KSYL Local News

News For Friday 03/30/12


NEWS FOR FRIDAY 033012
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

44 YEAR OLD DONALD PICKNEY WAS INDICTED YESTERDAY ON A SECOND-DEGREE MURDER CHARGE BY A RAPIDES PARISH GRAND JURY IN THE OCTOBER 2011 DEATH OF HIS WIFE, WHO AUTHORITIES BELIEVE WAS HELD CAPTIVE AND POSSIBLY TORTURED FOR ONE TO TWO DAYS BEFORE SHE DIED. RAPIDES PARISH PROSECUTOR ROCKY WILLSON SAID THAT IF PICKNEY IS CONVICTED ON THE MURDER CHARGE, HE FACES LIFE IN PRISON.

AN ALEXANDRIA MAN IN BEHIND BARS ACCUSED OF ATTEMPTING TO KIDNAP A CHILD FROM A DR’S OFFICE YESTERDAY. THE APD REPORTS 29 YEAR OLD ORLANDO JONES POSED AS A DR AND ATTEMPTED TO REMOVE THE 2 MONTH OLD FROM THE FACILITY. SECURITY PERSONNEL WERE NOTIFIED BY THE CHILD'S MOTHER, WHO DID NOT KNOW JONES, AND JONES WAS TAKEN INTO CUSTODY BY HOSPITAL STAFF BEFORE AUTHORITIES ARRIVED. THE RATHER STRANGE CASE IS STILL UNDER INVESTIGATION.

LOUISIANA RANKS WORST IN THE USA FOR PUBLIC CORRUPTION. THAT'S ACCORDING TO A NATIONAL MAGAZINE REPORT THAT USED DATA FROM THE U.S. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT. THE STATE RANKED HIGHEST WITH 8 AND A HALF CONVICTIONS PER 100-THOUSAND PERSONS, AND 10 & A HALF PER 10-THOUSAND GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES AT LOCAL, STATE AND FEDERAL LEVELS. SOME SAYS THE HIGH CONVICTION RATES ARE BECAUSE OF CONCERTED EFFORTS TO WEED OUT CORRUPT OFFICIALS.

THE SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE HAS APPROVED THE TWO MAJOR PIECES OF GOV. BOBBY JINDAL'S EDUCATION AGENDA. ONE ESTABLISHES A STATEWIDE PRIVATE SCHOOL VOUCHER PROGRAM AND PAVES THE WAY FOR EASIER CREATION OF CHARTER SCHOOLS.
ANOTHER OVERHAULS THE ROLE OF SCHOOL BOARDS, SUPERINTENDENTS AND PRINCIPALS IN THE HIRING AND FIRING OF TEACHERS. IT ALSO TOUGHENS THE REQUIREMENTS FOR TEACHERS TO EARN TENURE AND ELIMINATES SENIORITY PROTECTIONS FOR TEACHERS WHEN LAYOFFS ARE MADE. BOTH BILLS HAVE PASSED THE HOUSE. THE VOUCHER BILL FACES REVIEW IN A SENATE COMMITTEE ON MONDAY THEN BOTH WILL BE READY FOR FULL SENATE DEBATE.

AN ANNUAL PUBLIC OPINION SURVEY BY LSU INDICATES MORE LOUISIANANS FEEL THE STATE IS HEADED IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION IN TERMS OF PUBLIC POLICY. DR. KIRBY GOIDEL DIRECTED THE "LOUISIANA SURVEY". HE SAYS 47% OF THOSE SURVEYED APPROVE OF THE DIRECTION GOVERNMENT IS TAKING WITH EDUCATION, THE ECONOMY AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT. THE ANNUAL CITIZEN SURVEY QUERIED 731 RANDOM PERSONS, AND WAS CONDUCTED BETWEEN FEBRUARY 7TH AND 29TH. GOIDEL SAYS THE RESULTS SHOW CONCERNS ABOUT THE ECONOMY SEEM TO BE DECLINING...:

CONGRESS HAS PASSED A STOPGAP THREE-MONTH TRANSPORTATION BILL THAT DOES NOT INCLUDE A PROVISION TO SEND 80 PERCENT OF CLEAN WATER ACT FINES FROM THE 2010 GULF OF MEXICO OIL SPILL TO GULF STATES. THE BILL WAS PASSED THURSDAY AFTER HEATED PARTISAN DEBATE. A SENATE VERSION OF THE BILL INCLUDED LANGUAGE TO SET ASIDE FINE MONEY FOR GULF STATES. BUT THAT PROVISION WAS STRIPPED IN THE RUSH TO GET A STOPGAP MEASURE PASSED BEFORE THE HOUSE GOES INTO RECESS. U.S. SEN. MARY LANDRIEU, A LOUISIANA DEMOCRAT, BLAMED HOUSE REPUBLICANS FOR THIS NEW DELAY IN GETTING THE FINES SET ASIDE FOR THE GULF. BP PLC IS EXPECTED TO PAY BILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN FINES FOR THE SPILL AND LOUISIANA IS BANKING ON THAT MONEY TO MOVE COASTAL RESTORATION PLANS FORWARD.

