WRKF News

Population
12:00 am
Fri April 13, 2012

East Baton Rouge Population Growth Slows to a Crawl

LSU Professor Troy Blanchard. (Tegan Wendland/WRKF)

Five hundred and fifty nine -- that's the number of residents the Census estimates East Baton Rouge Parish gained between 2010 and 2011, according to newly released figures.

The total parish population, about 441,000 as of July 2010, grew just .1 percent over the year.

WRKF's Tegan Wendland asked LSU demographer and sociology professor Troy Blanchard what to make of the dramatic drop off in growth.


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Pre-K Education
12:00 am
Mon April 2, 2012

Expert Says Letter Grades Could Threaten Pre-K Education

Assistant Dean of Education at LSU, Renee Casbergue, says two bills that would radically change childhood education in La. are not receiving enough attention.
Credit Tegan Wendland / WRKF

The full house will consider a bill Monday that would overhaul early education in Louisiana. The bill, part of Gov. Bobby Jindal's education reform package, would challenge child care centers to prove that very young children are learning.

WRKF's Tegan Wendland talked with Renee Casbergue, interim assistant dean of Education at LSU and a specialist in early childhood education, about the proposed legislation, which she says is being overshadowed by the governor's bids to change how teachers get tenure and support private school vouchers.


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Design
12:00 am
Thu March 29, 2012

Creative La. Speaker Stafford Kendall on Creative Brainstorming

Stafford Kendall, Co-founder and Principal of Covalent Logic. (Tegan Wendland/WRKF)

Communications Strategist, Stafford Kendall, says you have to eat pie to design a proper street sign. Kendall, who is the principal and co-founder of Baton Rouge-based Covalent Logic, says she and her employees get the creative juices flowing by eating pie. WRKF's Tegan Wendland had a conversation with Kendall about the value of creative thinking for design.

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Vouchers on Trial
12:00 am
Mon March 26, 2012

In Florida, Vouchers Bring Modest Improvement to Public Education

Westwego, LA, March 29, 2007 -- A first grade teacher works through the a lesson with her class. (Robert J. Alvey/FEMA)

Late Thursday night, the state house passed a bill that would allow public school dollars to be used to send students from low-income families attending failing schools to private schools instead. The legislation, which is a cornerstone of Governor Bobby Jindal's education reform plan, could hit the Senate floor this week.

The voucher program is modeled in part after a program in Florida, which was the first state to try vouchers on a large scale a decade ago.

David Figlio, a professor of education, social policy, and economics at Northwestern University in Illinois, has been studying Florida's program since its inception.

He was skeptical at first.


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Energy
12:00 am
Thu March 22, 2012

Candidates Stumping in La. Tackle Energy Policy

An oil derrick in Morgan City, La. (Flickr/giblee)

In Mississippi, they ate grits. In Louisiana, Republican presidential hopefuls have been trying to impress local voters by talking about oil and gas ahead of Saturday's primary.

Don Briggs, President of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association, told WRKF's Amy Jeffries, especially with gas prices on the rise, the candidates would have been remiss if they didn't tackle energy policy on the stump.


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Education Overhaul
12:00 am
Mon March 12, 2012

Jindal Kicks Off ‘Education Session’

While only a handful of the more than 1500 bills pre-filed for consideration by lawmakers over the next 12 weeks address education, debate over Gov. Bobby Jindal's reform proposals are expected to get a large share of the floor time.

Jindal kicked off the session Monday with a 25-minute speech pitching his plans for improving Louisiana's standing in national education rankings.

"If we demand excellence on the football fields as we should, we should be demanding excellence in the classrooms as well," Jindal said. 

The governor again urged lawmakers to go along with plans to tie teacher pay and tenure to student achievement and use public school funding to pay for a private school voucher program.

The proposals could be voted on in committee as soon as Wednesday.


Music
12:00 am
Fri March 9, 2012

An Orchestra of Laptops

Jesse Allison and Nick Hwang play in the Laptop Orchestra of Louisiana. (WRKF/Tegan Wendland)

Louisiana State University's School of Music and Center for Computation and Technology have teamed up to form a "laptop orchestra."

They perform March 10 at the Manship Theatre

LSU is also hosting the first ever Symposium on Laptop Ensembles and Orchestras (SLEO) April 15-17. There will be concerts at the LSU Recital hall at 7:30 on the 16th and 17th, as well as the Varsity Theatre later in the evening.

WRKF's Tegan Wendland talked with Professor Jesse Allison and student Nick Hwang about what it means to play a concert with laptops. 


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Music
12:00 am
Thu March 1, 2012

Louisiana Songwriter's Life Story Provides the Muse

Songwriter Mary Gauthier (Courtesy of the artist).

As Mary Gauthier told WRKF's Amy Jeffries, a phone call to the mother who surrendered her at birth in 1962 was the catalyst for her most recent album, The Foundling.


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Agriculture
12:00 am
Tue January 31, 2012

Global Market, Good Weather Benefit La. Sugar

A sugar field in Paincourtville. (Tegan Wendland/WRKF)

Louisiana sugar farmers are having a good year. The yield is up, and so are prices.


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Small Business
12:00 am
Thu January 26, 2012

Creative La. Speaker Scott Olivier on Entrepreneurialism

Scott Eric Olivier, CEO of Skyscraper Holding Company.

Lafayette-based Skycraper Holding Company makes file storage products for all types of businesses. But the company started with an online file storage program designed for musicians on the road. Laptop Roadie was inspired by CEO Scott Eric Olivier's own career as a touring artist.

WRKF's Tegan Wendland talked to him about being a young entrepreneur in Louisiana.

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