Citrus canker in Louisiana; 1st time outside Florida since ’45 – Associated Press | A sweet orange tree in City Park tested positive for canker, a fruit-destroying bacterial infection that had previously been found only in Florida. One other yard tree in the immediate area also had canker. No infected trees in Plaquemines Parish have been discovered.
BP compensation fund for Gulf oil spill victims at risk of running out — The Guardian
BP could soon run out of cash in the compensation fund set up for victims of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, unless it is successful in a legal challenge that will be heard in court next week. … The company is legally committed to paying compensation, even if its fund runs out. The oil firm gave up control over the compensation formula and framework for payments to claimants in a legal settlement. But it has since gone on to dispute – so far unsuccessfully – how that formula is being applied.
NASA Scan Levees from the Sky — California Council on Science and Technology | A three-year project between California’s Department of Water Resources and NASA can image over 1,000 miles of levees in two and a half hours, and can accurately detect movement and seepage in the levees in order to find potential structural problems.
Despite shrinking NOPD manpower, number of Uptown robberies drops by half — Uptown Messenger | “The trend for armed robberies is not consistent around the city — three districts have seen reductions, though not as large as in the Second and Sixth [Uptown districts], and three have seen increases. In fact, it could be argued that the Second and Sixth District’s improvements over last year account for all the robbery reduction in the city.”
Former OPP official gets five year prison sentence — WWL-TV | John Sens, the former purchasing director for the city jail pleaded guilty to bribery but received the maximum sentence. Interesting issues of cooperation and leniency arose during the sentencing, as the U.S. Attorney’s Office underscored Sens’ cooperation in the ongoing grand jury probe investigating the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office.
“This script is all too familiar and tired,” Engelhardt said. “Earning a 5K (letter from prosecutors requesting leniency) is so common around here it’s almost like a badge of honor….The charade of public officials cooperating only after they get caught has got to stop.” [Defense lawyer Ralph] Capitelli said afterward that he was surprised by Engelhardt’s comments.
“What Judge Engelhardt did today is extremely detrimental to law enforcement’s efforts to solve public corruption cases,” Capitelli said. ” “It’s naive to think that people are going to cooperate and take risks and just be told that they shouldn’t be given any consideration, which is basically what Judge Engelhardt said today.”
New NOPD tattoo ban could affect morale and recruitment, unions warn | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | In a department that has long come under fire for misconduct cases, [Raymond Burkart III, attorney and spokesman for the Fraternal Order of Police] said, the NOPD should focus on making sure officers are doing their jobs in a professional manner, not on their appearance.”
Government & Politics
Maginnis: Louisiana lawmakers left key work to be undone — The Town Talk | Columnist Maginnis examines Gov. Bobby Jindal’s veto of $4 million in the budget designated to help severely disabled children, family violence programs, and children’s health clinics. If the Legislature had passed the budget with two weeks to spare, Maginnis suggests, they could have overridden the veto. Now, they would have to call the Legislature to a special session to override it, and that’s not going to happen.
Ousted vendor: Contract to cost taxpayers $100 million — The Advocate | CNSI claims the state will have to foot extra Medicaid processing costs after the the Jindal administration cancelled its contract after news broke about a grand jury investigation into the $200 million contract selection process.
‘Best tweet ever!’ Gov. Jindal scores with epic Obamacare boom — Twitchy | The conservative site compiles a long list of approving reactions to a recent tweet by Gov. Bobby Jindal that, in apparent reference to a delayed Obamacare provision: “You know things are bad when you can’t even successfully implement your own bad ideas.” Instead of the “best ever” I would say the tweet is highly ironic, given the governor’s humiliating defeat of his tax swap and income tax repeal proposals. This seems to be another example of Jindal pandering to national partisan cheerleaders, rather than the voters in his home state who know him best.
New Orleans school officials worry about families who miss Monday registration deadline — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune
As the deadline looms for new students to register at the five Orleans Parish School Board conventional schools, the Recovery School District and several community groups are angry about what they consider a nasty surprise sprung on families at the last minute. New students aren’t automatically enrolled at Ben Franklin Elementary, Mary Bethune, Mahalia Jackson, McMain and McDonogh 35; they must also complete paperwork at these schools by Monday or they will lose their assigned seat.
New Living Word vouchers were a waste of Louisiana taxpayers’ education dollars: Editorial — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | Among other problems, an “audit by Postlethwaite & Netterville found the school violated state rules by charging more in tuition and fees for voucher students than for students paying their own way, according to a Department of Education statement.”
Something New in Tremé – New Orleans Magazine
A national nonprofit developer of real estate for arts organizations is moving ahead with an ambitious plan to transform a long-blighted Tremé school property into a center of arts and culture for its neighborhood. Artspace, which is based in Minneapolis, intends to redevelop the old Andrew J. Bell Middle School campus into a multi-faceted arts facility with 73 studio apartments for artists to live and work, and space for arts organizations, performance venues and community programs.
Audubon Commission seeking $8.7M for upgrades to The Fly and Magazine Street — Uptown Messenger | The Audubon Commission has asked city officials for $8.7 million for improvements to the increasingly popular Riverview area behind Audubon park.