KSYL Local News

News For Friday 10/14/11


NEWS FOR FRIDAY 101411
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

ANOTHER AUTUMN COOL FRONT HAS SETTLED IN OVER LOUISIANA, BRINGING BEAUTIFUL WEATHER FOR THE WEEKEND. STATE CLIMATOLOGIST BARRY KEIM SAYS TEMPERATURES DROPPED INTO THE 50'S AND 60'S STATEWIDE LAST NIGHT; AND AND THE NEXT 3 TO 4 DAYS SHOULD BE PRETTY PLEASANT. KEIM SAYS THIS SHOULD BE A GREAT WEEKEND FOR YARD WORK, COOKOUTS AND ATTENDING FALL FESTIVALS ACROSS THE STATE AND OH YES.. A GREAT WEEKEND FOR THE RAPIDES PARISH FAIR.

BETTER THAN 5300 PEOPLE ARE EXPECTED IN DOWNTOWN ALEXANDRIA SATURDAY FOR THE ALEXANDRIA SUSAN G. KOMEN RACE FOR THE CURE, A 5K RUN/WALK AND ONE-MILE FUN RUN. THAT NUMBER BY THE WAY IS ABOUT A 25% INCREASE OVER LAST YEAR. THE RACE, WHICH IS A NATIONWIDE EFFORT TO FIGHT BREAST CANCER, RECEIVED MORE SPONSORS THIS YEAR, AND MANY OF THE RETURNING SPONSORS INCREASED THEIR SUPPORT. APPROXIMATELY 75 PERCENT OF ALL FUNDS RAISED FROM THE ALEXANDRIA RACE FOR THE CURE WILL BE USED TO FUND LOCAL PROGRAMS WITH THE REMAINING 25 PERCENT GOING TOWARD NATIONAL BREAST-CANCER RESEARCH.

A STATE ELECTION OFFICIAL SAYS OVER 83,000 LOUISIANA RESIDENTS HAVE TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF THE EARLY VOTING PERIOD AND CAST THEIR BALLOT FOR THE OCTOBER 22ND PRIMARY. FIRST ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE KYLE ARDOIN SAYS THIS EXCEEDS THE LAST GUBERNATORIAL ELECTION IN 2007 BY ABOUT 20,000 VOTERS. ARDOIN SAYS, SO FAR, THE PARISHES WITH THE HIGHEST EARLY VOTER TURNOUT HAVE BEEN TANGIPAHOA, ST TAMMANY, EAST BATON ROUGE AND JEFFERSON. EARLY VOTING ENDS TOMORROW AT 6:30 PM.

FALL MEANS FESTIVAL SEASON IS IN FULL SWING IN LOUISIANA. JACQUES BERRY WITH THE LT GOVERNORS OFFICE SAYS THERE ARE AT LEAST 21 FESTIVALS TAKING PLACE THROUGHOUT THE STATE THIS WEEKEND ALONE. HE SAYS THE FESTIVALS ARE GOOD FOR LOUISIANA'S ECONOMY. GRAND REVEIL ACADIEN HAS BEEN GOING ON IN LAFAYETTE WHICH IS A CELEBRATION OF THE FRENCH INFLUENCE IN LOUISIANA. BERRY SAYS THAT'S BROUGHT IN LOTS OF FRENCH TOURISTS. OTHER NOTABLE FESTIVALS ARE THE WOODEN BOAT FESTIVAL IN MADISONVILLE, THE OYSTER FESTIVAL IN ST. BERNARD, HOLLYDAYS IN BATON ROUGE, THE NEW ORLEANS FILM FESTIVAL AND OF COURSE, THE RAPIDES PARISH FAIR. BERRY SAYS THE FULL LIST OF FESTIVALS CAN BE FOUND ONLINE AT LOUISIANATRAVEL.COM.

AFTER SEVERAL WEEKS OF DECLINING PRICES, THE PRICE FOR A GALLON OF GAS HAS SHOT UP BETWEEN FIFTEEN AND TWENTY CENTS IN LESS THAN A WEEK. DON REDMAN, FUEL ANALYST FOR THE AMERICAN AUTOMOBILE ASSOCIATION SAYS THE RAPID RISE CAUGHT EVERYONE BY SURPRISE. REDMAN BELIEVES THE SUDDEN RISE IN THE WHOLESALE PRICE IS TIED A JITTERY GLOBAL GAS MARKET. HE SAYS, IN HIS OPINION, THE MARKET MAY BE RESPONDING TO A POTENTIAL CONFLICT BETWEEN THE US AND IRAN. REDMAN SAYS THERE MAY BE ROOM FOR THE PRICE TO RISE EVEN HIGHER, BEFORE MARKET PRESSURES FORCE IT DOWN AGAIN.

