KSYL Local News

News For Tuesday 11/08/11


NEWS FOR TUESDAY 110811
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

DESPITE ONGOING TENSIONS WITH CERTAIN MEMBERS OF HIS SCHOOL BOARD, RAPIDES PARISH SUPT. OF SCHOOLS DR. GARY JONES ANNOUNCED YESTERDAY THAT HE HAD WITHDRAWN HIS NAME FROM CONSIDERATION FOR THE SUPERINTENDENT’S JOB IN LAFAYETTE PARISH. WHY THE WITHDRAWAL? AT A RECENT SCHOOL BOARD MEETING WHERE A CONTRACT EXTENSION FOR JONES WAS BEING DISCUSSED, ALL THE PRINCIPALS IN RAPIDES PARISH SIGNED A LETTER OF SUPPORT FOR THEIR BOSS. MAYORS FROM PINEVILLE, ALEXANDRIA AND WOODWORTH ALSO SPOKE IN SUPPORT OF JONES. DR. GARY JONES HAS HELD HIS POSITION SINCE JANUARY OF 2003.

COULD HE HAVE STEPPED OVER A LINE? SOME SUPPORTERS OF FORMER SHERIFF WILLIAM EARL HILTON ARE SAYING YES. A NEW RADIO AD CAMPAIGN AIRING ON BLACK RADIO STATIONS IN THE PARISH CALL CURRENT SHERIFF CHUCK WAGNER “BOSS WAGNER”. THE ADS ACCUSE WAGNER OF INVADING BLACK NEIGHBORHOODS IN THE PARISH AND ARRESTING NON-VIOLENT DRUG OFFENDERS. OR AS THE ADS SAYS, YOUR SONS AND DAUGHTERS. POLITICAL ANALYST BERNIE PINSONAT SAYS HE BELIEVES THE “STRONG RACIAL OVERTONES” IN THE ADS, COULD COST HILTON VOTES.

A NEW COLD FRONT WITH THE POTENTIAL TO STIR UP SOME SEVERE WEATHER, IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN TRACKING ACROSS THE STATE LATER TODAY. STATE CLIMATOLOGIST BARRY KEIM SAYS THE FRONT SHOULD TOUCH OFF SOME THUNDER SHOWERS AS IT MOVES THROUGH. KEIM SAYS THERE COULD BE PROBLEMS WITH FALLING LIMBS AND BLOWING DEBRIS AS THE FRONT PASSES. HE EXPECTS THIS SYSTEM TO PRODUCE WIND GUSTS IN
EXCESS OF 30 MILES PER HOUR. THIS SYSTEM IS SIMILAR TO THE LAST COLD FRONT THAT PASSED THROUGH THE STATE BUT WITH STRONGER WINDS AND COLDER TEMPERATURES. KEIM SAYS WE COULD SEE THE FIRST LIGHT FROST OF THE SEASON IN THE NORTHERN PARISHES OF THE STATE.

THE STATE FIRE MARSHAL BLAMES OPERATOR ERROR FOR AN ACCIDENT THAT INJURED A FOUR YEAR OLD BOY LAST WEEK AT THE LOUISIANA STATE FAIR. STATE FIRE MARSHAL BUTCH BROWNING HELD A NEWS CONFERENCE IN SHREVEPORT MONDAY TO RELEASE DETAILS OF HIS INVESTIGATION INTO THE ACCIDENT. BROWNING SAYS THE RIDE IS EQUIPPED WITH TWO SAFETY FEATURES. ONE IS A KEY THAT PREVENTS THE RIDE FROM STARTING. THAT KEY WAS NOT ENGAGED AND ANOTHER CHILD PUSHED THE BUTTON, STARTING THE RIDE. 4-YEAR-OLD SHELDON LEWIS WAS LEAVING THE RIDE WHEN IT STARTED MOVING, APPARENTLY CAUSING HIM TO FALL AND BECOME TRAPPED BETWEEN A CAR AND THE RIDE'S METAL DECK. LEWIS REMAINS IN CRITICAL CONDITION AT LSU HEALTH SCIENCES CENTER.

STATE POLICE DETECTIVES HAVE CONCLUDED THAT THE SEPT. 30 DEATH OF A DEPARTMENT OF WILDLIFE AND FISHERIES ENFORCEMENT AGENT WAS AN ACCIDENT. THE BODY OF SGT. PAUL STUCKEY WAS FOUND ON RIVER ROAD IN ST. FRANCISVILLE BETWEEN THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER AND THE U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS MAT-CASTING PLANT. LT. DOUG CAIN SAYS DETECTIVES REPORTED THEIR FINDINGS LAST WEEK TO STUCKEY'S FAMILY AND THE COMMAND STAFF OF THE DEPARTMENT OF WILDLIFE AND FISHERIES. CAIN SAID STUCKEY WAS INVESTIGATING AN ACTIVE COMPLAINT OF NIGHT HUNTING IN THE AREA. HE SAID THAT IT WAS OBVIOUS THAT STUCKEY WAS SETTING UP SURVEILLANCE AND HAD AN ACCIDENTAL DISCHARGE OF HIS SHOTGUN.

