KSYL Local News

News For Wednesday 11/02/11


NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY 110211
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

AN INTERNAL BATTLE FOR CONTROL CONTINUES WITHIN THE RAPIDES PARISH SCHOOL BOARD. MEMBERS LAST NIGHT PUT OFF MAKING A DECISION ABOUT THE FUTURE OF SUPERINTENDENT GARY JONES. JONES, WHO RECENTLY INTERVIEWED FOR THE SAME POSITION IN LAFAYETTE PARISH, IS UNDER CONTRACT THROUGH DEC. 31, 2012. AT TUESDAY'S SCHOOL BOARD MEETING, A MOTION BY PRESIDENT STEVE BERRY, SOMETHING HE CALLED A SHOW OF GOOD FAITH, WOULD HAVE EXTENDED THE CONTRACT UNDER THE SAME TERMS AND SALARY THROUGH DEC. 31, 2014. INSTEAD, A SUBSTITUTE MOTION TO ADDRESS THE SUPERINTENDENT'S CONTRACT AT THE SEPTEMBER 2012 BOARD MEETING PASSED BY A 5-4 MARGIN. JONES HAD SAID, IF HIS CONTRACT WAS EXTENDED, HE WOULD WITHDRAW HIS NAME FROM CONSIDERATION FOR THE LAFAYETTE POSITION.

A FEDERAL JURY IN ALEXANDRIA WILL RESUME DELIBERATIONS AT 9 A.M. TODAY IN THE BRIBERY TRIAL OF FORMER RAPIDES PARISH POLICE JUROR STEVE BORDELON. THE JURY OF 10 WOMEN AND TWO MEN BEGAN DELIBERATING SHORTLY BEFORE NOON TUESDAY AFTER HEARING CLOSING ARGUMENTS. DELIBERATIONS CONTINUED FOR ABOUT SIX HOURS BEFORE STOPPING FOR THE DAY. THE JURY WILL DECIDE WHETHER BORDELON, WHO WAS A FOUR-TERM POLICE JUROR, ACCEPTED A FREE RESIDENTIAL LOT IN EXCHANGE FOR HIS VOTE AND ABILITY TO MOVE CANNON SUBDIVISION THROUGH THE PARISH GOVERNMENT APPROVAL PROCESS. IF FOUND GUILTY, BORDELON COULD FACE UP TO 10 YEARS IN JAIL AND A FINE.

THE CITY OF ALEXANDRIA ON TUESDAY HIRED A CONSULTANT TO HELP BRING MORE MINORITY AND WOMEN-OWNED BUSINESSES TO THE CITY. THE ALEXANDRIA CITY COUNCIL UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED THE HIRING OF CHARBONNET & ASSOCIATES PLANNERS AND CONSULTANTS OF NEW ORLEANS TO LOCATE DISADVANTAGED, MINORITY-OWNED AND WOMEN OWNED BUSINESSES WHICH COULD DO BUSINESS WITH THE CITY'S SPECIAL PLANNED ACTIVITY REDEVELOPMENT CORRIDORS INITIATIVE. AN OFFICIAL WITH THE CONSULTING FIRM SAYS HE WILL MOVE HIS SENIOR PLANNER TO ALEXANDRIA , SO HE CAN WORK ON THE PROJECT ON A FULL TIME BASIS.

LOUISIANA'S MEDICAID PROGRAM FOR THE POOR, ELDERLY AND DISABLED HAS A NEARLY $127 MILLION STATE FUNDING SHORTFALL. THE STATE HEALTH DEPARTMENT ANNOUNCED THE DEFICIT FIGURE TUESDAY. BUT THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HOSPITALS SAYS IT WILL USE AVAILABLE FEDERAL FUNDS TO PLUG MUCH OF THE GAP. THE SHORTFALL IS ABOUT 5 PERCENT OF THE STATE FUNDING IN THE MEDICAID PROGRAM, AND IT'S CAUSED BY GROWTH IN MEDICAID ENROLLMENT AND PEOPLE USING MORE SERVICES THAT EXPECTED.

A NATIONAL REPORT ON READING AND MATH ACHIEVEMENT AMONG FOURTH- AND EIGHTH-GRADERS SHOWS LOUISIANA PUBLIC SCHOOLS STILL PERFORMING BELOW THE NATIONAL AVERAGE, DESPITE STRIDES MADE SINCE THE 1990S. THE NATIONAL ASSESSMENT OF EDUCATION PROGRESS STATISTICS RELEASED TUESDAY BY THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION SHOW MORE THAN A THIRD OF THE STATE'S EIGHTH-GRADERS FAILING TO ACHIEVE BASIC READING AND MATH SKILLS IN 2011. AND 45 PERCENT OF FOURTH-GRADERS SCORED BELOW THE BASIC READING LEVEL.

