Jindal pushes worker training, as session opens
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Gov. Bobby Jindal says Louisiana's biggest challenge is making sure it has enough skilled workers to fill the jobs his administration has helped attract to the state.
Jindal described the challenge Monday as he told lawmakers that his top priority for their annual legislative session is boosting job skills training for high school and college students.
The Republican governor's speech came as the Legislature opened its 85-day session, which runs until June.
Jindal's agenda is limited. He's asking lawmakers to invest new dollars in worker training programs, to limit the authority of a state flood protection board to sue the oil and gas industry and to toughen restrictions on abortion.
Lawmakers have filed more than 1,500 bills with their own ideas on education, finances, health care and crime.
ATTORNEY GENERAL-RESTORATION LAWSUIT
Court upholds hiring of outside counsel
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Attorney General Buddy Caldwell acted within his authority when he approved the hiring of outside legal help in a lawsuit filed by the Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East against almost 100 oil and gas companies for alleged damage to coastal wetlands.
The Advocate reports that State District Judge Janice Clark issued the ruling on Monday in Baton Rouge.
A lawsuit filed in December 2013 by the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association alleged the levee authority is a state agency that operates under the state Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority.
The lawsuit argued the levee board did not have the authority to hire outside counsel and instead should be represented by the attorney general.
The oil and gas association says it will appeal Clark's ruling.
JEAN LAFITTE AUDIT
Jean Lafitte finds $23,000 missing
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - An audit finds an employee of the town of Jean Lafitte misappropriated $23,000 from the fund for traffic fines and regulatory licenses last year.
The town is attempting to recover the money through repayment and insurance. That's according to an audit released Monday by the state Legislative Auditor's office.
NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune reports the audit also found other problems, including failure to amend the budget to acknowledge an increase in revenues.
The audit said the employee collected and deposited cash, allowing the worker to pocket the money. In its response, the town said that it would "ensure that there are proper segregation of duties over internal controls over cash receipts" and reconcile cash deposits with receipts weekly.
St. Bernard president says center director fired
CHALMETTE, La. (AP) - The president of St. Bernard Parish says he has fired the director of the parish's civic center after the state legislative auditor was asked to examine the facility's finances.
NOLA.comThe Times-Picayune reports Stephanie Bachemin had earlier been suspended by parish President Dave Peralta.
On Monday, Peralta said he fired Bachemin.
Peralta hired Bachemin to direct the Frederick J. Sigur Civic Center in Chalmette when he took office in January 2012.
Parish Councilman Richie Lewis and Peralta say they have asked the state legislative auditor to examine the civic center's books.
The center, which includes a 52,400-square-foot auditorium with a stage and a 9,280-square-foot ballroom, is rented out for events and together can accommodate about 3,000 guests.
THEATER-A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES
Plans eyed for 'Confederacy of Dunces' onstage
NEW YORK (AP) - Things are looking up for fans of the hard-to-love Ignatius Reilly - finally. A New Orleans-based theatrical production company has plans to turn the obnoxious, overweight and very funny protagonist of "A Confederacy of Dunces" into a stage hero.
Shelton Street Theatrical, LLC said Monday that it has asked playwright Jeffrey Hatcher to adapt the novel about the New Orleans-based Reilly, who lives with his mother, rails against the evils of the modern age and sells hot dogs from a cart in the French Quarter. "Driving Miss Daisy" director David Esbjornson has been picked as the director.
Producers said the play will be worked on in a series of readings in New York, followed by developmental productions leading perhaps to Broadway. No cast has been revealed.
2 detention center employees arrested for battery
SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) - Sheriff Steve Prator says two security counselors at the Caddo Juvenile Detention Center have been arrested on battery charges for their treatment of juvenile inmates. Prator says the arrests involved separate cases.
Prator says 29-year-old Allan Bigham Brown II, of Shreveport, was arrested on two counts of simple battery. Forty-five-year-old Irma Jean Williams, of Bossier City, was arrested on one count of simple battery.
Brown is accused of pinning a 15-year-old boy down, leaning on him with his weight, and pushing his elbows into the boy's chest. The incident occurred on Nov. 15.
Williams is accused of slapping a 15-year-old boy in the mouth with the back of her hand on Jan. 6.
Authorities: Domestic dispute leads to fire
ANACOCO, La. (AP) - Authorities say a 32-year-old Anacoco man is facing seven counts of attempted second-degree murder after setting fire to a trailer following a domestic dispute.
Vernon Parish Sheriff Sam Craft tells KPLC TV that James Aubery Moses was arrested early Sunday morning.
Witnesses said Moses and his spouse had an argument earlier and that Moses had threatened the residents inside the home. Craft said the residents, four adults and three children, were not injured in the fire.
Moses was also booked with criminal trespassing and aggravated arson.
It is unclear whether Moses has an attorney.
LIL BOOSIE-1000 SONGS
Lil Boosie: Prison term of the 1,000 songs
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Rapper Lil Boosie says serving prison time in a Louisiana prison was life changing and it's made him a better person and ultimately, he hopes, a better artist.
Lil Boosie, whose real name is Torence Hatch, was released last week from the state's maximum security prison at Angola.
On Monday, he held a news conference at a New Orleans hotel to talk about his future.
After reacquainting himself with his 7 children, Lil Boosie says he wants to get back into the studio.
While imprisoned following a 2009 drug conviction, he says he wrote more than 1,000 songs.
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