KSYL Local News

News For Thursday 07/07/11


NEWS FOR THURSDAY 070711
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

CITY OF ALEXANDRIA OFFICIALS ARE WORKING TO FINALIZE PLANS FOR THE MANAGEMENT OF THE ALEXANDER FULTON HOTEL AT THE END OF NEXT WEEK. MAYOR JACQUES ROY SAID WEDNESDAY THAT CITY OFFICIALS "ARE IN COMPETITIVE DISCUSSIONS" WITH MULTIPLE FIRMS ABOUT THE FUTURE DIRECTION OF THE DOWNTOWN HOTELS INITIATIVE. ONE OF THOSE FIRMS, ACCORDING TO THE MAYOR, IS NOBLE HOSPITALITY. NOBEL RAN THE ALEXANDER FULTON FROM SEPTEMBER 2009 THROUGH JULY OF LAST YEAR. THE ORIGINAL PLAN WAS FOR ONE COMPANY TO PURCHASE BOTH HOTELS, THE FULTON AND THE BENTLEY. IT APPEARS NOW, THE CITY MAY BE RETHINKING THAT REQUIREMENT.

FORMER LOUISIANA GOV. BUDDY ROEMER, WHO HAS HIS SIGHTS SET ON THE PRESIDENCY IN 2012, WILL HOLD A PUBLIC RALLY SATURDAY IN BOSSIER CITY. IT IS EXPECTED ROEMER INTENDS TO ANNOUNCE HIS PRESIDENTIAL ASPIRATIONS AT THE RALLY. THE 67-YEAR-OLD ROEMER SERVED AS GOVERNOR FROM 1988 TO 1992 AND PREVIOUSLY WAS IN THE U.S. HOUSE.

THIS COULD TURN OUT TO BE A BIG DEAL. A POSSIBLE CHANGE IN HOW COST-OF-LIVING ADJUSTMENTS ARE CALCULATED FOR MILITARY RETIRED PAY MAY SOUND SMALL, AN AVERAGE 0.25 PERCENTAGE-POINT REDUCTION, BUT IT COULD RESULT IN BIG LIFETIME LOSSES. AN E-7 RETIRING THIS YEAR WITH 20 YEARS OF SERVICE WOULD, OVER 40 YEARS, RECEIVE $109,335 LESS IN RETIRED PAY, A 5.6 PERCENT LOSS. AN O-5 RETIRING THIS YEAR WITH 20 YEARS OF SERVICE WOULD RECEIVE $207,991 LESS OVER 40 YEARS, A 5.5 PERCENT DIFFERENCE. THE POTENTIAL COST-OF-LIVING CALCULATION CHANGE HAS BEEN UNDER DISCUSSION BY WHITE HOUSE OFFICIALS AND CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS AS PART OF A PACKAGE OF CUTS IN FEDERAL SPENDING, WITH TALKS UNDER WAY ON CAPITOL HILL AND AT THE WHITE HOUSE. IN ADDITION TO AFFECTING MILITARY PAY, IT WOULD APPLY TO FEDERAL CIVILIAN RETIRED PAY, SOCIAL SECURITY AND MOST LIKELY TO VETERANS DISABILITY AND SURVIVORS BENEFITS.

IF YOU DIDN'T GET A CHANCE TO SEE ANY FIREWORKS ON THE FOURTH, YOU'LL GET ANOTHER CHANCE THIS WEEKEND IN NATCHITOCHES. CITY PROMOTIONS DIRECTOR COURTNEY HORNSBY SAYS THE FIREWORKS SHOW WILL BE AT 9 O'CLOCK TOMORROW NIGHT ON THE SOUTHERN END OF THE DOWNTOWN RIVERBANK. HORNSBY SAYS THE SHOW WILL FEATURE A TASTE OF WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT IN NATCHITOCHES HISTORIC DISTRICT DURING THE HOLIDAY SEASON. THE BEST PLACE TO VIEW THE FIREWORKS SHOW, THEY SAY, RIGHT ON THE RIVERBANK.

