KSYL Local News

News For Thursday 01/12/2012


NEWS FOR THURSDAY 011212
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

TWO MEN HAVE BEEN FOUND DEAD INSIDE A BURNING HOUSE IN OPELOUSAS, THE VICTIMS OF A DOUBLE SHOOTING. POLICE CHIEF PERRY GALLOW SAID THE BODIES HAD BEEN SOAKED IN ACCELERANT AND SET ABLAZE IN AN APPARENT ATTEMPT TO COVER UP THE SLAYINGS. GALLOW SAID BOTH HAD BEEN SHOT. FIREFIGHTERS DISCOVERED THE BODIES TUESDAY NIGHT WHILE FIGHTING A HOUSE FIRE. GALLOW SAID AUTOPSY RESULTS ARE PENDING. THE STATE FIRE MARSHAL IS ASSISTING IN THE INVESTIGATION.

THE SABINE PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE HAS CHARGED 46 YEAR OLD CHARLES FORD WITH CRUELTY TO ANIMALS, THAT AFTER THE LAST 13 IN WHAT WERE DOZENS OF MALNOURISHED RACEHORSES WERE SEIZED BY COURT ORDER. AUTHORITIES BELIEVE AS MANY AS 25 HORSES MAY HAVE DIED AS A RESULT OF THE NEGLECT. IN ADDITION TO THE HORSES, DOGS, GOATS AND HOGS ARE BEING SEIZED THIS WEEK. THE RESCUE EFFORT OVERWHELMED THE LOCAL HUMANE SOCIETY. BUT, DONATIONS HAVE BEEN POURING IN. SOME FROM AS FAR AWAY AS RHODE ISLAND. CHARLES FORD IS FREE ON $2,500 BOND.

THE PACE OF HOME FORECLOSURES IN LOUISIANA SLOWED A BIT IN 2011, FOLLOWING A NATIONAL TREND THAT SOON MAY BE REVERSED. THAT'S ACCORDING TO IRVINE, CALIF.-BASED REALTYTRAC, WHICH TRACKS FORECLOSURES NATIONWIDE. REALTYTRAC SAYS THAT, IN 2011, 15,521 HOMES IN LOUISIANA WERE HIT BY SOME SORT OF FORECLOSURE ACTION. THOSE RANGE FROM AN INITIAL NOTICE OF DEFAULT TO REPOSSESSION BY A LENDER. THE STATE RANKED 29TH IN THE COUNTRY AS THE FORECLOSURE ACTIONS FELL 1.5 PERCENT FROM 2010. HOWEVER, ACTIONS ROSE BY 32 PERCENT FROM 2009.
REALTYTRAC SAYS THE FORECLOSURES ARE LIKELY TO PICK UP IN 2012 AS LEGAL SNARLS WITH PAPERWORK THAT DELAYED MANY FORECLOSURES ARE WORKED OUT.

THE STATE HOUSE AND SENATE RELEASE THEIR LISTS OF WHO WILL LEAD IMPORTANT COMMITTEES IN THE NEXT LEGISLATIVE SESSION. JONESBORO DEMOCRAT JIM FANNIN WILL RETURN AS CHAIR OF THE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE, WHERE THE ANNUAL STATE BUDGET IS CRAFTED. BATON ROUGE REPUBLICAN STEVE CARTER WILL HEAD EDUCATION. LAFAYETTE INDEPENDENT JOEL ROBIDEAUX, THE MAN WHO CHALLENGED KLECKLEY FOR SPEAKER--THEN STEPPED ASIDE, HAS BEEN GIVEN WAYS & MEANS. IN THE SENATE, MANDEVILLE'S JACK DONAHUE WILL HEAD THE FINANCE COMMITTEE. METAIRIE'S CONRAD APPEL WILL CHAIR EDUCATION. BOGALUSA'S BEN NEVERS WILL MOVE TO A JUDICIARY COMMITTEE. A.G. CROWE OF SLIDELL WILL HEAD LABOR.

LOUISIANA'S PUBLIC EDUCATION BOARD OVERWHELMING AGREED WEDNESDAY TO HIRE A STATE EDUCATION SUPERINTENDENT, DESPITE BLISTERING CRITICISM THAT GOV. BOBBY JINDAL HAD TOO HEAVY A ROLE IN THE CHOICE OF RECOVERY SCHOOL DISTRICT LEADER JOHN WHITE, WHO THEY SAID DIDN'T HAVE ENOUGH EXPERIENCE FOR THE JOB. THE BOARD OF ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION VOTED 9-1 FOR WHITE, WHO JINDAL HAS HEAVILY PUSHED FOR THE JOB SINCE MAY. THE VOTE CAME ONLY TWO DAYS AFTER THE BOARD'S NEW TERM BEGAN, WHEN SEVERAL MEMBERS WHO HAD OPPOSED HIRING WHITE WERE REPLACED BY JINDAL SUPPORTERS.

