KSYL Local News

News For Wednesday 08/31/11


NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY 083111
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

WEATHER FORECASTERS ARE LOOKING AT AN AREA OF TROPICAL DISTURBANCE IN THE CARIBBEAN, JUST EAST OF MEXICO'S YUCATAN PENINSULA. RIGHT NOW, THE TROPICAL WAVE IS DISORGANIZED, AND THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER SAYS THERE'S A SLIGHT CHANCE IT COULD DEVELOP INTO A NAMED STORM WITHIN 48 HOURS. THE SYSTEM IS MOVING GENERALLY WESTWARD AT ABOUT 15 MILES AN HOUR, AND COULD BE IN THE GULF BY THE WEEKEND.

TROPICAL STORM KATIA IS SLOWLY MOVING WEST-NORTHWEST ACROSS THE ATLANTIC AND GAINING STRENGTH. JOHN OLESKA WITH THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER SAYS KATIA MAY BECOME A CATEGORY THREE HURRICANE BY EARLY SUNDAY MORNING. HE SAYS IT'S UNLIKELY KATIA WILL THREATEN ANY PART OF THE GULF COAST. THERE IS ALSO A DISORGANIZED TROPICAL WAVE OVER THE NORTHWESTERN CARIBBEAN SEA. THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SAYS THE ODDS OF THIS WAVE BECOMING A TROPICAL STORM ARE VERY LOW.

AS THREE ALEXANDRIA ATTORNEYS CONTINUE THEIR COURT BATTLE TO GET PAID BY THE CITY OF ALEXANDRIA FOR WORK THEY PERFORMED IN THE CITY’S LAWSUIT AGAINST CLECO, THE TRIAL ROLLS ON. YESTERDAY, CITY ATTORNEY CHUCK JOHNSON TESTIFIED BRIDGETT BROWN BROUGHT "NOTHING" TO THE TABLE AND SERVED AS A "DISRUPTIVE FORCE" JOHNSON TOOK THE STAND IN U.S. DISTRICT COURT IN ALEXANDRIA FOR THE SECOND STRAIGHT DAY AS ATTORNEYS FOR THE CITY PUT ON THEIR CASE AGAINST BROWN, JOHN HARP AND JOHN DAVIDSON, THREE ATTORNEYS WHO SIGNED CONTINGENCY-FEE CONTRACTS IN 2005 TO REPRESENT THE CITY AGAINST CLECO. BROWN WAS TO RECEIVE 10 PERCENT OF ANY FAVORABLE RULING ON BEHALF OF THE CITY, WHILE SHARP AND DAVIDSON WERE TO SPLIT 20 PERCENT. THE CITY ATTORNEY WILL TAKE THE STAND AGAIN TODAY FOR THE FIFTH AND FINAL DAY OF TESTIMONY.

PINEVILLE PD ARRESTED A 17 YEAR OLD POLLOCK MAN YESTERDAY AFTER HE ALLEGEDLY STOLE BAGS OF INCENSE AT GUNPOINT FROM A PINEVILLE CONVENIENCE STORE. HE THEN LED POLICE ON A HIGH-SPEED CHASE BEFORE BEING CAUGHT. JOHN-MICHAEL COWAN WAS NABBED AFTER HE DITCHED HIS STOLEN VEHICLE AND TRIED TO ESCAPE ON FOOT. COWAN HAS HAD MORE CHARGES BROUGHT AGAINST HIM THAN I HAVE TIME TO READ.

U.S. SEN. MARY LANDRIEU WAS IN TOWN YESTERDAY AFTERNOON TO ADDRESS MEMBERS OF THE CENTRAL LOUISIANA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE. THE SENATOR UPDATED CHAMBER MEMBERS ON VARIOUS PROJECTS, INCLUDING ONGOING EFFORTS TO MAKE IMPROVEMENTS AT FORT POLK AND ON DREDGING THE RED RIVER. ON THE MATTER OF FT POLK, LANDRIEU SAID "THE FOCUS NEEDS TO BE ON BUILDING INFRASTRUCTURE" THAT BENEFITS FORT POLK. "WHETHER THAT'S ROADS, RECREATION AREAS, SHOPPING AREAS, EDUCATION -- JUST GENERAL QUALITY-OF-LIFE ISSUES. LANDRIEU SAID, WHEN THE MILITARY ASKS, 'DO YOU WANT TO STAY HERE?,' WE WANT THOSE MILITARY FAMILIES TO SAY YES. WE WANT TO MAKE THIS PLACE A FIRST CHOICE FOR MILITARY FAMILIES."

