KSYL Local News

News For Wednesday 07/18/12


NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY 071812
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

AS PROMISED, RAPIDES PARISH SHERIFF WILLIAM HILTON YESTERDAY REOPENED FOUR SHERIFF’S SUBSTATIONS. HILTON SAID FOUR DISPATCHERS, FOUR PATROLLING DEPUTIES AND TWO DETECTIVES WILL MAN SUBSTATIONS IN GLENMORA, TIOGA, DEVILLE AND BOYCE 24 HOURS A DAY, WITH RESIDENTS ABLE TO CALL THE STATION NEAREST THEM FOR FASTER RESPONSE. THE SHERIFF ALSO ANNOUNCED THAT HE AND ALEXANDRIA MAYOR JACQUES ROY HAVE BEEN IN TALKS ABOUT CONSTRUCTING A NEW SUBSTATION ON LOWER THIRD STREET. HE ALSO SAID THERE IS A REAL POSSIBILITY OF YET ANOTHER SUB STATION IN THE KOLIN AREA IN THE NOT TO DISTANT FUTURE.

THE MAN ACCUSED OF KIDNAPPING AND MURDER IN THE CASE OF MISSING LAFAYETTE COLLEGE STUDENT MICKEY SHUNICK WILL HAVE HIS CASE REVIEWED BY A GRAND JURY TODAY. BRANDON SCOTT LAVERGNE WILL NOT BE IN ATTENDANCE, WHILE THE JURY DECIDES IF THE EVIDENCE COLLECTED IS ENOUGH TO FORMALLY CHARGE HIM WITH THE CRIME. MICKEY HAS BEEN MISSING SINCE MAY 19TH. SO FAR ONLY HER BICYCLE HAS BEEN FOUND.

A 14-YEAR-OLD VIDALIA TEEN HAS BEEN CHARGED WITH KILLING HIS STEPFATHER. CONCORDIA PARISH DEPUTIES ARE WITHHOLDING THE BOY'S NAME. HE'S ACCUSED OF SECOND-DEGREE MURDER IN THE DEATH OF 37-YEAR-OLD TERRY WATSON...AND HAS BEEN TAKEN TO A YOUTH DETENTIONCENTER NEAR BATON ROUGE. DEPUTIES ARE NOW SEEKING THE MURDER WEAPON.

A PINEVILLE WOMAN HAS DIED IN A TWO-CAR ACCIDENT IN CATAHOULA PARISH. STATE POLICE SAY IT HAPPENED MONDAY NIGHT ON LOUISIANA HIGHWAY 8 WHEN 50-YEAR-OLD LESLIE COTTON APPARENTLY LOST CONTROL OF THE 1989 FORD MUSTANG SHE WAS DRIVING. THE CAR CROSSED THE CENTER LINE AND COLLIDED WITH A NISSAN PICKUP DRIVEN BY AN 18-YEAR-OLD, KALUB HOLLEY, FROM AIMWELL. COTTON WAS PRONOUNCED DEAD AT THE SCENE. HOLLEY WAS HOSPITALIZED WITH SERIOUS INJURIES.

EVEN AFTER ANNOUNCING $523 MILLION IN HEALTH CARE CUTS, GOV. BOBBY JINDAL'S ADMINISTRATION HAS SLASHED ONLY TWO-THIRDS OF THE SPENDING NEEDED TO CLOSE THE ENTIRE GAP IN LOUISIANA'S MEDICAID BUDGET. THE ADMINISTRATION IS BANKING ON BETTER-THAN-EXPECTED REVENUE PROJECTIONS TO CLOSE THE REMAINING BUDGET HOLE.
IF THAT DOESN'T PAN OUT IN THE NEXT FEW MONTHS, MORE REDUCTIONS ARE ON THE HORIZON. THE JINDAL ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCED $523 MILLION IN CUTS LAST WEEK, LARGELY TO THE LSU PUBLIC HOSPITAL SYSTEM THAT CARES FOR LOUISIANA'S POOR AND UNINSURED. BUT THE ESTIMATED GAP IN MEDICAID FINANCING WAS $859 MILLION. ANOTHER $94 MILLION IN STATE FUNDING WILL BE NEEDED TO DRAW DOWN THE FEDERAL MATCHING DOLLARS TO FILL THE REMAINING BUDGET HOLE.

