- Associated Press - Thursday, August 14, 2014

Good morning Louisiana editors. Here’s an early look at AP’s general news coverage plan for Thursday in Louisiana. If you have questions about the coverage plan, feel free to direct them to Louisiana News Editor Brian Schwaner at 800-662-7717, 504-523-3931 or bschwaner@ap.org.

This information is not for publication, broadcast or online use, and coverage plans are subject to change. For updates, please check the Louisiana News Digest, which will be sent by 12:15 p.m., as well as later advisories to be issued as warranted.

Some TV and radio stations will receive shorter APNewsNow versions of the stories below, along with all updates.”

COMING THURSDAY

LOUISIANA BUDGET

BATON ROUGE - Lawmakers have asked for an update on whether Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration has repaid all the borrowing done to keep Louisiana’s public colleges afloat last budget year. At issue is how Jindal and lawmakers chose to provide much of the state funding for the schools in last year’s $25 billion budget. They used a patchwork of dollars from property sales, legal settlements, lease payments and other financing arrangements and had to take loans from the state treasury to continue paying expenses, after the financing used to fund higher education has been slow to arrive. By Melinda Deslatte. UPCOMING: 450 words by about 3 p.m.

LAFAYETTE HOSPITAL-TAKEOVER

LAFAYETTE - Officials say patients at Lafayette’s University Hospital & Clinics are spending far less time waiting in the emergency room these days and are more satisfied with the care they receive. Jared Stark, the chief executive officer, touted the hospital’s turnaround since Lafayette General Health took over operations of the public hospital in June through a $15.8 million annual lease agreement with the state. The public hospital faced several budget cuts prior to the takeover, forcing the closure or reduction of services. In the past year, those services have been reopened or expanded in orthopedics, pediatrics, cardiology, oncology and medical detox. Staff at the public hospital had also been reduced to about 500 before the takeover. Now, Stark says 700 are employed at UHC. SENT: 391 words.

GRAVEL PIT DISPUTE

WATSON - A group of Watson residents opposed to a proposed gravel pit has asked the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for a public hearing on the project. The group, known as Save Our Hills, has gathered more than 700 signatures on a petition opposing Southern Aggregates LLC’s plans to mine for sand and gravel on a 238-acre site off La. Highway 16 about 2 miles north of Live Oak High School. Gravel pits are not new to the area, but this latest proposal would put the mining site within 200 feet of residents’ properties, sparking concerns among residents and public officials alike about possible health and safety hazards, declining property values and quality of life. The Livingston Parish Council has passed a resolution formally opposing the project. SENT: 367 words.

PORT ALLEN POLICE

PORT ALLEN - The Port Allen City Council has unanimously adopted an ordinance that will force recently hired police officers to reimburse the city for the money spent to train and outfit them if they leave the city’s Police Department within two years. the new measure, approved Wednesday night, is an attempt to address the department’s increasingly high turnover rate. During the council’s committee meetings last month, At-Large Councilman R.J. Loupe expressed frustrations about having to authorize the hiring of up to a dozen new officers over 18 months. Officials said many of the departing police officers left the department to work in neighboring parishes with higher salaries. They estimated the city spent as much as $2,000 on training and equipment for each officer. SENT: 328 words.