KSYL Local News

News For Friday 050611


HE’S BACK, FOUR YEARS AFTER RETIRING AS SHERIFF OF RAPIDES PARISH, WILLIAM EARL HILTON IS RUNNING FOR HIS OLD JOB. HE RETIRED IN FEBRUARY 2008 AFTER 16 YEARS IN OFFICE AND 37 IN LAW ENFORCEMENT. ON THURSDAY, HE TOLD ABOUT 100 SUPPORTERS AT THE SAI CONVENTION CENTER IN ALEXANDRIA THAT HE DOESN'T THINK SHERIFF CHUCK WAGNER IS DOING A GOOD JOB. SHERIFF WAGNER SAYS HE'S LOOKING FORWARD TO THE SHERIFF'S RACE AND RUNNING FOR RE-ELECTION ON HIS RECORD OF ACCOMPLISHMENTS. THE ELECTION WILL BE OCT. 22.

IN GRANT PARISH, STEVEN MCCAIN OF COLFAX HAS ANNOUNCED HIS CANDIDACY FOR GRANT PARISH SHERIFF IN THE OCT. 22 PRIMARY ELECTION. THE 33 YEAR OLD MCCAIN HAS BEEN IN LAW ENFORCEMENT FOR 14 YEARS AND IS CURRENTLY AN INVESTIGATOR WITH THE GRANT PARISH DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE. PREVIOUSLY HE SERVED AS A LOUISIANA STATE POLICE TROOPER AND A GRANT PARISH SHERIFF'S DEPUTY.

ALEXANDRIA REPRESENTATIVE CHRIS ROY SAYS A LAST MINUTE AMENDMENT, BY REP. HERBERT DIXON, TO HIS HOUSE BILL 315, WAS A SURPRISE TO HIM. THE BILL WOULD HAVE ALLOWED THE ALEXANDRIA-PINEVILLE AREA CONVENTION AND VISITORS BUREAU TO MOVE INTO ITS OWN FACILITIES. DIXON'S PROPOSED AMENDMENT WOULD PROHIBITED USING ANY REVENUES FOR CAPITAL CONSTRUCTION AND IMPROVEMENTS FOR THAT PURPOSE. DIXON SAYS THOUGH THAT WAS NOT HIS INTENTION WITH THE AMENDMENT. HE SAYS, IT WAS MEANT TO TIGHTEN THE LANGUAGE, NOT PROHIBIT THE BUREAU FROM SECURING A NEW FACILITY. IT IS UP TO THE VISITORS BUREAU NOW TO WORK OUT THE LANGUAGE WITH DIXON. WHEN THAT'S DONE, ROY SAYS HE WILL BRING THE LEGISLATION BACK TO THE COMMITTEE.

U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE DEE DRELL HAS REFUSED BRENDA KIMBALL'S REQUEST TO DELAY HER SENTENCING SET FOR TODAY IN A FEMA-FRAUD CASE IN WHICH THE FORMER TOWN OF BALL CLERK AND FORMER MAYOR ROY HEBRON FACE UP TO FIVE YEARS IN PRISON. DRELL'S ONE-SENTENCE ORDER ALSO INDICATES HE WILL NOT ALLOW KIMBALL TO WITHDRAW HER GUILTY PLEA, WHICH SHE MADE IN FEBRUARY, TO ONE COUNT OF CONSPIRACY TO DEFRAUD THE U.S. GOVERNMENT. KIMBALL IS ONE OF FOUR DEFENDANTS WHO PLEADED GUILTY AND WILL BE SENTENCED TODAY. ANOTHER DEFENDANT, LAVERNE JAMES, PLEADED GUILTY IN 2009 AND ALSO WILL BE SENTENCED TODAY.

