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A compendium of what’s hot and what’s not in Louisiana


Can’t Be Blue About This!
The Louisiana Association of Fairs and Festivals has named the Bogalusa Blues and Heritage Festival the association’s New Event of the Year. The festival also took first place for its poster, which featured artwork by BBHF chair Malinda White, reported the Bogalusa Daily News.


Lighten Up
For Sunshine Week, a project of the American Society of News Editors drawing attention to open government laws, University of Louisiana – Lafayette journalism students of professor Robert Buckman asked public agencies for basic public information. Some were cooperative; most were not. “These clerks and their bosses need to be reminded that these records belong to the people,” Buckman noted. Student Elizabeth Rose was lucky – the Lafayette Consolidated Government city-parish budget was available. The ULL budget was also easily accessible, student Lanie Cook discovered, according to the Daily Advertiser.


Speaking in Tongues
The old 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division’s headquarters building in Fort Polk is temporarily housing the Defense Language Institute’s Pashto and Dari Afghanistan and Pakistan Language Training Course. The five-day-a-week, 16-week course includes about 640 hours of language training, with the goal of having one language-enabled officer in every Army platoon. Cultural training is included, as well, according to the Beauregard Daily News. The program at Fort Polk could become permanent, said Fred S. Holt, a language training detachment liaison with the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center at Presidio of Monterey, Calif.


How Low Can You Cargo?
 Engineers are designing a new $11 million landing system for Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport. The new system will enable planes to descend farther before deciding whether to attempt to land or not, said Ralph Hennessy, the airport’s assistant director of aviation. This is especially important to cargo carriers, which the airport hopes to attract as customers, the Advocate reported.


Heroes to Remember
Louisiana Public Broadcasting has announced eight statewide Louisiana Young Heroes of 2013.  They all “excelled in the classroom, served their community, inspired others through their deeds or strength of character or show[ed] great courage in overcoming adversity, physical or otherwise, in their lives.” Those honored include Hollie Fields, Carissa Fruge, Henry Futch, Aamina Green, Madison Perri Martin, Hunner Monceaux, Rachel Patteson and Maggie Elizabeth Tortorich. Awards are co-presented by the Rotary Club of Baton Rouge and underwritten by ExxonMobil.


Raccoon Rarity
An outdoorsman, Pine High School senior Kyle Breland, was taken aback when he found an extremely rare albino raccoon in a trap he’d set in Angie. He told the Bogalusa Daily News: “As soon as I saw the white raccoon in my trap, I grabbed my phone to call my daddy [Kelton Breland]. I hung the phone up and called my grandpa.” Kyle’s mom, Patsy Breland, is a first-grade teacher at Wesley Ray Elementary School in Varnado, so the newly caged raccoon was brought to her classroom, and the pale, pink-eyed creature was the star of show and tell.


Can You Bear This?
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has warned St. Mary Parish residents to take precautions to minimize encounters with black bears.  Bears will forage for food in garbage cans, according to Catherine Siracusa, St. Mary Parish black bear conflict officer, and Roddy Matherne of Progressive Waste Solutions. Matherne said his company now has about 1,300 bear-proof cans in the parish, but “as we keep on putting carts, they keep moving to where the carts are not.” Siracusa has students from local 4-H clubs passing out information on avoiding attracting bears, reported StMaryNow.com.


“Newspaper columnists don’t retire. We ‘leave the paper.’ That makes retirement conform to our dramatic and romantic natures.”
“Attic Salt,” Ed Cullen, the Advocate. (Cullen’s 41-year career at the Advocate ended with his March 10 column.)

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