KSYL Local News

News For Monday Morning 05/07/12


NEWS FOR MONDAY 050712
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

EFFECTIVE TODAY, BUTCH BROWNING BUTCH BROWNING IS BACK AS LOUISIANA STATE FIRE MARSHAL. STATE POLICE SUPERINTENDENT COL. MIKE EDMONSON SAYS AFTER AN EXTENSIVE INVESTIGATION INTO ALLEGATIONS BROWNING ATTEMPTED TO DEFRAUD THE DEPARTMENT OR PUBLIC TRUST, HE ASKED HIM TO RECONSIDER HIS DECISION TO RETIRE. BROWNING SUBMITTED HIS INTENT TO RETIRE IN APRIL TELLING THE DEPARTMENT HE HAD DECIDED TO TAKE A JOB IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR. EDMONSON SAYS THE ALLEGATIONS THAT WERE MADE AGAINST BROWNING WERE TOTALLY WITHOUT MERIT. HE SAYS THE STATE FIRE MARSHAL'S OFFICE HAS MADE GREAT STRIDES UNDER BROWNING'S LEADERSHIP OVER THE YEARS.

THE 2012 LEGISLATIVE SESSION IS DOWN TO ITS LAST 28 DAYS WITH A NUMBER OF CRITICAL ISSUES STILL ON THE TABLE, INCLUDING STATE WORKER RETIREMENT REFORM AND THE BUDGET. LAPOLITICS.COM PUBLISHER JOHN MAGINNIS SAYS THE ADMINISTRATION LOOKED UNSTOPPABLE AFTER PASSING ITS EDUCATION REFORM PACKAGE, BUT IS NOW RUNNING INTO RESISTANCE FROM LAWMAKERS. PROBLEMS WITH THE STATE RETIREMENT BILLS AND THE STATE BUDGET ARE MAJOR STICKING POINTS. THE PROPOSED BUDGET FOR NEXT FISCAL YEAR WILL BE UP FOR DISCUSSION ON THURSDAY IN THE HOUSE. FISCAL CONSERVATIVES ARE NOT HAPPY WITH IT, BECAUSE IT CONTAINS 346-MILLION DOLLARS IN ONE-TIME MONEY. THE STATE IS ALSO 211-MILLION DOLLARS SHORT FOR THIS FISCAL YEAR. MAGINNIS SAYS TAPPING INTO THE RAINY-DAY FUND COULD BE THE STATE'S ONLY OPTION...

STOCKING UP ON FLASHLIGHTS, BATTERIES AND OTHER ITEMS TO GET READY FOR HURRICANE SEASON THIS SUMMER? YOU MIGHT WANT TO WAIT UNTIL MAY 26 AND 27, WHEN THE STATE HOLDS A SALES TAX HOLIDAY FOR HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS ITEMS. THAT WEEKEND, LOUISIANA RESIDENTS WON'T HAVE TO PAY THE 4 PERCENT STATE SALES TAX ON A LIST OF ITEMS LIKE FLASHLIGHTS AND CANDLES, WEATHER RADIOS, WATERPROOF SHEETING, GAS OR DIESEL FUEL TANKS, BATTERIES AND CHARGERS AND STORM SHUTTER DEVICES. THE SALES TAX HOLIDAY EXEMPTS THE FIRST $1,500 OF THE PURCHASE PRICE.
LOCAL SALES TAXES STILL APPLY UNLESS THE MUNICIPALITY EXEMPTED THEM. HURRICANE SEASON BEGINS JUNE 1.

A MEMBER OF THE HOUSE COMMITTEE THAT CRAFTS THE STATE'S ANNUAL BUDGET WANTS TO STRIP THE INSPECTOR GENERAL'S OFFICE OF ITS FUNDING. NAPOLEONVILLE REP. JOE HARRISON SAYS THE IG'S ANNUAL $1.7-MILLION BUDGET REPRESENTS REDUNDANCY IN STATE SPENDING. THE HOUSE APPROPRIATION COMMITTEE VOTED 11-4 THURSDAY IN SUPPORT OF HARRISON'S AMENDMENT TO STRIP THE IG'S FUNDING FOR THE FISCAL YEAR THAT STARTS JULY 1ST. INSPECTOR GENERAL STEPHEN STREET SAYS STRIPPING HIS BUDGET WILL EFFECTIVELY SHUT HIS OFFICE DOWN, SOMETHING HE SAYS WOULD SEND THE WORST POSSIBLE MESSAGE ABOUT LOUISIANA TO THE NATION.

