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Louisiana politics: Elections qualifying, Sinkhole, N.O., Vouching for Charter Schools

voteWhat's happening in the world of Louisiana politics and government today?  There's local and statewide elections qualifying that began today. Forward New Orleans has taken a stand on public schools.  The Department of Education is vouching for its education reform of promoted by Governor Bobby Jindal.

 

Here are recent press releases and qualifying (unofficial) as of the time of publishing this article.

 

 

 

BATON ROUGE, La. - Through landmark legislation enacted earlier this year, families with students in chronically low performing schools across Louisiana will have more educational choices than ever before, according to State Superintendent of Education John White. Louisiana received 49 charter school applications this year including a record 26 applications for new charter schools, a five-fold increase over the previous year. The announcement was made at the August meeting of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE), where the full board also approved an accelerated timeline and streamlined process to expand charter options for Louisiana families. Empowering families with the ability to make important decisions about a child's education is part of the state's comprehensive plan for continued improvement, Louisiana Believes.

 

"We're excited to see so many educators, community and business leaders from all corners of the state answer the call to provide a high quality education to Louisiana students," said White. "The legislation gave us the ability to provide more public school choices to students in chronically failing schools across the state. As a result, we received a record number of applications."

 

The state recorded another major milestone this year when 14 new charters opened statewide bringing the total number operating in Louisiana to 104. During the 2011-2012 school year, more than 44,000 students attended 98 charter schools in Louisiana. From 2010 to 2011, charter schools outpaced all schools in Louisiana for gains in performance scores, gaining an average of 6 points compared to the 2 point gain of all schools.

 

The state annually accepts applications from various organizations to operate charter schools, but for the first time this year, applicants could apply directly to BESE to open new charter schools. The landmark Act 2 legislation now allows potential charter operators to apply to BESE if their school district received a letter grade of "D" or "F." As a result, BESE received 26 applications this year for new charter schools compared to five applications last year. Among the applicants are Louisiana charter groups seeking to expand to other areas of the state including ReNew Schools, Crescent City Schools, Arise Academy, New Orleans College Preparatory Academies, and Spirit of Excellence.

 

This year's charter application process, called the 2012 Call for Quality Schools, focused specifically on high priority and high need areas of the state including Baton Rouge, northwest Louisiana, Jefferson Parish, New Orleans, central Louisiana and north Louisiana. Of the 26 applications received, 85 percent were from "D" or "F" school districts and 81 percent were from areas of high priority in the state.

 

"We were thrilled with the number of applications we received and are excited to be able to offer even more educational options for Louisiana students," BESE President Penny Dastugue said. "Because of the Board's longstanding rigorous charter application evaluation process and track record of strong charter authorizing, Louisiana students have gained access to new public schools - some of which exceed the state average in terms of academic growth. We look forward to accelerating this growth through this new process which seeks to locate quality school operators to serve communities with the biggest educational needs."

 

To ensure consistency and transparency for charter school applicants, BESE today approved a common charter application that will be used by the state and local districts and an evaluation timeline for locally authorized charter schools, both requirements of Act 2. The Department used the 2012 Call for Quality Schools application, combined with feedback from district superintendents, to develop a common charter application.

 

In addition, BESE adopted a timeline for the approval of charter schools that will be effective January 1, 2013. However, for the current approval period, the 2012 timeline for locally authorized charter schools (Type 1 & 3 charter schools) opens the application process on September 10 with applications due October 19. Districts will announce charter approvals by January 31, 2013.  A charter organization must apply to the local district for a Type 1 or 3 charter school, and be denied, before applying to BESE as a Type 2 charter school, unless the district is labeled "D" or "F" in which case they may apply directly to BESE.

 

"Charter schools are an integral part of Louisiana's plan to offer every child access to a quality education," said White. "If approved, these new schools could give thousands of students additional options in their education that they otherwise wouldn't have."

