News for Wednesday 082014
By Dave Graichen
Judge Todd Hernandez sided with Common Core proponents, Tuesday, and lifted the Jindal administration’s suspension of testing contracts tied to the controversial education standards. This lawsuit was filed by teachers and parents who claim Governor Jindal overstepped his Constitutional authority when he halted the implementation of Common Core. In his written ruling, Hernandez says it would be a detriment to teachers, students, and schools if he did not rule as he did. The governor’s office says the judge’s ruling is wrong and they will appeal.
The Alexandria City Council voted 4 to 3 at it meeting yesterday to pay more than $1.3 million to a Baton Rouge attorney for work he did in the city's lawsuit against Cleco. But, there’s a slight problem. The City Charter won't allow a payment to be made as quickly as a federal judge would like. The action comes in the wake of a federal court order issued Friday by U.S. District Judge Dee Drell that the city had five business days to pay Davidson or else representatives of the U.S. Marshal's Office would seize the funds from Alexandria's Utility System Enterprise Fund. It’s hoped the Council’s vote will appease the judge until the council can vote to write the check. That will happen at the September 2nd meeting.
Fort Polk Progress and its chairman Michael Reese are energizing efforts to save the Vernon Parish army base from impending major budget cuts. Reese was on Talkradio 970 KSYL and spoke to the Alexandria Rotary Club yesterday in an effort to get cenla residents involved in the movement by signing letters and petitions which will be sent to top army officials in Washington, D.C. The deadline for submissions is Aug. 25, but Reese and local business leaders urge citizens to sign the letters now, rather than later. You can find a link to the petition and letters on the ksyl.com website.
State Police Bureau of Investigations Special Victims Unit has arrested a Leesville man for attempted aggravated rape and trafficking of children for sexual purposes. Sixty-six year old Ernest Kickel Jr was allegedly attempting to buy a 10 year-old for sexual purposes. His bond was set at 1.5 million dollars.
Louisiana Attorney General – Buddy Caldwell – filed a lawsuit Tuesday against State Farm claiming the insurance company has created a culture of unsafe business practices when it comes to vehicle repairs. Assistant A-G Randy Ishee says there are multiple cases where State Farm forced shops to use sub-standard parts. State Farm says the accusations are not in line with its mission and history of vehicle safety advancements.
Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell filed a lawsuit today against State Farm claiming the insurance company has created a culture of unsafe business practices when it comes to vehicle repairs. In a written statement, State Farm says the accusations in the lawsuit are not in line with its mission and history of vehicle safety advancements. But Assistant A-G Randy Ishee says State Farm steers its customers involved in a car accident to repair shops where the primary goal is cost-savings and not safety. State Farm holds the largest share of auto insurance policies in Louisiana.
Gov. Bobby Jindal wants the Legislature to repeal a state law he signed that provides State Police Col. Mike Edmonson with enhanced retirement benefits. Jindal’s press secretary on Tuesday released a statement outlining Jindal’s position. The governor was quoted as saying they did not know the legislation affected only two people. The governor says the Legislature shouldn’t have handled the issue the way they did and that they should fix it next session. The enhancement , valued at $300,000 for Edmonson and another trooper, was approved by legislators June 2 in the waning minutes of the legislative session without mention of its impact. Jindal signed the bill into law on June 23.
Qualifying is underway today for November’s congressional elections. Two competitive races will happen in the fifth and sixth districts. The sixth district race is headlined by Democratic former governor Edwin Edwards running for the seat against Republicans Dan Claitor, Paul Dietzel, Garrett Graves, and Lenar Whitney among others. LSU Political Science Professor Robert Hogan says while it’s likely Edwards will make the runoff, the other slot is up for grabs. In the fifth district, embattled incumbent Vance McAllister’s challengers include Democratic Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo and Republicans Ralph Abraham, Harris Brown, and Zach Dasher. Hogan feels McAllister is facing an uphill battle.
A former LSU football player is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to three counts of attempted second-degree murder in a 2011 shooting at a Port Allen truck stop. Demetri Robinson, 5223 Sand Drive, Port Allen, entered his plea in the 18th Judicial District Court on Monday, a day before he was to stand trial for shooting several employees at the Cajun Circus Casino truck stop on Sept. 18, 2011. Robinson, who is now 32, will be sentenced Nov. 5. He faces a maximum sentence of 50 years in prison. Robinson shot a cashier and then fired shots at two other employees after employees asked him to leave the casino on U.S. 190.
Covington Police have arrested the brother of St. Tammany Parish District Attorney Walter Reed on charges of sexual battery. Police Chief Tim Lentz says Richard Reed allegedly assaulted an intoxicated woman earlier this month at a restaurant, and authorities saw the surveillance video.
A dog attack Monday night in Houma has a 71 year-old woman in the hospital with severe lacerations to her face, arms and hands. Houma Police Chief Todd Duplantis says there were two dogs inside her residence, and the male dog – who belonged to the victim’s son-was the one who attacked her. Duplantis says they are still investigating what provoked the attack.
According to “The New York Times”, Louisiana leads the nation in the percentage of residents born in-state. The data shows that in 2012, 79 percent of Louisiana residents were actually born in Bayou State. Nevada has the least native residents with just 25 percent born in-state.