News For Thursday 010914
By Dave Graichen
Kinder police chief Gary Pelican was arrested Wednesday for allegedly spending almost 8,000 dollars on the town credit cards to put gas in his relative's vehicles. State Police Spokesperson Sgt. James Anderson says this information was discovered after an audit was conducted of the town finances. It is unclear if Pelican will lose his job. Anderson says the Chief of Police is charged with theft over 15-hundred dollars and malfeasance in office.
Yesterday a judge in Baton Rouge once again ruled that Governor Bobby Jindal's legislation that restructured public school teacher tenure and salaries in Louisiana still violates the constitution. The state Supreme Court vacated a similar ruling last year and asked Judge Michael Caldwell to re-evaluate...but Caldwell didn't change his mind. Governor Bobby Jindal issued a statement in response saying they plan to appeal again and the law continues to be in effect.
One of the state's major teacher unions hopes Governor Jindal will sit down with them to discuss teacher tenure reform. Louisiana Federation of Teachers President Steve Monaghan hopes that discussion will occur now that a state judge has ruled for a second time that a law passed in 2012 that changes teacher tenure rules is unconstitutional. Monaghan says instead of seeing more court action on this issue of teacher tenure, why don't legislators, the governor and teachers sit down and try to come up with a plan that works for everyone.
Gannett Newspapers in Louisiana are reporting that LSU running back Jeremy Hill plans on returning for his Junior season. According to the report, Hill, who rushed for 1400 yards, is expected to make his decision official on Monday in a press conference.
State Treasurer John Kennedy thinks there’s too much waste in state government. On Wednesday, he proposed a way to cut out some of that waste and provide some financial relief to colleges and universities at the same time. Kennedy’s plan, unveiled in an opinion column, calls on the state Legislature to pass a bill that would require every agency in state government to cut its spending on consulting contracts by 10 percent. State Rep. Dee Richard, No Party-Thibodaux, has filed similar bills only to see them advance through the Louisiana House and then get knocked down in the Senate, despite strong support from Kennedy. Kennedy said this time is different. His idea is to take all of the money saved from reducing consulting contracts, and dedicate those dollars toward the state’s higher education institutions.
Louisiana didn’t have a good showing in U.S. News and World Report’s 2013 ranking of online degree programs released Wednesday, with only four universities ranked in the top 200. Of the Louisiana schools included in the U.S. News rankings, Loyola University had the best showing, coming in at 32nd. Northwestern State University in Natchitoches came in at 108th. Nicholls State University in Thibodaux ranks 141st. The University of Louisiana at Monroe is ranked 160th. Other Louisiana schools were listed in the report, but were not ranked.
Yesterday at the Baton Rouge Press Club, Governor Bobby Jindal announced he'll be taking a trip to Japan, South Korea and Taiwan to cultivate more foreign-direct investment opportunities and increased trade between Louisiana and key Asian markets. Jindal said, in all, he'll be meeting with ten companies, including those that are actively considering projects in Louisiana.
If your New Year’s Resolution is to quit smoking, right now there are several programs being offered in Louisiana to help you out. According to a report by The United Health Foundation, 25% of Louisianans smoked in 2013. Brandi Bourgeois with the Louisiana Tobacco Control Program
says they've developed the 1-800-QUIT-NOW hotline. Bourgeois says anyone who calls the Quit
Line will get free counseling, free patches and gum. Again that # 1-800-QUIT-NOW
A 22-year-old hunter spent over 30 hours in freezing temperatures after becoming separated from his partner while hunting hogs in the Atchafalaya Basin. Assumption Parish Sheriff Mike Waguespack says he went missing Monday night and he was found after 9 P-M the next night on a gas platform. Waguespack says when hunter became lost, he decided to swim to a gas platform in the swamp. The man is recovering from his ordeal..
Congressman Bill Cassidy's U-S Senate campaign announced they've raised more than 1 million dollars in the fourth quarter, giving him almost 4.5 million dollars in cash on hand. Cassidy appears to be Landrieu's toughest challenger as she seeks a 4th term. The senior senator said she raised nearly 1.4 million dollars with 6.3 million dollars in cash on hand.