KSYL Local News

News For Thursday 10/13/11


NEWS FOR THURSDAY 101311
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

WEATHER FOR THIS YEARS RAPIDES PARISH FAIR DOESN’T GET MUCH NICER.. CLEAR SKIES AND COOLER TEMPS.. JUST A REMINDER.. VISITORS DONATING CANNED FOOD ITEMS AT THE RAPIDES PARISH FAIR CAN GET DISCOUNTS ON ARMBANDS FOR FAIR RIDES FRIDAY THROUGH SUNDAY. THE THOMAS CARNIVAL WILL OFFER A $3 DISCOUNT TO THOSE BRINGING NONPERISHABLE FOOD ITEMS TO BENEFIT THE FOOD BANK OF CENTRAL LOUISIANA. FOOD SHOULD BE TAKEN TO THE TICKET BOOTH AT THE FAIRGROUNDS AT THE RAPIDES PARISH COLISEUM. ARMBANDS MAY BE USED FROM 3-7 P.M. FRIDAY; 11 A.M.-5 P.M. SATURDAY; AND NOON-8 P.M. SUNDAY. ALSO, THE EXCHANGE CLUB WILL DONATE $1 TO THE FOOD BANK FOR EVERY BAG OF COTTON CANDY SOLD BETWEEN 6 AND 9 P.M. TODAY.

CENLA BROADCASTING WELCOMES THE FEDERATION OF FIRE CHAPLAINS TO TOWN FOR THEIR 33RD ANNUAL CONFERENCE. ABOUT 150 TO 200 FIRE CHAPLAINS AND 50 TO 80 OF THEIR SPOUSES ARE EXPECTED. THE CONFERENCE, WHICH BEGINS TOMORROW WILL INCLUDE A BANQUET, REGIONAL SPEAKERS AND A MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR THOSE WHO HAVE LOST THEIR LIVES IN THE LINE OF DUTY. THE EVENT IS BEING HELD DOWNTOWN AT THE ALEXANDER FULTON HOTEL.

ALSO, THE LOUISIANA INTERNATIONAL PIANO COMPETITION WILL CONTINUE TODAY, WITH SEMIFINALIST PERFORMING IN THE COUGHLIN-SAUNDERS PERFORMING ARTS CENTER DOWNTOWN. THE FINALS WILL BE HELD SATURDAY BEGINNING AT 6 P.M. FOR MORE INFORMATION LOG ON TO WWW.LAPIANOINTERNATIONALCOMPETITION.ORG/

AN INDEPENDENT POLL COMMISSIONED BY WWL-TV SHOWS LT. GOVERNOR JAY DARDENNE HOLD A DOUBLE-DIGIT LEAD OVER PLAQUEMINES PARISH PRESIDENT BILLY NUNGESSER. CLARUS RESEARCH GROUP PRESIDENT, RON FAUCHEUX, SAYS 33-PERCENT OF RESPONDERS REMAIN UNDECIDED. FAUCHEUX SAYS FOR NUNGESSER TO BEAT DARDENNE HE'LL HAVE TO GET THE LION'S SHARE OF THOSE VOTERS. THE POLL GAVE DARDENNE A 40 TO 27-PERCENT LEAD OVER NUNGESSER.

THE CITY OF VILLE PLATTE SAYS IT WILL REWRITE IT'S LATE-NIGHT WALKING CURFEW FOR ADULTS. THE REVISIONS COME IN THE FACE OF A LAWSUIT BY THE ACLU, PROTESTING THE ORDINANCE WHICH PROHIBITS ADULTS FROM WALKING OUTSIDE THEIR HOMES AFTER 10PM. CITY ATTORNEY ERIC LA FLEUR SAYS THE ADULT WALKING CURFEW WENT INTO EFFECT LAST FEBRUARY. HE SAYS THE EVANGELINE PARISH CITY WAS DEALING WITH AN ELEVATED CRIME RATE. LA FLEUR SAYS THERE IS STILL STRONG SUPPORT FOR SOME KIND OF CURFEW IN THE COMMUNITY.

THE IBERIA PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE SAYS THEY ARE TRYING TO DETERMINE WHAT CAUSED THE EXPLOSION OF A CONTAINER THAT SEVERELY BURNED A ONE-YEAR-OLD CHILD. THE LITTLE GIRL WAS HOSPITALIZED. AUTHORITIES BELIEVE THE EXPLOSION WAS ACCIDENTAL.

