KSYL Local News

News For Thursday 03/15/12


NEWS FOR THURSDAY 031512
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

A COMPANY SPECIALIZING IN HANDLING OUTSOURCED TASKS FOR OTHER COMPANIES SAYS IT WILL OPEN A CUSTOMER SERVICE CENTER IN ALEXANDRIA EVENTUALLY EMPLOYING 600 PEOPLE. ROCHESTER, N.Y.-BASED SUTHERLAND GLOBAL SERVICES INC. SAID WEDNESDAY THAT IT WOULD SPEND $2.9 MILLION TO REMODEL AN EXISTING 40,000-SQUARE-FOOT, FORMER STAR-TEK BUILDING. GOV. BOBBY JINDAL SAID THE JOBS WILL AVERAGE $27,000 PER YEAR. CONSTRUCTION IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN IN MARCH AND THE COMPANY HAS SCHEDULED MAY FOR THE START OF OPERATIONS, INITIALLY WITH 290 EMPLOYEES. . HIRING WILL BEGIN IN APRIL. THE COMPANY EMPLOYS 33,000 PEOPLE WORLDWIDE.

GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL BEGAN THE DEBATE YESTERDAY ON HIS EDUCATION REFORM PLAN BY TESTIFYING BEFORE THE HOUSE EDUCATION COMMITTEE. THE PANEL IS DISCUSSING THE GOVERNOR'S PROPOSAL TO EXPAND A VOUCHER PROGRAM STATEWIDE AND ANOTHER MEASURE WOULD REVAMP TEACHER TENURE LAWS. JINDAL STRESSED THE IMPORTANCE OF THESE BILLS DURING HIS TESTIMONY. BUT, AMITE REPRESENTATIVE JOHN BEL EDWARDS SAYS JINDAL'S STATEWIDE VOUCHER PLAN IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL, BECAUSE IT USES DOLLARS FROM THE STATE'S PUBLIC EDUCATION FUND TO PAY FOR A STUDENT'S TUITION AT A PRIVATE SCHOOL. THE GOVERNOR DISAGREED. WHILE THAT WAS GOING ON HUNDREDS OF TEACHERS FROM ACROSS THE STATE WERE ON THE STEPS OF THE STATE CAPITOL TO PROTEST THE GOVERNOR’S PLAN.

US SENATOR MARY LANDRIEU SAID YESTERDAY GOV. BOBBY JINDAL'S FAST-TRACK PUSH FOR HIS EDUCATION OVERHAUL BILLS IS ILL-ADVISED AND WRONG, GIVING EVEN SUPPORTERS OF THE PROPOSALS TOO LITTLE TIME TO REVIEW THE DETAILS LANDRIEU WENT ON TO SAY SHE SUPPORTS THE NEED FOR REFORMS. BUT, "IF THIS IS SUCH A GREAT REFORM PACKAGE, IT SHOULD BE ABLE TO STAND THE TEST OF REVIEW. THE SENATOR FINISHED THE INTERVIEW BY ADDING, “THIS IS A DEMOCRACY, NOT A DICTATORSHIP,"

THERE’S NO DOUBT, IT’S THE GOVERNOR’S WAY OR THE HIGHWAY. LOUISIANA HOUSE SPEAKER CHUCK KLECKLEY STRIPPED A BOGALUSA REP. HAROLD RITCHIE OF A COMMITTEE VICE CHAIRMANSHIP WEDNESDAY. RITCHIE A DEMOCRAT, LOST HIS POST ON THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON INSURANCE. THE MOVE BY KLECKLEY CAME A DAY AFTER RITCHIE VOTED AGAINST LEGISLATION PUSHED BY GOV. BOBBY JINDAL INVOLVING A TAX REBATE FOR THOSE WHO DONATE MONEY FOR SCHOLARSHIPS TO PRIVATE AND PAROCHIAL SCHOOLS. THE HOUSE WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE APPROVED THE LEGISLATION ON TUESDAY.

