KSYL Local News

News For Wednesday 04/18/12


NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY 041812
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

THE CONDITION OF ALEXANDRIA CITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT HARRY SILVER CONTINUES TO IMPROVE AFTER A FALL THAT LED TO A BROKEN HIP THIS PAST FRIDAY. SILVER, WHO REQUIRED SURGERY, COULD BE HOME LATER TODAY. SILVER IS WELL-KNOWN FOR HIS WORKOUT REGIMEN, EVEN AT AGE 90. THE COUNCIL PRESIDENT SWIMS EACH MORNING.

THE LEGISLATURE HAS PASSED A RESOLUTION OPPOSING AIR FORCE PLANS TO DISBAND THE LOUISIANA AIR NATIONAL GUARD 259TH AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLERS SQUADRON, PART OF A CAMPAIGN TO KEEP ALEXANDRIA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT'S CONTROL TOWER STAFFED BY THE MILITARY FOR 24-HOUR OPERATIONS. THE LEGISLATION WAS PUSHED THROUGH BY FIRST TERM REPRESENTATIVE LANCE HARRIS A FORMER CHAIRMAN OF THE ENGLAND AUTHORITY, WHICH OPERATES THE AIRPORT KNOWN AS AEX. HARRIS SAID IN A PRESS RELEASE YESTERDAY “WE ARE NOW COUNTING ON SENATOR (MARY) LANDRIEU, SENATOR (DAVID) VITTER AND CONGRESSMAN (RODNEY) ALEXANDER”. ALL THREE HAVE PLEDGED THEIR SUPPORT.

ADD ONE MORE NAME TO THE LIST, STATE REPRESENTATIVES POISED TO VOTE ON LEGISLATION CALLING FOR THE SALE AND PRIVATIZATION OF THE AVOYELLES CORRECTIONAL CENTER RECEIVED A MESSAGE TUESDAY FROM THE SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER URGING THEM TO VOTE AGAINST THE PROPOSAL. THE HOUSE IS SCHEDULED TO VOTE TODAY ON HB850 BY REP. HENRY BURNS, R-HAUGHTON, WHICH AUTHORIZES THE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS TO CALL FOR BIDS ON OPERATING THE PRISON. THE PROPOSALS WOULD BE EVALUATED AND SUBMITTED TO THE JOINT LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE ON THE BUDGET FOR FINAL APPROVAL.

THE LABOR DEPARTMENT HAS CITED TWO SUBSIDIARIES OF A PINEVILLE-BASED COMPANY FOR ALLEGED SAFETY AND HEALTH VIOLATIONS. THE DEPARTMENT'S OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCED TUESDAY THAT IT HAS PROPOSED A TOTAL OF $72,000 IN PENALTIES FOR DIS-TRAN STEEL LLC AND DIS-TRAN WOOD PRODUCTS HOLDINGS LLC, WHICH ARE SUBSIDIARIES OF CREST INDUSTRIES INC. THE COMPANIES ALLEGEDLY EXPOSED WORKERS TO COMBUSTIBLE DUST, ELECTRICAL HAZARDS AND WELDING HAZARDS. OSHA SAYS IT STARTED INSPECTING THE COMPANIES' SHARED FACILITY IN PINEVILLE LAST OCTOBER. NOBODY WAS INJURED IN THE CASE. DIS-TRAN STEEL EMPLOYS ABOUT 295 WORKERS. DIS-TRAN WOOD PRODUCTS EMPLOYS ABOUT 10 WORKERS. THE COMPANIES HAVE 15 BUSINESS DAYS TO CONTEST THE CITATIONS.

THE GREATER ALEXANDRIA ECONOMIC AUTHORITY IS HELPING TO BRING "HIGH-QUALITY" ART TO CENTRAL LOUISIANA. GAEDA'S BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS ON TUESDAY APPROVED AN AGREEMENT WITH THE ALEXANDRIA MUSEUM OF ART THAT WILL PROVIDE THE MUSEUM WITH $160,000 OVER THE NEXT THREE YEARS TO BRING EXHIBITS TO THE CITY. CATHERINE PEARS, THE MUSEUM'S DIRECTOR, SAID PART OF THE MUSEUM'S STRATEGIC PLAN IS TO BRING IN "HIGH-LEVEL" EXHIBITS IN HOPES OF ATTRACTING VISITORS TO THE MUSEUM.

