KSYL Local News Archives for 2011-08

News For Wednesday 08/31/11


NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY 083111
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

WEATHER FORECASTERS ARE LOOKING AT AN AREA OF TROPICAL DISTURBANCE IN THE CARIBBEAN, JUST EAST OF MEXICO'S YUCATAN PENINSULA. RIGHT NOW, THE TROPICAL WAVE IS DISORGANIZED, AND THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER SAYS THERE'S A SLIGHT CHANCE IT COULD DEVELOP INTO A NAMED STORM WITHIN 48 HOURS. THE SYSTEM IS MOVING GENERALLY WESTWARD AT ABOUT 15 MILES AN HOUR, AND COULD BE IN THE GULF BY THE WEEKEND.

TROPICAL STORM KATIA IS SLOWLY MOVING WEST-NORTHWEST ACROSS THE ATLANTIC AND GAINING STRENGTH. JOHN OLESKA WITH THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER SAYS KATIA MAY BECOME A CATEGORY THREE HURRICANE BY EARLY SUNDAY MORNING. HE SAYS IT'S UNLIKELY KATIA WILL THREATEN ANY PART OF THE GULF COAST. THERE IS ALSO A DISORGANIZED TROPICAL WAVE OVER THE NORTHWESTERN CARIBBEAN SEA. THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SAYS THE ODDS OF THIS WAVE BECOMING A TROPICAL STORM ARE VERY LOW.

AS THREE ALEXANDRIA ATTORNEYS CONTINUE THEIR COURT BATTLE TO GET PAID BY THE CITY OF ALEXANDRIA FOR WORK THEY PERFORMED IN THE CITY’S LAWSUIT AGAINST CLECO, THE TRIAL ROLLS ON. YESTERDAY, CITY ATTORNEY CHUCK JOHNSON TESTIFIED BRIDGETT BROWN BROUGHT "NOTHING" TO THE TABLE AND SERVED AS A "DISRUPTIVE FORCE" JOHNSON TOOK THE STAND IN U.S. DISTRICT COURT IN ALEXANDRIA FOR THE SECOND STRAIGHT DAY AS ATTORNEYS FOR THE CITY PUT ON THEIR CASE AGAINST BROWN, JOHN HARP AND JOHN DAVIDSON, THREE ATTORNEYS WHO SIGNED CONTINGENCY-FEE CONTRACTS IN 2005 TO REPRESENT THE CITY AGAINST CLECO. BROWN WAS TO RECEIVE 10 PERCENT OF ANY FAVORABLE RULING ON BEHALF OF THE CITY, WHILE SHARP AND DAVIDSON WERE TO SPLIT 20 PERCENT. THE CITY ATTORNEY WILL TAKE THE STAND AGAIN TODAY FOR THE FIFTH AND FINAL DAY OF TESTIMONY.

PINEVILLE PD ARRESTED A 17 YEAR OLD POLLOCK MAN YESTERDAY AFTER HE ALLEGEDLY STOLE BAGS OF INCENSE AT GUNPOINT FROM A PINEVILLE CONVENIENCE STORE. HE THEN LED POLICE ON A HIGH-SPEED CHASE BEFORE BEING CAUGHT. JOHN-MICHAEL COWAN WAS NABBED AFTER HE DITCHED HIS STOLEN VEHICLE AND TRIED TO ESCAPE ON FOOT. COWAN HAS HAD MORE CHARGES BROUGHT AGAINST HIM THAN I HAVE TIME TO READ.

U.S. SEN. MARY LANDRIEU WAS IN TOWN YESTERDAY AFTERNOON TO ADDRESS MEMBERS OF THE CENTRAL LOUISIANA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE. THE SENATOR UPDATED CHAMBER MEMBERS ON VARIOUS PROJECTS, INCLUDING ONGOING EFFORTS TO MAKE IMPROVEMENTS AT FORT POLK AND ON DREDGING THE RED RIVER. ON THE MATTER OF FT POLK, LANDRIEU SAID "THE FOCUS NEEDS TO BE ON BUILDING INFRASTRUCTURE" THAT BENEFITS FORT POLK. "WHETHER THAT'S ROADS, RECREATION AREAS, SHOPPING AREAS, EDUCATION -- JUST GENERAL QUALITY-OF-LIFE ISSUES. LANDRIEU SAID, WHEN THE MILITARY ASKS, 'DO YOU WANT TO STAY HERE?,' WE WANT THOSE MILITARY FAMILIES TO SAY YES. WE WANT TO MAKE THIS PLACE A FIRST CHOICE FOR MILITARY FAMILIES."

GASOLINE PRICES ARE RISING AGAIN IN LOUISIANA. THE STATEWIDE AVERAGE PRICE FOR REGULAR GAS IS $3.47; UP 2-CENTS SINCE MONDAY, AND UP NEARLY 5 CENTS IN A WEEK. LOUISIANA AAA FUEL ANALYST DON REDMAN SAYS HE'S NOT CERTAIN WHY PUMP PRICES ARE ON THE RISE. REDMAN FEELS THE PRICE INCREASES ARE DUE TO REFINERIES IN THE NORTHEAST BATTENING DOWN IN ADVANCE OF HURRICANE IRENE, AND ALSO DUE TO CONTINUED BAD ECONOMIC NEWS. THE GOOD NEWS, HE FEELS THIS RECENT PRICE SURGE AT THE GAS PUMP IS ONLY TEMPORARY.

DEPUTIES IN BOSSIER PARISH ARE SEARCHING FOR A TEXAS WOMAN WHO SAYS SHE WAS KIDNAPPED BY A KILLER. BOSSIER SHERIFF'S SPOKESMAN BILL DAVIS SAYS THEY'RE LOOKING FOR 33-YEAR-OLD JENNIFER JOHNSON, WHO SENT HER AUNT A TEXT--SAYING SHE WAS INJURED AND ALONGSIDE A ROAD. JOHNSON WAS REPORTED MISSING FROM GREGG COUNTY TEXAS. DAVIS SAYS THE TEXT WAS SENT FROM SOMEWHERE IN NORTHERN BOSSIER PARISH.

HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER ERIC CANTOR PROPOSES CUTTING THE BUDGET TO OFFSET DOLLARS FEMA USES TO HELP IN RECOVERY FROM HURRICANE IRENE. JEFFERSON REPRESENTATIVE STEVE SCALISE AGREES AND SAYS WE CAN NOT FORGO FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY EVEN IN THE FACE OF A NATURAL DISASTER. SENATOR MARY LANDRIEU SAYS THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD PUT THE NEEDS OF THE PEOPLE AHEAD OF ANY POLITICAL SQUABBLING. SHE SAYS IN TIMES OF EMERGENCY WE NEED TO PUT OUR POLITICAL DIFFERENCES ASIDE AND HELP THOSE WHO NEED IT.

THE RECENT CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION INVOLVING LSU PLAYERS ISN'T STOPPING TIGERS FANS FROM BUYING TICKETS TO THIS SATURDAY'S LSU-OREGON GAME IN DALLAS. JOELLEN FERRER WITH STUB HUB SAYS THE GAME IS THE TOP SELLING COLLEGE FOOTBALL GAME THIS SEASON. FERRER SAYS BECAUSE THE GAME IS BEING HELD IN COWBOYS STADIUM, THERE ARE A LOT MORE TICKETS AVAILABLE, WHICH DRIVES THE PRICE DOWN. FERRER SAYS SOME TICKETS FOR THE SEASON OPENER ARE UNDER $40, THERE ARE SOME PRIME SEATS SELLING IN THE $1200 DOLLAR RANGE. FERRER ENCOURAGES FANS TO SHOP AROUND FOR TICKETS.

THE ST. LANDRY PARISH SCHOOL BOARD HAS ASKED A FEDERAL JUDGE TO THROW OUT A REQUEST FOR NEARLY $10 MILLION IN LEGAL FEES FROM AN ATTORNEY WHO FILED THE ORIGINAL SCHOOL DESEGREGATION LAWSUIT AGAINST THE PARISH IN 1965. OPELOUSAS ATTORNEY MARION OVERTON WHITE FILED THE REQUEST FOR LEGAL FEES IN MAY AFTER THE LONG-RUNNING DESEGREGATION CASE CAME TO AN END EARLIER THIS YEAR. HE IS ASKING U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE TUCKER MELANCON TO AWARD HIM $700 AN HOUR FOR 14,136.5 HOURS OF WORK ON THE CASE OVER THE PAST FOUR DECADES.

FORESTRY ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS HAVE ARRESTED AN AVOYELLES PARISH LOGGER ON FELONY TIMBER THEFT CHARGES. AGRICULTURE AND FORESTRY COMMISSIONER MIKE STRAIN SAYS 37-YEAR-OLD STEWART G. CLARK OF VICK WAS ARRESTED TUESDAY. OFFICERS SAY CLARK LOGGED 29 LOADS OF TIMBER ON LAND IN NATCHITOCHES PARISH NEAR NATCHEZ, LA. BETWEEN MARCH AND APRIL. CLARK IS ALLEGED TO HAVE DIVERTED SIX OF THE LOADS AND POCKETING THE MONEY COLLECTED WITHOUT PAYING THE LANDOWNER.
THE VALUE OF THE TIMBER WAS APPROXIMATELY $6,650. TIMBER THEFT IN EXCESS OF $500 IS A FELONY. CLARK WAS BOOKED INTO THE AVOYELLES PARISH PRISON. NO BOND HAS BEEN SET.

NINE LOUISIANA NATIONAL GUARD HELICOPTERS WILL SPEND TODAY DROPPING FIVE-HUNDRED GALLONS OF WATER ON TWO MARSH FIRES IN EASTERN NEW ORLEANS. THE SMOKE FROM THESE FIRES HAS BLANKETED THE NEW ORLEANS AREA AND HAS MADE ITS WAY INTO BATON ROUGE. THE FIRE IS IN A REMOTE AREA AND FIRE TRUCKS CAN NOT GET TO THE SITE. THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE ISSUED A SMOKE ALERT FOR SEVEN PARISHES. HEALTH OFFICIALS ARE ADVISING INDIVIDUALS WITH A HISTORY OF BREATHING OR UPPER RESPIRATORY PROBLEMS TO STAY INSIDE AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE.

WE ARE LESS THAN A WEEK BEFORE QUALIFYING FOR FALL ELECTIONS IN LOUISIANA, AND, SO FAR, NO MAJOR DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES APPEAR POISED TO ENTER THE FRAY. POLITICAL ANALYST CLANCY DUBOS SAYS IT'S POSSIBLE THAT THIS MAY BE THE FIRST TIME IN MODERN STATE HISTORY THAT THERE'S BEEN NO MAJOR DEMOCRAT RUNNING FOR STATEWIDE OFFICE.

ACCORDING TO A POLL COMMISSIONED BY AMERICA'S NATIONAL WETLAND FOUNDATION, OVER 90% OF AMERICANS BELIEVE THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SHOULD INVEST MONEY TO RESTORE THE GULF COAST. SPOKESPERSON SIDNEY COFFEE SAYS THEIR MISSION IS TO KEEP THE COUNTRY'S FOCUS ON THIS REGION THAT HAS RECENTLY FACED FOUR MAJOR HURRICANES AND THE BP OIL SPILL. THE POLL ALSO SHOWS THAT MOST AMERICANS SURVEYED BELIEVE THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SHOULD BE RESPONSIBLE FOR RESTORING AND MAINTAINING THE HEALTH OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER. SHE SAYS 97% OF RESPONDENTS SUPPORT REGIONAL COLLABORATION OF THE 31 STATES IN THE MISSISSIPPI'S WATERSHED.

A SCIENCE BOARD OVERSEEING $500 MILLION IN FUNDS BP SET ASIDE TO STUDY THE COMPANY'S CATASTROPHIC OIL SPILL IN THE GULF OF MEXICO HAS AWARDED $112 MILLION TO INDEPENDENT RESEARCHERS. THE GULF OF MEXICO RESEARCH INITIATIVE AWARDED THE MONEY TUESDAY. THE FUNDS HAVE BEEN SPLIT UP FOR EIGHT RESEARCH PROJECTS, EACH ONE LED BY A UNIVERSITY BASED IN A GULF STATE.

News for Tuesday 08/30/11


NEWS FOR TUESDAY 083011
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

THE DOTD WILL REDUCE THE TWO NORTHBOUND LANES ON U.S. HIGHWAYS 165/71 IN PINEVILLE, BETWEEN THE RAILROAD OVERPASS AND CLAIBORNE STREET, TO ONE LANE TODAY. THE EXISTING EAST LANE OF THE HIGHWAY WILL BE CLOSED AS TRAFFIC IS SHIFTED TO THE WEST LANE. AS MOTORISTS PROCEED PAST THE CLAIBORNE STREET INTERSECTION, TRAFFIC WILL BE ALLOWED TO RETURN TO TWO LANES. THE LANE CLOSURE IS RELATED TO ONGOING WORK TO REPLACE THE O.K. ALLEN BRIDGE AND WILL BE IN EFFECT FOR APPROXIMATELY ONE YEAR. YOU CAN EXPECT LONG BACKUPS.

LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY AT ALEXANDRIA UNVEILED THE NEW "CENTERPIECE" OF ITS CAMPUS YESTERDAY WITH THE GRAND OPENING OF THE MULTI-PURPOSE ACADEMIC CENTER. THE 70,000-SQUARE-FOOT BUILDING INCLUDES 58 FACULTY OFFICES, FOUR DEPARTMENTAL SUITES, 17 CLASSROOMS, COMPUTER LABS, VISUAL ARTS AND MUSIC SPACES, AND A BLACK BOX THEATER THAT SEATS 175. CONSTRUCTION, WHICH BEGAN IN 2009, COST MORE THAN $10 MILLION.

THE RAPIDES PARISH REGISTRAR OF VOTER'S OFFICE IS HOSTING VOTER-REGISTRATION DRIVES AT SEVERAL SITES THIS WEEK. DURING THE DRIVES, PEOPLE CAN REGISTER TO VOTE, AND VOTERS CAN CHANGE THEIR ADDRESSES OR POLITICAL PARTIES. REGISTRAR PERSONNEL WILL ALSO ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT THE UPCOMING ELECTIONS. THE SITES AND LOCATIONS OF THE DRIVES THE REST OF THIS WEEK ARE: TODAY, 9 A.M. TO 1 P.M., PINEVILLE CITY HALL. WEDNESDAY, 9 A.M. TO 1 P.M., CHRISTUS ST. FRANCES CABRINI HOSPITAL IN ALEXANDRIA. THURSDAY, 9 A.M. TO 1 P.M., GLENMORA TOWN HALL. FRIDAY, 9 A.M. TO 1 P.M., BALL MUNICIPAL BUILDING. THE DEADLINE TO REGISTER TO VOTE IN THE OCT. 22 PRIMARY ELECTIONS IS SEPT. 21. ONLINE VOTER REGISTRATION IS AVAILABLE AT WWW.GEAUXVOTE.COM.

GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL ANNOUNCES ST. JOHN ENTERPRISES, A BARGE MAKER BASED IN GARYVILLE, LOUISIANA, WILL OPEN A NEW FACILITY IN THE FORMER NORTHRUP GRUMMAN PLANT AT THE MADISON PARISH PORT IN TALLULAH. ST. JOHN WILL INVEST 32-MILLION DOLLARS TO RENOVATE AND UPGRADE THE PLANT WHICH HAD FORMERLY BUILT BOAT PARTS. ST. JOHN EXPECTS TO HIRE 100 NEW EMPLOYEES IN THE INITIAL YEAR, EXPANDING THE WORKFORCE TO OVER 400 BY THE YEAR 2016.

AFTER YEARS OF OUT-OF-STATE TRIPS BY GOV. BOBBY JINDAL TO HELP RAISE MONEY FOR HIS FELLOW REPUBLICANS, A HIGH-PROFILE POLITICIAN IS GETTING READY TO RETURN THE FAVOR. CHRIS CHRISTIE IS COMING TO BATON ROUGE ON SEPT. 29, WHERE HE WILL JOIN JINDAL AT A PRIVATE EVENT TO HELP RAISE MONEY FOR THE REPUBLICAN VICTORY FUND. THE FUND, ADMINISTERED BY THE STATE REPUBLICAN PARTY, HELPS RAISE AND DISTRIBUTE MONEY FOR LEGISLATIVE RACES. CHRISTIE HAS BEEN CONSIDERED A RISING STAR WITHIN THE GOP SINCE HE KNOCKED OFF AN INCUMBENT DEMOCRAT IN 2009 TO BECOME GOVERNOR OF THE GARDEN STATE. JINDAL TRAVELED TO NEW JERSEY TO RAISE MONEY FOR CHRISTIE DURING THE CLOSING WEEKS OF THE 2009 RACE.

THE STATE SOCIAL SERVICES DEPARTMENT HAS POSTED AN ONLINE SEARCHABLE DATABASE OF PARENTS WHO ARE BEHIND ON THEIR CHILD SUPPORT PAYMENTS. THE LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES LAUNCHED THE DATABASE MONDAY, ALLOWING PEOPLE TO SEARCH NEARLY 53,000 DELINQUENT CHILD SUPPORT CASES BY NAME, CITY, AMOUNT OWED OR PARISH WHERE THE COURT ORDER WAS ISSUED.
THE WEBSITE IS LOCATED AT WWW.DCFS.LA.GOV/DELINQUENT . DEPARTMENT SECRETARY RUTH JOHNSON SAYS THE DATABASE WILL MAKE IT EASIER FOR PEOPLE TO REPORT TO HER AGENCY WHEN THEY KNOW THE LOCATIONS OF PARENTS WITH BACK-OWED CHILD SUPPORT DEBTS. THE AMOUNTS OWED RANGE FROM HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS TO HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS. AT LEAST 81 PEOPLE OWE $100,000 OR MORE. THE TOTAL AMOUNT OWED TO LOUISIANA'S CHILDREN IS ABOUT $1.2 BILLION.

A WOMAN FROM MANY HAS BEEN KILLED AFTER SHE WAS RUN OVER AND DRAGGED UNDERNEATH A PICKUP TRUCK ALLEGEDLY DRIVEN BY HER UNCLE. STATE POLICE SPOKESPERSON TROOPER SCOTT MOREAU SAYS 28-YEAR-OLD TRESA FOY WAS HIT BY THE DRIVER, JACKIE BENNETT AROUND MIDNIGHT SATURDAY. MOREAU SAYS BENNETT WAS CHARGED WITH VEHICULAR HOMICIDE AND FIRST OFFENSE DWI. MOREAU SAYS THE SPEED WHICH BENNETT WAS TRAVELING HAS NOT BEEN DETERMINED, BUT FOY WAS DRAGGED ABOUT 50 FEET DOWN THE ROAD UNDERNEATH THE TRUCK. MOREAU SAYS ALL THIS HAPPENED WHILE THERE WERE OTHER PASSENGERS IN THE TRUCK.

THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY GIVES THE BOGALUSA PAPER MILL RESPONSIBLE FOR A MASSIVE FISH KILL THE GREEN LIGHT TO RESUME OPERATIONS. DEQ SPOKESPERSON RODNEY MALLETT SAYS TEMPLE-INLAND HAS PROMISED ADDITIONAL MONITORING AND ADDED SAFEGUARDS TO AVOID A REPEAT OF AN UNAUTHORIZED DISCHARGE. AN AUTHORIZED DISCHARGE BY THE PAPER MILL KILLED THOUSANDS OF FISH IN
THE PEARL RIVER EARLIER THIS MONTH. MALLETT SAYS THEY ARE CONFIDENT TEMPLE-INLAND WON'T REPEAT THEIR PAST MISTAKE.

JORDAN JEFFERSON'S NEW ATTORNEY LEWIS UNGLESBY SAYS THE MAIN FOCUS FOR HIS CLIENT IS TO GET HIM REINSTATED ON THE LSU FOOTBALL TEAM. JEFFERSON HAS BEEN CHARGED WITH SECOND DEGREE BATTERY FOR HIS ROLE IN A BAR FIGHT. UNGLESBY SAYS JEFFERSON'S CRIMINAL CASE WILL LIKELY BE A LONG DRAWN OUT PROCESS. THE LSU FOOTBALL SEASON KICKS OFF IN JUST UNDER A WEEK AND COACH LES MILES HAS SAID JEFFERSON IS SUSPENDED INDEFINITELY. UNGLESBY SAYS THIS BREAK FOR JEFFERSON WILL GIVE EVERYONE TIME TO LOOK AT THE FACTS OF THE CASE.

JEFFERSON PARISH SHERIFF'S DEPUTIES SAY A MAN SHOT HIS WIFE IN THE PARKING LOT OF AN APARTMENT COMPLEX WHERE THEY LIVED IN METAIRIE BEFORE TURNING THE GUN ON HIMSELF. THE MAN WAS PRONOUNCED DEAD AT THE SCENE OF MONDAY'S SHOOTING, WHILE THE WOMAN WAS PRONOUNCED DEAD LATER AT A NEARBY HOSPITAL.

THE OWNER OF A HELICOPTER THAT CRASHED IN SOUTHEAST LOUISIANA, KILLING EIGHT PEOPLE IN 2009, IS ACCUSING THE AIRCRAFT'S MANUFACTURER OF HIDING A DAMNING INTERNAL REPORT TO CONCEAL ITS LIABILITY.
IN A COURT FILING, PHI INC. CLAIMS SIKORSKY AIRCRAFT CORP. WITHHELD A REPORT BY ONE OF ITS ENGINEERS THAT CONCLUDED SIKORSKY'S DESIGN CAUSED THE HELICOPTER TO CRASH NEAR MORGAN CITY. PHI ASKED A FEDERAL JUDGE TO IMPOSE MONETARY SANCTIONS AGAINST SIKORSKY. PHI SAYS IT WOULDN'T HAVE PAID AS MUCH LAST YEAR TO SETTLE PLAINTIFFS' CLAIMS IF IT HAD SEEN THE ENGINEER'S REPORT. A SIKORSKY SPOKESMAN SAID THE COMPANY DENIES PHI'S ALLEGATION AND WILL "DEFEND AGAINST IT STRENUOUSLY." A BIRD STRUCK THE SIKORSKY S-76C BEFORE IT CRASHED, KILLING BOTH PILOTS AND SIX PASSENGERS. ONE PERSON SURVIVED.

THE STATE OF LOUISIANA IS ASKING A FEDERAL APPEALS COURT TO RULE THAT THE STATE'S PRISONS CAN BAN INMATES FROM RECEIVING COPIES OF THE FINAL CALL NEWSPAPER PUBLISHED BY THE NATION OF ISLAM. THE STATE WANTS THE 5TH U.S. CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS TO OVERTURN A JUDGE'S RULING THAT THE DAVID WADE CORRECTIONAL CENTER MUST DELIVER COPIES OF THE NEWSPAPER TO HENRY LEONARD, A CONVICTED MURDERER WHO CLAIMED THE HOMER PRISON VIOLATED HIS RIGHT TO FREE EXERCISE OF RELIGION. A THREE-JUDGE PANEL IS SCHEDULED TO HEAR THE CASE TODAY. ATTORNEY GENERAL JAMES "BUDDY" CALDWELL'S OFFICE SAYS THE NEWSPAPER CONTAINS RACIST RHETORIC THAT POSES A SECURITY THREAT.

A LAFOURCHE PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE K-9 OFFICER COLLAPSED AND DIED WHILE SEARCHING FOR A SUSPECT OVER THE WEEKEND. SHERIFF CRAIG WEBRE SAYS THAT "POSSUM" DIED DURING THE SEARCH FOR A SUSPECT WHO POLICE SAID WAS FIGHTING WITH A STATE TROOPER SHORTLY AFTER MIDNIGHT SATURDAY. THE DOG SUFFERED A MAJOR SEIZURE, WHICH CAUSED HIS BODY TEMPERATURE TO SPIKE IN THE HOT TEMPERATURES. WEBRE SAYS POSSUM DIED EN ROUTE TO THE VETERINARIAN.


News For Friday 082611


NEWS FOR FRIDAY 082611
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

HURRICANE IRENE IS CHURNING TOWARD THE U.S. EAST COAST, WEAKENING SLIGHTLY TO A CATEGORY TWO STORM. IT'S EXPECTED TO MAKE LANDFALL ALONG NORTH CAROLINA'S OUTER BANKS, WITH HURRICANE WARNINGS ISSUED AS FAR NORTH AS NEW JERSEY. HURRICANE WATCHES ARE ISSUED ALL THE WAY UP TO MASSACHUSETTS.

THE STATE IS ASSISTING THE CONCORDIA PARISH TOWN OF FERRIDAY, WHICH IS STRUGGLING WITH A WATER SHORTAGE. STATE HEALTH OFFICER, DOCTOR JIMMY GUIDRY, SAYS THE LOUISIANA NATIONAL GUARD HAS BROUGHT 14 MILITARY WATER TANKS TO FERRIDAY, SO THAT RESIDENTS CAN HAVE ACCESS TO CLEAN DRINKING WATER. GUIDRY SAYS THE LACK OF RAINFALL HAS CAUSED THIS PROBLEM. HE SAYS THE TOWN'S WATER SYSTEM DRAWS WATER FROM MARENGO BEND, WHICH IS UNUSUALLY LOW DUE TO THE DROUGHT.

THE RAPIDES PARISH SCHOOL DISTRICT HELD FAIRLY STEADY IN 2011 ACT SCORES RELEASED BY THE LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION. RAPIDES STUDENTS AVERAGED A COMPOSITE 19.9 OUT OF A POSSIBLE 36 POINTS ON THE STANDARDIZED TEST -- A SLIGHT DROP FROM THE 20.0 AVERAGE IN 2010. RAPIDES WAS SLIGHTLY BELOW THE 2011 STATE AVERAGE OF 20.2. THE NATIONAL AVERAGE WAS 21.1. AMONG CENTRAL LOUISIANA PARISHES, ONLY VERNON (20.3) AND BEAUREGARD (20.2) RANKED HIGHER THAN RAPIDES IN 2011 SCORES. CONCORDIA HAD THE LOWEST 2011 SCORE IN CENLA AT 18.2. CONCORDIA'S 1.1-POINT DROP FROM 2010 WAS TIED WITH ST. MARTIN PARISH FOR THE BIGGEST IN THE STATE. AVOYELLES SAW THE BIGGEST IMPROVEMENT AMONG CENLA SCHOOL DISTRICTS, JUMPING FROM 18.5 TO 19.4 IN 2011.

A FORMER CORRECTIONS OFFICER AT THE U.S. PENITENTIARY IN POLLOCK HAS BEEN INDICTED ON CHARGES HE PROVIDED CONTRABAND TO INMATES IN EXCHANGE FOR CASH. THURSDAY'S 14-COUNT INDICTMENT ALSO CHARGES 26-YEAR-OLD BRANDON WILLIS, OF PINEVILLE, WITH THREATENING WITNESSES TO DISCOURAGE THEM FROM TALKING TO LAW-ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS ABOUT HIS ALLEGED ACTIONS. THE CHARGES AGAINST WILLIS INCLUDE BRIBERY, ATTEMPTING TO POSSESS WITH INTENT TO DISTRIBUTE HEROIN AND METHAMPHETAMINE AND WITNESS TAMPERING.

AN ALEXANDRIA MAN WHO WAS A RAPIDES PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE NARCOTICS FIELD SUPERVISOR WAS ARRESTED THURSDAY AND FACES CHARGES RELATING TO "IMPROPER ACTIVITIES WITH THREE FEMALE OFFENDERS." 33 YEAR OLD MICHAEL LACOUR WAS CHARGED WITH THREE COUNTS OF MALFEASANCE IN OFFICE. SHERIFF'S OFFICE CHIEF DEPUTY HERMAN WALTERS TOLD THE MEDIA YESTERDAY, LACOUR, WHO WAS A LIEUTENANT, WAS IMMEDIATELY SUSPENDED WHEN THE ALLEGATIONS AGAINST HIM SURFACED AND WAS PLACED ON ADMINISTRATIVE LEAVE WITHOUT PAY, HE THEN RESIGNED. WALTERS SAYS
LACOUR TURNED HIMSELF IN YESTERDAY WITHOUT INCIDENT. LACOUR HAD BEEN WITH THE SHERIFF'S OFFICE SINCE MARCH OF 1999. HIS JOB INVOLVED BEING IN CHARGE OF NARCOTICS OFFICERS IN THE FIELD.

RAPIDES PARISH SHERIFF CHUCK WAGNER IS BEING SUED OVER THE FIRING OF A SHERIFF'S DETECTIVE. THE LAWSUIT, FILED THIS WEEK IN 9TH DISTRICT COURT BY RANDALL AND LAURA COOPER, NAMES WAGNER, CHIEF DEPUTY HERMAN WALTERS AND THE SHERIFF'S OFFICE AS DEFENDANTS. THE SUIT ALSO CLAIMS THAT WALTERS DEFAMED FORMER DETECTIVE RANDALL COOPER IN THE LOCAL PRESS, AND THAT SHERIFF'S OFFICIALS ARRESTED LAURA COOPER ON "UNFOUNDED" THEFT CHARGES INVOLVING A POT-BELLIED PIG. THE COOPERS SEEK AN UNSPECIFIED AMOUNT OF MONEY IN DAMAGES. AND RANDALL COOPER WANTS HIS JOB BACK. RANDALL COOPER WAS FIRED IN NOVEMBER 2010, ALLEGEDLY FOR TAKING FILES ON THE INVESTIGATION OF HIS WIFE AND FORWARDING THE FILES TO AN ATTORNEY.

LSU ATHLETIC DIRECTOR JOE ALLEVA, WOULD GET A $175,000 HIKE IN HIS BASE SALARY TO $525,000 A YEAR, ALONG WITH MORE OPPORTUNITIES FOR INCENTIVE PAYMENTS, UNDER THE CONTRACT TO BE CONSIDERED TODAY BY THE LSU BOARD OF SUPERVISORS. THE MANAGEMENT BOARD ALSO WILL CONSIDER A CHANGE TO FOOTBALL COACH LES MILES' CONTRACT THAT WOULD KEEP HIS $3.8 MILLION ANNUAL BASE PAY, BUT INCREASE HIS INCENTIVE PAYMENTS AND THE AMOUNT OWED IF THE UNIVERSITY FIRED HIM WITHOUT CAUSE. ALSO ON THE AGENDA IS A ONE-YEAR CONTRACT EXTENSION TO 2015 FOR MEN'S BASKETBALL COACH TRENT JOHNSON, WHO WOULD STAY AT HIS CURRENT PAY RATE.

AN EYEWITNESS SAYS SHE SAW LSU STARTING QUARTERBACK JORDAN JEFFERSON KICK SOMEONE IN THE FACE DURING A BAR FIGHT THAT INJURED FOUR PEOPLE LAST WEEK.
THE ACCOUNT FROM 19-YEAR-OLD VICTORIA LONG WAS INCLUDED IN A POLICE REPORT RELEASED THURSDAY, A DAY AFTER POLICE SEIZED 49 PAIRS OF ATHLETIC SHOES FROM JEFFERSON'S APARTMENT. BATON ROUGE POLICE SGT. DON STONE WOULDN'T EXPLAIN WHY POLICE TOOK THE SHOES.

