KSYL Local News

News For Friday 04/27/12


NEWS FOR FRIDAY 042712
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

A PINEVILLE CHURCH HAS GONE SILENT, AFTER THIEVES STEAL THE 400 POUND BELL THAT'S RUNG THE FAITHFUL TO SERVICES FOR OVER A HUNDRED YEARS. NEW LIGHT BAPTIST CHURCH HAD THE BELL HANGING IN A FREE-STANDING WOODEN TOWER. AUTHORITIES ARE SEEKING A GREY, FORD F-150 EXTENDED CAB PICKUP WITH GREEN WAVES PAINTED DOWN THE SIDE. THE VEHICLE WAS SEEN LEAVING THE AREA...WITH THE BELL IN ITS BED.

WE MAY FIND OUT NEXT WEEK WHAT CERTAIN MEMBER OF THE RAPIDES PARISH SCHOOL BOARD HAVE UP THEIR SLEEVES, AS THE BOARD IS EXPECTED TO DISCUSS, TUESDAY NIGHT, THE FUTURE OF SUPERINTENDENT GARY L. JONES. JONES IS UNDER CONTRACT THROUGH DEC. 31. A MOTION IN NOVEMBER TO EXTEND HIS CONTRACT FOR TWO MORE YEARS FAILED. INSTEAD, THE BOARD VOTED 5-4 TO CONSIDER HIS FUTURE STATUS IN SEPTEMBER. BOARD MEMBER JANET DIXON, WHO SPONSORED TUESDAY’S MOTION, WAS AMONG THE FIVE WHO VOTED TO TABLE JONES’ CONTRACT STATUS IN NOVEMBER.

LOUISIANA SENATORS REFUSED THURSDAY TO REPEAL A LAW THAT BANS EMPLOYERS FROM DISCRIMINATING AGAINST SMOKERS, AFTER OPPONENTS SAID THE CHANGE COULD LEAD TO WIDESPREAD FIRINGS. MORE THAN 20 YEARS AGO, LEGISLATORS PASSED A LAW PROTECTING SMOKERS FROM WORKPLACE DISCRIMINATION. SEN. FRED MILLS AND SUPPORTERS OF REPEALING THE STATUTE SAID SMOKERS SHOULDN'T EXPECT EMPLOYERS AND CO-WORKERS TO BEAR THE HIGHER INSURANCE COSTS TO COVER THEM. THEY PITCHED THE BILL AS A WAY TO ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO QUIT AND TO IMPROVE HEALTH IN A STATE WITH SOME OF THE WORST HEALTH CARE STATISTICS IN THE COUNTRY. THE REPEAL, SOUGHT BY HOSPITALS AND HEALTH CARE LEADERS, WAS NARROWLY REJECTED IN A 3-2 VOTE BY THE SENATE LABOR COMMITTEE.

PERSONAL INCOME IN THE STATE CONTINUES TO RISE ACCORDING TO A REPORT BY THE U.S BUREAU OF ECONOMIC ANALYSIS. TOTAL PERSONAL INCOME IN LOUISIANA FOR 2011 WAS $176.5-BILLION, AN INCREASE OF NEARLY FIVE-PERCENT FROM THE PREVIOUS YEAR. LSU ECONOMIST DR. LOREN SCOTT FEELS THE TREND WILL CONTINUE. HE SAYS THE BOOM IN THE CHEMICAL INDUSTRY, FUELED BY LOW NATURAL GAS PRICES, WILL ADD LARGE NUMBERS OF WELL PAID JOBS IN AREAS AROUND LAKE CHARLES AND BATON ROUGE IN COMING YEARS.

