KSYL Local News

news For Friday 070111


NEWS FOR FRIDAY 070111
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

A NEW FISCAL YEAR BUDGET TAKES EFFECT TODAY. THE GOVERNOR'S POINT MAN ON THE BUDGET, PAUL RAINWATER SAYS THE NEW SPENDING PLAN WILL CREATE A GOVERNMENT THAT IS LEANER, SMALLER AND MORE EFFICIENT. THE NEW BUDGET CALLS FOR REDUCING THE PAYROLL BY 4000 STATE JOBS. MOST WERE TAKEN CARE OF THROUGH ATTRITION BUT NEARLY 17-HUNDRED INVOLVED TRANSFERS AND TERMINATIONS. WHILE FUNDING FOR ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION STAYS THE SAME, CHANGES TO THE LA GRAD ACT WILL MEAN SOME NEW FUNDS AVAILABLE FOR HIGHER EDUCATION.

MEMBERS OF THE PINEVILLE CITY COUNCIL GAVE THE GREEN LIGHT TO THEIR NEW CITY BUDGET YESTERDAY. THE BUDGET, WHICH STARTS TODAY, REQUIRED THE NEED TO DIP INTO THE CITY’S SURPLUS BANK ACCOUNT TO BE BALANCED. IT’S HOPED THE RECENT DROP OFF IN CITY TAX REVENUE WILL REVERSE IN THE NEAR FUTURE.

FORMER BALL MAYOR ROY HEBRON IS NOW BEHIND BARS AT THE FEDERAL PRISON CAMP IN PENSACOLA, FLORIDA. HE BEGAN A FOUR-YEAR SENTENCE THERE ON MONDAY. HEBRON PLEADED GUILTY EARLY THIS YEAR TO CONSPIRACY TO DEFRAUD THE U.S. GOVERNMENT AFTER A LONG FEDERAL INVESTIGATION INTO TOWN OF BALL ACTIVITIES FOLLOWING HURRICANE GUSTAV IN 2008.

MORE THAN 87 STATEWIDE LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES ARE TAKING PART IN A CRACKDOWN ON DWI DRIVING OVER THE 4TH OF JULY HOLIDAY WEEKEND. STATE POLICE SPOKESMAN LT. DOUG CAIN SAYS THIS KIND OF ENFORCEMENT HAS REDUCED DEATHS TO JUST 2 FOR EACH OF THE LAST TWO YEARS--COMPARED WITH 16 IN 2007. CAIN SAYS THE GOAL IS ZERO TRAFFIC DEATHS THIS YEAR.

GOVERNOR JINDAL ANNOUNCES ANOTHER BOON TO THE ECONOMY OF NORTHEAST LOUISIANA. THE GOVERNOR SAYS ANGUS CHEMICAL, A SUBSIDIARY OF DOW, PLANS A MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR MODERNIZATION OF IT'S FACILITY IN OUACHITA PARISH. JINDAL SAYS ANGUS WILL INVEST NEARLY $11-MILLION IN THE UPGRADE. HE SAYS THE STATE'S FAIRLY NEW RETENTION AND MODERNIZATION TAX CREDIT HELPED TO MAKE ANGUS' GROWTH POSSIBLE. ANGUS EXPECTS TO HAVE IT'S EXPANSION COMPLETED BY NOVEMBER OF THIS YEAR, AND WILL NEED TO HIRE ABOUT 50 CONSTRUCTION WORKERS.

GOVERNOR JINDAL HAS SIGNED A BILL INTO LAW THAT WOULD GIVE SOME ELDERLY, NON-VIOLENT INMATES A CHANCE AT EARLY RELEASE FROM PRISON. BATON ROUGE REPRESENTATIVE PAT SMITH SAYS THIS BILL WILL SAVE THE STATE MONEY AS 47-PERCENT OF CURRENT STATE INMATES ARE NON-VIOLENT OFFENDERS, OFTEN WITH LONG SENTENCES. SHE SAYS WHILE MAY NOT BE A SIGNIFICANT SAVINGS NOW, IT WILL END UP SAVING THE STATE MONEY DOWN THE ROAD.

ONLINE BETTING AND PHONE WAGERING FOR HORSE RACES WILL BE ALLOWED AT TRACKS AROUND LOUISIANA. GOV. BOBBY JINDAL SIGNED THE BILL INTO LAW THURSDAY, ALLOWING A PRACTICE THAT WAS ALREADY AVAILABLE FOR THE FAIR GROUNDS RACE COURSE IN NEW ORLEANS.

THE NEW INTERIM DIRECTOR OF THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE OF HOMELAND SECURITY AND EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS BRING YEARS OF HANDS ON EXPERIENCE TO THE JOB. AS DEPUTY DIRECTOR PAT SANTOS WAS POINT MAN DURING HURRICANES GUSTAV AND IKE, AS WELL AS THE GULF OIL SPILL, THE SPRING FLOOD IN THE MISSISSIPPI AND WINTER SNOWSTORMS. HE SAYS IT'S THE GOVERNOR'S DECISION, OF COURSE, BUT HE'D CERTAINLY BE INTERESTED IN RUNNING GOHSEP FULL TIME.