THE HITS KEEP ON COMING FOR THE LSU FOOTBALL TEAM. THE UNIVERSITY HAS ANNOUNCED THAT WIDE RECEIVER RUSSELL SHEPARD HAS BEEN DECLARED INELIGIBLE FOR VIOLATING AN NCAA RULE AND HE'S EXPECTED TO MISS SEVERAL GAMES. SHEPARD VIOLATED AN NCAA RULE WHEN HE DISCUSSED AN NCAA INQUIRY WITH A TEAMMATE, WHO WAS SCHEDULED TO MEET WITH AN NCAA REPRESENTATIVE. THE JUNIOR WAS UNDER INVESTIGATION FOR AN OFF-CAMPUS HOUSING ARRANGEMENT HE HAD EARLIER THIS SUMMER.

DESPITE HAVING NO WELL-FINANCED CHALLENGER, GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL'S TEAM PLANS AN AGGRESSIVE RE-ELECTION CAMPAIGN. FORMER JINDAL CHIEF OF STAFF AND TOP JINDAL CAMPAIGN ADVISOR TIMMY TEEPELL SAYS THE PLAN IS TO KEEP RAISING CASH AND GET OUT PLENTY OF JINDAL CAMPAIGN ADS. THE GOVERNOR WAS IN MINNEAPOLIS THIS WEEK FOR ANOTHER FUNDRAISING EVENT. TEEPELL SAYS THE BOBBY JINDAL CAMPAIGN WILL GO FORWARD WITH THE ASSUMPTION THAT CHALLENGERS WILL ENTER THE RACE DURING QUALIFYING IN EARLY SEPTEMBER..

THE LINE OF POWERFUL THUNDERSTORMS THAT SWEPT THROUGH THE I-20 CORRIDOR WEDNESDAY LEFT THOUSANDS WITHOUT POWER AND MANY CUSTOMERS ARE STILL WITHOUT. SWEPCO SPOKESPERSON SCOTT MCCLOUD SAYS MOST OF HIS CUSTOMERS IN THE ARK-LA-TEX AREA SHOULD HAVE THEIR POWER RESTORED BY SATURDAY. MCCLOUD SAYS THE GREATEST NUMBERS OF CUSTOMERS THAT ARE STILL WAITING FOR POWER ARE CONCENTRATED IN THE SHREVEPORT-BOSSIER AREA WHERE THEY SAW THE GREATEST NUMBERS OF TREES AND TREE LIMBS KNOCKED DOWN.

POLICE SAY THE CELL PHONE AND DRIVER'S LICENSE OF A WOMAN KILLED IN A KENNER MOTEL WERE FOUND IN THE CAR OF A MAN WHO JUMPED OFF A MISSISSIPPI RIVER BRIDGE TO ESCAPE POLICE. AUTHORITIES REPORTS THAT KENNER POLICE HAVE AN ARREST WARRANT ACCUSING KYLAN LAURENT OF THE MURDER. POLICE WERE CHASING LAURENT WHEN HE STOPPED HIS CAR ON THE BRIDGE TUESDAY AND PLUNGED INTO THE RIVER. HIS BODY HAS NOT BEEN RECOVERED AND POLICE BELIEVE HE MAY HAVE SURVIVED THE FALL. LAURENT IS ALSO DESCRIBED AS A "PERSON OF INTEREST" IN THE AUG. 10 MURDER OF ANOTHER WOMAN IN A METAIRIE MOTEL AND AN ASSAULT OF YET ANOTHER WOMAN IN A HARVEY MOTEL ON AUG. 18.

THE RECORD HEAT AND DROUGHT CONDITIONS IN THE STATE HAVE PUT A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF STRESS ON TREES. LSU AGCENTER FORESTER DR HALLIE DOZIER (DOE-ZHER) SAYS IF A TREE HAS DROPPED LEAVES OR HAS TURNED BROWN DURING A DROUGHT, IT DOESN'T MEAN IT'S DEAD. SHE SAYS BEFORE CUTTING ANY TREES DOWN ON YOUR PROPERTY, MAKE SURE IT'S DEAD FIRST. DOZIER SAYS LACK OF WATER IN THE SOIL CAUSES TREES TO LOSE THE ABILITY TO GROW NORMALLY. SHE SAYS IF A DEFOLIATED TREE IS ALIVE, YOU CAN TAKE CARE OF IT BY IRRIGATING AND PROTECTING THE ROOT ZONE. SHE SAYS YOU CAN WATER TREES DEEPLY BY LAYING A SOAKER HOSE IN THE CRITICAL ROOT
ZONE ONCE EVERY TWO WEEKS.

A CHUNK OF MONEY WILL BE SPENT ON STUDYING HOW TO RESTORE THIS RABBIT ISLAND, AN IMPORTANT NESTING GROUND FOR PELICANS IN CALCASIEU LAKE. THE BUREAU OF OCEAN ENERGY MANAGEMENT, REGULATION AND ENFORCEMENT SAYS IT HAS APPROVED SPENDING ABOUT $402,000 ON THE MARSH ISLAND'S RESTORATION. THE MONEY COMES FROM A FEDERAL PROGRAM THAT USES OFFSHORE DRILLING REVENUES TO RESTORE THE COASTLINES OF STATES THAT ALLOW OIL AND NATURAL GAS DRILLING OFF THEIR SHORES.

A MONROE POLICE OFFICER HELPED A SHOPLIFTING FEMALE FRIEND OF HIS SELL MORE THAN 14,000 STOLEN ITEMS ON EBAY FOR MORE THAN $190,000, A FEDERAL INDICTMENT ALLEGED THURSDAY. RAUL X. JOHNSON, 43, OF MONROE, WAS CHARGED WITH SEVEN COUNTS OF MAIL FRAUD AND ONE OF MAKING A FALSE STATEMENT TO A FEDERAL AGENT. THE FRIEND, IDENTIFIED ONLY AS "SP," WAS NOT CHARGED.





News For Thursday 08/25/11


NEWS FOR THURSDAY 082511
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

STATE POLICE ARE INVESTIGATING A SHOOTING INCIDENT INVOLVING A CONCORDIA PARISH SHERIFF'S DEPUTY. TROOP E SPOKESMAN TROOPER SCOTT MOREAU SAYS IT STARTED AROUND 1:30 WEDNESDAY MORNING, WITH A 911 CALL FROM A DISTRESSED 46-YEAR-OLD ELIZABETH BRIGHT, OF VIDALIA. HE SAYS WHEN A DEPUTY ARRIVED AT THE HOME, BRIGHT - FOR REASONS UNKNOWN SHE OPENED FIRE. MOREAU SAYS THE DEPUTY RETURNED FIRE; HITTING THE WOMAN IN THE CHEST. SHE IS NOW IN CRITICAL CONDITION. DEPUTIES ALSO OBSERVED 90-YEAR-OLD JIMMY WILLIAMS INSIDE THE HOME; ARMED WITH A SMALL CALIBER RIFLE. AFTER AN HOUR LONG STANDOFF TROOPERS ENTERED THE HOME TO FIND THE ELDERLY MAN GONE. MOREAU SAYS WILLIAMS EVENTUALLY TURNED HIMSELF IN, BUT THEY ARE STILL UNCLEAR ABOUT WHAT STARTED THIS WHOLE SITUATION...

EIGHT MONTHS AFTER THE FACT, 45 YEAR OLD RALPH COSBY OF BALL HAS BEEN CHARGED WITH SECOND-DEGREE MURDER IN THE DEATH OF 32 YEAR OLD KENNETH STEPHEN FUNK, POLLOCK. THE SHOOTING TOOK PLACE ON PARADISE ROAD "NEAR RALPH COSBY'S RESIDENCE" ON DEC. 24, 2010. AUTHORITIES SAID FUNK WAS SHOT FIVE TIMES DURING HIS ALLEGED BURGLARY ATTEMPT OF A PARADISE ROAD HOME OUTSIDE OF BALL. THEY ALSO SAID THEN THAT THE INVESTIGATION WOULD CONTINUE TO DETERMINE IF THE SHOOTING WAS JUSTIFIABLE. THE SHERIFF'S OFFICE IS ASKING ANYONE WITH INFORMATION ABOUT THE INCIDENT TO CALL THEM.

A LAFOURCHE PARISH GRAND JURY WILL HEAR THE CASE TODAY AGAINST THE ACCUSED KILLER OF JORI LIRETTE. JORI'S FATHER, 30-YEAR-OLD JEREMIAH WRIGHT IS ACCUSED OF BEHEADING HIS 7-YEAR-OLD SON. LEGAL ANALYST TIM MECHE SAYS THE CLOSED DOOR PROCESS SHOULD BE AN OPEN AND SHUT CASE. ONCE THE GRAND JURY HANDS DOWN AN INDICTMENT, WRIGHT WILL HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO ENTER HIS OFFICIAL PLEA. MECHE SAYS THE ARRAIGNMENT COULD BE PUT OFF FOR A PERIOD OF WEEKS OR MONTHS DEPENDING ON WHAT MOTIONS ARE FILED BY THE DEFENSE ATTORNEYS.

U-S SENATOR DAVID VITTER IS SUPPORTING HOUSE SPEAKER JIM TUCKER IN HIS CAMPAIGN FOR SECRETARY OF STATE. VITTER ANNOUNCED HIS ENDORSEMENT IN AN E-MAIL TO SUPPORTERS. TUCKER IS CHALLENGING FELLOW REPUBLICAN AND CURRENT SECRETARY OF STATE TOM SCHEDLER. JUST YESTERDAY, VITTER ENDORSED REPUBLICAN ATTORNEY GENERAL BUDDY CALDWELL, IN HIS REELECTION BID.

THERE'S BEEN QUESTIONS ON WHETHER ATTORNEY NATHAN FISHER IS REPRESENTING FOUR LSU PLAYERS INVOLVED IN A BAR FIGHT FOR FREE, WHICH COULD BE AN NCAA VIOLATION. BUT FISHER SAYS HE IS NOT TAKING THIS CASE PRO BONO. FISHER WOULD NOT SAY WHAT HE IS CHARGING THE PLAYERS, BUT HE DID SAY HE NORMALLY REPRESENTS STUDENTS FOR FREE. LSU HAS CONFIRMED THEY ARE RUNNING EVERYTHING THROUGH THEIR COMPLIANCE OFFICE.

A NATIONAL TRACKING FIRM SAYS SECOND-QUARTER SALES OF LOUISIANA HOMES IN SOME STAGE OF FORECLOSURE WENT FOR ABOUT A THIRD LESS THAN HOMES NOT IN TROUBLE.
IRVINE, CALIF.-BASED REALTYTRAC SAID 930 FORECLOSED HOMES WERE SOLD IN THE STATE IN THE APRIL-THROUGH-JUNE PERIOD FOR AN AVERAGE OF $121,506. THAT'S A 34.1 PERCENT DISCOUNT FROM NON-FORECLOSED HOMES AND ACCOUNTED FOR 14.8 PERCENT OF ALL SECOND-QUARTER LOUISIANA HOME SALES. THE NUMBER OF FORECLOSURE SALES ROSE 13.6 PERCENT FROM THE FIRST QUARTER OF 2011 IN LOUISIANA, BUT FELL 3.9 PERCENT FROM THE SECOND QUARTER OF 2010.

THE ORLEANS PARISH CORONER'S OFFICE SAYS THE BODY OF AN ACTOR IN THE HBO SERIES TREME, WHICH IS FILMED IN NEW ORLEANS, WAS PULLED FROM THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER ON WEDNESDAY. WWL-TV REPORTS THAT TREME STAR WENDELL PIERCE CONFIRMED MICHAEL SHOWERS' DEATH VIA A TWITTER DIRECT MESSAGE WITH THE STATION. SHOWERS PLAYED A POLICE OFFICER ON THE DRAMA. SHOWERS' WORK ALSO INCLUDES "THE VAMPIRE DIARIES," ''TRAFFIC," AND THE UPCOMING FILM, "COLOMBIANA."A ST. BERNARD PARISH SHERIFF'S SPOKESMAN SAYS THE 44-YEAR-OLD MAN LIVED IN CHALMETTE WITH HIS GIRLFRIEND, WHO REPORTED HIM MISSING TUESDAY AFTER HE DIDN'T RETURN FROM A NIGHT OUT WITH A FRIEND IN THE FRENCH QUARTER. AUTHORITIES ARE NOT SAYING IF THEY THINK FOUL PLAY IS INVOLVED.

NOT THIS COMING WEEKEND, BUT, NEXT WEEKEND, HUNTERS AND CAMPERS CAN TAKE ADVANTAGE OF A STATE SALES TAX HOLIDAY ON ITEMS THEY REGULARLY USE LIKE GUNS AND AMMUNITION. THE TAX BREAK EXEMPTS A WIDE RANGE OF SUPPLIES FROM ALL STATE AND LOCAL SALES TAXES. SOME OF THE ELIGIBLE ITEMS INCLUDE SHOTGUNS AND OTHER WEAPONS, AMMUNITION, HUNTING ACCESSORIES, APPAREL AND OFF-ROAD VEHICLES. VISIT WWW.REVENUE.LOUISIANA.GOV/SECONDAMENDMENT FOR MORE INFORMATION.
THE HOLIDAY RUNS SEPT. 2 THROUGH SEPT. 4.

THE STATE AND FEDERAL GOVERNMENTS HAVE AGREED TO MUTUALLY STUDY THE BENEFITS CONTROLLED MISSISSIPPI RIVER DIVERSIONS MAY HAVE ON RESTORING COASTAL MARSHLANDS. GARRETT GRAVES, DIRECTOR OF THE STATE OFFICE OF COASTAL PROTECTION AND RESTORATION, SAYS A 5-YEAR STUDY WITH THE US ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS WILL SEEK THOSE ANSWERS. GRAVES SAYS THE CORPS' DECADES OF WORK BUILDING RIVER LEVEES HAS PROTECTED MILLIONS, BUT ALSO STOPPED DISTRIBUTION OF RIVER SILT AND MUDS INTO WETLANDS. HE SAYS COASTAL EROSION HAS ROBBED THE STATE OF OVER 1900 SQUARE MILES OF LAND. GRAVES SAYS THE STUDY WILL LEAD TO CONTROLLED DIVERSIONS OF RIVER WATERS INTO THE WETLANDS.

THE FUTURE OF THE NBA IN NEW ORLEANS IS SHOWING INCREASING PROMISE, EVEN THOUGH FANS AND BUSINESSES POURING MONEY INTO HORNETS TICKETS AND SPONSORSHIPS HAVE NO GUARANTEE THAT GAMES WILL BE PLAYED NEXT SEASON.
AS THE HORNETS INTRODUCED CHEVRON AS THEIR FIFTH MILLION-DOLLAR CORPORATE SPONSOR ON WEDNESDAY, TEAM PRESIDENT HUGH WEBER SAID THE FRANCHISE IS CLOSING IN ON SEVERAL GOALS SEEN AS NECESSARY TO ENSURE PRO BASKETBALL'S LONG-TERM PRESENCE IN THE BIG EASY.

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL HEADED TO MINNESOTA TO RAISE MORE CAMPAIGN CASH FOR HIS FALL RE-ELECTION BID. JINDAL'S SPOKESMAN, KYLE PLOTKIN, SAID THE REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR TRAVELED WEDNESDAY TO MINNEAPOLIS FOR A FUNDRAISER. JINDAL HAS ATTENDED FUNDRAISERS ACROSS THE COUNTRY SINCE TAKING OFFICE IN 2008, TO DRUM UP MONEY FOR HIS CAMPAIGN. THE ELECTION IS SET FOR OCT. 22. THE GOVERNOR HAS NO MAJOR ANNOUNCED COMPETITORS SO FAR, AND HE HAS NEARLY $9 MILLION IN HIS CAMPAIGN ACCOUNT.

THE STATE'S BOARD OF REGENTS IS REWRITING THE MASTER PLAN FOR LOUISIANA'S PUBLIC COLLEGES, WHICH WILL UPDATE LONG-TERM GOALS FOR THE CAMPUSES AND SET A FRAMEWORK FOR EACH COLLEGE'S MISSION. THE MOVE TO ADJUST THE MASTER PLAN ADOPTED IN 2001 COMES AS STATE HIGHER EDUCATION FINANCING HAS BEEN CUT IN RECENT YEARS, SCHOOLS HAVE ELIMINATED PROGRAMS AND STATE LEADERS HAVE PRESSED COLLEGES TO REDEFINE THEIR ROLES. LAWMAKERS ASKED FOR AN UPDATED MASTER PLAN FROM THE REGENTS BY SEPT. 1. THE BOARD UNANIMOUSLY AGREED TO THE PLAN WEDNESDAY.

THE YOUNG WHITE MAN BEATEN BY SIX BLACK CLASSMATES WHO GAINED NATIONAL ATTENTION AS THE "JENA SIX" SAYS HE HAS MOVED ON FROM THE INCIDENT THAT BROUGHT THE SMALL LOUISIANA TOWN OF JENA UNDER SCRUTINY. THE SIX, WHO WERE AT ONE POINT CHARGED WITH ATTEMPTED MURDER, BECAME THE FOCUS OF A MASSIVE CIVIL RIGHTS MARCH IN 2007, ABOUT NINE MONTHS AFTER THE BEATING. JUSTIN BARKER TOLD THE ASSOCIATED PRESS IN HIS FIRST INTERVIEW SINCE HE WAS BEATEN THAT HE'S MOVED ON FROM THE ORDEAL. BARKER, WHO STILL LIVES IN THE TOWN AND NOW WORKS ON AN OIL RIG, SAYS TO THIS DAY HE HAS NO IDEA WHY HE WAS BEATEN. SEVERAL OF THE DEFENDANTS ALSO HAVE MOVED ON AND ARE NOW ATTENDING COLLEGE OUTSIDE JENA.

STATE EDUCATION OFFICIALS SAY A BREAKDOWN OF ACT COLLEGE ENTRANCE EXAM SCORES RELEASED LAST WEEK SHOWS THAT 41 OF LOUISIANA'S 71 SCHOOL DISTRICTS SAW GAINS FROM 2010 TO 2011. IT WAS A BIGGER INCREASE THAN IN THE PREVIOUS YEAR, WHEN ONLY 29 DISTRICTS SAW BETTER RESULTS. ACCORDING TO THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION'S STATEMENT WEDNESDAY, THE DISTRICTS IN TENSAS, EAST CARROLL AND RICHLAND PARISHES, ALONG WITH THE NEW ORLEANS SCHOOLS IN THE STATE RECOVERY SCHOOL DISTRICT, SAW THE LARGEST PERCENTAGE GAINS. THE ST. TAMMANY PARISH AND CENTRAL COMMUNITY DISTRICTS HAD THE HIGHEST AVERAGE COMPOSITE ACT SCORES.









News For Wednesday 08/24/11


NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY 082411
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

PLANS ARE OFF FOR A PROPOSAL FOR RESIDENTIAL AND COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT AT THE FORMER HODGES STOCKYARD SITE IN SOUTH ALEXANDRIA. THE ALEXANDRIA CITY COUNCIL YESTERDAY AFTERNOON REJECTED A PROPOSAL FOR NEW HORIZONS DEVELOPMENT TO ADD A SECOND GATED APARTMENT COMPLEX AND BUILD A STRIP MALL ON THE CITY-OWNED PROPERTY, ON LOWER THIRD STREET. FIVE OF SEVEN COUNCIL MEMBERS VOTED AGAINST THE PROJECT AFTER HEARING FROM RESIDENTS AND OFFICIALS ON BOTH SIDES OF THE ISSUE DURING A NEARLY TWO-HOUR COMMITTEE MEETING. EIGHT RESIDENTS, INCLUDING THREE WHO DON'T LIVE IN THE LOWER THIRD STREET AREA, SPOKE IN OPPOSITION TO THE PROJECT, WHILE FIVE AND THE DEVELOPER OF THE PROJECT SPOKE IN FAVOR. MOST OF THE OPPONENTS SAID RESIDENTS IN THE AREA DIDN'T WANT ANY MORE RENTAL HOUSING AND WANTED THE REMAINING EIGHT ACRES OF THE PROPERTY RESERVED FOR COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT.

DRY WEATHER IS PROMPTING STATE OFFICIALS TO ORDER A BURN BAN IN 29 PARISHES.
PRIVATE BURNING IN THOSE PARISHES WILL BE ALLOWED ONLY BY PERMISSION OF THE LOCAL FIRE DEPARTMENT OR LOCAL GOVERNMENT. THE BAN ANNOUNCED BY STATE FIRE MARSHALL BUTCH BROWNING AND AGRICULTURE COMMISSIONER MIKE STRAIN TAKES EFFECT WEDNESDAY AT 9 A.M. AND LASTS UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. RAPIDES PARISH HAS BEEN UNDER A BURN BAN FOR OVER A WEEK NOW.

YESTERDAY WAS THE 50TH DAY THIS SUMMER THAT TEMPERATURES IN SHREVEPORT HIT 100 DEGREES OR HOTTER. JASON HANSFORD, WITH THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN SHREVEPORT, SAYS THE PREVIOUS RECORD WAS 47 DAYS OF 100-PLUS DEGREE TEMPERATURES, WHICH WAS SET IN THE 1880S...

LSU STARTING QUARTERBACK JORDAN JEFFERSON AND THREE TEAMMATES MET TUESDAY WITH INVESTIGATORS LOOKING INTO A BAR FIGHT THAT INJURED FOUR PEOPLE, AND POLICE SAY THEY WERE COOPERATIVE. BATON ROUGE POLICE CHIEF DEWAYNE WHITE REPORTS THROUGH THE INTERVIEW PROCESS INFORMATION WAS PROVIDED THAT HAS LED TO ADDITIONAL WITNESSES. POLICE SAY THE INTEND TO RUN THE WITNESSES DOWN AND GET THEIR STATEMENTS. THE MOST SERIOUSLY INJURED VICTIM HAS THREE BROKEN VERTEBRAE. SO FAR THERE HAVE BEEN NO ARRESTS AND NO CHARGES HAVE BEEN FILED, BUT WHITE STRESSED THAT POLICE HOPE TO GATHER ENOUGH EVIDENCE TO ARREST WHOEVER IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE VICTIMS' INJURIES.

ENTERGY CORPORATION IS PUTTING UP ONE-MILLION DOLLARS TO HELP ELDERLY AND DISABLED WHO HAVE SEEN THEIR ELECTRIC BILLS RISE WITH THE RECORD SETTING HEAT. ENTERGY OF LOUISIANA PRESIDENT AND CEO, BILL MOHL SAYS THIS IS ENTERGY'S WAY OF GIVING SOMETHING BACK TO THE COMMUNITY. HALF OF THE FUNDS WILL COME DIRECTLY FROM ENTERGY WHILE THE OTHER HALF WILL BE RAISED THROUGH CUSTOMER DONATIONS THROUGH THE POWER TO CARE FUND. QUALIFIED SENIORS ARE ELIGIBLE FOR A ONE TIME PAYMENT OF UP TO TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS IN ASSISTANCE ON THEIR ELECTRICAL BILLS. ANYONE NEEDING HELP SHOULD CONTACT THEIR LOCAL COUNCIL ON AGING OFFICE.

TWO FIRMS HAVE DROPPED THEIR PROTESTS OF THE AWARD OF A LUCRATIVE STATE CONTRACT FOR MEDICAID CLAIMS PROCESSING TO A COMPANY WITH TIES TO LOUISIANA'S HEALTH CHIEF. ACS STATE HEALTHCARE AND MOLINA MEDICAID SOLUTIONS NOTIFIED COMMISSIONER OF ADMINISTRATION PAUL RAINWATER THEY WILL NOT PURSUE FURTHER APPEALS OF THE CONTRACT AWARD TO CLIENT NETWORK SERVICES INC. STATE HEALTH CHIEF BRUCE GREENSTEIN IS A FORMER EXECUTIVE OF THE COMPANY. CONTROVERSY SURROUNDED ITS SELECTION. BUT, GREENSTEIN INSISTS HE WAS NOT INVOLVED IN THE SELECTION PROCESS.

REPUBLICAN ATTORNEY GENERAL BUDDY CALDWELL'S RE-ELECTION BID HAS GOTTEN THE BACKING OF U.S. SEN. DAVID VITTER. VITTER CITED CALDWELL'S OPPOSITION TO THE NEW FEDERAL HEALTH CARE LAW AND HIS SUPPORT FOR TOUGHER IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT LAWS AMONG THE REASONS FOR THE ENDORSEMENT. FORMER U.S. REP. "JOSEPH" CAO, A REPUBLICAN FROM NEW ORLEANS, HAS ANNOUNCED THAT HE WILL CHALLENGE CALDWELL IN THE OCT. 22 PRIMARY. QUALIFYING FOR THE RACE IS SEPT. 6-8.

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL'S CAMPAIGN HAS LAUNCHED A NEW TELEVISION COMMERCIAL, TOUTING PRIVATE INDUSTRY JOBS CREATED AROUND THE STATE SINCE THE GOVERNOR'S BEEN IN OFFICE. THE AD, WHICH BEGAN AIRING STATEWIDE TUESDAY, IS THE SECOND TV SPOT OF THE REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR'S FALL RE-ELECTION BID. IT FEATURES NEWS CLIPS OF JOB ANNOUNCEMENTS. JINDAL REMAINS LARGELY UNCHALLENGED FOR RE-ELECTION. HE HAS NO WELL-FUNDED COMPETITION WITH TWO MONTHS BEFORE THE OCT. 22 PRIMARY, AND HE'S SITTING ON A MULTIMILLION-DOLLAR CAMPAIGN WAR CHEST.


AFTER THE SLAYING OF TWO DEPARTMENT OF INSURANCE INVESTIGATORS IN VILLE PLATTE EARLIER THIS YEAR, STATE OFFICIALS SAY THOSE AGENTS WILL NOW HAVE POLICE ESCORTS. LOUISIANA INSURANCE COMMISSIONER JIM DONELON SAYS THE DEATHS OF AGENTS KIM SLEDGE AND RHETT JEANSONNE CONVINCED HIM NOT TO TAKE ANY CHANCES. DONELON SAYS AGENTS NOW TAKE A POLICE ESCORT--EVEN ON ROUTINE VISITS AND CHECKUPS. THE IDEA OF ARMING INSURANCE INVESTIGATORS IS BEING LOOKED AT. DONELON SAYS WHAT'S HAPPENING HERE IS RESONATING ACROSS THE COUNTRY.

THE U.S. LABOR DEPARTMENT HAS CITED NEW IBERIA-BASED ESTIS WELL SERVICE LLC FOR ALLEGED SAFETY VIOLATIONS STEMMING FROM THE DEATH OF A WORKER NEAR BAYOU SORREL. THE DEPARTMENT'S OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCED TUESDAY THAT IT HAS PROPOSED MORE THAN $132,000 IN PENALTIES FOLLOWING ITS PROBE OF SKYE SONNIER'S DEATH. OSHA SAID A RIG MOUNTED ON A BARGE TIPPED OVER AND CRUSHED SONNIER TO DEATH ON MARCH 9.


THE GOVERNING BOARD OF THE PORT OF LAKE CHARLES HAS AGREED TO REFUND A $5 MILLION DEPOSIT TO A NEW RIVERBOAT CASINO ON THE DAY IT OPENS. THE BOARD AGREED TO THE REQUEST BY CREATIVE CASINOS CHIEF EXECUTIVE DAN LEE. EARLIER THIS MONTH, THE BOARD AGREED TO CUT THE DEPOSIT FROM $15 MILLION TO $5 MILLION SO THE COMPANY COULD GET MORE-FAVORABLE FINANCING TERMS. THE $485 MILLION MOJITO POINTE CASINO-RESORT IS BEING BUILT ON PORT PROPERTY. CONSTRUCTION IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN IN OCTOBER, WITH A COMPLETION DATE POSSIBLY IN 2013.

LOUISIANA LAGS BEHIND OTHER STATES IN THE DELTA REGIONAL AUTHORITY EIGHT-STATE REGION WHEN IT COMES TO MOM-AND-POP BUSINESSES SECURING SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION START-UP LOANS, A NEW STUDY SHOWS. ELEVEN OF THE 13 CENTRAL LOUISIANA PARISHES ARE SERVED BY THE DELTA REGIONAL AUTHORITY. THE ONLY TWO CENLA PARISHES NOT INCLUDED ARE VERNON AND SABINE PARISHES. SEMINARS TOOK PLACE TUESDAY IN HOUMA AND BASTROP TO TRY TO TURN THOSE FIGURES AROUND BY PROVIDING MORE INFORMATION ON HOW TO SECURE SBA ASSISTANCE AND PROGRAMS OFFERED THROUGH THE DRA,

OPELOUSAS MAYOR DON CRAVINS MADE IT OFFICIAL THIS WEEK, FIRST DECLARING ON HIS SUNDAY RADIO SHOW THAT HE WAS "99 PERCENT" CERTAIN HE WOULD RUN FOR THE STATE SENATE AND CONFIRMING IT WITH THE DAILY WORLD OF OPELOUSAS ON TUESDAY. CRAVINS SERVED IN THE LOUISIANA LEGISLATURE FOR 15 YEARS, AND RESIGNED AS STATE SENATOR OF DISTRICT 24 IN 2006 AFTER HE WON HIS CURRENT MAYORAL POSITION.

News For Wednesday 08/24/11


NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY 082411
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

PLANS ARE OFF FOR A PROPOSAL FOR RESIDENTIAL AND COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT AT THE FORMER HODGES STOCKYARD SITE IN SOUTH ALEXANDRIA. THE ALEXANDRIA CITY COUNCIL YESTERDAY AFTERNOON REJECTED A PROPOSAL FOR NEW HORIZONS DEVELOPMENT TO ADD A SECOND GATED APARTMENT COMPLEX AND BUILD A STRIP MALL ON THE CITY-OWNED PROPERTY, ON LOWER THIRD STREET. FIVE OF SEVEN COUNCIL MEMBERS VOTED AGAINST THE PROJECT AFTER HEARING FROM RESIDENTS AND OFFICIALS ON BOTH SIDES OF THE ISSUE DURING A NEARLY TWO-HOUR COMMITTEE MEETING. EIGHT RESIDENTS, INCLUDING THREE WHO DON'T LIVE IN THE LOWER THIRD STREET AREA, SPOKE IN OPPOSITION TO THE PROJECT, WHILE FIVE AND THE DEVELOPER OF THE PROJECT SPOKE IN FAVOR. MOST OF THE OPPONENTS SAID RESIDENTS IN THE AREA DIDN'T WANT ANY MORE RENTAL HOUSING AND WANTED THE REMAINING EIGHT ACRES OF THE PROPERTY RESERVED FOR COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT.

DRY WEATHER IS PROMPTING STATE OFFICIALS TO ORDER A BURN BAN IN 29 PARISHES.
PRIVATE BURNING IN THOSE PARISHES WILL BE ALLOWED ONLY BY PERMISSION OF THE LOCAL FIRE DEPARTMENT OR LOCAL GOVERNMENT. THE BAN ANNOUNCED BY STATE FIRE MARSHALL BUTCH BROWNING AND AGRICULTURE COMMISSIONER MIKE STRAIN TAKES EFFECT WEDNESDAY AT 9 A.M. AND LASTS UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. RAPIDES PARISH HAS BEEN UNDER A BURN BAN FOR OVER A WEEK NOW.

YESTERDAY WAS THE 50TH DAY THIS SUMMER THAT TEMPERATURES IN SHREVEPORT HIT 100 DEGREES OR HOTTER. JASON HANSFORD, WITH THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN SHREVEPORT, SAYS THE PREVIOUS RECORD WAS 47 DAYS OF 100-PLUS DEGREE TEMPERATURES, WHICH WAS SET IN THE 1880S...

