KSYL Local News

News For Monday 02/27/12


NEWS FOR MONDAY 022712
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

STATE HIGHWAY OFFICIALS ARE ADVISING MOTORISTS ABOUT ALTERNATING LEFT AND RIGHT LANE CLOSURES ALONG INTERSTATE 49 NORTH BETWEEN MACARTHUR DRIVE INTERCHANGE AND AIRBASE ROAD IN ALEXANDRIA, BEGINNING TODAY. THE LANE CLOSURES ARE NECESSARY TO ALLOW WORKERS TO REPLACE OVERHEAD SIGNS. THE CLOSURES COULD LAST SEVERAL WEEKS.

BP CHIEF EXECUTIVE BOB DUDLEY SAID THE COMPANY IS ABLE TO FIGHT A LENGTHY COURT BATTLE OVER THE 2010 OIL SPILL IN THE GULF OF MEXICO. DUDLEY, WHO TOOK CONTROL OF BP IN OCTOBER 2010 AFTER FORMER CHIEF EXECUTIVE TONY HAYWARD RESIGNED AMID CRITICISM OVER THE WAY HE HAD HANDLED THE OIL SPILL, TOLD SUNDAY TELEGRAPH NEWSPAPER THAT BP CAN CONTINUE TO FUNCTION EVEN IF THE COURT CASE THAT BEGINS IN NEW ORLEANS NEXT MONDAY CONTINUES FOR YEARS. BP HAS SET ASIDE $40 BILLION TO DEAL WITH FINES AND ASSOCIATED COSTS OF THE APRIL 20, 2010, BLOWOUT OF BP'S DEEPWATER MACONDO WELL WHICH KILLED 11 WORKERS AND INJURED 17.

INSURANCE COMMISSIONER JIM DONELON REPORTS THAT FROM 2006 THROUGH 2010, CAR THEFTS IN LOUISIANA HAVE SIGNIFICANTLY DECLINED. DONELON SAYS ACCORDING TO DATA FROM THE FBI, THE RATE OF MOTOR VEHICLE THEFTS IN THE STATE HAS DROPPED NEARLY 37% OVER THE FOUR YEAR PERIOD. HE SAYS THIS TREND IS BEING SEEN STATEWIDE. DONELON ATTRIBUTES THE CONTINUED DECLINE TO A NUMBER OF FACTORS INCLUDING NEW LAW ENFORCEMENT TECHNOLOGY SUCH AS THE LICENSE PLATE RECOGNITION SYSTEMS EQUIPPED ON POLICE CARS. DONELON SAYS THIS IS GREAT NEWS FOR ANYONE WITH COMPREHENSIVE AUTO INSURANCE SINCE CAR THEFT IS ONE OF SEVERAL DETERMINING FACTORS CONSIDERED BY INSURANCE COMPANIES WHEN SETTING AUTO INSURANCE PREMIUMS.

OUACHITA PARISH SHERIFF ROYCE TONEY WAS ARRESTED FRIDAY ON CHARGES OF CONSPIRACY, COMPUTER FRAUD, IDENTITY THEFT AND OBSTRUCTION. ACCORDING TO US ATTORNEY STEPHANIE FINLEY, SHERIFF TONEY AND ANOTHER OFFICER ALLEGEDLY CONSPIRED TO TRACK A THIRD PERSON'S ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS ONLINE, THEN TRIED TO DESTROY THE ELECTRONIC RECORDS TO COVER THAT UP. FINLEY SAYS THE INDICTMENT IS MERELY AN ACCUSATION AND ALL DEFENDANTS ARE PRESUMED INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY.

FRIDAY FORMER WINN PARISH SHERIFF "BODIE" LITTLE WAS CONVICTED ON ALL COUNTS. LTTLE AND 10 OTHERS WERE INDICTED BY A FEDERAL GRAND JURY ON CHARGES RELATED TO THE ORGANIZED DISTRIBUTION OF MORE THAT 50 GRAMS OF METH. LITTLE FACES A MINIMUM OF 10 YEARS IN PRISON.

A THIBODAUX REPRESENTATIVE HAS PRE-FILED LEGISLATION THAT WOULD MAKE LAWMAKERS LEAVING OFFICE WAIT TWO YEARS BEFORE BEING EMPLOYED "TO ANY POSITION" OR "IN ANY CAPACITY" WITH THE STATE. REP. DEE RICHARD SAYS HE FILED THE BILL TO HELP BOOST PUBLIC CONFIDENCE IN STATE GOVERNMENT. FORMER STATE REP. NOBLE ELLINGTON WAS RECENTLY NAMED CHIEF DEPUTY INSURANCE COMMISSIONER BY COMMISSIONER OF INSURANCE JIM DONELON. GOVERNOR JINDAL RECENTLY NAMED FORMER BOSSIER CITY REP. JANE SMITH DEPUTY SECRETARY OF REVENUE, AND THERE ARE OTHERS. RICHARD BELIEVES SUCH APPOINTMENTS MAKE STATE OFFICIALS "LOOK BAD".

