St. Charles businesses would struggle to survive if FEMA maps are approved – St. Charles Herald Guide | Small-business owners are concerned about escalating flood insurance premiums. “If the flood rate increases as expected, parish residents will go from paying $8 million in insurance premiums to $49 million.” On April 18, St. Charles Parish tweeted a link to a petition that aims to repeal the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, which phases out federal subsidies for insurance premiums on flood-prone land.
Louisiana coastal scientists say criticism of plans to build large sediment diversions is unfounded — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune
Three key Louisiana coastal scientists on Wednesday rebutted growing criticism by some oyster growers and commercial fishers that state plans to build major diversions of Mississippi River sediment and freshwater to restore coastal wetlands could instead speed the disappearance of saltwater wetlands.
The criticisms from the oyster growers and commercial fishers— that river water is over-enriched with nutrients from fertilizer runoff, which weakens marsh vegetation — are similar to those made by scientists in this report by Bob Marshall. Coastal czar Garret Graves favors the science that supports the diversions, and told NOLA.com, “We’re moving forward with the master plan.”
Increase in tremors and another edge collapse at Assumption sinkhole — The Advocate | If you have questions about “slough-offs” and “burp events” related to the sinkhole in Bayou Corne, The Advocate has answers.
What about renewables? Public input could be pivotal to Entergy’s 20-year plan — The Lens | A public hearing at City Hall will think long-term about New Orleans’ energy needs. Can we make New Orleans an energy-efficient city in the coming decades? The Lens is live-blogging the hearing at 1 p.m. Friday.
Government & Politics
Jindal says he’d veto cigarette tax without offset – FOX 8 WVUE | “Gov. Bobby Jindal says he’ll veto any cigarette tax increase that wins passage from lawmakers, unless it’s coupled with a corresponding cut in taxes somewhere else.”
Four former Louisiana governors talk tax reform, Medicaid at LSU — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | “Among the suggestions from former Govs. Kathleen Blanco, Edwin Edwards, Buddy Roemer and Mike Foster: Lawmakers should take a close look at the state’s lengthy list of tax exemptions, and Jindal should change his mind about not accepting federal dollars for Medicaid expansion.”
Jefferson Parish to settle lawsuit from whistleblower Anne Marie Vandenweghe — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | She claimed that she was targeted for helping the feds investigate corruption in Aaron Broussard’s administration. Recently, the author(s) at the Real Malice blog presented evidence that Vandenweghe used sockpuppetry — multiple, apparently different pseudonyms — in comment forums on Slabbed.
New Orleans officials blast State Police’s findings in alleged French Quarter police brutality incident — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | “The New Orleans mayor, police chief and NAACP president lambasted the findings of a Louisiana State Police internal investigation unveiled Wednesday that found that nine white plainclothes troopers acted appropriately when they tackled two young black men in the French Quarter the Sunday before Mardi Gras.” Credit to reporter Naomi Martin for adding important context that rebuts some of the investigation’s conclusions.
Contractor in alleged kickback, bid-rigging scheme had been Orleans sheriff’s employee — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune
SCOTUS rejects warrantless blood draw in DWI case – Dolan Media Newswire | “The mere fact that blood-alcohol evidence dissipates over time does not by itself constitute an exigent circumstance justifying the warrantless blood draw of a drunken driving suspect, a divided U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in Missouri v. McNeely.”
Convention Center seeks approval to finance private developments in riverfront overhaul — The Lens | “Officials of the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center want to take the giant riverfront facility in a potentially controversial new direction by allowing construction of a private hotel, retail stores and restaurants on public land adjacent to the center and using Convention Center bonds to help finance the massive redevelopment.”
Children’s Hospital says NOAH lease was ‘opportunity’ for further negotiations to buy building — Uptown Messenger | “Children’s Hospital signed a lease in January for the former New Orleans Adolescent Hospital that required mental-health services there as a way to continue negotiating to purchase the building outright, but planned all along to keep its psychiatric services at the DePaul campus nearby, hospital officials told the New Orleans City Council on Thursday morning.”
Food truck ordinance passes in New Orleans City Council — Blog of New Orleans
New Orleans City Council passed a revised food truck ordinance that would increase the availability of permits and allow more trucks in New Orleans. …
Council members argued over several last-minute amendments to the proposed ordinance, including two concerning bathrooms.
Common Core Standards attacked by Republicans — The Answer Sheet —The Washington Post | The Republican National Committee called the Common Core State Standards “an inappropriate overreach to standardize and control the education of our children so they will conform to a preconceived ‘normal.'”
TFA Alumni Aid New Teachers in New Orleans — Education Week | Former Teach for America teachers “founded the New Teachers’ Roundtable, a support group that hosts discussions and story circles in which new teachers start to understand their experiences and role in this city’s history and schools.”