WRKF News

Mardi Gras
9:39 am
Thu February 14, 2013

Pink Chicken Feet Honor Spanish Town Parade Mainstay

The Society for the Preservation of Lagniappe in Louisiana float rolls through downtown Baton Rouge during the Spanish Town parade, Feb. 9, 2013.
Credit Jarondakie Patrick / WRKF

Pink plastic chicken feet were tossed from several floats at the 33rd Spanish Town parade. The unusual throws were an homage to a board member of the Society for the Preservation of Lagniappe in Louisiana who knew how to be creative with limited resources.

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Education
5:57 pm
Wed February 13, 2013

Voucher Program Set to Grow Despite Court Battle

Applications for vouchers are available for the upcoming school year. The statewide program is continuing into its second year.


A district court judge ruled in November that the voucher program could not be funded with the same pool of money that supports public education in Louisiana.

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Politics
5:24 pm
Wed February 13, 2013

Could Obama's Gas Policies Bring Jobs to La.?

In President Obama's State of the Union address, he spoke about the place of oil and gas in a time of climate change and growing green energy.
Credit Pete Souza

President Barack Obama touched on the oil and gas industry in his State of the Union. Some of these initiatives may benefit Louisiana’s economy.

First, the President suggested loosening regulation. “My administration will keep cutting red tape and speeding up new oil and gas permits,” Obama said. “That’s got to be a part of an all-of-the-above plan.” 


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High School Athletics
1:00 am
Wed February 13, 2013

Long-Time HS Football Coach: 'Playoff Split Changes What LHSAA Is All About'

Dale Weiner, Baton Rouge Catholic High School Head Football Coach
Credit Baton Rouge Catholic High School

At the end of January, the Louisiana High School Athletic Association voted to separate high school football playoffs into two divisions: one for select admission schools – such as private and parochial schools – and another for non-select public schools. 

Baton Rouge Catholic High School Head Football Coach Dale Weiner is a graduate of Baton Rouge High and has been coaching high school football in Louisiana for 38 years. Although most of his career has been spent at private and parochial schools, he was an assistant coach for two years at a public school.

Weiner said he never conceived the association would take a step like this.

“This kind of came out of left field for me and so, you know, I was a little shocked at the outcome and am disappointed in it," said Weiner.

Weiner says the move essentially changes what LHSAA is all about.


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Opinion
12:59 pm
Thu February 7, 2013

It's Easier to Buy a Gun than a Used Guitar

In Louisiana, the wait for a Glock 19 like this one can be just 30 minutes, while it's 30 days for a used guitar.
Credit Keith LaFaille / Flickr

In a national poll released Thursday, Quinnipiac University found no significant voter opposition to background checks for all gun buyers.

It didn’t take long for commentator J. Cullens to pass the background check when he bought a gun in December.

But after the mass shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut, he’s not sure if buying a firearm in Louisiana should be so easy.


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Medicaid
11:47 am
Thu February 7, 2013

DHH Secretary on Healthcare Cuts: It's All About Efficiency

Bruce Greenstein, Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals
Credit Dept. of Health and Hospitals

Almost $83 million in cuts to healthcare programs and services went into effect Friday to shore up a mid-year deficit in the state budget. These are separate from a previous round of cuts made in July.

The latest round of reductions includes cuts to services for at-risk children and low-income moms, as well as a one percent drop in the rate paid to hospitals and physicians for non-primary Medicaid services. 


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Politics
4:06 pm
Wed February 6, 2013

Tax Rebate Proposals May Move to Odd Years

Louisiana lawmakers are limited to what topics they may consider when - one senator hopes his amendment would better categorize tax rebates.
Credit Jack Cox

State Sen. Dan Claitor wants to add tax rebates to the list of matters that can only be considered in odd-numbered years, when the constitution mandates lawmakers take up fiscal issues. Generally, even-numbered years are reserved for non-fiscal deliberations. The constitutional amendment would require two-thirds approval in the legislature and a vote of the people.

Tax exclusions, exemptions, deductions, credits, and refunds are already limited to fiscal years.

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Politics
3:57 pm
Wed February 6, 2013

Legislators Again Aim for Executive Branch Transparency

Lawmakers will consider a bill that could curtail the Governor's privilege to classify documents.

After running on a platform of increased transparency, the Gov. Bobby Jindal has relied on a law that shields gubernatorial documents from public view to dodge open records requests from the press.


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Grading Teachers
4:12 pm
Tue February 5, 2013

EBR Schools Official: Teacher Evaluations Difficult, But Necessary

Compass -- the evaluation system being rolled out in public schools across the state -- has raised the stakes. Teachers who don’t score highly effective under the new measures face the loss of salary and tenure. Ineffective teachers could lose their jobs.

The state Department of Education says so far attrition has remained steady, but the East Baton Rouge Parish School District is still wary of turnover. Beanka Williams, the coordinator of support programs for EBR, says the district is having job fairs monthly to make sure schools are fully staffed.

Williams has also been fielding questions from anxious teachers since last summer when they were first asked to set goals for what their students would learn this year.
 


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Business
3:41 pm
Tue February 5, 2013

Baton Rouge Patent Growth Lags Behind Cities Nationwide

Patent production isn’t growing as quickly in Baton Rouge as in other metro areas, according to a new national study.

The Brookings Institution ranks Baton Rouge 141st out of over 350 metro areas for patent production. The capitol city averaged 71 new patents yearly between 2007 and 2011. But it is on the bottom of the list for patent growth.

High patent production typically coincides with low unemployment. And patent growth can indicate coming industry expansion.

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