KSYL Local News

News For Wednesday 09/14/11


NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY 091411
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

FIRE CREWS ARE ON THE SCENE OF A BLAZE THIS MORNING AT 1ST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH ON HIGHWAY 165 IN PINEVILLE. THE BLAZE BROKE OUT EARLY THIS MORNING IN THE CHURCH’S YOUTH BUILDING. WHEN FIRE FIGHTERS THE BUILDING WAS TOTALLY ENGULFED IN FLAMES AND WAS A TOTAL LOSS. THE GOOD NEW, THE MAIN CHURCH BUILDING ONLY RECEIVED MINOR DAMAGE.

THE STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE HAS CLEARED RAPIDES PARISH SHERIFF CHUCK WAGNER IN AN INVESTIGATION LOOKING INTO WHETHER WAGNER STOPPED AN ANIMAL-ABUSE PROBE IN 2010. WAGNER SAID THE ALLEGATIONS WERE ROOTED IN ELECTION SHENANIGANS LEADING TO THE OCT. 22 PRIMARY. IN A BRIEF LETTER DATED MONDAY, THE AG'S CRIMINAL DIVISION DIRECTOR SAID THE INVESTIGATION OF WAGNER WAS CLOSED.
"AFTER A COMPLETE REVIEW OF THE FILE, IT IS DETERMINED THAT NO CRIMINAL CHARGES ARE WARRANTED REGARDING THIS INCIDENT.

GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL ANNOUNCES THAT SOUTH AFRICAN-BASED SASOL IS CONSIDERING BUILDING A NEW, GAS-TO-LIQUIDS FACILITY, IN CALCASIEU PARISH IF BUILT, THE COMPLEX WOULD COST BETWEEN EIGHT AND TEN-BILLION DOLLARS AND WILL GENERATE 850 NEW DIRECT JOBS AND 4,000 INDIRECT JOBS. JINDAL SAYS THIS COULD BE A HUGE ECONOMIC WINDFALL FOR LOUISIANA. THE COMPANY WILL CONDUCT A FEASIBILITY STUDY OVER THE NEXT 12 TO 18 MONTHS. ONE THING IN OUR FAVOR, SASOL ALREADY HAS A 175-MILLION DOLLAR CHEMICAL FACILITY UNDER CONSTRUCTION IN LAKE CHARLES. JINDAL SAYS THE FACILITY WOULD BE ONE OF THE LARGEST INDUSTRIAL PROJECTS IN LOUISIANA HISTORY. THE PLANT WOULD USE BETWEEN 1.3 TO 1.5 BILLION OF NATURAL GAS PER YEAR. JINDAL SAYS THE NEW FACILITY WILL CREATE DEMAND FOR NATURAL GAS PRODUCED HERE IN LOUISIANA.

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL HAS ENDORSED INCUMBENT ATTORNEY GENERAL BUDDY CALDWELL FOR RE-ELECTION OVER FORMER U.S. REP. JOSEPH CAO, BUT HE STAYED OUT OF TWO OTHER STATEWIDE RACES INVOLVING FELLOW HIGH-PROFILE REPUBLICANS. WHEN JINDAL'S LIST OF ENDORSEMENTS CAME OUT TUESDAY AFTERNOON, THERE WAS NO MENTION OF THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR'S RACE, IN WHICH INCUMBENT JAY DARDENNE IS CHALLENGED BY PLAQUEMINES PARISH PRESIDENT BILLY NUNGESSER; OR THE SECRETARY OF STATE' S RACE, IN WHICH INCUMBENT TOM SCHEDLER FACES OUTGOING HOUSE SPEAKER JIM TUCKER.

