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Summary of recent Louisiana newspaper editorials


Recent editorials from Louisiana newspapers:


Nov. 7

The Monroe News-Star on safety in football and hunting:

Few would contest the idea that Louisiana has three seasons: football, election and hunting.

Inherent dangers abound during each of these seasons, although seeking public office is far safer than playing football or enjoying the great outdoors.

Fifth District Congressman Ralph Abraham, a physician, is concerned about debilitating football-related injuries and fatalities. We join him in that concern.

Our reporting over the past couple of years shows that not every school is able to provide the latest in safe helmet technology, and we also have concerns about coaches and players, particularly at less affluent schools, obtaining adequate training and instruction on safe tackling techniques.

We also know that not every school has the same standard for fitness physicals to determine whether a potential player has a hidden medical condition that would reveal itself or even prove fatal during the extreme stresses of practicing and playing the game, particularly in the summer heat that persists through much of the season.

High school football is supposed to be a celebration of youth, fitness and spirit. But it doesn't always work out that way. This season has provided yet another tragedy in the loss of a player in our region.

When we're not playing football or cheering our favorite teams, many in northeastern Louisiana take to the woods. Hunting is one of our favorite outdoor activities, and despite hunter education and safety requirements, this season too can result in tragedy.

Nationally, the numbers of accidental shootings in the woods are declining. Yet, it seems that every season, we lose a father or son to such a tragedy.

We also continue to see serious injuries and even deaths from the use of deer stands. That industry has worked to educate hunters on proper installation and use of stands as well as the use of safety equipment such as harnesses to minimize injuries from a fall.

Yet, you know how we are. We are invincible until we're not.

According to a study by the National Institutes of Health, "active awareness to hunters has been proven to reduce the incidence of tree stand related trauma. In Louisiana, letters were sent to licensed hunters, hunting clubs, sporting goods stores, and hunting supply retailers across the state that detailed the risks associated with tree stand use without a safety device. In the three years following this active awareness campaign, there were no spinal cord injuries from tree stand related incidents."

Awareness and extreme care should be utmost in every hunter's mind.

As we move into playoff season, runoff season and continue hunting season, we encourage a safety-first mindset, even among those of us who feel like we're invincible.

Our families don't need to face more tragedy in 2015.




Nov. 8

The Daily Iberian on Louisiana being ranked #4 state for "best business climate":

After so many years where Louisiana always seemed to be at or near the top of lists of state rankings about bad things, and at or near the bottom of lists comparing states about good things, it's great to read that Louisiana again this year was at the top of a good list — ranked by Site Selection magazine among the states with the "best business climate."

Louisiana was ranked No. 4 overall, behind Georgia, North Carolina and Kentucky, and ahead of Ohio, Texas, Tennessee, Utah, Indiana and South Carolina in the top 10.

Half of the ranking was based on a survey of corporate site selectors asked to rank the top 10 business climates based on their experience. The other half of the ranking was based on private investment projects that have been announced involving $1 million or more in investment, 20 or more new jobs or 20,000 or more square feet of new construction.

Louisiana also was ranked as part of this survey, as the No. 2 state for "competitiveness," second only to North Carolina.

That would seem an important and positive perception for our state to have among those involved in the location of new business locations.

As part of the survey, corporate real estate executives also were asked to rank what are the most important location criteria.

The top six included, in order of importance, existing workforce skills, state and local taxes, transportation infrastructure, utility infrastructure, land/building prices and supply, and ease of permitting and regulatory procedures.

We hear a lot of local elected officials who talk about wanting to do more to make our area attractive to new businesses or to help expand existing businesses.

Local officials would do well to get a copy of this list of what matters most to those looking for new business locations and work toward making our area score better in each of these categories.

Sure it's just one survey and offers one snapshot of the perception of our state's business climate, but after so many years of being on the wrong end of these rankings of states, seeing Louisiana again in the top tier, especially in an important category like best business climate, is noteworthy and appreciated.

Let's hope we see more lists like this, where Louisiana is among the leaders in categories about which we're proud to be included.




Nov. 10

NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune on the St. Tammany Republican Executive Committee Chairman's comments on the governor's endorsement of a gubernatorial candidate and domestic violence:

Republican Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne's endorsement of Democrat John Bel Edwards for governor was bound to make GOP leaders unhappy. Mr. Dardenne, who came in fourth in Louisiana's Oct. 24 gubernatorial primary, is one of the most prominent Republicans in the state. The fact that he endorsed the Democrat over Republican David Vitter had to be a disappointment to party leaders.

But St. Tammany Republican Executive Committee Chairman Peter Egan's response went far beyond dismay. His letter to Mr. Dardenne, which was posted Nov. 6 on the executive committee's Facebook page, is inappropriate and offensive.

Mr. Egan compares the lieutenant governor's endorsement of Mr. Edwards to an angry husband attacking his ex-wife.

"Your endorsement of Edwards is a vehement act of retribution. Your behavior somewhat parallels what might be in the mind frame and actions of an angry and rageful husband," Mr. Egan wrote in the letter. "The behavior of endorsing Edwards is akin to that of a jilted man firing indiscriminately at his ex-wife's car, mindless of the collateral harm and injury to many innocent people. "

He then urges Mr. Dardenne to take back his support of Mr. Edwards. "Unlike the jilted man who cannot take back his impulsive actions, you, however, can redress the damage you may be causing. I would urge you to do so immediately and to humbly retract your unfortunate endorsement."

If not, the letter said, Mr. Dardenne should "relinquish any ties to the Republican party."

Mr. Egan's ignorance of the seriousness of domestic violence is breathtaking. No sensible person would equate political support for a former rival to the murderous rage of an abuser.

Louisiana ranks fourth in the nation for the rate of women killed by men, according to a report from the Violence Policy Center. That year the death toll was 45. In 2013, it was 47. Almost all of them were killed by someone they knew.

The individual cases are horrifying. A Tulane law student was shot to death early this year by her boyfriend, who then killed himself. At her memorial, she was described as a "brilliant, shining star." A Gonzales man broke into the home of his estranged wife in April 2014 and shot her and their 12-year-old son to death. A woman in Oberlin was stabbed to death and her throat was slit by her estranged husband in June 2013. In 2012, a 36-year-old St. Tammany man strangled his girlfriend to death two months after she gave birth to their son. Authorities said she had decided to leave him.

There are dozens of other examples collected by United Against Domestic Violence, a coalition including the United Way of Southeast Louisiana, the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence and New Orleans Family Justice Center. Those groups and some Louisiana legislators have been working to strengthen state laws against domestic abuse in the hopes of saving lives. It is a vital mission.

Mr. Dardenne has the right to support whomever he pleases. It is Mr. Egan who has embarrassed himself and the St. Tammany Republican Executive Committee.

His letter trivializes the tragedy of domestic violence and insults victims. He is the one who should "humbly retract" his words.



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