N/S/E/W — APRIL

A bomb threat written on the bathroom wall

Police said a Port Barre High School student was caught writing a threatening message on the wall of the boys’ restroom on March 8. His reason? He was trying to get out of a test, Port Barre Chief of Police Deon Boudreaux said. “This is a common occurrence here, and this is the second arrest we’ve made,” Boudreaux told the Opelousas Daily World. The eighth-grade student was charged as a juvenile and booked on one count of attempted terrorizing. In other news, The Daily World, a Gannett newspaper, cut publication to three days week. More writing on the wall, re: local journalism.

Waiting on a wiener

Lafayette is still waiting for its dawg days. New Orleans-based gourmet hot dog chain Dat Dawg is opening Downtown at 201 Jefferson St. Still no word of when. The company initially planned to open sometime in December 2016, but that was delayed until this spring. Earlier this year, the Acadiana Advocate reported that the Hub City location will be open by Festival at the end of April. From the look of the construction that’s still ongoing, that could take a miracle. We’ve asked, but the company hasn’t disclosed an opening date.

You’re not a real city till you have an elevated interstate

The planners on the Lafayette Connector project are getting closer to committing to an elevated design for portions of the 5.5-mile interstate project, set to traverse Lafayette’s urban core. A final design is still more than a year away. Meanwhile, the process continues to raise more questions than answers. Would there be a signature bridge? Who would pay for it? Does it have to have crawfish-shaped pilings? If DOTD doesn’t pay for “non-transportation” facilities, why does the second “D” stand for “development?”

Hoax powder

A New Iberia man pleaded guilty in March to federal charges for sending threatening letters to Gov. John Bel Edwards and several other public officials. Kyle Dore pleaded guilty on March 15 to five counts of mailing “threatening communications and four counts of false information and hoaxes,” according to federal prosecutors. Dore mailed the letters, some containing white powder, to several local, state and federal offices. His targets included the governor’s office, Lafayette Parish Courthouse, the Vermilion Parish Courthouse and the New Iberia, Delcambre, Abbeville and Lake Charles post offices. The powder was tested and found to be harmless. Dore is scheduled to be sentenced June 9 and faces up to five years in prison.

Mayor eyes UL-Downtown transit loop

The “Millennial Connection,” if you will, could be key to revitalizing Downtown, according to Mayor Joel Robideaux. The Current’s sister publication, ABiz, reported the mayor’s mid-March pitch to add a new public transit loop connecting UL to Downtown via “some kind of cool little electric vehicle.” Mostly catering to students, perhaps those living in the Freetown area, the possibly free-to-ride service would be funded through the Metropolitan Planning Organization, the agency responsible for regional transportation planning. Plans are still preliminary, but if funding is negotiated, the service could be available within 12 to 18 months. Also on tap at the MPO is a commuter bus to Crowley.

Higgins tells NASA he doesn’t trust the Russians

“My father was a fiercely patriotic man, and did not trust the Chinese or the Russians,” U.S. Rep. Clay Higgins told the Congressional Subcommittee on Space on Capitol Hill. “Perhaps by the nature of my DNA, but certainly through the course of my life, and in view of recent events, politically and space-based, neither do I.” Higgins clarified his position to this news organization at a local appearance in February. “Well Russia has been in the news for 30 years, man, I’m a 55-year-old man. I was born in 1961. I grew up in the Cold War. I served my nation in the Army during the Cold War. The forces we trained against when I was in the Army were Soviet forces. Russia spans 11 time zones, man. Eleven time zones. Seventy percent of its landmass is uninhabited and unexplored.”

Crime suppressed

A crackdown on livestock theft led to the arrest of an Opelousas man authorities believe is tied to five years and thousands of dollars worth of stolen crawfish. The suspect, Dariel Mays, 34, was arrested in February by the Acadia Parish Sheriff’s Office through its new Crime Suppression Unit. Sheriff K.P. Gibson said the new program focuses on theft issues plaguing farmers in northern parts of the parish, particularly crawfish theft. The sheriff said deputies watched Mays catch and sack multiple bags of crawfish before arresting him and recovering the property.

A gigabit gig

Mozilla, the company behind open source web browser Firefox, named Lafayette a Gigabit City in March. That hooks up Lafayette-area education innovators with funds to leverage the city’s fiber optic network for tech-assisted classroom projects. Lafayette joins Austin, Chattanooga, Tenn., Kansas City, Mo., and Eugene, Ore., as a participating community. Mozilla posted a job listing for a local liaison on the project, putting a plum Silicon Valley gig up for grabs right here in Acadiana.

Robideaux rolls out to SXSW and delivers the lightning

Lafayette Mayor Joel Robideaux was in Austin in mid-March during SXSW Interactive, to present a “Lightning Talk” on Lafayette’s smart city efforts. Robideaux was joined by several other officials from around the U.S., along with a knighted leader of the U.K.’s Manchester City Council for “Smart City Day” on March 15. During his presentation, the mayor shared details about the parish’s LUS Fiber infrastructure system and ongoing initiatives, including the EPA Smart City Challenge, which is funding air quality sensors in town.

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