KSYL Local News

News For Wednesday 062911


NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY 062911
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

THE CITY OF ALEXANDRIA’S CASE AGAINST CLECO WAS SETTLED OVER A YEAR AGO. BUT STILL ATTORNEYS WHO REPRESENTED THE CITY IN THE CASE SAY THEY HAVE NOT BEEN PAID. A TRIAL BEGINS TODAY TO DETERMINE WHETHER OR NOT AND HOW MUCH BRIDGETT BROWN AND TWO OTHER ATTORNEYS SHOULD BE PAID FOR WORK THEY SAID THEY PERFORMED IN ALEXANDRIA'S FRAUD LAWSUIT AGAINST CLECO CORP. THE CIVIL TRIAL, SCHEDULED FOR TODAY AND THURSDAY IN U.S. DISTRICT COURT IN ALEXANDRIA. U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE DEE DRELL WILL PRESIDE AND MAKE THE FINAL DETERMINATION ON PAYMENT IF ANY.

FORECASTERS SAY TROPICAL STORM ARLENE IS SLOWLY ORGANIZING AND IS EXPECTED TO STRENGTHEN IN THE GULF OF MEXICO AS IT MOVES TOWARD MEXICO. TROPICAL STORM WARNINGS HAVE BEEN ISSUED FOR THE NORTHERN PART OF MEXICO. THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER IN MIAMI SAYS ARLENE IS ABOUT 190 MILES EAST OF TAMPICO, MEXICO AND HAS MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS OF 40 MPH AND IS MOVING WEST-NORTHWEST NEAR 8 MPH. ARLENE IS THE FIRST NAMED STORM OF THE ATLANTIC HURRICANE SEASON.
THE MAIN THREAT TO MEXICO IS HEAVY RAINS THAT COULD CAUSE FLASH FLOODS AND MUDSLIDES. FORECASTERS SAY EXTREME SOUTH TEXAS ALSO COULD GET SOME RAIN.

TELECOMMUNICATIONS PROVIDER CENTURYLINK INC. WILL EXPAND ITS MONROE HEADQUARTERS AND EXPAND ITS PAYROLL IN LOUISIANA BY 800 OVER THE NEXT FIVE YEARS UNDER A STATE INCENTIVE AGREEMENT ANNOUNCED TUESDAY. THE ADDITIONAL POSITIONS WILL BE ADDED TO A 350-JOB EXPANSION ANNOUNCED IN 2009. THE STATE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AGENCY SAID THE JOBS WOULD AVERAGE ABOUT $65,000 ANNUALLY.
CENTURYLINK CURRENTLY HAS 1,970 EMPLOYEES IN LOUISIANA. THE STATE IS PROVIDING AN INCENTIVE PACKAGE INCLUDING A GRANT OF $14.9 MILLION TO COVER HALF OF THE COST TO BUILD OR LEASE ADDITIONAL SPACE AND A $3.3 MILLION GRANT TO REIMBURSE RELOCATION COSTS.

THE REMAPPING OF THE LOUISIANA SENATE'S 39 DISTRICTS RECEIVED FEDERAL CLEARANCE TUESDAY, PAVING THE WAY FOR USE OF THE REDESIGNED SEATS IN THE FALL ELECTION ALONG WITH THE 105 HOUSE DISTRICTS THAT ALREADY HAD WON APPROVAL. THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE ANNOUNCED THE DECISION IN A LETTER SENT TO SENATE PRESIDENT JOEL CHAISSON. LOUISIANA'S ELECTION DISTRICTS REQUIRE APPROVAL FROM FEDERAL OFFICIALS UNDER THE 1965 VOTING RIGHTS ACT, TO ENSURE THAT THEY ARE FREE OF DISCRIMINATION AGAINST MINORITIES.

THE GOVERNOR HAS SIGNED A BILL DOUBLING THE TAX DEDUCTION FOR PARENTS PAYING PRIVATE SCHOOL TUITION AND OTHER EXPENSES. TARA CUNNINGHAM WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE SAYS THE DEDUCTION APPLIES FOR UNIFORMS, SCHOOL SUPPLIES AND STUDY MATERIALS FOR ALL PRIMARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS. SHE SAYS THE NEW DEDUCTION WOULD BEGIN WITH THE 2011 TAX YEAR.

THE DIRECTOR OF THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE OF HOMELAND SECURITY & EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS HAS RESIGNED, TO TAKE A PRIVATE SECTOR JOB. GOHSEP DIRECTOR MARK COOPER SAYS HE'S ACCEPTED A POSITION AS HEAD OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT FOR THE ENTIRE WAL-MART CHAIN. COOPER'S EXIT COMES AS THE 2011 ATLANTIC HURRICANE SEASON IS JUST STARTING TO WARM UP. COOPER SAYS DEPUTY DIRECTOR PAT SANTOS WILL TAKE OVER AS INTERIM DIRECTOR, AND HE FEELS THE DEPARTMENT IS IN VERY CAPABLE HANDS. COOPER WAS DEPUTY FIRE CHIEF OF LOS ANGELES COUNTY BEFORE COMING TO GOHSEP IN 2007.

