It's good, it's bad and it's just crazy
A hearty attagirl for Kate Durio and Gretchen Vanicor, co-founders of ReCover Acadiana. The 705 offshoot, with the help of about 85 volunteers from the705 (a civic organization comprised of mostly under-40 Lafayette residents and entrepreneurs), UL Lafayette and other groups recently planted 260 trees as part of Project Front Yard, the broader city beautification project launched in September. Over a few days at the end of October the volunteers planted southern magnolias, redbuds, flowering dogwoods and saucer magnolias at three parks in Lafayette, tripling the number of trees at Graham-Brown Park and doubling them at Dorsey-Donlon Park. Last Spring ReCover Acadiana also collected litter along Bertrand Drive for the Better Block Bertrand event. Project Front Yard is a community-wide public awareness campaign to address litter and other eyesores around the city. Long overdue.
Ray, Ray, Ray. But can you really blame Ray Reggie if people kept hiring him, years after the illegal activities of his now defunct Media Direct were reported by Lafayette media as far back as the late-1990s (OK, one newspaper, The Times, when it was a newspaper - thank you David Kurtz!) and then picked up statewide over the years as the allegations continued to mount. Go ahead, Google him. The 52-year-old Mandeville media consultant, son of the late Edmund Reggie who once worked for well-known Democratic leaders like President Clinton, and U.S. Sens. Hillary Clinton and the late Ted Kennedy (Ray's brother-in-law), pleaded guilty in late October, the day his trial was scheduled to start in Baton Rouge (there was no deal for a reduced sentence), to a series of federal mail fraud charges. It seems Ray's new company, Nexlevel Group, was stealing from auto dealers from 2009 to 2012. Ray would submit fake expense reports to the dealerships, which he would then funnel through a personal bank account, racking up more than $1.3 million in a three-year period for media ads that never ran. He faces jail time, fines and restitution. "Being articulate, smart, charming, and connected are often characteristics seen in successful con artists, like this defendant," Walt Green, the U.S. attorney for Louisiana's Middle District, says in a news release. "The audacity of his fraud schemes is only outdone by his desperate attempts to deflect blame to others."
Win or lose on Nov. 4, District Attorney Mike Harson will remain a couillon. We've been no fan of the man since that ugly pay-for-plea OWI bribery scandal erupted right under his nose in 2012, and the month of October confirmed our view. If you missed it in our online reporting, here's a sample: In mid-October the Harson campaign's Facebook page deceitfully attributed to opponent Keith Stutes a quote that was very unflattering of Vermilion Parish residents: "And we know how Vermilion is: the most clannish, parochial, provincial and paranoid grouping of people, and Harson has the clans - all of them." It was a blatant attempt to make Stutes look bad to Vermilion voters. Problem was - and remains: the post is still up on Harson's Facebook page - Stutes didn't say it. The quote was from an anonymous source in an article in our October issue about the DA's race in the 15th Judicial District, which comprises Acadia, Lafayette and Vermilion parishes. The author of that story, Managing Editor Walter Pierce, found out about the misrepresentation, went to Harson's Facebook page and offered a comment clarifying that the quote wasn't from Stutes. The Harson campaign's response: delete Pierce's comment and block him from making further comments on the page.