KSYL Local News

News For Tuesday 06/07/11


NEWS FOR TUESDAY 060711
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

THE HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE ON A 13 TO 12 VOTE, HAS NARROWLY REJECTED GOV. BOBBY JINDAL'S PLAN TO SELL THREE STATE PRISONS. THE VOTE CAME AFTER HOURS OF TESTIMONY AND WEEKS OF BEHIND THE SCENES WORK FROM THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE TRYING TO GAIN SUPPORT FOR A BILL THAT LAWMAKERS HAD PREDICTED WOULD BE DIFFICULT, IF NOT IMPOSSIBLE, TO PASS. JINDAL CALLED THE IDEA A WAY TO SAVE MONEY, ARGUING PRIVATE COMPANIES COULD RUN THE PRISONS FOR LESS MONEY AND THE SALES COULD GENERATE UPFRONT MONEY TO SPEND ON OTHER INITIATIVES IN A TIGHT BUDGET TIME. CRITICS SAID THE SALE WOULD DAMAGE PUBLIC SAFETY AND BOOST STATE COSTS. THERE’S STILL A CHANCE THOUGH, THE PRISON FACILITIES IN AVOYELLES, WINN AND ALLEN PARISH FACILITIES COULD BE CLOSED BECAUSE OF THE BUDGET SHORTFALL

IT WAS A HOT DAY TO BE FIGHTING A FIRE. BUT, FIRE FIGHTERS WERE CALLED TO A WOODS FIRE YESTERDAY THAT THREATENED ABOUT 165 ACRES IN THE VICINITY OF OAK HILL HIGH SCHOOL. FIREFIGHTERS WERE ABLE TO GET THE BLAZE UNDER CONTROL BY MONDAY EVENING.

AUTHORITIES IN AVOYELLES PARISH HAVE MADE 13 ARRESTS IN SIMMESPORT AS PART OF AN ONGOING STREET-SWEEP OPERATION. THE ARRESTS, WHICH WERE MADE LATE LAST WEEK, NETTED APPROXIMATELY TWO POUNDS OF MARIJUANA AND AN ASSORTMENT OF CRACK AND COCAINE PACKAGES PLUS AN ASSORTMENT OF WEAPONS.

IN ALEXANDRIA, AUTHORITIES ARE INVESTIGATING A MONDAY AFTERNOON HOME INVASION ON CHESTER STREET IN WHICH A RESIDENT APPARENTLY WAS ROBBED AND SHOT. ACCORDING TO POLICE THE INCIDENT HAPPENED NEAR THE INTERSECTION OF CHESTER STREET AND RAPIDES AVENUE. THE VICTIM TOLD POLICE THAT TWO MEN ENTERED HIS RESIDENCE SHORTLY AFTER 1 P.M., ROBBED HIM AND THEN AFTER A SCUFFLE, SHOOT HIM IN HIS LEG.

IF YOU HAVE BEEN THINKING TO YOURSELF, IT SEEMS A LOT HOTTER THAN IT USUALLY IS THIS TIME OF YEAR, YOU ARE RIGHT. A RECORD HIGH TEMPERATURE WAS SET FOR THE THIRD DAY IN A ROW IN ALEXANDRIA ON MONDAY. THE HIGH MONDAY WAS 99 DEGREES, ACCORDING TO THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE. THAT TOPS THE OLD JUNE 6 RECORD HIGH OF 98 DEGREES, SET IN 1977. SUNDAYS HIGH WAS 3 DEGREES ABOVE THE PREVIOUS RECORD, SATURDAY WAS TWO DEGREES ABOVE. FORECASTERS SAY DON’T EXPECT ANY RELIEF ANY TIME SOON.

SOME SCATTERED THUNDERSHOWERS IN SOUTH LOUISIANA OVER THE PAST FEW DAYS BRING SOME DROUGHT RELIEF, BUT FORECASTERS FEAR THERE WON'T BE ENOUGH RAIN TO SAVE THIRSTY CROPS ACROSS THE STATE. STATE CLIMATOLOGIST BARRY KEIM SAYS ANY RAIN IS WELCOME, BUT THE RECENT SHOWERS HAVE BEEN MERELY A "DROP IN THE BUCKET"; OFFERING NO SERIOUS RELIEF. OVER 90% OF THE STATE IS UNDER DROUGHT CONDITIONS RIGHT NOW.

LEGISLATION THAT WOULD ALLOW FOR THE PLACING OF A TEN COMMANDMENTS MONUMENT ON THE GROUNDS OF THE STATE CAPITOL HEADS TO THE SENATE. THE BILL STATES THAT PRIVATE ENTITIES WOULD PAY FOR THE MONUMENT, WHICH COULD BE UP TO SIX FEET HIT AND FOUR FEET WIDE. SIMILAR EFFORTS HAVE DRAWN LEGAL CHALLENGES, BUT THE HOUSE UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED THE LEGISLATION.

A BILL TO BAN THE USE OF HAND-HELD CELL PHONES WHILE DRIVING HAS PASSED THE HOUSE TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE BY AN 8 TO 3 VOTE. THE LAW WOULD MAKE IT A PRIMARY OFFENSE TO USE A HAND-HELD DEVICE WHILE DRIVING.