BP IS SENDING CLEANUP CREWS TO FOURCHON BEACH BECAUSE TROPICAL STORM LEE CAUSED SOME EROSION THAT HAS REVEALED MORE OIL. BP SPOKESPERSON CURTIS THOMAS SAYS THE STORM UNEARTHED TAR BALLS, TAR MATS AND ABANDONED CLEANUP EQUIPMENT LEFT FROM LAST YEAR'S OIL SPILL. THOMAS SAYS SINCE THEY WERE EXPECTING THIS TO HAPPEN, BP WAS ABLE TO RESPOND VERY QUICKLY.

DROUGHT CONDITIONS CONTINUE TO PERSIST IN NORTHWESTERN LOUISIANA AND IT APPEARS THERE'S NO RELIEF IN SIGHT. METEOROLOGIST MATT HEMINGWAY, WITH THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN SHREVEPORT SAYS RAINFALL IN THAT AREA OF THE STATE IS 16 INCHES BELOW AVERAGE. HEMINGWAY SAYS THE REGION ALSO POSTED A RAINFALL DEFICIT IN 2010 SO THIS IS AN ONGOING PROBLEM THAT JUST KEEPS GETTING WORSE. HE SAYS THE LA NINA THAT HAS RE-EMERGED ONLY MEANS MORE BAD NEWS FOR THE AREA.

LIFE IS GETTING HARDER IN THE NATION'S POOREST STATES. CENSUS DATA SHOW THOSE STATES ARE MISSISSIPPI AND LOUISIANA, WITH ABOUT ONE IN FIVE RESIDENTS LIVING IN POVERTY AND ABOUT THE SAME PERCENTAGE SURVIVING WITHOUT HEALTH INSURANCE.
THE CENSUS BUREAU SAID TUESDAY THAT ROUGHLY 618,000 MISSISSIPPI RESIDENTS AND 886,000 IN LOUISIANA DON'T HAVE ANY HEALTH INSURANCE. THAT'S 21.1 PERCENT OF MISSISSIPPI RESIDENTS AND 20 PERCENT IN LOUISIANA. TEXAS HAS THE NATION'S HIGHEST PERCENTAGE: 24.6 PERCENT. MISSISSIPPI WAS THE NATION'S POOREST STATE IN 2010. THE BUREAU SAYS AN ESTIMATED 664,000 RESIDENTS — 22.7 PERCENT — HAD INCOME BELOW THE POVERTY LINE. LOUISIANA WAS THE SECOND-POOREST, AT 21.6 PERCENT, OR 958,000 PEOPLE. NATIONALLY, ABOUT ONE IN SIX PEOPLE LIVE BELOW THE OFFICIAL POVERTY LEVEL OF $22,314 A YEAR FOR A FAMILY OF FOUR.

A US SENATE COMMITTEE PASSES AN AGRICULTURE FUNDING BILL THAT RESTORES OVER A MILLION DOLLARS FOR THE FINANCIALLY-STRAPPED LSU AGCENTER THAT WAS CUT FROM A PREVIOUS HOUSE VERSION. AGCENTER CHANCELLOR BILL RICHARDSON SAYS THE FEDERAL DOLLARS GO TO HELP SUPPORT THE AGCENTER'S RESEARCH AND EXTENSION PROGRAMS. RICHARDSON SAYS AFTER THREE YEARS OF STEADY STATE BUDGET CUTS, THIS NEW DEVELOPMENT IS WELCOME NEWS. HE SAYS THE BILL NOW GOES TO THE FULL US SENATE FOR DEBATE. THE RESTORED AGRI-FUNDING BILL WILL NEED APPROVAL IN BOTH CHAMBERS.

OCTOBER ELECTIONS FOR 7 SEATS ON LOUISIANA'S BOARD OF ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (BESE) ARE GENERATING A LOT OF INTEREST, BECAUSE THE OUTCOMES COULD CHANGE THE COURSE OF EDUCATION POLICY IN LOUISIANA. FORMER BESE MEMBER LESLIE JACOBS SAYS CANDIDATES THIS YEAR ARE POLAR OPPOSITES ON EDUCATION REFORM ISSUES. 20 PEOPLE HAVE SIGNED UP TO RUN FOR THE SEVEN CONTESTED BESE SEATS.

