KSYL Local News

News For Wednesday 03/07/12


NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY 030712
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS COACH SEAN PAYTON AND GENERAL MANAGER MICKEY LOOMIS HAVE TAKEN "FULL RESPONSIBILITY" FOR THE BOUNTY PROGRAM RUN BY FORMER ASSISTANT COACH GREGG WILLIAMS. IN A STATEMENT RELEASED TUESDAY, PAYTON AND LOOMIS ADMIT VIOLATIONS OF LEAGUE RULES HAPPENED UNDER THEIR WATCH. THEY ALSO PROMISED IT WOULD NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN. PAYTON AND LOOMIS SAY SAINTS OWNER TOM BENSON "HAD NOTHING TO DO" WITH THE BOUNTY POOL. THE LEAGUE'S INVESTIGATION FOUND THAT BENSON TOLD LOOMIS TO STOP THE BOUNTY PROGRAM ONCE THE NFL ALERTED THE OWNER ABOUT IT, BUT LOOMIS DID NOT ACT. THE NFL ALSO SAID PAYTON WAS AWARE OF THE PROGRAM AND DID NOTHING TO STOP IT.

THE STATE'S EDUCATION LEADER SAYS, IF THE GOVERNOR'S PROPOSED PRIVATE SCHOOL VOUCHERS PROGRAM IS APPROVED, HE EXPECTS IT WILL START OUT SMALL. SUPERINTENDENT OF EDUCATION JOHN WHITE SAYS EVEN THOUGH THE PROPOSED VOUCHERS LEGISLATION WOULD MAKE UP TO 380 THOUSAND PUBLIC SCHOOL KIDS ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE PRIVATE SCHOOL TUITION, HE EXPECTS THE INITIAL ENROLLMENT WOULD BE CLOSER TO ABOUT 2000 CHILDREN. TO BE ELIGIBLE, STUDENTS MUST BE IN A SCHOOL WITH A "C' GRADE OR WORSE, AND FROM A LOW INCOME HOUSEHOLD. WHITE SAYS THE ROGRAM WILL OFFER PARENTS OF GOOD STUDENTS, WHO ARE "TRAPPED" IN FAILING SCHOOLS, AN OPTION AT A BETTER EDUCATION. HE SAYS PRIVATE SCHOOLS WILL NOT BE FORCED TO TAKE ON VOUCHER PROGRAM STUDENTS.

A BILL REQUIRING SEX EDUCATION TO BE TAUGHT IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS IS UP FOR DEBATE FOR THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION THAT BEGINS MARCH 12TH. PUBLIC SCHOOLS HAVE CURRENTLY HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO TEACH SEX ED, BUT BATON ROUGE REPRESENTATIVE PAT SMITH WOULD LIKE TO SEE IT MANDATORY. SHE SAYS SEX EDUCATION WOULD HELP PREVENT TEEN PREGNANCIES. SMITH SAYS EVEN THOUGH SCHOOLS WOULD BE REQUIRED TO TEACH SEX ED, A PARENT COULD OPT OUT. SHE SAYS IT'S IMPORTANT TO BE ABLE TO COMMUNICATE TO STUDENTS ABOUT SEXUALITY AND INTIMATE RELATIONS.

THE RAPIDES PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE SAYS IT HAS FIRED A DEPUTY WHOSE RECKLESS DRIVING CAUSED A TRAFFIC ACCIDENT WHILE HE WAS OFF DUTY. 42-YEAR-OLD HOWARD WAYNE WELLS, OF OTIS, WAS CITED FOR RECKLESS DRIVING AND AGGRAVATED OBSTRUCTION OF A HIGHWAY AFTER THE ACCIDENT SATURDAY ON LOUISIANA HIGHWAY 121 NEAR HIGHWAY 461. POLICE SAY THE OTHER DRIVER IN THE WRECK TOLD INVESTIGATORS THAT WELLS CAUSED IT BY STOPPING ABRUPTLY IN FRONT OF HER TO GET HER TO STOP.
THEY SAY WELLS ADMITTED TO HAVING ARGUED WITH THE WOMAN. THEY ALSO SAY HE WAS DRIVING RECKLESSLY BEFORE THE CRASH. WELLS WAS PLACED ON LEAVE WITHOUT PAY UNTIL AN INTERNAL INVESTIGATION WAS COMPLETED, AND WAS FIRED ON MONDAY.