THE U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS SAYS THE MORGANZA SPILLWAY--OPENED TO RELIEVE STRESS ON MISSISSIPPI RIVER LEVEES--COULD BE COMPLETELY CLOSED WITHIN A WEEK. CORPS SPOKESPERSON RACHEL RODI SAYS ONLY 5 OF THE 17 BAYS OPENED LAST MONTH REMAIN OPEN TODAY. RODI SAYS THE CORPS HAS BEEN CLOSING ABOUT 1 GATE PER DAY, AND BARRING ANYTHING UNFORESEEN, THE MORGANZA SHOULD BE COMPLETELY CLOSED BY SUNDAY. ONCE THE MORGANZA IS CLOSED COMPLETELY, THE CORPS WILL TURN IT'S ATTENTION TO THE BONNET CARRE SPILLWAY JUST UPRIVER OF NEW ORLEANS.

NO DEBATE YESTERDAY ON A PROPOSED BILL THAT WOULD CONSIDER PERFORMING AN ABORTION IN LOUISIANA TO BE AN ACT OF FETICIDE. BILL SPONSOR JOHN LABRUZZO, OF METAIRIE, RETURNED HIS BILL TO THE CALENDAR, WHILE HE DRAFTS SOME AMENDMENTS AND TWEAKS THE BILL'S LANGUAGE. THAT BILL COULD COME AGAIN TODAY.

THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF THE HEALTH INSURANCE OFFICE FOR STATE EMPLOYEES AND RETIREES, HIRED BY THE JINDAL ADMINISTRATION IN APRIL, IS RESIGNING AFTER RECEIVING STRONG CRITICISM FROM LAWMAKERS ABOUT HIS WORK TO HELP PRIVATIZE OFFICE OPERATIONS. SCOTT KIPPER'S RESIGNATION AS HEAD OF THE OFFICE OF GROUP BENEFITS COMES AS GOV. BOBBY JINDAL FACES COMPLAINTS FOR HIS PROPOSAL TO HIRE AN OUTSIDE CONTRACTOR TO RUN ONE OF THE OFFICE'S STATE WORKER HEALTH INSURANCE PROGRAMS.

THE LEGISLATIVE AUDITOR'S OFFICE IN BATON ROUGE LISTS SEVERAL CONTINUING PROBLEMS WITH FINANCIAL PRACTICES AT GRAMBLING STATE UNIVERSITY, INCLUDING MISSING PROPERTY, UNDERSTATEMENT OF ASSETS AND INEFFECTIVE EFFORTS TO COLLECT MORE THAN $8 MILLION IN MONEY. A REPORT RELEASED MONDAY SAYS THAT, FOR THE FOURTH YEAR IN A ROW THE UNIVERSITY'S FAILURE TO COMPILE AN ACCURATE FISCAL REPORT RESULTED IN ASSETS BEING UNDERSTATED BY MORE THAN $3 MILLION, A LACK OF ASSET CONTROLS LED TO MISSING PROPERTY FOR THE SIXTH YEAR IN A ROW. IN ITS RESPONSE, THE UNIVERSITY SAYS IT CONCURS WITH THE FINDINGS, AND OUTLINES PLANNED SOLUTIONS INCLUDING MONTHLY ANALYSES OF FINANCIAL REPORTS AND ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGES IN THE CONTROLLER'S OFFICE AND THE PROPERTY MANAGEMENT OFFICE.

AN E-COLI OUTBREAK IN NORTHEAST LOUISIANA HAS MADE AS MANY AS 15 CHILDREN SICK. DR. SHELLEY JONES, REGIONAL DIRECTOR FOR THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HOSPITALS, SAYS SEVERAL CHILDREN WERE HOSPITALIZED. ONE LITTLE GIRL HAS BEEN HOSPITALIZED FOR OVER TWO WEEKS. JONES SAYS THEY BELIEVE THE SOURCE WAS AT AN END-OF-SCHOOL YEAR PARTY IN RICHLAND PARISH.

A PROPOSED BILL TO ENFORCE COLLECTION OF STATE SALES TAX ON ALL INTERNET PURCHASES FAILED TO PASS THE HOUSE TODAY. MONROE REP. ROSALIND JONES' BILL FAILED TO MUSTER THE 52 VOTES NEEDED TO PASS. SHE SERVED NOTICE TO BRING THE BILL UP ON RECONSIDERATION BEFORE THE SESSION ENDS.

STATE POLICE SAY A DRUNK DRIVER NOW FACES A FOURTH OFFENSE DWI AND OTHER CHARGES, AFTER A FATAL ACCIDENT IN VERMILION PARISH OVER THE WEEKEND. TROOPER STEPHEN HAMMONS SAYS 52-YEAR-OLD GREGORY MENARD OF ABBEVILLE ATTEMPTED TO PASS SEVERAL VEHICLES IN A NO PASSING ZONE AND STRUCK ANOTHER CAR HEAD-ON. THE DRIVER OF THE OTHER VEHICLE IS IN CRITICAL CONDITION AT A LOCAL HOSPITAL. A PASSENGER IN THE VEHICLE WAS PRONOUNCED DEAD AT THE SCENE.

IT'LL BE ONE MONTH BEFORE FORMER GOVERNOR EDWIN EDWARDS WILL BE A COMPLETELY FREE MAN. EDWARDS HAS BEEN REQUIRED BY LAW TO LIVE WITH HIS DAUGHTER IN DENHAM SPRINGS FOR SIX MONTHS AND CHECK IN WITH A HALFWAY HOUSE. EDWARDS BIOGRAPHER LEO HONEYCUTT SAYS THE FORMER GOVERNOR HAS BEEN SPENDING HIS TIME KEEPING UP WITH CURRENT POLITICS. THE 83-YEAR-OLD EDWARDS IS SET TO END HOME INCARCERATION ON JULY 6TH.

God Bless America!

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