News for Wednesday 072413
By Dave Graichen
An offshore rig in the Gulf blew out yesterday and overnight caught fire. Coast Guard Spokesman Petty Officer Carlos Vega says it happened on a rig located about 55 miles south and east of Grand Isle. The unmanned rig is owned by Walter Oil & Gas is located in about 154 feet of water. Vega says the well is currently flowing natural gas, but no oil is being released. The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement is overflying the rig site, and monitoring Walter Oil & Gas' response efforts to bring the well under control. 47 people were evacuated from an adjacent rig. A safety perimeter keeping marine traffic away from the rig Vega says there's no plan to battle the fire yet.
It is a state investment that is paying off. State officials announced yesterday the massive DNA backlog of over 9,000 cases at the State Police Crime Lab has been eliminated. Before the backlog was eliminated, state police was unable to process all their own cases and outsourced some of their forensic cases to other agencies. State Police Colonel Mike Edmonson says the elimination of the backlog is attributed to expansion of the crime lab in 2009, as well as increased funding for new equipment and technology...
The state's first case of West Nile virus in a human has been confirmed. State health officials say a seriously ill person in Caldwell Parish has the disease. By this time last year, 31 people
were diagnosed with the neuroinvasive form of West Nile. In total last year, there were 160 cases of West Nile encephalitis and 191 cases of the less-serious West Nile fever.
The new school year is just around the corner and the Department of Health and Hospitals is reminding parents, "No shots, No School. It's the Law." State immunization director Dr. Frank Welch says now is the time to make sure your student is current on their shots. Welch says Louisiana law requires children age four or older who are entering kindergarten or pre-k this year have proof they have been vaccinated.
A magazine that looks at corporate expansion and relocation projects released a report that says Louisiana's business climate ranked NO. 4 in the nation. Business Facilities also ranked the LED FastStart program as the top state workforce development program in the country.
The state Department of Revenue says another period of Tax Amnesty will begin September 23rd. LDR spokesman Douglas Baker says the amnesty will offer a 60-day window for delinquent taxpayers to pay outstanding state tax debts without paying heavy penalties. Baker says LDR is calling the amnesty program "Fresh Start", and they've put up a special website just to inform taxpayers of how to take advantage. It’s LDRTaxAmnesty.com
American Tank Company says it will build a $2-million manufacturing plant in New Iberia. When complete, in mid-2014, the plant will employ 20 or more people at good salaries. The company makes oil &
gas storage tanks.
The family of 7 people who lost their life when they were hit by a man on his 4th DWI is protesting his sentence citing judicial racism. Brett Gerald of Clinton plead guilty to killing seven people while drunk and was initially sentenced to 70 years in jail, but his sentenced was later reduced to 35 years and his lawyer is still appealing.
West Feliciana Parish sheriff's deputies have recovered half of the 80 tablet computers stolen in a school burglary. Investigators say five people, including three juveniles, have been arrested in the
theft of a laptop computer and 80 iPad tablets during a June 26th burglary of West Feliciana High School. The search for the remaining 40 devices is ongoing.