 

 

 

Presidential Electors

1 to be Elected

 

Name/Address/Phone

Filed Date

Party/Race/Gender

James Harris, Alyson Kennedy Socialist Workers Party

08/08/2012

Other

3300 Wickens Dr., New Orleans LA 70131

000-000-0000

 

 

 

U. S. Representative 1st Congressional District

1 to be Elected

 

Name/Address/Phone

Filed Date

Party/Race/Gender

"Steve" Scalise

08/15/2012

Republican

P. O. Box 23219, Jefferson LA 70183

White

504-831-3105

 

Male

Arden Wells

08/15/2012

No Party

1260 E. Pine St., Ponchatoula LA 70454

White

985-969-6455

 

Male

 

U. S. Representative 2nd Congressional District

1 to be Elected

 

Name/Address/Phone

Filed Date

Party/Race/Gender

Josue Larose

08/15/2012

Republican

P. O. Box 791410, New Orleans LA 70179

Black

504-215-4928

 

Male

Cedric Richmond

08/15/2012

Democrat

1631 Elysian Fields, Box 150, New Orleans LA 70117

Black

504-908-9403

 

Male

 

U. S. Representative 3rd Congressional District

1 to be Elected

 

Name/Address/Phone

Filed Date

Party/Race/Gender

Bryan Barrilleaux

08/15/2012

Republican

3725 Cobblestone Dr., Lake Charles LA 70605

White

337-480-0404

 

Male

Charles W. Boustany Jr.

08/15/2012

Republican

P. O. Box 80126, Lafayette LA 70598

White

337-261-0041

 

Male

"Jeff" Landry

08/15/2012

Republican

P. O. Box 13816, New Iberia LA 70562

337-313-4537

 

 

 

U. S. Representative 4th Congressional District

1 to be Elected

 

Name/Address/Phone

Filed Date

Party/Race/Gender

John Fleming

08/15/2012

Republican

P. O. Box 1236, Minden LA 71058

White

318-779-1261

 

Male

Randall Lord

08/15/2012

Libertarian

10022 Winding Ridge Dr., Shreveport LA 71106

318-400-9499

 

 

 

U. S. Representative 5th Congressional District

1 to be Elected

 

Name/Address/Phone

Filed Date

Party/Race/Gender

Rodney Alexander

08/15/2012

Republican

806 N. Trenton St., Ruston LA 71270

White

318-259-4587

 

Male

 

U. S. Representative 6th Congressional District

1 to be Elected

 

Name/Address/Phone

Filed Date

Party/Race/Gender

William "Bill" Cassidy

08/15/2012

Republican

P. O. Box 80505, Baton Rouge LA 70898

White

225-387-2455

 

Male

 

Associate Justice Supreme Court, 5th Supreme Court District

1 to be Elected

 

Name/Address/Phone

Filed Date

Party/Race/Gender

John Michael Guidry

08/15/2012

Democrat

P. O. Box 386, Baton Rouge LA 70821

Black

225-421-6288

 

Male

Toni Manning Higginbotham

08/15/2012

Republican

P. O. Box 3082, Baton Rouge LA 70821

White

225-383-4489

 

Female

Jeff Hughes

08/15/2012

Republican

P. O. Box 907 , Walker LA 70785

White

225-665-7238

 

Male

William "Bill" Morvant

08/15/2012

Republican

2141 Quail Run Dr., Baton Rouge LA 70808

White

225-767-7730

 

Male

Mary Olive Pierson

08/15/2012

Democrat

P. O. Box 14647, Baton Rouge LA 70898

White

225-927-6765

 

Female

J. E. "Duke" Welch

08/15/2012

Republican

P. O. Box 4408, Baton Rouge LA 70821

White

225-933-1060

 

Male

 

Associate Justice Supreme Court, 6th Supreme Court District

1 to be Elected

 

Name/Address/Phone

Filed Date

Party/Race/Gender

John L. Weimer

08/15/2012

No Party

P. O. Box 5882, Thibodaux LA 70302

000-000-0000

 

 

 

Judge, Court of Appeal 1st Circuit, 1st Dist., Division B

1 to be Elected

 

Name/Address/Phone

Filed Date

Party/Race/Gender

William C. Dupont

08/15/2012

Democrat

P.O. Box 232, Plaquemine LA 70765

White

225-687-7070

 

