KSYL Local News

News For Thursday 03/22/12


NEWS FOR THURSDAY 032212
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

YESTERDAY WAS NOT A GOOD DAY FOR THE NEW ORLEANS SAINTS ORGANIZATION. NFL COMMISSIONER ROGER GOODELL ANNOUNCED HE HAS SUSPENDED HEAD COACH
SEAN PEYTON FOR THE ENTIRE 2012 SEASON AND SUSPENDED GENERAL MANAGER
MICKEY LOOMIS FOR THE FIRST EIGHT REGULAR SEASON GAMES THIS YEAR. THE TEAM WAS FINED A HALF MILLION DOLLARS AND LOST SEVERAL DRAFT PICKS. THE REASON? NFL INVESTIGATORS FOUND THE SAINTS HAD MAINTAINED AN ACTIVE "BOUNTY" SYSTEM FOR THE PAST THREE SEASONS WHICH REWARDED PLAYERS FOR INJURING CERTAIN PLAYERS ON OTHER TEAMS. IN AN INTERVIEW ON THE NFL NETWORK, GOODELL SAYS DURING THE INVESTIGATION THEY WERE MISLED WITH DENIALS. THE LEAGUE SAID THE BOUNTY PROGRAM REMAINED IN PLACE EVEN AFTER THE OWNERSHIP OF THE SAINTS SPECIFICALLY TOLD THE FRONT OFFICE AND COACHING STAFF TO STOP.

PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE RICK SANTORUM WAS IN ALEXANDRIA LAST SPEAKING BEFORE THE PENTECOSTALS OF ALEXANDRIA. SANTORUM TALKED TO THE AUDIENCE ABOUT HIS FAITH AND THE PATH HE TOOK THAT LED HIM TO FINDING JESUS. HE SAYS HE IS TRYING TO KEEP PRAYER AT THE CENTER OF HIS LIFE. THE REV. ANTHONY MANGUN, SAID SANTORUM ORIGINALLY ASKED TO ATTEND THE SERVICE TO WORSHIP. HOWEVER, MANGUN ASKED HIM TO SPEAK WHILE HE WAS THERE. ABOUT 2000 PEOPLE WERE ON HAND FOR THAT ADDRESS. SANTORUM WILL HOLD A RALLY FRIDAY NIGHT AT THE GRANBERRY CONFERENCE CENTER AT LOUISIANA COLLEGE.

LOUISIANA GOV. BOBBY JINDAL SAYS HE'S SADDENED BY THE ALLEGATIONS OF A "BOUNTY PROGRAM" USED BY THE NEW ORLEANS SAINTS AGAINST ITS OPPONENTS, BUT HE SAYS THE NFL TEAM REMAINS A GREAT SOURCE OF PRIDE FOR THE STATE. AFTER STRONG PENALTIES WERE HANDED DOWN WEDNESDAY, JINDAL SAID HE DOESN'T BELIEVE THE SANCTIONS OR THE BEHAVIOR TARNISH THE TEAM'S SUPER BOWL WIN FOR THE 2009 SEASON. HE DESCRIBED SEAN PAYTON AS A GREAT COACH. THE GOVERNOR SAYS HE HOPES THE NFL WILL INVESTIGATE ALLEGATIONS OF BOUNTY PROGRAMS AGAINST OTHER TEAMS AND HOLD THOSE CLUBS TO THE "SAME TYPE OF SCRUTINY, THE SAME TYPE OF SANCTIONS" IF THEY WERE FOUND TO ENGAGE IN SIMILAR BEHAVIOR.

A SLOW MOVING COLD FRONT DUMPED OVER 12 INCHES OF RAIN OVER PORTIONS OF SOUTHWESTERN LOUISIANA YESTERDAY. THE BULK OF THE RAIN TO THE WEST AND SOUTH OF ALEXANDRIA / PINEVILLE. METEOROLOGIST DONALD JONES, WITH THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN LAKE CHARLES, SAYS NORTHERN CALCASIEU AND BEAUREGARD PARISHES ARE REPORTING AT LEAST 12 INCHES OF RAIN, FT. POLK CLOSE TO 16 INCHES. ALSO IN SOUTHWEST LOUISIANA, THE ENTIRE CITY OF LAKE ARTHUR WAS WITHOUT POWER FOR MUCH OF THE DAY AND EVENING, AFTER A TORNADO RIPPED THROUGH. MAYOR ROBBIE BERTRAND SAYS EMERGENCY RESPONDERS ARE WORKING HARD TO RESTORE CITY SYSTEMS.

LOUISIANA'S MISHMASH SYSTEM OF PREKINDERGARTEN AND EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION PROGRAMS WOULD BE COORDINATED AND GRADED ON PERFORMANCE UNDER A JINDAL ADMINISTRATION PROPOSAL THAT RECEIVED UNANIMOUS BACKING WEDNESDAY FROM THE LOUISIANA SENATE. THE PROPOSAL WOULD ASSIGN LETTER GRADES TO PRESCHOOLS, STREAMLINE GOVERNANCE AND PULL FUNDING FOR UNDERPERFORMING PROGRAMS. THE STATE BOARD OF ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION WOULD DEVISE THE GRADING STANDARDS AND ACCOUNTABILITY PLANS. THE EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION MEASURE, HEADS NEXT TO THE HOUSE FOR DEBATE DESPITE QUESTIONS ABOUT WHETHER BESE HAS THE CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY TO BE IN CHARGE OF SUCH A STREAMLINING EFFORT. A SIMILAR BILL WAS APPROVED WEDNESDAY BY THE HOUSE EDUCATION COMMITTEE.

