KSYL Local News

News For Monday 02/13/12


NEWS FOR MONDAY 021312
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

STATE POLICE SAY A CAR HIT AND KILLED A PEDESTRIAN WEARING BLACK WHEN HE WALKED INTO LOUISIANA HIGHWAY 115 NEAR HESSMER IN AVOYELLES PARISH. THE DRIVER WAS NOT CITED, BUT THE ACCIDENT IS STILL BEING INVESTIGATED. TROOPER SCOTT MOREAU SAYS 76-YEAR-OLD WILBERT DUCOTE OF MANSURA WAS WEARING A BLACK SHIRT, BLACK PANTS AND BLACK SHOES. HE SAYS THE ACCIDENT OCCURRED ABOUT 6:40 P.M. SATURDAY NIGHT ON LOUISIANA HIGHWAY 115 NORTH OF LOUISIANA HIGHWAY 114.

CENTRAL LOUISIANA OFFICIALS ARE NOT HAPPY WITH GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL'S PLAN TO CLOSE ONE PRISON AND PRIVATIZE ANOTHER. THE GOVERNOR'S PROPOSED BUDGET CALLS FOR THE CLOSING DABADIE CORRECTIONAL CENTER IN PINEVILLE AND SELLING THE AVOYELLES PARISH PRISON TO A PRIVATE COMPANY. IF THE GOVERNOR'S PLAN IS APPROVED BY LAWMAKERS, OVER ONE-HUNDRED WORKERS AT DABADIE CORRECTIONAL CENTER WILL BE OUT OF THE JOB. PINEVILLE MAYOR CLARENCE FIELDS WONDERS WHERE THESE PEOPLE WILL FIND A JOB. MARKSVILLE STATE REPRESENTATIVE ROBERT JOHNSON SAY THE GOVERNOR IS TRYING TO BALANCE THE BUDGET ON THE BACKS ON STATE WORKERS. HE SAYS PRIVATIZING THE AVOYELLES PRISON WOULD LIKELY BE DETRIMENTAL TO THE NEARLY 300 PEOPLE WHO WORK THERE. JOHNSON WAS A VOCAL OPPONENT OF JINDAL'S UN-SUCCESSFUL PLANS TO SELL OR PRIVATIZE PRISONS LAST YEAR.

GOVERNOR JINDAL PROPOSES LEGISLATION HE SAYS WILL ENHANCE ETHICS ENFORCEMENT IN LOUISIANA. IN 2008, JINDAL AND THE STATE LEGISLATURE AGREED ON SEVERAL ETHICS REFORM MEASURES DESIGNED TO IMPROVE THE STATE'S IMAGE. ONE OF JINDAL'S PROPOSALS WOULD GIVE THE ETHICS BOARD THE OPPORTUNITY TO APPEAL CERTAIN CASES IT LOSES. THE GOVERNOR’S ETHIC REFORM PROPOSALS FOR THIS SESSION ALSO CLARIFY THE BOARD'S TIME LIMIT ON BRINGING CHARGES AGAINST A PUBLIC OFFICIAL AND THE AUTHORITY IT HAS FOR ASSESSING PENALTIES FOR LATE CAMPAIGN FINANCE REPORTS.

CONGRESSMAN BILL CASSIDY HAS FILED LEGISLATION TO ALLOW INVESTORS TAKEN IN BY R. ALLEN STANFORD'S ALLEGED PONZI SCHEME TO OPT OUT OF A FEDERAL LAWSUIT THAT WOULD GIVE THEM A ONE-TIME BUYOUT. CASSIDY SAYS HIS BILL WOULD ALLOW STANFORD INVESTORS OUT OF THE FEDERAL SUIT AND ENABLE THEM TO TAKE A $250-THOUSAND SETTLEMENT FROM THE SIPC.. THE SECURITIES INVESTMENT PROTECTION CORP. IS BEING SUED BY FEDERAL AUTHORITIES TO PAY UP TO HALF-MILLION DOLLARS TO STANFORD INVESTORS, BUT CASSIDY SAYS THAT COULD TAKE YEARS. HE SAYS HIS BILL WOULD ENABLE VICTIMS OF THE PONZI SCHEME TO RECOVER SOMETHING AND MOVE ON. HE SAYS IT WILL GIVE INDIVIDUALS A CHOICE AND DECISION TO MAKE

TWO MEN WHO HAD APPARENTLY BEEN SLEEPING ON THE TRACKS WERE STRUCK BY AN AMTRAK TRAIN EARLY SATURDAY MORNING. THE ST. TAMMANY SHERIFF'S OFFICE REPORTS ONE MAN IS DEAD, AND A SECOND SERIOUSLY INJURED. THE TWO MEN, BOTH IN THEIR 20S AND FROM THE SLIDELL AREA, APPEARED TO HAVE BEEN SLEEPING ON THE TRACKS WHEN A NORTHBOUND AMTRAK TRAIN STRUCK THEM JUST NORTH OF PEARL RIVER. THE TWO MEN APPEARED TO HAVE BEEN HUNTING AND CAMPING IN THE AREA.

