WRKF News

Education
6:19 am
Wed June 19, 2013

Some Funds Slated for Districts to Go to 'Course Choice'

The state's top school board has approved $2 million in financing to pay for students to take individual classes elsewhere if their public school is underperforming or doesn't offer a course they want.

The money for the "Course Choice" program will be drawn from a state education trust fund stemming from an old oil drilling settlement, including $1 million that had been slated for local districts.

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Coastal Restoration
12:44 pm
Tue June 18, 2013

Fisherman, Scientists Continue to Clash on Miss. River Diversions

Caernarvon Pass is 15 miles downriver from New Orleans. Built in the early 1990s to grow oyster beds, many argue it isn't a good example for what the state's planned diversions will do.
Credit Army Corps of Engineers

State plans to restore the coastline are trying to mimic the way the Mississippi built the coast. Thousands of years ago the river dumped sediment from the plains upriver into the marsh. But some fishermen are worried the plans will displace the saltwater fish they catch to make a living.

Fishermen voiced their opposition at a community meeting in St. Bernard Monday.

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Environment
8:19 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

Second Deadly Industrial Accident in Ascension Parish in as Many Days

UPDATE 10:14 p.m. CST WRKF's Kelly Connelly on the scene in Donaldsonville:

An industrial accident at North America’s largest nitrogen complex in Donaldsonville, La. has left one dead and at least five injured.

A little after 6 p.m. Friday, a crew at the CF Industries plant loaded too much nitrogen into a transportation tank, causing it to rupture. Louisiana State Police Col. Mike Edmonson described the mangled piece of equipment as a popped balloon. Louisiana State Police Capt. Doug Cain told the Associated Press a fire sparked by the blast was quickly extinguished.

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Environment
4:20 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

Geismar Plant Explosion Claims a Second Life

Thursday’s chemical plant explosion in Geismar, La. has claimed another life. Seven remained hospitalized Friday with burns and respiratory complications.

Williams Companies CEO Alan Armstrong visited with workers and their families Friday. He called the incident a “major” explosion.

“This is a terrible and unprecedented tragedy," Armstrong said. "I’ve talked with a few of our employees and I know they are hurting, however, I’ve also seen and been inspired by their courage.”

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Education
5:49 am
Fri June 14, 2013

Seeds Planted for Chess Culture in Baton Rouge Schools

Clairborne Elementary gifted resource teacher Chris Wilson (front right) plays special education resource teacher Annie Fox in the chess tournament as Audubon Elementary computer lab teacher Contessa Hunt (back left) and Melsrose Elementary fourth grade teacher Michelle Vinson (back right) scrutinize their moves.
Credit Amy Jeffries / WRKF

About 200 teachers from 42 schools in the East Baton Rouge Parish district have signed up for workshops this summer to learn how to start chess clubs and use the game in their classrooms. The first batch of teachers capped off their training with a mini tournament Thursday.


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Environment
1:18 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Deadly Chemical Plant Explosion in Geismar

The plant on fire after it reportedly exploded Thursday in the town of Geismar, La.
Credit Ryan Meador / AP

UPDATED 9:22 p.m. CST:

The injured count is up to 77  and a 29-year-old man is dead after a chemical explosion in Geismar, La. Thursday. 

300 people were evacuated from the Williams Olefins plant, which produces over a billion pounds of propylene and ethylene a year for use in the production of other chemical and plastic products. It was propylene that caught fire after the explosion. Ten workers stayed behind to monitor a burn-off.

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Super-Region
4:52 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

Survey Says LA Swift Shut Down Could Hurt Jobs

State plans to shut down the low-cost bus from Baton Rouge to New Orleans may harm economic ties between the cities.

According to a survey released Wednesday by The Center for Planning Excellence, more than half of LA Swift riders use the service to get to and from work.

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East Baton Rouge Parish Metro
11:32 am
Tue June 11, 2013

Crime Still A Major Concern For EBR Parish Residents

A widespread fear of crime remains among the residents of East Baton Rouge Parish. That’s according to the Baton Rouge Area Foundation’s latest City Stats report released Monday.

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Newspaper War
6:56 am
Tue June 11, 2013

The Advocate's Secret Weapon: A Speedy Press

FILE: The Advocate's Production Facility on Reiger Road in Baton Rouge, La.
Credit The Advocate

It's sort of a fluke.

The Baton Rouge paper had been nursing its 1950s era letterpresses for years when it finally had to bite the bullet and invest in a new production facility. The speedy offset press came online in 2006, just as the country headed into a recession and the newspaper industry was tanking.

So when John Georges closed the deal to buy The Advocate in May, it came with one of the newest printing presses in the country.


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East Baton Rouge Parish Metro
12:11 pm
Mon June 10, 2013

BRAF Releases City Stats 2013

The Baton Rouge Area Foundation released its annual City Stats report Monday. The survey, which looks at over 70 indicators, revealed some surprising answers this year.

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