KSYL Local News

News For Thursday 06/30/11


NEWS FOR THURSDAY 063011
DAVE GRAICHEN

FORMER ALEXANDRIA CITY ATTORNEY KELVIN SANDERS WAS THE LONE WITNESS WEDNESDAY IN A TRIAL IN U.S. DISTRICT COURT IN ALEXANDRIA TO DETERMINE IF ATTORNEYS BRIDGETT BROWN, JOHN SHARP AND CRAIG DAVIDSON DESERVE TO BE PAID FOR WORK THEY SAID THEY DID IN THE IN THE CITY’S FRAUD LAWSUIT AGAINST CLECO.. SANDERS TOLD THE JUDGE HE HIRED BROWN BECAUSE OF HER COURTROOM EXPERIENCE AND HER ABILITY TO INFLUENCE BLACK CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS AND OTHERS IN THE COMMUNITY. HE ALSO ACKNOWLEDGED THAT BROWN NEVER WROTE ANY LEGAL LETTERS OR OTHER DOCUMENTS IN THE 2005 ALEXANDRIA V. CLECO CASE, AND HAD NO EXPERIENCE IN COURT LITIGATION INVOLVING UTILITIES. THERE WAS NO JURY; U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE DEE DRELL ALONE WILL DECIDE IF THE ATTORNEYS ARE PAID AND HOW MUCH.

REPUBLICAN U.S. SEN. DAVID VITTER IS SUPPORTING HIS FELLOW GOP STATE LEADER, GOV. BOBBY JINDAL, IN HIS RE-ELECTION BID. THAT IN SHARP CONTRAST TO JINDAL'S REFUSAL TO PUBLICLY BACK VITTER A YEAR AGO IN HIS SENATE RACE. VITTER RELEASED AN EMAIL TO HIS SUPPORTERS WEDNESDAY ANNOUNCING HIS JINDAL ENDORSEMENT. JINDAL DIDN'T ENDORSE VITTER IN HIS RE-ELECTION EFFORT LAST YEAR AGAINST DEMOCRAT CHARLIE MELANCON, AN ELECTION THAT CAME THREE YEARS AFTER VITTER WAS TAINTED BY A 2007 PROSTITUTION SCANDAL. VITTER EASILY WON A SECOND TERM WITHOUT THE GOVERNOR'S BACKING. WHILE NOT OVER EMPHASIZING HIS PRAISE OF THE GOVERNOR, VITTER'S SAID JINDAL IS "HONEST AND COMPETENT. HE WANTS TO MAKE GOVERNMENT LEANER AND SMARTER, NOT MORE BLOATED AND INTRUSIVE. VITTER SAIS THAT’S A PATH WE MUST STAY ON.

THE AMERICAN AUTOMOBILE ASSOCIATION IS PREDICTING A SLIGHT DECREASE IN THE NUMBER OF TRAVELERS FOR THIS FOURTH OF JULY COMPARED TO LAST YEAR. TRIPLE-A SPOKESPERSON DON REDMAN SAYS HIGH GAS PRICES ARE CONTRIBUTING IN THE TWO-AND-A-HALF PERCENT DECREASE IN TRAVELERS. THE CURRENT STATEWIDE AVERAGE FOR A GALLON OF REGULAR GASOLINE IS $3.43. REDMAN SAYS OVERALL THEY'RE PROJECTING 39 MILLION AMERICANS WILL TRAVEL 50 MILES OR MORE FROM HOME THIS WEEKEND.

LOUISIANA STATE TROOPERS ARE PLANNING A BUSY FOURTH OF JULY WEEKEND KEEPING AN EYE ON HOLIDAY DRIVERS. TROOPERS AND OTHER POLICE OFFICERS IN THE STATE WILL BE USING OVERTIME GRANTS FOR EXTRA PATROLS AND CHECKPOINTS FOR DRUNKEN DRIVERS. STATE POLICE SAY THEY'LL ALSO BE FOCUSING ON MOTORISTS NOT WEARING SEAT BELTS, UNRESTRAINED CHILDREN IN VEHICLES, SPEEDERS AND DRIVERS FOLLOWING TOO CLOSELY. ACCORDING TO THE LOUISIANA HIGHWAY SAFETY COMMISSION, IN 2007, 16 PEOPLE WERE KILLED ACROSS LOUISIANA IN HIGHWAY CRASHES OVER THE FOURTH OF JULY HOLIDAY. THAT FIGURE FELL TO EIGHT IN 2008, TWO IN 2009 AND TWO IN 2010.
BOTH OF LAST YEAR'S HOLIDAY DEATHS INVOLVED ALCOHOL.