TWO FORMER LOUISIANA NATIONAL GUARD SOLDIERS, WHO WERE INJURED WHILE SERVING THE COUNTRY, HAVE SUED THE STATE. THEY APPLIED FOR THE STATE'S $100-THOUSAND BENEFIT THAT WAS SET UP TO HELP DISABLED SOLDIERS, BUT THEY WERE REJECTED. STATE SENATOR ROBERT ADLEY IS THE CHAIRMAN OF THE VETERANS AFFAIRS COMMITTEE. LOUISIANA NATIONAL GUARD SOLDIERS WHO ARE 100-PERCENT PERMANENTLY AND TOTALLY DISABLED WITHIN ONE YEAR OF THEIR INJURY ARE ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE THE $100-THOUSAND, BUT ADLEY SAYS IT APPEARS THE STATE LAW IS TOO STRICT. STATE OFFICIALS SAY OUT OF THE 12 APPLICATIONS RECEIVED, ONLY 1 WAS ACCEPTED.

CHEF'S FROM LOUISIANA AND ALABAMA ARE GETTING TOGETHER BEFORE THE NOVEMBER 5TH MATCHUP BETWEEN THE TIGERS AND THE TIDE FOR THE FIRST EVER "LOUISI-BAMA" GUM-BOWL. CHEF JOHN FOLSE SAYS THE GIANT POT OF GUMBO WILL SET A GUINNESS WORLD RECORD AND PROCEEDS WILL BENEFIT TUSCALOOSA TORNADO VICTIMS. HE SAYS IT WILL BE A MONSTER POT OF GUMBO. FOLSE SAYS THEY'LL BE SERVING 10,000 BOWLS OF GUMBO FOR $5 EACH NEXT TO BRYANT DENNY STADIUM BETWEEN 10:30 AND 3PM THE DAY OF THE GAME.

A NEW TRIAL ORDERED BY AN APPEALS COURT WAS TO BEGIN WEDNESDAY IN STATE DISTRICT COURT IN BATON ROUGE TO DETERMINE IF A TRUCK STOP CAN RETAIN THE TIGER IT HAS KEPT ON DISPLAY FOR OVER A DECADE. THE ANIMAL LEGAL DEFENSE FUND HAD WON A RULING PREVENTING THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF WILDLIFE AND FISHERIES FROM ISSUING A PERMIT ALLOWING THE TIGER TRUCK STOP IN GROSSE TETE, LA., FROM CONTINUING TO EXHIBIT A LIVE TIGER AS A ROADSIDE ATTRACTION. STATE DISTRICT JUDGE MIKE CALDWELL, WHO ORIGINALLY RULED FOR THE FUND, WILL HEAR THE RETRIAL.

TRANSOCEAN, THE COMPANY THAT OWNED THE DRILLING RIG THAT EXPLODED IN THE GULF OF MEXICO LAST YEAR, ARGUED IN COURT DOCUMENTS FILED TUESDAY THAT ITS CONTRACT WITH BP SHIELDS IT FROM HAVING TO PAY FOR THE LARGEST OFFSHORE SPILL IN THE NATION'S HISTORY. IN COURT DOCUMENTS FILED IN FEDERAL COURT IN NEW ORLEANS, TRANSOCEAN SAID IT WAS OPERATING UNDER A CONTRACT WITH BP THAT CONTAINED "STANDARD INDUSTRY RECIPROCAL INDEMNITY LANGUAGE" AND THAT BP PROMISED TO EXEMPT TRANSOCEAN FROM "FINES AND PENALTIES." A TRIAL DESIGNED TO ASSIGN SHARES OF FAULT TO THE COMPANIES IS SCHEDULED TO START FEB. 27. THE TRIAL ALSO IS TO DETERMINE WHETHER RIG OWNER TRANSOCEAN CAN LIMIT WHAT IT PAYS CLAIMANTS UNDER MARITIME LAW.

SIXTEEN PEOPLE WERE SHOT AND AT LEAST TWO KILLED IN A BLOODY HALLOWEEN IN NEW ORLEANS THAT INCLUDED GUNFIRE ON BOURBON STREET, THE TOURIST HOT SPOT IN THE FRENCH QUARTER. NEW ORLEANS MAYOR MITCH LANDRIEU, AT A NEWS CONFERENCE CALLED TUESDAY IN RESPONSE TO THE FIVE SEPARATE SHOOTINGS, SAID A "CULTURE OF VIOLENCE," THAT INVOLVED YOUNG BLACK MEN WITH ILLEGAL GUNS HAS PLAGUED THE CITY AND MUST BE STOPPED. LANDRIEU SAYING THAT THIS CONTINUES TO BE A BATTLE FOR THE FUTURE OF NEW ORLEANS.

