News for Thursday 120612
By Dave Graichen
The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education signs off on a plan that will result in letter grades placed on publicly funded pre-k and early childhood education programs. State Superintendent of Education John White says they will try it out in various districts next year, before implementing a statewide program in 2015.
Part-time employment in the state is slowly on the rise and an economist says it's because business conditions are making it difficult for workers to find full-time employment. L-S-U Economics Department Chairman, Dr. Robert Newman, says many business owners are not willing to make a long-term commitment when it comes to hiring. Newman says concerns the potential cost of implementing new health care reforms and the federal government possibly raising taxes to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff" are reasons businesses are hiring part-timers instead of full-time help.
A Forest Hill man is in jail on almost a $1 million bond after Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office detectives uncovered cocaine and drugs at his residence, where surveillance spotted almost 70 vehicles visiting in a single day, according to a release. Detectives started surveillance at 163 Slick Log Road in Forest Hill after received complaints about crack cocaine sales from the address. Wasting no time, detectives obtained a search warrant and served it on Wednesday.
This is National Influenza Week, and state health officials have kicked off this year's "Fight The Flu" campaign to get as many Louisianans immunized as possible. Dr. Jimmy Guidry, with the Office of Public Health, says flu here in the South is no more severe than elsewhere, but we tend to have more cases. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control says the flu season is off to an early start, and it could a bad one. Early surges in flu cases are reported in Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas and Tennessee. Dr. Guidry says it's serious business, with between 1000 and 3000 Louisianans dying of flu each year.
Politico and the Wall Street Journal both report Governor Jindal met with a casino billionaire, who is interested in funding a G-O-P presidential candidate's campaign in 2016. The wealthy man's name is
Sheldon Aldelson and the meeting took place last month in Las Vegas when Jindal was in town for the Republican Governor's Association meeting. Political Analyst Bernie Pinsonat says it appears Jindal is
a man on a mission.
The state has pledged over 135-million dollars in incentives to Sasol. That's the South African energy company who announced a 21-billion dollar investment for a complex in Westlake that will
turn natural gas into chemicals, diesel and other fuels. Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance President George Swift says Sasol's announcement this week puts southwest Louisiana on the map as place to invest and to get a quality job. The Governor's Office says Sasol will hire 12-hundred workers once the energy complex is built.
Certain members of the Louisiana House who've criticized Jindal's use of 1-time funding to pay for continuing government programs are asking AG Buddy Caldwell to weigh-in on whether or not that's
constitutional. The AG's office says they won't render an opinion on the Governor's budget tactics since they'd be required to defend the constitutionality of the budget. This also keeps them out of the debate that's divided members of the GOP.
Police are searching for four robbers who barged into the Barksdale Federal Credit Union in DeRidder Tuesday afternoon, hit a clerk and left with an undetermined amount of money. The DeRidder Police Department received a 911 call around 4 p.m. The suspects, all described as being medium build between 5 feet, 9 inches to 6 feet tall, and wearing masks, hoodies and gloves, entered the credit union, in what is being described as a tactical manner, brandishing handguns. Anyone with information is asked to call authorities.
More than 400 people from 12 different states were victims of a counterfeit check ring. According to State Police all of the victims wrote checks to the LSU Hospital System. Then allegedly hospital
employee, Pamela Reams, used their financial information to make fake IDs and checks. Reams is with 377 counts of identity theft and more could be added.
The Abbeville Police Department says the death of a 3 month old girl has officially been ruled a homicide. They say the baby died from blunt force trauma to the head and had several injuries and
fractures. They aren't releasing any other information at this time but the investigation is on-going.
Louisiana lawmakers are weighing in on the situation at Camp Minden where millions of pounds of improperly stored explosives are being moved, while hundreds of Doyline residents remain under an evacuation order. The product is located on land leased by Explo. Bossier City Rep. Jeff Thompson says he hopes Explo systems is held legally accountable for the inconvenience to the families of Doyline
and to the state. Thompson says the legislature is going to make sure proper oversight and inspection laws are put in place to ensure something like this never happens again.
The work continues in Webster Parish to move millions of pounds of improperly stored explosives from a munitions recycling facility at Camp Minden. The town of Doyline remains under a voluntary
evacuation order through at least today. But State Police say most of the evacuees have returned to their homes.
Chas Roemer of Baton Rouge, serving his second term on the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, was elected to lead the board for the next year. Roemer, son of former Gov. Buddy Roemer, was the unanimous choice for board president.