KSYL Local News Archives for 2011-09

News For Friday 09/30/11


NEWS FOR FRIDAY 093011
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

FORMER ARCHBISHOP PHILIP MATTHEW HANNAN, WHO GAVE THE EULOGY FOR PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY AND LATER SERVED MORE THAN THREE DECADES AS THE HEAD OF THE NEW ORLEANS ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHDIOCESE, DIED THURSDAY. HE WAS 98. THE ARCHDIOCESE SAID HE DIED PEACEFULLY SHORTLY AFTER 3 A.M. HE HAD BEEN IN DECLINING HEALTH FOR YEARS.

AFTER A VERY WARM WEEK, LOUISIANA IS WAKING UP TO SOME VERY AUTUMN-LIKE WEATHER TODAY. STATE CLIMATOLOGIST BARRY KEIM SAYS MUCH OF THE STATE IS STARTING THE DAY WITH TEMPERATURES IN THE 60'S, AND HE SAYS IT WILL GET EVEN COOLER. KEIM SAYS A COOL FRONT MOVING THROUGH THE STATE TO THE SOUTH HAS BROUGHT LOWER TEMPERATURES AND DRYER AIR. HE SAYS TODAYS HIGHS SHOULD RANGE IN THE LOW TO MID-80'S, AND THE COOLING TREND CONTINUES TONIGHT WITH LOWS IN THE 40’S. KEIM SAYS WE CAN LOOK FORWARD TO SEVERAL DAYS OF GORGEOUS FALL WEATHER.

18 YEAR OLD TEDRICK RICHARDSON FACES A LONG LIST OF CHARGES IN CONNECTION WITH THE DEATH OF A MAN WHO WAS FOUND SHOT ON EAST TEXAS AVENUE WEDNESDAY MORNING. RICHARDSON WAS CHARGED WITH SECOND-DEGREE MURDER, ATTEMPTED SECOND-DEGREE MURDER AND UNAUTHORIZED USE OF A MOVABLE AFTER 55-YEAR-OLD JOE MARZETT DIED IN A LOCAL HOSPITAL. THE APD ALSO BELIEVES RICHARDSON WAS INVOLVED IN SHOOTINGS THAT OCCURRED WEDNESDAY ON MONROE AND NINTH STREETS. IN THOSE SHOOTINGS ONE MAN WAS INJURED.

LSU KICKS OFF AGAINST THE KENTUCKY WILDCATS TOMORROW MORNING AT 11:20 IN TIGER STADIUM. LSU'S ASSOCIATE ATHLETIC DIRECTOR HERB VINCENT SAYS THERE ARE STILL TICKETS AVAILABLE FOR THE GAME. LSU ISN'T USED TO GAMES STARTING SO EARLY, SO VINCENT ADVISES TIGER FANS TO ARRIVE EARLY, CARPOOL IF YOU CAN AND BE PATIENT.

FOURTEEN NATCHITOCHES PARISH RESIDENTS WERE ARRESTED ON DRUG CHARGES DURING A WARRANT ROUNDUP CONDUCTED BY THE NATCHITOCHES MULTI-JURISDICTIONAL DRUG TASK FORCE. ADDITIONAL ARRESTS ARE EXPECTED OUT OF THE ONGOING INVESTIGATION.

FOUR GLENMORA RESIDENTS WERE ARRESTED ON DRUG CHARGES AFTER METHAMPHETAMINE WAS DISCOVERED IN THEIR HOME. THE RAPIDES PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE. SAYS ALL FOUR HAVE BEEN CHARGED WITH CREATING OR OPERATING CLANDESTINE LAB AND OTHER DRUG RELATED CHARGES.

THE LOUISIANA SUPREME COURT HAS REINSTATED A RAPIDES PARISH JURY'S 2009 DECISION TO CONVICT FORMER LECOMPTE ASSISTANT POLICE CHIEF TODD ANDREW JONES FOR ATTEMPTED INDECENT BEHAVIOR WITH A JUVENILE, ACCORDING TO THE RAPIDES PARISH DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE. THE 36 YEAR OLD JONES APPEALED TO THE 3RD CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEAL, WHICH OVERTURNED THE CONVICTION. THE DA'S OFFICE THEN APPEALED THE 3RD CIRCUIT'S DECISION, AND THE SUPREME COURT REINSTATED JONES' CONVICTION IN A 4-3 DECISION. IN THE 2009 TRIAL, THE JURY BELIEVED THAT JONES "VERBALLY SUGGESTED TO A 16-YEAR-OLD THAT THEY ENGAGE IN ORAL SEX," A CHARGE JONES NEVER DENIED. HOWEVER, HE SAYS IT WAS JUST A JOKE."

IT BEGAN YESTERDAY AS AN 18-WHEELER LEAKING NITRIC ACID EARLIER TODAY ON I-10 EASTBOUND, JUST EAST OF JENNINGS. STATE POLICE CLOSED THE EASTBOUND LANES UNTIL THE LEAKING LOAD COULD BE CLEARED. THEN AN EASTBOUND ACCIDENT, INVOLVING A SECOND 18-WHEELER CARRYING HAZARDOUS MATERIALS, LEAD POLICE TO CLOSE BOTH SIDES OF I-10 IN JEFFERSON DAVIS PARISH. THERE WERE NO FATALITIES IN EITHER INCIDENT.

THE LOUISIANA HIGHWAY SAFETY COMMISSION SAYS THE NUMBER OF TRAFFIC DEATHS HAS FALLEN TO ITS LOWEST LEVEL SINCE THEY STARTED COMPILING SUCH DATA IN 1984. ACCORDING TO THE REPORT, 720 PEOPLE WERE KILLED IN CRASHES IN 2010, WHICH IS THE THIRD CONSECUTIVE YEAR THAT THE NUMBER OF FATALITIES HAS DECLINED ON LOUISIANA'S ROADS.

JORDAN JEFFERSON WAS BACK PRACTICING WITH THE LSU FOOTBALL TEAM YESTERDAY
AFTER A GRAND JURY HANDED DOWN THE LESSER CHARGE OF SIMPLE BATTERY.
LSU HEAD COACH LES MILES SAYS EVEN THOUGH JEFFERSON IS BACK, JARRETT
LEE WILL BE THE STARTING QUARTERBACK FOR SATURDAY'S GAME AGAINST THE
KENTUCKY WILDCATS.

BOBBY JINDAL HAS A CHANCE TO WIN RE-ELECTION BY THE HIGHEST PERCENTAGE OF POPULAR VOTE EVER IN A GOVERNOR'S RACE. IN 1967 JOHN MCKEITHEN RECEIVED NEARLY 81-PERCENT OF THE VOTE AGAINST FORMER CONGRESSMAN JOHN RARICK. POLITICAL ANALYST JOHN MAGINNIS, WITH "LAPOLITICS.COM", SAYS HE DOUBTS THE RECORD IS IN DANGER. MAGINNIS SAYS THE ONLY THING STANDING BETWEEN JINDAL AND A RECORD MARGIN OF VICTORY IS A LARGE PROTEST VOTE. HE SAYS PROTEST VOTERS ARE MORE LIKELY TO VOTE WITH THEIR FEET BY NOT CASTING A VOTE.

AN ATTORNEY WHO REPRESENTS BUSINESSES IN THE SEAFOOD INDUSTRY SAYS LAST YEARS BP OIL SPILL IS TO BLAME FOR A DRAMATIC REDUCTION IN WHITE SHRIMP. DANIEL BECNEL SAYS FISHERMAN ARE HARVESTING VERY FEW WHITE SHRIMP AND IT COULD BE BECAUSE OF THE CHEMICAL THAT WAS USED TO DISPERSE THE OIL. BECNEL SAYS HE IS WORKING WITH BP FUNDS ADMINISTRATOR KEN FINEBERG TO RE-EVALUATE CERTAIN SHRIMP CLAIMS.

NASA ANNOUNCES IT HAS CHOSEN THE MICHOUD ASSEMBLY FACILITY TO BUILD COMPONENTS OF ITS NEW HEAVY-LIFT ROCKET. THE FACILITY IN EASTERN NEW ORLEANS HAS BEEN EXPERIENCING A REDUCED ROLE IN NASA PROGRAMS FOLLOWING THE END OF THE SHUTTLE PROGRAM.

THE ATTORNEY FOR A RETIRED EDUCATOR WHO LOST A CHALLENGE TO HIS CANDIDACY FOR A STATE HOUSE SEAT PLANS TO APPEAL THE RULING TO THE LOUISIANA SUPREME COURT.
JOHN SETTLE JR., ATTORNEY FOR RAYMOND HICKS SAYS HICKS HAS DECIDED TO APPEAL WEDNESDAY'S RULING BY THE 2ND CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS TO THE STATE'S HIGHEST COURT. HICKS IS SEEKING THE STATE HOUSE DISTRICT 2 SEAT CURRENTLY HELD BY REP. ROY BURRELL. BURRELL'S CAMPAIGN MANAGER, RUDOLPH MORTON, CHALLENGED HICKS' CANDIDACY, ALLEGING HICKS HADN'T LIVED IN THE DISTRICT FOR AT LEAST A YEAR.
THE APPEALS COURT VOTED 4-3 TO UPHOLD A STATE DISTRICT JUDGE'S RULING THAT HICKS WAS NOT ELIGIBLE TO RUN.

THE CEO OF GULF ISLAND FABRICATION, A LEADING MANUFACTURER OF OFFSHORE RIGS AND DRILLING PLATFORMS, SAYS THE COMPANY INTENDS TO HIRE HUNDREDS OF WORKERS IN LOUISIANA AND TEXAS AS IT BEGINS WORK ON NEW PROJECTS. THE HOUMA-BASED COMPANY HAS SUBSIDIARIES IN THE HOUMA AREA AND AT ARANSAS PASS, TEXAS. GULF ISLAND CEO KERRY CHAUVIN EXPECTS BY YEAR'S END TO ADD 500 JOBS IN ARANSAS PASS, TEXAS, AND 200 IN HOUMA.

STATE POLICE ARE INVESTIGATING THE DEATH OF A 37-YEAR-OLD NATCHITOCHES MAN WHO DIED MONDAY AFTER A CHASE WITH NATCHITOCHES PARISH SHERIFF'S DEPUTIES. MARION GRANT WAS ARRESTED ON DRUG CHARGES AND CHARGED WITH RESISTING ARREST AND OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE AFTER A VEHICLE PURSUIT ON LA. HIGHWAY 1 WITH NATCHITOCHES DRUG TASK FORCE OFFICIALS. WHILE IN POLICE CUSTODY, TROOPERS SAY GRANT BECAME ILL AND WAS TRANSPORTED TO THE NATCHITOCHES REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER WHERE HE WAS TREATED AND LATER DIED. AN AUTOPSY WAS PERFORMED, BUT OFFICIALS HAVE NOT RELEASED A CAUSE OF DEATH.





News For Thursday 09/29/11


NEWS FOR THURSDAY 092911
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

THEY SAY THEY ARE ONLY IN THE TALKING STAGE NOW, BUT THERE IS A POSSIBILITY THE STATE COULD SHUT DOWN CENTRAL LOUISIANA STATE HOSPITAL IN PINEVILLE IN THE NOT TOO DISTANT FUTURE.. THE POSSIBILITY OF CLOSING CENTRAL IS PART OF THE STATE'S GRAND PLAN, NOW BEING IMPLEMENTED, TO CHANGE THE WAY LOUISIANA PROVIDES HEALTH CARE. THAT INCLUDES TAKING SOME PATIENTS OUT OF INSTITUTIONS LIKE CENTRAL, PLACING THEM INTO COMMUNITY HOMES AND PROVIDING MEDICAL AND PSYCHIATRIC CARE ON AN OUTPATIENT BASIS. ACCORDING TO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HOSPITALS SECRETARY BRUCE GREENSTEIN, "SHUTTING DOWN CENTRAL IS NOT A FOREGONE CONCLUSION."

AN ALEXANDRIA FAMILY MANAGED TO ESCAPE THEIR BURNING HOME YESTERDAY WITH NO SERIOUS INJURIES. AN 88-YEAR-OLD WOMAN IN THE HOME SUFFERED FROM SMOKE INHALATION, BUT OTHER THAN THAT, EVERYONE MADE IT OUT OK. FIREFIGHTERS THINK THE BLAZE MAY HAVE STARTED IN THE KITCHEN. ALEXANDRIA FIREFIGHTERS RESPONDED TO THE BLAZE AROUND 11 A.M. WEDNESDAY AT 2220 CARR ST. THE FIRE IS UNDER INVESTIGATION AT THIS TIME.

