KSYL Local News

News For Monday 07/18/11 Second Edition


NEWS FOR MONDAY 071811
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

THE STATE FIRE MARSHAL'S OFFICE IS LIFTING A STATEWIDE BURN BAN ON JULY 21ST. THE BAN WAS ORDERED ON JUNE 1ST IN RESPONSE TO EXTREMELY DRY CONDITIONS AND RISK OF WILDFIRES. AT THE TIME LOUISIANA WAS EXPERIENCING AN AVERAGE OF 300 FIRES PER MONTH LOSING NEARLY
4-THOUSAND ACRES.

THE STATE'S ANNUAL SALES TAX HOLIDAY IS SCHEDULED FOR AUGUST 5TH THRU THE 6TH JUST IN TIME FOR BACK TO SCHOOLS SHOPPING. ITEMS PURCHASED THESE DAYS ARE EXEMPT FROM THE STATE'S 4 PERCENT SALES TAX UP TO THE FIRST $2500 OF EACH ELIGIBLE ITEM. MORE INFORMATION IS ONLINE AT REVENUE-DOT-LOUISIANA-DOT-GOV.

STATE POLICE REPORT 78 YEAR OLD LAVERNE POWELL OF LEESVILLE WAS KILLED LAST NIGHT IN A SINGLE VEHICLE CRASH ON HIGHWAY 8 IN VERNON PARISH. STATE POLICE SAY POWELL WAS A PASSENGER IN A VEHICLE BRING DRIVEN BY 59 YEAR OLD A.J. TURNER OF LEESVILLE. TROOPERS SAY TURNER LOST CONTROL AND EXITED THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE ROADWAY AND COLLIDED WITH SEVERAL TREES AND OVERTURNED. TURNER WAS NOT WEARING HIS SEATBELT AND IS SUSPECTED OF DRINKING ALCOHOL. HE WAS TRANSPORTED TO LSU MEDICAL CENTER IN SHREVEPORT FOR TREATMENT. . POWELL WAS NOT WEARING HER SEATBELT AND WAS PRONOUNCED DEAD.

IT WAS FOR MANY A NO-BRAINER, VOTERS IN PINEVILLE SATURDAY OVERWHELMINGLY APPROVED CONTINUING A TAX TO PAY THE SALARIES OF PINEVILLE POLICE AND FIRE DEPARTMENT EMPLOYEES. WITH ALL 17 PRECINCTS REPORTING, THE TAX PASSED BY A TALLY OF 428 YES VOTES, OR 91 PERCENT, TO 43 NOT VOTES, OR 9 PERCENT. THE TAX IS A 10-YEAR, 10-MILL PROPERTY TAX.

THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT AWARDED $45,447,354 FRIDAY TO 102 PUBLIC HOUSING AUTHORITIES IN LOUISIANA, INCLUDING $1,174,866 TO THE FINANCIALLY STRAPPED ALEXANDRIA HOUSING AUTHORITY. THE FUNDS ARE DESIGNATED FOR LARGE-SCALE IMPROVEMENTS TO PUBLIC HOUSING UNITS.

TROPICAL STORM BRET IS GROWING STRONGER AS IT SWIRLS IN THE ATLANTIC OCEAN NEAR THE NORTHERN BAHAMAS. AUTHORITIES IN THE BAHAMAS ISSUED A TROPICAL STORM WARNING EARLY MONDAY FOR GRAND BAHAMA AND THE ABACO ISLANDS, MEANING TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED SOMEWHERE WITHIN THE NEXT FEW HOURS. TROPICAL STORM BRET ISN'T EXPECTED TO APPROACH THE U.S.

