KSYL Local News

News For Tuesday Evening 05/01/12


THE RAPIDES PARISH SCHOOL BOARD VOTED TONIGHT 5-4 NOT TO RENEW SUPERINTENDENT GARY JONES' CONTRACT. VOTING NOT TO RENEW WERE PRESIDENT WILTON BARRIOS, VICE PRESIDENT JANET DIXON, MEMBERS JOHN ALLEN, DARRELL RODRIGUEZ AND JULIE MCCONAUGHY. VOTING TO RENEW WERE MEMBERS STEVE BERRY, STEPHEN CHAPMAN, PAM WEBB AND KEITH BREAZEALE. JONES HAS BEEN SUPERINTENDENT SINCE 2003. HIS CURRENT CONTRACT RUNS OUT ON DEC. 31.

A GUARD AT THE U.S. PENITENTIARY IN POLLOCK WAS TREATED AND RELEASED FOR INJURIES HE RECEIVED WHEN HE WAS ASSAULTED BY TWO INMATES AT THE FACILITY. PRISON SPOKESMAN STEVEN NILES SAID TUESDAY THAT THE ASSAULT HAPPENED ABOUT 9:30 P.M. MONDAY. HE REFUSED TO RELEASE THE NAME OF THE GUARD OR THE INMATES, SAYING BOTH PRISON INVESTIGATORS AND THE FBI WERE INVESTIGATING. NILES SAYS THE TWO INMATES INVOLVED WERE QUICKLY SUBDUED AND OFFICERS TOOK CONTROL OF THE SITUATION. HE WOULD NOT SAY WHAT SPARKED THE INCIDENT.

THE HOUSE BUDGET-WRITING COMMITTEE BOGGED DOWN TUESDAY OVER HOW TO CRAFT NEXT YEAR'S $25 BILLION BUDGET, DISAGREEING OVER WHETHER TO CUT MORE DEEPLY OR POUR IN MORE PATCHWORK FUNDING TO MAKE THE NUMBERS WORK. DOLLARS FOR PUBLIC COLLEGES AND HEALTH CARE SERVICES DEPEND ON OUTCOME OF THE HAGGLING IN THE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE, SINCE THOSE TWO AREAS ARE THE MOST VULNERABLE TO SLASHING SPENDING. STATE REVENUE PROJECTIONS HAVE DROPPED BY MORE THAN $300 MILLION SINCE GOV. BOBBY JINDAL MADE HIS SPENDING RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE NEW FISCAL YEAR THAT BEGINS JULY 1. THE INCOME ESTIMATE SLIDE IS TIED TO LOWER-THAN-EXPECTED PERSONAL AND BUSINESS INCOME TAX COLLECTIONS.

THE HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE VOTED 11 TO 4 TUESDAY TO DO AWAY WITH THE OFFICE OF THE INSPECTOR GENERAL AND THEN RELOCATED THE $1.7 MILLION SPENT ON IT TO OTHER AREAS OF THE STATE GOVERNMENT. LAWMAKERS ON THE PANEL STRIPPED ALL FUNDING FOR THE INSPECTOR GENERAL AND REMOVED REFERENCE TO THE OFFICE IN NEXT YEAR'S BUDGET BILL, SAYING THE AGENCY'S WORK OVERLAPS THE DUTIES PERFORMED BY OTHER LAW ENFORCEMENT AND AUDITING OFFICES IN STATE GOVERNMENT. THE INSPECTOR GENERAL SERVES AS A WASTE AND FRAUD WATCHDOG WITHIN THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH. HARRISON SAID THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, THE LOUISIANA STATE POLICE AND THE LEGISLATIVE AUDITOR'S OFFICE DO THE SAME TYPES OF INVESTIGATIVE WORK.