FORMER LEESVILLE POLICE CHIEF BOBBY HICKMAN WAS ARRESTED AT HIS HOME BY THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION FRIDAY, SAID VERNON PARISH SHERIFF SAM CRAFT.
LEESVILLE MAYOR ROBERT ROSE SAID THE ARREST STEMS FROM AN INVESTIGATION INTO HICKMAN'S TENURE AS POLICE CHIEF. HICKMAN WAS TERMINATED EARLIER THIS YEAR.
THE VERNON PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE ASSISTED THE FBI IN SERVING TWO WARRANTS FOR HICKMAN'S ARREST. NEITHER ROSE NOR CRAFT KNEW WHAT CHARGES HICKMAN FACES.

AN ORGANIZATION OF INSURANCE INVESTIGATORS SAYS IT WILL ADD $10,000 TO A MEMORIAL FUND ESTABLISHED TO HONOR TWO LOUISIANA INSURANCE FRAUD INVESTIGATORS. THE AGENTS WERE GUNNED DOWN EARLIER THIS MONTH IN VILLE PLATTE. THE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF SPECIAL INVESTIGATION UNITS RECENTLY AUTHORIZED THE DONATION TO THE FUND CREATED BY THE LOUISIANA INSURANCE DEPARTMENT AFTER RHETT JEANSONNE AND KIM SLEDGE WERE KILLED. SLEDGE AND JEANSONNE HAD BEEN ON WHAT APPEARED TO BE A ROUTINE ASSIGNMENT TO COLLECT RECORDS FROM A SUSPENDED INSURANCE AGENT IN VILLE PLATTE ON JUNE 7. BUT THE AGENT SHOT THE INVESTIGATORS AND THEN KILLED HIMSELF.

LOUISIANA STATE GOVERNMENT AGENCIES SPENT MORE THAN $8 MILLION ON CELL PHONES AND WIRELESS DEVICES LAST YEAR, AND AN AUDIT SAYS A QUARTER OF THOSE DEVICES WEREN'T USED FOR 10 TO 11 MONTHS. MORE THAN 9,900 WORKERS — OR 11 PERCENT OF STATE EMPLOYEES — HAVE A STATE-ISSUED CELL PHONE, WIRELESS BROADBAND CARD OR OTHER WIRELESS DEVICE, ACCORDING TO A REVIEW BY THE LEGISLATIVE AUDITOR’S OFFICE. MORE THAN A QUARTER OF THE DEVICES HAD NO ACTIVITY FOR 10 OR MORE MONTHS BUT STILL COST THE STATE NEARLY $591,000. SOME ARE STOCKPILED FOR DISASTER RECOVERY NEEDS, BUT OTHERS JUST WEREN'T MONITORED, THE AUDIT SAYS.
THE GOVERNOR'S FINANCIAL OFFICE SAYS STATE AGENCIES WILL DEVELOP POLICIES TO MONITOR THE USE OF WIRELESS DEVICES AND CANCEL THOSE THAT AREN'T NEEDED.

THE PROPOSED EDWIN EDWARDS REALITY SHOW IS FAR FROM A DONE DEAL ACCORDING TO THE FORMER GOVERNOR'S BIOGRAPHER. LEO HONEYCUTT SAYS, IN CONVERSATION WITH EDWARDS, HE WAS TOLD THE TALKS ARE STILL IN THE VERY EARLY STAGES. EDWARDS WILL BE A COMPLETELY FREE MAN ON JULY 6TH. HONEYCUTT SAYS EDWARDS STILL DOESN'T KNOW WHAT ASPECTS OF HIS LIFE THE PRODUCER WOULD LIKE TO HIGHLIGHT IN THE SERIES.

BY THE WAY, IF YOU'RE ONE OF THE THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE THAT HAVE "MADE FRIENDS" WITH FORMER GOVERNOR EDWIN EDWARDS ON FACEBOOK, YOU MAY NOTICE THAT HIS RELATIONSHIP STATUS IS "ENGAGED." EDWARDS MET TRINA SCOTT OF ALEXANDRIA WHILE HE WAS STILL IN PRISON. EDWARDS IS 83 YEARS OLD AND SCOTT IS IN HER 30S.

STATE POLICE SAY THE MAN WHO HAD PIPE BOMBS IN HIS PICKUP TRUCK WHEN HE CRASHED IN LAFOURCHE PARISH MONDAY, PLANNED TO USE THEM TO CELEBRATE THE 4TH OF JULY. STATE TROOPER BRYAN ZERINGUE SAYS ONCE 53-YEAR-OLD TONY BARISICH (BEAR-UH-SICH) IS OUT OF THE HOSPITAL HE FACES 10 FELONY CHARGES OF MANUFACTURING AND POSSESSING THE BOMBS . TROOPERS AND ATF AGENTS SECURED THE PIPE BOMBS AND DISPOSED OF THEM UNDER CONTROLLED CONDITIONS.

God Bless America!

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