KSYL Local News

News For Wednesday 04/25/12


NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY 042512
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

WHILE STATE POLICE AND THE FBI START A WIRETAPPING PROBE INTO THE SAINTS AND GENERAL MANAGER MICKEY LOOMIS, ASSISTANT HEAD COACH JOE VITT IS CALLING THE ALLEGATIONS THAT LOOMIS' HAD HIS SUPERDOME BOOTH WIRED SO HE COULD LISTEN TO OPPOSING COACHES "LUDICROUS." VITT CALLS THE SUGGESTION THAT LOOMIS LISTENED IN TO OPPOSING COACHES' RADIO COMMUNICATIONS "IMPOSSIBLE," ADDING THAT HE'S NEVER HEARD OF SOMETHING LIKE THAT BEFORE, AND HE ADDS THAT THOSE WHO MADE THE ALLEGATIONS ARE "IRRESPONSIBLE." A JOINT LOUISIANA STATE POLICE AND FBI TASK FORCE BEGAN INVESTIGATING THE ALLEGATIONS TUESDAY, ONE DAY AFTER THEY WERE MADE BY ANONYMOUS SOURCES IN AN ESPN REPORT.

THE LOUISIANA SENATE AGREED TUESDAY TO CHANGE THE SONOGRAM REQUIREMENTS FOR A WOMAN SEEKING AN ABORTION IN THE STATE, INCLUDING ASKING HER IF SHE WOULD LIKE TO HEAR THE FETAL HEARTBEAT. WOMEN IN LOUISIANA ALREADY ARE REQUIRED TO GET AN ULTRASOUND BEFORE THEY CAN HAVE AN ABORTION. UNDER THE BILL BY SEN. SHARON WESTON BROOME, D-BATON ROUGE, THE ULTRASOUND WOULD BE REQUIRED 24 HOURS BEFORE THE ABORTION, INSTEAD OF TWO HOURS BEFORE THE PROCEDURE. ALSO, THE DOCTOR WOULD BE REQUIRED TO ASK THE WOMAN WHETHER SHE WANTS TO HEAR ANY SOUNDS FROM THE FETAL HEART MONITOR. ULTRASOUNDS WOULDN'T BE REQUIRED FOR VICTIMS OF RAPE OR INCEST SEEKING AN ABORTION. THE SENATE SENT THE PROPOSAL TO THE HOUSE WITH A 34-4 VOTE.

THE STATE SENATE IS SCHEDULED TO DEBATE GOVERNOR JINDAL'S PROPOSED STATE WORKER PENSION REFORMS LEGISLATION TODAY. THE BILLS WERE AMENDED IN COMMITTEE HEARINGS, AND WILL LIKELY HAVE MORE AMENDMENTS ATTEMPTED ON THE SENATE FLOOR. THE TWO BILLS WOULD REQUIRE STATE WORKERS TO PUT MORE OF THEIR PAYCHECKS INTO RETIREMENT, AND WOULD RAISE MINIMUM RETIREMENT AGES FOR THOUSANDS. THE REFORMS ARE NEEDED TO ADDRESS $18-BILLION IN STATE RETIREMENT DEBT.

LOUISIANA'S INCOME ESTIMATES WERE LOWERED TUESDAY BY NEARLY $211 MILLION, A REDUCTION THAT COULD FORCE DEEP CUTS ACROSS STATE SERVICES IN THE FINAL MONTHS OF THE BUDGET YEAR. INCOME TAX COLLECTIONS REMAIN SLUGGISH AND WELL BELOW EXPECTATIONS, AS THE STATE ECONOMY CONTINUES TO FEEL THE IMPACT OF THE NATIONAL RECESSION. SAVINGS FROM A HIRING FREEZE AND PARTIAL SPENDING FREEZE EARLIER THIS YEAR CAN FILL SOME OF THE GAP IN THE $25 BILLION BUDGET, BUT THE GOVERNOR'S TOP BUDGET ADVISER, COMMISSIONER OF ADMINISTRATION PAUL RAINWATER, SAID LAWMAKERS AND THE ADMINISTRATION CAN'T AVOID CUTS.

DRIVERS WOULD BE BANNED FROM USING HAND-HELD ELECTRONIC DEVICES, INCLUDING CELL PHONES - UNDER A BILL APPROVED TODAY WITHOUT OBJECTION BY THE HOUSE TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE. NEW ORLEANS REP. AUSTIN BADON SPONSORS THE BILL. IT WILL NOW PROCEED TO THE FULL HOUSE FOR DEBATE AND VOTE. BADON BROUGHT THE SAME BILL LAST YEAR, AND WON PASSAGE IN THE HOUSE, BEFORE THE BILL WAS STOPPED SHORT IN A SENATE COMMITTEE. BADON'S BILL WOULD MAKE THE VIOLATION A PRIMARY OFFENSE, MEANING A COP COULD PULL YOU OVER IF HE SEES TALKING ON A
HAND-HELD PHONE.