AN ALEXANDRIA MAN WHO WAS FOUND ON THE GROUND ON EAST TEXAS AVENUE WEDNESDAY MORNING DIED IN A LOCAL HOSPITAL, ALEXANDRIA POLICE SAID. JOE MARZETT, 55, OF ALEXANDRIA WAS FOUND AFTER AUTHORITIES RECEIVED A CALL OF A MAN DOWN IN THE 2200 BLOCK OF EAST TEXAS AVENUE AROUND 1 A.M. DETECTIVES HAVE NO MOTIVE OR EXACT CAUSE OF DEATH. THE CASE IS STILL UNDER INVESTIGATION.

ALEXANDRIA POLICE OFFICERS ARE INVESTIGATING SEPARATE SHOOTINGS THAT OCCURRED WEDNESDAY ON MONROE AND NINTH STREETS. A VICTIM RECEIVED A NON-LIFE-THREATENING WOUND AFTER SHOTS WERE FIRED IN THE 1800 BLOCK OF MONROE STREET AROUND 12:23 A.M. THE VICTIM WAS TREATED AT A HOSPITAL AND RELEASED. NO ONE WAS INJURED WHEN SHOTS WERE FIRED IN THE 2700 BLOCK OF NINTH STREET AROUND 12:52 A.M.. IT’S NOT KNOWN IF THE INCIDENTS WERE RELATED, AND THEY REMAIN UNDER INVESTIGATION.

TWO ALEXANDRIA MEN WERE ARRESTED TUESDAY ON JUVENILE-SEX CRIMES AFTER A TWO-WEEK INVESTIGATION, ALEXANDRIA POLICE SAID. MALCOM JOSHUA AND JERI QUINNEY, BOTH 24 OF ALEXANDRIA, WERE CHARGED WITH ATTEMPTED PORNOGRAPHY INVOLVING JUVENILES, COMPUTER-AIDED SOLICITATION OF A MINOR AND ENTICING PERSONS INTO PROSTITUTION AFTER AN INVESTIGATION INTO ALLEGED SEXUAL ALLEGATIONS, AUTHORITIES SAID. JOSHUA WAS ALSO CHARGED WITH INDECENT BEHAVIOR WITH JUVENILES. THE CASE IS STILL UNDER INVESTIGATION.

A GRAND JURY HAS REDUCED CHARGES AGAINST JORDAN JEFFERSON TO A MISDEMEANOR FOR HIS INVOLVEMENT IN A BAR FIGHT AND THE QUARTERBACK'S ATTORNEY SAYS HIS SUSPENSION FROM THE TOP-RANKED TIGERS HAS BEEN LIFTED. JEFFERSON IS NOW CHARGED WITH SIMPLE BATTERY. HIS ATTORNEY, LEWIS UNGLESBY, SAYS THERE IS NO WAY HIS CLIENT WILL BE CONVICTED IF THE CASE GOES TO TRIAL. THE GRAND JURY WEDNESDAY ALSO CLEARED RESERVE LINEBACKER JOSH JOHNS OF CHARGES. JEFFERSON AND JOHNS WERE ARRESTED AND BOOKED WITH SECOND-DEGREE BATTERY IN THE AUG. 19 FIGHT, AFTER WHICH FOUR MEN SOUGHT TREATMENT AT HOSPITALS.

TROPICAL STORM OPHELIA IS EXPECTED TO STRENGTHEN INTO A HURRICANE AS IS MOVES AWAY FROM THE EASTERN CARIBBEAN ISLAND OF DOMINICA. OPHELIA HAS CAUSED FLOODING AND CUT OFF COMMUNITIES ON DOMINICA. ABOUT 1,600 PEOPLE WERE STRANDED ON THE ISLAND AND NEARLY A DOZEN CARS HAVE WASHED AWAY. THE U.S. NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER IN MIAMI SAID OPHELIA IS EXPECTED TO BECOME A HURRICANE FRIDAY. THE STORM HAS MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS OF 60 MPH (97 KPH) AND IS MOVING NORTHWARD AWAY FROM THE LEEWARD ISLANDS. ITS FORECAST TO HEAD GENERALLY PAST BERMUDA THIS WEEKEND. AND AWAY FROM THE US MAIN LAND.

LOUISIANA'S YEAR-LONG BICENTENNIAL CELEBRATION GETS STARTED TWO MONTHS FROM TODAY. BICENTENNIAL COMMISSION CHAIRMAN LT. GENERAL RUSSELL HONORE (US ARMY RET.) SAYS THE FIRST OFFICIAL BICENTENNIAL EVENTS WILL BE IN RAPIDES PARISH, THEN IN SHREVEPORT, AT THE LOUISIANA STATE FAIR. HONORE SAYS A PARTY AT THE HISTORIC KENT PLANTATION IN ALEXANDRIA ON NOVEMBER 29TH BEGINS A YEAR OF FESTIVITIES. AFTER THAT, A BIG EVENT IS PLANNED AT THE LOUISIANA STATE FAIR IN SHREVEPORT, PLUS HAPPENINGS IN LAKE CHARLES AND MORE. HE SAYS NO STATE OR FEDERAL DOLLARS ARE BEING SPENT ON THE PLANNED EVENTS

STATE POLICE ARE INVESTIGATING THE DEATH OF A MAN WHOSE BODY WAS FOUND INSIDE A CAR AT A REST STOP ON INTERSTATE 49, NORTH OF WASHINGTON. ACCORDING TO THE LAFAYETTE PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE, THE CAR PARKED AT THE REST AREA WAS REPORTED STOLEN FROM A HOMICIDE VICTIM IN LAFAYETTE. THE DEAD MAN WAS CONSIDERED A PERSON OF INTEREST IN CONNECTION TO THE DEATH OF A 46-YEAR-OLD WOMAN EARLIER WEDNESDAY. TROOPERS BELIEVE THE MAN'S DEATH WAS A SUICIDE.

WE'RE JUST NOW FINDING OUT THAT NATCHITOCHES PARISH DRUG TASK FORCE AGENTS MADE A SWEEP OF THREE PARISH HIGH SCHOOLS WITH DRUG DOGS ON THE 16TH. AGENTS SAY THE SWEEPS WERE FOR SAFETY'S SAKE, AND SOME CONTRABAND WAS FOUND. STUDENTS ARE BEING DEALT WITH BY SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS. NO ARRESTS HAVE BEEN MADE.

A STATE HOUSE CANDIDATE HAS BEEN DISQUALIFIED FROM THE OCT. 22 RACE FOR THE DISTRICT 2 SEAT IN SHREVEPORT. A STATE APPEALS COURT WEDNESDAY UPHELD A JUDGE'S RULING THAT RAYMOND HICKS HAS NOT LIVED IN THE DISTRICT FOR A YEAR AS REQUIRED BY STATE LAW. HICKS' ATTORNEY, JOHN SETTLE SAYS THAT THEY HAVEN'T DECIDED WHETHER TO APPEAL TO THE LOUISIANA SUPREME COURT. HICKS IS THE ONLY CHALLENGER TO INCUMBENT STATE REP. ROY BURRELL, WHOSE CAMPAIGN MANAGER, AS YOU MAY SUSPECT, FILED THE SUIT.

A FORMER ACADIANA HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER HAS BEEN SENTENCED TO 27 YEARS IN PRISON FOR ALLOWING TEENAGE STUDENTS TO USE HIS APARTMENT TO HAVE SEX WHILE HE SECRETLY FILMED THEM. THE CRIMINAL ACTIVITY TOOK PLACE OVER A FIVE YEAR PERIOD BEGINNING IN 2005 UNTIL MARCH OF 2010. US DISTRICT JUDGE RICHARD HAIK COULD HAVE SENTENCED 38-YEAR-OLD STEPHEN MCKAY HURST TO A MAXIMUM OF LIFE IN PRISON AFTER HE PLEADED GUILTY IN FEBRUARY. STEPHANIE FINLEY, US ATTORNEY FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA, SAYS THE GREATEST VIOLATION HURST COMMITTED WAS A VIOLATION OF TRUST.

LOUISIANA IS FACING THE LOSS OF MORE THAN HALF A BILLION DOLLARS IN FEDERAL MEDICAID MONEY IN ABOUT A YEAR. BUT STATE OFFICIALS SAY THE CALCULATION IS WRONG. THE PROJECTED LOSS OF $567 MILLION IS BASED ON WHAT LOUISIANA HEALTH AND HOSPITALS SECRETARY BRUCE GREENSTEIN AND SEN. MARY LANDRIEU SAY IT IS A MISINTERPRETATION OF THE PROVISION LANDRIEU ADDED TO THE FEDERAL HEALTH CARE OVERHAUL LAW. THE PROVISION WAS DESIGNED TO PROTECT LOUISIANA FROM SUFFERING SUCH A LOSS BECAUSE OF A FEDERAL FORMULA THAT EFFECTIVELY PUNISHED LOUISIANA FOR THE INFLUX OF REBUILDING DOLLARS AFTER HURRICANES KATRINA AND RITA. THE QUESTION NOW IS WHETHER THE SPECIAL BREAK SHOULD CONTINUE TO APPLY IN THE 2013 FEDERAL FISCAL YEAR THAT BEGINS OCT. 1, 2012.

LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY RESEARCHERS ARE GETTING $17 MILLION IN FEDERAL FUNDS TO STUDY HOW TO TURN SUGAR CANE AND SORGHUM INTO BIOFUELS. THE MONEY, FROM THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, AIMS TO FUND RESEARCH TO INCREASE BIOMASS PRODUCTION FROM SUGAR CANE AND SORGHUM. THE PROJECT IS ONE OF FIVE BEING FUNDED WITH $136 MILLION IN USDA FUNDS ACROSS THE NATION OVER FIVE YEARS. USDA SAYS THE PROJECTS WILL FOCUS ON DEVELOPING AVIATION BIOFUELS FROM TALL GRASSES, CROP RESIDUES AND FORESTS. U.S. SEN. MARY LANDRIEU SAYS FINDING NEW AND INNOVATIVE USES OF SUGAR CANE AND ITS RESIDUE WILL STRENGTHEN LOUISIANA'S SUGAR INDUSTRY. THE MONEY COMES FROM THE 2008 FARM BILL, WHICH SOUGHT TO BOOST RENEWABLE ENERGY.

A BILLBOARD IN A NEW ORLEANS NEIGHBORHOOD THAT CRITICIZES PRESIDENT OBAMA IS DRAWING THE IRE OF FOLKS WHO LIVE NEARBY. THE SIGN IS ON PRIVATE PROPERTY AND DEPICTS OBAMA AS A CRYING BABY IN DIAPERS--BLAMING THE POOR ECONOMY ON ANYTHING BUT HIMSELF. THE OWNER'S BEEN ASKED TO TAKE IT DOWN. HE'S NOT TALKING WITH REPORTERS.

LOUISIANA TECH HAS STARTED A FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN FOR A NEW ENGINEERING BUILDING IN ORDER TO EXPAND THE PROGRAM. STAN NAPPER IS THE DEAN OF THE COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING AND SCIENCE. HE SAYS SO FAR THE CAMPAIGN HAS ALREADY RAISED $3.1-MILLION IN GIFTS AND PLEDGES. NAPPER SAYS HE HOPES TO RAISE FUNDS FOR THE BUILDING THROUGH ALUMNI AND DONOR SUPPORT.

A COUSHATTA WOMAN WAS SENTENCED TO 10 YEARS IN PRISON AS PART OF A PLEA AGREEMENT FOR THE DEATHS OF HER TWO YOUNG CHILDREN. 30-YEAR-OLD JANEL BRADFORD PLEAD GUILTY TO TWO COUNTS OF NEGLIGENT HOMICIDE. HER CHILDREN WERE FOUND UNRESPONSIVE IN A VEHICLE PARKED OUTSIDE HER FATHER'S HOME LAST SEPTEMBER.

A 26-YEAR-OLD INDEPENDENCE MAN HAS BEEN CHARGED WITH EXTORTION AFTER PRETENDING TO BE A WOMAN ON FACEBOOK TO SOLICIT SEX FROM DOZENS OF VICTIMS. HAMMOND POLICE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON LT. VINCE GIANNOBILE SAYS ADAM KOLB HACKED INTO A WOMAN'S FACEBOOK ACCOUNT AND USED IT ASK OTHER WOMEN FOR SEX. GIANNOBILE SAYS KOLB WOULD START A RELATIONSHIP WITH THE VICTIMS, OBTAIN COMPROMISING PHOTOS OF THEM THEN THREATEN TO SEND THOSE IMAGES TO FAMILY MEMBERS OR EMPLOYERS IF THEY DIDN'T SLEEP WITH HIM. GIANNOBILE URGES ANY OTHER VICTIMS TO COME FORWARD IF THEY KNEW KOLB.






