The New New Orleans: “It wasn’t a blank slate” | Gambit – Gambit writer and New Orleans native Megan Braden-Perry on the city where she grew up and what it has become, part of this week’s cover package of essays by New Orleans residents.
…the New Orleans where I grew up wasn’t some hip place you moved when you didn’t know what to do with your life. It wasn’t a “blank slate.” It was a place where you lived because you had ties there, because you were stuck there or because your job was there.
You didn’t just come to New Orleans with a guitar and a dream.
City bulldozes community garden in dead of night | New York Post – A developer bulldozed a decades-old community garden in Brooklyn under the cover of darkness early Saturday morning. The work crew crated the garden’s chickens and drove out a small colony of feral cats to make room for a 5,000-seat amphitheater. The $53 million development was approved by the City Council last week over the objections of neighbors and the area community board.
Government & Politics
Top 10 political stories of 2013 | Gambit – Gambit political editor Clancy DuBos recounts the biggest local stories of 2013, including the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East’s landmark lawsuit against the oil industry, former mayor Ray Nagin’s indictment on federal corruption charges and the surprisingly lively 2014 mayoral election.
Louisiana hospital privatization brings payroll savings — and some confusion, audit says | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune – The push by the Jindal Administration to privatize the state’s hospital system has resulted in the elimination of 6,547 jobs over the past three years, according to a report by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor. The state saved about $271 million as a result, but some hospital staffs blamed privatization for an “unstable work environment” that led to hundreds of thousands of dollars in mistaken patient billings.
Audit dings Orleans Parish Criminal District court for timesheet problems, judges lagging in payments due to outside agencies | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune – The Orleans Parish Criminal District Court may have violated state law in 2012 by failing to turn over required court fees to other agencies on a regular, timely basis, according to an independent audit submitted to the Louisiana Legislative Auditor. The report does not say which agencies received late fees, but the court’s response said the problem was resolved. The report also criticized the court’s timesheet policy, saying employees did not properly document their hours.
Ex-NOPD officer wins delay of re-sentencing as he seeks new trial for Henry Glover burning | NOLA.com – A federal judge postponed the resentencing of Gregory McRae, the former New Orleans cop convicted in 2010 of burning the body of Henry Glover in an attempt to cover his killing by David Warren, another former officer. Last year, a federal appeals court reviewed the Glover case, overturned Warren’s conviction and ordered McRae, who was serving 17 years, resentenced. Then last month, a jury acquitted Warren. McRae’s resentencing, originally set for January, is now scheduled for March while his lawyers seek an appeal.
Inmate from Metairie sues governor, Jefferson Parish DA, over new informant law | NOLA.com – Craig Parent, a Louisiana prison inmate serving a life sentence under the state’s habitual offenders law, has filed suit challenging a law allowing sentence reductions for criminal informants. Parent argues the law is unconstitutional because it violates the state Constitution’s separation of powers doctrine.
Teachers find home visits help in the classroom | The Associated Press – The AP profiles Missouri’s HOME WORKS! program, where teachers conduct periodic visits to their students’ homes. The nonprofit HOME WORKS! program is modeled after one in Sacramento, Calif., that over the past decade has since spread to more than 300 schools in 13 states, with active programs in Washington, Denver, Seattle and St. Paul, Minn. Program leaders say participation leads to better attendance, higher test scores, greater parental involvement and fewer suspensions and expulsions.
Louisiana Spotlight: Vouchers give choices, not promises | The Associated Press – The AP’s Melinda Deslatte analyzes a critical Legislative Auditor’s report on the state’s voucher program, noting that legislators knew about the program’s oversight and accountability shortfalls when they approved it for statewide funding.
But the questions raised by the Auditor’s Office revisited issues that lawmakers considered — and discarded — during their 2012 debate on the program. They instead chose to leave most of the accountability requirements for the private schools to the Education Department.
Ignorance is bliss: 4 in 10 Americans aware of incandescent phase-out | Nature Network – Osram Sylvania has released its 2013 “Socket Survey” on lightbulb policy and consumer attitudes.
In addition to the shocking discovery that Millennials don’t really think about light bulbs that much, the survey found that only four in 10 respondents are aware that on Jan. 1, 40W and 60W incandescent bulbs, the most popular light bulbs in America, will join energy-wasting compatriots, 75W and 100W incandescent bulbs, in A-shape heaven when their domestic manufacture and import completely ceases.