• 13 Jan 2017

    Members vote to delay naming administrators

    Members of the Lafourche Parish School Board Wednesday opted to delay appointing candidates to two newly created supervisory positions. The School Board was scheduled to receive Superintendent Ernest “Buddy” Reed’s recommendations for the posts of parish athletic director and assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction. Instead, members opted to seek a legal opinion from Lafourche District Attorney Camille “Cam” Morvant II. Some members expressed concern about whether the proper steps were taken during the process of establishing the posts, setting their salary schedules and advertising the vacancies. The School Board conducted interviews for the two jobs earlier this week. Board member Loretta Duplantis began the discussion with a motion to delay the approval of the salary schedule for the new parish athletic director job, which the board’s finance committee had recommended setting at $53,042. Duplantis noted that in advertising for the position, the School Board sought a candidate holding a bachelor’s degree and teacher certification, but no prior experience in that position or certification in that field. “I do not feel the salary suits the position,” said Duplantis, adding that, according to that salary schedule, the successful candidate would earn more than some long-serving principals. The School Board received only …

  • 13 Jan 2017

    Library changes leave policy

      Lafourche Parish library employees may soon see changes in their benefits, but this is not necessarily a bad thing, Library Director Paul Chiquet said Wednesday. “I’m trying to straighten out all the illegal things,” said Chiquet. The director said the previous library administration allotted an extra week of vacation to employees with college degrees – a policy that he is working to change. Chiquet says all employees should be given vacation days without regard to his or her degree, with those days increasing only according to length of employment. Chiquet says he has discussed this and other policy issues with District Attorney Camille A. “Cam” Morvant II, and is working to bring all library policies into compliance with the law. Inquiry into library policy changes came as a result of an anonymous tip said to be by a library employee. The source said library employees had been instructed to return their handbooks without making copies of them – a move rumored to be the precursor to a rollback on their benefits. Chiquet said the policy manuals were being corrected to comply with the law. Sick leave and other benefits will remain the same, he promised. The perception that sweeping …

  • 13 Jan 2017

    Helping overweight children

    Childhood obesity is on the rise and is being reported in the media everyday. I know it is on the rise because I work with overweight pediatric patients on a regular basis. Today one in five children are overweight or obese. This factor has tripled in the last two decades. The scary part about these figures is overweight/obese children’s increased risk for health related problems including heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, and cancer. Type II diabetes, which was once considered an adult disease, has dramatically increased in children and adolescents. Overweight children have a much greater chance of becoming an overweight adult usually because eating habits formed in childhood are continued for a lifetime. Children can become overweight for a variety of reasons. One of the reasons includes genetic factors. If a child is born to a family with obesity traits they have a much greater risk of becoming obese themselves. The other reason includes lifestyle habits pertaining to diet and activity levels. If a child has a poor diet and is very sedentary they a have a much greater risk of becoming obese. It is not recommended to put an overweight child on a diet. Promotion of …

  • 13 Jan 2017

    Early look at MLB awards

      Before I lose myself in the upcoming football season, I want to name my candidates for Major League Baseball’s postseason awards. I always have one eye on the standings and another on the stats throughout the season. I’m looking for new faces emerging and respected veterans having career years. Let’s view deep into my crystal ball and guess who will be up for honors at baseball’s conclusion. MANAGERS OF THE YEAR In the American League, its simple — Tony Pena of the Kansas City Royals. Pena has taken a young team and brought in a positive attitude. The Royals think they can win and have a three-game lead over the Chicago White Sox in the AL Central. Even if the Royals (60-50 overall) fade and miss the playoffs, he still earns the honor. Remember, Kansas City lost 100 games last year. The job Atlanta Braves manager Bobby Cox is doing may be his best ever. How can I say that? For years, the Braves relied on outstanding starting pitching, a so-so bullpen and just enough offense. In 2015, the starting pitching is average, the bullpen is strong and the offense is explosive. Cox has worked his bullpen to perfection …