News For Wednesday 09/28/11


NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY 092811
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

TESTIMONY RESUMES TODAY BEFORE AN EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH GRAND JURY CONSIDERING THE CASE AGAINST TWO SUSPENDED LSU PLAYERS INVOLVED IN A BAR FIGHT. JORDAN JEFFERSON'S ATTORNEY, LEWIS UNGLESBY, SAYS HIS CLIENT WILL TESTIFY. JEFFERSON AND LINEBACKER JOSH JOHNS EACH FACE A COUNT OF 2ND-DEGREE BATTERY. ITS POSSIBLE THE GRAND JURY COULD MAKE A DECISION BY THE END OF TODAY.

THEY SAY THEY ARE ASKING FOR SUPPORT FROM THE PEOPLE THEY HAVE SERVED FOR OVER A CENTURY. CURRENT AND FORMER U.S. POSTAL SERVICE EMPLOYEES RALLIED ON TUESDAY AT TWO ALEXANDRIA POST OFFICES IN HOPES OF DRUMMING UP PUBLIC SUPPORT TO "SAVE AMERICA'S POSTAL SERVICE. POSTAL UNIONS ACROSS THE COUNTRY TEAMED UP TO HOLD MORE THAN 500 RALLIES TO BRING AWARENESS TO POSTAL WORKERS FIGHTING TO KEEP THEIR JOBS.

28 YEAR OLD CHRISTOPHER SHEPHERD HAS BEEN ARRESTED ON DRUG CHARGES AFTER AUTHORITIES FOUND DRUGS IN AND OUTSIDE OF HIS WILLIAMS STREET HOME. SHEPHERD WAS CHARGED WITH POSSESSION OF A CONTROLLED DANGEROUS SUBSTANCE II WITH INTENT TO DISTRIBUTE AND RESISTING ARREST AFTER AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE ALLEGED SALE OF NARCOTICS AT HIS RESIDENCE. SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT INVESTIGATORS ALSO FOUND COCAINE PACKAGED FOR SALE AND ITEMS USED FOR PACKAGING IN HIS RESIDENCE AND BACKYARD.

A NATCHITOCHES MAN WHO WAS CAUGHT SELLING MARIJUANA OUT OF HIS GRANDFATHER'S HOME HAS BEEN SENTENCED TO EIGHT YEARS IN PRISON. 22 YEAR OLD RANDY AARON JR., PLEADED GUILTY TO POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA WITH INTENT TO DISTRIBUTE LAST WEEK.

THE LOUISIANA SUPREME COURT WILL APPOINT A JUDGE TO OVERSEE THE CASE OF PRINCESS LACAZE AFTER THE NATCHITOCHES JUDGE WHO WAS TO PRESIDE OVER LACAZE'S BOND HEARING AND POSSIBLE TRIAL TOOK HIMSELF OFF THE CASE. JUDGE ERIC HARRINGTON OF THE 10TH JUDICIAL DISTRICT THIS WEEK SIGNED THE RECUSAL PAPERS, BECOMING THE SECOND 10TH DISTRICT JUDGE TO BOW OUT. THE JUDGE CITED PRIOR EXPOSURE TO THE CASE THAT COULD HAVE AN INFLUENCE ON HIS DECISION MAKING. EARLIER THIS YEAR, JUDGE DEE HAWTHORNE RECUSED HERSELF. IN 1998, LACAZE WAS CONVICTED OF SECOND-DEGREE MURDER IN THE 1997 DEATH OF HER HUSBAND, MICHAEL LACAZE. SHE WAS SENTENCED TO LIFE IN PRISON WITHOUT PAROLE, BUT SUCCESSFULLY APPEALED HER CASE TO FEDERAL JUDGES ON THE 5TH CIRCUIT.

A HIGH-RANKING MORGAN CITY FIRE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL HAS BEEN SUSPENDED FOR 30 DAYS WITHOUT PAY, AFTER HE SENT A RACIST TEXT MESSAGE TO THE FORMER FIRE CHIEF. IN THE TEXT MESSAGE, CAPTAIN ANDREW RADCLIFFE JR MADE A JOKE ABOUT A CARLOAD OF BLACK PEOPLE GETTING RUN-OVER BY A SEMI-TRUCK. CURRENT FIRE CHIEF MORRIS PRICE, SAYS RADCLIFFE IS VERY SORRY. THERE ARE SOME, INCLUDING THE FORMER FIRE CHIEF, RICHARD ANDERSON, WHO FEEL THE PUNISHMENT IS NOT STRONG ENOUGH. BUT PRICE SAYS RADCLIFFE SHOULD NOT LOSE HIS JOB OVER A DUMB MISTAKE.

A PARTIAL SHUTDOWN OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAS BEEN AVERTED, AS THE U.S. SENATE PASSES A BIPARTISAN SHORT-TERM SPENDING BILL TO KEEP GOVERNMENT AFLOAT FOR ABOUT 7 WEEKS. THE MEASURE WAS SUPPORTED BY BOTH LOUISIANA SENATORS, MARY LANDRIEU AND DAVID VITTER. THE HOUSE TAKES UP THE MEASURE WHEN
THEY RETURN FROM RECESS NEXT WEEK. DISASTER RELIEF FUNDING FOR FEMA WAS A STICKING POINT IN THE BILL.

A 13-YEAR-OLD SEVENTH-GRADE HAS BEEN BOOKED WITH TWO COUNTS OF ATTEMPTED MURDER AFTER HE ALLEGEDLY SHOT A GUN AT A VEHICLE DRIVING AWAY FROM AN APPARENT DRUG DEAL AT A GROCERY STORE. THE EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE SAYS THE BOY ALLEGEDLY TOOK THE GUN FROM ANOTHER 13-YEAR-OLD STUDENT, AN EIGHTH GRADER, WHO APPARENTLY TOOK HIS FATHER'S .380-CALIBER HANDGUN TO SCHOOL WITHOUT HIS FATHER'S KNOWLEDGE. DEPUTIES SAID TUESDAY THAT THE ADULT DISCOVERED THE GUN WAS MISSING MONDAY.

FROM THE “WE THINK YOU SHOULD KNOW DEPARTMENT” AS OF TUESDAY, SEPT. 27, 2011, AT LEAST 1,670 MEMBERS OF THE U.S. MILITARY HAD DIED IN AFGHANISTAN AS A RESULT OF THE U.S.-LED INVASION OF AFGHANISTAN. AT LEAST 1,400 MILITARY SERVICE MEMBERS HAVE DIED IN AFGHANISTAN AS A RESULT OF HOSTILE ACTION. OUTSIDE OF AFGHANISTAN, THE DEPARTMENT REPORTS AT LEAST 99 MORE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. MILITARY DIED IN SUPPORT OF OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM. OF THOSE, 10 WERE THE RESULT OF HOSTILE ACTION.

A DESOTO PARISH FIREFIGHTER IS RECOVERING FROM INJURIES HE SUSTAINED EARLY YESTERDAY MORNING WHEN HIS FIRE TRUCK FLIPPED OVER ON THE WAY TO A HOUSE FIRE. STATE POLICE SPOKESPERSON CORDELL WILLIAMS SAYS THE TRUCK WAS DRIVEN BY 54 YEAR OLD VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTER GREG BAKER, WHO IS ALSO A DESOTO PARISH POLICE JUROR. WILLIAMS SAYS LOST CONTROL IN THE CURVE. WILLIAMS SAYS BAKER SUSTAINED ONLY MINOR INJURIES IN THE CRASH. WILLIAMS SAYS THE CAUSE OF THE HOUSE FIRE HAS NOT BEEN DETERMINED, BUT EVERYONE INSIDE AT THE TIME ESCAPED UNHARMED

CONTRARY TO PUBLIC PERCEPTION THAT LAST SUMMER'S BP OIL SPILL DID LITTLE DAMAGE TO MARINE LIFE IN LOUISIANA, A NEW STUDY SAYS A COMMON FISH IN THE MARSHES WAS HURT SEVERELY BY THE SPILL AND NOW IS TURNING UP DEFORMED AND MAY BE UNABLE TO REPRODUCE PROPERLY. THE STUDY, LED BY A TEAM OF SCIENTISTS FROM LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY, FOUND WHAT SCIENTISTS CALL "SUB-LETHAL" EFFECTS TO KILLIFISH, A SMALL BUT ABUNDANT SPECIES FOUND IN LOUISIANA'S MARSHES AND USED AS BAIT BY FISHERMEN. SUB-LETHAL EFFECTS ARE THOSE THAT POP UP AS ANIMALS GROW.

THE COAST GUARD SAYS A SERIES OF "SHEEN SIGHTINGS" HAVE BEEN REPORTED IN THE AREA WHERE THE DEEPWATER HORIZON DRILLING RIG EXPLODED IN THE GULF OF MEXICO LAST YEAR, BUT BP'S CAPPED WELL ISN'T THE SUSPECTED SOURCE OF THE SUBSTANCE.
A STATEMENT ISSUED TUESDAY BY THE COAST GUARD SAYS THE SHEENS COULD HAVE COME FROM THE SUNKEN RIG'S RISER PIPE OR FROM OTHER UNDERWATER DEBRIS. THE COAST GUARD SAYS RECENT VIDEO FOOTAGE SHOWS NO EVIDENCE OF A LEAK FROM THE BLOWN-OUT WELL THAT WAS CAPPED LAST YEAR. AUTHORITIES HAVEN'T DETERMINED WHETHER THE SHEENS COULD BE FROM OIL, DIESEL OR ANOTHER SUBSTANCE

A NONPARTISAN LOBBYING ORGANIZATION REPRESENTING A GROUP OF LOUISIANA BUSINESS LEADERS IS PUSHING A NEW PACKAGE OF LEGISLATION FOR THE UPCOMING TERM THAT WOULD REWORK TEACHER TENURE, CRIMINAL SENTENCING LAWS AND RETIREMENT PROGRAMS FOR GOVERNMENT WORKERS. BLUEPRINT LOUISIANA OUTLINED ITS AGENDA TUESDAY AND PLANS TO SPEND ABOUT $100,000 ON A MARKETING CAMPAIGN INCLUDING BILLBOARDS, NEWSPAPER ADS AND ONLINE ADS TO PROMOTE THE PROPOSALS. JIM HARRIS, A SPOKESMAN FOR THE ORGANIZATION, SAID THE PACKAGE OF RECOMMENDATIONS ALSO WILL BE SENT TO LAWMAKERS, ASKING THEM TO SUPPORT THE IDEAS. YOU CAN READ THE RECOMMENDATIONS ON LINE AT WWW.BLUEPRINTLOUISIANA.ORG.

STEAMBOAT CRUISES ALONG THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER FROM BATON ROUGE, LONG A STAPLE OF THE CITY'S SCENE, WILL BE RETURNING IN APRIL. THE RIVERBOAT CRUISE BUSINESS, ONCE DOMINATED BY THE AMERICAN QUEEN, MISSISSIPPI QUEEN AND DELTA QUEEN, ENDED IN 2008 WHEN THE BOATS' OPERATOR, MAJESTIC AMERICA LINE, SHUT DOWN. THE CRUISES ARE EXPECTED ALSO TO MAKE STOPS IN NEW ORLEANS, ST. FRANCISVILLE, VICKSBURG, MISS., MEMPHIS, TENN., ST. LOUIS, MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL, CINCINNATI AND PITTSBURGH

THE FEDERAL TRANSPORTATION DEPARTMENT HAS ISSUED A $340,000 GRANT TO BATON ROUGE TO IMPROVE ITS AIRLINE SERVICE. THE AGENCY SAID TUESDAY THAT THE GRANT WILL BE USED TO PROVIDE A REVENUE GUARANTEE TO ADD SERVICE BETWEEN BATON ROUGE AND WASHINGTON, D.C. EITHER PUBLIC OR PRIVATE SECTOR PARTNERS ARE REQUIRED TO PROVIDE AN ADDITIONAL $68,000. THE TRANSPORTATION DEPARTMENT SAYS BATON ROUGE IS ONE OF 29 CITIES RECEIVING $15 MILLION FROM A PROGRAM DESIGNED TO HELP SMALLER AIRPORTS DEAL WITH AIR SERVICE NEEDS.

BREAKING WITH TRADITION, ONE OF LOUISIANA'S TOP TWO TEACHER UNIONS WON'T ENDORSE A CANDIDATE FOR GOVERNOR BEFORE THE OCT. 22 ELECTION. THE LOUISIANA FEDERATION OF TEACHERS HAS ENDORSED DEMOCRATS FOR THE STATE'S TOP OFFICE FOR YEARS AND HAS CLASHED REPEATEDLY WITH REPUBLICAN GOV. BOBBY JINDAL, WHO IS RUNNING FOR A SECOND TERM. BUT DEMOCRATS FAILED TO FIELD ANY HIGH-PROFILE CONTENDERS FOR GOVERNOR THIS TIME.