THE LABOR DEPARTMENT HAS CITED AN EXXONMOBIL REFINERY IN BATON ROUGE FOR ALLEGEDLY EXPOSING WORKERS TO FIRE HAZARDS. THE DEPARTMENT'S OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCED TUESDAY THAT IT HAS PROPOSED $126,000 IN PENALTIES FOR ALLEGED SAFETY VIOLATIONS DISCOVERED DURING A MARCH 14 INSPECTION.

LAFAYETTE WAS ON THE SEASON PREMIERE OF THE TV SHOW "COPS" SATURDAY NIGHT AND WILL BE SHOWN SEVERAL MORE TIMES DURING THE SEASON. LAFAYETTE PD SPOKESPERSON CPL PAUL MOUTON SAYS FILMING LASTED FOR ABOUT EIGHT WEEKS AND BEGAN IN MAY. MOUTON SAYS THE DEPARTMENT WILL BE FEATURED IN SIX SEGMENTS THIS SEASON.

THE LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF WILDLIFE AND FISHERIES HAS SET UP A 24-HOUR INFORMATION HOTLINE FOR THE PUBLIC TO FIND OUT ABOUT SEASON DATES AND REGULATIONS. THE NUMBER IS 1-800-256-2749. THE DEPARTMENT ANNOUNCED THE HOTLINE TUESDAY AND SAYS IT WILL UPDATE IT REGULARLY. HUNTING AND FISHING DATES WILL BE AVAILABLE THROUGH THE HOTLINE. PLUS, INFORMATION ON BOATING SAFETY, WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREA AND HUNTER SAFETY AND CONTACT INFORMATION FOR REGIONAL OFFICES WILL ALSO BE AVAILABLE. THAT NUMBER AGAIN 800-256-2749.

A FEDERAL JUDGE IS SET TO SENTENCE AN OPELOUSAS MAN WHO PLEADED GUILTY TO LYING TO THE FBI ABOUT WHAT HE SAW NEAR THE NEW ORLEANS BRIDGE WHERE POLICE SHOT AND KILLED TWO PEOPLE AND WOUNDED FOUR OTHERS AFTER HURRICANE KATRINA.
MARION DAVID RYDER FACES A MAXIMUM SENTENCE OF 15 YEARS IN PRISON WHEN HE IS SENTENCED TODAY IN U.S. DISTRICT COURT. RYDER, A CONVICTED FELON, WAS POSING AS A ST. LANDRY PARISH SHERIFF'S DEPUTY WHEN GUNFIRE ERUPTED ON THE DANZIGER BRIDGE SEVERAL DAYS AFTER THE 2005 STORM. PROSECUTORS SAID RYDER LIED WHEN HE CLAIMED HE SAW SOMEBODY SHOOT AT HIM AND RUN TOWARD THE BRIDGE.LAST MONTH, FIVE CURRENT OR FORMER NEW ORLEANS POLICE OFFICERS WERE CONVICTED OF CIVIL RIGHTS VIOLATIONS STEMMING FROM THE SHOOTINGS.

A KEY FEDERAL REPORT INTO WHAT CAUSED THE WORST OFFSHORE OIL SPILL IN U.S. HISTORY WAS BEING READIED FOR RELEASE AS EARLY AS WEDNESDAY AMID REVELATIONS THAT BP MADE CRITICAL MISTAKES ON THE WELL AND FAILED TO TELL ITS PARTNERS AND THE U.S. GOVERNMENT WHEN IT REALIZED IT. AN INVESTIGATION TEAM OF THE U.S. COAST GUARD AND THE AGENCY THAT REGULATES OFFSHORE DRILLING HELD HEARINGS OVER THE COURSE OF A YEAR FOLLOWING THE APRIL 20, 2010, DEEPWATER HORIZON TRAGEDY.

God Bless America!

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