News for Monday 111212
By Dave Graichen
The coldest air of the season is moving into Louisiana. State Climatologist Barry Keim says we'll only see high temperatures in the 60s today for most of the state as a result of a strong cold front pushing through Louisiana. Keim says low temperatures for the next few days will range from the mid 30s to low 40s.
State Treasurer John Kennedy is upset over the Citizens Insurance board's decision to give its top executive a 50-thousand dollar raise, while the state-run property insurance company faces a 56-million dollar shortfall. Kennedy says how can you raise Richard Robertson's annual salary to $290,000, while the company is reporting record losses. Kennedy is asking Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon not to approve the pay raise. Kennedy says Citizens board members voted for it, because Robertson hasn't received a pay raise in three years and his salary is lower compared to others who have a similar responsibility. But Kennedy says announcing a 56-million dollar deficit and giving out a hefty raise on the same day is poor judgment.
It’s now official, The University of Louisiana System has named its next System President. She is Sandra Woodley - currently the vice-chancellor for strategic initiative with the University of Texas System. Woodley replaces former ULL System President Randy Moffett, who retired back in September. She'll start her new position right after the holidays. Woodley says she'll put her skills to work; analyzing data and strategizing on how to best move the universities forward, while coping with recent deep state cuts to higher education.
Louisiana's energy industry has worries about another four years of Obama Administration oil & gas policies. Don Briggs is president of the Louisiana OIl & Gas Association. He says the Mr. Obama is NOT friendly to the domestic energy industry. Briggs says Obama's Environmental Protection Agency over-reacted to the 2010 BP oil spill and shut down all Gulf drilling for over 6 months. He worries that the EPA will turn similar attention on hydraulic well fracking during the President's 2nd term. The White House says domestic energy exploration has grown during Mr. Obama's first term. Briggs says that IS true, but it's been in spite of the President's energy policies.
Louisiana has once again enacted a rule to ban a deadly synthetic drug --- the latest one is known as "25-I". Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Bruce Greenstein says "25-I" is similar to bath salts and its chemical makeup is highly potent, very toxic and any dose can be dangerous. Slidell Representative Kevin Pearson proposed criminalizing this drug after an Arkansas man died in New Orleans after overdosing on 25-I at Voo Doo Fest. Greenstein says they took swift action to add this drug
to the Louisiana list of Schedule I narcotics. Schedule I legal penalties could mean serving up to 30 years in prison. Greenstein says this year 25-I is responsible for at least five deaths nationwide including the one in Louisiana.
Rival Republican congressmen Charles Boustany and Jeff Landry are prepping for an intense month of campaigning--leading to their December 8th runoff election for "all the marbles". U.L.-Lafayette political science professor Pearson Cross says he expects spending for the runoff to top $5-million. Dr. Cross says both candidates will be in full-blown fundraising mode. Here’s something you may not have known, campaign donors, who had reached the legal limit for contributions prior to the November 6th election, may now contribute to their candidate again.
USA Today names Lake Charles as one of the Top 10 places to spend a winter vacation. That's impressive when you take a look at other places that made the list like Hawaii, Palm Springs, Los Angeles and Puerto Rico. The article boasts the good food, beautiful scenery and marshland exploring at makes the southwest Louisiana city so attractive. The article was in Friday's Travel section of USA today and you can also read it on their website, usatoday.com.
LSU's offense was sharp again on Saturday night in the Tigers 37-17 homecoming win over Mississippi State. The victory improved the Tigers record to 8-and-2. LSU has a chance at playing in a BCS Bowl, if they can win their remaining two games and Florida losses once. LSU hosts Ole Miss this Saturday.
What a game! There is no longer an undefeated team in the NFL after the New Orleans Saints knock off the Atlanta Falcons 31-27. It's the fourth win in five games for the Black and Gold who rushed for 148 yards Sunday with the Saints defense holding Atlanta to just 46 yards.
Congratulations to Louisiana College, who will make its first appearance in the NCAA football playoffs this week when the 8 and 2 Wildcats play at American Southwest Conference rival, undefeated Mary Hardin-Baylor on Saturday. The game will take place in Belton, Texas.