KSYL Local News

News For Wednesday Morning 11/30/11


NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY 113011
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

DESPITE SOME COLD TEMPS. A LARGE CROWD OF PEOPLE TURNED OUT LAST NIGHT, AT KENT HOUSE, FOR THE FIRST EVENT CELEBRATING THE BICENTENNIAL OF LOUISIANA STATEHOOD. LT. GOVERNOR JAY DARDENNE WAS SCHEDULED TO APPEAR. BUT, AT LAST MINUTE SENT A VIDEO TAPE IN HIS PLACE. RETIRED GENERAL RUSSELL HONORE THE CHAIRMAN OF THE BICENTENNIAL COMMISSION WAS THERE AND HE TOLD THE CROWD THAT THE KENT HOUSE WAS THE PERFECT PLACE TO HOLD THE OPENING EVENT. THAT EVENT LEADING UP TO THE 200TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE STATE ON APRIL 30, 2012.

THE REPORT CARD FOR THE CITY OF ALEXANDRIA IS IN. THE CITY’S AUDITOR UNCOVERED NINE FINDINGS IN ITS REVIEW OF THE CITY'S FINANCES FOR THE 2010-11 FISCAL YEAR -- MORE THAN DOUBLE THE AMOUNT FOUND THE YEAR BEFORE. THE CITY'S AUDITOR, PRESENTED A BRIEF REPORT TO THE ALEXANDRIA CITY COUNCIL ON TUESDAY THAT WENT OVER A "COUPLE OF HIGHLIGHTS" FROM THE AUDIT. THE AUDITOR IS SLATED TO GIVE A MORE DETAILED REPORT TO THE COUNCIL'S FINANCE COMMITTEE ON DEC. 13

THE INVESTIGATION CONTINUES INTO A FRIDAY SHOOTING ON STRACENER STREET IN THE CITY THAT LEFT A LOCAL MAN IN VERY SERIOUS CONDITION. ALEXANDRIA POLICE HAVE YET TO RELEASE THE NAME OF THE VICTIM. HOWEVER, THEY DO SAY AN ARREST HASB BEEN MADE IN CONNECTION WITH THE CASE. 34 YEAR OLD JONATHAN JOHNSON HAS NOW BEEN CHARGED WITH ATTEMPTED SECOND-DEGREE MURDER .IN THE

THE HEAD OF LOUISIANA'S EDUCATION BOARD DOESN'T EXPECT A LONG, NATIONAL SEARCH FOR THE NEXT STATE SUPERINTENDENT, SAYING SHE'S NOT EVEN SURE IF THE BOARD WILL ACCEPT APPLICATIONS OR INSTEAD JUST VOTE ON JOHN WHITE, GOV. BOBBY JINDAL'S CHOICE FOR THE JOB. PENNY DASTUGUE, PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION, SAID SHE EXPECTS ANY SEARCH WOULD BE BRIEF, IF THERE IS ONE. WHITE IS HEAD OF THE RECOVERY SCHOOL DISTRICT, WHICH OVERSEES AND MANAGES SCHOOLS TAKEN OVER BY THE STATE FOR POOR PERFORMANCE, MOST OF THEM IN NEW ORLEANS.

STATE TREASURER JOHN KENNEDY IS ONCE AGAIN TRYING TO UNITE LOUISIANANS WITH UNCLAIMED PROPERTY - USUALLY MONEY - THAT THEY MAY HAVE COMING TO THEM. KENNEDY SAYS THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS ARE TURNED IN TO THE STATE DAILY FROM OLD BANK ACCOUNTS, UNCASHED PAYROLL CHECKS, UTILITY DEPOSITS AND OTHER FUNDS. HE SAYS A SHORT LIST WILL BE PUBLISHED IN MOST STATE NEWSPAPERS, BUT THEY CANNOT PUBLISH ALL ELIGIBLE NAMES. HE SAYS THERE IS ANOTHER WAY TO FIND OUT IF MONEY'S OWED TO YOU. THAT’S BY VISITING THE TREASURER’S WEBSITE, LATREASURY.COM

THE STATE REVENUE DEPARTMENT IS OFFERING A MOBILE WEBSITE FOR OWNERS OF SMARTPHONES AND TABLETS WHO WANT TO CHECK THE STATUS OF TAX REFUNDS, MAKE PAYMENTS AND ASK QUESTIONS OF TAX EXPERTS. THE LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE ANNOUNCED THE MOBILE SITE, LDR MOBILE, ON TUESDAY. TO USE THE SITE, PEOPLE CAN LOG IN WITH THEIR PHONE OR TABLET AT WWW.REVENUE.LOUISIANA.GOV . THE SITE WILL REDIRECT THEM TO LDR MOBILE.