LOUISIANA WILL BORROW $350 MILLION NEXT YEAR FOR STATE CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS, AND THE JINDAL ADMINISTRATION HAS PROPOSED A LIST OF PROJECTS TO USE UP ALL THAT CAPACITY AND MORE, BEFORE LAWMAKERS EVEN ADD THEIR OWN PROJECTS TO THE LIST.
THE STATE HAS FAR LESS MONEY AVAILABLE THAN REQUESTED FOR BILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN PROJECTS SOUGHT BY LAWMAKERS AND STATE AGENCIES. AS DESCRIBED TUESDAY TO THE HOUSE WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE, THE CONSTRUCTION BUDGET BILL SUBMITTED BY GOV. BOBBY JINDAL CONTAINS $366 MILLION IN PROJECTS VYING FOR THE AVAILABLE DOLLARS: $199 MILLION FOR ONGOING PROJECTS AND $167 MILLION FOR NEW ITEMS. LOUISIANA HAS A CAP ON ANNUAL BORROWING THAT LIMITS ANNUAL SPENDING ON CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS.

FEDERAL PROSECUTORS BROUGHT THE FIRST CRIMINAL CHARGES TUESDAY IN THE GULF OIL SPILL, ACCUSING A FORMER BP ENGINEER OF DELETING MORE THAN 300 TEXT MESSAGES THAT INDICATED THE BLOWN-OUT WELL WAS SPEWING FAR MORE CRUDE THAN THE COMPANY WAS TELLING THE PUBLIC AT THE TIME. TWO YEARS AND FOUR DAYS AFTER THE DRILLING-RIG EXPLOSION THAT SET OFF THE WORST OFFSHORE OIL SPILL IN U.S. HISTORY, KURT MIX OF KATY, TEXAS, WAS ARRESTED AND CHARGED WITH TWO COUNTS OF OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE FOR ALLEGEDLY DESTROYING EVIDENCE. THE U.S. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT MADE IT CLEAR THAT THE INVESTIGATION IS STILL GOING ON AND SUGGESTED THAT MORE PEOPLE COULD BE ARRESTED.

A FEDERAL JUDGE IN NEW ORLEANS IS SET TO PRESIDE OVER A HEARING ON A PROPOSED CLASS-ACTION SETTLEMENT THAT WOULD RESOLVE BILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN CLAIMS AGAINST BP OVER THE 2010 OIL SPILL IN THE GULF OF MEXICO. BP PLC AND A TEAM OF PLAINTIFFS' ATTORNEYS ARE SEEKING U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE CARL BARBIER'S PRELIMINARY APPROVAL OF THE SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT, WHICH IS DESIGNED TO RESOLVE MORE THAN 100,000 CLAIMS BY PEOPLE AND BUSINESSES WHO BLAME THE SPILL FOR ECONOMIC LOSSES. BARBIER IS SCHEDULED TO HEAR THEIR REQUEST ON WEDNESDAY. BP ESTIMATES IT WILL PAY ABOUT $7.8 BILLION TO RESOLVE THESE CLAIMS, BUT THE SETTLEMENT DOESN'T HAVE A CAP. THE DEAL WAS ANNOUNCED MARCH 2, BUT ITS DETAILS ARE SPELLED OUT IN HUNDREDS OF PAGES OF DOCUMENTS FILED LAST WEEK.

THREE SITES IN LOUISIANA, INCLUDING TOLEDO BEND AND THE RED RIVER ARE AMONG THE TOP 100 BASS FISHING SPOTS IN THE NATION, ACCORDING TO BASSMASTER MAGAZINE.
FALCON LAKE IN TEXAS CAME IN AT THE NO 1. SPOT ON TOP 100 LIST THAT WAS RELEASED TUESDAY BY BASSMASTER, THE PUBLICATION FOR MEMBERS OF B.A.S.S. TOLEDO BEND RESERVOIR IS RANKED NO. 15, THE LOUISIANA DELTA IS NO. 27 AND THE RED RIVER IS NO. 47.

LOUISIANA IS CREATING A NEW TAX BREAK PROGRAM THAT WILL GIVE REBATES FOR DONATIONS TO VOUCHER PROGRAMS THAT PROVIDE TUITION FOR STUDENTS TO ATTEND PRIVATE SCHOOLS. THE HOUSE AND SENATE GAVE FINAL PASSAGE TO THE MEASURE TUESDAY, SENDING IT TO GOV. BOBBY JINDAL, WHO PUSHED THE IDEA. JINDAL SAID IT WILL GIVE CHILDREN IN FAILING PUBLIC SCHOOLS MORE OPPORTUNITIES TO GET AN IMPROVED EDUCATION.

