KSYL Local News

News For Wednesday 061511


NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY 061511
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

IN RESPONSE TO THE RESIGNATION OF ALEXANDRIA POLICE CHIEF ROGER TULLY LAST WEEK, THE ALEXANDRIA FIRE AND POLICE CIVIL SERVICE BOARD YESTERDAY ACCEPTED THE ADMINISTRATION'S REQUEST TO REOPEN THE CHIEF'S POSITION FOR APPLICATIONS. TULLY WAS AMONG 11 APPLICANTS WHO PASSED THE STATE CHIEF'S TEST LAST YEAR BEFORE HE WAS HIRED IN AUGUST. KAY MICHIELS, THE CITY'S CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, SAID THE TEST SCORES FOR THE OTHER APPLICANTS REMAIN VALID, AND ANY OF THOSE CANDIDATES COULD BE HIRED. ANY NEW APPLICANTS WILL TAKE THE TEST IN APPROXIMATELY SIX WEEKS, AND THOSE WHO PASS WILL BE ADDED TO THE POOL OF CANDIDATES.

NINE CENTRAL LOUISIANA RESIDENTS HAVE BEEN CHARGED WITH VARIOUS OFFENSES AFTER BEING ARRESTED DURING THE RAPIDES PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE'S "90 DAYS OF HEAT" OPERATION, INCLUDING TWO ALEXANDRIA RESIDENTS ACCUSED OF OPERATING A CLANDESTINE LAB. METRO NARCOTICS AGENTS STARTED THE OPERATION ON JUNE 1.
A "STREET SWEEP" CONDUCTED IN BUNKIE HAS ALSO RESULTED IN FOUR AVOYELLES PARISH RESIDENTS BEING CHARGED WITH DRUG POSSESSION

A FIRE AT A PLANT WHERE CHEMICALS ARE BLENDED AND STORED FOR OILFIELD OPERATIONS FORCED RESIDENTS TO EVACUATE OR HUNKER DOWN TUESDAY NIGHT WHILE A GRAYISH-BROWN COLUMN OF SMOKE ROSE HUNDREDS OF FEET INTO THE AIR HOURS LATER. INVESTIGATORS SAID NO ONE AT THE HOUSTON-BASED MULTI-CHEM CORP. PLANT OFFICIALS REPORT NO ONE WAS INJURED AND ALL 20 WORKERS AT THE SITE WERE ACCOUNTED FOR. OFFICIALS WEREN'T CERTAIN WHAT KIND OF CHEMICALS WERE ON FIRE IN THE WAREHOUSE.

THE BODY OF 20 YEAR OLD DIONTE RASHAL OF DERIDDER MAN WHO WAS FOUND IN THE SABINE RIVER TUESDAY AFTERNOON. AUTHORITIES SAY RASHAL WAS FOUND BY DIVERS NEAR THE MERRYVILLE BOAT LAUNCH. RASHAL HAD BEEN SWIMMING RIVER MONDAY WHEN HE BECAME SEPARATED FROM FRIENDS. FOUL PLAY IS NOT BELIEVED TO BE A FACTOR IN THE MAN’S DEATH.

THE RED RIVER WATERWAY COMMISSION HAS REOPENED THE PUBLIC BOAT RAMPS AT THE BROUILLETTE AND BEN ROUTH RECREATION AREAS ON THE RED RIVER IN AVOYELLES PARISH. MAINTENANCE CREWS STILL ARE WORKING TO CLEAN UP ONE LAST LANE AT BEN ROUTH, BUT THE OTHER THREE LANES ARE AVAILABLE FOR USE BY THE PUBLIC.
HIGH WATER LAST MONTH LED TO THE CLOSURE OF PUBLIC BOAT RAMPS ALONG THE RED RIVER. WATER LEVELS SLOWLY BEGAN RECEDING AND ARE NOW BACK CLOSER TO NORMAL POOL LEVEL.

NEARLY HALF OF LOUISIANA’S PUBLIC SCHOOLS WOULD GET A “D” OR “F” IF A CONTROVERSIAL GRADING SYSTEM THAT BEGINS LATER THIS YEAR WERE IN EFFECT TODAY, OFFICIALS SAID TUESDAY. THE ISSUE SURFACED DURING A MEETING OF THE STATE BOARD OF ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION. THAT PANEL APPROVED THE GRADING POLICY IN DECEMBER AFTER LEGISLATORS PASSED A LAW THAT REQUIRED LETTER GRADES, AND LEFT BESE TO HAMMER OUT THE DETAILS. THE CHANGE WILL LINK TRADITIONAL LETTER GRADES TO ANNUAL SCHOOL PERFORMANCE SCORES, WHICH PRIMARILY REFLECT HOW STUDENTS FARED ON KEY TESTS. SCOTT NORTON, ASSISTANT STATE SUPERINTENDENT, TOLD BESE THAT, IF THE GRADES WERE IN PLACE TODAY, NEARLY HALF OF THE STATE’S PUBLIC SCHOOLS WOULD RECEIVE A “D” OR AN “F” BASED ON 2010 SCHOOL PERFORMANCE RESULTS. NORTON CITED STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION DATA THAT SHOWED 594 OF 1,280 PUBLIC SCHOOLS WOULD GET A “D” OR AN “F,” WHICH IS 46 PERCENT.

