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News For Monday


NEWS FOR MONDAY 052311
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

AS BACKWATER FLOODING BEGINS TO ENCROACH ON THE AREA, THE MANDATORY EVACUATION ORDER FOR THE BUTTE LAROSE AREA WILL BE REINSTATED AT NOON ON TUESDAY. A NEWS RELEASE FROM THE ST. MARGIN PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE, SAYS THAT ENGINEERS SAID BACKWATER FLOODING IS BEGINNING TO APPROACH SOME STRUCTURES IN THE AREA. SAND BAGGING OPERATIONS FOR THE BELLE RIVER AREA WILL BE SUSPENDED ON MONDAY AND RESIDENTS CAN FILL THEIR OWN SAND BAGS AT THE LOCATIONS IN STEPHENSVILLE. STARTING AT NOON TUESDAY, ENTRY INTO THE BUTTE LAROSE AREA WILL BE STRICTLY PROHIBITED.

THE JINDAL ADMINISTRATION SAYS THEY WILL BE FORCED TO CLOSE FIVE STATE PRISONS AS A RESULT OF THE CUTTING OF THEIR BUDGET BY THE HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE. DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS SECRETARY JIMMY LEBLANC SAYS THESE "NON PERSONNEL" CUTS WILL DESTABILIZE PRISONS. ACTIONS BY THE HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE TOOK $27.5 MILLION OUT OF THE STATE CORRECTIONS BUDGET. LEBLANC SAYS UNLESS THE MONEY IS PUT BACK IN, PRISONS WILL HAVE TO BE CLOSED AND ABOUT 4600 OFFENDERS WOULD HAVE TO BE MOVED TO PARISH JAILS OR BE RELEASED EARLY. FOUR OF THE PRISONS THAT COULD CLOSE ARE LOCATED IN CENTRAL LOUISIANA.

OV. BOBBY JINDAL'S OFFICE REACTED IN A NEAR-PANIC TO CUTS PROPOSED FOR NEXT YEAR'S $25 BILLION BUDGET BY THE HOUSE BUDGET-WRITING COMMITTEE, WITH JINDAL LEADERS CALLING THEM IRRESPONSIBLE AND RIDICULOUS AND WITH HIS FINANCIAL CHIEF ACTUALLY SAYING, "THE SKY IS FALLING." HOWEVER, PROPOSALS TO DRAIN BILLIONS FROM STATE COFFERS THROUGH INCOME TAX BREAKS HAVEN'T RECEIVED ANY OUTWARD SENSE OF ALARM. THE BUDGET CUTS SUGGESTED BY THE HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE WOULD TRIM $139 MILLION. THE REPEAL OF STATE PERSONAL AND CORPORATE INCOME TAXES WOULD STRIP ANYWHERE FROM $605 MILLION TO $943 MILLION IN ITS FIRST YEAR AND BILLIONS OF DOLLARS ANNUALLY A FEW YEARS LATER. BOTH BILLS ARE UP FOR DEBATE IN THE LEGISLATURE NEXT WEEK: THE BUDGET IN THE HOUSE ON WEDNESDAY AND THE TAX BREAKS IN THE HOUSE AND SENATE ON TUESDAY AND WEDNESDAY.

A PANEL OF 3RD CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEAL JUDGES HAS RULED A 9TH DISTRICT COURT JUDGE'S 10-YEAR SENTENCE OF COURTNEY PAUL SAVOY FOR BEING A HABITUAL OFFENDER WAS EXCESSIVE. BUT THE PANEL DID AFFIRM SAVOY'S CONVICTION AS A THREE-TIME FELONY OFFENDER. THE 3RD CIRCUIT SENT THE MATTER BACK TO JUDGE TOM YEAGER FOR A RESENTENCING HEARING FOR SAVOY, AN INMATE FROM WINNFIELD WHO WAS CONVICTED OF HELPING ANOTHER INMATE ESCAPE FROM A VAN THAT HAD TRANSPORTED THE PAIR TO HUEY P. LONG MEDICAL CENTER IN PINEVILLE IN 2007. SAVOY DID NOT ESCAPE BUT AIDED IN THE OTHER INMATE'S ESCAPE.

ROBIN L. HOOTER HAS ANNOUNCED HER CANDIDACY FOR CLERK OF COURT IN RAPIDES PARISH IN THE OCT. 22 PRIMARY ELECTION. SHE IS CURRENTLY THE CHIEF DEPUTY CLERK OF COURT AND A CERTIFIED DEPUTY CLERK WITH THE LOUISIANA CLERKS OF COURT ASSOCIATION. HOOTER HAS 23 YEARS EXPERIENCE IN THE RAPIDES PARISH CLERK OF COURT'S OFFICE, SERVING THE PAST SEVEN YEARS AS CHIEF DEPUTY.

BRIAN THOMPSON IS (ALSO) RUNNING FOR RAPIDES PARISH CLERK OF COURT, HAVING MADE HIS ANNOUNCEMENT LAST WEEK OUTSIDE THE RAPIDES PARISH COURTHOUSE. THOMPSON HAS BEEN AN ATTORNEY WITH A LAW PRACTICE IN ALEXANDRIA FOR ABOUT 13 YEARS.