SEVEN LOUISIANA PARISHES ARE NOW UNDER A USDA DROUGHT DISASTER DECLARATION. STATE AGRICULTURE COMMISSIONER MIKE STRAIN SAYS THE DECLARATION COVERS BEAUREGARD, CADDO, CALCASIEU, CAMERON, DESOTO, SABINE AND VERNON PARISHES. STRAIN SAYS FARMERS WITHIN THOSE SEVEN PARISHES WILL BE ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE FEDERAL ASSISTANCE IN THE FORM OF FARM SERVICE AGENCY EMERGENCY LOANS AND SUPPLEMENTAL REVENUE ASSISTANCE PAYMENTS. THE DISASTER DECLARATION WAS ANNOUNCED BY USDA SECRETARY TOM VILSACK IN RESPONSE TO THE WORST DROUGHT ON RECORD SINCE 1895. STRAIN SAYS FARMERS IN THE SEVEN AFFECTED PARISHES HAVE 8 MONTHS TO APPLY FOR AID, BUT HE ADVISES THEM NOT TO WAIT.

THE LONG DROUGHT AND LOCAL FIREWORKS BANS ARE MAKING LIFE TOUGH FOR THOSE WHO MAKE A LIVING SELLING SKYROCKETS AND SPARKLERS THIS JULY 4TH WEEKEND. RON HATHORN (HATH-ORN), OWNER OF THE HOLIDAY STORES IN THE SHREVEPORT-BOSSIER AREA, SAYS THE LOCAL FIREWORKS BAN IN EFFECT MEANS BIG LOSSES FOR HIS BUSINESS THIS YEAR. LOCAL AUTHORITIES SAY THEY'LL RE-EVALUATE THE FIREWORKS BAN TODAY;
LOOKING AT RECENT RAINS AND OTHER WEATHER FACTORS THAT MAY MAKE FIREWORKS LESS OF A THREAT. HATHORN SAYS HE AND HIS STAFF ARE HOPEFUL THEY'LL BE ABLE TO SELL FIREWORKS STARTING FRIDAY.

BOATERS WHO ARE UNDER THE AGE OF 21 AND DRINKING ILLEGALLY WILL NOW BE SUBJECT TO PUBLIC POSSESSION LAWS. THE GOVERNOR SIGNED THE MEASURE WEDNESDAY.
SPONSORS OF THE BILL IN THE JUST-ENDED LEGISLATIVE SESSION SAID IT WAS DESIGNED TO CLARIFY THAT EXISTING UNDERAGE DRINKING PROHIBITIONS APPLY TO WATERWAYS.
THE MEASURE BY REPUBLICAN REP. EDDIE LAMBERT, OF GONZALES, ALSO REWRITES THE STATE'S CARELESS OPERATION OF A WATERCRAFT LAW, WHICH CARRIES A FINE UP TO $300 OR A JAIL SENTENCE OF UP TO A MONTH.

LOUISIANA'S PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARIES WILL BE PUSHED BACK FROM FEBRUARY TO MARCH.
GOV. BOBBY JINDAL SIGNED THE BILL WEDNESDAY TO SHIFT THE PRIMARY DATE. DURING THE JUST-ENDED LEGISLATIVE SESSION, LAWMAKERS HAD SAID WITHOUT THE CHANGE, THE STATE'S REPRESENTATION AT NATIONAL PARTY CONVENTIONS IN 2012 WOULD BE JEOPARDIZED. REPUBLICAN REP. ALAN SEABAUGH SAID THE REPUBLICAN PARTY OF LOUISIANA WOULD LOSE HALF ITS DELEGATES TO THE GOP'S NATIONAL CONVENTION NEXT YEAR AND THE LOUISIANA DEMOCRATIC PARTY WOULD LOSE ALL OF ITS DELEGATES TO THE DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION — UNLESS THE DATES WERE MOVED.
THE MEASURE WILL SWITCH THE DATE OF THE PRIMARY TO THE THIRD SATURDAY AFTER THE FIRST TUESDAY IN MARCH, SIMILAR TO WHERE IT WAS BEFORE THE 2008 PRIMARY.