AT A PROTEST OUTSIDE THE GOVERNOR'S MANSION REPRESENTATIVES OF THE AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY CALLED ON LAWMAKERS TO OVERRIDE GOVERNOR JINDAL'S VETO OF A 4-CENT TAX ON CIGARETTES. ACS SPOKESMAN ANDREW MUHL SAYS THE CIGARETTE TAX GENERATES ABOUT 12-MILLION DOLLARS ANNUALLY AND BRINGS IN ANOTHER 36-MILLION IN FEDERAL MATCHING HEALTH CARE DOLLARS. HE HOPES LAWMAKERS VOTE TO OVERRIDE THE VETO SOON. OTHERS FEEL THE GOVERNOR DID THE RIGHT THING BY KILLING THE BILL. ROBIN EDWARDS, WITH THE LOUISIANA TEA PARTY FEDERATION, SAYS
GOVERNOR JINDAL IS LIVING UP TO HIS PROMISE OF NO NEW TAXES. SHE SAYS IT'S ALSO A MYTH THE CIGARETTE TAX GOES TO HEALTH CARE. HOWEVER, IT SHE APPARENTLY DID NOT READ THE BILL, AS AMENDED THE BILL WOULD DEDICATE THE 4-CENT TAX TO HEALTH CARE.

A TAX BREAK FOR PARENTS WHO PAY FOR PRIVATE SCHOOL TUITION OR PAY FOR UNIFORMS AND OTHER SCHOOL SUPPLIES WILL BE EXPANDED, UNDER A MEASURE GIVEN FINAL PASSAGE IN THE HOUSE. CURRENTLY, THE INCOME TAX DEDUCTION IS CAPPED AT 50 PERCENT OF THE MONEY SPENT, UP TO $5,000 PER CHILD. THE BILL REMOVES THE 50 PERCENT CAP, MEANING PARENTS COULD GET REIMBURSED THE FULL COSTS UP TO A MAXIMUM OF $5,000 PER CHILD. THAT BILL PASSED BY 80-14 VOTE.

A WEST MONROE LAWMAKER'S BILL TO POST SIGNS IN ABORTION CLINICS INFORMING WOMEN ABOUT ABORTION ALTERNATIVES HAS PASSED THE LOUISIANA SENATE.
REPUBLICAN FRANK HOFFMANN SAYS HIS BILL WOULD PREVENT YOUNG WOMAN FROM BEING COERCED INTO ABORTIONS. BUT CRITICS SAY THE BILL INTERFERES WITH A PERSONAL DECISION BY A WOMAN AND HER DOCTOR.

THE SENATE HEALTH & WELFARE COMMITTEE IS SCHEDULED TODAY TO HEAR A BILL THAT WOULD TEST RANDOM STATE WELFARE CASH RECIPIENTS FOR DRUGS. METAIRIE REP. JOHN LABRUZZO SAYS HIS BILL WAS HEARD ONCE IN COMMITTEE THEN DELAYED A WEEK FOR FURTHER RESEARCH, AFTER SOME DISTURBING TESTIMONY WAS HEARD FROM A DRUG DEALER WHO SAYS HE USED TO SELL HIS FOOD STAMP CARD FOR CASH IN ORDER TO BUY DRUGS. IT APPEARS NOW THE BILL COULD BE AMENDED TO BECOME STRONGER. LABRUZZO FEEL THAT IT'S NOT TOO MUCH TO WANT TO ASSURE THAT STATE ASSISTANCE MONEY NOT BE USED TO BUY ILLEGAL DRUGS.

PENALTIES FOR SEXUALLY ABUSING ELDERLY OR DISABLED PEOPLE WILL BE INCREASED, TO A MINIMUM OF 25 YEARS IN PRISON AND ELECTRONIC MONITORING FOR LIFE. THE BILL, FROM DENHAM SPRINGS REP. BODI WHITE, RECEIVED FINAL PASSAGE WITH A 74-20 HOUSE VOTE TODAY. IT HEADS NEXT TO THE GOVERNOR, WHO SUPPORTS THE MEASURE.

AN EXTRA BUCK WILL CONTINUE TO BE CHARGED TO YOUR DRIVERS LICENSE FEE, TO PAY FOR PROGRAMS TO CLEAN-UP AND FIGHT LITTER. THAT IS IF GOV. JINDAL DOES NOT VETO THE BILL. THE FEE WAS FIRST ENACTED IN 2003 AND WILL CONTINUE TO BE LEVIED ON EVERY FOUR-YEAR DRIVER'S LICENSE UNDER THE BILL FROM OIL CITY REP. JIM MORRIS.

