News for Friday 120712
By Dave Graichen
Four Pineville men and two 16-year-old Alexandria boys are in jail on a long list of sex crime charges, including raping two girls -- one barely a teenager, the other a few years from becoming a teen. Prosecutors say the girls were raped and enticed into prostitution with the men and boys, including at least one relative.
Voters are asked to go to the polls one more time tomorrow, to decide runoff elections left undecided in November. Secretary of State Tom Schedler says south Louisiana must choose which of two seated congressmen--Charles Boustany or Jeff Landry--will represent the state's new District Three. Even so, Schedler feels turnout for the runoff will be low. Here in Alexandria, two city council seats will be decided.
Embattled New Orleans area U.S. Attorney Jim Letten, the man who successfully prosecuted former Governor Edwin Edwards, will resign his post. Letten has been in the crosshairs since it became known that two of his top prosecutors were using fake names to post inflammatory online comments about cases they were currently prosecuting. Letten says he's served Louisiana's eastern district a long time, and it's time to move on. Letten says he will retire from public service.
State education officials are preparing their appeal, after a judge ruled last week the new private school vouchers program is unconstitutional. A week ago, state District Court Judge Tim Kelley ruled the "School Choice Act" unconstitutional, for its use of public school funds to pay private and parochial school tuitions. The suit was filed by two teachers unions and the state School Boards association. State Supt. Of Education John White says they're obstructing education progress. Judge Kelley ruled the state Constitution clearly says the funding for public education will be used only for public schools.
Highway deaths in Louisiana fell for the fourth consecutive time last year, and the decline in fatalities among drivers 18-24 ,according to state officials, is especially encouraging. A total of 676 people died in traffic crashes in 2011, a drop of 44 from 2010 and a reduction of about one-third since 2007, according to the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission. In addition, 72 people ages 18-24 died in crashes, a drop of 19 from the previous year and down from 134 who died in 2007.
The body of an Assumption Parish man has been found in an Iberville Parish Canal. The Assumption Parish Sheriff's office says Tony Rodriguez was the victim of an armed robbery Tuesday night. They say he was found by fisherman this morning shot in the chest.
A federal report endorsing exports of liquefied natural gas gives developers of the proposed multibillion-dollar facilities the “green light” to move forward, an LSU energy expert said Thursday. So far, 22 liquefaction facilities have been proposed nationwide — six of them onshore or offshore in Louisiana. Only Cheniere Energy’s $5.6 billion Sabine Pass project in Cameron Parish has been approved to export to countries that don’t have a free-trade agreement with the United States. The proposed projects could export 28.7 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day, well over a third of current domestic production, according to the Department of Energy.
Four young children from Covington were dramatically rescued as their home went up in flames early Thursday morning. State Fire Marshal Butch Browning says the mother was able to escape with two children, then through the heroic efforts of the Covington Fire Department, the two children trapped inside the home were rescued but sustained severe burns and smoke inhalation. He says the decision of two firefighters to jump into a burning home saved lives. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
Many offices will be holding Christmas Parties for their employees over the next couple of weeks and there are a few steps you can take to ensure things don't get too out of hand. Rene Amar with the National Federation of Independent Business says to avoid liability issues, employers should try to limit alcohol use. Amar says offices should ensure that their employees have alternate transportation home such as a designated driver or a taxi. She says sometimes work Christmas parties can create an environment that can lead to sexual harassment claims. Amar says don't hang mistletoe at the party that may encourage inappropriate behavior. She says employees should be reminded about harassment policies before the party. And oh yes.. Merry Chriatmas
After 22 wins in three seasons at Louisiana Tech, Sonny Dykes leaves Ruston for the head coaching job at California. It was expected Dykes would leave for a more high-profile job after posting a
Hunters report fewer sightings of deer in Louisiana wilds this year, and State Wildlife & Fisheries agents say the invasion of feral pigs is partially to blame. The hogs aggressively compete with deer for foraged food, and bucks and does tend to steer clear of the voracious animals, when they're around.
For the second time in less than a week, a black bear has been found shot to death. An adult female black bear was illegally killed in Pointe Coupee Parish and found by a hunter. A few days before that, a dead black bear was found in Avoyelles Parish. Maria Davidson, with the LDWF wildlife division says a $6000 reward is being offered for any information that leads to the arrest of the person responsible for this latest bear death.
A Carencro strip club is closed, after a federal raid Wednesday. The club's owner, 54-year-old James Panos is charged with maintaining a drug-involved premises at Desperado's nightclub. Several strippers and customers were arrested on drug and prostitution charges, including a UL-Lafayette journalism professor. Agents say they found him in a private room with a dancer, engaged in sex for money.
LSU hospital employees who were expecting to get laid off next month got some good news earlier this week. The LSU Health Care Services Division put on hold most of the 15-hundred layoffs scheduled for January 21st.
A Lake Charles teen, accused of killing his aunt last year, has been ruled mentally fit to stand trial. 18-year-old Jeffrey Doise pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to 2nd degree murder. He was 17 when he allegedly killed his aunt, Susan Doise, at her Lake Charles home - where he had been living. Two psychiatrists agreed Doise is competent to stand trial.
State Police will lift the voluntary evacuation order for the Webster Parish town of Doyline at noon today. For the last seven days, crews moved millions of pounds of improperly stored explosives on land leased by Explo at Camp Minden. LSP Sgt. James anderson says the threat of a chain reaction explosion has been reduced. He says they are moving the explosive product flats away from each other so that if it were to go off, it would not cause a major explosion.