KSYL Local News

News For Wednesday 06/01/11


NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY 060111
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

DUE TO EXTREMELY DRY CONDITIONS THROUGHOUT THE STATE, A BURN BAN HAS BEEN PUT IN PLACE EFFECTIVE AT ONCE. STATE FIRE MARSHAL BUTCH BROWNING SAYS THE EXTREME DROUGHT CONDITIONS AND SEVERE LACK OF RAINFALL IS THE REASON FOR THE BAN.

IT TOOK A WHILE TO GET THERE.. BUT THE CITY OF ALEXANDRIA FINALLY HAS A BUDGET. MORE THAN A MONTH AFTER THE CITY COUNCIL PASSED A BUDGET THAT MAYOR JACQUES ROY SAID WAS UNBALANCED AND SUBSEQUENTLY VETOED, THE TWO SIDES REACHED A COMPROMISE THAT THE COUNCIL APPROVED 6-1 LAST NIGHT. THE $52 MILLION GENERAL FUND OPERATING BUDGET INCLUDES SEVERAL FEE INCREASES, INCLUDING THOSE FOR ADMISSION TO THE ALEXANDRIA ZOO AND ATRANS BUS SERVICE. THE BUDGET ALSO UTILIZES THE USE OF $915,500 IN SURPLUS FUNDS.

THE RAPIDES PARISH SCHOOL BOARD'S EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE ON TUESDAY PASSED AN AGENDA ON TO THE FULL BOARD THAT INCLUDED RATIFYING BIDS FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE PARISH’S FIRST GREEN SCHOOL. THE BOARD WILL CONSIDER WHETHER TO ADOPT THE AGENDA ITEMS AT ITS MONTHLY MEETING NEXT WEEK. THE NEW JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL WOULD BE LOCATED IN WOODWORTH ON 33 ACRES OF LAND THAT WAS FORMERLY PART OF KISATCHIE NATIONAL FOREST.

FORECASTERS ARE CALLING FOR AN ABOVE-NORMAL HURRICANE SEASON, WHICH OFFICIALLY BEGINS TODAY. STATE CLIMATOLOGIST BARRY KEIM SAYS NOAA IS CALLING FOR 12-18 NAMED STORMS THIS YEAR. KEIM SAYS LAST YEAR WE HAD 19 NAMED STORMS BUT ONLY 2 TROPICAL STORM LANDFALLS IN THE UNITED STATES AND NO HURRICANES

WITH TODAY BEING THE FIRST OFFICIAL DAY OF THE 2011 HURRICANE SEASON. GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL SAYS, BECASUE OF FLOODING THIS SPRING, AN EARLY SEASON STORM WILL BRING MUCH GREATER RISK OF HIGH WATER. HE SAYS THIS WILL BE SO, EVEN IN AREAS NOT PRONE TO FLOODING. JINDAL SAYS DURING THE HIGH WATER ON THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER THE ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS WAS FORCED TO SUSPEND WORK ON LEVEE UP-GRADING PROJECTS IN THE LOWER PARTS OF THE RIVER AND THE NEW ORLEANS AREA, HE SAYS THAT LEAVES SOME AREAS EXPOSED. JINDAL ALSO POINTS OUT THAT BECAUSE OF DAMAGE DONE TO LOUISIANA'S SENSITIVE COASTAL ENVIRONMENT BY THE BP OIL SPILL THE WETLANDS HAVE NOT HAD TIME TO RECOVER, REMOVING AN IMPORTANT LAYER OF PROTECTION AGAINST STORM SURGE.

BY A 7 TO 2 VOTE THE SENATE REVENUE AND FISCAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE HAS ENDORSED A BILL BY BOGALUSA REPRESENTATIVE HAROLD RITCHIE TO RENEW 4-CENTS OF THE STATES TAX ON CIGARETTES. GOVERNOR JINDAL HAS VOICED HIS OPPOSITION TO THE TAX RENEWAL, CALLING IT A TAX INCREASE AND HAS PROMISED TO VETO THE BILL IF IT
REACHES HIS DESK. THE BILL IS NOW HEADED TO THE SENATE FLOOR FOR DEBATE.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT AGENCIES HOPING TO RAISE OR RENEW TAXES WOULD BE LIMITED TO STATEWIDE ELECTION DATES TO MAKE THEIR REQUESTS, IF THE HOUSE AGREES TO AN ELECTION CALENDAR CHANGE BACKED 23-12 TUESDAY BY THE STATE SENATE.
EVERY BOND OR TAX ELECTION WOULD HAVE TO BE HELD ON THE SAME DATE AS A REGULARLY SCHEDULED PRIMARY OR GENERAL ELECTION FOR STATEWIDE OR CONGRESSIONAL OFFICE.