A SCHOOL BOARD AGREED THURSDAY TO TEMPORARILY END SINGLE-SEX CLASSES AT A MIDDLE SCHOOL, RESOLVING A LAWSUIT FILED BY THE AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION.
THE SETTLEMENT CALLS FOR THE VERMILION PARISH SCHOOL BOARD TO SUSPEND SINGLE-SEX CLASSES AT A PARISH MIDDLE SCHOOL THROUGH AT LEAST THE 2016-2017 SCHOOL YEAR. THE ACLU CLAIMS THE KAPLAN SCHOOL ILLEGALLY SEGREGATED MALE AND FEMALE STUDENTS WITH A PROGRAM BASED ON FLAWED DATA AND GENDER STEREOTYPES. SCHOOLS SUPERINTENDENT RANDY SCHEXNAYDER DENIES THE SCHOOL BOARD BUCKLED UNDER PRESSURE FROM THE ACLU. HE SAID THE PROGRAM WAS HALTED BECAUSE AN INSUFFICIENT NUMBER OF PARENTS WANTED THEIR CHILDREN TO PARTICIPATE.

SUNDAY MARKS THE START OF NATIONAL TEEN DRIVER SAFETY WEEK, AND LOUISIANA SAFETY OFFICIALS ARE HOPING TO RAISE AWARENESS OF TEEN DRIVING DANGERS, AND SAVE LIVES. STATE HIGHWAY SAFETY COMMISSION DIRECTOR COL. JOHN LEBLANC SAYS TRAFFIC CRASHES ARE AMERICA'S NUMBER ONE KILLER OF TEENS.

DRIVERS OVERCHARGED $3.00 IN FINES WHEN RENEWING THEIR LICENSE TAGS WERE SENT OUT REFUND CHECKS, AND MANY OF THOSE CHECKS WERE MISTAKENLY MADE OUT FOR $300. STATE OFFICE OF MOTOR VEHICLES COMMISSIONER NICK GAUTREAUX SAYS 26-THOUSAND PEOPLE WERE SENT REFUNDS BUT THEY AREN'T SURE HOW MANY INCORRECT CHECKS WENT OUT HE SAYS IF YOU GOT A CHECK FOR $300, YOU'RE NOT GOING TO BE ABLE TO CASH IT AND NEW CHECKS ARE GOING OUT. GAUTREAUX SAYS PEOPLE WITH THE $300.00 CHECKS SHOULD SHRED THE CHECKS..

THE LISTERIA OUTBREAK THAT'S BLAMED FOR THE DEATH OF TWO LOUISIANA WOMEN IS NOW THE BIGGEST FOOD-BORNE ILLNESS EVENT IN THE U.S. IN 25 YEARS. THE TWO WOMEN FROM OUR STATE WERE THE 22ND AND 23RD PEOPLE TO DIE OF LISTERIA FROM TAINTED CANTALOUPE. OVER A HUNDRED CASES ARE REPORTED IN 25 STATES.

THE HYATT REGENCY NEW ORLEANS, DEVASTATED BY HURRICANE KATRINA IN 2005, REOPENS TUESDAY AFTER A $275 MILLION REBUILD THAT CREATES A NEW BUSINESS MODEL FOR THE DOWNTOWN HOTEL. SPORTS FANS WHO SWARM THE ADJACENT SUPERDOME AND NEW ORLEANS ARENA STILL FIGURE IN THE MODEL, BUT THE HOTEL'S REBUILD ALSO ENVISIONS CARVING A NICHE IN THE CITY'S CONVENTION BUSINESS. DEVELOPERS SAY THEY WILL TARGET SMALLER CONVENTIONS THAT DON'T NEED THE SPACE OFFERED AT THE CITY'S GIANT RIVERFRONT CONVENTION CENTER.

A GROUP OF SHREVEPORT-AREA CIVIC LEADERS HAS COMMISSIONED A STUDY ON THE POSSIBILITY OF MERGING LSU-SHREVEPORT AND LOUISIANA TECH UNIVERSITY. THE COMMITTEE OF 100 OF SHREVEPORT-BOSSIER RECENTLY RETAINED A VIRGINIA-BASED CONSULTANT TO LOOK AT WHETHER THE TWO SCHOOLS CAN BE REORGANIZED INTO A SINGLE RESEARCH-BASED ENTITY. THE $115,000 STUDY IS TO BE DONE BY THE END OF THE YEAR. LOUISIANA TECH, PART OF THE UNIVERSITY OF LOUISIANA SYSTEM, IS IN RUSTON, ABOUT 70 MILES EAST OF LSU-SHREVEPORT. ANY MERGER WOULD FACE STRONG RESISTANCE FROM THE LSU SYSTEM. ITS PRESIDENT, JOHN LOMBARDI, HAS ADVISED SHREVEPORT CAMPUS LEADERS NOT TO PARTICIPATE IN THE STUDY. A MERGER ALSO WOULD REQUIRE SUPPORT FROM THE BOARD OF REGENTS AND A TWO-THIRDS VOTE OF THE LEGISLATURE.