LSU STARTING QUARTERBACK JORDAN JEFFERSON AND THREE TEAMMATES MET TUESDAY WITH INVESTIGATORS LOOKING INTO A BAR FIGHT THAT INJURED FOUR PEOPLE, AND POLICE SAY THEY WERE COOPERATIVE. BATON ROUGE POLICE CHIEF DEWAYNE WHITE REPORTS THROUGH THE INTERVIEW PROCESS INFORMATION WAS PROVIDED THAT HAS LED TO ADDITIONAL WITNESSES. POLICE SAY THE INTEND TO RUN THE WITNESSES DOWN AND GET THEIR STATEMENTS. THE MOST SERIOUSLY INJURED VICTIM HAS THREE BROKEN VERTEBRAE. SO FAR THERE HAVE BEEN NO ARRESTS AND NO CHARGES HAVE BEEN FILED, BUT WHITE STRESSED THAT POLICE HOPE TO GATHER ENOUGH EVIDENCE TO ARREST WHOEVER IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE VICTIMS' INJURIES.

ENTERGY CORPORATION IS PUTTING UP ONE-MILLION DOLLARS TO HELP ELDERLY AND DISABLED WHO HAVE SEEN THEIR ELECTRIC BILLS RISE WITH THE RECORD SETTING HEAT. ENTERGY OF LOUISIANA PRESIDENT AND CEO, BILL MOHL SAYS THIS IS ENTERGY'S WAY OF GIVING SOMETHING BACK TO THE COMMUNITY. HALF OF THE FUNDS WILL COME DIRECTLY FROM ENTERGY WHILE THE OTHER HALF WILL BE RAISED THROUGH CUSTOMER DONATIONS THROUGH THE POWER TO CARE FUND. QUALIFIED SENIORS ARE ELIGIBLE FOR A ONE TIME PAYMENT OF UP TO TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS IN ASSISTANCE ON THEIR ELECTRICAL BILLS. ANYONE NEEDING HELP SHOULD CONTACT THEIR LOCAL COUNCIL ON AGING OFFICE.

TWO FIRMS HAVE DROPPED THEIR PROTESTS OF THE AWARD OF A LUCRATIVE STATE CONTRACT FOR MEDICAID CLAIMS PROCESSING TO A COMPANY WITH TIES TO LOUISIANA'S HEALTH CHIEF. ACS STATE HEALTHCARE AND MOLINA MEDICAID SOLUTIONS NOTIFIED COMMISSIONER OF ADMINISTRATION PAUL RAINWATER THEY WILL NOT PURSUE FURTHER APPEALS OF THE CONTRACT AWARD TO CLIENT NETWORK SERVICES INC. STATE HEALTH CHIEF BRUCE GREENSTEIN IS A FORMER EXECUTIVE OF THE COMPANY. CONTROVERSY SURROUNDED ITS SELECTION. BUT, GREENSTEIN INSISTS HE WAS NOT INVOLVED IN THE SELECTION PROCESS.

REPUBLICAN ATTORNEY GENERAL BUDDY CALDWELL'S RE-ELECTION BID HAS GOTTEN THE BACKING OF U.S. SEN. DAVID VITTER. VITTER CITED CALDWELL'S OPPOSITION TO THE NEW FEDERAL HEALTH CARE LAW AND HIS SUPPORT FOR TOUGHER IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT LAWS AMONG THE REASONS FOR THE ENDORSEMENT. FORMER U.S. REP. "JOSEPH" CAO, A REPUBLICAN FROM NEW ORLEANS, HAS ANNOUNCED THAT HE WILL CHALLENGE CALDWELL IN THE OCT. 22 PRIMARY. QUALIFYING FOR THE RACE IS SEPT. 6-8.

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL'S CAMPAIGN HAS LAUNCHED A NEW TELEVISION COMMERCIAL, TOUTING PRIVATE INDUSTRY JOBS CREATED AROUND THE STATE SINCE THE GOVERNOR'S BEEN IN OFFICE. THE AD, WHICH BEGAN AIRING STATEWIDE TUESDAY, IS THE SECOND TV SPOT OF THE REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR'S FALL RE-ELECTION BID. IT FEATURES NEWS CLIPS OF JOB ANNOUNCEMENTS. JINDAL REMAINS LARGELY UNCHALLENGED FOR RE-ELECTION. HE HAS NO WELL-FUNDED COMPETITION WITH TWO MONTHS BEFORE THE OCT. 22 PRIMARY, AND HE'S SITTING ON A MULTIMILLION-DOLLAR CAMPAIGN WAR CHEST.


AFTER THE SLAYING OF TWO DEPARTMENT OF INSURANCE INVESTIGATORS IN VILLE PLATTE EARLIER THIS YEAR, STATE OFFICIALS SAY THOSE AGENTS WILL NOW HAVE POLICE ESCORTS. LOUISIANA INSURANCE COMMISSIONER JIM DONELON SAYS THE DEATHS OF AGENTS KIM SLEDGE AND RHETT JEANSONNE CONVINCED HIM NOT TO TAKE ANY CHANCES. DONELON SAYS AGENTS NOW TAKE A POLICE ESCORT--EVEN ON ROUTINE VISITS AND CHECKUPS. THE IDEA OF ARMING INSURANCE INVESTIGATORS IS BEING LOOKED AT. DONELON SAYS WHAT'S HAPPENING HERE IS RESONATING ACROSS THE COUNTRY.

THE U.S. LABOR DEPARTMENT HAS CITED NEW IBERIA-BASED ESTIS WELL SERVICE LLC FOR ALLEGED SAFETY VIOLATIONS STEMMING FROM THE DEATH OF A WORKER NEAR BAYOU SORREL. THE DEPARTMENT'S OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCED TUESDAY THAT IT HAS PROPOSED MORE THAN $132,000 IN PENALTIES FOLLOWING ITS PROBE OF SKYE SONNIER'S DEATH. OSHA SAID A RIG MOUNTED ON A BARGE TIPPED OVER AND CRUSHED SONNIER TO DEATH ON MARCH 9.


THE GOVERNING BOARD OF THE PORT OF LAKE CHARLES HAS AGREED TO REFUND A $5 MILLION DEPOSIT TO A NEW RIVERBOAT CASINO ON THE DAY IT OPENS. THE BOARD AGREED TO THE REQUEST BY CREATIVE CASINOS CHIEF EXECUTIVE DAN LEE. EARLIER THIS MONTH, THE BOARD AGREED TO CUT THE DEPOSIT FROM $15 MILLION TO $5 MILLION SO THE COMPANY COULD GET MORE-FAVORABLE FINANCING TERMS. THE $485 MILLION MOJITO POINTE CASINO-RESORT IS BEING BUILT ON PORT PROPERTY. CONSTRUCTION IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN IN OCTOBER, WITH A COMPLETION DATE POSSIBLY IN 2013.

LOUISIANA LAGS BEHIND OTHER STATES IN THE DELTA REGIONAL AUTHORITY EIGHT-STATE REGION WHEN IT COMES TO MOM-AND-POP BUSINESSES SECURING SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION START-UP LOANS, A NEW STUDY SHOWS. ELEVEN OF THE 13 CENTRAL LOUISIANA PARISHES ARE SERVED BY THE DELTA REGIONAL AUTHORITY. THE ONLY TWO CENLA PARISHES NOT INCLUDED ARE VERNON AND SABINE PARISHES. SEMINARS TOOK PLACE TUESDAY IN HOUMA AND BASTROP TO TRY TO TURN THOSE FIGURES AROUND BY PROVIDING MORE INFORMATION ON HOW TO SECURE SBA ASSISTANCE AND PROGRAMS OFFERED THROUGH THE DRA,

OPELOUSAS MAYOR DON CRAVINS MADE IT OFFICIAL THIS WEEK, FIRST DECLARING ON HIS SUNDAY RADIO SHOW THAT HE WAS "99 PERCENT" CERTAIN HE WOULD RUN FOR THE STATE SENATE AND CONFIRMING IT WITH THE DAILY WORLD OF OPELOUSAS ON TUESDAY. CRAVINS SERVED IN THE LOUISIANA LEGISLATURE FOR 15 YEARS, AND RESIGNED AS STATE SENATOR OF DISTRICT 24 IN 2006 AFTER HE WON HIS CURRENT MAYORAL POSITION.

News For Tuesday 082311


NEWS FOR TUESDAY 082311
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

HURRICANE IRENE CUT A DESTRUCTIVE PATH THROUGH THE CARIBBEAN ON MONDAY, RAKING PUERTO RICO WITH STRONG WINDS AND RAIN AND THEN SPINNING JUST NORTH OF THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC ON A TRACK THAT COULD CARRY IT TO THE U.S. SOUTHEAST AS A MAJOR STORM BY THE END OF THE WEEK. THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER IN MIAMI SAID THE NOW CATEGORY 2 STORM WAS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE STRENGTHENING AND COULD BECOME A MAJOR HURRICANE BY THE TIME IT TRACKS OVER THE CENTRAL BAHAMAS.

I DON’T KNOW IF YOU ARE KEEPING TRACK OR NOT. BUT, YESTERDAY’S HIGH OF 102 MADE IT THE 10TH DAY IN A ROW WHERE THE TEMP EXCEEDED 100 DEGREES. TODAY SHOULD MAKE IT 11 DAY. FORECASTERS SAY WE MAY GET SOME RELIEF LATTER IN THE WEEK.

THE ALEXANDRIA CITY COUNCIL WILL DISCUSS THE FINAL ADOPTION OF AN ORDINANCE ALLOWING EXPANDED DEVELOPMENT, BOTH COMMERCIAL AND RESIDENTIAL, AT THE SITE OF THE OLD HODGES STOCKYARD WHEN IT MEETS TODAY. A 56-UNIT, GATED APARTMENT COMPLEX, THE GATES AT RIVER CHASE, HAS BEEN BUILT ON THE BACK SIX ACRES OF THE PROPERTY. THE PLAN IS TO BUILD AN ADDITIONAL 64 APARTMENTS. THE SECOND PHASE WILL BE SIMILAR TO THE FIRST ONE, WITH EACH APARTMENT FEATURING A REFRIGERATOR, MICROWAVE, WASHER AND DRYER, AS WELL AS ON-SITE SECURITY, MANAGEMENT, AND BUSINESS AND COMMUNITY CENTERS. THE TOPIC IS UP FOR DISCUSSION BEFORE THE COUNCIL'S ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE, WHICH MEETS AT 3:30 P.M., AND AGAIN BEFORE THE FULL COUNCIL AT 5 P.M.

FEDERAL EDUCATION OFFICIALS ARE INVESTIGATING COMPLAINTS AGAINST THE CATAHOULA PARISH SCHOOL BOARD MADE BY A JONESVILLE-AREA COUPLE THAT INCLUDE SCHOOL EMPLOYEES ALLOWING THEIR 7-YEAR-OLD DOWN SYNDROME SON TO GET OFF A SCHOOL BUS COMPLETELY NAKED. THE COUPLE BELIEVE SCHOOL OFFICIALS RETALIATED AGAINST THE 8 YEAR OLD BOY AFTER THEY ASKED THE SCHOOL BOARD TO ALLOW THE BOY TO RIDE THE REGULAR SCHOOL BUS, RATHER THAN A SPECIAL ED BUS. THE BOY WAS BEING BULLIED BY OTHER CHILDREN ON THE BUS. SCHOOL OFFICIALS SAID NO. THEY HOWEVER CHANGED THEIR MINDS WHEN AN ATTORNEY WAS BROUGHT INTO THE PICTURE.

TWO STATE EMPLOYEES WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES WERE SUSPENDED MONDAY AFTER DOCUMENTS WITH PERSONAL INFORMATION, INCLUDING SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS, WERE FOUND BLOWING DOWN A BATON ROUGE STREET, IMPROPERLY DISCARDED IN A TRASH CAN INSTEAD OF SHREDDED. DEPARTMENT SECRETARY RUTH JOHNSON SAID THE SECURITY BREACH APPEARED TO BE LIMITED TO THE SOCIAL SERVICES OFFICE IN NORTH BATON ROUGE THAT HANDLES FOOD STAMP, WELFARE AND CHILD CARE ASSISTANCE CASES. THE EMPLOYEES, THE OFFICE MANAGER AND AN AREA DIRECTOR, WERE SUSPENDED WITH PAY PENDING AN INVESTIGATION.

LSU STARTING QUARTERBACK JORDAN JEFFERSON AND THREE OF HIS TEAMMATES HAVE DECIDED TO MEET WITH POLICE AT AN UNDISCLOSED TIME AND LOCATION TODAY.
POLICE SGT. DON STONE ANNOUNCED MONDAY NIGHT THAT THE MEETING WOULD TAKE PLACE AND SAID AUTHORITIES ARE KEEPING THE DETAILS SECRET TO ENSURE "THE INTEGRITY OF THE INVESTIGATION IS NOT HAMPERED OR DISTURBED." POLICE HAVE ASKED JEFFERSON, ALONG WITH OFFENSIVE LINEMAN CHRIS DAVENPORT, DEFENSIVE LINEMAN JOSH JOHNS AND RECEIVER JARVIS LANDRY, TO OFFER THEIR RECOLLECTION OF LAST THURSDAY NIGHT'S FIGHT. FOUR PEOPLE WERE INJURED IN THE SCUFFLE, NONE OF THEM PLAYERS, AND ONE PERSON'S INJURIES WERE SERIOUS ENOUGH THAT TWO PLAYERS COULD FACE FELONY BATTERY CHARGES

WE ARE TWO MONTHS AWAY FROM THE OCTOBER 22ND PRIMARY AND DEMOCRATIC STATE SENATOR ROB MARIONNEAUX IS STILL CONSIDERING A CAMPAIGN AGAINST REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL. MARIONNEAUX SAYS HE PLANS ON MEETING WITH POTENTIAL CAMPAIGN DONORS THIS WEEK. MARIONNEAUX SAYS HE JUST CONDUCTED A POLL THAT SHOWS JINDAL IS VULNERABLE. QUALIFYING FOR THE OCTOBER 22ND PRIMARY WILL TAKE PLACE BETWEEN SEPTEMBER SIXTH AND SEPTEMBER EIGHTH.

THE STATE ETHICS BOARD FINED LT. GOV. JAY DARDENNE'S CAMPAIGN $2,500 FOR COLLECTING MONEY OVER THE LEGAL CONTRIBUTION LIMIT. THE BOARD ANNOUNCED THE DECISION AT ITS MEETING LAST WEEK. IT INVOLVED DONATIONS IN A SPECIAL ELECTION FOR LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR LAST YEAR. CANDIDATES FOR A MAJOR STATEWIDE POST CAN ACCEPT CONTRIBUTIONS UP TO $5,000 PER PERSON PER ELECTION. DARDENNE'S CAMPAIGN REIMBURSED $7,027 TO SEVEN CONTRIBUTORS WHOSE DONATIONS EXCEEDED THAT LIMIT.

A WEBSTER PARISH COUPLE HAS BEEN ARRESTED FOR ALLEGEDLY ABUSING THEIR 19-DAY-OLD BABY. AUTHORITIES BELIEVE THE BOY'S FATHER HURT HIM AND THE MOTHER, WHO AUTHORITIES SAY, DIDN'T TURN HIM IN. THE BABY SUFFERED RIB, KNEE, AND ANKLE FRACTURES. THE CHILD HAS BEEN PLACED INTO FOSTER CARE.

WATER LEVELS ARE DROPPING RAPIDLY IN THE UNDERGROUND SUPPLY THAT SERVES PART OF SOUTHEAST CADDO PARISH, PROMPTING THE STATE NATURAL RESOURCES DEPARTMENT TO BAN NON-GARDEN WATERING AND MOST INDUSTRIAL USES. WATER LEVELS IN SOME AREA LAKES ARE FALLING BY AS MUCH AS A HALF-INCH A DAY. AUTHORITIES REPORT THAT CADDO LAKE COULD SET A NEW RECORD LOW IN THE NEXT COUPLE OF WEEKS. OFFICIALS WITH THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SAY ONLY A HURRICANE OR AN EXTREMELY RAINY WINTER COULD RESTORE THEM.

AUTHORITIES SAY A 16-YEAR-OLD FROM RAYNE DIED AFTER APPARENTLY LOSING CONTROL OF HIS DIRT BIKE. ACADIA PARISH SHERIFF'S DEPUTIES RECOVERED THE BODY OF JASON BLAKE PETITJEAN IN A BEAN FIELD SUNDAY MORNING ABOUT THREE MILES FROM THE TEEN'S HOME. HE WAS PRONOUNCED DEAD AT THE SCENE.

ST. TAMMANY PARISH OFFICIALS SAY THEY HAVE COMPLETED CLEAN-UP OPERATIONS AFTER A MASSIVE FISH KILL ON THE PEARL RIVER. THE FISH KILL WAS THE RESULT OF A CHEMICAL DISCHARGE FROM A PAPER MILL IN BOGALUSA. PARISH SPOKESPERSON SUZANNE PARSONS STYMIEST SAYS CREWS HAVE RECOVERED ALL THE DEAD FISH THAT THEY COULD REACH AND MOST OF THE RIVER IS RETURNING TO NORMAL. SHE SAYS THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY HAS CONDUCTED TESTS THAT SHOW THE WATER QUALITY IS ALSO GETTING BACK TO NORMAL. SHE WARNS, HOWEVER, THAT UNTIL MORE TESTS ARE DONE THE RIVER IS NOT COMPLETELY SAFE. YESTERDAY, STATE ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATORS PUT THAT BOGALUSA PAPER PLANT ON NOTICE THAT IT IS LIABLE FOR A MASSIVE FISH KILL IN THE PEARL RIVER, SETTING IN MOTION THE LEGAL PROCESS FOR POTENTIALLY ISSUING PENALTIES AND FINES.

#1 RULE, IF YOU’RE GOING TO CALL THE POLICE TO YOUR HOME, HIDE THE POT PLANTS. DEPUTIES ANSWERING A DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CALL FOUND ALMOST $60,000 WORTH OF MARIJUANA INSIDE A RACELAND HOME. THE LAFOURCHE PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE SAYS DEPUTIES WERE QUESTIONING THE HUSBAND AND WIFE WHEN A DEPUTY NOTICED THE PLANTS. BOTH HAVE BEEN CHARGED WITH CULTIVATION AND POSSESSION WITH THE INTENT TO DISTRIBUTE, POSSESSION OF DRUG PARAPHERNALIA AND DOMESTIC BATTERY ABUSE.



News For Monday 08/22/11


NEWS FOR MONDAY 082211
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

HURRICANE IRENE HAS THE POTENTIAL OF MAKING ITS WAY INTO THE EASTERN GULF OF MEXICO LATER THIS WEEK. THE STORM COULD ALSO IMPACT THE EASTERN SEABOARD OF THE UNITED STATES. THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER. HE SAYS DOPPLER WEATHER RADAR INDICATES THAT THE CENTER OF HURRICANE IRENE WAS LOCATED ALONG THE NORTH COAST OF PUERTO AND IS MOVING TOWARD THE WEST-NORTHWEST NEAR 12 MPH. THIS GENERAL MOTION IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE FOR THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS. ON THE FORECAST TRACK THE CENTER OF IRENE WILL MOVE OFF THE NORTH COAST OF PUERTO AND MOVE NEAR OR OVER THE NORTHERN COASTAL REGIONS OF THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC THIS AFTERNOON AND TONIGHT. MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS HAVE INCREASED TO NEAR 75 MPH. CURRENT COMPUTER MODELS SHOW THE STORM MOVING UP THE ATLANTIC COAST.

STATE LABOR OFFICIALS SAY UNEMPLOYMENT IS DOWN, WHILE THE STATE KEEPS ADDING MORE NEW JOBS. LOUISIANA WORKFORCE COMMISSION SPOKESPERSON PATTY GRANIER SAYS THE JOBLESS RATE FOR JULY WAS 7.6%; DOWN FROM 7.8% IN JUNE .THE STATE HAS SHOWN JOB GROWTH FOR THE PAST 10 MONTHS. GRANIER SAYS TOTAL PRIVATE SECTOR JOBS GAINED FOR THE STATE DURING JULY TOTALED NEARLY 7000. GRANIER SAYS THE NUMBER OF UNEMPLOYED FOR JULY WAS JUST OVER 154 THOUSAND PEOPLE; THE LOWEST JOBLESS LEVEL SO FAR THIS YEAR.

IT APPEARS RAPIDES PARISH IS FOLLOWING THE STATEWIDE TREND OF VOTERS MOVING AWAY FROM THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY, BUT DEMOCRATS STILL MAKE UP THE OVERALL MAJORITY OF THE CENTRAL LOUISIANA VOTING POPULATION. THE LATEST FIGURES COMPILED BY THE SECRETARY OF STATE'S OFFICE SHOW THAT DEMOCRATS NO LONGER MAKE UP A MAJORITY OF VOTERS IN LOUISIANA FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE RECORDS BEGAN BEING KEPT IN 1957. OF THE STATE'S 2.8 MILLION REGISTERED VOTERS, 49.8 ARE REGISTERED DEMOCRATS, DOWN FROM ABOUT 90 PERCENT IN THE LATE 1970S. ABOUT 26.7 PERCENT OF VOTERS ARE REPUBLICANS AND ABOUT 23.4 PERCENT ARE REGISTERED AS INDEPENDENT OR WITH THIRD PARTIES. IN CENLA OF THE NEARLY 280,000 REGISTERED VOTERS, MORE THAN 53 PERCENT OF THEM REMAIN LOYAL TO THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY.

STATE OFFICIALS SAY LOUISIANA'S PRE-KINDERGARTEN PROGRAMS HAVE BECOME A CONFUSING ARRAY OF EFFORTS WITH VARYING STANDARDS, COSTS AND SUCCESSES.
BOARD OF ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION MEMBER WALTER LEE SAYS THEY NEED BETTER ORGANIZATION, STRUCTURE, AND SERVICES. EXPERTS SAY MANY CHILDREN WHO ENTER KINDERGARTEN BEHIND THEIR PEERS NEVER CATCH UP ACADEMICALLY OR SOCIALLY. BUT STATE FIGURES SHOW THAT SEVEN STATE AND FEDERALLY FUNDED PRE-K PROGRAMS IN LOUISIANA SPEND $1,700 TO $7,200 PER CHILD AND IT'S NOT CLEAR JUST WHAT THE STATE EXPECTS THE CHILDREN TO LEARN, OR HOW MUCH TAXPAYERS ARE GETTING FOR THE MONEY.

THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION WILL HOLD THE FIRST SALE OF OIL AND GAS LEASES IN THE GULF OF MEXICO, SINCE LAST YEAR'S B-P OIL SPILL. ON DECEMBER 14TH ENERGY COMPANIES WILL HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO BID ON ACRES IN THE WESTERN GULF. LOUISIANA OIL AND GAS ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT DON BRIGGS HOPES ONCE COMPANIES BUY THE LEASE THEY WILL BE ALLOWED TO DRILL. BRIGGS SAYS THE U-S DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR IS MAKING SOME PROGRESS IN ISSUING NEW DEEPWATER DRILLING PERMITS, BUT ITS NOT WHERE THE INDUSTRY WAS BEFORE THE B-P OIL DISASTER. BRIGGS SAYS OVER 30 DEEPWATER DRILLING PERMITS HAVE BEEN ISSUED SINCE THE MORATORIUM WAS LIFTED.

STATE CORRECTIONS OFFICIALS PLAN TO MAKE USE OF FEDERAL STIMULUS DOLLARS TO MAKE NINE PRISONS MORE ENERGY EFFICIENT. DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS UNDERSECRETARY THOMAS BICKHAM TOLD THE STATE BOND COMMISSION THE $31-MILLION INVESTMENT WILL SAVE THE STATE MONEY, IN THE LONG RUN. THE STATE BOND COMMISSION RELUCTANTLY AGREED AND SINGED OFF ON THE PLAN. THE WORK SHOULD BE
COMPLETE WITHIN 18 MONTHS.

FOUR LSU FOOTBALL PLAYERS HIRED A DEFENSE ATTORNEY AND PUT OFF A MEETING WITH POLICE ABOUT A BAR FIGHT THAT STARTED WHEN A PATRON HONKED AT A CROWD BLOCKING HIS EXIT FROM A PARKING LOT, BATON ROUGE POLICE SAID SUNDAY.
QUARTERBACK JORDAN JEFFERSON, OFFENSIVE LINEMAN CHRIS DAVENPORT, DEFENSIVE LINEMAN JOSH JOHNS AND RECEIVER JARVIS LANDRY HAD BEEN ASKED TO GIVE THEIR SIDE OF THE STORY AT POLICE HEADQUARTERS MONDAY, BUT ATTORNEY NATHAN FISHER REQUESTED "A 24 HOUR POSTPONEMENT SO THAT HE CAN MEET WITH THE PLAYERS AND GET A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF THE INCIDENT," HE WROTE IN A NEWS RELEASE. HE SAID POLICE WOULD SPEAK WITH FISHER SOMETIME TODAY TO ARRANGE THE INTERVIEWS.

FUNERAL ARRANGEMENTS BEGIN TODAY IN THIBODAUX FOR LITTLE JORI LIRETTE, THE CHILD WITH CEREBRAL PALSY WHO WAS VICTIM OF A HORRIFIC MURDER JUST OVER A WEEK AGO. RESIDENTS ARE ALSO RAISING MONEY FOR IN JORI'S NAME. SOME 500 PEOPLE SHOWED UP FOR A CANDLELIGHT VIGIL LAST NIGHT TO HONOR THE BOY’S MEMORY.

THREE TEXAS TOWNS SECEDED FROM A LONGTIME PROMOTION WITH TWO WEST LOUISIANA CITIES, GIVING A NEW TURN TO THE ANNUAL HOLIDAY TRAIL OF LIGHTS. UNTIL THIS YEAR, THE TRIAL LINKED MARSHALL, JEFFERSON AND KILGORE, TEXAS, WITH NATCHITOCHES, SHREVEPORT AND BOSSIER CITY. THE NEW TRAIL IS A 244-MILE WISHBONE ACROSS CENTRAL AND NORTH LOUISIANA, ADDING ALEXANDRIA AND PINEVILLE ON INTERSTATE 49 AND RUNNING ALONG INTERSTATE 20 TO MINDEN AND A THIRD SET OF TWIN CITIES, MONROE AND WEST MONROE. SINCE 1992, THE TOWNS, CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE OR TOURIST BUREAUS HAD POOLED MONEY TO BRING IN TOURISTS. BY LAST YEAR, THEY WERE ANTEING UP $5,500 EACH. BUT TEXANS DECIDED THE MONEY COULD BETTER BE USED AT HOME.

WANT TO BUY A RACETRACK? YOU CAN HAVE A LOOK AT ONE FOR SALE IN MONROE TODAY. THE NOW-CLOSED MONROE MOTOR SPEEDWAY IS BEING AUCTIONED OFF BY MAAS COMPANIES, ON BEHALF OF THE LENDER WHO HOLDS THE DEBT. MAAS SPOKESPERSON ALLISON GUYTON (GIE-TN) SAYS INTERESTED PARTIES CAN VIEW THE PROPERTY TODAY, BEFORE THE SCHEDULED AUCTION LATER THIS FALL.


News For Friday 081911


NEWS FOR FRIDAY 081911
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

MOVING TRUCKS WERE SEEN EARLIER THIS WEEK AND NOW THE ALEXANDRIA HOUSING AUTHORITY CONFIRMS THE LEGACY HEIGHTS DEVELOPMENT HAS ITS FIRST TENANTS.
THE 64-UNIT LOW TO MEDIUM INCOME APARTMENT COMPLEX, ON LOBLOLLY LANE, WAS UNVEILED IN APRIL. BUT SINCE THEN THE COMPLEX HAS SAT EMPTY. JOE PAGE, AHA VICE CHAIRMAN, SAID NINE FAMILIES ARE CURRENTLY LIVING IN THE APARTMENT COMPLEX AND THEY EXPECT MORE SOON.

LOUISIANA STATE POLICE TROOP E WILL CONDUCT A SOBRIETY CHECKPOINT SATURDAY IN RAPIDES PARISH, ACCORDING TO A RELEASE. THE CHECKPOINT WILL BE CONDUCTED FROM 9 P.M. SATURDAY TO 3 A.M. SUNDAY, WEATHER AND TRAFFIC CONDITIONS PERMITTING.

ANOTHER DAY OF TRIPLE DIGIT TEMPERATURES IS AHEAD FOR PARISHES IN CENTRAL AND NORTHERN LOUISIANA, WITH LITTLE CHANCE OF ANY COOLING RAIN. STATE CLIMATOLOGIST BARRY KEIM SAYS LITTLE CHANGE IN THE WEATHER IS EXPECTED OVER THE NEXT SEVERAL DAYS. THE HIGH TEMPERATURE IN ALEXANDRIA YESTERDAY WAS 106, WHICH IS A NEW RECORD HIGH FOR AUG. 18. THE OLD RECORD WAS 101 DEGREES, SET IN 1962. THURSDAY WAS THE SEVENTH DAY IN A ROW THAT THE HIGH TEMPERATURE IN ALEXANDRIA TOPPED 100. THE HIGHEST TEMPERATURE IN LOUISIANA THURSDAY WAS IN SHREVEPORT, WHERE THE HIGH WAS 108.

THE EASTBOUND LANES OF U.S. HIGHWAY 190 AT THE MORGANZA FLOODWAY STRUCTURE IN POINTE COUPEE PARISH WILL BE CLOSED FROM 7 P.M. TODAY TO 5 A.M. MONDAY. THE CLOSURES ARE TO ALLOW CREWS TO PLACE A NEW EPOXY OVERLAY ON THE BRIDGE DECK, ACCORDING TO THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION AND DEVELOPMENT. WORK ON THE WESTBOUND LANES WILL BEGIN IN SEPTEMBER.

THE STATE BOND COMMISSION PUT THE LEGISLATURE ON THE HOOK THURSDAY FOR REPAYING $35 MILLION IN BORROWING FOR STEEL PRODUCER NUCOR CORP. THE COMMISSION’S ACTION MEANS THE LEGISLATORS WILL HAVE TO COME UP WITH AS MUCH AS $975,382 BY NEXT SUMMER TO PAY THE FIRST INSTALLMENT ON THE BONDS. AS THE PROJECT PROCEEDS, SO WILL THE STATE’S DEBT SERVICE OBLIGATIONS, REACHING AS MUCH AS $4 MILLION IN THE 2012-2013 STATE FISCAL YEAR. THE STATE WILL HAVE NINE YEARS TO REPAY THE MONEY.

THERE ARE JUST THREE WEEKS REMAINING BEFORE THE FINAL DAY OF QUALIFYING FOR THE OCTOBER 22ND ELECTION AND STILL NO SERIOUS CHALLENGER TO GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL. JOHN MAGINNIS, OF "LAPOLITICS.COM", SAYS STATE SENATOR ROB MARIONNEAUX OF LIVONIA, IS A POTENTIAL CANDIDATE FOR THE DEMOCRATS, BUT DOES NOT APPEAR READY TO GET INTO THE RACE. MAGINNIS SAYS IT'S PROBABLE THAT JINDAL WILL RUN VIRTUALLY UN-OPPOSED. HE SAYS RACES FOR LT. GOVERNOR AND SECRETARY OF STATE ARE LIKELY TO BE MUCH MORE INTERESTING.

