KSYL Local News

News For Friday 06/03/11


NEWS FOR FRIDAY 060311
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

A BILL TO RENEW A 4-CENT TAX ON CIGARETTES HAS WON FINAL LEGISLATIVE APPROVAL. THAT DESPITE THE GOVERNOR'S VOW TO VETO ANY BILL HE FEELS IS A NEW TAX. THE MEASURE PASSED BOTH THE HOUSE AND SENATE WITH TWO-THIRDS MAJORITY VOTES. IF MR. JINDAL VETOES THE BILL, LAWMAKERS CAN CALL FOR AN OVERRIDE VOTE BEFORE THE SESSION ENDS JUNE 23RD. THE GOVERNOR NOW HAS 10 DAYS TO EITHER SIGN THE BILL, VETO IT OR LET IT BECOME LAW WITHOUT HIS SIGNATURE.

WHILE OTHER STATE AGENCIES CUT PERKS AND TRIM BUDGET TO HELP MEET A BIG REVENUE SHORTFALL, STATE LAWMAKERS BRISTLED AT A PROPOSAL TO CUT THEIR TRAVEL AND EXPENSE ALLOWANCE. DENHAM SPRINGS REP. BODI WHITE WITHDREW HIS PROPOSAL AFTER FACING STIFF OPPOSITION FROM FELLOW HOUSE MEMBERS. SOME CALLED IT AN "ELECTION YEAR GIMMICK".

SPARKS FLEW AT THE ALEXANDRIA ACES GAME LAST NIGHT.. PLAY ON THE FIELD WAS HOT, ACADIANA WAS AHEAD OF THE ACES 8 TO 5 EARLY IN THE 4TH… BUT IT WAS, SOME SAY, THE 60 MPH WINDS THAT BLEW UP THREE POWER TRANSFORMERS THAT BROUGHT THE GAME TO A HALT. DUE TO THE FACT FIVE INNINGS WEREN’T PLAYED.. THE GAME WAS CANCELLED AND WILL NOT BE MADE UP.

THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT SAYS ALEXANDRIA COUNTRY DAY SCHOOL HAS SETTLED A COMPLAINT ALLEGING THAT IT REFUSED TO ADMIT A 6-YEAR-OLD GIRL WHO HAS DIABETES BECAUSE HER PARENTS ASKED THE SCHOOL TO SUPERVISE HER GLUCOSE TESTS AND INSULIN PUMP. A NEWS RELEASE SAID THE SCHOOL HAS AGREED NOT TO DISCRIMINATE AGAINST DIABETICS AND TO ENSURE DIABETIC STUDENTS HAVE AN EQUAL CHANCE TO ATTEND AND PARTICIPATE IN ALL PROGRAMS AND ACTIVITIES. THOMAS PEREZ, HEAD OF THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT'S CIVIL RIGHTS DIVISION, APPLAUDED THE SCHOOL AND HOPES THE AGREEMENT REMINDS OTHER PRIVATE SCHOOLS THAT THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT BARS DISCRIMINATION BY PRIVATE SCHOOLS BECAUSE OF DISABILITY.

AN ATTEMPT TO DELAY A PLANNED ASSIGNING OF LETTER GRADES TO SCHOOLS DENOTING THEIR PERFORMANCE IN THE STATE ACCOUNTABILITY PROGRAM FAILED THURSDAY IN THE SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE. THE STATE HAS BEEN ASSESSING AND ASSIGNING SCORES TO SCHOOLS AND SCHOOL DISTRICTS FOR SEVERAL YEARS UNDER AN ACCOUNTABILITY PROGRAM, USING NUMBERS AND STARS TO DESIGNATE HOW THEY PERFORMED. THE BOARD OF ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION PLAN THAT'S TO BE IMPLEMENTED ASSIGNS LETTER GRADES TO SCHOOLS MUCH LIKE STUDENTS RECEIVE, EXCEPT THAT THE GRADING SCALE IS OVER 200 POINTS, NOT 100. BECAUSE OF THAT, PROPONENTS OF THE BILL SAID IT COULD TAKE SEVERAL YEARS BEFORE A SCHOOL COULD MOVE UP A GRADE. THE BILL TO DELAY IMPLEMENTATION WAS SHOT DOWN 4 TO 1

