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Plans to move casino to Bossier progress
Bossier City Council took the first step Tuesday in what will be a long process to relocate a Lake Charles riverboat casino to Bossier City with the introduction of a measure to lease city-owned property north of the Louisiana Boardwalk for the $170 million project. The ordinance, which includes an option to purchase the property, will be voted on at a June 22 special meeting. Paradise Casino LLC, the gaming company interested in developing a 400-room resort casino on the Red River, also reached an option agreement with Isle of Capri Casinos Inc. on Tuesday to purchase Crown Casino, the lower performing of Isle of Capri’s two Lake Charles riverboat casinos. Bossier City attorney Jimmy Hall said the lease option with Bossier City will authorize Mayor Lorenz “Lo” Walker to enter subsequent negotiations with Paradise Casino. He said the city is still waiting on an appraisal on the property. Representatives from many of the city’s existing casinos and Bossier Parish Police Jury were in attendance at Tuesday’s meeting, as well as representatives from Paradise Casino. If all goes well, construction on the new casino could start in 12 to 15 months, said Deborah Harkins, the attorney for Paradise Casino. It would bring approximately 1,200 jobs to the area, she said. Bossier City offers more opportunity for growth in the market than any other location in the state, she said, and the dynamics of Paradise’s proposed project would help to grow that market. Paradise Casino plans to submit a petition to the Louisiana Gaming Control Board to change the berth of Crown Casino and transfer ownership this week. If the gaming control board agrees to the transfer, the relocation of the riverboat casino would be put before Bossier Parish voters at a Nov. 19 election. The SEE CASINO, Page 14
Educators: Not all high school grads ready for next level
Prepared for college?
By Icess Fernandez
By Michele Marcotte
Each year, Dorie Larue sees the same mistakes on her students’ papers — spelling, punctuation and word usage. One time, she saw where a student wrote Icy Unit instead of I.C. Unit. When she asks students to read aloud, there are mispronounced words. She now seeks reading volunteers instead of calling on students. Larue, an LSU-Shreveport professor, has taught developmental English for the past 10 years, and there is one thing she says has changed during the past decade — there are more unprepared students. “They don’t seem to have the necessary skills and cultural literacy,” she said. “I offer them certain assignments, but I have to keep in mind that everyone is on a different level.” Larue is right: The number of students in remedial courses has increased over the years. The Times did a recent analysis showing nearly a third of the class of 2008 in Caddo and Bossier parishes who entered a Louisiana college or university needed to take a remedial course. According to data from the Louisiana Department of Education, more students are entering college not ready for freshmanlevel work. About 31.9 percent of the class of 2007 from Caddo
English professor Dorie LaRue (left) talks with students in her classroom in Bronson Hall recently on the campus of LSU-Shreveport. Sophomore Anna Mitchell (right) takes notes during class.
Jim Hudelson/The Times
entering a Louisiana college or university needed remediation. For the class of 2009, the latest information given, 43 percent needed remediation. For Bossier, 34.2 percent of the class of 2007 and 36 percent of the class of 2009 needed remediation. Part of the issue is there is not a definition of what it means to be prepared for college, education advocates said. Those on the K-12 side of the issue say they are preparing students for college and are implementing programs to make students more prepared; however, those on the front lines of other side
of the remediation battle differ with that opinion. “Just because they have a high school diploma doesn’t mean they are ready for college,” Lerue said. The difference between what K-12considerscollegereadyversus what higher education believes can be seen in graduation and college admission requirements. To graduate from high school, a student would need to decide between the career diploma track, basic core, or the LA Core 4. Both the basic and the LA Core 4 require 24 credits to graduate but the LA Core
4, for the college bound student, requiresadditionalcreditsofscience and social studies. There is not a specific grade-point-average requirement for graduation though students have to pass their classes to earn the credit. There is also no SAT or ACT requirements, these tests are used by colleges and universities to decide admission. High school students are required to pass the state exam, the GEE, to graduate. That test is not mentioned in college admission requirements. SEE COLLEGE, Page 14
Company continues spill site remediation
A water resources company whose disposal lines ruptured in several locations in DeSoto Parish over a 10-month period, spilling saltwater and contaminating several private ponds and killing dozens of fish and some trees, has been given until Friday to submit additional documentation related to a compliance order issued by the state Department of Environmental Quality. The extension was granted in April for Heckmann Water Resources Corp. in connection with an enforcement order filed Feb. 25. Heckmann is accused of unauthorized discharge of produced water/saltwater in violation of state law. It’s also cited for failing to email@example.com
By Vickie Welborn
Bass Pro et re t S Louisiana Bossier s City a e Boardwalk x Te ridg B Horseshoe R. Casino R.
E. T St exa . s
Proposed casino site
arate spills were documented. The saltwater running through the lines is a byproduct of natuHeckmann Water Resources ral gas drilling. Corp. is seeking approval of The most significant spill the state conservation ofﬁce happened in April 2010 when to construct and operate a a 6-inch saltwater disposal line commercial transfer station ruptured 30 feet deep west of for temporary storage of Kingston Baptist Church, causexploration and production ing about 7,139 barrels of saltwaste ﬂuids in Township water to be released on private 14 North, Range 14 West, property owned by Patti WilSection 26 in DeSoto Parish. liams, George Dement, Herman A public hearing will be held Bates and Carolyn Beaubeouf. at 6 p.m. June 22 in the It impacted a 1.5-acre private DeSoto Parish Police Jury pond, about 8 acres of soil and meeting room, 101 Franklin 300 yards of a ditch. St. A copy of the application Dozens of fish died, and the is available at the Police pond was drained. Impacted soil, water and vegetation were port the incidents. The spills occurred when removed. In a 53-page report to DEQ, The Texas-based company pipelines ruptured at varifaces civil penalties of $27,500 to ous locations from April 2010 SEE SPILL, Page 14 $32,500 each day of violation. through late January. Six sep-
If you go
Jury ofﬁce and Mansﬁeld Library. Other information is available by calling Stephen Olivier, Ofﬁce of Conservation Environmental Division, in Baton Rouge at (225) 342-7394. Written comments will be accepted by the conservation ofﬁce through 4:30 p.m. June 29 at the Baton Rouge ofﬁce: Ofﬁce of Conservation, Environmental Division, P.O. Box 94275, Baton Rouge, LA 70804, re: docket No. ENV 2011-07, commercial transfer station application, DeSoto Parish.
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