KSYL Local News

News For Thursday 07/26/12


NEWS FOR THURSDAY 072612
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

METHANEX CORP., A MAJOR PRODUCER OF THE ALTERNATIVE FUEL METHANOL, ANNOUNCED WEDNESDAY THAT IT IS MOVING AN IDLE PLANT IN CHILE TO LOUISIANA, CREATING 130 NEW JOBS FOR THE STATE. THE VANCOUVER-BASED COMPANY SAID IT WOULD SPEND $550 MILLION TO BUILD ON A 225-ACRE SITE IN ASCENSION PARISH, ABOUT 20 MILES FROM BATON ROUGE. SALARIES AT THE PLANT WILL AVERAGE MORE THAN $56,000 PLUS BENEFITS.
ACCORDING TO GOVERNOR JINDAL, "METHANEX CHOSE LOUISIANA BECAUSE OF OUR WORLD CLASS INFRASTRUCTURE FOR THE CHEMICAL AND ENERGY INDUSTRIES AND OUR STATE'S STRONG BUSINESS CLIMATE". THE STATE IS GIVING METHANEX $5.3 MILLION AS PART OF AN INCENTIVE PACKAGE. THE COMPANY ALSO WILL GET STATE AND LOCAL TAX BREAKS. JINDAL'S OFFICE SAID CONSTRUCTION IS EXPECTED TO BE FINISHED IN LATE 2014. HIRING IS SET TO BEGIN BEFORE THE END OF THIS YEAR.

NINE RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS THAT WILL TAKE IN TAXPAYER-FUNDED VOUCHER STUDENTS FOR THE UPCOMING SCHOOL YEAR WILL MORE THAN DOUBLE THEIR ENROLLMENTS WITH THE SUBSIDIZED STUDENTS, RECEIVING ABOUT $3.6 MILLION IN PAYMENTS FROM THE STATE.
INCLUDED IN THAT LIST IS THE NEW LIVING WORD SCHOOL, WHICH GRABBED EARLY ATTENTION WITH LAWMAKERS BECAUSE OF QUESTIONS ABOUT THE RUSTON CHURCH-AFFILIATED SCHOOL'S CAPABILITY TO HANDLE THE STUDENTS. THE SCHOOL HAD NOT CLASS ROOMS OR TEACHERS. IT OFFERED MORE SPACES FOR VOUCHER STUDENTS THAN ANYONE ELSE IN THE STATE, WILLING TO ACCEPT 315 CHILDREN. HOWEVER IN THE END THE SCHOOL WAS APPROVED FOR 165 CHILDREN IN KINDERGARTEN THROUGH SIXTH GRADE. THE SCHOOL HAD 122 STUDENTS IN THE PAST YEAR, WITH LIMITED FACILITIES AND EQUIPMENT AND MUCH OF ITS INSTRUCTION USING DVDS RATHER THAN TEACHERS.

STUDENTS IN RAPIDES PARISH WILL HAVE A CHOICE OF SCHOOLS THIS YEAR IF THEY ATTEND A LOW-PERFORMING SCHOOL AFTER THE SCHOOL BOARD APPROVED A SCHOOL CHOICE PLAN AT A SPECIAL MEETING TUESDAY. SUPERINTENDENT GARY JONES SAID HE'D HOPED THE STATE'S LIST OF LOW-PERFORMING SCHOOLS WOULD BE RELEASED BEFORE THE 5:30 P.M. MEETING, BUT IT WAS NOT. STUDENTS AT THESE SCHOOLS MUST BE GIVEN THE CHOICE OF SWITCHING TO MORE THAN ONE OTHER SCHOOL THAT HAS A HIGHER PERFORMANCE SCORE THAN THEIR CURRENT SCHOOL. THE BOARD WILL NOTIFY PARENTS OF STUDENTS AT THE SCHOOLS GIVEN CHOICE ONCE THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION RELEASES THE LIST. THE SCHOOL BOARD WILL PROVIDE TRANSPORTATION.

FOR TEN YEARS LOUISIANA WAS RANKED 49TH IN THE COUNTRY IN CHILD-WELL BEING. BUT THIS YEAR, THE ANNUAL REPORT BY THE ANNE E. CASEY FOUNDATION MOVED THE BAYOU STATE UP TWO SPOTS TO NUMBER 47. EXPERTS SAY WHILE LOUISIANA HAS MADE PROGRESS IN IMPROVING A CHILD'S WELL-BEING, A LARGE PERCENTAGE OF CHILDREN LIVE IN POVERTY WHICH COULD KEEP LOUISIANA NEAR THE BOTTOM IN THIS ANNUAL RANKING.

