News For Monday 102912
By Dave Graichen
It appears, imprisoned Former Ball Mayor Roy Hebron, will be losing his retirement account. In court papers filed last week, federal authorities say they plan to garnish his municipal retirement account to pay the remaining $68,237 he owes for overcharging the federal government after hurricane Gustav and using the money to fill holes in the town budget. Hebron pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the federal government and was sentenced in May of 2011 to 48 months in federal prison, he’s due to be released in December of 2014. The 58-year-old six-term mayor is serving the sentence at a minimum-security facility in Pensacola, Florida.
An attempt has failed to get Louisiana lawmakers into special session to consider reversing Gov. Bobby Jindal's recent cuts to health-care programs and a state prison. State senators blocked the effort, and the lawmaker leading the charge could not meet a Friday deadline to garner enough votes. State Rep. Jerome "Dee" Richard, an independent from Thibodaux, needed 13 senators to sign onto supporting the idea, the threshold for triggering a mail-in balloting of the Legislature, only nine signed the petition.
A federal grand jury has indicted two St. Landry Parish School Board members for conspiring to extort money in exchange for their votes for a new school superintendent. U.S. Attorney Stephanie A. Finley says indictments were handed up Wednesday against 50-year-old Quincy Richard Sr. and 71-year-old John Miller, both of Opelousas. From mid-July until Sept. 24, the defendants each accepted $5,000 from a superintendent candidate who was cooperating with the FBI. If convicted, both men face up to $250,000 in fines and five years in prison on the conspiracy count and up to 10 years in prison for the bribery counts.
State Police and Livingston Parish sheriff's investigators want to know how and why a funeral home employee managed to accidentally cremate the fetus that was cut from its mother’s womb last week,
before the baby could be autopsied. 31-year-old Jeffrey Reynolds has been arrested for 1st degree feticide in that crime, and for attempted murder for the attack on the mother.
State health officials report another 17 confirmed cases of West Nile virus among Louisiana residents, bringing the total infected this year to 338. The Department of Health & Hospitals also confirms
another person has died from the neuro-invasive form of the disease, also called West Nile Encephalitis. So far 13 people in the state have died from West Nile this year.
A new commanding officer is on his way to Central Louisiana to take charge of Fort Polk and the Army’s Joint Readiness Training Center located there. Brig. Gen. Bill Hickman, who until Friday was deputy commanding general for support of the famed 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Ky., will replace Brig. Gen. Clarence K.K. Chinn as the commanding officer at Fork Polk.
Lake Charles Clean Energy is expected to announce today a new project to produce clean energy from gasified petroleum coke. Development partner Hunter Johnston says about 1500 construction jobs will result, with nearly 200 full-time permanent jobs at the finished plant. Johnston says the plant will produce methanol, hydrogen, argon and sulfuric acid; all of which will be sold to eager users. Johnston says, when completed, the plant will use state-of-the-art technology to capture 90% of the cardon dioxide released by gasification to sell for use in enhanced oil recovery techniques. He says the plant
will be clean, efficient and will provide needed jobs in southwestern Louisiana.
There are nine Constitutional amendments on the November 6th ballot. Today, we spotlight proposed Amendment Five, which would let lawmakers pass laws to deprive public officials the state-paid part of their retirement, if they're convicted of corruption. Metairie Rep. Tony Ligi authored the original legislation. A "yes" vote on Amendment Five will give the Legislature authority to enact state laws for the forfeiture of state-paid retirement benefits to those found guilty of public corruption.
A three day paid "business trip" to Venice by several members of the Louisiana House is being called a "fishing trip" by some. Lawmakers were paid $149 a day in per diem and .55 cents per mile so they could
meet at a popular fishing site near the Gulf of Mexico. Political watchdog CB Forgotston says this was a costly trip for taxpayers. Some lawmakers who attended the retreat reportedly say the trip included several productive meetings and discussions. Forgotston says there was a clear effort to keep this trip quiet which seems fishy. Some lawmakers admit they were looking for a getaway where they could be candid with each other outside of the public's eye.
The LSU Board of Supervisors have approved the merger of the positions of president of the LSU System and chancellor of the Baton Rouge campus into a single position. The board's unanimous vote Friday created the new position, "President of LSU." LSU is currently managed by interim president and chancellor, William Jenkins who replaced John Lombardi as president in April and then assumed the chancellor's responsibilities when Michael Martin departed in May.
A recent U-S-D-A survey forewarns of a potential crisis in the ag industry, because of the lack of young people involved in agriculture. According to the survey, only 5-percent of the nation's farm operators
are under the age of 35. Louisiana's Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain says society needs to do more to get young people involved. Strain hopes more younger people consider a career in ag. He says there are plenty of excellent opportunities. Some people may steer away from agriculture, because of manual labor. But Strain says there's plenty of lucrative positions within the ag industry that do not require work in the field.
According to the state’s attorney general, significant rate increases for state-sponsored wind and hail property insurance policies that Citizens Property Insurance Corp. approved earlier this year were legal. Attorney General James “Buddy” Caldwell issued the opinion last week. The rate increases brought the cost of insurance up more than 100 percent in some coastal parishes. State Treasurer John Kennedy had attacked the rate increases, saying he believed they were illegal.
The New Orleans Saints are now 2 and 5, after an embarrassing 34-14 loss to the Broncos last night in Denver. Interim head coach Joe Vitt says he made mistakes and the team made mistakes, and failed to manage Payton Manning and the Broncos offense. The Saints were plagued with missed cues, incomplete passes and dropped balls. Vitt takes responsibility for the teams lack of preparation for
matchup in Denver. Vitt says there's a lot of work ahead to get the team tightened up in time for next week's home game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
The week Purple and Gold fans have been waiting for has arrived. Some are calling the LSU-Alabama rematch Saturday the biggest in college football this season and ESPN Magazine is even dedicating an entire issue to the contest.