THE ELECTION FOR SECRETARY OF STATE IS A TWO-IN-ONE RACE FOR THE CANDIDATES AND VOTERS. WHEN VOTERS CHOOSE BETWEEN TWO REPUBLICANS, TOM SCHEDLER AND JIM TUCKER, THEY WILL BE ELECTING SOMEONE TO FILL WHAT'S LEFT OF THE CURRENT TERM OF OFFICE AS WELL AS THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE NEXT FOUR YEARS, A TERM THAT BEGINS IN JANUARY. THE WINNER ON OCT. 22 COULD BE SWORN IN AS THE STATE'S CHIEF ELECTIONS OFFICER AS SOON AS NOV. 1 TO COMPLETE THE CURRENT TERM. THE ELECTED OFFICE BECAME VACANT WHEN JAY DARDENNE WON THE RACE FOR LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR LAST YEAR. BY LAW, SCHEDLER, WHO WAS DARDENNE'S THEN-FIRST ASSISTANT, TOOK OVER UNTIL AN ELECTION COULD BE HELD.






News For Tuesday 092711


NEWS FOR TUESDAY 092711
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

TWO TEENS WHO WERE ARRESTED IN CONNECTION WITH SEVERAL RANDOM SHOOTINGS IN BOYCE THAT TOOK PLACE EARLIER THIS MONTH ARE FACING ADDITIONAL CHARGES.
19 YEAR OLD DARIUS WILLIAMS AND 17 YEAR OLD JAMAR FISHER, BOTH OF BOYCE, WERE ARRESTED ON SEPT. 19. THEY WERE CHARGED AT THE TIME WITH FIVE COUNTS OF ATTEMPTED FIRST-DEGREE MURDER, AS WELL AS CRIMINAL DAMAGE TO PROPERTY AND CONSPIRACY CHARGES. WILLIAMS WAS CHARGED WITH TWO MORE COUNTS EACH OF ATTEMPTED MURDER, AGGRAVATED CRIMINAL DAMAGE AND ILLEGAL USE OF A WEAPON, AS WELL AS THREE MISDEMEANOR CHARGES OF CONTRIBUTING TO THE DELINQUENCY OF A JUVENILE. FISHER WAS CHARGED WITH TWO ADDITIONAL COUNTS OF ATTEMPTED MURDER AND ILLEGAL USE OF A WEAPON, AS WELL AS THREE COUNTS OF AGGRAVATED CRIMINAL DAMAGE AND FELONY CRIMINAL CONSPIRACY. AUTHORITIES SAY THEIR INVESTIGATION IS ON GOING.

ALEXANDRIA’S NEW POLICE CHIEF, LOREN LAMPERT WILL MAKE $100,000 PER YEAR ACCORDING TO SEVERAL CITY OFFICIALS. ALEXANDRIA MAYOR JACQUES ROY SAID THE BASE SALARY OF $100,000 CAME "UPON RECOMMENDATION OF SENIOR STAFF," AND ROY'S CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, KAY MICHIELS, ALSO CONFIRMED THE SIX-FIGURE SALARY FOR LAMPERT. THE PREVIOUS POLICE CHIEF, ROGER TULLY, WAS PAID $85,000

A FEDERAL JUDGE IN SHREVEPORT SAYS A WORKPLACE DISCRIMINATION LAWSUIT AGAINST CLECO MAY GO TO TRIAL, THOUGH WITH LESS CLAIMS THAN WERE ORIGINALLY MADE BY CURRENT AND FORMER EMPLOYEES WHO ARE SUING THE PINEVILLE-BASED UTILITY.
IN HIS RULING U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE TOM STAGG DISMISSED MANY OF THE CLAIMS THE 11 REMAINING PLAINTIFFS MADE IN THE LAWSUIT FILED IN 2009. HE ALSO RULED THERE WOULD BE 11 SEPARATE TRIALS INSTEAD OF ONE. CLECO REQUESTED THE ONE-AT-A-TIME TRIALS IN A MOTION LAST YEAR. UTILITY ATTORNEYS SAID ONE BIG TRIAL COULD "RESULT IN CONFUSION TO THE JURY AND PREJUDICE TO CLECO

LOUISIANA'S PUBLIC SCHOOLS WILL SOON BE SENDING HOME EASY TO UNDERSTAND LETTER GRADES ON THEIR OWN PERFORMANCE. THE GRADING SYSTEM IS INTENDED TO HELP PARENT DECIDE IF THEY WANT TO KEEP THEIR CHILDREN IN A PARTICULAR SCHOOL AND TO HELP SCHOOLS PINPOINT AREAS WHERE THEY NEED IMPROVEMENT. SAY THE GRADES COULD BE OUT AS EARLY AS NEXT WEEK AND MADE PUBLIC BY MID-OCTOBER.

AN EAST BATON ROUGE JURY TOOK LESS THAN AN HOUR TO BRING IN A GUILTY VERDICT IN THE 2ND-DEGREE MURDER TRIAL OF SUSPECTED SERIAL KILLER JEFFREY LEE GUILLORY. GUILLORY FACES A MANDATORY LIFE SENTENCED FOR THE KILLING OF RENEE NEWMAN IN 2002. HE IS ALREADY SERVING 50 YEARS FOR THE MURDER OF A LAFAYETTE WOMAN IN 2007.

HEARINGS HAVE BEEN SET FOR TWO WEST MONROE HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS ACCUSED OF CYBERSTALKING. JUVENILE ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY DONIELE STATEN SAID ON MONDAY THE JUVENILES, BOTH FEMALE, WERE ARRESTED AT THE SCHOOL AS A RESULT OF FACEBOOK POSTINGS WHICH THREATENED BODILY INJURY TO ANOTHER STUDENT. POLICE BECAME INVOLVED IN THE INCIDENT AFTER THE SCHOOL'S RESOURCE OFFICER WAS NOTIFIED OF THE POSTINGS, WHICH LED TO THE ARRESTS EARLIER THIS MONTH. STATEN SAYS THE GIRL THAT WAS THREATENED WAS AFRAID TO GO TO SCHOOL. THE JUVENILES WERE ARRESTED AND TAKEN TO GREEN OAKS DETENTION CENTER WHERE THEY WERE LATER RELEASED.

MORGANTOWN POLICE SAY FOUR LSU FANS WERE ATTACKED AFTER THE GAME AGAINST WEST VIRGINIA, WITH ONE OF THEM SUFFERING SEVERE HEAD INJURIES. THE ATTACK OCCURRED LATE SATURDAY AS SPECTATORS LEFT THE STADIUM. THE MORGANTOWN POLICE DEPARTMENT SAID SOMEONE THREW A ROCK THROUGH AN OPEN WINDOW OF THE VEHICLE CARRYING THE FOUR FANS. SEVERAL PEOPLE THEN APPROACHED THE CAR AND BEGAN ASSAULTING THE DRIVER. THE THREE OTHERS IN THE CAR WERE ALSO ASSAULTED.
THE MOST SERIOUSLY INJURED LSU FAN SUSTAINED A BROKEN NOSE, A CRUSHED EYE SOCKET AND OTHER INJURIES. HE WAS TAKEN TO THE UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH MEDICAL CENTER FOR SURGERY. MORGANTOWN POLICE ARE INVESTIGATING THE ATTACK WITH THE UNIVERSITY'S DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY.

A PRELIMINARY REPORT FROM THE LSU AG CENTER INDICATES LOUISIANA'S AGRICULTURE INDUSTRY HAS SUFFERED QUITE A BIT FROM THE ONGOING DROUGHT. COMMISSIONER OF AGRICULTURE AND FORESTRY DR. MIKE STRAIN SAYS ALMOST HALF THE STATES HAY CROP WAS LOST DUE TO THE DROUGHT. HE SAYS CROP AND LIVESTOCK LOSSES DUE TO DROUGHT TOTAL ABOUT $391-MILLION.

A QUICK LOOK AT THE TROPICS; THE STORM CALLED OPHELIA HAS WEAKENED INTO AN AREA OF LOW PRESSURE AND RAIN, AND ISN'T EXPECTED TO REGAIN NAMED STORM STRENGTH BEFORE PETERING OUR IN THE ATLANTIC. HOWEVER, TROPICAL STORM PHILLIPPE HAS FORMED IN THE MID-ATLANTIC, WITH MAXIMUM WINDS OF 50 MPH. PHILLIPE'S PROJECTED PATH DOES NOT INCLUDE A LANDFALL IN THE U.S. EITHER.

GAS PRICES HAVE FALLEN OVER 20 CENTS A GALLON IN RECENT WEEKS AND SHOW EVERY INDICATION OF CONTINUING TO FALL. AAA FUEL ANALYST DON REDMAN SAYS THE GOOD NEWS ON THE GAS FRONT IS THE SILVER LIVING TO A DARK, ECONOMIC CLOUD. HE SAYS THE WORLD-WIDE DROP IN DEMAND IS A BYPRODUCT OF THE GLOBAL ECONOMIC CRISIS. REDMAN SAYS IF GLOBAL DEMAND FOR CRUDE OIL REMAINS LOW AND, BARING
ANY UNFORESEEN DISRUPTIONS IN SUPPLY, WE COULD SEE GAS AT OR NEAR THREE-DOLLARS A GALLON THROUGH OCTOBER.

ALTHOUGH HE HAS WITHDRAWN FROM THE RACE, FORMER U.S. REP. JOSEPH CAO'S NAME WILL STILL APPEAR ON THE OCT. 22 ELECTION BALLOT FOR ATTORNEY GENERAL. CAO DROPPED A CHALLENGE TO INCUMBENT AND FELLOW REPUBLICAN BUDDY CALDWELL'S RE-ELECTION BID. BUT THAT THE MOVE CAME AFTER THE DEADLINE WHEN BALLOTS WENT TO THE PRINTERS. SO, CALDWELL AND CAO'S NAMES WILL BOTH BE ON THE BALLOT EVEN THOUGH CALDWELL IS THE OFFICIAL VICTOR SINCE CAO WAS HIS LONE OPPONENT.
UNDER STATE LAW, ANY VOTES CAST FOR CAO WILL NOT BE COUNTED.

TONY CHACHERE’S CREOLE FOODS OF OPELOUSAS INC. HAS ASKED A FEDERAL JUDGE IN LAFAYETTE TO STOP BIG EASY FOODS OF LOUISIANA FROM SELLING PRODUCTS IN NEARLY IDENTICAL PACKAGING TO CHACHERE’S. IN ITS LAWSUIT, TONY CHACHERE’S ALLEGES BIG EASY FOODS, OF LAKE CHARLES, IS VIOLATING STATE LAW BY INFRINGING ON CHACHERE’S TRADEMARKS AND VIOLATING THE UNFAIR COMPETITION FEDERAL LAW. THE LAWSUIT CLAIMS THE COMPANY PACKAGED FOODS AND MEALS, INCLUDING FROZEN SHRIMP AND SAUSAGES, IN A PACKAGE THAT WAS “CONFUSINGLY SIMILAR” TO THE TONY CHACHERE’S BRAND. BIG EASY FOODS CALLED THE ACCUSATIONS “FRIVOLOUS AND WITHOUT MERIT,





News For Monday 09/26/11


NEWS FOR MONDAY 092611
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

ACCORDING TO A REPORT BY THE US BUREAU OF ECONOMIC ANALYSIS, LOUISIANA'S PERSONAL INCOME GROWTH IS AMONG THE TOP 10 IN THE NATION. THE STATE POSTED 1.4 PERCENT GROWTH BETWEEN THE FIRST AND SECOND QUARTERS OF THIS YEAR. LSU ECONOMIST DR LOREN SCOTT SAYS WE SAW SOLID GROWTH AMONG NEARLY EVERY JOB SECTOR. SCOTT SAYS PERSONAL INCOME FELL ONLY IN FARMING, EDUCATION AND GOVERNMENT SECTORS. SCOTT SAYS LOUISIANA DID NOT GET HIT AS HARD BY THE NATIONAL RECESSION AS OTHER STATES. HE ALSO SAYS THE LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC AND DEVELOPMENT HAS DONE A GOOD JOB OF ATTRACTING NEW INDUSTRY INTO THE STATE.

THE U.S. DEFENSE DEPARTMENT SAYS TWO SOLDIERS BASED AT FORT POLK HAVE BEEN KILLED BY AFGHAN INSURGENTS WHO ATTACKED WITH AN IMPROVISED BOMB. THE STATEMENT SUNDAY SAID 28-YEAR-OLD SGT. RAFAEL BAEZ OF SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO, AND 19-YEAR-OLD PFC. CARLOS APARICIO, OF SAN BERNADINO, CALIF., DIED SEPT. 23 IN WARDAK PROVINCE. THEY WERE ASSIGNED TO THE 2ND BATTALION, 4TH INFANTRY REGIMENT, 4TH BRIGADE COMBAT TEAM, 10TH MOUNTAIN DIVISION.

