KSYL Local News

News For Friday 08/03/12


NEWS FOR FRIDAY 080312
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

TROPICAL STORM ERNESTO HAS FORMED IN THE ATLANTIC AND IS SPEEDING TOWARD A CHAIN OF SMALL, POPULAR VACATION ISLANDS IN THE CARIBBEAN. THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER IN MIAMI SAYS THE STORM IS HEADED WEST AT ABOUT 22 MPH TOWARD THE CARIBBEAN. TROPICAL STORM WARNINGS ARE IN EFFECT FOR THE ISLANDS OF BARBADOS, DOMINICA, ST. LUCIA, ST. VINCENT, MARTINIQUE, GUADELOUPE AND THE GRENADINES. THE STORM’S MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE RAPIDLY GAINING STRENGTH AND WERE AT 50 MPH. FORECASTERS SAY THE STORM IS EXPECTED TO STRENGTHEN FURTHER. STATE CLIMATOLOGIST BARRY KEIM SAYS IT'S STILL TOO EARLY TO KNOW IF THE SYSTEM WILL IMPACT LOUISIANA, BUT IT'S ALWAYS GOOD TO BE PREPARED FOR IT.

A PROPOSAL BY A PRIVATE INVESTOR TO BUY AND RENOVATE THE CLOSED HOTEL BENTLEY IN DOWNTOWN ALEXANDRIA WILL REQUIRE AN AGREEMENT WITH THE CITY TO PROVIDE PARKING FOR HOTEL GUESTS AND RESIDENTS OF CONDOMINIUMS PLANNED FOR PART OF THE PROPERTY. MAYOR ROY SAYS THE CITY AND ALEXANDRIA INVESTOR MICHAEL JENKINS HAVE BEEN DISCUSSING AN AGREEMENT REGARDING PARKING AND ARE IN THE FINAL STAGES OF HELPING TO MAKE THAT PARKING DEAL HAPPEN. THE NEGOTIATIONS INCLUDE SOME SHARED USE OF THE TWO NEARBY CITY LOTS -- NEXT TO THE ALEXANDRIA MUSEUM OF ART AND THE TOP OF THE CITY PARKING STRUCTURE ACROSS FROM THE ALEXANDER FULTON HOTEL.

ALEXANDRIA MAYOR JACQUES ROY CONFIRMED YESTERDAY THAT BRINGHURST FIELD WILL BE CLOSED IN THE COMING WEEKS DUE TO STRUCTURAL ISSUES. THE ALEXANDRIA ACES WILL BE ABLE TO FINISH THEIR SEASON USING THE REMAINING SEATING FOR FANS, BUT AFTER THAT THE PARK WILL BE SHUT DOWN WHILE THE CITY, ACCORDING TO THE MAYOR, WEIGHS ITS OPTIONS. THE ACES’ LAST SCHEDULED GAME IS AT HOME SATURDAY, AUG. 11, AGAINST THE ACADIANA CANE CUTTERS. ONE OPTION WOULD BE FOR THE CITY TO REPAIR THE DECAYING SUPERSTRUCTURE AT BRINGHURST, BUT, MAYOR ROY SAYS THAT MAY BE TOO COSTLY. ANOTHER OPTION BEING BANTERED AROUND, WOULD BE FOR THE CITY TO BUILD A PARK ON THE SITE. IN DOING SO, THE CITY WOULD BE SAYING GOODBYE TO ANOTHER BIG PIECE OF HISTORY.

IN THE USA TODAY PRE-SEASON COACHES POLL, LSU IS PICKED TO BE THE FAVORITE TO WIN, JUST BEATING ALABAMA BY FOUR POINTS. FIVE SEC TEAMS MADE THE TOP 10. IN ADDITION TO THE TIGERS AND CRIMSON TIDE, GEORGIA CAME IN AT #6, SOUTH CAROLINA CAME IN A #9 AND ARKANSAS MADE #10.

LOUISIANA'S ANNUAL SALES TAX HOLIDAY WEEKEND STARTS TODAY AND ENDS SATURDAY AT MIDNIGHT. BYRON HENDERSON, WITH THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE, SAYS ALMOST ALL RETAIL ITEMS WILL BE EXEMPT FROM THE 4% STATE SALES TAX. HE SAYS THE FIRST $2500 OF ANY SINGLE ITEM PURCHASED WILL BE STATE SALES TAX EXEMPT. THE HOLIDAY DOES NOT APPLY TO MOTOR VEHICLE SALES, RESTAURANT MEALS, HOTEL ROOMS, AND A LIST OF TAXABLE SERVICES.

THE LAFAYETTE PD AND A FORMER OFFICER ARE BEING SUED OVER AN ALLEGED SEXUAL BATTERY THAT HAPPENED LAST FALL. THE PLAINTIFF SAYS THEN-CORPORAL JACKIE HAGAN INSISTED ON DRIVING HER HOME, AFTER SHE WITNESSED AN ASSAULT IN DOWNTOWN LAFAYETTE. WHEN THEY ARRIVED, SHE SAYS HE BEGAN FORCIBLY KISSING HER AND GROPING HER BODY. INVESTIGATORS FOUND HAGAN'S DNA ON THE WOMAN'S BRA, WHICH LED TO HIS ARREST. HE WAS THEN DISMISSED FROM THE LPD.

