News for Monday 111912
By Dave Graichen
For the 200 employs at the now shuttered Holsum bakery in Alexandria, the question is, what’s next? The employees, some who had worked at the facility for over 20 years, were told Friday their services were no longer needed and that the facility was closing its doors. The closure stems from ongoing financial problems with the parent company and a strike by several unions across the country who felt they had given into enough concessions over the years and the companies multiple bankruptcies. Hostess suspended operations at its 33 plants as part of a planned winding down as it seeks permission to liquidate. A hearing on the liquidation request will take place today in White Plains, N.Y. The company's nearly 18,500 employees would lose their jobs in a liquidation.
Divers hired by the owner of an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico that caught fire recovered a body near the site Saturday evening. Coast Guard spokesman Carlos Vega said late Saturday that the unidentified person was found by divers hired by Houston-based Black Elk Energy who were inspecting the platform. John Hoffman, the president and CEO of Black Elk Energy, said in an email late Saturday that the body is that of one of two crew members missing since an explosion and fire on the oil platform Friday morning. According to the coast guard, they searched a 1400-square-foot area several times and saw no signs of life. They have suspended the search pending any further developments. Four other workers who were severely burned remain hospitalized.
Governor Jindal's budget advisors predict a shortfall of nearly a billion dollars for the fiscal year that starts in July. The Office of Planning and Budget says the deficit is in the neighborhood of $963-million. According to OPB director Barry Dusse, over a third of the shortfall about $355-million - is tied to the drop in federal Medicaid matching funds. $250-million is from loss of one-time dollars that were being used to pay for recurring expenses. State colleges will be targeted to balance the shortfall.
Metairie Congressman Steve Scalise has been elected as the next chairman for the House's Republican conservative caucus. Scalise will lead the Republican Study Committee when the 113th Congress convenes in January. Scalise says he'll lead the effort in the U-S house to pass conservative solutions to the nation’s big problems. The congressman says his goal is to pass legislation that will create economic opportunities for Americans through lower taxes and controlled spending.
A proposal to cut phone rates for prisoners by 25-percent failed to gain passage during last week's Public Service Commission meeting. Several supporters were at the hearing and argued prisoners and their families do not have enough money to pay for the collect calls. Corrections Secretary James LeBlanc says if PSC Commissioner Foster Campbell's plan is adopted, he would have to cut $900,000 from the budget for inmate services. Campbell says the rates are about 15 times what an ordinary collect call costs and that "stinks to high heaven".
Louisiana law enforcement have beefed up patrols of state highways for the Thanksgiving holiday. State Highway Safety Commission director Col. John LeBlanc says federal highway safety grants are being used to fund enhanced police presence now through Sunday. He says they're hoping for zero
fatalities this Thanksgiving weekend. LeBlanc says you may also encounter sobriety and seatbelt checkpoints--especially at night.
The price of your traditional Thanksgiving Meal is taking a big jump this year. Jeanette Tucker with the LSU Ag Center says the 2012 Louisiana Thanksgiving market basket will average $44.35 for 10 people
which is up 13.2 percent from last year. She says, for the most part, you can blame the turkey. Tucker says also increasing is the price of milk, pumpkin pie mix and sweet potatoes. According to the US Department of Energy, gasoline and diesel prices were up by 3.5 percent in 2012 compared to 2011 which Tucker says is also reflective in the higher price at the table.
The Louisiana Federation of Teacher's annual convention is underway in Baton Rouge and the teacher's union receives an update today on lawsuits challenging Governor Jindal's education reform package. LFT President Steve Monaghan says a state judge will hear arguments next week on an attempt to have the statewide voucher program declared unconstitutional. Monaghan says a separate hearing will take place December 17th on the constitutionality of teacher tenure reform legislation that was passed this spring.
Eighth ranked LSU's wild win over Ole Miss on Saturday in Tiger Stadium was a memorable contest as the Tigers scored 20 points in the fourth quarter to beat the Rebels 41-35. The victory was number 84 for coach Miles at LSU, moving him past Bernie Moore for second most wins in LSU history. The USA Today Top 25 football coaches poll released Sunday, has Notre Dame at # 1, Alabama at #2 and LSU at #7.