KSYL Local News

News For Tuesday 11/29/11


NEWS FOR TUESDAY 112911
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

THE CELEBRATION OF LOUISIANA'S 200TH ANNIVERSARY OF STATEHOOD WILL KICK OFF THIS EVENING AT KENT PLANTATION HOUSE IN ALEXANDRIA. JULIE VEZINOT IS THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE LOUISIANA BICENTENNIAL COMMISSION. SHE SAYS TODAY'S EVENT WILL BE THE START OF YEARLONG STATEWIDE CELEBRATIONS. VEZINOT SAYS THE EVENT STARTS AT 5:30 AND IS FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. SHE SAYS FEATURED SPEAKERS INCLUDE LT. GOVERNOR JAY DARDENNE AND COMMISSION CHAIRMAN LT. GENERAL RUSSELL HONORE. VEZINOT SAYS A US POSTAGE STAMP COMMEMORATING THE ANNIVERSARY WILL ALSO BE UNVEILED AT THE EVENT. VEZINOT SAYS THEY'VE RELIED ON FUND RAISING TO CELEBRATE LOUISIANA'S 200TH BIRTHDAY AND SO FAR THEY'VE RAISED NEARLY $700,000.

FEDERAL HEALTH OFFICIALS ON MONDAY DENIED LOUISIANA'S REQUEST TO DELAY THE STATE'S COMPLIANCE WITH A REQUIREMENT THAT HEALTH INSURERS SET ASIDE 80 PERCENT OF THE MONEY THEY RECEIVE IN PREMIUMS AND USE IT TO PAY FOR MEDICAL SERVICES. THE REQUIREMENT, PART OF LAST YEAR'S HEALTH-CARE REFORM LAW, SAYS THE MONEY COLLECTED ON PLANS SOLD TO INDIVIDUALS AND SMALL GROUPS MUST BE SPENT ON MEDICAL SERVICES RATHER THAN BEING KEPT AS PROFITS OR SPENT ON MARKETING, SALARIES OR OTHER ADMINISTRATIVE COSTS. INSURERS THAT DON'T MEET THE 80 PERCENT REQUIREMENT MUST PAY REBATES TO CUSTOMERS. LOUISIANA OFFICIALS HAD SAID THE REQUIREMENT COULD PROMPT SOME INSURERS TO LEAVE THE STATE. FEDERAL OFFICIALS SAID MONDAY THAT THERE'S NO EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT THAT CONCERN.

THREE-TERM NATCHITOCHES MAYOR WAYNE MCCULLEN ANNOUNCED MONDAY THAT HE WOULD NOT SEEK A FOURTH TERM IN THE SPRING 2012 ELECTION. MCCULLEN, WHO IS NOW 64, WAS FIRST ELECTED MAYOR IN 2000. PRIOR TO THAT HE SERVED 20 YEARS ON THE NATCHITOCHES CITY COUNCIL, WHERE HE SERVED AS COUNCILMAN AT-LARGE. MCCULLEN SAID HE LOOKS FORWARD TO SPENDING MORE TIME WITH HIS WIFE, CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN.

THE CITY OF ALEXANDRIA’S AGREEMENT WITH CLECO TO PROVIDE RESIDENTS OF THE CITY WITH POWER COULD EXPIRE AS EARLY AS 2015. WITH THAT IN MIND, THE MAYOR AND CITY OFFICIALS WANT TO LOOK AT ALL POSSIBLE ALTERNATIVES. ONE PLAN WOULD BE TO EXPAND THE HUNTER POWER STATION. BUT, THAT COULD BE COSTLY DUE TO RECENTLY IMPOSED RULES FROM THE EPA LIMITING EMISSIONS FROM POWER PLANTS. IT’S HOPED THE CITY WILL BE ABLE TO WORK OUT A DEAL WITH CLECO THAT WILL BENEFIT ALL PARTIES INVOLVED.

