KSYL Local News

News For Tuesday Morning 11/22/11


NEWS FOR TUESDAY 112211
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

THERE'S A CHANCE FOR SEVERE WEATHER ACROSS THE STATE TODAY. STATE CLIMATOLOGIST BARRY KEIM SAYS A COLD FRONT SWINGING THROUGH LOUISIANA WILL PRODUCE NUMEROUS SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS. A COLD FRONT THAT CAME ACROSS THE STATE LAST WEEK PRODUCED ISOLATED TORNADOES AND KEIM SAYS THERE IS A CHANCE FOR THAT AGAIN TODAY. BUT, HE DOESN’T EXPECT TO SEE THAT.

YOU MAY HAVE NOTICED THE LARGE CROWDS AND EXTRA TRAFFIC AT THE RAPIDES PARISH COLISEUM OVER THE PAST FEW DAYS. THE LOUISIANA BAPTIST CONVENTION'S YOUTH EVANGELISM CELEBRATION, WHICH DREW OVER 6,600 YOUNG PEOPLE, HAS BEEN IN TOWN SINCE THE WEEKEND. THOSE WHO FLOCKED TO THE ANNUAL CONFERENCE, CAME TO FOR ENTERTAINMENT AND SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT. IT’S BELIEVED THEY GOT BOTH. WE ARE TOLD, THE EVENT WHICH OFFICIALLY CAME TO A CLOSE YESTERDAY EVENING, WAS A BIG SUCCESS.

RETAIL STORES ACROSS LOUISIANA ARE GEARING UP FOR BLACK FRIDAY; THE TRADITIONAL START OF CHRISTMAS SHOPPING SEASON. MANY ARE TURNING IT INTO BLACK THURSDAY--CHOOSING TO OPEN ON THANKSGIVING NIGHT. RETAIL ANALYST JIM RUTLEDGE SAYS STORES LIKE TARGET, TOYS R US, WAL-MART AND MORE ARE DOING IT...AND NOT JUST ON A WHIM. RUTLEDGE SAYS DECISIONS TO OPEN FOR SHOPPING ON THURSDAY NIGHT WERE BASED ON CONSUMER MARKET RESEARCH. HE SAYS DESPITE WHAT SOME DISGRUNTLED STORE EMPLOYEES MAY FEEL, A BLACK THURSDAY OPENING IS WHAT SHOPPERS WANT. RUTLEDGE SAYS MACY'S, BEST BUY & KOHL'S STORES IN LOUISIANA WILL OPEN AT MIDNIGHT FRIDAY MORNING. HE SAYS STORES ARE STOCKING UP, AND WILL MAKE GOOD USE OF THE ADDITIONAL HOURS TO, HOPEFULLY, PROCESS BIG CHRISTMAS GIFT ORDERS.

GOVERNOR JINDAL IS HAPPY THAT SEVERAL CANDIDATES HE SUPPORTED FOR SEATS ON THE BOARD OF ELEMENTARY & SECONDARY EDUCATION WON IN FALL ELECTIONS. HE SAYS THAT WILL BE HELPFUL IN PASSING FURTHER K-12 EDUCATION REFORMS. JINDAL SAYS HE SPENT $420-THOUSAND FROM HIS CAMPAIGN WARCHEST IN SUPPORT OF BESE CANDIDATES WHO BACK HIS NEW EDUCATION STRATEGIES. HE SAYS VOTERS HAVE CHOSEN TO SUPPORT REFORM CANDIDATES, AND MORE PUBLIC EDUCATION IMPROVEMENTS WILL BE COMING FOR THE SPRING LEGISLATIVE SESSION. JINDAL WOULD LIKE TO RE-EXAMINE TEACHER TENURE, MAKING IT EASIER TO DISMISS TEACHERS WHO PERFORM POORLY. HE ALSO FAVORS MERIT PAY FOR TEACHERS WHO PERFORM VERY WELL.

REPUBLICAN GROUPS TRYING TO SUBSTANTIALLY WIDEN THEIR MARGIN OF SUPPORT IN THE STATE HOUSE FELL SHORT IN THIS WEEKEND'S ELECTIONS, WHILE WHITE DEMOCRATS SHOWED THEY COULD STILL WIN LEGISLATIVE RACES IN LOUISIANA DESPITE GROWING TRENDS TO THE GOP. DEPENDING ON WHERE THEY STARTED COUNTING AND HOW THEY CALCULATED VICTORY, BOTH REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS WERE DECLARING TRIUMPH IN THE OUTCOMES OF SATURDAY'S RUNOFFS, WHERE ABOUT ONE IN FIVE ELIGIBLE VOTERS CAST BALLOTS.

