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More legal maneuvers in the fight over Common Core

 The state's top school board voted to join a Common Core lawsuit against Governor Bobby Jindal. On a six-to-four vote, BESE will participate in a suit that accuses Jindal of illegal use of executive powers to halt the use of the new education standards. BESE President Chas Roemer supports the move to intervene.

"Given they are arguing our constitutional authority, it makes sense they have a seat at the table while that's being argued."
Today's move means BESE will participate in a lawsuit filed by parents and teachers who support the Common Core standards.
There are four board members who voted against legal action. BESE member Lottie Beebe calls it a travesty that the state's top school board is involved in a lawsuit against Jindal.
"The courts will render a decision. Why can't we live with that decision? Why do we have to go on record when it comes suing the governor of Louisiana."
Meanwhile, the Jindal administration has filed a counter lawsuit. It alleges BESE improperly delegated its constitutional authority when it agreed to adopt Common Core testing.  
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Louisiana Tech gets another national recognition

Michelle Southern reporting.
In Money magazine's 2014 Best Colleges list, Louisiana Tech is named as one of the nation's best college values. The rankings were based on educational quality, affordability and alumni earnings data. Tech was named No. 154 in the nation and NO. 2 in Louisiana behind LSU.

"We've enjoyed national recognition for providing that value and that return on investment," said Louisiana Tech spokesman Dave Guerin. "It's something we focus on especially in tough economic times."

Other Louisiana universities ranked include Tulane, Loyola and Grambling State.

Guerin says students know that not only are they going to get a great value for their education at Tech, but they also know they're going to have a wonderful experience at the Ruston university.

"We provide students with research experiences and opportunities to do a variety of things from the time they're freshman to the time they graduate," said Guerin.

Tech President Les Guice says it's national rankings like these that are a testament to the dedication of their faculty and staff who continue to go above and beyond for their students.

Guerin says even though higher education in Louisiana had to endure stiff budget cuts over the past couple of years, Tech's goal was to move ahead.

"We want to focus on growing our institution and growing opportunities for our students and our graduates," Guerin said. "I think that's paid dividends in things like the Money Magazine rankings."

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Ville Platte store manager robbed/murdered

Michelle Southern reporting.
Ville Platte in Evangeline Parish had its first homicide of the year Monday as a store manager was brutally murdered in an apparent armed robbery. Police Chief Neal Lartigue says customers were trying to get into K&T's Meat Market and Grocery around noon yesterday and called for the clerk.

"At that time she didn't answer but someone with a deep voice answered saying that they were closed for business," said Lartigue.

Lartigue says the suspect demanded all customers leave the store and the woman was the only victim. He says later more people tried to enter the store and they saw the suspect in the store.

"He was a black male subject wearing a black cap, white t-shirt, a red bandana over his face and camouflage short pants," said Lartigue. "They noticed he had a gun."

Those witnesses called police and that's when the victim was found dead inside the store.

Lartigue says they have identified the suspect and they are asking anyone with information on his whereabouts to contact the Ville Platte Police Department.

The victim is identified as Anna Nguyen.

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Louisiana ranked as #5 for dog friendliest

According to a new report, Louisianians are dog people. The study, conducted by market research firm Euromonitor puts Louisiana in the top 5 states in the nation who favor dogs over cats.  Louisiana SPCA CEO Ana Zorilla says the state is tailor made for dogs.

"We're such a festival rich state, and so many of us bring our pets with us. If it is appropriate, and it's pet friendly, your dog can go with you."
The study shows several trends in worldwide pet ownership, dogs are preferred pet in the south, cats in the northeast, and a massive preference for dogs across most of Asia. Zorrilla says the explosion of dog centric locations has created a unique opportunity for people to embrace their love of canines.
"There's more doggie day cares, dog boarding facilities, as well as places like the bulldog and canine connection that really cater to dog lovers."
The study shows several trends in worldwide pet ownership, dogs are preferred pet in the south, cats in the northeast, and a massive preference for dogs across most of Asia. But Zorilla says  Louisiana is a great state for all kinds of pet ownership.
"well i think we love animals in general here, and i think that comes through in the number of people who own pets, and specifically the number of people who own dogs."


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Hot sauce sales are hot

As the spicy food trend spreads across the country, the hot sauce market is growing by leaps and bounds.  Since 2000, the US hot sauce market has grown by 150 percent, according to a story by Atlantic Media's Quartz. 

President and CEO of New Iberia-based Bruce Foods, Si Brown, says they have definitely noticed the trend.
"Hot sauce has just been a condiment that has excelled above others, in terms of customer appreciation.  And it fits right in with the trend of spicy food."
Bruce Foods, which produces Original Louisiana Hot Sauce, along with other Louisiana companies are profiting from the nation's growing appetite for heat.  Brown says his company has expanded distribution since the boom began.
"We've been in business for over 80 years, so our product has been in distribution coast-to-coast for many years, and internationally.  So, whereas we have had distribution, we have seen an increase in consumption."
Hot sauce sales have increased 6-percent annually for the past 10 years  according to the market research firm I-R-I.  Brown says hot sauce is becoming a condiment on par with mustard and ketchup.  He says hot sauce aficionados are even more determined about having the product than almost any other condiment.
"People have to have it.  And you can see in restaurants, sometimes, when maybe the bottle may not be on the table.  Consumers will stand up and walk over to a table where hot sauce is available and pick it up and go back to their table."
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New VA clinics in Lafayette and Lake Charles closer to reality

Authorization for new VA clinics in Lafayette and Lake Charles is one step closer to reality according to Lafayette Congressman Charles Boustany.  Boustany received confirmation that authorization for the two new clinics will be included in the final draft of a bipartisan bill on VA legislation. 

The Congressman says he's worked hard to get these clinics authorized and is thrilled about the news.
"This is a big step forward to get these clinics built.  Getting this legislation agreed upon, voted upon this week is a very major step forward."
Boustany expects both houses of Congress to vote on the measure this week.  He says funding for the construction of these new clinics is not included this legislation.  But Boustany says if this bill passes, it will clear the way for funding.
"And I've been in conversations with the chairman of the sub-committee dealing with funding for our military and VA construction.  He's actually been to Lafayette to do a town hall with me with the veterans.  And he's very, very open to working with me on this."
Boustany is confident that this legislation will pass before Congress breaks for the August recess and move to the President's desk to be signed into law. 

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