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Current gas prices in BR area.

UL-Lafayette beefing up programs to meet workforce needs

Advocate Photo by BRAD KEMP Job seekers line the hall way during a three company, CGI, Enquero and Proficient, recruitment and networking fair at Abdalla Hall on the campus of Louisiana-Lafayette  in Lafayette, La., Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014.

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette plans to funnel about $1.3 million into new faculty positions and personnel who will focus on producing more graduates in engineering, computing and nursing to meet workforce needs. The money is part of the university’s $2 million allocation from the state’s new competitive Workforce and… Continue reading →

Acadiana crime blotter: Man pleads guilty to using Internet to try to lure child for sex

Photo provided by CROWLEY POLICE DEPARTMENT -- Damien Deshone Guidry, 34, of 1001 North St. in Welsh, is wanted on two counts of attempted first-degree murder and a count of home invasion in the Nov. 16, 2014, shootings that hospitalized two people.

A man pleaded guilty in federal court this week to using the Internet to try persuading a child in Lake Charles to have sex with him, officials said. Timothy Kelly, 40, of Jeannette, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty to one count of using a facility in interstate commerce in his attempt at underage sex.… Continue reading →

Key figure in Lafayette airport history honored with monument

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- A new sign designating the Lafayette Regional Airport at Paul Fournet Field is unveiled Tuesday in Lafayette.

The hangar is now gone, the one that bore Paul Fournet’s name and marked the spot where his air transportation business and pilot school flourished for decades. So on Tuesday, Lafayette Regional Airport officials unveiled a monument to make sure air travelers entering and leaving the airport know Fournet’s name. Adorned… Continue reading →

Survey of public on Lafayette School Board’s performance flops; survey to be revised for 2015

The Lafayette Parish Public Education Stakeholders Council plans to revise its survey to gather feedback on the public’s view of the Lafayette Parish School Board’s performance. The council launched Project Involve, a survey designed to track residents’ views on the School Board’s governance and effectiveness, in late May. Continue reading →

Acadiana Crime Blotter: Morgan City man arrested in shootings

Photo provided by LOUISIANA ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE -- Carlos Cespedes, 47, of Morgan City, was booked Nov. 22, 2014, in New Orleans on two counts of attempted first-degree murder in connection with the Nov. 14, 2014, attempted shooting of his ex-girlfriend and another person.

MORGAN CITY — A fugitive arrested Saturday in New Orleans on two counts of attempted first-degree murder is accused of forcing his way into an ex-girlfriend’s home in Morgan City earlier this month, shooting at her and another person then fleeing in a stolen vehicle. Carlos Cespedes, 47, of Morgan City, was booked… Continue reading →

Lafayette hospital plans study on people with pancreatic cancer; seeks participants

Lafayette General Health’s research department is seeking male and female pancreatic cancer patients for an observational study on the impact of chemotherapy on their quality of life. Survey participants must be 18 or older. The study will evaluate the medications Abraxane and Gemcitabine in patients diagnosed with metastatic adenocarcinoma of the pancreas.… Continue reading →

Around Acadiana for Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014

From left, Richard Burgess, Marsha Sills and Billy Gunn.

The Lafayette Farmers and Artisans market at the Horse Farm hosts its free Fais Do Do Harvest Party at the final Mid-Week Market of the year from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday. Handcrafted gifts, baked goods and homegrown food will be on sale, and Balfa Toujours will perform from 5:30 p.m. to… Continue reading →

State Police: Lafayette man collects federal dollars for anxiety, back problems but has siding, auto sales businesses

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- Alan Bernard, center, is lead to an awaiting police unit by Louisiana State Police officials outside of Troop I Monday in Lafayette. Alan Bernard, 47, of Lafayette, is accused of accepting $83,000 in disability benefits since 2011 while fraudulently operating two businesses from his home.