A BILL THAT WOULD REPEAL STATE INCOME TAXES PASSES IN THE STATE SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE. THE PROPOSAL BY LIVONIA SENATOR ROB MARIONNEAUX WOULD PHASE OUT CORPORATE AND PERSONAL INCOME TAXES OVER 10 YEARS. MARIONNEAUX SAYS IF LOUISIANA GOT RID OF HUNDREDS OF TAX CREDITS, IT WOULD BE ABLE TO AFFORD TO REPEAL INCOME TAXES. APPROVED BY COMMITTEE, THE BILL GOES TO THE SENATE FLOOR NEXT.

THE HOUSE HAS DELAYED DEBATE ON A JINDAL ADMINISTRATION PROPOSAL TO RAISE RETIREMENT COSTS FOR STATE EMPLOYEES, AMID QUESTIONS ABOUT WHETHER THE BILL SHOULD BE CONSIDERED A PAYROLL TAX ON WORKERS. THE MEASURE WOULD LOWER EMPLOYEES' TAKE-HOME PAY AND GIVE STATE COFFERS AN EXTRA $25-MILLION A YEAR.

IN CASE YOU HAVEN'T NOTICED THE STATE IS IN THE GRIPS OF AN INTENSE HEAT WAVE. STATE CLIMATOLOGIST BARRY KEIM SAYS RECORD HIGH TEMPERATURES HAVE BEEN RECORDED ALL ACROSS THE STATE OVER THE PAST FEW DAYS. KEIM SAYS IF YOU HAVE TO BE OUTDOORS TAKE FREQUENT BREAKS AND STAY HYDRATED. KEIM SAYS THE DROUGHT CONDITIONS ARE THE REASONS IT'S SO HOT SO EARLY.

THE US GEOLOGICAL SURVEY SAYS LOUISIANA IS LOSING A FOOTBALL FIELD OF WETLANDS AN HOUR. ACCORDING TO THE USGS STUDY LOUISIANA HAS LOST OVER 1800 SQUARE MILES OF WETLANDS OVER THE PAST 78 YEARS. USGS GEOGRAPHER. BRADY COUVILLION SAYS FROM 1932 TO 2010 WE'VE LOST 25% OF THE WETLAND AREA WE HAD . COUVILLION SAYS LOUISIANA CURRENTLY EXPERIENCES ABOUT 90 PERCENT OF THE TOTAL COASTAL MARSH LOSS IN THE CONTIGUOUS UNITED STATES.

A 61-YEAR-OLD DENHAM SPRINGS MAN IS CHARGED WITH KILLING HIS 57-YEAR-OLD GIRLFRIEND, AFTER A MEDICAL EXAMINER DETERMINED SHE WAS BEATEN TOP DEATH. LIVINGSTON PARISH DEPUTIES SAY JERRY MILLER FACES SECOND-DEGREE MURDER AND SECOND-DEGREE BATTERY CHARGES IN THE DEATH OF JUDY POSEY.

THIBODAUX POLICE ARE LOOKING AT NEW SECURITY PROCEDURES, AFTER VANDALS SLASHED THE TIRES ON 11 NEW PATROL UNITS THAT WERE PARKED AT POLICE HEADQUARTERS. THE TIRE-CUTTING WAS DONE IN EARLY MAY.