FROM THE “SOMEONE DIDN’T DO THEIR HOMEWORK” DEPARTMENT, SOME OF THE PASSENGER BRIDGES AT MONROE REGIONAL AIRPORT'S NEW $36 MILLION TERMINAL CAN'T CONNECT TO AIRPLANES. OFFICIALS LEARNED OF THE PROBLEM TUESDAY, THE DAY THE NEW TERMINAL OPENED FOR FLIGHTS. THE AIRPORT’S DIRECTOR SAYS "IT LOOKS LIKE SOME OF THEM WILL FIT AND SOME WON'T FIT.” CLEVE NORRELL SAYS, AT THIS POINT THEY ARE NOT SURE WHAT WILL FIX THE PROBLEM RIGHT NOW, BUT WORKING TO FIND A SOLUTION. NORRELL SAID OFFICIALS WERE ALSO WORKING TO LEARN WHETHER THE PROBLEM WAS A CONSTRUCTION DESIGN FLAW OR THE CITY'S ERROR.

OVER 5,000 LOUISIANA HOMES WERE TARGETED FOR SOME KIND OF FORECLOSURE ACTION DURING THE THIRD QUARTER, WITH MOST OF THE OWNERS EITHER LOSING THEIR HOMES OR BEING SCHEDULED FOR A FORECLOSURE SALE. THAT'S ACCORDING TO IRVINE, CALIF.-BASED REALTYTRAC, WHICH TRACKS FORECLOSURES NATIONWIDE. REALTYTRAC SAYS 5,139 PROPERTIES WERE HIT BY A FORECLOSURE ACTION RANGING FROM AN INITIAL DEFAULT NOTICE TO OUTRIGHT REPOSSESSION BY A LENDER. FORECLOSURE ACTIONS AFFECTED ONE IN EVERY 382 LOUISIANA HOUSING UNITS, RANKING THE STATE 29TH IN THE REALTYTRAC COUNT. FORECLOSURE ACTION DID SLOW IN THE STATE — DROPPING JUST UNDER 9 PERCENT FROM THE SECOND QUARTER OF 2010 AND 2.5 PERCENT FROM THE THIRD QUARTER A YEAR AGO.

THE CANDIDATES FOR LT. GOVERNOR WILL MEET IN A DEBATE IN BATON ROUGE TODAY. A RECENT POLL SHOWS CHALLENGER BILLY NUNGESSER TRAILING INCUMBENT JAY DARDENNE BY 13 PERCENT. U-L MONROE POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR JOSHUA STOCKLEY SAYS NUNGESSER NEEDS TO INCREASE HIS NAME RECOGNITION TO REACH UNDECIDED VOTERS. THE LATEST POLL SHOWS 33-PERCENT OF VOTERS ARE UNDECIDED IN THE LT. GOVERNOR'S RACE.

IN THEIR LATEST CAMPAIGN FINANCE REPORT THE JINDAL RE-ELECTION CAMPAIGN SAYS IT HAS SPENT MORE THAN 1.3-MILLION DOLLARS OVER THE LAST MONTH. THAT COMES ON TOP OF 1.9-MILLION SPENT BETWEEN SEPTEMBER 13TH AND OCTOBER 2ND. THE REPORT SAYS JINDAL STILL HAS 6-MILLION DOLLARS IN HIS WAR CHEST. JINDAL FACES 9 OTHER CANDIDATES, NONE ARE CONSIDERED SERIOUS CONTENDERS.

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL IS POISED TO WIN BY A LANDSLIDE IN THE OCT. 22 ELECTION, ACCORDING TO A NEW POLL THAT SHOWS THE GOVERNOR WITH 57 PERCENT SUPPORT FROM THE VOTERS SURVEYED. THAT'S COMPARED TO 15 PERCENT FOR ALL NINE OF HIS OPPONENTS COMBINED.

A STATE APPELLATE COURT HAS UPHELD THE SECOND-DEGREE MURDER CONVICTION OF A NATCHITOCHES WOMAN WHO SHOT AND KILLED A TEENAGER WHO WAS SLEEPING IN THE HOME OF THE WOMAN'S FORMER GIRLFRIEND IN OCTOBER 2009. THE 3RD CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEAL REJECTED TANESHA HARDY'S ARGUMENT THAT SHE SHOT 16-YEAR-OLD WALTER "DINKIE" JOHNSON WITH A .45-CALIBER HANDGUN IN SELF-DEFENSE. WITNESSES AT THE 10TH JUDICIAL DISTRICT TRIAL TESTIFIED THAT JOHNSON WAS UNARMED AND LAY ASLEEP ON A SOFA WHEN HARDY ENTERED THE HOME. A CORONER'S INVESTIGATION DETERMINED JOHNSON DIED FROM A GUNSHOT TO THE NECK. THE JUDGE SENTENCED HARDY TO LIFE IN PRISON.

