News for Wednesday 031313
By Dave Graichen
It was 1980 when a law was passed to make the sale of alcohol in Pineville illegal. Since then a lot has changed in the city. But, many believe, for the city to make it to the next level of growth, the sale of alcohol will need to be approved. With that in mind, members of the Pineville City Council have scheduled a town hall meeting on the issue. The Council passed a resolution, suggested by Mayor Clarence Fields, to hold a town hall meeting at 5:30 p.m. March 26 at City Hall.
Sheriff William Earl Hilton speaking before the Alexandria Rotary Club yesterday, reminded those attending that a 9.6-mill property tax will be up for renewal on May 4. He said that tax accounts for about $6.6 million of his office’s $36 million budget. Hilton said the Sheriff's Office operates on budget funded by millage taxes and a half-cent sales tax.
A state judge hands down a 70-year sentence to a St. Helena Parish man who was driving nearly twice the legal limit when he crashed into a car head-on and killed seven people as they were returning home from church. Brett Gerald was sentenced to ten years for each count of vehicular homicide. Judge William Carmichael also ruled Gerald must serve 35 years before the possibility of parole.
An Avoyelles Parish priest was placed on administrative leave Tuesday after he was accused of misconduct with a minor. The Rev. Jamie Medina-Cruz, pastor of St. Mary's Assumption Catholic Church in Cottonport was relieved of his duties by the Rev. Ronald Herzog, the bishop of the diocese, pending an investigation by the Avoyelles Parish Sheriff's Office. So far, no charges against Medina-Cruz had been filed.
Lawmakers on the House budget-writing committee are starting their work on next year's spending plans. Governor Jindal's executive budget proposal calls for spending $24.7-billion in the fiscal year
that starts July 1st. His spending recommendations rely on anticipated savings from the privatization of most LSU-run public hospitals, which hasn't yet happened.
An Iberville Parish lawmaker says she'll try again this year to pass term limits for ALL statewide elected officials. Rep. Simone Champagne Erath proposes the same limits for these officials that lawmakers are subject to. Champagne's bill would place limits of three 4-year terms on the lt. governor, state treasurer, attorney general, ag commissioner, insurance commissioner, and secretary of state.
Members of the state House and Senate committees on insurance meet today to discuss the possible expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare, and the health insurance exchange contained in the federal law. Jennings Senator Dan Moorish, who chairs the Senate Insurance Committee says he wants an open public discussion to help the public grasp how they can access health care under the federal exchange. Moorish hopes the meeting can shed some light on how the health care reforms will work, and how to best use the federal health care exchange.
The State Fire Marshall’s office reported yesterday that Former Louisiana state Fire Marshal Henry Hillary Fry died Friday at his home in Covington. Fry served as fire marshal under Gov. Kathleen Blanco from 2004 to 2007 Funeral services are set for Thursday in New Orleans. Fry was 68.
According to a new study by the UNO Hospitality Research Center, a record $6 billion was spent by visitors in New Orleans last year. The study also says the number of tourists and business travelers to
the Big Easy in 2012 was the highest since Hurricane Katrina and second highest ever.
Some students at Shreveport's Calvary Baptist Church are apologizing for the Harlem Shake video they posted on the Internet. The video shows some unsavory behavior for Christian school students. The
boys' apology came in the form of, you guessed it, another Internet video.
Governor Bobby Jindal will meet with officials from Texas Brine today to push for expedited buyouts for residents displaced in Assumption Parish because of the sinkhole. In an email press statement, Jindal says it's time for Texas Brine to step up and do the right thing for the 350 residents affected by the
Sinkhole. Scientists believe the sinkhole was caused by the failure of a nearby Texas Brine salt cavern and is reportedly now 400 square feet spanning over 9 acres. Nearly 350 residents were ordered to evacuate their homes and camps on August 3rd of last year. Texas Brine has been paying their living expenses.
A north Louisiana lawmaker files legislation that would prohibit outdoor smoking within 25 feet of an entrance to a state building. West Monroe Representative Frank Hoffmam had a similar bill last year, but that proposed law pertained to any public building. The bill passed the house, but failed to make it out of the senate before the session ended. Hoffman says this year he's only seeking a smoke free zone around state buildings. Hoffman says he'll make sure his bill amended so the Superdome and New Orleans Arena are NOT included, but all other state buildings will be.
Four Lafayette Teachers who call themselves the "Fearless Foursome" say they're working to get people talking about educational issues in the state through Facebook. The group's page is called "Teachers
Standing for Solutions" and expresses multiple concerns such as discipline systems, large amounts of standardized tests and the state's teacher evaluation system.
The St. Tammany Parish sheriff's office says a Covington area man who was booked for a DUI after he struck a pedestrian Sunday is now facing vehicular homicide charges because the victim passed away.
They say 21-year-old William Seither Jr is being held on a $100,000 bond. The woman he allegedly hit, 51-year-old Lisa Pitre, died Monday afternoon.
Shreveport Police continue sifting through evidence collected at a stolen car chop shop. More vehicles are turning up - most with serial numbers obliterated. Investigators said parts in the two
warehouses could belong to as many as a hundred different cars.
Linebacker Jonathan Vilma and defensive end Will Smith are staying with the Saints. The two have agreed to restructure their contracts, which allows the team to give them more bonus money, so less of their salary is counted against the 123-million dollar salary cap. While Vilma and Smith are staying, the Saints lost starting left tackle Jermon Bushrod and back-up quarterback Chase Daniel. Both men signed free-agent deals with other teams.