KSYL Local News

News For Thursday 12/15/11


NEWS FOR THURSDAY 121511
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

THE GULF'S FIRST OFFSHORE PETROLEUM LEASE SALES SINCE THE 2010 BP OIL SPILL HAVE DRAWN OVER $330-MILLION IN WINNING BIDS. OIL & GAS EXPLORERS PLACED 240 BIDS ON 191 TRACTS IN THE WESTERN GULF. LOUISIANA OIL & GAS ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT DON BRIGGS SAYS IT'S GOOD NEWS FOR HIS INDUSTRY, BUT STILL PALES TO ACTIVITY PRIOR TO THE BP OIL SPILL. THE LARGEST SINGLE BID WAS FROM HOUSTON-BASED CONOCO-PHILLIPS; $103- MILLION FOR A SINGLE DEEPWATER TRACT. BRIGGS SAYS IT COULD BE A FEW YEARS BEFORE ANY OF WEDNESDAY'S LEASE SALES PRODUCE ACTUAL RIG JOBS, BUT HE'S HAPPY THAT FEDERAL REGULATORS ARE LETTING HIS INDUSTRY GET BACK TO
BUSINESS IN THE GULF OF MEXICO.

A AVOYELLES PARISH TODDLER WAS SERIOUSLY INJURED YESTERDAY AFTERNOON IN A SINGLE VEHICLE ACCIDENT ON HIGHWAY 1 IN FIFTH WARD. STATE POLICE SAY 24 YEAR OLD MELISSA MOSE OF MOREAUVILLE LOST CONTROL OF THE VEHICLE SHE WAS DRIVING, LEFT THE ROADWAY AND OVERTURNED SEVERAL TIMES. NONE OF THE 5 ADULT PASSENGERS OR THREE JUVENILES IN THE VEHICLE WERE WEARING SEATBELTS. MOSE WAS CHARGED WITH CARELESS OPERATION, NO SEATBELT, AND NO CHILD RESTRAINT (2 COUNTS).

A NEW STATEWIDE POLL SAYS STATE GOVERNMENT'S TOP PRIORITIES FOR 2012 SHOULD BE BRINGING JOBS TO LOUISIANA AND IMPROVING EDUCATION. ACCORDING TO THE SOUTHERN MEDIA AND OPINION RESEARCH SURVEY, 25% OF RESPONDENTS SAY EDUCATION IS THE STATE'S MAIN PROBLEM, WHILE 22% SAY JOBS AND UNEMPLOYMENT. GOVERNOR JINDAL SAYS EDUCATION IS A TOP PRIORITY WHEN HIS SECOND TERM BEGINS IN JANUARY. HE'S BEEN MEETING WITH STAKEHOLDERS TO DEVELOP EDUCATION REFORM IDEAS & STRATEGIES.

STATE TREASURER JOHN KENNEDY SAYS YOU MIGHT HAVE EXTRA CHRISTMAS CASH, IN THE FORM OF UNCLAIMED PROPERTY THAT WINDS UP IN STATE HANDS. HE SAYS IT COULD BE UTILITY DEPOSITS, INTEREST PAYMENTS, OLD BANK ACCOUNT BALANCES AND MORE. HE SAYS OVER $500-MILLION IN UNCLAIMED PROPERTY IS WAITING TO BE CLAIMED.

MORE THAN $200 MILLION HAS TO BE CUT FROM THE STATE BUDGET TO COVER AN ANTICIPATED DROP IN STATE REVENUES AND A RISE IN SOME EXPENSES. THE REVENUE ESTIMATING CONFERENCE ON WEDNESDAY ADOPTED A REPORT BY LEGISLATIVE FISCAL OFFICE ECONOMIST GREG ALBRECHT THAT SHOWS REVENUES ARE PREDICTED TO RUN $197.8 MILLION SHORT BY JUNE 30, 2012. THAT SHORTFALL, PLUS A $42.7 MILLION INCREASE IN THE COST OF PUBLIC SCHOOLS, IS FORCING COMMISSIONER OF ADMINISTRATION PAUL RAINWATER AND HIS STAFF TO GO OVER EACH SECTION OF THE BUDGET LOOKING FOR PLACES TO CUT $240.5 MILLION. RAINWATER SAID YESTERDAY AFTER THE REC MEETING, "WE WILL HAVE A BALANCED BUDGET, A PLAN THAT MITIGATES CUTS TO HIGHER EDUCATION AND HEALTH CARE."