A STATE PANEL EXAMINING THE EFFECTIVENESS OF HOW UNIVERSITIES ARE MANAGED MEETS FOR THE FIRST TIME TODAY. THE IDEA FOR THIS COMMISSION CAME AFTER LEGISLATION TO ELIMINATE THE STATE'S COLLEGE BOARDS AND SYSTEMS AND JUST HAVE ONE BOARD FAILED TO PASS.

AT LEAST A HUNDRED LOCAL FISHERMEN SHOWED UP YESTERDAY MORNING TO BEGIN CLEANING UP THE THOUSANDS OF DEAD FISH THAT COVER A 40 MILE STRETCH OF THE PEARL RIVER IN ST. TAMMANY PARISH. THE SPILL ORIGINATED AT BOGALUSA'S TEMPLE-INLAND PAPER MILL. THE MILL IS PUTTING UP DOLLARS TO PAY FOR THE CLEANUP.

STATE POLICE SAY A MOVING VIOLATION STOP ON INTERSTATE 10 IN JEFF DAVIS PARISH THIS MORNING TURNED INTO A MAJOR DRUG BUST. TROOPERS GREW SUSPICIOUS OF THE DRIVER AND ASKED PERMISSION TO SEARCH HIS KIA SUV. INSIDE THEY FOUND JUST OVER 14 POUNDS OF COCAINE, WITH AN ESTIMATED STREET VALUE OF OVER $200-THOUSAND. 35-YEAR-OLD JOHN FLORES, OF SAN ANTONIO IS NOW CHARGED WITH TAILGATING AND WITH POSSESSION OF DRUGS WITH INTENT TO DISTRIBUTE.

THE COAST GUARD SAYS REPORTS BUZZING AROUND THE INTERNET OF A NEW OIL SPILL IN THE GULF ARE LESS THAN ACCURATE. PETTY OFFICER STEVE LEHMANN SAYS A SHEEN WAS SPOTTED LAST WEEK, AND THE COAST GUARD AND BP HAVE INVESTIGATED AND TAKEN SAMPLES, BUT IT'S UNKNOWN AS YET IF THE SHEEN IS EVEN OIL. LEHMANN SAYS REPORTS THAT THE BP MACONDO WELL IS LEAKING AGAIN ARE JUST NOT TRUE. HE SAYS THE SHEEN IN QUESTION IS FAR AWAY FROM THAT WELL SITE.

SPEAKING OF THE GULF, EXXON HAS FILED SUIT AGAINST THE US DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR OVER THE CANCELLATION OF OIL & GAS LEASES IN THE GULF THAT COULD HAVE YIELDED TENS OF BILLIONS IN REVENUE. THE SUIT SAYS THE DOI'S ARBITRARY DECISION DEPRIVES EXXON OF RIGHTS LEGALLY OBTAINED IN THREE OF FIVE LEASES IN THE GULF. THAT SUIT WAS FILED IN LAKE CHARLES.

FEMA HAS APPROVED DISASTER AID DOLLARS FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENTS WHO SUSTAINED DAMAGE FROM THE SPRING FLOOD, CAUSED WHEN THE MORGANZA SPILLWAY WAS OPENED TO RELIEVE STRESS ON MISSISSIPPI RIVER LEVEES. THE MONEY IS TO REPAIR FACILITIES AND INFRASTRUCTURE HIT BY THE FLOOD.

THE LOUISIANA GAMING CONTROL BOARD GAVE UNANIMOUS APPROVAL THURSDAY TO A $181 MILLION PROPOSAL TO BUILD A SIXTH RIVERBOAT CASINO-HOTEL IN THE SHREVEPORT-BOSSIER CITY MARKET. A GROUP KNOWN AS BOSSIER CITY CASINO VENTURE LLC HAS AN OPTION TO BUY ONE OF THE TWO RIVERBOAT LICENSES IN LAKE CHARLES THAT ARE NOW OWNED BY ISLE OF CAPRI CASINOS INC. PLANS CALL FOR A ONE-STORY CASINO BOAT TO BE BUILT ON A RED RIVER SITE IN BOSSIER CITY, ALONG WITH A 396-ROOM HOTEL, FOUR RESTAURANTS AND A MULTI-USE FACILITY FOR CONCERTS AND MEETINGS. IF APPROVED BY VOTERS IN BOSSIER PARISH THIS FALL, PLANS CALL FOR THE PROJECT TO OPEN IN MAY 2013.

SHOWING A BIT MORE STEAM IN JULY THAN A YEAR AGO, LOUISIANA'S STATE-LICENSED CASINOS WON $224.3 MILLION FROM PLAYERS LAST MONTH. STATE POLICE SAID THURSDAY THAT THE 13 RIVERBOAT CASINOS TOOK IN $159 MILLION, HARRAH'S LAND CASINO IN NEW ORLEANS WON $27.4 MILLION AND THE FOUR RACE TRACK CASINOS COLLECTED $37.9 MILLION.



News For Thursday 081811


NEWS FOR THURSDAY 081811
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

MEMBERS OF MOUNT ZION MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH COULD KNOW TODAY IF THE REV. AMEAL JONES STAYS AS PASTOR AFTER A DETOUR WEDNESDAY -- A FAILED ATTEMPT BY JONES' ATTORNEYS TO HAVE JUDGE MARY DOGGETT REMOVED FROM THE CASE.
WITNESSES, INCLUDING JONES, ARE SCHEDULED TO START TESTIFYING TODAY IN 9TH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT AFTER OPENING STATEMENTS LATE YESTERDAY BY ATTORNEYS FOR PRO-JONES AND ANTI-JONES FACTIONS, WHO ARE BATTLING OVER CONTROL OF THE CHURCH. JONES HAS BEEN AT MOUNT ZION SINCE EARLY 2007, FOLLOWING THE DEATH OF LONGTIME PASTOR DONNY GRANVEL.

DUE TO THE EXTREMELY DRY WEATHER, THE RAPIDES PARISH POLICE JURY YESTERDAY ANNOUNCED THE PARISH WAS UNDER A BURN BAN TIL FURTHER NOTICE. THAT MEANS NO OUTSIDE BURNING AT ALL. IF YOU NEED MORE INFORMATION, CALL THE POLICE JURY OFFICE.

I KNOW IT FEEL LIKE WE HAVE HAD AN EXTREMELY HOT SUMMER. BUT, HIS YEAR HAS BEEN A RECORD BREAKER HERE AN IN OUR NEIGHBORING STATE OF TEXAS. WEDNESDAY'S HIGH TEMPERATURE OF 103 DEGREES IN ALEXANDRIA WAS A RECORD FOR AUG. 17. THE PREVIOUS AUG. 17 RECORD HIGH IN ALEXANDRIA WAS 101, SET IN 1967. ON TUESDAY, THE HIGH OF 103 TIED THE AUG. 16 RECORD HIGH THAT WAS SET IN 1943 AND TIED IN 2010.
WEDNESDAY WAS THE SIXTH DAY IN A ROW IN WHICH THE HIGH TEMPERATURE EXCEEDED 100 IN ALEXANDRIA.

FORT POLK AND THE ENGLAND AUTHORITY HAVE TEAMED UP TO CREATE A WAY OF WELCOMING SOLDIERS TO CENTRAL LOUISIANA. OFFICIALS WILL UNVEIL A NEW MILITARY WELCOME CENTER TODAY NEAR THE BAGGAGE AREA OF THE COMMERCIAL TERMINAL AT THE ALEXANDRIA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT. THE SOLDIERS WILL BE GREETED BY A SENIOR NON-COMMISSIONED OFFICER AND PROVIDED TRANSPORTATION TO THEIR POST, WHETHER IT'S FORT POLK OR CAMP BEAUREGARD.

A HUNTER SAFETY CERTIFICATION COURSE WILL BE TAUGHT FRIDAY AND SATURDAY AT VETERANS OF FOREIGN WAR POST 1736 AT 701 VETERANS DRIVE IN ALEXANDRIA.
THE COURSE WILL BE TAUGHT BY LOUISIANA WILDLIFE AND FISHERIES INSTRUCTORS. IT IS SPONSORED BY PINEVILLE CONCERNED CITIZENS INC. AND VFW POST 1736/LADIES AUXILIARY. THE CLASS WILL RUN FROM 6 TO 9 P.M. FRIDAY AND FROM 8 A.M. TO NOON SATURDAY, FOLLOWED BY A FIELD DAY ON SATURDAY AFTERNOON AT THE RAPIDES PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE FIRING RANGE. PARTICIPANTS MUST ATTEND BOTH DAYS TO GET CERTIFICATION. ANYONE AGE 10 AND UP MAY ATTEND. TO REGISTER, CALL 527-5134 OR 448-9271 AND LEAVE THE NAME, AGE AND PHONE NUMBER OF THE PARTICIPANT.

THE SECOND GRADER ALLEGEDLY MURDERED LAST WEEKEND BY HIS BIOLOGICAL FATHER IN THIBODAUX WAS ALIVE AT THE TIME HE WAS DECAPITATED. THAT GRISLY DETAIL IS AMONG MANY OTHERS IN A SWORN STATEMENT TO THIBODAUX COPS FROM THE ACCUSED, 30-YEAR-OLD JEREMIAH WRIGHT. THE STATEMENT ALSO SAYS WRIGHT PLACED THE 7-YEAR-OLD'S HEAD RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE HOUSE, SO THE BOY'S MOTHER WOULD BE SURE TO SEE IT WHEN SHE GOT HOME. LITTLE JORI LIRETTE WAS WHEELCHAIR-BOUND FROM CEREBRAL PALSY AND HAD TO USE A FEEDING TUBE. WRIGHT REPORTEDLY TOLD OFFICERS HE WAS TIRED OF TAKING CARE OF THE CHILD. LAFOURCHE PARISH PROSECUTOR INTEND TO TRY THE CASE IN THIBODAUX, BUT HAVEN'T DECIDED IF THEY'LL
PURSUE A DEATH PENALTY FOR WRIGHT.

THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION ANNOUNCED YESTERDAY LOUISIANA'S AVERAGE COMPOSITE ACT SCORE INCREASED BY ONE-TENTH OF A POINT, FROM 20.1 IN 2010 TO 20.2 IN 2011, KEEPING PACE WITH THE NATIONAL INCREASE. LOUISIANA'S AVERAGE COMPOSITE ACT SCORE STILL TRAILS THE NATIONAL COMPOSITE SCORE OF 21.1 BUT THE STATE'S GROWTH OVER THE LAST 10 YEARS HAS OUTPACED NATIONAL GROWTH.

A NEW SCHOOL YEARS MEANS A CHANGE OF SCHEDULES AND A ROUTINE THAT COULD PUT CHILDREN AT RISK OF BEING LEFT BEHIND IN A HOT VEHICLE. TREY WILLIAMS WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES SAYS PARENTS AND GUARDIANS WHO DROP OFF THEIR CHILDREN AT DAY CARE OR SCHOOL NEED TO MAKE SURE THEIR CAR IS EMPTY OF KIDS BEFORE GOING INTO WORK. WILLIAMS SAYS THIS YEAR ALONE THEY'VE INVESTIGATED SEVEN CASES WHERE A CHILD WAS LEFT UNATTENDED IN A VEHICLE. TWO OF THOSE CHILDREN DIED AND THE FIVE OTHERS SUFFERED SERIOUS OR PERMANENT INJURIES.

A KENNER WOMAN SAYS SHE WAS SHOCKED AT CONDITIONS SHE FOUND AT THE CROWLEY ANIMAL SHELTER. 61-YEAR-OLD ROSEMARIE HARMON WAS TRAVELING WITH HER CAT AND TWO DOGS, WHEN SHE GOT IN AN ACCIDENT. SHE WAS ARRESTED, HER CAR IMPOUNDED AND THE PETS SENT TO THE SHELTER. DAYS LATER, HARMON WENT TO RETRIEVE THEM, AND SAYS SHE FOUND THEM IN OVERCROWDED CAGES, WITH NO AC OR FANS AND COVERED IN URINE AND FECES. SHE SAYS A SHELTER WORKER DUNNED HER FOR $225, BUT ACCEPTED $60 CASH AND POCKETED IT WITHOUT OFFERING A RECEIPT. THE CITY SAYS
THEY'LL LOOK INTO HER CLAIMS.

THIEVES IN ST, LANDRY PARISH ATTACKED A MAILMAN AND STOLE A LOCKED BAG OF MAIL. SHERIFF BOBBY GUIDROZ SAYS PERHAPS THEY THOUGHT THE LOCK SIGNIFIED VALUABLE CONTENTS, BUT THE BAG WAS JUST MAIL. HE SAYS THE SUSPECTS WERE LAST SEEN IN A WHITE VAN HEADED TOWARDS OPELOUSAS..

BOGALUSA PAPER MILL TEMPLE-INLAND IS TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR A SPILL LAST WEEK INTO THE PEARL RIVER THAT'S LINKED TO A 40-MILLE STRETCH OF DEAD FISH. ST. TAMMANY PARISH PRESIDENT KEVIN DAVIS HAS DECLARED A PARISH EMERGENCY, AND HAS BEGUN A CLEANUP EFFORT. TENS OF THOUSANDS OF FISH, FROM DOZENS OF SPECIES, ARE FLOATING ON THE BLACK SLUDGY WATER. POLLUTION IS NOW REPORTED IN NORTHERN LAKE PONCHARTRAIN TOO.

A NEW GALLUP POLL SHOWS THE APPROVAL RATING FOR CONGRESS IS AT AN ALL-TIME LOW OF ONLY 13-PERCENT. L-S-U POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR KIRBY GOIDEL SAYS THE LOW APPROVAL RATING DOES NOT MEAN LOUISIANA VOTERS DISAPPROVE OF THEIR OWN CONGRESSMEN. HE SAYS LOUISIANA'S US SENATORS ARE AN EXAMPLE OF HOW A LOCALLY POPULAR POLITICIAN CAN OVERSHADOW PARTY IDEOLOGY. GOIDEL SAYS VITTER DOES VERY WELL BECAUSE HE IS A REPUBLICAN IN A REPUBLICAN STATE AND LANDRIEU IS WELL LIKED IN SPITE OF BEING A DEMOCRAT.

POLICE IN AND AROUND DERIDDER ARE SEEKING A BANK ROBBER, WHO CLAIMED TO HAVE A BOMB. THE MASKED MAN TOLD TELLERS HE HAD A BOMB, DEMANDED CASH AND FLED THE BANK ON A BICYCLE--LEAVING THE DEVICE TO COVER HIS ESCAPE. POLICE LATER DETERMINED THE BOMB WAS A FAKE.

THE STATE HAS WORKED OUT A PLAN WITH OKLAHOMA IN AN ATTEMPT TO SHELTER MORE EVACUEES WITHIN LOUISIANA DURING A HURRICANE. INTERIM DIRECTOR PAT SANTOS, OF THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE OF HOMELAND SECURITY & EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS, SAYS DURING THE NEXT STORM EVACUATION A VOLUNTEER GROUP FROM OKLAHOMA WILL MANAGE A SHELTER AT SHREVEPORT'S HIRSCH COLISEUM. SANTOS SAYS WITH HELP FROM THE OKLAHOMA VOLUNTEER GROUP, THEY WILL HOUSE 13-HUNDRED EVACUEES AT THE HIRSCH COLISEUM. HE SAYS THAT WILL KEEP HUNDREDS OF LOUISIANA EVACUEES FROM HAVING TO GO TO OTHER STATES FOR SHELTER. SANTOS SAYS THE VOLUNTEER GROUP OF OKLAHOMA CONSISTS OF NEARLY TWO HUNDRED FIRST-RESPONDER PERSONNEL FROM THAT STATE.

TWO CHILDREN AND A YOUNG MAN HAVE DIED THIS SUMMER FROM A BRAIN-EATING AMOEBA THAT LIVES IN WATER. THIS MONTH, THE RARE INFECTION KILLED A 16-YEAR-OLD FLORIDA GIRL, WHO FELL ILL AFTER SWIMMING, AND A 9-YEAR-OLD VIRGINIA BOY, WHO DIED A WEEK AFTER HE WENT TO A FISHING DAY CAMP. THOSE CASES ARE CONSISTENT WITH PAST CASES, WHICH ARE USUALLY KIDS, OFTEN BOYS, WHO GET EXPOSED TO THE BUG WHILE SWIMMING OR DOING WATER SPORTS IN WARM PONDS OR LAKES. THE THIRD CASE, HERE IN LOUISIANA, WAS MORE UNUSUAL. IT WAS A YOUNG MAN WHOSE DEATH IN JUNE WAS TRACED TO THE TAP WATER HE USED IN A DEVICE CALLED A NETI POT. IT'S A SMALL TEAPOT-SHAPED CONTAINER USED TO RINSE OUT THE NOSE AND SINUSES WITH SALT WATER TO RELIEVE ALLERGIES, COLDS AND SINUS TROUBLE. HEALTH OFFICIALS LATER FOUND THE AMOEBA IN THE HOME'S WATER SYSTEM. STATE HEALTH OFFICIALS SAY THE PROBLEM WAS CONFINED TO THE HOUSE; IT WASN'T FOUND IN CITY WATER SAMPLES.

LOUISIANA CASINO REGULATORS MEET THURSDAY TO DECIDE WHETHER TO ALLOW ISLE OF CAPRI CASINOS INC. TO SELL ONE OF ITS TWO GAMBLING RIVERBOATS IN LAKE CHARLES TO A GROUP THAT WANTS TO MOVE IT TO BOSSIER CITY. THE PROPOSED DEAL WITH PARADISE CASINO LLC INVOLVES THE CROWN CASINO, THE LOWEST-PERFORMING RIVERBOAT IN THE STATE.


News For Wednesday 081711


NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY 081711
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

SCHOOL OFFICIALLY GETS UNDERWAY HERE IN RAPIDES PARISH TODAY AND WITH THAT, COMES THE ANNUAL WARNING FROM OFFICIALS WHO ARE URGING MOTORISTS TO USE CAUTION WHEN DRIVING THROUGH SCHOOL ZONES. POLICE WILL BE PATROLLING SCHOOL ZONES TO MAKE SURE DRIVERS FOLLOW POSTED SPEED LIMITS. STATE AND LOCAL POLICE SAY THEY WILL ALSO BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR DRIVERS WHO DON’T STOP WHEN THE SCHOOL BUS DOES.

LOUISIANA ONCE AGAIN RANKS 49TH IN THE NATION WHEN IT COMES TO THE WELLBEING OF ITS CHILDREN, ACCORDING TO THE ANNUAL KIDS COUNT SURVEY. IT’S THE 10TH YEAR IN A ROW LOUISIANA HAS RANKED SECOND-TO-LAST ON THIS ANNUAL SURVEY OF INDICATORS COLLECTED BY THE ANNIE E. CASEY FOUNDATION. MISSISSIPPI HAS CONTINUED AS 50TH WHILE NEW HAMPSHIRE ONCE AGAIN RANKS FIRST.

A LAKE CHARLES WOMAN HAS STARTED AN ONLINE FACEBOOK CAMPAIGN ASKING PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA TO ISSUE FORMER GOVERNOR EDWIN EDWARDS A FULL PARDON. BRENDA DOLAN IS A RETIRED HOUSEWIFE WHO SAYS IN TWO WEEKS THERE ARE ALREADY 400 MEMBERS OF THE PAGE "ASK OBAMA TO PARDON EDWIN EDWARDS” DOLAN SAYS SHE'D LIKE TO SEE PRESIDENT OBAMA PARDON THE CAJUN PRINCE BECAUSE A PARDON MEANS FORGIVENESS AND FORGIVENESS MEANS IT'S IN THE PAST. IF THE PRESIDENT SHOULD ISSUE THE FORMER GOVERNOR A PARDON, IT WOULD MEAN HE COULD VOTE AND EVEN RUN FOR PUBLIC OFFICE AGAIN. DOLAN SAYS IF EDWARDS FEELS UP TO IT, SHE'D LIKE TO SEE HIM RUN FOR GOVERNOR AGAIN.

THE LEAGUE OF WOMEN’S VOTERS IS UPSET WITH THE JINDAL ADMINISTRATION AFTER NO ONE BOTHERED TO SHOW UP FOR A FORUM DEALING WITH THE POSSIBILITY OF PRIVATIZING THE STATE BENEFIT SYSTEM. JEAN ARMSTRONG THE PRESIDENT OF THE LEAGUE SAYS SHE SENT NUMEROUS INVITATIONS AND MADE SEVERAL PHONE CALLS TO TOP ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS OVER THE PAST FEW WEEKS, INCLUDING GOV. BOBBY JINDAL, BUT GOT NO CONFIRMATION FROM ANY. GOVERNOR JINDAL WAS AT A NORTHWEST LOUISIANA BAPTIST CHURCH ANNOUNCING FUNDING FOR LA. HIGHWAY 3276 IN STONEWALL. WHILE PAUL RAINWATER, THE GOVERNOR’S COMMISSIONER OF ADMINISTRATION, WAS ADDRESSING THE ALEXANDRIA ROTARY CLUB AT THE TIME AND COULDN'T ATTEND THE FORUM.

IT SAD WHEN LIFE IS SO HARD ON YOU THAT YOU HAVE TO LIVE IN A STORAGE BUILDING. BUT, WHAT’S WORSE IS GETTING ARRESTED FOR DOING SO. 21 YEAR OLD JOSEPH LAIRD WAS CHARGED WITH UNAUTHORIZED ENTRY OF A BUSINESS AFTER AUTHORITIES SAID HE WAS LIVING IN A STORAGE FACILITY AT DANTLZER'S FLEA MARKET ON MASONIC DRIVE. LAIRD TOLD OFFICERS HE WAS LIVING IN THE STORAGE UNIT BECAUSE HE HAD NO OTHER PLACE TO LIVE. LAIRD WAS BOOKED INTO THE RAPIDES PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE DETENTION CENTER.

LOUISIANA DEMOCRATIC GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE TARA HOLLIS WILL DISCUSS HER PLATFORM AT A RAPIDES CHAPTER OF LOUISIANA FEDERATION OF DEMOCRATIC WOMEN MEETING TODAY AT 11:30 A.M. IN THE ALEXANDER FULTON HOTEL IN ALEXANDRIA. RAPIDES PARISH SHERIFF CHUCK WAGNER, WHO IS SEEKING RE-ELECTION, ALSO WILL SPEAK. THE MEETING IS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.

SOON SOUTH LOUISIANA RESIDENTS CAN ENJOY NON-STOP FLIGHTS FROM LAFAYETTE TO LAS VEGAS. LAFAYETTE REGIONAL AIRPORT SPOKESPERSON ROBERT CALLAHAN SAYS LAS VEGAS BASED ALLEGIANT AIRLINES HAS BEEN INTERESTED FOR A LONG TIME IN DIRECT FLIGHTS BETWEEN LAFAYETTE AND VEGAS. THE FLIGHTS WILL START ON NOVEMBER 3RD AND WILL RUN ON THURSDAYS AND SUNDAYS. CALLAHAN SAYS THERE WILL BE AN INTRODUCTORY FARE OF $89.99 FOR A ONE WAY TICKET.

AS SHREVEPORT'S GENERAL MOTORS ASSEMBLY PLANT CONTINUES TO WIND DOWN TO ITS EVENTUAL SHUTDOWN, EFFORTS ARE UNDERWAY TO TRY TO KEEP THAT FACILITY ALIVE. NORTH LOUISIANA ECONOMIC PARTNERSHIP PRESIDENT CARL FOREMAN SAYS THERE ARE PLANS AFOOT FOR THE PLANT AFTER ITS SCHEDULED CLOSE NEXT SUMMER. FOREMAN SAYS A TRUST HAS BEEN FORMED TO SELL GM'S INACTIVE ASSEMBLY PLANTS--INCLUDING SHREVEPORT. CURRENTLY ABOUT 800 PEOPLE STILL WORK THERE; BUILDING CHEVY COLORADO AND GMC CANYON PICKUPS. FOREMAN SAYS GM MAY EVEN CHANGE ITS MIND AND DECIDE TO RETASK THE PLANT TO BUILD SOME OTHER MODELS. THE COMPANY HAS UNTIL SEPTEMBER 30TH THE DECIDE. FOREMAN SAYS THE STATE-OF-THE-ART PLANT IS GM'S NEWEST AND IS ALREADY DRAWING SOME INTEREST.

TEXAS GOVERNOR RICK PERRY HAS OFFICIALLY DECLARED HIS CANDIDACY FOR THE REPUBLICAN NOMINATION FOR PRESIDENT. GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL HAS NOTHING BUT PRAISE FOR HIS FELLOW CONSERVATIVE GOVERNOR. JINDAL SAYS HE AND PERRY HAVE TAKEN SIMILAR PATHS TO GOVERNING THEIR RESPECTIVE STATES. HE SAYS THE COUNTRY NEEDS SOMEONE WITH THAT SORT OF EXPERIENCE IN MAKING TOUGH DECISIONS TO CUT THE DEBT AND GROW THE NATIONAL ECONOMY. HOW ABOUT A VP POSITION?? EVEN THOUGH HE'S FRIENDS AND A POLITICAL ALLY OF GOVERNOR PERRY, JINDAL SAYS HE'S HAPPY IN HIS CURRENT JOB.

FORMER STATE ALCOHOL AND TOBACCO CONTROL COMMISSIONER MURPHY PAINTER CLAIMS HE WAS FIRED IN AUGUST 2010 FOR NOT BOWING TO A DEMAND FROM THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE TO GRANT A LIQUOR LICENSE FOR AN ENTERTAINMENT SQUARE OUTSIDE THE LOUISIANA SUPERDOME. PAINTER, WHO WANTS TO BE REINSTATED, IS SUING THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE AND ATC FOR WRONGFUL TERMINATION. PAINTER SAYS HE DID NOT RESIGN. HE ALSO IS SUING STATE INSPECTOR GENERAL STEPHEN STREET AND THE OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL FOR DEFAMATION. PAINTER ALLEGES THAT "IMPROPERLY-CONDUCTED INVESTIGATIONS, LEAKS TO THIRD PARTIES, AND INCESSANT REPORTS TO THE MEDIA" HAVE DEFAMED AND DAMAGED HIS REPUTATION AND CHARACTER.

A NEW STATE LAW HAS GONE INTO EFFECT THAT ALLOWS LOUISIANA RESIDENTS WITH A VALID HUNTING LICENSE TO HUNT QUADRUPEDS LIKE COYOTES AND FERAL HOGS AT NIGHT. LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF WILDLIFE AND FISHERIES SPOKESPERSON ADAM EINCK SAYS THE HUNTING OF SUCH ANIMALS AT NIGHT CAN ONLY OCCUR FROM MARCH TO AUGUST ON PRIVATE PROPERTY WITH A LEGAL FIREARM AND A SOUND SUPPRESSOR. EINCK SAYS ANYONE TAKING PART IN THESE ACTIVITIES AT NIGHT IS REQUIRED TO NOTIFY THE PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE 24 HOURS IN ADVANCE.

THE FEDERAL TREASURY DEPARTMENT HAS APPROVED LOUISIANA'S ENTRY INTO A PROGRAM DESIGNED TO PROVIDE LOANS TO SMALL BUSINESSES IN THE STATE. THE PROGRAM IS DESIGNED TO SUPPORT ABOUT $132 MILLION IN PRIVATE LENDING. LOUISIANA IS GETTING $13.2 MILLION IN FEDERAL FUNDING FROM THE SMALL BUSINESS JOBS ACT THAT BECAME LAW LAST FALL. THE GOAL IS TO ATTRACT $10 IN PRIVATE LENDING FOR EACH DOLLAR IN FEDERAL FUNDING FOR THE PROGRAM. THE STATE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AGENCY SAID TUESDAY THE FUNDING WILL BE USED TO SUPPORT A STATE PROGRAM TO GUARANTEE LOANS TO SMALL BUSINESSES AND A VENTURE CAPITAL PROGRAM FOR STARTUP BUSINESSES.

THERE WON'T BE ANY RAISES AGAIN AT THE LSU MEDICAL, HOSPITAL AND RESEARCH COMPLEX IN SHREVEPORT. LSU HEALTH SHREVEPORT SAYS FOREGOING RAISES FOR A THIRD YEAR IS AMONG STEPS TO DEAL WITH A $12.8 MILLION BUDGET SHORTFALL. THE COMPLEX ALSO MUST COME UP WITH NEARLY $9 MILLION TO COVER THE STATE SHARE OF EMPLOYEE HEALTH INSURANCE AND RETIREMENT COSTS. ADMINISTRATORS ARE WORKING ON A PLAN TO ADDRESS THE SHORTFALL, WHICH EQUALS ABOUT 5 PERCENT OF ITS BUDGET.

LOUISIANA FUNERAL REGULATORS ARE APPEALING A FEDERAL JUDGE'S DECISION ALLOWING 38 MONKS, AND ANYONE ELSE FOR THAT MATTER, TO SELL CASKETS IN THE STATE WITHOUT HAVING A FUNERAL HOME LICENSE.ON JULY 21, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE STANWOOD DUVAL, ACTING ON A SUIT FILED BY THE MONKS OF ST. JOSEPH ABBEY IN ST. TAMMANY PARISH, RULED THE LICENSE REQUIREMENT UNCONSTITUTIONAL. DUVAL SAID "NO RATIONAL BASIS" EXISTED FOR THE REQUIREMENT TO BE APPLIED TO THOSE ONLY WANTING TO SELL CASKETS. IN A NOTICE FILED MONDAY, THE LOUISIANA BOARD OF EMBALMERS AND FUNERAL DIRECTORS SAID THE DECISION WOULD BE TAKEN TO THE 5TH U.S. CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS. AN ATTORNEY FOR THE MONKS, SCOTT BULLOCK, HAS PREDICTED THE CASE LIKELY WILL LAND BEFORE THE U.S. SUPREME COURT.


News For Tuesday 081611


NEWS FOR TUESDAY 081611
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL JAMES CALDWELL SAYS A WINN PARISH GRAND JURY HAS RETURNED AN INDICTMENT CHARGING SHERIFF ALFRED LITTLE ON THREE FELONY CHARGES. THESE CHARGES COME ON THE HEELS OF LITTLE'S INDICTMENT ON SEPARATE FEDERAL DRUG CHARGES. IN THE THREE-COUNT INDICTMENT, THE FIRST-TERM SHERIFF IS ACCUSED OF MALFEASANCE, ABUSE OF OFFICE AND PERJURY. EACH STATE CHARGE CARRIES THE POSSIBILITY OF UP TO FIVE YEARS AT HARD LABOR AND FINES WHICH COULD TOTAL $20,000. BOND HAS BEEN SET ON THE STATE CHARGES AT $40,000. HOWEVER, A FEDERAL MAGISTRATE RECENTLY REVOKED THE SHERIFF'S BOND ON HIS FEDERAL CHARGES. LITTLE IS IN FEDERAL CUSTODY PENDING HIS TRIAL IN FEDERAL COURT.

AS EXPECTED REP. RICK GALLOT ANNOUNCED YESTERDAY THAT HE IS RUNNING FOR STATE SENATE DISTRICT 29, A NEWLY DRAWN MINORITY DISTRICT THAT RUNS FROM SOUTH RAPIDES PARISH TO RUSTON. GALLOT, WHO IS 45, HAS BEEN IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES SINCE 2000, WHEN HE WON A SPECIAL ELECTION. BECAUSE OF TERM LIMITS, GALLOT IS PREVENTED FROM RUNNING AGAIN THIS YEAR FOR HIS RUSTON-BASED HOUSE SEAT, DISTRICT 11.