THE ACT COLLEGE PREP TEST WILL BE GIVEN TO ALL PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS NEXT SCHOOL YEAR. THE STATE BOARD OF ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION VOTED IN 2010 TO INCLUDE ACT AMONG THE STANDARDIZED TESTS ALL LOUISIANA STUDENTS TAKE. ON TUESDAY, EDUCATION OFFICIALS SAID THE PLAN WILL BE IMPLEMENTED IN THE 2012-2013 SCHOOL YEAR. COLLEGE-BOUND STUDENTS IN LOUISIANA ROUTINELY TAKE THE ACT, AND THEY CAN TAKE IT UP TO A DOZEN TIMES TO IMPROVE THEIR SCORE — GENERALLY AT THEIR OWN EXPENSE. NOW, THE STATE WILL PAY FOR EVERY PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENT TO TAKE IT ONCE AS PART OF A SCHOOL ASSESSMENT TOOL. TUESDAY'S ANNOUNCEMENT ALSO INCLUDES PLANS TO INCREASE ADVANCED PLACEMENT COURSES IN HIGH SCHOOLS, AND MORE OPPORTUNITIES FOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS TO TAKE POST-HIGH SCHOOL COURSES. THE PLAN TO INCREASE ADVANCED PLACEMENT OPPORTUNITIES INCLUDES FUNDING TO TRAIN 350 TEACHERS TO TEACH SUCH COURSES.

PINK-CLAD WOMEN CONVERGED TUESDAY ON THE LOUISIANA CAPITOL, URGING LAWMAKERS TO CONTINUE SPENDING $700,000 A YEAR FOR A BREAST AND CERVICAL CANCER SCREENING PROGRAM AT LSU HOSPITALS AND CLINICS. LOUISIANA RANKS FIRST IN THE NATION IN DEATHS FROM CERVICAL CANCER AND SECOND IN BREAST CANCER DEATHS. ANDREW MUHL, WITH THE AMERICA CANCER SOCIETY, SAID THE STATE IS ONLY SCREENING ABOUT 13 PERCENT OF THE ELIGIBLE POPULATION. SUPPORTERS OF THE LSU PROGRAM SAID IT IS CRITICAL FOR GIVING ACCESS TO PEOPLE WHO CAN'T AFFORD HEALTH INSURANCE. THE STATE MONEY, IN PLACE SINCE 2007, IS USED TO DRAW DOWN AN ADDITIONAL $1.7 MILLION IN FEDERAL MATCH FUNDING. THE CANCER SCREENING PROGRAM FACES CUTS IN THE UPCOMING FISCAL YEAR BUDGET BECAUSE OF CHANGES TO LSU'S OVERALL FUNDING.

LOUISIANA'S FRAGMENTED SYSTEM OF PUBLICLY FUNDED PREKINDERGARTEN AND EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION PROGRAMS WILL BE COORDINATED AND GRADED ON A STATEWIDE SCALE. THE STATE SENATE GAVE FINAL PASSAGE TO THE MEASURE SOUGHT BY GOV. BOBBY JINDAL IN A 39-0 VOTE TUESDAY, SENDING IT TO THE GOVERNOR'S DESK.

STATE FIRE MARSHAL H. "BUTCH" BROWNING HAS RETIRED TO ACCEPT A JOB IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR. LOUISIANA STATE POLICE COL. MIKE EDMONSON SAID TUESDAY THAT FELICIA COOPER, A LONGTIME ADMINISTRATOR IN THE OFFICE OF THE STATE FIRE MARSHAL, HAS BEEN NAMED INTERIM FIRE MARSHAL UNTIL A PERMANENT REPLACEMENT FOR BROWNING IS CHOSEN. EDMONSON SAYS THERE'S NO TIME TABLE ESTABLISHED FOR NAMING A NEW FIRE MARSHAL BROWNING HELD THE POST SINCE 2008.