FEDERAL REGULATORS HAVE CITED OIL COMPANY BP PLC AND TWO OTHER COMPANIES — TRANSOCEAN LTD. AND HALLIBURTON — FOR ALLEGED SAFETY AND ENVIRONMENTAL VIOLATIONS STEMMING FROM LAST YEAR'S RIG EXPLOSION AND MASSIVE OIL SPILL IN THE GULF. THE COMPANIES HAVE 60 DAYS TO APPEAL WEDNESDAY'S CITATIONS ISSUED BY THE INTERIOR DEPARTMENT'S BUREAU OF SAFETY AND ENVIRONMENTAL ENFORCEMENT.
THE BUREAU SAYS THE ALLEGED REGULATORY VIOLATIONS COULD RESULT IN CIVIL PENALTIES ONCE THE APPEAL PERIOD HAS ENDED.

IN A RELATED STORY…

PROSECUTORS HAVE FILED A CIVIL COMPLAINT AGAINST THE OWNER OF THE RIG THAT EXPLODED LAST YEAR IN THE GULF OF MEXICO AND LED TO A MASSIVE OIL SPILL, ACCUSING IT OF REFUSING TO HONOR SUBPOENAS FROM A FEDERAL BOARD INVESTIGATING THE ACCIDENT. THE U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE IN HOUSTON ON WEDNESDAY FILED THE COMPLAINT IN FEDERAL COURT AGAINST TRANSOCEAN LTD. THE COMPLAINT ALLEGES THE COMPANY HAS NOT FULLY COMPLIED WITH FIVE SUBPOENAS THE U.S. CHEMICAL SAFETY BOARD HAS ISSUED. THE BOARD IS ONE OF SEVERAL AGENCIES INVESTIGATING THE APRIL 20, 2010, EXPLOSION. A SPOKESMAN FOR TRANSOCEAN SAID WEDNESDAY THE SAFETY BOARD DOES NOT HAVE JURISDICTION IN THE PROBE.

A TEXAS COMPANY THAT OWNS A REFINERY IN SOUTHWESTERN LOUISIANA PLEADED GUILTY WEDNESDAY TO FELONY VIOLATIONS OF THE FEDERAL CLEAN AIR ACT AND OBSTRUCTING JUSTICE AND AGREED TO PAY A RECORD FINE. ACCORDING TO A PLEA AGREEMENT REACHED IN FEDERAL COURT, PELICAN REFINING LLC WILL PAY $12 MILLION IN CRIMINAL PENALTIES FOR VIOLATIONS AT ITS LAKE CHARLES REFINERY, INCLUDING $2 MILLION FOR AIR POLLUTION MONITORING AND OTHER ENVIRONMENTAL PROJECTS IN THE STATE. A JUDGE MUST APPROVE THE AGREEMENT. THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT SAID THE CRIMINAL FINES WOULD BE THE LARGEST EVER IN LOUISIANA FOR VIOLATIONS OF THE CLEAN AIR ACT.

A LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY OFFICIAL SAID GRAPHIC PACKAGING'S WEST MONROE PAPER MILL WOULD HAVE TO TEMPORARILY SHUT DOWN IN AS FEW AS 30 DAYS IF THE OUACHITA RIVER'S FLOW RATE ISN'T INCREASED. SAM PHILLIPS, ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEQ, WAS AMONG AS MANY AS 20 ARKANSAS AND LOUISIANA OFFICIALS ON A CONFERENCE CALL WITH THE U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS TUESDAY TO DISCUSS THE PROBLEM OF THE OUACHITA'S SLOW FLOW. GEORGIA PACIFIC HAS ALREADY CURTAILED SOME OPERATIONS AT ITS PAPER MILL IN CROSSETT, ARK . BOTH PAPER MILLS RELY ON RELEASING MILLIONS OF GALLONS OF TREATED WASTEWATER INTO THE RIVER EACH DAY, BUT THE CURRENT FLOW, WHICH IS JUST ABOVE 300 CUBIC FEET PER SECOND, ISN'T ENOUGH TO MEET THEIR DILUTION REQUIREMENTS FROM ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATORS.