THE CHAIRMAN OF THE LOUISIANA PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION, FOSTER CAMPBELL IS CLAIMING UTILITY CUSTOMERS IN LOUISIANA ARE PAYING INFLATED BILLS. CAMPBELL IS CALLING FOR A REVIEW OF THE PROFIT RATE ALLOWANCES UTILITY COMPANIES ARE ALLOWED TO MAKE. CAMPBELL SAYS LOW INTEREST RATES AND LOW RISK HAVE MEANT A HIGH PROFIT MARGIN FOR UTILITY COMPANIES. HE SAYS UTILITY COMPANIES BY LAW CAN ONLY MAKE SO MUCH OF A PROFIT. HE SAYS IF THEY ARE EXCEEDING THAT NUMBER, THEN THE MONEY SHOULD GO BACK IN THE HANDS OF THE CONSUMER.

THE RECENT ARREST OF A MAN SUSPECTED OF TRAFFICKING MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN CRYSTAL METH NORTHWESTERN LOUISIANA IS EXPECTED TO PUT A DENT IN THE LOCAL DRUG TRADE. DESOTO PARISH SHERIFF RODNEY ARBUCKLE SAYS SUSPECT SHANE ADKINSON AND FOUR ACCOMPLICES WERE BELIEVED TO BE BRINGING 10 TO 15 POUNDS OF METH INTO LOUISIANA MONTHLY. SHERIFF ARBUCKLE SAYS ADKINSON, HIS FOUR ACCOMPLICES AND 15 OTHERS ARE EXPECTED TO BE INDICTED BY A GRAND JURY SOON.

LOUISIANA IS SET TO HAVE ITS FIRST EXECUTION IN OVER TWO YEARS AS TODD WESSINGER IS SET TO DIE MAY 9TH FOR THE KILLING OF TWO PEOPLE AT A BATON ROUGE RESTAURANT IN 1995. EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH DISTRICT ATTORNEY HILLAR MOORE SAYS HE ASKED STATE DISTRICT JUDGE RICHARD ANDERSON TO SET THE EXECUTION DATE. WESSINGER WAS A FORMER DISHWASHER AT CALENDAR'S AND WAS FOUND GUILTY AND SENTENCED TO DIE BY LETHAL INJECTION FOR FATALLY SHOOTING TWO PEOPLE THAT WORKED THERE.

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL RAN INTO CRITICISM FROM THE HEAD OF HIS OFFICE OF ELDERLY AFFAIRS, WHO SAYS THE GOVERNOR'S PLAN TO MERGE THE OFFICE INTO THE HEALTH DEPARTMENT WOULD DAMAGE SERVICES FOR LOUISIANA'S SENIOR CITIZENS. MARTHA MANUEL TOLD THE HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE ON TUESDAY THAT SHE DIDN'T LEARN HER OFFICE WOULD BE SHIFTED TO THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HOSPITALS UNTIL THE GOVERNOR'S SPENDING PLANS WERE UNVEILED LAST MONTH. LEADERS OF PARISH COUNCILS ON AGING HAVE RAISED STRONG OPPOSITION TO THE PROPOSED MOVE, SAYING THE OFFICE WILL BE SWALLOWED UP IN THE MASSIVE DHH BUREAUCRACY.
JINDAL'S COMMISSIONER OF ADMINISTRATION, PAUL RAINWATER, SAYS THE MOVE WON'T REDUCE SERVICES BUT COULD GENERATE ADDITIONAL FEDERAL MONEY AND WOULD BE MORE EFFICIENT.

A LAKE CHARLES COMPANY HAS BEEN CHOSEN TO BUILD AND DELIVER COMPONENTS FOR A SYSTEM TO CONTAIN UNDERWATER PETROLEUM WELL ACCIDENTS SUCH AS THE 2010 GULF OF MEXICO OIL SPILL. PROJECT MANAGER ROBERT WARD OF DYNAMIC INDUSTRIES INC. SAYS THE FIRST PHASE OF THE PROJECT, A YEAR OF FRAMING AND ENGINEERING WORK, HAS STARTED. THE EXPANDED CONTAINMENT SYSTEM IS BEING ENGINEERED FOR USE IN WATER DEPTHS OF UP TO 10,000 FEET. WARD SAID ABOUT 500 EMPLOYEES INCLUDING WELDER, ELECTRICIANS AND INSTRUMENT FITTERS WILL BE EMPLOYED DURING THE FIRST PHASE.