A SINGLE VEHICLE CRASH CLAIMED THE LIFE OF 21 YEAR OLD MICAH NEAL OF JENA,
STATE POLICE SAY THE CRASH HAPPENED SHORTLY AFTER 2 AM SUNDAY ON US HWY 84 WEST OF LA HWY 8. TROOPERS SAY NEAL’S VEHICLE LEFT THE ROADWAY AND STRUCK A CULVERT, WHICH CAUSED IT TO VAULT AND OVERTURN. NEAL WAS NOT WEARING HIS SEATBELT AND WAS PRONOUNCED DEAD AT THE SCENE.

SIX WEEKS INTO THE INVESTIGATION, RAPIDES PARISH SHERIFF'S DETECTIVES HAVE NOT YET HANDED THE FILE ON MICHAEL LACOUR OVER TO THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE. DARRELL GUILLORY, CHIEF DEPUTY FOR SHERIFF CHUCK WAGNER, SAID DETECTIVES CONTINUE TO CONDUCT INTERVIEWS TO PREPARE THE CASE AGAINST LACOUR, A 12-YEAR SHERIFF'S OFFICE EMPLOYEE WHO UNTIL LAST MONTH HAD SUPERVISED THE DRUG TASK FORCE METRO NARCOTICS SINCE 2008. ONCE THE INVESTIGATION IS COMPLETED, THE FINDINGS WILL BE REVIEWED BY DISTRICT ATTORNEY JAMES DOWNS' OFFICE FOR POSSIBLE GRAND JURY HEARINGS AND FORMAL CHARGES.

STUDENTS FROM 18 SCHOOLS IN CENLA COLLECTED MORE THAN 31,000 TELEPHONE BOOKS TO BE RECYCLED. THE RECYCLING PROJECT WAS SPONSORED BY CENLA PRIDE/KEEP CENLA BEAUTIFUL, WITH HELP FROM AT&T REAL YELLOW PAGES. BETTYE JONES OF CENLA PRIDE SAID THE PHONE BOOKS WILL BE RECYCLED INTO HOUSEHOLD BLOWN-IN INSULATION.

SOME WASHINGTON RESIDENTS SAY THE TOWN'S MUSEUM, PARKS AND LIBRARY SHOULD BE CLOSED OR SCALED BACK TO BALANCE THE BUDGET. MAYOR JOE PITRE SAYS THE TOWN IS DEBT-FREE AND HAS NEARLY $900,000 ON HAND. BUT ACCOUNTANT DANA QUEBEDEAUX SAYS ONLY $250,000 CAN BE ACCESSED, AND THE REST IS IN RESTRICTED ACCOUNTS. QUEBEDEAUX SAYS THE TOWN LOST $116,500 IN THE FIRST TWO MONTHS OF THE FISCAL YEAR THAT BEGAN JULY 1. THE STATE RECENTLY CAME DOWN ON THE TOWN, A WELL KNOWN I-49 SPEED TRAP, FORCING IT TO SEND SOME OF IT’S FINES COLLECTED TO THE STATE.

TWO CENTS ONCE AGAIN. THAT'S HOW MUCH THE GAS PRICES FELL ONCE AGAIN OVERNIGHT AND THE CURRENT STATEWIDE AVERAGE FOR A GALLON OF REGULAR GAS IS NOW $3.35. THAT'S DOWN EIGHT CENTS FROM A WEEK AGO, HOWEVER ACCORDING TO THE AMERICAN AUTOMOBILE ASSOCIATION, WE'RE STILL PAYING SEVENTY-FIVE CENTS MORE THAN WE WERE LAST YEAR AT THIS TIME.

CANDIDATE FOR LT. GOVERNOR BILLY NUNGESSER WILL, TODAY, MISS THE SECOND OF TWO DEBATES WITH INCUMBENT JAY DARDENNE. THE PLAQUEMINES PARISH PRESIDENT SAYS SCHEDULING CONFLICTS ARE THE REASON. NUNGESSER DECLINED A FRIDAY NIGHT DEBATE IN BATON ROUGE, SPONSORED BY THE PACHYDERMS. TODAY, HE'LL MISS A DEBATE HELD BY THE BATON ROUGE PRESS CLUB. NUNGESSER SAYS HE HAD A CHARITY FUNCTION FRIDAY, AND A PRE-SCHEDULED FUNDRAISER TODAY.

THE LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF WILDLIFE AND FISHERIES SAYS MILITARY ACTIVITIES AT CAMP BEAUREGARD WILL CLOSE THE WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREA TO HUNTING FROM JAN. 7-13. THE DEPARTMENT IS ANNOUNCING THE CLOSURE NOW TO MINIMIZE INCONVENIENCE FOR HUNTERS. DAILY MILITARY CLEARANCE IS REQUIRED FOR ALL RECREATIONAL USE, AND PARTS OF THE AREA MAY BE CLOSED ANY DAY FOR MILITARY ACTIVITIES

OFFICIALS SAY THE MOSQUITO POPULATION IN LOUISIANA HAS EXPLODED SINCE TROPICAL STORM LEE. OFFICE OF PUBLIC HEALTH ENTOMOLOGIST KYLE MOPPERT SAYS THE WIND AND THE RAIN FROM THE TROPICAL STORM CREATED PRIME BREEDING GROUNDS FOR MOSQUITOES. THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HOSPITALS HAS CONFIRMED ONE NEW CASE OF WEST NILE VIRUS IN CALCASIEU PARISH WHICH BRINGS THIS YEAR'S TOTAL TO TEN. FORECASTERS ARE PREDICTING A DRIER THAN NORMAL FALL WHICH MOPPERT SAYS WILL BRING THE MOSQUITO POPULATION BACK DOWN.

STATE WILDLIFE & FISHERIES AGENTS URGE HUNTERS AND FISHERMEN TO HELP THE HUNGRY BY TAKING PART IN CLEAN OUT YOUR FREEZER DAYS. LDWF SPOKESMAN GABE GIFFIN SAYS THE IDEA IS TO BENEFIT THOSE LESS FORTUNATE. GIFFIN SAYS THE IDEA IS TO ENCOURAGE HUNTERS & FISHERMEN TO EMPTY THEIR FREEZER OF ANY MEAT OR FISH THAT MAY GO TO WASTE, AND DONATE IT TO FOOD PROGRAMS FOR THE NEEDY. HE SAYS THE IMITATIVE IS SPEARHEADED BY THE NON-PROFIT GROUP HUNTERS FOR THE HUNGRY. GIFFIN SAYS FROZEN MEATS AND FISH CAN BE DROPPED OFF AT NUMEROUS LOCATIONS STATEWIDE, AND A LIST OF THEM IS ONLINE AT "WLF.LOUISIANA.GOV".

DESPITE DROUGHT CONDITIONS AND SALTWATER GETTING INTO FIELDS ALONG THE COAST, OFFICIALS ARE ANTICIPATING A RECORD LOUISIANA RICE CROP. LSU AG CENTER RICE SPECIALIST, DOCTOR JOHNNY SAICHUCK, SAYS RECORD YIELDS HAVE BEEN RECORDED FROM THE CROP THAT'S ALREADY BEEN HARVESTED.

SPORTS..

THE LSU TIGERS ARE NOW 4-0 AFTER AN IMPRESSIVE 47-21 WIN OVER THE WEST VIRGINIA MOUNTAINEERS. LSU IS NOW NO. 1 IN THE AP POLL AND TIED WITH ALABAMA FOR NO. 2 IN THE COACHES POLL.

THE NEW ORLEANS SAINTS CAME FROM BEHIND TWICE IN THE 4TH QUARTER TO BEAT THE HOUSTON TEXANS 40-33 SUNDAY IN THE SUPERDOME. THE SAINTS TRAILED IN THE GAME UNTIL TAKING THEIR FIRST LEAD WITH JUST 7:10 LEFT IN THE GAME. DREW BREES HAD AN AMAZING GAME THROWING FOR 370 YARDS AND TWO TOUCHDOWNS. THE SAINTS ARE NOW 2-1 AND WILL EMBARK ON A THREE GAME ROAD STRETCH STARTING WITH THE JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS SUNDAY AT 12NOON.



News For Friday 09/23/11


NEWS FOR FRIDAY 092311
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

FALL OFFICIALLY ARRIVED TODAY AT FOUR MINUTES AFTER FOUR THIS MORNING. THE CHANGE OF SEASON TYPICALLY BRINGS SHORTER DAYS AND COOLER TEMPERATURES. STATE CLIMATOLOGIST BARRY KEIM SAYS THE RE-APPEARANCE OF LA NINA IS A WILD CARD THAT COULD CHANGE OUR NORMAL FALL WEATHER. THE EXTENDED DROUGHT ACROSS LOUISIANA BEGAN WHEN LA NINA APPEARED LAST FALL. MOST OF LOUISIANA HAD BEEN UNDER DROUGHT CONDITIONS UNTIL TROPICAL STORM LEE BROKE THE DROUGHT FOR THE SOUTHERN AND EASTERN PORTIONS OF THE STATE A FEW WEEKS AGO. HOWEVER, KEIM SAYS LA NINA COULD PUSH US BACK INTO DROUGHT.

NEW CENSUS NUMBERS HAVE MIX RESULTS FOR LOUISIANA. THE US CENSUS BUREAU SAYS FOR THE FOURTH YEAR IN A ROW, MORE PEOPLE MOVED INTO LOUISIANA THAN MOVED OUT. LSU DEMOGRAPHER TROY BLANCHARD SAYS THE NEGATIVE NEWS IN THE REPORT IS THAT LOUISIANA EXPERIENCED A DECLINE OF 2,000 PEOPLE WITH ADVANCED DEGREES. BUT BLANCHARD SAYS THE CENSUS REPORT SHOWS THAT THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE WITH A BACHELORS DEGREE REMAINS THE SAME COMPARED TO LAST YEAR.

TWO NEW IBERIA MEN HAVE BEEN ARRESTED FOR ALLEGEDLY CALLING IN A BOMB THREAT IN THE HOPES THAT IT WOULD DIVERT THE POLICE'S ATTENTION SO THEY COULD ROB A LAFAYETTE BANK. LAFAYETTE POLICE CPL PAUL MOUTON SAYS OFFICERS WERE ABLE TO TRACE THE CALL TO A PAY PHONE WHERE THEY DETAINED TWO MEN THEY BELIEVED WERE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE THREAT ON THE SCHOOL. THE CHILDREN AT OUR LADY FATIMA CATHOLIC SCHOOL WERE TAKEN TO A SAFE LOCATION AND WERE ABLE TO RESUME CLASSES ONCE THE SCHOOL WAS CLEARED. MOUTON SAYS THE INVESTIGATION IS ONGOING.

THE SECRETARY OF STATE'S OFFICE WARNS YOU NOT TO BE SUCKERED BY A FAKE VOTER REGISTRATION WEBSITE. THEY SAY THE WEBSITE "REGISTERTOVOTE.ORG" OFFERS TO REGISTER ANYONE IN ANY STATE.
SECRETARY OF STATE TOM SCHEDLER SAYS THE SITE IS HOSTED IN ANOTHER COUNTRY, AND GATHERS INFO THAT LEGITIMATE VOTER REGISTRATION DOESN'T ASK; LIKE HEIGHT, WEIGHT AND JOB INFORMATION. HE SAYS LOUISIANANS CAN SAFELY REGISTER TO VOTE ONLINE AT "GEAUXVOTE.ORG". BY THE WAY, THE DEADLINE TO REGISTER AND BE ABLE TO VOTE IN THE OCTOBER 22ND ELECTION HAS PASSED.

OUR STATE WILL BE VISITED BY 2 GOP CANDIDATES FOR PRESIDENT TODAY AND TOMORROW. TEXAS CONGRESSMAN RON PAUL GIVES A SPEECH TO LSU STUDENTS AND OPENS A CAMPAIGN OFFICE IN BATON ROUGE TODAY. TEXAS GOVERNOR RICK PERRY HAS A FUNDRAISER IN SHREVEPORT TOMORROW.

THE JEFFERSON DAVIS PARISH DA’S OFFICE ANNOUNCED YESTERDAY THE TRIAL FOR VILLE PLATTE HIGH SCHOOL HEAD FOOTBALL COACH ROY SERIE, WHO IS CHARGED WITH VEHICULAR HOMICIDE, HAS BEEN POSTPONED UNTIL JANUARY. SERIE WAS ARRESTED IN AUGUST OF LAST YEAR AFTER TOXICOLOGY RESULTS FOUND HE HAD ILLEGAL DRUGS IN HIS SYSTEM AT THE TIME OF A MAY CAR CRASH THAT KILLED HIS WIFE, SHEILA SERIE, AND SHANNON COX OF LAKE CHARLES. AUTHORITIES SAY COX WAS THE DRIVER OF THE VEHICLE SERIE HIT. SERIE PLEADED NOT GUILTY LAST NOVEMBER TO TWO COUNTS OF VEHICULAR HOMICIDE, ONE COUNT OF DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED AND ONE COUNT OF VEHICULAR NEGLIGENT INJURY.