MAY IS MOTORCYCLE AWARENESS & SAFETY MONTH IN LOUISIANA. STATE HIGHWAY SAFETY COMMISSION DEPUTY DIRECTOR KEN TRULL SAYS FATAL CRASHES INVOLVING MOTORCYCLES HAVE DECLINED BY 21% OVER THE PAST FIVE YEARS. TRULL SAYS EXPANDED CYCLE OPERATOR TRAINING AND SAFETY COURSES – COUPLED WITH THE STATE'S MANDATORY HELMET LAW-HAVE HELPED BRING MOTORCYCLE FATALITIES FOR LAST YEAR TO THEIR LOWEST LEVEL IN YEARS. EVEN THOUGH NUMBERS HAVE DROPPED, 74 PEOPLE WERE KILLED IN MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENTS LAST YEAR.

THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT HAS AWARDED THE TUNICA-BILOXI TRIBE OF LOUISIANA $779,279 FOR A BUILDING TO HOUSE EDUCATION, JOB TRAINING AND OTHER SOCIAL SERVICE PROGRAMS. THE GRANT AWARDED TUESDAY WAS AMONG 95 TOTALING $56 MILLION NATIONWIDE UNDER THE INDIAN COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT PROGRAM. THE TUNICA-BILOXI TRIBE IS BASED NEAR MARKSVILLE. ITS PARAGON CASINO RESORT IS THE LARGEST EMPLOYER IN AVOYELLES PARISH AND WAS THE FIRST LAND-BASED CASINO TO OPEN IN LOUISIANA

A BILL TO BAN USING HAND-HELD CELL PHONE WHILE DRIVING IS SCHEDULED FOR HOUSE FLOOR DEBATE WEDNESDAY. THERE ARE TWO SUCH BILLS. ONE FROM NEW ORLEANS REP. AUSTIN BADON, WOULD MAKE IT A PRIMARY OFFENSE. ONE BY BATON ROUGE REP. REGINA BARROW WOULD MAKE IS A SECONDARY OFFENSE--MEANING POLICE COULDN'T PULL YOU OVER FOR IT. BADON SAYS HIS BILL IS BETTER, BECAUSE DATA FROM OTHER STATES WHO'VE PASSED SIMILAR LAWS SHOW A REDUCTION IN HIGHWAY DEATHS AND INJURIES. BADON'S BILL HAS STALLED OUT IN THE LEGISLATURE FOUR TIMES IN PREVIOUS YEARS. HIS BILL WOULD PERMIT CELL PHONE USE, PROVIDED ONE USES A HANDS-FREE DEVICE. OPPONENTS ARGUE IT'S THE CONVERSATION, NOT THE PHONE TO THE EAR, THAT PROVIDES THE DISTRACTION WHILE DRIVING.

THE GOVERNOR HAS ASKED THE U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS TO OPEN A SPILLWAY AND LET MISSISSIPPI RIVER WATER RUN THROUGH THE ATCHAFALAYA BASIN. STATE WILDLIFE & FISHERIES SECRETARY BOB BARHAM SAYS THE OLD RIVER STRUCTURE IS LOCATED IN EXTREME SOUTHERN CONCORDIA PARISH. SECRETARY BARHAM SAYS WATER LEVELS IN THE ATCHAFALAYA BASIN HAVE BEEN BELOW NORMAL, AND WATER QUALITY AND CRAWFISH HARVESTS ARE THREATENED IF THE SPILLWAY ISN'T OPENED. A YEAR AGO, SPILLWAYS WERE OPEN TO AVOID FLOODS ALONG THE MISSISSIPPI.

A BILL BANNING SEX OFFENDERS, CONVICTED OF CRIMES AGAINST CHILDREN, FROM SOCIAL WEBSITES HAS CLEARED A SENATE COMMITTEE AND NOW HEADS TO THE FULL SENATE FOR A FINAL DEBATE. THE BILL'S AUTHOR, OPELOUSAS REP. LEDRICKA THIERRY, SAYS HER LEGISLATION GIVES TEETH TO POLICIES KEEPING SEX OFFENDERS OFF SOCIAL WEBSITES. THIERRY'S LEGISLATION REPLACES A LAW PASSED LAST YEAR, BUT WHICH WAS STRUCK DOWN BY U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE BRIAN JACKSON. SHE SAYS THEY USED JACKSON'S RULING AS A GUIDE TO REWRITE THE PROPOSED LAW, NARROWING ITS FOCUS AND USING MORE SPECIFIC LANGUAGE.

