KSYL Local News

News For Thursday Evening 5/3/12


NEWS FOR FRIDAY 050412
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

AN AUTOPSY WILL BE PERFORMED ON THE BODY OF A WOMAN WHO WAS FOUND THURSDAY MORNING IN THE AREA OF 14TH AND LEVIN STREETS IN ALEXANDRIA. OFFICIALS ARE NOT RELEASING THE WOMAN’S NAME PENDING POSITIVE IDENTIFICATION. THE AUTOPSY WILL MAKE THE FINAL DETERMINATION, BUT AT THIS POINT IT APPEARS SHE DIED OF NATURAL CAUSES.

A FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY HIRED BY THE NFL TO EVALUATE ITS INVESTIGATION OF THE NEW ORLEANS SAINTS' BOUNTY PROGRAM SAID THURSDAY THE EVIDENCE SHOWS PLAYERS RECEIVED PAYMENTS FOR HITS ON TARGETED OPPONENTS. MARY JO WHITE SAID IN A CONFERENCE CALL THAT EVIDENCE IN THE LEAGUE'S INVESTIGATION OF THE THREE-YEAR PAY-FOR-PAIN SYSTEM PROVIDED "AN UNUSUALLY STRONG RECORD" AND CAME FROM PEOPLE WITH "FIRSTHAND KNOWLEDGE AND CORROBORATED BY DOCUMENTATION."
WHEN ASKED TWICE WHETHER ANY PLAYERS ACTUALLY WERE PAID FOR HITS, WHITE CONFIRMED THEY WERE WITHOUT GOING INTO SPECIFICS. SHE ADDED THAT MOST OF THE MONEY IN THE BOUNTY SCHEME WAS PROVIDED BY THE PLAYERS.

WILLIAM JEFFERSON, WHO CAME UP FROM NORTH LOUISIANA POVERTY TO BECOME THE STATE'S FIRST MODERN DAY AFRICAN-AMERICAN CONGRESSMAN AND ONE OF ITS MOST POWERFUL POLITICIANS, WAS EXPECTED TO REPORT TO A FEDERAL PRISON FRIDAY — THE LATEST INDIGNITY RESULTING FROM A FEDERAL INVESTIGATION THAT DISSOLVED HIS POWER AND MADE HIM A LAUGHING STOCK OVER BRIBE MONEY HIDDEN IN HIS FREEZER.

THE LOUISIANA HOUSE UNANIMOUSLY AGREED THURSDAY TO EXPAND A 10-YEAR LOCAL PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTION AND MAKE IT AVAILABLE TO MORE BUSINESSES, BUT ONLY AFTER THEY INCLUDED MORE HURDLES FOR BUSINESSES TO CLEAR BEFORE THE TAX BREAK COULD BE OFFERED. 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. LOCAL GOVERNING BODIES WOULD HAVE TO DECIDE IF THEY WANT TO PARTICIPATE BEFORE THE TAX BREAK COULD BE OFFERED TO COMPANIES AS PART OF A STATE AND LOCAL INCENTIVE PACKAGE. THEY COULD ALSO DECIDE WHETHER TO USE THE PROGRAM ON A PROJECT-BY-PROJECT BASIS. BEFORE THE PROPERTY TAX BREAK CAN BE EXPANDED, IT WOULD REQUIRE A CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGE APPROVED BY VOTERS IN A STATEWIDE ELECTION. THE MEASURE NOW HEADS NEXT TO THE SENATE FOR DEBATE.

