News for Thursday 112912
By Dave Graichen
LSU head coach Les Miles says he's staying in Baton Rouge for as long as he's welcome. Reports surfaced Tuesday that Miles had been offered a deal to coach at Arkansas for a hefty sum. At a press conference yesterday, LSU athletic director Joe Alleva confirmed Miles has agreed to a contract extension with a bump in his base salary. Miles had been making slightly less than $3.9 million a year. No details of his new pay rate have been released yet.
The Twelve Nights of Christmas officially kick off tonight in downtown Alexandria. Today, it’s Holiday Magic Downtown. Activities begin at 5 p.m. in the Alexander Fulton Mini Park and includes the official lighting of downtown and an appearance by Santa Clause. Tonight’s event is free and open to the public.
The trial over the constitutionality of the Jindal school voucher plan is under way in Baton Rouge. The Governor and State Superintendent of Education, John White, claim the plan is perfectly legal. State teacher's unions and a large number of school boards from across the state argue the plan is both illegal and bad for public education. The Baton Rouge Judge hearing the case said Wednesday that he expects to rule this week on a lawsuit. Whatever Judge Kelley rules is expected to be appealed by the losing side.
Dedication ceremonies were held yesterday for a 34.5 acre industrial park adjacent to union tank car off of highway 1 at England air park. The plot of land has been certified by Cleco through it’s “SmartSites” program , the aim of which is to find if there is a red flag out there and get it corrected to make the property more marketable. Local economic development officials are hoping Union Tank Car soon has some company.
State police report a Marksville woman died Tuesday evening in a single-vehicle crash on La. Highway 1 at La. Highway 1195, when she lost control of her vehicle and it ran off the road and overturned. 32 year old Loraine Paul was pronounced dead after the crash. Troopers say she was not wearing a seatbelt.
The Food Bank of Central Louisiana has been forced to reschedule today’ telethon. It will now be held Thursday Dec. 13 from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Those who would like to volunteers can schedule a time to help by calling (318) 445-2773.
Two weeks after BP agreed to plead guilty to charges surrounding the deaths of 11 workers on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, the Environmental Protection Agency says the oil giant is now being
temporarily suspended from new contracts with the US government. They say the suspension is due to BP's lack of "business integrity" surrounding the explosion, spill and response after the disaster.
Three BP employees have been arraigned on criminal charges related to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon rig explosion and the company's response to the ensuing oil spill. BP well site leaders Bob Kaluza and Donald Vidrine are charged with manslaughter. Kaluza and Vidrine are accused of ignoring high pressure readings that indicated trouble with the well before it blew out. Prosecutors say that negligence cost 11 men their lives.
A company that plans to convert seafood waste into a range of commercial products will move into an empty bottling plant in Opelousas, creating 50 new jobs over five years. AgraTech International said Wednesday it will spend $10 million to renovate the old Yoo-Hoo plant. The company will process shrimp, crawfish and crab shells to get chitosan, which is used in everything from water-repellant glass coatings to sunscreen lotion and from dental membranes to nasal sprays to treat nosebleeds. The new jobs will pay an average annual salary of $50,000, plus benefits.
The official start to the flu season began last month and state officials say they're already starting to see cases pop up around Louisiana. DHH Asst. State Health Officer Dr Takeisha Davis says Louisiana has fewer cases right now than the national average which is a good sign. Davis says the flu season in Louisiana runs through April and tends to peak in February. She says they recommend everyone over the age of 6 months get a flu vaccination.
The LSU governing board's decision to merge two of the system's top jobs has raised concerns from the organization that accredits Southern colleges, which is pressing for more details about the changes.
Leaders of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools questioned whether LSU officials are in compliance with accreditation standards. They outlined concerns in emails and a letter to LSU officials, documents that were released to The Associated Press by the university system in response to a public records request. At issue are the appointment of William Jenkins as both interim chancellor of LSU's flagship campus and as interim president of the LSU System and the board's plan to consolidate the two positions. SACS officials said a merger needs approval from its Commission on Colleges before it can be done. They've also asked for more information about Jenkins' role leading both the university system and the flagship school in Baton Rouge, to explain how he avoids conflicts of interest.
After the October 15th explosion on property leased by Explo Systems at Camp Mindin, a search warrant was executed in that area where investigators say they found at least one million pounds of
gunpowder in the open and in other unapproved locations. State police is assessing the situation and say currently this is not an immediate threat to the surrounding area.
The Lafourche Parish coroner's office confirms the body pulled from the Gulf Monday is that of a 28-year-old rig worker; one of two workers blown off the Black Elk Energy oil rig when it exploded on
November 16th. His body was found about 25 miles away from the rig's location.
The Alabama fan who plead guilty to obscenity charges for rubbing his genitals on the head of a passed out LSU fan after the BCS National Championship game will be formally sentenced today. Brian Downing's attorney, Michael Kennedy, says today's proceedings will be simple. In exchange for a guilty plea, the sexual battery charged was dropped against Downing and he will not be required to register as a sex offender. As part of the plea deal, Downing is expected to be sentenced to 2 years in prison, but Kennedy thinks he'll only have to serve 10 months.
Homeowner Sarah Henderson's holiday display on the roof of her home in Denham Springs raised a few eyebrows before she was asked to take it down or face charges of public obscenity. Henderson says the display, featuring a hand in lights with a raised middle finger, was a part of an ongoing dispute with some of her neighbors. The state chapter of the ACLU has jumped in with an open letter to the Denham
Springs Police Department claiming Henderson's constitutional right to free speech was violated. Denham Springs Police Chief Scott Jones denies his department pressured Henderson or made threats against her to coerce her to take down the display. Jones insist the decision to remove the display was made by Henderson on her own.