News For Tuesday 112012
By Dave Graichen
Many are wondering, what next? Hostess Brands Inc. and its second largest union agreed on Monday to go into mediation to try to resolve their differences after a bankruptcy court judge noted that the parties hadn’t gone through the critical step. That means Hostess isn’t out of business yet. The news comes after the company last week moved to liquidate and sell off its assets in bankruptcy court. Hostess cited a crippling strike started on Nov. 9th by a union, that represents about 30 percent of Hostess workers. Hostess, which had been contributing $100 million a year in pension costs for workers, offered workers a new contract that would’ve slashed that to $25 million a year, in addition to wage cuts and a 17 percent reduction in health benefits. The baker’s union rejected the offer and decided to strike. The mediation talks are expected to begin Today, with the liquidation hearing set to resume tomorrow.
Nineteen members of the Louisiana House, nearly all Republicans, are asking the attorney general whether the state's budget uses unconstitutional sources of financing. The request, sent Monday to Attorney General Buddy Caldwell, challenges GOP Gov. Bobby Jindal's continuing use of one-time money not certain to appear each year to pay for continuing programs. A group of conservative House Republicans have criticized the tactic as inappropriate, but they have been unsuccessful in blocking use of the money in legislative sessions. The request for an attorney general's opinion was made by Rep. Kirk Talbot, a Republican from River Ridge who had been a Jindal ally. Talbot's letter says the budget spends money above what was recognized by the state's income estimating panel, and he claims that's a violation of state law.
Under Louisiana's Constitution, any nonpublic school getting state money must be certified as providing a curriculum or specialized course of study at least equal to those required for similar public schools. But it's questionable whether that requirement is being met for the 377 schools in the state voucher program. Under the Constitution and a court ruling, their certification must come from the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. However A public records request to view curricula submitted by nonpublic schools found that neither BESE nor the Department of Education requires them to submit copies of their curricula or copies of the books they use.
A federal judge on Friday temporarily prevented the Obama administration from forcing a Christian publishing company to provide its employees with certain contraceptives under the new health-care law. U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton granted a preliminary injunction sought by Tyndale House Publishers, which doesn't want to provide employees with contraceptives that it equates with abortion. Louisiana College in Pineville has filed a similar lawsuit. The judge's order does not apply to the LC case.
State Police report a 32-year-old Winnsboro man died Monday morning in a single-vehicle crash on La. Highway 8 near Rhinehart. Troopers say Charles Rose lost control and drove off the right side of the road, causing his truck to overturn. Rose was not wearing his seatbelt and was pronounced dead at the scene. Routine toxicology tests are pending.
Pineville PD have two charged local men with committing nine vehicle burglaries in that city over the weekend. Charged were 19 year old Ray Ashlock and 18 year old Jacobe Smalding, both of Pineville. Police report the burglaries took place late Saturday and early Sunday along La. Highway 28 East and Pinehurst Drive. Most of the property was recovered when a deputy found two men sleeping in a vehicle in an Exxon gas station in Tioga.
A Monday morning fire at a mobile home in Krotz Springs has claimed the life of an elderly man who was a double-amputee. State Fire Marshal Butch Browning says 73-year-old Floyd Mason was not able to escape the blaze in time and his remains were found near the exit door. The investigation revealed Mason was a smoker who had been known to smoke while using oxygen. Fire officials also confirmed a space heater was in the living room where they believe the fire started.
Motorists in Louisiana are getting an early holiday gift as the price at the pump continues to fall. According to The American Automobile Association, the price of a gallon of regular today is
$3.21. Patrick DeHaan with Gas Buddy dot com says prices stand at just three cents above where they were last year at the same time. He says plenty of analysts are giving lots of different opinions why the price is falling so quickly but he believes a matter of supply and demand.
Looks like Governor Bobby Jindal is staying out of the 3rd Congressional District battle between Republican's Charles Boustany and Jeff Landry. Apparently Jindal has said he won't endorse a
candidate in the Dec 8th runoff.
A Baton Rouge businessman launches an organization called "Louisiana Truth," which will fact-check Governor Bobby Jindal's comments made to the national media. Joe Traigle says Jindal is not practicing what he says and they have about 30 volunteers who will research the governor's comments to make sure they are accurate. No comment from the Governor's Office on the organization.
State health officials confirm another death from the West Nile virus, bringing this year's total to 16. Secretary of Health & Hospitals Bruce Greenstein says another 15 people were diagnosed with the virus last week, for a total of 371. Of the 371 cases of West Nile in the state, 152 have had the neuro- invasive form of the disease, called West Nile Encephalitis. According to Greenstein, weather conditions have stacked up to make this a bad year for West Nile infections. The good news is, with the arrival of cooler temps, we should also see the end of the west Nile season.
Fire officials are still trying to figure out how exactly a huge chemical fire started in Slaughter causing the temporary evacuations of hundreds of homes. They say it happened around 2am Monday morning at the Monolyte Lab. They say no one was on-site at the time.
The Louisiana Restaurant Association says the trend of people eating out on Thanksgiving continues to rise and now is the time to make your reservations. Spokesperson Erica Papillion says many people still like the convenience of not having to cook a big meal, or clean up afterwards, especially if it’s only two people.