News for thursday 101812
by dave graichen
Following Tuesday's evacuation at alexandria senior high school and Rumors circulated Wednesday about a second threat, About 100 students decided not to chance it and checked out of school the day, others simply were no shows. school officials say they had not received any word of yet another threat and that Tuesday's threat remains under investigation by the Alexandria Police Department. In the meantime, extra precautions are being taken at the school. Two Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office detectives manned metal DETECTORS and checked students as they entered the building Wednesday morning.
The Rapides Parish School Board has declared a public emergency for damages caused by a recent fire at Martin Park Elementary, allowing for quicker action in signing contracts to repair the building. The declaration, which came at a special School Board meeting Tuesday night, authorizes the interim superintendent or assistant superintendent of administration to negotiate required construction and repairs with costs to be paid from special reserve funds and with insurance proceeds. Roy Rachal, coordinator of risk management for the district, said the school is a "significant loss" after Friday's fire burned classrooms, collapsed a portion of the roof and covered the school's contents with smoke and soot.
The U.S. Department of Energy says it needs more time to consider an environmental group's objections to a Texas company's plans to build an export terminal for liquefied natural gas in southwest Louisiana. Earlier this year regulators approved a permit allowing Houston-based Cheniere Energy Inc. to build the Sabine Pass LNG terminal in Cameron Parish. The project was the first large-scale natural gas export facility to be approved in the U.S. In September, the Sierra Club objected and asked DOE to block the project. The group said a more in-depth environmental analysis should be done to examine whether building the facility would result in an increase in natural gas production and environmental damage. no word as to when a ruling may come from the feds.
Police say a woman who drove off the parking garage at the Boomtown Casino in Bossier city is fighting for her life at LSU-Hospital in Shreveport. Bossier City Police Spokesperson Mark Natale says the woman drove from the top floor of the garage and fell about 60 feet. the car landed on its roof onto a concrete exit ramp and pinned the woman inside. natale says police do believe alcohol to be a factor.
Lafayette Police report an arrest in the case of a murder in downtown Lafayette. The body of 24-year-old Michael Luke Darby was found Monday afternoon behind a shrub, next to a business. The U-S Marshal's office arrested 26-year-old Kyle James Toups of Carencro last night near Beaumont. Lafayette Police Corporal Paul Mouton says Toups was arrested in Texas, because that's where he was working. Mouton says investigators do not believe Darby and Toups knew each other prior to the murder.
The president of the Louisiana Association of School Superintendents calls the state's new anti-bullying law an administrative nightmare. Michael Faulk says the new rules, as established by BESE, will pile on multiple layers of new bureaucratic procedures. BESE drafted the rules in response to a new anti-bullying law passed by the legislature. Faulk says school administrators will work on recommendations to make the process easier.
The Federal Aviation Administration is in Vernon Parish trying to determine the cause of a single-engine plane crash that killed an assistant church pastor. Authorities say James Roberts' plane went down in a wooded area near Simpson on Sunday. Stormy weather may have been a factor.
New federal campaign finance numbers show Charles Boustany with a sizable cash-on-hand lead over fellow republican Jeff Landry in the race for the newly redrawn 3rd Congressional District. According to the report Boustany raised a half million dollars between July 29th and September 30th, compared to Landry who raised nearly 380-thousand dollars during that same period. The F-E-C report shows the lone democratic in the race, Ron Richard,
with 15-thousand dollars in cash. Two other candidates, Libertarian Jim Stark and republican Bryan Barilleaux, did not report any cash funds.
Six parishes in southeast Louisiana have banded together to improve flood protection and storm response in the region. The Storm Defense Compact includes the parishes of St. John the Baptist, St. Tammany, St. Bernard, Tangipahoa, St. Charles and Jefferson. St. Tammany Parish President Pat Brister says the idea arose after Hurricane Isaac. The six parishes in the compact were all on the receiving end of severe flooding in the wake of Hurricane Isaac. There is speculation that some of the flooding there was the result of runoff due to beefed up flood protection in New Orleans and Jefferson Parish after Katrina.
Capitol Area Congressman Bill Cassidy is up for re-election on November 6th, but already talking about a run for Senate in two years. Cassidy says he'd be honored to be asked to run against Senator Mary Landrieu. Cassidy made the comment to the Baton Rouge Business Report. He says he's not necessarily running in 2014. Cassidy says he'd want to have his family's approval, plenty of campaign cash and support of big donors and organizers in order to even enter the 2014 Senate race.
State Police say 20 people have been arrested and nearly 150 pounds of illegal drugs have been seized in a narcotics investigation that started over a year ago. Troop C spokesman Trooper Evan Harrell says The people arrested are all from Houma, Lockport or Bourg. Trooper Harrell says officers seized over 5 pounds of methamphetamine, 130 pounds of marijuana, three guns, 2 vehicles and over tens of thousands of dollars in cash. He says the group was bringing the dope in from Texas and California.
The number of people who identify themselves as being a part of a particular religion is on the decline according to a Pew Research Center study. Dr. Tom Ryan is the director of the Loyola Institute for Ministry. He believes that churches need to put a stronger focus on attracting young adults. The study also indicates nearly 20% of Americans say they aren't affiliated with a denomination which is up 5% from five years ago. But Ryan says nearly 2/3 of "non-religious" are spiritual people who believe in God. The study shows that most unaffiliated people are not looking to be associated with a religion.