KSYL Local News

News For Thursday 06/28/12


NEWS FOR THURSDAY 062812
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

LOUISIANA COLLEGE IN PINEVILLE HAS BEEN DENIED ACCREDITATION TO OFFER JURIS DOCTORATE DEGREES AT IT'S NEW LAW SCHOOL BY SACS, THE SOUTHERN ASSOCIATION OF COLLEGES AND SCHOOLS. THE COLLEGE WAS DENIED THE MOVE FROM LEVEL III TO LEVEL V BECAUSE THE INSTITUTION, ACCORDING TO SACS, "IT DID NOT PROVIDE AN ACCEPTABLE PLAN AND SUPPORTING DOCUMENTATION. BELLE. WHEELAN, PRESIDENT OF SACS, SAID BEING DENIED ACCREDITATION AT THIS LEVEL HAPPENS BUT LESS THAN 10 PERCENT OF THE TIME. LC PLANS TO RESPOND TO SACS ONCE THE FULL REPORT IS RELEASED NEXT MONTH.

THEY SAY THEY ARE LOOKING FOR A NEW LOCATION, BUT IT IS VERY LIKELY GREYHOUND BUS SERVICE WILL END IN ALEXANDRIA ON JULY 9TH. GREYHOUND HAS OPERATED OUT OF THE LEEBO'S CONVENIENCE STORE OFF OF AIRBASE ROAD AT THE INTERSECTION OF INTERSTATE 49 SINCE NOVEMBER 2010. THE OWNER OF LEEBO'S HAS DECIDED HE WILL NOT RENEW THE BUS COMPANY’S CONTRACT. CUSTOMERS WHO HAVE TICKETS FOR FUTURE TRAVEL AFTER JULY 9 ARE ABLE TO USE THOSE TICKETS AT ANY GREYHOUND LOCATION NEAR THEM. ONLY PROBLEM IS, THERE ARE NO LOCATIONS NEW THEM. THE CLOSEST GREYHOUND LOCATIONS ARE IN LAFAYETTE, MONROE AND SHREVEPORT.

JINDAL ADMINISTRATION LEADERS WARNED WEDNESDAY THAT A PROPOSAL BEING CONSIDERED BY CONGRESS DURING FINAL NEGOTIATIONS OVER A MASSIVE TRANSPORTATION SPENDING PLAN COULD STRIP MORE THAN $650 MILLION IN FEDERAL FUNDING FROM LOUISIANA'S MEDICAID PROGRAM OVER TWO YEARS. THE CUT COULD SHUTTER SERVICES AND FORCE DEEP REDUCTIONS TO SPENDING ON HOSPITALS THAT CARE FOR THE POOR AND UNINSURED IN THE FISCAL YEAR THAT BEGINS JULY 1. CONGRESSIONAL REPUBLICANS HAVE BEEN PUSHING TO FIND WAYS TO OFFSET SOME OF THE COSTS FOR THE HIGHWAY PROGRAM.

THE STATE BOARD OF REGENTS ANNOUNCED YESTERDAY, NEARLY ALL OF LOUISIANA'S PUBLIC COLLEGES HAVE MET THE PERFORMANCE STANDARDS AND THEY NEED TO BE ALLOWED TO RAISE TUITION ON STUDENTS BY 10 PERCENT IN THE UPCOMING SCHOOL YEAR. TWO SCHOOLS WEREN'T APPROVED TO BOOST STUDENT COSTS: LSU-EUNICE AND SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY AT SHREVEPORT. THE CAMPUSES FELL SHORT OF THE STANDARDS REQUIRED UNDER THE 2010 LAW AUTHORIZING THE TUITION INCREASES, CALLED THE GRAD ACT.

LOUISIANA IS ABOUT TO BECOME WHAT OFFICIALS CALL THE FIRST STATE TO LAUNCH A HUGE EXPANSION OF HOW COURSES ARE OFFERED TO PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS, WITH PRIVATE FIRMS, COLLEGES AND EVEN FORMER TEACHERS EXPECTED TO ENTER A REVAMPED EDUCATION SYSTEM. EDUCATION LEADERS ARE TOUTING THE EXPANSION AS PRIMARILY ANOTHER OPTION FOR STUDENTS IN C, D AND F SCHOOLS. OFFICIALS SAY THE NEW COURSE PROVIDERS WILL HELP STUDENTS TO CATCH UP WITH THEIR PEERS AND GRADUATE ON TIME, OR TO TAKE CLASSES NOT OFFERED IN THEIR SCHOOLS.