  • 13 Jan 2017

    Woman booked with new charges

      Raceland woman extradited from Arkansas in June on identity theft charges was booked on 16 more theft and forgery charges Tuesday, a Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office report said. Kimberly Dortch, 34, of 214 Country Village Drive, is accused of stealing more than $53,000 from her parents, Sheriff’s Office spokesman Larry Weidel said in the release. Dortch was brought back to Lafourche Parish from McCurtain City, Ark., on June 28 and booked on charges of identity theft and monetary instrument abuse, which were filed by investigators May 6, Weidel said. She was booked into the parish jail, where she remained on July 19 when she was additionally charged with simple criminal damage to property for writing on the wall of her cell, Weidel said. Tuesday, Lafourche Parish Detective Mamie Pellegrin filed against Dortch eight charges each of forgery and unauthorized use of an access card. The charges stem from her alleged use of forged checks, credit cards and other illegal transactions on accounts belonging to her parents. “Ms. Dortch forged her mother’s signature on credit card applications and checks,” Weidel said. “She intercepted bank statements and altered receipts sent to the parents by retrieving the mail that was sent to …

  • 13 Jan 2017

    Stram’s induction overdue

      Sometimes not saying a single word can carry a powerful message. That was the case Sunday as legendary coach Hank Stram was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Stricken with diabetes and other ailments, Stram didn’t have the strength to walk to the podium and deliver an acceptance speech. Instead, a video played a pre-recorded speech and showed highlights from Stram’s coaching career with the Kansas City Chiefs. Stram didn’t need to utter a single word because the reception from the other Hall of Famers and crowd proved one thing – he had arrived at his new home. Unfortunately, it took too long for Stram to earn his place among football’s elite. He had to wait 25 years to make it to the Hall of Fame, which was far too long for one of the NFL’s sharpest and most colorful coaches. Throughout his 17-year coaching career, Stram was an innovator for the game of football. Many people said Stram was ahead of his time because he incorporated many things that are still in use today, including the moving pocket for quarterbacks, the two-tight-end formation, the stacked defense, offseason minicamps and the hiring of year-round …

  • 13 Jan 2017

    Battle against segregation

    At first blush, the very idea seems absurd: paying people to come to church. Still, it is one Shreveport minister’s idea for bringing people with different backgrounds together on Sundays and throughout the week. Bishop Fred Caldwell, of the Greenwood Acres Full Gospel Baptist Church, has offered to pay white people to attend his church, the membership of which is currently nearly all black. Many scoffed when Caldwell made his offer a week ago: $5 per hour for whites to attend Sunday services and $10 per hour for Thursdays, through the month of August. That was last week. This week, about 30 white people showed up at the church Sunday – a figure that surprised Caldwell himself, according to reports by The Associated Press. The minister is paying the premium out of his own pocket, but many aren’t even accepting the money. Some said they just needed to be invited to feel welcome at the church, the AP report said. So, at this early stage, it seems like Caldwell’s experiment with the economics of church attendance has been a success. More importantly, his point was made and was shared with countless people who saw or read about the story in …

  • 13 Jan 2017

    Paying the faithful could bring payoff

      Religion most often does not make big news unless there is scandal or oddity. And the oddity is in the eye of the beholder. Last week, Bishop Fred Caldwell of the Greenwood Acres Full Gospel Baptist Church in Shreveport announced that he wanted to diversify his predominantly black congregation. His solution was to offer white people $5 per hour to attend his Sunday service. According to The Associated Press, about a dozen or so folks took him up on his offer. Some went away with $15. Come Thursday, however, whites who venture out to Caldwell’s church can get $10 per hour. At least one woman, Tricia Ward, told the reporter that she would feel guilty taking Caldwell’s money. The invitation was enough for her to feel welcome. Others were not as gracious as Ward. They took the money. And that was OK with Caldwell. He kept his word and paid those who were willing to accept. It is an off-the-wall idea ó out of the box for those who prefer business-speak. His motives, however, are to bring unity. Caldwell’s views on racism, however, do not seem odd at all. While his statement, “The most racist institution on the planet …

