KSYL Local News

News For Wednesday 03/14/12


NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY 031412
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

TEXAS-BASED VIRTUAL ENGINEERING OPERATIONS PLANS TO BUILD A REFINERY AT THE OLD ARIZONA CHEMICAL PLANT SITE JUST WEST OF OAKDALE. THE ALLEN PARISH POLICE JURY RECENTLY AGREED TO LEASE THE PARISH-OWNED PROPERTY TO THE COMPANY WHICH IS BASED IN KINGWOOD, TEXAS. CONSTRUCTION OF THE FACILITY SHOULD BEGIN IN JULY AND TAKE 18 MONTHS TO COMPLETE. A COMPANY OFFICIAL SAYS THE REFINERY WILL PROCESS 20,000 BARRELS OF CRUDE OIL PER DAY, PRODUCING DIESEL, JET FUEL AND HEATING OIL.
IT WILL PROVIDE ABOUT 50 FULL-TIME JOBS. MANY OF THOSE JOBS, INCLUDING REFINERY OPERATORS AND OFFICE STAFF, WILL HAVE AVERAGE SALARIES OF $100,000 PER YEAR.
AN ADDITIONAL 140 JOBS COULD BE CREATED FROM SPINOFF BUSINESSES AND FUTURE CONSTRUCTION FOR PHASE 2 OF THE PROJECT.

WE’VE HEARD IT ALL BEFORE. BUT, THIS TIME IT LOOKS LIKE IT WILL HAPPEN. JENA BAND OF CHOCTAW INDIANS SAYS PLANS FOR THEIR CASINO ARE FINALIZED, AND TRIBAL LEADERS HOPE A CASINO WILL BE OPEN BY THE END OF THIS YEAR IN CREOLA IN SOUTH GRANT PARISH. SMITH SAID THE TRIBE SECURED ALL OF ITS FEDERAL APPROVALS AND SIGNED LOAN DOCUMENTS LAST WEEK, ALLOWING THE TRIBE TO MOVE FORWARD WITH ITS PLANS.
THE TRIBE WILL BUILD THEIR CLASS II CASINO ON A PIECE OF LAND OFF U.S. HIGHWAY 167. CONSTRUCTION COULD START AS EARLY AS NEXT WEEK. A CLASS II CASINO CAN HAVE POKER TABLES AND GAMING MACHINES, BUT NOT GAMBLING TABLES. THE CASINO WILL EMPLOY CLOSE TO 300 PEOPLE, MOST OF WHICH WILL BE MEMBERS OF THE TRIBE.

GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL, ALEXANDRIA MAYOR JACQUES ROY AND OFFICIALS FROM LOUISIANA ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND THE CENTRAL LOUISIANA ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ALLIANCE ARE EXPECTED TO BE ON HAND TODAY TO WELCOME A NEW EMPLOYER TO THE AREA. THE ANNOUNCEMENT, WHICH WILL TAKE PLACE AT 1:30 P.M. TODAY AT THE FORMER JAKES BUILDING ON WIMBLEDON DRIVE, IS EXPECTED TO BE THAT NEW CALL CENTER WILL BE MOVING IN.

A BALL MAN HAS BEEN ARRESTED IN CONNECTION WITH THE MARCH 6 ROBBERY OF THE CAPITAL 1 BANK BRANCH IN BALL. STEPHEN PAUL KENT WAS ARRESTED YESTERDAY.
KENT WAS BOOKED INTO THE RAPIDES PARISH JAIL ON CHARGES OF SIMPLE ROBBERY AND DRUG POSSESSION.

ABOUT 45 STUDENTS FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN AT LACROSSE HAVE CHOSEN TO "PAY IT FORWARD" DURING THEIR SPRING BREAK BY VOLUNTEERING TO HELP WITH PROJECTS AT THE ALEXANDRIA ZOO. THE STUDENTS ARE MEMBERS OF STUDENTS TODAY LEADERS FOREVER, A NONPROFIT, STUDENT-LED ORGANIZATION THAT FOCUSES ON SERVICE TO THE COMMUNITY TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE. THE STUDENTS HAVE BEEN WEEDING BEDS, PREPARING EXHIBITS FOR ANIMALS THAT WERE MOVED DURING THE WINTER, CLEANING OUT GUTTERS, HANGING SHEETROCK AND RAKING AND MULCHING.


