Library board to explain consultant contract
East Baton Rouge Parish Library Board of Control President Tanya Freeman has asked the staff to prepare a brief report for today's monthly meeting that shows the age and status of all of the parish's branch libraries, a move intended to explain why the board is spending $98,000 on a branch assessment plan. "We have 11 branches that need to be updated over the next three to four years, and we're not going to do it all at one time, but we're hiring someone who can logically advise us," Freeman says. "I just felt like it needed to be explained … and to let people fully understand that we're wise in what we're doing." The meeting begins at 4 p.m. in the first floor conference room at the main library, 7711 Goodwood Blvd. —Stephanie Riegel
Time Out Lounge owners looking for new location
The owners of Time Out Lounge are beginning anew in their search for a new location for the bar, which was displaced when a December fire destroyed the Old Hammond Highway location that the bar had called home for seven years. On Wednesday evening, the Metro Council voted 8-2 to reject a rezoning request that would have allowed Kathleen and Jerome Byers to reopen the Time Out Lounge at 3180 Valley St., just off Perkins Road, behind the Bin Q liquor store. "We really weren't surprised because we went into the meeting knowing we were pretty much defeated," Kathleen Byers says this morning. The Southside Civic Association opposed the rezoning request, with representatives telling the council they don't want to see the addition of any bars in the area. Also, on Monday evening, the Planning Commission had voted unanimously to reject the request. The Byers had hoped to reopen in the new location in time for the start of the LSU football season, which kicks off Saturday, Aug. 30. "Obviously, that's not going to happen," Byers says. "But through all of this controversy, I have received a couple of phone calls from people telling me that they have some possible locations they'd like us to look at. So, we're back to the drawing board and we're open to any suggestions people have." —Steve Sanoski
Today's poll question: Do you agree with the Metro Council's decision to reject a rezoning request that would have allowed the Time Out Lounge to reopen just off Perkins Road, at 3180 Valley St.?
Publisher: Williams' death reminds us all to seize each day
In his latest column, Business Report Publisher Rolfe McCollister says he was shocked and saddened by the recent death of comedian and actor Robin Williams. "He was a comic genius and I can't imagine anyone who didn't laugh at his many characters," writes McCollister. "But some of his roles had powerful messages as well. If you have never seen Dead Poets Society, you should watch it. America has always been in love with the big screen, and its images and stories have an impact on individuals and the nation. Williams leaves us with many great roles and messages." In perhaps one of the most memorable scenes from Dead Poets Society, the message that Williams' character, Mr. John Keating, tries to get across to his students is a lesson for us all, McCollister says. "Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary," Keating (Williams) tells his students. "Sadly, Robin Williams' life has ended," McCollister laments, "but we all have another day and can take his words to heart: Carpe diem." Read the complete column, in which McCollister also highlights a few recent top national rankings for the Baton Rouge economy and Louisiana Economic Development's new website aimed at connecting employers with job seekers. Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
'225 Weekender': See singer-songwriter Don McLean
Don McLean, the voice behind hits such as "American Pie" and "Vincent (Starry Starry Night)," performs at the River Center Theater on Friday at 8 p.m. As 225 Weekender reports, since his career took off in 1971, McLean has garnered more than 40 gold and platinum records across the globe. In 2004, he was inducted into the Songwriters' Hall of Fame. In 2009, McLean released his 20th album Addicted to Black. Though McLean is now considered one of folk music's gems, his debut album, Tapestry, was rejected more than 70 times by labels before finally being released in 1970. Find out about more events on tap for this weekend in the new 225 Weekender e-newsletter.
La. Offshore Oil Port set to reopen after being closed for more than a week
The nation's largest offshore oil terminal, located off the Louisiana coast, has been closed for a week. But The Wall Street Journal reports this morning that you'd never know it from looking at U.S. oil prices. Tankers have been unable to unload at the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port since Wednesday, Aug. 13. The port is repairing a pipeline and expects to reopen between today and Saturday, says spokesman Terry Coleman. Years ago, the potential drop in imports would have caused prices to surge, but the oil market appears unperturbed. Prices have fallen steadily in recent weeks and slid below $95 a barrel Tuesday for the first time in seven months before rebounding slightly Wednesday. With domestic oil production at a 27-year high, imports are less important for balancing the nation's oil supplies. LOOP, the only deep-water oil port in the U.S., used to be an essential hub. But imports to the U.S. have fallen sharply as new technologies have boosted onshore oil production. Imports accounted for 33% of U.S. petroleum consumption last year, down from 60% in 2005, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. At LOOP specifically, imports "are running consistently below the year-prior level, and 2013 was already a weak year," according to ClipperData, which tracks oil shipments to the U.S. Imports to LOOP averaged 626,000 barrels a day in May, down from 778,000 barrels a day in May 2013 and 1.2 million barrels a day for the same month in 2005, according to Louisiana state records. Read the full story.
Election sign-up period continues into second day
The second day of the election sign-up period for Louisiana's Nov. 4 fall congressional election has started off slowly, with no new contenders adding their name to the ballot. The Associated Press reports three of the state's incumbent congressmen signed up for re-election bids Wednesday, and embattled Republican U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister was planning to submit his paperwork and pay his qualifying fee today. Four candidates have signed up to challenge McAllister so far, and more were expected to seek the northeast-Louisiana based 5th District seat. Also on Wednesday, incumbent Sen. Mary Landrieu and her best-funded Republican challenger, Rep. Bill Cassidy, traded jabs over leadership and effectiveness as they officially signed up on the opening day of qualifying, which continues through Friday.
News roundup: Community Press launches official publication of Central school district … New discount airline to add service to New Orleans … Tooth Fairy feels the pinch after overspending in 2013
Hot off the presses: Woody Jenkins, former state legislator and president of Community Press, announced this morning the launch of The Central Wildcat, the official publication of the Central Community School System. Community Press also publishes Central City News and Capital City News. The first issue of The Central Wildcat, which will be distributed to all 4,500 students in the district as well as being sold in Central retail outlets, is being published today. Check out a PDF of the first issue.
Prepare for takeoff: Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport officials say they're welcoming a new low-cost carrier that will provide service to Virginia. Officials say PEOPLExpress will begin flying in and out of New Orleans on Aug. 28. The Associated Press reports the airline will provide service three days a week to Newport News-Williamsburg International Airport in Virginia. The airline advertises fares between New Orleans and Newport News starting at $119. Extra fees are charged for checked luggage, use of overhead bins and in-flight beverages.
Sign of the times: The Tooth Fairy is holding the purse strings a bit tighter this year after overspending last year. According to an annual survey from Visa released today, the Tooth Fairy left 8% less this year—or an average of $3.40 for every lost tooth put under a pillow—down from $3.70 in 2013. Still, she's leaving more than she did in 2012 before tooth inflation rose 23% from 2012 to 2013. In 2013, the Tooth Fairy frequently left children with a $20 bill, but she's cut back on that type of spending this year. Only 3.6% of Tooth Fairies left $20 or more, down from 6% in 2013. USA Today has the full story.