JURY SELECTION IS UNDERWAY IN BOSSIER PARISH FOR THE MURDER TRIAL OF DALTON FLETCHER. HE'S A TEENAGER ACCUSED OF KILLING HIS PARENTS IN OUACHITA PARISH IN SEPTEMBER OF 2010. FLETCHER REPORTEDLY TOLD AUTHORITIES HE PLANNED THE SLAYINGS, BECAUSE HIS FATHER WAS BEATING HIM. FLETCHER IS FACING TWO COUNTS OF SECOND-DEGREE MURDER. HE HAS PLEADED NOT GUILTY BY REASON OF INSANITY.

4-YEAR OLD S. J. LEWIS OF COUSHATTA HAS BEEN RELEASED FROM A SHREVEPORT HOSPITAL, ALMOST A MONTH AFTER HE WAS INJURED ON A RIDE AT THE STATE FAIR OF LOUISIANA IN SHREVEPORT. THE CHILD WAS TRAPPED BETWEEN A MINIATURE CAR AND THE METAL DECK OF THE DEMOLITION DERBY RIDE ON NOVEMBER SECOND. INVESTIGATORS FOUND ANOTHER CHILD STARTED THE RIDE WHILE THE OPERATOR WAS HELPING OTHER CHILDREN GET ON THE RIDE. BUT THE FIRE MARSHALL'S OFFICE SAYS THE OPERATOR WAS AT FAULT BECAUSE HE SHOULD HAVE DISABLED THE SWITCH THAT STARTED THE RIDE.

GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL HAS BEGUN MEETINGS WITH STATE LAWMAKERS AND EDUCATION OFFICIALS, TO PUT TOGETHER HIS 2012 LEGISLATIVE AGENDA FOR CONTINUED EDUCATION REFORMS. JINDAL STRESSES THE IMPORTANCE OF ASSURING GOOD TEACHERS IN ALL SCHOOLS, PROVIDING PARENTS OF KIDS IN FAILING SCHOOLS WITH MORE OPTIONS, AND HE WANTS TO SEE LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS GIVEN MORE CONTROL OVER THEIR FUNDING. JINDAL WILL CONTINUE MEETING WITH EDUCATION "STAKEHOLDERS" FOR THE NEXT FEW WEEKS. HE SAYS HE'LL REVEAL HIS EDUCATION AGENDA FOR THE SPRING LEGISLATIVE SESSION AFTER THE HOLIDAYS.

THE LATEST COMMISSION SET UP TO STUDY THE GOVERNANCE, MANAGEMENT AND FUNDING OF LOUISIANA'S PUBLIC COLLEGES IS SET TO START VOTING ON ITS RECOMMENDATIONS, WHICH ARE DUE TO LAWMAKERS BY JANUARY. THE 18-MEMBER STUDY COMMISSION WADED THROUGH A PILE OF PROPOSALS MONDAY, WITH VOTES SET ON THE IDEAS SCHEDULED FOR TODAY. PROPOSALS INCLUDE REVAMPING THE STATE'S FREE COLLEGE TUITION PROGRAM CALLED TOPS, RESHUFFLING SCHOOLS AMONG THE DIFFERENT UNIVERSITY SYSTEMS AND CHANGING THE FUNDING PLANS FOR COLLEGES. NEARLY ALL WOULD NEED LEGISLATIVE APPROVAL TO ENACT. THE STUDY GROUP INCLUDES LAWMAKERS, HIGHER EDUCATION OFFICIALS, BUSINESS LEADERS AND OTHERS. IT HAS BEEN MEETING MONTHLY.