A PROPOSAL TO CREATE TAX BREAKS FOR DONATIONS TO PUBLIC SCHOOLS RECEIVED UNANIMOUS APPROVAL THURSDAY FROM THE LOUISIANA HOUSE. THE MEASURE BY REP. KATRINA JACKSON, D-MONROE, CAME IN RESPONSE TO A JINDAL ADMINISTRATION BILL, WHICH HAS WON FINAL LEGISLATIVE PASSAGE, TO GIVE A NEAR DOLLAR-FOR-DOLLAR TAX REBATE FOR PEOPLE AND BUSINESSES THAT DONATE TO NONPROFITS THAT GIVE SCHOLARSHIPS FOR CHILDREN TO ATTEND PRIVATE SCHOOLS. JACKSON'S BILL (HOUSE BILL 1006) IS A SMALLER TAX BREAK. IT WOULD GIVE TAXPAYERS A REBATE FOR DONATIONS MADE TO PUBLIC SCHOOLS FOR BOOKS, TECHNOLOGY AND OTHER PROGRAMS. THE REBATE WOULD BE 25 PERCENT OF THE DONATION IF IT WENT TO A SCHOOL GRADED WITH A "C'' IN THE STATE ACCOUNTABILITY SYSTEM, 50 PERCENT FOR A "D'' SCHOOL AND 75 PERCENT FOR AN "F'' SCHOOL. THE PROPOSAL HEADS NEXT TO THE SENATE FOR DEBATE

A MEASURE TO TOUGHEN PENALTIES FOR BUYING, SELLING OR CARRYING A GUN WITH A REMOVED OR OBLITERATED SERIAL NUMBER RECEIVED THE BACKING OF THE HOUSE. PRESENT LAW CARRIES A PRISON SENTENCE UP TO SIX MONTHS. THE BILL (HOUSE BILL 4) BY REP. JOE LOPINTO, R-METAIRIE, WOULD SET A MANDATORY MINIMUM SENTENCE FOR AT LEAST ONE YEAR FOR A FIRST OFFENSE AND AT LEAST TWO YEARS FOR A SECOND OR LATER OFFENSE.

BOTH THE HOUSE AND SENATE HAVE BACKED A PROPOSAL (SENATE BILL 435) THAT WOULD REQUIRE MASSAGE PARLORS, SPAS, HOTELS, STRIP CLUBS AND TRUCK STOPS TO POST INFORMATION ABOUT THE NATIONAL HUMAN TRAFFICKING RESOURCE CENTER HOTLINE. THE MEASURE BY SEN. SHARON WESTON BROOME, D-BATON ROUGE, HEADS BACK TO THE SENATE FOR APPROVAL OF HOUSE CHANGES, BEFORE REACHING FINAL PASSAGE.

LOUISIANA SENATORS ARE WORKING TO CRAFT A TOUGHER STATEWIDE BAN ON BULLYING AT SCHOOLS, BUT WITH STRONG DISAGREEMENT OVER HOW TO LABEL WHAT CONSTITUTES HARASSMENT AGAINST STUDENTS, IN A DEBATE THAT HAS BECOME AN ANNUAL FLASHPOINT OVER GAY RIGHTS. A BILL ADVANCED THURSDAY BY THE SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE WOULD DEFINE BULLYING, DESCRIBE WAYS TO REPORT ALLEGATIONS AND SET THE TIMELINE FOR SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS TO RESPOND. THE PANEL REFUSED TO BACK A SECOND BILL BY SEN. YVONNE DORSEY-COLOMB, D-BATON ROUGE, THAT WOULD SPELL OUT THAT HARASSMENT AND BULLYING WOULD NOT BE ALLOWED BECAUSE OF A PERSON'S CHARACTERISTICS, INCLUDING RACE, ANCESTRY, RELIGION, PHYSICAL OR INTELLECTUAL DISABILITY, MENTAL ILLNESS, LANGUAGE ABILITY, SEXUAL ORIENTATION, GENDER IDENTITY AND POLITICAL IDEAS. SUCH A LIST HAS BEEN REPEATEDLY OPPOSED BY THE CONSERVATIVE LOUISIANA FAMILY FORUM AND RELIGIOUS GROUPS AS INTRODUCING SEXUAL POLITICS INTO THE CLASSROOM AND PROMOTING A "GAY AGENDA" IN SCHOOLS. GENE MILLS, HEAD OF THE FAMILY FORUM, HELPED WRITE THE BILL WITHOUT A LIST OF CHARACTERISTICS.