Male

J. Christopher Erny

08/15/2012

Republican

1053 W. Tunnel Blvd., Houma LA 70360

White

985-580-4573

 

Male

"Mitch" Theriot

08/15/2012

Republican

298 Lakeview Dr., Raceland LA 70394

White

985-532-2389

 

Male

 

Judge, Court of Appeal 1st Circuit, 1st Dist., Division D

1 to be Elected

 

Name/Address/Phone

Filed Date

Party/Race/Gender

Vanessa Guidry-Whipple

08/15/2012

Democrat

4313 Hwy. 24, Bourg LA 70343

White

000-000-0000

 

Female

 

Judge, Court of Appeal 1st Circuit, 2nd Dist., Subdist. 1, Div. B

1 to be Elected

 

Name/Address/Phone

Filed Date

Party/Race/Gender

"Mike" McDonald

08/15/2012

Republican

8742 Trinity Ave., Baton Rouge LA 70806

225-202-1206

 

 

Trudy M. White

08/15/2012

Republican

300 N. Blvd., Ste. 6201, Baton Rouge LA 70801

Black

225-389-4737

 

Female

 

Judge, Court of Appeal 1st Circuit, 3rd Dist., Division B

1 to be Elected

 

Name/Address/Phone

Filed Date

Party/Race/Gender

Page McClendon

08/15/2012

Republican

807 Shadow Oak Ln., Mandeville LA 70471

White

985-624-3310

 

Female

 

Judge, Court of Appeal 1st Circuit, 3rd Dist., Division D

1 to be Elected

 

Name/Address/Phone

Filed Date

Party/Race/Gender

William J. "Will" Crain

08/15/2012

Republican

103 Bayou Perez Dr., Madisonville LA 70447

White

985-845-4442

 

Male

 

Judge, Court of Appeal 2nd Circuit, 1st Dist., Elec. Sec. 1C

1 to be Elected

 

Name/Address/Phone

Filed Date

Party/Race/Gender

No candidates

 

 

 

 

Judge, Court of Appeal 2nd Circuit, 1st Dist., Elec. Sec. 2B

1 to be Elected

 

Name/Address/Phone

Filed Date

Party/Race/Gender

D. Milton Moore III

08/15/2012

Democrat

130 DeSiard St., Ste. 608, Monroe LA 71201

White

318-322-2147

 

Male

 

Judge, Court of Appeal 2nd Circuit, 3rd Dist., Elec. Sec. 2B

1 to be Elected

 

Name/Address/Phone

Filed Date

Party/Race/Gender

Frances Pitman

08/15/2012

Republican

8509 E. Wilderness Way, Shreveport LA 71106

White

318-226-6819

 

Female

 

Judge, Court of Appeal 3rd Circuit, 1st District, Division A

1 to be Elected

 

Name/Address/Phone

Filed Date

Party/Race/Gender

Elizabeth A. Pickett

08/15/2012

Democrat

P.O. Box 70, Many LA 71449

White

318-256-4180

 

Female

 

Judge, Court of Appeal 3rd Circuit, 2nd Dist., Elec. Sec. 2B

1 to be Elected

 

Name/Address/Phone

Filed Date

Party/Race/Gender

Billy H. Ezell

08/15/2012

Republican

4948 W. Saint Charles Ave., Lake Charles LA 70605

White

337-564-0599

 

Male

 

Judge, Court of Appeal 3rd Circuit, 3rd Dist., Elec. Sec. 1C

1 to be Elected

 

Name/Address/Phone

Filed Date

Party/Race/Gender

John Saunders

08/15/2012

Democrat

P.O. Box 566 , Ville Platte LA 70586

White

337-363-5629

 

Male

 

Judge, Court of Appeal 3rd Circuit, 3rd Dist., Elec. Sec. 2D

1 to be Elected

 

Name/Address/Phone

Filed Date

Party/Race/Gender

Sylvia R. Cooks

08/15/2012

Democrat

P. O. Box 3841, Lafayette LA 70502

Black

337-235-2196

 

Female

 