SAINTS LINEBACKER JONATHAN VILMA GOES BEFORE A FEDERAL JUDGE TODAY SEEKING A TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER TO STOP HIS YEAR-LONG SUSPENSION IMPOSED BY THE NFL FOR HIS ROLE IN THE PAY-FOR-PERFORMANCE PROGRAM. THE HEARING COMES THREE DAYS AFTER A SETTLEMENT CONFERENCE WHERE A JUDGE FAILED TO RESOLVE THE TWO SIDES' ISSUES.

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL IS HEADING TO IOWA TO TOUT REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE MITT ROMNEY. JINDAL SPOKESMAN KYLE PLOTKIN SAID THE LOUISIANA GOVERNOR WILL TRAVEL TO IOWA ON THURSDAY FOR THE ROMNEY CAMPAIGN EVENTS. THE APPEARANCES ARE CERTAIN TO CONTINUE SPECULATION THAT JINDAL IS A CONTENDER TO BE ROMNEY'S PICK FOR A RUNNING MATE. JINDAL WILL BE ONE OF SEVERAL ROMNEY SURROGATES ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL THIS WEEK WHILE THE FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR IS TRAVELING THROUGH ENGLAND, ISRAEL AND POLAND.

LOUISIANA COLLEGE PRESIDENT JOE AGUILLARD SAID HE WILL DEFY THE GOVERNMENT'S HEALTH-CARE MANDATE TO PROVIDE BIRTH CONTROL TO EMPLOYEES EVEN IF THE SCHOOL'S LAWSUIT IS UNSUCCESSFUL. AS AN EMPLOYER OF MORE THAN 50 FULL-TIME EMPLOYEES, LOUISIANA COLLEGE WOULD BE REQUIRED TO PROVIDE INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR "ALL FDA-APPROVED CONTRACEPTIVES" AT NO COST TO THE EMPLOYEE, ACCORDING TO THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT. MICHAEL JOHNSON, DEAN OF LC'S LAW SCHOOL, WHO IS REPRESENTING THE SCHOOL SAYS, THE COLLEGE CURRENTLY PROVIDES COVERAGE FOR STANDARD CONTRACEPTION, SUCH AS BIRTH CONTROL, BUT "NOTHING TO CROSS THE LINE TO END A LIFE,".

LONGTIME CRITICS OF NEW ORLEANS POLICE EXPRESSED SKEPTICISM WEDNESDAY THAT A NEW FEDERALLY BACKED PLAN TO OVERHAUL THE POLICE DEPARTMENT WOULD REDUCE AND ELIMINATE DECADES OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION, BRUTALITY AND QUESTIONABLE USE OF FORCE. A U.S. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ASSURED THEM THAT THE DEPARTMENT IS DEDICATED TO MAKING SURE THAT IT DOES.THE 124-PAGE PLAN AWAITING APPROVAL FROM A FEDERAL JUDGE SPELLS OUT A SERIES OF STRICT REQUIREMENTS FOR OVERHAULING THE POLICE DEPARTMENT'S POLICIES AND PROCEDURES FOR USE OF FORCE, TRAINING, INTERROGATIONS, SEARCHES AND ARRESTS, RECRUITMENT AND SUPERVISION.

PINNACLE ENTERTAINMENT INC. PLANS TO OPEN ITS NEW $368 MILLION BATON ROUGE CASINO, CALLED L'AUBERGE BATON ROUGE, ON AUG. 29. THE COMPANY WILL NEED TO GET APPROVAL FROM THE LOUISIANA GAMING CONTROL BOARD FOR THE OPENING DATE, BUT THAT IS CONSIDERED A FORMALITY SINCE PINNACLE OFFICIALS HAVE REPEATEDLY TOLD REGULATORS THEY WANT TO HAVE THE CASINO AND HOTEL PROJECT READY FOR VISITORS BY LABOR DAY WEEKEND. THE GRAND OPENING, ANNOUNCED WEDNESDAY, IS SLATED TO INCLUDE ENTERTAINMENT AND FIREWORKS.

EMPLOYEES OF STOCKY'S PIZZERIA IN HAUGHTON THINK THEY MAY HAVE A GHOST. SECURITY VIDEO FROM JULY 13TH & 14TH, SHOWS SEVERAL ITEMS FLYING OFF A SHELF ONTO THE FLOOR--SEEMINGLY OF THEIR OWN VOLITION. ONE OBJECT FALLS TO THE FLOOR JUST MINUTES AFTER AN EMPLOYEE PICKED IT UP OFF THE FLOOR AND PUT IT ON A SHELF. OTHERS VIDEO SHOWS ITEMS HITTING THE FLOOR WHILE THE PLACE WAS EMPTY.

THERE'S A WEEK LEFT IN THE LSU FOOTBALL PROGRAM'S OFFSEASON AND LES MILES ADMITS HIS TEAM STILL HAS "SCARS" FROM LOSING TO ALABAMA IN THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME. MILES HOPES THE 21 TO NOTING DEFEAT TO THE CRIMSON TIDE WILL MOTIVATE HIS TEAM THROUGHOUT THE UPCOMING SEASON.



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