A NORTH LOUISIANA TEENAGER LOSES HIS LIFE WHILE TRYING TO FLEE FROM A LINCOLN PARISH DEPUTY. STATE POLICE SAY 16-YEAR-OLD BRAD YOUNG OF ARCADIA WAS CLOCKED GOING 79 MILES PER HOUR IN A 55 ZONE ON U-S 80 AROUND MIDNIGHT WEDNESDAY NIGHT. POLICE SAY FOR UNKNOWN REASONS, THE BOY RAN, BUT CRASHED HIS VEHICLE AFTER A BRIEF CHASE. TROOPERS SAY THEY DO NOT BELIEVE YOUNG HAD BEEN DRINKING.

CONSULTANTS ARE SAYING A NEW MEDICAL COMPLEX IN NEW ORLEANS WILL NEED 330 TO 400 BEDS BY 2020, FEWER THAN THE 424 BEDS CURRENTLY PLANNED FOR THE 1.2- BILLION DOLLAR FACILITY. THE REPORT BY KAUFMANN HALL & ASSOCIATES, IS THE LATEST ARGUMENT IN THE DEBATE OVER WHETHER PLANS FOR THE FACILITY SHOULD BE SCALED BACK. SUPPORTERS OF THE CURRENT PLAN SAY IT'S NEEDED TO DRAW STUDENTS AND PROFESSIONALS AND COMPETE WITH FACILITIES AROUND THE SOUTH.

THE U.S ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS CONTINUES TO SLOWLY CLOSE THE MORGANZA SPILLWAY, CUTTING THE FLOW OF MISSISSIPPI RIVER WATER INTO THE ATCHAFALAYA BASIN. CORPS SPOKESMAN KEN HOLDER SAYS ONLY 9 OF THE 17 BAYS OPENED ON THE 125-BAY STRUCTURE ARE STILL OPEN.

A HOUMA MAN HAS PLEADED GUILTY TO SUBMITTING A FRAUDULENT APPLICATION FOR MONEY FROM THE $20 BILLION CLAIMS FUND BP PLC ESTABLISHED AFTER THE GULF OF MEXICO OIL SPILL. NICHOLAS BILLIOT FACES A MAXIMUM SENTENCE OF 20 YEARS IN PRISON AND A $250,000 FINE FOLLOWING HIS GUILTY PLEA THURSDAY TO ONE COUNT OF MAIL FRAUD. FEDERAL PROSECUTORS SAY THE GULF COAST CLAIMS FACILITY ISSUED $26,000 IN CHECKS TO BILLIOT, WHO CLAIMED HE OWNED A COMPANY CALLED HOPE'S HOME IMPROVEMENT THAT LOST BUSINESS AFTER THE DEEPWATER HORIZON RIG BLAST TRIGGERED THE MASSIVE SPILL. PROSECUTORS SAY THE COMPANY NEVER OPERATED OR CONDUCTED ANY BUSINESS.

A FORMER TECHNOLOGY COMPANY OWNER PLEADED GUILTY THURSDAY TO A CONSPIRACY CHARGE FOR HER ROLE IN A PLOT TO BRIBE SCHOOL OFFICIALS TO GET FEDERAL CONTRACTS FOR INTERNET ACCESS SERVICES AT SCHOOLS IN LOUISIANA, ARKANSAS AND ILLINOIS. GLORIA HARPER WHO CO-OWNED TWO ILLINOIS-BASED COMPANIES, GLOBAL NETWORKING TECHNOLOGIES INC. AND COMPUTER TRAINING ASSOCIATES, FACES A MAXIMUM SENTENCE OF FIVE YEARS IN PRISON AND A $250,000 FINE FOLLOWING HER GUILTY PLEA IN FEDERAL COURT IN NEW ORLEANS TO ONE COUNT OF CONSPIRACY TO DEFRAUD THE UNITED STATES. PROSECUTORS SAID SCHOOL OFFICIALS CEDED CONTROL OF THE PROGRAM'S COMPETITIVE BIDDING PROCESS TO HARPER AND A CO-CONSPIRATOR SO THEY COULD ENSURE SCHOOL CONTRACTS WOULD BE AWARDED TO THEIR COMPANIES.





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