KSYL Local News

News For Wednesday 04/11/12


NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY 041112
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL'S PROPOSAL TO SELL A CENTRAL LOUISIANA PRISON TO A PRIVATE OPERATOR NARROWLY RECEIVED SUPPORT TUESDAY FROM THE HOUSE BUDGET COMMITTEE, OVER OBJECTIONS FROM CRITICS WHO SAID IT COULD DAMAGE PUBLIC SAFETY.
THE HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE BACKED THE MEASURE IN A 13-11 VOTE, SENDING IT TO THE FULL HOUSE FOR DEBATE. JINDAL ADMINISTRATION LEADERS CALLED THE SALE OF THE AVOYELLES CORRECTIONAL FACILITY A WAY TO SAVE MONEY, ARGUING A PRIVATE COMPANY COULD RUN THE PRISON MORE CHEAPLY. THE STATE WOULD LAY OFF EMPLOYEES AND PAY A FLAT FEE TO THE COMPANY FOR OPERATING THE FACILITY. THE SALE ALSO WOULD GENERATE AN ESTIMATED $35 MILLION IN UPFRONT CASH FOR THE STATE. OPPONENTS SAID THE SALE WOULD HARM SECURITY, PUSH PEOPLE TO UNEMPLOYMENT ROLLS AND BOOST THE STATE’S COSTS LONG-TERM.

34 YEAR OLD DEWAYNE FRANKS OF HESSMER IS DEAD AND HIS GIRLFRIEND IS IN CRITICAL CONDITION AFTER BEING SHOT IN THE FACE DURING A DOMESTIC INCIDENT YESTERDAY. FRANKS WAS FOUND DEAD IN HIS HOME AND 26 YEAR OLD MICHELLE LEE, HIS LIVE IN GIRLFRIEND, WAS FOUND WITH A GUNSHOT WOUND IN AN ADJACENT YARD AFTER AUTHORITIES RESPONDED TO A CALL OF A WOMAN BEING SHOT SHORTLY BEFORE 7AM.
AUTHORITIES BELIEVE FRANKS SHOT HIMSELF IN THE HEAD WITH A .380-CALIBER SEMI-AUTOMATIC HANDGUN AFTER A DOMESTIC DISPUTE GOT OUT OF HAND. LEE FLED THE HOME TO A NEIGHBOR'S HOUSE WHERE SHE COLLAPSED. THE AVOYELLES PARISH SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT REPORTS SHE IS IN CRITICAL CONDITION AT A LOCAL HOSPITAL.

MEMBERS OF THE RAPIDES PARISH SCHOOL BOARD WERE TOLD LAST NIGHT THAT THE DISTRICT IS OWED, BY STUDENTS, CLOSE TO $60,000 FOR UNPAID SCHOOL LUNCHES. IN ADDITION TO THAT, EMPLOYEES OWE CLOSE TO $10,000. IN MANY CASES, CHILDREN WHO OWE THE MONEY WOULD ELIGIBLE FOR A FREE LUNCH. BUT, ACCORDING TO ERMA DAVIS, HEAD OF THE DISTRICT'S FOOD AND NUTRITION SERVICES, THE PROBLEM IS GETTING PARENTS OR GUARDIANS TO FILL OUT THE SIMPLE PAPERWORK REQUESTING IT. THE SCHOOL DISTRICT IS BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE. SUPERINTENDENT GARY JONES SAID THE DISTRICT COULD PROVIDE STUDENTS WHO OWE ONLY MEALS OF A SANDWICH AND AN APPLE, BUT THEY REALLY DON'T WANT TO DO THAT.

JPMORGAN CHASE OFFICIALS SAID TUESDAY THAT THEY WILL DO MORE TO EDUCATE LOUISIANA RESIDENTS RECEIVING TAX REFUNDS ON DEBIT CARDS ABOUT HOW THEY CAN AVOID FEES FOR ACCESSING THEIR MONEY. LOUISIANA'S REVENUE DEPARTMENT HAS REPLACED REFUND CHECKS WITH PRE-PAID CHASE VISA CARDS FOR TAXPAYERS WHO DON'T GET THEIR REFUNDS THROUGH DIRECT DEPOSIT INTO A BANK ACCOUNT. THE DEPARTMENT SAID DOING AWAY WITH THE CHECKS SAVES MONEY. BUT MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE SAID THEY HAVE RECEIVED COMPLAINTS FROM PEOPLE WHO DON'T UNDERSTAND HOW TO USE THE CARDS OR HAVE BEEN CHARGED FEES WHEN THEY DO.

