News for Thursday 022714
By Dave Graichen
The Town Talk is reporting today, Joseph Cole, a former Louisiana College employee who worked closely with school President Joe Aguillard, left the school with an employment settlement of nearly $35,000 after threatening to go public with accusations against Aguillard in 2011. The Town Talk obtained minutes of a Nov. 15, 2011, meeting of the Executive Committee of the LC Board of Trustees along with a copy of a financial settlement between LC and Cole that were posted on line yesterday The documents surfaced on the same day the executive board of the LC Board of Trustees met on campus and less than a week after the college issued a news release touting that Aguillard was “fully exonerated” of past allegations made against him over the last year.
Cool Planet Energy Systems will begin construction soon on its alternative fuel production facility at the Port of Alexandria. Company officials and Gov. Bobby Jindal were in town Wednesday for a ground-breaking ceremony for the plant. Cool Planet’s technology converts biomass such as wood products into high-octane gasoline and an agricultural-enhancement product known as biochar. It is the company’s first such facility. The plant in Alexandria will employ 24 people and cost approximately $56 million to build.
A deadly armed robbery in LaPlace has left a 63-year-old man dead and his wife in the hospital. The St. John Baptist Sheriff's office has detained two persons of interest, but no arrests have been made. The fatal armed robbery took place Tuesday afternoon at LaPlace Feed and Supply.
Legislation that would bring the electric chair back to Louisiana for executions will be discussed in the upcoming 2014 session. Metairie Representative Joe Lopinto is proposing House Bill 328. He says lethal injection would still be allowed under this bill, but if that medication is not available, Louisiana needs a backup plan, like the electric chair.
Crews are on the scene of a gas well blowout in Acadia Parish near the city of Eunice. The blowout happened Tuesday as employees with Black Creek Drilling were attempting to drill a natural gas well. No one was injured, but 12 homes had to be evacuated. State Police Trooper Stephen Hammons says it will take a couple days to cap the well. He says LA-13, which connects Crowley to Eunice, is shutdown as a result of the blowout.
Cox is centralizing its call center operations, a move that will eliminate 246 jobs in New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Lafayette but lead to 150 new positions at its Baton Rouge operations. The net loss to its operations in the state is 96 jobs. The company is setting up seven “Centers of Excellence” nationwide, that will focus on matters such as account services, sales and technical support.
The state’s former point man on coastal restoration announced Wednesday that he’s entering the race to represent Louisiana’s 6th Congressional District in Washington. Garrett Graves, of Baton Rouge, stepped down as chairman of the state’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority and director of the Governor’s Office of Coastal Activities last week after six years on the job. The 6th District seat is being vacated after 2014 because Congressman Bill Cassidy is running for the U.S. Senate in the Nov. 4 election.
A first of its kind study says hurricane devastation could be reduced with the use of thousands of offshore wind turbines. Stanford University engineering professor, Mark Jacobson says his team ran computer models illustrating an array of 78 thousand wind turbines would have weakened Hurricane Katrina and reduced the storm’s damage by 30 to 70 billion dollars. Building thousands of 200 foot tall wind turbines is costly. But Jacobson says they would take power from winds and give us pollution free electricity year round.
A Baton Rouge lawmaker wants schools in Louisiana to be required to teach sex ed. Representative Pat Smith says currently schools are only authorized to offer sexual education but she thinks a law needs to be in place making the instruction mandatory. She says right now our children are not being taught the risks associated with having sex. Smith says the problems of youth STDs and teen pregnancies are worse than ever and there needs to be a conversation between the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Hospitals about these issues. Smith has filed similar legislation in the pasted but it fails because opponents feel sex ed should be taught by parents.
Authorities are still looking for two fugitives who scaled a fence at the Union Parish jail last Saturday night. The men are identified as 36-year-old Thomas Kinnard Jr. and 39-year-old Benjamin Morana.
Union Parish Sheriff Dusty Gates thinks someone picked them up after they escaped. He says anyone with information on the whereabouts of these two men, who are considered to be dangerous, is urged to contact local law enforcement.
The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's office has arrested a woman who is accused of abusing a 10 month old baby. They say 28-year-old Jennifer Eastwood allegedly used hear hand to strike the victim leaving numerous whelps to her leg. A judge set the suspect's bond at $100,000.
It was made official yesterday afternoon. The Duck Commander will be the new title sponsor of the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, effective immediately. The sponsorship will allow the name Independence" to be included as one of the longest running bowls in the nation.
Two suspects who robbed a thrift store in Shreveport were arrested after their escape vehicle got stuck in the mud. Caddo Parish Sheriff Steve Prador says deputies were able to track down the suspects with some help from muddy shoe prints. Forty-nine year-old John Patterson of Vivian and sixty-one year old Michael Anderson of Shreveport now find themselves stuck in the Caddo Parish Correctional Center on burglary charges.