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Perhaps the Metro Council had exhausted its emotions at the Mary Roper hearing that preceded its Sept. 10 meeting and just didn't have any more energy to expend on controversy. Perhaps it just wanted to be brought into the loop.
LSU President F. King Alexander is creating a new position in his administration—a vice president for institutional advancement, who will also serve as CEO of the LSU Foundation and oversee all fundraising efforts at the university, including those of the foundation, LSU Alumni Association and Tiger Athletic Foundation. Alexander says the move has been in the works for several months, and is based on the need to better coordinate fundraising among the three private, nonprofit organizations, which he says have not worked together closely enough over the years to produce results. "There is no reason in the world why Michigan State should have a $2 billion endowment and Indiana and Wisconsin, too, when our graduates are doing better than theirs and we have an endowment of less than $400 million," Alexander tells Daily Report. "We need to set our sights higher … We're just 20 years behind in what we've done with our foundations and fundraising." Alexander's actions also come in the wake of a recent lawsuit and sex scandal at the alumni association involving former employee Kay Heath and longtime president Charlie Roberts, who resigned last month but denied any wrongdoing. Alexander told the LSU Board of Supervisors this afternoon that an accounting firm is conducting an independent audit of the alumni association records and that attorneys are conducting a separate investigation. "We will make any findings available to the public," Alexander says. —Stephanie Riegel
Kleinpeter Farms Dairy has brought in new managers in three departments since quality control problems earlier this year cost the company several accounts and threatened to tarnish the beloved local brand. Changes to the dairy's management team include a new plant manager, a new quality control manager, a new sanitation manager—which is a newly created position—and a new sales manager. The management changes are among several steps the dairy has taken in recent months to address problems with the milk's taste and shelf life, which were detailed in a Business Report cover story in May. In a video posted last week on the company's Facebook page, President and CEO Jeff Kleinpeter says in addition to the management changes the dairy has set up temperature checks for all milk systems. It also records the temperature of each delivery truck when it makes deliveries and uses hand-held computers to monitor the temperature at establishments that sell its milk. "I can say with confidence that what we are doing is working," says Kleinpeter. "I am not going as far as to say that we are perfect, but I honestly believe that our Kleinpeter quality is back." —Stephanie Riegel Read the full story.
As the Louisiana Workforce Education Initiative begins to fundraise and develop a marketing campaign aimed at changing negative perceptions about skilled jobs that do not require a four-year college degree, the group will use data from a new poll to help shape their message. Changing the message is important because Louisiana is expected to have a significant skilled workforce shortage over the next several years, the group says, and many people don't realize the opportunities available to them through technical career path education. More than 70% of those surveyed, for instance, believe skilled jobs are physically demanding, which isn't necessarily true, says Christel Slaughter, whose SSA Consultants is under contract to manage the operations of LWEI. Meanwhile, nearly half of those surveyed believe people think less of someone who doesn't have a four-year college degree, while nearly one-third of respondents believe those without four-year degrees are in a lesser "class/status" than college grads. "This idea that you have to go to a four-year college to get a good job has really been instilled in people since the end of World War II," Slaughter says. "In 60 years that attitude hasn't changed." Respondents to the survey also said the most important reason for getting a four-year college degree is because it brings with it greater earning potential. Again, that's not necessarily true, says Slaughter, who points out certain skilled workers can earn as much as $100,000 a year. "Part of what we have to do is create a multimedia campaign to help them understand that," she says. —Stephanie Riegel
The city-parish and the Baton Rouge Area Foundation have reached an agreement over the downtown parking garage at Third and Convention streets that—if approved next week by the Metro Council—will result in fewer available parking spaces for the general public. At least that's the way it appears on paper. According to the terms of the current Cooperative Endeavor Agreement between the city-parish and the state, signed in 2003, 158 spaces are available for general public parking, with an additional 20 spaces reserved for the LSU Museum of Art and the Shaw Center for the Arts. Under the new proposed agreement between the city-parish and BRAF-affiliate 201 Third Street LLC—which signed a long-term lease earlier this year with the state to operate the 466-space garage—80 spaces will be available for general public parking, and an additional 24 spaces will be dedicated to the Shaw Center and the museum, which are both located within a block of the garage. According to the terms of the proposed agreement, "the remaining parking spaces shall be available for short term and extended term parking at the sole discretion of 201 Third." A spokeswoman for BRAF's real estate company, Commercial Properties, says several potential tenants are interested in leasing the remaining spaces in the garage but no deals have been finalized. Both Chief Administrative Officer William Daniel and Downtown Development District Executive Director Davis Rhorer support the new agreement. —Stephanie Riegel
The downtown area of Baton Rouge has come a long way in the last 25 years
Technology transfer has long been one of those areas in which Louisiana lags. We've got good researchers here, who come up with all sorts of cool discoveries and inventions.
East Baton Rouge Parish's new planning director shares his impressions, priorities and plans.