KSYL Local News

News For Monday 5/9/11


NEWS FOR MONDAY 050911
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

TODAY THE U-S ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS WILL OPEN THE BONNET CARRE SPILLWAY IN ST. CHARLES PARISH. THIS WILL RELIEVE PRESSURE ON MISSISSIPPI RIVER LEVEES IN NEW ORLEANS AND POINTS SOUTH. COL. ED FLEMING WITH THE ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS SAYS BY OPENING THE SPILLWAY, THEY WILL DIVERT RIVER WATER INTO LAKE PONTCHARTRAIN. THE BONNET CARRE SPILLWAY CAN DIVERT UP TO 250-THOUSAND CUBIC FEET OF WATER PER SECOND INTO LAKE PONTCHARTRAIN AND EVENTUALLY IN THE GULF OF MEXICO. FLEMING SAYS THERE ARE SOME ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS BY OPENING
THE SPILLWAY, BUT THE CORPS WILL MONITOR THE SITUATION CLOSELY. THE SPILLWAY WAS LAST OPEN IN 2008. IT STAYED OPEN FOR 28 DAYS. IT WAS OPEN FOR AS LONG AS 75 DAYS IN 1973. FLEMING SAYS THE SPILLWAY WILL BE OPEN FOR TWO TO FOUR WEEKS THIS TIME AROUND.

STATE AGRICULTURE COMMISSIONER MIKE STRAIN SAYS FARMERS AND RANCHERS IN THE MORGANZA SPILLWAY FLOOD PLAIN AND ATCHAFALAYA RIVER BASIN NEED TO GET PREPARED FOR FLOODING. DR. STRAIN SAYS IT'S NOT A MATTER OF "IF" THERE WILL BE FLOODING IN THOSE AREAS, BUT A MATTER OF "WHEN".

THE U-S ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS SAYS OPENING THE MORGANZA SPILLWAY COULD SEND 5 TO 25 FEET OF MISSISSIPPI RIVER WATER OVER SEVEN PARISHES. THE CORPS HAS RELEASED A MAP OF AREAS LIKELY TO FLOOD, INCLUDING THE TOWN OF KROTZ SPRINGS, WHICH COULD GET 5 TO 10 FEET OF WATER. ST. LANDRY PARISH EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS DIRECTOR LISA VIDRINE SAYS THERE IS AMPLE SHELTER SPACE IN HIGHER PARTS OF ST. LANDRY READY FOR EVACUEES FROM THE PARISHES LOWER PORTIONS. SHE SAYS QUITE A NUMBER OF FOLKS MAY HAVE TO LEAVE THEIR HOMES IF THE WATER RISES.
THE MAP SHOWS ST. MARIN PARISH COULD GET 10 TO 20 FEET OF WATER.

WORK CONTINUED OVER THE WEEKEND TO PREPARE VULNERABLE AREAS FROM FLOODING ALONG THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER IN MISSISSIPPI AND LOUISIANA. IN VICKSBURG, MISS., WORKERS RAISED ABOUT A QUARTER-MILE OF ABANDONED RAILROAD BED TO PROTECT A NEIGHBORHOOD. CREWS WORKED SUNDAY TO BUILD TEMPORARY LEVEES TO PROTECT BUILDINGS IN NATCHEZ, MISS. AND ACROSS THE RIVER IN LOUISIANA, WORKERS BUILT UP A LEVEE AT THE VIDALIA RIVERFRONT. SIMILAR SCENES ARE PLAYING OUT ALL ALONG THE RIVER, WHICH IS RISING RAPIDLY. THE RIVER IS FORECAST TO CREST AT VICKSBURG ON MAY 20, THEN FURTHER SOUTH IN THE FOLLOWING DAYS AUTHORITIES SAY MORE THAN 2,200 HOUSEHOLDS HAVE BEEN EVACUATED IN MISSISSIPPI.

THE LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS BEGINS THE PROCESS TODAY OF EVACUATING THE FIRST GROUP OF INMATES FROM THE ANGOLA STATE PENITENTIARY. D-O-C SPOKESPERSON PAM LABORDE SAYS UP TO THREE-THOUSAND OF THE FIVE-THOUSAND INMATES MAY HAVE TO BE RE-LOCATED. TODAY IT WILL BE THE INFIRMED. AS FAR AS THE MOST VIOLENT CRIMINALS GO, THEY WILL STAY PUT IN A TENT CITY ON THE HIGHER GROUNDS OF THE FACILITY. LABORDE SAYS SOME OF THE INMATES WILL BE TRANSPORTED TO OTHER STATE PRISONS THAT HAVE EXTRA SPACE. SHE SAYS PUBLIC SAFETY IS THEIR TOP PRIORITY.

