KSYL Local News

News For Friday Morning 12/16/11


NEWS FOR FRIDAY 121611
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

A DEADLY CRASH EARLY YESTERDAY MORNING IN PINEVILLE HAS CLAIMED THE LIVES OF TWO AREA MEN. PINEVILLE PD REPORT THE ACCIDENT OCCURRED ON THE APPROACH TO THE OK ALLEN BRIDGE, WHEN ONE VEHICLE CROSSED THE CENTER LINE AND STRUCK AN ONCOMING VEHICLE HEAD ON. THE DRIVERS OF BOTH VEHICLES, 24 YEAR OLD MARCELL FULTON II OF BALL AND 46 YEAR OLD KEVIN TURNER OF PINEVILLE WERE KILLED. THE SPECIFICS OF THE ACCIDENT ARE STILL BEING INVESTIGATED AT THIS TIME.

SOMETIMES THE STRESS OF MILITARY SERVICE IS MORE THAN ONE CAN BEAR. YESTERDAY
A FORT POLK SOLDIER APPARENTLY LOCKED HIMSELF IN HIS VEHICLE WITH A GUN AND THREATENED TO KILL HIMSELF. AFTER THREE HOURS, THE SOLDIER WAS TALKED INTO COMING OUT OF THE VEHICLE. THE SOLDIER, A MEMBER OF THE ARMED SERVICES, WAS LATER TURNED OVER TO FT. POLK AUTHORITIES.

GLENN YOUNGER, AN ALEXANDRIA HOMEBUILDER WAS APPOINTED TO THE ALEXANDRIA HOUSING AUTHORITY'S BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS ON THURSDAY, FINALLY FILLING THE FIFTH SEAT THAT HAS LONG BEEN UNOCCUPIED. ALSO AT THE MEETING, BOARD CHAIRMAN JOE PAGE ANNOUNCED THAT THE ALEXANDRIA HOUSING AUTHORITY AND BOBBY R. COLLINS, WHO IS HEAD OF THE WINNFIELD HOUSING AUTHORITY, "COULD NOT COME TO TERMS" ON AN EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT. COLLINS WAS AMONG A HOST OF APPLICANTS WHO EXPRESSED INTEREST IN THE AHA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR JOB. CYNTHIA ROSENTHAL REMAINS AHA INTERIM EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR.

CRIME STOPPERS AND THE RAPIDES PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE ARE LOOKING FOR AN ALEXANDRIA WOMAN LAST SEEN IN LAKE CHARLES. 20 YEAR OLD MISTY HASTINGS WAS REPORTED MISSING ON DEC. 5. SHE WAS LAST SEEN IN LAKE CHARLES DRIVING A 2007 FOUR-DOOR WHITE TOYOTA COROLLA. AUTHORITIES BELIEVE SHE MAY BE IN THE ALEXANDRIA AREA. ANYONE WITH INFORMATION IS ASKED TO CALL CRIME STOPPERS OR THE RAPIDES PARISH SHERIFF’S OFFICE.

THE CITY OF ALEXANDRIA’S ANNUAL AUDIT OF THE 2010-11 FISCAL YEAR REVEALED THAT THE CITY WAS ABLE TO DEPOSIT MORE THAN $4.8 MILLION IN SURPLUS FUNDING INTO ITS GENERAL FUND, PUSHING THE CITY'S FUND BALANCE TO NEARLY $17 MILLION AS OF APRIL 30. THE CITY'S INDEPENDENT AUDITOR, SAID APPROXIMATELY $1.4 MILLION OF THE SURPLUS CAME FROM INCREASED SALES TAX COLLECTIONS, $1.3 MILLION CAME FROM SAVINGS THROUGH SALARY ATTRITION AND A HIRING FREEZE, WHILE APPROXIMATELY $2 MILLION CAME FROM KEEPING A TIGHT REIN ON THE CITY’S PURSE STRINGS.

THE JOINT LEGISLATIVE BUDGET COMMITTEE MEETS THIS MORNING TO DISCUSS BALANCING A $198-MILLION REVENUE SHORTFALL IN THE CURRENT STATE BUDGET. GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL SAYS HIS COMMISSIONER OF ADMINISTRATION, PAUL RAINWATER, WILL PRESENT RECOMMENDATIONS FOR BUDGET CUTS TO OFFSET THE DEFICIT. STATE LAW SAYS WHENEVER A CURRENT BUDGET IS REVISED TO SHOW A DEFICIT, IT MUST BE RE-BALANCED WITHIN 30 DAYS. MR. JINDAL BELIEVES IT'S BETTER TO GET THAT DONE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, SO HIS TEAM WILL HAVE A PLAN READY FOR LAWMAKERS THIS MORNING. JINDAL SAYS HIS PLAN WILL DO ALL IT CAN TO AVAOID ANY FURTHER CUTS TO HEALTH CARE OR HIGHER EDUCATION; TWO AREAS OF THE STATE BUDGET THAT HAVE TAKEN THE BRUNT OF BUDGET CUTS OVER RECENT YEARS.

