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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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Louisiana Senate Supermajority
5:30 am
Thu August 22, 2013

Republican Realignment: What Happens to the LAGOP

Republicans have reason to be wary of their newfound power in the state Senate, having recently gained a two-thirds supermajority. Some political analysts say too much power can backfire.


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Louisiana Senate Supermajority
10:15 am
Wed August 21, 2013

Republican Realignment: Why Politicians Switch Parties

State Sen. Rick Ward is dropping out of the race for Louisiana's Sixth Congressional District. According to The Times-Picayune, Ward's changed his mind because the position would require too much time away from his children. This decision comes three weeks after announcing his candidacy, and a month after switching to the Republican party in mid-July.

Many accused Ward of switching parties because he wanted to run for the higher seat. Ward said he switched because the "R" behind his name would better represent his views.

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Louisiana Senate Supermajority
8:29 am
Tue August 20, 2013

Republican Realignment: How Populism, Catholicism Affect LA, Then and Now

On Saturday, gubernatorial candidate Rep. John Bel Edwards delivered what The Times-Picayune called an animated speech at a Democratic rally, aiming to distance himself from Republican Governor Jindal's practices. Edwards doesn't have to try hard: he's opposed nearly every one, if not all, of the Governor's initiatives since they both assumed office in 2008.

Edwards is a leader of the minority party. Republicans have two-thirds supermajority control over the Senate (thanks to a few recent aisle-jumpers), a majority in the House, and every statewide office other than US Sen. Mary Landrieu's seat. 


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Culture
5:02 am
Sat August 17, 2013

To Care For U.S. Kids, Filipinas Leave Their Own Behind

Lita and her son, Myke, now live in Houston together. She still works as a nanny and Myke is an interior designer. Lita's two daughters have also immigrated to the United States.
Ashley Westerman For NPR

Originally published on Sun October 6, 2013 3:53 pm

Few American mothers could fathom a situation that would force them to leave their country in order to put food in their children's bellies, clothes on their backs and send them to school. This is the reality for many Filipina women, who cross oceans in search of jobs that pay enough to provide for their families back home.

The Philippines is known worldwide for sending its citizens overseas to work, and a recent study has shown the country consistently deploys more women than men. In the United States, Filipinas are often nurses and caretakers; many work as nannies

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Medicaid in Louisiana
11:08 am
Thu August 15, 2013

Making Medicaid More Accessible in Louisiana

Credit Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Since 2009, Louisiana and seven other states have been using a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to make Medicaid more accessible to those who are eligible.

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Coastal Protection
5:00 am
Thu August 15, 2013

Lawmakers Poke Holes in Flood Protection Board Lawsuit

Taxpayers may be on the hook for hundreds of thousands of dollars if the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East has to withdraw its lawsuit against oil and gas companies.

SLFPA-E met opposition from the legislature’s Joint Transportation Committee Wednesday, as the committee gathered information from the authority on the suit, also hearing opposing testimony from Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority head Garret Graves.

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Culture
8:23 am
Tue August 13, 2013

Responding to Disasters Gives Couple Perspective in Retirement

Clay and Kathy Smilie stand in front of the Emergency Response Vehicle.
WRKF

When most people retire they take up golf, join a local book club, or simply sleep in more. But Clay and Kathy Smilie spend their time in disaster zones as Red Cross Volunteers.


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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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