KSYL Local News

News For Monday 10/15/12


NEWS FOR MONDAY 101512
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

MOTHER NATURE BEHAVED AND THE CROWDS CAME TO THE RAPIDES PARISH FAIR THIS PAST WEEKEND. LARGE CROWDS FILLED THE MIDWAY EACH EVENING AND PARKING CONTINUED TO BE A MAJOR CONCERN. AT TIMES CARS LINED THE SIDES AND CENTER OF THE ROADWAY ALL THE WAY FROM MENARD HIGH SCHOOL TO THE NEW WALMART. THE GOOD NEWS IS THERE WERE NO MAJOR INJURIES REPORTED AND ALL SEEMED TO HAVE A GREAT TIME.

FIRE OFFICIALS SAY, IT WILL BE A WHILE BEFORE ANYONE KNOWS THE CAUSE OF THE BLAZE THAT BROKE OUT EARLY FRIDAY MORNING AT MARTIN PARK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL. A JANITOR ARRIVING AT THE SCHOOL AROUND 5:30 IN THE MORNING SPOTTED SMOKE BILLOWING OUT OF ONE OF THE DOORS. THE FIRE DEPARTMENT WAS ON THE SCENE A FEW MINUTES LATER. 72 MINUTES LATER THE FIRE WAS UNDER CONTROL. SCHOOL OFFICIALS AT THIS POINT BELIEVE THE BUILDING IS NOT A TOTAL LOSS. BUT, THE WILL BE DETERMINED AFTER A FULL INVESTIGATION IS CONDUCTED. BEST CASE SCENARIO, 3 TO 5 MONTHS OF REPAIR WORK LIES AHEAD. IN THE INTERIM, STUDENTS AND SCHOOL STAFF WILL BE MOVED TO THE FORMER HADNOT-HAYES ELEMENTARY SCHOOL ON LINCOLN ROAD.

WITH ONE NEW WEST NILE VIRUS DEATH AND NINE NEW INFECTION CASES, STATE HEALTH OFFICIALS SAY THAT BRINGS THE TOTAL TO 12 DEATHS THIS YEAR AND 312 CONFIRMED CASES. THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HOSPITALS' REPORT SHOWS FIVE OF THE NEW CASES ARE OF THE MORE SERIOUS STRAIN OF THE DISEASE WITH TWO CASES REPORTED IN CALCASIEU AND ONE EACH IN IBERIA, LAFAYETTE AND ORLEANS PARISHES. RESIDENTS ARE REMINDED WEAR MOSQUITO REPELLENT AND TO DRAIN STAGNANT WATER TO PREVENT MOSQUITOES FROM BREEDING.

ACCORDING TO A LETTER FROM THE LSU SYSTEM’S OUTSIDE COUNSEL, GOV. BOBBY JINDAL’S EXECUTIVE COUNSEL SUGGESTED LSU REJECT PUBLIC RECORDS REQUESTS FOR DOCUMENTS RELATED TO BUDGET CUTS AND PRIVATIZATION EFFORTS AT LSU’S PUBLIC HOSPITALS. THE LETTER TO LSU SYSTEM PRESIDENT WILLIAM JENKINS, OBTAINED FRIDAY BY THE BATON ROUGE ADVOCATE, CONTRADICTS EARLIER ASSERTIONS BY JINDAL ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS THAT LSU DECIDED ON ITS OWN HOW TO RESPOND TO REQUESTS TO MAKE THE RECORDS AVAILABLE PUBLICLY. JINDAL’S OFFICE, THROUGH SPOKESMAN KYLE PLOTKIN, ASSERTED LAST WEEK THAT THE ADMINISTRATION HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH LSU INVOKING THE DELIBERATIVE PROCESS PRIVILEGE ON REQUESTS FILED BY THE ADVOCATE IN LATE SEPTEMBER.

THE COMMISSIONER OF THE OFFICE OF MOTOR VEHICLES WANTS TO REDUCE WAIT TIMES AT YOUR LOCAL D-M-V. STEPHEN CAMPBELL SAYS THERE ARE PROCESSES BEING PUT IN PLACE AT ALL 82 DMV OFFICES THAT WOULD IMPROVE EFFICIENCY. CAMPELL SAYS ANOTHER WAY TO CUT DOWN ON WAIT TIMES IS TO ENCOURAGE MORE PEOPLE TO TAKE CARE OF THEIR BASIC OMV NEEDS ONLINE AT EXPRESS-LANE-DOT-ORG.

EARLY VOTING GETS UNDERWAY ON SATURDAY AND A NON-PARTISAN PUBLIC POLICY RESEARCH GROUP SAYS NOW IS THE TIME TO GET FAMILIAR WITH THE NINE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS ON THE BALLOT. PUBLIC AFFAIRS RESEARCH COUNCIL
PRESIDENT ROBERT TRAVIS SCOTT ENCOURAGES VOTERS TO CHECK OUT PAR'S WEBSITE LOUISIANAPAR.ORG FOR AN IN DEPTH ANALYSIS OF EACH PROPOSED AMENDMENT...


TAXPAYERS, VENDORS AND CONTRACTORS OWE THE STATE OF LOUISIANA HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN TAXES AND THE STATE, TRADITIONALLY HAS HAD PROBLEMS COLLECTING. BUT NOW, THE LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE IS LAUNCHING A NEW PROGRAM THAT WILL HELP THEM COLLECT MONEY OWED TO THE STATE. STATE OFFICIALS ESTIMATE THAT THEY CAN COLLECT 11-MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR BY INTERCEPTING PAYMENTS THAT GO FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO THOSE VENDORS OR CONTRACTORS WHO OWE LOUISIANA MONEY.

