KSYL Local News

News For Tuesday 04/10/12


NEWS FOR TUESDAY 041012
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

THE NEWS CAME AS A BIG SURPRISE TO LOUISIANA'S CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION AND LOCAL OFFICIALS. THE NEWS THAT THE AIR FORCE HAS PROPOSED DISBANDING A LOUISIANA NATIONAL GUARD AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL SQUADRON BASED AT ENGLAND AIRPARK . THE 259TH AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL SQUADRON'S 110 MEMBERS CONTROL THE MOVEMENT OF ALL AIRCRAFT IN THE AIR SPACE SURROUNDING ALEXANDRIA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT. IN ADDITION TO MANNING THE AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL TOWER, THE UNIT PROVIDES RADAR, NAVIGATION AND COMMUNICATION SUPPORT. A NEWS RELEASE FROM THE ENGLAND AUTHORITY STATES THAT THE MEMBERS OPPOSE THE CLOSURE AND WILL WORK WITH THE OFFICES OF U.S. SENS. MARY LANDRIEU AND DAVID VITTER AND U.S. REP. RODNEY ALEXANDER TO REVERSE THE DECISION.

TODAY IS THE DAY AND MOST LOCAL OFFICIALS PLAN TO BE IN BATON ROUGE, AS THE HOUSE'S BUDGET COMMITTEE IS SET TO DECIDE WHETHER TO SUPPORT A JINDAL ADMINISTRATION PLAN TO SELL A CENTRAL LOUISIANA PRISON TO A PRIVATE OPERATOR.
A SIMILAR PROPOSAL WAS KILLED BY THE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE LAST YEAR. BUT THE PANEL HAS SEVERAL NEW MEMBERS WHO ARE ALLIES OF THE GOVERNOR AND WHO COULD CHANGE THE OUTCOME WHEN THE COMMITTEE DISCUSSES THE MEASURE TUESDAY.
GOV. BOBBY JINDAL'S ADMINISTRATION HAS CALLED THE SALE OF THE AVOYELLES CORRECTIONAL FACILITY A WAY TO SAVE MONEY, ARGUING A PRIVATE COMPANY COULD RUN THE PRISON MORE FOR LESS MONEY. OPPONENTS SAY THE SALE WOULD DAMAGE PUBLIC SAFETY AND BOOST STATE COSTS LONG-TERM. THE $35 MILLION EXPECTED FROM THE PRISON SALE WOULD BE PUT INTO THE STATE'S RAINY DAY FUND.

A PINEVILLE WOMAN PLEADED GUILTY MONDAY TO VEHICULAR HOMICIDE IN THE OCTOBER 2011 DEATH OF A PRISON INMATE ON COLISEUM BOULEVARD WORK DETAIL. KELLIE GEISEL, 39, ALSO PLEADED GUILTY TO VEHICULAR NEGLIGENT INJURY. SHE WILL BE SENTENCED APRIL 27 BY STATE DISTRICT JUDGE PATRICIA KOCH. GEISEL FACES A MAXIMUM OF 35 YEARS IN PRISON, THOUGH SHE'S LIKELY TO RECEIVE FAR LESS. GEISEL WAS IMPAIRED LAST OCT. 14 WHEN HER VEHICLE VEERED OFF COLISEUM BOULEVARD AND STRUCK A WORK CREW INMATE. 38 YEAR OLD SYLVESTER MILLER DIED FROM HIS INJURIES.

THE LOUISIANA SENATE AGREED MONDAY TO REWRITE THE STATE'S CONSTITUTIONAL PROTECTIONS FOR GUN AND WEAPON OWNERS SO THAT IT WOULD BE HARDER TO RESTRICT THE USE OF FIREARMS. CRITICS SAY THE CHANGE COULD NULLIFY MOST OF THE STATE'S GUN LIMITS AND OPEN THE DOOR TO GUNS IN SCHOOLS, BARS AND CHURCHES. BUT THERE WAS LITTLE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE TO THE PROPOSAL BACKED BY THE NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION. THE SENATE SENT THE MEASURE TO THE HOUSE WITH A 31-6 VOTE. IF APPROVED THERE, IT WOULD REQUIRE APPROVAL BY VOTERS IN A STATEWIDE ELECTION BEFORE IT COULD BE ENACTED.