FREE CHILD PASSENGER SAFETY SEAT CHECKS WILL BE OFFERED FROM 9 A.M. TO 1 P.M. SATURDAY AT WALKER AUTOMOTIVE, ON MACARTHUR DRIVE IN ALEXANDRIA. NO APPOINTMENT IS NECESSARY. THERE WILL BE A LIMITED NUMBER OF FREE CAR SEATS AND BOOSTER SEATS AVAILABLE.

LOUISIANA IS BEING INVADED BY A NEW SPECIES OF ANT. THE ANTS, KNOWN AS HAIRY-CRAZY ANTS, ARE AN INVASIVE SPECIES, MUCH LIKE FIRE ANTS, THAT HAVE MOVED INTO THE STATE FROM TEXAS. ZACH LEHMANN WITH THE AUDUBON INSTITUTE CALLS THE ANTS A NUISANCE. THE SPECIES ARRIVED FROM THE CARIBBEAN IN THE 1950'S AND TOOK UP RESIDENCE IN THE SOUTH FLORIDA AND HOUSTON TEXAS AREAS. THE PESTS HAVE BEEN SLOWLY MAKING THEIR WAY ALONG THE GULF COAST FOR YEARS. THE GOOD NEWS, THE HAIRY CRAZY ANT WILL EAT FIRE ANTS.

THE FOUNDATION FOR HISTORICAL LOUISIANA HAS PUT OUT A LIST OF ENDANGERED HISTORIC PROPERTIES AND ENTITIES CALLING THEM "TREASURES IN TROUBLE." EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR CAROLYN BENNETT SAYS THESE SIGNIFICANT SITES EACH REPRESENT A TIE TO THE HISTORY, ARCHITECTURAL, AND CULTURAL STORY OF OUR STATE. MOST OF THE SITES ARE LOCATED IN SOUTHEAST LOUISIANA. BENNETT SAYS MORE INFORMATION ABOUT EACH OF THESE PROPERTIES CAN BE FOUND ON THEIR WEBSITE AT FHL.ORG. BENNETT SAYS THEY'RE CREATING A FACEBOOK PAGE FOR EACH TREASURE IN TROUBLE IN HOPES OF GETTING DIALOGUE GOING ABOUT WAYS THESE IMPORTANT LOCATIONS CAN BE SAVED.

LOUISIANA TECH'S 2011 ENROLLMENT NUMBERS ARE OUT AND THEY'RE REPORTING THE LARGEST FRESHMAN CLASS SINCE 2006. TECH REPORTS 1,632 NEW FRESHMAN HAVE ENROLLED FOR THE 2011 QUARTER WHICH IS AN INCREASE OF TWO PERCENT OVER LAST FALL. TECH PRESIDENT DAN RENEAU SAYS THE AVERAGE FRESHMAN ACT SCORE IS ALSO THE HIGHEST IN THE UNIVERSITIES HISTORY AT 23.81

A SCHOOL FOR VIDEO GAME DESIGN, 3-D ANIMATION AND VISUAL EFFECTS IS SCHEDULED TO OPEN IN JANUARY, OFFERING TRAINING THAT OFFICIALS SAY COULD HELP SPUR THE LOCAL DIGITAL MEDIA INDUSTRY. THE ACADEMY OF INTERACTIVE ENTERTAINMENT, A TECHNICAL COLLEGE OF SORTS FOR THE DIGITAL WORKFORCE, WILL SET UP SHOP AT THE LITE CENTER IN THE ULL RESEARCH PARK IN LAFAYETTE. ACCORDING TO STATE OFFICIALS, THE SCHOOL WILL OFFER “TOP-TIER” TRAINING AND REPRESENTS A BIG WIN FOR THE STATE’S EMERGING DIGITAL MEDIA INDUSTRY.






News For Thursday 09/22/11


NEWS FOR THURSDAY 092211
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

SIX OF THE 32 CANDIDATES WHO APPLIED FOR THE LAFAYETTE PARISH SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT JOB DIDN’T MEET STATE CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS FOR THE POSITION. THE UNIVERSITY OF LOUISIANA AT LAFAYETTE’S COLLEGE OF EDUCATION STAFF VETTED THE 32 APPLICATIONS FOR SUPERINTENDENT CERTIFICATION AND SUBMITTED 26 NAMES TO THE SCHOOL BOARD LATE TUESDAY. THE SIX APPLICANTS WHO DIDN’T MEET THE MINIMUM CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS WON’T BE CONSIDERED BY THE SCHOOL BOARD. THE BOARD PLANS TO SELECT ONLY 10 PEOPLE FROM THE 26 APPLICANTS FOR INTERVIEWS, TENTATIVELY SCHEDULED OCT. 19-OCT. 28. RAPIDES PARISH SCHOOL BOARD SUPT. GARY JONES HAS MADE THE LATEST CUT.

ACCORDING TO A REPORT BY THE VIOLENCE POLICY CENTER, LOUISIANA RANKS THIRD IN THE NATION IN THE RATE OF WOMEN KILLED BY MEN. THE REPORT SAYS 46 FEMALES WERE MURDERED BY MALES IN LOUISIANA IN 2009. VPC LEGISLATIVE DIRECTOR KRISTEN RAND SAYS 70% OF THE WOMEN WERE SHOT AND KILLED WITH GUNS---AND GUN AVAILABILITY IS ALSO A FACTOR IN THE RANKING. RAND SAYS POLICY MAKERS CAN ALSO ASSURE THAT RESOURCES ARE AVAILABLE TO COUNSEL MEN AND WOMEN INVOLVED IN POTENTIALLY VOLATILE RELATIONSHIPS OR SITUATIONS. RAND SAYS 98% OF FEMALE VICTIMS WERE MURDERED BY A MALE THAT THEY KNEW.

GAS PRICES IN LOUISIANA CONTINUE TO FALL. THE CURRENT STATEWIDE AVERAGE FOR REGULAR GAS IS $3.40 A GALLON; DOWN A PENNY FROM YESTERDAY AND DOWN EIGHT CENTS IN THE LAST WEEK. AAA FUEL ANALYST DON REDMAN SAYS A WEAK ECONOMY HAS COMBINED WITH GREATER FUEL
EFFICIENCY TO DRIVE THE PRICE DOWN.

WITH THE INFLUENZA SEASON RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER, MANY LOUISIANA RESIDENTS ARE CONSIDERING GETTING A FLU SHOT. FLU BUG EXPERT DR. FRANK WELCH SAYS THIS YEAR A HIGHER DOSE FLU SHOT IS BEING OFFERED FOR SENIOR CITIZENS. HE SAYS THAT FLU SHOT IS ALMOST DOUBLE THE STRENGTH OF A REGULAR FLU SHOT. LAST YEAR WAS A VERY ACTIVE FLU SEASON IN LOUISIANA. WELCH SAYS IT'S TOO EARLY TO TELL WHETHER WE'LL SEE ANOTHER BUSY FLU SEASON THIS YEAR.

IN A SIDE NOTE.. FOR THE SECOND STRAIGHT YEAR, THE FEDERAL CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL GIVE LOUISIANA A PERFECT SCORE FOR PREPAREDNESS AND RESPONSE TO HEALTH EMERGENCIES. DR. JIMMY GUIDRY, WITH THE STATE OFFICE OF PUBLIC HEALTH,
SAYS THAT MAY BE BECAUSE THE HEALTH DEPARTMENT GET SO MUCH PRACTICE IN
REAL-LIFE SITUATIONS.

STATE SENATE CANDIDATE HARRIS BROWN HAS WITHDRAWN FROM THE DISTRICT 35 RACE RATHER THAN GO THROUGH WITH A TRIAL CHALLENGING HIS RESIDENCY QUALIFICATIONS.
BROWN'S EXIT LEAVES INCUMBENT SEN. BOB KOSTELKA, R-MONROE, AND ATTORNEY JEFF GUERRIERO, R-MONROE, AS THE ONLY CANDIDATES IN THE RACE. SENATE DISTRICT 35 NOW DIPS SOUTH INTO NORTHERN RAPIDES PARISH. KOSTELKA AND LOUISIANA ATTORNEY GENERAL BUDDY CALDWELL FILED LAWSUITS LATE THURSDAY AFTERNOON CHALLENGING BROWN'S CANDIDACY, CLAIMING BROWN DIDN'T LIVE IN DISTRICT 35 FOR THE REQUIRED YEAR BEFORE QUALIFYING FOR THE OCT. 22 ELECTION.

A U.S. SENATE COMMITTEE HAS PASSED A BILL CO-SPONSORED BY MARY LANDRIEU THAT WOULD DEDICATE ANY FINES BP PAYS FOR THE GULF OIL SPILL TO RESTORING THE COAST. THE BILL HAS THE SUPPORT OF OUR OTHER SENATOR, DAVID VITTER, WHO SAYS THE BILLIONS THAT COULD MEAN FOR LOUISIANA COULD HELP RESTORE LOCAL ECONOMIES, OR GO TO LONG-AWAITED ENVIRONMENTAL PROJECTS. VITTER AND LANDRIEU WILL WORK TOGETHER TO GET FINAL PASSAGE ON THE SENATE FLOOR.

LINCOLN PARISH RESIDENTS WHO WERE EVACUATED AFTER A FREIGHT TRAIN DERAILMENT MONDAY HAVE BEEN ALLOWED TO RETURN TO THEIR HOMES. CLEANUP OF THE MATERIALS SPILLED IN THE TRAIN WRECK CONTINUES NEAR THE OUACHITA PARISH LINE.

BASS PRO SHOPS HAS BEEN SUED BY THE FEDERAL EQUAL OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION FOR ALLEGED RACIAL DISCRIMINATION IN HIRING AT LOCATIONS IN HOUSTON AND IN LOUISIANA. BASS PRO SAYS NO COMMENT UNTIL THEY REVIEW THE LAWSUIT.

A LAKE ARTHUR TEEN WILL SPEND TWO YEARS ON PROBATION, AFTER PLEADING GUILTY TO FALSELY ACCUSING A POLICE OFFICER OF RAPE. 18-YEAR-OLD MEGHAN FRANKS MUST ALSO SERVE 90 DAYS IN JAIL AND PAY FINES. THE DA'S OFFICE SAYS FRANKS ADMITTED HER ALLEGATIONS ABOUT THE OFFICER WERE NOT TRUE.

THE UNIVERSITY OF LOUISIANA AT LAFAYETTE REPORTS ITS LARGEST INCOMING FRESHMAN CLASS SINCE 1999. THE 2,966 NEW STUDENTS TOPPED LAST YEAR BY ONLY 11 STUDENTS BUT REPRESENTS THE LARGEST CLASS SINCE SELECTIVE ADMISSIONS WAS IMPLEMENTED. ULL PRESIDENT JOE SAVOIE CREDITS AGGRESSIVE RECRUITMENT OF TOP STUDENTS AND THE UNIVERSITY'S GROWING REPUTATION FOR DELIVERING A QUALITY EDUCATION.

FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER, LSU WILL TRAVEL TO MORGANTOWN TO FACE WEST VIRGINIA THIS SATURDAY NIGHT AT 7PM. LSU ALUMNI RELATIONS VICE PRESIDENT JASON RAMEZAN SAYS PURPLE & GOLD FANS TRAVELING TO THE NEW PLACE ARE VERY EXCITED ABOUT THE TRIP AND THE GAME. ABC WILL BROADCAST THE GAME, AND ESPN'S COLLEGE GAME DAY WILL BE THERE. RAMEZAN IS EXPECTING A GREAT ATMOSPHERE IN MORGANTOWN.


News For Wednesday 09/21/11


NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY 092111
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

IF YOU WANT TO CAST A BALLOT FOR THE OCTOBER 22ND ELECTION, THEN TODAY IS THE LAST DAY TO REGISTER TO VOTE. COMMISSIONER OF ELECTIONS, ANGIE ROGERS, SAYS MOST LOUISIANA RESIDENTS ARE ELIGIBLE TO VOTE. SHE SAYS IN FACT 82-PERCENT OF ELIGIBLE VOTERS ARE REGISTERED, WHICH IS THE FOURTH HIGHEST PERCENTAGE IN THE COUNTRY. ANALYSTS SAY THE GOVERNOR'S RACE IS A FORGONE CONCLUSION, WHICH HAS KEPT INTEREST DOWN FOR THE OCTOBER 22ND STATEWIDE PRIMARY. BUT ROGERS SAYS THEY ARE STILL ANTICIPATING A VOTER TURNOUT OF 40 TO 50-PERCENT, BECAUSE OF THE LOCAL ISSUES ON THE BALLOT.