GASOLINE PRICES ARE RISING AGAIN IN LOUISIANA. THE STATEWIDE AVERAGE PRICE FOR REGULAR GAS IS $3.47; UP 2-CENTS SINCE MONDAY, AND UP NEARLY 5 CENTS IN A WEEK. LOUISIANA AAA FUEL ANALYST DON REDMAN SAYS HE'S NOT CERTAIN WHY PUMP PRICES ARE ON THE RISE. REDMAN FEELS THE PRICE INCREASES ARE DUE TO REFINERIES IN THE NORTHEAST BATTENING DOWN IN ADVANCE OF HURRICANE IRENE, AND ALSO DUE TO CONTINUED BAD ECONOMIC NEWS. THE GOOD NEWS, HE FEELS THIS RECENT PRICE SURGE AT THE GAS PUMP IS ONLY TEMPORARY.

DEPUTIES IN BOSSIER PARISH ARE SEARCHING FOR A TEXAS WOMAN WHO SAYS SHE WAS KIDNAPPED BY A KILLER. BOSSIER SHERIFF'S SPOKESMAN BILL DAVIS SAYS THEY'RE LOOKING FOR 33-YEAR-OLD JENNIFER JOHNSON, WHO SENT HER AUNT A TEXT--SAYING SHE WAS INJURED AND ALONGSIDE A ROAD. JOHNSON WAS REPORTED MISSING FROM GREGG COUNTY TEXAS. DAVIS SAYS THE TEXT WAS SENT FROM SOMEWHERE IN NORTHERN BOSSIER PARISH.

HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER ERIC CANTOR PROPOSES CUTTING THE BUDGET TO OFFSET DOLLARS FEMA USES TO HELP IN RECOVERY FROM HURRICANE IRENE. JEFFERSON REPRESENTATIVE STEVE SCALISE AGREES AND SAYS WE CAN NOT FORGO FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY EVEN IN THE FACE OF A NATURAL DISASTER. SENATOR MARY LANDRIEU SAYS THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD PUT THE NEEDS OF THE PEOPLE AHEAD OF ANY POLITICAL SQUABBLING. SHE SAYS IN TIMES OF EMERGENCY WE NEED TO PUT OUR POLITICAL DIFFERENCES ASIDE AND HELP THOSE WHO NEED IT.

THE RECENT CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION INVOLVING LSU PLAYERS ISN'T STOPPING TIGERS FANS FROM BUYING TICKETS TO THIS SATURDAY'S LSU-OREGON GAME IN DALLAS. JOELLEN FERRER WITH STUB HUB SAYS THE GAME IS THE TOP SELLING COLLEGE FOOTBALL GAME THIS SEASON. FERRER SAYS BECAUSE THE GAME IS BEING HELD IN COWBOYS STADIUM, THERE ARE A LOT MORE TICKETS AVAILABLE, WHICH DRIVES THE PRICE DOWN. FERRER SAYS SOME TICKETS FOR THE SEASON OPENER ARE UNDER $40, THERE ARE SOME PRIME SEATS SELLING IN THE $1200 DOLLAR RANGE. FERRER ENCOURAGES FANS TO SHOP AROUND FOR TICKETS.

THE ST. LANDRY PARISH SCHOOL BOARD HAS ASKED A FEDERAL JUDGE TO THROW OUT A REQUEST FOR NEARLY $10 MILLION IN LEGAL FEES FROM AN ATTORNEY WHO FILED THE ORIGINAL SCHOOL DESEGREGATION LAWSUIT AGAINST THE PARISH IN 1965. OPELOUSAS ATTORNEY MARION OVERTON WHITE FILED THE REQUEST FOR LEGAL FEES IN MAY AFTER THE LONG-RUNNING DESEGREGATION CASE CAME TO AN END EARLIER THIS YEAR. HE IS ASKING U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE TUCKER MELANCON TO AWARD HIM $700 AN HOUR FOR 14,136.5 HOURS OF WORK ON THE CASE OVER THE PAST FOUR DECADES.