AN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IN EVANGELINE PARISH IS MOURNING THE DEATH OF THEIR LONGTIME JANITOR, WHO DIED IN A FIRE AT THE SCHOOL. AUTHORITIES SAY 58-YEAR-OLD DONALD RAY THOMAS COULDN'T GET OUT OF A ROOM THAT CAUGHT ON FIRE EARLY MONDAY MORNING. THE BLAZE WAS CONTAINED TO VIDRINE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL'S FORMER CAFETERIA BUILDING. STUDENTS RETURNED TO CLASS YESTERDAY WITH GRIEF COUNSELORS ON ON HAND. A CAUSE OF THE FIRE HAS NOT BEEN DETERMINED. THE BLAZE STARTED BEFORE SCHOOL STARTED.

ST. LANDRY PARISH SHERIFF BOBBY GUIDROZ SAYS MORE CHARGES ARE POSSIBLE AGAINST A FEMALE OPELOUSAS JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER WHO HAD AN ALLEGED INAPPROPRIATE RELATIONSHIP WITH A STUDENT. GUIDROZ SAYS 44-YEAR-OLD LANA GREEN HAS BEEN ARRESTED AND THE STUDENT IS A 19-YEAR-OLD FEMALE, WHO ATTENDED THE JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL. GUDIROZ SAYS LOUISIANA LAW STATES A TEACHER CAN NOT HAVE A SEXUAL RELATIONSHIP WITH A STUDENT, EVEN IF THAT STUDENT IS NOT A MINOR. GUIDROZ SAYS THE INAPPROPRIATE RELATIONSHIP OCCURRED IN THE FALL OF 2010. HE SAYS IT STARTED WITH TEXT MESSAGES BETWEEN THE TWO.

THE FEDERAL RAILROAD ADMINISTRATION RANKS LOUISIANA FOURTH IN THE NATION IN VEHICLE-TRAIN COLLISIONS AND INJURIES EVEN THOUGH THE NUMBER OF COLLISIONS DECLINED BETWEEN 2010 AND 2011. PAT EDWARDS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF LOUISIANA OPERATION LIFESAVER SAYS PUBLIC AWARENESS IS THE BEST WAY TO REDUCE CROSSING COLLISIONS. TWO KEY FACTORS IN THE HIGH NUMBERS OF ACCIDENTS AND INJURIES ARE THE LARGE NUMBER OF RAILROAD CROSSINGS IN LOUISIANA. EDWARDS SAYS DISTRACTED DRIVING ALSO PLAY A HUGE ROLE IN MANY VEHICLE-TRAIN COLLISIONS.

THE STATE 3RD CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEAL HAS UPHELD THE ATTEMPTED SECOND-DEGREE MURDER AND AGGRAVATED BURGLARY CONVICTIONS AND SENTENCES OF A MAN WHO SHOT AT A WOMAN HE ROBBED. 18 YEAR OLD DEVONTA MITCHELL OF NEW ORLEANS WAS CONVICTED IN A JANUARY 2011 TRIAL IN ALEXANDRIA AND SENTENCED TO 20 YEARS OF HARD LABOR WITH A CONCURRENT 10-YEAR SENTENCE. MITCHELL APPEALED, CLAIMING AN EXCESSIVE SENTENCE AND INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF TRIAL COUNSEL. THE CRIMES TOOK PLACE IN 2010 WHEN MITCHELL WAS 16. HE AND A 22-YEAR-OLD ACCOMPLICE ROBBED A WOMAN OF HER PURSE IN THE VICTIM'S HOME AND THEN ROBBED A WOMAN OUTSIDE THE HOME. THE SECOND VICTIM CALLED ALEXANDRIA POLICE AS SHE CHASED THE SUSPECTS AND WAS FIRED UPON.


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