PINEVILLE MAN HAS FILED A LAWSUIT AGAINST THE CITY OF PINEVILLE, CLAIMING POLICE OFFICERS NEEDLESSLY ARRESTED HIM USING A TASER STUN DEVICE THAT CAUSED INJURIES IN NOVEMBER OF LAST YEAR AT THE SUPER 1 FOODS GAS STATION. 47 YEAR OLD CLEVELAND RITCHIE JR. WAS TASERED AND ARRESTED AFTER POLICE WERE TOLD A MAN WAS BLOCKING THE GAS STATION AND THAT HE MAY BE PLANNING ON COMMITTING SUICIDE. RITCHIE WAS TASERED AFTER REFUSING REPEATED DEMANDS TO LEAVE HIS VEHICLE, AND AFTER GRABBING THE OFFICER’S HAND WHILE HE WAS ATTEMPTING TO TAKE AWAY A BOX CUTTER.. THE POLICE REPORT STATES, ONCE THE FULL EFFECTS OF THE TASER SUBSIDED, MR. RITCHIE BECAME COMBATIVE, SWINGING HIS ARMS IN AN ATTEMPT TO AVOID BEING TAKEN INTO CUSTODY. RICHIE WAS THEN STUNNED AGAIN. IT WAS LATER DETERMINED THAT RITCHIE SUFFERED FROM SCHIZOPHRENIA AND THAT HE WAS KNOWN FOR BEING OFF OF HIS MEDICATION.

BOSSIER PARISH VOTERS HAVE OVERWHELMINGLY APPROVED A FOURTH FLOATING CASINO IN BOSSIER CITY -- A GAMING BARGE AND MARGARITAVILLE-THEMED HOTEL. 61 PERCENT OF THOSE VOTING SATURDAY APPROVED OF THE CASINO WHILE 39 PERCENT WERE OPPOSED.
THE $195 MILLION PROJECT JUST NORTH OF LOUISIANA BOARDWALK WILL FEATURE A 400-ROOM HOTEL, THEATER, POOL AREA AND A MARGARITAVILLE RESTAURANT. DEVELOPER WILLIAM TROTTER SAID HE PLANS TO BEGIN CONSTRUCTION AT THE FIRST OF NEXT YEAR WITH COMPLETION IN MAY 2013. HE SAYS THE DEVELOPMENT WILL EMPLOY 1,200 PEOPLE.

U.S. SEN. MARY LANDRIEU WANTS THE ARMY TO EXPAND FORT POLK, A MAJOR MILITARY FORT IN SOUTHWESTERN LOUISIANA. ON MONDAY, LANDRIEU SENT A LETTER TO SECRETARY OF THE ARMY JOHN MCHUGH TO EXPRESS HER SUPPORT OF BUYING 8,250 ACRES OF LAND THAT THE ARMY HAS SOUGHT TO PURCHASE. THE SENATOR SAYS A DEAL WITH THE LAND'S OWNERS COULD BE REACHED WITHIN THE NEXT 30 TO 45 DAYS. LANDRIEU SAID THE "NEW LAND IS EQUALLY IMPORTANT TO FORT POLK'S MISSION AND THE LOCAL COMMUNITIES." FORT POLK IS AN IMPORTANT TRAINING INSTALLATION FOR TROOPS BOUND FOR WAR OVERSEAS.

THE HEAD OF LOUISIANA STATE POLICE SAY HE'S SENDING 30 TROOPERS FROM SOUTHEAST LOUISIANA TO NEW ORLEANS TO HELP WITH ENFORCEMENT OVER THE THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY IN THE CENTRAL BUSINESS DISTRICT AND FRENCH QUARTER. COL. MIKE EDMONSON SAYS POLICE CHIEF RONAL SERPAS AND MAYOR MITCH LANDRIEU ASKED FOR AN ADDITIONAL CONTINGENT OF STATE TROOPERS TO SUPPORT THE POLICE DEPARTMENT'S ENFORCEMENT EFFORTS OVER THE HOLIDAY. EDMONSON SAYS THE EXTRA TROOPERS WILL HELP THE DEPARTMENT FROM FRIDAY THROUGH TUESDAY AS THE CITY EXPECTS AN INFLUX OF THOUSANDS OF VISITORS FOR THE BAYOU CLASSIC COLLEGE FOOTBALL MATCHUP BETWEEN GRAMBLING STATE AND SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY AND THE MONDAY NIGHT SAINTS FOOTBALL GAME AGAINST THE NEW YORK GIANTS.