A GRAND JURY HEARS EVIDENCE TODAY IN THE CASE AGAINST LSU QUARTERBACK JORDAN JEFFERSON AND RESERVE LINEBACKER JOSH JOHNS. EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH DISTRICT ATTORNEY HILLAR MOORE WILL PRESENT POLICE EVIDENCE IN CONNECTION WITH A FIGHT THAT TOOK PLACE AUGUST 19TH. LEGAL ANALYST TIM MECHE SAYS DNA TEST ON MATERIAL COLLECTED FROM JEFFERSON AND JOHNS HAVE BEEN INCONCLUSIVE, SHOWING NO DIRECT CONNECTION BETWEEN THE PLAYERS AND THE FOUR VICTIMS. WITNESS TESTIMONY HAS BEEN CONTRADICTORY. MECHE SAYS THE CASE COULD BE OVER IN AS LITTLE AS A WEEK.

TROPICAL STORM OPHELIA HAS FORMED IN THE OPEN ATLANTIC OCEAN BUT IT IS FAR FROM LAND. THE U.S. NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER SAYS OPHELIA FORMED LATE TUESDAY WITH MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS OF 40 MPH. THE STORM IS MOVING WEST. THE CENTER OF THE STORM IS ABOUT 1,585 MILES EAST-SOUTHEAST OF THE NORTHERN LEEWARD ISLANDS. SOME STRENGTHENING IS EXPECTED OVER THE NEXT DAY OR SO.

ALEXANDRIA-AREA SCHOOLS MAY HAVE SOME ADDITIONAL DISTRICT 62 MAINTENANCE FUNDS AVAILABLE THIS YEAR. THE RAPIDES PARISH SCHOOL BOARD'S DISTRICT 62 COMMITTEE VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TUESDAY TO PASS ON TO THE FULL BOARD A MOTION TO ALLOCATE $25 ADDITIONAL PER WEIGHTED STUDENT. IF APPROVED BY THE BOARD, THE FUNDS WOULD BE BASED ON THE OCT. 1 STUDENT COUNT. THE $25 ALLOCATION, WHICH WOULD BE ON TOP OF THE NORMAL DISTRICT 62 ALLOCATION.

WORK HAS BEGUN ON A PROJECT TO INSTALL A TURN LANE ON U.S. HIGHWAY 71 AT THE VA MEDICAL CENTER IN PINEVILLE. DIAMOND B CONSTRUCTION CO. OF ALEXANDRIA IS HANDLING THE PROJECT, AND WORK IS PROJECTED TO BE COMPLETED IN 60 DAYS, WEATHER PERMITTING. THE TURN LANE WILL BE ON U.S. 71 AT ITS INTERSECTION WITH THE MAIN ENTRANCE OF THE VA MEDICAL CENTER AND THE U.S. FOREST SERVICE OFFICE.

GOOD OLD FASHIONED POLICE WORK HAS LED TO THE ARRESTS OF 17 PEOPLE IN AVOYELLES PARISH, MOST OF THEM ON DRUG CHARGES. FURTHER ARRESTS TO BE MADE IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE INVESTIGATIONS. FIFTEEN OF THE 17 SUSPECTS FACE DRUG CHARGES.

AND NOW THERE’S FOUR… A JUVENILE HAS BEEN ARRESTED IN THE ONGOING CASE OF TWO BOYCE MEN AND ANOTHER JUVENILE WHO WERE ARRESTED SUNDAY IN CONNECTION WITH A SERIES OF SHOOTINGS AIMED AT HOMES AND VEHICLES IN THE BOYCE AREA. THE RAPIDES PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE SAYS THE 16-YEAR-OLD JUVENILE WILL BE CHARGED WITH CRIMES RELATED TO DAMAGE OF PROPERTY AND HOMES

TODAY A U.S. SENATE COMMITTEE WILL CONSIDER THE RESTORE ACT, WHICH WOULD DIRECT FEDERAL FINES LEVIED FOR THE GULF OIL SPILL TO REBUILDING THE COAST. SENATOR MARY LANDRIEU CO-SPONSORS THE BILL WITH ALABAMA SEN. RICHARD SHELBY. SENATOR LANDRIEU SAYS IT'S A VERY IMPORTANT PIECE OF LEGISLATION. THE BILL WOULD DEDICATE 80% OF FINES BP MAY PAY FOR VIOLATING THE CLEAN WATER ACT, WITH THE 2010 DEEPWATER HORIZON DISASTER AND SPILL. BP COULD FACE FINES OF BETWEEN $5-BILLION AND $21-BILLION. LANDRIEU'S RESTORE ACT GOES BEFORE THE SENATE ENVIRONMENT & PUBLIC WORKS COMMITTEE TODAY. SHE SAYS SHE BELIEVES THE BILL WILL CLEAR THE COMMITTEE AND GO ON TO THE FULL SENATE, WHERE SHE HOPES FOR STRONG SUPPORT...: A COMPANION HOUSE BILL IS SPONSORED BY REPUBLICAN STEVE SCALISE.

SPEAKING OF SENATOR LANDRIEU, THE SENATOR SAYS SHE IS ENCOURAGED BY PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA'S PLAN TO CUT THE U-S DEFICIT BY MORE THAN THREE TRILLION DOLLARS. MR. OBAMA IS PROPOSING HIGHER TAXES ON WEALTHY AMERICANS, ALONG WITH SPENDING CUTS. LANDRIEU SAYS THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CAN'T DIG ITSELF OUT OF THIS HOLE WITHOUT DOING BOTH.

ATTORNEY GENERAL BUDDY CALDWELL WILL RUN UNOPPOSED ON THE OCTOBER 22ND BALLOT AND BEGIN SERVING A SECOND FOUR-YEAR TERM NEXT JANUARY. THAT'S BECAUSE HIS ONLY CHALLENGER, FELLOW REPUBLICAN AND FORMER NEW ORLEANS CONGRESSMAN JOSEPH CAO, (GOW) HAS BOWED OUT OF THE RACE. CALDWELL SWITCHED TO THE REPUBLICAN PARTY EARLIER THIS YEAR AND HE RECEIVED ENDORSEMENTS FROM BOTH SENATOR DAVID VITTER AND GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL.

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL IS BACKING UP HIS CAMPAIGN ENDORSEMENTS WITH CASH. SITTING ON A HEFTY CAMPAIGN ACCOUNT NEARING $8 MILLION AND WITH LITTLE CHANCE OF LOSING HIS RE-ELECTION BID, JINDAL HAS SPREAD HIS CAMPAIGN DOLLARS TO A LIST OF LAWMAKERS AND STATE EDUCATION BOARD MEMBERS FOR THE OCT. 22 ELECTION. THE REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR CONTRIBUTED $190,500 TO CANDIDATES AROUND LOUISIANA, GIVING MORE THAN 70 LEGISLATIVE CANDIDATES THE MAXIMUM $2,500 CONTRIBUTION. THE GOVERNOR HAS ALSO DOLED OUT ANOTHER $67,500 TO CANDIDATES AND CONTENDERS FOR THE STATE BOARD OF ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION.

ONE MAN WAS INJURED IN AN EARLY MORNING FLASH FIRE AT A BEAUREGARD PARISH OIL WELL SITE. TUESDAY'S FIRE STARTED BEFORE 6:30 IN THE MORNING AT A NEW OIL WELL SITE LOCATED ABOUT FIVE MILES WEST OF U.S. HIGHWAY 171 IN BEAUREGARD PARISH. THE FIRE WAS QUICKLY BROUGHT UNDER CONTROL. THERE WAS ONE MINOR INJURY TO AN EMPLOYEE WHO WAS WORKING AT THE LOCATION. HE WAS TREATED AT THE SCENE FOR MINOR BURNS AND RELEASED. THE LOUISIANA STATE POLICE EMERGENCY SERVICES UNIT WILL CONDUCT AN INVESTIGATION.

ST. TAMMANY PARISH SHERIFF JACK STRAIN SAYS A COUPLE IN THEIR 80S, BOTH SUFFERING FROM MULTIPLE MEDICAL PROBLEMS, DIED IN AN APPARENT DOUBLE SUICIDE. INVESTIGATORS FOUND NO TRACE OF FORCED ENTRY TUESDAY INTO THE COUPLE'S LACOMBE HOME, AND THERE WAS NO SIGN OF VIOLENCE INSIDE.

A LAKE CHARLES COUPLE WILL SPEND YEARS BEHIND BARS FOR LYING TO POLICE ABOUT A TEENAGE SON'S PART IN A DRIVE-BY SHOOTING THAT KILLED A 14-YEAR-OLD GIRL IN 2009.
FORTY-FOUR-YEAR-OLD NINA LAMBERT NEWTON AND 48-YEAR-OLD RODNEY BERNARD NEWTON WERE CONVICTED IN MAY OF ACCESSORY AFTER THE FACT; NINA NEWTON ALSO WAS CONVICTED OF OBSTRUCTING JUSTICE. SHE WAS SENTENCED MONDAY TO 10 YEARS IN PRISON; HER HUSBAND GOT THREE YEARS.

THE SUGAR BOWL ACKNOWLEDGED IT MADE SEVERAL CAMPAIGN DONATIONS TO THEN-GOV. KATHLEEN BLANCO OF LOUISIANA IN THE MID-2000S ,IN VIOLATION OF FEDERAL TAX LAW, AND A GROUP HAS FILED A COMPLAINT ABOUT THE MATTER WITH THE IRS. SUGAR BOWL SPOKESMAN JOHN SUDSBURY SAID TUESDAY THAT BOWL REPRESENTATIVES MISTAKENLY BOUGHT TICKETS FOR FUNDRAISING DINNERS FOR THE DEMOCRATIC GOVERNOR IN 2004 AND 2006, TOTALING $3,000. HE SAID THE BOWL FOUND RECORDS OF THE DONATIONS, WHICH WERE FIRST DOCUMENTED BY HBO'S "REAL SPORTS," PART OF A SEGMENT ON THE "BOWL GAME MONEY TRAIL" SET TO AIR TUESDAY NIGHT. BUT LOUISIANA CAMPAIGN RECORDS REVIEWED BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS LIST SUGAR BOWL DONATIONS TO BLANCO IN 2004, 2005 AND 2006, TOTALING $5,000. THE BOWL SAID THAT ITS AUDITORS HAVE CONCLUDED THE REPORT OF THE 2005 DONATION IS INACCURATE.

WILLIAMS COMPANIES INC. SAID TUESDAY IT WILL SPEND UP TO $400 MILLION TO EXPAND AN ETHYLENE PRODUCTION FACILITY IN BATON ROUGE, LA. THE TULSA, OKLA. NATURAL GAS COMPANY SAID THE EXPANSION AT THE GEISMAR FACILITY WILL INCREASE PRODUCTION CAPACITY 44 PERCENT TO 1.95 BILLION POUNDS PER YEAR. IT'S EXPECTED TO BE IN SERVICE IN THE THIRD QUARTER OF 2013.

STATE POLICE ARREST A 24-YEAR-OLD HAMMOND MAN, WHO'S CHARGED WITH HIS 7TH DWI OFFENSE. AUTHORITIES SAY DONALD MURPHY JR. LED LSP UNITS ON A CHASE ALONG I-12 THROUGH TANGIPAHOA & ST. TAMMANY PARISHES. AS YOU MAY SUSPECT, MURPHY FACES A SLEW OF CHARGES.

A 43-YEAR-OLD HOUMA WOMAN WAS SHOCKED TO BE TOLD BY ER DOCTORS THAT SHE WAS ABOUT TO HAVE A BABY. MARJORIE RODRIGUE WENT TO THE HOSPITAL WITH SEVERE ABDOMINAL CRAMPS AND CHEST PAINS. RODRIGUE SAYS SHE HAD NO IDEA SHE WAS PREGANT, AS HER DOCTORS HAD TOLD HER YEARS EARLIER SHE WAS INFERTILE. HER BABY WAS BORN ABOUT A MONTH PREMATURE, BUT DOCTORS THINK HE'LL BE OK.

AN AUBURN UNIVERSITY STUDY IS REPORTING THERE COULD BE LARGE MATS OF OIL LEFT OVER FROM THE B-P OIL SPILL SUBMERGED ON THE SEABED IN THE GULF AND THE OIL IS NOT BREAKING DOWN AS QUICKLY AS ONCE THOUGHT. A STUDY OF TAR BALLS THAT LANDED ON BEACHES FOLLOWING TROPICAL STORM LEE SHOW THEM TO BE FRESH AND UNCHANGED FROM WHEN THE OIL FIRST APPEARED AFTER THE SPILL.