SOME LOUISIANA PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEMS ARE CANCELING A DAY OF CLASSES AS TEACHERS PREPARE TO HEAD FOR THE STATE CAPITOL, WHERE BATTLES ARE BREWING OVER GOV. BOBBY JINDAL'S EDUCATION PROPOSALS. THE EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH SCHOOL SYSTEM SAID ITS SCHOOLS WILL BE CLOSED TODAY AFTER A HIGHER THAN NORMAL NUMBER OF TEACHERS SAID THEY WOULD BE ABSENT. VERMILION PARISH AND ST. MARTIN PARISH PUBLIC SCHOOLS WILL BE CLOSED TOMORROW. HEARINGS ARE SET WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY AT THE CAPITOL ON BILLS THAT WOULD EXPAND A STATE-FINANCED PRIVATE SCHOOL TUITION PROGRAM, MAKE IT EASIER FOR PRIVATE GROUPS TO RUN PUBLIC "CHARTER" SCHOOLS, AND MAKE CHANGES TO TEACHER TENURE PRACTICES.

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL HAS DECLARED A STATE OF EMERGENCY AFTER SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS DUMPED UP TO 15 INCHES OF RAIN IN SOME AREAS, FORCING HUNDREDS OF FAMILIES FROM THEIR HOMES. THE DECLARATION ALLOWS STATE AGENCIES TO RESPOND TO REQUESTS FOR ASSISTANCE FROM LOCAL GOVERNMENTS AND ALLOWS FOR FEDERAL AGENCIES AND FEDERAL RESOURCES TO BE DEPLOYED. JINDAL'S STATEWIDE PROCLAMATION TUESDAY IS EFFECTIVE THROUGH APRIL 12, UNLESS TERMINATED SOONER.
FAMILIES IN LAFAYETTE, ST. MARTIN, VERMILION AND ACADIA PARISHES ARE CLEANING UP AFTER STORMS HIT THEM ON MONDAY AND OUACHITA PARISH RESIDENTS ARE DOING THE SAME AFTER A DELUGE SWAMPED SEVERAL AREAS OF MONROE A DAY EARLIER.

LOUISIANA GAINED 7,800 NON-FARM PRIVATE SECTOR JOBS IN JANUARY. THE STATE LABOR DEPARTMENT RELEASED THE LATEST EMPLOYMENT STATISTICS TUESDAY AFTERNOON.
IN ADDITION TO THE ONE-MONTH GAIN, THE STATE ADDED 39,900 PRIVATE SECTOR JOBS OVER THE PAST YEAR. THAT MARKED THE 20TH CONSECUTIVE MONTH OF YEAR-TO-YEAR GROWTH, THE DEPARTMENT SAID. THE REPORT SAID THAT THE LAFAYETTE METROPOLITAN AREA HAD THE LARGEST JOB GROWTH OVER THE YEAR. ALEXANDRIA WAS THE ONLY MSA TO POST A DECLINE OVER THE PAST 12 MONTHS WITH LOSSES TOTALING 1,100 NONFARM JOBS.

A PROPOSAL TO GIVE A DOLLAR-FOR-DOLLAR STATE TAX REBATE TO PEOPLE WHO DONATE MONEY TO A NONPROFIT THAT GIVES OUT GRANTS OR SCHOLARSHIPS TO PRIVATE SCHOOLS WON APPROVAL TUESDAY FROM A HOUSE COMMITTEE. THE BILL BY REP. KIRK TALBOT IS THE FIRST PIECE OF GOV. BOBBY JINDAL'S EDUCATION PACKAGE TO GAIN COMMITTEE BACKING AND HEAD TO THE HOUSE FLOOR FOR DEBATE. THE HOUSE WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE VOTED 15-4 FOR THE MEASURE (HOUSE BILL 969). TALBOT SAID THE PROPOSAL WAS MODELED ON A FLORIDA PROGRAM. ACCORDING TO THE JINDAL ADMINISTRATION, NEARLY 38,000 STUDENTS ARE GOING TO PRIVATE SCHOOLS THROUGH THAT PROGRAM.

HOUSE SPEAKER CHUCK KLECKLEY SAID TUESDAY THE GOVERNOR'S PROPOSALS TO REVAMP PENSIONS FOR THOUSANDS OF RANK-AND-FILE STATE WORKERS ARE ON TRACK FOR DEBATE NEXT WEEK. THE BILLS ARE AMONG GOV. BOBBY JINDAL'S PRIORITIES FOR THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION, AND THEY'RE SET FOR A QUICKER HEARING THEN SUCH CONTROVERSIAL MEASURES USUALLY GET IN SESSION. KLECKLEY SAID THE HOUSE RETIREMENT COMMITTEE IS PLANNING TO GIVE THE PROPOSALS A HEARING NEXT WEEK, SIMILAR TO A PLAN FOR THE COMPANION SENATE COMMITTEE. THE HOUSE SPEAKER SAID THE HOUSE WANTS TO MAKE A DECISION ON THE RETIREMENT PROPOSALS BEFORE CRAFTING ITS VERSION OF NEXT YEAR'S BUDGET, BECAUSE JINDAL'S SPENDING PLANS ASSUME SAVINGS FROM THE RETIREMENT CHANGES. IF THOSE CHANGES DON'T PASS, OR IF THEY ARE SCALED BACK, THAT WOULD CREATE A HOLE IN THE BUDGET.