A NEW LSU POLL INDICATES THAT MANY FIRST-TIME VOTERS THAT HELPED PUT BARACK OBAMA IN THE WHITE HOUSE 4 YEARS AGO MAY SIT OUT THE 2012 ELECTION. LSU'S DR. KIRBY GOIDEL HEADED THE POLL, AND SAYS THE ANNUAL LOUISIANA SURVEY ASKED THOSE WHO VOTED FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 2008 THEIR LEVEL OF INTEREST THIS FALL. HE SAYS IT WASN'T GOOD NEWS FOR THE PRESIDENT. GOIDEL SAYS A CERTAIN NUMBER OF VOTERS ARE DISAPPOINTED THAT MR. OBAMA'S FIRST TERM DIDN'T DELIVER THE "HOPE AND CHANGE" PROMISED.


ST. LANDRY PARISH DEPUTIES SAYS A DOMESTIC DISTURBANCE CALL IN EUNICE LED TO THE ARREST OF A LOCAL MAN FOR ATTEMPTED MURDER. OFFICERS ALLEGE THAT BREEZIE JAMES MARTEL TRIED TO KILL THE FEMALE VICTIM AND HER TWO CHILDREN WITH A KNIFE. THEY RAN FROM THE HOME, BUT HE CHASED AFTER THEM IN HIS CAR. MARTEL HAS BEEN CAUGHT AND BOOKED. NO BOND IS SET AS YET.

ONE OF THE 500+ LAWS THAT WENT INTO EFFECT ON WEDNESDAY REQUIRES PUBLIC SCHOOLS TO TEACH STUDENTS CELL PHONE SAFETY. DENHAM SPRINGS REP VALARIE HODGES SAYS SHE WAS INSPIRED TO WRITE THE LAW AFTER AN INCIDENT WITH HER DAUGHTER. SHE SAYS THE INSTRUCTION WILL INCLUDE SAFE USE OF SITES AND RISKS
ASSOCIATED WITH SHARING PERSONAL INFORMATION.

TWO NEW LAWS PERTAINING TO DRIVERS AND AUTO INSURANCE HAVE GONE INTO EFFECT IN LOUISIANA. STATE INSURANCE COMMISSIONER JIM DONELON SAYS ONE REPEALS A 2010 LAW THAT PROHIBITED IMPOUNDING UNINSURED DRIVERS' VEHICLES ON A FIRST OFFENSE. DONELON SAYS LOUISIANA STILL HAS A LARGE NUMBER OF DRIVERS OPERATING WITHOUT INSURANCE, AND IT'S HOPED THE NEW LAW--AND THE THREAT OF LOSING ONE'S VEHICLE--WILL BE A STRONG DETERRENT TO PEOPLE EITHER LETTING THEIR INSURANCE EXPIRE OR HAVING NO INSURANCE AT ALL. THE OTHER NEW LAW ALLOWS MOTORISTS TO DISPLAY ELECTRONIC PROOF OF AUTO INSURANCE COVERAGE ON THEIR SMART PHONE.

THE OFFICIAL MISSISSIPPI RIVER LEVEL AT VICKSBURG IS JUST ONE FOOT, A NEW RECORD LOW FOR THIS TIME OF YEAR. REYNOLD MINSKY, PRESIDENT OF THE FIFTH LOUISIANA LEVEE DISTRICT BOARD SAYS THIS IS A SERIOUS SITUATION FOR FARMERS WHO WILL SOON SHIP THEIR GRAIN ON BARGES. LOW RIVER LEVELS HAVE CLOSED THE LAKE PROVIDENCE PORT WHICH LOUISIANA FARMERS DEPEND ON TO SHIP THEIR PRODUCT.

FORMER LOUISIANA TECH STANDOUT AND SAINTS GREAT WILLIE ROAF ENTERS THE PRO FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME ON SATURDAY. ROAF WAS ONE OF THE BEST OFFENSIVE TACKLES IN NFL HISTORY. HE WAS VOTED TO 11 PRO BOWLS DURING A 13-YEAR CAREER WITH THE SAINTS AND KANSAS CITY.

FORMER OUACHITA PARISH SHERIFF ROYCE TONEY IS NOW BEING CHARGED WITH TWO COUNTS OF MAIL FRAUD IN ADDITION TO 21 OTHER CHARGES THAT HAVE BEEN BROUGHT AGAINST HIM BY FEDERAL PROSECUTORS. THE NEW 23-COUNT INDICTMENT CLAIMS TONEY KNOWINGLY DEVISED A SCHEME TO OBTAIN FUNDS FROM HIS CAMPAIGN ACCOUNT TO WHICH HE WAS NOT ENTITLED BECAUSE IT VIOLATES THE LOUISIANA CAMPAIGN FINANCE DISCLOSURE ACT. A FEDERAL GRAND JURY ORIGINALLY INDICTED TONEY FEB. 22 ON ONE COUNT OF CONSPIRACY, NINE COUNTS OF COMPUTER FRAUD, NINE COUNTS OF IDENTITY THEFT, ONE COUNT OF OBSTRUCTION OF A FEDERAL INVESTIGATION AND ONE COUNT OF OBSTRUCTION BY RETALIATING AGAINST A VICTIM.
TRIAL IS SCHEDULED FOR SEPT. 13.


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