Body found in Iberville Parish sugarcane field
ROSEDALE (AP) — Iberville Parish sheriff’s deputies have identified the man whose body was found Saturday afternoon in a sugarcane field near Rosedale.
Chief Deputy Stephen Engolio said 42-year-old Avery Hastings, of Corpus Christi, Texas, was found by a group of all-terrain vehicle riders in the cane field.
Authorities say Hastings is believed to be the victim of a violent incident that happened about a week ago in West Baton Rouge Parish, but details of the incident were not released.
Engolio said investigators have several leads in the ongoing probe into Hastings’ death.
Bridge projects moving forward in Lafourche
THIBODAUX (AP) — Officials say an end is in sight for two construction projects that have inconvenienced Thibodaux motorists for months.
Construction for the Canal Boulevard Bridge pedestrian walkway and a new Tiger Drive Bridge has inconvenienced drivers since it began last year.
The $505,000 walkway is aimed at improving pedestrian accessibility and safety. Mayor Tommy Eschete said he’ll propose the substantial completion of the project at the council’s Feb. 4 meeting.
The larger of the two projects has been the installation of a new Tiger Drive Bridge.
Eschete said the biggest holdup has been the pilings. With the previous bridge’s pilings already removed, the city is still waiting for new pilings to arrive.
River diversions seen as easing Gulf ‘dead zone’
BATON ROUGE (AP) — A proposed new strategy for reducing the annual “dead zone” off Louisiana’s Gulf coast relies heavily on river water diversions to remove nutrients that deplete oxygen levels to the point they no longer support aquatic life.
The authors of a draft report of the plan say the state’s contribution to the dead zone is minimal. Most of the nutrients, primarily nitrogen and phosphorus, come from states upstream in largely agricultural and metropolitan areas.
Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain said the state’s plan goes beyond just contributions to the dead zone through the Mississippi River and looks at all the state’s waterways.
Some critics have voiced concerns that the draft strategy is lacking in specific actions and doesn’t go much beyond maintaining the status quo.
Terrebonne seeks more authority over oil waste
HOUMA (AP) — Terrebonne Parish officials are preparing state legislation that aims to give communities more authority over where oil waste disposal wells can be built within their communities.
The action follows a state Supreme Court decision earlier this month that cleared the way for Vanguard Environmental of Houma to construct such a well close to a neighborhood. The company’s position, upheld by the courts, is that a state law requiring a 500-foot buffer around such sites should take precedence over a local ordinance that requires a one-mile buffer zone.
State Rep. Gordon Dove, of Houma, said he supports legislation to allow local governments control over oil waste disposal sites. Dove is chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, which votes on laws related to oil and gas production and environmental standards.
Folklife classes offered
HOUMA (AP) — The Terrebonne Folklife Culture Center is offering classes for people who want to tap into the culture of the bayou country.
The weekly classes will focus on knitting, crocheting, bird carving, quilting, Cajun dancing, fiddle and guitar playing, conversational French and soap carving.
There is a $5 registration fee for new participants.
More information is available by calling 985-873-6545.
Thibodaux to update
THIBODAUX (AP) — The city’s police headquarters will undergo a renovation costing an estimated $321,000 to upgrade storm protection and increase storage space.
Police officials said the Stark Complex on Canal Boulevard hasn’t been upgraded in more than a decade.
A 2013 assessment by architect Thomas Boudreaux projected replacing the roof, cleaning and proofing masonry, replacing the exterior wall and electrical alterations for a roof security system.
Replacing he roof is the most expensive single part of the work with an estimate of $148,360.
“The roof has leaked with every major storm we’ve had and it continues to leak,” Police Chief Scott Silverii said.
to undergo repairs
GALLIANO (AP) — More protection will be added to the Leon Theriot Floodgate in Lafourche Parish as repairs begin this weekend following an accident that closed the gate for several days.
The lock in Galliano was damaged when the M/V Gracie Claire, owned by Triple S Marine, struck its skirting on Dec. 19.
Pilings and timbers on the southeast side were damaged, but the lock mechanism was not, said Jimmy Badeaux, South Lafourche Levee District operations superintendent.
A strong wind and current were blamed for causing the bump, Badeaux said.
A deckhand steering the boat got caught up in it, Badeaux said.
The captain of the Gracie Claire was able to control the vessel and prevent further damage.
In all, 26 pilings and all of the 12-by-12 timbers were destroyed, Badeaux said.
Wife of parish official
says she fears for life
CHALMETTE (AP) — The wife of St. Bernard Parish President David Peralta failed to appear in a Chalmette courtroom for a divorce hearing after she faxed a letter to the judge, saying she feared for her life and needed more protection.
Sharon Schaefer Peralta also asked 34th Judicial District Judge Robert Buckley to recuse himself from the case due to perceived personal connections to David Peralta.
It was the latest development in a story that has seen the couple petition courts in two parishes for restraining orders against each other.
David Peralta has refused to comment. Buckley said in court that he has known David Peralta for years but they are not close friends. Buckley postponed Friday’s hearing until Feb. 7.
That would give Sharon Peralta time to file paperwork if she decides to formally pursue Buckley’s recusal.
Buckley said he attended the Peralta’s wedding, but that he also taught Sharon Peralta in a paralegal class at Chalmette’s Nunez Community College. In terms of the relationship affecting his impartiality, Buckley said, “I don’t see that in this case.”