THE NUMBER OF LOUISIANA STATE EMPLOYEES IS THE LOWEST IT HAS BEEN IN 20 YEARS.
AND THAT NUMBER IS EXPECTED TO GO LOWER. REPUBLICAN GOV. BOBBY JINDAL’S NEW STATE BUDGET IS BUILT ON FURTHER REDUCING WORKFORCE NUMBERS OVER THE NEXT 12 MONTHS. ACCORDING TO STATE CIVIL SERVICE RECORDS, THERE ARE 80,806 STATE EMPLOYEES TODAY. THAT’S DOWN FROM A 20-YEAR HIGH OF 93,601 IN 2004 DURING THE LAST YEAR OF REPUBLICAN GOV. MIKE FOSTER’S SECOND TERM. TODAY’S STATE EMPLOYEE WORKFORCE IS ABOUT 1,000 LESS THAN WHAT IT WAS IN 1991 AS REPUBLICAN GOV. BUDDY ROEMER LEFT OFFICE

WITH THREE MONTHS LEFT BEFORE THE OCTOBER ELECTION THERE IS SPECULATION THAT THE DEMOCRATS MAY HAVE A CHALLENGER TO BOBBY JINDAL. LIVONIA SENATOR ROB MARIONNEAUX TELLS LAPOLITICS WEEKLY THAT HE'S CONSIDERING A POSSIBLE RUN FOR GOVERNOR. MARIONNEAUX REPORTS HAVING MEETINGS WITH SUPPORTERS IN JUNE WHO WERE INTERESTED IN FINDING A DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE. HE SAYS THERE WERE PROMISES OF FINANCIAL BACKING IF HE WOULD CONSIDER MAKING A RUN.

THE STATE OF LOUISIANA WAS NAMED THE STATE OF THE YEAR IN THE SOUTH BY SOUTHERN BUSINESS AND DEVELOPMENT MAGAZINE FOR THE THIRD YEAR IN A ROW. THIS YEAR LOUISIANA IS ALONE IN FIRST PLACE AFTER TYING WITH TENNESSEE THE LAST TWO YEARS. TWO AREAS IN PARTICULAR WERE SITED FOR PRODUCING ECONOMIC BOOMS. LAKE CHARLES FOR EXPANSION OF THEIR CHEMICAL AND LIQUEFIED NATURAL GAS INDUSTRIES AND NEW ORLEANS THAT HAS SEEN A REBIRTH OF ECONOMIC ACTIVITY AFTER THE DEVASTATION OF KATRINA.

HUGE CROWDS GATHERED IN BATON ROUGE THIS WEEKEND FOR FIRST OF FORMER GOVERNOR EDWIN EDWARDS' SEVERAL BOOK TOUR STOPS AROUND THE STATE. FANS OF THE SILVER FOX STOOD IN LINE FOR HOURS TO HAVE THEIR BOOK SIGNED BY EDWARDS AND AUTHOR, LEO HONEYCUTT. EDWARDS WAS CONVICTED AND SENTENCED TO A 10-YEAR TERM IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR CORRUPTING THE STATE'S GAMING LICENSE PROCESS. EDWARDS MAINTAINS HIS INNOCENCE, AND MANY AUTOGRAPH SEEKERS AGREE WITH MOST BELIEVING HE SHOULD BE GOVERNOR AGAIN.

THE LSU AG CENTER WILL LIKELY NEED TO DECLARE A FINANCIAL EMERGENCY. THAT WILL ALLOW THE INSTITUTION TO CUT TENURED FACULTY, ELIMINATE RESEARCH PROGRAMS AND REDUCE COMMUNITY OUTREACH SERVICES. CHANCELLOR BILL RICHARDSON SAYS THEY CAN NO LONGER OPERATE AT THEIR CURRENT LEVEL. RICHARDSON SAYS DRASTIC STEPS NEED TO BE TAKEN, BECAUSE THE AG CENTER HAS ENDURED 26-MILLION DOLLARS IN DIRECT AND INDIRECT BUDGET CUTS OVER THE LAST TWO YEARS. RICHARDSON SAYS ITS TOO EARLY TO TELL HOW MANY PEOPLE WILL BE LAID OFF AND WHAT PROGRAMS WILL BE CUT.

