KSYL Local News

News For Friday 09/16/11


NEWS FOR FRIDAY 091611
BY DAVE GRAICHEN


GOV. BOBBY JINDAL AND OTHER STATE, LOCAL AND MILITARY OFFICIALS CELEBRATED THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF MORE THAN $25 MILLION IN STATE FUNDS FOR INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENTS IN THE FORT POLK AREA THURSDAY. THE $25.2 MILLION IN FUNDING ANNOUNCED AT A PRESS CONFERENCE IN LEESVILLE IS EXPECTED TO SPUR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, CREATE ABOUT 2,000 JOBS, ADD HOUSING AND QUALITY-OF-LIFE OPPORTUNITIES FOR MILITARY FAMILIES, AND BOOST FORT POLK'S POSITION AS ONE OF THE MILITARY'S TOP BASES.

FOUR RAPIDES PARISH HIGH SCHOOLS WERE AMONG THE CENLA SCHOOLS RANKED BY U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT AS BEING AMONG THE NATION'S BEST HIGH SCHOOLS. HONORED WERE BOLTON HIGH SCHOOL WITH A SILVER MEDAL RATING; AND NORTHWOOD, RAPIDES AND PLAINVIEW HIGH SCHOOLS, EACH WITH A BRONZE MEDAL RATING. THREE OTHER AREA SCHOOLS WERE HONORED AS WELL AS NATIONAL BLUE RIBBON SCHOOLS. THEY ARE ROSENTHAL MONTESSORI ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IN ALEXANDRIA, THE LOUISIANA SCHOOL FOR MATH, SCIENCE AND THE ARTS IN NATCHITOCHES AND MANY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL. RAPIDES PARISH SUPT. GARY JONES WAS PROUD TO SAY. "RAPIDES PARISH HAD MORE SCHOOLS (ON THE BEST LIST) THAN ANY OTHER PARISH IN THE STATE.

THOUGH STILL BEHIND THE NATIONAL AVERAGE, LOUISIANA MOTORISTS ARE BUCKLING UP AT A RECORD RATE. THE SURVEY, FROM THE STATE HIGHWAY COMMISSION, FOUND 77.7 PERCENT OF LOUISIANA MOTORISTS HAD THEIR SEATBELTS FASTENED, MATCHING THE RECORD-HIGH RATE ACHIEVED IN 2005. HOWEVER, THE ALEXANDRIA AREA IS LAGGING BEHIND A BIT. ALEXANDRIA TIED WITH LAKE CHARLES FOR LOWEST USAGE RATE OBSERVED WITH 74.8 PERCENT OF DRIVERS BUCKLING UP. STATE OFFICIALS REPORT AN ESTIMATED EIGHT LIVES ARE SAVED IN LOUISIANA FOR EVERY ONE PERCENTAGE POINT INCREASE IN SEATBELT USE.

THE TWO REPUBLICANS VYING TO BE LOUISIANA'S SECRETARY OF STATE TRADED CRITICISMS THURSDAY OVER PAY RAISE VOTES AND PROPERTY TAXES, WHILE SHARING LARGELY SIMILAR STANCES ON THE ELECTIONS ISSUES THE OFFICE OVERSEES.
AT A DEBATE WHERE THEY WERE ABLE TO ASK EACH OTHER QUESTIONS, CURRENT OFFICEHOLDER TOM SCHEDLER SAID HOUSE SPEAKER JIM TUCKER WAS OUT OF STEP BY SUPPORTING A LEGISLATIVE PAY RAISE THREE YEARS AGO THAT WAS WIDELY CRITICIZED IN THE PUBLIC. TUCKER HIT SCHEDLER FOR IMPROPERLY TAKING A HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION ON TWO PROPERTIES AT ONCE, FOR THREE YEARS, CUTTING HIS PROPERTY TAX BILL. BOTTOM LINE THOUGH, THE TWO AGREED ON MUCH MORE THAN THEY DISAGREED ON.

SETTING UP A BATTLE WITH THE GOP-CONTROLLED HOUSE, SENATE DEMOCRATS ON THURSDAY MUSCLED THROUGH A $7 BILLION BILL TO REPLENISH NEARLY EMPTY FEDERAL DISASTER AID ACCOUNTS. THE CHAMBER ADVANCED THE LEGISLATION BY A 62-37 VOTE TO DEFEAT A REPUBLICAN FILIBUSTER. TEN REPUBLICANS JOINED WITH EVERY DEMOCRAT PRESENT TO ADOPT THE MEASURE, WHICH INCLUDES $500 MILLION IN IMMEDIATE, EMERGENCY FUNDING FOR THE FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY TO MAKE SURE FEMA WON'T HAVE TO CUT OFF HELP FOR VICTIMS OF HURRICANE IRENE AND TROPICAL STORM LEE AT THE END OF THE MONTH.