METAIRIE FLORIST ROGER VILLERE HAS WON RE-ELECTION TO HIS THIRD TERM AS CHAIRMAN OF THE STATE REPUBLICAN PARTY. VILLERE HAS HELD THE POSITION SINCE 2004.
ALSO AT A RECENT MEETING OF THE REPUBLICAN STATE CENTRAL COMMITTEE, THE STATE GOP'S GOVERNING BODY ELECTED: HE REV. TOMMY FRENCH, PASTOR OF A BAPTIST CHURCH IN BATON ROUGE, AS VICE CHAIRMAN. FORMER LEGISLATIVE AUDITOR DAN KYLE OF BATON ROUGE AS TREASURER. LILLIE BRADY OF SULPHUR AS SECRETARY.

LOUISIANA'S AGRICULTURE COMMISSIONER MIKE STRAIN SAYS THE SO-CALLED "PINK SLIME"--OR LEAN, FINELY TEXTURED BEEF---IS A VERY SAFE PRODUCT. "PINK SLIME" HAS BEEN ADDED TO GROUND BEEF FOR TWO DECADES TO REDUCE FAT CONTENT, BUT VARIOUS MEDIA OUTLETS HAVE RAISED CONCERNS ABOUT IT. STRAIN SAYS THOSE CONCERNS ARE UNFOUNDED. PROCESSING PLANTS IN IOWA, KANSAS AND TEXAS HAVE SHUT DOWN DUE TO PUBLIC HYSTERIA OVER THE BEEF PRODUCT. STRAIN SAYS WE'VE BEEN EATING GROUND BEEF WITH THE PRODUCT IN IT FOR MANY YEARS, WITH NO ILL EFFECTS.

AS CRUDE OIL PRICES RETREAT, GASOLINE PRICES KEEP RISING. THE STATEWIDE AVERAGE FOR REGULAR GAS TODAY IS $3.82. THAT'S TWO CENTS HIGHER THAN A WEEK AGO, AND TWENTY CENTS HIGHER THAN A MONTH AGO.

NFL COMMISSIONER ROGER GOODELL HAS REJECTED THE APPEAL OF SAINTS HEAD COACH SEAN PAYTON AND AFFIRMED THE YEAR-LONG SUSPENSION OF THE COACH AND THE SUSPENSIONS OF OTHER SAINTS' OFFICIALS FOR THEIR PART IN THE BOUNTY SYSTEM THE TEAM USED FOR THREE YEARS UNDER FORMER DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR GREG WILLIAMS. GOODELL ALSO UPHELD THE TEAM'S 500-THOUSAND-DOLLAR FINE AND THE LOSS OF THE TEAM'S NEXT TWO SECOND ROUND DRAFT PICKS.

FEDERAL PROSECUTORS WANT MORE TIME TO DECIDE WHETHER TO SEEK THE DEATH PENALTY AGAINST THOMAS STEVEN SANDERS, WHO IS CHARGED WITH A KIDNAPPING THAT RESULTED IN THE DEATH OF A 12-YEAR-OLD LAS VEGAS GIRL WHOSE BODY WAS FOUND IN CATAHOULA PARISH. THOMAS STEVEN SANDERS, WHO WAS DECLARED DEAD IN MISSISSIPPI IN 1994, SURFACED AS A SUSPECT IN THE DEATH OF LEXIS ROBERTS, WHOSE BODY WAS FOUND IN OCTOBER 2010. THE BODY OF HER MOTHER, SUELLEN ROBERTS, WAS FOUND THE NEXT MONTH IN ARIZONA. SANDERS IS CHARGED WITH THE CHILD'S DEATH IN U.S. DISTRICT COURT IN ALEXANDRIA. PROSECUTORS HAVE ASKED FOR A 30-DAY EXTENSION UNTIL AUG. 1 TO DECIDE ON SEEKING THE DEATH PENALTY. THE MOTION SAYS DEFENSE ATTORNEYS AGREE WITH THE REQUEST. U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE DEE DRELL HAS NOT YET RULED

