Lafayette has 'critical shortage' of teachers
LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) - The Lafayette Parish School System has declared a critical shortage of classroom teachers to open the door for it to hire retirees to fill about 40 positions still vacant as the clock ticks down on the first day of school on Aug. 12.
The Advocate reports Superintendent Pat Cooper blamed the school system's operational budget that remains in limbo with a more than $7 million shortfall for teachers not wanting to take jobs in Lafayette Parish.
Cooper says the declaration is a necessary step for the school system to be able to hire retirees.
Bruce Leininger, human resources director, says the school system has had few applicants reject job offers, but far fewer have applied for positions open in areas such as special education, math and the sciences.
Grand Isle prepares for its busiest weekend
GRAND ISLE, La. (AP) - Thousands will descend on Grand Isle this weekend for this year's International Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo.
The town bills the rodeo that began in 1928 as the "oldest fishing tournament in the United States." It runs from Thursday through Saturday.
The Couier reports the rodeo is an annual staple for the island whose businesses have come to expect the boost provided by its party atmosphere.
Besides anglers from all over the area competing to catch the biggest fish in a number of categories, the event features crab races, shrimp boils, craft vendors, merchandise booths and live music throughout the weekend.
Fisherman will bring in tarpon that weigh upward of 125 pounds. The fish are then displayed in a public weighing area for bystanders to see.
MEGABUS PASSENGERS STRANDED
Bus stranded after mechanical woes, driver illness
FORT DEPOSIT, Ala. (AP) - Authorities said passengers aboard a Megabus that had a mechanical breakdown in Alabama were aboard another bus and on their way New Orleans.
WSFA-TV reports that passengers were stuck in Fort Deposit on Wednesday after the bus unexpectedly lost its air conditioning system and the driver later became ill.
The bus was heading from Atlanta to New Orleans when it lost air conditioning around 5 p.m. Wednesday and pulled into a service station.
Sean Hughes, the company's associate director of corporate affairs, said a relief bus had arrived by late Wednesday evening to take the passengers to New Orleans. The Montgomery station reports that another driver had been found to replace the one who got sick.
In a statement, Megabus apologized and said all the passengers are getting a full refund.
Planning commission makes executive director offer
SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) - The Shreveport Metropolitan Planning Commission has chosen a new executive director, but their top candidate wants some time to think through the offer before he accepts.
Board member Bessie Smith tells The Times the city and parish planning board offered the job to Robert Massarelli of Titusville, Florida, on Wednesday.
Smith says Massarelli beat 47 applicants who applied for the position.
The board member said Massarelli communicated that he wanted to discuss the offer with his wife and also received another job offer for a position with the same pay.
Teacher, his wife accused of abusing baby
MONROE, La. (AP) - Monroe police have arrested a Carroll High School teacher and his wife after being accused of the repeated abuse of their 7-week old infant.
The News-Star reports 29-year-old James Hewitt Hall and 27-year-old Emily Rae Hall were booked this week with second-degree cruelty to a juvenile after taking their son to the hospital. They are each being held on $50,000 bond.
Police say doctors told officers that the infant suffered from bleeding on the brain as a result of abuse.
Police say the child remains in critical condition.
It was unclear whether the Halls have an attorney.
NEW TOURISM DIRECTOR
New Lafourche tourism director named
THIBODAUX, La. (AP) - Loralei Gilliam has been named director of the Bayou Lafourche Area Convention and Visitor's Bureau.
Gilliam serves as the Lafourche Parish Government Public Information Officer. Her last day is July 31.
The Courier reports former tourism director Carolyn Cheramie (SHEHR'-uh-mee) retired earlier this year.
BOLLINGER-COAST GUARD CONTRACT
Bollinger Shipyards gets contract from Coast Guard
LOCKPORT, La. (AP) - Bollinger Shipyards has been awarded a $255 million contract to build six more Fast Response Cutters for the U.S. Coast Guard.
The New Orleans Advocate reports the funding brings the total number of the boats under contract with Lockport-based Bollinger to 30, and the contract's total value so far to more than $1.3 billion.
U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee, says the latest funding is part of a total $8.7 billion in discretionary funding allocated to the Coast Guard in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's budget for fiscal year 2014.
Landrieu said she has included funding for another six boats in the 2015 fiscal year homeland security appropriations bill.
The Coast Guard plans to acquire a total 58 Fast Response Cutters.
U-BOATS-GULF OF MEXICO
Surveys explore U-boat, oil spill impact
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The photos taken nearly a mile under the Gulf of Mexico are so clear that small holes are visible in a lifeboat that may have gone down with a passenger ship sunk in 1942 by a Nazi submarine, or may have been scuttled after passengers and crew were rescued.
Interpretations differ. But the pictures taken by a pair of mini-subs tethered to Robert Ballard's exploration vessel Nautilus are among the brightest and clearest ever taken of the Robert E. Lee and the U-166, which was sunk by depth charges from the Lee's escort on July 30, 1942.
Ballard's two submersibles provide much more light than the singleton available to most scientists.
The U-166 was among dozens of German U-boats that menaced U.S. shipping during World War II in an operation Germany code-named "Drumbeat."
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