THE ST. MARTIN PARISH SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT SAYS IT WILL CLOSE ITS JUVENILE DETENTION CENTER. THE FACILITY WILL OFFICIALLY CLOSE AT THE END OF THIS YEAR. ACCORDING TO THE DEPARTMENT, DWINDLING NUMBERS OF JUVENILES SENT TO THE FACILITY IS ATTRIBUTED TO THE CLOSURE. A REGIONAL FACILITY ALSO IS CURRENTLY UNDER CONSTRUCTION IN BUNKIE BY THE STATE THAT WOULD FURTHER DECREASE NUMBERS. THE SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT SAYS IT WILL CONSIDER FUTURE USES FOR THE FACILITY, WHICH IS ALSO PARTIALLY USED FOR TRAINING AND OTHER FUNCTIONS.

LOUISIANA IS LOOSING 17-MILLION DOLLARS IN FEDERAL MONEY THAT IS USED TO HELP FAMILIES WHO ARE CARING FOR RELATIVES' CHILDREN. THE DOLLARS, WHICH WOULD HELP A GRANDMOTHER CARE FOR THEIR GRANDCHILDREN WILL GO AWAY ON DECEMBER FIRST. DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES SECRETARY RUTH JOHNSON SAYS CUTS BY CONGRESS IS THE REASON FOR THE LOSS OF FUNDS. JOHNSON SAYS LOUISIANA IS ONE OF 17 STATES TO RECEIVE THIS TYPE OF FUNDING TO HELP A GRANDMOTHER OR AUNT BE THE PRIMARY CARETAKER OF A CHILD. SHE SAYS ITS UNLIKELY CONGRESS WILL RESTORE THESE DOLLARS.

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL'S PICK TO BE LOUISIANA'S NEXT EDUCATION SUPERINTENDENT SAID MONDAY THAT IT'S NOT APPROPRIATE TO TALK WITH EDUCATION BOARD MEMBERS ABOUT THE JOB UNTIL AFTER THE NOV. 19 ELECTION. JOHN WHITE, HEAD OF THE STATE-RUN RECOVERY SCHOOL DISTRICT, SAID HE'S FOCUSED ON HIS CURRENT POSITION AND HASN'T BEEN PITCHING HIMSELF TO THE MEMBERS OF THE BOARD OF ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION FOR THE STATE SUPERINTENDENT'S POST. HE WAS ALSO GUARDED ABOUT EXPRESSING HIS INTEREST IN THE POSITION. WHITE SAYS, IF THE BESE BOARD IS INTERESTED IN HAVING HIM AS SUPERINTENDENT, AFTER THEIR INAUGURATION, HE'D BE MORE THAN HONORED AND AT THAT POINT HE WOULD CONSIDER THAT DEEPLY.

HORNBECK OFFSHORE SERVICES, AN OFFSHORE VESSEL PROVIDER BASED IN COVINGTON, PLANS TO SPEND ABOUT $720 MILLION BUILDING 16 NEW OFFSHORE SUPPLY VESSELS THAT WILL BE DELIVERED IN 2013 AND 2014. THE COMPANY, WHICH PROVIDES WATER TRANSPORTATION FOR THE OFFSHORE PETROLEUM INDUSTRY, ALSO MAY BUILD ANOTHER 16 VESSELS — BEYOND THE INITIAL 16 — IF MARKET CONDITIONS WARRANT. HORNBECK EXPECTS TO DEPLOY THE VESSELS, WHICH WILL BE BUILT IN THE UNITED STATES, IN THE GULF OF MEXICO, BRAZIL AND MEXICO.

METAL SHARK ALUMINUM BOATS OF JEANERETTE HAS A $192 MILLION CONTRACT TO REPLACE THE COAST GUARD'S FLEET OF SMALL PORT SECURITY BOATS. PRESIDENT AND CO-OWNER CHRIS ALLARD (AL'-URD) SAYS THE COMPANY WILL BUILD UP TO 500 OF THE BOATS. ALLARD’S COMPANY WAS ONE OF TWO FINALISTS THAT EACH PROVIDED A BOAT FOR TRIALS BY COAST GUARD CREWS IN JUNE AND JULY.
HE SAYS THE COMPANY HAS JUST UNDER 100 WORKERS, AND EXPECTS TO HIRE 20 TO 40 MORE WELDERS, RIGGING AND ELECTRONIC EXPERTS AND INSTALLERS OVER THE NEXT YEAR. HE SAYS THE CONTRACT COULD LEAD TO EVEN MORE BUSINESS, SINCE THE BOATS WILL BE SEEN IN PORTS AND WATERWAYS AROUND THE COUNTRY.

THE SHAW GROUP MAY HAVE OVERBILLED THE STATE ABOUT $500,000 AFTER IT WAS HIRED BY GOV. BOBBY JINDAL'S ADMINISTRATION TO BUILD $250 MILLION WORTH OF SAND BERMS ALONG THE GULF OF MEXICO TO BLOCK OIL SPEWING FROM AN OUT-OF-CONTROL BP WELL FROM WASHING ASHORE, ACCORDING TO THE STATE LEGISLATIVE AUDITOR. A LEGISLATIVE AUDITOR'S REPORT MONDAY SAID SHAW BILLED THE STATE BETWEEN JUNE 2010 AND AUGUST 2011 FOR $251 MILLION AND THAT ABOUT $495,000 WORTH OF INVOICES EITHER SHOULD NOT BE PAID OR SHOULD BE PAID ONLY WITH MORE DOCUMENTATION. THE AUDIT FOUND PROBLEMS WITH BILLS FOR MATERIAL AND EQUIPMENT, TRAVEL CHARGES AND REIMBURSABLE EXPENSES. BP GAVE LOUISIANA THE MONEY TO BUILD THE BERMS.

God Bless America!

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