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NEW ORLEANS — The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says 14 young whooping cranes are expected to arrive soon in southwest Louisiana. That will double the number in a flock being reintroduced near the area where the state's last wild flock once lived. Twenty-six whoopers have been brought to Louisiana, but predators and disease killed nearly half of them. Biologists say deaths are expected, since the birds must learn to live in the wild. But teenage hunters killed two. The department is working to teach people why the birds need protection. Those still alive include two from the first 10, brought to the White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area near Gueydan in February 2011. Another 16 arrived later. State biologist Carrie Salyers says the next 14 are tentatively scheduled to arrive Nov. 28. By Janet McConnaughey.
CORRIDOR TO THE GULF
PORT FOURCHON — The two-lane stretch of Louisiana Highway 1 that cuts through the marshes of south Lafourche Parish is the only road to Port Fourchon, the oil and gas hub that serves 90 percent of deepwater petroleum operations in the Gulf of Mexico. When the highway is closed because of high water, as it was for three days during Hurricane Isaac, the industry takes an economic hit. But each new storm brings with it the fear that the highway may wash away. Isaac's storm surge pushed into the marshes covered portions of the highway with 3 feet of water. The road was closed for 78 hours, says Port of Fourchon Director Chett Chiasson. Some sections of the roadway's shoulder washed away.
BATON ROUGE, La. — The number of West Nile virus infections in Louisiana has reached 215, with 39 new cases reported this past week. No new deaths were added in the latest report. The death toll from the virus so far this year stands at 10.
MIDDLE CLASS DELTA
MONROE — Louisiana Delta Community College is launching a campaign aimed at growing the middle class in the impoverished Delta country parishes of northeast Louisiana. The goals of the Delta Compact — the name given to the marketing, education and development campaign — are to increase the high school graduation rate in the three parishes to 70 percent, increase college attendance among graduating seniors to 50 percent, reduce the unemployment rate and increase access to the Internet.
LUNDI GRAS-NEW KREWE
METAIRIE — Lundi Gras in Metairie is poised for a makeover, thanks to a new all-female krewe set to parade before the Krewe of Zeus on the night before Fat Tuesday. Little information is being shared about the Krewe of Hera. But Brian Landry, spokesman for the krewe, said it will have "cool elements that Metairie hasn't seen before." Hera is the first group to join the Jefferson Parish parade lineup since Hurricane Katrina and one of only two female krewes parading in East Jefferson. The other is the Krewe of Isis.
VINTON — The City Council adopted its 2013 budget this past week, and Mayor Kenneth Stinson says the city is "in good shape." Town accountant Phillip Abshire says Vinton can expect budget revenue of $6.6 million, compared with the previous year's $6.8 million. The decrease is due to the reduction in funds the town receives from Delta Downs Racetrack. The budget is for the year that begins Oct. 1 and ends Sept. 30, 2013.
BELLE CHASSE — Much of Louisiana's citrus crop is rotting on the ground. Navel oranges, satsumas, grapefruits — little was spared as Hurricane Isaac roared across southeast Louisiana, knocking fruit off tree limbs and flooding orchards in Plaquemines Parish just a month away from fall harvest. The Saxon Becnel and Sons Citrus Nursery in Belle Chasse was spared flooding but lost about 90 percent of its oranges and half of its Satsuma crop from two days of high winds that hovered over the region. The situation is the same further down Louisiana Highway 23 at Star Nursery, where co-owner Dawn Camardelle, who runs the business with her father, Joseph Ranatza, estimates they lost about 60 percent of their Satsuma crop.
LAKE CHARLES — Officials of Ameristar Casino say construction of a $500 million casino is moving ahead on schedule and the development should open in 2014. Since July, Ameristar has removed trees, set a building foundation and completed a road that allows construction workers access to the site of its casino hotel in south Lake Charles. Ameristar Vice President Jack Mohn said the new caisno's neighbor — Pinnacle Entertainment, owner of L'Auberge Casino Resort — has been accommodating. He said Pinnacle has allowed construction materials to be transported through its property to the construction site.
CROSSING GUARD KILLED
VILLE PLATTE — A school crossing guard's death in Evangeline Parish last week has prompted calls for a traffic signal at the intersection where the 60-year-old reserve sheriff's deputy died after a vehicle struck him. The accident occurred Sept. 6 at the intersection of Louisiana Highway 10 and Louisiana Highway 376 when a vehicle drove into the path of another, causing a collision that forced a car driven by a 19-year-old Mamou woman to spin and strike Deputy John Granger of Reddell. Granger was directing traffic in front of Vidrine Elementary School. He died at the scene, according to State Police. The crash is still under investigation and charges could be filed, Trooper Stephen Hammons said.