THOUSANDS OF POOR AND DISABLED MEN STAND TO LOSE THEIR ONLY INCOME NEXT YEAR BECAUSE OF A CHANGE IN GOVERNMENT POLICY THAT WILL ALLOW STATES TO SEIZE EVERY DOLLAR OF FEDERAL BENEFITS FROM PEOPLE WHO OWE BACK CHILD SUPPORT. PREVIOUSLY, STATES COULD CAPTURE ONLY 65 PERCENT OF BENEFITS FROM PEOPLE WHO OPTED TO BE PAID BY PAPER CHECK. ADVOCATES ESTIMATE THAT 275,000 MEN COULD BE LEFT DESTITUTE AS A RESULT OF THE CHANGE. THE CONCERN IS AN UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCE OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT'S DECISION TO PAY ALL BENEFITS ELECTRONICALLY, INCLUDING SOCIAL SECURITY, DISABILITY AND VETERANS' BENEFITS, STARTING NEXT YEAR. A SEPARATE TREASURY DEPARTMENT RULE, IN PLACE SINCE LAST MAY IN A PRELIMINARY FORM, GUARANTEES STATES THE POWER TO FREEZE THE BANK ACCOUNTS OF PEOPLE WHO COLLECT FEDERAL BENEFITS AND OWE CHILD SUPPORT.

MORE THAN 650 LOUISIANA JUSTICES OF THE PEACE AND CONSTABLES ARE EXPECTED TO ATTEND THE ATTORNEY GENERAL'S ANNUAL TRAINING CONFERENCE TUESDAY THROUGH FRIDAY. ATTORNEY GENERAL BUDDY CALDWELL SAID THE COURSEWORK IS DESIGNED TO PROVIDE OFFICIALS WITH THE LATEST INFORMATION AFFECTING THEIR JURISDICTIONS AND RESPONSIBILITIES. THE PROGRAM WILL TAKE PLACE AT THE CROWNE PLAZA HOTEL IN BATON ROUGE.

THE WEST FELICIANA PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE SAYS AN EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH PUBLIC DEFENDER TRIED TO SMUGGLE MARIJUANA INTO THE STATE PRISON IN ANGOLA.
NELVIL HOLLINGSWORTH, 62, OF ZACHARY, CHIEF OF THE HOMICIDE UNIT AT THE PUBLIC DEFENDER'S OFFICE, WAS BOOKED SATURDAY ON ONE COUNT OF BRINGING CONTRABAND INTO A PENAL INSTITUTION. HOLLINGSWORTH HAD 5.2 GRAMS OF MARIJUANA IN THE LINING OF HIS SPORT COAT.

STARTING APRIL 2, DISCOUNT BUS CARRIER MEGABUS PLANS TWO ROUTES A DAY BETWEEN NEW ORLEANS AND ATLANTA, WITH TWO STOPS IN ALABAMA. THE STAGECOACH GROUP PLC SUBSIDIARY OFFERS FARES STARTING AT $1 AND RISING AS BOOKINGS INCREASE AND THE TRAVEL DATE APPROACHES. SUNDAY MORNING, THE LOWEST FARES FOR APRIL 26 WERE $5 TO ATLANTA AND $8 TO NEW ORLEANS. DOUBLE-DECKER BUSES WILL LEAVE NEW ORLEANS AT 10 A.M. AND 9:30 P.M. THEY WILL LEAVE ATLANTA FOR NEW ORLEANS AT NOON AND 11:59 P.M. MEGABUS LAUNCHED IN THE UNITED KINGDOM IN 2003 AND FOUR YEARS AGO IN THE UNITED STATES AND CANADA. IT OPENED AN ATLANTA HUB IN NOVEMBER.

SPORTS..

THERE ARE SOME BIG CONCERNS WITH THE LSU BASEBALL PROGRAM AFTER THEY WERE DOMINATED BY APPALACHIAN STATE 11 TO 1 ON SUNDAY. THE MOUNTAINEERS ALSO WON ON SATURDAY 1 TO 0, TO TAKE THE THREE-GAME SERIES. COACH PAUL MAINIERI SAYS THE MOUNTAINEERS WERE THE BETTER TEAM THIS PAST WEEKEND. LSU HAD JUST SEVEN HITS IN THE FINAL TWO GAMES OF THE SERIES AND DIDN'T SCORE ON SUNDAY UNTIL THE BOTTOM OF THE 9TH, AFTER GETTING SHUTOUT ON SATURDAY.




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