  • 13 Jan 2017

    Residents speak out on coast study

    u LAROSE – Residents of the Lafourche-Terrebonne region do not want to be overlooked in the process of developing coastal restoration plans. Others, however, worry about what freshwater diversion projects will do to the salinity levels in traditional fishing grounds. About a hundred people turned out Tuesday for input into the Louisiana Coastal Area study being developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and state Department of Natural Resources. This region of the state’s coast claims the highest rate of land loss in the nation. Many stressed far-reaching projects such as a proposed massive conveyance channel to rebuild land in the Barataria and Terrebonne basins should also be included in a comprehensive report that state and federal officials plan to submit to Congress next year. Residents and people involved in coastal restoration efforts gathered at the Larose Civic Center to hear from managers of the Louisiana Coastal Area study, those working to formulate the state’s plan for large-scale coastal restoration. The goal of the LCA study is to secure from Congress a programmatic authorization of the state’s coastal plans and a long-term commitment for funding. Officials estimate the plan will cost $14 billion. Alternatives being examined for inclusion in …

  • 13 Jan 2017

    Audit brings no surprises

    The main problems plaguing the parish are the same ones that have been around since the current Parish Council took office in 2015. The council hasn’t passed a budget since taking office. That means that Parish President Gerald “Buzz” Breaux must operate the parish’s finances based on the 2015 budget. That continues to be a problem and was again cited by accounting firm Postlethwaite and Netterville of New Orleans in the audit, filed June 17. In failing to pass a budget, the audit says, “The parish is in violation of its charter which requires operating and capital budgets to be adopted annually.” The firm recommends that the parish set up a budget schedule to make sure it complies with its own laws. In a separate finding, the firm said as a result of the lack of budget, the parish is violating its covenants, which are part of its bond issue agreements. It again recommended passing a budget and consulting a bonding attorney to determine the effects of its noncompliance. A third finding said the parish’s lack of a parishwide road administration system constitutes a violation of state law. The firm recommends that a person or firm be hired to assist …

  • 13 Jan 2017

    Two officers taken too soon

    Thursday was a tragic day for the law enforcement community in Lafourche Parish, as the Sheriff’s Office lost two of its detectives – Chaney Champagne and Kurt “Woody” Harrelson. The two were killed in a car accident as they tried to get to another accident scene where a woman was trapped inside a car that had gone into a canal. Champagne and Harrelson gave their lives doing what they each loved to do — his job. From all accounts, both men were professional lawmen who worked hard for their agencies and produced good results. Champagne, 45, of Lockport, had been a law enforcement officer for 12 years. He worked with the Lockport Police Department and served briefly as the police chief. He had been at the Sheriff’s Office since 2015. He came from a long line of deputies with the Sheriff’s Office and they should be proud of him for his dedication. Harrelson, 31, of Raceland, was the former chief of detectives at the Thibodaux Police Department where he worked for 10 years. He left that department in 2015 to sell insurance, but joined the Sheriff’s Office full time about two years ago. He was recently promoted to sergeant but …

  • 13 Jan 2017

    Strange news has been all bad lately

      On the local level, the Daily Comet has run a disturbing number of articles in the past week about people arrested for domestic violence, kidnapping and rape. I don’t expect to live in a perfect world, but Lafourche Parish is usually a pretty calm, quiet place where people have a sense of community and safety. Every place has certain problems, but crime is not one that has plagued Lafourche Parish, and it still doesn’t. But recent events have been troubling. Also this week, a local judge ruled that the District Attorney’s Office cannot prosecute Dustin Caldwell. Caldwell, 21, is accused of beating to death Michael Kaire, a photographer for The (Houma) Courier, in his downtown Thibodaux apartment. The decision was probably a good one since one of District Attorney Camille A. “Cam” Morvant’s assistants once represented Caldwell in an unrelated case. To his credit, Morvant has said he will not appeal the decision and will forward the case file to the state Attorney General’s Office to proceed with the prosecution. It’s good to see the case moving along through the system, but it is disturbing every time the case resurfaces. On the national scene, the newspaper on Wednesday ran …