BRANDON WILLIS, A FORMER PRISON GUARD HAS BEEN SENTENCED TO NEARLY SIX YEARS IN PRISON FOR ATTEMPTING TO SMUGGLE DRUGS INTO THE U.S. PENITENTIARY AT POLLOCK. THE 27 YEAR OLD WILLIS WAS SENTENCED FRIDAY TO 71 MONTHS AND THREE YEARS OF SUPERVISED PROBATION. HE WAS ARRESTED IN AUGUST AFTER MEETING WITH AN UNDERCOVER AGENT AND AGREEING TO SMUGGLE HEROIN AND METHAMPHETAMINE INTO THE PRISON, WHERE HE WORKED AS A GUARD.

JUDGE THOMAS YEAGER FRIDAY DELAYED THE SENTENCING OF A FORMER NURSE WHO WAS CONVICTED OF MOLESTING A 23 YEAR OLD MALE APPENDECTOMY PATIENT WHILE WE WAS N A LOCAL HOSPITAL’S RECOVERY ROOM. A SIX-MEMBER JURY TOOK LESS THAN AN HOUR ON APRIL 19 TO CONVICT 47 YEAR OLD PHILIP RAINES, A DECORATED ARMY VETERAN, CLAIMED THAT HE NEVER INAPPROPRIATELY TOUCHED THE VICTIM. YEAGER SAID FRIDAY THAT HE POSTPONED THE SENTENCE UNTIL JUNE 1 SO HE COULD READ LETTERS FROM THE VICTIM'S FAMILY, AND TO ALLOW RAINES' CHILDREN TO FINISH THE SCHOOL YEAR. RAINES FACES UP TO 10 YEARS IN PRISON WITHOUT PAROLE OR EARLY RELEASE.

TWO WOMEN ARE SUING A LOUISIANA SCHOOL BECAUSE THEY SAY OFFICIALS DIDN'T STOP PERSISTENT BULLYING THAT LED A 17-YEAR-OLD GIRL TO HANG HERSELF FROM THE FOOTBALL BLEACHERS IN MARCH. THE LAWSUIT WAS FILED BY THE GRAND MOTHER AND AUNT OF TESA MIDDLEBROOK, A POINTE COUPEE CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT. THE SUIT CLAIMS STAFF FAILED TO ACCOUNT FOR TESA AFTER SHE ATTENDED HOMEROOM ON MARCH 3, DESPITE THE FACT THAT SHE HAD BEEN PLACED ON A SCHOOL "WATCH LIST" AND HER WHEREABOUTS WERE SUPPOSED TO BE MONITORED. THE SUIT ASKS FOR FUNERAL COSTS AND OTHER UNSPECIFIED DAMAGES. THE POINTE COUPEE PARISH CORONER'S OFFICE SAID TESA DIED AROUND MIDDAY, BUT HER FAMILY DID NOT KNOW ANYTHING WAS WRONG UNTIL SHE FAILED TO GET OFF THE BUS THAT AFTERNOON.

A MURDER/SUICIDE INVESTIGATION IS UNDERWAY IN DESOTO PARISH WHERE OFFICIALS SAY A FATHER SHOT HIS TWO CHILDREN, THEN TURNED THE GUN ON HIMSELF. SHERIFF'S OFFICE SPOKESPERSON SGT ADAM EUING SAYS THEY RECEIVED A CALL OVER NIGHT FROM ANOTHER FAMILY MEMBER WITHIN THE HOME. EUING SAYS THE TRAGIC INCIDENT HAPPENED IN THE SMALL COMMUNITY OF FRIERSON. HE SAYS WHEN OFFICERS ARRIVED IT WAS PLAIN TO SEE WHAT HAD HAPPENED THOUGH THE MATTER IS STILL OFFICIALLY CONSIDERED TO BE UNDER INVESTIGATION. SHERIFF ARBUCKLE SAYS 39-YEAR-OLD SCOTT SWANSON SHOT 7-YEAR-OLD ALTON SWANSON AND 4-YEAR-OLD JACOB SWANSON, THEN TURNED THE GUN ON HIMSELF.

SHRIMPING SEASON IN LOUISIANA GETS STARTED TODAY. MARTY BOURGEOIS, WITH STATE WILDLIFE & FISHERIES, SAYS THE FIRST SHRIMPING ZONE OPENED THIS MORNING AT SIX O'CLOCK. LOUISIANA LEADS THE COUNTRY IN SHRIMP PRODUCTION. OVER 90-MILLION POUNDS OF SHRIMP WERE HARVESTED FROM LOUISIANA WATERS LAST YEAR. BOURGEOIS SAYS IT LOOKS LIKE ANOTHER BOUNTIFUL HARVEST THIS YEAR.

THE BULLDOG NATION IS CELEBRATING TODAY AS THE TECH ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT ANNOUNCES THE UNIVERSITY IS JOINING CONFERENCE USA STARTING JULY 1ST, 2013. TECH PRESIDENT DAN RENEAU SAYS BEING A MEMBER OF CUSA IS A LANDMARK EVENT THAT GREATLY ENHANCES THE IMAGE OF LOUISIANA TECH.





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