KSYL Local News

News For Friday 082611


NEWS FOR FRIDAY 082611
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

HURRICANE IRENE IS CHURNING TOWARD THE U.S. EAST COAST, WEAKENING SLIGHTLY TO A CATEGORY TWO STORM. IT'S EXPECTED TO MAKE LANDFALL ALONG NORTH CAROLINA'S OUTER BANKS, WITH HURRICANE WARNINGS ISSUED AS FAR NORTH AS NEW JERSEY. HURRICANE WATCHES ARE ISSUED ALL THE WAY UP TO MASSACHUSETTS.

THE STATE IS ASSISTING THE CONCORDIA PARISH TOWN OF FERRIDAY, WHICH IS STRUGGLING WITH A WATER SHORTAGE. STATE HEALTH OFFICER, DOCTOR JIMMY GUIDRY, SAYS THE LOUISIANA NATIONAL GUARD HAS BROUGHT 14 MILITARY WATER TANKS TO FERRIDAY, SO THAT RESIDENTS CAN HAVE ACCESS TO CLEAN DRINKING WATER. GUIDRY SAYS THE LACK OF RAINFALL HAS CAUSED THIS PROBLEM. HE SAYS THE TOWN'S WATER SYSTEM DRAWS WATER FROM MARENGO BEND, WHICH IS UNUSUALLY LOW DUE TO THE DROUGHT.

THE RAPIDES PARISH SCHOOL DISTRICT HELD FAIRLY STEADY IN 2011 ACT SCORES RELEASED BY THE LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION. RAPIDES STUDENTS AVERAGED A COMPOSITE 19.9 OUT OF A POSSIBLE 36 POINTS ON THE STANDARDIZED TEST -- A SLIGHT DROP FROM THE 20.0 AVERAGE IN 2010. RAPIDES WAS SLIGHTLY BELOW THE 2011 STATE AVERAGE OF 20.2. THE NATIONAL AVERAGE WAS 21.1. AMONG CENTRAL LOUISIANA PARISHES, ONLY VERNON (20.3) AND BEAUREGARD (20.2) RANKED HIGHER THAN RAPIDES IN 2011 SCORES. CONCORDIA HAD THE LOWEST 2011 SCORE IN CENLA AT 18.2. CONCORDIA'S 1.1-POINT DROP FROM 2010 WAS TIED WITH ST. MARTIN PARISH FOR THE BIGGEST IN THE STATE. AVOYELLES SAW THE BIGGEST IMPROVEMENT AMONG CENLA SCHOOL DISTRICTS, JUMPING FROM 18.5 TO 19.4 IN 2011.

A FORMER CORRECTIONS OFFICER AT THE U.S. PENITENTIARY IN POLLOCK HAS BEEN INDICTED ON CHARGES HE PROVIDED CONTRABAND TO INMATES IN EXCHANGE FOR CASH. THURSDAY'S 14-COUNT INDICTMENT ALSO CHARGES 26-YEAR-OLD BRANDON WILLIS, OF PINEVILLE, WITH THREATENING WITNESSES TO DISCOURAGE THEM FROM TALKING TO LAW-ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS ABOUT HIS ALLEGED ACTIONS. THE CHARGES AGAINST WILLIS INCLUDE BRIBERY, ATTEMPTING TO POSSESS WITH INTENT TO DISTRIBUTE HEROIN AND METHAMPHETAMINE AND WITNESS TAMPERING.

AN ALEXANDRIA MAN WHO WAS A RAPIDES PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE NARCOTICS FIELD SUPERVISOR WAS ARRESTED THURSDAY AND FACES CHARGES RELATING TO "IMPROPER ACTIVITIES WITH THREE FEMALE OFFENDERS." 33 YEAR OLD MICHAEL LACOUR WAS CHARGED WITH THREE COUNTS OF MALFEASANCE IN OFFICE. SHERIFF'S OFFICE CHIEF DEPUTY HERMAN WALTERS TOLD THE MEDIA YESTERDAY, LACOUR, WHO WAS A LIEUTENANT, WAS IMMEDIATELY SUSPENDED WHEN THE ALLEGATIONS AGAINST HIM SURFACED AND WAS PLACED ON ADMINISTRATIVE LEAVE WITHOUT PAY, HE THEN RESIGNED. WALTERS SAYS
LACOUR TURNED HIMSELF IN YESTERDAY WITHOUT INCIDENT. LACOUR HAD BEEN WITH THE SHERIFF'S OFFICE SINCE MARCH OF 1999. HIS JOB INVOLVED BEING IN CHARGE OF NARCOTICS OFFICERS IN THE FIELD.

