KSYL Local News

News For Wednesday 06/13/12


NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY 061312
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

ANOTHER QUESTIONABLE INSTITUTION COULD BE RECEIVING A LARGE AMOUNT OF TAXPAYER MONEY UNDER THE NEW SCHOOL VOUCHER PROGRAM. AN ARTICLE IN TODAY’S TOWN TALK INDICATED THE OPERATOR OF THE BEAU VER CHRISTIAN ACADEMY IN DERIDDER HAS A CRIMINAL RECORD AND IS ON PROBATION FOR WRITING BAD CHECKS AND IS PROHIBITED FROM SIGNING CHECKS ON PERSONAL OR BUSINESS ACCOUNTS. THE SCHOOL, WHICH IN IT PRIOR INCARNATION EXPERIENCED SEVERE FINANCIAL PROBLEMS, HAS RECEIVED INITIAL APPROVAL FOR 119 SCHOOL VOUCHERS IN THE STATE'S STUDENT SCHOLARSHIPS FOR EDUCATIONAL EXCELLENCE PROGRAM. IF ALL WERE FUNDED, THEY WOULD BE WORTH MORE THAN $400,000 IN A 10-MONTH SCHOOL YEAR.

THE SALE OF DOGS AND CATS WILL BE BANNED FROM ROADSIDES, FLEA MARKETS, PUBLIC PARKS AND PUBLIC PLAYGROUNDS. GOV. BOBBY JINDAL SIGNED INTO LAW TUESDAY THE PROHIBITION INCLUDED IN A BILL BY JEFFERSON PARISH REP. TONY LIGI. VIOLATION WILL CARRY UP TO A $250 FINE THE FIRST TIME, THEN UP TO $1,000 FOR SUBSEQUENT OFFENSES.

IT’S A STORY THAT EVEN MADE THE FRONT PAGES OF PAPERS IN GREAT BRITAIN. IT’S THE BEGINNING OF THE END FOR AN INSTITUTION THAT HAS HAD A MAJOR INFLUENCE IN LOUISIANA FOR CLOSE TO 200 YEARS. THE TIMES-PICAYUNE SAID TUESDAY 200 EMPLOYEES WILL LOSE THEIR JOBS WHEN ONE OF THE NATION'S OLDEST DAILY NEWSPAPERS SHIFTS ITS FOCUS TO ONLINE NEWS AND PUBLISHES JUST THREE DAYS A WEEK BEGINNING THIS FALL. THE PAPER SAID 84 OF THE NEWSROOM'S 173 EMPLOYEES WERE CUT AT THE 175-YEAR-OLD PAPER. ADVERTISING, CIRCULATION AND OTHER DEPARTMENTS ALSO WERE AFFECTED. THE CHANGE MEANS NEW ORLEANS WILL BECOME THE LARGEST METRO AREA IN THE NATION WITHOUT A DAILY NEWSPAPER.

A STATE DISTRICT JUDGE HAS SET BAIL AT $1 MILLION FOR THE SUSPECTED DRUNKEN DRIVER ACCUSED OF VEHICULAR HOMICIDE IN THE DEATHS OF SEVEN PEOPLE IN A MAY 30 HEAD-ON COLLISION IN EAST FELICIANA PARISH. BRETT GERALD HAD BEEN IN THE EAST FELICIANA PARISH PRISON WITHOUT BAIL SINCE JUNE 4. GERALD, RECOVERING FROM ANKLE INJURIES AND SEATED IN A WHEELCHAIR, APPEARED BEFORE JUDGE WILLIAM G. CARMICHAEL FOR TUESDAY'S BAIL HEARING ON THE SEVEN COUNTS OF VEHICULAR HOMICIDE. THE CONDITIONS OF THE BAIL INCLUDE LIVING WITH HIS FATHER, NOT LEAVING THE HOUSE UNLESS GOING TO CHURCH OR GETTING MEDICAL TREATMENT, AND BEING OUTFITTED WITH AN ELECTRONIC MONITORING DEVICE. GERALD'S ARRAIGNMENT ON THE CHARGES SLATED FOR TUESDAY WAS POSTPONED UNTIL JUNE 26 BECAUSE GERALD DID NOT HAVE AN ATTORNEY PRESENT.

A NEW REPORT FROM THE LEGISLATIVE AUDITOR'S OFFICE SAYS A STATE JOB-TRAINING AND EMPLOYMENT PROGRAM SPENT BETWEEN $3 MILLION AND $5 MILLION MORE ON TRANSPORTATION THAN IT SHOULD HAVE COMPARED TO PRACTICES USED IN OTHER STATES OR EVEN WITHIN OTHER AREAS OF STATE GOVERNMENT. THE STRATEGIES TO EMPOWER PEOPLE PROGRAM, KNOWN AS STEP AND RUN THROUGH THE DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES, ALSO FAILED TO MEET ITS GOALS OF GETTING WELFARE RECIPIENTS BACK TO WORK, WITH ONLY A QUARTER OF THOSE INVOLVED LAST YEAR LEAVING THE PROGRAM WITH A JOB. ISSUED MONDAY, THE REPORT SHARPLY CRITICIZES THE AMOUNT STEP PAYS TO GET ITS ROUGHLY 2,860 PARTICIPANTS TO WORK ACTIVITIES. MORE THAN 60 PERCENT OF THE PROGRAM'S $8.9 MILLION BUDGET GOES TOWARD TRANSPORTATION COSTS.