A SENATE-PASSED BILL TO EXTEND MOTOR VEHICLE INSPECTIONS TO TWO-YEAR STICKERS--INSTEAD OF ONE-YEAR--HAS STALLED IN A HOUSE COMMITTEE. THE BILL WAS TEMPORARILY DEFERRED, SO LAWMAKERS CAN CRAFT SOME AMENDMENTS THAT MAY ADDRESS PUBLIC SAFETY CONCERNS.

A BILL THAT WOULD REQUIRE ANYONE CONVICTED ON A FIRST OFFENSE DWI TO SPEND AT LEAST TWO DAYS IN JAIL HAS CLEARED A SENATE COMMITTEE. THE MEASURE, IS SPONSORED BY KAPLAN SENATOR JONATHAN PERRY. THE BILL MOVED FORWARD WITHOUT OPPOSITION AND NOW HEADS TO THE SENATE FLOOR.

TWO STARS OF THE POPULAR TV REALITY SHOW WAMP PEOPLE WERE INJURED IN A MULTI-VEHICLE ACCIDENT ON U-S HIGHWAY 71 NORTH OF CADDO PARISH YESTERDAY. JOE LAFONT AND TOMMY CHAUVIN WERE NOT SERIOUSLY HURT, BUT THREE OTHER PEOPLE SUFFERED SERIOUS INJURIES IN THE FIVE-VEHICLE CHAIN REACTION WRECK. THE ACCIDENT OCCURRED JUST NORTH OF THE LOUISIANA-ARKANSAS STATE LINE. LAFONT AND CHAUVIN WERE TOWING A TRAILER FILLED WITH SWAMP PEOPLE MERCHANDISE WHICH SPILLED OUT ONTO THE ROADWAY DURING THE ACCIDENT.

A NEW IBERIA MAN IS CHARGED WITH THE AGGRAVATED RAPE OF A 6-YEAR-OLD BOY. 34-YEAR-OLD ERIC ARCEMONT TURNED HIMSELF IN TO IBERIA PARISH DEPUTIES MONDAY, AND WAS RELEASED LAST NIGHT ON $25-THOUSAND BOND. BECAUSE THE CASE IS ABOUT TO GO TO COURT, DETECTIVES ARE WITHHOLDING FURTHER INFORMATION.

LOCAL SCHOOL BOARDS SHOULD BE ABLE TO SELL THEIR USED COMPUTERS TO PARENTS AND STUDENTS, THE LOUISIANA HOUSE AGREED TUESDAY. THE PROPOSAL (HOUSE BILL 1009) BY REP. ED PRICE, D-GONZALES, WOULD APPLY TO COMPUTERS BEING REMOVED FROM THE CLASSROOM AND WOULD OTHERWISE BE SOLD AT AUCTION OR RECYCLED.
THE BILL, APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY, HEADS TO THE SENATE FOR DEBATE.

HOTELS AND MOTELS IN NORTHWESTERN LOUISIANA SAY THE SLOWDOWN OF NATURAL GAS EXPLORATION IN THEIR REGION IS AFFECTING OCCUPANCY RATES. TOM LUBBE (LOO-BEE) IS PRESIDENT OF THE SHREVEPORT-BOSSIER HOTEL & LODGING ASSOCIATION. HE SAYS BUSINESS IS FALLING OFF AS GAS DRILLERS MOVE TO OTHER PARTS OF THE COUNTRY.
A NATIONWIDE GLUT OF NATURAL GAS, COUPLED WITH EXTREMELY LOW GAS PRICES, HAS SLOWED EXPLORATION SIGNIFICANTLY.

SPORTS..

LOUISIANA TECH'S EFFORTS TO JOIN CONFERENCE USA APPEAR TO HAVE PAID OFF. IT'S REPORTED THAT TECH ALONG WITH FIVE OTHER SCHOOLS WILL JOIN CUSA IN 2013. AN OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT COULD REPORTEDLY COME AS EARLY AS FRIDAY.

God Bless America!

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