JUST A REMINDER, AS TIME IS RUNNING OUT.. EARLY VOTING FOR THE MARCH 24 PRESIDENTIAL PREFERENCE PRIMARY ELECTIONS AND LOCAL ELECTIONS -- INCLUDING MAYORAL RACES IN NATCHITOCHES, FERRIDAY AND FOUR OTHER CENLA MUNICIPALITIES -- CONTINUES THROUGH SATURDAY. EARLY VOTING TAKES PLACE IN PARISH REGISTRARS OF VOTERS' OFFICES FROM 8:30 A.M. TO 6 P.M.

THE PINEVILLE CITY COUNCIL HAS APPROVED A RESOLUTION GIVING THE GO AHEAD TO PURCHASE TWO PIECES OF VACANT LAND NEAR THE GILLIS LONG BRIDGE, ALSO KNOWN AS THE JACKSON STREET BRIDGE. THE TWO VACANT LOTS, ONE ON EACH SIDE OF THE BRIDGE, FRONT RIVERSIDE DRIVE AND ABUT THE RED RIVER LEVEE. MAYOR FIELDS SAID THE LOTS HAVE BEEN USED IN THE PAST IN CONJUNCTION WITH CITY EVENTS ON THE RIVERFRONT, AND HE BELIEVES THEY ARE KEY TO SOME OF THE PLANS CITY PLANNERS HAVE IN PLACE FOR THAT AREA. NO SPECIFIC DETAILS ARE AVAILABLE YET.

RAPIDES REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER CEO DAVID WILLIAMS SAID WEDNESDAY THAT THE HOSPITAL HAS BEEN DESIGNATED AS A LEVEL II TRAUMA CENTER, AND IT IS ONE OF ONLY TWO IN THE STATE. THE PROCESS TO REACH LEVEL II STATUS BEGAN TWO YEARS AGO.

THE BATON ROUGE METRO AREA RANKS NO. 1 IN THE NATION IN ITS RATE OF AIDS CASES AFTER RANKING SECOND THE PAST TWO YEARS, ACCORDING TO 2010 DATA RELEASED WEDNESDAY BY THE FEDERAL CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION.
BATON ROUGE HAS A RATE OF 33.7, WHICH MEANS 33 OUT OF EVERY 100,000 PEOPLE HAVE AIDS. MIAMI IS SECOND WITH A RATE OF 30.3; JACKSON, MISS., IS THIRD WITH A RATE OF 29.2; AND BALTIMORE IS FOURTH WITH A RATE OF 26.8. THE NEW ORLEANS METRO AREA IS FIFTH WITH A RATE OF 26.2.

FORMER PORT ALLEN POLICE CHIEF FRED SMITH HAS BEEN SENTENCED TO 7 ½ YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON AFTER BEING CONVICTED IN OCTOBER ON 11 FEDERAL CHARGES OF RACKETEERING, MAIL FRAUD, WIRE FRAUD AND USE OF A TELEPHONE IN AID OF RACKETEERING. SMITH WAS ALSO FINED $17,000 AND ORDERED TO REPORT TO PRISON BY APRIL 16.

THE LOUISIANA PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY IS 10 DAYS AWAY AND REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES HAVE DESCENDED ON THE STATE COURTING VOTES FOR THE MARCH 24TH BALLOT. POLITICAL ANALYST BERNIE PINSONAT SAYS, IN SPITE OF ALL THE NATIONAL ATTENTION, HE DOESN'T EXPECT A LARGE TURNOUT. PINSONAT BELIEVES A MORE MODERATE CANDIDATE LIKE MITT ROMNEY WILL HAVE A HARD TIME CARRYING LOUISIANA. HE SAYS A LIGHT TURNOUT WILL FAVOR CANDIDATES WHO APPEAL TO MORE MOTIVATED, ISSUE DRIVEN VOTERS. THIS ELECTION IS UNUSUAL IN THAT WITH THE REPUBLICAN NOMINATION STILL UP FOR GRABS - AND WITH ONLY A HANDFULL OF STATE PRIMARIES REMAINING, THE LOUISIANA PRIMARY MATTERS TO MOST OF THE CANDIDATES. PINSONAT SAYS THAT WINNING LOUISIANA IS MOSTLY FOR BRAGGING RIGHTS; NOT DELEGATE COUNTS.