THE JINDAL ADMINISTRATION'S DECISION TO SLOW PLANS FOR A 100-MILLION DOLLAR UPGRADE TO STATE'S COMPUTER SYSTEMS HAS BOOSTED THE PRICE TAG FOR COMPLETING THE PROJECT BY ANOTHER 25-MILLION DOLLARS. SENATORS LEARNED OF THE COST HIKE AS THEY COMBED THROUGH THE 2011-12 BUDGET. RATHER THAN MAKE THE COMPUTER UPGRADE ACROSS MOST STATE AGENCIES, THE GOVERNOR'S DIVISION OF ADMINISTRATION INSTEAD STARTED WITH A PILOT PROGRAM AT THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION AND DEVELOPMENT.

IT WAS A ROUGH MEMORIAL DAY HOLIDAY WEEKEND ON THE ROADS IN LOUISIANA. STATE POLICE SPOKESMAN LT. DOUG CAIN SAYS 7 FATAL CRASHES WERE INVESTIGATED RESULTING IN 10 DEATHS. A TWO CAR CRASH IN SHREVEPORT KILLED 4 PEOPLE... AND THE DRIVER OF A CAR INVOLVED IN A SINGLE-VEHICLE CRASH IN LAFAYETTE IS BEING SOUGHT
BY POLICE. CAIN SAYS THAT PERSON FLED THE SCENE OF THE WRECK ON FOOT, LEAVING ONE OF HIS PASSENGERS DEAD AND ANOTHER CRITICALLY INJURED.

A HOUSE COMMITTEE IS SCHEDULED TODAY TO HEAR A BILL TO ALLOW CONCEALED WEAPON PERMIT HOLDERS TO CARRY GUNS ON COLLEGE CAMPUSES. THE BILL IS FROM BELLE CHASSE REP. ERNEST WOOTON, WHO'S TRIED TO PASS THE BILL BEFORE, UNSUCCESSFULLY.

RIVER FORECASTERS DON'T EXPECT THAT THE ATCHAFALAYA RIVER AT MORGAN CITY WILL GET MUCH HIGHER. THE ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS HAS BEGUN CLOSING THE GATES OF THE MORGANZA SPILLWAY, WHICH WILL MEAN FLOOD WATERS SHOULD BEGIN TO RECEDE.

A SENATE COMMITTEE UNANIMOUSLY APPROVES A PROPOSAL TO BAN THE USE OF DISPERSANTS IN RESPONDING TO AN OIL SPILL IN LOUISIANA WATERS, WHICH EXTEND THREE MILES INTO THE GULF. SLIDELL SENATOR A.G. CROWE SAYS HE WANTS THE BAN BECAUSE THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HASN'T RESPONDED TO HIS REQUESTS TO SWITCH THE OIL SPILL STRATEGY TO A LESS TOXIC ALTERNATIVE.

A FORMER LAFAYETTE PARISH PROSECUTOR WHO PLEADED GUILTY TO INCOME TAX EVASION IS SET TO BE SENTENCED IN FEDERAL COURT. JOSEPH FLOYD JOHNSON FACES A MAXIMUM SENTENCE OF FIVE YEARS IN PRISON AND A $100,000 FINE. HIS SENTENCING BY U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE RICHARD HAIK IS SCHEDULED FOR WEDNESDAY IN LAFAYETTE.
PROSECUTORS SAID JOHNSON HADN'T FILED TAX RETURNS FOR CALENDAR YEARS 2003 THROUGH 2009 AND OWED A TOTAL OF NEARLY $180,000 IN TAXES FOR THOSE YEARS.

FACEBOOK, MYSPACE AND OTHER SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES WOULD BE OFF-LIMITS TO CERTAIN CONVICTED OFFENDERS, IF THE SENATE AGREES TO A PROPOSAL THAT RECEIVED APPROVAL TUESDAY FROM A SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE. THE HOUSE-BACKED BILL WOULD MAKE IT A CRIME TO USE THOSE NETWORKING WEBSITES, CHAT ROOMS AND PEER-TO-PEER NETWORKS BY ANYONE CONVICTED OF A LIST OF SEX OFFENSES AGAINST A MINOR.

God Bless America!

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