THE GOVERNOR HAS HIRED BOTH THE BROTHER AND BROTHER-IN-LAW OF TIMMY TEEPELL, HIS FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF. MATT PARKER IS NOW THE INTER-GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS DIRECTOR AND TAYLOR TEEPELL IS NOW THE GOVERNORS DEPUTY LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS DIRECTOR. TAYLOR TEEPEL WAS DIRECTOR OF THE STATE REPUBLICAN PARTY'S VICTORY FUND AND HAS ALSO WORKED AS POLICY ADVISOR TO MISSISSIPPI GOVERNOR HAYLEY BARBOR. PARKER WAS CAMPAIGN MANAGER FOR JINDAL'S 2011 RE-ELECTION CAMPAIGN.

THE THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY WEEKEND WAS A GOOD ONE FOR RETAIL MERCHANTS. LOUISIANA RETAILERS ASSOCIATION SPOKESPERSON JESSICA ELLIOT SAYS, BETWEEN BLACK FRIDAY AND SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY, IT WAS A "FANTASTIC WEEKEND" FOR RETAIL STORES. ELLIOT SAYS THE BRISK WEEKEND SALES COULD HAVE BEEN BECAUSE MORE PEOPLE ARE FEELING BETTER ABOUT THE ECONOMY, OR PERHAPS DUE TO THE INCREASED SHOPPING HOURS AT MANY STORES. ELLIOT SAYS LOUISIANA MERCHANTS PLAN TO DO WHATEVER NECESSARY TO KEEP THE SHOPPERS COMING.

A MAN WANTED IN LIVINGSTON PARISH FOR STALKING, LED LAWMEN ON A HIGH SPEED CHASE THAT ENDED IN BATON ROUGE ON I-12 SATURDAY NIGHT. 31-YEAR-OLD JONATHAN LIVINGSTON WAS STOPPED BY A SPIKE STRIP DEPLOYED BY BATON ROUGE COPS. HIS BOOKING SHEET NOW HAS OVER 15 CHARGES; HIS BAIL SET AT OVER $185-THOUSAND.

JANUARY 9TH, 2012, IS SHAPING UP TO BE A BIG DAY IN LOUISIANA. IT'S THE DAY GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL WILL BE SWORN IN FOR A SECOND TERM IN OFFICE AND IT'S ALSO THE SAME DAY THE LSU TIGERS WILL LIKELY PLAY FOR A B-C-S NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP. JINDAL SAYS THEY'RE PLANNING A SCALED DOWN INAUGURATION AND THERE WON'T BE ANY EVENTS THAT NIGHT. JINDAL'S INAUGURATION FOUR YEARS AGO WAS A BIG CELEBRATION ON THE
STEPS OF THE STATE CAPITOL. THE GOVERNOR SAYS HIS INAUGURATION WILL BE
MUCH SMALLER. WITH NO BALL ON THE 9TH.

A BOX PLANT STARTED SEVEN YEARS AGO WITH 40 EMPLOYEES, ONE CONTRACT AND A $500,000 STATE GRANT HAS JUST COMPLETED A $4.5 MILLION UPGRADE, WITH A NEW MACHINE THAT CAN MAKE UP TO 350 BOXES A MINUTE. THAT'S DOUBLE THE SPEED OF THE ORIGINAL BOX PRESS, WHICH IS STILL IN USE AT LOUISIANA CORRUGATED PRODUCTS LLC, OPERATING PARTNER KINGSLEY MCCROCKLIN SAYS THE COMPANY NOW HAS 80 EMPLOYEES AND LOTS OF CUSTOMERS.



SPORTS..

THE SAINTS USUALLY PLAY THEIR BEST FOOTBALL IN PRIMETIME GAMES AT HOME AND LAST NIGHT WAS NO EXCEPTION AS THE BLACK AND GOLD TOPPLED THE NEW YORK GIANTS 45 TO 24. THE SAINTS HAD 577 YARDS OF TOTAL OFFENSE AS DREW BREES THREW FOR 363 YARDS AND FOUR TOUCHDOWNS. HE ALSO RAN FOR A SCORE. SEAN PAYTON AND THE SAINTS ARE NOW 8-AND-3 ON THE SEASON.





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