News for Tuesday 121112
By Dave Graichen
Authorities have positively identified the remains of a Pineville woman who has been missing for nearly three years. Dorothy Rosier went missing January 11th, 2010. Hunters discovered her remains in LaSalle Parish last month and Rapides Sheriff's Office Lt. Tommy Carnline says it took over two weeks to get positive identification. Carnline says they have classified Rosier's case as a homicide, but they are not speculating on any suspects or cause of death. Rosier was 25-years-old and living with a family member when she went missing.
Good economic development news for Jena. United Plant Services plans to invest nearly $4-million to build a new full-service machine facility to provide welding, fabrication, and equipment overhaul and repair. It means an eventual 95 new jobs at high pay.
San Diego-based Sempra Energy said Monday it has asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for permission to begin building natural gas liquefaction and export facilities at the company’s existing Cameron LNG terminal in Hackberry. Sempra said the permit request is an important milestone in the company’s effort to begin exporting liquefied natural gas. According to Sempra, the southwest Louisiana project would create nearly 3,000 construction jobs and about 130 full-time jobs when the facility begins operating.
The Rapides Parish School Board will use about $3.1 million to give all district employees a one-time salary increase. Any employee hired on or after Oct. 31 and employed through March 30 will receive $750 on Dec. 20. Employees must complete workshops set by the district next semester by March 30. The Board approved the increase with a 4-3 vote at a special meeting on Monday.
The Rapides Parish Police Jury adopted what Treasurer Tim Ware calls a "standstill budget" at its monthly meeting Monday. Ware said, while they don’t project any big increases, but we don't see any big decreases, either.” General Fund revenue for 2013 is projected to be very close to the budget amount in this year’s budget.
The National Weather Service has confirmed that it was a tornado that hit Baker, in East Baton Rouge Parish, yesterday morning as a cold front made it way across the state. The EF-1 twister caused major damage to a fire station and several businesses. Several nearby homes had moderate damage. No one was seriously hurt.
The man accused of driving drunk on May 30th when he crashed into a car killing seven people has pleaded guilty to all seven counts of vehicular homicide. Brett Gerald appeared in court yesterday morning for the start of his trial, but chose to plead guilty to the charges.
Deputies in Sabine Parish say the body of a 23-year-old Natchitoches Parish man was recovered from the Toledo Bend Reservoir around noon Monday. Justin Wilson of Provencel was reported missing during Sunday night's storm. Authorities say Wilson was trying to retrieve a boat that had become untied from the shore.
A St. Helena Parish man plead guilty to seven counts of vehicular homicide Monday. Brett Gerald admitted he was drunk behind the wheel when his Dodge pick-up slammed into a Mercury Grand Marquis, killing all seven people inside that vehicle. Authorities say Gerald was celebrating his 30th birthday at a Zachary restaurant prior to the deadly accident on May 30th in East Feliciana Parish. The victims were heading home from church.
The Associated Press says they've learned high ranking staffers within the Jindal administration used personal emails to discuss a media strategy for announcing Medicaid cuts. The report says the email exchanges took place over the summer and participants included Jindal's top budget adviser, health secretary Bruce Greenstein and Jindal's communications staff. The AP says, though it may not have been the intention, using private emails gives the impression the governor and his staff had something to hide.
Now the good news, the colder it gets...the less we're paying at the pump. Prices dropped two cents over night to a statewide average of $3.14 for a gallon of regular. That's 12 cents less that a month ago.
State Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon reminds property insurance policyholders not to let time run out on claiming a rebate of money assessed on their 2008 homeowners insurance. He says we all have the right to ask for the rebates, but only for a four-year period. The assessments were and are made to repay debt incurred to pay all of LA Citizens Insurance's 2005 Katrina and Rita claims. Donelon says, in 2007, the Legislature agreed to refund property holders those annual assessments.. He says more than $287-million in assessment refunds from 2008 to 2012 remain unclaimed.
State health officials announce public-private partnerships to run three LSU hospitals, in New Orleans, Lafayette and Houma. Department of Health & Hospitals Secretary Bruce Greenstein says this will help fill budget gaps at those facilities, and will preserve jobs. Greenstein says the agreement means planned layoffs at LSU hospitals this month will NOT happen. He says Legislators and LSU officials must agree to the deal before it can proceed. LSU's budget has been stripped of over $300-million after Congress chopped Louisiana's Medicaid funding.
Divers have found an SUV that drove off an I-10 off-ramp in Baton Rouge and crashed into a drainage canal with over 20 feet of water. It happened around 1:30 yesterday afternoon near the city's Mall of Louisiana. Witness say they saw a woman in an SUV miss a turn and plunge into the canal. No one saw her get out before the vehicle submerged.
State Police are investigating a crash that has tragically taken the life of a Natchitoches Parish Sheriff's deputy. They say Rick Issac Jr. was entering a slight curve on Hwy 1 when his police cruiser hydroplaned in the rain and slammed into several trees. The man who is survived by his pregnant wife, was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
A Pitkin man convicted of manslaughter in the 2009 death of Kimberly Ann Stephens has received a 38-year prison sentence. Billie Jo Weldon was convicted in the slaying of Stephens, 27 of DeRidder, in September. The Calcasieu Parish Coroner's Office determined that Stephens died of head trauma. Her body was found in August 2009 near U.S. Highway 171 in the Pleasant Hill community.