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APNewsBreak: Jindal sues feds over Common Core

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Louisiana's Republican governor has filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration, accusing it of illegally using federal grant money and regulations to force states to adopt the Common Core education standards.

The U.S. Department of Education has used a $4.3 billion grant program and federal policy waivers to encourage states to adopt uniform education standards and testing.

Gov. Bobby Jindal says that violates the state sovereignty clause in the Constitution and federal laws that prohibit national control of education content.

The lawsuit, obtained first by The Associated Press, was filed Wednesday in federal court.

Jindal is considering a run for president in 2016. This legal challenge puts him at the forefront of a dispute between conservatives and President Barack Obama, bolstering the governor's profile as he courts conservative voters nationwide.


ExxonMobil to pay civil penalty for 2012 oil spill

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - ExxonMobil Pipeline Company has agreed to pay a $1.4 million civil penalty for an alleged violation of the Clean Water Act stemming from a 2012 crude oil spill from its "North Line" pipeline near Torbert in Pointe Coupee Parish.

The U.S. Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency said Tuesday the company will pay the penalty to resolve the government's claim.

The federal complaint alleged that ExxonMobil discharged at least 117,000 gallons of crude oil when its pipeline ruptured April 28, 2012, about 20 miles west of Baton Rouge, spilling oil into the surrounding area and into an unnamed tributary connected to Bayou Cholpe.

EPA says the penalty is in addition to costs ExxonMobil incurred to respond to the oil spill and to replace the segment of ruptured pipeline.


Old Houma school to become apartments

HOUMA, La. (AP) - After months of uncertainty about the future of the former Houma Elementary School, a plan is in place to turn the property into an apartment complex.

The site in downtown Houma was being used as office space for the school district's federal and special education services workers until this spring.

Due to asbestos concerns, the 80 employees working inside the facility were relocated.

Last week, the school board gave the property to the parish.

Parish President Michel Claudet tells The Courier parish officials will begin requesting proposals to buy the property.

Claudet says he's been approached by several people interested in changing the building into some type of housing.

Officials believe the building is old enough to receive state tax credits for its rehabilitation.


Lafayette board to hear report on Supt. Pat Cooper

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) - Lafayette Parish School Board will hear a report Thursday from its attorney on whether they have cause to fire Superintendent Pat Cooper over various management decisions they disagreed with.

The board hired Dennis Blunt to conduct the investigation of Cooper.

The board's general counsel, Bob Hammonds, has said that investigations are a common means to identify any potential charges to bring against a superintendent to start termination proceedings.

Cooper signed a four-year contract in 2012.

If the board plans to terminate Cooper's contract, The Advocate reports ( it must notify him of the charges in writing and hold a hearing. Termination requires a two-thirds vote - or at least six votes - from the nine-member board.

Board members haven't revealed the cause or reasons for the investigation.


Lafayette toddler wanders on to busy street

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) - Lafayette police say the roommate of a child's caregiver is accused of negligent actions that left a 2-year-old free to walk out of the house and on to a traffic-heavy street.

Cpl. Nicole Benoit tells The Advocate Jenika Brooks of Lafayette faces one count of child desertion for allegedly leaving for work Tuesday without making sure her roommate, the child's caretaker, was awake to watch over the child.

Benoit says Brooks was home when the girl's father dropped off his daughter earlier on Tuesday morning.

She says was able to open the door, leave the home and travel to Foreman Drive.

Benoit says the girl was unharmed and returned to her father.

It was unclear whether Brooks has an attorney.


PETA files complaints against Hammond turtle farm

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has filed six complaints against a Hammond turtle and alligator farm. One alleges the family is abusing a 6-year-old by teaching him to handle alligators at Harvey Kliebert (KLEE'-bur) Turtle and Alligator Farm and Tours.

Melody Kliebert, who married into the family, says every generation began learning the work as children. She says children handle only baby alligators with tiny teeth or slightly larger 'gators with taped mouths.

She is not the boy's mother.

A spokeswoman says the Department of Children and Family Services cannot comment.

District Attorney Scott Perrilloux says the complaint will be forwarded to appropriate agencies for investigation.

Other complaints allege that the family mistreats animals, endangers employees and has an endangered Siamese crocodile in an inadequate pen.


AP Source: IndyCar sets April 12 New Orleans date

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A person close to the situation says the IndyCar series has committed to an April 12 race date for next season's inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the race date has not been publicly announced. Louisiana Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne is scheduled to take part in a press conference Wednesday afternoon at NOLA Motorsports Park, which will host the race.

The IndyCar series confirmed in May that it planned to bring a race to New Orleans in 2015, but race calendar for next season had not been set at that time.

The race date coincides with the French Quarter Festival, which features outdoor concerts in the city.


French Consul General to visit Arnaudville

OPELOUSAS, La. (AP) - Grégor Trumel, the new French Consul General in New Orleans, will visit Arnaudville on Friday.

Jacqui Cochran with NUNUs Arts and Cultural Collective says Trumel and members of his staff are the featured guests at a "Bienvenue Potluck Social" that starts at 7 p.m. at 1510 Courtableau Road, also known as La. 93 East.

Cochran says the event, sponsored by NUNUs, the Jacques Arnaud French Studies Collective and Bayou Teche Brewing, is open to the public. Admission is a covered dish to share with the community potluck.

Mavis Fruge, head of the collective, tells The Daily World the gathering is significant because it will be one of Trumel's first visits outside of New Orleans.

Trumel replaced former Consul General Jean-Claude Brunet, who has since been assigned to Munich.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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