RAPIDES PARISH SHERIFF CHUCK WAGNER IS BEING SUED OVER THE FIRING OF A SHERIFF'S DETECTIVE. THE LAWSUIT, FILED THIS WEEK IN 9TH DISTRICT COURT BY RANDALL AND LAURA COOPER, NAMES WAGNER, CHIEF DEPUTY HERMAN WALTERS AND THE SHERIFF'S OFFICE AS DEFENDANTS. THE SUIT ALSO CLAIMS THAT WALTERS DEFAMED FORMER DETECTIVE RANDALL COOPER IN THE LOCAL PRESS, AND THAT SHERIFF'S OFFICIALS ARRESTED LAURA COOPER ON "UNFOUNDED" THEFT CHARGES INVOLVING A POT-BELLIED PIG. THE COOPERS SEEK AN UNSPECIFIED AMOUNT OF MONEY IN DAMAGES. AND RANDALL COOPER WANTS HIS JOB BACK. RANDALL COOPER WAS FIRED IN NOVEMBER 2010, ALLEGEDLY FOR TAKING FILES ON THE INVESTIGATION OF HIS WIFE AND FORWARDING THE FILES TO AN ATTORNEY.

LSU ATHLETIC DIRECTOR JOE ALLEVA, WOULD GET A $175,000 HIKE IN HIS BASE SALARY TO $525,000 A YEAR, ALONG WITH MORE OPPORTUNITIES FOR INCENTIVE PAYMENTS, UNDER THE CONTRACT TO BE CONSIDERED TODAY BY THE LSU BOARD OF SUPERVISORS. THE MANAGEMENT BOARD ALSO WILL CONSIDER A CHANGE TO FOOTBALL COACH LES MILES' CONTRACT THAT WOULD KEEP HIS $3.8 MILLION ANNUAL BASE PAY, BUT INCREASE HIS INCENTIVE PAYMENTS AND THE AMOUNT OWED IF THE UNIVERSITY FIRED HIM WITHOUT CAUSE. ALSO ON THE AGENDA IS A ONE-YEAR CONTRACT EXTENSION TO 2015 FOR MEN'S BASKETBALL COACH TRENT JOHNSON, WHO WOULD STAY AT HIS CURRENT PAY RATE.

AN EYEWITNESS SAYS SHE SAW LSU STARTING QUARTERBACK JORDAN JEFFERSON KICK SOMEONE IN THE FACE DURING A BAR FIGHT THAT INJURED FOUR PEOPLE LAST WEEK.
THE ACCOUNT FROM 19-YEAR-OLD VICTORIA LONG WAS INCLUDED IN A POLICE REPORT RELEASED THURSDAY, A DAY AFTER POLICE SEIZED 49 PAIRS OF ATHLETIC SHOES FROM JEFFERSON'S APARTMENT. BATON ROUGE POLICE SGT. DON STONE WOULDN'T EXPLAIN WHY POLICE TOOK THE SHOES.

THE HITS KEEP ON COMING FOR THE LSU FOOTBALL TEAM. THE UNIVERSITY HAS ANNOUNCED THAT WIDE RECEIVER RUSSELL SHEPARD HAS BEEN DECLARED INELIGIBLE FOR VIOLATING AN NCAA RULE AND HE'S EXPECTED TO MISS SEVERAL GAMES. SHEPARD VIOLATED AN NCAA RULE WHEN HE DISCUSSED AN NCAA INQUIRY WITH A TEAMMATE, WHO WAS SCHEDULED TO MEET WITH AN NCAA REPRESENTATIVE. THE JUNIOR WAS UNDER INVESTIGATION FOR AN OFF-CAMPUS HOUSING ARRANGEMENT HE HAD EARLIER THIS SUMMER.

DESPITE HAVING NO WELL-FINANCED CHALLENGER, GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL'S TEAM PLANS AN AGGRESSIVE RE-ELECTION CAMPAIGN. FORMER JINDAL CHIEF OF STAFF AND TOP JINDAL CAMPAIGN ADVISOR TIMMY TEEPELL SAYS THE PLAN IS TO KEEP RAISING CASH AND GET OUT PLENTY OF JINDAL CAMPAIGN ADS. THE GOVERNOR WAS IN MINNEAPOLIS THIS WEEK FOR ANOTHER FUNDRAISING EVENT. TEEPELL SAYS THE BOBBY JINDAL CAMPAIGN WILL GO FORWARD WITH THE ASSUMPTION THAT CHALLENGERS WILL ENTER THE RACE DURING QUALIFYING IN EARLY SEPTEMBER..

