NEW ORLEANS — Sandra K. Woodley is the next president of the University of Louisiana system.
The system announced Woodley’s appointment Friday in a news release. Woodley succeeds Randy Moffett, who retired in September.
Woodley takes over on Jan. 1. She is leaving her job as vice chancellor for strategic initiatives at the University of Texas System.
The UL system includes Southeastern Louisiana University, UL-Lafayette, UL-Monroe, the University of New Orleans, McNeese State, Nicholls State, Louisiana Tech, Grambling State and Northwestern State.
Democratic candidate endorses Boustany
BATON ROUGE — The third-place finisher in the 3rd District congressional race has thrown his support to Republican Charles Boustany for the Dec. 8 runoff.
Democrat Ron Richard, a lawyer who received 22 percent of the vote in the election, announced Friday that he was backing Boustany over his GOP challenger Jeff Landry.
Richard said, “After having been in a race with both of them and finding them both to be interesting and nice gentlemen, Charles’ ideology and politics — while very different than mine — are closer to mine than Jeff’s.”
He also said Boustany was more willing to listen to all sides of an issue.
Both Boustany and Landry are incumbent congressmen, forced into the same district when Louisiana lost a congressional seat. Boustany led the five-man field in Tuesday’s election.
Video voyeurism pretrial hearing set
LAKE CHARLES — A pretrial hearing will resume Tuesday afternoon in Lake Charles for a gynecologist charged with video voyeurism and sexual battery.
The question is whether prosecutors can use evidence found in Dr. Peter LaFuria’s truck.
Police had a warrant to search his office and vehicles on the premises. Detective Patty Bailey testified Friday that the truck was searched at LaFuria’s house, and detectives found evidence that led them to ask for a warrant to search his house.
She testified that she believed the warrant to search his medical practice included a search of his vehicle.
LaFuria is charged with 186 counts of video voyeurism, 78 counts of sexual battery and five counts of molestation of a juvenile.
Even if the hearing concludes Tuesday, Judge David Ritchie said he won’t rule on the motion to suppress, or another motion to change venue, until early December, possibly Dec. 7.
“It’s going slow, but we’ve got to make sure our T’s are crossed and our I’s dotted,” prosecutor Cynthia Killingsworth said. “We want to make sure things are done correctly. The judge is doing a good job of making sure things are filed correctly.”
I-10 widening nears completion
BATON ROUGE — After three years, an $86 million project to widen about 7.7 miles of Interstate 10 at Baton Rouge is nearly done.
State transportation secretary Sherri LeBas tells The Advocate that it may be completed by the end of the year, and certainly should be finished by February.
LeBas said some lanes still need paving. Work also remains to be done on a soundwall, which parallels some of the westbound portion of the corridor, but LeBas said that should not affect the opening of the expanded road.
“We are very hopeful that it will be by the end of the year,” LeBas said.
She said an adjacent $60 million project — adding a new lane in each direction on another 4.4 miles of the interstate should be completed by spring of 2013.
Work from the split of I-10 and Interstate 21 south to Siegen Lane began in January 2009, and was supposed to be finished by late last year. That’s the larger section. The adjacent project would widen the interstate from Siegen Lane to Highland Road.
Louisiana has a $12.1 billion backlog of transportation work.
Merryville bones ID’d; foul play not suspected
MERRYVILLE — The Beauregard Parish Sheriff’s Office says the LSU FACES Laboratory has confirmed that bones recently found in Merryville are those of Adam Davis of Merryville, who had been missing since Sept. 16.
Sheriff’s office spokesman Joe Toler said when the bones were found this month that they didn’t show any sign of foul play.
He said in a news release Friday that the bones will be released to Davis’ family after a full examination, which should be completed soon.
An arrowhead hunter found the skull Nov. 6 in woods that can only be reached by boat. Toler said detectives were able to find 98 percent of the skeleton.
Sparta Aquifer water use down
RUSTON — A recent report from the U.S. Geological Survey says water use from the Sparta Aquifer fell nearly 4.9 million gallons a day from 2005 to 2010.
But the report says the total water usage of 63.1 million gallons a day was still 11 million gallons above the sustainable level. It says the aquifer would break even at about 52 million gallons of use a day.
USGS supervisory hydrologist Ben McGee tells The Daily Leader that the numbers are considered fairly accurate, but it is impossible to get a complete picture of water usage.
He says the closed International Paper plant had used about 4 million gallons a day.
Nearly 1,000 line up for look inside hotel
ALEXANDRIA — Nearly 1,000 people lined Alexandria’s downtown sidewalks to tour historic Hotel Bentley, which has been closed since December 2004.
Businessman Mike Jenkins, who plans to renovate the 102-year-old building as condominiums and a boutique hotel, opened it to the public Saturday..
“I’m really surprised so many people showed up,” Jenkins told The Town Talk. “I appreciate it.”
The tour was held in conjunction with the Alexandria Museum of Art’s Art Market and Green Market.
People posed for pictures on the grand staircase and gazed at the ornate ceilings and marble pillars, all hearkening back to the days of grand galas in the ballroom and a time when the nation’s who’s who spent a night or two at the hotel.
“I used to come here with my daddy and he’d get his haircut at the barber shop. Every now and then they’d cut my bangs,” said Ann Twilley of Alexandria.
“My dad always told me about how when he was a boy there were baby alligators in the lobby fountain,” she said.
Michael Glorioso said he attended his 10-year Bolton High School class reunion at the Bentley in 1982.
The hotel opened in 1908. It went bankrupt and closed in the late 1960s. Investors renovated and reopened it in the 1980s, then sold it to people who sold it six months later for $5 million to Baton Rouge businessman Robert “Bob” Dean Jr., a former resident of Alexandria. He put another $2 million into renovations, but closed the hotel in December 2004.
From The Associated Press.