A FORMER 15TH JUDICIAL DISTRICT ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY SERVING AN 18 MONTH PRISON SENTENCE FOR FEDERAL TAX EVASION HAS BEEN DISBARRED. 51-YEAR-OLD JOSEPH JOHNSON PLEADED GUILTY TO ONE FELONY COUNT OF TAX EVASION IN 2010. A FEDERAL JUDGE IN JUNE SENTENCED JOHNSON TO SERVE 18 MONTHS IN PRISON AND ORDERED HIM TO PAY ABOUT $180,000 IN RESTITUTION.

LSU CALLS THE $34 MILLION SLASHED FROM ITS NETWORK OF PUBLIC HOSPITALS AND CLINICS FOR THE POOR AND UNINSURED A CONSEQUENCE OF GOV. BOBBY JINDAL'S MIDYEAR BUDGET CUTS. JINDAL ADMINISTRATION LEADERS CALL THE DEEP REDUCTIONS THE RESULT OF SHODDY MANAGEMENT, OVERSPENDING AND POOR BOOKKEEPING BY LSU.
NO MATTER WHO IS RESPONSIBLE, PATIENTS ARE ON THE CHOPPING BLOCK, SET TO GET FEWER SERVICES AMID A BLAME-GAME. THOUSANDS CURRENTLY SERVED BY LSU WOULD BE SENT TO LOOK FOR CARE ELSEWHERE, AND HUNDREDS OF HOSPITAL WORKERS WOULD BE LAID OFF.

A TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER ISSUED BY THE SIXTH DISTRICT COURT PREVENTED LAME-DUCK EAST CARROLL PARISH SHERIFF MARK SHUMATE FROM TURNING OVER THE MANAGEMENT OF THE RIVERBEND DETENTION CENTER TO EMERALD COMPANIES, A PRIVATE PRISON MANAGEMENT FIRM. THE ORDER CALLS FOR A HEARING ON THE MATTER ON FEB. 16 AT THE EAST CARROLL COURTHOUSE. SHERIFF-ELECT WYDETTE WILLIAMS ASKED THE COURT TO ISSUE THE ORDER BECAUSE HE FEARS THE CONTRACT WOULD FINANCIALLY GUT THE EAST CARROLL PARISH LAW ENFORCEMENT DISTRICT. THE SHERIFF'S OFFICE CURRENTLY MANAGES RIVERBEND. WILLIAMS SAYS THE CONTRACT WOULD ELIMINATE MORE LOCAL JOBS AND PLACE HIS ABILITY TO PROVIDE QUALITY LAW ENFORCEMENT IN THE PARISH IN GRAVE JEOPARDY.

WITH WESTLAKE'S CASINO INCOME SETTING SAIL, CITY OFFICIALS ARE LOOKING TO JOIN OTHER CALCASIEU PARISH CITIES IN THE PARISHWIDE GAMBLING POOL. A BOSSIER CITY VENTURE BOUGHT THE ISLE OF CAPRI'S CROWN CASINO ON THURSDAY FOR $15 MILLION, NULLIFYING WESTLAKE'S $1.8 MILLION-A-YEAR CONTRACT WITH THE ISLE. THE ISLE'S OTHER LAKE CHARLES CASINO IS OUTSIDE WESTLAKE. MAYOR DAN CUPIT SAYS HE BELIEVES THE ISLE WILL MAKE THIS FISCAL YEAR'S PAYMENT, BUT HE DOESN'T KNOW ABOUT THE NEXT TWO YEARS. BOTH THE CITY AND CASINO OFFICIALS SAY THE NEXT STEP IS HAVING WESTLAKE JOIN THE CALCASIEU PARISH GAMING REVENUE DISTRICT. THAT AGENCY GETS REVENUE FROM RIVERBOAT CASINOS AND THE SLOT MACHINES AT DELTA DOWNS AND DIVIDES IT AMONG THE PARISH, SULPHUR, DEQUINCY, VINTON, IOWA AND LAKE CHARLES.

God Bless America!

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