Amy Jeffries

News Director

Amy started her career in public radio at WNPR in Hartford, CT more than a decade ago. NPR flew her in to Baton Rouge to help WRKF cover the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina while she was still based in the North. Here she found her journalistic calling.

After getting a Master of Journalism degree from the University of California, Berkeley and taking a detour through online media as a local editor for Patch, she finally returned to public radio and to Baton Rouge in January 2012.

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Culture
11:41 am
Thu September 19, 2013

Carl Kasell: Newscaster, Scorekeeper, Legendary Hugger

Carl Kasell
Credit NPR

Carl Kasell spent 30 years delivering newscasts every hour in the morning for NPR. But it's his role as the official judge and scorekeeper on the quiz show Wait, Wait… Don't Tell Me! that made him a public radio icon.

In The Wall Street Journal, Wait, Wait Host Peter Sagal called Kasell the world's greatest straight man.

But now that he's retired from newscasting, how does he keep up with the news?

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Culture
4:05 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

Christian Author Experiments with Biblical Submission in Modern Marriage

Sara Horn

The idea of being a submissive wife, in the Biblical sense of that term, may sound old-fashioned.

But Sara Horn, a devout Baptist, wanted to find out if submitting to her husband could work in their modern marriage.

Horn, a military wife and mom from Zachary and the author of several books, has a new book out about her experience, "My-So Called Life as Submissive Wife."

The experiment was not a no-brainer for her husband, Cliff.

 


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Education
9:00 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

School Desegregation Motivates DOJ's Complaint Over Vouchers

The Justice Department is worried that Louisiana's private school voucher program may be undermining efforts to overcome the historic segregation of public schools, and last month asked a federal court to stop the state from awarding any more vouchers until it's shown the program isn't undoing progress.

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Member Testimonials
6:13 am
Tue September 3, 2013

WRKF Gets Me Through My Commute

Amanda LaFleur

Amanda LaFleur is a professor of French and Cajun studies at LSU.

Listening to WRKF gets her through her commute from Lafayette to Baton Rouge. Having enjoyed Morning Edition and then the Jim Engster Show, Amanda usually arrives on campus during the Diane Rehm Show, and sometimes it's hard to get out of the car.

Amanda is a dedicated listener, but describes herself as "not a particularly organized person," known for being late paying bills and that sort of thing. By becoming a sustaining member she realized there will never be a lapse in her giving to WRKF.

Education
5:00 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

'New Schools' Picks Charter Operators for Baton Rouge

Students at a school run by KIPP in New Orleans.
Credit KIPP New Orleans

New Schools for Baton Rouge is endeavoring to start 20 schools in the capitol city by 2017. 

The non-profit's leader, Chris Meyer, was previously an administrator in the state-run Recovery School District. When New Schools launched last April, the RSD appeared ready to hand over the keys to the 7 schools it runs directly in Baton Rouge as soon as Meyer and his team had the charter school operators and resources in place.

Nearly a year and a half later, New Schools has picked half a dozen of what it considers to be the best charter operators in the country -- including Yes Prep and KIPP, which, as The Lens has reported, are familiar names in New Orleans. Backers have committed roughly $15 million in seed money. This fall the Recovery School District is starting the process of matching up the operators with buildings where they can start charter schools in Baton Rouge.

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Politics
8:17 pm
Fri August 9, 2013

GOHSEP, Guard Adjust After $15M of Ice Wasted

Bags of ice ordered for Hurricane Isaac melting in a Lacombe, La. warehouse.
Credit Louisiana Inspector General

As Hurricane Isaac was bearing down on Louisiana last August, the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness bought 773 truckloads of bagged ice from Pelican Ice in Kenner for $17.4 million.

Only $2.4 million worth actually got distributed by the Louisiana National Guard to the public.

Some was given away for free to restaurants and other private businesses. One retailer even repackaged and sold some.

Nearly half of the ice was allowed to melt in an un-refrigerated warehouse in Lacombe.

Last week, the state Inspector General issued a scathing report about the blunder.

GOHSEP spokesman Mike Steele and the Guard’s public affairs officer Lt. Col. Michael Kazmierzak say they have revised supplier contracts and improved tracking to prevent so much ice from going to waste again.


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Environment
4:00 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

ProPublica: FEMA Flood Maps Fraught with Error

A new FEMA flood map of Burnet County, Texas has mistakenly placed the house marked 501 shown here in a high-risk flood area.
Credit Burnet County Environmental Services Department via ProPublica

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has issued new preliminary flood maps.

Louisiana’s delegation in Washington, D.C. is griping over FEMA’s disregard of local flood protection measures when it drew them.

Meanwhile, unless Congress succeeds in passing a delay, federal flood insurance rates are set to go up dramatically as soon as October. Many in Louisiana are facing increases of 20 percent or more.

And, as ProPublica reporter Theo Meyer has found, some may end up paying for insurance they don’t need.

Read the ProPublica article: Using Outdated Data, FEMA Is Wrongly Placing Homeowners in Flood Zones

Share your story: Tell ProPublica About Flood Map Problems Where You Live

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Education
4:08 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

Recalibrating Teacher Evaluations Tops New Union President's To-Do List

LAE President Debbie Meaux (right) standing with her predecessor Joyce Haynes at a rally.
Credit Louisiana Association of Educators

Many teachers are frustrated with the new evaluation system, Compass, which was introduced in public schools across the state this year.

"What we want is a more common-sense approach to this evaluation problem," said Debbie Meaux, new president of the Louisiana Association of Educators (LAE), who assumed the role July 15.

She's calling for the state to slow the timeline for the implementation of Compass.

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Education
5:01 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

With Mandate, Thousands More Take College Entrance Exam

11,000 more students who graduated from Louisiana public high schools this year took the ACT, compared to the class of 2012.

About a third of those did well enough to enter college without having to take remedial courses and well enough to get TOPS tuition scholarships.

Sen. Conrad Appel, who supported a policy mandating the ACT, said Wednesday it will lead to opportunities for better employment and help break the cycle of poverty.

“3,600 kids in Louisiana for the first time recognize that the only obstacle to their success was in their own head," he said.

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Education
4:43 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

Push for School Vouchers is Tactical

Louisiana lawmakers went out of their way to add a $46 million line item to the state budget to allow more students from under-performing public schools go to private school through the voucher program championed by Gov. Bobby Jindal

Both Wisconsin and Ohio have just pushed through major expansions of their voucher programs too. And both states -- like Louisiana -- are headed by Republican governors.

Sarah Carr, a writer for the Hechinger Report, says these governors are being strategic in their support of vouchers.

"It’s a way for them to make a name for themselves pursuing an education agenda that’s typically been embraced by conservatives and trying even to some extent to one-up each other in creating a bigger and bolder voucher program."

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