Judge, Court of Appeal 3rd Circuit, 3rd Dist., Elec. Sec. 3E

1 to be Elected

 

Name/Address/Phone

Filed Date

Party/Race/Gender

John E. Conery

08/15/2012

Republican

4606 Old Jeanerette Rd., New Iberia LA 70563

White

337-369-6938

 

Male

 

Judge, Court of Appeal 4th Circuit at Large

1 to be Elected

 

Name/Address/Phone

Filed Date

Party/Race/Gender

James F. McKay III

08/15/2012

Democrat

1317 Jay St., New Orleans LA 70122

White

504-412-6050

 

Male

 

Judge, Court of Appeal 4th Circuit, 1st District, Division A

1 to be Elected

 

Name/Address/Phone

Filed Date

Party/Race/Gender

Edwin A. Lombard

08/15/2012

Democrat

410 Royal St., New Orleans LA 70130

Black

504-394-3876

 

Male

 

Judge, Court of Appeal 4th Circuit, 1st District, Division B

1 to be Elected

 

Name/Address/Phone

Filed Date

Party/Race/Gender

Paul Bonin

08/15/2012

Democrat

4224 Canal St., New Orleans LA 70119

White

504-915-5377

 

Male

 

Judge, Court of Appeal 4th Circuit, 1st District, Division H

1 to be Elected

 

Name/Address/Phone

Filed Date

Party/Race/Gender

Charles R. Jones

08/15/2012

Democrat

6301 Paris Ave., New Orleans LA 70122

Black

504-282-4504

 

Male

 

Judge, Court of Appeal 5th Circuit, 1st Dist., Elec. Sec. 1, Division D

1 to be Elected

 

Name/Address/Phone

Filed Date

Party/Race/Gender

Susan M. Chehardy

08/15/2012

Republican

318 Citrus Rd., River Ridge LA 70123

White

504-738-0857

 

Female

 

Judge, Court of Appeal 5th Circuit, 1st Dist., Elec. Sec. 1, Division E

1 to be Elected

 

Name/Address/Phone

Filed Date

Party/Race/Gender

Stephen J. "Steve" Windhorst

08/15/2012

Republican

200 Derbigny St., Ste. 4600, Gretna LA 70053

White

504-364-3916

 

Male

 

Judge, Court of Appeal 5th Circuit, 1st Dist., Elec. Sec. 1, Division F

1 to be Elected

 

Name/Address/Phone

Filed Date

Party/Race/Gender

Hans Liljeberg

08/15/2012

Republican

71 Metairie Ct., Metairie LA 70001

White

504-415-5316

 

Male

 

Judge, Court of Appeal 5th Circuit, 1st Dist., Elec. Sec. 1, Division G

1 to be Elected

 

Name/Address/Phone

Filed Date

Party/Race/Gender

Robert M. Murphy

08/15/2012

Republican

450 Woodvine Ave., Metairie LA 70005

White

504-491-0508

 

Male

 

Judge, Court of Appeal 5th Circuit, 3rd District, Division A

1 to be Elected

 

Name/Address/Phone

Filed Date

Party/Race/Gender

Robert A. Chaisson

08/15/2012

Democrat

P. O. Box 222, Destrehan LA 70047

White

985-764-6054

 

Male

 

PSC District 2

1 to be Elected

 

Name/Address/Phone

Filed Date

Party/Race/Gender

Erich Ponti

08/15/2012

Republican

9557 Wesson St., Baton Rouge LA 70809

White

225-663-6877

 

Male

"Ed" Roy

08/15/2012

Republican

2851 Johnston St. #303, Lafayette LA 70503

White

337-233-3816

 

Male

 

District Judge 24th Judicial District Court, ES 2, Div. F

1 to be Elected

 

Name/Address/Phone

Filed Date

Party/Race/Gender

Michael P. Mentz

08/15/2012

Republican

4416 Toby Ln., Metairie LA 70003

White

504-836-6500

 

Male

 

District Judge 26th Judicial District Court, Division E

1 to be Elected

 

Name/Address/Phone

Filed Date

Party/Race/Gender

"Whit" Graves

08/15/2012

Republican

119 Autumn Creek, Bossier City LA 71111

White

318-746-2904

 

Male

"Mike" Nerren

08/15/2012

Republican

201 Hilton Head Dr., Benton LA 71006

White

318-469-0215

 

Male

John B. Slattery Jr.