A JUDGE IN SHREVEPORT HAS ORDERED THE DEATH PENALTY FOR A MAN CONVICTED OF KILLING A PREGNANT TEENAGER. TWENTY-YEAR-OLD LAMONDRE TUCKER WAS CONVICTED IN MARCH OF KILLING HIS 18-YEAR-OLD EX-GIRLFRIEND PROSECUTORS SAID TUCKER KILLED THE WOMAN BECAUSE SHE TOLD HIM SHE WAS PREGNANT WITH HIS CHILD. DNA TESTING LATER DETERMINED TUCKER WASN'T THE FATHER OF THE VICTIM'S UNBORN BABY.

SPORTING NEWS RANKS LSU NUMBER ONE IN ITS PRESEASON RANKING OF ALL 120 TEAMS IN DIVISION ONE-A COLLEGE FOOTBALL. LSU SPORTS INFORMATION DIRECTOR MICHAEL BONNETTE SAYS THE PRESEASON PUBLICATIONS HAVE THE TIGERS RANKED HIGH BASED ON AN IMPRESSIVE WIN OVER TEXAS A-AND-M IN THE COTTON BOWL AND 16 STARTERS RETURNING THIS SEASON.

SPORTS..

SPORTING NEWS RANKS LSU NUMBER ONE IN ITS PRESEASON RANKING OF ALL 120 TEAMS IN DIVISION ONE-A COLLEGE FOOTBALL. SEVERAL OF LSU'S 2011 OPPONENTS ARE RANKED IN THE TOP 25 ACCORDING TO THE SPORTING NEWS POLL. ALABAMA IS THIRD, OREGON FIFTH, ARKANSAS 11TH, AUBURN 18TH, MISSISSIPPI STATE 20TH AND WEST VIRGINIA 22ND. LSU SPORTS INFORMATION DIRECTOR MICHAEL BONNETTE SAYS ITS A DAUNTING SCHEDULE.

LSU WOMEN'S BASKETBALL HEAD COACH NIKKI CALDWELL HAS ANNOUNCED A MAJOR SIGN OR THE LADY TIGERS 2011-2012 SEASON. HIGHLY-TOUTED HIGH SCHOOL PROSPECT SHELIA BOYKIN IS A 6-FOOT-2 FORWARD FROM LOS ANGELES. THE LADY TIGERS NOW HAVE TWO OF THE NATION'S TOP 30 INCOMING FRESHMAN WHO ARE ELIGIBLE TO COMPETE FOR THE SEASON STARTING THIS YEAR.

FOLLOWING THREE DAYS OF MEETINGS BETWEEN THEIR LEGAL TEAMS IN MINNESOTA, THE OWNERS AND PLAYERS HAVE DECIDED TO MEET FACE TO FACE THEMSELVES TO DISCUSS NEGOTIATIONS OF THE NFL LOCKOUT. THE NFL NETWORK IS REPORTING THAT TODAY'S MEETINGS IN MINNEAPOLIS WILL FEATURE A SELECT GROUP OF OWNERS AND A SELECT GROUP OF PLAYERS AS WELL AS COMMISSIONER ROGER GOODELL AND LAWYERS. WE ASSUME THIS IS A GOOD SIGN THAT THINGS ARE MOVING ALONG.

IF YOU'RE PLANNING ON ATTENDING THE SEPTEMBER 3RD GAME AGAINST LSU AND OREGON IN DALLAS, YOU MAY HAVE TO STAND AT COWBOYS STADIUM. CLOSE TO 80,000 TICKETS HAVE ALREADY BEEN SOLD FOR THE COWBOYS CLASSIC, AND STANDING ROOM ONLY TICKETS WILL LIKELY GO ON SALE NEXT MONTH. LSU FANS BROKE A SCHOOL RECORD FOR A REGULAR-SEASON ROAD GAME BY PURCHASING THE THE ENTIRE SCHOOL'S ALLOTMENT OF 37,000 TICKETS.

SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA FOOTBALL COACH MIKE LUCAS ANNOUNCED WEDNESDAY THAT QUARTERBACK NATHAN STANLEY, FORMERLY OF OLE MISS, HAS TRANSFERRED TO PLAY FOR THE LIONS STARTING THIS SEASON. IN TWO SEASONS AT OLE MISS, STANELY COMPLETED 28-OF-55 PASSES FOR 424 YARDS AND FOUR TOUCHDOWNS.

GRAMBLING STATE ANNOUNCED THE RESIGNATION OF ATHLETIC DIRECTOR LIN DAWSON. GSU PRESIDENT FRANK POGUE HAS APPOINTED AARON JAMES TO SERVE AS INTERIM AD. HEAD FOOTBALL COACH DOUG WILLIAMS SAYS THE MOVE "SPEAKS FOR ITSELF AND IS IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE DEPARTMENT."



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