COL. BRET VAN CAMP WILL TAKE COMMAND TODAY OF THE 1ST MANEUVER ENHANCEMENT BRIGADE BASED AT FORT POLK. IT IS A JOINT ORGANIZATION OF MORE THAN 3,100 SOLDIERS, AIRMEN AND MARINES FROM 21 UNITS AT 12 INSTALLATIONS, TRAINED TO SUPPORT LOCAL, STATE, AND FEDERAL DISASTER OPERATIONS WITH COMMUNICATIONS, POLICE AND OTHER WORK. VAN CAMP WILL TAKE CONTROL FROM COL. DAVID THEISEN, WHO HAS COMMANDED THE BRIGADE SINCE MAY 2010.

FOLLOWING THE TRAGIC DEATH OF A LAFAYETTE TODDLER, LEFT IN A PARKED VEHICLE ALL DAY, STATE OFFICIALS URGE PARENTS AND CAREGIVERS TO TAKE WHATEVER STEPS NECESSARY TO REMEMBER WHEN CHILDREN ARE IN THE BACK SEAT. DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES SPOKESMAN TREY WILLIAMS RECOMMENDS USING VISUAL CUES TO REMIND YOU WHEN YOUR KID IS IN THE CAR. HE SAYS IT CAN BE EASIER TO FORGET A CHILD IN THE BACK SEAT THAN ONE MIGHT THINK---ESPECIALLY IF THE CHILD IS QUIET.

ANOTHER CHILD HAS DROWNED IN DENHAM SPRINGS. THE LIVINGSTON PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE SAYS THE FAMILY FOUND THEIR 3-YEAR-OLD IN AN ABOVE GROUND POOL. CPR WAS ATTEMPTED, BUT THE CHILD DIED AT THE HOSPITAL. THIS IS THE 5TH DROWNING OF A LOUISIANA CHILD UNDER THE AGE OF 1O IN ONE WEEK.

HOT DRY WEATHER IS SLOWLY PUSHING PORTIONS OF THE STATE BACK INTO DROUGHT CONDITIONS. STATE CLIMATOLOGIST BARRY KEIM SAYS IT'S A RETURN OF A SUMMER PATTERN THE STATE HAS BEEN FORCED TO ENDURE FOR THE LAST FEW YEARS. HE SAYS THE LATEST DROUGHT IS AGAIN HITTING NORTH LOUISIANA HARDEST. KEIM SAYS AS LONG AS THIS HIGH PRESSURE AREA PERSISTS, THE NORTHERN PART OF THE STATE WILL STAY DRY.

A DESOTO PARISH GRAND JURY INDICTS THREE MEN FOR A BRUTAL HOME INVASION ASSAULT ON AN ELDERLY WOMAN IN MANSFIELD EARLIER THIS MONTH. THE SUSPECTS ARE ACCUSED OF BATTERY, AGGRAVATED BURGLARY AND AGGRAVATED RAPE. THE LATTER CARRIES A MANDATORY LIFE SENTENCE, WITH NO PAROLE OR PROBATION, IF CONVICTED. THE TRIO ARE ALL EITHER 18 OR 19 YEARS OLD. THEY'RE BEING HELD PENDING BOND AT OVER A MILLION DOLLARS EACH.

MONROE SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT KATHLEEN HARRIS HAS BEEN SUSPENDED WHILE THE MONROE CITY SCHOOL BOARD CONDUCTS AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE OPERATION OF THE DISTRICT DURING HER TENURE. SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS VOTED 5-2 TUESDAY TO PLACE HARRIS ON LEAVE WITH PAY WHILE THEY LOOK INTO SEVERAL AREAS OF CONCERN.
THE CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER WILL SERVE AS THE DISTRICT'S ACTING SUPERINTENDENT DURING THE INVESTIGATION. THE BOARD ALREADY HAS VOTED NOT TO RENEW HARRIS' CONTRACT, WHICH EXPIRES ON DEC. 31, BUT HAS NOT DISCUSSED AN EARLY END TO THAT CONTRACT.