VOUCHERS, CHARTERS AND TENURE ARE THE BUZZ WORDS IN LEGISLATION COMING UP FOR DEBATE IN THE HOUSE ON THURSDAY BUT THE DETAILS IN THE COMPLICATED BILLS ARE MORE FAR-REACHING THAN THE OFTEN-BRIEF DESCRIPTIONS IN NEWS STORIES MIGHT INDICATE. IF PASSED, THEY WOULD CONTINUE AN EROSION OF LOCAL SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS' INFLUENCE IN HIRING AND FIRING TEACHERS — AN EROSION THAT BEGAN LAST YEAR. ALSO IN THE BILLS ARE PROVISIONS MAKING IT EASIER TO PUT NON-CERTIFIED TEACHERS IN CHARTER SCHOOL CLASSROOMS AND OTHERS THAT COULD GIVE COLLEGES AND NONPROFIT GROUPS THE POWER TO AUTHORIZE CHARTER SCHOOLS.

U.S. SENATOR MARY LANDRIEU SENT A LETTER TO GOVERNOR JINDAL AND ALL STATE LAWMAKERS URGING THOUGHTFUL CONSIDERATION AND SERIOUS DEBATE OF THE EDUCATION REFORM MEASURES. LANDRIEU IS CONCERNED THE JINDAL ADMINISTRATION AND LAWMAKERS WHO SUPPORT THE LEGISLATION ARE MOVING TOO FAST. IN HER LETTER LANDRIEU VOICED QUESTIONS ABOUT ACCOUNTABILITY STANDARDS FOR PRIVATE SCHOOLS, THE RAPID EXPANSION OF CHARTER SCHOOLS AND A LACK OF TEACHER INPUT ON THE TOPIC OF TENURE REFORM. LANDRIEU SAYS EVEN THE PACE OF LEGISLATION IS IGNORING NORMAL LEGISLATIVE PROCEDURES.

GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL IS PREDICTING A ROBUST DEBATE ON THE HOUSE FLOOR TODAY AS LAWMAKERS DISCUSS HIS PROPOSALS TO CHANGE TEACHER TENURE LAWS AND EXPAND A VOUCHER PROGRAM STATEWIDE. JINDAL SAYS A PASSIONATE DEBATE SHOULD OCCUR, BUT IN THE END, THE STATUS QUO IS NOT ACCEPTABLE.

A NEAR-ANNUAL ATTEMPT TO SHORTEN VOTING HOURS ON ELECTION DAY HEADED TO THE FULL HOUSE FOR DEBATE, WITH UNANIMOUS SUPPORT WEDNESDAY FROM THE HOUSE AND GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE. CURRENTLY, POLL HOURS RUN FROM 6 A.M. TO 8 P.M. THE MEASURE (HOUSE BILL 209) BY REP. FRANKLIN FOIL, R-BATON ROUGE, WOULD PUSH BACK THE OPENING OF POLLS TO 7 A.M. SECRETARY OF STATE TOM SCHEDLER SUPPORTS THE BILL AS A WAY TO SHORTEN WORK DAYS FOR TEMPORARY ELECTION WORKERS. HE AND FOIL SAID THE LONG DAY MAKES IT DIFFICULT TO ATTRACT POLL WORKERS AND THE STATE OFFERS ENOUGH EARLY VOTING DAYS FOR PEOPLE TO ACCESS THE POLLS DESPITE THEIR WORK SCHEDULES. "BY NO MEANS DO WE WANT TO LIMIT PEOPLE'S RIGHT TO VOTE," FOIL SAID. SCHEDLER SAID LOUISIANA'S ELECTION DAY IS THE LONGEST IN THE COUNTRY, AND HE SAID DATA SHOWS NO CORRELATION BETWEEN VOTER TURNOUT AND THE LENGTH OF THE ELECTION DAY. OPPONENTS SAID THE CHANGE COULD LIMIT VOTING OPPORTUNITIES FOR PEOPLE, LIKE SHIFT WORKERS WHO HAVE 12-HOUR WORK DAYS.

A $50 BILLION, 50-YEAR PROPOSAL ASPIRING TO STOP COASTAL LAND LOSS IN LOUISIANA HAS BEEN APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY BY A GOVERNOR'S PANEL AND MOVES ON TO THE STATE LEGISLATURE. THE COASTAL PROTECTION AND RESTORATION AUTHORITY APPROVED WEDNESDAY A SERIES OF CHANGES TO A DRAFT REPORT ISSUED IN JANUARY. THE NEW VERSION INCORPORATES CHANGES BASED ON CONCERNS AT PUBLIC HEARINGS, BUT THE BASIC STRATEGIES OF THE ORIGINAL PLAN, RIVER DIVERSIONS TO CREATE LAND AND NEW LEVEE SYSTEMS TO PROTECT COASTAL COMMUNITIES, WERE RETAINED. THE PLAN NOW MOVES TO THE STATE LEGISLATURE FOR APPROVAL. FUNDING THE PLAN HOWEVER, REMAINS UNCERTAIN.

U.S. SEN. MARY LANDRIEU SAYS LOUISIANA IS GETTING ABOUT $63.5 MILLION IN HURRICANE RECOVERY FUNDS THAT WILL BE SPENT ON LEVEES, THE PORT OF NEW ORLEANS, RAISING HOMES AND TO FIX OTHER DAMAGE FROM HURRICANES KATRINA AND RITA.








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