IT WAS A HECK OF A PARTY.. GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL SPENT ABOUT $379,000 ON HIS INAUGURAL EVENTS IN JANUARY. THE SPENDING, FILED IN AN EXPENSE REPORT WITH THE LOUISIANA ETHICS ADMINISTRATION PROGRAM, CAME FROM JINDAL'S CAMPAIGN ACCOUNT, WHICH CONTAINS NEARLY $4 MILLION AFTER TALLYING HIS ELECTION AND INAUGURATION EXPENSES. JINDAL'S INAUGURATION INCLUDED THE BALL, THE SWEARING-IN CEREMONY AT THE OLD STATE CAPITOL AND THE LEGISLATIVE LUNCH.

A STATEWIDE POLL FROM W-W-L T-V IN NEW ORLEANS SHOWS RICK SANTORUM WITH A SLIGHT LEAD OVER TWO OTHER CANDIDATES FOR THE MARCH 24TH LOUISIANA REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY. THE POLL OF 515 LIKELY G-O-P VOTERS WAS CONDUCTED BY G-C-R AND ASSOCIATES. IN THE POLL, SANTORUM RECEIVED 25-PERCENT OF THE VOTE, ROMNEY AND GINGRICH HAD 21 AND 20-PERCENT. RON PAUL FINISHED A DISTANT FOURTH PLACE. ACCORDING TO THE POLL, 26-PERCENT OF REPUBLICAN VOTERS IN LOUISIANA ARE UNDECIDED.

THE STATE'S LATEST MILLIONAIRE IS A 71-YEAR-OLD BATON ROUGE GRANDMOTHER OF FIVE. THE LOUISIANA LOTTERY SAYS ANNE ARIKOL WON A $1 MILLION LOUISIANA LOTTO JACKPOT AND SAYS SHE PLANS TO SPEND SOME OF THE WINNINGS ON COLLEGE TUITION FOR HER GRANDCHILDREN.

THE LAFAYETTE PARISH DA'S OFFICE HAS DROPPED A DOMESTIC ABUSE BATTERY CHARGE AGAINST NEW ORLEANS SAINTS DEFENSIVE END WILL SMITH. THE PROSECUTOR'S OFFICE SAYS THE CHARGES WERE DISMISSED AFTER SMITH COMPLETED DOZENS OF HOURS OF COMMUNITY SERVICE AND GOT COUNSELING.

A 13-YEAR-OLD BOY HAS BEEN ARRESTED AND FACES SEVERAL CHARGES AFTER AUTHORITIES FOUND HIM IN POSSESSION OF A WEAPON AND ALCOHOL AT A SHREVEPORT ELEMENTARY SCHOOL. THE SHREVEPORT POLICE DEPARTMENT SAYS THE JUVENILE WAS ARRESTED TUESDAY AFTER SCHOOL OFFICIALS AT WERNER PARK ELEMENTARY NOTIFIED POLICE THAT THE STUDENT HAD A BB GUN AND WHAT APPEARED TO BE AN ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE IN A BACK PACK. DETECTIVES SAY THE BOY WAS ALSO SEEN POINT THE GUN AT ANOTHER CHILD.

SPORTS..

SAINTS FANS ARE CELEBRATING THE SIGNING OF STAR WIDE RECEIVER MARQUES COLSTON TO A FIVE YEAR, 40-MILLION DOLLAR CONTRACT. COLSTON WAS ONE OF SEVERAL PLAYERS FLIRTING WITH THE FREE AGENT MARKET. OFFENSIVE LINEMAN CARL NICKS WAS CONSIDERED A PRIME CANDIDATE FOR THE FRANCHISE TAG BEFORE THAT DESIGNATION WENT TO QUARTERBACK DREW BREES. SAINTS RADIO COLOR ANALYST, HOKIE GAJAN BELIEVES SIGNING COLSTON WAS A BIGGER PRIORITY THAN SIGNING NICKS. THE SAINTS ARE NOW FOCUSED ON SIGNING THEIR OTHER FREE AGENT PLAYERS.

THE 10TH RANKED LSU BASEBALL TEAM HAS ITS FINAL TUNE-UP TONIGHT BEFORE SEC PLAY BEGINS THIS WEEKEND AGAINST MISSISSIPPI STATE. TIGERS COACH PAUL MAINIERI SAYS THE PLAN IS TO START FRESHMAN AARON NOLA ON THE MOUND.


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