This past Saturday night, Jefferson Street became a one-way street from 11 p.m. until 2:30 a.m., from Johnston Street all the way down to Evangeline Thruway. There has been increasing concern that downtown's explosion in late-night crowds has created congestion on both the streets and the sidewalks ("Rained Out," June 1).
"The problem is we're getting bottlenecks from the cruisers," says Lafayette Police Cpl. Mark Francis. "They're coming in here just to ride around. A lot of time they're stopping in the roadway, congesting and backing up traffic two and three blocks. If, in the event we need to get an emergency vehicle in there, we have a problem because traffic is not moving."
Francis says the one-way traffic flow is minimizing opportunities for passing drivers to stop in the road to talk with one another. In addition to keeping the traffic flowing, Lafayette Police were also keeping the foot traffic moving. "We're not going to allow you to loiter," Francis says. "You've got a lot of people who are not going to the establishments; they're just hanging out. We want to move those people on."
Francis says the main problem for the Lafayette Police is a matter of resources. "We have limited resources," he says, "and to get the resources we need, it's going to take money. So we're looking at everything we can do, that's humanly possible, to deal with this situation so that we can keep it safe." ' RRF
Fiber 411 began a rallying cry last year to have the residents of Lafayette vote on whether they wanted Lafayette Utilities System's fiber-to-the-home project. The three amigos behind the group ' Neal Breakfield, Bill LeBlanc and Tim Supple ' got what they wanted, a referendum scheduled for July 16.
But now the trio wants Lafayette Consolidated Government to pass an ordinance, before the July 16 vote, that would allow LUS to forgo paying the in-lieu-of tax in the infancy of the fiber project.
In a press release titled "Fiber 411 supports fiber, but rejects 'in lieu tax,'" the group stated: "If the City Council will not adopt such ordnance [sic], we have no choice but to vote against the bonds and suggest all citizens consider the same." Supple told The Advocate that if the ordinance was passed, he would vote for fiber on July 16, while both Breakfield and LeBlanc told the paper that they would still vote against it, regardless of the passing of their proposed ordinance. ' RRF
UL'S PRINCETON REVIEW
The Princeton Review recently cited UL Lafayette as one of the best college values in the nation for 2006 ' the only Louisiana school to receive the distinction. Only 81 schools in the nation were selected after considering factors like tuition amounts, the average financial aid granted to students, as well as the average debt incurred by graduating seniors.
Last year, Princeton Review ranked UL as one of the best 357 colleges nationally, but when it came to whether students thought their teachers were good, unfortunately UL ranked No. 10 in the category of teachers receiving low marks from their students. And when it came to studying, UL ranked No. 20 in the schools whose students rarely crack a book. (Luckily, LSU beat UL in that category, coming in at No. 15.) But UL ranked No. 11 in schools with the best relations between students and the local community.
The Review's annual report for 2006, with the 361 best colleges nationwide, is scheduled for publication in late August. ' RRF
METZGER MOVES ON
The Daily Advertiser is looking for a new executive editor. After 22 months on the job, Juli Metzger is moving back to her native Indiana (and moving into the sales side of publishing) to become the president and publisher of two Gannett-owned newspapers ' The Star Press in Munice, Ind., and Chronicle-Tribune in Marion, Ind.
Ted Power, president and publisher of South Louisiana Publishing ' which oversees the operations of Gannett papers The Daily Advertiser, The Times of Acadiana, Opelousas Daily World and the Quik Quarter ' says that a new executive editor has not been named. "We'll certainly see if anybody applies here," he says, "and we'll see if anybody applies from outside of the newspaper. Then we'll pick the best candidate for Lafayette." Until the position is filled, Managing Editor Marc Gilbert will oversee the daily operations of the paper.
Power is uncertain whether the new executive editor will also oversee the operation of the weekly newspaper The Times, as has been done in the past. "I think it would depend on the experiences of the candidates who apply," Power says. "Certainly, you'd like to have as little change as possible, but we'll see what fits each of the candidates that we might interview and make a decision from there."
Power estimates that the executive editor position should be filled within three months. ' RRF