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Dept. of Education: 28% of schools get D or F in annual report card

Advocate staff photo by BRAD BOWIE -- Louisiana State Superintendent of Education John White is shown speaking in the cafeteria of the W.D. & Mary Baker Smith Career Center in Lafayette on Oct. 6, 2014. White was visiting schools around Lafayette Parish as part of his Louisiana Believes tour.

Public school letter grades were largely unchanged for the 2013-14 school year, with 28 percent of schools receiving a D or F, the state Department of Education announced Tuesday. However, state Superintendent of Education John White said schools will have to show improvements to meet higher expectations starting with the 2015-16 school year. “We are transitioning… Continue reading →

Long lines greet voters trying to vote early in Baton Rouge

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Sign outside early voting, at the Registrar of Voters Office at 10500 Coursey Blvd. Voting started at 8:30 a.m., but election Commissioner Jo Ann Jensen said that enthusiastic voters began to line up before 7:30 a.m., and the Coursey location only has two computers to check in would-be voters before they go to the voting machines.

A long ballot translated Tuesday into long lines at some East Baton Rouge Parish locations as early voting kicked off with robust voter interest, a parish official said. “It’s just going to be a big election, and of course the ballot’s long,” East Baton Rouge Parish Registrar of Voters Elaine Lamb said. Lamb reported strong… Continue reading →

Secretary of State Tom Schedler eyes voter turnout

Louisiana election turnout could be low for Nov. 4 statewide balloting based on historical data, Secretary of State Tom Schedler said Tuesday. Schedler said past history in recent federal elections indicates a potential 45 to 50 percent voter participation rate. “I hope I’m wrong,” said Schedler. “This election should draw 70 percent because of the magnitude… Continue reading →

Landrieu accuses GOP of ‘fear mongering’ on Ebola

In this Sept. 30, 2014, file photo, Sen. Mary Landrieu speaks in Baton Rouge. (AP Photo/Melinda Deslatte, File)

U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu says Republicans are intentionally drumming up fear about Ebola. GOP officials say the Democratic senator isn’t putting enough pressure on the Obama administration to address the public health concerns. Landrieu said Tuesday that while Ebola is a very serious situation, Republicans are using the virus outbreak in West Africa to “create fear” here… Continue reading →

Some Acadiana schools improve, others hold stable in state grading

Advocate staff photo by BRAD BOWIE -- Louisiana State Superintendent of Education John White is shown speaking in the cafeteria of the W.D. & Mary Baker Smith Career Center in Lafayette on Oct. 6, 2014. White was visiting schools around Lafayette Parish as part of his Louisiana Believes tour.

Acadiana school districts marked improvement or maintained their letter grade status in the latest release of district performance scores that includes student performance on last school year’s more challenging state tests. The Lafayette Parish School System maintained its B status, though it fell 0.5 points from last year’s 90.5 to 90 points on… Continue reading →

New rules on banks’ risk in mortgage bonds eased

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. satellite office in Arlington, Va.

WASHINGTON (AP) — New U.S. rules aimed at getting banks to take on more of the risk when they package and sell mortgage securities are being relaxed with an eye to spurring broader home lending. Federal regulators have dropped a key requirement: a 20 percent down payment from the borrower if a bank didn’t hold at least… Continue reading →

Stocks rise, helped by Chinese data, Apple results

In this Oct. 8, 2014 photo, a man walks to work on Wall Street, near the New York Stock Exchange, in New York. Stocks are opening higher Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014 after several big companies reported results that pleased investors. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

NEW YORK — U.S. stocks were solidly higher in early trading Tuesday, the market’s fourth straight day of advances, following an encouraging report on the Chinese economy as well as strong quarterly earnings from Apple and other big companies. KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 102 points, or 0.6 percent, to 16,502 as of 10:52… Continue reading →

BRPD investigating Georgia Street shooting

Baton Rouge Police Department officers are investigating a shooting that occurred Monday night in the 2800 block of Georgia Street, according to a news release issued by Cpl. Don Coppola of the BRPD. Coppola said the victim, a 24-year-old male, arrived at a local hospital at about 9:20 p.m. suffering from a gunshot wound to the lower… Continue reading →

Sinfonia expands to La.

