News for Wednesday 010913
By Dave Graichen
Most of south Louisiana to northeast Louisiana is under a flash flood watch through Thursday. State climatologist Barry Keim says a warm front colliding with a cold front will bring the chance of large amounts of rain throughout the state. That along with the already drenched surfaces could lead to flooding. Keim says the warm front will most likely create only drizzly conditions today, but says Thursday might be worse, with thunderstorms likely and the possibility of hail and even tornadoes.
The Alexandria City Council voted Tuesday evening to take the next step in answering the $150 million question: Should the city become its own power supplier or not? The ordinance allows the city administration to go forward and decide which of two scenarios -- the city generating its own power or renegotiating a new agreement with Cleco -- is the best choice for long-term rate stability for the city and its ratepayers.
From the who’s watching the store department, The Rapides Parish School Board has so far paid more than $20,000 to the private firm it hired to aid its search for a permanent superintendent of schools. Invoices from the firm were released and presented to School Board members on Monday. That’s for work done to this point. The companies new contract has kicked in and more charges will be rung up over the next 4 month. Those charges are expected to be close to an additional $7,000. The most current timeline shows the Board naming the next superintendent of Rapides schools on April 9.
According to an education policy organization known as StudentsFirst, Louisiana tops the nation for policies that prioritize the interests of children. State Superintendent of education John White says the
state earned the highest grade in policies involving teacher development, school choice and turning around low performing schools. White says Louisiana is in the middle of a great turnaround in the education system. He says they've recognized that students test scores are some of the lowest in the country and that's unacceptable.
After a one-month delay, Louisiana’s top school board is expected to approve a proposal by state Superintendent of Education John White that would give local school districts more flexibility.
The changes, among other things, would let districts set their own academic calendars and give them new authority over awarding credit hours. The board is set to take up the issue on Jan. 15th.
An advisory panel that will offer guidance to the LSU System board about ways to reorganize the system and its campuses started its work yesterday with a tight timeline. The group is expected to provide its first recommendations by March. The 10-person group will talk to higher education experts, comb through previous studies and look at other university models as it suggests restructuring proposals to the Board of Supervisors. LSU’s system-wide reorganization comes after five years of state budget cuts across Louisiana colleges and universities.
The man who pled guilty to the murders of UL-Lafayette student Mickey Shunick and Lisa Pate is asking a judge to void the pleas. Brandon Scott Lavergne alleges he felt pressured to plead guilty
because he faced the death penalty. It's being reported Lavergne filed hand-written court motions seeking to not only void the pleas, but also the life sentence.
Washington Parish authorities report three people are facing two counts of first degree murder in connection with the murders of two men over the weekend. Brandon Alexander and Denzell Wise were killed in the shooting that took place near the village of Varnado. Authorities says they are still trying to determine a motive, but there's speculation the men were arguing over a four-wheeler that was possibly stolen.
A new poll by Public Policy Polling ranks Congress pretty unpopular. How unpopular? Respondents had higher opinions of cockroaches, root canals, traffic jams, used car salesmen and brussel sprouts.
L-S-U's Pennington Biomedical Research Center is studying whether a smart phone can help a woman control her weight during pregnancy. Study co-leader Dr. Leanne Redman says the weight management program is called "Smart Moms". She says two-thirds of pregnant women exceed the recommended weight gain guidelines by 30 to 50 pounds. Redman says if the study shows that "Smart Moms" is successful in helping pregnant women control their weight, the app could help
thousands of soon-to-be mothers around the country.
State Police say a 33-year-old Jeanerette man is dead after his car struck a loaded sugarcane cart. They say Wilbur Alexander, who was not restrained, was northbound on La Highway 85 when the collision
occurred...and pronounced dead later at a local hospital.
Police in Slidell are investigating the shooting death of a 21-year old man who was discovered in a parking lot Monday night. They say Warren Pryor appears to have been shot twice in the head and was pronounced dead at the scene. New Orleans police apparently have a suspect in custody and the victim's car was also located in New Orleans after it was burned.