News for Thursday 040413
By Dave Graichen
We’re coming down to the wire in the search for a new Rapides schools superintendent. Today the three finalists for the position spend the day in the district. All three candidates, Nason Authement of Houma, David Carpenter of Pineville and Rick Williams of McKinney, Texas will receive a second interview with the Rapides Parish School board and then visit several schools in the district. The public will have a chance to meet the candidates from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Instructional Resource Center on Beauregard St., in Alexandria. That meet and greet will be followed by a public forum beginning at 6 p.m. at the Media Center. The School Board is expected to select the new superintendent next week.
Governor Jindal was in Alexandria yesterday, speaking before the Alexandria Rotary Club, to tout his tax reform plan. But it appears now that plan may be dead for this upcoming legislative session. House Speaker Chuck Kleckley said Wednesday that the governor’s tax package is on hold until economic experts can clear up the confusion surrounding the plan’s numbers. Kleckley, R-Lake Charles, said he wants the Legislative Fiscal Office to review the bills, an exercise that likely will delay debate on the governor’s initiative for weeks. Kleckley went on to say, if the plan has a negative impact on small businesses in the state, he would have a hard time supporting it. The Jindal administration already said the proposal would shift a $500 million tax burden from individuals to businesses.
Louisiana has the highest rate of gun violence in the country, according to a new state-by-state analysis of gun violence released Wednesday by the Center for American Progress. The report, released at an event in Baton Rouge and other cities, compares the 50 states on 10 key gun-violence indicators such as firearm deaths among children, firearm homicides among women, and law-enforcement agents feloniously killed with a firearm, among others. The report says Louisiana has the highest rate of gun violence of any state and the state has the highest rate of women murdered by guns in the 10-year period from 2001 through 2010.
A new poll conducted by researchers at LSU finds a majority of Louisianans feel the state is headed in the wrong direction. Dr. Kirby Goidel heads the LSU Public Policy Research Lab. He says 52% feel state leaders are doing a poor job, with few confident state government can fix big issues. He says the poll shows less residents
believe the economy and education are the biggest problems facing the state. Goidel says last year at this time, only 39% felt the state was headed in the wrong direction.
A new Southern Media & Opinion Research poll indicates a majority of Louisianans want term limits for statewide elected officials, like the secretary of state, state treasurer, ag commissioner and others. Legislators are limited to three 4-year terms, and governors are limited to 8 years in office. Bill sponsor, Rep. Simone Champagne,
of Erath, says she'll try to pass term limits for other offices again this year...her third attempt.
A federal report says almost $700-million in development grants, given to Louisiana to elevate and reinforce homes to make them more hurricane resistant, is missing. The report from HUD says over 24-thousand got the grants but haven't done the work. The state Office of Community Development, who administered the grants, says they're working to bring all homeowners who got the funds into compliance.
The state Legislative Auditor says Louisiana's Recovery School District, for failing public schools that have taken over by the state, is missing over $2-million in equipment and property. The report says over 1600 items, mostly computers and audio/video equipment has been lost, strayed or stolen for nearly four years.
The RSD says 70% of the items ARE still present in the schools, but have been tagged with incorrect location codes.
The Winnsboro woman who claimed she was the victim of a racial attack and set herself on fire, but it was later determined her story was fabricated, has plead not guilty
to charges of terrorizing and filing a false police report. The district attorney prosecuting the case, Mack Lancaster says he's not looking to send Sharmeka Moffitt to prison for a long time...as she has suffered enough, with burns over most of her body.
Ouachita Parish school officials confirm two West Monroe High school students were killed this morning in a fire. The two were inside a mobile home that caught fire. Firefighters were unable to save them.
Texas Brine, the company that owns the underground salt cavern thought responsible for the Assumption parish sinkhole at Bayou Corne, says gas has been detected under the slabs of two nearby homes. The company is negotiating with many residents in that area to buy out their properties, so they can move on. Many have lived in evacuation since last August.