BATION ROUGE — The annual conference of the Public Affairs Research Council will be April 19 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Baton Rouge.
The watchdog group says a morning panel will include discussion of tax reform and other current issues.
Keynote speaker for a luncheon that follows will be television commentator and Louisiana native Campbell Brown.
More details on the conference are available by emailing Susan Mintz Kantrow at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brazile to give Loyola Institute of Politics talk
NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans native Donna Brazile will be the featured speaker for the Institute of Politics at Loyola University New Orleans next month.
Brazile is a longtime Democratic political strategist and a commentator for CNN and ABC.
Her March 5 speech is titled “Stirring the Political Pot.” Loyola says it will offer a behind-the-scenes look at the top political issues of the day.
Meetings set for parkway plan
PRAIRIEVILLE — Two public meetings have been scheduled in Ascension and Livingston parishes to discuss the possibility of building a parkway between the two parishes.
The first meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on today at the Livingston Parish Health Unit in the town of Livingston. Ascension Parish officials will host a meeting on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Lakeside Primary School in Prairieville.
Each of the meetings will be styled as an open house with parish engineers and officials answering questions on the proposed project.
Officials of the two parishes envision a four-lane road and bridge crossing the Amite River and connecting U.S. 190, Interstate 12 and Interstate 10.
The parkway would link La. 933 in Ascension Parish to La. 447 in Livingston, lessening traffic on a new roundabout near Port Vincent, where about 20,000 cars cross the Amite River per day.
Preliminary discussion has centered around a potential toll road that could generate more than $5 million per year if a $2 toll would be charged, officials have said.
Shreveport-Bossier renters have housing choices
SHREVEPORT — Unwilling, unable or unready to buy, renters remain a significant portion of the Shreveport-Bossier housing market. And their options are growing.
The supply of rental properties in Shreveport-Bossier City has seen a slight uptick while demand has remained mostly flat, providing more choices for area renters at lower costs.
Residents found new rental options last year with the opening of Ogilvie Hardware Lofts in downtown Shreveport and an expansion of Jamestown Place in south Bossier City.
Developers said more rental construction is ahead.
Disaster drill set
for St. Tammany Park
MANDEVILLE — Louisiana National Guard troops and local and state authorities will use Fontainebleau State for a disaster response drill March 22 to 23.
The 2,800-acre park near Mandeville will come alive with helicopters, watercraft, high-water vehicles and National Guard troops.
The drill is a cooperative endeavor of the National Guard, the St. Tammany Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness and Homeland Security and local law enforcement agencies.
The exercises will focus on search-and-rescue operations, supplies distribution and communications.
State officials say most facilities in the park will be closed to the public on the drill dates.
Calogero to get Loyola award
NEW ORLEANS — Retired Louisiana Supreme Court chief Justice Pascal Calogero will receive Loyola University’s St. Ives Award.
The honor is the highest award of the College of Law Alumni Association.
Calogero, a Loyola graduate, will be honored at the law alumni luncheon Friday in New Orleans.
pressing for school reforms
OPELOUSAS — The Opelousas Board of Aldermen has unanimously approved a resolution asking the St. Landry Parish school district to implement “aggressive reforms” for its failing schools.
Mayor Donald Cravins Sr. said Monday the board’s action was a “shot across the bow” to school district officials that the city is prepared to approach state officials about creating a charter system or independent municipal school district if nothing is done to improve the educational level of schools in Opelousas.
Baton Rouge mayor chooses to uphold police chief’s firing
BATON ROUGE — East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President Kip Holden has upheld the firing of Police Chief Dwight White.
Holden’s decision came Monday after a sometimes contentious public hearing.
Holden says White made several misrepresentations during the hearing and tried to make it about the mayor rather than White’s performance.
Holden says he wouldn’t stand by and let White further divide the community.
White accused the mayor of violating his rights, and creating an impossible situation for anyone to resume as chief through his micromanagement of the department.
Jindal seek disaster aid
for January flooding
BATON ROUGE — Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has asked the White House to a disaster declaration for areas of the state that suffered from January flooding and severe storms.
Jindal says in the letter to President Obama and the Federal Emergency Management Agency that the damage meets the requirements of the Stafford Act for an expedited major disaster declaration.
Jindal says preliminary damage assessments for 18 parishes and some state agencies is more than $6.5 million.
Jindal says the severe weather began on Jan. 8 and continued until Jan. 17 with extended periods of torrential downpours followed by flooding.
The parishes listed in the letter are Acadia, Avoyelles, Catahoula, Concordia, East Baton Rouge, East Carroll, Evangeline, Franklin, Iberville, Jefferson Davis, Livingston, Madison, Rapids, St. Helena, St. Landry, St. Martin, Tensas, and Vermillion.
From The Associated Press.