New LSU beer is “Bandit Blonde”

The new LSU beer going out on the market this fall is called “Bandit Blonde.”

The purple-and-gold can from the Tin Roof Brewing Co. also features an eye patch-wearing Chinese bandit tiger on the back.

The only problem is the beer name and design leaked online Thursday before it has received the required approval from the Collegiate Licensing Company, LSU officials said, so they cannot comment specifically on the packaging yet.

The LSU-licensed blonde ale brew was formulated through the collaboration of Tin Roof and LSU food science professors.

A blonde ale was selected because they wanted a lighter refreshing beer that could complement football tailgating season, said William McGehee, a Tin Roof co-owner and LSU graduate.

“It’s just so hot here,” McGehee said Thursday.

Also, Tin Roof only brews ales thus far, he said.

The beer will be offered in cans and in draught, but the actual release date will be determined by how soon the licensing is approved, he said, calling October a best-case scenario.

LSU will receive royalties, but it will be primarily overseen by Tin Roof.

The new brewing company, which is located less than a mile from LSU, already offers a Perfect Tin Amber ale and a Voodoo Bengal Pale Ale.

Tucker: Plans to announce

Louisiana House Speaker Jim Tucker said he plans to announce his candidacy for Louisiana secretary of state at Monday noon’s meeting of the Press Club of Baton Rouge.
“I’m going to make the big announcement,” Tucker said in an interview.
“We have about $300,000 in the bank and the ability to raise a lot more money,” said Tucker, who is term-limited and cannot seek re-election to the House.
Tucker of Terrytown said he has already advised current acting Secretary of State Tom Schedler that he will sign-up when candidate qualifying begins Sept. 6-8.
Schedler of Mandeville, has previously said he will be a candidate. State Rep. Walker Hines, R-New Orleans, has said he is interested in running for the job as well.
Tucker, Schedler and Hines are all Republicans.
The primary election is Oct. 22.

Appellate court denies Slaughter appeal

The state First Circuit Court of Appeal on Tuesday denied former Southern University System President Ralph Slaughter’s appeal seeking more than $110,000 in unused vacation and sick leave time.
The court agreed with a district court ruling that based his accrued time off on Slaughter’s $220,000 base salary, and not his total $468,000 pay package that included private foundation dollars.
Judge Toni Higginbotham, of Baton Rouge, partially dissented with the majority ruling, arguing that Slaughter’s overall “wage” should have been counted.
The court also rejected Slaughter’s appeal of a ruling ordering him to pay $8,000 in fines and attorney fees.
Slaughter left Southern in 2009 when his contract expired and the Southern Board of Supervisors refused to keep him as president.
Slaughter has remained in litigation with Southern ever since.
Slaughter is currently receiving about $290,000 in annual retirement benefits from his more than 30 years of state employment.
The First Circuit panel also included judges James Kuhn and John Pettigrew.

Contract winners want to protect data

Three companies chosen to play key roles in Louisiana’s new health care delivery system for the poor have filed lawsuits to block release of information contained in their winning proposals.
The suits were filed in 19th Judicial District Court by Louisiana Healthcare Connection Inc., AmeriGroup Louisiana Inc., and United Healthcare of Louisiana Inc.
The companies oppose  the state Department of Health and Hospitals plan to release the full, unredacted proposals they submitted as they competed for some $2.2 billion in state Medicaid program business. They argued that some of the information is propriety.
“Our argument is we are transparent and we want the public to know what we have,” said DHH general counsel Steve Russo.
Medicaid is the government’s health insurance program for the poor. The new program would serve about 875,000 of the state’s 1.2 million in Medicaid recipients – most of them children.
The firms would run “coordinated care networks” which emphasize preventive and primary care.
The firms must form network of providers that include physicians, hospitals, and other health care resources. The idea is to cut cost and improve Medicaid recipients health through better coordination of care and use of medical best practices.
Nineteenth Judicial District Judge Todd Hernandez, of Baton Rouge, granted injunctions in two of the cases. Nineteenth Judicial District Judge Michael Caldwell granted an injunction in the other case.
Hearings on the issue of a preliminary and potentially permanent injunction barring the information’s release are scheduled for next week.

Court refuses effort to stop school probe

A bid to block a special meeting of Louisiana’s top school board on Wednesday over charter school allegations has failed, the president of the panel said Tuesday.
The court challenge was filed by Pelican Educational Foundation, which oversees Kenilworth Science and Technology Charter School in Baton Rouge and Abramson Science and Technology Charter School in New Orleans, which is embroiled in controversy.
The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, called BESE, is set to meet on Wednesday at 10 a.m., primarily to discuss problems at Abramson.
Penny Dastugue, who is president of BESE, said Pelican’s bid to block any board action on the school  Wednesday was rejected by a judge in the 19th Judicial District in Baton Rouge.
Dastugue said a court hearing is set for Aug. 11.
The state Department of Education is investigating Abramson amid allegations of sexual abuse and other troubles.
State officials have also closed the school.
In addition, the department is investigating Kenilworth because, like Abramson, it is overseen by Pelican.
However, no specific allegations have surfaced about Kenilworth, which has about 450 students in grades 6, 7 and 8.

