10 Headlines That Captured The Attention Of Lafayette In 2013
As people around the world get ready to ring in 2014, we here at KPEL thought it would be a good idea to take a look back at some of the most important stories (by our estimation anyway) that we covered in 2013.
From spats on the Lafayette Parish School Board to the Cajuns winning their third New Orleans Bowl, we covered it all.
And now, in no particular order, a look back at 2013.
School Board, Pat Cooper Continue Disputes
The ongoing dispute between school system superintendent Dr. Pat Cooper and the Lafayette Parish School Board continued into 2013, with disputes over Cooper’s special assistant, charter schools, and the role of the superintendent in light of new state laws affecting education.
Marathon meetings lasting until nearly midnight became commonplace as board members and Cooper aired their differences, sometimes vehemently, in open meeting.
The year also featured the school board placing an official reprimand in his file and hiring a special attorney to investigate complaints against Cooper.
Implementation Of Common Core
The national education standards known as Common Core entered the limelight in 2013 with complaints coming in from parents, teachers, and administrators alike.
But probably one of the most egregious examples from critics of the standards came from a worksheet sent home to students in Vermilion Parish. The worksheet, which featured words like ‘po pimp,’ quickly became a national sensation.
Organizations statewide have rallied to dismantle the Common Core standards, and the result has been a delay in the effects of the standards on teacher’s evaluations.
OWI Bribery Scandal
The 15th Judicial District Attorney’s Office became the subject of a federal investigation over a bribery scandal involving OWI cases.
Private investigator Robert Williamson was indicted by a grand jury back in February on charges of bribery, conspiracy, and making a false statement to a federal agent.
Many others involved in the case have pleaded guilty.
Lafayette, Broussard Water Spat
It was a dispute that played out over the radio waves and by press release as Lafayette City-Parish President Joey Durel and Broussard Mayor Charles Langlinais seemed determined not to be the first one to flinch.
Lafayette’s LUS had discovered that Broussard was receiving water from the larger city through a water line that bypassed a meter. Lafayette sent Broussard the bill for what they thought Broussard owed, but the smaller city took issue with the amount.
Half a year later, cooler heads prevailed, but not before some strong actions and statements from both sides.
Elbert Guillory Switches To GOP
Louisiana Sen. Elbert Guillory made headlines and received YouTube fame when he announced he was making a switch from the Democratic Party to the GOP, becoming the first African American Republican to serve in the Senate since Reconstruction.
Shortly after the switch, Guillory was practically disowned by his former party while Republicans welcomed him with open arms. Guillory became a national media darling with several appearances on the Fox News Channel and conservative talk radio.
Lafayette Armed Robbery Spree
Over a period of three weeks, residents in the Hub City used extra caution when going to fill up on gas or shop at convenience stores thanks to a string of armed robberies all over the city.
The suspect, Keiwayttan Turner, was believed to be responsible for at least nine armed robberies at convenience stores.
Turner was finally arrested outside yet another convenience store, but police were able to nab him before he could commit another crime.
Seth Fontenot Murder Trial
The life of 15-year-old Austin Rivault was cut short one night in February when he and two of his friends were, according to friends and family, riding around in a truck. 18-year-old Seth Fontenot allegedly opened fire on the trio, killing Rivault.
Shortly after his arrest, Fontenot told investigators he was trying to scare the teens; someone had evidently tried to break into Fontenot’s car before.
Fontenot sat in the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center for weeks while supporters rallied for his release. He was eventually released on bond, indicted on charges of first degree murder by a grand jury, and his trial continues.
Duck Dynasty Star Suspended Over Remarks About Homosexuals
The patriarch of the hit reality television show “Duck Dynasty” was suspended by A&E in mid-December over comments he made to GQ magazine about homosexuals.
Supporters of Robertson said his comments were taken out of context, that his beliefs were based on Christian convictions, and that his freedom of expression was being infringed.
Robertson got the support of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former presidential candidate Sarah Palin, and several other leading conservatives.
A&E eventually repealed the suspension but not before receiving a petition with more than 250,000 signatures demanding Robertson be reinstated.
Lafayette Named #1 Overall City
Everyone living here already knew, but it was nice to finally make it official when Area Development magazine named Lafayette the #1 overall city in the United States.
The magazine also named Lafayette the best mid-sized city and the best city in the South.
380 Metropolitan Statistical Areas were graded over 21 different economic and workforce indicators to determine Area Development’s prestigious “Leading Locations” lis
Ragin Cajuns Make It A Three-Peat
Fans of the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns flooded the Crescent City for the third year in a row as New Orleans Bowl played host to the Cajuns and the Green Wave of Tulane.
Attendance records were once again shattered, and for the third year, Cajuns fans were on the edge of their seats in the fourth quarter. A missed field goal from Tulane’s Groza Award winner Cairo Santos secured the victory, and the French Quarter became a sea of red.