It's good, it's bad and it's just plain crazy
The Acadiana Center for the Arts and the Lafayette Economic Development Authority have announced a new artist stipend program, ArtSpark, designed to offer financial aid to local artists. ArtSpark, according to Paige Krause, the AcA's education coordinator, will help artists at all career levels on specific, short-term projects, and it will also be directed toward increasing public art in the community. Up to $20,000 will be distributed through the stipend. "In connecting with our mission, we recognize the importance of fostering and investing in our local community of artists, providing opportunities that offer assistance for materials, development of new works, or to provide support for projects that incorporate public art and community engagement," Krause says. "By collaborating with the Opportunity Machine, we will provide a series of career development services that offer resources for career sustainability in the arts. Overall, this program will support and develop innovation and vibrancy while enhancing our local environment and offering support to our local artists."
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Lafayette has had far uglier matches in its history of playing "whack a pedophile priest" with parishioners, but with the ugliest of them all - the Gilbert Gauthe saga of the 1980s - fading in memory, August was a painful reminder that the Church with a capital C and its stewards in the cloth have been at least as concerned with public relations as they have been with addressing the pernicious cancer of pedophilia within the ranks of priests. A Minnesota Public Radio investigative report that led to the unsealing of federal documents in late July fingered a popular Lafayette priest, the Rev. Gilbert Dutel of St. Edmond, as having been investigated in the early 1990s on child-molestation charges stemming from the 1970s. Pressed for details and the diocese's response by The Daily Advertiser, a diocesan spokesman admitted there was "very little in [Dutel's] file concerning the investigation" by former Bishop Harry Flynn and that current Bishop Michael Jarrell has no plans to open a new investigation into claims against Dutel. The priest received a standing ovation from parishioners when he addressed the controversy from the pulpit in mid-August. More troubling still, Jarrell has declined to identify 15 former priests for whom the diocese paid settlements in the past on child-molestation accusations.
The Better Business Bureau of Acadiana, which monitors local advertising, has turned up three questionable (to put it mildly) going out of business sales in the local market. A recent investigation by BBB-A revealed that Arnaud's Furniture on Verot School Road, Carroll Building Specialties Inc. on Luke Drive and Crazy Charlie's Shoes on Ambassador Caffery Parkway had been breaking the BBB's Code of Advertising as well as state guidelines for going out of business sales. Yet, the BBB noted that as of Aug. 18, the state reported that all three companies have begun the process for the proper registration to continue this type of advertising. They're just always going out of business, y'all! According to the BBB's code: "Liquidation and going out of business sales should not be advertised unless the stated or implied reason is a fact, should be limited to a stated period of time, and should offer only such merchandise as is affected by the emergency. Advertisers should conform with the requirements of applicable local, state and federal laws." Additionally, the state requires that terms like "quitting business" be used for a maximum of six months after a license is obtained from the Louisiana Office of the Attorney General Consumer Protection Section.