FORESTRY ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS HAVE ARRESTED AN AVOYELLES PARISH LOGGER ON FELONY TIMBER THEFT CHARGES. AGRICULTURE AND FORESTRY COMMISSIONER MIKE STRAIN SAYS 37-YEAR-OLD STEWART G. CLARK OF VICK WAS ARRESTED TUESDAY. OFFICERS SAY CLARK LOGGED 29 LOADS OF TIMBER ON LAND IN NATCHITOCHES PARISH NEAR NATCHEZ, LA. BETWEEN MARCH AND APRIL. CLARK IS ALLEGED TO HAVE DIVERTED SIX OF THE LOADS AND POCKETING THE MONEY COLLECTED WITHOUT PAYING THE LANDOWNER.
THE VALUE OF THE TIMBER WAS APPROXIMATELY $6,650. TIMBER THEFT IN EXCESS OF $500 IS A FELONY. CLARK WAS BOOKED INTO THE AVOYELLES PARISH PRISON. NO BOND HAS BEEN SET.

NINE LOUISIANA NATIONAL GUARD HELICOPTERS WILL SPEND TODAY DROPPING FIVE-HUNDRED GALLONS OF WATER ON TWO MARSH FIRES IN EASTERN NEW ORLEANS. THE SMOKE FROM THESE FIRES HAS BLANKETED THE NEW ORLEANS AREA AND HAS MADE ITS WAY INTO BATON ROUGE. THE FIRE IS IN A REMOTE AREA AND FIRE TRUCKS CAN NOT GET TO THE SITE. THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE ISSUED A SMOKE ALERT FOR SEVEN PARISHES. HEALTH OFFICIALS ARE ADVISING INDIVIDUALS WITH A HISTORY OF BREATHING OR UPPER RESPIRATORY PROBLEMS TO STAY INSIDE AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE.

WE ARE LESS THAN A WEEK BEFORE QUALIFYING FOR FALL ELECTIONS IN LOUISIANA, AND, SO FAR, NO MAJOR DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES APPEAR POISED TO ENTER THE FRAY. POLITICAL ANALYST CLANCY DUBOS SAYS IT'S POSSIBLE THAT THIS MAY BE THE FIRST TIME IN MODERN STATE HISTORY THAT THERE'S BEEN NO MAJOR DEMOCRAT RUNNING FOR STATEWIDE OFFICE.

ACCORDING TO A POLL COMMISSIONED BY AMERICA'S NATIONAL WETLAND FOUNDATION, OVER 90% OF AMERICANS BELIEVE THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SHOULD INVEST MONEY TO RESTORE THE GULF COAST. SPOKESPERSON SIDNEY COFFEE SAYS THEIR MISSION IS TO KEEP THE COUNTRY'S FOCUS ON THIS REGION THAT HAS RECENTLY FACED FOUR MAJOR HURRICANES AND THE BP OIL SPILL. THE POLL ALSO SHOWS THAT MOST AMERICANS SURVEYED BELIEVE THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SHOULD BE RESPONSIBLE FOR RESTORING AND MAINTAINING THE HEALTH OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER. SHE SAYS 97% OF RESPONDENTS SUPPORT REGIONAL COLLABORATION OF THE 31 STATES IN THE MISSISSIPPI'S WATERSHED.

A SCIENCE BOARD OVERSEEING $500 MILLION IN FUNDS BP SET ASIDE TO STUDY THE COMPANY'S CATASTROPHIC OIL SPILL IN THE GULF OF MEXICO HAS AWARDED $112 MILLION TO INDEPENDENT RESEARCHERS. THE GULF OF MEXICO RESEARCH INITIATIVE AWARDED THE MONEY TUESDAY. THE FUNDS HAVE BEEN SPLIT UP FOR EIGHT RESEARCH PROJECTS, EACH ONE LED BY A UNIVERSITY BASED IN A GULF STATE.

God Bless America!

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