08/15/2012

Republican

1206 North Acres Circle, Springhill LA 71075

White

318-539-3411

 

Male

 

Judge Criminal District Court, Section B

1 to be Elected

 

Name/Address/Phone

Filed Date

Party/Race/Gender

Tracey Flemings-Davillier

08/15/2012

Democrat

3624 Pin Oak Avenue, New Orleans LA 70131

Black

504-658-9532

 

Female

 

Mayor Town of Delcambre

1 to be Elected

 

Name/Address/Phone

Filed Date

Party/Race/Gender

Carol Broussard

08/15/2012

Democrat

312 East LeBlanc St., Delcambre LA 70528

White

337-685-2899

 

Male

"Jeff" P. LeBlanc

08/15/2012

No Party

604 W. Church St., Delcambre LA 70528

White

337-349-0229

 

Male

 

Chief of Police Town of Delcambre

1 to be Elected

 

Name/Address/Phone

Filed Date

Party/Race/Gender

Brady Segura

08/15/2012

Democrat

P. O. Box 265, Delcambre LA 70528

White

337-315-3763

 

Male

 

Alderman District 1, Town of Delcambre

1 to be Elected

 

Name/Address/Phone

Filed Date

Party/Race/Gender

No candidates

 

 

 

 

Alderman District 2, Town of Delcambre

1 to be Elected

 

Name/Address/Phone

Filed Date

Party/Race/Gender

No candidates

 

 

 

 

Alderman District 3, Town of Delcambre

1 to be Elected

 

Name/Address/Phone

Filed Date

Party/Race/Gender

No candidates

 

 

 

 

Alderman District 4, Town of Delcambre

1 to be Elected

 

Name/Address/Phone

Filed Date

Party/Race/Gender

Donald "Phonse" Martin

08/15/2012

Democrat

217 S. Pelloat St., Delcambre LA 70528

White

337-685-2790

 

Male

 

Alderman District 5, Town of Delcambre

1 to be Elected

 

Name/Address/Phone

Filed Date

Party/Race/Gender

Mildred D. Delcambre

08/15/2012

Democrat

308 South President St., Delcambre LA 70528

White

337-685-2247

 

Female

Forward New Orleans

Today Forward New Orleans (FNO) announced Forward New Orleans for Public Schools, which calls for the elected members of the Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB) to embrace the responsibility to equitably serve all public school students in Orleans Parish. Like its parent organization, Forward New Orleans for Public Schools is a coalition of diverse civic, neighborhood and business organizations. It has outlined a seven issue platform and, like the original FNO, will seek candidate pledges, this time for each Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB) candidate to act on guiding principles to promote fairness and equity for all public schools and students.

“Regardless of school district, school type, or governance structure, the Orleans Parish School Board must use its authority and resources to enhance the likelihood of success for all public school students,” said Suzanne Mestayer, chairman of the Business Council of New Orleans and the River Region. “By forming Forward New Orleans for Public Schools, we are providing a yardstick to measure each school board candidate’s commitment to the success of all of our public schools.”

Forward New Orleans for Public Schools has identified six issues that are now critical challenges, plus a seventh item to ensure sound decision making on future issues. OPSB members must pledge to adopt formal policies and amend existing policies to serve all public schools and students.

  1. Promote High-Quality, High-Performing Schools

To promote quality public schools for all children, the OPSB must establish and enforce uniform standards of success for its schools, publicly report whether schools are meeting benchmarks, and create consequences for failure.

  1. Provide Coordination to Enable Choice

The OPSB must make enrollment easier for parents by requiring public schools to participate in a universal enrollment process and provide information about school performance, enrollment applications and deadlines for all schools.

