News Briefs

Toups pleads guilt, another mosquito contract cancelled, An Independent contest and Couillons on Da Loose.


Popular singer and accordionist Wayne Toups pled guilty to distribution of cocaine last week in Lake Charles federal court and faces a maximum of 20 years in jail and a fine of up to $1 million, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. The plea stems from Toups' arrest in May 2000 for distributing .91 grams of cocaine. Reached by phone, Toups declined comment and said he would be issuing a statement at a later date. He referred questions to his attorney, who did not respond to a call by press time. A representative of the U.S. Attorney's Office said Toups' sentencing date was not yet scheduled. ' SJ


The city of Franklin opted out of its mosquito spraying contract with Mosquito Control Contractors Inc. ("Foggy Contract Breakdown," June 1) last week. St. Mary Parish government first signed a contract with MCCI for one year in April 2000, which included all five municipalities: Franklin, Patterson, Berwick, Baldwin and Morgan City. The contract was not renewed in 2001, but after the outbreak of West Nile virus the parish signed a new contract in 2004. The Franklin City Council voted unanimously to approve Mayor Raymond Harris's recommendation to cancel its agreement with St. Mary Parish government and MCCI, although it will remain in the West Nile testing program. "Basically we've decided to create our own program in-house," Harris says. "We were not satisfied with the results last year." ' MT


The Independent Weekly is offering the fabulous prize of an Independent T-shirt ' a 100 percent gray cotton beauty with black lettering ' to the reader who can correctly identify the most figures on illustrator Greg Peters' Sgt. Pepper's-inspired cover for this week's issue. Send a list of names with your daytime phone number to [email protected], and we'll draw a winner next Tuesday, July 5. (In the event of a tie, a random drawing will be held.) A full legend with a complete list of names will appear in next week's issue. ' SJ


Rep. Jack Smith, D-Stephensville, and Rep. Troy Hebert, D-Jeanerette, tried to pull a fast one in the final hours of last week's legislative session, earning the wrath of their fellow legislators and seriously damaging their credibility with constituents. After Hebert's controversial bill that would have allowed convenience stores that sell beer to also sell frozen alcoholic drinks was shot down, Smith tacked on the language from Hebert's bill as an amendment to a different bill ' one which was supposed to set up a hotline for people with drinking problems ' and sneak it past his contemporaries. Once the ruse was discovered and the new bill was killed, Smith joked about "stretching the truth."**