LSU AND THE TIGER ATHLETIC FOUNDATION HAVE SENT A SURVEY TO SEASON TICKET HOLDERS TO FIND OUT THEIR OPINION ON POSSIBLY EXPANDING TIGER STADIUM BY ADDING MORE PREMIUM SEATING. OFFICIALS ARE TRYING TO DETERMINE IF THERE'S A LARGE DEMAND FOR EITHER MORE CLUB SEATS OR SUITES THAT WOULD HANG OVER THE STANDS BEHIND THE SOUTH END ZONE. THERE'S ALSO TALK ABOUT ADDING A CLUB LOUNGE THAT WOULD BE ACCESSIBLE TO FANS IN LOWER LEVEL SEATS ALONG THE EAST SIDELINE.

A UNIVERSITY STUDY RANKING STATES FOR THEIR MANUFACTURING ENVIRONMENT GIVES LOUISIANA AN "F" GRADE FOR ITS ABILITY TO PROVIDE A SKILLED WORKFORCE. THE BALL STATE UNIVERSITY REPORT RATES THE STATE'S ABILITY TO ATTRACT AND RETAIN SKILLED WORKERS AS POOR. LSU ECONOMIST DR. LOREN SCOTT SAYS THE REMEDY LIES IN IMPROVING K-12 EDUCATION. SCOTT SAYS THE STATE'S HIGH SCHOOL DROP-OUT RATE IS A DISCOURAGEMENT TO MANY COMPANIES, WHO WOULD NEED AN EDUCATED WORKFORCE--READY FOR TRAINING. HE SAYS SUBSTANCE ABUSE IS ALSO A FACTOR.

CHARGES ARE UPGRADED AGAINST AN ABBEVILLE MAN WHO WAS ALLEGEDLY DRIVING DRUNK WHEN HE SLAMMED INTO ANOTHER CAR HEAD-ON EARLIER THIS MONTH. STATE POLICE SPOKESMAN STEPHEN HAMMONS SAYS 23-YEAR-OLD EMILY LANDRY WAS THE DRIVER OF THE OTHER VEHICLE THAT 51-YEAR-OLD GREGORY MENARD HIT. SHE DIED IN THE CRASH. THE PASSENGER IN MENARD'S VEHICLE, HIS OLDER BROTHER, ALSO DIED WHEN HE WAS EJECTED FROM THE VEHICLE. HAMMONS SAYS THIS IS MENARD'S FOURTH OFFENSE DWI.

ISLE OF CAPRI CASINOS HAS REACHED AN OPTION AGREEMENT WITH A COMPANY THAT WANTS TO BUY ONE OF ITS TWO RIVERBOAT CASINOS IN LAKE CHARLES AND MOVE IT TO BOSSIER CITY. CURRENTLY, THERE ARE FOUR RIVERBOAT CASINOS IN BOSSIER CITY AND A FIFTH IN NEIGHBORING SHREVEPORT, ALONG WITH A SLOT MACHINE CASINO AT THE LOUISIANA DOWNS RACE TRACK IN BOSSIER CITY.

MARINE SCIENTISTS ARE PREDICTING THE ANNUAL DEAD ZONE IN THE GULF OF MEXICO COULD REACH A RECORD SIZE OF 9,500 SQUARE MILES. DR. GENE TURNER LSU PROFESSOR OF OCEANOGRAPHY AND COASTAL SCIENCES SAYS FERTILIZER RUNOFF FROM MIDWEST FARMS THAT CAME DOWN THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER WITH THE FLOOD THIS SPRING WILL CAUSE THE AREA OF LOW OXYGEN TO GROW. DR. TURNER SAYS IT COULD LEAD TO THE LARGEST DEAD ZONE EVER.

SHREVEPORT REPRESENTATIVE ALAN SEABAUGH HAS WITHDRAWN HIS BILL REQUIRING CANDIDATES FOR PRESIDENT AND OTHER OFFICES TO PROVE THEIR U.S. CITIZENSHIP BEFORE THEIR NAMES COULD BE PLACED ON A LOUISIANA BALLOT. SEABAUGH SAYS HE DIDN'T HAVE THE VOTES TO GET THE SO-CALLED "BIRTHER" BILL OUT OF THE COMMITTEE.

MONROE CITY POLICE SAY TWO MEN ARE IN CUSTODY AFTER THEY SHOWED UP AT A LOCAL CHURCH FOR THE PURPOSE OF COMMITTING ROBBERY. POLICE SPOKESPERSON CAPT. EVELYN ROBINSON SAYS WHEN CHURCH-GOERS GOT BACK TO THEIR SEATS THEY NOTICED THEIR CELLPHONES AND OTHER THINGS WERE MISSING. SHE SAYS 28-YEAR-OLD CHRISTOPHER NOBELS AND 27-YEAR-OLD VERDELL WYATT, BOTH OF MONROE, WERE ARRESTED FOR THEFT. ROBINSON SAYS IT'S GOOD TO BE MINDFUL OF YOUR THINGS BEING STOLEN EVEN IN A PLACE LIKE CHURCH.



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