LAWMAKERS ARE WEIGHING WHETHER TO USE LOUISIANA'S "RAINY DAY" FUND TO HELP FILL A $211 MILLION GAP IN THIS YEAR'S BUDGET. HOUSE SPEAKER CHUCK KLECKLEY SAID THURSDAY THAT HE'S WILLING TO LOOK AT USING THE MONEY BECAUSE HE'S WORRIED THAT OTHERWISE PUBLIC COLLEGES AND HEALTH CARE PROGRAMS WOULD FACE DEEP CUTS THAT COULD DAMAGE SERVICES. THE STATE'S REVENUE FORECASTING PANEL DOWNGRADED INCOME PROJECTIONS THIS WEEK, AS INCOME TAX COLLECTIONS REMAIN SLUGGISH AND BELOW EXPECTATIONS. THE REVENUE ESTIMATING CONFERENCE DROPPED THIS YEAR'S FORECAST BY NEARLY $211 MILLION AND NEXT YEAR'S FORECAST BY $304 MILLION. LOUISIANA IS REQUIRED TO HAVE A BALANCED BUDGET EACH YEAR.

SAINTS GENERAL MANAGER MICKEY LOOMIS SAYS HE'S "ANGRY" ABOUT ALLEGATIONS THAT HIS SUPERDOME BOOTH WAS WIRED SO HE COULD EAVESDROP ON OPPOSING COACHES RADIO CONVERSATIONS. LOOMIS SAYS HE HAS A CLEAR CONSCIENCE AND WELCOMES A JOINT INVESTIGATION BY LOUISIANA STATE POLICE AND THE FBI. LOOMIS ALSO SAYS HE UNDERSTANDS THAT DREW BREES' NEXT CONTRACT WILL BE THE MOST IMPORTANT ONE HE HAS EVER DONE AND HE PLEDGES IT WILL EVENTUALLY GET DONE. HE SAYS BREES HAS EARNED THE RIGHT NEGOTIATE A CONTRACT THAT HE LIKES, BUT THAT THE SAINTS MUST FIND A BALANCE BETWEEN MAKING THE STAR QUARTERBACK HAPPY AND KEEPING THE WHOLE TEAM COMPETITIVE. LOOMIS SPOKE SHORTLY BEFORE THURSDAY NIGHT'S FIRST ROUND OF THE NFL DRAFT. BARRING A TRADE, THE SAINTS HAVE NO PICK UNTIL TONIGHT'S THIRD ROUND.

JAZZ HORNS, CAJUN FIDDLES, ZYDECO WASHBOARDS AND ROCK GUITARS — THEY'LL ALL BE HEARD AT THE SAME PLACE FOR THE NEXT TWO WEEKENDS WHEN THE NEW ORLEANS JAZZ AND HERITAGE FESTIVAL KICKS OFF TODAY. THE FESTIVAL KNOWN SIMPLY AS JAZZ FEST SPANS TWO WEEKENDS, FRIDAY THROUGH SUNDAY .

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL IS ON THE ROAD FOR A STRING OF REPUBLICAN MONEY-RAISING EVENTS. JINDAL'S OFFICE SAID THE GOP GOVERNOR WAS IN SALT LAKE CITY YESTERDAY FOR A FUNDRAISER TO SUPPORT UTAH GOV. GARY HERBERT AND TO DENVER FOR A FUNDRAISER FOR THE COLORADO REPUBLICAN PARTY. TODAY, THE GOVERNOR IS IN ALBUQUERQUE TO DRUM UP CASH FOR NEW MEXICO GOV. SUSANA MARTINEZ AND TO HELP RAISE MONEY FOR THE REPUBLICAN PARTY OF NEW MEXICO. LOUISIANA'S GOVERNOR IS EXPECTED TO BE BACK IN BATON ROUGE THIS EVENING.

LAFAYETTE GENERAL MEDICAL CENTER WILL SOON CLOSE ITS PEDIATRIC INTENSIVE CARE UNIT. HOSPITAL OFFICIALS SAY LOW PATIENT DEMAND IS RESPONSIBLE. THE CLOSURE WILL LEAVE LAFAYETTE WITH ONLY ONE PICU , A 13-BED UNIT OPERATED AT WOMEN'S & CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL.

