KSYL Local News

News For Tuesday 01/24/12


NEWS FOR TUESDAY 012412
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

TONIGHT, THE PRESIDENT TAKES TO THE AIRWAVES FOR THE STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS. YOU CAN HEAR THAT SPEECH BEGINNING AT 8 THIS EVENING ON 970 KSYL. YESTERDAY, IT WAS THE STATE OF THE CITY ADDRESS IN ALEXANDRIA. ACCORDING TO MAYOR JACQUES ROY, THE CITY OF ALEXANDRIA IS THRIVING. ROY SAID HIS ADMINISTRATION ACCOMPLISHED MANY OF ITS GOALS OVER THE PAST YEAR AND HAS SEVERAL AMBITIOUS NEW GOALS PLANNED FOR 2012.ROY TOUTED HIS ADMINISTRATION'S CONSERVATIVE OPERATIONAL SPENDING. SOMETHING THE MAYOR CREDITS FOR THE CITY’S ABILITY TO ADD $5 MILLION TO THE CITY’S SURPLUS DURING THE PAST FISCAL YEAR, BRINGING THE OVERALL SURPLUS TO NEARLY $17 MILLION.

THE $895 MILLION SHORTFALL PROJECTED FOR THE UPCOMING STATE BUDGET YEAR SHOULDN'T COME AS A TOTAL SURPRISE TO LAWMAKERS OR GOV. BOBBY JINDAL'S ADMINISTRATION. AT LEAST 40 PERCENT OF THE GAP IS TIED TO THE USE OF ONE-TIME MONEY THAT PROPPED UP PARTS OF THE CURRENT BUDGET AND THAT IS EXPECTED TO FALL AWAY IN THE NEW FISCAL YEAR THAT BEGINS JULY 1, MOST OF IT USED IN THE STATE'S MEDICAID PROGRAM. ANOTHER SLICE OF NEXT YEAR'S SHORTFALL IS CAUSED BY TUITION INCREASES APPROVED BY LAWMAKERS AND SOUGHT BY JINDAL, THAT WHILE HELPING PLUG SOME HIGHER EDUCATION HOLES, WILL ALSO INCREASE THE COST OF THE STATE'S FREE COLLEGE TUITION PROGRAM.

ALLSTATE CORP. IS ASKING TO RAISE RATES FOR 144,000 LOUISIANA HOMEOWNERS WHO GET THEIR INSURANCE COVERAGE FROM TWO ALLSTATE COMPANIES. ACCORDING TO THE STATE INSURANCE DEPARTMENT, ALLSTATE WANTS AN AVERAGE 11.3 PERCENT INCREASE FOR 71,000 HOMEOWNERS COVERED BY ALLSTATE INSURANCE CO. THE COMPANY IS PROPOSING AN AVERAGE 5.9 PERCENT HIKE FOR 73,000 HOMEOWNERS COVERED BY ALLSTATE INDEMNITY CO. TOGETHER, THE REQUESTS TOTAL JUST UNDER $17 MILLION IN HIGHER RATES. IF LOUISIANA INSURANCE COMMISSIONER JIM DONELON AGREES, HIGHER RATES WOULD GO INTO EFFECT WITH NEW AND RENEWED POLICIES ON MARCH 1.
ALLSTATE IS THE STATE'S SECOND-LARGEST INSURER OF HOMES.

LOUISIANA TREASURER JOHN KENNEDY IS REMINDING TAXPAYERS TO CHECK TO SEE IF THE IRS OWES THEM OLD FEDERAL INCOME TAX REFUNDS. KENNEDY SAID MONDAY THAT MORE THAN $1.3 MILLION IS OWED TO 1,362 LOUISIANA TAXPAYERS WHOSE FEDERAL INCOME TAX REFUND CHECKS WERE UNDELIVERABLE BECAUSE OF AN OLD ADDRESS OR OTHER REASON.