A LOUISIANA TEACHERS UNION IS ANGERED BY THE FAST-TRACKING OF JOHN WHITE TO BE THE STATE'S NEW EDUCATION SUPERINTENDENT. LOUISIANA ASSOCIATION OF EDUCATORS PRESIDENT JOYCE HAYNES SAYS THE BOARD OF ELEMENTARY & SECONDARY EDUCATION WAIVED ITS OWN RULES TO PLEASE GOVERNOR JINDAL, WHO WANTED WHITE TO HEAD THE DEPT. OF EDUCATION. MR. JINDAL SUPPORTED BESE CANDIDATES WHO AGREE WITH HIS PLANS FOR EDUCATION REFORMS--IN SOME CASES, WITH CAMPAIGN CASH. HAYNES FEELS MANY QUALIFIED EDUCATORS AND ADMINISTRATORS WERE DISRESPECTED WHEN BESE DECLINED TO EVEN TAKE APPLICATIONS FOR THE TOP JOB.

THE NEW SUPERINTENDENT OF EDUCATION HAS TAPPED A NEW ORLEANS NATIVE TO OVERSEE A STATE AGENCY THAT RUNS MOST OF NEW ORLEANS' PUBLIC SCHOOLS.
PATRICK DOBARD IS A FORMER TEACHER AND STATE EDUCATION OFFICIAL. HE JOINED THE STATE'S RECOVERY SCHOOL DISTRICT AS A DEPUTY SUPERINTENDENT LAST MAY.

THE UNIVERSITY OF LOUISIANA AT LAFAYETTE IS CUTTING $3.3 MILLION FROM ITS 2011-12 BUDGET BECAUSE OF PROJECTED STATE SHORTFALLS. THE STATE, LAST MONTH, ANNOUNCED AN ADDITIONAL $50 MILLION CUT IN HIGHER EDUCATION FUNDING. PRESIDENT JOSEPH SAVOIE SAYS THIS IS THE FOURTH CONSECUTIVE FISCAL YEAR THE SCHOOL HAS BEEN FORCED TO CUT ITS BUDGET. HE SAYS THE CUTS WILL FALL INTO THREE MAIN AREAS: CENTERS, ACQUISITIONS AND ATHLETICS. SAVOIE SAYS THERE ARE NO PLANS FOR CUTTING FACULTY, REDUCING CLASS OFFERINGS OR ACADEMIC SUPPORT.

A YOUTH MINISTER AT A MORGAN CITY CHURCH IS UNDER ARREST FOR INDECENT BEHAVIOR WITH JUVENILES. A KENNER CITY POLICE UNDERCOVER ONLINE STING ALLEGEDLY CAUGHT 33-YEAR-OLD MITCHELL ROUSE ENGAGED IN ILLICIT CHAT WITH AN OFFICER POSING AS A TEEN. ROUSE REPORTEDLY EXPOSED HIMSELF TO HIS WEBCAM. KENNER POLICE SPOKESMAN LT. WAYNE MCINNIS SAYS ROUSE IS CHARGED WITH THREE COUNTS OF INDECENT BEHAVIOR WITH A JUVENILE AND ONE COUNT OF COMPUTER SOLICITATION OF A JUVENILE. MCINNIS SAYS THE COMMUNICATIONS WERE TRACED BACK TO A COMPUTER IN ROUSE'S OFFICE AT THE FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH IN MORGAN CITY.

STATE POLICE REPORT ONE PERSON DEAD IN A CRASH ON US 84 NEAR COUSHATTA IN RED RIVER PARISH. THEY SAY AN SUV CROSSED THE CENTER LINE AND HIT A BIG RIG HEAD-ON. THE DRIVER WAS KILLED INSTANTLY; THE TRUCK DRIVER WAS NOT INJURED.

LAKE CHARLES POLICE ARREST A DOUBLE HOMICIDE SUSPECT WHO WAS DISGUISED AS A WOMAN IN THE HOPES OF ELUDING CAPTURE. DEPUTY CHIEF OF POLICE MARK KRAUSE SAYS THEY BELIEVE MARK THIBODAUX KILLED TWO WOMEN LAST WEEK. THEY CAUGHT HIM WHILE CONDUCTING A TRAFFIC STOP, AND FOUND HIM DRESSED AS A WOMAN. A DOMESTIC DISTURBANCE WAS AT THE ROOT OF THIBODAUX'S ALLEGED MURDERS.