WITH RICK SANTORUM EXITING THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE, LOUISIANA GOV. BOBBY JINDAL HAS ANNOUNCED HIS SUPPORT FOR EXPECTED REPUBLICAN NOMINEE MITT ROMNEY. JINDAL ISSUED A STATEMENT TUESDAY THAT CONGRATULATED ROMNEY "ON WINNING A HARD FOUGHT RACE. JINDAL SAID HE LOOKS FORWARD TO SUPPORTING HIM IN RETIRING PRESIDENT (BARACK) OBAMA." JINDAL SAID REPUBLICANS SHOULD FOCUS THEIR ENERGY ON THE FALL CAMPAIGN, WHICH HE DESCRIBED AS GIVING AMERICAN A CHOICE "BETWEEN OBAMA'S LURCH TOWARD EUROPEAN STYLE BIG GOVERNMENT AND THE REPUBLICAN ALTERNATIVE OF A THRIVING PRIVATE SECTOR WITH A SMALLER GOVERNMENT."
EARLIER IN THE CAMPAIGN, JINDAL HAD SUPPORTED TEXAS GOV. RICK PERRY FOR THE GOP NOMINATION.

LOUISIANA'S EDUCATION CHIEF SAYS A TEACHER EVALUATION SYSTEM THAT WILL EVENTUALLY BE USED STATEWIDE WILL UNDERGO A FEW CHANGES AS A RESULT OF A PILOT PROGRAM. JOHN WHITE OUTLINED THE PLANS DURING A TELEPHONE NEWS CONFERENCE TUESDAY. THE PROGRAM, OFTEN CALLED A "VALUE ADDED" SYSTEM, WILL RATE TEACHER EFFECTIVENESS IN PART BASED ON STUDENT PROGRESS AND ON OBSERVATION OF INDIVIDUAL TEACHERS IN THE CLASSROOM. AMONG CHANGES OUTLINED BY WHITE IS A PLANNED SIMPLIFICATION OF SOME OF THE ASSESSMENT GUIDELINES. ALSO, WHILE PRINCIPALS WERE ORIGINALLY TO RATE TEACHERS BASED ON THEIR OWN OBSERVATIONS, THE CHANGES WOULD ALLOW OTHER SCHOOL STAFFERS TO OBSERVE TEACHERS, TOO.
THE NEW SYSTEM WILL BE USED TO DETERMINE WHETHER TEACHERS EARN AND MAINTAIN THE JOB PROTECTION KNOWN AS TENURE, UNDER A LAW JUST PASSED BY THE LEGISLATURE.

THE PROPOSED MERGER OF LOUISIANA TECH UNIVERSITY AND LSU-SHREVEPORT HAS BEEN ENDORSED BY THE RUSTON-LINCOLN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE BOARD OF DIRECTORS.
THE NEWS-STAR REPORTS (HTTP://TNSNE.WS/IF5FMP) THE BOARD UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED A RESOLUTION LAST WEEK URGING AREA LAWMAKERS TO SUPPORT A PROPOSED MERGER OF THE TWO INSTITUTIONS INTO ONE ENLARGED LOUISIANA TECH WITH RUSTON AND SHREVEPORT CAMPUSES.
THE PROPOSED MERGER IS THE LEADING RECOMMENDATION OF A STUDY CONDUCTED BY EVA KLEIN AND ASSOCIATES AND SUPPORTED BY THE LOUISIANA BOARD OF REGENTS.

LAWS BANNING RETIRED TEACHERS FROM BECOMING SUBSTITUTES MAY SOON BE A THING OF THE PAST. THE LEGISLATION BY WEST MONROE REP. FRANK HOFFMAN WOULD ALLOW RETIRED TEACHERS TO WORK AGAIN AT 25% PERCENT OF WHAT THEY MAKE IN RETIREMENT PAY. HOFFMAN SAYS THE BAN WAS PUT IN PLACE ORIGINALLY TO PREVENT A "RETIRE REHIRE" SITUATION. THE PROPOSAL UNANIMOUSLY PASSED THE HOUSE MONDAY AND NOW HEADS TO THE SENATE FOR DEBATE.