A WEST MONROE PACKAGING PLANT PLANS AN EXPANSION THAT WILL MEAN 40 NEW JOBS. GRAPHIC PACKAGING INTERNATIONAL WILL MAKE NEW PAPER-BASED PACKAGING FOR CAPRI SUN CHILDREN'S BEVERAGES. GOVERNOR JINDAL WAS ON HAND IN WEST MONROE TODAY FOR THAT ANNOUNCEMENT. HE SAYS THE NEW CAPRI SUN PACKAGES WILL BE MORE ECO-FRIENDLY AND MAKING THEM WILL CONSERVE ENERGY.

A LAKE CHARLES WOMAN AND HER SONS ARE UNDER ARREST FOR POSSESSING THE SYNTHETIC DRUG COMMONLY CALLED "BATH SALTS". ALL THREE ARE CHARGED WITH POSSESSION WITH INTENT TO DISTRIBUTE. DRUGS WITH A STREET VALUE OF OVER $100-THOUSAND WERE SEIZED.

FORTY-YEAR-OLD LAFOURCHE PARISH SHERIFF'S DEPUTY MURPHY MELANCON IS UNDER ARREST FOR ALLEGEDLY HAVING A SEXUAL RELATIONSHIP WITH A 16-YEAR-OLD RUNAWAY. THE TERREBONNE PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE MADE THE ARREST AFTER GETTING A TIP ABOUT THE UNDERAGE GIRL. MELANCON HAS SINCE BEEN FIRED.

A CLASS-ACTION LAWSUIT FILED WEDNESDAY IN NEW ORLEANS SEEKS TO HAVE NEARLY 500 PEOPLE WHO WERE CONVICTED OF SOLICITING ORAL OR ANAL SEX FOR MONEY UNDER LOUISIANA'S "CRIME AGAINST NATURE BY SOLICITATION" LAW REMOVED FROM THE STATE'S SEX OFFENDER REGISTRY. A FEDERAL JUDGE IN NEW ORLEANS RULED IN APRIL THAT THE NAMES OF NINE PLAINTIFFS WHO WERE CONVICTED OF THE SAME OFFENSE MUST BE STRICKEN FROM THE REGISTRY. THE FEDERAL SUIT ARGUES THE RULING SHOULD BE APPLIED TO ANYONE IN THE SAME POSITION. THE STATE LEGISLATURE AMENDED THE 200-YEAR-OLD LAW LAST YEAR SO THAT ANYONE CONVICTED OF A "CRIME AGAINST NATURE BY SOLICITATION" NO LONGER WILL BE REQUIRED TO REGISTER. BUT THE LEGISLATIVE CHANGE DIDN'T APPLY TO THE NINE PEOPLE WHO SUED OR ROUGHLY 484 OTHER PEOPLE STATEWIDE WHO ALREADY WERE REGISTERED.

THE ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS SAYS IT'S SCRAPPING PLANS TO BUILD A LEVEE SYSTEM TO PROTECT A LARGE AREA OF SOUTH LOUISIANA AGAINST HURRICANE FLOODING COMING UP THE BARATARIA ESTUARY SOUTHWEST OF NEW ORLEANS. THE CORPS SAID IT COULD NOT FIND AN ECONOMICALLY FEASIBLE WAY TO BUILD LEVEES OR RAISE ENOUGH HOMES TO GIVE PARTS OF NINE PARISHES PROTECTION AGAINST A STORM WITH A 1 PERCENT CHANCE OF OCCURRING A YEAR, ALSO KNOWN AS 100-YEAR PROTECTION. THE PROJECT WAS SUPPOSED TO PROVIDE ADDITIONAL PROTECTION FOR PARTS OF ASCENSION, ASSUMPTION, JEFFERSON, LAFOURCHE, ORLEANS, PLAQUEMINES, ST. JAMES, ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST, ST. CHARLES.

 

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