CONGRESSMAN BILL CASSIDY AND FELLOW REPUBLICAN LAWMAKERS HAVE SENT A LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT, QUESTIONING HIS RELEASE OF 30-MILLION BARRELS OF OIL FROM THE STRATEGIC PETROLEUM RESERVE. CASSIDY UNDERSTANDS MR. OBAMA DID SO TO HELP RELIEVE HIGH GAS PRICES, BUT HE SAYS STRONGER DOMESTIC ENERGY POLICY WOULD HELP MORE. HOWEVER, SOME FEEL TAPPING THE SPR WAS A GOOD MOVE BY PRESIDENT OBAMA. LSU POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR DR. ROBERT HOGAN SAYS OBAMA RESPONDED TO THE WISHES OF THE PEOPLE IN RELEASING THE RESERVES, AND IT HAD THE DESIRED EFFECT. HOGAN SAYS THERE IS REALLY NOT A LOT A PRESIDENT CAN DO TO PRODUCE LOWER PRICES AT THE PUMP.

EFFORTS AIMED AT CUTTING THE COST OF LOUISIANA'S CORRECTIONAL SYSTEM AND LOWERING THE RATE RE-OFFENDERS ARE EXPECTED TO CONTINUE AFTER GOV. BOBBY JINDAL THIS WEEK SIGNED NEW LAWS DESIGNED AS BUILDING BLOCKS OF A BROADER SENTENCING REVAMP. THE LOUISIANA SENTENCING COMMISSION IS EXPECTED TO DEVELOP MORE IDEAS FOR 2012. EXPERTS SAY THE EFFECTIVENESS OF LOCAL DRUG COURTS, THE HARSHNESS OF NARCOTICS LAWS AND CASE INFORMATION AVAILABLE TO JUDGES MAY BE RIPE FOR REVIEW, AS LAWMAKERS CONTINUE TO LOOK FOR BUDGET CUTS.

AUTHORITIES SAY OAKDALE CITY MARSHAL CHAD DOYLE HAS BEEN BOOKED WITH FELONY THEFT AND MALFEASANCE. STATE INSPECTOR GENERAL STEPHEN STREET SAYS DOYLE WAS ARRESTED LATE LAST MONTH. HE IS ACCUSED OF MISAPPROPRIATING PUBLIC FUNDS FOR HIMSELF AND A WOMAN WHO IS NOT AN EMPLOYEE OF HIS OFFICE. HE IS ALSO ACCUSED OF SPENDING MONEY INTENDED AS PAYMENTS FOR COURT-ORDERED GARNISHMENTS TO COVER QUESTIONABLE OPERATING EXPENSES. DOYLE REMAINS CITY MARSHAL. IF HE IS CONVICTED OF A FELONY, HE MUST RESIGN FROM THE OFFICE.

POLICE SAY A 53-YEAR-OLD MAN HAS BEEN ARRESTED IN AN ATTEMPT TO HIRE AN UNDERCOVER OFFICER POSING AS A HIT MAN TO KILL TWO EUNICE RESIDENTS. AUTHORITIES SAY CHARLES KEITH RUNNELS OF EUNICE WAS ARRESTED SATURDAY ON TWO COUNTS OF SOLICITATION FOR MURDER AFTER HE MET WITH AN UNDERCOVER LAFAYETTE CITY POLICE OFFICER BROUGHT IN BY THE EUNICE POLICE TO POSE AS A HIT MAN FRIDAY.
POLICE COULD NOT SAY WHY RUNNELS WANTED THE TWO PEOPLE DEAD OR HOW RUNNELS KNEW THE TWO PEOPLE. THEIR IDENTITIES WERE NOT GIVEN.

