KSYL Local News

News For Thursday 05/05/11


NEWS FOR THURSDAY 050511
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

ALEXANDRIA MAYOR JACQUES ROY WILL MEET WITH MEMBERS OF THE CITY COUNCIL ON MONDAY TO DISCUSS THE LATEST BUDGET PROPOSAL ON THE TABLE. THE CITY HAS BEEN OPERATING WITHOUT A BUDGET SINCE SUNDAY THE 1ST. UNTIL A NEW BUDGET IS ADOPTED, THE CITY WILL MOVE FORWARD WITH A BUDGET THAT IS 50 PERCENT OF THE 2010-11 BUDGET.

SOME MEMBERS OF THE RAPIDES PARISH POLICE JURORS ARE UPSET OVER INCREASED SPEED LIMITS ON SOME STATE ROADS. A MOTION, MADE BY JURY PRESIDENT RICHARD BILLINGS, REQUESTS "THE LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION AND DEVELOPMENT TO LOWER THE SPEED LIMITS BACK TO THE ORIGINAL SPEEDS THROUGH OUR SMALL COMMUNITIES. BILLINGS SAYS HE BELIEVE THE NEW SPEED LIMITS HAVE MADE SOME COMMUNITIES A DEATH TRAP. HE GAVE THE TOWN OF MCNARY AS AN EXAMPLE. BILLINGS SAYS HE THINKS THE HIGHER SPEED LIMITS WILL BE DETRIMENTAL TO THE DRIVING PUBLIC.

STATE OFFICIALS WILL RECEIVE UPDATED MODELS FROM THE U-S ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS TODAY REGARDING POTENTIAL FLOODING ALONG THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER. GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL SAYS WATER IS ALREADY OVERTOPPING THE OUTER LEVEE IN SOME AREAS ALONG THE RIVER AS THE STATE BRACES FOR RECORD WATER LEVELS ON THE MISSISSIPPI. JINDAL SAYS TO HELP WITH FLOOD FIGHTING EFFORTS, THE STATE HAS ACTIVATED 150 LOUISIANA NATIONAL GUARD SOLDIERS. THE GOVERNOR HAS ALSO REQUESTED A FEDERAL ACTIVATION OF AN ADDITIONAL 15-HUNDRED SOLDIERS. JINDAL SAYS DURING TODAY'S MEETING WITH THE CORPS, THEY MIGHT FINALIZE PLANS TO OPEN THE BONNET CARRE SPILLWAY, WHICH IS LOCATED NORTH OF NEW ORLEANS. HE SAYS THEY WILL ALSO DISCUSS OPENING THE MORGANZA SPILLWAY, WHICH COULD LEAD TO FLOODING FOR AREAS ALONG ATCHAFALAYA RIVER.

THE STATE IS MAKING PREPARATIONS TO DEAL WITH EXPECTED RECORD-HIGH MISSISSIPPI RIVER LEVELS. GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL SAYS A BRAND NEW BRIDGE ACROSS THE RIVER WILL BE OPENED AHEAD OF SCHEDULE. HE SAYS THE HIGH WATER IS FORCING THE CLOSURE OF THE NEW ROADS-ST. FRANCISVILLE FERRY TODAY. HOWEVER, GOVERNOR JINDAL SAYS THE JOHN JAMES AUDUBON BRIDGE, CONNECTING ST. FRANCISVILLE TO NEW ROADS, WILL OPEN TODAY, RIGHT AFTER THE FERRY'S CLOSURE.

A LEADING BUSINESS MAGAZINE RANKS LOUISIANA AS ITS MOST-IMPROVED STATE FOR BUSINESS OVER THE LAST FOUR YEARS. "CHIEF EXECUTIVE" MAGAZINE RANKS THE STATE #27 OF 50; UP FROM 41ST LAST YEAR AND 44TH IN 2009. ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT SECRETARY STEPHEN MORET SAYS IT'S ANOTHER NOTABLE ACHIEVEMENT FOR LOUISIANA.
MORET SAYS THE MAGAZINE ARTICLE WILL BE READ BY THOUSANDS OF HIGH-PLACED COMPANY EXECUTIVES AND WILL MEAN MORE OPPORTUNITIES TO COMPETE FOR HIGH-QUALITY PROJECTS, AND THE GOOD JOBS THAT COME WITH THEM.