THE STATE SAYS 126 PEOPLE WERE ARRESTED IN LOUISIANA IN DECEMBER FOR PAST-DUE CHILD SUPPORT BILLS TOTALING $1.1 MILLION. THE LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN & FAMILY SERVICES SAID THE ARRESTS YIELDED ABOUT $33,000 IN BACK PAYMENTS — AND $41,000 IN OTHER CASES THAT WERE CLOSED. AT THE TIME OF ARREST, STATE OFFICIALS TRY TO COLLECT AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE AND THE PARENTS ARE GIVEN A COURT DATE TO ESTABLISH A NEW PAYMENT PLAN. THE FAMILY SERVICES AGENCY SAYS IT COLLECTED MORE THAN $385 MILLION IN CHILD SUPPORT LAST YEAR. THE AGENCY ESTIMATES NEARLY $1.2 BILLION IS OWED BY LOUISIANA'S NON-CUSTODIAL PARENTS.

A LEADER OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY IN LOUISIANA BELIEVES THE GOP PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION PROCESS WILL BE STILL UNDECIDED WHEN THE STATE HOLDS ITS MARCH 24TH PRIMARY. LOUISIANA REPUBLICAN PARTY CHAIRMAN ROGER VILLERE SAYS RIGHT NOW THE FOCUS OF THE CANDIDATES IS ON FLORIDA, THE NEXT PRIMARY STATE. HE SAYS, HOWEVER, HERE IN LOUISIANA THE ELECTION IS UP FOR GRABS.

OFFICIALS WITH THE LOUISIANA DEMOCRATIC PARTY ANNOUNCE A STATEWIDE TOUR TO REVAMP THE PARTY HERE. SPOKESPERSON JAMES HALLINAN SAYS IT'S NO SECRET THAT THE GOP HAS TAKEN CONTROL OF STATE GOVERNMENT ON MANY LEVELS. HE SAYS THE GETTING BACK TO BASICS TOUR WILL VISIT 35 LOUISIANA CITIES OVER 10 DAYS. HE SAYS THE TOUR IS INTENDED TO REBUILD THEIR STATEWIDE BASE AND GRASSROOTS NETWORK.

THE NATION'S LEADING NATURAL GAS DRILLER SAYS IT WILL CUT BACK ON DRILLING IN LOUISIANA'S HAYNESVILLE AND BARNETT SHALES, DUE TO DROPPING PRICES FOR GAS. LOUISIANA OIL & GAS ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT DON BRIGGS SAYS THERE WERE, AT ONE POINT, OVER 150 NATURAL GAS DRILLING RIGS IN NORTHWEST LOUISIANA, BUT NOW THERE ARE ABOUT HALF THAT. CHESAPEAKE ENERGY PLANS TO REDUCE ACTIVE DRY GAS DRILLING DOWN TO ABOUT 24 RIGS WITHIN A FEW MONTHS. THERE ARE CURRENTLY 47 IN OPERATION AND THERE WERE 75 IN 2011. BRIGGS SAYS CHESAPEAKE IS ACTING IN THE INTERESTS OF COST-EFFICIENCY AND RETURN-ON-INVESTMENT.

MILD WINTER TEMPERATURES AND PERIODS OF LIGHT TO MEDIUM RAIN HAVE CONTRIBUTED TO HIGHER THAN NORMAL MOSQUITO ACTIVITY FOR THIS TIME OF YEAR. HERF JONES, A MEMBER OF THE LOUISIANA MOSQUITO CONTROL ASSOCIATION SAYS LIGHT TO MODERATE RAINS HAVE CONTRIBUTED TO PLENTY OF BREEDING SITES. HE REMINDS US WE CAN LIMIT OUR EXPOSURE TO MOSQUITOES AND THE POSSIBILITY OF EXPOSURE TO WEST NILE VIRUS BY TAKING NORMAL PRECAUTIONS.

NOW THAT FOOTBALL SEASON IS BEHIND US, THE STATE CAN FOCUS ON THE NEXT MAJOR SPORTING EVENT, WHICH IS THE FINAL FOUR. COLLEGE BASKETBALL'S MARQUEE EVENT WILL BE HELD MARCH 31ST AND APRIL 2ND IN NEW ORLEANS. LT. GOVERNOR JAY DARDENNE SAYS THEY PROJECT THE FINAL FOUR TO GENERATE AT LEAST 134-MILLION DOLLARS IN REVENUE FOR THE LOCAL AND STATE ECONOMY.

RICE FARMERS IN LOUISIANA ANNOUNCED TODAY THEY'VE AGREED TO CONTINUE PAYING A NICKEL FOR EVERY 100 POUNDS OF RICE FOR RESEARCH, AND 3 CENTS PER HUNDRED POUNDS FOR PROMOTION. 85 PERCENT VOTED IN FAVOR OF THE RESEARCH REFERENDUM AND 72 PERCENT THE PROMOTION REFERENDUM. THE PAYMENTS WILL BE MADE OVER THE NEXT FIVE YEARS WHEN THE FARMERS WILL VOTE AGAIN.