A BATON ROUGE JUDGE HAS REFUSED TO BLOCK THE STATE FROM SIGNING CONTRACTS WITH THREE PRIVATE INSURANCE COMPANIES CHOSEN TO TAKE PART IN LOUISIANA'S NEW HEALTH-CARE DELIVERY SYSTEM FOR THE POOR. JUDGE WILLIAM MORVANT REJECTED ARGUMENTS FROM AN ATTORNEY FOR AETNA BETTER HEALTH INC., WHICH FAILED TO GET SOME OF THE BUSINESS, THAT AETNA WILL BE IRREPARABLY HARMED IF THE STATE IS ALLOWED TO MOVE FORWARD WITH THE THREE WINNING PROPOSALS.

THE UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE SAYS IT MAY CLOSE A DOWNTOWN NEW ORLEANS MAIL SORTING CENTER THAT EMPLOYS 880 PEOPLE. THE CENTER IS ONE OF MORE THAN 250 MAIL PROCESSING FACILITIES ACROSS THE COUNTRY THE AGENCY MIGHT CLOSE. A POSTAL SORTING FACILITY IN LAFAYETTE IS ALSO ON THE LIST OF POSSIBLE CLOSURES. THE CLOSINGS, AND SERVICE CHANGES, COULD SAVE THE POST OFFICE AS MUCH AS $3 BILLION ANNUALLY AND ARE PART OF AN EFFORT TO REDUCE ANNUAL COSTS BY $6.5 BILLION.

THANKS TO A FEDERAL GRANT, STATE ALCOHOL & TOBACCO CONTROL AGENTS WILL BE CARRYING OUT COVERT INVESTIGATIONS OF OVER 3000 RETAIL STORES STATEWIDE, TO SEE IF THEY'RE SELLING TOBACCO TO MINORS. THE FOOD & DRUG ADMINISTRATION IS PICKING UP THE TAB FOR THE STING OPERATION. ATC COMMISSIONER TROY HEBERT SAYS THE STINGS WILL USE REAL MINORS, BETWEEN 15 AND 17, TO TRY TO BUY CIGARETTES AT SHOPS. IF THEY ARE SOLD SMOKES, ATC AGENTS THEN COME IN AND CITE THE STORE AND CLERK.

THE U.S. COAST GUARD SAYS AN OIL LEAK FROM AN ABANDONED WELLHEAD IN BAYOU DUPONT IN JEFFERSON PARISH IS UNDER CONTROL. ON THURSDAY, OFFICIALS SAID ABOUT 1,470 GALLONS OF OIL HAD BEEN RECOVERED. THE COAST GUARD SAYS BOOM HAS BEEN PLACED IN THE WATER TO CONTAIN THE LEAK AND ABOUT 40 WORKERS ARE CLEANING UP THE SPILL. THE COAST GUARD SAYS ONE LEAK IN THE WELLHEAD HAS BEEN PLUGGED AND TWO OTHER SPOTS WHERE OIL WAS OOZING OUT HAVE STOPPED LEAKING. THE LEAK WAS REPORTED TO THE COAST GUARD ON SUNDAY.

MOST OF LOUISIANA'S STATE-LICENSED CASINOS EXPERIENCED A DROP IN WINNINGS LAST MONTH COMPARED TO AUGUST 2010. AND ALL OF THEM WON LESS THAN THEY DID IN JULY.
THE TOTAL TAKE FOR AUGUST FOR HARRAH'S CASINO AT NEW ORLEANS, THE 13 RIVERBOAT CASINOS AROUND THE STATE AND FOUR SLOT-MACHINE OPERATIONS AT HORSE TRACKS WAS $185.5 MILLION. THAT COMPARES TO $193.4 MILLION FOR AUGUST 2010 AND $224.3 MILLION IN JULY 2011.

GATORS; THEY'RE NOT JUST FOR SWAMP COUNTRY ANYMORE. WILDLIFE & FISHERIES AGENTS WERE SUMMONED TO A SUBDIVISION IN BOSSIER CITY TO DISPOSE OF A SIX FOOT ALLIGATOR THAT WAS SPOTTED WEDNESDAY. AGENTS SHOT THE ANIMAL AND HAULED IT AWAY.




God Bless America!

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