LT. GOVERNOR JAY DARDENNE SAYS CUTS TO HIS BUDGET FOR TOURISM ARE HURTING LOUISIANA'S EFFORTS TO REMAIN COMPETITIVE WITH OTHER STATES IN ATTRACTING VISITORS. DARDENNE SAYS INVESTING IN PROMOTING TOURISM REPRESENTS A TREMENDOUS VALUE TO THE STATE. HE SAYS EVERY DOLLAR SPENT ON TOURISM RETURNS $17 TO THE STATE'S ECONOMY. DARDENNE SAYS OVER A THIRD OF HIS BUDGET FOR THE FISCAL YEAR THAT STARTS JULY 1ST IS IN WHAT HE CALLS "PASS-THROUGHS"; DOLLARS ALREADY EARMARKED TO BE SPENT ON HOSTING BIG EVENTS LIKE THE 2013 SUPER BOWL AND OTHERS. DARDENNE WOULD LIKE TO SEE THOSE EVENT "PASS-THROUGHS" SHARED WITH ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, SO HE'D HAVE MORE BUDGET AVAILABLE TO PROMOTE TOURISM.

PEOPLE WHO REPORT CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE TO AUTHORITIES SHOULD GET WHISTLE BLOWER PROTECTION SO THEY COULDN'T BE FIRED, SUSPENDED OR DEMOTED BECAUSE OF THE ALLEGATIONS, THE LOUISIANA SENATE AGREED IN A 36-2 VOTE MONDAY. THE PROPOSAL (SENATE BILL 158) BY SEN. J.P. MORRELL, D-NEW ORLEANS, WAS FILED IN RESPONSE TO ALLEGATIONS OF UNREPORTED ABUSE INVOLVING FORMER PENN STATE UNIVERSITY ASSISTANT FOOTBALL COACH JERRY SANDUSKY, WHO IS CHARGED WITH DOZENS OF CRIMINAL COUNTS FOR ALLEGED SEXUAL ABUSE OF EIGHT BOYS OVER 15 YEARS. THE MEASURE HEADS NEXT TO THE HOUSE FOR DEBATE.

A 22-YEAR-OLD BATON ROUGE MAN FACES AT LEAST 11 YEARS IN PRISON AFTER PLEADING GUILTY TO ARMED ROBBERY AND A GANG CHARGE THAT INCLUDES A SHOOTING THAT WOUNDED A MAN WHO TRIED TO HELP A PREGNANT ROBBERY VICTIM. STATE DISTRICT JUDGE DON JOHNSON SCHEDULED JONATHAN MURRAY'S SENTENCING JULY 3. MURRAY'S TRIAL WAS SCHEDULED MONDAY, BUT HE PLEADED GUILTY TO THREE COUNTS OF ARMED ROBBERY AND ONE OF ENGAGING IN A PATTERN OF CRIMINAL STREET-GANG ACTIVITY.
THE GANG ACTIVITIES INCLUDED THE 2010 INCIDENT WHEN CHARLIE CANGELOSI, OF BATON ROUGE, WAS SHOT IN THE STOMACH WHILE TRYING TO HELP A ROBBERY VICTIM NEAR LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSTY. TWO OTHER MEN WERE CHARGED IN THAT CASE. CANGELOSI WAS IN COURT MONDAY. HE SAYS HE'D DO IT OVER AGAIN.

A 30-YEAR-OLD SHREVEPORT WOMAN IS IN THE CITY JAIL FOR ALLEGEDLY TRYING TO THROW HER 10-MONTH-OLD CHILD INTO A CAR THROUGH THE CAR WINDOW. SHREVEPORT POLICE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN SGT. BILL GOODIN SAYS THE INCIDENT FOLLOWED A HEATED ARGUMENT BETWEEN THE SUSPECT, CARMEN PAUL, AND THE CHILD'S FATHER. DETECTIVES BELIEVE THE CHILD STRUCK A PORTION OF THE VEHICLE AND SUFFERED A FRACTURED SKULL AND INTERNAL BLEEDING. GOODIN SAYS PAUL IS IN CUSTODY. THE CHILD IS LISTED IN FAIR CONDITION AT A SHREVEPORT HOSPITAL.

