News for Thursday 012314
By Dave Graichen
Snow is a rare thing in Louisiana but there is a possibility that portions of the state might see some snowflakes tonight and Friday. State Climatologist Barry Keim says the chance of snow is only twenty percent even though temperatures will surely be frosty enough. Regardless of whether or not snow crops up in parts of Louisiana, Keim says we're looking at a hard freeze that should last for more than a few days.
Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration has delayed , for at least a year, $6.6 million in funding for the construction of three Central Louisiana outpatient health clinics. The construction of the clinics is part of the state’s plan to replace services currently provided by Huey P. Long Medical Center in Pineville. Huey P. Long, which is part of the state charity hospital system, is scheduled to be closed sometime before July 1, when the state’s new fiscal year begins. The $6.6 million in state funding is designated to build permanent structures for the clinics. Funding to operate the three facilities that are open or will be soon, is already in place.
Five people are in jail in Natchitoches Parish charged with faking a home invasion where two people were supposedly beaten and robbed. The reason the suspects gave during questioning with authorities, is that one of them needed money to pay their rent. All five have been booked awaiting bond.
Governor Jindal has weighed in on the debate over whether to legalize pot. The governor says he's opposed to the legalization of marijuana, but Jindal says he's willing to look at the issue of medical marijuana more closely. State lawmakers discussed the pro and cons of legalizing medical marijuana during a committee hearing this week. Jindal says he will veto any legislation that attempts to legalize recreational use of pot.
Governor Bobby Jindal says it's too early to endorse anyone for the governor’s race in 2015 in response to David Vitter throwing his hat into the ring. However The Governor did praise Vitter's work in D.C. and also pointed out that the US Senator supported Jindal's education reforms. Jindal is term-limited so he can't run in 2015.
There's already been response to US Senator David Vitter's announcement to run for governor in 2015. Democratic candidate John Bel Edwards says that the senator -quote- "has excelled in two things: obstruction and division." Political experts say this election should be very entertaining.
Higher education leaders are pleased to hear Jindal's proposing to increase state funding for Louisiana's colleges and universities. Jindal's proposed budget for next fiscal year will contain a $142 million dollar increase in funding for higher ed. LSU System President F . King Alexander says that's welcomed news after so many years of budget cuts.
Gov. Bobby Jindal is asking lawmakers to include $60 million in next year’s budget to give pay raises to state workers. The governor will include dollars for the raises in his 2014-15 budget proposal, which will be presented to lawmakers Friday. If lawmakers agree to the funding, the raises would be doled out to workers who receive a good rating on their annual evaluations in the fiscal year that begins July 1.
Governor Bobby Jindal announced the grand opening of the Pennington Biomedical Center's Childhood Obesity Clinic in Baton Rouge Wednesday. The administration is also pledging $6.4 million dollar in funding for a newly renovated building to help fight childhood obesity in
the state, which he says has reached epidemic proportions. Nearly 50% of all children in Louisiana are overweight or obese.
Officials with the Ascension Parish plant that had a fatal explosion in Geismar last summer is disputing the safety violations found by the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Williams Olefins is also contesting almost $100,000 in civil penalties proposed by federal regulators. The blast on June 13 killed two and injured 114.
Major drug busts hit Acadiana last week. Law enforcement officials report nearly 97 thousand dollars in narcotics were seized and two hundred fifty one people were arrested. Captain John Babin of the Lafayette Metro Task Force says 17 area agencies focused on drug criminals to put a dent in over- all crime.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, lung cancer rates are down in Louisiana and state health officials attribute the decline to the 2007 Smoke Free Air Act. The CDC report shows newly diagnosed lung cancer cases between 2005-09 dropped 8.4 percent in women ages 35-44. The numbers in Louisiana for women of all ages showed a 1 percent drop in reported lung cancer cases and the drop for men of all ages was 2.8 percent.