KSYL Local News

News For Friday 12/21/12


News for Friday 122112

By Dave Graichen

 

An LSU expert on the ancient Mayan culture says  the  world  is  not coming  to  an  end  today.  Heather McKillop, Professor of Latin American Studies, says the hype surrounding December 21st, 2012 says more about OUR culture than it does  ancient Maya. She says the fact that  some  are  actually  preparing for doomsday  is  testament  to western  culture's fascination  with  disasters.  She  says  there's nothing in  Mayan  folklore  that  predict  and end of the world, so there's no need to worry.

 

Gun  shops  across  the  state  report sales are  skyrocketing  amid renewed  calls  for stiffer gun controls.  A  number  of  businesses report the AR-15  style  semi-automatic  rifle is their best seller. Some are out of stock and have weapons on 6-month backorder.

 

State Police Col. Mike Edmonson announced yesterday afternoon travelers will be able to continue using  their Louisiana driver’s licenses to board airplanes. Edmonson says that’s because  the U.S. Department of Homeland Security postponed the deadline for complying with the federal Real ID Act of 2005. Had Homeland Security not agreed to defer its Jan. 15 deadline, Louisiana residents would have been required to use passports as identification for traveling and entering federal facilities because the state had not brought its driver’s licenses into compliance with the federal law. Edmonson says the extension is for 6 months.

 

Louisiana's health department is acknowledging that planned cuts in the state's Medicaid program will eliminate hospice care for all Medicaid recipients beginning in February. Hospice care aims to make dying people more comfortable, in many cases in their own homes, in their final months of life. In announcing reductions to hospice care funding last week, officials with Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration said hospice care at nursing homes would not be eliminated. But, apparently that was not true.  The Times-Picayune reports that Kathleen Meyers, a spokeswoman for the state health agency, confirmed there will be no reimbursement for hospice services at all beginning Feb. 1.

 

A busy holiday travel weekend is getting underway in Louisiana. AAA  spokesman Don Redman says about 93-million Americans - about 1 in 4 of  us - will travel 50 miles or more for the holiday.  Redman says about 5 & 1/2 million Americans will fly to their holiday  destinations; a 4% increase from last year. He says many will be  starting their road trip or heading for the airport  today.

 

Louisiana motorists can no longer claim an alternative fuels vehicle tax  credit  on  their flex-fuel vehicles. State Revenue  Department Executive Counsel  Tim  Barfield  says  the law that created the tax

credit  was  not intended to cover cars and  trucks  that  can  burn either gasoline or ethanol. Barfield says the alternative  fuel  vehicles  tax  credit  is still available to anyone who has bought an electric car, a hybrid or cars burning  compressed  natural  gas  or  biodiesel. He says if the two fuels your vehicle can burn are stored in  the  same tank, you're no longer eligible.

 

Louisiana retail merchants are optimistic for a big finish to the  holiday shopping season. Retail analyst Jim Rutledge says the shopping  season surged right after Thanksgiving, but has since slowed a bit. However, he says indicators lead them to believe they'll finish strong.

 

LSU punter Brad Wing has been suspended for the Chick-Fil-A Bowl and has likely seen his last days as an LSU Tiger according to some. The Athletic Department issued a statement confirming the suspension. Insiders say Wing failed multiple drug tests and other sources say Wing will enter the NFL draft.

 

GM is recalling 145-thousand Chevy Colorado and GMC  Canyon  pickups for  a  problem  that  can  cause  the  hood to fly open suddenly at highway speeds. The trucks were manufactured at the now-shuttered GM plant in Shreveport. Some of the pickups  may  not have the required secondary hood latch that would prevent the hood from flying open.

 

The state agency in charge of overseeing food safety in restaurants pledged Thursday to get its operations up to national standards by the end of 2013. One of the biggest takeaways from an Office of Public Health news conference Thursday was a commitment to address a significant inspection backlog by September. The agency also promised that Louisiana restaurants which handle raw meat or other easily contaminated foods will be subject to at least four surprise inspections per year. Thursday’s announcement comes just three weeks after a legislative audit report criticized the agency for not cracking down on unsanitary restaurants.

 

LSU's  FACES forensic lab will help Shreveport authorities  identify skeletal  human  remains  found  this  week  under  an Interstate 20 bridge. Dr. Mary Manhein's team will try to determine who the person

was  and  how  he  or  she  died. The Caddo Coroner says there's  no outward indication of foul play.

 

The  Tangipahoa  Parish  Sheriff's Office says it will give $2500 to the person with information  that  cracks  the  case of the November 14th  murder  of Mary Alvarez. The wife of a Hammond  plant  nursery owner was found  by  her husband, dying from a single gunshot to the head. Sheriff's spokeswoman  Dawn  Panepinto  ask anyone with useful information in the case to please contact their office.

 

A state judge has ruled that a  Denham  Springs  woman, who arranged Christmas  light  on  her roof in the shape of a hand  flipping  the middle finger, may put  the  display back up. The judge ruled Denham Springs Police were wrong to suggest  she  could  be  fined  if  she refused to take it down after neighbors complained. No word from the woman if she will put it back up or not. Word is, the reason she set up the display was because she was upset with some of her neighbors.

 

A 25-year-old Metairie woman is under arrest; accused of teaching  a 16-year-old how to be a prostitute on Bourbon Street in New Orleans. Emilie  Cook,  also  known  as  Bunny,  is  charged with trafficking children for sexual purpose. She allegedly set  up  engagements  for herself and the girl for $500 each...with an undercover cop.

 

A Leesville  man  gets  a  five-year  federal  prison  sentence  for possessing   child   pornography.  36-year-old  Emerson  Austin  was arrested back in 2009,  after  officers  found the sexually explicit

materials in his home. After his sentence  is  complete, Austin will have to serve 10 years supervised release.

 

 

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