ALLEN PARISH RESIDENTS WILL HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL NEXT YEAR TO DECIDE WHETHER TO REINSTATE VIDEO POKER. POLICE JURORS WANTED THE ISSUE ON THE OCT. 22 BALLOT. BUT POLICE JURY PRESIDENT BUDDY FARRIS SAYS THEY WON'T BE ABLE TO GET IT ONTO THE BALLOT BECAUSE THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION IS FOCUSED ON FINANCES. HE SAYS THEY'LL TRY NEXT YEAR. PARISH OFFICIALS SAY VIDEO POKER MACHINES COULD BRING IN $160,000 A YEAR, WITH THE LARGEST SHARE GOING TO THE POLICE JURY. ALLEN PARISH WAS AMONG 33 PARISHES TO PULL THE PLUG ON VIDEO POKER IN REFERENDUMS IN 1996.

LOUISIANA IS PREPARING TO DEAL WITH RECORD HIGH MISSISSIPPI RIVER CRESTS IN THE DAYS TO COME. GOVERNOR JINDAL HAS ACTIVATED NATIONAL GUARD TROOPS TO HELP IN LEVEE SHORING, SANDBAGGING AND POSSIBLE DISASTER RESPONSE. MEANWHILE U.S ARMY CORP OF ENGINEERS COLONEL ED FLEMING SAYS THEY WILL OPEN THE BONNET CARRE SPILLWAY--JUST UPRIVER FROM NEW ORLEANS--TO RELIEVE PRESSURE ON LEVEES. THAT WILL HAPPEN MONDAY. FLEMING SAYS THEY STILL DO NOT EXPECT THE RIVER WILL GET SO HIGH AS TO OVERTOP LEVEES. GOVERNOR JINDAL SAYS A DECISION WILL BE REACHED SOON ON POSSIBLY OPENING THE MORGANZA SPILLWAY IN POINTE COUPEE PARISH FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE 1973. THAT MOVE COULD MEAN FLOODING FOR RESIDENTS LIVING IN THE ATCHAFALAYA RIVER FLOOD PLAIN.

MEANWHILE, MUCH FARTHER UPRIVER, OFFICIALS IN CONCORDIA PARISH ARE BRACING FOR RECORD-HIGH RIVER LEVELS TO COME. HYRAM COPELAND IS MAYOR OF VIDALIA. HE SAYS STEPS ARE UNDERWAY TO PROTECT BUSINESSES ON THE RIVER SIDE OF THE LEVEE WITH MAKESHIFT INSTANT LEVEES. HE SAYS THERE'S NO NEED FOR EVACUATIONS AT THIS TIME. ENGINEERS FEEL THERE'S NO DANGER OF THE RIVER OVERTOPPING LEVEES, BUT THEY ARE CAUTIOUS OF SANDBOILS THAT CAN WEAKEN THEM.

ALTHOUGH SOME WORK REMAINS TO BE DONE ON THE JOHN JAMES AUDUBON BRIDGE OVER THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER, THE LONGEST CABLE-STAYED SPAN IN THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE OPENED FOR TRAFFIC YESTERDAY, A MONTH EARLY, AFTER FIVE YEARS OF CONSTRUCTION.
THE $409 MILLION BRIDGE REPLACES THE FERRY ON THE MISSISSIPPI BETWEEN WEST FELICIANA AND POINTE COUPEE PARISHES.

THE SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE HAS DELAYED PLANS TO DEBATE THE MERGER OF SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY AT NEW ORLEANS WITH THE UNIVERSITY OF NEW ORLEANS. THE COMMITTEE HAD SCHEDULED A HEARING ON THE DIVISIVE PROPOSAL, BUT CHAIRMAN, SENATOR BEN NEVERS OF BOGALUSA, SCRAPPED THE HEARING PLANS, SAYING THE MEASURE INSTEAD WILL BE DISCUSSED NEXT WEEK.