FEDERAL REGULATORS HAVE APPROVED THE FIRST LARGE-SCALE NATURAL GAS EXPORT FACILITY IN THE U.S., SIGNIFYING THE RAPID SHIFT UNDER WAY FOR A COUNTRY SUDDENLY RICH IN THE NATURAL RESOURCE. THE FEDERAL ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION CLEARED THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE SABINE PASS LNG TERMINAL IN CAMERON PARISH, LA. THE FACILITY, WHICH WILL CHILL NATURAL GAS INTO A LIQUID THAT CAN BE SHIPPED ON TANKERS, WILL ALLOW U.S. PRODUCERS TO EXPORT NATURAL GAS OVERSEAS FOR POTENTIALLY HUGE PROFITS.

THE HOUSE HAS PASSED LEGISLATION TO RESTRICT THE ONLINE USE OF CONVICTED SEX OFFENDERS. OPELOUSAS REP. LEDRICKA THIERRY'S BILL APPLIES MOSTLY TO SOCIAL NETWORKING WEBSITES LIKE FACEBOOK AND TWITTER. THE HOUSE PASSED THE MEASURE BY OVER WHLEMING VOTE. THE BILL REPLACES ONE PASSED LAST YEAR--ALSO SPONSORED BY THIERRY--THAT WAS TOSSED OUT BY STATE JUDGES FOR BEING TOO VAGUELY WORDED TO BE CONSTITUTIONAL.

A BILL PROHIBITING DEATH ROW INMATES FROM PROFITING FROM THEIR NOTORIETY HAS PASSED A SENATE COMMITTEE. THE BILL BY BATON ROUGE SENATOR YVONNE DORSEY-COLOMB WAS INSPIRED BY SERIAL KILLER DERRICK TODD LEE WHO SOLD A LETTER AND SEVERAL PIECES OF ARTWORK ON THE WEBSITE "MURDERABILIA". HER BILL WOULD REDIRECT PROFITS MADE BY KILLERS TO THE VICTIMS' FAMILIES. COLOMB SAYS HER BILL ECHOES LAWS PASSED IN OTHER STATES, AFTER DAVID BERKOWITZ...THE SON OF SAM KILLER...MADE MONEY ON BOOK AND MOVIE DEALS. THAT BILL HEADS NOW TO THE SENATE FLOOR.

LAST YEAR, LAWMAKERS PASSED A BILL REQUIRING WOMEN TO SUBMIT TO AN ULTRASOUND, AND HAVE IT VISIBLE ON A MONITOR FOR THEM TO SEE, BEFORE THEY MAY HAVE AN ABORTION. TODAY THE SENATE HEALTH & WELFARE COMMITTEE WILL CONSIDER A BILL THAT WOULD ADD LISTENING TO AUDIO OF THE UNBORN BABY'S HEARTBEAT TO THAT LAW. JULIE MICKLEBERRY, WITH LOUISIANA PLANNED PARENTHOOD, OPPOSES THE BILL. SHE SAYS IT'S GOVERNMENT INTRUSION IN THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN A WOMAN AND HER DOCTOR, FOR ALL THE WRONG. THE BILL IS SPONSORED BY BATON ROUGE STATE SENATOR SHARON WESTON BROOME.

ONE OF THE GOVERNOR'S TOP STAFFERS HAS BEEN MADE VICTIM OF IDENTITY THEFT ON THE WEBSITE FACEBOOK. SOMEONE PUT UP A FAKE PROFILE OF BOBBY JINDAL'S DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF KRISTY NICHOLS, AND MADE POSTS ABOUT CURRENT STATE WORKER RETIREMENT LEGISLATION. ONE POST SAID THE REFORMS WILL BE "A LOT BETTER THAN BEING UNEMPLOYED", AND FOLLOWED WITH "WE ARE WATCHING YOU". THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE SAYS NICHOLS DID NOT POST THE COMMENT, AND THE FAKE PROFILE HAS BEEN REMOVED FROM THE WEBSITE.