A SLAIN EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH CORONER'S OFFICER INVESTIGATOR HAD RESCRIPTION DRUGS AND DRIVER'S LICENSES AT HIS HOME THAT BELONGED TO PEOPLE WHOSE DEATHS HIS OFFICE HAD INVESTIGATED. EIGHT BOTTLES OF PRESCRIPTION DRUGS AND SEVERAL DRIVER'S LICENSES WERE FOUND IN DECEMBER DURING A SEARCH OF RAYMOND LEVIE'S APARTMENT. LEVIE SHARED THE APARTMENT WITH CANDACE JONES, THE 21-YEAR-OLD SISTER OF SHAWN JONES, THE MAN WHO SHOT LEVIE AND THEN SHOT HIMSELF AT A BUSY RESTAURANT ON JUNE 24, STONE SAID. POLICE ARE INVESTIGATING THE MOTIVE FOR THE SHOOTING.

THE PENDING DEBT CRISIS HAS LEAD THE US SENATE TO SKIP THE 4TH OF JULY BREAK AND STAY IN WASHINGTON. SENATOR DAVID VITTER WAS CRITICAL OF PRESIDENT OBAMA'S RECENT NATIONAL ADDRESS ON THE DEBT. HE SAYS THE PRESIDENT WAS LONG ON RHETORIC AND SHORT ON LEADERSHIP. VITTER SAYS AS LONG AS THE SENATE IS STAYING PUT THEY NEED TO GET SOMETHING ACCOMPLISHED.

A FEDERAL JUDGE HAS BLOCKED A SIERRA CLUB REQUEST TO JOIN A LAWSUIT FILED BY THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT AGAINST BP OVER LAST YEAR'S DISASTROUS GULF OIL SPILL. JUDGE SALLY SHUSHAN SAYS THE ENVIRONMENTAL GROUP CAN FILE BRIEFS WITH THE COURT TO MAKE ITS POSITIONS KNOWN AND, IF THERE IS A SETTLEMENT, IT WOULD BE ALLOWED TO PRESENT PUBLIC COMMENT. THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT HAD OBJECTED TO THE SIERRA CLUB'S MOTION TO INTERVENE.

GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL HAS SIGNED INTO LAW A BILL THAT WOULD ALLOW THE DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES TO REQUIRE CHILD SAFETY ALARMS BE EQUIPPED TO VEHICLES TRANSPORTING CHILDREN. THE BILL BY BATON ROUGE REP REGINA BARROW WILL TAKE EFFECT TODAY.

YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING. SURVEILLANCE CAMERAS HAVE SPOTTED TWO MEN SPOTTED STEALING MORE THAN 15-THOUSAND DOLLARS IN STEEL FROM A GONZALES INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX. THE THIEVES TOOK STAINLESS STEEL PIPING AND FLAT PLATE STEEL FROM A BUSINESS IN BROAD DAYLIGHT DURING A THREE-DAY PERIOD IN LATE MAY. INVESTIGATORS HAVE IDENTIFIED ONE OF THE MEN.

THE 17TH ANNUAL ESSENCE MUSIC FESTIVAL GETS UNDERWAY IN NEW ORLEANS TODAY. THE FESTIVAL IS HELD ANNUALLY OVER THE FOURTH OF JULY WEEKEND AND NEW ORLEANS MULTICULTURAL TOURISM PRESIDENT TONI RICE SAYS THE LINEUP THIS YEAR IS MORE IMPRESSIVE THAN EVER. MORE THAN 400,000 PEOPLE ATTENDED THE FESTIVAL IN 2010 AND CITY OFFICIALS SAY THE POPULAR EVENT WILL REMAIN IN NEW ORLEANS AT LEAST THROUGH 2014. RICE SAYS ESSENCE FEST GOERS WILL GET TO EXPERIENCE THE EXTENSIVE INDOOR LOUISIANA SUPERDOME RENOVATIONS FOR THE FIRST TIME.

THE LAKE PONTCHARTRAIN CAUSEWAY IS NO LONGER THE GUINNESS WORLD RECORD HOLDER FOR LONGEST BRIDGE OVER WATER. CHINA HAS JUST OPENED A BRIDGE THAT IS 26 MILES LONG WHICH IS 2 AND A HALF MILES LONGER THAN THE CAUSEWAY.

THE U.S. AGRICULTURE DEPARTMENT HAS DESIGNATED DESOTO AND RED RIVER PARISHES IN NORTHWESTERN LOUISIANA AS NATURAL DISASTER AREAS DUE TO TORNADOES IN LATE APRIL. THE AGENCY SAYS THE TWISTERS CAUSED SEVERE DAMAGE TO THE AREA'S BLUEBERRY CROP. FARMERS AND RANCHES IN NEARBY PARISHES ALSO QUALIFY FOR DISASTER ASSISTANCE. THOSE PARISHES ARE BIENVILLE, BOSSIER, CADDO, NATCHITOCHES AND SABINE. FARMERS AND RANCHERS IN ALL OF THE PARISHES COULD QUALIFY FOR LOW-INTEREST FEDERAL EMERGENCY LOANS. THEY HAVE EIGHT MONTHS TO APPLY.

GRAMBLING STATE UNIVERSITY HAS ANNOUNCED THE RESIGNATION OF ATHLETIC DIRECTOR LIN DAWSON. NO REASON WAS GIVEN FOR HIS RESIGNATION. GSU’S PRESIDENT HAS APPOINTED AARON JAMES TO SERVE AS INTERIM AD.

God Bless America!

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