  1. Engage in System-Wide Strategic Planning Process

OPSB must adopt a formal strategic planning policy that includes developing a shared data system to better identify service gaps and needs, determining the number and types of schools that will be needed, updated demographic data, and coordination with the RSD to assess citywide needs, opportunities to jointly promote public schools, and interaction of public schools with other institutions, non-governmental agencies, and non-profits. 

  1. Resource Management for Facilities

Public school facilities have benefited from unprecedented rebuilding and repair since Hurricane Katrina. The OPSB must develop a plan for the capital maintenance and repair of school facilities to ensure adequate facilities for all current and future public school students.

  1. Resource Manager for Taxes and Bonds

OPSB must implement a tax and bond policy to guide board decisions on whether to adjust school taxes or issue bonds. This policy should require an inclusive process that includes the schools and the Recovery School District (RSD) and looks at the sufficiency and use of current funding.

  1. Resource Manager for the Fund Balance Reserve

OPSB currently maintains a general fund reserve of approximately $42 million for emergencies. The board must outline specific, permissible uses of this fund balance reserve to ensure these monies are used appropriately and for the benefit of all public schools. 

  1. An Abiding Promise of Fairness and Equity for All Public Schools and Students

OPSB members must address any new issues with a commitment to ensuring that all public schools and all public school students are treated fairly and equitably.

According to Urban League of Greater New Orleans President Nolan Rollins, “The contributors and endorsers of Forward New Orleans for Public Schools represent the diverse landscape of New Orleans and believe in the power of education to transform our city. We expect School Board members to lead our school system towards fairness and excellence for all public school students.”

He continued, “We have a broad spectrum of endorsing groups, reflecting the understanding that OPSB, as our elected board, needs to govern for the benefit of all public school students and to do so equitably, with the intention to concretely frame some of the issues where there is broad community agreement.” 

Forward New Orleans for Public Schools is asking the OPSB to use its authority and resources equitably to enhance the likelihood of success for all public school students both now and in the future. Before the School Board election, Forward New Orleans for Public Schools will report publicly on each candidate’s response for a pledge.  Qualifying is August 15-17; general election is November 6.

Forward New Orleans for Public Schools coalition members include: Agenda for Children, Bridge House/Grace House, Business Council of New Orleans and the River Region , Children’s Defense Fund, Citizens for 1 Greater New Orleans, Common Good, Cowen Institute, Crimestoppers, Educate Now!, Greater New Orleans, Inc., Living Witness Church of God in Christ, Loyola University Institute for Quality and Equity in Education, New Orleans Chamber of Commerce, New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau, New Orleans Regional Black Chamber of Commerce, New Schools for New Orleans, Orleans Public Education Network, Partnership for Youth Development, STAND for Children Louisiana,  Urban League of Greater New Orleans, and Youth Empowerment Project (as of August 15, 2012).

 

Details about Forward New Orleans for Public Schools can be found at http://www.schools.forwardneworleans.com

News releases from Tuesday

BATON ROUGE – Out of an abundance of caution, the State of Louisiana today requested an updated risk management plan from Crosstex, a company that operates a storage cavern that contains butane 1,600 feet from the site of the Bayou Corne sinkhole. DNR has also required daily reports from Crosstex and continues to review seismic reports in the area of the Crosstex cavern that are being collected by USGS. These reports are also being sent to a science advisory group who are working closely with DNR to verify and monitor Crosstex’s efforts.

 

The company is already under an emergency order issued by the Department of Natural Resources on August 3, which directs it and other operators to take all necessary steps to protect their operations against damage due to the subsidence event in the Grand Bayou/Bayou Corne area.

 

Today, after reviewing the company’s existing worst case scenario plan, which complies with federal standards developed by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Environmental Quality formally requested an updated risk management plan and worst case scenario from Crosstex, which is one of several operators working in the area.

  

DEQ Secretary Peggy Hatch wrote that the updated worst case analysis should be based on the current contents of Cavern #2 at the company’s Napoleonville site, with an analysis consistent with the release of the largest amount of butane in the vessel.

