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Sports
10:40 am
Sun July 15, 2012

USA Swimming, Sigma Gamma Rho encourage swimming

USA Swimming is partnering with Sigma Gamma Rho, a historically black national sorority, as it continues its campaign to increase participation in the sport and help counter staggering drowning statistics in minority communities.

The new partnership was announced Saturday as the sorority gathered in New Orleans for its biennial conference, meeting through Tuesday.

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Louisiana Peach Festival
11:23 am
Sat July 14, 2012

Peach fest impact grows

RUSTON — The 2012 Louisiana Peach Festival pumped a record of about $5.3 million into the Lincoln Parish economy, according to the Ruston-Lincoln Chamber of Commerce.

The Daily Leader reports (http://bit.ly/NkX2jt) the economic impact estimate tops the previous high of $4.6 million set in 2006.

Figures released by the chamber, which produces the festival, show attendance rose to 19,837, a slight increase over 2011.

State Capitol Renovations
11:14 am
Sat July 14, 2012

State Capitol gets a facelift

The closing of the Legislature in June was just the beginning for construction crews at the state Capitol.

The Advocate reports workers are ripping up floors, breaking through walls and removing ceilings to give the 80-year-old building a facelift.

The work is expected to be completed in January 2013.

A $14.7 million upgrading of the heating and air conditioning system is well under way as is a $1.4 million project to repair the breezeway under the Capitol's front steps.

The Capitol was authorized under Gov. Huey P. Long and opened in March 1932.

Farming
11:10 am
Sat July 14, 2012

Redbanded stink bugs showing up early in soybeans

Warm winter weather led to stink bugs showing up earlier than usual this year — bad news for soybean farmers because redbanded stink bugs can destroy entire fields if left unchecked.

The threat comes as high prices and drier weather prompted Louisiana and Mississippi farmers to boost soybean acreage from last year.

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Environment
11:03 am
Sat July 14, 2012

Stork watchers get their chance July 21

RAMAH, La. — Birders and wildlife enthusiasts have a chance to view endangered North American wood storks on July 21 at the Sherburne Wildlife Management Area between Baton Rouge and Lafayette.

The wildlife management area's south farm is drained each year at midsummer to enhance wetland growth before being flooded in the fall as waterfowl habitat and to stimulate crawfish production.

When the banks are drained, the exposed crawfish attract North American wood storks, which have been listed as endangered since 1984.

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Business & Technology
11:00 am
Sat July 14, 2012

Jeff company wins drainage contract

The Army Corps of Engineers has awarded an $18.6 million contract for drainage construction in the Industrial Canal area on Jefferson Parish's west bank.

The contract, an element of the Louisiana Urban Flood Damage Reduction Project, seeks to reduce flooding that might result from about 9 inches of rain falling over a 24-hour period.

The contract was awarded to Fleming Construction Co. of Jefferson Parish.

The 36-month project includes removing underground drainage pipes and replacing them with a reinforced concrete open channel.

Hurricane Gustav Cleanup
10:55 am
Sat July 14, 2012

Livingston Parish will fight Gustav lawsuit

Livingston Parish will hire a lawyer to defend a $53 million lawsuit against the parish over the costs of cleaning up after Hurricane Gustav.

The Advocate reports International Equipment Distributors Inc., the parish's main contractor in the 2008 cleanup, filed suit last year claiming Livingston had paid only "a small fraction of the money it owes IED."

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has refused to pay the parish for most cleanup costs, and the parish is in the process of making a final appeal to FEMA for payment of a portion of the bills submitted by IED.

Huey P. Long Bridge
10:52 am
Sat July 14, 2012

Some lanes on Huey P. Long Bridge closed

West bank bound lanes on the Huey P. Long Bridge in Jefferson Parish are closed until 5 a.m. on Monday while workers place girders for wider lanes.

State officials are urging motorists to use the Crescent City Connection in New Orleans or the Interstate 310 Bridge in Lulling as alternate crossings of the Mississippi River.

The Huey P. Long Bridge widening project will include three 11-foot lanes in each direction. The total width, including shoulders, will more than double from the current driving surface.

Completion is projected for 2013.

Hornets
10:48 am
Sat July 14, 2012

Hornets to pick new Honeybees dancers

The New Orleans Hornets are holding auditions in Westwego, Baton Rouge and Biloxi, Miss., to pick members of next season's Honeybees dance squad.

Auditions at the Alario Center in Westwego start Saturday morning. The Baton Rouge auditions are Sunday afternoon at Tari's School of Dance. The Biloxi auditions were held Thursday.

Roughly 40 finalists will be picked from the three auditions to compete July 22 for spots on the squad. Only those final auditions will be open to the public.

Environment
9:44 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

State working to save 640 acres of swamp cypress

The Louisiana Department of Natural Resources says an agreement with the St. Martin Parish School Board has been hammered out to save 640 acres of cypress and hardwood forest under threat of being logged in the Atchafalaya basin.

The school board had allowed the tract to be logged but environmental groups recently intervened and threatened to sue. The lawsuit prompted DNR's conservation plan, according to Dean Wilson, the head of the Atchafalaya Basinkeeper.

Environmentalists oppose cypress logging in south Louisiana because the trees are so hard to grow back.

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