A FEDERAL JUDGE HAS PUSHED BACK THE START OF A CIVIL TRIAL FOR CLAIMS AGAINST BP PLC AND OTHER COMPANIES INVOLVED IN THE 2010 GULF OIL SPILL. U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE CARL BARBIER ON THURSDAY SET A DATE OF JAN. 14, 2013. TRIAL HAD BEEN SCHEDULED TO START ON NOV. 8. THE LITIGATION CENTERS ON THE OIL SPILL THAT BEGAN IN APRIL 2010 FROM BP'S MACONDO WELL IN THE GULF OF MEXICO OFF THE LOUISIANA COAST. THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT AND THE STATE OF ALABAMA HAD WANTED THE TRIAL TO START THIS SUMMER, BUT BP ASKED FOR A JANUARY 2013 DATE. THE LATER DATE WOULD GIVE BARBIER TIME TO GRANT FINAL APPROVAL TO A SETTLEMENT ALREADY REACHED WITH A COMMITTEE OF PLAINTIFFS ATTORNEYS.

ANIMAL ACTIVIST AND RETIRED GAME-SHOW HOST BOB BARKER VISITED NORTHWEST LOUISIANA THURSDAY TO OPEN A NEW AREA AT CHIMP HAVEN, A NATIONAL CHIMPANZEE SANCTUARY, AND TO WATCH AS FIVE HIV-INFECTED CHIMPS TRANSFERRED FROM A CLOSED TEXAS FACILITY WERE INTRODUCED TO THEIR NEW HOME. OTHER SANCTUARIES TOOK THE REST OF ITS ANIMALS, INCLUDING 11 CHIMPANZEES. NONE WOULD TAKE DOC, JOJO, MURPHY, FLICK OR PIERRE BECAUSE THEY ARE INFECTED WITH THE HIV VIRUS. ONE ALSO HAS HEPATITIS. THE CHIMPS WERE INFECTED AS PART OF AN EXPERIMENT MANY YEARS AGO. BUT, ARE SAID TO BE IN VERY GOOD HEALTH. BARKER, WHO IS NO 88, GAVE $380,000 TO HELP CREATE THE AREA, WHICH IS NAMED AFTER HIM, AND TO SUPPORT THE ANIMALS FOR A YEAR.

LAFAYETTE PARISH SHERIFF'S DEPUTIES SAY A WORKER WAS KILLED IN AN ACCIDENT WHILE ON THE JOB. OFFICIALS SAY A CRANE OPERATOR ACCIDENTALLY CRUSHED A CO-WORKER WHO WAS ON THE GROUND AS THEY WERE MOVING SOME PIPES. 26-YEAR-OLD KEVIN BENJAMIN OF CARENCRO WAS TAKEN TO A LOCAL HOSPITAL WHERE HE WAS PRONOUNCED DEAD. AN INVESTIGATION IS UNDER WAY, ALTHOUGH NO CRIMINAL CHARGES ARE EXPECTED.

THE LA NINA WEATHER PHENOMENON IS OVER. FORECASTERS SAY THAT'S GOOD NEWS FOR THE DROUGHT IN THE SOUTH AND HURRICANE AREAS ALONG THE COASTS. THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE PRONOUNCED THE TWO-YEAR LA NINA FINISHED ON THURSDAY. LA NINA IS THE FLIP SIDE OF EL NINO AND IS CAUSED BY THE COOLING OF THE CENTRAL PACIFIC OCEAN. LA NINA'S GREATEST EFFECTS ARE IN THE WINTER, USUALLY TRIGGERING DROUGHT IN THE U.S. SOUTH AND MORE RAIN FURTHER NORTH. IT ALSO OFTEN MEANS MORE HURRICANE ACTIVITY IN THE ATLANTIC DURING THE SUMMER. FOR US THIS YEAR, FORECASTERS ARE PREDICTING HOTTER THAN NORMAL TEMPS, WITH AVERAGE RAIN.

