KSYL Local News

News For Wednesday 07/11/12


NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY 071112
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

STATE POLICE SAY AN 11-YEAR-OLD GIRL IS DEAD, AFTER A SINGLE VEHICLE CRASH ON STATE HIGHWAY 104 TODAY. TROOPERS SAYS 44-YEAR-OLD JULIE BANKS, OF MAMOU, WAS DRIVING, WHEN SHE LOST CONTROL OF HER PICKUP, RAN OFF THE ROAD AND INTO A TREE. BANKS AND TWO KIDS IN THE VEHICLE WERE NOT SERIOUSLY HURT, BUT 11-YEAR-OLD ALYSSA GUILLORY, OF VILLE PLATTE, WAS PRONOUNCED DEAD AT THE SCENE. ALL WERE PROPERLY RESTRAINED. ROUTINE BLOOD TOX TESTS HAVE BEEN ORDERED FOR THE DRIVER.

STATE POLICE SAY A 64-YEAR-OLD PINEVILLE MAN DIED IN A GRANT PARISH CRASH. THE ACCIDENT HAPPENED AROUND 3:20 P.M. MONDAY ON ROCK HILL ROAD NEAR U.S. HIGHWAY 71. TROOPERS SAY A PICKUP DRIVEN BY JAMES A. LEWIS RAN OFF THE ROAD AND HIT A TREE. LEWIS, WAS PRONOUNCED DEAD AT THE SCENE.

THE CITY OF ALEXANDRIA IS ONE STEP CLOSER TO BUILDING IT’S OWN PIPELINE TO SUPPLY THE CITY WITH NATURAL GAS. MIKE MARCOTTE, DIRECTOR OF THE ALEXANDRIA UTILITY DEPARTMENT, ADDRESSED CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS SAYING HE FELT IT WAS THE JOB OF THE CITY TO DO ALL IT CAN TO SAVE RESIDENTS MONEY ON THEIR UTILITY BILLS. THE COUNCIL AGREED AND INSTRUCTED MARCOTTE TO BEGIN NEGOTIATIONS WITH THE GOAL OF BUILDING A PIPELINE THAT WOULD ALLOW THE CITY TO PURCHASE IT’S NATURAL GAS DIRECTLY FROM THE SUPPLIER, RATHER THAN THROUGH A MIDDLEMAN. THE COST OF THE PROJECT, BETWEEN 7 AND $8 MILLION.

A BATON ROUGE JUDGE REFUSED TUESDAY TO PREVENT THE START OF A STATEWIDE VOUCHER PROGRAM THAT WILL USE TAX DOLLARS TO SEND CHILDREN TO PRIVATE AND PAROCHIAL SCHOOLS. THE DECISION BY JUDGE TIM KELLEY MEANS THE PROGRAM PUSHED BY GOV. BOBBY JINDAL WILL BEGIN IN AUGUST, WHILE A LAWSUIT BY TEACHER UNIONS AND LOCAL SCHOOL BOARDS OVER THE CONSTITUTIONALITY OF THE VOUCHER PROGRAM CONTINUES TO WIND ITS WAY THROUGH THE COURT.

HEALTH AND HOSPITALS SECRETARY BRUCE GREENSTEIN SAID HE EXPECTS TO ANNOUNCE BY FRIDAY HOW HE'LL DIVVY UP $859 MILLION IN CUTS ACROSS LOUISIANA'S MEDICAID PROGRAM FOR THE POOR, ELDERLY AND DISABLED. "TO US, THE CLOCK IS TICKING. WE HAVE 355 DAYS LEFT IN THIS FISCAL YEAR. THE QUICKER WE MOVE TO IMPLEMENTATION, THE GREATER THE NUMBER OF DAYS WE HAVE TO SPREAD THE CUTS ACROSS THE YEAR," GREENSTEIN SAID TUESDAY. THE CUT IS TIED TO A CONGRESSIONAL REDUCTION IN LOUISIANA'S FEDERAL MEDICAID FINANCING RATE.

OFFICIALS SAY A GRAND JURY NEXT WEEK WILL CONSIDER THE CASE INVOLVING THE MAN ACCUSED OF KIDNAPPING AND MURDERING COLLEGE STUDENT MICKEY SHUNICK.
LAFAYETTE PARISH DA’S OFFICE SAYS THAT BRANDON SCOTT LAVERGNE'S CASE WILL BE CONSIDERED BY A GRAND JURY JULY 18. LAVERGNE WAS ARRESTED LAST THURSDAY AND IS BEING HELD WITHOUT BAIL. SHUNICK, A STUDENT AT THE UNIVERSITY OF LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE, VANISHED MAY 19 WHILE RIDING HOME FROM A FRIENDS HOUSE ON HER BIKE. INVESTIGATORS SAY THE WHITE PICKUP TRUCK LINKED TO HER DISAPPEARANCE IS REGISTERED TO LAVERGNE. THEY SAY THAT THEY CAN PLACE LAVERGNE IN AND AROUND THE LOCATION WHERE HER BIKE WAS LATER FOUND.

