KSYL Local News

News For Monday 07/02/12


NEWS FOR MONDAY 070212
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

RETURNING RAPIDES PARISH SHERIFF WILLIAM EARL HILTON TAKES OVER THE REINS TODAY. THE SHERIFF ON FRIDAY TOLD DEPUTIES THEIR JOBS ARE SAFE. HE ALSO INTRODUCED FORMER ALEXANDRIA POLICE CHIEF TOMMY CICARDO AS HIS CHIEF OF DETECTIVES. HILTON TOLD THE ASSEMBLED AT HIS SWEARING CEREMONY HE PLANS TO GET THE FORMER LOUISIANA YOUTH ACADEMY READY TO HOUSE 137 STATE PRISONERS NOW AT THE DABADIE CORRECTIONAL CENTER IN PINEVILLE. ONCE THAT FACILITY CLOSES LATER THIS MONTH, HILTON SAYS THE STATE WILL PAY $23.49 PER PRISONER DAY TO HOUSE THE INMATES.

THE RAPIDES PARISH SCHOOL BOARD IS CONSIDERING JOINING A LAWSUIT SEEKING TO UNDO LOUISIANA GOV. BOBBY JINDAL'S VOUCHER PROGRAM. THE LOUISIANA SCHOOL BOARDS ASSOCIATION AND 34 SCHOOL BOARDS, INCLUDING CONCORDIA AND EVANGELINE IN CENTRAL LOUISIANA, FILED SUIT THURSDAY. THE RAPIDES PARISH SCHOOL BOARD HAS CALLED A SPECIAL MEETING AT 5 P.M. TUESDAY.

CONSTRUCTION OF THE REPLACEMENT FOR THE OK ALLEN BRIDGE, CONNECTING ALEXANDRIA AND PINEVILLE, IS, ACCORDING TO CONTRACTORS, 39% COMPLETE. THE REPLACEMENT OF THE AGING BRIDGE AND IT’S APPROACH ROADS, IS THE FINAL STEP IN THE WIDENING OF HIGHWAY 165 FROM I-10 OUTSIDE OF LAKE CHARLES TO I-20 AT MONROE. THE ENTIRE PROJECT IS SCHEDULED FOR COMPLETION IN EARLY 2014.

GOVERNOR JINDAL WENT ON NATIONAL TV OVER THE WEEKEND TO REITERATE LOUISIANA WILL NOT SET UP A HEALTH INSURANCE EXCHANGE, WHICH IS REQUIRED BY PRESIDENT OBAMA'S HEALTH CARE LAW. THE EXCHANGES ARE DESIGNED TO HELP PEOPLE BUY HEALTH INSURANCE FROM A RANGE OF COMPANIES. AS A GUEST ON NBC'S "MEET THE PRESS" JINDAL SAYS THE ANSWER TO BETTER HEALTH CARE IS TO HELP PROVIDE BETTER JOBS, SO THAT PEOPLE CAN AFFORD HEALTH INSURANCE.

A PRISON IN THE NORTH LOUISIANA TOWN OF KEITHVILLE HAS CLOSED IT’S DOORS, A VICTIM OF STATE BUDGET CUTS. THE FORCHT-WADE CORRECTIONAL CENTER HOUSED 500 INMATES AND EMPLOYED 139 EMPLOYEES. CORRECTIONS OFFICIALS SAY 64 OF THOSE WORKERS WERE TRANSFERRED TO DAVID WADE CORRECTIONAL CENTER IN HOMER WHILE 69 OTHERS WERE LAID OFF. SIX OTHER WORKERS RETIRED. CLOSER TO HOME, THE DABADIE CORRECTIONS CENTER IN PINEVILLE WILL CLOSE BY JULY 27.

POLICE CONTINUE TO LOOK FOR A SUSPECT IN THE DEATH OF A 28 YEAR OLD NATCHITOCHES MAN OVER THE WEEKEND. THE N.P.D. ARRESTED 27 YEAR OLD CHRISTOPHER SHELTON OF PINEVILLE AND 22 YEAR OLD BRADLEY HINGLE OF BOGALUSA IN CONNECTION WITH THE MURDER OF BOBBY ATERBERRY SATURDAY. AN AUTOPSY CONFIRMED ATERBERRY HAD BEEN BEATEN TO DEATH. BOTH MEN, AT LAST CHECK, WERE BEING HELD IN THE NATCHITOCHES PARISH JAIL. BOTH MEN HAVE BEEN CHARGED WITH 2ND DEGREE MURDER.

A NEW REPORT JUST RELEASED INDICATES, LOUISIANA’S PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM IS DOING A LOT BETTER THAN MANY STATE OFFICIALS AND LAWMAKERS ARE WILLING TO ADMIT. ACCORDING TO THE REPORT FROM THE SOUTHERN REGIONAL EDUCATION BOARD, THE STATE’S PUBLIC EDUCATION SYSTEM HAS MADE NOTABLE PROGRESS OVER THE PAST 10 YEARS. THE STATE'S GRADUATION RATE WAS UP 6% FROM 1999 THROUGH 2009. LOUISIANA'S GRADUATION RATE OUTPACES THE NATIONAL AVERAGE, WHICH INCREASED JUST 5% IN THE SAME PERIOD. GRADUATION RATES ARE UP, AND SO ARE ENROLLMENTS OF HIGH SCHOOL GRADS IN COLLEGE. ACT SCORES HAVE IMPROVED TO BE AT A PACE WITH SOUTHERN REGIONAL AVERAGES. THE REPORT ALSO SHOWS THAT, BETWEEN 2003 AND 2011, THE GAP IN ACHIEVEMENT BETWEEN BLACK AND WHITE STUDENTS HAS NARROWED BY 9-PERCENT. . THE BOTTOM LINE OF THE REPORT, PUBLIC SCHOOLS IN LOUISIANA ARE GENERALLY DOING BETTER.