LEGISLATION THAT WOULD SEND MOST OF ANY FEDERAL FINES BP PAYS FOR THE 2010 GULF OIL SPILL TO GULF COAST STATES IS A STEP CLOSER TO PASSAGE. THE SO-CALLED RESTORE ACT IS AN AMENDMENT TO A KEY TRANSPORTATION BILL THAT PASSED THE U.S. SENATE WEDNESDAY. SENATOR MARY LANDRIEU SAYS SHE HAS HIGH HOPES THE BILL WILL QUICKLY PASS THE U.S. HOUSE. BP COULD BE FINED UP TO $20-BILLION FOR VIOLATING THE FEDERAL CLEAN WATER ACT WITH THE GULF OIL SPIL. THE RESTORE ACT WOULD DEDICATE 80% OF THOSE FINES TO LOUISIANA AND GULF COAST NEIGHBORS IMPACTED BY THE SPILL.

THE 33-STORY-HIGH WORLD TRADE CENTER BUILDING ON THE NEW ORLEANS RIVERFRONT IS NOW OWNED BY THE CITY. IN A $2.3 MILLION DEAL, THE CITY SAYS IT HAS BOUGHT OUT THE LEASE FOR THE BUILDING AND THAT IT NOW HAS CONTROL OVER THE REDEVELOPMENT OF THE VACANT 670,000-SQUARE FOOT OFFICE TOWER AND SITE. MAYOR MITCH LANDRIEU SAYS REDEVELOPING THE BUILDING IS A HIGH PRIORITY. HE SAYS THE PROPERTY HAS UNDERPERFORMED FOR TOO LONG. BEFORE AGREEING TO TAKE OVER THE BUILDING, THE CITY GOT THE WORLD TRADE CENTER TO REPAIR CONCRETE SOFFITS THAT BROKE OFF AND FELL 400 FEET TO THE GROUND. THE CITY SAYS IT IS ASKING DEVELOPERS TO COME UP WITH IDEAS ON WHAT SHOULD BE DONE WITH THE BUILDING.






SPORTS..

SAINTS QUARTERBACK DREW BREES SPEAKS OUT FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE THE TEAM PLACED HIM UNDER THE FRANCHISE TAG. BREES MADE IT CLEAR ON ESPN 1410’S MIKE AND MIKE SHOW YESTERDAY HE DOESN'T WANT TO START THE SEASON WITH THE ONE-YEAR FRANCHISE TAG IN PLACE. THE SAINTS PLACED THE ONE-YEAR FRANCHISE TAG ON BREES EARLIER THIS MONTH. HE'S NOT ALLOWED TO SPEAK WITH ANY OTHER TEAMS, BUT THE SAINTS CAN STILL TALK TO BREES ABOUT A MULTI-YEAR CONTRACT UNTIL JULY 16TH. BREES SAYS MANY FANS FEEL THAT WORKING OUT A NEW DEAL WITH THE SAINTS IS A CLEAR CUT, SIMPLE ISSUE. HE SAYS THAT'S NOT THE CASE.

THE PRICE TO PARK ON CAMPUS FOR LSU FOOTBALL GAMES IS GOING UP FOR SOME SEASON TICKET HOLDERS. LSU ASSOCIATE ATHLETICS DIRECTOR HERB VINCENT SAYS PARKING PASSES WILL NEARLY DOUBLE FOR ONE AREA, BUT 93-PERCENT OF THE PAID SPOTS ON CAMPUS WILL REMAIN THE SAME. VINCENT SAYS RAISING REVENUES FOR PARKING HELP KEEP TICKET PRICES DOWN. SEASON TICKET HOLDERS HAVE UNTIL THE END OF MARCH TO RESERVE PASSES FOR THE NEW AREAS FOR THE 2012 SEASON. COSTS WILL RANGE FROM 75 TO 100- DOLLARS PER GAME FOR CARS AND FROM 250 TO 500-DOLLARS FOR RVS. SOME FANS COMPLAIN THE HIGHER COSTS WILL HURT THE TAILGATING TRADITION AT LSU VINCENT DOESN'T BELIEVE THE HIGHER COSTS WILL HAVE MUCH OF AN IMPACT.

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