LOUISIANA'S ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CHIEF STEPHEN MORET SAID THURSDAY, LOW NATURAL GAS PRICES, AN IMPROVING BUSINESS IMAGE FOR THE STATE AND MANUFACTURERS SHIFTING THEIR FOCUS BACK TO THE UNITED STATES SHOULD BE STRONG POINTS IN THE STATE'S DRIVE TO ATTRACT JOBS. AT THE SAME TIME, THE STATE'S ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT RELEASED A 2011 REPORT CARD ON THURSDAY, SAYING COMPANY EXPANSIONS AND RELOCATIONS ANNOUNCED IN LOUISIANA DURING THE YEAR WILL CREATE MORE THAN 20,000 JOBS AND BRING IN $18 BILLION IN CAPITAL INVESTMENT.

ATTENTION SHOPPERS...YOU ONLY HAVE ABOUT ONE WEEK LEFT TO FINISH THAT CHRISTMAS SHOPPING LIST. RETAIL ANALYST JIM RUTLEDGE SAYS REPORTS INDICATE ITS BEEN A GOOD SEASON FOR RETAILERS, WITH SPENDING UP OVER LAST YEAR. BUT HE SAYS THE PUSH WILL BE ON THIS WEEKEND TO MOVE EXCESS INVENTORY.

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL HAS AGREED TO A REVAMP OF THE JOB EVALUATION SYSTEM FOR LOUISIANA GOVERNMENT'S 54,000 RANK-AND-FILE STATE EMPLOYEES. THE PLAN WAS APPROVED WEDNESDAY BY THE STATE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION. KEY CHANGES INVOLVE MOVING TO A THREE-TIER EVALUATION SYSTEM RANKING CLASSIFIED EMPLOYEE WORK AS "EXCEPTIONAL," ''SUCCESSFUL" OR "NEEDS IMPROVEMENT-UNSUCCESSFUL." NO LONGER WOULD JOB EVALUATIONS AND POTENTIAL PAY RAISES BE TIED TO AN EMPLOYEE'S ANNIVERSARY DATE. INSTEAD, PAY RAISES, IF GRANTED, WOULD BE AWARDED OCT. 1 EACH YEAR. THE PLAN DOES NOT TIE PAY RAISE AMOUNTS TO ATTAINMENT OF CERTAIN RATINGS , A FEATURE OF AN EARLIER PROPOSAL, TO WHICH MANY EMPLOYEES OBJECTED.

THE DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES IS SEEING GROWING SUCCESS IN EFFORTS TO INTERCEPT CASINO WINNINGS FROM DEAD-BEAT PARENTS. TREY WILLIAMS SAYS SINCE THE PROGRAM LAUNCHED BACK IN SEPTEMBER, THEY'VE COLLECTED MORE THAN 41-THOUSAND DOLLARS FROM 21 NON-CUSTODIAL PARENTS WHO OWE CHILD SUPPORT.
THERE'S A LOT OF EXCITEMENT IN THE BIG EASY THIS WEEKEND AS ULL'S RAGIN CAJUNS PREPARE TO FACE THE SAN DIEGO STATE AZTECS IN THE R&L CARRIERS NEW ORLEANS BOWL. ULL HAS NOT BEEN TO A BOWL GAME IN 41 YEARS. NEW ORLEANS BOWL SPOKESPERSON PAUL VALTEAU SAYS ATTENDANCE FOR THIS YEAR'S GAME IS EXPECTED TO SHATTER BOWL RECORDS.

LAFAYETTE PARISH SCHOOL SYSTEM BOARD MEMBERS HAVE VOTED TO OFFER ITS SUPERINTENDENT POSITION TO PAT COOPER, WHO IS SERVING AS THE CEO/PRESIDENT OF EARLY CHILDHOOD AND FAMILY LEARNING FOUNDATION IN NEW ORLEANS. COOPER, WHO HAS 41 YEARS OF EDUCATION EXPERIENCE, IS KNOWN FOR LAUNCHING THE FIRST UNIVERSAL "BIRTH TO FIVE" PROGRAM MODEL IN LOUISIANA WHILE SERVING AS THE SUPERINTENDENT IN WEST FELICIANA PARISH FROM 1989-93. RAPIDES PARISH SUPT. GARY JONES WAS BEING CONSIDERED FOR THE POSITION. BUT, HE REMOVED HIS NAME FROM CONSIDERATION.