THE HOUSE HEALTH AND WELFARE COMMITTEE APPROVES LEGISLATION THAT WOULD HAVE SIGNS POSTED IN ABORTION CLINICS THAT DESCRIBE THE OPTIONS AVAILABLE TO PREGNANT WOMEN. PLANNED PARENTHOOD SPOKESPERSON JULIE MICKLEBERRY SAYS WOMEN SHOULD BE ABLE TO MAKE THEIR OWN DECISIONS WITHOUT GOVERNMENT INTRUSION. SHE SAYS THE SIGNS POST CONDESCENDING MESSAGES. THE LEGISLATION NOW MOVES TO THE HOUSE FLOOR FOR MORE DEBATE.

THE CADDO PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE SAYS A 71-YEAR-OLD PILOT DIED WHEN HIS LIGHT PLANE CRASHED NORTH OF SHREVEPORT. HE'S IDENTIFIED AS DAVID WILLIAMSON OF BOSSIER CITY. SHERIFF'S OFFICE SPOKESWOMAN CINDY CHADWICK SAYS WITNESSES SAW THE PLANE FLYING LOW AND IN DISTRESS ABOUT 11:40 A.M. WEDNESDAY, AND A DRIVER CALLED SHORTLY AFTER NOON TO REPORT A CRASH. SHE SAYS WILLIAMSON WAS DEAD WHEN EMERGENCY CREWS FOUND THE EUROPA EXPERIMENTAL AIRCRAFT BETWEEN SEVERAL OAK TREES ON A PRIVATE FARM.

A STATE TROOPER IS RECOVERING AFTER A BULLET GRAZED HIS HEAD EARLY YESTERDAY MORNING IN WEST BATON ROUGE PARISH. THE TROOPER WAS SHOT WHILE ATTEMPTING TO ARREST A SUSPECTED DRUNK DRIVER. THE TROOPER'S INJURIES ARE NOT CONSIDERED TO BE LIFE THREATENING.

WITH THE MISSISSIPPI RISING TOWARD HISTORIC HIGHS, SHIPPERS, PORTS AND INDUSTRIES ALONG THE RIVER'S SOUTHERN REACHES ARE HOPING THE ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS CAN KEEP THE SOUTHWEST PASS TO THE GULF OF MEXICO UNCLOGGED. CORPS OFFICIALS SAY FOUR DREDGES ARE CURRENTLY DEPLOYED TO MAINTAIN THE CHANNEL'S 45-FOOT DEPTH.

THE STATE HOUSE UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED A BILL TO EMPOWER THE STATE'S FIGHT AGAINST THE EXPLOSION IN FERAL PIG POPULATIONS. THE BILL BY NEW ROADS REPRESENTATIVE MAJOR THIBAUT WOULD ALLOW WILD HOGS TO BE TRAPPED YEAR ROUND WITHOUT PERMIT. IT CHARGES WILDLIFE AND FISHERIES TO CREATE RULES FOR TAKING THE NUISANCE ANIMALS AND WOULD EVEN ALLOW NIGHT HUNTING.

THE NAACP WANTS A CONFEDERATE BATTLE FLAG FLYING OVER THE CADDO COURTHOUSE TO COME DOWN. THE GROUP SAYS THE FLAG IS A SYMBOL OF A GOVERNMENT THAT EMBRACED SLAVERY AND HAS NO PLACE IN THE 21ST CENTURY. THE STATE SUPREME COURT WILL HEAR THE ARGUMENT NEXT WEEK.

LEGISLATION TO PROHIBIT SOME SEX OFFENDERS FROM USING FACEBOOK AND OTHER SOCIAL MEDIA SITES RAN INTO PROBLEMS IN A HOUSE COMMITTEE, AFTER CONCERNS WERE BROUGHT UP ABOUT ENFORCEMENT AND THE POTENTIAL IMPACT OF THE PROPOSAL. CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER LOBBYIST RICK SCHROEDER SAYS THE PROPOSED LAW IS TOO VAGUE AND OVERREACHING. THE BILL IS SPONSORED BY OPELOUSAS REPRESENTATIVE LEDRICKA THIERRY AND IS A PART OF THE GOVERNOR'S PACKAGE TO CRACK DOWN ON SEX OFFENDERS. METAIRIE REPRESENTATIVE JOSEPH LOPINTO SAYS THE LEGISLATION NEEDS TO BE REWORDED FOR IT TO HAVE A CHANCE TO PASS DURING THIS LEGISLATIVE SESSION
THIERRY SAYS SHE'LL MAKE CHANGES TO HER BILL AND BRING IT BACK TO THE COMMITTEE FOR THEIR APPROVAL AT A LATER DATE.