FEDERAL OFFICIALS APPROVE A PLAN PRESENTED BY BP AND TRANSOCEAN THAT'S DESIGNED TO FIGURE OUT THE SOURCE OF AN OIL SHEEN IN THE GULF OF MEXICO THAT'S ASSOCIATED WITH THE 2010 DEEPWATER HORIZON OIL SPILL. ANALYSTS SAY THE OIL COULD BE FROM THE DRILLING WRECKAGE LYING ON THE BOTTOM OF THE GULF OF MEXICO FLOOR.

A 43-PAGE PRIMER WRITTEN BY THE JINDAL ADMINISTRATION ON LOUISIANA’S STATE TAX STRUCTURE SUGGESTS A RECIPE FOR IMPROVING THE PERCEPTION OF THE STATE’S BUSINESS CLIMATE. IN ESSENCE, IT IS A SWAP: SHED EXEMPTIONS IN EXCHANGE FOR ADOPTING LOWER TAX RATES. THE GOVERNOR MADE EDUCATION HIS PRIMARY PUSH DURING THIS YEAR’S 2012 LEGISLATIVE SESSION. DURING THE 2013 SESSION, HE WANTS THE THEME TO BE A COMPREHENSIVE REVIEW OF THE STATE’S TAX CODE. AS THE GOVERNOR TOLD SUPPORTERS IN AUGUST, HE WANTS TO “MAKE LOUISIANA’S TAX CODE FAIRER, FLATTER AND LOWER FOR LOUISIANA FAMILIES AND BUSINESSES.”

IF THE LOUISIANA BOARD OF ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION APPROVES THIS WEEK, NON-PUBLIC SCHOOLS WILL HAVE NEW STANDARDS TO MEET TO BE CERTIFIED TO RECEIVE STATE AND LOCAL ASSISTANCE. THE NEW REQUIREMENTS, WHICH WOULD GO INTO EFFECT FOR THE 2013-14 SCHOOL YEAR, ACCORDING TO STATE SUPERINTENDENT OF EDUCATION JOHN WHITE, WOULD ELIMINATE MUCH OF THE RED TAPE IN THE CURRENT APPLICATION PROCESS. UNDER THE PLAN, SCHOOLS THAT CURRENTLY HAVE RECOGNIZED NATIONAL OR REGIONAL ACCREDITATION THROUGH THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS OR THE SOUTHERN ASSOCIATION OF COLLEGES AND SCHOOLS WOULD IMMEDIATELY RECEIVE FIVE-YEAR APPROVAL, PROVIDED THEY PRESENT YEARLY PROOF THAT THEY RETAIN ACCREDITATION. CURRENTLY 200 NON-PUBLIC SCHOOLS IN THE STATE FALL INTO THAT CATEGORY.


NEW IBERIA CONGRESSMAN JEFF LANDRY IS CALLING ON LAFAYETTE CONGRESSMAN CHARLES BOUSTANY TO PARTICIPATE IN A DEBATE BEFORE THE NOVEMBER SIXTH ELECTION. THE TWO ARE THE MAIN CANDIDATES IN THE THIRD CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT RACE. A DEBATE WAS SCHEDULED FOR MONDAY, BUT IT WAS CANCELLED FOR A REASON THAT HAS NOT BEEN SPECIFICALLY SPELLED OUT. NO WORD FROM BOUSTANY'S CAMP ON IF THERE WILL BE A DEBATE.

STATE POLICE ARE INVESTIGATING A FATAL CRASH INVOLVING A POLICE CAR. THE INCIDENT HAPPENED IN THE VERMILION PARISH TOWN OF MAURICE. OFFICER WILLIS THOMAS WHO WAS RESPONDING TO AN EMERGENCY CALL WAS DRIVING ON U-S HIGHWAY 167 WITH HIS EMERGENCY LIGHTS AND SIREN ON WHEN HE SAYS 83-YEAR-OLD PAUL SUIRE PULLED OUT IN FRONT OF HIM. SUIRE DIED UPON IMPACT, THE POLICE OFFICER SUSTAINED MINOR INJURIES.

AFTER JANUARY 15TH, LOUISIANANS COULD FIND THEMSELVES NEEDING A PASSPORT FOR THINGS LIKE BOARDING A COMMERCIAL AIRLINER OR ENTERING A FEDERAL BUILDING, BECAUSE OUR STATE WON'T COMPLY WITH THE NEW FEDERAL REAL ID PROGRAM. STATE MOTOR VEHICLES COMMISSIONER STEPHEN CAMPBELL SAYS THE LEGISLATURE PASSED A LAW IN 2008 TO THAT EFFECT. THE FACT THAT THE ID’S WILL REQUIRE A RF ID CHIP IS WHAT LED OUR LAWMAKERS TO VOTE AGAINST WHAT THEY CALLED BIG BROTHERISM. CAMPBELL HOPES THE AIRLINE INDUSTRY WILL PUT ENOUGH PRESSURE ON HOMELAND SECURITY THAT THEY WILL AGAIN ALLOW LOUISIANA DRIVERS LICENSES.

God Bless America!

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