STATE FARM FIRE AND CASUALTY CO., WHICH INSURES AROUND 30 PERCENT OF THE HOMES IN LOUISIANA, PLANS TO RAISE ITS HOMEOWNERS’ RATES AN AVERAGE OF 8.5 PERCENT STATEWIDE. STATE FARM’S FILING CONTAINS A NUMBER OF PROPOSED CHANGES, INCLUDING, USING CREDIT RATINGS AND THE LENGTH OF TIME A HOMEOWNER HAS INSURED THEIR VEHICLE WITH STATE FARM TO CALCULATE THE RATES FOR ALL POLICYHOLDERS. INTRODUCING AN OPTIONAL 4 PERCENT HURRICANE DEDUCTIBLE AND SPLITTING OUT THE PORTION OF THE PREMIUM THAT COVERS HURRICANE EXPOSURE FROM THE BASIC HOMEOWNER’S PREMIUM. THE INCREASE NEEDS APPROVAL FROM THE STATE INSURANCE COMMISSION.

THE LOUISIANA LOTTERY CORPORATION REPORTS THAT NOBODY WON THE MAJOR JACKPOTS IN THE LOUISIANA LOTTO AND MULTISTATE POWERBALL DRAWINGS WEDNESDAY NIGHT. THE LOUISIANA LOTTO PRIZE WILL RISE TO AN ESTIMATED $375,000 FOR THE NEXT DRAWING, ON SATURDAY. THE POWERBALL PRIZE WILL RISE TO AN ESTIMATED $36 MILLION FOR SATURDAY. ALSO, THE LOTTERY SAYS, NO ONE WON THE $90,000 EASY 5 JACKPOT.

A METAIRIE MAN HAS PLEADED GUILTY TO HAVING COUNTERFEIT POSTAL MONEY ORDERS AND SECURITIES. THE U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE SAYS THAT 55-YEAR-OLD BRIAN KENT ENTERED HIS PLEA YESTERDAY. ACCORDING TO COURT DOCUMENTS, SINCE AT LEAST SEPTEMBER 2009, KENT HAS BEEN A PART OF AN INTERNATIONAL RING OF COUNTERFEITERS WHO DISTRIBUTE FAKE SECURITIES AND MONETARY DOCUMENTS, INCLUDING TRAVELER'S CHECKS, CASHIER'S CHECKS, AND MONEY ORDERS, TO PEOPLE THROUGHOUT THE UNITED STATES THROUGH A FRAUDULENT "MYSTERY SHOPPER" PROGRAM.

GOVERNOR JINDAL TRAVELED TO WEST MONROE YESTERDAY, TO SIGN NEW PRO-LIFE LEGISLATION INTO LAW. THE BILL'S AUTHOR IS WEST MONROE STATE REP. FRANK HOFFMAN. HOFFMAN SAYS HIS LEGISLATION REQUIRES SIGNS IN ABORTION CLINICS THAT LET WOMEN KNOW THEY CANNOT BE COERCED INTO HAVING AN ABORTION, AND THAT THERE ARE OTHER OPTIONS AVAILABLE TO THEM. THE GOVERNOR SIGNED THE BILL AT A LOCAL BAPTIST CHURCH.

FORMER LOUISIANA GOVERNOR EDWIN EDWARDS IS A FREE MAN. HIS HOUSE ARREST OFFICIALLY ENDED YESTERDAY MORNING. EDWARDS WILL BE TURNING 84 IN AUGUST. THE FORMER GOVERNOR IS GOING TO HAVE A PARTY TO CELEBRATE IN NEW ORLEANS ON JULY 30TH. THERE'S ALSO TALK OF A REALITY TV SHOW EDWARDS'
ENGAGEMENT TO 32-YEAR-OLD TRINA SCOTT OF ALEXANDRIA. BY THE WAY, EDWARDS WILL BE ON PROBATION FOR THE NEXT THREE YEARS.

