Jeremy Alford

Dedicated funds to get a close look in session

Should the Legislature unlock the state’s dedicated funds to free up more money for the budget?
An affirmative answer is one of the war cries coming from Republicans in the House and Senate this session.
These are funds that, for one reason or another, were given special protections by the Legislature over the years, which means the money they’re holding cannot be accessed by lawmakers and used on other needs.

Mary Ellen Donatto makes a point at Wednesday’s personnel meeting of the St. Landry Parish School Board. (Photo by Harlan Kirgan)

School Board OKs contracts for 2 jobs

Contract wording for a construction manager and communication specialist were approved by the St. Landry Parish School Board Executive Committee Thursday.
The contracts presentsed by Superintendent Patrick Jenkins hit a snag in March when the committee asked that they be advertised.
In March, Jenkins indicated he had selected Don Simpson, a civil engineer of Zachary, who Jenkins said he worked with before becoming St. Landry Parish superintendent in October 2016.
Jenkins also said he had person to fill the communication job.

St. Landry Parish School Board member Hazel Sias makes a point during a committee meeting. (Photo by Harlan Kirgan)

Jobs raise budget concerns

In the midst of discussing job descriptions, some St. Landry Parish School Board members raised budget concerns.
The job descriptions were discussed at a personnel committee meeting Wednesday. The other jobs were two contract positions.
Hazel Sias, an Opelousas board member, said, “We are constantly hiring. We talked about cutting back, but instead of cutting back now we have an opportunity.”
The issue arose as the committee discussed a job description for a migrant recruiter/homeless advocate/ foster care point of contact.

Tapping the remnants of a salty sea

During the first week of May in 1862, workmen enlarging briny springs at Avery Island unexpectedly ran into a wall of solid salt. They didn’t know it, but they’d hit the core of the island itself, and run up against a piece of ancient geology
It was the first discovery of solid rock salt in North America, and eventually caused the curious or the far-sighted to poke into some of the other “islands” pushing up through the south Louisiana marshland and discover that they were also made of salt.

Tri-Parish job picture brightens

The Tri-Parish employment pictured brightened in March with jobless rates declining, according to federal data released Friday by the Louisiana Workforce Commission.
The unemployment numbers are not adjusted for seasonal factors.
The state’s jobless rate was 5.4 percent, down from 6 percent a year ago in March.
March Tri-Parish unemployment numbers were:
— St. Landry Parish, 7.1 percent, down from 7.3 percent in February and 8 percent in March 2016.
— Acadia Parish, 6. 5 percent, unchanged from February and down from 7.3 percent in March 2016.


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