KSYL Local News

News For Friday 06/22/12


NEWS FOR FRIDAY 062212
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER SAYS THERE'S A 50-PERCENT CHANCE WE COULD SEE OUR FIRST NAMED STORM IN THE GULF OF MEXICO BY THE END OF THE WEEK. STATE CLIMATOLOGIST BARRY KEIM SAYS A BROAD AREA OF LOW PRESSURE IN THE SOUTH-CENTRAL GULF IS SHOWING SIGNS OF STRENGTHENING. IF IT DOES, IT WILL BE KNOWN AS DEBBIE..

THE RAPIDES PARISH SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT REPORTS THAT TWO SUSPECTS WERE ARRESTED YESTERDAY IN CONNECTION WITH A WEDNESDAY NIGHT SHOOTING IN BOYCE THAT LEFT A MAN IN CRITICAL CONDITION. 34 YEAR OLD ROBERT LEBLANC, FROM ALEXANDRIA, AND 36 YEAR OLD DANIEL DAVIS FROM PINEVILLE, HAVE BEEN BOOKED IN THE PARISH JAIL ON SUSPICION OF ATTEMPTED SECOND-DEGREE MURDER AND POSSESSION OF DRUGS. DEPUTIES FOUND, THE UNIDENTIFIED VICTIM, WHO HAD BEEN SHOT, NEAR JIMMY BROWN ROAD IN BOYCE NEAR MIDNIGHT WEDNESDAY. HE WAS TRANSPORTED TO A LOCAL HOSPITAL WHERE HE IS LISTED IN CRITICAL CONDITION.

BETWEEN 75 AND 100 LOCAL OFFICIALS, BUSINESS PEOPLE AND CONCERNED CITIZENS ATTEND A NEWS CONFERENCE YESTERDAY AFTERNOON OUTSIDE THE RAPIDES PARISH SCHOOL DISTRICT OFFICE IN SUPPORT OF KEEPING DR. GARY JONES AS SUPERINTENDENT. LOCAL ATTORNEY AND FORMER JUDGE CHRIS ROY SR. SPOKE TO THE CROWD AS DID ROYOMARTIN PRESIDENT ROY MARTIN. MARTIN SAID GETTING RID OF JONES COULD MEAN A RETURN TO THE "BANANA REPUBLIC" DAYS OF THE PAST, WHEN A "BLOATED, INEFFICIENT SCHOOL SYSTEM" THREW MONEY AWAY AND AWARDED POSITIONS BASED ON CRONYISM. IN ADDITION TO BUILDING ITS BASE, MARTIN SAID CENLA CITIZENS FOR EDUCATION WOULD CONTINUE TO VOICE THEIR OPPOSITION TO REMOVING JONES "VERY, VERY LOUDLY," ATTEND SCHOOL BOARD MEETINGS AND PRESS THE FIVE BOARD MEMBERS WHO VOTED NOT TO RENEW JONES' CONTRACT TO EXPLAIN THEIR DECISION PUBLICLY.

THE ALEXANDRIA HOUSING AUTHORITY'S BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS IN A SPLIT VOTE FAILED TO HIRE A NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR THURSDAY, AND A FORMER BANKER WHO PLAYED A PART IN LENDING AHA $2.5 MILLION IN 2009, TOLD BOARD MEMBERS HE WOULD HELP GET MONEY FROM A FEDERAL AGENCY TO REPAY THE LOAN. BOBBY COLLINS, WHO HAS BEEN DIRECTOR OF THE WINNFIELD HOUSING AUTHORITY SINCE 2006, RECEIVED TEPID AHA BOARD SUPPORT IN HIS BID TO BECOME EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, A JOB THAT IS TO PAY $84,000 A YEAR. AHA WILL HOLD A SPECIAL MEETING TODAY AT 5:30 P.M. TO VOTE AGAIN, WITH ALL FIVE COMMISSIONERS SCHEDULED TO ATTEND.

FUNDING IS AVAILABLE TO CONSTRUCT ANOTHER STRETCH OF INTERSTATE 49, BUT WORK WON'T START FOR ANOTHER 15 MONTHS. LAWMAKERS IN THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION THAT ENDED JUNE 4 CLEARED THE WAY TO USE UNCLAIMED PROPERTY IN THE STATE TREASURY TO FINANCE BONDS TO CONSTRUCT A SECTION IDENTIFIED ON DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION AND DEVELOPMENT MAPS AS SECTION K. IT'S JUST NORTH OF INTERSTATE 220 IN SHREVEPORT. USING UNCLAIMED PROPERTY, WHICH PILES UP EVERY YEAR, WAS THE BRAINCHILD OF TREASURER JOHN KENNEDY.

LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF WILDLIFE AND FISHERIES AGENTS WILL BE OUT IN FORCE THIS WEEKEND, CRACKING DOWN ON DWI BOATERS. AGENTS WILL BE PATROLLING THE STATE'S WATERWAYS DURING OPERATION DRY WATER TODAY THROUGH SUNDAY.

