News for Thursday 111512
By Dave Graichen
Louisiana has been experiencing below-average temperatures the last couple of days and that cool weather is expected to remain in the bayou state for the rest of the week. State Climatologist Barry Keim says expect high temperatures to remain in the 60s for the rest of the week.
The Public Service Commission takes up a call to lower the rates prisoners pay for phone calls. Public Service Commission Chairman Foster Campbell calls it a scam. He says the service provider is allowed to charge 15 times the national rate and the state piles additional charges on top of that. Campbell says local sheriffs and state prisons require prisoners to set up phone accounts with 50 dollars, then charge seven dollars to set up the account. Providers then charge 30 cents a minute, with 70-percent of that going to the prisons. Campbell says communicating with family is important to rehabilitating prisoners, but these high phone charges effectively cut off that communication.
Tigerrag.com is reporting two LSU football players could have violated an NCAA rule by appearing in a promotional video for a party at a Baton Rouge night club. The party took place in March and it celebrated a mixtape release for former LSU star Tyrann Mathieu's rap group. Tiger Rag editor Cody Worsham says the two players in the video are defensive tackle Anthony Johnson and running back Spencer Ware. Worsham says its against NCAA rules for a student-athlete to promote or recommend a commercial product or service of any kind.
According to a just released report from the Center on Budget and Policy and the economic policy institute, Louisiana ranks sixth among states for the size of the income gap separating rich residents from poor residents in recent years. That ranking is based on the difference in income between the 20 percent of people with the highest incomes and the 20 percent with the lowest incomes between 2008 and 2010. The report also showed, Louisiana also had the tenth-largest income gap between the top 20 percent and the middle 20 percent. In Louisiana, the average income of people in the bottom 20 percent increased 1.7 percent, or $282, between the late 1990s and mid 2000s. Those in the top fifth saw their incomes rise an average 17 percent, or $21,967. Average income for those in the middle fifth increased 7.8 percent, or $3,791. Since the late 1970s, income in Louisiana has increased by 61.9 percent for those in the top fifth and 9.6 percent for those in the bottom fifth. Similar trends are apparent in other states.
Remember that Bonnie & Clyde movie that was supposed to be made here in Central Louisiana. Well, we haven’t heard much about it lately. The reason? It has never begun production. Yesterday, Alexandria Mayor Jacques Roy told the Cypress Moon Productions out of Alabama to honor its agreement to film a movie in Central Louisiana or give back the $50,000 the city put up in 2009 for the project. The production company also received $25,000 from the Alexandria Pineville Convention and Visitors Bureau and $25,000 from the Greater Alexandria Economic Development Authority (GAEDA). Tanya Holly the owner of Cypress Moon says filming is set to begin in January.
U.S. Attorney Don Cazayoux says federal charges against the man accused of calling in a bomb threat at LSU in September have been dropped. The campus was evacuated that day, causing traffic lockups all over Baton Rouge. 42-year-old William Bouvay Jr was arrested for the crime. Cazayoux says a conviction on state charges would give Bouvay a stiffer sentence, so he’s letting the state handle the case.
House Speaker Chuck Kleckley, of Lake Charles, is asking the state Ethics Board to waive fines for two Calcasieu school teachers that led an effort to recall him this year. The women were fined $1000 each for failing to file a report on their recall effort on time. Kleckley says that's a lot of money on a school teacher's salary, and he'd like to see them get a break. Kleckley says Angie Bonvillian and Brenda Romero acted in good faith within their rights as Louisiana voters in starting the recall effort, which did fail to get the needed signatures.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved nearly $116 million in individual aid for Louisiana homeowners and renters who experienced damage from Hurricane Isaac. According to a just released FEMA report, nearly 32,000 people have received housing assistance, which totals $95 million. Another $21 million has been provided for other types of individual assistance. Isaac made landfall Aug. 28 and caused significant flooding in southeast Louisiana. Eight FEMA disaster recovery centers are still open, providing aid.
New Orleans has been named the best city in the country to visit by Travel and Leisure Magazine. The top ranked categories for NOLA include fine dining, music, people watching and unique shopping. Kelly Schulz with the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau says this award is a huge marketing tool for not only New Orleans, but for the entire state. The magazine even called The Big Easy "the clear winner" based on a survey of travelers.
Attorney General Buddy Caldwell is hosting a two day training session in New Orleans with law enforcement from around Louisiana on ways to spot, prevent and prosecute cases of human trafficking. Assistant Attorney General Katherine Green says the sessions will feature experts from all across the country. Green says one of the biggest challenges facing law enforcement is the invisible nature of the crime.