ascension Parish, State Police reported. Robert G. Falcon Jr., 37, was driving a 2003 GMC Yukon eastbound on La. 22 shortly before 3:15 a.m., police said. As Falcon approached a right-hand curve, his vehicle ran off the… Continue reading →

Obama: ‘Revving’ economy calls for higher wages

Associated Press photo by MORRY GASHPresident Obama hugs Chris Harris, vice president of United Steel Workers Local 2-209, after being introduced at Laborfest 2014 at Henry Maier Festival Park on Monday in Milwaukee.

MILWAUKEE — President Barack Obama renewed his push for Congress to raise the minimum wage Monday in a buoyant accounting of the economy’s “revving” performance, delivered on behalf of Democrats opening their fall campaigns for the midterm congressional elections. “America deserves a raise,” he told a union crowd in Milwaukee, vowing to keep a hard sell… Continue reading →

BR fair officials increase security after 2013 shooting

After last year’s fatal shooting at the Greater Baton Rouge State Fair, organizers vowed to improve security to keep fairgoers safe. Organizers decided on a two-pronged approach after studying security measures at other fairs and discussing the potential changes among the organization’s board of directors: check every fairgoer with a metal-detecting wand and change the closing… Continue reading →

Pro-Russian rebels lower demands in peace talks

Pro-Russian rebel leaders from Eastern Ukraine Andrei Purgin, left, and Alexey Karyakin  walk in Minsk, Belarus, on Monday, Sept. 1, 2014. A so-called contact group meets for talks in Minsk, the Belarusian capital, to reach agreement on a cease-fire. The group, which last met in late July, includes representatives of Ukraine, Russia and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. (AP Photo/Dmitry Brushko)

Pro-Russian rebels softened their demand for full independence Monday, saying they would respect Ukraine’s sovereignty in exchange for autonomy — a shift that reflects Moscow’s desire to strike a deal at a new round of peace talks. The insurgents’ platform, released at the start of Monday’s negotiations in Minsk, the Belarusian capital, represented… Continue reading →

Iraqi prime minister pledges to root out militants

This photo provided by the Iraqi government shows outgoing prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, center, surrounded by residents and security forces after his arrival in Amirli, some 105 miles (170 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, Sept. 1, 2014. Al-Maliki praised residents for fending off attacks by Sunni militants who had besieged them for more than two months until security forces backed by Iran-allied Shiite militias and U.S. airstrikes broke the siege a day earlier. (AP Photo/Iraqi Government)

BAGHDAD — Iraq’s outgoing prime minster pledged Monday to turn his country into “a big grave” for Sunni militants from the Islamic State group and commended security forces who achieved a rare victory over insurgents by ending the siege of a Shiite town. Nouri al-Maliki made the comments during an unannounced visit to the… Continue reading →

SLCC prepares to build new college campus in St. Martinville

Photo provided by South Louisiana Community College -- Artist rendering of the new South Louisiana Community College Evangeline campus in St. Martinville.

South Louisiana Community College could begin construction of its new $7 million campus in St. Martinville in November and move in 12 months later. The new campus, which will replace the college’s existing one on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in St. Martinville, has been planned for the past five years. Construction… Continue reading →

School Board to consider relaxing bus driver requirements

For the second time in 16 months, the Lafayette Parish School Board will be asked to relax educational requirements for bus drivers as a way to more easily fill vacancies. Board policy currently requires that Lafayette Parish School System bus drivers have a high school diploma or its equivalent. The board will be… Continue reading →