RIVERBOAT CASINOS ALONG THE MISSISSIPPI ARE LOOKING AT CLOSING UP, WHILE RECORD HIGH RIVER CRESTS RUN THEIR COURSE. IN NATCHEZ, THE ISLE OF CAPRI CASINO SAYS THEY'LL CLOSE THEIR DOORS SUNDAY. TWO BATON ROUGE CASINOS ARE MAKING THEIR HIGH WATER DECISIONS NOW. THE MISSISSIPPI AT BATON ROUGE IS EXPECTED TO CREST WELL ABOVE FLOOD STAGE BY MAY 21ST.

TODAY MARKS TWO MONTHS SINCE THE DEADLY TORNADO THAT STRUCK THE ACADIA PARISH TOWN OF RAYNE, AND RECOVERY IS STILL UNDERWAY. RAYNE MAYOR JIMBO PETITJEAN SAYS THEY STILL HOPE FOR FEDERAL FUNDS TO HELP HUNDREDS OF HOMEOWNERS AFFECTED BY THE STORM. PETITJEAN SAYS THEY'VE FORMED A LONG-TERM RECOVERY COALITION FOR RAYNE THAT'S ASSIGNING CASE WORKERS TO FAMILIES, TO ASSESS INDIVIDUAL NEEDS.

THE LOUISIANA SPCA IN NEW ORLEANS IS SENDING 60 PUPPIES AND SMALL DOGS TO ATLANTA FOR ADOPTION THIS WEEK. IT'S THE LATEST STEP TAKEN TO COPE WITH WHAT SPOKESWOMAN KATHERINE LEBLANC SAYS IS A POPULATION OF STRAYS AND ABANDONED PETS THAT HAS GROWN STEADILY SINCE HURRICANE KATRINA HIT IN 2005. LEBLANC SAYS TWO FACTORS CONTRIBUTE TO THE PROBLEM. ONE IS THAT PEOPLE ARE STILL FAILING TO HAVE PETS SPAYED OR NEUTERED. WHEN THEIR DOGS BECOME PREGNANT, THE OWNERS BRING THE PUPPIES TO THE ORGANIZATION'S SHELTER. ALSO, SAYS LEBLANC, STRAYS LEFT BEHIND AFTER KATRINA HAVE BEEN REPRODUCING STEADILY.

GOV. HALEY BARBOUR SAID WEDNESDAY THE STATE COULD SEE MONUMENTAL FLOODING WHEN THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER CRESTS LATER THIS MONTH, AND HE'S URGING PEOPLE TO EVACUATE LOW-LYING AREAS, PARTICULARLY IN THE SOUTH DELTA. BARBOUR SAID ALL COUNTIES ALONG THE MISSISSIPPI ARE PREDICTED TO HAVE SOME FLOODING IN MID-MAY. HE SAID THE WORST COULD BE IN THE YAZOO BACKWATER IN A TRIANGLE FORMED BY VICKSBURG, ROLLING FORK AND THE YAZOO RIVER IN YAZOO COUNTY. "THESE ARE GOING TO BE HISTORIC LEVELS OF FLOODING," BARBOUR SAID. THE STATE WON'T PROVIDE ASSISTANCE FOR THE EVACUATIONS, ALTHOUGH AUTHORITIES WILL PREPARE TEMPORARY SHELTERS FOR SEVERAL THOUSAND PEOPLE WHO COULD BE OUT OF THEIR HOMES FOR SEVERAL WEEKS, HE SAID. NURSING HOMES AND HOSPITALS ARE REQUIRED TO HAVE EVACUATION PLANS. RESIDENTS WHO NEED HELP MOVING THEIR BELONGINGS AND SECURING THEIR PROPERTY SHOULD RELY ON FRIENDS, RELATIVES OR EVEN STRANGERS WILLING TO LEND A HAND.
 

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