KSYL Local News

News For Monday 02/20/12


NEWS FOR MONDAY 022012
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

ALEXANDRIA MAYOR JACQUES ROY ANNOUNCED FRIDAY THAT WORK ON BOLTON AVENUE, PART OF THE CITY’S SPARC PROGRAM, IS SLATED TO GET UNDER WAY SOON. THE WORK INCLUDES A $2.5 MILLION STREETSCAPE PROJECT ON BOLTON AVENUE, THE DEMOLITION OF NEGLECTED STRUCTURES, PRESERVATION OF HISTORIC PROPERTIES, CONSTRUCTION OF A BUS DEPOT, NEW SIDEWALKS AND LANDSCAPING. THE MAYOR SAYS THE PROJECT IS LIKELY TO START IN LESS THAN TWO MONTHS. NO WORD AS TO HOW LONG IT WILL TAKE TO COMPLETE THE JOB.

HEREIN ALEXANDRIA, THE WEATHER WAS HELD A MIXED BAG OF TRICKS FOR MARDI GRAS REVELERS. SATURDAY’S CHILDREN’S PARADE, AFTER BEING POSTPONED TIL 2PM, WAS OFFICIALLY CANCELLED DUE TO A LINE OF THUNDERSTORMS MOVING ACROSS THE STATE. HOWEVER, WEATHER FOR SUNDAY’S CREW PARADE COULD NOT HAVE BEEN BETTER. LARGE CROWDS TURNED OUT TO ENJOY THE SHOW. POLICE SAY THE CROWD SAY WELL BEHAVED AND THERE WERE NO REPORTS OF ANY MAJOR PROBLEMS.

A FEDERAL JUDGE HAS SET A MAY 16 HEARING ON THE EVANGELINE PARISH SCHOOL BOARD’S REQUEST TO END FEDERAL OVERSIGHT IN THE PARISH’S DECADES-OLD DESEGREGATION CASE. ATTORNEYS FOR THE SCHOOL BOARD FILED A MOTION LAST WEEK SEEKING “UNITARY STATUS.” THE MAIN STICKING POINT IN RECENT YEARS HAD BEEN THE POOR CONDITION OF VILLE PLATTE HIGH SCHOOL, WHICH HAS A PREDOMINANTLY BLACK STUDENT POPULATION. THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT AT ONE TIME SUGGESTED POSSIBLY CLOSING VILLE PLATTE HIGH AND SENDING THE STUDENTS TO OTHER SCHOOLS IN THE PARISH. THE SCHOOL BOARD OPTED INSTEAD FOR A MAGNET PROGRAM AND ADVANCED PLACEMENT CLASSES AT VILLE PLATTE HIGH AND HAS UNDERTAKEN AN EXTENSIVE RENOVATION PROGRAM AT THE SCHOOL, SPENDING OVER $6 MILLION TO UPGRADE THE FACILITY.

WEDNESDAY IS THE LAST DAY TO REGISTER TO VOTE IN THE MARCH 24 ELECTION. EARLY VOTING TAKES PLACE BETWEEN MARCH 10-17. TO REGISTER, VOTERS ARE REQUIRED TO PRESENT A PICTURE IDENTIFICATION. LOCAL ISSUES AND THE PRESIDENTIAL PREFERENCE PRIMARY ARE ON THE MARCH BALLOT. RUNOFFS, IF NEEDED, WILL BE HELD APRIL 21.

GENERAL ELECTRIC ANNOUNCES THE OPENING OF AN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY CENTER IN NEW ORLEANS THAT WILL EMPLOY HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE. THE COMPANY SAYS THE I-T JOBS WOULD PAY UP TO $100,000. THE CENTER IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN OPERATING IN MID-2012.

THE US HOUSE APPROVES LEGISLATION THAT WOULD SEND MILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO LOUISIANA. THE MONEY WOULD COME FROM FINES IMPOSED AGAINST BP FOR THE 2010 OIL SPILL AS A RESULT OF THE CLEAN WATER ACT. REPUBLICAN SENATOR DAVID VITTER SAYS THIS WAS AN IMPORTANT STEP AND NOW THE GOAL IS TO GET TO THE PRESIDENT'S DESK FOR HIS SIGNATURE. THE LEGISLATION SAYS 80% OF BP FINES WOULD GO TOWARDS RESTORING THE ECOSYSTEM, WILDLIFE HABITATS, BEACHES AND OTHER ECONOMIC HARM THAT WAS CAUSED BY THE OIL SPILL.

THE NAVY HAS PROPOSED DECOMMISSIONING A SQUADRON AT THE AIR STATION IN BELLE CHASSE AS PART OF ITS PLANS TO MEET PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA'S BUDGET CUTS.
THAT WOULD ELIMINATE THE ONLY NAVAL AVIATION UNIT DEDICATED TO FIGHTING DRUG SMUGGLERS. UNDER THE 2013 SPENDING PLAN RELEASED LAST MONDAY, THE NAVY RESERVE'S CARRIER AIRBORNE EARLY WARNING SQUADRON 77 WOULD CEASE TO EXIST SEPT. 30.WITH ABOUT 7,000 ACTIVE DUTY AND RESERVE NAVY, MARINE CORPS, AIR NATIONAL GUARD, ARMY RESERVE AND COAST GUARD PERSONNEL, THE NAVAL AIR STATION-JOINT RESERVE BASE IS CONSIDERED ONE OF THE STATE'S TOP EMPLOYERS.