A LAFAYETTE GRAND JURY REFUSED TO BRING CHARGES AGAINST A LAFAYETTE HIGH SCHOOL DANCE TEACHER ACCUSED OF INDECENT BEHAVIOR WITH JUVENILES. 30- YEAR-OLD KATIE CHAMPAGNE WAS ACCUSED OF INAPPROPRIATE TOUCHING BY A 14- YEAR-OLD GIRL IN HER CLASS. CHAMPAGNE'S DEFENSE ATTORNEY, WILLIAM GOODE, SAYS NO HARD EVIDENCE COULD BE FOUND TO SUPPORT THE CHARGES. POLICE IDENTIFIED SIX CHILDREN UNDER THE AGE OF 17 WHO HAD ALLEGEDLY BEEN VICTIMS IN THE CASE. CHAMPAGNE WAS ARRESTED ON SIX COUNTS OF INDECENT BEHAVIOR WITH A JUVENILE, SUSPENDED FROM HER JOB AND HAD TO POST A 30-THOUSAND DOLLAR BOND, IN SPITE OF HAVING NO PRIOR CRIMINAL RECORD. NOW THAT THE GRAND JURY HAS RETURNED A RULING OF NO TRUE BILL, ESSENTIALLY DISMISSING THE CHARGES, CHAMPAGNE'S ATTORNEY SAYS SHE WILL BEGIN THE PROCESS OF GETTING BACK TO HER JOB. GOODE SAYS THERE WAS NEVER ANY DOUBT THAT SHE WOULD RETURN TO TEACHING DANCE. CHAMPAGNE HAS BEEN ON PAID ADMINISTRATIVE LEAVE FOLLOWING HER ARREST.

A SHREVEPORT MAN HAS BEEN BOOKED INTO JAIL ON A CHARGE OF SECOND-DEGREE MURDER IN THE DEATH OF HIS 23-MONTH OLD DAUGHTER. POLICE SAY THE CHILD, ALIYAH WEST, WAS FOUND UNCONSCIOUS AND UNRESPONSIVE BY OFFICERS RESPONDING TO A CALL AT A SHREVEPORT HOME WEDNESDAY EVENING. THE CHILD WAS LATER PRONOUNCED DEAD AT WILLIS KNIGHTON MEDICAL CENTER. AN INVESTIGATION BY DETECTIVES AND CORONER'S INVESTIGATORS LED TO THE ARREST OF 37-YEAR-OLD MARQUICE MCNEIL THURSDAY EVENING.

A WINNFIELD MAN WAS CONVICTED THIS WEEK ON METHAMPHETAMINE CONSPIRACY AND TRAFFICKING CHARGES AND FACES UP TO 90 YEARS IN PRISON. 35 YEAR OLD TIMOTHY NORRIS COULD BE LOOKING AT EVEN MORE JAIL TIME IF THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE IS SUCCESSFUL IN CLASSIFYING HIM AS A HABITUAL OFFENDER. IN 2003, NORRIS WAS CONVICTED OF POSSESSION OF METHAMPHETAMINE AND JAILED FOR FIVE YEARS.
ON THE LATEST CHARGES, A 12-PERSON JURY CONVICTED NORRIS ON WEDNESDAY AFTER ABOUT AN HOUR DELIBERATING. THE VERDICT WAS UNANIMOUS IN THE CHARGES OF TWO COUNTS OF CONSPIRACY TO TRAFFIC METHAMPHETAMINE AND TWO COUNTS OF DISTRIBUTION. WITHOUT THE HABITUAL OFFENDER CLASSIFICATION, NORRIS FACES A MAXIMUM 90 YEARS IN PRISON AT HARD LABOR AND A FINE UP TO $150,000.

SPORTS..

AFTER BEATING IN-STATE RIVAL TULANE ON TUESDAY, THE FOURTH RANKED TIGERS BEGIN A SERIES TONIGHT AGAINST THEIR BIGGEST SEC RIVAL, THE OLE MISS REBELS. SIX OF THE LAST EIGHT GAMES PLAYED BETWEEN THESE TWO TEAMS HAVE BEEN DECIDED BY TWO RUNS OR LESS. LSU ENTERS THE SERIES IN A THREE-WAY TIE FOR THE OVERALL LEAD IN THE SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE. KENTUCKY, SOUTH CAROLINA AND THE TIGERS ARE ALL 14-AND-7 IN THE LEAGUE.







God Bless America!

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