THE LINE OF POWERFUL THUNDERSTORMS THAT SWEPT THROUGH THE I-20 CORRIDOR WEDNESDAY LEFT THOUSANDS WITHOUT POWER AND MANY CUSTOMERS ARE STILL WITHOUT. SWEPCO SPOKESPERSON SCOTT MCCLOUD SAYS MOST OF HIS CUSTOMERS IN THE ARK-LA-TEX AREA SHOULD HAVE THEIR POWER RESTORED BY SATURDAY. MCCLOUD SAYS THE GREATEST NUMBERS OF CUSTOMERS THAT ARE STILL WAITING FOR POWER ARE CONCENTRATED IN THE SHREVEPORT-BOSSIER AREA WHERE THEY SAW THE GREATEST NUMBERS OF TREES AND TREE LIMBS KNOCKED DOWN.

POLICE SAY THE CELL PHONE AND DRIVER'S LICENSE OF A WOMAN KILLED IN A KENNER MOTEL WERE FOUND IN THE CAR OF A MAN WHO JUMPED OFF A MISSISSIPPI RIVER BRIDGE TO ESCAPE POLICE. AUTHORITIES REPORTS THAT KENNER POLICE HAVE AN ARREST WARRANT ACCUSING KYLAN LAURENT OF THE MURDER. POLICE WERE CHASING LAURENT WHEN HE STOPPED HIS CAR ON THE BRIDGE TUESDAY AND PLUNGED INTO THE RIVER. HIS BODY HAS NOT BEEN RECOVERED AND POLICE BELIEVE HE MAY HAVE SURVIVED THE FALL. LAURENT IS ALSO DESCRIBED AS A "PERSON OF INTEREST" IN THE AUG. 10 MURDER OF ANOTHER WOMAN IN A METAIRIE MOTEL AND AN ASSAULT OF YET ANOTHER WOMAN IN A HARVEY MOTEL ON AUG. 18.

THE RECORD HEAT AND DROUGHT CONDITIONS IN THE STATE HAVE PUT A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF STRESS ON TREES. LSU AGCENTER FORESTER DR HALLIE DOZIER (DOE-ZHER) SAYS IF A TREE HAS DROPPED LEAVES OR HAS TURNED BROWN DURING A DROUGHT, IT DOESN'T MEAN IT'S DEAD. SHE SAYS BEFORE CUTTING ANY TREES DOWN ON YOUR PROPERTY, MAKE SURE IT'S DEAD FIRST. DOZIER SAYS LACK OF WATER IN THE SOIL CAUSES TREES TO LOSE THE ABILITY TO GROW NORMALLY. SHE SAYS IF A DEFOLIATED TREE IS ALIVE, YOU CAN TAKE CARE OF IT BY IRRIGATING AND PROTECTING THE ROOT ZONE. SHE SAYS YOU CAN WATER TREES DEEPLY BY LAYING A SOAKER HOSE IN THE CRITICAL ROOT
ZONE ONCE EVERY TWO WEEKS.

A CHUNK OF MONEY WILL BE SPENT ON STUDYING HOW TO RESTORE THIS RABBIT ISLAND, AN IMPORTANT NESTING GROUND FOR PELICANS IN CALCASIEU LAKE. THE BUREAU OF OCEAN ENERGY MANAGEMENT, REGULATION AND ENFORCEMENT SAYS IT HAS APPROVED SPENDING ABOUT $402,000 ON THE MARSH ISLAND'S RESTORATION. THE MONEY COMES FROM A FEDERAL PROGRAM THAT USES OFFSHORE DRILLING REVENUES TO RESTORE THE COASTLINES OF STATES THAT ALLOW OIL AND NATURAL GAS DRILLING OFF THEIR SHORES.

A MONROE POLICE OFFICER HELPED A SHOPLIFTING FEMALE FRIEND OF HIS SELL MORE THAN 14,000 STOLEN ITEMS ON EBAY FOR MORE THAN $190,000, A FEDERAL INDICTMENT ALLEGED THURSDAY. RAUL X. JOHNSON, 43, OF MONROE, WAS CHARGED WITH SEVEN COUNTS OF MAIL FRAUD AND ONE OF MAKING A FALSE STATEMENT TO A FEDERAL AGENT. THE FRIEND, IDENTIFIED ONLY AS "SP," WAS NOT CHARGED.





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