ST. MARTIN PARISH SHERIFF'S DEPUTIES SAY A 49-YEAR-OLD BREAUX BRIDGE WOMAN AND HER 30-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER ALLEGEDLY STRANGLED JESSIE MESSEX, THE WOMAN'S 83-YEAR-OLD MOTHER. A DEPUTY FOUND MESSEX'S BODY AT LAKE MARTIN EARLY THURSDAY DURING A ROUTINE PATROL. DEPUTIES ARRESTED HELLER DUPUIS AND TONI DUPUIS, BOTH OF BREAUX BRIDGE, ON ONE COUNT EACH OF FIRST-DEGREE MURDER. DETAILS SURROUNDING THE DEATH HAVE NOT BEEN RELEASED. BOTH WOMEN WERE BOOKED INTO THE ST. MARTIN PARISH CORRECTIONAL CENTER.

THE DEADLINE IS QUICKLY APPROACHING FOR THOSE SEEKING FEMA DISASTER AID FOR TROPICAL STORM LEE. THE MONEY IS MADE AVAILABLE TO LOCAL GOVERNMENT AGENCIES, SCHOOL DISTRICTS AN NON-PROFITS TO HELP COVER EMERGENCY WORK AND DAMAGE REPAIR FROM THE SEPTEMBER STORM. FEMA PAYS UP TO 75 PERCENT OF THE COSTS OF RECOVERY WORK. THE APPLICATION DEADLINE IS NOVEMBER 27TH.

FOUR LOUISIANA PHYSICIANS WROTE HUNDREDS OF BOGUS PRESCRIPTIONS THAT POWERED MULTIMILLION-DOLLAR HEALTH-CARE FRAUDS IN THE BATON ROUGE AREA, ACCORDING TO EVIDENCE AMASSED BY THE NEARLY TWO-YEAR-OLD LOCAL MEDICARE FRAUD STRIKE FORCE. YET ALL FOUR PHYSICIANS REMAIN LICENSED TO PRACTICE MEDICINE, INCLUDING TWO WHO PLEADED GUILTY AND A THIRD CONVICTED AT A JURY TRIAL IN AUGUST. THE FOURTH DOCTOR, WHO HAD PREVIOUS PROBATIONS OF HIS LICENSE, IS FIGHTING THE CHARGES IN HIS INDICTMENT. OFFICIALS OF THE LOUISIANA STATE BOARD OF MEDICAL EXAMINERS DECLINED TO COMMENT ON THE TARGETED PHYSICIANS, THREE OF WHOM HAD THEIR LICENSES SUSPENDED OR PLACED ON PROBATION FOR QUESTIONABLE PRESCRIPTION PRACTICES BEFORE BEING CHARGED IN THE MEDICARE FRAUD CASES. DOCTORS CAN HOWEVER CONTINUE PRACTICING MEDICINE WHILE THEIR LICENSES ARE ON PROBATION, BUT CANNOT DURING A SUSPENSION.

AUTHORITIES ARE INVESTIGATING AN APPARENT MURDER-SUICIDE IN BATON ROUGE.
THE EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE, SAYS DETECTIVES RESPONDED TO A CALL AT ABOUT NOON MONDAY AND FOUND A COUPLE DEAD INSIDE THE HOME.
INVESTIGATORS BELIEVE 52-YEAR-OLD TIMOTHY GRADY SHOT HIS WIFE, 49-YEAR-OLD NATALIE GRADY, AND THEN TURNED THE GUN ON HIMSELF. THE GUN USED IN THE SHOOTINGS WAS FOUND AT THE SCENE. NO WORD AS TO WHAT MAY HAVE SPARKED THE SHOOTING.

SPORTS..

NUMBER ONE RANKED LSU IS PREPARING TO HOST THIRD RANKED ARKANSAS ON FRIDAY AFTERNOON IN TIGER STADIUM. COACH LES MILES SEEMS EXCITED THAT THE GAME IS A DAY EARLIER THAN USUAL. ARKANSAS HAS ONE OF THE BEST OFFENSES IN THE COUNTRY. THEY LEAD THE SEC IN PASS OFFENSE, AVERAGING 316 YARDS A GAME. TWO PLAYERS IN LSU'S SECONDARY ARE DEALING WITH INJURIES, ERIC REID AND CRAIG LOSTON, BUT MILES IS OPTIMISTIC THEY WILL BE ABLE TO PLAY FRIDAY.


SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA UNIVERSITY HAS FIRED FOOTBALL COACH MIKE LUCAS, EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY. THE UNIVERSITY ANNOUNCED LUCAS' DISMISSAL MONDAY. IT DID NOT PROVIDE REASONS FOR LETTING HIM GO. ALTHOUGH THE PROGRAM ENDED THE 2011 SEASON WITH A WIN, DEFEATING IN-STATE RIVAL NICHOLLS STATE 31-14 LAST WEEK, THE LIONS WERE 3-8 (1-6 SOUTHLAND CONFERENCE) THIS YEAR.


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