THE NEW ORLEANS KREWE OF ZEUS ANNOUNCES LSU PLAYERS JARRETT LEE AND T-BOB HEBERT WILL BE GRAND MARSHAL'S OF THE PARADE THIS YEAR. KREWE LEADERS SAY THE TWO WERE CHOSEN BECAUSE OF THEIR ROLL IN THE SUCCESS OF THE 2011 LSU FOOTBALL SEASON. THE PARADE ROLLS MONDAY FEBRUARY 20TH.

A LEGISLATIVE AUDIT SAYS GRAMBLING STATE UNIVERSITY HAS FAILED TO ADDRESS HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS IN MISSING OR STOLEN PROPERTY FOR SEVEN YEARS IN A ROW. THE REVIEW, RELEASED MONDAY SAYS FOR THE LAST BUDGET YEAR RUNNING THROUGH JUNE 30, GRAMBLING COULDN'T ACCOUNT FOR $1.6 MILLION IN ITEMS LIKE COMPUTERS AND FURNITURE. THAT'S NEARLY 7 PERCENT OF THE UNIVERSITY'S $24 MILLION MOVABLE PROPERTY INVENTORY. ON TOP OF THAT, THE SCHOOL HAS HAD TO USE PUBLIC FUNDS TO REPLACE MISSING ITEMS.

LOUISIANA'S LEGISLATIVE AUDITOR SAYS THE STATE'S RECOVERY SCHOOL DISTRICT, WHICH TAKES OVER FAILING PUBLIC SCHOOLS IN LOUISIANA, NEEDS TO IMPROVE LONGSTANDING FINANCIAL CONTROL PROBLEMS TO SAFEGUARD AGAINST OVERPAYMENT OF EMPLOYEES AND THE LOSS OF EQUIPMENT. THE AUDIT SAID RSD CONTROLS HAVE BEEN IMPROVING BUT IT WAS THE FIFTH CONSECUTIVE YEAR THAT MOVEABLE EQUIPMENT WAS NOT SUFFICIENTLY PROTECTED AGAINST LOSS AND THAT OVERPAYMENTS WERE MADE TO SOME EMPLOYEES.

POLICE IN CROWLEY ARE SEEKING A SUSPECT FOR THE ALLEGED RAPE OF A MINOR. WILLIAM LANGLEY JR. IS A FUGITIVE AND COULD BE HIDING OUT IN THE VINTON AREA OR IN ORANGE, TEXAS. ANYONE WITH USEFUL INFORMATION IS ASKED TO CALL 337-251-6921. THERE IS A REWARD.

TWO YOUNG MEN WERE FOUND DEAD INSIDE OF A BOGALUSA HOME MONDAY AFTERNOON AFTER A FAMILY MEMBER SAID CALLS TO THE HOME WENT UNANSWERED. BOGALUSA POLICE CHIEF JOE CULPEPPER SAYS THE VICTIMS WERE 21 AND 23 YEARS OLD AND BOTH MEN WERE SHOT. IT IS BELIEVED THE SHOOTINGS WERE DRUG RELATED.

A TEACHER AT SOUTH LAFOURCHE HIGH SCHOOL HAS BEEN CITED FOR ALLEGEDLY HAVING SEXUAL RELATIONS WITH A 17-YEAR-OLD STUDENT. LAFOURCHE PARISH SHERIFF CRAIG WEBRE SAID MONDAY THAT 29-YEAR-OLD HEATHER CHIASSON WAS ISSUED A SUMMONS FRIDAY ON THE MISDEMEANOR CHARGE OF PROHIBITED SEXUAL CONDUCT BETWEEN AN EDUCATOR AND A STUDENT. WEBRE SAYS DETECTIVES QUESTIONED THE MALE STUDENT, WHO DETAILED THE ALLEGED SEXUAL RELATIONSHIP WITH TEACHER, WHO TAUGHT HIM LAST YEAR. THE TEACHER HAS BEEN SUSPENDED PENDING THE OUTCOME OF THE INVESTIGATION.

God Bless America!

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