THE AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION OF LOUISIANA IS SUING TO BLOCK ENFORCEMENT OF A NEW STATE LAW THAT LIMITS SEX OFFENDERS' ACCESS TO SOCIAL NETWORKING WEBSITES AND OTHER ONLINE FORUMS. THE FEDERAL SUIT FILED MONDAY IN BATON ROUGE CLAIMS THE LAW IS OVERLY BROAD AND VIOLATES THE FREE SPEECH RIGHTS OF SEX OFFENDERS. THE ACLU SAYS THE LAW, WHICH TOOK EFFECT MONDAY, LIKELY TARGETS SITES LIKE FACEBOOK AND MYSPACE BUT ALSO BLOCKS ACCESS TO NEWSPAPER SITES, JOB DATABASES AND OTHER WEBSITES THAT ALLOW USERS TO COMMUNICATE. THE GROUP IS ASKING A FEDERAL JUDGE TO IMMEDIATELY BLOCK ENFORCEMENT OF THE LAW.

THE MOTHER OF A SEVEN-YEAR-OLD DISABLED BOY, WHO WAS DECAPITATED BY HIS FATHER, ADDRESSED REPORTERS YESTERDAY AFTERNOON IN THIBODAUX. AN EMOTIONAL, JESSLYN LIRETTE, DESCRIBED JORI LIRETTE AS THE BEST THING THAT EVER HAPPENED TO HER. THE BOYS BIOLOGICAL FATHER, 30-YEAR-OLD JEREMIA LEE WRIGHT OF
THIBODEAUX HAS BEEN CHARGED WITH FIRST DEGREE MURDER AND IS BEING
HELD ON A 5-MILLION DOLLAR BOND. AUTHORITIES POLICE SAY WRIGHT HAS CONFESSED TO THE CRIME.

GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL WAS IN MONROE MONDAY, TO ANNOUNCE A HIRING MILESTONE FOR GARDNER DENVER THOMAS PRODUCTS. MR. JINDAL SAYS THE MAKER OF SPECIALTY PUMPS WAS EMPLOYING ABOUT 70, AND CONSIDERING MOVING TO WISCONSIN, JUST TWO YEARS AGO. HE SAYS STATE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CONVINCED THEM TO STAY AND EXPAND THEIR WORKFORCE. WITH IT'S WORKFORCE NOW AT 258, GARDNER DENVER THOMAS IS ON TRACK TO MEET A BENCHMARK OF 300 EMPLOYEES BY YEAR'S END. THAT WAS A CONDITION OF THE $19-MILLION INCENTIVE FROM THE STATE TO REMAIN IN MONROE.

GOVERNOR JINDAL ALSO ANNOUNCED A MAJOR MAKER OF VIDEO GAMES FOR MOBILE DEVICES WILL OPEN A DEVELOPMENT STUDIO IN NEW ORLEANS. HE SAYS PARIS BASED GAMELOFT WILL TAKE ADVANTAGE OF A STATE INCENTIVE PACKAGE WORTH $3.7-MILLION. WHEN THEIR STUDIO IS OPENED, GAMELOFT INTENDS TO EMPLOY ABOUT 146 PEOPLE AT SALARIES OF $69-THOUSAND OR MORE. MR. JINDAL SAYS GAMELOFT CHOSE LOUISIANA OVER SEVERAL TRADITIONAL TECHNOLOGY HUBS IN THE U.S.

AUTHORITIES ARE TRYING TO DETERMINE IF A PAPER MILL IN BOGALUSA WAS THE SOURCE OF CONTAMINATION THAT CAUSED A LARGE FISH KILL ON THE PEARL RIVER, AN IMPORTANT RIVER FOR THE THREATENED GULF STURGEON. ON MONDAY, INVESTIGATORS WITH THE LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY SAID THEY HAD INSPECTED THE PAPER PLANT. BUT OFFICIALS SAID THEY HAD NOT FIGURED OUT THE EXACT SOURCE OF THE FISH KILL AND WERE AWAITING TEST RESULTS DUE IN FOUR TO FIVE DAYS. DEQ SAYS THE PAPER MILL REPORTED A PROBLEM LAST WEEK AT ITS WASTEWATER PLANT.
MEANWHILE, AUTHORITIES ARE TELLING PEOPLE TO AVOID THE RIVER AND NOT EAT FISH FROM IT FROM BETWEEN BOGALUSA AND POPLARVILLE, MISS., SOUTHWARDS TO AROUND SLIDELL.


THE NEW SCHOOL YEAR WILL BEGIN EVERYWHERE ACROSS THE STATE THIS WEEK AND THE STATE POLICE ARE REMINDING DRIVERS TO SHOW EXTRA CAUTION AROUND SCHOOLS, SCHOOL BUSES AND IN SCHOOL ZONES. TROOPER MARK DENNIS SAYS THOSE TRAVELING THE ROADS DURING PEAK SCHOOL TRAFFIC NEED TO GIVE THEMSELVES EXTRA TIME TO REACH THEIR DESTINATION. DENNIS SAYS TROOPERS WILL BE AGGRESSIVELY PATROLLING SCHOOL ZONES AND THEIR SURROUNDING AREAS.

A $10,000 POWERBALL PRIZE WON MARCH 19 REMAINS UNCLAIMED AND IS SET TO EXPIRE SEPT. 15. THE WINNING TICKET WAS PURCHASED AT KANGAROO EXPRESS IN COVINGTON. IT MATCHED FOUR OF FIVE NUMBERS PLUS THE POWERBALL NUMBER. IF NOBODY TURNS IN THE TICKET, THE MONEY IS DEPOSITED INTO THE LOTTERY'S UNCLAIMED PRIZE FUND, WHICH IS RETURNED TO PLAYERS IN THE FORM OF INCREASED PAYOUTS ON SCRATCH-OFF GAMES AND PLAYER PROMOTIONS.


News For Monday 081511


NEWS FOR MONDAY 081511
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

CLASSES BEGIN TODAY FOR STUDENTS IN AVOYELLES PARISH. IN RAPIDES PARISH, IT’S WEDNESDAY. TODAY IN RAPIDES PARISH ROUGHLY 1,800 TEACHERS FROM ACROSS THE DISTRICT WILL JOIN THE TRADITIONAL BACK-TO-SCHOOL MEETING WHILE SITTING IN FRONT OF A COMPUTER SCREEN. SUPT. GARY JONES SAYS THEY ARE ALL VERY EXCITED, BECAUSE THIS IS THE FIRST TIME THE SCHOOL DISTRICT HAS EVER DONE LIVE VIDEO STREAMING TO ALL OF ITS SCHOOLS. NOW, INSTEAD OF ALL THE TEACHERS COMING IN FOR A BACK-TO-SCHOOL MEETING, THE MESSAGE WILL BE GOING DIRECTLY TO THEM WHEREVER THEY ARE. THE MEETING WILL BE FOLLOWED UP BY A SERIES OF WORKSHOPS.

FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MODERN HISTORY, DEMOCRATS NO LONGER HOLD A MAJORITY OF LOUISIANA'S REGISTERED VOTERS. THE ADVOCATE REPORTED THAT VOTER STATISTICS SHOW DEMOCRATIC REGISTRATION HAS DIPPED BELOW 50 PERCENT FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE 1957 HE EARLIEST DATE THAT RECORDS COVER. THE SECRETARY OF STATE'S OFFICES SAID THAT COMBINATION OF REPUBLICAN AND OTHER PARTY REGISTRATIONS BARELY MAKE UP A MAJORITY OF LOUISIANA'S 2.8 MILLION REGISTERED VOTERS. AS LATE AS 1978, DEMOCRATS HELD 90 PERCENT OF THE REGISTRATIONS. THERE HAS BEEN A STEADY DECLINE SINCE THEN.

MORE THAN 230 NEW LOUISIANA STATUTES, EITHER ADJUSTMENTS TO EXISTING PROVISIONS OR ENTIRELY NEW LAWS, TAKE EFFECT MONDAY. AMONG THE CHANGES: ABORTION CLINICS MUST GIVE MORE INFORMATION TO WOMEN BEFORE THEY CAN TERMINATE A PREGNANCY, INCLUDING NEW SIGNS TELLING PREGNANT WOMEN THAT THEY CANNOT BE COERCED INTO ABORTION. SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES, CHAT ROOMS AND PEER-TO-PEER NETWORKS ARE OFF-LIMITS TO SEX OFFENDERS CONVICTED OF VIDEO VOYEURISM OR A LIST OF CRIMES INVOLVING A MINOR. TVS ARE ALLOWED IN THE FRONT SEAT OF VEHICLES, REMOVING A PROVISION THAT RESTRICTED TELEVISION SCREENS TO BEHIND THE DRIVER'S SEAT OF A CAR, TRUCK OR OTHER VEHICLE. FIND MORE OF THE NEW LAWS ON THE KSYL WEBSITE, UNDER LOCAL NEWS.

THE PENALTIES GO UP TODAY ON COMPANIES WHO KNOWINGLY HIRE ILLEGAL ALIENS. THE NEW LAW PASSED BY THE STATE LEGISLATURE EARLIER THIS YEAR. AN EMPLOYER FOUND IN VIOLATION OF HIRING AN ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT WITHOUT CHECKING CITIZENSHIP, WOULD BE FINED 500-DOLLARS PER ILLEGAL WORKER, UP FROM 250-DOLLARS. THE AMOUNT OF THE FINE FOR MULTIPLE VIOLATIONS COULD BE AS HIGH AS 25-HUNDRED DOLLARS AND SUSPENSION OF A COMPANY'S LICENSE. THE AUTHOR OF THE MEASURE, RIVER RIDGE REPRESENTATIVE KIRK TALBOT, SAYS EMPLOYERS WOULD NOT BE FINED IF THEY USE THE FEDERAL E-VERIFY SYSTEM AND AN EMPLOYEE WAS LATER REVEALED TO BE WORKING ILLEGALLY.

WITH THE ARRIVAL OF MID-AUGUST, THE ATLANTIC HURRICANE SEASON IS ABOUT TO GO INTO A PERIOD OF PEAK ACTIVITY. STATE CLIMATOLOGIST BARRY KEIM SAYS CONDITIONS IN THE ATLANTIC ARE PRIME FOR TROPICAL CYCLONE DEVELOPMENT. KEIM SAYS SOME OF THE GULF COAST'S MOST NOTORIOUS STORMS OCCURRED DURING THE WEEKS FROM MID-AUGUST TO MID-OCTOBER.

OPELOUSAS ALDERMAN REGGIE TATUM HAS RECEIVED A COURT ORDER RESTORING HIM AS MAYOR PRO TEMPORE OF THE CITY COUNCIL. THE ORDER WAS ISSUED LAST FRIDAY BY A STATE JUDGE, PENDING A COURT HEARING ON AUG. 26.TATUM FILED SUIT AUG. 9 AGAINST MAYOR DONALD CRAVINS SR. AND THREE COUNCIL MEMBERS AFTER THEY REMOVED HIM FROM OFFICE. IT'S THE SECOND TIME HE'S TAKEN THEM TO COURT. THE BATTLE OVER TATUM'S POSITION BEGAN IN JUNE, WHEN TATUM WAS INITIALLY REMOVED WITH A VOTE OF THREE CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS IN FAVOR OF OUSTING HIM, THREE ABSTENTIONS AND A DECIDING VOTE CAST BY CRAVINS. THAT REMOVAL WAS REVERSED BY A COURT THAT RULED LOUISIANA'S OPENING MEETINGS LAW HAD BEEN VIOLATED. TATUM WAS REMOVED AGAIN DURING A JULY 12 COUNCIL MEETING.

THE JOINT LEGISLATIVE BUDGET COMMITTEE HAS MADE 15-MILLION DOLLARS AVAILABLE TO THE LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT TO HELP ATTRACT NEW BUSINESS TO THE STATE. THE JINDAL ADMINISTRATION IS CURRENTLY PURSUING 13 PROJECTS. ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT SECRETARY STEPHEN MORET SAYS MOST OF THESE PROJECTS WILL MAKE SITE SELECTIONS DECISIONS IN THE NEXT FOUR TO SIX WEEKS. MORET SAYS IF THEY COULD CONVINCE THESE COMPANIES TO DO BUSINESS IN LOUISIANA IT WOULD MEAN 38-HUNDRED GOOD PAYING JOBS.

A MOTHER'S CONFESSION LEADS TO THE ARREST OF A 16-YEAR OLD GIRL FROM THE REDWATER AREA IN A TRIPLE MURDER CASE. AUTHORITIES SAY THE GIRLS MOTHER CONTACTED THEM FRIDAY NIGHT WITH NEWS THAT HER DAUGHTER HAD CONFESSED TO KILLING A TEXARKANA MOTHER AND HER TWO CHILDREN. AUTOPSIES CONFIRMED THE THREE DIED FROM VIOLENT INJURIES PRIOR TO A HOUSE FIRE WHICH INVESTIGATORS BELIEVE WAS SET TO DESTROY EVIDENCE.

LOUISIANA STATE POLICE IS STARTING A NEW ALERT SYSTEM THAT WILL SEND MASS TEXT MESSAGES AND EMAILS TO THE PUBLIC WITH EMERGENCY INFORMATION. TROOPER RUSSELL GRAHAM SAYS THE PROGRAM CALLED, "NIXLE" IS A LOT LIKE TWITTER. GRAHAM SAYS RESIDENTS IN BATON ROUGE AND NORTH OF LAKE PONTCHARTRAIN CAN SIGN UP FOR THE ALERT SYSTEM TODAY AT WWW.NIXLE.COM. THEY'LL SOON LAUNCH THE PROGRAM STATEWIDE.

IN HIS FIRST RADIO INTERVIEW SINCE COMPLETING HIS FEDERAL PRISON SENTENCE, FORMER GOVERNOR EDWIN EDWARDS IS CRITICAL OF THE CURRENT ADMINISTRATION. EDWARDS SAYS HE DOESN'T FEEL GOVERNOR JINDAL HAS PROVIDED EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP IN COPING WITH THE STATE'S REVENUE DEFICITS. EDWARDS SAYS THE STATE'S PROBLEMS CAN BE SOLVED, BUT "NOT IF YOU'RE ON YOUR WAY TO WASHINGTON"...A REFERENCE TO MR. JINDAL'S SUSPECTED AMBITIONS FOR A HIGHER FEDERAL OFFICE.

A 30-YEAR-OLD THIBODAUX MAN HAS BEEN TAKEN INTO CUSTODY IN CONNECTION WITH THE KILLING OF A 7-YEAR-OLD BOY WHO WAS FOUND DECAPITATED ON THE SIDE OF A STREET SUNDAY. POLICE SAID THE CHILD WAS FOUND ON THE STREET OUTSIDE THE HOUSE WHERE HE LIVED. THE CHILD HAD CEREBRAL PALSY AND HAS TO USE A WHEELCHAIR. AUTHORITIES SAID A PASSING DRIVER SPOTTED THE BOY'S HEAD ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD IN FRONT OF THE HOUSE. POLICE SAID THE BODY WAS FOUND IN A WHITE GARBAGE BAG NEARBY.

NATIONAL BEEF PACKAGING CO. OF KANSAS HAS RECALLED MORE THAN 60’000 LBS OF GROUND BEEF AFTER THE OHIO DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE FOUND DANGEROUS LEVELS OF E. COLI BACTERIA IN THE MEAT. THE RECALLS AFFECT PRODUCTS SOLD MAINLY IN FLORIDA, GEORGIA, ALABAMA, MISSISSIPPI, LOUISIANA, SOUTH CAROLINA AND TENNESSEE, BUT THE MEAT COULD HAVE BEEN DISTRIBUTED NATIONWIDE. LOCALLY KROGER AND WINN DIXIE ARE ON THE LIST. THE AGRICULTURE DEPARTMENT SAYS THERE HAVE BEEN NO REPORTS OF ILLNESSES AND THE RECALL IS JUST A PRECAUTIONARY MEASURE.

THE BOARD OF ALDERMEN IN THE TOWN OF BASTROP HAS VOTED TO BAN THE USE OF ALL TOBACCO PRODUCTS IN THE TOWN'S NINE PARKS. THE BAN INCLUDES THE USE OF CHEWING AND SMOKELESS TOBACCO. VIOLATORS FACE FINES OF $25 FOR A FIRST OFFENSE, $50 FOR A SECOND OFFENSE AND $100 FOR SUBSEQUENT OFFENSES. THE TOBACCO BAN TAKES EFFECT JAN. 1.

A MEXICAN MIGRANT WORKER WHO DIED IN LOUISIANA ABOUT A YEAR AGO OF RABIES HAS GONE INTO RECORD BOOKS AS AMERICA'S FIRST RECORDED HUMAN DEATH AS A RESULT OF BEING BITTEN BY A VAMPIRE BAT. RELAX. THE BAT BITE OCCURRED WHILE THE MAN WAS STILL IN MEXICO.

News Taking Effect Monday 8/14/11


New Or Modified State Laws

More than 230 new Louisiana statutes, either adjustments to existing provisions or entirely new laws, take effect Monday. Among the changes:

—Abortion clinics must give more information to women before they can terminate a pregnancy, including new signs telling pregnant women that they cannot be coerced into abortion, that fathers are liable for child support and that adoptive parents may pay for prenatal care and birth expenses.

—Social networking sites, chat rooms and peer-to-peer networks are off-limits to sex offenders convicted of video voyeurism or a list of crimes involving a minor. Probation and parole officers and judges can make exceptions. Conviction of the crime of unlawful use or access of social media carries a prison sentence of up to 10 years for a first offense.

—Truck drivers with limited vision can haul non-hazardous loads in Louisiana. A driver must have 20/40 vision in at least one eye without a corrective lens, be able to distinguish traffic signal colors and have two years of commercial driving experience within five years before getting the driving waiver.

—TVs are allowed in the front seat of vehicles, removing a provision that restricted television screens to behind the driver's seat of a car, truck or other vehicle. However, the screen cannot be visible by a driver while a vehicle is in motion.

—Penalties for sexually abusing elderly or disabled people are increased, to a minimum of 25 years in prison and electronic monitoring for life.

—Louisiana residents no longer need a state license to shoot or trap wild pigs. The only restriction on feral hog hunting is that the hunter must give the local sheriff's office 24 hours' notice of the plans.

—Penalties are boosted for employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants. A first violation is $500, and a second violation is $1,000. Third and subsequent violations carry a $2,500 fine and involve a license suspension for 30 days to six months. The increased penalties don't apply to health care facilities.

—A six-month residency requirement before someone can get a concealed handgun permit in Louisiana is removed.

—Anyone who knowingly produces or possesses a false law enforcement badge faces fines and jail time. Fines for a first offense are up to $200 and the prison sentence up to 90 days for distributing and manufacturing, and up to $50 and as much as 10 days in prison for possessing a false badge. An exemption is included for novelty badges.

—Certain elderly inmates convicted of drug offenses are eligible for parole consideration. Nonviolent inmates aged 60 or over who weren't convicted of a sex offense can be considered for parole if they've served 10 years of their sentence and completed a high school equivalency program, among other criteria.

—Probation and parole fees are increasing. General fees are growing by $10, a new $150 fee is being charged for processing parolees who want to transfer to another state, a fee up to $150 is allowed to cover costs of background investigations done before offenders are sentenced and a penalty for overdue fee payments is doubling to $11.

—Taxpayers can direct their income tax refund money to the Louisiana Food Bank Association.

—The state's alcohol and tax commission can conduct permitting hearings through teleconferences and video conferences.

News For Friday 081211


NEWS FOR FRIDAY 081211
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

THE ALEXANDRIA HOUSING AUTHORITY HAS NO SHORTAGE OF APPLICANTS AS THEY SEARCH FOR A REPLACEMENT FOR THEIR FORMER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR WANDA DAVIS. BOARD MEMBERS HAVE RECEIVED 28 RÉSUMÉS FROM LOCAL PROFESSIONALS AND OTHERS ACROSS THE STATE AND COUNTRY INTERESTED IN THE POSITION. CLIFFORD MOLLER, THE HEAD OF THE ALEXANDRIA ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY IS REPORTEDLY ONE OF THOSE WHO WOULD LIKE THE JOB. THE AHA BOARD STOPPED EXCEPTING APPLICATIONS ON MONDAY. NO WORD AS TO WHEN A DECISION WILL BE MADE.

BOND HAS BEEN REVOKED FOR WINN PARISH SHERIFF A.D. LITTLE AFTER HE VIOLATED A CONDITION OF HIS RELEASE EVEN BEFORE STEPPING A FOOT OUT OF JAIL. THAT MEANS THE 62-YEAR-OLD FIRST-TERM SHERIFF WILL REMAIN JAILED UNTIL HIS TRIAL. LITTLE WAS ARRESTED AUG. 2 FOLLOWING A FEDERAL INDICTMENT ACCUSING HIM AND 10 OTHERS OF TRAFFICKING METHAMPHETAMINE IN THE WINN PARISH AND SHREVEPORT AREAS. HE WAS SCHEDULED FOR RELEASE THIS WEEK ON A $100,000 BOND AND STRINGENT RESTRICTIONS SET BY U.S. MAGISTRATE MARK HORNSBY. ONE OF THOSE CONDITIONS WAS FOR LITTLE TO NOT HAVE CONTACT WITH HIS OFFICE OR ANYONE INVOLVED IN THE INVESTIGATION. BUT AUTHORITIES LEARNED THURSDAY THAT LITTLE CALLED HIS WIFE AND ASKED HER TO RETRIEVE FILES FROM HIS OFFICE, WHICH SHE DID.

THE JOINT LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE ON THE BUDGET ON THURSDAY CORRECTED LANGUAGE IN BILLS ALLOCATING FUNDING FOR REBUILDING A BRIDGE IN THE RIGOLETTE AREA AND SUPPLYING GENERATORS FOR THE PROCTER & GAMBLE PLANT IN PINEVILLE. AS APPROVED BY THE PANEL, THE $527,000 INCLUDED IN THE SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATIONS BILL OF THE 2011 SESSION CAN BE EXPENDED ON RECONSTRUCTING THE RIGOLETTE ROAD BRIDGE.

THERE ARE THREE SEPARATE TROPICAL WAVES NOW ACTIVE IN THE ATLANTIC OCEAN; EACH WITH THE POTENTIAL TO BECOME A NAMED STORM. STATE CLIMATOLOGIST BARRY KEIM SAYS TWO OF THEM ARE STILL MANY DAYS FROM NEARING THE U.S., BUT STILL MERIT CLOSE MONITORING. ONE SYSTEM, OFF THE EAST COAST OF THE U.S., IS EXPECTED TO TRACK OUT TO SEA. THE OTHERS ARE IN THE EASTERN AND MID-ATLANTIC; SLOWLY
HEADED OUR WAY.

A NEW REPORT FROM THE AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY SAYS LOUISIANA IS NOT DOING ENOUGH TO FIGHT CANCER. AMBER STEVENS WITH THE AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY SAYS THE STATE FALLS SHORT IN SEVERAL AREAS. SHE SAYS LOUISIANA BANS SMOKING IN RESTAURANTS, BUT BARS AND CASINOS SHOULD BE INCLUDED AS WELL. STEVENS SAYS LOUISIANA SHOULD DRAMATICALLY RAISE ITS TOBACCO TAX, TO DISCOURAGE SMOKING. SHE SAYS THE ACS WANTS THE STATE TO PASS MORE CANCER FIGHTING LAWS AND POLICIES.

THE FIELD OF CANDIDATES WHO WANT TO BE LOUISIANA'S SECRETARY OF STATE HAS NARROWED. NEW ORLEANS REPUBLICAN REPRESENTATIVE WALKER HINES HAS ANNOUNCED HE WILL NOT RUN FOR THAT OFFICE AFTER ALL. HINES WILL ALSO NOT SEEK ANOTHER TERM IN THE STATE HOUSE. AT 27-YEARS-OF-AGE, HINES IS THE LEGISLATURE'S YOUNGEST MEMBER. CURRENT SOS TOM SCHEDLER WILL BE CHALLENGED BY HOUSE SPEAKER JIM TUCKER AND POSSIBLY BY DEMOCRAT CAROLINE FAYARD.

AUDITS OF IN-HOME HEALTH PROVIDERS WHO CARE FOR LOUISIANA MEDICAID PATIENTS TURNED UP INSUFFICIENT DOCUMENTATION FOR WORKER TRAINING, A LACK OF CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECKS ON EMPLOYEES, TIMESHEET DISCREPANCIES AND OUTRIGHT FRAUD. THE 41 COMPANIES REVIEWED BY AN ACCOUNTING FIRM OWE THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HOSPITALS $4.2 MILLION IN OVERPAYMENTS AND FINES. THE REVIEWS, CONDUCTED OVER THE FISCAL YEAR THAT ENDED IN JULY, WERE PART OF A DHH PROGRAM TO COMBAT FRAUD ESTIMATED TO SIPHON OFF MILLIONS FROM THE MEDICAID PROGRAM EACH YEAR.

THE LOUISIANA STATE POLICE HAS RECEIVED FEDERAL GRANT DOLLARS TO GET AGGRESSIVE DRIVERS OFF THE ROADS. SPOKESPERSON LT. DOUG CAIN SAYS THE DOLLARS WILL HELP PROVIDE STATE POLICE WITH ADDITIONAL RESOURCES TO SPECIFICALLY TARGET AGGRESSIVE DRIVERS. CAIN SAYS $592,000 WAS APPROVED BY THE JOINT LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE ON THE BUDGET. CAIN SAYS THEY'RE GOING TO USE THAT MONEY TO PUT EXTRA TROOPERS ON THE HIGHWAYS.

THREE MEN IN OUACHITA PARISH ARE CHARGED WITH CIVIL RIGHTS VIOLATIONS FOR ALLEGEDLY HANGING A DEAD RACCOON BY ITS NECK FROM A NOOSE AND DISPLAYING THAT ON A FLAGPOLE--THE PURPOSE BEING TO INTIMIDATE BLACK STUDENTS AT A MOREHOUSE PARISH SCHOOL. THE INCIDENT HAPPENED IN 2007, BUT THE CHARGES ARE FRESH. IF CONVICTED THEY COULD DO UP TO A YEAR IN PRISON.

A JUDGE IN CADDO PARISH SENTENCES A MAN TO DEATH FOR THE 2007 MURDER OF 86-YEAR-OLD CHARLES MARTIN. ERIK DALE MICKELSON'S ATTORNEYS SAY THEY'LL WORK WITH ANOTHER GROUP OF LAWYERS TO GET HIM A NEW TRIAL. LAWYER DAVID PRICE SAYS MISTAKES WERE MADE BY JUDGE SCOTT CRICHTON, AND THERE'S EVIDENCE THAT MICKELSON WAS INCOMPETENT TO STAND TRIAL. THE CADDO PARISH PROSECUTOR SAYS JUSTICE WAS SERVED AND MICKELSON GOT THE SENTENCE HE HAD COMING. MARTIN WAS STRANGLED AND DISMEMBERED; HIS REMAINS SCATTERED ACROSS THE PARISH.

GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL CUTS THE RIBBON ON A NEW FOOD PROCESSING FACILITY IN BASTROP. THE NEW D-G FOODS PLANT HAS RENOVATED THE FORMER INTERNATIONAL PAPER PLANT INTO A 85-THOUSAND SQUARE FOOT CHICKEN PROCESSING FACILITY. WHEN FULLY STAFFED IT'S EXPECTED TO HAVE AN ANNUAL PAYROLL OF OVER 6-MILLION DOLLARS AND CONTRIBUTE $3-MILLION IN LOCAL TAX REVENUE.

MERCHANTS IN NEW ORLEANS' FRENCH QUARTER ARE LOOKING AT WHAT THEY CAN DO ABOUT PEOPLE WHO AGGRESSIVELY SOLICIT DONATIONS FROM VISITORS. THE SOLICITORS OFTEN IDENTIFY THEMSELVES AS THE PARTY PATROL AND ISSUE BOGUS TICKETS FOR OFFENSES LIKE "BEING TOO PRETTY", OR "HAVING TOO MUCH FUN". THEY ASK FOR $10 FOR THEIR ORGANIZATION IN EXCHANGE FOR A HAT. THEY OFTEN BLOCK PEDESTRIANS' PATH AND MAKE THEM FEEL LIKE THEY MUST DONATE. SOME EVEN VERBALLY BERATE THOSE WHO DECLINE. MERCHANTS FEEL THE PANHANDLERS ARE BAD FOR BUSINESS AND TOURISM OVERALL.

THE WIFE OF A MISSISSIPPI JUDGE FOUND AN 80-MM MORTAR SHELL ON THE COUPLE'S PATIO IN NATCHEZ THIS WEEK, SO THEY CALLED THE SHERIFF'S OFFICE. THE SHERIFF CALLED FORT POLK, AN ARMY BASE IN LOUISIANA, WHICH SENT A BOMB TEAM OVER TO BLOW UP THE MORTAR WEDNESDAY. TURNS OUT, THE JUDGE COLLECTS MILITARY MEMORABILIA AND A FRIEND HAD LEFT THE MORTAR AS A GIFT.THE SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT ISN'T PROVIDING THE NAME OF THE FRIEND WHO LEFT THE MORTAR AND CONSIDER THE CASE CLOSED.

THE STATE MINERAL AND ENERGY BOARD PULLED IN $647,000 DURING ITS AUGUST SALE OF PETROLEUM RIGHTS TO STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT LAND. THE AGENCY SAYS IT AWARDED 17 LEASES COVERING ABOUT 1,680 ACRES. THERE WERE 39 LEASES AVAILABLE COVERING ABOUT 44,000 ACRES. OF THE TRACTS AWARDED, 3 WERE IN NORTHERN LOUISIANA AND 14 WERE IN THE SOUTHERN PARISHES.

SPORTS..

FOOTBALL RETURNS TO THE LOUISIANA SUPERDOME TONIGHT AS THE SAINTS KICKOFF THE PRESEASON BY HOSTING THE SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS. NFL ANALYST MIKE DETILLIER SAYS THE STARTERS WILL ONLY SEE ACTION IN THE FIRST QUARTER. HEAR THE GAME TONIGHT ON 96.9 KZMZ STARTING WITH THE PREGAME SHOW AT 5PM.

HEAD COACH SEAN PAYTON SAYS THE NFL LOCKOUT AND THE SHORT TIME TO PREPARE THE TEAM HAS FORCED HIM TO SHORT THE PLAYBOOK FOR TONIGHT'S GAME. THE BLACK AND GOLD HAS HAD ONLY SEVEN FULL PRACTICES SINCE THE PLAYERS AND OWNERS CAME TO A NEW COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT.

DOCTORS STILL AREN'T SURE IF TULANE DEFENSIVE BACK RENALDO THOMAS LOST CONSCIOUSNESS DURING WEDNESDAY'S PRACTICE BECAUSE OF THE HEAT. THOMAS WAS TAKEN TO THE HOSPITAL WHERE HE REMAINED LAST NIGHT FOR OBSERVATION.
HE IS EXPECTED TO BE RELEASED TODAY.

LSU FRESHMAN WIDE RECEIVER JARVIS LANDRY PRACTICED FOR THE FIRST TIME YESTERDAY SINCE BREAKING HIS FOOT DURING A SUMMER SEVEN-ON-SEVEN WORKOUT. THE STANDOUT FROM LUTCHER IS EXPECTED TO HAVE AN IMPACT THIS SEASON. LANDRY SAYS HE'S USED HIS TIME ON THE SIDELINE AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN THE OFFENSE.