A FEDERAL JUDGE RULED THURSDAY A LOUISIANA LAW VIOLATES THE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS OF PEOPLE WHO WERE REQUIRED TO REGISTER AS SEX OFFENDERS AFTER THEY WERE CONVICTED OF SOLICITING ORAL OR ANAL SEX FOR MONEY. U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE MARTIN FELDMAN SAID STATE LAWMAKERS HAD NO "RATIONAL BASIS" FOR REQUIRING PEOPLE TO REGISTER AS SEX OFFENDERS IF THEY WERE CONVICTED OF A "CRIME AGAINST NATURE BY SOLICITATION." FELDMAN SIDED WITH NINE ANONYMOUS PLAINTIFFS WHO SUED LAST YEAR, SAYING THEY WOULDN'T HAVE HAD TO REGISTER AS SEX OFFENDERS IF INSTEAD THEY HAD BEEN CONVICTED OF SOLICITING SEX FOR MONEY UNDER THE STATE PROSTITUTION LAW. CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEYS WHO FILED THE SUIT AGAINST LOUISIANA ATTORNEY GENERAL JAMES "BUDDY" CALDWELL AND OTHER STATE OFFICIALS CLAIM THE LAW IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL AND DISCRIMINATORY, UNFAIRLY CONDEMNING SEX ACTS TRADITIONALLY ASSOCIATED WITH HOMOSEXUALITY.

A FEDERAL JUDGE SAYS LOUISIANA CANNOT ENFORCE A 1997 LAW THAT ALLOWED LAWSUITS AGAINST ABORTION DOCTORS EVEN WITHOUT ALLEGATIONS OF NEGLIGENCE OR POOR CARE. THE LAW ALSO KEPT DOCTORS WHO PERFORM ABORTIONS OUT OF A STATE-RUN MEDICAL MALPRACTICE REVIEW PROCESS AND A FUND TO PAY MALPRACTICE JUDGMENTS.
U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE GINGER BERRIGAN RULED MARCH 1 THAT THE LAW IS UNCONSTITUTIONALLY VAGUE AND, BY DRIVING RESPONSIBLE ABORTION PROVIDERS OUT OF BUSINESS, WOULD IMPOSE AN UNDUE BURDEN ON ANY WOMAN WHO WANTED AN ABORTION. HER ORDER THURSDAY FORMALLY BLOCKS ITS ENFORCEMENT.

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL'S PUSH TO REVAMP PENSIONS FOR THOUSANDS OF RANK-AND-FILE STATE WORKERS IS STALLED IN THE LOUISIANA LEGISLATURE AS LAWMAKERS HAGGLE BEHIND THE SCENES OVER THE CONTENTIOUS PROPOSALS. THE PLAN WOULD INCREASE HOW MUCH WORKERS CONTRIBUTE TOWARD THEIR RETIREMENT AND PUSHES BACK THEIR RETIREMENT AGE, AMONG OTHER CHANGES. NEITHER THE HOUSE RETIREMENT COMMITTEE NOR THE ONE IN THE SENATE HAS SCHEDULED THE MEASURES FOR HEARING YET. HOUSE SPEAKER CHUCK KLECKLEY SAID THURSDAY THAT THE BILLS WON'T COME UP FOR DEBATE UNTIL SOMETIME AFTER THE EASTER HOLIDAY. KLECKLEY SAID THE DELAY ON THE RETIREMENT BILLS DOESN'T INDICATE THE PROPOSALS ARE DEAD FOR THE SESSION.

PRESIDENT OBAMA HAS BEEN URGING CONGRESS TO END TAX BREAKS FOR OIL COMPANIES, GIVEN THEIR RECORD-BREAKING PROFITS. LOUISIANA OIL & GAS ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT DON BRIGGS SAYS ENDING TAX BREAKS, THAT ARE AVAILABLE TO EVERY OTHER COMPANY IN THE U.S., WILL HAVE THE SHORT TERM EFFECT OF DRIVING UP GAS PRICES AND WILL LIKELY KILL JOBS IN THE OIL INDUSTRY. HE SAYS ENDING THE TAX BREAKS WILL ALSO CUT INTO LONG TERM DOMESTIC OIL PRODUCTION. THE SENATE APPARENTLY AGREED AND YESTERDAY DEFIED THE PRESIDENT'S WISHES, VOTING TO NOT END THE TAX BREAKS.

ENERGY DRINKS ARE ONE OF THE FASTEST GROWING BEVERAGES BEING SOLD IN THE COUNTRY, AND THEY ALSO MIGHT BE ONE OF THE MOST DANGEROUS. DR. FRANK SMART IS CHIEF OF CARDIOLOGY AT THE LSU HEALTH SCIENCES CENTER IN NEW ORLEANS. HE SAYS IT ALL DEPENDS ON THE PERSON, BUT AN ENERGY DRINK CAN BE FATAL TO SOME. SMART SAYS THE AMOUNT OF CAFFEINE IN ENERGY DRINKS CAN RAISE BLOOD PRESSURE AND THEY ALMOST ALWAYS RAISES HEART RATE. HE SAYS THIS ARTIFICIAL, STIMULATING QUICK RUSH CAN CAUSE ARRHYTHMIAS AND EVEN SUDDEN CARDIAC DEATH IN CERTAIN PEOPLE. SMART SAYS ENERGY DRINKS CAN CAUSE LACK OF SLEEP, RESTLESSNESS AND CAN ALSO HAVE ADVERSE AFFECTS WHEN COMBINED WITH CERTAIN MEDICATIONS. HE FEELS ENERGY DRINKS SHOULD HAVE LABELS WARNING CONSUMERS OF THE POSSIBLE SERIOUS HEALTH HAZARDS.







God Bless America!

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