AN ATTEMPT TO KEEP PEOPLE FROM CARRYING LOOSE CATS AND DOGS IN THE BACK OF PICKUP TRUCKS ON MOST LOUISIANA HIGHWAYS WAS OVERWHELMINGLY REJECTED TUESDAY BY THE HOUSE TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE. OPPONENTS SAID THE PRACTICE IS VERY COMMON IN RURAL AREAS, FOR HUNTING AND FOR AGRICULTURAL WORK. THE COMMITTEE VOTED 12-2 AGAINST THE BILL (HOUSE BILL 676) BY REP. TOM WILLMOTT, R-KENNER. WILLMOTT SAID HE PROPOSED THE MEASURE TO PROTECT THE ANIMALS' SAFETY AND TO AVOID HIGHWAY ACCIDENTS CAUSED BY AN ANIMAL FALLING OR JUMPING OUT OF A TRUCK.

LOUISIANA MOTORISTS SHOULD BE ABLE TO GET THEIR VEHICLES INSPECTED EVERY TWO YEARS, INSTEAD OF EACH YEAR, THE SENATE AGREED IN A UNANIMOUS VOTE. THE MEASURE (SENATE BILL 601) BY SEN. SHERRI SMITH BUFFINGTON, R-KEITHVILLE, WOULD TAKE EFFECT SEPT. 1. THE STATEWIDE CHARGE FOR A TWO-YEAR TAG WOULD COST $20, WHILE THE ONE-YEAR STICKER WOULD REMAIN AT $10. LOCAL PARISHES ALSO ADD CHARGES TO THE PRICE.
IN PARISHES WITH AUTO EMISSION PROBLEMS, LIKE THE BATON ROUGE AREA, ANNUAL INSPECTIONS STILL WOULD BE REQUIRED. THE BILL HEADS TO THE HOUSE FOR DEBATE.

A PROPOSAL TO LIMIT CITATIONS ISSUED BY AUTOMATED CAMERAS TRACKING DRIVERS' SPEED WAS SHELVED BY THE HOUSE TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE, IN AN 8-7 VOTE. REP. JEFF ARNOLD, D-NEW ORLEANS, SOUGHT TO REQUIRE THAT THE TICKET ONLY BE ISSUED IF A DRIVER EXCEEDS THE SPEED LIMIT BY MORE THAN 10 MILES PER HOUR, EXCEPT IN SCHOOL ZONES. LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES AND MUNICIPALITIES THAT MAKE MONEY FROM THE TICKETS OPPOSED THE BILL. THE SENATE OPPOSED A MEASURE BY SEN. DAN CLAITOR, R-BATON ROUGE, THAT WOULD PROHIBIT SOMEONE RUNNING FOR STATEWIDE ELECTED OFFICE IF THEY SERVED AS AN APPOINTEE IN THAT JOB TEMPORARILY. CLAITOR SAID THAT COULD UNFAIRLY BENEFIT A CANDIDATE AND COULD ALLOW AN OFFICIAL TO ESSENTIALLY CHOOSE A SUCCESSOR. THE SENATE VOTED 24-14 AGAINST THE .

DREW BREES IS STICKING UP FOR THE SAINTS AND SAID THEY'LL CONTINUE TO THRIVE DESPITE COACH SEAN PAYTON'S SEASON-LONG SUSPENSION FOR HIS ROLE IN NEW ORLEANS' BOUNTY SYSTEM. SPEAKING AT A NEWS CONFERENCE TO PROMOTE HIS CHARITY GOLF TOURNAMENT, THE 2010 SUPER BOWL MVP SAID THERE'S A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PAY-FOR-PERFORMANCE AND PAY-FOR-INJURY. BREES ALSO DECLINED TO SAY WHETHER HE'D SHOW UP FOR OFFSEASON WORKOUTS THAT BEGIN MONDAY. HE'D MUCH RATHER HAVE A LONG-TERM EXTENSION THAN THE FRANCHISE TAG HE'S BEEN SLAPPED WITH.

CADDO SHERIFF'S DEPUTIES ARE INVESTIGATING A FATAL ACCIDENT ON I-49 SOUTH OF SHREVEPORT. DEPUTIES SAY THE DRIVER OF A NORTHBOUND CAR LOST CONTROL, CROSSED THE MEDIAN AND HIT A SOUTHBOUND UPS 18 WHEELER TUESDAY MORNING.
A PASSENGER IN THE CAR DEAD AT THE SCENE. DEPUTIES SAY THE DRIVER AND A SECOND PASSENGER WERE TAKEN TO A SHREVEPORT HOSPITAL.
THE UPS DRIVER WAS NOT INJURED.


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