LSU AgCenter: Seafood is safe

Despite consumer worries in the year since the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, repeated studies show that seafood caught in the Gulf of Mexico is perfectly safe, LSU AgCenter seafood technology specialist said Monday.
“We’re fighting a perception,” Lucina E. Lampila, associate professor in the LSU AgCenter Department of Food Science, told 25 people attending the Press Club of Baton Rouge.
The BP-operated Deepwater Horizon unit was drilling an exploratory well at the Macondo Prospect in about 5,000 feet of water.
On April 20, 2010, methane ignited causing the semi-submersible unit to explode and collapse. An estimated 4.9 million barrels of crude oil leaked into the Gulf of Mexico over a three-month period.
About 1.1 million gallons of chemical dispersants were sprayed into the water to break up the clumps of oil.
Crude oil is a mixture of hydrocarbons that are associated with health risks to the lungs and kidneys and to nervous and immune systems.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration tested polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, called PAHs, which are the most likely to cause cancer.
The testing involved smelling thousands of samples of shrimp, crabs, oysters and fish followed by laboratory analysis. Lampila said the tests found no samples with adverse PAH levels. The message is not getting out to the public in the rest of the country, she said.
“The perception is improving, just not very fast,” agreed Rex Caffey, a marine economist with the LSU AgCenter, who attended the press club meeting.
Part of the reason is the criticism leveled by some environmentalist against the government’s testing protocol.
William Sawyer, a toxicologist working for New Orleans law firm Smith Stag, LLC., last year called FDA safety tests “little more than a farce.” He said the FDA should use more comprehensive methods to tests for the compounds.
Lampila disagreed, saying tests were conducted on more than 300,000 individual animals and the levels recorded were 100 to 1,000 percent less than the levels that would have caused concern. It has been calculated that someone would have to eat 60 pounds of shrimp per day for five years for there to be a potential for an adverse effect, she said.
Fish can have up 100 parts per-million of oil and chemical dispersant residue and shellfish can have up to 500 parts per million, according to the FDA. A part per million is one drop in a gallon of water, Lampila said.
“It’s probably the most scrutinized in the country right now, if not the world,” Lampila said.

State congressional lines OK’d

The U.S. Department of Justice has signed off on maps redrawing Louisiana’s congressional and Public Service Commission election districts.
The state Attorney General’s office received word late Monday via an email notice on the deadline for a decision, spokeswoman Amanda Larkins said.
The congressional plan calls for six districts — one less than exists currently — which caused a lot of political jockeying in the Louisiana Legislature as various factions tried to protect their home bases.
Louisiana lost a congressional district seat because its population did not grow enough to keep it. The state suffered population losses in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in the New Orleans area.
The state must redraw the districts every 10 years based on the population shifts since the last census.
Neither the new congressional nor the PSC election districts will be used in fall elections. Elections with the new lines will not occur until 2012.

LSU returns to “Party Schools” list

LSU is back among the nation’s top “Party Schools” after a three-year hiatus from the infamous Princeton Review list.
LSU checked in at 13th on the list in “The Best 376 Colleges” publication for 2012 that was released Monday by the Princeton Review.
Ohio University in Athens ranked as the new No. 1 party school, taking the honor from the University of Georgia, which had the top spot last year.
Georgia came in second this year, with the University of Mississippi, the University of Iowa and the University of California at Santa Barbara rounding out the top five.
LSU also ranked eighth in “Students study least” and 17th in “Lots of hard liquor.” Tulane University finished fourth in the liquor category.
LSU officials were upset in 2000 when the university took the No. 1 spot in the “Party Schools” list, especially because there had been some binge-drinking related deaths of students.
But LSU had dipped to 13th on the list by 2007 and had been off of it entirely for three years.
“I have no idea what criteria or methodology is applied to arrive at these rankings, but we are in the company of some fine academic institutions so perhaps smart, hard-working students also find ways to enjoy their time at great universities,” LSU Chancellor Michael Martin said in a email response.
Penn State University, the University of Florida and the University of Texas also are among the colleges that rank ahead of LSU on the party list.
The Princeton Review surveys 122,000 students by email at 376 colleges to develop the rankings. Critics have often deemed the surveys unscientific.
The American Medical Association also has criticized the rankings, claiming they glorify heavy drinking as a critical part of college life.
LSU’s return to the party schools list comes at a time when the university is preparing to release its own beer.
LSU and its food science training program partnered with local Tin Roof Brewing Co. to develop the microbrew.
The name of the beer has not yet been announced, but the plan is to launch the beer on the retail market during the football season this fall.
While LSU is ranked in some unsavory categories, the university did move out of the “Dorms like dungeons” and “Class discussions rare” lists where LSU was rated in previous years.