News for Wednesday 121212
By Dave Graichen
State Police say a school bus driver was killed in an accident yesterday morning in Natchitoches Parish. There were no children on the bus at the time of the wreck. Authorities say the driver, 67-year-old Alberta Conlay, had a medical condition which led to the bus leaving the roadway and colliding with several trees and a fence.
Another national report card ranks Louisiana at the bottom of their list. Louisiana is tied with Mississippi as the least healthiest state in the nation, according to the United Health Foundation. Doctor Rhonda Randall with the U-H-F says Louisiana is struggling with a high infant mortality rate, a high child poverty rate and an extremely high obesity rate. For the past twenty-three years the report has ranked Louisiana in the bottom five among the least healthiest states. Randall says the health report card should be a call to action for Louisiana residents to change their lifestyles.
The Public Service Commission will vote again today on a proposal to lower the high rates prison inmates and their families pay for jailhouse phone calls. PSC Chairman Foster Campbell says it's not the prisoners who pay the inflated costs for phone calls, it's their families. He says that's just wrong. A vote last month on the proposal by the 5-man PSC deadlocked; with two for, two against and one, Lambert Boissiere abstaining. Fellow PSC member Clyde Holloway says he intends to, again, vote "no". He says Campbell has an axe to grind.
Tuesday was Jim Letten's final day in office as the U-S Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana. Letten announced his resignation last week, in the wake of an online posting scandal involving two of
his top prosecutors. Political Analyst Clancy Dubos says Letten will be remembered for his efforts to fight public corruption. Letten served for nearly 12 years as the top federal prosecutor for the New Orleans area. He leaves his post as the nation's longest-serving U-S Attorney.
The National Transportation Safety Board recommends that ALL states require convicted drunk drivers to have breath analyzing ignition interlocks placed on their vehicles; including first time offenders. Highway safety advocate Jim Champagne says that's a good idea. He says just the idea of having one on your car should be a deterrent to impaired driving, if for no reason other than the cost of having one installed. Louisiana is one of 17 states where interlock devices can already be ordered on your car--even on a first DWI conviction.
Activists are calling for an independent investigation in the case of a Dec. 2 officer-involved shooting that claimed the life of a 16-year-old girl. State Police say Darneisha Harris was shot by a Breaux Bridge officer after she ran into his police car. Action Now director Rev. Raymond Brown has heard that the office ran into Harris and not the other way around. He feels this case should be investigated by the federal government and not state police.
Explo Systems Inc. The explosives recycling company that caused the evacuation of a Louisiana town has come under scrutiny for explosions and its handling of dangerous materials before, and it was so far behind on its rent that the Louisiana National Guard refused to lease it more space. The October explosion wasn’t the first at the Explo facility. A series of at least 10 explosions there in 2006 caused an evacuation of Doyline, shut down Interstate 20 and forced officials to move students to schools in a nearby town.
Former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue has vacated the suspensions of four current and former Saints players implicated in the bounty investigation. However, Tagliabue did find that three of the players, Vilma, Smith and Hargrove, did engage in conduct detrimental to the league...but stressed that the coaches were very much involved. Scott Fujita was the only player cleared of