THE COUNTRY'S THIRD-BIGGEST TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMPANY, MONROE-BASED CENTURYLINK, PLANS TO START BUILDING A NEW FACILITY EARLY NEXT YEAR. THE COMPANY SAYS THE NEW BUILDING WILL BE AROUND 225-THOUSAND SQUARE FEET, AND WILL ACCOMODATE ALL CURRENT EMPLOYEES AND ABOUT 600-TO-800 NEW HIRES. CENTURYLINK SAYS THESE WILL BE QUALITY JOBS, WITH GOOD PAY AND BENEFITS.

A JULY LEGISLATIVE SESSION TO CONSIDER OVERTURNING GOV. BOBBY JINDAL'S VETOES HAS BEEN CANCELED. SENATE PRESIDENT JOHN ALARIO AND HOUSE SPEAKER CHUCK KLECKLEY ANNOUNCED TUESDAY THAT ENOUGH WRITTEN DECLARATIONS WERE SUBMITTED BY LAWMAKERS TO SCRAP THE JULY 14 VETO SESSION. THE LOUISIANA SENATE WAS THE DECIDING CHAMBER. THE VETO SESSION WAS AUTOMATICALLY SET WHEN JINDAL REJECTED 21 BILLS FROM THE REGULAR LEGISLATIVE SESSION AND USED HIS LINE-ITEM VETO ON THE $25.6 BILLION BUDGET. IT TAKES A MAJORITY WRITTEN VOTE OF EITHER THE HOUSE OR SENATE TO CANCEL THE SESSION.

LOUISIANA SUPREME COURT CHIEF JUSTICE CATHERINE "KITTY" KIMBALL SAYS THE STATE'S CODE OF JUDICIAL CONDUCT PROHIBITS HER FROM MEETING WITH A GROUP OF COMMUNITY LEADERS TO DISCUSS THEIR CONCERNS ABOUT THE COURT'S IMPENDING DEBATE OVER NAMING KIMBALL'S SUCCESSOR. SEVERAL SUPPORTERS OF JUSTICE BERNETTE JOHNSON, WHO SUED LAST WEEK TO BLOCK HER COLLEAGUES FROM DEBATING AND VOTING ON WHETHER SHE IS ENTITLED TO BECOME THE NEXT CHIEF JUSTICE, HAD ASKED TO MEET THIS WEEK WITH KIMBALL. IN A LETTER DATED MONDAY, KIMBALL THANKED JOHNSON'S SUPPORTERS FOR THEIR LETTER OUTLINING THEIR CONCERNS BUT SAID SHE MUST REFRAIN FROM MAKING ANY PUBLIC COMMENTS ABOUT PENDING LITIGATION. FOURTEEN PEOPLE SIGNED THE LETTER REQUESTING A MEETING WITH KIMBALL, INCLUDING STATE SEN. EDWIN MURRAY; THE REV. FRED LUTER, WHO WAS ELECTED LAST MONTH AS THE FIRST BLACK PRESIDENT OF THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION; AND DR. C.S. GORDON, JR., PRESIDENT OF THE LOUISIANA MISSIONARY BAPTIST STATE CONVENTION.

GAS PRICES, THAT HAD BEEN ON A STEADY DOWNWARD SLIDE LEADING UP TO THE FOURTH OF JULY HOLIDAY, HAVE TAKEN A SHARP TURN IN THE OTHER DIRECTION. AAA FUEL ANALYST DON REDMAN LAYS THE BLAME ON THE RISING PRICE OF CRUDE OIL, WHICH HAS RISEN OVER TEN DOLLARS A BARREL IN RECENT WEEKS. HE CALLS THE SUDDEN TURNAROUND A BIT SHOCKING. PUMP PRICES AT SOME STATIONS HAVE GONE UP AS MUCH AS A DIME IN LESS THAN A WEEK.

MONROE CITY SCHOOLS SUPERINTENDENT KATHLEEN HARRIS WILL ASK A STATE JUDGE FRIDAY TO INVALIDATE A VOTE BY THE MONROE CITY SCHOOL BOARD THAT SUSPENDED LAST MONTH. HARRIS HAS ACCUSED THE BOARD OF VIOLATING THE STATE'S OPEN MEETINGS LAW TO PREPARE FOR ITS JUNE 26 MEETING, WHERE BOARD MEMBERS VOTED 5-2 TO SUSPEND HER WITH PAY FOR 30 DAYS WHILE THE BOARD CONDUCTS AN INVESTIGATION INTO DISTRICT OPERATIONS.





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