KSYL Local News

News For Wednesday 08/01/12


NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY 080112
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

FROM THE WHO’S WATCHING THE ASYLUM DEPARTMENT, THE GROUP CHARGED WITH FINDING A REPLACEMENT FOR RAPIDES PARISH SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT DR. GARY JONES, WHO’S CONTRACT HAS NOT BEEN RENEWED HAS AMENDED ITS TIMELINE. THE SEARCH COMMITTEE ADOPTED A TIMELINE IN JUNE, BUT IT WAS DELAYED DUE TO CONFUSION OVER WHO WAS TO PLACE THE AD. THE AMENDED TIMELINE MOVED DATES OF ADVERTISING FOR APPLICANTS TO AUG. 8-SEPT. 7. IT WAS PREVIOUSLY SET TO BEGIN JULY 17. THE NEW DATE TO OPEN APPLICATIONS IS SEPT. 18. IN A RELATED NOTE, THE SEARCH ADVISORY COMMITTEE WAS RENAMED TO PREVENT CONFUSION BETWEEN IT AND THE SEARCH COMMITTEE. BOARD MEMBER JANET DIXON ALSO VOICED AT A PREVIOUS MEETING THAT THE GROUP'S FIRST NAME DID NOT DEFINE THE GROUP'S ROLE IN THE SEARCH PROCESS.

HUNDREDS OF NEW LAWS PASSED IN THE MOST RECENT LEGISLATIVE SESSION HIT THE BOOKS TODAY (WEDNESDAY). THE HIGHLIGHTS: ABORTION IS BANNED 20 WEEKS AFTER FERTILIZATION, EXCEPT IN LIMITED MEDICAL CASES WHERE THE MOTHER'S LIFE IS IN DANGER. A WOMAN SEEKING AN ABORTION MUST GET AN ULTRASOUND 24 HOURS BEFORE THE PROCEDURE AND MUST BE OFFERED THE ABILITY TO HEAR THE FETAL HEARTBEAT. EVERYONE IN A SPORT UTILITY VEHICLE MUST WEAR A SEAT BELT. 17 YEAR OLDS, IN ORDER TO GET A DRIVERS LICENSE WILL NOW NEED THE SAME 38-HOUR DRIVER EDUCATION COURSE THAT HAS BEEN REQUIRED FOR 15- AND 16-YEAR-OLDS. THE SALE OF DOGS AND CATS IS BANNED FROM ROADSIDES, FLEA MARKETS, PUBLIC PARKS AND PUBLIC PLAYGROUNDS. AMERICAN HISTORY AND CIVICS COURSES IN LOUISIANA'S PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOLS MUST INCLUDE INSTRUCTION ON THE NATION'S "FOUNDING PRINCIPLES." PEOPLE CONVICTED OF A SEX OFFENSE AGAINST A MINOR OR OF VIDEO VOYEURISM ARE PROHIBITED FROM WEBSITES LIKE FACEBOOK. PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS ARE REQUIRED TO GET INSTRUCTION ABOUT CELL PHONE SAFETY. SEVERAL INACTIVE BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS ARE ABOLISHED. THE STATE'S BOARD OF PAROLE IS ELIMINATED AND ITS DUTIES GIVEN TO THE PARDON BOARD. AND OH YES, LOUISIANA'S OFFICIAL BOAT IS THE PIROGUE.

THE NUMBER OF PUBLIC SCHOOLS CONSIDERED "UNACCEPTABLE" IS UP 33-PERCENT
THIS YEAR. THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION SAYS THERE ARE 180 SCHOOLS
LISTED AS ACADEMICALLY UNACCEPTABLE, UP FROM 135 LAST YEAR. 10 OF THOSE SCHOOLS ARE HERE IN RAPIDES PARISH. BOARD OF ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION PRESIDENT PENNY DASTUGUE SAYS THE INCREASE IS THE RESULT OF A HIGHER STANDARD THAT'S IN PLACE THIS YEAR. SCHOOLS MUST ACHIEVE A MINIMUM SCORE OF 75 ON PERFORMANCE EVALUATIONS IN ORDER TO AVOID BEING LABELED AS UNACCEPTABLE, WHICH IS UP FROM 65 LAST YEAR. UNACCEPTABLE SCHOOLS THAT FAIL TO SHOW IMPROVEMENT OVER A FOUR-YEAR PERIOD CAN BE TAKEN OVER BY THE STATE.