LSU FAN DAY IS TOMORROW AND IT'LL BE A TIME FOR TIGER FANS TO SHOW THEIR APPRECIATION. THIS YEAR'S FAN DAY WILL BE SPLIT BETWEEN TWO LOCATIONS. COACH LES MILES AND THE OFFENSE AND OFFENSIVE COACHING STAFF WILL BE IN THE MADDOX FIELD HOUSE, WHILE THE DEFENSE AND DEFENSIVE STAFF AND SPECIAL TEAMS WILL BE IN THE PETE MARAVICH ASSEMBLY CENTER.

ON THE DAY OF THE FIRST NEW ORLEANS SAINTS PRE-SEASON GAME, STATE OFFICIALS SAY LOUISIANA'S CUSTOM SAINTS LICENSE PLATES ARE SELLING PRETTY WELL. OFFICE OF MOTOR VEHICLES COMMISSIONER NICK GAUTREAUX SAYS THE PLATES COMMEMORATING THE BLACK & GOLD'S 2009 SUPER BOWL VICTORY ARE STILL HOT SELLERS. GAUTREAUX SAYS THAT NUMBER OF SPECIALTY PLATES THAT HAVE BEEN ORDERED BY LOUISIANA MOTORISTS IS MORE THAN MANY OTHER SPECIALTY PLATES OFFERED BY THE STATE.

News For Thursday 081111


NEWS FOR THURSDAY 081111
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

THE RAPIDES PARISH DA’S OFFICE IS ASKING LOCAL, STATE AND FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES TO CONDUCT AN INVESTIGATION OF FIRED ALEXANDRIA HOUSING AUTHORITY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR WANDA DAVIS, WHO STATE AUDITORS SAID MAY HAVE CRIMINALLY PADDED HER INCOME WITH UNAUTHORIZED FUNDS FROM THE AUTHORITY. DISTRICT ATTORNEY JAMES DOWNS SAID THE AUDIT, DONE BY THE LEGISLATIVE AUDITOR’S OFFICE WAS NOT A FULL-BLOWN INVESTIGATION INTO CRIMINAL ACTIVITY. DOWNS SAID YESTERDAY, UPON RECEIPT OF THE COMPLETED INVESTIGATIONS, APPROPRIATE ACTION WILL BE TAKEN BASED ON THE DOCUMENTS.

LOUISIANA SAW OVERALL GROWTH IN AVERAGE PERSONAL INCOMES FROM 2009 TO 2010. THAT'S ACCORDING TO THE BUREAU OF ECONOMIC ANALYSIS. SHREVEPORT LED ALL LOUISIANA METRO AREAS WITH A 4.1 PERCENT INCREASE IN OVERALL PERSONAL INCOME. LAFAYETTE POSTED THE SECOND LARGEST INCOME GROWTH RATE IN THE STATE AT 3.4%. NEW ORLEANS HAD THE THIRD BEST GROWTH IN THE STATE AT 3.3 PERCENT. LAKE CHARLES HAD THE LOWEST CHANGE IN PERSONAL INCOME AT 1.1%. ALEXANDRIA WAS SECOND TO LAST AT 1.5 PERCENT. PERSONAL INCOME IN THE NATION GREW AS A WHOLE AROUND 2.9 PERCENT

LOUISIANA FOLLOWED THE NATIONAL PATTERN IN HOME FORECLOSURES LAST MONTH, SEEING A SHARP DECLINE FROM JULY 2010. BUT FORECLOSURE TRACKING FIRM REALTYTRAC SAID MUCH OF THE DROP IS DUE TO DELAYS ON CLEARING OUT THE STACK OF TROUBLED HOUSING LOANS AND WILL EXTEND THE CURRENT HOUSING CRISIS.
IN JULY, 1,704 LOUISIANA PROPERTIES WERE TARGETED FOR SOME SORT OF FORECLOSURE ACTION. THOSE RANGED FROM AN INITIAL NOTICE OF DEFAULT TO REPOSSESSION BY A LENDER. THE COUNT WAS DOWN 17.7 PERCENT FROM JUNE AND 22.6 PERCENT FROM JULY 2010.

STATE REP. RICK GALLOT JR. WILL BE IN ALEXANDRIA ON MONDAY TO ANNOUNCE HIS CANDIDACY FOR THE STATE SENATE DISTRICT 29 SEAT. JOE MCPHERSON IS THE CURRENT DISTRICT 29 SENATOR, BUT HE CANNOT RUN FOR RE-ELECTION DUE TO TERM LIMITS.
SENATE DISTRICT 29, WHICH WAS HEAVILY REVISED BY THE LEGISLATURE EARLIER THIS YEAR, IS NOW A MAJORITY-BLACK DISTRICT WHICH RUNS FROM SOUTH RAPIDES PARISH TO RUSTON AND INCLUDES PARTS OF ALEXANDRIA AND PINEVILLE.

THE STOCK MARKET CONTINUES TO MOVE UP AND DOWN IN RESPONSE TO THE ECONOMIC UNCERTAINTY HERE AND ABROAD. LOUISIANA'S SENIOR SENATOR, MARY LANDRIEU AGREES THAT THE RECENT DEBT DEAL FAILED TO GO FAR ENOUGH TO AVOID STANDARD & POORS' DOWNGRADING OF THE NATION'S CREDIT RATING. SENATOR DAVID VITTER SAYS THE STOCK MARKET IS SIMPLY REACTING TO THE DISMAL STATE OF THE ECONOMY. VITTER WAS ALSO CRITICAL OF THE RECENT DEBT DEAL PASSED IN CONGRESS. HE SAYS WE MUST DO BETTER AS A NATION TO GET OUR BOOKS IN ORDER.

WITH PREP FOOTBALL PRACTICE UNDERWAY AND SEASONS STARTING SOON, NEW STATE LAWS TAKE EFFECT TO HELP PROTECT YOUNG ATHLETES FROM COMPLICATIONS OF SPORTS INJURIES, LIKE CONCUSSIONS. THE BILL PROHIBITS INJURED PLAYERS FROM GOING BACK INTO ACTION WITHOUT BEING CLEARED BY A MEDICAL PROVIDER OR ATHLETIC TRAINER.

A BURN BAN TOOK EFFECT IN WINN PARISH AT NOON WEDNESDAY AND WILL LAST UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. VIOLATIONS MAY RESULT IN A $500 FINE, SIX MONTHS IN JAIL OR BOTH.

A FEDERAL JUDGE IS WEIGHING A BID TO DISMISS A LAWSUIT CHALLENGING A LOUISIANA LAW THAT HAS REQUIRED PEOPLE CONVICTED OF SOLICITING ORAL OR ANAL SEX TO REGISTER AS SEX OFFENDERS. U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE MARTIN FELDMAN DIDN'T IMMEDIATELY RULE WEDNESDAY AFTER HEARING THE STATE'S REQUEST TO THROW OUT THE LAWSUIT OVER ITS 200-YEAR-OLD "CRIMES AGAINST NATURE" LAW. CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEYS WHO FILED THE SUIT CLAIM THE LAW IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL AND DISCRIMINATORY AND UNFAIRLY CONDEMNS SEX ACTS TRADITIONALLY ASSOCIATED WITH HOMOSEXUALITY.

IBERIA PARISH AUTHORITIES ARRESTED A NEW IBERIA TEENAGER YESTERDAY MORNING IN THE FATAL SHOOTING OF A 57-YEAR-OLD MAN, WHO WAS BOUND TO A WHEELCHAIR. SHERIFF'S OFFICE SPOKESMAN CAPTAIN RYAN TURNER SAYS THEY BELIEVE 18-YEAR-OLD JOEY ROGERS IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DEATH OF ROBERT JAMES BUTLER SENIOR. TURNER SAYS ROGERS WAS TAKEN INTO CUSTODY SHORTLY AFTER THE SHOOTING AND WAS ARRESTED.

DEPUTIES IN SEVERAL PARISHES ARE SEEKING A GROUP THAT HAVE TEAMED TO STEAL IPAD COMPUTERS FROM WAL-MART STORES IN EUNICE, JENNINGS, DERIDDER AND LEESVILLE. ONE PERSON ASKS TO BUY TWO OF THE DEVICES, BUT ASKS THE CLERK TO STOW THEM UNDER THE COUNTER FOR A FEW MINUTES WHILE HE GETS ANOTHER ITEM. THEN AN ACCOMPLICE WALKS UP AND GRABS THE IPADS, SWIFTLY EXITING THE STORE. THEY'RE IMAGES HAVE BEEN CAUGHT ON SECURITY CAMS.

BATON ROUGE'S PENNINGTON BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH CENTER HAS WON A $6-MILLION U.S. DEFENSE DEPARTMENT GRANT TO LOOK INTO HOW NUTRITION CAN BE USED TO INCREASE PERFORMANCE OF AMERICAN BATTLEFIELD TROOPS. PROJECT LEAD PROFESSOR JENNIFER ROOD SAYS THE TEAM WILL STUDY WHICH NUTRITIONAL REGIMES ARE MOST BENEFICIAL TO OPTIMIZING SOLDIER READINESS AND PERFORMANCE.

LAST YEAR IT WAS THE OIL SPILL THAT FOULED THE BEACHES. THIS YEAR, GRAND ISLE BEACHGOERS ARE ADVISED TO SWIM AT THEIR OWN RISK BECAUSE THERE'S A LOT OF BACTERIA IN WATERS ALONG THE PUBLIC BEACH AND IN THE STATE PARK. THE HEALTH DEPARTMENT TESTS BEACHES COAST-WIDE FOR TWO KINDS OF BACTERIA FOUND IN HUMAN AND ANIMAL WASTE, AND POSTS SIGNS AT THOSE WHERE HIGH LEVELS ARE FOUND.

CARENCRO MAYOR GLENN BRASSEAUX HAS BEEN INSTALLED AS PRESIDENT OF THE LOUISIANA MUNICIPAL ASSOCIATION. BRASSEAUX SUCCEEDS CULLEN MAYOR BOBBY WASHINGTON. THE LMA IS A LOBBYING GROUP FOR LOUISIANA VILLAGES, TOWNS AND CITIES. THE GROUP ALSO NAMED NEW IBERIA MAYOR HILDA DAIGRE CURRY AS FIRST VICE PRESIDENT AND STERLINGTON MAYOR VERN BRELAND AS SECOND VICE PRESIDENT.

RICE AND SUGAR CANE FARMERS ARE CLOSELY WATCHING FOR SIGNS OF THE MEXICAN RICE BORER, A NASTY BUG THAT FEEDS ON CROPS. LSU AGCENTER ENTOMOLOGIST DR. GENE REAGAN SAYS THE BUGS HAVE, SO FAR, ONLY BEEN CONFIRMED IN ONE RICE FIELD NEAR VINTON. HE SAYS RICE BORERS CAN BE TREATED WITH PESTICIDES, WHEN FOUND ON RICE, BUT ON SUGAR THEY BORE INTO THE CANE, WHERE PESTICIDES CANNOT REACH.

A DOCUMENTARY THAT TELLS THE STORY OF LSU FOOTBALL FROM 1893 THROUGH TODAY PREMIERES AT THE LSU UNION THEATER TONIGHT. PRODUCER JOHN HAYNES SAYS "OLE WAR SKULE: STORIES OF LSU FOOTBALL" IS A BEHIND THE SCENES GLIMPSE INTO THE HEART OF THE TIGER FOOTBALL PROGRAM AND A LOOK AT WHAT’S INVOLVED IN STAGING A SATURDAY NIGHT AT TIGER STADIUM. HAYNES SAYS THE FILM RUNS ABOUT 2 AND A HALF HOURS AND IS NARRATED BY AVID LSU FAN JOHN GOODMAN. HAYNES DOCUMENTARY WILL BE AVAILABLE ON DVD FOR FANS TO PURCHASE ON TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 6TH.

JEFFERSON PARISH DEPUTIES ARE INVESTIGATING A MURDER AT METAIRIE HOTEL RIGHT NEXT TO INTERSTATE 10; THE SECOND MURDER THERE IN TWO MONTHS. STAFF AT THE LA QUINTA INN CALLED AUTHORITIES, WHO FOUND AN UNIDENTIFIED BLACK FEMALE LYING DEAD ON THE HOTEL ROOM FLOOR. AN AUTOPSY WILL DETERMINE HOW SHE DIED, BUT INVESTIGATORS SAY IT WAS CLEARLY FOUL PLAY. JUST LAST MONTH THERE WAS DOUBLE HOMICIDE AT THE SAME LA QUINTA INN; IN THE PARKING LOT.

News For Wednesday 081011


NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY 081011
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

FORMER LOUISIANA GOV. EDWIN EDWARDS, ACCOMPANIED BY HIS WIFE TRINA, PAID TWO VISITS TO CENTRAL LOUISIANA YESTERDAY. FIRST IT WAS A LUNCHTIME MEETING AND THEN IT WAS ON TO MARKSVILLE AND THE PARAGON CASINO. AT BOTH VISITS, HUNDREDS SHOWED UP TO HAVE EDWARDS SIGN COPIES OF HIS BOOK. THE CAJUN PRINCE LOOKED GREAT AND WAS VERY WELL RECEIVED, WITH MANY IN THE CROWD SAYING THEY WOULD LIKE TO SEE HIM RUN FOR OFFICE AGAIN SOMEDAY. THE FORMER GOVERNOR SAYS HE WILL SOON BE WRITING ANOTHER BOOK. THIS BOOK IS EXPECTED TO BE A TELL ALL. EDWARDS ALSO TOLD THE CROWD HE WILL ADDRESS, WHAT HE BELIEVES TO BE, HIS UNJUST RECENT INCARCERATION.

THE COLLEGE HAS BEEN ELUDING TO A DELAY FOR A WHILE. BUT, IT IS NOW OFFICIAL, LOUISIANA COLLEGE HAS DECIDED TO WAIT UNTIL THE FALL OF 2013 TO OPEN ITS NEW LAW SCHOOL IN SHREVEPORT J. MICHAEL JOHNSON, THE FOUNDING DEAN OF LC'S PRESSLER SCHOOL OF LAW, SAID LAST MONTH, THERE WAS A LOT OF WORK LEFT TO DO. YESTERDAY, OFFICIALS WITH THE SCHOOL ANNOUNCED THAT THEY WOULD WAIT UNTIL 2013 TO OPEN THE DOORS. THE DELAY WILL GIVE LC MORE TIME TO RENOVATE THE JOE D. WAGGONNER FEDERAL BUILDING IN DOWNTOWN SHREVEPORT TO HOUSE THE LAW SCHOOL

TENSIONS CONTINUE TO GROW BETWEEN SOME MEMBERS OF THE ALEXANDRIA CITY COUNCIL AND MAYOR JACQUES ROY. THE COUNCIL'S FINANCE COMMITTEE WAS DEBATING A $140,000 EXPENDITURE TO MAKE REPAIRS AT THE CITY-OWNED ALEXANDER FULTON HOTEL YESTERDAY WHEN MAYOR ROY ENTERED THE COUNCIL CHAMBERS. AFTER A FEW MINUTES OF DISCUSSION, INCLUDING SOME SHARP EXCHANGES WITH COUNCILMAN ED LARVADAIN, THE MAYOR LEFT. SEVERAL COUNCIL MEMBERS ACCUSED THE MAYOR OF SIMPLY WANTING TO DISRUPT THE MEETING. SOMETHING THE MAYOR DENIES. COUNCIL PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT JOHNSON SAID NO ONE WILL COME TO THE COUNCIL CHAMBER AND DISRESPECT THIS COUNCIL.

A CEREMONY WILL BE HELD TODAY ON THE FIELD OF THE NEWLY RENOVATED SUPERDOME TO KICK OFF THE SAINTS FOOTBALL SEASON. THE CEREMONY ALSO MARKS THE CONCLUSION OF $85 MILLION IN STATE-FUNDED UPGRADES TO THE SUPERDOME. THE SAINTS WILL FACE OFF AGAINST THE SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS IN THE SUPERDOME THIS FRIDAY NIGHT. SUPERDOME COMMISSION CHAIRMAN RON FORMAN SAYS WHEN FANS WALK INTO THE BLACK AND GOLD FACILITY, THEY WILL FEEL LIKE THEY ARE IN AN ENTIRELY NEW STADIUM. THE SUPERDOME UPGRADES INCLUDE A RECONFIGURED LOWER BOWL WITH 3,400 ADDITIONAL NEW SEATS, TWO NEW PREMIUM CLUB LOUNGES, A WIDE PLAZA LEVEL CONCOURSE AND NEW CONCESSION AND RESTROOM FACILITIES.

A NUMBER OF FORMER LAWMAKERS, WHO WERE TERM LIMITED FOUR YEARS AGO, ARE MAKING COMEBACKS IN THE OCTOBER 22ND PRIMARY. AFTER SITTING OUT AS AS LITTLE AS FOUR YEARS, EX-LEGISLATORS ARE MOUNTING CAMPAIGNS AGAINST THE CURRENT INCUMBENTS WHO TOOK OVER THEIR LEGISLATIVE SEATS. JAMES DAVID CAIN OF DRY CREEK WANTS HIS OLD SENATE SEAT BACK FROM CURRENT INCUMBENT JOHN SMITH OF LEESVILLE. GREG TARVER IS CHALLENGING LYDIA JACKSON FOR HIS OLD SHREVEPORT SENATE SEAT. IN OPELOUSAS, MAYOR DON CRAVENS SR. IS CONSIDERING A RUN AGAINST LONG TIME POLITICAL RIVAL, SENATOR ELBERT GUILLORY AND CLEO FIELDS MAY RUN FOR HIS FORMER SENATE SEAT.

THE SHAKY ECONOMIC NEWS HAS CAUSED CRUDE OIL PRICES TO PLUMMET--MEANING WE SHOULD SEE MUCH LOWER GASOLINE PRICES SOON. LOUISIANA AAA FUEL ANALYST DON REDMAN SAYS PUMP PRICES ARE ALREADY STARTING TO DROP, WITH THE CURRENT STATEWIDE AVERAGE FOR A GALLON OF REGULAR GASOLINE AT $3.55. REDMAN SAYS SOME ANALYSTS ARE PREDICTING THE PRICE OF CRUDE COULD FALL AS LOW AS $50 A BARREL.

A NEW REPORT BY THE AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION GIVES LOUISIANA HIGH MARKS FOR IT'S ONGOING PRISON REFORM EFFORTS. LOUISIANA ACLU EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR MARJORIE ESMAN SAYS LOUISIANA HAS TAKEN LEGISLATIVE STEPS TO MAKE IT EASIER FOR CERTAIN INMATES TO EARN THE RIGHT TO PAROLE. SHE SAYS THE STATE COULD GIVE SHORTER SENTENCES TO NON-VIOLENT OFFENDERS. SHE SAYS THE MONEY SAVED COULD GO BACK INTO PAROLE AND PROBATION SYSTEMS. ESMAN SAYS THE STATE STILL HAS MILES TO GO IN ACHIEVING REAL PRISON REFORM.

STATE AGRICULTURE OFFICIALS SAY SIX LOUISIANA PARISHES HAVE BEEN DECLARED DISASTER AREAS BECAUSE OF THE FLOODING OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER THIS PAST GROWING SEASON. AGRICULTURE AND FORESTRY COMMISSIONER MIKE STRAIN SAID TUESDAY THAT THE AFFECTED PARISHES ARE: CONCORDIA, EAST CARROLL, MADISON, TENSAS, EAST FELICIANA AND WEST FELICIANA. STRAIN SAYS THE DESIGNATION MAKES AGRICULTURAL PRODUCERS IN THOSE PARISHES ELIGIBLE FOR FARM SERVICE AGENCY EMERGENCY LOANS AND THE SUPPLEMENTAL REVENUE ASSISTANCE PAYMENTS PROGRAM.

A DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY POLICE OFFICER HAS DIED IN AN ACCIDENT ON INTERSTATE 12 NEAR ALBANY. AUTHORITIES SAY CPL. JOHN KENDALL WAS HEADING HOME FROM WORK TUESDAY WHEN HE CROSSED THE MEDIAN AND SIDESWIPED AN 18-WHEELER BEFORE COLLIDING WITH A WESTBOUND PICKUP TRUCK. THE LIVINGSTON PARISH CORONER'S OFFICE PRONOUNCED HIM DEAD AT THE SCENE.





News For Tuesday 080911


NEWS FOR TUESDAY 080911
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

MORE PROBLEMS FOR THE ALEXANDRIA HOUSING AUTHORITY. A RECENT STATE AUDIT, THAT WAS MADE PUBLIC YESTERDAY SAYS FORMER ALEXANDRIA HOUSING AUTHORITY DIRECTOR WANDA DAVIS MADE UNAUTHORIZED PAYMENTS OF MORE THAN HALF A MILLION DOLLARS TO HERSELF AND OTHER AHA EMPLOYEES OVER NINE YEARS. INVESTIGATORS WITH THE LOUISIANA LEGISLATIVE AUDITOR'S OFFICE FOUND DAVIS PAID HERSELF MORE THAN $185,000 ABOVE HER BOARD-APPROVED SALARY FROM 2002 UNTIL THIS YEAR, WHEN SHE WAS FIRED. THE INVESTIGATION ALSO FOUND THAT FROM 2003 TO 2009, DAVIS AUTHORIZED PAYMENTS OF ALMOST $350,000 TO HERSELF AND OTHER AHA EMPLOYEES. THE REPORT HAS BEEN FORWARDED TO THE STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE AND THE RAPIDES PARISH DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE FOR REVIEW.

GOVERNOR JINDAL HAS ORDERED FLAGS TO FLY AT HALF-STAFF UNTIL SUNDOWN FRIDAY, TO HONOR TWO SHREVEPORT NATIVES WHO WERE AMONG THE 22 NAVY SEALS KILLED WHEN ENEMY FIRE BROUGHT DOWN THEIR HELICOPTER LAST WEEK. LT. COMMANDER JONAS KELSALL AND CPO ROBERT JAMES REEVES WERE BOTH GRADUATES OF CADDO MAGNET HIGH IN SHREVEPORT. US AND STATE FLAGS AT THE CAPITOL AND ALL STATE BUILDINGS AND INSTITUTIONS WILL FOLLOW THE GOVERNOR'S ORDER.

STATE HOUSE SPEAKER JIM TUCKER HAS ANNOUNCED HIS CANDIDACY FOR SECRETARY OF STATE THIS FALL. THE REPUBLICAN TUCKER JOINS A FIELD THAT INCLUDES NEW ORLEANS GOP REP. WALKER HINES, DEMOCRAT CAROLINE FAYARD AND CURRENT SECRETARY TOM SCHEDLER, A REPUBLICAN WHO WAS APPOINTED TO THE OFFICE, WHEN JAY DARDENNE BECAME LT. GOVERNOR LAST YEAR.

FEDERAL OFFICIALS GAVE CLEARANCE MONDAY TO REDESIGNED MAPS FOR LOUISIANA'S TOP EDUCATION BOARD, WRAPPING UP THE FINAL OUTSTANDING STATEWIDE REDISTRICTING PLAN AWAITING APPROVAL. THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE DIDN'T OBJECT TO THE EIGHT ELECTED DISTRICTS FOR THE BOARD OF ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION, CLEARING THE MAPS TO BE USED IN THE OCT. 22 ELECTION.

THE VANGUARD SYNFUELS BIODIESEL PLANT IN POLLOCK HAS STARTED BACK UP AGAIN. THE FACILITY IS ALL READY BACK TO PRODUCING SYNTHETIC FUELS. THE GOOD NEWS IS, THE FACILITY IS SUPPLYING 25 GOOD JOBS TO AN AREA THAT DESPERATELY NEEDS THEM.

A FAMILY COURT JUDGE HAS SET A CASH BOND OF $500,000 EACH FOR THREE 15-YEAR-OLD BOYS ACCUSED OF PLOTTING TO SHOOT TWO SPECIFIC PEOPLE AND ANYONE ELSE IN THEIR WAY ON THE FIRST DAY OF CLASS AT THEIR SUBURBAN NEW ORLEANS SCHOOL. THE TEENS WERE ARRESTED LAST WEEK. SHERIFF JACK STRAIN SAYS THE TRIO APPARENTLY SPENT THE SUMMER MAKING DETAILED PLANS TO SHOOT A STUDENT, A FACULTY MEMBER, AND POLICE. INDISCRIMINATE SHOOTING ALSO WAS PLANNED.

ALEXANDRIA POLICE SAY 23-YEAR-OLD LOCAL MAN FACES SHOPLIFTING AND BATTERY CHARGES, AFTER HE ALLEGEDLY BIT A LOSS PREVENTION OFFICER AT A TARGET STORE, WHILE TRYING TO ABSCOND WITH OVER $600 IN MERCHANDISE. LINDSAY JAMES IS IN CUSTODY. THE MERCHANDISE WAS RETURNED. THE TARGET EMPLOYEE WAS TREATED FOR THE BITE. DID THEY CHECK FOR RABIES? NOT SURE.

MAKING THE LOUISIANA DELTA A MORE ATTRACTIVE DESTINATION IS THE GOAL OF THE MISS-LOU TOURISM SUMMIT, WHICH KICKS OFF TODAY IN OAK GROVE. LOUISIANA CENTER FOR RURAL INITIATIVES DIRECTOR JAMES BARNES SAYS REPRESENTATIVES FROM 17 LOUISIANA PARISHES AND 16 MISSISSIPPI COUNTIES WILL DISCUSS HOW TO TIE TOURIST DESTINATIONS IN THE AREA TOGETHER.

WORRIES OVER THE DEBT CRISIS AND THE DOWNGRADING OF THE U.S. CREDIT RATING BY STANDARD AND POOR DROVE THE STOCK MARKET DOWN OVER 600 POINTS YESTERDAY ALONE. THE MARKET IS DOWN 2-THOUSAND POINTS FROM IT'S HIGH EARLIER THIS YEAR. TULANE BUSINESS PROFESSOR DR. MARK ROSA SAYS GIVEN BUSINESS BALANCE SHEETS NOW COULD BE THE TIME TO BUY.

A MAN CONVICTED OF AN ASSAULT AND KIDNAPPING OF A WOMAN 17 YEARS AGO IN OPELOUSAS FACES SENTENCING THIS WEEK IN STATE DISTRICT COURT. ALMOST TWO DECADES AFTER THE ASSAULT, THE VICTIM IDENTIFIED JOSEPH SAVOY AS THE MAN WHO TIED HER UP, BRUTALLY BEAT AND SEXUALLY ASSAULTED HER JUNE 23, 1994. THE WOMAN'S CASE WAS COLD UNTIL 2008, WHEN SAVOY WAS IDENTIFIED AS A POSSIBLE SUSPECT, HAVING BEEN CONVICTED FOUR YEARS EARLIER OF A SIMILAR CRIME IN LAFAYETTE. THE ACADIANA CRIME LAB CONFIRMED A DNA SAMPLE FROM SAVOY MATCHED EVIDENCE INITIALLY SUBMITTED IN 1994. SAVOY FACES UP TO LIFE IN PRISON ON TOP OF THE 60 YEARS HE'S CURRENTLY SERVING.

A MAN WHO WORKED FOR A NEW ORLEANS ART DEALER HAS PLEADED GUILTY TO A FRAUD CHARGE FOR HIS ROLE IN A PLOT TO SELL FORGED PAINTINGS HE CLAIMED TO BE THE WORK OF A RENOWNED LOUISIANA FOLK ARTIST. FEDERAL PROSECUTORS SAY ROBERT E. LUCKY JR. CONSPIRED WITH A BATON ROUGE COUPLE TO SELL FAKE CLEMENTINE HUNTER PAINTINGS TO UNSUSPECTING ART COLLECTORS. LUCKY’S LUCK HAS RUN OUT, HE FACES UP TO 20 YEARS IN PRISON FOLLOWING HIS GUILTY PLEA MONDAY IN ALEXANDRIA TO ONE COUNT OF MAIL FRAUD. HUNTER, WHO DIED IN 1988 AT AGE 101, TAUGHT HERSELF TO PAINT WHILE LIVING IN NATCHITOCHES PARISH. HER PAINTINGS DEPICT SCENES OF PLANTATION LIFE AND CAN SELL FOR THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS APIECE.

THERE IS SAD NEWS OUT OF THE ST. MARTIN PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE AS ONE OF THEIR K-9'S PASSED AWAY IN THE LINE OF DUTY. MAJOR GINNY HIGGINS SAYS HATOS WAS ONE OF THE DOGS BEING USED TO LOCATE TWO JUVENILES WHO HAD ESCAPED FROM THE ST. MARTIN PARISH JUVENILE DETENTION CENTER. AUTHORITIES SAY THE DOG DIED FROM HEAT STROKE.

WEST MONROE POLICE HAVE ARRESTED LARRY BAKER OF CHATAM ON HIS 4TH OFFENSE DWI AFTER HE SALUTED A FELLOW MOTORIST ON I-20 BY RAISING AN OPEN BEER BOTTLE. WEST MONROE POLICE SPOKESPERSON JERRY STANSBURY SAYS BAKER WAS DRIVING WILDLY DOWN THE INTERSTATE.

News For Monday 080811


NEWS FOR MONDAY 080811
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

TWO SHREVEPORT-BORN NAVY SEALS WERE AMONG THE 38 VICTIMS OF THE DEADLIEST SINGLE ATTACK IN THE NEARLY DECADE-LONG WAR IN AFGHANISTAN, ACCORDING TO ARMY OFFICIALS. CHIEF PETTY OFFICER ROBERT JAMES REEVES AND LT. CMDR. JONAS KELSALL WERE KILLED SATURDAY WHEN A U.S. CHINOOK HELICOPTER WAS SHOT DOWN BY TALIBAN FIGHTERS IN WARDAK PROVINCE. THE ATTACK KILLED 30 U.S. SPECIAL-OPERATIONS FORCES, A CIVILIAN INTERPRETER AND SEVEN AFGHAN COMMANDOS. MANY OF THE SPECIAL-OPS TROOPS KILLED WERE NAVY SEALS FROM THE SAME UNIT THAT ATTACKED OSAMA BIN LADEN'S COMPOUND AND KILLED THE HEAD OF THE TERRORIST AL-QAEDA FACTION.
REEVES AND KELSALL WERE GRADUATES OF CADDO MAGNET HIGH SCHOOL.

A ROADSIDE BOMB IN AFGHANISTAN ALSO CLAIMED THE LIVES OF TWO OTHER SOLDIERS LAST WEEK WHO WERE BASED AT FORT POLK. THEY'RE IDENTIFIED AS 19-YEAR-OLD PFC. CODY G. BAKER OF HOLTON, KANSAS, AND 21-YEAR-OLD PFC. GILL DEL VALLE OF JACKSONVILLE, FLA. THE ARMY SAYS THE SOLDIERS' VEHICLE HIT A ROADSIDE BOMB WEDNESDAY IN WARDAK PROVINCE. THEY WERE ASSIGNED TO THE 2ND BATTALION, 30TH INFANTRY REGIMENT OF THE 4TH BRIGADE OF THE 10TH MOUNTAIN DIVISION BASED AT FORT POLK.