DRIVER'S CAUGHT WITHOUT MINIMUM CAR INSURANCE MORE THAN ONCE COULD HAVE THEIR VEHICLE "BOOTED" RATHER THAN IMPOUNDED, UNDER A BILL PROPOSED BY NORTHWESTERN LOUISIANA LAWMAKER. REP. HENRY BURNS, OF HAUGHTON. BURNS SAYS HIS INTENT IS THAT THE BOOT COULD BE A LOWER COST ALTERNATIVE TO TOWING AND IMPOUNDING A VEHICLE, AFTER A MOTORISTS 2ND OFFENSE OPERATING WITHOUT INSURANCE OFFENSE. BURNS SAYS THE UNINSURED DRIVE UP THE COST OF INSURANCE FOR ALL OF US.

THE STATE HOUSE DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS LEADER IS PREDICTING GOVERNOR JINDAL WILL HAVE A TOUGH TIME GETTING LEGISLATIVE APPROVAL ON CHANGING THE AGE WHEN STATE EMPLOYEES CAN COLLECT BENEFITS. JINDAL WANTS TO RAISE CURRENT STATE EMPLOYEES' RETIREMENT AGE TO 67 FOR THOSE NOT YET 55. AMITE REPRESENTATIVE JOHN BEL EDWARDS CALLS THE PROPOSAL MEAN SPIRITED. JINDAL IS CALLING FOR CHANGES TO THE STATE'S RETIREMENT SYSTEM, BECAUSE LOUISIANA IS 18.5 BILLION DOLLARS SHORT IN WHAT'S NEEDED TO PAY FOR FUTURE BENEFITS. EDWARDS IS ALSO PREDICTING A DIFFICULT TIME IN THE LEGISLATURE FOR JINDAL'S PROPOSAL TO FORCE SOME STATE EMPLOYEES TO PAY MORE TOWARDS THEIR RETIREMENT. THESE PROPOSALS WILL BE DEBATED WHEN THE LEGISLATURE MEETS NEXT MONTH.

A SURVEY OF AAA MEMBERS IN LOUISIANA AND TWO NEIGHBOR STATES SHOWS STRONG OPPOSITION TO PROPOSALS TO ALLOW BIG RIGS TO GET BIGGER, LONGER AND HEAVIER. SUCH A PROPOSAL IS BEING DISCUSSED IN CONGRESS RIGHT NOW. LOUISIANA AAA'S DON REDMAN SAYS 93% OF MEMBERS ARE DEAD SET AGAINST IT. THE PROPOSAL WOULD LET TRACTOR-TRAILER RIGS INCREASE THEIR MAXIMUM WEIGHT FROM 80-THOUSAND POUNDS TO 97-THOUSAND. IT WOULD ALSO LIFT A BAN ON LONGER, MULTI-TRAILER RIG CONFIGURATIONS ON INTERSTATE HIGHWAYS. REDMAN SAYS AAA MEMBERS SEE THAT AS A DANGEROUS IDEA. REDMAN SAYS THE STRONG MAJORITY OF THOSE POLLED THINK BIG RIGS ARE BIG ENOUGH.

POLICE SAY ONE MAN WAS KILLED IN A SHOOTING AT A MARDI GRAS PARADE IN PLAQUEMINE
PLAQUEMINE POLICE CAPT. KENNY SAYS POLICE HAVE A SUSPECT, BUT AT THIS TIME NO MOTIVE.

A CELL PHONE VIDEO OF A FIGHT AFTER A WEST BATON ROUGE MARDI GRAS PARADE LEADS TO AN ARREST AND CHARGE OF MANSLAUGHTER. AUTHORITIES ARRESTED 25-YEAR OLD CHARLES BURTON FOR THE BEATING DEATH OF 26-YEAR OLD ROBERT CROWE. THE VIDEO SHOWS CROWE AND BURTON FIGHTING WITH BURTON ON TOP OF CROWE DELIVERING SEVERAL BLOWS TO HIS HEAD. INVESTIGATORS SAY CROWE WAS INVOLVED IN THREE FIGHTS THAT NIGHT. THEY BELIEVE HE PASSED OUT ON HIS WALK HOME. AN AUTOPSY REPORT SHOWS HE DIED FROM BRAIN HEMORRHAGING.

ASCENSION PARISH OFFICIALS SAYS A $500,000 COIN COLLECTION IS THE LIKELY REASON HOME INVADERS KILLED A 74-YEAR-OLD MAN AND HIS 50-YEAR-OLD STEPSON, LEAVING THE OLDER MAN'S WIFE CRITICALLY INJURED. DEPUTIES SAY THE TWO MEN WERE DEAD WHEN THEY ARRIVED, THEIR THROATS CUT. IT APPEARED TO HAVE BEEN BLUDGEONED AS WELL. POLICE SAY THE SAFE THAT HELD THE COIN COLLECTION IS MISSING.

FORMER LSU FOOTBALL PLAYERS JARRETT LEE AND T-BOB HEBERT WILL SERVE AS THE GRAND MARSHALS FOR TONIGHT'S KREWE OF ZEUS PARADE IN METAIRIE. KREWE SPOKESPERSON WAYNE VIZZINI SAYS THEY ASKED JARRETT AND T-BOB AFTER THE BCS TITLE GAME AND BOTH AGREED. VIZZINI SAYS THE PARADE IS SCHEDULED TO ROLL TONIGHT AT 6:30. HE SAYS THEIR PARADE ALWAYS ROLLS ON LUNDI GRAS AND PEOPLE FROM AROUND THE STATE COME OUT IN FULL FORCE TO CELEBRATE THE DAY BEFORE FAT TUESDAY.

God Bless America!

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