WRKF News

courtesy Southern University

There’s a new president of the Southern University System, and he’s looking at the system’s struggles from a new perspective.

“We can make a difference. We should be making a difference,” says Dr. Ray Belton.

Belton, who previously served as chancellor of Southern-Shreveport before taking on the combined duties of system president and chancellor of the Baton Rouge campus three weeks ago, has ideas about making Southern more inclusive.


Making Streets Safe for Play in North Baton Rouge

Jul 20, 2015
Wallis Watkins

It’s a Saturday afternoon in North Baton Rouge. While cars drive down busy Evangeline Street, there are none to be seen on two blocks in the Brookstown neighborhood. Instead, kids are in the street, running, playing basketball, and jumping rope. 

Sue Lincoln

Oil prices have dropped again, closing just above 50-dollars per barrel all last week. What does that mean for Louisiana’s precariously balanced budget?

“Obviously, if oil prices stay in the low to mid-50s, relative to our 60, 62 dollar price, at some point we’ll have to, you know, reconsider that forecast price,” Legislative fiscal analyst Greg Albrecht says.

Albrecht explains each one dollar drop in the yearly average price of oil costs Louisiana $11-million in revenue.

Harper Collins

There has never been much in public view related to the work of novelist Harper Lee. There were certainly no manuscripts of To Kill a Mockingbird, let alone the newly discovered and now published companion Go Set a Watchman.

While working in special collections at Lee's alma mater, the University of Alabama, Jessica Lacher-Feldman, who is now at LSU, put together exhibitions mostly with writings from the novelist's days as a student and copies of her famous first published book from all over the world.


Crime Stoppers / NOPD

The state Bond Commission met Thursday, and the most-debated agenda item was a request for $24.5 million from Memphis-based Global Ministries Foundation. The religious non-profit is trying to buy the Hidden Lakes Apartments in New Orleans-East, which it already manages.  Area residents delivered their objections to the proposal.

“We’re not in opposition to this property being sold to a worthy buyer,” stated Joan Heisser, a member of the Eastern New Orleans Civic Association. “This is just not the buyer we think is best for our community.”

EPA

Louisiana’s share of the $18.7 billion BP settlement is of intense interest to the state’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority. But director Chip Kline told the board Wednesday that most details are remain under wraps.

“Some of us are still under a confidentiality agreement as this thing plays out, so there’s only so much that we can discuss,” Kline explained, by way of apologizing for not being more forthcoming.

CPRA staffer Alyson Graugnard was able to give a timeline of the next steps, now than an agreement-in-principle has been reached.

Dan4th Nicholas / Flickr

The names Melissa Sellers, Kyle Plotkin, Frank Collins, Sean Lansing, Sarah Haley, Shannon Bates, Mike Reed, Alexis Nicaud, and Doug Cain may not mean anything to you, but each of them has served in Governor Bobby Jindal’s press office at some point during the past seven and a half years.

“I’ve never seen this kind of revolving door,” says Marsanne Golsby, who served as Governor Mike Foster’s press secretary for his entire two terms. “And before I was Governor Foster’s press secretary, I was a reporter covering the capitol, and I don’t remember this much turnover. I do think it’s unusual.”

Hurricane Katrina, as pictured in the Gulf of Mexico at 14:45 UTC on August 28, 2005.
NOAA

Don’t you love your smart phone, giving you information and instantaneous communication in the palm of your hand? But what if cell service, power and internet weren’t there? Remember Katrina?

“Then you have your response, which, if you remember, uh, didn’t go real well,” Kevin Davis, head of the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP), said, in a masterpiece of understatement. “It was a huge disaster,” he added, quite frankly.


Wallis Watkins

Maritza-Smith Romero was planning to study veterinary medicine. But that all changed in 1998, when she was paralyzed in a car accident. Ever since then, she’s been adapting to a new way of life -- and to a new career. 


Sue Lincoln

What’s it like out on the campaign trail? Over the next couple of months, I’ll be checking that out with candidates for governor. First up is Democrat John Bel Edwards. I caught up with him just past the midpoint of last week’s statewide tour, and traveled with his caravan around DeRidder and up to Leesville.

Unlike David Vitter, Jay Dardenne and Scott Angelle -- who have held statewide posts – it’s a constant round of introductions.

“Lettin’ us know who you are?” asked a barber in DeRidder.

“I’m known more than you might think,” Edwards replied, “But I’ve got the most room to grow.”

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