A 47-year-old Lafayette man who collected more than $83,000 in disability benefits since February 2011 was arrested Monday, accused of operating two businesses — an auto-sales business and A-1 Affordable Siding Inc. — out of his home at a time when he claimed he had no income. And, as part of that… Continue reading →

Picard endorses Brian Pope for city marshal

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- Lafayette Marshal Earl

Five-term Lafayette City Marshal Earl “Nickey” Picard on Monday threw his political arms around a former employee who quit quietly in January to challenge his former boss, eventually besting him in the November election and forcing Picard into retirement. In endorsing Brian Pope, who finished first among four city marshal candidates in the… Continue reading →

School Board candidates Morrison, Gagnard discuss issues; Gagnard defends remarks he posted on Facebook

Don Gagnard; Mary Morrison

Voters in the Scott area will decide in the Dec. 6 runoff election whether a former coach or a college student adviser will fill the District 1 seat on the Lafayette Parish School Board. Mary Morrison, an adviser and instructor at South Louisiana Community College, was the top vote-getter in the Continue reading →

Man booked on second count in Friday shootings

A Lafayette man was booked on a second count of attempted second-degree murder Saturday in a string of shootings on Friday in north Lafayette that left one man dead and two others hospitalized. Meanwhile, authorities on Saturday identified the man who was found shot to death Friday in the 800 block of West… Continue reading →

Two candidates slugging it out for Lafayette marshal’s job

Advocate Photo by BRAD KEMP Lafayette City Marshal candidate Mark Pope, right, shakes hands with Zydeco musician Rockin Dupsie, Jr. while campaign at El Sido's Zydeco & Blues Club during the annual Thanksgiving Zydeco & Blues Food Drive in Lafayette, La., Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014.

With just two weeks remaining before the Dec. 6 runoff election for Lafayette city marshal, the campaigns have taken a mean and personal edge as two men vie for a job that’s been held by one person for the last 30 years. Kip Judice, a captain on leave from the Lafayette Parish… Continue reading →

Maurice man killed when truck overturns near Jeanerette

State Police said a 67-year-old man was killed early Saturday when his tractor trailer overturned on US 90 near La. 668 near Jeanerette in Iberia Parish. Russell Charles, of Maurice, was driving east on US 90 at around 7:15 a.m. when his trailer began to leave the right side of the highway, said Master Trooper Brooks… Continue reading →

Crowley police arrest S.C. man accused in fatal shooting, home invasion and other Acadiana police news

Photo provided by CROWLEY POLICE DEPARTMENT -- Aaronton Williams, 22, of Jennings, was booked Nov. 19, 2014, on a count of principal to attempted first-degree murder and a count of principal to home invasion in connection with the Nov. 16, 2014, shootings of two people on East 15th Street in Crowley.

Police say they arrested a South Carolina man Friday who is accused in the Oct. 12 death of 22-year-old Taylor Beverly and the shootings on Sunday of two people on East 15th Street. D’Avondre Marquest Williams, 18, of Beaufort, South Carolina, was arrested Friday on a count of… Continue reading →

Bailey’s again opening doors to needy in Acadiana for Thanksgiving

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- Bailey's Restaurant and Ema's Cafe' owner Ema Haq.

Ema Haq opened the doors to Bailey’s Seafood & Grill 22 years ago and has been hosting an annual Thanksgiving luncheon ever since that provides a proper holiday meal to struggling Lafayette residents. Haq, 51, a native of Bangladesh, moved to Lafayette when he was 19… Continue reading →

Lafayette shootings leave one dead, two hospitalized

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- Lafayette Police work the scene of some shootings near the intersection of Gilman Road and Happiness Street Friday in Lafayette.

