Jefferson Parish

Jefferson Parish officials say winds from Hurricane Isaac have downed power lines and trees in the New Orleans suburb and heavy rainfall has caused minor street flooding.

Spokeswoman Kriss Fortunato said no injuries had been reported.

Power provider Entergy Corp. said about 164,000 customers were without power early Wednesday.

Grand Isle, the barrier island at Jefferson's extreme southern tip, was hit hard by the storm as it wobbled ashore overnight.

Heavier damage was expect there although most residents evacuated ahead of the storm.

Jefferson Parish officials say a shelter opened in Terrytown for Lafitte, Crown Point and Barataria residents has closed.

Authorities said people who had been at the shelter have been moved to Westside Primary School in Hammond.

Jefferson Parish has declared a State of Emergency in advance of the effects of Tropical Storm Isaac, the parish said in a press release.

Parish President John Young signed the emergency declaration earlier this afternoon, and the parish's Emergency Management office will be closely monitoring the storm, the parish said.

All pump stations requiring manning will be fully staffed for the duration of the storm and its aftermath.

The cost of land along Veterans Memorial Boulevard — east Jefferson Parish's main commercial corridor —has reached historic highs indicating a strong retail market, according to SRSA Commercial Real Estate of Metairie.

SRSA partner Donald Schwarcz tells New Orleans CityBusiness his figures show the strip's most valuable property costs as much as $60 per square foot, six times as much as land in eastern New Orleans, four times the cost along Lapalco Boulevard in west Jefferson and nearly twice as much as the most expensive commercial areas of St. Tammany Parish.

A federal audit says the Jefferson Parish Housing Authority illegally paid board members nearly $107,000 and created a conflict of interest and violated federal rules by paying $91,000 to a state legislator's repair company.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development audit says the agency should repay the money and must either document or repay another $450,000. That includes $240,000 paid to four Jefferson Parish sheriff's deputies for security services, $95,000 to its attorney and $81,000 to its accounting firm.

Voters in parts of Jefferson Parish will go to the polls during the Nov. 6 primary to elect a replacement for Judge Patrick McCabe of the 24th Judicial District Court. McCabe, who was elected to his first term in 1987, will retire Dec. 31.

The Times-Picayune reports Gov. Bobby Jindal set the special election after the 66-year-old McCabe, of Metairie, announced his retirement in June.

Qualifying is Aug. 15-17. If needed, the runoff would be Dec. 8.

Rep. Cameron Henry has blocked the use of almost $10 million in lines of credit intended for the Jefferson Performing Arts Center, saying he wants Jefferson Parish officials to explain why the project costs have skyrocketed.

The Times-Picayune reports the Metairie Republican asked the state Bond Commission for a 30-day delay in reauthorization of the line of credit.

Jefferson Parish public schools Superintendent James Meza said he plans to offer teachers individual employment contracts while negotiations on a union contract continue.

The Times-Picayune reports the individual contracts are not intended to replace a collective bargaining agreement with the Jefferson Federation of Teachers.

However, Meza said they would protect rights and benefits of the system's more than 3,000 teachers until a union contract can be signed.

A Jefferson Parish sheriff's deputy has resigned after allegedly crashing his patrol car while drunk.

Col. John Fortunato, a department spokesman, tells The Times-Picayune (http://bit.ly/OmyXsI) that 27-year-old Christopher Hyer resigned July 12.

Jefferson Parish school officials are proposing a $404 million budget for 2012-2013.

The Times-Picayune reports the proposal takes into account recent moves to close schools and cut staff to offset rising costs.

The board plans a public hearing on the budget July 25 at Alfred Bonnabel Magnet Academy High in Kenner.

The largest slice of the budget in in employee compensation for employees — more than $329 million.

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