YEAR AFTER YEAR, DESPITE BUDGET CUTS AND DEFICITS, LAWMAKERS PACK MONEY FOR FAIRS, FESTIVALS, LOCAL BEAUTIFICATION PROGRAMS AND OTHER PET PROJECTS INTO STATE SPENDING PLANS BY LAWMAKERS. BUT THIS YEAR'S BUDGET SHORTFALL MIGHT FINALLY BE THE TIPPING POINT FOR LEGISLATIVE EARMARKS. GOV. BOBBY JINDAL HASN'T THREATENED TO RID THE 2011-12 BUDGET OF THE EARMARKS WITH HIS LINE-ITEM VETO, INSTEAD SAYING HE WON'T SUPPORT THE PROJECTS IF IT MEANS ADDITIONAL CUTS TO EDUCATION OR HEALTH SERVICES. HE'S ALSO CALLED FOR ANY ADDITIONS FOR NONGOVERNMENT ORGANIZATIONS, OR "NGOS," TO MEET REPORTING CRITERIA AND REGIONAL IMPACT REQUIREMENTS, STANDARDS HE'S APPLIED IN PREVIOUS YEARS.

GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL RELEASES HIS BIRTH CERTIFICATE WHICH SHOWS HE WAS BORN IN BATON ROUGE TO IMMIGRANT PARENTS FROM INDIA. THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE SAYS THE RELEASE OF JINDAL'S BIRTH CERTIFICATE IS IN RESPONSE TO A "BIRTHRIGHT CITIZENSHIP" BILL AUTHORED BY U-S SENATOR DAVID VITTER.

ST. LANDRY PARISH AUTHORITIES SAY A 30-YEAR-OLD MAN WHO STABBED A MOTHER OF TWO AND THEN SET HER HOME ON FIRE HAS TURNED HIMSELF INTO THE SHERIFF'S OFFICE. CAPTIAN JIMMY DARBONNE SAYS DASHON DAVIS OF MORROW FACES THREE COUNTS OF ATTEMPTED FIRST-DEGREE MURDER AND AGGRAVATED ARSON. DARBONNE SAYS A FEMALE VICTIM WAS STABBED SEVERAL TIMES BY DAVIS. HE SAYS THE SUSPECT THEN SET FIRE TO HER HOME, WITH HER TWO CHILDREN INSIDE. DARBONNE SAYS CHILDREN WERE UNINJURED AND THE VICTIM WAS TRANSPORTED TO A LOCAL HOSPITAL. THE SHERIFF'S OFFICE COULD NOT GIVE AN UPDATE ON HER CONDITION.

A NEW SURVEY BY SOUTHERN MEDIA AND OPINION RESEARCH SHOW NEARLY 52 PERCENT OF THOSE RESPONDING HAVE A POOR OPINION OF THE LEGISLATURE. POLLSTER BERNIE PINSONAT SAYS VOTERS BELIEVE THEIR LAWMAKERS ARE LOOKING OUT FOR THEMSELVES RATHER THAN FIXING THE LONG TERM PROBLEMS FACING THE STATE. PINSONAT SAYS VOTERS HAVE LONG MEMORIES WHEN IT COMES TO LEGISLATORS ASKING FOR A RAISE AT THE HEIGHT OF A RECESSION. HE SAYS 86 PERCENT OF VOTERS ARE READY TO VOTE AGAINST THEIR CURRENT LAWMAKERS. PINSONAT SAYS VOTERS HAVE AN OVERALL NEGATIVE OPINION OF THE STATE GOVERNMENT. HE SAYS THE PEOPLE SIMPLY DON'T BELIEVE ANYTHING IS GETTING DONE.

A STATE JUDGE HAS BARRED THE DEPARTMENT OF WILDLIFE & FISHERIES FROM RENEWING A PERMIT ALLOWING AN I-10 TRUCK STOP TO KEEP A LIVE TIGER ON DISPLAY. THE DECISION'S A WIN FOR THE ANIMAL LEGAL DEFENSE FUND, WHO'S BEEN TRYING TO GET TONY THE TIGER AWAY FROM THE GROSSE TETE TRUCK STOP. ALDF LAWYER MATTHEW LEIBMAN SAYS THE TIGER LIVES IN POOR CONDITIONS. THE JUDGE'S ACTION MEANS TIGER TRUCK STOP OWNER MIKE SANDLIN WILL HAVE TO GIVE TONY UP IN DECEMBER, UNLESS SOMETHING CHANGES.



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