HURRICANE FORECASTER WILLIAM GRAY WILL WAIT UNTIL SPRING TO PREDICT HOW MANY STORMS WILL FORM IN THE ATLANTIC. GRAY AND HIS RESEARCH PARTNER AT COLORADO STATE UNIVERSITY, PHILIP KLOTZBACH, USUALLY START MAKING PREDICTIONS IN DECEMBER BUT THIS MONTH, FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 20 YEARS, THEY'RE HOLDING OFF ON FORECASTING THE NUMBER OF NAMED STORMS, INCLUDING HURRICANES. KLOTZBACH SAYS THEY'VE TRIED VARIOUS MODELS BUT NONE HAVE BEEN SUCCESSFUL IN ESTIMATING THE NUMBER OF STORMS THAT EARLY. HE ACKNOWLEDGES THAT, CURRENTLY, PREDICTING HURRICANES THAT FAR OUT IS "JUST ABOUT AS GOOD AS MAKING A GUESS." THE FIRST ESTIMATE OF THE NUMBER OF STORMS WON'T COME UNTIL APRIL.

EXITING LOUISIANA HOUSE SPEAKER JIM TUCKER IS ADVISING ROOKIE HOUSE MEMBERS TO AVOID THE PITFALLS OF PARTISAN POLITICS. TUCKER'S ADVICE CAME TUESDAY IN THE OPENING OF A LEGISLATIVE ORIENTATION SESSION. TUCKER TOLD INCOMING LAWMAKERS, "YOU DON'T MOVE THE STATE FORWARD THROUGH PARTISANSHIP. THERE ARE WAYS TO MAKE IT WORK WITH THE OTHER SIDE." THE REPUBLICAN TUCKER, WHO WAS A VOCAL AND OFTEN-PARTISAN CRITIC OF FORMER GOV. KATHLEEN BLANCO WHEN HE WAS CHAIRMAN OF THE HOUSE REPUBLICAN DELEGATION, SAYS HE HAS REALIZED THAT ALL POINTS OF VIEW ARE IMPORTANT AND SHOULD BE ACCOMMODATED. THE HOUSE SPEAKER FROM TERRYTOWN, WHOSE TERM ENDS JAN. 9, ALSO ADVISED NEW MEMBERS NOT TO HOLD GRUDGES AND TO ALWAYS KEEP THE VOTERS AT HOME IN MIND.

THE 2012 NEW ORLEANS JAZZ & HERITAGE FESTIVAL LINEUP HAS SUPERSTAR NAMES, LIKE THE EAGLES, TOM PETTY AND MORE. TICKETS FOR THE FESTIVAL GO ON SALE TODAY AND THE FULL LINEUP IS LISTED AT "NOJAZZFEST.COM". FESTIVAL PRODUCER QUINT DAVIS SAYS, AS USUAL, THE JAZZFEST WILL FEATURE A WIDE VARIETY OF ARTISTS IN GENRES LIKE COUNTRY MUSIC, GOSPEL, BLUES, R&B, CAJUN, ZYDECO AND MUCH MORE. THE JAZZ FEST WILL ALSO FEATURE STANDARDS LIKE IRMA THOMAS, BONNIE RAITT, BUCKWHEAT ZYDECO AND OTHERS.

THE LAST TIME AN LSU HEAD FOOTBALL COACH LEFT THE SCHOOL FOR THE MIAMI DOLPHINS, IT DIDN'T WORK OUT SO WELL. LES MILES DOES NOT WANT TO BE THE NEXT ONE. LSU SPORTS INFORMATION DIRECTOR MICHAEL BONNETTE SAYS MILES WANTS EVERYONE TO KNOW HE'S NOT INTERESTING IN THAT JOB. THE FLORIDA SUN-SENTINEL LISTS MILES AS ONE OF 11 "POTENTIAL REPLACEMENTS" FOR RECENTLY FIRED MIAMI COACH TONY SPARANO.