A NEW ORLEANS AREA LAWMAKER, WHO'S FOUGHT TRAFFIC AND REDLIGHT CAMERAS FOR YEARS, RENEWS THAT FIGHT TODAY IN THE HOUSE TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE. REP. JEFF ARNOLD HAS TWO BILLS FOR THE PANEL TO CONSIDER. ONE WOULD BAR ISSUING A SPEED CAM TICKET FOR GOING LESS THAN 10 MILES AN HOUR OVER THE LIMIT. ARNOLD SAYS SPEED CAMS AND RED LIGHT CAMS ARE NOT SUBJECT TO ANY STATE SYSTEM OF CALIBRATION, AND THEY COULD EASILY BE OFF--GIVING OUT TICKETS UNFAIRLY. HIS OTHER BILL WOULD REQUIRE A STANDARDIZED YELLOW LIGHT DURATION WHEREVER RED LIGHT CAMERAS ARE USED. ARNOLD SAYS TRAFFIC EXPERTS FEEL LONGER CAUTION LIGHTS REDUCE CRASHES.

KENNER POLICE SAY A WOMAN WHOSE BABY WAS ABANDONED BY A SHOPLIFTER LIED ABOUT THE IDENTITY OF THE SUSPECT. LT. WAYNE MCINNIS SAYS THE WOMAN WILL BE BOOKED WITH OBSTRUCTING JUSTICE, MAKING A FALSE STATEMENT AND FILING A FALSE POLICE REPORT. POLICE SAY THE WOMAN IDENTIFIED AN ONLINE ACQUAINTANCE AS THE BABY SITTER WHO LEFT THE INFANT IN A MALL PARKING LOT SATURDAY. LATER MONDAY, SHE RECANTED. ACCORDING TO POLICE, SHE NOW SAYS IT WAS HER SISTER-IN-LAW AND SHE DIDN'T WANT TO GET HER IN TROUBLE. POLICE SAY THE WOMAN WHO ABANDONED THE BABY ALSO IS ACCUSED OF SHOPLIFTING AND USING A STUN GUN ON A SECURITY GUARD.
MCINNIS SAYS CHILD WELFARE WORKERS TOOK THE BABY BECAUSE THE MOTHER SAID SHE COULDN'T SAY WHO WAS BABYSITTING.

THE LOUISIANA SUPREME COURT HAS STRUCK DOWN ANOTHER ATTEMPT BY THE STATE'S PROPERTY INSURER OF LAST RESORT TO AVOID PAYING MORE THAN $100 MILLION FOR LATE ADJUSTMENT OF HURRICANE DAMAGE CLAIMS IN 2005. MONDAY'S ACTION REVERSED A STATE APPEALS COURT ORDER THAT HAD BLOCKED THE BANKER FOR LOUISIANA CITIZENS PROPERTY INSURANCE CORP. FROM REVEALING WHERE IT IS HOLDING THE COMPANY'S MONEY. CITIZENS IS PURSUING A POSSIBLE U.S. SUPREME COURT APPEAL. THE INSURER CLAIMS THAT $6 MILLION IT PUT UP FOR AN APPEAL BOND SHOULD COVER A FEDERAL APPEAL. BUT THE STATE'S HIGH COURT SAID THAT MONEY ONLY COVERED STATE APPEALS AND CITIZENS HAS LOST THAT CASE WITH NO MORE STATE APPEALS REMAINING. ABOUT 18,500 POLICYHOLDERS WON $92.8 MILLION IN A CLASS-ACTION LAWSUIT ALLEGING THAT CITIZENS DID NOT START TO ADJUST CLAIMS FOR HURRICANES KATRINA AND RITA WITHIN THE 30 DAYS REQUIRED BY STATE LAW. SINCE THE ORIGINAL DECISION, THE BILL HAS GROWN TO ABOUT $105 MILLION WITH JUDICIAL INTEREST.

A FORMER CLAIBORNE PARISH CHURCH CAMP DIRECTOR HAS PLEADED GUILTY TO USING THE INTERNET TO SEND OBSCENE PHOTOGRAPHS OF HIMSELF TO AN UNDERCOVER POLICE OFFICER POSING AS A 14-YEAR-OLD GIRL. PROSECUTORS SAY 45-YEAR-OLD MICHAEL P. LATHAM WORKED AS THE DIRECTOR OF THE HARRIS BAPTIST RETREAT AND CONFERENCE CENTER NORTHEAST OF MINDEN AT THE TIME OF THE CRIME.


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