THE FORMER MAYOR OF WHITE CASTLE HAS BEEN SENTENCED TO 10 YEARS IN PRISON FOR HIS RACKETEERING AND FRAUD CHARGES. FEDERAL PROSECUTORS SAID MAURICE BROWN WAS CAUGHT AS THE RESULT OF A LENGTHY FBI STING OPERATION KNOWN AS "OPERATION BLIGHTED OFFICIALS." THE STING USED UNDERCOVER FBI AGENTS TO SEEK MUNICIPAL CONTRACTS IN THE BATON ROUGE AREA FOR A FAKE COMPANY OFFERING CLEANING SERVICE FOR GARBAGE CANS. U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE BRIAN JACKSON ORDERED BROWN TO REPORT TO PRISON ON NOV. 14. DEFENSE ATTORNEY BRUCE CRAFT SAID BROWN WILL APPEAL THE CONVICTION AND SENTENCE.

A STATE DISTRICT JUDGE SAYS JURORS FROM OUTSIDE OUACHITA PARISH MUST HEAR THE SECOND-DEGREE MURDER CASE AGAINST A WEST MONROE TEENAGER ACCUSED OF SHOOTING HIS PARENTS WHEN HE WAS 15 YEARS OLD. DEFENSE ATTORNEY CHARLES KINCADE SAYS ATTORNEYS WILL MEET WITH JUDGE DANIEL ELLENDER NEXT WEEK TO DECIDE WHEN AND WHERE THE TRIAL WILL BE HELD. ELLENDER APPROVED THE CHANGE OF VENUE WEDNESDAY. DALTON FLETCHER IS CHARGED AS AN ADULT. HE HAS PLEADED NOT GUILTY BY REASON OF INSANITY. CONVICTION WOULD REQUIRE A LIFE SENTENCE.
KINCADE SAYS ALMOST EVERY POTENTIAL JUROR KNEW ABOUT THE CASE, MANY AT FIRST HAND, MAKING IT CLEAR THAT FLETCHER COULD NOT GET A FAIR TRIAL IN THE FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT.

THE MINNESOTA REAL ESTATE INVESTOR WHO BOUGHT THE MONROE MOTOR SPEEDWAY PLANS ON KEEPING IT AN AUTO RACETRACK. THE SPEEDWAY WAS BUILT IN 2008 BUT IT HASN'T HOSTED A RACE SINCE JUNE OF 2010. THE FORMER OWNERS OF THE RACETRACK DEFAULTED ON THE PROPERTY, AND VICTOR SCOTT BOUGHT IT OVER THE PHONE DURING AN AUCTION FOR $726,000. SCOTT THINK IT'S A GOOD DEAL. THE SPEEDWAY IS ON 55 ACRES NEAR I-20. SCOTT SAYS HE PLANS TO REVIVE THE RACETRACK. SCOTT SAYS HE HAS NEVER BEFORE PURCHASED A PROPERTY WITHOUT SEEING IT WITH HIS OWN EYES. BUT, IN THIS CASE, HE SAYS HE HAD NEVER EVEN BEEN TO MONROE PRIOR TO THE PURCHASE.

BATON ROUGE-BASED BILLBOARD GIANT LAMAR ADVERTISING ROLLS OUT A NEW SMARTPHONE APP TODAY, DESIGNED TO PROVIDE USEFUL INFORMATION TO MOTORISTS. LAMAR CEO SEAN REILLY SAYS THE ROAD NINJA APP IS A FREE DOWNLOAD AT THE APPLE STORE ONLINE. REILLY SAYS BY USING ROAD NINJA, YOUR SMARTPHONE WILL INFORM YOU OF WHAT'S AHEAD AT THE NEXT EXIT. REILLY SAYS ROAD NINJA'S DATABASE HAS RESTAURANT, FUEL, HOTEL AND EVEN ATTRACTION INFO FOR EVERY INTERSTATE HIGHWAY EXIT IN THE U.S. THE ROAD NINJA APP WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR IPHONES AND ANDROID PHONES STARTING TODAY. REILLY SAYS IT EVEN INTERFACES WITH SOCIAL MEDIA LIKE
FACEBOOK OR TWITTER, SO THAT YOU CAN ADD YOUR OWN REVIEWS, RATINGS OR PHOTOS OF LISTED BUSINESSES. HE SAYS ROAD NINJA IS THE HUNGRY TRAVELER'S FRIEND.


 

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