BATON ROUGE — The University of Louisiana Board of Supervisors has approved a 10 percent tuition hike at all nine of their campuses for the 2013-14 school year.
The average increase for in-state students will be $546, bringing a year’s tuition to about $6,103. That’s 81 percent of the $7,390 southern regional average for tuition, said Edward Litolff, the system’s vice president for budget and finance.
The tuition increases approved Tuesday are contingent on each campus passing performance goals, including improved graduation and retention rates.
The UL System is the largest in Louisiana with 90,000 students at the University of New Orleans, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, the University of Louisiana at Monroe, Southeastern University in Hammond, Grambling State, Northwestern State in Natchitoches, Louisiana Tech in Ruston, Nicholls State in Thibodaux and McNeese State in Lake Charles.
BAYOU CORNE — Response operations at the 8.6-acre sinkhole in Assumption Parish have been halted after seismic monitors noted an increase in underground tremors.
John Boudreaux, director of the parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, said about five to six trees that had been leaning over for the past week along the northeast side of the sinkhole fell in Tuesday and that small bubbling spots also have re-emerged in the sinkhole.
The failure of a Texas Brine Co. LLC cavern is believed to be the cause of the sinkhole and other related developments, including gas becoming trapped underground in the vicinity of the sinkhole. About 350 residents remain under evacuation orders in the Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou communities.
van Heerden case
BATON ROUGE, — Officials say LSU and a state agency paid former coastal researcher Ivor van Heerden $435,000 to settle court claims that his LSU career was destroyed because he alleged engineering mistakes allowed New Orleans to flood during Hurricane Katrina.
Michael DiResto, assistant commissioner for policy and communications in the Louisiana Division of Administration, said the payment amount was provided by the Office of Risk Management.
In his three-year-old lawsuit in Baton Rouge federal court, van Heerden alleged that some university officials systematically ended his ability to perform hurricane research and eventually refused to renew his contract because they feared he would cost the school federal funds.
In telephone interviews, van Heerden and his attorney, Jill L. Craft, also declined to discuss the amount of his settlement check.
No charges expected in shooting
BATON ROUGE — No charges are expected to be filed against a man who fatally shot an intruder trying to force his way into his home over the weekend.
Baton Rouge police say Kurt Anderson exchanged gunfire with 20-year-old Anthony Taylor, who tried to break into the home.
Police Lt. Don Kelly said Anderson had not been expecting anyone late Saturday night and armed himself with a handgun before opening the door for Taylor.
Kelly says Taylor, the only person struck in the exchange of gunfire, ran and collapsed a short distance away.
LAFAYETTE — A park planned by the Muslim Education Center of Acadiana attracted opposition at Tuesday’s Lafayette City-Parish Council meeting from residents who said they were wary of whom the facility might attract.
At issue was a request by the developers of MECA Park to be allowed to build a chain-link fence around the facility rather than the 6-foot tall sight-proof fence, a variance the council ultimately approved.
Gary Mire, one of a small group of residents who turned out to speak against the project, said that the people he has seen at the site so far appear to be “all foreigners.”
Eagle event Sunday at Kisatchie
PINEVILLE — Eagles are back at a lake bordering part of the Kisatchie National Forest, and forest officials are hosting a bald eagle speech and hike this weekend.
The event on Sunday will start at 2 p.m. with an hour-long presentation by biologist, conservationist and author David Hancock. It’s aimed at teens and adults, and will take place at Tunk’s Cypress Inn in Boyce.
A family-friendly hike to see the pair of eagles and their nest will begin at 3 p.m. at the Kincaid Recreation Area. Forest spokeswoman Amy Robertson says participants should wear sturdy shoes and bring some bottled water.
For more information or to RSVP, call the Calcasieu Ranger District at (318) 793-9427 or email Brandi Michel at email@example.com.
Marksville man accused of killing black bear
MARKSVILLE, — A 30-year-old Marksville man is accused of killing a federally protected Louisiana black bear in November.
Derek P. Sayer was arrested Monday and booked into the Avoyelles Parish jail on a charge of killing a Louisiana black bear, an animal for which there is no legal hunting season, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries said in a news release Tuesday.
Sayer was released on $5,000 bond. He could not be reached for comment because he has no listed phone number.
If convicted, he could be ordered to pay $10,000 restitution plus a fine of $900 to $950, and jailed for up to 120 days.
Saggy pants law seldom enforced
THIBODAUX — Lafourche’s saggy-pants law has been enforced fewer than 50 times since its 2007 creation.
The law bans “indecent exposure” of a person’s “below-waist undergarments.”
Records show 45 people have been ticketed in the law’s five-year existence.
“That’s a low number. I could get 45 in one hour if I wanted,” said Lafourche Parish Councilman Lindel Toups, who introduced the ordinance. “It’s everywhere. You go out there with your grandkids and you see people with their pants hanging past their drawers, showing their butt.”
Sheriff Craig Webre said his deputies use discretion when enforcing the law and have also handed out a number of warnings.
“We do not have a baggy-pants task force that spends its time looking for that particular violation,” Webre said.
Webre said the law is often enforced when someone is being charged with a separate crime.
Webre said deputies decide whether a violation or warning is issued.
“It is going to be a discretion-based thing,” Webre said. “If the person is cooperative, doesn’t have a history, no other criminal activity and remedies the problem, they will likely end up with a warning.”
Webre noted there is some vagueness in the saggy-pants law.
“The law is very broadly written. We try to enforce it in a straight-forward fashion in the spirit of what it is to address,” Webre said.
The ordinance seeks to target a person who “intentionally wears and displays his or her below-waist underwear” or “displays the skin under which said below-waist underwear was intended to cover.”
Webre said the vagueness comes in because different types of underwear are intended to cover different amounts of skin.
“To the extent you are talking about underwear, a pair of boxer shorts covers a lot more than a G-string. That is where the most vagueness comes it,” Webre said.
Violation of the law brings a $50 fine for the first offense, $100 for a second offense and $100 and 16 hours of community service for a third offense.
From The Associated Press.