A 26-YEAR-OLD MOTHER'S "GROSS NEGLIGENCE" HAS LED AUTHORITIES TO ARREST HER ON FOUR COUNTS OF SECOND-DEGREE MURDER AFTER A SATURDAY NIGHT FIRE KILLED FOUR OF HER CHILDREN WHO WERE LEFT UNATTENDED IN A MOBILE HOME. RAYNE POLICE CHIEF CARROLL STELLY SAYS THE 15TH JUDICIAL DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE FILED THE NEW CHARGES AGAINST SHAQUETA MCDADE AFTER PROSECUTORS DETERMINED SHE HAD SHOWN GROSS NEGLIGENCE BY LEAVING HER CHILDREN — AGES 2 TO 8 — UNATTENDED. MCDADE WAS INITIALLY BOOKED WITH FOUR COUNTS OF NEGLIGENT HOMICIDE. BOND WAS SET AT $1 MILLION. POLICE ARE STILL TRYING TO DETERMINE WHERE MCDADE WAS AT THE TIME OF THE FIRE, WHICH REMAINS UNDER INVESTIGATION.

A PROPOSAL THAT WOULD ALLOW GAY COUPLES AND OTHER UNMARRIED COUPLES TO ADOPT CHILDREN TOGETHER IN LOUISIANA HAS BEEN DEFEATED BY A HOUSE COMMITTEE.
THE HOUSE CIVIL LAW AND PROCEDURE COMMITTEE VOTED 9-2 AGAINST THE IDEA TUESDAY.
AS PROPOSED BY NEW ORLEANS REP. JARED BROSSETT, THE BILL WOULD HAVE ALLOWED ADOPTIONS BY PEOPLE WHO AREN'T RELATED TO A CHILD BY BLOOD BUT LIVE IN THE SAME HOME AND ESTABLISH A RELATIONSHIP WITH THE CHILD. SUPPORTERS SAY PEOPLE SHOULD BE ENCOURAGED TO ADOPT CHILDREN IF THEY CAN OFFER LOVING HOMES AND SECURE ENVIRONMENTS. OPPONENTS SAY UNMARRIED COUPLES ARE UNSTABLE, AND THE BILL COULD TIE CHILDREN TO BOYFRIENDS OR GIRLFRIENDS WHO DON'T STAY IN A RELATIONSHIP LONG-TERM.

A NEW REPORT SAYS LOUISIANA IS THE LEAST PEACEFUL STATE IN THE COUNTRY. THE RANKING IS BASED ON RESEARCH CONDUCTED BY THE INSTITUTE FOR ECONOMICS AND PEACE. CHAIRMAN OF THE I-E-P, STEVE KILLELEA (KILL-L-A), SAYS LOUISIANA'S HIGH INCARCERATION RATE WAS ONE OF THE FACTORS THAT LED TO THE POOR RANKING. KILLELEA SAYS THIS IS THE 20TH STRAIGHT YEAR LOUISIANA IS RANKED AS AMERICA'S LEAST PEACEFUL STATE. MAINE RANKS AS THE MOST PEACEFUL FOR THE 11TH YEAR IN A ROW. KILLELEA SAYS NEW ORLEANS ALSO RANKS AS ONE OF THE LEAST PEACEFUL CITIES IN THE COUNTRY. A KILLELEA SAYS LOUISIANA HAS IMPROVED ITS PEACE INDEX OVER THE LAST 20 YEARS, BUT HE SAYS THE PROBLEM FOR THE BAYOU STATE IS THAT THE REST OF THE COUNTRY IS MOVING AT A FASTER RATE.

TWO CONVENIENCE STORE OWNERS FROM LAKE CHARLES HAVE EACH PLEAD GUILTY ON A 26 COUNT INDICTMENT BASED ON EVIDENCE THEY WERE ACCEPTING FOOD STAMPS FOR ALCOHOL, TOBACCO PRODUCTS AND CASH. THE UNDERCOVER INVESTIGATION WAS LED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND LOUISIANA ALCOHOL AND TOBACCO CONTROL. COMMISSIONER TROY HEBERT. HEBERT SAYS GOODFELLAS GROCERY OWNERS CRAIG AND HILLARY NASH WERE HIT WITH $2.7 MILLION WORTH OF FOOD STAMP FRAUD. HE SAYS THE NASH BROTHERS NOW FACE UP TO 20 YEARS IN PRISON, UP TO $250,000 IN FINES AND RESTITUTION TO THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT.







God Bless America!

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