STATE HEALTH OFFICIALS ARE REMINDING PARENTS THEIR KIDS MUST HAVE REQUIRED IMMUNIZATIONS UP-TO-DATE BEFORE THE SCHOOL YEAR BEGINS. STATE DIRECTOR OF IMMUNIZATION PROGRAMS DR. FRANK WELCH SAYS KIDS MUST BE UPDATED ON SHOTS FOR MEASLES, MUMPS, POLIO, RUBELLA, HEPATITIS, CHICKEN POX AND DIPTHERIA. UNDER STATE LAW, CHILDREN 11 AND OLDER MUST HAVE PROOF THEIR IMMUNIZATIONS ARE UP-TO-DATE IN ORDER TO BE ADMITTED TO SCHOOL FOR THE FALL SEMESTER--WHICH BEGINS IN JUST DAYS. DR. WELCH SAYS YOUR PEDIATRICIAN OR PARISH HEALTH UNIT CAN HELP YOU GET IT TAKEN CARE OF.

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL IS TRAVELING TO COLORADO TO MINGLE WITH OTHER PROMINENT REPUBLICAN GOVERNORS WHO ARE AMONG THOSE MENTIONED AS POTENTIAL RUNNING MATES FOR MITT ROMNEY. JINDAL IS SCHEDULED WEDNESDAY EVENING TO BE PART OF A SPEAKER SERIES WITH GOP GOVERNORS HOSTED BY THE ASPEN INSTITUTE, A NONPARTISAN EDUCATIONAL AND POLICY THINK TANK.

FEDERAL PROSECUTORS SAY AN 18-YEAR-OLD MEMBER OF THE COUSHATTA INDIAN TRIBE HAS PAID $250,000 IN RESTITUTION AFTER SETTING FIRE TO THE COUSHATTA CONVENIENCE STORE IN ELTON. THE U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE SAYS JORDAN HAWK JOHN OF KINDER HAD BEEN ORDERED TO PAY FOR THE FIRE DAMAGE AFTER PLEADING GUILTY IN JANUARY TO SIMPLE BURGLARY OF THE STORE IN DECEMBER 2011. THE MONEY WAS PAID FROM HIS TRUST ACCOUNT.

AUGUST IS TRADITIONALLY THE MONTH IN WHICH THE ATLANTIC HURRICANE SEASON BEGINS TO GET ACTIVE, AND THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER IS NOW WATCHING TWO LOW PRESSURE SYSTEMS APPROACHING FROM THE EAST. STATE CLIMATOLOGIST BARRY KEIM SAYS A TROPICAL WAVE OVER THE ISLAND OF HISPANIOLA HAS LITTLE CHANCE OF BECOMING A NAMED STORM. HOWEVERM KEIM SAYS A LOW PRESSURE WAVE THAT'S FARTHER OUT, IN THE CENTRAL ATLANTIC, HAS A 30% OF DEVELOPING INTO A NAMED STORM WITHIN THE NEXT 48 HOURS. STATE OFFICIALS MEET TODAY TO GO OVER READINESS PLANS FOR POSSIBLE HURRICANES, AT THE GOHSEP OFFICES IN BATON ROUGE.

HISTORY CHANNEL IS LOOKING FOR MORE CAJUN CHARACTERS TO FILL ITS HIT SHOW "SWAMP PEOPLE." ORIGINAL MEDIA PRODUCTIONS AND THE CASTING FIRM WILL HOLD A CASTING CALL FOR THE SHOW'S FOURTH SEASON IN LAFAYETTE ON SATURDAY FROM NOON TO 6 P.M. AT BOOTLEGGER'S BAR. CASTING DIRECTOR NOELLE CAIN SAYS SHE'S LOOKING FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE A LEGACY OF HUNTING ALLIGATORS, THOSE WHO'VE BEEN DOING IT SINCE THEY WERE LITTLE. SHE ALSO SAYS SHE'S INTERESTED IN PEOPLE WHO CAN TELL A STORY. HUNTERS SEEKING A SPOT ON THE SHOW MUST BE LEGAL U.S. RESIDENTS, FULLY LICENSED AND HAVE AT LEAST 50 TAGS TO BE IN THE UPCOMING SEASON.

LOUISIANA HAS ONE OF THE HIGHEST COMBINED SALES TAX RATES IN THE NATION LARGELY BECAUSE THE STATE HAS THE LARGEST AVERAGE LOCAL SALES TAXES. A TUESDAY REPORT FROM THE NONPARTISAN TAX FOUNDATION IN WASHINGTON, D.C., STATED THAT LOUISIANA HAS THE NATION’S HIGHEST AVERAGE LOCAL SALES TAX RATE AT 4.86 PERCENT.
BATON ROUGE HAS A 5 PERCENT LOCAL SALES TAX THAT GOES TOWARD THE PARISH AND PUBLIC SCHOOLS. LOUISIANA RANKS THIRD NATIONALLY IN COMBINED SALES TAXES WITH AN AVERAGE OF 8.86 PERCENT — 9 PERCENT IN BATON ROUGE — ONCE THE 4 PERCENT STATE SALES TAX IS ADDED. LOUISIANA TRAILS ONLY TENNESSEE AND ARIZONA IN COMBINED SALES TAXES.