STATE TREASURER JOHN KENNEDY SAYS LOUISIANA NEEDS TO GET SERIOUS ABOUT FUNDING I-49 SOUTH AND TOLLS SHOULD BE AN OPTION. KENNEDY SAYS BY 2030, HIGHWAY 90 WILL NO LONGER BE A SUITABLE ROAD TO TRAVEL FROM NEW ORLEANS TO LAFAYETTE. HE SAYS THE STATE SHOULD EXAMINE UPGRADING THAT STRETCH OF ROADWAY INTO AN INTERSTATE. KENNEDY SAYS EXTENDING I-49, SO IT CONNECTS LAFAYETTE TO NEW ORLEANS WOULD COST FIVE-POINT-TWO BILLION DOLLARS. HE SAYS THE FEDERAL AND STATE GOVERNMENT DOESN'T HAVE THAT KIND OF MONEY, SO TOLLS ARE AN OPTION. HE SUGGESTS A VOTE TO SEE IF THERE'S PUBLIC SUPPORT.

ONLY A PETROLEUM INDUSTRY REPRESENTATIVE SHOWED UP AT A PUBLIC HEARING ON PROPOSED OIL AND GAS LEASE SALES IN THE GULF OF MEXICO. THE BUREAU OF OCEAN ENERGY MANAGEMENT TOOK TESTIMONY WEDNESDAY ON ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STUDIES PREPARED FOR THE AUCTIONS, WHICH ARE PLANNED OVER THE NEXT 5 YEARS.
IN DECEMBER, THE GOVERNMENT'S FIRST AUCTION OF GULF LEASES SINCE THE DEEPWATER HORIZON DISASTER IN 2010 DREW $333.7 MILLION IN WINNING BIDS. THE SALE COVERED THE WESTERN GULF OFF THE TEXAS COAST. THE NEXT SALE FOR THE CENTRAL GULF IS SET FOR JUNE, COVERING DRILLING OFF LOUISIANA, MISSISSIPPI AND ALABAMA. LOUISIANA MID-CONTINENT OIL & GAS ASSOCIATION HEAD CHRIS JOHN, THE ONLY SPEAKER AT THE HEARING, SAID INDUSTRY HAS IMPLEMENTED NEW POST-SPILL STANDARDS AND THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD ENCOURAGE NEW DRILLING.

CHANCELLOR MIKE MARTIN ANNOUNCED THE FLAGSHIP UNIVERSITY'S DECISION WEDNESDAY, AFTER RUNNING INTO CONFLICT WITH LSU SYSTEM LEADERS ABOUT THE PLANS. LSU HAD BEEN COLLABORATING WITH A BATON ROUGE-BASED MICROBREWERY, TIN ROOF BREWING CO., ON THE BLONDE ALE THAT WAS GOING TO BE TIED INTO A FOOD SCIENCE TRAINING PROGRAM TO TEACH STUDENTS ABOUT FERMENTATION.
INITIAL PLANS HAD THE SALES TO START DURING THE FALL FOOTBALL SEASON. BUT THE UNIVERSITY'S GOVERNING BODY SAID THE BEER PLANS WOULD VIOLATE ITS CONTRACT WITH THE COLLEGIATE LICENSING COMPANY. TIN ROOF ENDED UP RELEASING THE BEER WITHOUT AN LSU-RELATED NAME OR LOGO AND WITHOUT LSU RECEIVING ANY ROYALTIES FROM SALES OF THE ALE. MARTIN NOW HAS GIVEN UP ON THE "BANDIT BLONDE ALE" IDEA ALTOGETHER, RATHER THAN CONTINUE HAGGLING WITH LSU SYSTEM LEADERS AND LAWYERS.

NEWLY ENGAGED QUEEN OF SOUL ARETHA FRANKLIN IS HEADLINING THIS SUMMER'S ESSENCE MUSIC FESTIVAL IN NEW ORLEANS, AND ITS OTHER TOP PERFORMERS INCLUDE MARY J. BLIGE, FANTASIA, STEPHANIE MILLS, CHARLIE WILSON AND KEYSHIA COLE.
THE EVENT, SCHEDULED FOR JULY 6-8, IS BILLED AS ONE OF THE LARGEST GATHERINGS OF BLACK ARTISTS IN THE COUNTRY. AS IN YEARS PAST, MUSICAL PERFORMANCES WILL BE HELD AT THE SUPERDOME WHILE SEMINARS WITH INFLUENTIAL SPEAKERS, ARTISTS AND AUTHORS WILL TAKE PLACE AT THE CITY'S CONVENTION CENTER.



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