KSYL Local News

News For Friday 102111


NEWS FOR FRIDAY 102111
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

TODAY IS THE LAST FULL DAY OF CAMPAIGNING FOR CANDIDATES SEEKING TO SNARE VOTES AND SUPPORT IN SATURDAY'S ELECTION. FIVE STATEWIDE RACES ARE ON THE BALLOT, DOZENS OF LEGISLATIVE RACES, LOCAL CONTESTS AND FIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS. GOV. BOBBY JINDAL IS EXPECTED TO EASILY WIN A SECOND TERM, WITH NO WELL-FUNDED CHALLENGERS WITH STATEWIDE NAME RECOGNITION. COMPETITIONS FOR LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR AND SECRETARY OF STATE HAVE BECOME REPUBLICAN BATTLES, WITH NO DEMOCRATS SIGNED UP TO RUN. LT. GOV. JAY DARDENNE IS TRYING TO KEEP HIS SEAT AGAINST A CHALLENGE FROM PLAQUEMINES PARISH PRESIDENT BILLY NUNGESSER. SECRETARY OF STATE TOM SCHEDLER FACES OPPOSITION FROM HOUSE SPEAKER JIM TUCKER. MEANWHILE, REPUBLICANS ARE TRYING TO EXPAND THEIR MAJORITIES IN THE HOUSE AND SENATE, WHILE DEMOCRATS ARE TRYING NOT TO LOSE GROUND AND CLOUT.

THE SECRETARY OF STATE'S OFFICE IS PROJECTING A VOTER TURNOUT BETWEEN 35 AND 40 PERCENT FOR TOMORROW'S ELECTION. THERE WAS A CONCERN TURNOUT WOULD BE DOWN FOR THIS STATEWIDE ELECTION, BECAUSE ITS EXPECTED GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL WILL EASILY BE RE-ELECTED. BUT SECRETARY OF STATE SPOKESPERSON SAILOR JACKSON SAYS THERE ARE SOME HEATED LOCAL RACES. JACKSON SAYS THERE ARE SOME BIG FOOTBALL GAMES AROUND THE STATE ON SATURDAY, INCLUDING THE LSU GAME IN BATON ROUGE. HE EXPECTS MOST VOTERS WILL CAST THEIR BALLOT EARLY IN THE DAY.

AMONG AMENDMENTS TO BE DECIDED TOMORROW BY VOTERS, ONE TO ASSURE A REVENUE STREAM FOR TOPS COLLEGE GRANTS IS DRAWING CHEERS...AND JEERS. THE AMENDMENT WOULD DIVERT TOBACCO SETTLEMENT DOLLARS FROM A DEDICATED TRUST FUND TO TOPS. HOWEVER, THE WATCHDOG GROUP THE LOUISIANA BUDGET PROJECT FEELS VOTERS SHOULD SAY "NO" TO AMENDMENT ONE. LBP SPOKESMAN TIM MATHIS APPROVING AMENDMENT ONE WILL RESULT IN TAKING DOLLARS AWAY FOR EDUCATION MATERIALS AND IMPROVEMENTS AT K THROUGH 12 SCHOOLS. MATHIS SAYS THE AMENDMENT IS NOT SOUND FISCAL POLICY. AMENDMENT ONE ALSO PERMANENTLY ADDS A 4-CENT PER PACK TAX ON CIGARETTES.

IN LESS THAN TWO MONTHS, MANY STATE GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES' PAYCHECKS WILL SHRINK TO ABSORB A RATE INCREASE IN THEIR HEALTH INSURANCE PREMIUMS. THE 5 PERCENT INCREASE IS GOING INTO EFFECT DEC. 2 DESPITE OPPOSITION FROM OFFICE OF GROUP BENEFITS BOARD MEMBERS WHO SAY THE INCREASE IS NOT JUSTIFIED SINCE THE BOARD HAS $500 MILLION IN THE BANK. THE RATE INCREASE, WHICH FOLLOWS A 5.6 PERCENT HIKE EARLIER THIS YEAR, COMES AS THE JINDAL ADMINISTRATION EXPLORES HIRING A PRIVATE COMPANY TO MANAGE ONE OF THE OFFICE'S HEALTH PLANS. CRITICS HAVE ACCUSED THE ADMINISTRATION OF PLUMPING UP THE OFFICE'S CASH RESERVES TO MAKE THE PLAN MORE ATTRACTIVE TO PRIVATE COMPANIES.

THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES AND THE FEDERAL ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY ON THURSDAY ANNOUNCED STEPS AIMED AT ASSURING THAT THE PUBLIC IS INFORMED OF WHAT CHEMICALS ARE USED IN THE HYDRAULIC FRACTURING PROCESS FOR EXTRACTING NATURAL GAS FROM SHALE AND THAT PRODUCTION WASTEWATER IS DISPOSED IN A SAFE MANNER. LOUISIANA COMMISSIONER OF CONSERVATION JAMES WELSH SAID NEW STATE MEASURES PROVIDE FOR MORE DISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION AND ALLOW THE OFFICE TO COLLECT TECHNICAL DATA NOT REQUIRED BEFORE. THE NEW RULES INCREASE THE AMOUNT OF INFORMATION PROSPECTIVE DRILLERS MUST DISCLOSE BEFORE OBTAINING A "WORK PERMIT," FORMERLY REFERRED TO AS A DRILLING PERMIT.

THE RAPIDES PARISH POLICE JURY IS ASKING RURAL RESIDENTS TO OBSERVE HALLOWEEN ON MONDAY, OCT. 31. THE POLICE JURY APPROVED A RESOLUTION, OFFERED BY STEVE COCO AND SECONDED BY OLLIE OVERTON, TO HOLD HALLOWEEN TRICK-OR-TREATING ON THE TRADITIONAL OCT. 31 DATE IN THE RURAL PART OF THE PARISH.

LOUISIANA'S LOTTERY PLAYERS WILL HAVE ANOTHER OPTION NEXT MONTH WHEN THE STATE BEGINS OFFERING CHANCES IN THE MULTISTATE GAME MEGA MILLIONS. ON NOV. 16, MEGA MILLIONS SALES BEGIN FOR DRAWINGS ON TUESDAYS AND FRIDAY. THE STATE CURRENTLY OFFERS THE MULTISTATE POWERBALL GAME AND LOUISIANA LOTTO ON WEDNESDAYS AND SATURDAYS AND DAILY GAMES OF EASY 5, PICK 4 AND PICK 3.
THE NEW GAME COSTS $1 PER PLAY BY SELECTING FIVE NUMBERS AND ONE MEGA BALL NUMBER. MEGA MILLIONS IS CURRENTLY PLAYED IN 41 STATES, PLUS THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS.

YESTERDAY MORNING A LOUISIANA TRUCK DRIVER WAS HURT AND INTERSTATE 20 AT VICKSBURG WAS TIED UP FOR HOURS AFTER AN 18-WHEELER ROLLED ONTO THE MEDIAN AND CAUGHT FIRE. THE DRIVER OF THE FEDEX TRUCK TOLD VICKSBURG POLICE HE WAS WESTBOUND WHEN HE HEARD A POP AND LOST CONTROL OF THE TRUCK. THE TRUCK ROLLED ACROSS THE MEDIAN, ALMOST REACHING THE EASTBOUND LANES, AND BURST INTO FLAMES. THE DRIVER OF THE TRUCK WAS TREATED AND RELEASED FROM A LOCAL HOSPITAL.

THE $400 MILLION MOJITO POINTE RIVERBOAT CASINO AND RESORT PLANNED FOR LAKE CHARLES WILL BE AFFILIATED WITH THE MGM BRAND. MGM RESORTS INTERNATIONAL AND CREATIVE CASINOS LLC ANNOUNCED THE PARTNERSHIP PLAN THURSDAY, AS CREATIVE CASINOS ALSO RECEIVED UNANIMOUS APPROVAL FROM STATE GAMBLING REGULATORS FOR THE DESIGN PLANS FOR MOJITO POINTE. THE DEAL INVOLVES MGM PUTTING CASH INTO THE PROJECT, IN EXCHANGE FOR AN EQUITY INTEREST IN CREATIVE CASINOS AND A MANAGEMENT AGREEMENT TO OPERATE MOJITO POINTE. CONSTRUCTION ON MOJITO POINTE IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN THIS YEAR, WITH AN OPENING PLANNED FOR MID-2013.
MOJITO POINTE WILL BE THE FOURTH CASINO IN LAKE CHARLES.

