News for Wednesday 052213
By Dave Graichen
Roy O. Martin announces a $20-million expansion at its Chopin (Sho-pan) plywood facility in Natchitoches Parish. The project will retain nearly 700 jobs at the plant and produce 80 new direct and indirect jobs. Company president Roy O. Martin III says
during this expansion, they'll upgrade their drying equipment and add a production line. Martin says construction will begin this summer, with the majority of hiring taking place shortly before production begins on the new timber line next year.
The Rapides Parish School Board voted 7-2 Tuesday to approved a plan brought, forward by Incoming Superintendent Tony Authement, that will restructure the school district. The restructuring plan calls for the elimination of 44 central office positions. But, the creation of 36 positions, plus changes to some existing positions. Authement says the plan accomplishes three things, streamlines the district, places “intense focus” on support for schools and provides targeted professional development opportunities for all schools. The plan’s initial cost to the district’s budget is an overall increase of about $680,000. The school board gave it’s stamp of approval to the plan at a special meeting last night.
A $3.5 billion spending plan for public schools was rejected by a Senate committee Tuesday morning, which may kill the measure for the session. The proposal, Senate Concurrent Resolution 23, was sharply criticized for proposed changes in how the state would fund special education students. A move to shelve the proposal won approval in the Senate Education Committee without objection. Unless there is a sudden change, the action means that the state’s 2011-12 public school financing plan will be in effect for the 2013-14 school year. That aid package did not include any changes in special education.
A 34-member Cleco team is expected to arrive today in Oklahoma City to help Oklahoma Gas and Electric Company get their system back online. Cleco spokeswoman Robbyn Cooper says (OGE called to request help because they believe their entire electric grid was destroyed by the massive deadly tornado. Cooper says Cleco is a member of the Southeastern Electric Exchange's mutual assistance program where member utilities offer power restoration assistance after major weather events. She says) OGE serves 801,000 customers in Oklahoma and western Arkansas but at this time it is impossible to say exactly how many people are without power.
Teams of volunteers from the Red Cross in Louisiana left yesterday to help those affected by the tornado in Oklahoma. Red Cross spokeswoman Nancy Malone says their workers will help distribute food and supplies to the storm victims and first responders and are prepared to stay for at least two weeks..
Proposed gun bills met with mixed success on the Senate floor. A House bill to assure that concealed weapon permit holders' identities remain private won Senate passage. The bill was amended to allow publishing a name, if the CCP holder commits a crime with a handgun. The bill passed and goes back to the House for amendment concurrence. The Senate delayed voting on a House-passed bill that would defy any possible future federal ban on semi-automatic weapons. But,one gun bill is on its way to Governor Jindal's desk. HB 265 would allow concealed weapon permit holders the option of buying a lifetime permit, rather than renewing every five years.
Law enforcement statewide is increasing patrols and checkpoints through June second as part of the state's largest-ever concentrated effort to increase seat belt usage through the "Click It or Ticket" campaign. Colonel John LeBlanc with the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission says the campaign coincides with the upcoming Memorial Day Weekend. LeBlanc also reminds motorists all occupants of the vehicle must wear their seat belts. Not just the front seat passenger.
The bill that would prohibit drivers from posting to Facebook or Tweeting while behind the wheel gets final legislative passage Tuesday in the Senate. Also heading to the Governor's desk for his signature is the bill by Shreveport Representative Barbara Norton that says drivers of Elio, the three wheeled vehicle to be manufactured in
Shreveport won't have to wear helmets.
The state revokes Explo Systems license to operate in Louisiana after the company failed to properly store millions of pounds of a military propellant. Explo was renting out space at Camp Minden, a Louisiana National Guard Base in Webster Parish to dismantle military propelling charges. State Police Lt. Julie Lewis says all the improperly stored material is now in appropriate storage magazines at Camp Minden and Explo has surrendered its keys to the facility.
State Police say a 10-year-old child is dead after a car driven by her unlicensed 15-year-old sister crashed on their way to baseball practice in Tangipahoa Parish. Spokesman Nick Manale says the 15-year-old was driving the car with her three siblings: ages 9, 10 and 12. The 10-year-old died from her injuries; the driver and the other two juvenile passengers suffered minor to moderate injuries.
The LSU Tigers face Alabama this afternoon in the SEC Tournament. The Tigers took two out of three from the Crimson Tide during the regular season.