KSYL Local News

News For Monday 08/22/11


NEWS FOR MONDAY 082211
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

HURRICANE IRENE HAS THE POTENTIAL OF MAKING ITS WAY INTO THE EASTERN GULF OF MEXICO LATER THIS WEEK. THE STORM COULD ALSO IMPACT THE EASTERN SEABOARD OF THE UNITED STATES. THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER. HE SAYS DOPPLER WEATHER RADAR INDICATES THAT THE CENTER OF HURRICANE IRENE WAS LOCATED ALONG THE NORTH COAST OF PUERTO AND IS MOVING TOWARD THE WEST-NORTHWEST NEAR 12 MPH. THIS GENERAL MOTION IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE FOR THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS. ON THE FORECAST TRACK THE CENTER OF IRENE WILL MOVE OFF THE NORTH COAST OF PUERTO AND MOVE NEAR OR OVER THE NORTHERN COASTAL REGIONS OF THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC THIS AFTERNOON AND TONIGHT. MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS HAVE INCREASED TO NEAR 75 MPH. CURRENT COMPUTER MODELS SHOW THE STORM MOVING UP THE ATLANTIC COAST.

STATE LABOR OFFICIALS SAY UNEMPLOYMENT IS DOWN, WHILE THE STATE KEEPS ADDING MORE NEW JOBS. LOUISIANA WORKFORCE COMMISSION SPOKESPERSON PATTY GRANIER SAYS THE JOBLESS RATE FOR JULY WAS 7.6%; DOWN FROM 7.8% IN JUNE .THE STATE HAS SHOWN JOB GROWTH FOR THE PAST 10 MONTHS. GRANIER SAYS TOTAL PRIVATE SECTOR JOBS GAINED FOR THE STATE DURING JULY TOTALED NEARLY 7000. GRANIER SAYS THE NUMBER OF UNEMPLOYED FOR JULY WAS JUST OVER 154 THOUSAND PEOPLE; THE LOWEST JOBLESS LEVEL SO FAR THIS YEAR.

IT APPEARS RAPIDES PARISH IS FOLLOWING THE STATEWIDE TREND OF VOTERS MOVING AWAY FROM THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY, BUT DEMOCRATS STILL MAKE UP THE OVERALL MAJORITY OF THE CENTRAL LOUISIANA VOTING POPULATION. THE LATEST FIGURES COMPILED BY THE SECRETARY OF STATE'S OFFICE SHOW THAT DEMOCRATS NO LONGER MAKE UP A MAJORITY OF VOTERS IN LOUISIANA FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE RECORDS BEGAN BEING KEPT IN 1957. OF THE STATE'S 2.8 MILLION REGISTERED VOTERS, 49.8 ARE REGISTERED DEMOCRATS, DOWN FROM ABOUT 90 PERCENT IN THE LATE 1970S. ABOUT 26.7 PERCENT OF VOTERS ARE REPUBLICANS AND ABOUT 23.4 PERCENT ARE REGISTERED AS INDEPENDENT OR WITH THIRD PARTIES. IN CENLA OF THE NEARLY 280,000 REGISTERED VOTERS, MORE THAN 53 PERCENT OF THEM REMAIN LOYAL TO THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY.

STATE OFFICIALS SAY LOUISIANA'S PRE-KINDERGARTEN PROGRAMS HAVE BECOME A CONFUSING ARRAY OF EFFORTS WITH VARYING STANDARDS, COSTS AND SUCCESSES.
BOARD OF ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION MEMBER WALTER LEE SAYS THEY NEED BETTER ORGANIZATION, STRUCTURE, AND SERVICES. EXPERTS SAY MANY CHILDREN WHO ENTER KINDERGARTEN BEHIND THEIR PEERS NEVER CATCH UP ACADEMICALLY OR SOCIALLY. BUT STATE FIGURES SHOW THAT SEVEN STATE AND FEDERALLY FUNDED PRE-K PROGRAMS IN LOUISIANA SPEND $1,700 TO $7,200 PER CHILD AND IT'S NOT CLEAR JUST WHAT THE STATE EXPECTS THE CHILDREN TO LEARN, OR HOW MUCH TAXPAYERS ARE GETTING FOR THE MONEY.

THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION WILL HOLD THE FIRST SALE OF OIL AND GAS LEASES IN THE GULF OF MEXICO, SINCE LAST YEAR'S B-P OIL SPILL. ON DECEMBER 14TH ENERGY COMPANIES WILL HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO BID ON ACRES IN THE WESTERN GULF. LOUISIANA OIL AND GAS ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT DON BRIGGS HOPES ONCE COMPANIES BUY THE LEASE THEY WILL BE ALLOWED TO DRILL. BRIGGS SAYS THE U-S DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR IS MAKING SOME PROGRESS IN ISSUING NEW DEEPWATER DRILLING PERMITS, BUT ITS NOT WHERE THE INDUSTRY WAS BEFORE THE B-P OIL DISASTER. BRIGGS SAYS OVER 30 DEEPWATER DRILLING PERMITS HAVE BEEN ISSUED SINCE THE MORATORIUM WAS LIFTED.

STATE CORRECTIONS OFFICIALS PLAN TO MAKE USE OF FEDERAL STIMULUS DOLLARS TO MAKE NINE PRISONS MORE ENERGY EFFICIENT. DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS UNDERSECRETARY THOMAS BICKHAM TOLD THE STATE BOND COMMISSION THE $31-MILLION INVESTMENT WILL SAVE THE STATE MONEY, IN THE LONG RUN. THE STATE BOND COMMISSION RELUCTANTLY AGREED AND SINGED OFF ON THE PLAN. THE WORK SHOULD BE
COMPLETE WITHIN 18 MONTHS.

FOUR LSU FOOTBALL PLAYERS HIRED A DEFENSE ATTORNEY AND PUT OFF A MEETING WITH POLICE ABOUT A BAR FIGHT THAT STARTED WHEN A PATRON HONKED AT A CROWD BLOCKING HIS EXIT FROM A PARKING LOT, BATON ROUGE POLICE SAID SUNDAY.
QUARTERBACK JORDAN JEFFERSON, OFFENSIVE LINEMAN CHRIS DAVENPORT, DEFENSIVE LINEMAN JOSH JOHNS AND RECEIVER JARVIS LANDRY HAD BEEN ASKED TO GIVE THEIR SIDE OF THE STORY AT POLICE HEADQUARTERS MONDAY, BUT ATTORNEY NATHAN FISHER REQUESTED "A 24 HOUR POSTPONEMENT SO THAT HE CAN MEET WITH THE PLAYERS AND GET A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF THE INCIDENT," HE WROTE IN A NEWS RELEASE. HE SAID POLICE WOULD SPEAK WITH FISHER SOMETIME TODAY TO ARRANGE THE INTERVIEWS.

FUNERAL ARRANGEMENTS BEGIN TODAY IN THIBODAUX FOR LITTLE JORI LIRETTE, THE CHILD WITH CEREBRAL PALSY WHO WAS VICTIM OF A HORRIFIC MURDER JUST OVER A WEEK AGO. RESIDENTS ARE ALSO RAISING MONEY FOR IN JORI'S NAME. SOME 500 PEOPLE SHOWED UP FOR A CANDLELIGHT VIGIL LAST NIGHT TO HONOR THE BOY’S MEMORY.

THREE TEXAS TOWNS SECEDED FROM A LONGTIME PROMOTION WITH TWO WEST LOUISIANA CITIES, GIVING A NEW TURN TO THE ANNUAL HOLIDAY TRAIL OF LIGHTS. UNTIL THIS YEAR, THE TRIAL LINKED MARSHALL, JEFFERSON AND KILGORE, TEXAS, WITH NATCHITOCHES, SHREVEPORT AND BOSSIER CITY. THE NEW TRAIL IS A 244-MILE WISHBONE ACROSS CENTRAL AND NORTH LOUISIANA, ADDING ALEXANDRIA AND PINEVILLE ON INTERSTATE 49 AND RUNNING ALONG INTERSTATE 20 TO MINDEN AND A THIRD SET OF TWIN CITIES, MONROE AND WEST MONROE. SINCE 1992, THE TOWNS, CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE OR TOURIST BUREAUS HAD POOLED MONEY TO BRING IN TOURISTS. BY LAST YEAR, THEY WERE ANTEING UP $5,500 EACH. BUT TEXANS DECIDED THE MONEY COULD BETTER BE USED AT HOME.

WANT TO BUY A RACETRACK? YOU CAN HAVE A LOOK AT ONE FOR SALE IN MONROE TODAY. THE NOW-CLOSED MONROE MOTOR SPEEDWAY IS BEING AUCTIONED OFF BY MAAS COMPANIES, ON BEHALF OF THE LENDER WHO HOLDS THE DEBT. MAAS SPOKESPERSON ALLISON GUYTON (GIE-TN) SAYS INTERESTED PARTIES CAN VIEW THE PROPERTY TODAY, BEFORE THE SCHEDULED AUCTION LATER THIS FALL.


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