FEDERAL JUDGE ELDON FALLON ANNOUNCED YESTERDAY HOMEOWNERS WHO WERE SOLD DRYWALL FROM CHINA WILL BE COMPENSATED FOR THEIR LOSSES. THE TOTAL VALUE OF THE SETTLEMENT FROM KPT DRYWALL IS ESTIMATED BETWEEN 800-MILLION AND ONE BILLION DOLLARS. THE COMPANY'S PRODUCT ENDED UP IN OVER FOUR THOUSAND HOMES AND CAUSED SERIOUS DAMAGES WHERE IT WAS INSTALLED. THE AGREEMENT CREATES TWO FUNDS FROM WHICH PLAINTIFFS MAY RECOVER.

A 15-YEAR OLD STUDENT IN BOSSIER PARISH IS IN TROUBLE AFTER HE WAS CAUGHT WITH A LOADED GUN AT SCHOOL EARLIER TODAY. BILL DAVIS WITH THE SHERIFFS OFFICE SAYS ANOTHER STUDENT TOLD SCHOOL AUTHORITIES ABOUT THE TEENAGER HAVING THE GUN. A 25-CALIBER LOADED HANDGUN WAS FOUND IN THE BOY'S POSSESSION, BUT THEY DON'T KNOW WHY HE BROUGHT THE GUN TO THE CHARLOTTE ANN MITCHELL EDUCATIONAL CENTER.

WITH THE OFFICIAL END OF THE US MILITARY ACTION IN IRAQ, THE STATE'S VETERANS' AFFAIRS SECRETARY SAYS HIS OFFICE STANDS READY TO HELP LOUISIANA SOLDIERS AS THEY RETURN HOME. LANE CARSON SAYS THE LDVA WILL ASSIST RETURNING IRAQ WAR VETS WITH FILING G.I. BILL CLAIMS, DISABILITY CLAIMS AND MORE. HE SAYS MANY WILL BE LEAVING THE MILITARY FOR GOOD, AFTER RETURNING HOME AND THERE'S EVEN HELP TO RETURN THEM TO THE CIVILIAN WORKFORCE. HE SAYS HELPS FOR RETURNING VETS IS ONLINE AT VETAFFAIRS.LA.GOV.

POPULAR COMEDIC ACTOR WILL FERRELL WILL BE BACCHUS IN 2012. THE KREWE MADE THE ANNOUNCEMENT THIS MORNING. FERRELL'S MOVIE CREDITS INCLUDE ELF, ANCHORMAN AND OLD SCHOOL. HE ROSE TO FAME ON SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE AND WAS THE GEORGE W. BUSH IMPERSONATOR FOR YEARS.

STATE POLICE ARREST TWO WOMEN FOR DEFRAUDING A LAKE CHARLES GAMBLING CASINO. ONE WAS A CASINO EMPLOYEE ENTRUSTED WITH SELECTING RANDOM WINNERS FOR PERIODIC CASH PRIZE DRAWINGS. THE OTHER IS A FRIEND WHO WAS THE RECIPIENT OF OVER $25-THOUSAND DOLLARS IN WINNINGS FROM THE FIXED DRAWINGS.

THE U.S. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT CALLS IT THE LARGEST CRIMINAL FINE EVER IMPOSED IN LOUISIANA FOR VIOLATIONS OF THE CLEAN AIR ACT. A FEDERAL JUDGE IN LAFAYETTE ON THURSDAY APPROVED A $10 MILLION FINE AND $2 MILLION IN COMMUNITY SERVICE PAYMENTS TO BE PAID BY TEXAS-BASED PELICAN REFINING COMPANY LLC FOR FELONY VIOLATIONS OF THE ACT AND OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE. A JUSTICE DEPARTMENT NEWS RELEASE NOTED THAT PELICAN ADMITTED TO SEVERAL VIOLATIONS AT ITS LAKE CHARLES REFINERY, INCLUDING THE USE OF REQUIRED EQUIPMENT THAT DID NOT WORK OR WAS POORLY MAINTAINED. ALSO, A PILOT LIGHT IN A FLARE TOWER WHERE GASES WERE BURNED OFF DIDN'T WORK, SO EMPLOYEES USED AN EMERGENCY FLARE GUN TO RE-IGNITE THE GASES. PELICAN PLEADED GUILTY AND AGREED TO THE PAYMENTS IN OCTOBER.


God Bless America!

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