News for Tuesday 121713
By Dave Graichen
The website CarInsuranceComparison.com says Louisiana is ranked No. 1 on its annual list of the nation's worst drivers. According to the site, The Bayou State is in the top 5 for failure to obey, speeding tickets and careless driving. This is the second year in a row that motorists in the state have topped the list.
The Louisiana State Legislative Auditor's Office says the Louisiana Department of Education needs to do a better job of administering the voucher program. In a recent report, State Legislative auditor
Darryl Purpera says they found some blurred lines in determining if the voucher schools spent those tax dollars appropriately. Purpera suggests lawmakers pass legislation that sets up standardized criteria for academic performance, before a school accept a voucher student. Also, the department of education needs a better system when determining if a voucher school has the capacity for the number of students they request.
The jackpot for tonight's Mega Millions drawing is approaching 600- million dollars and it can surpass that number before the drawing takes place at ten o' clock. The cash value of tonight's Mega Millions drawing is the second largest ever for the multi-state lottery game.
As the year draws to a close, state Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon reminds homeowners that time is running out to claim rebates on assessments made to everyone's property insurance for Louisiana Citizens Insurance. He says you have only four years to claim a rebate on each assessment. The deadline to claim your Citizens assessment for 2009 is December 31st. Details on how to do that are online at "ldi.la.gov." He says a huge total of these Louisiana Citizens assessments have gone unclaimed, and reverted back to the state treasury.
Louisiana is ranked America's second-biggest "judicial hellhole" by the American Tort Reform Foundation. The ranking is for state's with civil court systems deemed unfair, and unbalanced - generally to the disadvantage of the defendant. The Judicial Hellholes report ranks only California worse than Louisiana for places in which to face a civil lawsuit. According to the report, Louisiana moved up the list thanks to abusive so-called "legacy lawsuits" against BP, the oil & gas industry in general. The report also had less that flattering things to say about Attorney General Buddy.
The state Legislative Auditor's Office says the former DeSoto Parish school superintendent may have given himself improper pay raises, and misused a parish credit card & took bogus reimbursements. Auditor Roger Harris says their report shows Walter Lee's salary went from just under $71-thousand in 1999 to over $240-thousand by late 2012, with no clear contract language authorizing those raises on record..
The state department of transportation says the work on I-49 North is nearing completion, and next the focus will soon shift to a south interstate connector between Lafayette and New Orleans. DODT spokesperson Sherri Lebas (la-BAH) says the overall stretch will cost hundreds of millions, but an initial stretch near Lafayette was recently put out for bid. She adds this will be a big focus for DOTD over the next several years.
Divers with the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office have recovered a body they believe is a Slidell-area mom, reported missing December 9th. The remains were found in a submerged vehicle matching the description of Crystal Friedman's. The coroner will make a positive ID.
Funeral arrangements are set for artist George Rodrigue, beloved for his Blue Dog paintings and more. He died Saturday after a long battle with cancer. A public mass is scheduled Thursday morning at St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans, with a private mass and interment Friday in New Iberia. Rodrigue was 69.