ANOTHER "SWAMP PEOPLE" CAST MEMBER IS IN THE NEWS. "TRAPPER JOE" LAFONTE WAS ARRESTED IN CALIFORNIA ON A DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CHARGE. THE ARREST STEMS FROM A FIGHT WITH HIS GIRLFRIEND AT AN ORANGE COUNTY HOTEL AND SPA. LAFONTE REPORTEDLY PUNCHED THE WOMAN IN THE CHEST AND SHOOK HER VIOLENTLY. TRAPPER JOE WAS BEING HELD ON $1500 BOND.

A&E HAS ORDERED ANOTHER SEASON OF THE SERIES "DUCK DYNASTY" --- THE REALITY SHOW SET IN WEST MONROE ABOUT DUCK HUNTERS. THE NETWORK SAYS IT'S ONE OF THEIR FASTEST GROWING SERIES AS THE FINALE OF DUCK DYNASTY IN SEASON 1 DREW IN 2.6 MILLION TOTAL VIEWERS.

THE LOUISIANA NATIONAL GUARD SAYS MEMBERS OF THE GROUP KNOWN AS THE "BAYOU MILITIA" HAVE BID FAREWELL TO FAMILIES AND FRIENDS DURING A DEPLOYMENT CEREMONY HELD AT THE NAVAL AIR STATION IN BELLE CHASSE. THURSDAY'S CEREMONY WAS FOR ABOUT 250 MEMBERS OF THE LOUISIANA AIR NATIONAL GUARD'S 159TH FIGHTER WING. THE GUARD GAVE FEW DETAILS ABOUT THEIR MISSION, SAYING THEY ARE DEPLOYING IN SUPPORT OF OVERSEAS OPERATIONS IN SOUTHWEST ASIA.

A TEACHER UNION SAYS IT IS ABOUT TO FILE A LAWSUIT AGAINST GOV. BOBBY JINDAL'S VOUCHER PROGRAM. LEADERS OF THE LOUISIANA ASSOCIATION OF EDUCATORS SAY THEY WILL LODGE THEIR CHALLENGE AGAINST THE EDUCATION CHANGES FRIDAY IN BATON ROUGE DISTRICT COURT. THEY OBJECT TO THE USE OF THE STATE'S PUBLIC SCHOOL FINANCING FORMULA TO PAY FOR TUITION TO PRIVATE AND PAROCHIAL SCHOOLS.
THE LAE WILL JOIN ANOTHER UNION, THE LOUISIANA FEDERATION OF TEACHERS, WHICH FILED TWO LAWSUITS EARLIER THIS MONTH AGAINST EDUCATION PROGRAMS JINDAL PUSHED IN THE RECENT LEGISLATIVE SESSION.

GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL WILL ATTEND A WEEKEND RETREAT WITH GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE MITT ROMNEY IN UTAH. THE RETREAT IS REPORTEDLY FOR POTENTIAL RUNNING MATES AND CABINET MEMBERS. UL-MONROE POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR JOSHUA STOCKLEY SAYS ROMNEY'S GUEST LIST IS A WHO'S WHO OF GOP MOVERS AND SHAKERS, WHICH ROMNEY WILL EVALUATE. ALSO ON ROMNEY'S GUEST LIST, NAMES LIKE TIM PAWLENTY, JEB BUSH, CONDOLEEZA RICE AND PAUL RYAN.

THREE TEENAGERS FROM MANSFIELD HAVE BEEN ARRESTED ON A HOST OF CHARGES INCLUDING THE AGGRAVATED RAPE OF A 76-YEAR-OLD WOMAN. POLICE SAY THE INCIDENT HAPPENED DURING A ROBBERY AND ONE OF THE SUSPECTS PUNCHED HER IN THE FACE AND SHE WAS RAPED WHILE SHE WAS BLACKED OUT. A JUDGE THIS MORNING SET THE BOND FOR THE MEN A $1 MILLION EACH.

IT WILL SOON BE LEGAL FOR LOUISIANA MOTORISTS TO USE THEIR CELL PHONE TO SHOW PROOF OF AUTO INSURANCE. SLIDELL REPRESENTATIVE GREG CROMER PASSED A LAW THAT GOES INTO EFFECT AUGUST FIRST THAT GIVES THE GREEN LIGHT FOR INSURERS TO EMAIL AN INSURANCE CARD AS A PDF TO BE USED ON AN ELECTRONIC DEVICE. GOVERNOR JINDAL HAS SIGNED THIS BILL, WHICH WAS SUPPORTED BY STATE POLICE.

RUSTON IS CELEBRATING THE PEACH FESTIVAL THIS SATURDAY AND SUNDAY. THE 61ST ANNUAL EVENT WILL BRING THOUSANDS OF VISITORS TO THE SMALL COLLEGE TOWN. FESTIVAL SPOKESPERSON SCOTT TERRY SAYS EVEN THOUGH THE NUMBERS OF PEACH FARMS HAVE FALLEN IN RECENT YEARS, THE CROP STILL REPRESENTS A BIG BOOST TO THE LOCAL ECONOMY. TERRY SAYS VISITORS COME TO THE FESTIVAL FROM FOUR OR FIVE STATES AWAY.