Next  

  • Members of the Lafourche Parish School Board Wednesday opted to delay appointing candidates to two newly created supervisory positions. The School Board was scheduled to receive Superintendent Ernest “Buddy” Reed’s recommendations for the posts of parish athletic director and assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction. Instead, members opted to seek a legal opinion from Lafourche District Attorney Camille “Cam” Morvant II. Some members expressed concern about whether the proper steps were taken during the process of establishing the posts, setting their salary schedules and advertising the vacancies. The School Board conducted interviews for the two jobs earlier this week. Board member Loretta Duplantis began the discussion with a motion to delay the approval of the salary schedule for the new parish athletic director job, which the board’s finance committee had recommended setting at $53,042. Duplantis noted that in advertising for the position, the School Board sought a candidate holding a bachelor’s degree and teacher certification, but no prior experience in ...

  •   Lafourche Parish library employees may soon see changes in their benefits, but this is not necessarily a bad thing, Library Director Paul Chiquet said Wednesday. “I’m trying to straighten out all the illegal things,” said Chiquet. The director said the previous library administration allotted an extra week of vacation to employees with college degrees – a policy that he is working to change. Chiquet says all employees should be given vacation days without regard to his or her degree, with those days increasing only according to length of employment. Chiquet says he has discussed this and other policy issues with District Attorney Camille A. “Cam” Morvant II, and is working to bring all library policies into compliance with the law. Inquiry into library policy changes came as a result of an anonymous tip said to be by a library employee. The source said library employees had been instructed to return their handbooks without making copies of them – a move rumored to be the precursor to a rollback on their benefits. Chiquet said the policy manuals were being corrected to ...

  • Childhood obesity is on the rise and is being reported in the media everyday. I know it is on the rise because I work with overweight pediatric patients on a regular basis. Today one in five children are overweight or obese. This factor has tripled in the last two decades. The scary part about these figures is overweight/obese children’s increased risk for health related problems including heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, and cancer. Type II diabetes, which was once considered an adult disease, has dramatically increased in children and adolescents. Overweight children have a much greater chance of becoming an overweight adult usually because eating habits formed in childhood are continued for a lifetime. Children can become overweight for a variety of reasons. One of the reasons includes genetic factors. If a child is born to a family with obesity traits they have a much greater risk of becoming obese themselves. The other reason includes lifestyle habits pertaining to diet and activity levels. If a child has a poor diet and is very sedentary they a have a ...

  •   Before I lose myself in the upcoming football season, I want to name my candidates for Major League Baseball’s postseason awards. I always have one eye on the standings and another on the stats throughout the season. I’m looking for new faces emerging and respected veterans having career years. Let’s view deep into my crystal ball and guess who will be up for honors at baseball’s conclusion. MANAGERS OF THE YEAR In the American League, its simple — Tony Pena of the Kansas City Royals. Pena has taken a young team and brought in a positive attitude. The Royals think they can win and have a three-game lead over the Chicago White Sox in the AL Central. Even if the Royals (60-50 overall) fade and miss the playoffs, he still earns the honor. Remember, Kansas City lost 100 games last year. The job Atlanta Braves manager Bobby Cox is doing may be his best ever. How can I say that? For years, the Braves relied on outstanding starting pitching, a so-so bullpen and just enough offense. In 2015, the starting pitching is average, the bullpen is strong and the offense is ...

  •   Raceland woman extradited from Arkansas in June on identity theft charges was booked on 16 more theft and forgery charges Tuesday, a Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office report said. Kimberly Dortch, 34, of 214 Country Village Drive, is accused of stealing more than $53,000 from her parents, Sheriff’s Office spokesman Larry Weidel said in the release. Dortch was brought back to Lafourche Parish from McCurtain City, Ark., on June 28 and booked on charges of identity theft and monetary instrument abuse, which were filed by investigators May 6, Weidel said. She was booked into the parish jail, where she remained on July 19 when she was additionally charged with simple criminal damage to property for writing on the wall of her cell, Weidel said. Tuesday, Lafourche Parish Detective Mamie Pellegrin filed against Dortch eight charges each of forgery and unauthorized use of an access card. The charges stem from her alleged use of forged checks, credit cards and other illegal transactions on accounts belonging to her parents. “Ms. Dortch forged her mother’s signature on credit card ...