LOUISIANA VOTERS WILL HAVE FIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS TO VOTE "YES" OR "NO" ON DURING THE FALL ELECTIONS. COUNCIL FOR A BETTER LOUISIANA PRESIDENT BARRY ERWIN SAYS THE MOST HIGH-PROFILE AMENDMENT IS THE ONE THAT RENEWS A 4-CENT CIGARETTE TAX AND DEDICATES MORE MONEY FOR THE TOPS SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM. THE OTHER CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS DEAL WITH THE RAINY DAY FUND, PUBLIC RETIREMENT SYSTEMS AND PROHIBITING ANY NEW TAX FROM BEING IMPOSED ON THE SALE OR TRANSFER OF REAL ESTATE. ERWIN SAYS THAT AMENDMENT WILL APPEAR BY ITSELF ON THE NOVEMBER 19TH BALLOT.

TWO YEARS OF NEGOTIATIONS AND TENS OF THOUSAND OF DOLLARS IN FEES TO LAWYERS AND CONSULTANTS HAVE RESULTED IN NO RATE REDUCTION FOR OPELOUSAS ELECTRIC RATE-PAYERS. IN A SPECIAL MEETING THURSDAY, THE OPELOUSAS BOARD OF ALDERMEN VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO APPROVE A 10-YEAR EXTENSION TO CLECO CORP.'S CONTRACT TO SUPPLY POWER TO THE CITY. THE CITY WILL BE PAID A $1.2 MILLION "SIGNING BONUS" BY CLECO. CLECO ALSO WILL INCREASE ITS LEASE PAYMENT TO THE CITY BY NEARLY 20 PERCENT, THAT’S A $28,000 PER-MONTH BOOST. WHILE CLECO OFFICIALS SAY THEY ARE VERY EXCITED TO CONTINUE TO BE A PART OF OPELOUSAS FOR THE NEXT 10 YEARS, OPELOUSAS OFFICIALS ARE NOT SO THRILLED. MAYOR DONALD CRAVINS, WHO HAD LED THE FIGHT TO FIND A NEW SUPPLIER FOR THE CITY, SAY THE BOTTOM LINE IS THEY COULD NOT FIND ONE. GIVEN THE LACK OF OTHER PARTICIPANTS, THE CITY DID THE BEST THEY COULD DO."

POLICE HAVE ARRESTED A LAFAYETTE CONSOLIDATED GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE ON ALLEGATIONS OF SECRETLY TAPING AND PHOTOGRAPHING PEOPLE IN A RESTROOM AT A GOVERNMENT OFFICE. POLICE REPORT THAT 38-YEAR-OLD JEFFERY LARCADE WORKED AS A PLANNER IN THE PLANNING AND ZONING DEPARTMENT. HE WAS BOOKED FRIDAY WITH VIDEO VOYEURISM AND JAILED IN LIEU OF $10,000 BOND. POLICE SPOKESMAN PAUL MOUTON SAID POLICE DON'T KNOW HOW MANY VICTIMS THERE WERE AND THE CASE REMAINS UNDER INVESTIGATION.

THE CITY OF MONROE IS HOPING THAT A NEW DEVELOPMENT ALONG THE BANKS OF THE OUACHITA RIVER WILL BRING THOUSANDS OF VISITORS TO THE DOWNTOWN AREA.
THE PROPOSED RIVERMARKET WILL FEATURE KIOSKS ON THE CURRENT RIVER WALK NEAR THE PARISH COURTHOUSE. THE FRENCH-TYPE MARKET IS EXPECTED TO HOUSE VENDORS WHO CAN RENT SPACE AND SELL GOODS SUCH AS VEGETABLES AND ARTS AND CRAFTS.
THE PRICE TAG IS $1 MILLION, INCLUDING $490,000 IN CAPITAL OUTLAY FUNDS. THE CITY HAS AGREED TO MATCH $350,000 AND THE MONROE-WEST MONROE CONVENTION AND VISITORS BUREAU ADDED ABOUT $132,000.

HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE CAME TO HOLY GHOST CATHOLIC CHURCH ON SATURDAY FOR THE FUNERAL MASS FOR THE MURDERED 70-YEAR-OLD PRIEST WHO HAD LED THE CHURCH FOR THE PAST SIX YEARS. ALTHOUGH PEOPLE WERE SHOCKED BY THE REV. EDWARD EVERITT'S DEATH , THEY FOCUSED SATURDAY ON HIS LIFE.

TEXAS A&M OCEANOGRAPHERS SAY THEY EXPECT THE 3,800-SQUARE-MILE "DEAD ZONE" IN THE GULF OF MEXICO TO EXPAND BECAUSE OF FLOODWATERS FLOWING FROM THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER. THE ZONE IS NOW THE SIZE OF RHODE ISLAND AND DELAWARE COMBINED. IT'S WHERE THE GULF WATERS OFF THE SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA AND MISSISSIPPI COASTS CONTAIN LOW OXYGEN LEVELS, OFTEN LEADING TO DIE-OFFS OF MARINE LIFE. AUM OCEANOGRAPHY PROFESSOR STEVE DIMARCO TELLS THE EAGLE OF SCIENTISTS WITH THE LOUISIANA UNIVERSITIES MARTINE CONSORTIUM PREDICT THE DEAD ZONE TO EXPAND TO MORE THAN 9,400 SQUARE MILES THIS YEAR.

SPORTS..

JAPAN IS THE FIRST ASIAN NATION TO WIN A WOMEN'S WORLD CUP AFTER STUNNING THE UNITED STATES YESTERDAY 3-1. THIS WAS JAPAN'S FIRST APPEARANCE IN THE FINAL OF A MAJOR TOURNAMENT, AND THEY HADN'T BEATEN THE AMERICANS IN THEIR FIRST 25 MEETINGS. THE WIN WAS THE RESULT OF A PENALTY SHOOTOUT AFTER BOTH SIDES WERE LEVEL AT 2-2 AFTER EXTRA TIME.

NFL OWNERS AND PLAYERS STILL HAVEN'T REACHED A FULL AGREEMENT AFTER EXTENSIVE TALKS CONTINUED OVER THE WEEKEND. SOURCES SAY PROGRESS HAS BEEN MADE AND NFL PLAYERS ASSOCIATION HEAD DEMAURICE SMITH EXPECTS TO SPEAK WITH NFL COMMISSIONER ROGER GOODELL POSSIBLY IN PERSON, WHILE BOTH SIDES' LEGAL AND FINANCIAL TEAMS CONTINUE WORKING.

THE SUN BELT MEDIA DAYS GET UNDERWAY TODAY. U-L-M COACH TODD BERRY WILL ADDRESS REPORTERS TODAY AND TOMORROW ITS NEW U-L LAFAYETTE FOOTBALL COACH MARK HUDSPETH. U-L-L INTERIM ATHLETIC DIRECTOR SCOTT FARMER SAYS HUDSPETH HAS YET TO WIN A GAME YET, BUT RAGIN CAJUN FANS SEEM TO BE THRILLED WITH THEIR NEW COACH. U-L-L KICKS OFF THE SEASON ON SEPTEMBER THIRD AT OKLAHOMA STATE.

NIKKI CALDWELL, THE NEW LSU WOMEN'S BASKETBALL COACH, HAS A FIVE YEAR CONTRACT THAT GUARANTEES HER AT LEAST $700,000 A YEAR. THE SALARY COULD TOP $1.2 MILLION WITH BONUSES TIED TO TEAM PERFORMANCE. THE LSU BOARD OF SUPERVISORS APPROVED THE CONTRACT FRIDAY.

A HOUSE OWNED BY FORMER NEW ORLEANS SAINTS RUNNING BACK DEUCE MCALLISTER IN LULING IS SCHEDULED TO BE AUCTIONED BY THE ST. CHARLES PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE ON JULY 27TH. THE SCHEDULED SALE STEMS FROM A WRIT OF SEIZURE RESULTING FROM A SUIT BY WHITNEY NATIONAL BANK AGAINST MCALLISTER.







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