A LEADER OF CONSERVATIVE HOUSE REPUBLICANS CALLED IT "SHAMEFUL" TUESDAY THAT A GOP-CONTROLLED LOUISIANA LEGISLATURE PASSED A $25.6 BILLION BUDGET THAT CONTAINED ONE-TIME FUNDING SCRAPED TOGETHER TO AVERT DEEP CUTS TO STATE SERVICES. REP. BRETT GEYMANN, R-LAKE CHARLES, SAID WHILE THE GOP HOLDS THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE AND BOTH CHAMBERS OF THE LEGISLATURE, LITTLE HAS CHANGED AT THE STATE CAPITOL IN BUDGETING MANEUVERS. GEYMANN IS ONE OF THREE DOZEN LAWMAKERS IN THE HOUSE WHO CALL THEMSELVES "FISCAL HAWKS" AND WHO PUSHED FOR REDUCED SPENDING IN THE FISCAL YEAR THAT BEGINS JULY 1. ALEXANDRIA’S LANCE HARRIS IS ALSO A MEMBER OF THE HAWKS.

A HANDFUL OF PROPOSALS THAT CHIP AWAY AT PROVISIONS OF THE STATE'S ETHICS CODE RECEIVED THE BACKING OF GOV. BOBBY JINDAL, WHO SIGNED INTO LAW NEW EXCEPTIONS TUESDAY TO NEPOTISM BANS AND CONTRACTING PROHIBITIONS. CRITICS OF SOME OF THE PROVISIONS SAY THE CHANGES COULD UNDERMINE ETHICS LAWS AND LEAD TO MORE SWEEPING EXCEPTIONS IN LATER YEARS. GOVERNOR JINDAL SIGNED THAT MEASURE AND THREE OTHER ETHICS EXEMPTION BILLS, ALL OPPOSED BY THE BOARD OF ETHICS.

GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL HAS SIGNED INTO LAW A BILL THAT WOULD BAN DOCTORS FROM PERFORMING ABORTIONS 20 WEEKS AFTER CONCEPTION. THE BILL GOES INTO EFFECT AUGUST 1ST AND CARRIES FINES AND IMPRISONMENT FOR ANY PHYSICIAN THAT PERFORMS AN ABORTION AFTER THE 20 WEEK CUT-OFF.

STATE TRANSPORTATION OFFICIALS ARE EXAMINING WHETHER TOLLS WOULD BE A VIABLE OPTION TO PAY FOR THE COMPLETION OF INTERSTATE 49 SOUTH FROM LAFAYETTE TO NEW ORLEANS. THE STATE LEGISLATURE PASSED A RESOLUTION REQUESTING A STUDY TO BE COMPLETED BY DECEMBER. IT'S BEEN ESTIMATED THAT IT WILL COST FIVE-BILLION DOLLARS TO BUILD AN INTERSTATE THAT WOULD CONNECT LAFAYETTE AND NEW ORLEANS.

GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL HAS SIGNED A BILL SHORTENING VOTING HOURS FOR SATURDAY ELECTIONS IN LOUISIANA. UNDER THE MEASURE, POLLS WILL OPEN AN HOUR LATER AT 7AM STARTING NEXT YEAR.

A FEDERAL APPEALS COURT RULES IN FAVOR OF RED LIGHT CAMERAS. THE CASE WAS A CHALLENGE OF USING THE TRAFFIC CAMS IN THE CITY OF NEW ORLEANS. THE 5TH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS RULED THE CAMERAS ARE CONSTITUTIONAL; AFFIRMING A LOWER COURT'S RULING. THE COURT RULED THE CAMS DO REDUCE ACCIDENTS.

THE LOUISIANA COMMUNITY AND TECHNICAL COLLEGE SYSTEM BOARD OF SUPERVISORS IS EXPECTED TO CONSIDER A PROPOSAL TO MERGE CERTAIN NORTHEAST LOUISIANA TECHNICAL COLLEGE CAMPUSES WITH LOUISIANA DELTA COMMUNITY COLLEGE AT ITS WEDNESDAY'S BOARD MEETING IN BATON ROUGE. GOV. BOBBY JINDAL SIGNED THE MERGER BILL THURSDAY. BOARD APPROVAL IS THE SECOND STEP IN THE MERGER PROCESS.
THE LEGISLATION WILL MERGE THE BASTROP, DELTA-OUACHITA, NORTH CENTRAL, NORTHEAST LOUISIANA, RUSTON AND TALLULAH CAMPUSES OF THE LOUISIANA TECHNICAL COLLEGE WITH DELTA AND TRANSFERS ALL FUNDS, OBLIGATIONS, PROPERTY, PROGRAMS, FACILITIES AND FUNCTIONS RELATIVE TO THESE TECHNICAL COLLEGE CAMPUSES TO LOUISIANA DELTA COMMUNITY COLLEGE EFFECTIVE JULY 1. THE MERGER WILL STILL NEED TO RECEIVE THE BLESSING OF THE SOUTHERN ASSOCIATION OF COLLEGES AND SCHOOLS (SACS), WHICH MEETS IN LATE THIS MONTH.

THE MONROE FIRE DEPARTMENT ARE TRYING TO DETERMINE HOW A MORNING FIRE YESTERDAY GOT STARTED AT THE UNIVERSITY OF LOUISIANA AT MONROE. REPORTS INDICATE THE FIRE STARTED IN A JANITOR'S CLOSET. FIRE AND UNIVERSITY PERSONNEL REPORT THERE WERE NO INJURIES IN THE BLAZE.


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