LT. GOVERNOR JAY DARDENNE AND HIS CHALLENGER, PLAQUEMINES PARISH PRESIDENT BILLY NUNGESSER DEBATED AGAIN TODAY IN BATON ROUGE. THE EVENT WAS SPONSORED BY THE LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS. BOTH CANDIDATES WERE ASKED IF IT'S OK TO QUESTION AN OPPONENT'S CHARACTER, PERHAPS DELVING INTO THEIR PERSONAL LIVES. DARDENNE SAID, IF THERE'S A PERCEIVED PROBLEM THERE...YES... NUNGESSER AGREED WITH DARDENNE ON THIS ONE TOPIC. HE SAYS VOTERS DESERVE TO KNOW IF THERE ARE MORAL OR ETHICAL ISSUES WITH CANDIDATES FOR PUBLIC OFFICE. DARDENNE SAYS HIS INTEGRITY & EXPERIENCE IN STATE GOVERNMENT MAKES HIM THE RIGHT CHOICE. NUNGESSER SAYS IT'S TIME FOR A NEW APPROACH TO THE STATE'S NUMBER TWO JOB.

THE ACADIA PARISH SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT HAS ARRESTED TWO PEOPLE THEY BELIEVE ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR UP TO 30 BURGLARIES IN THREE DIFFERENT PARISHES. SPOKESPERSON MAXINE TRAHAN SAYS THEY CAUGHT UP WITH THE TWO SUSPECTS THURSDAY WHILE THEY WERE ROBBING A RESIDENCE IN RAYNE, AND ARRESTED THEM WITHOUT INCIDENT. SHE SAYS FURTHER INVESTIGATION LINKS THE PAIR, JOSEPH DUPLECHIN AND JEREMY MOUTON BOTH OF RAYNE, TO THE OTHER CRIMES.

A CADDO PARISH 3RD GRADER WAS SUSPENDED FOR BRINGING A KNIFE AND A BB GUN TO SCHOOL IN HIS BACKPACK. THE 8-YEAR-OLD SHOWED CLASSMATES THE WEAPONS WHILE WAITING FOR THE BUS; ONE OF THEM ALERTED SCHOOL OFFICIALS. THE BOY MAY OR MAY NOT BE EXPELLED FROM FOREST HILL ELEMENTARY.

A NEW ORLEANS MAN CONTINUED TO COLLECT SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS MEANT FOR HIS MOTHER, 26 YEARS AFTER HER DEATH. COURT RECORD SHOW HE DEFRAUDED THE GOVERNMENT OF OVER 175-THOUSAND DOLLARS. 66-YEAR-OLD BERTRAND TAYLOR PLEADED GUILTY TO THEFT OF GOVERNMENT FUNDS AND FACES UP TO TEN YEARS IN JAIL AND A 250-THOUSAND DOLLAR FINE.

THE HEAD OF THE U.S. OFFSHORE DRILLING SAFETY AGENCY IS TELLING CONGRESS CURRENT FINES FOR OFFSHORE VIOLATIONS NEED TO BE MUCH STIFFER. MICHAEL BROMWICH, HEAD OF THE BUREAU OF SAFETY AND ENVIRONMENTAL ENFORCEMENT, SAYS THE MAXIMUM CIVIL PENALTY FOR A VIOLATION OFFSHORE SHOULD BE "WELL INTO THE SIX FIGURES" PER DAY, PER INCIDENT. THE MAXIMUM FINE WAS $35,000 PER DAY AT THE TIME OF THE GULF OF MEXICO BLOWOUT. BROMWICH CALLED THAT AMOUNT "TRIVIAL" FOR PROFITABLE COMPANIES SPENDING UP TO $1 MILLION A DAY LEASING AN OFFSHORE RIG.
BROMWICH'S STATEMENT COMES A DAY AFTER BP WAS CITED FOR SEVEN VIOLATIONS, AND ITS CONTRACTORS TRANSOCEAN AND HALLIBURTON, FOUR APIECE, STEMMING FROM THE GULF SPILL. DEMOCRATIC REP. EDWARD MARKEY SAYS BASED ON HIS CALCULATIONS, THE MOST BP COULD BE FINED IS $21 MILLION.

LOUISIANA'S HEALTH CHIEF SAYS PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA'S HEALTH-CARE PROGRAM WILL RESULT IN THE "CANNIBALIZATION" OF PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE BY 2014. STATE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HOSPITALS SECRETARY BRUCE GREENSTEIN SAID THE NATIONAL HEALTH-CARE REVAMP WOULD INCREASE LOUISIANA'S MEDICAID ROLLS BY 467,000 PEOPLE


SPORTS..

THE SAINTS SEEK THEIR FIFTH STRAIGHT WIN ON SUNDAY WHEN THEY VISIT NFC SOUTH RIVAL TAMPA BAY. THE BUCCANEERS WON 10 GAMES LAST SEASON AND THEY ARE 3-AND-2 THIS YEAR.

TOP RANKED LSU LEAVES FOR TENNESSEE WHERE THEY'LL PLAY THE VOLUNTEERS TOMORROW AFTERNOON ON NATIONAL TELEVISION. COACH LES MILES SAYS HE PLANS TO USE TWO QUARTERBACKS AGAIN...JARRETT LEE AND JORDAN JEFFERSON.



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