A FEDERAL JURY HAS FOUND THAT CONCORDIA PARISH SHERIFF RANDY MAXWELL DID NOT MALICIOUSLY PROSECUTE JAMES WHITTINGTON IN 2003. WHITTINGTON HAD CLAIMED HE WAS THE VICTIM OF A LAW ENFORCEMENT VENDETTA WHEN HE WAS ARRESTED IN 2003. HE FILED THE LAWSUIT IN 2008. COURT RECORDS SHOW WHITTINGTON WAS ARRESTED FOR SIMPLE ROBBERY, TELEPHONE HARASSMENT AND STALKING AFTER ALLEGEDLY TAKING TWO RINGS FROM A FORMER GIRLFRIEND. WHITTINGTON CLAIMED THE CHARGES WERE TRUMPED UP AFTER HE RAN A HEATED ELECTION CAMPAIGN IN 2003 AGAINST MAXWELL. MAXWELL HAD DENIED THE ALLEGATIONS. MAXWELL'S ATTORNEY ARGUED TO THE JURY THAT THE WOMAN FILED THE COMPLAINT AGAINST WHITTINGTON AND MAXWELL WAS ONLY DOING HIS JOB IN MAKING THE ARREST.

A BILL AIMED AT PUTTING THE BRAKES ON RED LIGHT CAMERAS HAS BEEN SHELVED BY ITS SPONSOR. METAIRIE SENATOR DANNY MARTINY TEMPORARILY WITHDREW HIS MEASURE, AFTER A LENGTHY DISCUSSION WITH MEMBERS OF THE STATE MUNICIPAL ASSOCIATION, WHO ARE PRIMARY SUPPORTERS OF THE TRAFFIC CAMS. MARTINY WANTS A LAW REQUIRING APPROVAL BY VOTERS IN EACH CITY, FOR TRAFFIC CAMS USE TO CONTINUE.

THE 2012 LOUISIANA HOT AIR BALLOON CHAMPIONSHIP HAS FOUND A NEW HOME AT THE LAMAR-DIXON EXPO CENTER IN ASCENSION PARISH. THE SEARCH FOR A NEW LOCATION BEGAN WHEN THE PENNINGTON BIOMEDICAL CENTER ANNOUNCED THEY WOULD NO LONGER HOST THE EVENT. THIS YEARS CHAMPIONSHIP IS SCHEDULED FOR AUGUST 3RD THROUGH THE 5TH, WITH COMPETITION FLIGHTS EVERY DAY ON THE BATON ROUGE AREA.

A 34-YEAR-OLD SULPHUR MAN HAS BEEN SENTENCED TO 24 YEARS AND FIVE MONTHS IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR ENTICING MINORS TO ENGAGE IN CRIMINAL SEXUAL ACTIVITIES AND PRODUCING CHILD PORNOGRAPHY. JAMY CHURCH ALSO WAS ORDERED THURSDAY BY U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE PATRICIA MINALDI TO BE ON SUPERVISED RELEASE FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE AFTER HE LEAVES PRISON. PROSECUTORS SAID CHURCH CREATED MULTIPLE FACEBOOK PAGES USING THE NAMES AND IMAGES OF HIGH SCHOOL FEMALES. AUTHORITIES SAID CHURCH THEN CONTACTED BOYS AND GOT THEM TO SEND SEXUALLY EXPLICIT IMAGES OF THEMSELVES AFTER THEY WERE CONTACTED BY THE FAKE FEMALES. PROSECUTORS SAID OVER 50 BOYS WERE VICTIMIZED BY THE SCHEME, WHICH BEGAN IN 2009.

SIX STUDENTS AT BELLE CHASSE HIGH SCHOOL HAVE BEEN ARRESTED AFTER A SWEEP FOUND WEAPONS, INCLUDING A 12-GAUGE SHOTGUN, AND DRUGS IN STUDENTS' CARS.
THE PLAQUEMINES PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE CONDUCTED A SEARCH AFTER GETTING A TIP ABOUT ILLEGAL DRUGS. A K-9 OFFICER HELPED LOCATE SOME WEAPONS AS WELL AS MARIJUANA IN SEVERAL OF CARS PARKED ON CAMPUS. SCHOOL OFFICIALS SAID THURSDAY THAT THE CONFISCATED WEAPONS WERE NOT PART OF ANY MALICIOUS PLOT. PRINCIPAL JEMI CARLONE SAYS MANY STUDENTS ARE AVID HUNTERS AND FISHERMEN AND SIMPLY FORGOT TO REMOVE THE WEAPONS FROM THEIR CARS.



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