SHREVEPORT POLICE ARE INVESTIGATING AN ATTEMPTED HOME INVASION THAT ENDED WHEN THE BURGLAR SHOT HIS ACCOMPLICE. SERGEANT BILL GOODIN SAYS SHOTS WERE FIRED, WHEN THE HOMEOWNER CAME OUTSIDE AFTER HEARING THE CROOKS TRYING TO BREAK INTO HIS HOUSE. GOODIN SAYS 37-YEAR-OLD CORI YARBOROUGH WAS SHOT ONE TIME IN THE ARM. HE WAS TREATED FOR HIS INJURY AND HAS BEEN ARRESTED ON COUNT OF ATTEMPTED SIMPLE BURGLARY. HE SAYS THEY ARE STILL SEARCHING FOR THE GUNMAN. GOODIN SAYS YARBOROUGH AND HIS UNIDENTIFIED ACCOMPLICE ARE PROBABLY EMBARRASSED OVER THE INCIDENT.

THE 75TH INTERNATIONAL RICE FESTIVAL KICKED OFF YESTERDAY IN CROWLEY. FESTIVAL CHAIRMAN GLYNN MAYARD SAYS THE ANNUAL EVENT BRINGS PEOPLE FROM ALL OVER THE COUNTRY TO CELEBRATE THE HARVEST OF THE RICE CROP. HE SAYS THE CITY OF CROWLEY IS KNOWN AS THE RICE CAPITOL OF THE WORLD. MAYARD SAYS THE FREE EVENT WILL FEATURE DELICIOUS FOOD, CARNIVAL RIDES, ARTS AND CRAFTS AND BIG NAME ENTERTAINMENT FROM FOLKS LIKE WAYNE TOUPS, THE MOLLY RINGWALDS AND BAG OF DONUTS. HE SAYS THERE WILL ALSO BE A PARADE SATURDAY AFTERNOON AND FORMER GOVERNOR AND CROWLEY NATIVE EDWIN EDWARDS WILL BE THE GRAND MARSHAL. MAYARD SAYS THEY'RE EXPECTING A HUGE TURNOUT.

DID YOU KNOW A NEW STATE LAW MAKES YOU A CRIMINAL FOR USING OR ACCEPTING CASH PAYMENT FOR A SECOND HAND PURCHASE? THE LAW SAYS SALE OF SUCH GOODS MUST HAVE THE KIND OF PAPER TRAIL THAT COMES FROM USING A CHECK, DEBIT OR CREDIT CARD. THE LAW APPLIES TO PRIVATE, CITIZEN-TO-CITIZEN TRANSACTIONS, GARAGE SALES, JUNK STORES...EVERYTHING. ITS INTENT IS TO CURB SALES OF STOLEN GOODS.

A SCHOOL TEACHER IN BAKER HAS BEEN ARRESTED FOR CHOKING AND DRAGGING A SIX-YEAR-OLD STUDENT. BAKER POLICE CHIEF MIKE KNAPPS SAYS 65-YEAR-OLD MILDRED RUSS DRAGGED THE LITTLE GIRL BY HER SWEATER THAT WAS WRAPPED AROUND HER NECK FROM THE PLAYGROUND TO THE OFFICE. HE SAYS THE SCHOOL CONDUCTED AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE MATTER AND DECIDED TO CONTACT THE POLICE. THE CHILD WAS BRUISED AROUND HER NECK. SHE TOLD POLICE SHE'D BEEN TALKING IN LINE, WHEN RUSS TOOK ACTION.

SAINTS COACH SEAN PAYTON WILL BE IN SUPERDOME ON SUNDAY NIGHT FOR HIS TEAM'S GAME AGAINST THE INDIANAPOLIS COLTS. BUT PAYTON, WHO HAD SURGERY ON HIS LEFT KNEE ON MONDAY, WILL BE IN THE COACHES BOX. THE HEAD COACH SAYS HE WILL CALL THE PLAYS FROM THE BOOTH DOWN TO OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR PETE CARMICHAEL, WHO WILL THEN RADIO THEM TO QUARTERBACK DREW BREES. PAYTON WILL NOT BE ON THE FIELD DURING PRE-GAME WARM-UPS AND DOES NOT PLAN ON GOING TO THE LOCKER ROOM AT HALFTIME. THE HEAD COACH HAS SEVERAL WEEKS OF RECOVERY BEFORE HIM,




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