TWO FORMER NFL PRO BOWL RUNNING BACKS HIGHLIGHT THE 2012 LOUISIANA SPORTS HALL OF FAME CLASS THAT WILL BE INDUCTED ON SATURDAY NIGHT IN NATCHITOCHES. CHAIRMAN OF THE HALL OF FAME, DOUG IRELAND, SAYS DEUCE MCCALLISTER AND WARRICK DUNN WERE TWO OF THE BETTER NFL BACKS IN RECENT HISTORY.

ST. LANDRY PARISH PRESIDENT BILL FONTENOT SAYS HE WILL VETO A PARISH COUNCIL'S VOTE TO RE-ESTABLISH A COUNCIL-APPOINTED SEVEN-MEMBER COMMISSION OVERSEEING THE PARISH AIRPORT. FONTENOT SAID CREATING ANOTHER COMMISSION ADDS ANOTHER LAYER OF GOVERNMENT AND USURPS THE POWERS OF THE PARISH PRESIDENT. TWO FORMER COMMISSION MEMBERS, CHARLES RENAUD AND STEPHEN WOODS, SPOKE AT WEDNESDAY'S MEETING IN FAVOR OF CREATING A NEW COMMISSION. RENAUD SAID A COMMISSION CREATES A SYSTEM OF CHECKS AND BALANCES. COUNCIL CHAIRMAN WAYNE ARDOIN SAID THURSDAY HE IS CONFIDENT THE COUNCIL WOULD CONSIDER OVERRIDING THE PROPOSED VETO BY FONTENOT.

LOUISIANA'S STATE-LICENSED CASINOS TOOK IN $204 MILLION FROM GAMBLERS IN MAY, WINNINGS ON PAR WITH THEIR HAUL A YEAR EARLIER AND A NEARLY 7 PERCENT JUMP FROM THE PREVIOUS MONTH. THE FIGURES, COMPILED BY THE STATE POLICE, WERE PRESENTED THURSDAY TO THE LOUISIANA GAMING CONTROL BOARD. ACROSS THE STATE, THE MIX OF RIVERBOAT, LAND-BASED AND RACE TRACK CASINOS BROUGHT IN $1 MILLION MORE THAN THE $203 MILLION THEY COLLECTED IN 2011 AND NEARLY $13 MILLION MORE THAN THE $191.5 MILLION TAKEN FROM GAMBLERS IN APRIL.

THE STATE'S GAMING CONTROL BOARD HAS APPROVED PLANS FOR AMERISTAR CASINOS' NEW LAKE CHARLES PROJECT; THE PLACE FORMERLY KNOWN AS MOJITO POINTE. THE COMPANY PLANS A $500-MILLION CASINO-RESORT PROJECT RIGHT NEXT TO THE L'AUBERGE DU LAC CASINO IN LAKE CHARLES. CONSTRUCTION SHOULD BEGIN IN JULY.

THE INCOMING FORMER TERREBONNE PARISH SHERIFF HAS INFORMED 24 DEPUTIES AND STAFF WITHIN THE OFFICE THAT THEY WILL NOT HAVE JOBS WHEN HE TAKES OVER JULY 1.
JERRY LARPENTER, THE PARISH'S SHERIFF FOR 22 YEARS WHO OPTED OUT OF RUNNING AGAIN IN 2007 TO RUN FOR PARISH PRESIDENT, SAID HE INFORMED PERSONNEL OF THE LAYOFFS AND DEMOTIONS BY LETTERS. THOSE IN THE SHERIFF'S OFFICE DO NOT HAVE CIVIL SERVICE PROTECTION, SO THE DEPUTIES AND STAFF WHO ARE BEING LET GO WILL LOSE THEIR SALARIES AND BENEFITS AT MIDNIGHT JULY 1. LARPENTER SAID HE IS CONCERNED HE WILL NOT HAVE ENOUGH MONEY TO RUN OPERATIONS WHEN HE TAKES OFFICE.

SCIENTISTS PREDICT THAT THIS YEAR'S "DEAD ZONE" OF LOW-OXYGEN WATER IN THE GULF OF MEXICO WILL BE LARGER THAN AVERAGE BUT NOWHERE NEAR A RECORD. NANCY RABALAIS OF THE LOUISIANA UNIVERSITIES MARINE CONSORTIUM SAYS SCIENTISTS EXPECT THE AREA WHERE OXYGEN LEVELS ARE TOO LOW TO SUSTAIN LIFE TO COVER ABOUT 6,210 SQUARE MILES OFF LOUISIANA AND TEXAS THIS SUMMER. THAT'S A BIT LARGER THAN THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT.

A RESEARCHER AT THE LSU HEALTH SCIENCES CENTER IN SHREVEPORT HAS BEEN AWARDED A $1.8 MILLION GRANT TO CONTINUE HIS STUDIES ON HOW HYDROGEN SULFIDE COULD HELP IMPROVE POOR CIRCULATION IN PEOPLE'S LEGS. DR. CHRIS KEVIL SAYS THE AIM IS TO DEVELOP NEW DRUGS TO TREAT PERIPHERAL ARTERY DISEASE.

God Bless America!

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