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Environment
3:31 pm
Thu September 13, 2012

Shipping company fined in pollution probe

A Greek shipping company must pay the federal government $300,000 after admitting that one of its vessels discharged waste oil into the Atlantic Ocean

The Advocate reports U.S. Attorney Donald J. Cazayoux Jr. announced Wednesday that half of the $300,000 fine will be paid to a crew member, Joel Basinang.

Assistant U.S. Attorney M. Patricia Jones stated that Basinang, who worked as an oiler in the ship's engine room, provided evidence of the illegal discharges to the U.S. Coast Guard after the Greek-operated vessel was moored in the Mississippi River in Ascension Parish.

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Latest News
3:29 pm
Thu September 13, 2012

Denham Springs approves new obscenity ordinance

The Denham Springs City Council has unanimously approved an obscenity ordinance.

City Attorney Paeton Burkett told the council Wednesday night there are no businesses in the city that would violate the ordinance, but it will prevent such businesses from locating in the city.

Mayor Jimmy Durbin said inquiries about the possible opening of an adult business in the city brought the issue before the council.

Piccadilly Restaurants
3:00 pm
Thu September 13, 2012

Piccadilly files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

Piccadilly Restaurants, a Baton Rouge-based cafeteria chain, has filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Thomas Sandeman, the company's CEO, told The Advocate the filing, which was made Tuesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Lafayette, will protect the value of Piccadilly, along with its employees and restaurants.

The bankruptcy filing said the chain wanted to protect itself from what it called "an aggressive legal maneuver" taken by lender Atalaya Capital Management.

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St. James Parish Schools
1:26 pm
Thu September 13, 2012

Isaac damage reported to St. James schools

Officials say Hurricane Isaac caused no catastrophic damage to St. James Parish public schools, but the district needs to spend $500,000 to $750,000 for storm repairs.

Jim Mitchell, administrative director of business services for the district, told school board members Wednesday the Federal Emergency Management Agency would reimburse the district for at least 75 percent of eligible costs because the parish has been declared a disaster zone.

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Latest News
1:20 pm
Thu September 13, 2012

Brothers arrested for rape, kidnapping

Two brothers from Houma have been arrested for the alleged rape of a woman last month.

Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre says 34-year-old Jason Smalls and 31-year-old Gary Smalls were booked Wednesday on charges of aggravated rape and second-degree kidnapping.

Webre says detectives learned that on Aug. 19, the men allegedly took the woman against her will to the Raceland area, where the rape occurred. Authorities say she was held there until the following day when one of the men dropped her off near her home.

Tourism
1:17 pm
Thu September 13, 2012

Lt. Gov. Dardenne promotes state in Dallas

Louisiana Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne is promoting the state's assets in neighboring Texas.

Dardenne is in Dallas to promote Louisiana Culinary Trails through a partnership with the Louisiana Travel Promotion Association and Texas Monthly magazine. The magazine is co-hosting Thursday's event for news media and food writers at which Cajun and Creole fare will be highlighted.

In addition, Dardenne was to meet with reporters to discuss the launch of Louisiana's new retirement brand and website: www.RetireLouisianaStyle.com

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Latest News
1:14 pm
Thu September 13, 2012

T-shirt, wristband sales will fund aid for Tulane football player

Tulane University says two of its seniors have designed a T-shirt and wristband bearing the name and jersey number of Green Wave football player Devon Walker.

Brad Girson and Jesse Schwartz started their own clothing line as sophomores. Now, the university says, net proceeds from sales of the shirts and wristbands will be donated to a fund established for Walker.

Walker suffered a cervical spine fracture Saturday during Tulane's game against Tulsa.

Hurricane Isaac
12:14 pm
Thu September 13, 2012

Assumption wildlife refuge reopens after Isaac

Elm Hall, a state wildlife refuge about 5 miles west of Napoleonville in Assumption Parish, opens again after it was closed because of Hurricane Isaac.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says the refuge was reopened to the public on Wednesday.

Elm Hall is a 2,839-acre area that is accessible only by boat. The refuge sits on the northeast corner of Lake Verret.

Meanwhile Elmer's Island, a public beach facing the Gulf of Mexico in Jefferson Parish, remains closed after Isaac's surge exposed buried tar mats.

Business & Technology
12:11 pm
Thu September 13, 2012

Forum Energy Technologies to expand

Forum Energy Technologies says it plans to build a new 150,000-square-foot facility in St. Martin Parish to produce onshore and offshore drilling equipment for global customers.

Forum Energy CEO Cris Gaut says the $19 million project will replace an existing facility in nearby Broussard. The project will retain 203 existing jobs and create 125 new direct jobs with average annual salaries of more than $45,000, plus benefits. State economic development officials estimate the project will also create an additional 300 new indirect jobs.

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Public Service Commission
12:06 pm
Thu September 13, 2012

Utilities Commission to conduct outages hearing

The state's public utilities commission has decided to conduct an investigative hearing on the power outages that plagued Louisiana for days after Hurricane Isaac lashed the state with wind-driven rains.

Commissioner Eric Skrmetta said Wednesday it was the duty of the Public Service Commission to ask hard questions of the utility companies after more than 900,000 residents were left without electricity.

He said the utility companies performed well at restoring power to consumers once the storm had abated but he had questions about their pre-storm response.

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