AN OCT. 15 DATE HAS BEEN SET FOR ARGUMENTS IN A LAWSUIT BY TEACHER UNIONS AND LOCAL SCHOOL BOARDS CHALLENGING THE CONSTITUTIONALITY OF GOV. BOBBY JINDAL'S STATEWIDE VOUCHER PROGRAM. JUDGE TIM KELLEY CHOSE THE HEARING DATE TUESDAY IN A MEETING WITH LAWYERS FOR BOTH SIDES IN THE CASE. ATTORNEYS FOR TWO STATEWIDE TEACHER UNIONS AND DOZENS OF LOCAL SCHOOL BOARDS SAY THE VOUCHER PROGRAM THAT WILL USE TAX DOLLARS TO SEND CHILDREN TO PRIVATE SCHOOLS AND OTHER NEW EDUCATION FUNDING PLANS ARE UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

JONATHAN VILMA'S HEARING AS HE ATTEMPTS TO DELAY OR OVERTURN HIS SEASON-LONG SUSPENSION HAS BEEN MOVED UP A WEEK TO JULY 26. A U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE IN LOUISIANA GRANTED VILMA'S MOTION TUESDAY, ALTHOUGH VILMA SOUGHT A HEARING FOR THURSDAY. THE SAINTS OPEN TRAINING CAMP NEXT TUESDAY. ON MONDAY, VILMA'S ATTORNEYS ASKED JUDGE HELEN G. BERRIGAN TO HEAR THEIR REQUEST FOR A TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER BEFORE THE SAINTS' TRAINING CAMP OPENS.
VILMA WAS SUSPENDED BY COMMISSIONER ROGER GOODELL FOR HIS ROLE IN THE TEAM'S BOUNTY PROGRAM. HE ALSO HAS SUED GOODELL FOR DEFAMATION.

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL'S BUDGET OFFICE IS REFUSING TO RELEASE MOST OF ITS RECORDS INVOLVING THE STATE'S ALTERNATIVE FUEL VEHICLE TAX CREDIT, CLAIMING THOSE CAN BE KEPT CONFIDENTIAL UNDER AN EXEMPTION IN PUBLIC RECORDS LAW. A LAWYER FOR THE DIVISION OF ADMINISTRATION SAID RECORDS SOUGHT BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ARE BEING KEPT FROM PUBLIC VIEW AS PART OF AN EXEMPTION INVOLVING THE GOVERNOR'S "DELIBERATIVE PROCESS." THOSE DOCUMENTS BEING SHIELDED INCLUDE ITEMS INVOLVING A CONTROVERSIAL RULING, SUBSEQUENTLY RESCINDED BY JINDAL, OVER WHAT VEHICLES WOULD QUALIFY FOR THE TAX CREDIT PROGRAM. SINCE TAKING OFFICE IN 2008, JINDAL HAS REFUSED EFFORTS TO OPEN MORE OF HIS RECORDS TO PUBLIC VIEW, SUCCESSFULLY DEFEATING REPEATED ATTEMPTS BY LAWMAKERS TO LIMIT THE PUBLIC RECORDS EXEMPTION GIVEN TO THE GOVERNOR.

THE COMMISSIONER OF THE OFFICE OF MOTOR VEHICLES IS LEAVING THE JOB IN AUGUST. NICK GAUTRAUX REPORTEDLY SAYS HE'S PLANNING A CAERRE IN CORPORATE DEVELOPMENT AND GOVERNMENTAL WORK THAT WILL KEEP HIM CLOSER TO HIS FAMILY IN YOUNGSVILLE. GUTRAUX TOOK THE POSITION IN DECEMBER 2010 AND HIS LAST DAY WILL BE AUGUST 5TH.

THE HEAD OF THE STATE'S DEMOCRATIC PARTY SAYS DISTRICT THREE MAY BE A RACE THAT HAS NO DEMOCRAT CANDIDATE. STATE PARTY CHAIRWOMAN KAREN CARTER PETERSON SAYS THE STATE DEMOCRATS ARE REBUILDING, AND MAY NOT FIELD CANDIDATES FOR ALL CONGRESSIONAL RACES THIS FALL. SHE DIDN'T SPECIFY WHICH DISTRICTS, HOWEVER. THE STATE'S ONLY DEMOCRAT CONGRESSMAN IS CEDRIC RICHMOND IN NEW ORLEANS' DISTRICT TWO.

THE SCHOOL BUS COMPANY THAT TRANSPORTS MOST PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS IN NEW ORLEANS HAS LAID OFF ITS DRIVERS IN A DISPUTE OVER $7.2 MILLION IN UNPAID BILLS.
BLAINE KRAGE, A SPOKESMAN FOR DURHAM SCHOOL SERVICES, TOLD THE TIMES-PICAYUNE TUESDAY THAT THE COMPANY HAS SENT TERMINATION LETTERS TO 142 DRIVERS AND 55 BUS MONITORS TELLING THEM "WE WILL NOT NEED THEIR SERVICES THIS UPCOMING SCHOOL YEAR." KRAGE SAYS THE RECOVERY SCHOOL DISTRICT OWES DRUHAM $7.2 MILLION, OR MORE THAN HALF THE VALUE OF ITS ONE-YEAR CONTRACT, WHICH ENDED JUNE 30. HE SAYS SOME OF THE CHARGES DATE BACK TO 2011.

God Bless America!

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