THE 2011 HURRICANE SEASON COMES TO A CLOSE TODAY. STATE CLIMATOLOGIST BARRY KEIM SAYS OCEAN TEMPERATURES COOL OFF THIS TIME OF YEAR AND TROPICAL STORMS AND HURRICANES GENERALLY NO LONGER FORM. KEIM SAYS THERE WERE 18 NAMED STORMS IN THE 2011 HURRICANE SEASON MAKING IT THE 7TH BUSIEST SEASON ON RECORD. KEIM SAYS IN THE UNITED STATES, THE BIGGEST STORM WAS HURRICANE IRENE. IN LATE AUGUST WHICH PELTED THE NORTHEAST WITH RAINFALL AND DID BILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN DAMAGE. HE SAYS THE MOST ACTIVITY IN LOUISIANA CAME FROM TROPICAL STORM LEE. THE COLORADO STATE UNIVERSITY'S HURRICANE TEAM IS EXPECTED TO GIVE IT'S 2012 FORECAST IN EARLY DECEMBER. KEIM PREDICTS ANOTHER ABOVE AVERAGE SEASON NEXT YEAR.

SHUTTERED EVER SINCE BEING SMASHED BY HURRICANE KATRINA, THE OLD SIX FLAGS AMUSEMENT PARK IN NEW ORLEANS COULD BE PUT TO NEW USE SOON. PROPOSALS ARE BEING CONSIDERED BY THE CITY TO REVIVE THE LOCATION. ONE PLAN WOULD MAKE IT A NEW, "GREEN-THEMED" AMUSEMENT PARK. ANOTHER WOULD REBUILD THE SITE AS AN UPSCALE MALL. THE PARK HAS BEEN AN ABANDONED RUIN SINCE 2005.

SPEAKING OF NEW ORLEANS, A NATIONAL MAGAZINE READERS' SURVEY NAMES NEW ORLEANIANS THE "WEIRDEST PEOPLE IN THE NATION". TRAVEL & LEISURE MAGAZINE EDITOR RICH BEATTIE SAYS IT'S THE RESULT OF THEIR ANNUAL SURVEY OF FAVORITE CITIES
BY CATEGORY. BEATTIE SAYS THE BIG EASY SHOULD TAKE THE DESIGNATION AS AN AFFECTIONATE TERM, AS MOST FIND THE CITY AND HER PEOPLE CHARMING--BUT WEIRD. HE SAYS THE RESPONDENTS WERE ASKED TO SAY IF THEY WERE LOCALS OR VISITORS TO THE CITY. NEW ORLEANS IS A CITY WHERE PEOPLE DRESS IN COSTUME FOR ANY OCCASION, WRESTLE IN THE STREET OVER PLASTIC CUPS AND BEADS, AND PARTY AT THE DROP OF A HAT. BEATTIE SAYS TRAVELERS WANT TO MEET UNIQUE PEOPLE WHILE ON VACATION, AND HE SAYS NEW ORLEANS NEVER DISAPPOINTS.

A PANEL APPOINTED TO STUDY BETTER GOVERNANCE OF LOUISIANA'S PUBLIC COLLEGES RECOMMENDS REFORMING TOPS PERFORMANCE-BASED TUITION GRANTS. COUNCIL FOR A BETTER LOUISIANA PRESIDENT BARRY ERWIN IS ON THE COMMISSION. HE SAYS THE IDEA IS A FLAT GRANT AMOUNT FOR QUALIFYING STUDENTS. IN ITS CURRENT FORM, THE TOPS PROGRAM REWARDS GOOD GRADES WITH FREE TUITION, WHICH IS TIED TO THE SCHOOL THE STUDENT ATTENDS. ERWIN SAYS THE COMMISSION RECOMMENDS CAPPING THE TOTAL GRANT AMOUNT ACROSS THE BOARD. THE PANEL'S TOPS RECOMMENDATION IS AMONG 21 IDEAS THEY'LL FORWARD TO STATE LAWMAKERS FOR CONSIDERATION AS LEGISLATION THIS SPRING.

AN ONLINE TICKET BROKER IS REPORTING THAT THE COST FOR A TICKET TO SATURDAY'S SEC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME IS GOING DOWN. FANSNAP.COM CEO MIKE JANES SAYS A LARGE SUPPLY OF TICKETS IS PUSHING PRICES DOWN. JANES SAYS $328 IS THE AVERAGE TICKET PRICE FOR THE SEC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME WHILE OTHER CONFERENCE GAME TICKETS THIS WEEKEND AVERAGE WELL BELOW $200. JANES SAYS 50-TO-60-PERCENT OF THE TICKETS HAVE BEEN SOLD IN GEORGIA. HE BELIEVES TICKET PRICES FOR THE GAME WILL CONTINUE TO FALL AS WE GET CLOSER TO GAMETIME SATURDAY