MISS SOUTHEASTERN PAGEANT
HAMMOND — Seven Southeastern Louisiana University students will compete Saturday for the title of Miss Southeastern. Jennifer Jarreau of Denham Springs, Miss Southeastern 2012, will crown her successor in the annual pageant scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Pottle Music Building Auditorium on the university's Hammond campus. Sponsored by the Campus Activity Board, the pageant has been a part of Southeastern's history since 1949 and a Miss America preliminary since 1962. Tickets are available at the CAB office in the Student Union, room 201. Admission is free, but an assigned ticket from CAB is required for admission. For the fourth year, people unable to attend the competition can view it online at www.southeastern.edu/cab. The theme of the 2013 pageant is "Hollywood."
WEST BATON ROUGE-HISTORY
PORT ALLEN — The history of West Baton Rouge Parish will be the topic of a discussion Sunday at the West Baton Rouge Museum in Port Allen. The presentation, at 2:30 p.m., will be presented by Faye Phillips and is part of the Ethel Claiborne Dameron Lecture Series. The event is free and sponsored by the West Baton Rouge Historical Association.
HOUMA — A teenager has been arrested in connection with the theft of laptop computers and other electronics from a Houma religious nonprofit's office building and place of worship. The robbery of Hope Extreme was reported to the Houma Police Department on Aug. 16. The 17-year-old was charged with the robbery this week, investigators said. Authorities said he was already being held at the Terrebonne Parish jail on unrelated charges of simple burglary, drug possession with intent to distribute and obstruction of justice when the new charge was filed.
NEW ORLEANS — A study at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans has found that the popular dietary supplement ginkgo biloba doesn't improve mental function in patients with multiple sclerosis. Neurologist Jesus Lovera did the study on 120 people because an earlier, smaller study had seemed promising. Ginkgo is taken by many people who have the disease, which attacks the myelin that insulates nerve fibers. About 40 to 60 percent of multiple sclerosis patients develop problems with memory or other cognitive functions. The study was published in the journal Neurology on Sept. 5. That same day, the British journal Lancet Neurology published the largest European study of whether the herb wards off Alzheimer's disease. The French study of more than 2,800 people did not find any evidence that it is effective.
ISAAC-ST. Tammany Fees
COVINGTON — St. Tammany Parish officials say fees will be waived for residential and commercial building permits obtained to repair damage from Hurricane Isaac. Authorities said documentation will be required at the time of application, and includes such items as an insurance claim or photos of the damaged property. More details on documentation required for permits can be obtained at the St. Tammany Parish Administrative Complex, 21454 Koop Drive, Suite 1B, Mandeville, phone 985-898-2574 or at the Towers Building, 520 Old Spanish Trail, Suite 2F, Slidell, phone 985-646-4166.
NATCHITOCHES — Northwestern State University has added new information on the university's history to its Traditions website. The Traditions site was set up earlier this year to recognize Northwestern State's heritage. The new page at traditions.nsula.edu/collections/our-heritage has information on the legend of Isabella, the campus ghost; the Alma Mater; the Demon Fight Song; Vic the Demon and more. The traditions site at traditions.nsula.edu has a variety of other historic and cultural information about the campus. The site was developed by Tommy Whitehead, professor emeritus of journalism.
WHITE CASTLE FERRY
WHITE CASTLE — State officials say the White Castle ferry is expected to be out of service another 4-6 weeks. The state Department of Transportation and development said repairs to the vessel's propeller shaft were expected to be completed by mid-September. But delays in dry docking, the discovery of the need for additional repairs and the landfall of Hurricane Isaac have pushed the estimated return of the ferry to mid-to-late October. The ferry crosses the Mississippi River between White Castle and Geismar, between Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
HAMMOND — The Southeastern Louisiana University Alumni Association is searching for the university's oldest living graduate. Alumni Association director Kathy Pittman said the search is part of the group's 85th anniversary and SLU's 2012 homecoming festivities. Deadline to submit names for consideration is Oct. 2. The person identified as the oldest living graduate will be recognized at the alumni association's awarded ceremony on Oct. 26, Pittman said. More details on submitting names can be obtained by calling the alumni association at 985-549-2150.
FROM OUR MEMBERS
Moved in advance for weekend use:
LAFAYETTE — The year was 1981. At the end of the week, downtown Lafayette was the place to be, and Downtown Alive! — the city's annual free concert series — was just starting. By By Matthew Sigur, The Advertiser.
HOUSES OF TREASURE
BATON ROUGE — After three decades holding estate sales, Noelle Lanier says she is sure she believes in ghosts. She's never seen one, but there is a presence she feels. "People who live in houses for 50 to 60 years and lovingly put their hands on everything, if you don't think there's a huge aura in the house ..." she said, then paused and looked across the living room of her latest estate sale project. By Kyle Peveto, The Advocate.
HERNANDO, Miss. — A judge in Desoto county has found a former Olive Branch Baptist minister guilty of making secret videos of women taking showers at his home. The Commercial Appeal reports (http://bit.ly/PlWFVX ) that 33-year-old Samuel Allen Nuckolls was sentenced Friday to 10 years in state prison and ordered to pay more than $80,000 in fines and restitution to victims.
BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. — A part-time Hancock County deputy has been questioned about leaving his service revolver, duty belt and uniform shirt unattended at a restaurant, where a young woman put them on and posed for a picture. Sheriff Ricky Adam said the deputy had left the gear in an area designated only for employees, and was unaware that it had been moved. The Sun Herald reports (http://bit.ly/PlRAx2 ) that the woman posed for the picture for the business owner after the restaurant had closed for the evening.
HIGHWAY 607 EXPANSION
BAY ST. LOUIS — The Mississippi Department of Transportation is seeking to acquire several parcels of land through eminent domain as part of a state Highway 607 expansion project north of Stennis Space Center in Hancock County. An eminent domain case was filed in the Hancock County Circuit Court seeking to acquire about five acres of land from 35 people and 19 estates.
OXFORD — A 30-day educational period will begin Oct. 22 in Oxford where new parking regulations will take effect. No tickets for overtime parking will be given to violators. Instead, Standard Parking ambassadors, who were hired last month by the board aldermen to manage parking around the Square, will give out informational "tickets" only that will explain the new laws.
MERIDIAN — City officials say a proposed 2013 budget requires no tax increase but provides a 2 percent pay raise for city employees. The Meridian Star reports (http://bit.ly/ROfMGo) work on the budget was completed earlier this week after a public hearing. The council will vote on adopting the budget next week. Council members at one point considered raising the millage rate to compensate for lower property values, but decided that would not be necessary. Chief Financial Officer Ed Skipper said property value assessments came in lower this year, but were not as depressed as city officials had feared.
LELAND BUDGET FLAP
LELAND — The Leland Board of Aldermen this week approved a $6.14 million budget for its 2012-13 fiscal year. But Mayor James Lowe says he won't sign the budget because he objects to several raises for city employees. The budget includes a $71,494 increase in the city payroll for the next fiscal year. Lowe says economic conditions do not justify the raises. He says he doesn't think street and sanitation department's performance merited increases in salary. The street department's total payroll increased from $109,902 for the 2011-12 fiscal year to $119,726 for 2012-13.
CORINTH, Miss. — The Corinth Board of Aldermen has approved a proposed cooperative economic development pact with Alcorn County. The Daily Corinthian reports (http://bit.ly/ROhMhS ) the board will send the agreement to the Mississippi Development Authority for approval.
PERKINSTON, Miss. — Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College will receive $599,000 over five years for scholarships in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The funds are coming from the National Science Foundation.
FROM OUR MEMBERS
Moved in advance for Sunday
TUPELO — Life and death met in a barn late one night about nine years ago, when Girlfriend delivered her foal. "She ruptured an artery," said Dr. Kimberly Kelly, a veterinarian who owns Cloverhaven Animal Clinic in Tupelo. "We found her down when she was in the process of delivering." By M. Scott Morris, Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal.
LAUREL — Veterans Memorial Museum President Jimmy Bass has searched for the more than 100 photos of World War II veterans that once hung in the hallway of Laurel's Gardiner High School before it closed its doors in 1962. By Charlotte A. Graham, The Chronicle.
LOUSIANA AND MISSISIPPI SPORTS
BATON ROUGE, La. — No. 3 LSU seeks an NCAA FBS record 40th straight regular season non-conference win when Idaho visits Tiger Stadium on Saturday night. The Tigers have won 19 straight at home. By Brett Martel. AP Photos.
OXFORD, Miss. — Mississippi hosts No. 14 Texas in the first meeting between the two programs since 1966. The Rebels are trying to get a marquee win under first-year coach Hugh Freeze while the Longhorns are aiming for a road win against an SEC opponent to bolster their early-season resume. By David Brandt. Developing from 8:15 p.m. CT kickoff. AP Photos.
AUBURN, Ala. — The reeling Auburn Tigers try for their first win when Louisiana-Monroe visits a week after upsetting then-No. 8 Arkansas. By John Zenor. AP Photos.
LA LAFAYETTE-OKLAHOMA ST
STILLWATER, Okla. — Backup J.W. Walsh threw for 347 yards and four touchdowns in relief of injured starting quarterback Wes Lunt, leading Oklahoma State to a 65-24 blowout of Louisiana-Lafayette on Saturday. Walsh also ran for 73 yards and a score after replacing Lunt, who hurt his left knee on the sixth play of the game and left the field on crutches. By Jeff Latzke.
AP Photos OKSO101-0915121110, OKOKL201-0915121107, OKSO102-0915121123, OKSO103-0915121230.
(Information in the following story is from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com)
BATON ROUGE, La. — Stump Mitchell has been fired as Southern University's football coach. Friday's announcement came after a 6-0 loss Thursday to Mississippi Valley state. It was Southern's home opener and the second loss in as many games this season.