Sinfonia Family Services, the behavioral health subsidiary of Sinfonia HealthCare Corp., plans to expand to Louisiana and Maine. The company’s Louisiana headquarters will be in Metairie, and Sinfonia Family Services plans to open offices in Lafayette and Shreveport in 2015. Kathleen K. Saintcross, former manager of Quality Life Counseling of New Orleans, has been named… Continue reading →

Cadaver dog sniffs out human remains

Where’s a body buried? Buster’s nose can often tell you. He’s a cadaver dog, specially trained to find human remains and increasingly being used by law enforcement and accepted in courts. These dogs are helping solve even decades-old mysteries.… Continue reading →

On visit home, Obama looks backward and forward

Gov. Pat Quinn, D-Ill., center, and Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., second from right, watch as President Barack Obama delivers doughnuts and pastries to Democratic campaign volunteers on Monday, Oct. 20, 2014, in Chicago. Obama is in Chicago campaigning for Gov. Pat Quinn, D-Ill. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

CHICAGO (AP) — A lesson from President Barack Obama’s brief trip home, straight out of Shakespeare: What’s past is prologue. While his trip to Chicago offered a sweet taste of nostalgia, it also offered reminders that his efforts in the first six years of his presidency have set the stage for immense challenges in his final two… Continue reading →

Oscar de la Renta, legendary designer, dead at 82

This Sept. 11, 2012, file photo released by Starpix shows designer Oscar de la Renta, right, and model Karlie Kloss backstage before the presentation of the Oscar de la Renta Spring 2013 collection sponsored by Revlon at Fashion Week in New York. The designer, a favorite of socialites and movie stars alike, has died. He was 82. (AP Photo/Starpix, Amanda Schwab, file)

NEW YORK (AP) — At his Fashion Week runway show in September, Oscar de la Renta sat in his usual spot: in a chair right inside the wings, where he could carefully inspect each model just as she was about to emerge in one of his sumptuous, impeccably constructed designs. At the end of the show, the… Continue reading →

Ebola: Providing time to fight the virus

In this Oct. 12, 2014, file photo, Dr. Tom Frieden, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, speaks at a news conference in Atlanta. People who shared an apartment with the country's first Ebola patient are emerging from quarantine healthy. And while Thomas Eric Duncan died and two U.S. nurses were infected caring for him, there are successes, too: A nurse infected in Spain has recovered, as have four American aid workers infected in West Africa. Even there, not everyone dies. (AP Photo/John Amis, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — People who shared an apartment with the country’s first Ebola patient are emerging from quarantine healthy. And while Thomas Eric Duncan died and two U.S. nurses were infected caring for him, there are successes, too: A nurse infected in Spain has recovered, as have four American aid workers infected in West Africa. Even there, not… Continue reading →

East West Copolymer secures $12 million in financing

Houston-based investment firm Main Street Capital Corp. said Tuesday it led a $12 million financing round for Baton Rouge’s East West Copolymer & Rubber LLC. East West, which bought the synthetic rubbers plant from Lion Copolymer in April, will use the money for working capital and expansion. Main Street provided $9.6 million of the total.… Continue reading →

Jindal orders Ebola policy

Associated Press file photo by Molly Riley -- Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal

Gov. Bobby Jindal ordered Monday state agencies to develop policies covering travel to Ebola stricken countries by their employees, students and faculty. The executive order covers those who travel as a result of educational trips or work-related missions to countries identified by the federal Centers for Disease Control as having an epidemic of the deadly virus,… Continue reading →

Shell Midstream Partners files for $750 million IPO

Shell Midstream Partners LP filed for an initial public offering that could be worth about $750 million before expenses and discounts. Shell Midstream was formed by Royal Dutch Shell, and it will focus on acquiring pipelines and other midstream assets. Shell Midstream’s assets include stakes in Zydeco Pipeline Co., Mars… Continue reading →

Acadiana Crime Blotter for Oct. 21, 2014

A Lafayette man wanted on an attempted second-degree murder count in the Oct. 12 shooting on Clara Street was taken into custody over the weekend. Police say 30-year-old Rondell Derouen, of the 400 block of Eighth Street, was arrested Sunday in the shooting and also booked with one count each of misdemeanor marijuana… Continue reading →

Justices won’t revive Louisiana parish claims

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court rejected an appeal Monday from 11 Louisiana parishes that wanted to revive their lawsuits over wildlife damage from the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. The justices did not comment in leaving in place lower court rulings that dismissed the lawsuits against BP and… Continue reading →