 

Crosstex operates storage cavern that contains 940,000 barrels of butane, which is located 1,600 feet from the sinkhole. The company is continuing operations and is continuously monitoring the well pressures, conducting mechanical integrity checks for all piping, performing hourly visual checks at each well and manning its facility 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

 

Although the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency audited the risk management plan in June and found it to be compliant, DEQ out of abundance of caution and in preparation for the start of the Texas Brine well work, formally asked Crosstex to provide an updated worst case scenario. That information will be delivered to DEQ as soon as possible and no later than by close of business on Wednesday.

 

DEQ also continues to monitor the area near the sinkhole, conducting air monitoring near the bubbling in Bayou Corne regularly by boat, collecting air samples in the Bayou Corne community and deploying its Mobile Air Monitoring Lab for air quality monitoring and sampling in the area.

 

DNR is in daily contact with all operators in the area about their daily activities as Texas Brine prepares for the exploratory well to be drilled in the area near the sinkhole. Operators are monitoring pressure in storage caverns for indications of leakage, making multiple visual inspections of equipment for indications of malfunction/damage, monitoring sites for evidence of subsidence and reporting activities such as injection, withdrawal and pressure testing.

 

DNR, through an August 3 emergency order, put all operators on notice that they may be required to empty their storage caverns, shut in their wells or take other action as necessary to ensure the safety of the community nearby.

 

AIR QUALITY

 

DEQ also continues to monitor the area near the sinkhole, conducting air monitoring near the bubbling in Bayou Corne regularly by boat, collecting air samples in the Bayou Corne community and deploying its Mobile Air Monitoring Lab for air quality monitoring and sampling in the area. To date, none of the samples showed any health threats related to air pollution.

 

In addition to DEQ’s analysis, the Department of Health and Hospitals has been analyzing environmental samples from DEQ. DHH’s environmental epidemiology staff has not detected a health threat.

 

To this end, on Monday, DHH State Epidemiologist Dr. Raoult Ratard sent a letter to Assumption Parish President Martin Triche which outlines that based on DHH’s review of data, it does not appear that exposure to naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM) poses an increased public health risk to individuals in the immediate area of the slurry. DHH will continue to monitor the situation and report to the parish and public about potential health hazards.

 

###

Governor Bobby Jindal Announces the Appointment of Claude Jackson to the Louisiana Gaming Control Board

 

BATON ROUGE – Today, Governor Bobby Jindal announced the appointment of Claude Jackson to the Louisiana Gaming Control Board, effective August 17th, 2012.

The Louisiana Gaming Control Board serves to regulate public policy of the state’s gaming industry.

According to statute, the board is comprised of nine gubernatorial appointments, seven representing each congressional district and two at-large members. Of the nine appointments, five must be appointed per the recommendation of the president of each of the state's public academic institutions of higher education and the presidents of the following academic institutions: Centenary College in Shreveport; Dillard University in New Orleans; Loyola University in New Orleans; Tulane University in New Orleans; Xavier University in New Orleans; and Our Lady of Holy Cross College in New Orleans. The governor must designate a chair, and all nine appointments are subject to Senate confirmation.

 

Claude Jackson, of Rodessa, is retired from the military and was the former Water & Sewage Superintendant for the Town of Rodessa and the Town of Hosston.  Jackson is also the owner of Space Walk.  He will be appointed to serve as a representative of the 4th Congressional District, as required by statute.

– First Circuit Court of Appeal Judge Jewel “Duke” Welch will qualify Wednesday morning as a candidate for the Louisiana Supreme Court 5th District. 

                Welch has served as a judge for 16 years.  He was elected to Division N of the 19th Judicial District Court in 1995 and served three consecutive terms on the district bench.  He was elected to the First Circuit Court of Appeal in 2005 and currently serves in that position.  Prior to serving as judge, Welch was an Assistant Attorney General protecting consumers against fraud.  He was a prosecutor in Zachary, La., and served as an attorney for 14 years. 