SEVEN ADULTS HAVE BEEN ARRESTED BY LOUISIANA STATE POLICE AFTER A JOINT INVESTIGATION WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES RESULTED IN ALLEGATIONS THAT THE SUSPECTS HAD ALLEGEDLY FORCED THREE CHILDREN TO HAVE SEX WITH FAMILY MEMBERS AND FAMILY FRIENDS. THEY HAVE BEEN CHARGED WITH AGGRAVATED INCEST AND AGGRAVATED RAPE. AUTHORITIES ARE STILL LOOKING FOR AN EIGHTH SUSPECT. THE INITIAL INFORMATION INDICATED THAT IN OCTOBER 2010, THREE YOUNG GIRLS UNDER THE AGE OF 9 WERE FORCED TO HAVE SEXUAL INTERCOURSE WITH EIGHT ADULTS AT A RESIDENCE IN THE CHURCH POINT AREA.

THE NATIONAL "CLICK IT OR TICKET" SEAT BELT CAMPAIGN KICKS OFF TODAY. STATE POLICE SPOKESPERSON TROOPER RUSSELL GRAHAM SAYS IT'S ABOUT RAISING AWARENESS OF THE IMPORTANCE OF BUCKLING UP. HE SAYS WEARING A SEAT BELT CAN MEAN THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LIFE AND DEATH. GRAHAM SAYS TROOPERS WILL BE OUT IN FULL FORCE LOOKING FOR PEOPLE WHO AREN'T WEARING THEIR SEATBELT. GRAHAM SAYS STATE LAW REQUIRES EVERYONE IN A VEHICLE TO BE WEARING A SEATBELT. HE SAYS CHILDREN ALSO NEED TO BE PROPERLY RESTRAINED IN A CHILD SEAT.

THE FEDERAL ENERGY DEPARTMENT HAS APPROVED PLANS FOR A LIQUEFIED NATURAL GAS EXPORTING FACILITY IN CAMERON PARISH. SENATOR MARY LANDRIEU SAYS CHENIERE ENERGY'S PLANT AT SABINE PASS WILL BE THE FIRST OF IT'S KIND IN THE LOWER 48 STATES. LANDRIEU SAYS CHENIERE IS INVESTING ABOUT A BILLION DOLLARS IN THE FACILITY, WHICH SHE SAYS WILL CREATE UP TO 150 DIRECT JOBS, AND TENS OF THOUSANDS OF INDIRECT JOBS. CONSTRUCTION OF THE PLANT WILL EMPLOY UP TO 3000. LANDRIEU SAYS IT'S GOOD NEWS FOR LOUISIANA AND THE COUNTRY'S DOMESTIC ENERGY INDUSTRY. LANDRIEU SAYS THIS WILL BE THE FIRST BI-DIRECTIONAL EXPORTING FACILITY FOR LNG IN THE CONTINENTAL U.S.

A BILL IS ON ITS WAY TO THE HOUSE FLOOR WHICH WOULD INCREASE WHAT MOST STATE WORKERS CONTRIBUTE TOWARD THEIR RETIREMENT BY THREE PERCENT. THE HOUSE RETIREMENT COMMITTEE VOTED 6 TO 4 TO SEND THE BILL TO THE FLOOR FOR DEBATE. THE BILLS AUTHOR, RIVER RIDGE REPRESENTATIVE KIRK TALBOT THE CHANGE IS NEEDED TO PUT THE RETIREMENT PROGRAM BACK ON TRACK. IF THE BILL PASSES IT WOULD SAVE THE STATE 70-MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR AND WOULD COSTS THE AVERAGE STATE EMPLOYEE AND ADDITIONAL 1,350-DOLLARS A YEAR. COMMITTEE MEMBER, NEW ORLEANS REPRESENTATIVE JUAN LAFONTA, VOTED AGAINST THE BILL. HE SAYS THE BILL IS AN ATTEMPT TO LET THE STATE OFF THE HOOK FOR THEIR SHARE OF THE CONTRIBUTION TO THE RETIREMENT PROGRAM AND SHIFT THE BURDEN TO STATE EMPLOYEES.

THE COAST GUARD WAS KEEPING A NINE-MILE SEGMENT OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER SHUT DOWN SUNDAY UNTIL IT SETTLED ON A PLAN TO REMOVE THREE BARGES THAT SANK IN THE WATERWAY. OFFICIALS SAY THE COAST GUARD IS REVIEWING A SALVAGE PLAN OFFERED BY ARCHER DANIELS MIDLAND CO., WHICH OWNS THE BARGES THAT WERE INVOLVED IN AN ACCIDENT ALONG THE RIVER IN BATON ROUGE. IT’S NOT KNOWN HOW LONG THE REVIEW WOULD TAKE OR HOW LONG IT WOULD TAKE TO REMOVE THE VESSELS ONCE THE OPERATION BEGINS. THE ACCIDENT HAPPENED FRIDAY WHEN THREE BARGES STRUCK A BRIDGE AND SANK.






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