Updated at 2:15 p.m. A Lafayette man was booked on a second count of attempted second degree murder Saturday in a string of shootings on Friday in North Lafayette that left one man dead and two others hospitalized. Meanwhile, authorities on Saturday identified the man who was found shot to death Friday in the 800 block… Continue reading →

Judge sets bail in Romanian Internet scheme

Three people charged in a Romanian-based Internet scam that netted at least $1.4 million were back in custody Thursday after being released on their own recognizance last week. Ten people arrested in the case since October each had faced an initial bail of $1 million, but 15th Judicial District Judge Edward Rubin last… Continue reading →

Teens arrested in bomb hoax at Comeaux High School

Two Comeaux High School students were arrested Thursday morning after allegedly posting sticky notes that warned there was a bomb on campus, KATC-TV reported. School administrators and the campus resource officer identified the students through video surveillance and pulled them from class, Cpl. Paul Mouton said. They were identified within 15 minutes of… Continue reading →

Acadiana news briefs for Nov. 21, 2014

University of Louisiana at Lafayette architecture professor Geoff Gjertson will discuss his book, “Generating Hope: Stories of the BeauSoleil Louisiana Solar Home” from noon to 1 p.m. Friday at Fletcher Hall, Room 134 on the university’s campus. Gjertson will discuss lessons learned since the home’s completion… Continue reading →

Judge rules accused Acadiana cop killer too mentally ill to stand trial

Advocate file photo by BRYAN TUCK. -- A memorial to fallen Chitimacha Tribal Police Sgt. Rick Riggenbach had been set up outside the police station in Charenton.

A state district judge ruled Thursday that a man claiming to be the “son of God” is too mentally ill to stand trial for the violent deaths of a police officer and another man in Charenton in 2013 and instead ordered him to undergo psychiatric treatment at a state hospital. District Judge… Continue reading →

Lafayette holding recruitment fair as tech companies plan moves

A recruitment and networking fair for job hunters who are interested in prospects associated with three information technology companies moving to Lafayette will be held from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday at Abdalla Hall, 635 Cajundome Blvd. Combined, the companies — CGI, Enquero and Perficient — plan to fill about 1,000… Continue reading →

Mayor seeks funds from St. Landry to restore Sunset High building

Sunset Mayor Cecil Lavergne asked the St. Landry Parish Council on Wednesday night for money to restore the former Sunset High building. Lavergne asked for a maximum of $50,000 for the project, but said he’d be happy to get $30,000 to $35,000 to repair the 89-year-old building. The… Continue reading →

Two business owners arrested in drug raid and other Lafayette area police news

Photo provided by LAFAYETTE PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE -- Austin Hack, 17, of Lafayette, was booked on a count of attempted second-degree murder and is accused of shooting someone twice in the back Nov. 18, 2014, in the 100 block of Castille Avenue

LAFAYETTE — Authorities arrested two men and seized almost seven pounds of synthetic marijuana and more than a half-pound of marijuana Tuesday after raiding two neighboring businesses on South Pierce Street, KATC-TV reported. Ratib Abuelouf, 32, and Nemer Abuelouf, 26 — who authorities say own convenience store Simcoe Food World and Jr’s Apple Tree,… Continue reading →

Feds indict 14 in ‘meth ring’ distributing drugs to southwest Louisiana

Advocate staff photo by BRAD BOWIE -- Alec Van Hook, First Assistant U.S. Attorney, right, with Joseph Shepherd, Assistant Special Agent in Charge, announces the indictment of 14 suspects accused of distributing methamphetamine on Wednesday afternoon at the Lafayette Federal Courthouse. 12 of the 14 suspects have already been placed in police custody.

A federal grand jury has indicted 14 people in what prosecutors allege was a major methamphetamine ring that funneled drugs from Texas to south Louisiana. “I think this case should majorly disrupt the flow of methamphetamine in this part of the state,” First Assistant U.S. Attorney Alec Van Hook said. The… Continue reading →

Superintendent says prayer at St. Mary student assembly ‘inconsistent’ with school policy

An introductory prayer during a Veterans Day assembly at Morgan City High School last week was inconsistent with a school district policy forbidding mandatory religious activities, St. Mary Parish school officials said Wednesday. The response came a day after the Washington-based American Humanist Association threatened in a letter… Continue reading →

Lafayette Council approves public health tax for ballot

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- The old Federal Couthouse, right, is located on Jefferson Street in downtown Lafayette Tuesday.