EMPLOYEES IN THE TOWN OF BALL FOUND OUT THIS WEEK THAT THEY WILL BE GETTING A 3% PAY BOOST NEXT YEAR. MAYOR JONATHAN DEAN SAID ONE OF HIS TOP PRIORITIES AFTER BEING ELECTED IN OCTOBER WAS TO LOOK AT GIVING PAY RAISES TO TOWN EMPLOYEES. SOMETHING HE FEELS IS WELL DESERVED. THE RAISE WILL AFFECT APPROXIMATELY 25 TO 30 EMPLOYEES AT BOTH THE BALL POLICE DEPARTMENT AND BALL TOWN HALL. DEAN SAID THE ONLY TOWN EMPLOYEES WHO WILL NOT RECEIVE RAISES ARE THE TOWNS ELECTED OFFICIALS, THE MAYOR AND THE FIVE ALDERMEN.

JEFFERY LEE GUILLORY, CONVICTED IN ONE DEATH AND SUSPECTED IN OTHERS, HAS BEEN FORMALLY SENTENCED TO LIFE IN PRISON FOR A 2002 MURDER IN BATON ROUGE.
A STATE DISTRICT IMPOSED THE MANDATORY SENTENCE FOR GUILLORY, WHO WAS CONVICTED OF SECOND-DEGREE MURDER IN SEPTEMBER. THE 45-YEAR-OLD GUILLORY WAS ARRESTED IN LATE 2009 AND BOOKED IN THE DEATHS OF 46 YEAR OLD RENEE NEWMAN AND TWO OTHER BATON ROUGE WOMEN. THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE HAS SAID GUILLORY WILL NOT BE PROSECUTED FURTHER. HE ALREADY IS SERVING 50 YEARS FOR SECOND-DEGREE ROBBERY AND ATTEMPTED SECOND-DEGREE MURDER OF A WOMAN IN LAFAYETTE IN 2007.

A PANEL STUDYING PAY FOR LOUISIANA JUDGES SAYS LAWMAKERS SHOULD BUMP UP JUDGES' SALARIES FOR THE NEXT TWO YEARS, TO GET THEM TO THE AVERAGE PAID TO JUDGES ACROSS THE SOUTH. THE JUDICIAL COMPENSATION COMMISSION VOTED WEDNESDAY FOR THE PROPOSAL, WHICH WOULD NEED BACKING FROM THE LEGISLATURE BEFORE IT COULD BE ENACTED.

TOLLS FOR I-49 SOUTH? A CONSULTING FIRM STUDYING WAYS TO PAY FOR EXTENDING I-49 SOUTH TO NEW ORLEANS SAYS TOLL ROADS COULD PAY UP TO HALF THE COST. KAM MOVASSAGHI IS A FORMER HIGHWAY SECRETARY AND HEADS UP FENSTERMAKER CONSULTANTS. HE SAYS THE IDEA IS IN ITS EARLY STAGES, BUT THE STUDY SHOWS THE PROJECT COULD BE FEASIBLE WITH REVENUE FROM TOLLS. MOVASSAGHI SAYS A TOLL OF 16-CENTS A MILE THROUGH THE LAFAYETTE AREA ON AN IMPROVED HIGHWAY 90 COULD BRING IN NEEDED REVENUE FOR I-49 SOUTH.

UL-LAFAYETTE'S 18-THOUSAND TICKETS TO THE RAGIN-CAJUNS-SAN DIEGO STATE MATCHUP SATURDAY IN THE NEW ORLEANS BOWL...? ALL GONE. SOLD OUT. IT'S THE CAJUNS' FIRST BOW APPEARANCE IN OVER 40 YEARS.

A 15-YEAR-OLD BOY HAS BEEN SENTENCED TO A THREE-YEAR JUVENILE PRISON SENTENCE FOR HIS ROLE IN A CONSPIRACY TO SHOOT UP LAKESHORE HIGH SCHOOL IN ST. TAMMANY PARISH. THE BOY WHO WAS THE ALLEGED LEADER IN THE PLOT PLEAD GUILTY TO SOLICITATION FOR MURDER AND CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT TERRORIZING. THE STUDENTS WERE ACCUSED OF PLANNING THE ATTACK FOR THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL.

FORMER GOVERNOR EDWIN EDWARDS SAYS HE WOULD BE MORE THAN HAPPY TO ATTEND GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL'S INAUGURATION ON JANUARY 9TH, BUT HE ALREADY HAS PLANS TO TAILGATE WITH FELLOW LSU FANS FOR THE BCS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME IN NEW ORLEANS. EDWARDS SAYS HE HASN'T BEEN INVITED TO THE INAUGURATION. A SPOKESMAN WITH GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL'S OFFICE SAYS INVITATIONS WILL BE MAILED OUT THIS WEEK.


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