News for Tuesday 102213
By Dave Graichen
The state’s school voucher program continues to grow, but at a pace slower than expected. The program added more than 1,800 students this year, according to the first official tally for the current 2013-14 school year released Monday. The state Department of Education said 6,751 students are enrolled in 126 private schools across the state with taxpayer dollars. Another 24 students have switched to a high-performing public school through the voucher program, for a total of 6,775 enrollments. That's a 37 percent increase, up from 4,944 students using vouchers at the same point last year, in the first year of the statewide program.
On Monday the Department of Defense announced a Marine, 20-year-old Lance Corporal Christopher Grant of Monroe, , died on Sunday during combat operations supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. Grant was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 9th Marines, 2nd Marine Division in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina and had been serving in Afghanistan. Friends say a candlelight vigil is planned for this weekend in Monroe.
Natchitoches Police Department Assistant Chief Cary Hargrove was suspended for one day for a policy violation related to a Sabine Parish homicide investigation. Hargrove is alleged to have had a telephone conversation with officer Robert Barthelemy charged in the beating death of Tony Procell, of Many, while Barthelemy was on the run from police in August. Barthelemy was indicated in September on charges of first-degree murder, home invasion and aggravated kidnapping. Natchitoches Police Chief Micky Dove did not disclose the nature of incident that led to an internal investigation into Hargrove’s actions.
After residents of Pineville voted to approve the sale of alcohol in restaurants over the weekend, city officials say it will most likely be the first of the year before they start doing so. The city’s chief of staff Rich Dupree says the City Council must still make any change official by ordinance. Such an ordinance would be introduced at the Nov. 12 council meeting at the earliest, and voted on at the Dec. 10 meeting. Dupree said city officials are working with the Rapides Parish Sales and Use Tax Office, which issues alcohol permits, on the language in the city’s future alcohol ordinance.
Human rights activists call on state officials to release the last imprisoned member of the Angola Three. Laura Downton is with the National Religious Campaign Against Torture and she says Albert Woodfox has been in solitary confinement for 41 years, even though his conviction for killing a prison guard has been overturned three times. Federal judge James Brady ruled last February Woodfox should be released on the issue of racial discrimination in the selection of the grand jury foreperson. But Woodfox remains imprisoned as the Attorney general's office appeals the decision to the fifth circuit. Downton says they have a petition containing 25,000 signatures calling for Woodfox's release
State Police say a 1 year old child died from injuries sustained in a New Orleans crash shortly after 1am Monday. They say 30-year-old Jeremiah Price was ignoring road closure signs in the area and ended up hitting a construction vehicle from behind. The baby was in the front seat and was thrown forward as a result of the crash and later died from head injuries. Price's charges include DWI with child endangerment, vehicular homicide, and no child restraint.
Sen. David Vitter announced Monday he plans to block for now the nomination of the proposed undersecretary of the Department of Energy because of project delays at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. President Barack Obama has nominated NASA Chief Financial Officer Elizabeth Robinson for the undersecretary position and Vitter contends she is directly responsible for delayed, job-creating contracts at Michoud. The Michoud facility has tried to reinvent itself since the end of the space shuttle program and has contracted more with commercial and government contractors to use the site.
Leaders of the Louisiana House and Senate have decided to keep secret hundreds of documents that disclose whether Louisiana’s 144 legislators are awarding Tulane University scholarships to relatives of fellow politicians. The clerk of the state House of Representatives recently sent a letter to the New Orleans Advocate and WWL-TV explaining his refusal to disclose the one-page application forms. All students who receive Tulane legislative scholarships fill out the forms, which require them to disclose whether they are related to an elected official. It’s against the law for lawmakers to give those scholarships to family members. However, some believe certain members of the state legislature are awarding the $30,000 scholarships to the children of other lawmakers, thus skirting the law.
East Baton Rouge Parish deputies are investigating what appears to be a murder-suicide. The bodies were found when deputies received a phone call from a woman asking that they check on her friend. When deputies arrived at the home yesterday afternoon they found the two bodies. No other information is being released at this time.
State Police say a man is facing vehicular homicide charges after a single vehicle accident happened south of Lake Charles Saturday. They say a teenage passenger died in a car driven by 21-year-old Ryan Adams. Hannah McVey was not wearing a seat-belt when the vehicle hit a metal traffic signal pole and she was pronounced dead at the scene. Adams was also booked with DUI, careless operation and open container.
Grambling State football players have ended their boycott and will play their home game against Texas Southern this Saturday. The players didn't play last Saturday, because they are upset with the condition of their football facilities and the university's administration. Vines says the players have received a commitment that their facilities will be updated.