The Lafayette City-Parish Council voted Tuesday to let voters decide in a special election March 28 whether to consolidate two existing property taxes into a single public health millage that would pay for animal control. But the council refused to give its blessing to an administration plan to advance with negotiations to Continue reading →

Angola warden preaches power of religion to criminal justice students

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- Louisiana State Penitentiary Warden Burl Cain speaks about his career and the prison he runs in Angola, Louisiana Tuesday to a group of criminal justice students at South Louisiana Community College in Lafayette.

Prison Warden Burl Cain on Tuesday told South Louisiana Community College students a tale he’s told to thousands around the world. Hard-core criminals are immoral; their crimes, often violent and sadistic, are what got them sentenced to prison. But most are not lost causes, even if they’ve received life sentences, he said.… Continue reading →

Acadiana news briefs for Nov. 19, 2014

The giving nature of Lafayette Parish residents helped the Lafayette Parish School System receive a $10,000 donation from the Champions for Kids SIMPLE Giving program. In April, the nonprofit organization held a food donation competition at Wal-Mart stores across the country asking customers to donate… Continue reading →

Lafayette recognized for student gains in Advanced Placement courses

The Lafayette Parish School System is one of only three districts in Louisiana recognized by the College Board for its increased participation and improved student performance on Advanced Placement courses. Lafayette, DeSoto and Vernon Parish school systems made it onto The College Board’s AP District Honor Roll, a list of… Continue reading →

Superintendent may get pay raise

Advocate staff file photo by BRYAN TUCK -- Interim Superintendent Burnell Lejeune

The job of interim school superintendent could come with a $50,000 pay boost for Burnell LeJeune, the longtime school system employee appointed as the Lafayette schools chief last week. The Lafayette Parish School Board will discuss the salary for LeJeune as interim superintendent during its 5:30 p.m. meeting Wednesday. LeJeuene would… Continue reading →

Lafayette corrections officer booked on malfeasance, obstruction counts

Jerrod Brashear and Megan Huval

A Lafayette Parish corrections officer has been arrested along with an inmate who is accused of disabling a surveillance camera that was set up in an internal investigation of the female deputy and the male inmate, officials said. Megan Huval, a 22-year-old deputy, was fired, then jailed, on counts of malfeasance in… Continue reading →

Washington group demands St. Mary Parish officials omit prayer from school events

A Washington-based humanist group has written a letter to St. Mary Parish school officials demanding they omit prayer from school-sponsored events after a Morgan City High School student complained about a school-led Christian prayer during a Veterans Day assembly last week. If the district does not take corrective action on the… Continue reading →

Arsonist sets fire to home just as tenants prepare to move in

Lee Albert Sam Jr.

An arsonist set fire just before 1 a.m. Monday to a rental house on Madison Street, causing minor fire and smoke damage to the home as tenants were preparing to move in, authorities said. “Investigators determined that multiple fires were set inside the dwelling,” said Alton Trahan, public information officer for the Lafayette… Continue reading →

Children ‘teach’ parents at Academic Super Bowl

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- Gerald Singleton works out a math problem at an Academic Superbowl Monday at the Cajundome Convention Center in Lafayette. Parents and students had an opportunity to work with local educators on ways to futher education at home during the event.

Lafayette Parish School System students became teachers Monday night as they shared what they’ve been learning in class with parents during the districtwide Academic Super Bowl at the Cajundome Convention Center. Second-graders showed how to “decompose numbers” to easily break them down into tens and quickly solve math problems, while sixth- and seventh-graders… Continue reading →

Around Acadiana for Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014

The Cypress Lake Sextet and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Jazz Ensemble will play a concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Acadiana Center for the Arts in downtown Lafayette. The concert will be in the ACA’s James Devin Moncus Theater. ACA is located at 101 W. Vermilion St. Admission will be $12 for general… Continue reading →

Federal government reaches settlement in dispute over claims for cattle killed during Hurricane Rita

Federal officials on Monday announced that a settlement was reached in the Department of Agriculture’s dispute with four people and two companies that claimed they lost cattle when Hurricane Rita tore through Cameron Parish in September 2005. U.S. Attorney Stephanie Finley said Monday that the four people and the two companies agreed to… Continue reading →