SCHOOLS OPEN FOR BUSINESS THIS WEEK BRINGING THE RETURN OF STUDENTS, BUSES AND SCHOOL ZONES TO OUR DAILY COMMUTE. AAA IS CONDUCTING IT'S 77TH ANNUAL SCHOOL'S OPEN DRIVE CAREFULLY CAMPAIGN. AAA SPOKESPERSON DON REDMAN REMINDS DRIVERS THAT A SIGNIFICANT PERCENTAGE OF STUDENTS WILL BE WALKING TO AND FROM SCHOOL. HE SAYS KIDS, PARTICULARLY YOUNG CHILDREN, MAY NOT BE PAYING CLOSE ATTENTION TO TRAFFIC. A NEW SCHOOL YEAR ALSO MEANS MORE YOUNG DRIVERS ON THE ROAD DURING THE MORNING AND AFTERNOON COMMUTE.

BEGINNING THIS WEEK, PEOPLE CAN GO TO A STATE WEBSITE TO CHECK THE SANITARY CONDITIONS AT RESTAURANTS THEY FREQUENT OR WANT TO TRY. THE OFFICE OF PUBLIC HEALTH PLANS TO START POSTING INSPECTION REPORTS THAT INCLUDE CRITICAL AND NONCRITICAL VIOLATIONS, AS WELL AS CORRECTIVE ACTIONS TAKEN OR PENDING. THE AGENCY IS RESPONSIBLE FOR LICENSING AND PERMITTING NEARLY 32,000 RETAIL FOOD ESTABLISHMENTS THROUGH ITS FOOD SAFETY CERTIFICATION PROGRAM. RESTAURANTS ACCOUNT FOR 50 PERCENT OF THE TOTAL. THAT WEBSITE IS WWW.EATSAFE.LA.GOV.

THERE'S SPECULATION HOUSE SPEAKER JIM TUCKER WILL ANNOUNCE HIS CANDIDACY FOR SECRETARY OF STATE AT TODAY'S BATON ROUGE PRESS CLUB MEETING. POLITICAL ANALYST BERNIE PINSONAT SAYS TUCKER'S NAME RECOGNITION WOULD VAULT HIM INTO THE FRONT RUNNERS POSITION, EVEN AHEAD OF CURRENT SECRETARY OF STATE, FELLOW REPUBLICAN, TOM SCHEDLER. DEMOCRAT CAROLINE FAYARD, WHO RAN FOR LT. GOVERNOR LAST YEAR, IS CONSIDERING A RUN FOR SECRETARY OF STATE. AS IS NEW ORLEANS REPUBLICAN REPRESENTATIVE WALKER HINES.

THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY SAYS MOTORISTS WHO WERE NOT NOTIFIED THEIR PLATES WERE ABOUT TO EXPIRE, BUT GOT HIT WITH A LATE FEE ANYWAY, WILL GET A REFUND. DPS AND THE OFFICE OF MOTOR VEHICLES ARE RUN BY THE STATE POLICE, AND LSP SGT. LEN MARIE SAYS THE LATE FEES ASSESSED TO VEHICLE OWNERS WERE THE RESULT OF A COMPUTER SYSTEM GLITCH. THAT GLITCH RESULTED IN A NUMBER OF PEOPLE BEING ERRONEOUSLY CHARGED A LATE FEE FOR FAILURE TO RENEW THEIR VEHICLE REGISTRATION. HE SAYS THOSE SYSTEMS HAVE BEEN CORRECTED AND MOTORISTS HIT WITH THE FEE HAVE A REFUND WAITING FOR THEM AT THE OMV.

STATE AGRICULTURE COMMISSIONER MIKE STRAIN IS CONCERNED THAT DELAYS IN PROCESSING FEDERAL APPLICATIONS FOR FOREIGN MIGRANT WORKERS COULD NEGATIVELY IMPACT THIS YEAR'S SUGAR CANE HARVEST. DR. STRAIN SAYS A DISPUTE OVER PAY SCALES IN PENNSYLVANIA IS CAUSING A STOPPAGE OF CERTIFICATION OF FOREIGN LABORERS ALL OVER THE U.S. STRAIN SAYS, FOR DECADES, MIGRANT WORKERS HAVE COME TO LOUISIANA TO WORK THE FALL CANE HARVEST. HE SAYS THESE FOREIGN WORKERS ARE NOT ILLEGAL ALIENS. HE SAYS THEY ARE EXPERTS AT REFINING CANE INTO SUGAR, AND THE
STATE'S SUGAR INDUSTRY RELIES ON HAVING THEM. STRAIN SAYS HIS OFFICE AND CANE FARMERS WILL REACH OUT TO CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATES TO HELP RESOLVE THE ISSUE IN TIME FOR THE CANE HARVEST.

THREE TEEN BOYS IN ST. TAMMANY PARISH ARE UNDER ARREST FOR ALLEGEDLY PLOTTING A COLUMBINE-LIKE SHOOTING SPREE AT THEIR MANDEVILLE SCHOOL. ST. TAMMANY SHERIFF JACK STRAIN SAYS INVESTIGATORS, ACTING ON A TIP FROM SCHOOL OFFICIALS, TURNED UP PLANS MADE BY THE YOUTHS TO TAKE GUNS TO SCHOOL ON TODAY, THE FIRST DAY OF CLASS. THE THREE ARE NOW CHARGED WITH CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT TERRORISM.

A WEST BATON ROUGE PARISH DEPUTY, WHO WORKED IN THE PARISH JAIL, HAS BEEN TERMINATED AFTER BEING ACCUSED OF HAVING SEX WITH A TEENAGE GIRL. SHERIFF MIKE CAZES SAYS AN ANONYMOUS TIP STARTED THE INVESTIGATION, AND WHEN CONFRONTED ANTHONY GUIDRY ADMITTED THE DEED. THE GIRL'S MOTHER HAS DECIDED NOT TO PRESS CHARGES, BUT GUIDRY HAS BEEN FIRED FROM HIS POSITION WITH THE SHERIFF'S OFFICE.

LAFAYETTE PARISH DEPUTIES SAY A MAN WHO STABBED HIS GIRLFRIEND DURING AN ARGUMENT FRIDAY APPARENTLY COMMITTED SUICIDE BY STEPPING INTO THE PATH OF A TRAIN. I HAPPENED NEAR SCOTT. THE MAN IS IDENTIFIED AS 29-YEAR-OLD GREG REDONDO JR, OF DUSON. REDONDO'S GIRLFRIEND IS EXPECTED TO RECOVER COMPLETELY FROM HER STAB WOUNDS.

FIVE NEW ORLEANS POLICE OFFICERS HAVE BEEN FOUND GUILTY OF VIOLATING THE CIVIL RIGHTS OF UNARMED CITIZENS ATTEMPTING TO CROSS THE DANZIGER BRIDGE IN THE CHAOS THAT FOLLOWED HURRICANE KATRINA. TWO CIVILIANS WERE SHOT AND KILLED IN THE INCIDENT. THE CASE WAS ONE OF FOUR MAJOR FEDERAL CASES INVOLVING THE USE OF FORCE BY NEW ORLEANS POLICE. FIVE OTHER OFFICERS HAVE ALREADY PLEADED GUILTY TO VARIOUS CHARGES IN THE SHOOTINGS AND THE SUBSEQUENT COVER-UP.

NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE IS REPLACING ITS NEW ORLEANS-BASED SHIP WITH A LARGER ONE. THE COMPANY SAYS IT WILL SEND THE SPIRIT TO THE MEDITERRANEAN ON APRIL 15 TO SPEND THE SUMMER IN EUROPE. IT HAS A CAPACITY OF 2,018 PASSENGERS. COMING TO NEW ORLEANS ON NOV. 4, 2012, WILL BE THE NORWEGIAN STAR, WITH A CAPACITY OF 2,348 PASSENGERS. THE STAR WILL LEAVE EACH SUNDAY FOR A SEVEN-DAY CRUISE.

VISION AIRLINES HAS ANNOUNCED IT WILL END SERVICE FROM SHREVEPORT TO FLORIDA.
INTERIM AIRPORT AUTHORITY DIRECTOR BILL COOKSEY SAYS HE GOT THE WORD FRIDAY THAT FLIGHTS WOULD END IN MID-AUGUST. VISION AIRLINES BEGAN SERVICE IN SHREVEPORT THIS YEAR, REELING IN CUSTOMERS WITH LOW-COST DEALS FOR FLIGHTS ON BOEING 737-SERIES AIRCRAFT WITH UP TO 148 SEATS. COOKSEY SAYS ABOUT 1,000 PASSENGERS USED THE SERVICE EACH MONTH. SHREVEPORT WAS AMONG 20 CITIES VISION CHOSE TO LAUNCH IN AT ONE TIME. WORD IS THE AIRLINE MAY OFFER SEASONAL SERVICE NEXT SPRING.




News For Frifay 080511


NEWS FOR FRIDAY 080511
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

THE WALL BETWEEN THE ALEXANDRIA CITY COUNCIL AND MAYOR JACQUES ROY GOT A BIT HIGHER YESTERDAY AS THE MAYOR LASHED OUT AT THE COUNCIL DURING HIS BI-MONTHLY PRE-COUNCIL ADMINISTRATIVE BRIEFING. THE MAYOR CRITICIZED THE EFFORTS OF CITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT JOHNSON AND VICE PRESIDENT ED LARVADAIN III AS WELL AS WHAT HE SEES AS THEIR LACK OF WILLINGNESS TO WORK WITH ROY AND MEMBERS OF THE MAYOR'S ADMINISTRATION ON KEY PROJECTS. THE MAYOR ALSO ALLEGED CONTINUED VIOLATIONS OF THE CITY CHARTER, ADDING THAT HE PLANS TO BRING FORTH EXAMPLES OF THOSE VIOLATIONS NEXT WEEK. DESPITE HIS HARSH WORDS, MAYOR ROY EXPRESSED HOPE THAT HE CAN GET ON THE SAME PAGE WITH HIS POLITICAL OPPONENTS ON THE COUNCIL AND WORK ON POSITIVE PROJECTS THAT BOTH SIDES AGREE ARE IN THE CITY'S BEST INTEREST.

WINN PARISH SHERIFF "BODIE" LITTLE IS OUT OD A JOB AND UNDER HOUSE ARREST AS A RESULT OF A HEARING IN SHREVEPORT YESTERDAY. A FEDERAL MAGISTRATE THURSDAY AFTERNOON LISTENED TO TESTIMONY OUTLINING ALLEGATIONS THE FIRST-TERM SHERIFF FACILITATED DRUG DEALS FOR A WOMAN WITH WHOM HE WAS HAVING A SEXUAL RELATIONSHIP. LITTLE'S APPEARANCE BEFORE FEDERAL MAGISTRATE MARK HORNSBY WAS TO DETERMINE IF HE SHOULD BE RELEASED FROM CUSTODY. LITTLE WAS ARRESTED TUESDAY AT HIS WINNFIELD HOME IN CONNECTION WITH FEDERAL INDICTMENTS ACCUSING HIM AND 10 OTHERS OF DRUG TRAFFICKING CHARGES IN THE WINN PARISH AND SHREVEPORT AREAS. LITTLE PLEADED NOT GUILTY . THE JUDGE TOLD LITTLE HE IS TO HAVE NO CONTACT WITH THE SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT WHILE UNDER HOUSE ARREST.


SHREVEPORT IS HOSTING THE THREE-DAY LOUISIANA MUNICIPAL ASSOCIATION CONFERENCE. GUEST SPEAKERS WILL INCLUDE GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL, AG COMMISSIONER MIKE STRAIN AND HOUSE SPEAKER JIM TUCKER. LMA PRESIDENT BOBBY WASHINGTON SAYS THE CONVENTION PUTS ALL MAYORS ON EQUAL FOOTING, REGARDLESS OF THE SIZE OF THEIR CITY. THE CONFERENCE WILL FEATURE WORKSHOPS ON ETHICS AND CAMPAIGN FINANCE DISCLOSURE.

THE ANNUAL LOUISIANA SALES TAX HOLIDAY IS TODAY AND TOMORROW. CONSUMERS WILL NOT HAVE TO PAY THE FOUR-PERCENT STATE SALES TAX ON THE FIRST 25-HUNDRED DOLLARS OF ELIGIBLE ITEMS SUCH AS CLOTHES, FURNITURE AND APPLIANCES, COMPUTERS AND SCHOOL SUPPLIES. THE DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE REMINDS RESIDENTS THE EXEMPTIONS DOES NOT APPLY TO LOCAL SALES TAXES. ALSO REMEMBER TO SAVE YOUR RECEIPTS ON SCHOOL RELATED ITEMS, BECAUSE MOST OF THEM CAN BE DEDUCTED FROM YOUR 2011 STATE INCOME TAX.

GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL TRAVELED TO FLORIDA AND GEORGIA YESTERDAY TO BRING IN NEW DONATIONS FOR HIS CAMPAIGN WARCHEST. SO FAR, JINDAL IS SAID TO HAVE OVER $9 MILLION IN HIS CAMPAIGN ACCOUNT FOR THE OCTOBER 22ND PRIMARY. JINDAL HAS NO MAJOR ANNOUNCED COMPETITORS SO FAR.

THE WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY IS QUICKLY CLOSING FOR ANYONE TO MOUNT A SERIOUS CHALLENGE TO INCUMBENT GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL IN THE STATEWIDE ELECTION THIS OCTOBER. THAT'S ACCORDING TO LSU MASS COMMUNICATION PROFESSOR BOB MANN, WHO SAYS TEN WEEKS DOESN'T GIVE A CANDIDATE MUCH TIME. MANN SAYS IT'S NOT IMPOSSIBLE TO PUT TOGETHER A CHALLENGE BUT EVEN IF SOMEONE SHOULD STEP FORWARD WITH THE NAME RECOGNITION IT WOULD BE HARD TO MAKE AN APPEAL TO THE VOTERS.

THE CHAIRMAN OF THE STATE SENATE TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE SAYS A COMPUTER FOUL-UP CAUSED LOUISIANA CAR AND TRUCK OWNERS TO BE CHARGED LATE FEES THEY SHOULDN'T HAVE PAID FOR THEIR VEHICLE REGISTRATIONS. AFTER STATE SEN. JOE MCPHERSON RAISED COMPLAINTS THURSDAY, THE JINDAL ADMINISTRATION SAID ANY LATE PENALTIES PAID ERRONEOUSLY WOULD BE AUTOMATICALLY REFUNDED. A COMPUTER PROBLEM CAUSED SNAGS IN VERIFYING VEHICLE OWNERS' ADDRESSES. AS A RESULT, MCPHERSON SAYS AS MANY AS 40 PERCENT OF VEHICLE OWNERS DIDN'T GET THE 60-DAY NOTIFICATIONS. OMV COMMISSIONER NICK GAUTREAUX SAID IF THEY COULDN'T VALIDATE AN ADDRESS, THE NOTICE WASN'T SENT IN AN EFFORT TO PROTECT DRIVERS' PERSONAL INFORMATION.

ON ONE OF THE HOTTEST DAYS OF THE YEAR, 1700 SWEPCO CUSTOMERS IN BOSSIER PARISH WERE WITHOUT POWER MUCH OF THE DAY YESTERDAY BECAUSE OF A BLOWN TRANSFORMER. SWEPCO SPOKESPERSON SCOTT MCCLOUD SAYS THE DAMAGE TO THE TRANSFORMER WAS EXTENSIVE. COOLING CENTERS WERE SET UP FOR THOSE CUSTOMERS WITHOUT POWER.

THE LSU AGCENTER WILL NOT HAVE TO DECLARE A FINANCIAL EMERGENCY AT THIS TIME. CHANCELLOR BILL RICHARDSON SAYS THEY FOUND WAYS TO ABSORB SOME BUDGET CUTS BY REDUCING PROGRAMS AND EXPENSES THAT WOULD NOT REQUIRE AN EMERGENCY DECLARATION.

A LIQUEFIED NATURAL GAS TERMINAL IN LOUISIANA HAS BEEN APPROVED TO EXPORT NATURAL GAS. FEDERAL ENERGY DEPARTMENT RECORDS SHOW THAT LAKE CHARLES EXPORTS LLC WAS GRANTED AUTHORITY ON JULY 22 TO EXPORT DOMESTIC NATURAL GAS FROM ITS LAKE CHARLES TERMINAL TO COUNTRIES THAT THE U.S. HAS FREE TRADE AGREEMENTS FOR GAS. THE ENERGY DEPARTMENT IS STILL CONSIDERING WHETHER TO ALLOW EXPORTS TO COUNTRIES NOT COVERED BY THE PACTS.

JURY DELIBERATIONS WILL RESUME FRIDAY IN THE TRIAL OF FIVE CURRENT OR FORMER POLICE OFFICERS CHARGED IN DEADLY SHOOTINGS ON A NEW ORLEANS BRIDGE AFTER HURRICANE KATRINA. JURORS CONCLUDED A SECOND DAY OF DELIBERATIONS THURSDAY WITHOUT REACHING A VERDICT. THEY HEARD FIVE WEEKS OF TESTIMONY BEFORE GETTING THE CASE ON WEDNESDAY.


COACH LES MILES ANNOUNCES STEVE KRAGTHORPE IS STEPPING DOWN AS OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR BECAUSE HE'S BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH PARKINSON’S. MILES SAYS KRAGTHORPE WILL REMAIN ON STAFF AS THE QUARTERBACKS COACH AND WILL STILL BE VERY MUCH A PART OF THE GAMES. MILES SAYS OFFENSIVE LINE COACH GREG STUDRAWA WILL TAKE OVER AS OC.

News For Thursday 080411


NEWS FOR THURSDAY 080411
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

THE RAPIDES PARISH SHERIFF’S RACE IS NOW OFFICIALLY UNDERWAY AND YOU DIDN’T THINK IT WOULD BE CIVIL DID YA? A FORMER SHERIFF'S DETECTIVE'S IS CLAIMING RAPIDES PARISH SHERIFF CHUCK WAGNER STOPPED A 2010 PROBE INTO THE SHOOTING AND KILLING OF A DOG BECAUSE THE SHOOTER IS A CLOSE FRIEND OF THE SHERIFF. THAT FORMER DETECTIVE, RANDY COOPER, HAS BEEN DESCRIBED AS “A VERY DISGRUNTLED FORMER EMPLOYEE” WHO IS SUPPORTING SHERIFF WAGNER’S OPPONENT, WILLIAM EARL HILTON. THE SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT REPORTS THAT COOPER WAS FIRED LAST YEAR AND THAT ANIMAL PORNOGRAPHY WAS DISCOVERED ON HIS OFFICE COMPUTER. THE DEPARTMENT ALSO IS SAYING COOPER’S WIFE STOLE A POT-BELLIED PIG AND SHERIFF WAGNER'S PET DOG. THE STATE POLICE WILL LOOK INTO THE ACCUSATIONS.

A FLORIDA MAN’S PLANS TO MAKE A QUICK BUCK WENT UP IN SMOKE YESTERDAY AFTER TWO OF HIS SUITCASES FULL OF MARIJUANA WERE SEIZED AT ALEXANDRIA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT. THE MAN’S PRIVATE PLANE MADE A FUEL STOP AT THE AIRPORT, THAT’S WHEN A SHERIFF’S DEPUTY DISCOVERED THE 46 POUNDS OF POT. 37 YEAR OLD RAIMONDI SALVATORE ROSARIO WAS CHARGED WITH POSSESSION WITH INTENT TO DISTRIBUTE.

ERICA TERRELL OF PINEVILLE WILL BE LAID TO REST TODAY. TERRELL IS THE YOUNG WOMAN WHO WAS STRUCK AND KILLED LATE SUNDAY NIGHT WHILE WALKING ALONG HIGHWAY 28 EAST. PINEVILLE MAYOR CLARENCE FIELDS, WHO WAS DRIVING THE VEHICLE THAT STRUCK THE WOMAN WAS PLANNING TO ATTEND THE FUNERAL SERVICES, BUT HAS NOW DECIDED IT WOULD BE A DISTRACTION TO GRIEVING FAMILY MEMBERS. MAYOR FIELDS KNEW THE WOMAN AND HER FAMILY WELL. THE STATE POLICE HAS YET TO RELEASE A REPORT ON THEIR INVESTIGATION OF THE FATAL ACCIDENT. BUT, MOST, AT THIS POINT BELIEVE IT WAS AN UNAVOIDABLE TRAGEDY.

JUST A REMINDER, THE STATE D.O.T.D. IS ASKING MOTORISTS TO AVOID THE INTERSECTION OF U.S. HIGHWAY 71 AND UPPER THIRD STREET, AT THE FOOT OF THE OK ALLEN BRIDGE, TIL FURTHER NOTICE. WORK CREWS ARE IN THE PROCESS OF CHANGING THE LANES OF TRAFFIC OVER FOR THE NEW CONSTRUCTION OF THE FORT BUHLOW BRIDGE THAT WILL REPLACE THE O.K. ALLEN OVER THE RED RIVER. TRAFFIC IS EXPECTED TO BE BACKED UP, EVEN MORE THAN NORMAL .

POWER PROVIDER CLECO CORP. SAID WEDNESDAY THAT IT NEARLY DOUBLED ITS SECOND-QUARTER PROFIT AFTER SELLING A POWER GENERATING UNIT TO ENTERGY CORP.
THE COMPANY ALSO RAISED ITS 2011 EARNINGS FORECAST. FOR THE THREE MONTHS ENDING JUNE 30, CLECO EARNED $70.2 MILLION, OR $1.15 PER SHARE. CLECO POSTED A ONE-TIME 63-CENT-PER-SHARE GAIN FROM THE SALE OF ONE OF THE TWO GENERATING UNITS AT THE ACADIA POWER STATION.

THE SHERIFF OF WINN PARISH IS DUE IN A SHREVEPORT COURTROOM TODAY, WHERE A FEDERAL JUDGE WILL DETERMINE IF HE CAN REMAIN FREE ON BAIL, WHILE HE AWAITS TRIAL ON DRUG DISTRIBUTION CHARGES. SHERIFF D.A. "BODI" LITTLE IS REPRESENTED BY ATTORNEY TAYLOR TOWNSEND, WHO SAYS HIS CLIENT HAS BEEN FRAMED BY POLITICAL ENEMIES. IF CONVICTED, SHERIFF LITTLE COULD FACE ANYWHERE FROM 10 YEARS TO
LIFE IN PRISON.

THE STATE REVENUE DEPARTMENT REMINDS BACK-TO-SCHOOL SHOPPERS TO HANG ON TO THOSE RECEIPTS, BECAUSE SOME OF THE ITEMS PURCHASED COULD BE TAX DEDUCTIBLE. L-D-R SPOKESPERSON BYRON HENDERSON SAYS MANY SCHOOL SUPPLIES CAN BE WRITTEN OFF, WHEN YOU FILL OUT YOUR 2011 TAX FORMS...

TROPICAL STORM EMILY CONTINUES TO SLOWLY DRIFT TOWARD THE ISLAND OF HISPANIOLA. COMPUTER MODELS TAKE EMILY UP THE EAST COAST, BUT FORECASTERS SAY IF THE STORM LINGERS A FEW MORE DAYS IN THE CARIBBEAN WITHOUT GAINING STRENGTH, THERE'S A CHANCE ITS PATH COULD CHANGE AND IT COULD HEAD INTO THE GULF OF MEXICO. SO, IT BEARS WATCHING.

THE COLORADO STATE UNIVERSITY HURRICANE FORECASTING TEAM HAS CONFIRMED THEIR PRE-SEASON FORECAST OF 16 NAMED STORMS FOR 2011. CSU FORECASTERS SAYS THERE IS A 45-PERCENT CHANCE OF A HURRICANE HITTING THE LOUISIANA COAST AND AN 18-PERCENT CHANCE WE'LL SEE A MAJOR HURRICANE THIS SEASON.

ACCORDING TO THE STATE'S CLIMATOLOGIST, THE RECORD HEAT THAT LOUISIANA IS EXPERIENCING THIS WEEK IS HIGHLY UNUSUAL. BARRY KEIM SAYS THE HUMIDITY LEVELS ACROSS THE STATE HAVE BEEN DRIVEN UP TO DANGEROUS PROPORTIONS. KEIM SAYS THE COMBINATION OF THE HIGH TEMPERATURES AND HIGH HUMIDITY ARE CAUSING OUTDOOR CONDITIONS TO BE BRUTAL. HE SAYS TEMPERATURES ARE GOING TO REMAIN HOT ALL THE WAY THROUGH THE WEEKEND, THOUGH THE HUMIDITY MIGHT BACK DOWN A BIT. KEIM SAYS THESE CONDITIONS ARE CAUSED BY A STEAMING HOT GULF OF MEXICO.

AN 18-PERSON PANEL HAS BEEN CHOSEN TO STUDY THE STATE'S FOUR COLLEGE SYSTEM GOVERNING BOARDS AND THE POSSIBLE VIRTUES OF MERGING THEM INTO ONE. ONE OF THOSE SELECTED FOR THE COMMISSION IS COUNCIL FOR A BETTER LOUISIANA (CABL) PRESIDENT BARRY ERWIN. ERWIN SAYS THE COMMISSION WILL SEEK WAYS THAT HIGHER EDUCATION BOARDS COULD OPERATE MORE EFFECTIVELY AND EFFICIENTLY, AND ONE OF THOSE WAYS WOULD INVOLVE MERGING THE BOARDS INTO ONE. LEGISLATION TO FORM JUST ONE COLLEGE BOARD FAILED TO GAIN TRACTION WITH STATE LAWMAKERS THIS SPRING.

CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS IN DERIDDER ARE CONSIDERING AN ORDINANCE TO BAN SMOKING IN ALL CITY PARKS. THE TOWN HAS ALREADY PROHIBITED CIGARETTE SMOKING AT BALL FIELDS AND STADIUMS. NON-SMOKERS ARE ANXIOUS TO SEE THE ORDINANCE PASS, BUT SMOKERS FEEL THEY SHOULD HAVE THE RIGHT TO LIGHT UP IN AN OUTDOOR PARK THAT THEY PAY TAXES TO MAINTAIN. THAT ITEM IS ON THE COUNCIL'S AGENDA NEXT MONDAY.

THE SEARCH FOR SMALL PLANE STOLEN FROM AN ALABAMA AIRSTRIP TUESDAY HAS BEEN CALLED OFF. AUTHORITIES BELIEVE THE PLANE WENT DOWN IN THE GULF SOMEWHERE SOUTHEAST OF VENICE, WITH THE PILOT, 68-YEAR-OLD GEORGE CONWAY, ON BOARD. SEARCHERS HAVE FOUND NO FUEL SLICK OR DEBRIS FIELD IN THOSE WATERS.

FEDERAL AUTHORITIES CHARGE 72 PEOPLE WITH TAKING PART IN AN INTERNATIONAL CHILD PORNOGRAPHY RING WITH TIES TO LAFAYETTE. THERE HAVE BEEN 52 ARRESTS IN CONNECTION WITH A WEBSITE CALLED DREAMBOARD, WHICH ALLEGEDLY CATERS TO CHILD PREDATORS. AT LEAST ONE DEFENDANT, A VIRGINIA MAN WILL FACE TRIAL IN LAFAYETTE, WHERE THE CASE GOT STARTED. IT'S STILL UNCLEAR HOW LAFAYETTE FIGURES INTO THE CASE OR WHY IT STARTED THERE.

A 34-YEAR-OLD HOUMA MAN WAS ELECTROCUTED WHILE ALLEGEDLY BREAKING IN TO STEAL COPPER WIRING. ACCORDING TO TERREBONNE PARISH SHERIFF'S DEPUTIES, ELECTRIC COMPANY WORKERS FOUND TIMOTHY LEWIS'S BODY AFTER GETTING A CALL, EARLY WEDNESDAY, ABOUT LOST POWER. LEWIS WAS PRONOUNCED DEAD AT THE SCENE.
POLICE REPORT LEWIS BROKE THROUGH A FENCE AT A SUBSTATION IN HOUMA, AND WAS KILLED WHEN HE CUT A GROUND LINE WITH A PAIR OF WIRE CUTTERS.

AN ALEXANDRIA MAN IS ACCUSED OF STEALING COPPER FROM A RESIDENCE ON MARTIN STREET. 24 YEAR OLD LONNIE JOSEPH HAS BEEN CHARGED WITH THEFT OF A USED BUILDING COMPONENT AFTER AUTHORITIES SAID THEY RECEIVED A TIP THAT COPPER WAS BEING STOLEN FROM A VACANT RESIDENCE IN THE 3100 BLOCK OF MARTIN STREET.

IN A SPEECH TO A NATIONAL CONSERVATIVE GROUP WEDNESDAY, GOV. BOBBY JINDAL SAID IT WAS PARAMOUNT TO KEEP THE PRESSURE ON PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA OVER BUDGET ISSUES AND SEEK TO GET A BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT ATTACHED TO THE U.S. CONSTITUTION. JINDAL, A FIRST-TERM REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR, SPOKE WEDNESDAY TO THE AMERICAN LEGISLATIVE EXCHANGE COUNCIL, A GROUP OF STATE LEGISLATORS FROM AROUND THE NATION WHO FAVOR LIMITED GOVERNMENT AND FEDERALISM. THEY ARE MEETING IN NEW ORLEANS.

THE PRODUCERS OF HISTORY CHANNEL'S HIT SHOW "SWAMP PEOPLE" ARE LOOKING FOR NEW CAST MEMBERS FOR SEASON THREE. CASTING DIRECTOR JASON SKWERES SAYS THEY'RE LOOKING FOR ALL TYPES OF CHARACTERS, NOT JUST GATOR HUNTERS. THE SHOW'S SECOND LOUISIANA CASTING IS SET FOR FRIDAY IN HOUMA.

82-YEAR-OLD ALZHEIMER'S PATIENT, WALTER HARTMAN OF SHREVEPORT, HAS BEEN FOUND, SAFE AND SOUND, IN NORMAN, OKLAHOMA. HARTMAN WAS REPORTED MISSING FROM HIS HOME MONDAY NIGHT. SHREVEPORT POLICE SGT. BILL GOODIN SAYS HARTMAN JUST DECIDE TO TAKE A BUS TRIP TO SEE HIS DAUGHTER WHO LIVES THERE.

CADDO PARISH JURORS CONVICT ERIC MICKELSON OF STRANGLING A WORLD WAR II VETERAN WHOSE BODY WAS DISMEMBERED AND LEFT IN TRASH CONTAINERS. THEY MUST NOW DECIDE WHETHER HE SHOULD DIE FOR THE FIRST-DEGREE MURDER OF 86-YEAR-OLD CHARLES MARTIN.







News For Wednesday 080311


NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY 080311
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

LOUISIANA'S CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION IS SPLIT OVER THE PLAN TO RAISE THE FEDERAL DEBT CEILING. CONGRESSMEN BILL CASSIDY, CHARLES BOUSTANY, CEDRIC RICHMOND, RODNEY ALEXANDER AND SENATOR MARY LANDRIEU VOTED FOR THE BILL. REPUBLICAN SENATOR DAVID VITTER AND LOUISIANA HOUSE MEMBERS STEVE SCALISE, JOHN FLEMMING AND CHRIS LANDRY ALL VOTED AGAINST THE BILL. SENATOR DAVID VITTER SAYS THE DEBT CEILING BILL WILL STILL LEAD TO A DOWNGRADE OF THE NATION'S CREDIT RATING.

MUCH OF THE NORTHERN HALF OF THE STATE IS UNDER AN EXCESSIVE HEAT ADVISORY UNTIL SEVEN O' CLOCK TONIGHT. HIGH TEMPERATURES ARE EXPECTED TO CLIMB PAST THE CENTURY MARK AND THE HEAT INDEX WILL RANGE BETWEEN 110 AND 118 DEGREES. BRANDI RICHARDSON WITH THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN SHREVEPORT SAYS THE EXCESSIVE HEAT WARNING WILL LIKELY EXTEND INTO TOMORROW AS WELL.