THE STATE SENATE APPROVES LEGISLATION THAT PROVIDES BENEFITS TO THE FAMILIES OF 32 LOUISIANA NATIONAL GUARD SOLDIERS WHO DIED IN THE WAR ON TERROR. LIVONIA SENATOR ROB MARIONNEAUX SAYS THE BILL WILL COST THE STATE $8-MILLION DURING TOUGH BUDGET TIMES, BUT THAT SHOULD NOT KEEP THE STATE LEGISLATURE FROM APPROVING IT. THE BILL, BY BENTON SENATOR ROBERT ADLEY, GRANTS $250-THOUSAND TO FAMILIES OF NATIONAL GUARD SOLDIERS KILLED IN ACTION SINCE SEPTEMBER 11TH, 2001. IT ALSO GRANTS $100-THOUSAND TO SOLDIERS TOTALLY DISABLED IN SERVICE.

DEMOCRAT CAROLINE FAYARD SAYS SHE WILL RUN FOR SECRETARY OF STATE THIS FALL, AGAINST REPUBLICAN TOM SCHEDLER, WHO CURRENTLY HOLDS THE POSITION. FAYARD RAN UNSUCCESSFULLY FOR LT. GOVERNOR LAST YEAR. U.L.-LAFAYETTE POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR PEARSON CROSS SAYS IT'S NOT A FAVORABLE CLIMATE FOR DEMOCRATS TO RUN FOR STATEWIDE OFFICE, WHICH COULD HURT FAYARD'S CHANCES.

POWER PROVIDER CLECO CORP. POSTED A FIRST-QUARTER PROFIT. FOR THE JANUARY-THROUGH-MARCH PERIOD, CLECO EARNED $29 MILLION, OR 48 CENTS PER SHARE, ON REVENUE OF $253.7 MILLION

THE PRICE OF CRUDE OIL DROPPED NEARLY $10 THURSDAY; DROPPING TO BELOW $100-A-BARREL. WILL THAT MEAN SOME RELIEF FOR MOTORISTS AT THE PUMP? AAA FUEL ANALYST MIKE RIGHT SAYS PROBABLY SO, BUT UNDER CURRENT MARKET CONDITIONS ALL ANYONE CAN DO IS GUESS. CRUDE OIL CLOSED AT 99.80 A BARREL THURSDAY; A ONE-DAY DROP OF NEARLY $10. RIGHT SAYS THE DROP IN OIL - COUPLED WITH CURRENTLY LOW DEMAND FOR GAS WILL PROBABLY MEAN SOME MUCH NEEDED RELIEF FOR CONSUMERS STRUGGLING TO
PAY FOR GAS AND MAKE ENDS MEET. HOWEVER, RIGHT SAYS, HOWEVER, THE MARKET COULD REVERSE AT ANY TIME; PUTTING OIL AND GAS PRICES ON THE RISE AGAIN.

ACCORDING TO THE AMERICAN GAMING ASSOCIATION, LOUISIANA'S GAMBLING INDUSTRY REVENUE FELL BY NEARLY 4 PERCENT IN 2010. LOUISIANA CASINO ASSOCIATION EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR WADE DUTY SAYS THE NATIONAL RECESSION IS MOSTLY TO BLAME BUT LOUISIANA HAS OTHER FACTORS HURTING THE INDUSTRY HERE. DUTY SAYS MANY OUT OF STATE GAMBLERS ARE SIMPLY OPTING NOT TO TRAVEL LONGER DISTANCES AND HIGH GAS PRICES ARE ALSO A FACTOR. HE SAYS HE DOES EXPECT TO SEE SOME IMPROVEMENT SOON AS CONSUMER CONFIDENCE RETURNS.

SPORTS..

THE LSU BASEBALL TEAM TAKES A FIVE-GAME WINNING STREAK TO TUSCALOOSA WHERE THEY'LL FACE THE ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE. IT SHOULD BE AN EMOTIONAL SERIES AS THE TOWN OF TUSCALOOSA IS RECOVERING FROM LAST WEEK'S DEVASTATING TORNADOES. COACH PAUL MAINIERI SAYS STAYING FOCUSED ON BASEBALL COULD BE A PROBLEM. LSU NEEDS TO WIN THIS SERIES TO KEEP ITS HOPES ALIVE FOR AN SEC TOURNAMENT BERTH. MAINIERI'S TEAM HAS LOST EIGHT STRAIGHT CONFERENCE GAMES ON THE ROAD.

 

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