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7:59 am
Thu June 19, 2014

GOP House Members Voting Today On Scalise For Whip

Steve Scalise.
Credit Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Republican Congressman Steve Scalise of Jefferson will be finding out later today if he’ll take over the number-three spot in House GOP leadership.

He’s asking his colleagues to elect him House Whip.

In that position, he’d be in charge of wrangling votes from fellow Republicans on legislation the party supports.

Two other Congressmen are running for the post — one from Illinois, the other from Indiana.

The shakeup comes after House Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost his Virginia seat earlier this month to a Tea Party challenger.

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4:49 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

State Coastal Leaders Convene To Discuss Future Projects

Louisiana's Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority had its monthly meeting on Wednesday.
Louisiana GOHSEP Flickr

Louisiana's Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority had its monthly meeting on Wednesday. Officials discussed BP oil spill money, sediment diversions, sea level rise, and beach and dune restoration.

Laurie Cormier is the Coastal Zone manager in Southwestern Louisiana’s Calcasieu Parish. Cormier also sits on the CPRA. She says the focus in her region is the creation of breakwaters, which help protect against storm surge.

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8:07 am
Wed June 18, 2014

Opponents Continue Fight Against St. Tammany Parish Fracking Proposal

While critics of a proposed hydraulic fracturing project in Mandeville appeared at a state hearing in Baton Rouge, a lawsuit was filed in a nearby courtroom to stop the plan.

The New Orleans Advocate is reporting that the state Department of Natural Resources is considering a permit requested by Helis Oil and Gas. The hearing focused on whether the 960-acre parcel north of Interstate 12 is large enough to handle the process known as fracking.

The St. Tammany Parish Council is filing a lawsuit claiming the project can’t be done on land zoned for residential use.

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8:02 am
Wed June 18, 2014

Sentencing Delayed Again For Former Mayor Nagin

C. Ray Nagin.
Credit Franklin Reyes / AP

There’s been another delay in the sentencing of former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin. The federal court is now scheduled to decide the case  July 9.

Former Mayor Nagin could be facing at least 20 years for the 20 guilty verdicts he received on corruption charges.

They include bribery, fraud and money laundering that occurred during his two terms in office. It’s the second delay in the sentencing.

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8:04 am
Tue June 17, 2014

Former Education Chief Pastorek Returning To New Orleans

Former state education superintendent Paul Pastorek is returning to New Orleans.

He tells the Associated Press that he’s leaving his corporate job in Washington, DC, and will be working once again in education policy.

Pastorek says he’s establishing a company that will offer advice to those working in education.

He’s stepped down as the chief administrative officer of Airbus Group.

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8:01 am
Tue June 17, 2014

New Orleans Police Department Easing Hiring Policy

Credit Janet Wilson / WWNO

Requirements are changing to join the New Orleans Police Department.

The New Orleans Advocate is reporting the Civil Service Commission has relaxed the department’s drug policy. Applicants no longer have to declare a life that’s been free of past illegal drug use.

The change coincides with a shift adopted by the FBI about seven years ago.

Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas says the rule change reflects that some otherwise qualified applicants may have used some illegal drugs in the past.

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6:18 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

UNO Will Discontinue Some Degree Programs

A working group made up of of the deans of the five academic colleges and other university leaders will evaluate the university's 84 degree programs to decide which to keep and which to cut.
Infrogmation of New Orleans Flickr

The University of New Orleans announced Friday that it will begin assessing all of the school’s degree programs to determine which programs should be dropped in an effort to streamline resources and cut costs, the Advocate reports.

UNO currently has 84 degree programs. A working group made up of of the deans of the five academic colleges and other university leaders will evaluate the programs to decide which to keep and which to cut.

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6:05 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

Another Roadblock For Uber's Expansion Into New Orleans

The Uber smartphone service provides an alternative to traditional taxi and limousine services in over 70 cities. The New Orleans City Council has introduced an ordinance forcing the service to charge minimum fares of $25-$35.
issye Flickr

The smartphone-based car service Uber has encountered a barrier to its expansion into New Orleans in the form of high minimum fare requirements, the New Orleans CityBusiness reports.

The city council introduced legislation last week that would establish a minimum fare of at least $25 for an Uber sedan ride. Uber officials were expecting a minimum fare requirement of about $10 to $15 dollars. A $25 minimum fare would be one of the more expensive minimums in more than 70 cities where the service operates.

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9:13 am
Fri June 13, 2014

New Trial Granted For Former BP Engineer

Archive photo of the Hale Boggs Federal Courthouse in New Orleans.
Credit U.S. General Services Administration

A federal judge in New Orleans is ordering a new trial for a former BP engineer convicted of deleting text messages related to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

It stems from comments the jury forewoman overheard in a courthouse elevator.

BP engineer Kurt Mix was convicted in December of deleting messages he exchanged with his supervisor. Prosecutors allege he was trying to obstruct a grand jury investigation. Defense attorneys interviewed jurors after the verdict.

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7:24 am
Fri June 13, 2014

Business And Political Leaders Gather For Flood Insurance Meeting

Credit swa182 / Shutterstock.com

Business and political leaders are meeting in New Orleans Friday to discuss ways of providing affordable flood insurance.

FEMA Administrator David Miller will be explaining how it's assembling maps that are used for setting flood insurance premiums.

The meeting was arranged by GNO, Inc. The business development group led a drive to revamp legislation that could have resulted in some premiums rising from less than $1,000 to tens of thousands of dollars.

GNO, Inc. President Michael Hecht says it may be time to review the overall process for getting flood insurance.

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