THE TOP LAW OFFICER IN WINN PARISH IS AMONG 11 PEOPLE FACING FEDERAL CHARGES RELATED TO THE DISTRIBUTION OF METHAMPHETAMINE IN NORTHWESTERN LOUISIANA.
U.S. ATTORNEY STEPHANIE FINLEY SAYS SHERIFF ALBERT LITTLE AND FOUR OTHER PEOPLE WERE ARRESTED TUESDAY AND TAKEN TO SHREVEPORT FOR INITIAL COURT APPEARANCES.
FINLEY SAYS THREE OTHER PEOPLE WERE ARRESTED IN LATE JUNE, ONE PERSON IS IN CUSTODY ON UNRELATED STATE CHARGES AND TWO DEFENDANTS ARE BEING SOUGHT BY AUTHORITIES. A BREAKOUT OF THE CHARGES AGAINST EACH DEFENDANT WAS NOT IMMEDIATELY AVAILABLE. HOWEVER, ONE OF THE CHARGES, CONSPIRING WITH INTENT TO DISTRIBUTE METHAMPHETAMINE, CARRIES A POSSIBLE LIFE PRISON SENTENCE AND $10 MILLION FINE.

PART OF PRESIDENT OBAMA'S NEW HEALTH CARE PLAN WOULD REQUIRE INSURANCE COMPANIES TO PAY FOR BIRTH CONTROL AS PREVENTIVE CARE FOR WOMEN, WITH NO CO-PAYS. THERE ARE THOSE WHO BELIEVE SOME WOMEN ARE TURNED OFF TO USING BIRTH CONTROL BECAUSE OF THE COST. STUDIES SHOW ABOUT HALF OF ALL U-S PREGNANCIES ARE UNPLANNED. LOUISIANA INSURANCE COMMISSIONER JIM DONELON SAYS REQUIRING INSURANCE COMPANIES TO COVER BIRTH CONTROL WILL NOT BE COST EFFECTIVE AND WILL LEAD TO HIGHER PREMIUMS.

TROPICAL STORM EMILY CONTINUES TO GATHER STRENGTH IN AN AREA JUST SOUTH EAST OF PUERTO RICO. FORECASTER SCOTT STRIPLING WITH THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER SAYS EMILY HAS WINDS OF ABOUT 45 MILES PER HOUR. HE SAYS, AS OF NOW, EMILY IS NOT EXPECTED TO BECOME A HURRICANE ANYTIME SOON. THE LATEST FORECAST MODELS SHOW EMILY MOVING SLOWLY UP THE EAST COAST OF FLORIDA.

MORE ACCOLADES FOR LOUISIANA'S BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT, AS THE TRADE JOURNAL "BUSINESS FACILITIES" RANKS THE BAYOU STATE #2 IN THE COUNTRY FOR ECONOMIC GROWTH POTENTIAL. LOUISIANA'S ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT SECRETARY, STEPHEN MORET, SAYS THAT IS AN ALL-TIME HIGH RATING FOR THE STATE FROM THAT PUBLICATION. IN ADDITION, THE MAGAZINE ALSO RANKED LOUISIANA 7TH OUT OF 50 STATES FOR BEST BUSINESS CLIMATE.

A STATE LAWMAKER FROM CARENCRO WHO WAS ARRESTED LAST YEAR FOR DRUNKEN DRIVING SAYS HE ISN'T RUNNING FOR RE-ELECTION THIS FALL. DEMOCRATIC REP. BOBBY BADON ANNOUNCED HIS DECISION TUESDAY, SAYING HE WILL LEAVE THE STATE HOUSE IN JANUARY AFTER ONE TERM IN OFFICE. BADON SAYS THE EXPANSION OF HIS BUSINESS AND FARMING INTERESTS IS TAKING TIME AWAY FROM HIS ABILITY TO REPRESENT CONSTITUENTS IN OFFICE. THE LAWMAKER'S DISTRICT COVERS LAFAYETTE, ST. LANDRY AND ST. MARTIN PARISHES. BADON WAS ARRESTED IN 2010 FOR A FIRST-OFFENSE DWI. POLICE SAID HIS BREATH SAMPLE SHOWED A BLOOD ALCOHOL CONTENT ABOVE THE LEGAL LIMIT. HE HAD BEEN STOPPED FOR IMPROPER LANE USAGE. THE CHARGE WAS THROWN OUT EARLIER THIS YEAR BY A JUDGE WHO RULED THERE WAS NO BASIS FOR THE TRAFFIC STOP.

THE UNIVERSITY OF NEW ORLEANS REPORTS IT'S GRADUATION RATE HAS JUMPED FROM 20-PERCENT IN 2010 TO 38-PERCENT THIS YEAR. THE LATEST GRADUATION RATE REPRESENTS A 90-PERCENT INCREASE OVER THE CLASS THAT ENROLLED BEFORE KATRINA. MIKE RIVAULT (REE/VO), CHIEF MARKETING AND COMMUNICATION OFFICER FOR UNO SAYS THE IMPROVEMENT CAN BE ATTRIBUTED TO A MORE QUALIFIED AND MORE DEDICATED CLASS OF INCOMING STUDENTS.

STATE HEALTH OFFICIALS SAY LOUISIANA IS INCLUDED AMONG STATES WITH CASES OF SALMONELLA THAT ARE LINKED TO GROUND TURKEY PRODUCTS. HOWEVER, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH & HOSPITALS RETAIL FOODS ADMINISTRATOR CAROLYN BOMBET SAYS ONLY ONE PERSON IN OUR STATE HAS THE ILLNESS, AND IT'S UNCERTAIN IF THAT PERSON EVEN ATE ANY GROUND TURKEY. BOMBET SAYS THE USDA HAS ISSUED A SALMONELLA ALERT FOR GROUND TURKEY, AFTER SALMONELLA CASES TURNED UP IN 25 STATES...BUT DECLINES TO NAME THE GROUND TURKEY PRODUCT OR ISSUE A RECALL. SHE CHARACTERIZES THE
FEDERAL ACTION AS "ALARMIST".BOMBET SAYS IF YOU COOK TURKEY, USE A MEAT THERMOMETER AND MAKE SURE THE INSIDE REACHES AT LEAST 165 DEGREES.

STATE POLICE SAY A MORGAN CITY TEEN, ARRESTED ON SEXUAL MOLESTATION CHARGES, HAD THREE PIPE BOMBS IN HIS POSSESSION WHEN HE WAS TAKEN IN. A SEARCH WARRANT OF HIS HOME TURNED UP THE BOMBS. THE DEVICES WERE REMOVED FROM THE HOME AND BLOWN UP UNDER CONTROLLED CONDITIONS. 17-YEAR-OLD THOMAS BREAUX NOW FACES A LIST OF CHARGES INCLUDING SEXUAL BATTERY OF A MINOR AND POSSESSING CHILD PORNOGRAPHY.

LT GOVERNOR JAY DARDENNE ANNOUNCES THE RESULTS OF A STUDY CONDUCTED SHOWS JUST OVER HALF OF LOUISIANA RESIDENTS VOLUNTEER IN THEIR COMMUNITIES. DARDENNE SAYS IN A SURVEY OF OVER 720 PEOPLE, 51 PERCENT SAY THEY ARE INVOLVED IN VOLUNTEER ACTIVITIES. HE SAYS MORE THAN 85 PERCENT OF RESPONDENTS ALSO SAY THEY WILL VOLUNTEER AGAIN NEXT YEAR. DARDENNE SAYS THEY CONDUCTED THE STUDY IN THE HOPES OF INCREASING VOLUNTEERISM IN THE STATE. HE SAYS THEIR RECENTLY LAUNCHED "ALL WE NEED IS U" CAMPAIGN IS DESIGNED TO MOVE VOLUNTEERISM RATES WELL ABOVE 51 PERCENT. POTENTIAL VOLUNTEERS CAN GO TO WWW.VOLUNTEERLOUISIANA.GOV WHICH LISTS VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES.

REGIONAL BANKER IBERIABANK CORP. PLANS TO BUY BACK UP TO 900,000 SHARES OF ITS OUTSTANDING COMMON STOCK. LAFAYETTE-BASED IBERIABANK SAID TUESDAY THAT THE REPURCHASE COVERS UP TO 3 PERCENT OF ITS OUTSTANDING SHARES. THE COMPANY SAID IT WILL MAKE THE PURCHASES ON THE OPEN MARKET OR IN PRIVATELY NEGOTIATED TRANSACTIONS. THE ANNOUNCEMENT WAS MADE AFTER FINANCIAL MARKETS CLOSED. IN TUESDAY TRADING, IBERIABANK SHARES WERE DOWN 96 CENTS TO CLOSE AT $50. THE SHARES HAVE TRADED IN A 52-WEEK RANGE OF $48.31 TO $61.30.

TICKETS FOR THE LSU SEASON OPENER AGAINST OREGON IN DALLAS ARE THE HOTTEST IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL THIS YEAR. JOELLEN FERRAR, WITH TICKET BROKER WEBSITE "STUBHUB.COM", SAYS LSU WAS ALLOTTED 37-THOUSAND TICKETS FOR THE SEPTEMBER 3RD SEASON OPENER, AND THEY ARE REPORTEDLY SOLD OUT. THAT MEANS GOING TO 2ND MARKET SOURCES, LIKE STUBHUB, TO FIND TICKETS. FERRAR SAYS THEY HAVE ABOUT 2000 TICKETS STILL AVAILABLE--STARTING AS LOW AS $65...AND GOING WAY UP. BECAUSE LSU PLAYS ONLY 6 HOME GAMES THIS YEAR, AND DALLAS ISN'T TOO FAR AWAY, FANS ARE LIKELY TO TREAT THIS AS A "HOME GAME" AND FEEL ATTENDING IS A "MUST".

LSU TIGERS REPORT FOR PRESEASON CAMP TODAY WITH THE INTENTIONS OF PLAYING FOR THE BCS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP. WITH 16 STARTERS RETURNING, THE BAYOU BENGALS ARE CONSIDERED A TITLE CONTENDER, DESPITE A DIFFICULT SCHEDULE.





News For Tuesday 080211


NEWS FOR TUESDAY 080211
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

A SPORT UTILITY VEHICLE DRIVEN BY PINEVILLE MAYOR CLARENCE FIELDS STRUCK AND KILLED A PEDESTRIAN IN PINEVILLE. ACCORDING TO A NEWS RELEASE, LOUISIANA STATE TROOPER SCOTT MOREAU SAYS FIELDS WAS DRIVING WEST ON LA. 28 AROUND 9 P.M. SUNDAY NIGHT WHEN HE STRUCK 29-YEAR-OLD ERICA L. TERRELL OF PINEVILLE, WHO WAS WALKING IN THE RIGHT LANE. TERRELL WAS PRONOUNCED DEAD AT THE SCENE. FIELDS WAS NOT INJURED IN THE CRASH. WE WERE INFORMED YESTERDAY THAT TWO VEHICLES IN FRONT OF THE MAYORS VEHICLE, BARELY AVOIDED HITTING THE WOMAN. THAT REPORT, TO THIS POINT, HAS NOT BEN CONFIRMED. THE INVESTIGATION, BEING CONDUCTED BY THE STATE POLICE, IS ON GOING.

THE ALEXANDRIA AND PINEVILLE POLICE DEPARTMENTS WILL PARTICIPATE IN AMERICA'S NATIONAL NIGHT OUT AGAINST CRIME, AS THEY WILL JOIN WITH APPROXIMATELY 15,000 COMMUNITIES ACROSS THE NATION, CANADA AND MILITARY BASES ACROSS THE GLOBE IN THE 28TH ANNUAL EVENT. ALEXANDRIA'S EVENT WILL BE FROM 5:30 TO 8 P.M. AT THE PUBLIC SAFETY COMPLEX, LOCATED AT 1000 BOLTON AVE. THE PINEVILLE POLICE DEPARTMENT WILL HOST ITS FIRST NATIONAL NIGHT OUT EVENT FROM 6 TO 8 P.M. AT THE MAIN STREET COMMUNITY CENTER. ADMISSION TO BOTH EVENTS IS FREE.

PINEVILLE PD SAY THEY WERE ACTING ON A TIP YESTERDAY WHEN THEY RAIDED A SANDIFER LANE HOME AND FOUND SEVERAL ILLEGAL NARCOTICS AND THE COMPONENTS FOR MAKING CRYSTAL METHAMPHETAMINE. THE FOUR PEOPLE IN THE APARTMENT WERE ARRESTED AND BOOKED INTO THE RAPIDES PARISH DETENTION CENTER

AS EXPECTED, THE US JUSTICE DEPARTMENT YESTERDAY GAVE APPROVAL TO THE STATE LEGISLATURE'S PLANS FOR REDUCING CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS FROM SEVEN TO SIX IN THE STATE AND TO DRAWING NEW ELECTION DISTRICTS FOR PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION MEMBERS. THE PLANS WERE DRAWN IN A SPECIAL SESSION EARLIER THIS YEAR.

THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE HAS APPROVED THE RAPIDES PARISH POLICE JURY'S REAPPORTIONMENT PLAN. THE NEW DISTRICT MAPS MUST BE IN PLACE BY AUG. 29 IN ADVANCE OF OCTOBER ELECTIONS.

A ST. LANDRY PARISH JURY DELIBERATED FOR LESS THAN 30 MINUTES BEFORE RETURNING A GUILTY VERDICT AGAINST A LAWTELL MAN ACCUSED OF SEXUALLY ASSAULTING AN 80-YEAR-OLD WOMAN IN 2009. THE AGGRAVATED RAPE CONVICTION MEANS 30 YEAR OLD BRIAN MALVEAUX NOW FACES A MANDATORY LIFE SENTENCE

LSU HAS SET A NEW RECORD FOR SEASON TICKET SALES WITH 68,772 FOR THE 2011 SEASON. ASSISTANT ATHLETIC DIRECTOR FOR TICKET OPERATIONS BRIAN BROUSSARD, WHO ANNOUNCED THE RECORD ON MONDAY, SAYS LSU SURPASSED THE OLD MARK OF 68,650 BECAUSE OF NEWLY ADDED CLUB-LEVEL SEATS IN TIGER STADIUM THAT INCREASED OVERALL CAPACITY TO 92,542. LSU PLACES AN ARTIFICIAL CEILING ON SEASON TICKETS IN ORDER TO PRESERVE SOME PARTS OF THE STADIUM FOR SINGLE-GAME SALES AND PARTIAL SEASON PLANS.

RECENT RAINS HAVE HELPED EASE DROUGHT CONDITIONS ACROSS SOUTH LOUISIANA BUT HAVE ALSO LEFT POOLS OF STANDING WATER THAT ARE A FAVORITE BREEDING GROUND FOR MOSQUITOES. STATE OFFICE OF PUBLIC HEALTH MEDICAL ENTOMOLOGIST, KYLE MOPPERT, SAYS THERE IS GOOD NEWS HOWEVER, THE COMBINATION OF DROUGHTS IN TEXAS AND NORTH LOUISIANA COMBINED WITH FLUSHING RAINS IN SOUTH LOUISIANA HAVE KEPT THE NUMBERS OF WEST NILE CASES VERY LOW THIS YEAR. MOPPERT SAYS AUGUST IS THE PEAK PERIOD FOR WEST NILE CASES.

ANIMAL ACTIVIST BOB BARKER HAS GONE TO BAT FOR DOGS, CATS, WHALES, PIGEONS, ELEPHANTS AND ALL KINDS OF OTHER ANIMALS. FIVE CHIMPANZEES ARE THE BENEFICIARIES OF HIS LATEST DONATION. CHIMP HAVEN IN KEITHVILLE, LA., SAID HIS DONATION OF $230,000 LAST MONTH WILL PAY TO EXPAND THE 200-ACRE HABITAT TO MAKE ROOM FOR THE FIVE CHIMPS AND CARE FOR THEM FOR ONE YEAR. BARKER SAID THE CHIMPS CAME FROM A TEXAS RESEARCH LABORATORY THAT WENT BANKRUPT. THE 87-YEAR-OLD BARKER SPENT 50 YEARS ON TELEVISION, RETIRING IN 2008 FROM "THE PRICE IS RIGHT."

FEDERAL INVESTIGATORS ARE LOOKING FOR WHAT CAUSED A SMALL PLANE TO CRASH OVER THE WEEKEND SHORTLY AFTER TAKEOFF FROM THE ST. LANDRY PARISH AIRPORT IN OPELOUSAS. THE FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION WAS NOTIFIED AFTER THE SINGLE-ENGINE PLANE CRASHED ABOUT 11 A.M. SATURDAY. THE PILOT, A 52 YEAR OLD RETIRED FROM TULSA, OKLA., WAS TREATED FOR MILD TO MODERATE INJURIES AND RELEASED SATURDAY AFTERNOON. THE PILOT, WHO WAS THE ONLY THE ONLY OCCUPANT IN THE FOUR-PASSENGER PLANE, SAID THE PLANE EXPERIENCED A LOSS OF POWER.

OVER A YEAR AFTER THE BP OIL SPILL, SEAFOOD FROM THE GULF TESTS COMPLETELY SAFE TO EAT, BUT LOUISIANA STILL NEEDS TO CONVINCE THE NATION OF THAT. LSU SEAFOOD SPECIALIST DR. LUCINA LAMPILA (LOO-SEE-NUH LAMP-IL-UH) SAYS THE STATE'S SEAFOOD INDUSTRY IS FIGHTING A FALSE PERCEPTION ACROSS THE US. DR. LAMPILA SAYS OVER 300-THOUSAND INDIVIDUAL ANIMAL SAMPLES HAVE BEEN TESTED FOR HYDROCARBONS (OIL) AND FOR CHEMICAL DISPERSANTS. SHE SAYS SHRIMP FROM THE GULF COULDN'T BE SAFER FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION.

PRINCETON REVIEW RANKS LSU 13TH IN THEIR ANNUAL LISTING OF TOP PARTY SCHOOLS IN THE COUNTRY. AUTHOR OF THE REPORT, ROB FRANK, SAYS IT'S THE FIRST TIME SINCE 2007 LSU HAS MADE THIS LIST. OHIO IS RANKED NUMBER ONE FOLLOWED BY GEORGIA AND OLE MISS. THE PRINCETON REVIEW RANKED LSU AS THE TOP PARTY SCHOOL BACK IN 2000.

Breaking News 1p 8/1/11


STATE POLICE REPORT THAT PINEVILLE MAYOR CLARENCE FIELDS WAS INVOLVED IN A FATAL ACCIDENT LAST NIGHT ON HIGHWAY 28 EAST. THE ACCIDENT OCCURRED NEAR TRINITY CHURCH ROAD AROUND 9PM. TROOPERS SAY FIELDS STRUCK A PEDESTRIAN, 29 YEAR OLD ERICA TERRELL OF PINEVILLE. THE MAYOR’S VEHICLE WAS WEST BOUND IN THE RIGHT LANE ON LA HWY 28 EAST WHEN IT COLLIDED WITH TERRELL. TERRELL WAS WALKING IN THE RIGHT LANE. THE MAYOR RELEASED A STATEMENT TODAY EXTENDING CONDOLENCES TO THE FAMILY OF WOMAN.

Mayor's Press Release

News For Monday 080111


NEWS FOR MONDAY 080111
BY DAVE GRAICHEN


STATE POLICE REPORT THAT PINEVILLE MAYOR CLARENCE FIELDS WAS INVOLVED IN A FATAL ACCIDENT LAST NIGHT ON HIGHWAY 28 EAST. THE ACCIDENT OCCURRED NEAR TRINITY CHURCH ROAD AROUND 9PM. TROOPERS SAY FIELDS STRUCK A PEDESTRIAN, 29 YEAR OLD ERICA TERRELL OF PINEVILLE. THE MAYOR’S VEHICLE WAS WEST BOUND IN THE RIGHT LANE ON LA HWY 28 EAST WHEN IT COLLIDED WITH TERRELL. TERRELL WAS WALKING IN THE RIGHT LANE. THE MAYOR RELEASED A STATEMENT TODAY EXTENDING CONDOLENCES TO THE FAMILY OF WOMAN.


THE INVESTIGATION CONTINUES INTO THE BLAZE THAT TORE THROUGH THE SELECT 10 MOTEL ON MAC ARTHUR DRIVE FRIDAY AFTERNOON. FIRE OFFICIALS SAY THE BLAZE STARTED IN THE CENTER OF THE COMPLEX AND WORKED IT’S WAY OUT FROM THERE. AT ONE POINT 24 FIRE TRUCKS WERE FIGHTING THE FIRE. MIRACULOUSLY, NOW ONE WAS SERIOUSLY INJURED. THE EXTENT OF THE DAMAGE FROM THE FIRE HAS NOT BEEN RELEASED. ALTHOUGH, THOSE AT THE SCENE SAY IT WAS EXTENSIVE.

STATE POLICE SAY A 23-YEAR-OLD ZWOLLE MAN DIED SUNDAY WHEN HIS CAR OVERTURNED NEAR LOUISIANA HIGHWAY 191. TROOPERS SAY THE CRASH THAT KILLED JEFFERY EZERNACK IS BEING INVESTIGATED.

TODAY IS THE DEADLINE FOR THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE TO DECIDE WHETHER TO CLEAR LOUISIANA'S NEW MAPS FOR CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS, WHICH LAWMAKERS DREW IN A SPECIAL LEGISLATIVE SESSION EARLIER THIS YEAR. THE PLAN WILL SHRINK THE NUMBER OF LOUISIANA CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS FROM SEVEN TO SIX, STARTING WITH 2012 ELECTIONS, BECAUSE OF THE STATE'S ANEMIC POPULATION GROWTH IN THE LATEST FEDERAL CENSUS. THE PLAN PRESERVES ONE MAJORITY BLACK DISTRICT. HOWEVER, BLACK LAWMAKERS VOTED IN A NEAR BLOC AGAINST THE PLAN, CALLING IT DISCRIMINATORY BECAUSE IT DOESN'T GIVE MINORITY VOTERS ENOUGH INFLUENCE IN OTHER DISTRICTS.

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL'S TOP FINANCIAL OFFICIAL SAID OVER THE WEEKEND, NO ACTION ON PRIVATIZING INSURANCE POLICIES CURRENTLY HANDLED BY THE STATE OFFICE OF GROUP BENEFITS WOULD BE CONSIDERED UNTIL 2012 AND CHANGES, IF ANY, WOULD NOT GO INTO EFFECT UNTIL 2013,. COMMISSIONER OF ADMINISTRATION PAUL RAINWATER SAY CHANGES WILL ONLY BE MADE IF A FINANCIAL ADVISER CURRENTLY LOOKING AT OGB OPERATIONS BELIEVES IT WOULD BE BEST FOR "THE STATE, STATE EMPLOYEES AND TAXPAYERS," RAINWATER SAYS "IT'S A SLOW-MOVING PROCESS," AND IT'S NEVER BEEN A FOREGONE CONCLUSION" THAT OGB WOULD BE PRIVATIZED.

THE MONTH OF AUGUST MARKS THE BEGINNING OF THE PEAK OF THE HURRICANE SEASON. STATE CLIMATOLOGIST BARRY KEIM SAYS WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE CHANGING IN THE ATLANTIC AND THE GULF OF MEXICO MAKING IT EASIER FOR HURRICANES TO DEVELOP.
Q: HURRICANES TO OCCUR. HURRICANE PREDICTORS HAVE FORECAST A BUSIER THAN NORMAL SEASON FOR 2011. KEIM SAYS WE HAVE ALREADY SEEN OUR FOURTH NAMED STORM OF THE SEASON AND THAT PUTS US WELL AHEAD OF THE AVERAGE.

FORMER GOVERNOR EDWIN EDWARDS HOLDS HIS FIRST FORMAL NEWS CONFERENCE SINCE BEING RELEASED FROM FEDERAL PRISON. EDWARDS WAS CONVICTED OF CORRUPTING THE STATES GAMING LICENSE PROCESS AND HE BLAMES HIS CONVICTION ON A FEDERAL JUDGE AND FRIENDS HE SAYS THE STATE PERSUADED TO TESTIFY AGAINST HIM. EDWARDS SAYS HE WENT TO PRISON FOR EXTORTION, NOT FOR SELLING RIVERBOAT LICENSES. HE SAYS HE NEVER TOOK ANY MONEY FROM ANYONE. EDWARDS ALSO TOOK THE OPPORTUNITY TO INTRODUCE HIS 32-YEAR-OLD NEW BRIDE, TRINA GRIMES SCOTT, WHOM HE MET WHILE HE WAS IN PRISON. HE SAYS SCOTT WROTE TO HIM AFTER READING HIS BOOK AND ASKED TO MEET HIM.

AN 8-YEAR-OLD BOY WAS DRIVING A PICKUP TRUCK DOWN AN INTERSTATE WHILE HIS DRUNKEN FATHER SLEPT IN THE PASSENGER SEAT AND THE MAN'S 4-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER WAS IN THE BACK SEAT, LOUISIANA STATE POLICE SAY. THE TRUCK WAS STOPPED SATURDAY MORNING IN LIVINGSTON PARISH, TROOPERS SAID. THE CHILD'S DRIVING WAS SO ERRATIC THAT IT ALARMED MOTORISTS, WHO CALLED AUTHORITIES. THE CHILDREN HAVE BEEN HANDED OVER TO LOUISIANA CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES.

THE FEDERAL AGENCY THAT OVERSEES OFFSHORE OIL AND GAS DRILLING SAYS OPERATORS ARE RESTORING PRODUCTION IN THE GULF OF MEXICO FOLLOWING THE PASSAGE OF TROPICAL STORM DON. THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER DOWNGRADED DON TO A DEPRESSION FRIDAY NIGHT AS THE WEAK DISTURBANCE CAME ASHORE OVER RANCH LANDS NEAR BAFFIN BAY IN TEXAS. THE BUREAU ESTIMATED THAT APPROXIMATELY 10.9 PERCENT OF THE CURRENT OIL PRODUCTION IN THE GULF OF MEXICO WAS SHUT-IN, AND ABOUT 6.6 PERCENT OF NATURAL GAS PRODUCTION.

A FORMER CORRECTIONS OFFICER WHO PLEADED GUILTY TO HAVING SEX WITH A PRISONER HAS BEEN SENTENCED TO 10 MONTHS IN PRISON. FEDERAL PROSECUTORS SAY 32-YEAR-OLD JOSEPH TAUNTON, OF JONESVILLE, ENTERED THE VICTIM'S CELL AT THE LASALLE DETENTION FACILITY IN JENA ON DEC. 16, 2010, AND ENGAGED IN A SEXUAL ACT.

THE ANNUAL LOW-OXYGEN AREA OFF LOUISIANA'S COAST IS LARGER THAN AVERAGE, BUT NOWHERE NEAR THE RECORD PREDICTED BECAUSE OF RECORD MISSISSIPPI RIVER SPRING FLOODS. NANCY RABALAIS OF THE LOUISIANA UNIVERSITIES MARINE CONSORTIUM SAYS IT'S SMALLER THAN EXPECTED BECAUSE TROPICAL STORM DON WHIPPED UP WINDS AND WAVES IN THE GULF, MIXING OXYGEN BACK INTO LOWER WATERS. RABALAIS HAS STUDIED THE SO-CALLED "DEAD ZONE" SINCE 1985. SHE REPORTS THAT IT COVERS ABOUT 6,765 SQUARE MILES OF THE GULF OF MEXICO. BECAUSE IT'S FED BY FERTILIZER AND RUNOFF FROM ACROSS AMERICA'S HEARTLAND, SCIENTISTS HAD EXPECTED IT TO COVER 8,500 TO 9,400 SQUARE MILES. THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN ABOUT THE SIZE OF LAKE ERIE.

THE TOP NATIONAL ORGANIZATION OF UNIVERSITY PROFESSORS RELEASED A REPORT MONDAY CRITICIZING LSU FOR ITS TREATMENT OF FACULTY AND ITS “ACADEMIC FREEDOM VIOLATIONS.” THE 30-PAGE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF UNIVERSITY PROFESSORS REPORT FOCUSES ON THE 2009 FIRING OF OUTSPOKEN LSU COASTAL RESEARCHER IVOR VAN HEERDEN AND THE 2010 REMOVAL OF BIOLOGY PROFESSOR DOMINIQUE HOMBERGER FROM A CLASS FOR ALLEGEDLY GRADING TOO HARSHLY. THE CRITICISMS COULD LEAD TO THE AAUP PLACING LSU ON ITS “CENSURE LIST” IF THE UNIVERSITY FAILS TO MAKE THE NECESSARY CORRECTIVE ACTIONS, SAID JORDAN KURLAND, AAUP ASSOCIATE GENERAL SECRETARY. CENSURE STATUS IS GENERALLY SEEN AS A BLACK EYE AGAINST A SCHOOL THAT HAMPERS FACULTY RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION.

THE STATE IS DIVERTING DISASTER PAYMENTS FROM THE BP OIL LEAK TO CHIP AWAY AT A $1.2 BILLION BACKLOG IN UNPAID CHILD SUPPORT. LISA ANDRY, EXECUTIVE PROGRAM DIRECTOR OVER THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES’ CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT, SAID THAT THE AGENCY HAS INTERCEPTED $5.5 MILLION IN PAYMENTS TO PEOPLE WHO ARE BEHIND ON THEIR CHILD SUPPORT. THE AGENCY ALSO IS GEARING UP PLANS TO BEGIN TAKING CASINO WINNINGS FROM PEOPLE WHO FAILED TO PAY THEIR COURT-ORDERED SUPPORT TO THEIR CHILDREN.






 

Archives:

2014-07 | 2014-06 | 2014-05 | 2014-04 | 2014-03 | 2014-02 | 2014-01 | 2013-12 | 2013-11 | 2013-10 | 2013-09 | 2013-08 | 2013-07 | 2013-06 | 2013-05 | 2013-04 | 2013-03 | 2013-02 | 2013-01 | 2012-12 | 2012-11 | 2012-10 | 2012-09 | 2012-08 | 2012-07 | 2012-06 | 2012-05 | 2012-04 | 2012-03 | 2012-02 | 2012-01 | 2011-12 | 2011-11 | 2011-10 | 2011-09 | 2011-08 | 2011-07 | 2011-06 | 2011-05


God Bless America!

970 KSYL On Air Now
Bob & Fred
Bob & Fred
7:15am - 8:00am
Talkback Pre-Show
iheart Radio

Talkradio 970

Now A Member Of The

I Heart Radio Family!

Click The Logo To Listen!

KSYL News

The KSYL Morning Report

Monday Thru Friday 7:10a

Host

Dave Graichen

Click Player To Listen


 

The CBS World News Roundup

Click The Logo to listen

 

State Wire
On Twitter
North Rapides Business & Industry Alliance

Weekends

 

All Weekend Long

It's a

Political Free Zone!

Kim Komando, The "Weekend" Roundup, Leo Laporte (The Tech Guy!), Art Bell, The Real Estate Show, Bill Handel, Chef John Folse "Stirin' It Up" , Doug Stephan's Weekend, The Pet Show & When Radio Was!.

Resources
Chef John Folse

Chef John Folse & Company

"Stirin' It Up"

Saturday At Noon!

 

 

 

LinkedUpRadio Envisionwise Web Services