A 10-YEAR LOCAL PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTION OFFERED TO MANUFACTURERS COULD BE EXPANDED AND AVAILABLE TO MORE COMPANIES, UNDER A PROPOSAL THAT RECEIVED PASSAGE FROM THE HOUSE WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE. THE PACKAGE OF BILLS SOUGHT BY THE JINDAL ADMINISTRATION WOULD ALLOW PARISHES TO OFFER THE TAX BREAKS TO DIGITAL MEDIA BUSINESSES, DATA CENTERS, RENEWABLE ENERGY FIRMS, CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS AND RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT FIRMS, IF THEY HAVE A MAJORITY OF THEIR SALES OUT OF THE STATE AND MAKE A CAPITAL INVESTMENT IN LOUISIANA GREATER THAN $25 MILLION.

A PROPOSAL TO EXTEND AN EXISTING TAX BREAK GIVEN TO THE NEW ORLEANS HORNETS THROUGH THE STATE'S QUALITY JOBS PROGRAM HAS STARTED MOVING IN THE LOUISIANA HOUSE. THE MEASURE (HOUSE BILL 1072) BY REP. CAMERON HENRY, R-METAIRIE, WOULD GIVE THE TAX BREAK FOR THE LENGTH OF THE HORNETS' NEW LEASE WITH THE STATE, WHICH IS SET TO GO THROUGH 2024. THE TAX CUT SAVES THE HORNETS $3.7 MILLION ANNUALLY. THE HOUSE WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE BACKED THE BILL WITHOUT OBJECTION TUESDAY.

AN INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANIZATION TUESDAY ASKED GOV. BOBBY JINDAL TO END FOUR DECADES OF SOLITARY CONFINEMENT FOR TWO FORMER BLACK PANTHERS CONVICTED OF MURDERING A LOUISIANA PRISON GUARD. 65 YEAR OLD ALBERT WOODFOX AND 70 YEAR OLD HERMAN WALLACE WERE SERVING UNRELATED SENTENCES FOR ARMED ROBBERY IN 1972 WHEN THEY WERE CHARGED AND CONVICTED WITH FATALLY STABBING A GUARD AND MOVED TO ISOLATION IN THE LOUISIANA STATE PENITENTIARY AT ANGOLA.
THEY HAVE SINCE BEEN MOVED TO "CLOSED CELL RESTRICTION" IN OTHER STATE JAILS, WHERE THEY REMAIN IN SINGLE CELLS FOR PERIODS OF TYPICALLY 23 HOURS A DAY.
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL DELIVERED A PETITION TO JINDAL'S OFFICE, CONTAINING 65,000 SIGNATURES FROM PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD WHO CALLED THE CONFINEMENT INHUMAN AND DEGRADING AND WHO URGED THE REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR TO HAVE THE MEN MOVED TO THE GENERAL PRISON POPULATIONS.


SPORTS..

LSU DEFENDS ITS NUMBER ONE RANKING IN COLLEGE BASEBALL WHEN THE TIGERS HOST LAMAR TONIGHT. THE BAYOU BENGALS HAVE WON 13 OF THEIR LAST 14 AND THEY ARE 30-AND-7 OVERALL. FIRST PITCH IS AT 6:30 TONIGHT. THAT GAME ON 970 KSYL.

THE SAINTS' 2012 REGULAR SEASON BYE COMES IN WEEK 6, MEANING INTERIM HEAD COACH JOE VITT'S SIX-GAME SUSPENSION WON'T END UNTIL AFTER THE SAINTS PLAY AT TAMPA BAY IN WEEK 7. IT WAS NOT CLEAR WHEN THE SAINTS' BYE WOULD COME UNTIL THE NFL RELEASED ITS FULL REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE ON TUESDAY NIGHT, WELL AFTER VITT WAS APPOINTED TO TAKE ON HEAD COACHING DUTIES IN THE ABSENCE OF SEAN PAYTON. THE SAINTS OPEN THE REGULAR SEASON AT HOME AGAINST WASHINGTON.








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