                Welch was also elected to the Baker City Council where he served two terms, and was on the East Baton Rouge Metro Council before becoming a judge.  Welch is a graduate of Baker High School and a Magna Cum Laude graduate of the University of Maryland with a B.S. degree in business management.  He received his Juris Doctorate from the LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center.  Welch earned a Masters Degree in Judicial Studies at the University of Reno in Nevada.  He is currently pursuing a Masters of Law (LLM) degree from the Pepperdine University. He has also served as a legal professor at both LSU and Southern Law Schools.

                Welch is a member of the American Bar Association International Courts Committee, Louisiana Supreme Court Committee on Judicial Ethics, the Louisiana Supreme Court Trial Court Task Force, the Conference of Court of Appeal Judges, the Louisiana State Bar Association, and the Baton Rouge Bar Association.  He served as treasurer of the Conference of Court of Appeal Judges (2007), President of the American INNS of Court for two terms, and he was selected, to the Louisiana Supreme Court Leadership Program in 2011.  Welch is a 2010 inductee to the Louisiana Justice Hall of Fame.

Welch enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1972, served at NATO Communications, and received an Honorable Discharge in 1977.  Judge Duke Welch has been married for 40 years to Roxson Stapleton Welch. Together they have three children and ten grandchildren.  Qualifications open on Wednesday, August 15 and close on Friday, August 17.  The election is set for November 6, 2012 and a runoff election is set for December 1, 2012.  Welch is seeking the seat being vacated by former Chief Justice Kitty Kimball who announced her retirement after 20 years on the court. 

 

 

U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La.,has sent a letter to the Commandant of the Coast Guard, Admiral Robert J. Papp, Jr., expressing her concerns regarding gaps in the ongoing response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
“There is significant concern that spill-related needs are not being adequately addressed under the Coast Guard’s direction,” the letter reads.  “I met on July 25th with representatives from the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority and Jefferson, Lafourche and St. Tammany Parishes to discuss these issues. The Louisiana Legislature has also passed a resolution calling on the Coast Guard and Congressional delegation to intervene, and my staff received a briefing on August 1 from Rear Admiral Cari Thomas, Assistant Commandant for Response Policy, about the Coast Guard’s current activities. As a result of these discussions, I have become concerned about the current response posture in Louisiana and the presence of environmental and navigational hazards.”

In the letter, Sen. Landrieu specifically expresses her concern that the Coast Guard has transitioned numerous segments of shoreline out of active monitoring, despite the fact that much of Louisiana’s coast is inaccessible wetlands, thereby reducing the effectiveness of citizen reporting. State officials have also reported to Sen. Landrieu that the Coast Guard has transitioned many areas of coastline without adequately assessing them. She also requests that the Coast Guard assure removal of submerged oil mats, once a review determines that such removal is technically feasible and environmentally beneficial. Finally, Sen. Landrieu urges the Coast Guard to respond to concerns that orphaned boom anchors are posing a threat to navigation. Thus far, the State of Louisiana has documented 20 incidents of boats colliding with orphaned boom anchors, but the Coast Guard has yet to act.

 

Sen. Landrieu writes that while she appreciates “the practical need to wind down response activities in areas that have been inspected, remediated, and are highly unlikely to be re-oiled … state and local officials have expressed real concerns to me about these outstanding needs and the current level of effort.”

 

Read the full letter here.

 

 

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ website and Internet services were interrupted Monday evening by a broken water line which flooded the department’s main office in Baton Rouge.  The flooding incident has rendered www.wlf.louisiana.gov inaccessible.

 

LDWF personnel are working to restore all web-based services supported from the department’s 2000 Quail Drive office as soon as possible.  The estimated 48-hour repair time frame involves receipt of replacement equipment and drying of key components linked to on-line delivery of information to the public.

 

LDWF customers will continue to be able to purchase recreational hunting and fishing licenses at retail outlets around the state via the toll-free vendor phone number, 1-888-765-2602, or via www.wildlifelicense.com (click on Louisiana).

 

Boat registrations can be renewed on line at www.wildlifelicense.com (click on Louisiana).  Anyone needing to register a new boat or transact the sale of a used boat can bring in the necessary paperwork to LDWF’s Baton Rouge office at 2000 Quail Drive or mail in a boat registration application which is available at any LDWF field office.

 

 

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