THE RAPIDES PARISH SHERIFF’S OFFICE SAYS TWO INMATES HAVE BEEN ACCUSED OF BURNING A HOLE IN A WINDOW SO THEY COULD LOWER A STRING TO AN ACCOMPLICE ON THE STREET AND REEL UP DRUGS TO PRISONERS AND IN THE PROCESS STARTED A FIRE. THE INCIDENT, THAT TOOK PLACE LAST THURSDAY, CAUSED A MINIMAL AMOUNT OF DAMAGE AND FIREFIGHTERS WERE ABLE TO EXTINGUISH THE FIRE QUICKLY. THERE WERE NO INJURIES REPORTED.

THE COLORADO-BASED ALTERNATIVE-FUELS STARTUP THAT PLANS TO BUILD A MANUFACTURING FACILITY HERE IN RAPIDES PARISH SAYS IT WILL USE EXXONMOBIL'S METHANOL-TO-GASOLINE TECHNOLOGY AT THE SITE. SUNDROP FUELS INC. OF LONGMONT, COLORADO PLANS TO BUILD THE "GREEN GASOLINE" REFINERY AT RAPIDES STATION NORTH OF ALEXANDRIA ON I-49. GROUND BREAKING SHOULD TAKE PLACE LATE THIS YEAR, WITH THE PLANT BEGINNING PRODUCTION BY THE END OF 2014. THIS WILL BE ITS FIRST COMMERCIAL PLANT, DESIGNED TO PRODUCE UP TO 50 MILLION GALLONS OF RENEWABLE GASOLINE ANNUALLY.

AN ANNUAL REPORT BY THE NATURAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL RANKS LOUISIANA'S BEACHES DEAD `LAST WITH THE MOST CONTAMINATION. THE ANNUAL BEACH QUALITY REPORT LOOKS AT 30 STATES WITH BEACHES, AND LOUISIANA MADE THE BOTTOM OF THE LIST. STATE HEALTH OFFICER DR. JIMMY GUIDRY SAYS BACTERIA COUNTS INDICATED THE WATER WAS CONTAMINATED WITH ANIMAL AND HUMAN WASTE. HOWEVER, GUIDRY SAYS MUCH OF THE CONTAMINATION ON LOUISIANA'S BEACHES CAN BE TRACKED TO THE DUMPING OF WATER FROM THE MISSISSIPPI. THERE WERE ONLY 12 OF THE 200 BEACHES EXAMINED THAT RECEIVED A PERFECT RATING...THREE FROM THE GULF COAST: TEXAS' SOUTH PADRE ISLAND AND TWO IN GULF SHORES, ALABAMA.

THE GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE SAYS MORE RESEARCH IS NEEDED ON POSSIBLE ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS THAT COULD RESULT FROM USING DISPERSANTS TO BREAK UP AN OIL SPILL, AS BP DID AFTER THE 2010 SPILL IN THE GULF OF MEXICO. TO COMBAT THE SPILL, BP WAS ALLOWED TO SPRAY DISPERSANTS ON THE GULF TO BREAK UP THE OIL. THE USE OF DISPERSANTS HAS BEEN CONTROVERSIAL. THE GAO REPORT SAID 1.84 MILLION GALLONS OF DISPERSANTS WERE USED AND 771,000 GALLONS WERE SPRAYED DEEP UNDERWATER AT THE WELLHEAD. YET, VERY LITTLE TESTING HAS BEEN DONE TO SEE WHAT, IF ANY, LASTING EFFECTS DOING SO MAY HAVE HAD ON THE ENVIRONMENT.

A 55-YEAR-OLD EUNICE MAN WAS AWARDED $124,715 IN DAMAGES AND RELATED COSTS BY A STATE JUDGE WHO FOUND THAT THE ST. LANDRY PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE AND EUNICE POLICE DEPARTMENT USED EXCESSIVE FORCE WHEN THEY ARRESTED HIM IN APRIL 2009.
JURNELL SMITH WAS ARRESTED AFTER HE DROVE PASSED POLICE OFFICERS INVESTIGATING A STABBING INCIDENT AT A CLUB IN EUNICE. THE JUDGE RULED THAT OFFICERS OVERREACTED WITH ONE TELLING SMITH TO STAY IN HIS CAR WHILE ANOTHER ONE ASKED HIM TO GET OUT OF THE CAR. SMITH SAID HE WAS PEPPER SPRAYED AND SHOCKED BY A STUN GUN WHEN HE REACHED OVER TO HIS RIGHT TO RELEASE HIS SEATBELT. SMITH WAS LATER ARRESTED ON COUNTS OF RESISTING AN OFFICER AND INTERFERING WITH THE DUTIES OF AN OFFICER. HE WAS LATER FOUND NOT GUILTY OF BOTH COUNTS IN EUNICE CITY COURT.





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