TOM SCHEDLER WAS SWORN IN TUESDAY AS SECRETARY OF STATE. SCHEDLER, A REPUBLICAN FORMER STATE SENATOR, DEFEATED GOP HOUSE SPEAKER JIM TUCKER TO COMPLETE THE REMAINING UNEXPIRED TERM OF FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE JAY DARDENNE, AS WELL AS THE NEXT FOUR-YEAR TERM THAT STARTS IN JANUARY.
DARDENNE, WHO LEFT THE OFFICE WHEN HE WAS ELECTED LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR, SWORE IN SCHEDLER AT AN INFORMAL CEREMONY AT THE LOUISIANA STATE ARCHIVES.

A STATE COST-CUTTING COMMISSION FORMED TO MAKE SUGGESTIONS DURING SEVERAL BUDGET SHORTFALLS IS GOING AWAY AT THE END OF THE YEAR. THE COMMISSION ON STREAMLINING GOVERNMENT HELD ITS FINAL MEETING TUESDAY TO REVIEW WHAT HAPPENED TO ITS 238 RECOMMENDATIONS FOR REDUCING STATE SPENDING, CUTTING PROGRAMS AND SHRINKING THE GOVERNMENT WORK FORCE. THE 10-MEMBER PANEL BEGAN ITS WORK IN JULY 2009 AND SUBMITTED ITS RECOMMENDATIONS BY THAT YEAR'S END. THE COMMISSION ESTIMATES THAT THE MOST SIGNIFICANT RECOMMENDATIONS THAT HAVE BEEN FOLLOWED HAVE SAVED THE STATE MORE THAN $750 MILLION OVER THREE YEARS. AMONG THE IDEAS EMBRACED BY THE STREAMLINING PANEL AND FOLLOWED BY AGENCIES WERE PROPOSALS TO: SHRINK THE NUMBER OF STATE-OWNED CARS, REDUCE THE NUMBER OF MANAGERS IN STATE AGENCIES AND PRIVATIZE SEVERAL FUNCTIONS OF STATE OFFICES, LIKE LAB SERVICES, UTILITIES, PRINTING AND FOOD SERVICES.

ACCORDING TO A REPORT BY THE FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION, LOUISIANA CITIZENS HAVE CHIPPED IN NEARLY $1.2-MILLION TO 2012 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGNS. THE REPORT SAYS TEXAS GOVERNOR RICK PERRY HAS RECEIVED NEARLY HALF OF THAT TOTAL. FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR MITT ROMNEY HAS DONE WELL IN LOUISIANA, BRINGING IN JUST OVER $278-THOUSAND IN DONATIONS. THAT'S JUST OVER HALF OF WHAT THE PERRY CAMPAIGN HAS GATHERED. PRESIDENT OBAMA HAS GATHERED JUST OVER $125-THOUSAND FROM LOUISIANA SUPPORTERS.

A SUBSTITUTE TEACHER IN RICHLAND PARISH HAS BEEN DISCIPLINED FOR ALLEGEDLY USING A RACIAL SLUR FOR BLACKS...THE RACIAL SLUR...ON A STUDENT, IN THE CLASSROOM. THE SUB TEACHER IS AFRICAN-AMERICAN, AND SO IS THE STUDENT. PARISH SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT SHELDON JONES DECLINES GIVING DETAILS OF WHAT ACTION HAS BEEN TAKEN, BUT SAYS STEPS HAVE BEEN TAKEN TO ASSURE IT DOESN'T HAPPEN AGAIN. HE CALLS THE INCIDENT "UNFORTUNATE".

A LOUISIANA SATE TROOPER IS CHARGED WITH SIMPLE RAPE, AFTER AN INTERNAL INVESTIGATION. LSP SAYS 47-YEAR-OLD TROOPER ROMAUS ALMOND, OF RUSTON, ALLEGEDLY SEXUALLY ASSAULTED A FEMALE WHO'D STAYED OVERNIGHT AT HIS HOME AFTER A PARTY. THEY SAY ALMOND WAS OFF-DUTY AND ON SICK LEAVE AT THE TIME OF THE INCIDENT.

A BIZARRE ATTEMPTED ROBBERY ON A SHREVEPORT CASINO HAS LED TO THE ARREST OF A TWO BROTHERS. THE TWO ARE IN CUSTODY FOR ATTEMPTING TO ROB SAM'S TOWN CASINO EARLY YESTERDAY MORNING, THEN PLANNING TO GET-AWAY ACROSS THE RED RIVER ON A STOLEN JET SKI. THE PLAN DID NOT WORK..





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