THE NEW ORLEANS HORNETS ARE PROMISING SEASON TICKET HOLDERS WHO ARE CONCERNED ABOUT THE NBA LOCKOUT THAT THEY CAN GET THEIR MONEY BACK, WITH INTEREST, IF THE WORK STOPPAGE WIPES OUT ANY GAMES NEXT SEASON. THE LOCKOUT COMES AT AN INOPPORTUNE TIME FOR THE FRANCHISE, WHICH CURRENTLY IS OWNED BY THE LEAGUE AND IS IN THE MIDST OF A SEASON TICKET DRIVE SEEN AS A KEY STEP TOWARD ATTRACTING NEW OWNERS WHO WOULD KEEP THE HORNETS IN LOUISIANA.

THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT SAID WEDNESDAY THAT IT WOULD HAND OUT $62 MILLION TO 1,460 LOUISIANA HOMEOWNERS TO SETTLE A LAWSUIT THAT ALLEGED A HURRICANE KATRINA REBUILDING PROGRAM WAS UNFAIR TO BLACKS AND LEFT MANY PEOPLE UNABLE TO REBUILD IN NEIGHBORHOODS LIKE THE LOWER 9TH WARD AFTER THE 2005 STORM. THE SUIT ALLEGED ROAD HOME DISCRIMINATED AGAINST BLACKS BECAUSE IT CALCULATED THE WORTH OF A HOME ON HOUSING VALUES PRIOR TO KATRINA'S ASSAULT ON THE GULF COAST. MANY BLACKS LIVED IN NEIGHBORHOODS SUCH AS THE LOWER 9TH WARD WHERE HOUSING VALUES WERE DEPRESSED BEFORE KATRINA AND THEREFORE DID NOT GET ENOUGH MONEY TO REBUILD AFTER THE STORM WHEN THE PRICE OF MATERIALS AND LABOR SKYROCKETED.

HONEYWELL INTERNATIONAL INC. SAID WEDNESDAY THAT IT WILL INVEST $33 MILLION IN ITS BATON ROUGE PLANT TO PRODUCE A PROPELLANT FOR USE IN CLEANERS, INSULATION, WARNING SYSTEMS, MARINE NAVIGATION AND NOVELTY AEROSOLS. HONEYWELL PLANS TO BEGIN THE EXPANSION IN DECEMBER AND START PRODUCTION IN 2013. STATE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OFFICIALS SAID THE PRODUCTION WOULD ADD 11 EMPLOYEES TO THE PLANT'S 200-MEMBER WORKFORCE.

ASSUMPTION PARISH AUTHORITIES SAID A MAN SHOT AND KILLED HIS GIRLFRIEND WHILE THE WOMAN WAS HOLDING THE COUPLE'S 7-MONTH OLD BABY WEDNESDAY BEFORE TURNING THE SHOTGUN ON HIMSELF. SHERIFF MIKE WAGUESPACK SAID THE BABY WAS NOT HARMED. WAGUESPACK SAID THE MAN SHOT 26-YEAR-OLD GIRLFRIEND TO DEATH AND THEN SHOT HIMSELF IN THE FACE AND CHEST. HE LATER DIED FROM HIS WOUNDS.

A WHITE CASTLE MAN WHO KILLED HIS WIFE AND STEPDAUGHTER IN 2007 WAS SENTENCED WEDNESDAY TO SERVE THE REST OF HIS LIFE IN PRISON. 63 YEAR OLD ERVIN ALLEN SR. WAS CONVICTED MAY 11 OF TWO COUNTS OF SECOND-DEGREE MURDER.

THE EVANGELINE PARISH SCHOOL BOARD ON WEDNESDAY APPROVED A CHANGE ORDER TO THE MAJOR RENOVATION PROJECT AT VILLE PLATTE HIGH SCHOOL. THE TOTAL PRICE TAG, ACCORDING TO ARCHITECT PERRY WATSON, WILL BE CLOSE TO $117.000. THE ORIGINAL CONTRACT CALLED FOR THE PROJECT TO COST THE SCHOOL BOARD $3 MILLION. WITH THE NEWEST CHANGE ORDER, THE RENOVATION PROJECT HAS INCREASED TO $3.3 MILLION.





 

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