First-time unemployment insurance claims rise
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - First-time claims for unemployment insurance in Louisiana for the week ending March 1 increased from the previous week's total.
The Louisiana Workforce Commission said Friday that initial claims rose to 2,125 from the previous week's total of 1,964. There were 2,887 initial claims during the comparable week in 2013.
The four-week moving average, which is a less volatile measure of claims, increased to 2,119 from the previous week's average of 2,084.
Continued unemployment weeks claimed for the week ending March 1 decreased to 21,409 compared to 21,835 the previous week. The four-week moving average for such claims decreased to 22,151 from the previous week's average of 22,502.
Arrest warrant details rape claim against Sharper
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A New Orleans arrest warrant says detectives learned from witnesses that former NFL All-Pro safety Darren Sharper and an associate acknowledged they had nonconsensual sex with two women.
The warrant was released by New Orleans police on Thursday in an investigation of Sharper and associate Erik Nunez.
The warrant does not elaborate on the allegations by witnesses.
Sharper remains in a Los Angeles jail after pleading not guilty to rape and drug charges in California. His attorneys were set to argue for his release Friday afternoon.
Louisiana prosecutors have not yet formally charged Sharper.
The athlete's Los Angeles-based attorney Blair Berk referred a call for comment to Sharper's New Orleans lawyer, Jason Williams, who was not immediately available.
Nunez has been arrested in New Orleans, where a judge on Friday set bail for at $400,000. His lawyer Herbert Larson there is no evidence against his client.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DISTRICTS
St. Tammany creates economic development districts
COVINGTON, La. (AP) - The St. Tammany Parish Council has voted created two more economic development districts that parish officials say will help guide commercial development in strategic areas along the Interstate 12 corridor.
By unanimous vote on Thursday, NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune reports the council created districts in the vicinity of the I-12 interchanges at La. Highway 434 north of Lacombe and Highway 1088 northeast of Mandeville.
Parish Economic Development Director Don Shea told the council last month that such districts will give the parish more tools to guide development at and near major interchanges along I-12, which he has described as the parish's "Main Street."
BESE delays decision on $3.5B school funding plan
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has stalled action on a $3.5 billion annual school funding formula due to state lawmakers by March 15.
BESE members said Friday that they wanted more time to work on the spending proposal, which would pay for the operations of 69 public school districts for the 2014-15 school year.
The state's top school board planned to hold a special meeting next week to devise a final version.
The board embraced recommendations to increase spending on technical training and special education. Members also support including a $69 million increase that lawmakers approved this year in the permanent formula.
But there are disagreements about what else the financing plan should contain.
Lawmakers can only approve or reject BESE's proposed formula. They cannot change it.
Bus driver suspended in incident involving child
NEW ROADS, La. (AP) - The Pointe Coupee Parish School Board has suspended a school bus driver for six months without pay and stripped him of his tenure rights for leaving a 5-year-old student on his bus for several hours three months ago.
The Advocate reports the board voted Thursday to suspend Roger Dixon, who has been employed by the school system for more than 20 years, rather than fire him.
The unanimous vote to suspend Dixon came after a motion to fire him failed in a 5-3 vote.
Dixon has been suspended from the school system since Dec. 16 after a Rosenwald Elementary pre-kindergarten student was left sleeping in the back of Dixon's bus after he parked it that morning.
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