Airline Walgreens building sold

The Walgreens Pharmacy building at 5955 Airline Highway has been sold for $5.5 million. Penn 1031 LLC sold the building to ARCP WG Portfolio I LLC in a deal that was filed Monday with the East Baton Rouge Clerk of Court’s office. The buyer is connected to American Realty Capital Properties, a real estate investment trust that… Continue reading →

Agency approves Water Campus building

The first component of the Water Campus, a 33-acre center for coastal education and research between downtown and LSU, was approved by the City-Parish Planning Commission Monday. Commissioners also approved a rezoning request from the Tipitina’s Foundation to turn two buildings at 5049 Melrose Blvd. and 5069 Melrose Blvd. into office/classroom space, audio and video recording studios,… Continue reading →

Professor tells Press Club it’s unknown how much scandal hurt district attorney

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- University of Louisiana at Lafayette Political Science Professor Pearson Cross talks about the upcoming elections Monday during a meeting of the Acadiana Press Club in Lafayette.

Lululemon opening in Acadian Village

Rendering provided by Lululemon -- Lululemon will occupy a stand-alone store at the Acadian Village shopping center at Perkins Road and Acadiana Thruway.

Lululemon, the trendy manufacturer of yoga apparel, is set to open a stand-alone store in the Acadian Village shopping center. Plans are to open a 3,200-square-foot store by fall 2015. The store will be built on a parcel between Galatoire’s Bistro and a Shell station, near the Perkins Road-Acadian Thruway intersection. This… Continue reading →

Dan Claitor’s parents involved in car crash

Advocate staff file photo by BILL FEIG -- From left, as mom Nancy Claitor and son Sam Claitor watch, Dan Claitor, right, signs in to qualify to run for office at the Secretary of State's office.

State Sen. Dan Claitor’s parents remained hospitalized Monday after an automobile wreck on Airline Highway near Siegen Lane. Nancy Claitor, 80, and Robert Claitor, 88, were transported to Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center after the collision on Saturday, State Police Troop A spokesman Jared Sandifer said Monday. Nancy Claitor was in serious condition and… Continue reading →

OLOL to monitor critical patients at Woman’s Hospital

Critical adult patients at Woman’s Hospital will be monitored through specialized equipment by critical care physicians at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in a partnership between the two hospitals. A nationwide shortage of critical care physicians — also known as intensivists — has made it difficult for hospitals around the country to recruit the… Continue reading →

Lambert wins Ascension School Board race after opponent withdraws

GONZALES — One of two candidates for Ascension Parish School Board District 6B has withdrawn from the race, leaving his opponent, Louis Lambert, as the winner. Chad Bourgeois, a Libertarian candidate, officially withdrew from the race on Monday, according to the Secretary of State’s Office. Lambert, of Prairieville and not affiliated with… Continue reading →

Five candidates seek judicial office in 19th JDC

Jamie Morain Zanovec 19th JDC Campaign Announcement photo

Four Republican lawyers and a Democratic law professor are vying for the Division M seat on the 19th Judicial District Court that Judge Kay Bates is relinquishing at year’s end after nearly two decades. Longtime Southern University Law Center associate professor Cleveland Coon, the lone Democrat in the race, contends he possesses the character, integrity, courage… Continue reading →

Textron lays off 200 from Slidell military plants

Textron plans to lay off about 200 workers from its two Slidell armored vehicle plants, saying it’s temporarily shutting down production. Workers were told earlier this month that they would be laid off effective Nov. 3. Company spokesman Tom Williams said Textron, an industrial conglomerate based in Providence, Rhode Island, is replanning… Continue reading →

Woman found in St. Helena burned home identified Monday

A woman found dead in a burning house on Oct. 11 has been identified as 39-year-old Marsha Allen, St. Helena Parish Coroner Jimmie Varnado said Monday. The Sheriff’s Office suspects foul play, Chief of Detectives Joe Chaney said. On Monday, he declined to discuss specifics of the case, saying it was still under investigation by his… Continue reading →

National firm ranks Louisiana business climate 10th in U.S.

A national location marketing firm has ranked Louisiana as having the nation’s 10th-best business climate and tied for the second best state economic development agency. The Development Counsellors International report polled 356 corporate executives and site-selection consultants. Louisiana jumped 20 spots from the last time the report was done in 2011 when the… Continue reading →