ATTORNEYS FOR THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE AND TWO OTHER STATE AGENCIES HAVE URGED A JUDGE TO THROW OUT FORMER ALCOHOL AND TOBACCO CONTROL COMMISSIONER MURPHY PAINTER'S WRONGFUL-TERMINATION AND DEFAMATION CLAIMS. THE ATTORNEYS ARGUED PAINTER'S PUBLIC SERVICE CAME TO AN END IN THE SUMMER OF 2010 BECAUSE OF HIS OWN MISDEEDS. A LAWYER REPRESENTING PAINTER, HOWEVER, ASKED STATE DISTRICT JUDGE JANICE CLARK MONDAY NOT TO DISMISS PAINTER'S CLAIMS AND ALLOW PAINTER TO HAVE HIS DAY IN COURT SO HE CAN CLEAR HIS NAME. THE JUDGE TOOK THE ARGUMENTS UNDER ADVISEMENT. A FEBRUARY INSPECTOR GENERAL'S REPORT ALLEGED PAINTER USED HIS ATC POST TO ILLEGALLY OBTAIN INFORMATION ON JUDGES, THE GOVERNOR'S STAFF, U.S. SEN. DAVID VITTER'S WIFE AND OTHERS MORE THAN 1,000 TIMES OVER FIVE YEARS.

A JURY HAS BEEN SEATED IN BOSSIER PARISH FOR THE DOUBLE MURDER TRIAL OF DALTON FLETCHER, THE WEST MONROE TEEN ACCUSED OF SHOOTING HIS PARENTS TO DEATH IN SEPTEMBER 2010. FLETCHER HAS PLEADED NOT GUILTY BY REASON OF INSANITY. HE SAYS PHYSICAL ABUSE BY HIS FATHER DROVE HIM OVER THE EDGE. OPENING ARGUMENTS SHOULD BEGIN TODAY.

CALCASIEU PARISH DEPUTIES ARREST A FORMER SUMMER BIBLE SCHOOL TEACHER-AIDE FOR ALLEGEDLY HAVING SEX WITH A 13-YEAR-OLD BOY. 28-YEAR-OLD HEATHER DAUGHDRILL IS ACCUSED OF MULTIPLE ENCOUNTERS WITH THE BOY IN BOTH CALCASIEU AND BEAUREGARD PARISHES, SO SHE FACES CHARGES IN BOTH.

A RICE AND CRAWFISH FARMING REGION ON THE LOW-LYING SOUTHWEST LOUISIANA COAST HAS DECLARED A STATE OF EMERGENCY BECAUSE A LARGE FRESHWATER BASIN FARMERS RELY ON FOR IRRIGATION IS BEING SPOILED BY SALT WATER FROM THE GULF OF MEXICO.
ON MONDAY, VERMILION PARISH DECLARED AN EMERGENCY AND PLEADED FOR HELP FROM STATE AND FEDERAL OFFICIALS TO PREVENT THE SALT WATER FROM FOULING THE MERMENTAU RIVER BASIN, A 700-SQUARE-MILE AREA OF MOSTLY FRESHWATER MARSH.
THE RISING SALT LEVEL IN THE BASIN IS THREATENING THOUSANDS OF ACRES OF FARMLAND USED FOR CRAWFISH PONDS, CATTLE RANCHES, DUCK HUNTING, RICE FIELDS AND ALLIGATOR AND FISH FARMS. FARMERS RELY ON FRESHWATER FROM THE BASIN. SALT WATER INTRUSION IS A GROWING PROBLEM IN LOUISIANA BECAUSE THE STATE IS LOSING ITS SHORELINE BUFFER AGAINST THE GULF.

A CONSTRUCTION" WORKER WAS FOUND DEAD AFTER HIS TRACK HOE GOT CAUGHT IN A SINKHOLE IN OUACHITA PARISH. THE PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE SAYS 53-YEAR-OLD KENNY ROBINSON, OF WEST MONROE, WAS FOUND AROUND 5:30 P.M. MONDAY, BUT RESPONDERS WERE NOT ABLE TO RECOVER THE BODY UNTIL 4 A.M. TUESDAY. AUTHORITIES REPORT THE EQUIPMENT, WITH ROBINSON TRAPPED INSIDE, WAS ALMOST COMPLETELY BURIED.

WITH THE CHRISTMAS PARTY SEASON IN FULL SWING, EXPERTS ARE WARNING WORKERS TO BEHAVE AT OFFICE HOLIDAY GATHERINGS. TULANE BUSINESS PROFESSOR MARK ROSA SAYS YOU SHOULDN'T DO ANYTHING AT THE PARTY, YOU COULDN'T DO AT WORK. ROSA SAYS THE HIGHER YOU ARE IN AN ORGANIZATION, THE MORE MANDATORY YOUR ATTENDANCE BECOMES AT THE PARTY. ROSA SAYS EVEN IF YOU'RE NOT A BIG REVELER, IT'S A GOOD IDEA TO AT LEAST SHOW UP.




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