CLECO CORP. SAYS ITS EARNINGS DROPPED FOR THE SECOND QUARTER FROM THE SAME PERIOD OF 2011, BUT THE PINEVILLE-BASED UTILITY RAISED ITS QUARTERLY DIVIDEND.
THE COMPANY SAID TUESDAY THAT IT EARNED $46.7 MILLION, OR 77 CENTS A SHARE, FOR THE QUARTER, COMPARED WITH $70.2 MILLION IN THE THE SAME PERIOD A YEAR AGO. PRESIDENT AND CEO BRUCE WILLIAMSON SAID MILDER WEATHER NEGATIVELY AFFECTED EARNINGS. CLECO'S BOARD ALSO INCREASED ITS QUARTERLY DIVIDEND BY 8 PERCENT, FROM 31.25 CENTS TO 33.75 CENTS PER SHARE. THE EARNINGS WERE REPORTED AFTER U.S. FINANCIAL MARKETS CLOSED. IN TRADING TUESDAY, CLECO SHARES CLOSED DOWN 51 CENTS AT $43.76. THE STOCK HAS TRADED AS HIGH AS $44.62 AND AS LOW AS $30.06 OVER THE PAST 52 WEEKS.

ENTERGY CORP.'S NET INCOME ROSE 16 PERCENT IN THE SECOND QUARTER AFTER THE POWER COMPANY RECEIVED FAVORABLE TAX TERMS ON FINANCING COSTS FOR FIXING DAMAGE TO LINES AND EQUIPMENT CAUSED BY HURRICANES KATRINA AND RITA. THE INCREASE ALSO REFLECTED STRONGER SALES TO ENTERGY'S UTILITY CUSTOMERS.

THE TANGIPAHOA PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE IS LOOKING FOR AN 18-YEAR-OLD MAN THEY BELIEVE SHOT ONE PERSON WHO IS IN CRITICAL CONDITION, AND ANOTHER WHO DIED. THEY SAY THE SUSPECT, 18-YEAR-OLD BRANDON FRANCOIS OF HAMMOND IS WANTED FOR SECOND-DEGREE MURDER AND ATTEMPTED SECOND-DEGREE MURDER. DETECTIVES BELIEVE THE SHOOTING MAY BE DRUG RELATED.

NEW ORLEANS POLICE HAVE REPORTEDLY ISSUED A WARRANT FOR THE ARREST OF ACTOR CUBA GOODING JR. THEY SAY HE IS WANTED ON A CHARGE OF BATTERY AFTER ALLEGEDLY PUSHING A FEMALE BARTENDER TWICE IN A FRENCH QUARTER BUSINESS EARLY TUESDAY MORNING. THE BARTENDER TOLD AUTHORITIES GOODING BECAME AGGRAVATED WHEN PEOPLE WERE ASKING HIM TO TAKE PHOTOS WITH THEM AND SHE TRIED TO INTERVENE.

THE REWARD FOR LOUISIANA TECH'S MISSING BULLDOG MASCOT, TECH 20, ALSO CALLED LT, HAS BEEN DOUBLED TO $2000. THE POOCH WENT MISSING SUNDAY, WHILE OUTSIDE DOING HIS BUSINESS. HE CARETAKER, DR. PATRICK SEXTON SAYS IT'S UNLIKELY THAT LT ROAMED OFF, BUT THERE'S NO EVIDENCE THAT HE WAS STOLEN EITHER. SEXTON HOPES SOMEONE WILL BRING THE DOG IN FOR THE REWARD.

IN A RATHER UNUSUAL THEFT INVESTIGATION, A 33-YEAR-OLD SHREVEPORT MAN HAS BEEN ARRESTED IN THE THEFT OF HIS NEIGHBOR'S COCKATOO. DEPUTIES SAY THE OWNER NOTICED AN AD FOR A COCKATOO ON CRAIG'S LIST. SHE ARRANGED A MEETING WITH THE SELLER, AND CONTACTED THE CADDO SHERIFF'S OFFICE. AUTHORITIES DETERMINED THAT THE BIRD FOR SALE WAS IN FACT SUNNY. THE SELLER TOLD DETECTIVES HE HAD PURCHASED THE BIRD FOR $300 FROM ELVIS ROBINSON III. ELVIS IS NOW BEHIND BARS BOOKED ON FELONY THEFT.

God Bless America!

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