News For Tuesday 09/20/11


NEWS FOR TUESDAY 092011
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

HE WAS DOING THE JOB ON AN INTERIM BASIS, BUT, NOW HE IS THE PERMANENT BOSS. LOREN LAMPERT WAS OFFERED THE JOB AS FULL-TIME CHIEF OF THE ALEXANDRIA POLICE DEPARTMENT ON MONDAY AFTERNOON, AND HE ACCEPTED ON THE SPOT. LAMPERT, A FORMER ALEXANDRIA POLICE OFFICER HAD BEEN ON LEAVE FROM HIS JOB AT THE RAPIDES PARISH DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE JUNE 13. WHEN HE ACCEPTED THE INTERIM POSITION.

TOMORROW IS THE LAST DAY TO REGISTER TO VOTE IN THE OCT. 22 ELECTIONS.
NEW VOTERS WHO WANT TO SIGN UP CAN GO TO THEIR PARISH REGISTRAR OF VOTERS' OFFICE, OR REGISTER ONLINE AT WWW.GEAUXVOTE.COM. CURRENTLY, THERE ARE 2.78 MILLION VOTERS REGISTERED IN LOUISIANA. DEMOCRATS ACCOUNTED FOR ALMOST HALF OF THE REGISTRATION, WITH 1.4 MILLION VOTERS, WHILE REPUBLICANS TOTALED 707,000, AND 657,000 ARE REGISTERED AS INDEPENDENTS.

TWO ARRESTS HAVE BEEN MADE IN STABBING OF A 16 YEAR OLD STUDENT YESTERDAY MORNING THAT IN THE BATHROOM AT OPELOUSAS HIGH SCHOOL. OPELOUSAS POLICE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN DARREN ZACHARY SAYS 17-YEAR-OLD BRANDON ROBERTSON AND HIS BROTHER, 18-YEAR-OLD CHRISTOPHER ROBINSON WERE BOTH CHARGED. HE SAYS THEY BELIEVE THE INCIDENT STARTED WITH A FIGHT AT A BUS STOP THAT SPILLED OVER INSIDE THE SCHOOL. HE SAYS THE VICTIM WAS TAKEN TO A LOCAL HOSPITAL IN STABLE CONDITION WITH SEVERAL STAB WOUNDS.

THREE TEENS, 19 YEARS OF AGE AND UNDER HAVE BEEN ARRESTED IN CONNECTION WITH A RASH OF RANDOM SHOOTINGS IN THE BOYCE AREA. IT HAPPENED OVER THE WEEKEND, SEVERAL HOUSES AND CARS, FOR SOME UNKNOWN REASON, WERE SHOT AT. THE TEENS EACH FACE FIVE COUNTS OF ATTEMPTED FIRST-DEGREE MURDER, THREE COUNTS OF DAMAGE TO PROPERTY AND CRIMINAL CONSPIRACY. AUTHORITIES SAY ANOTHER ARREST IS POSSIBLE. THE GOOD NEWS IS NO ONE WAS INJURED.

A FEDERAL APPEALS COURT HAS OVERTURNED THE 1998 SECOND-DEGREE MURDER CONVICTION OF PRINCESS LACAZE OF NATCHITOCHES, WHO WAS SENTENCED TO LIFE IN PRISON WITHOUT PAROLE AFTER A MAN WITH WHOM SHE WAS HAVING AN EXTRAMARITAL AFFAIR KILLED HER HUSBAND IN 1997. A PANEL OF U.S. 5TH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS JUDGES RULED THE PROSECUTION ERRED IN THE 1998 TRIAL WHEN IT DID NOT REVEAL A DEAL MADE WITH LACAZE'S EX-LOVER, MERYLAND ROBINSON, THE CHIEF WITNESS AGAINST HER. THE 49 YEAR OLD LACAZE WILL HAVE A BOND HEARING WITHIN THE NEXT TWO WEEKS IN NATCHITOCHES. HER ATTORNEY, MICHAEL SMALL OF ALEXANDRIA, SAID HE EXPECTS TO ENTER A PLEA OF NOT GUILTY. IT WILL BE UP TO THE PARISH DA THEN TO DECIDE IF HE WANTS TO RETRY THE CASE.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA'S PLAN FOR REDUCING THE FEDERAL DEBT MEETS WITH DISAPPROVAL FROM LOUISIANA'S REPUBLICAN CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATES. JEFFERSON PARISH CONGRESSMAN STEVE SCALISE SAYS HE'S TROUBLED BY MR. OBAMA'S PLAN TO RAISE TAXES ON THE RICH BY OVER A TRILLION DOLLARS. ON MSNBC MONDAY, MINDEN CONGRESSMAN JOHN FLEMING WAS ALSO CRITICAL OF THE OBAMA DEFICIT REDUCTION PLAN. FLEMING SAYS THE PRESIDENT NEEDS TO FOCUS ON CREATING JOBS AND NOT ON REDISTRIBUTING WEALTH. THE OBAMA PLAN WOULD RAISE TAXES ON HOUSEHOLDS WITH OVER A MILLION DOLLARS INCOME; RAISING ABOUT $1.5-TRILLION. SENATOR DAVID VITTER SAYS, IN THE CURRENT ECONOMY, THAT PLAN WILL HURT - NOT HELP.

A CONSTRUCTION CRANE HAS FALLEN AND STRUCK A BUILDING OF A RETIREMENT COMMUNITY IN SOUTH SHREVEPORT. THE 110 FT. CRANE WAS INSTALLING EQUIPMENT WHEN IT FELL OVER AND CUT THROUGH ONE OF THE NURSING HOME BUILDINGS AT THE OAKS OF LOUISIANA. AN EMPLOYEE WAS SENT TO A LOCAL HOSPITAL WITH MINOR INJURIES, BUT NO OTHER INJURIES WERE REPORTED. RESIDENTS HAVE BEEN TAKEN TO OTHER BUILDINGS WHILE THE DAMAGE IS ASSESSED.

THE LAWYERS INVOLVED IN THE SECOND-DEGREE BATTERY CASE AGAINST LSU QUARTERBACK JORDAN JEFFERSON SAY THE DNA TESTS HAVE COME BACK INCONCLUSIVE. JEFFERSON'S ATTORNEY LEWIS UNGLESBY SAYS DNA TAKEN FROM JEFFERSON AND SHOES BELONGING TO THE SUSPENDED FOOTBALL PLAYER DID NOT SHOW UP ON THE ALLEGED VICTIM. A GRAND JURY IS EXPECTED TO HEAR EVIDENCE ON JEFFERSON'S CASE TOMORROW. HE AND ANOTHER LSU PLAYER, LINEBACKER JOSH JOHNS, ARE FACING A FELONY BATTERY CHARGE FOR THEIR ALLEGED ROLE IN A FIGHT OUTSIDE OF A BAR LAST MONTH. UNGLESBY IS CONFIDENT THE GRAND JURY WILL CLEAR JEFFERSON.

GOVERNOR JINDAL CUT THE RIBBON ON A NEW MULTI-LANE SECTION OF US HIGHWAY 61, FROM ST. FRANCISVILLE TO THE MISSISSIPPI LINE YESTERDAY. THE HIGHWAY IS A MAJOR CONNECTOR FROM BATON ROUGE TO NORTHEAST PARISHES.

ACCORDING TO A NEW NATIONAL SURVEY OF CHILD CARE COSTS, LOUISIANA IS ONE OF THE MOST AFFORDABLE PLACES FOR PARENTS SENDING KIDS TO DAY CARE CENTERS. TREY WILLIAMS WITH THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES SAYS THE SURVEY FOUND THAT LOUISIANA'S AVERAGE COST FOR INFANTS IS $5,900, $4,400 FOR 4-YEAR-OLDS AND $2,450 FOR SCHOOL AGED CHILDREN. ONLY ALABAMA AND MISSISSIPPI HAVE LOWER RATES. HE SAYS CHILD CARE IS STILL PRICEY.

FORMER GOVERNOR EDWIN EDWARDS SAYS HE THINKS THE STATE DEMOCRATIC PARTY NEED TO MOVE TO THE CENTER TO COMPETE WITH THE REPUBLICAN ASCENSION IN LOUISIANA. SPEAKING AT THE BATON ROUGE PRESS CLUB, EDWARDS SAYS THE WAY HE SEES IT MANY OF THE STATE'S NEW REPUBLICANS ARE STILL DEMOCRATS AT HEART.

IN A SPEECH YESTERDAY MORNING PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA LAID OUT A PROPOSAL TO
RAISE 1.5-TRILLION DOLLARS IN TAXES AS PART OF HIS PLAN TO START CUTTING THE NATIONAL DEBT. LSU POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR ROBERT HOGAN SAYS THE PRESIDENT'S PLAN HAS VERY LITTLE CHANCE OF PASSAGE SO LONG AS REPUBLICANS CONTROL THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. OBAMA HAS BEEN PROMOTING HIS PROPOSAL, TO CREATE JOBS WHILE ALSO SHRINKING THE DEBT, IN A SERIES OF SPEECHES AT DIFFERENT LOCATIONS AROUND THE COUNTRY.

AN EARLY MORNING TRAIN DERAILMENT YESTERDAY IN LINCOLN PARISH NEAR THE OUACHITA PARISH LINE, FORCED THE EVACUATION OF SEVERAL HOMES YESTERDAY AS A PRECAUTION. STATE POLICE SPOKESPERSON TROOPER MARK DENNIS SAYS THERE WAS NO SPILL BUT A TAKER CAR CARRYING A FLAMMABLE LIQUID WAS HEAVILY DAMAGED IN THE DERAILMENT.

SHREVEPORT OFFICIALS MAY BE FORCED TO TELL RESIDENTS TO CUT BACK ON HOW MUCH WATER THEY USE. CITY OFFICIALS ARE MEASURING HOW MUCH WATER IS USED OVER THE NEXT 10 DAYS TO DETERMINE IF RESTRICTIONS ARE NECESSARY. UNDER A NEW WATER CONSERVATION POLICY, THE CITY'S WATER AND SEWERAGE DIRECTOR CAN ORDER MANDATORY RESTRICTIONS WHEN LAKE LEVELS AT CROSS LAKE FALL BELOW 166 FEET OR WATER FROM THE CITY WATER PLANT EXCEEDS 70 MILLION GALLONS PER DAY FOR 10 DAYS.
STARTING THIS WEEK, THE CITY IS TRACKING THE AMOUNT OF WATER USED AT THE PLANT. THE CITY IS CURRENTLY PUMPING 75 MILLION GALLONS PER DAY.


News For Monday 09/19/11


NEWS FOR MONDAY 091911
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

TWO TEENAGERS WERE KILLED AND ONE WAS INJURED SATURDAY NIGHT IN A SINGLE-VEHICLE CRASH IN NATCHITOCHES PARISH. STATE POLICE SAY 16 YEAR OLD KELCIE VERCHER OF ROBELINE WAS KILLED ALONG WITH PASSENGER 15 YEAR OLD KAITLYN RACHAL OF NATCHITOCHES. A SECOND 15-YEAR-OLD, WHOSE NAME WAS NOT RELEASED BY STATE POLICE, WAS TAKEN TO NATCHITOCHES REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER WITH MODERATE INJURIES. THE ACCIDENT HAPPENED AROUND 6 IN THE EVENING. THE CRASH REMAINS UNDER INVESTIGATION.

STATE TREASURER JOHN KENNEDY WILL BE TOWN TODAY ADDRESSING THE CENTRAL LOUISIANA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE. THE STRATEGIC LUNCHEON BEGINS AT 11:30 A.M. IN THE CONVENTION CENTER AT COUNTRY INN & SUITES IN PINEVILLE. KENNEDY, WHO WAS RECENTLY RE-ELECTED WITHOUT OPPOSITION, WILL DISCUSS “THE STATE OF THE STATE’S BUDGET.” COST OF THE EVENT, INCLUDING LUNCH, IS $15. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO ATTEND, CALL THE CHAMBER AT 442-6671.

LOUISIANA'S UNEMPLOYMENT RATE IS AT ITS LOWEST LEVEL FOR THE YEAR. PATTY GRANIER, WITH THE LOUISIANA WORKFORCE COMMISSION, SAYS THE STATE'S UNEMPLOYMENT DROPPED FROM 7.6 PERCENT IN JULY TO 7.2 PERCENT IN AUGUST.
GRANIER SAYS THE LATEST LABOR NUMBERS ALSO SHOW THE PRIVATE SECTOR HAS ADDED 40-THOUSAND THOUSAND JOBS OVER THE YEAR. GRANIER SAYS LOUISIANA'S UNEMPLOYMENT RATE IS THE 13TH LOWEST IN THE NATION AND THIRD LOWEST IN THE SOUTHERN REGION. SHE SAYS THE STATE'S LABOR NUMBERS ARE TRENDING POSITIVELY.

AFTER SOME NICE WEATHER AT THE END OF LAST WEEK, GET READY FOR HUMID AND WARM TEMPERATURES FOR THE START OF THIS WEEK. STATE CLIMATOLOGIST BARRY KEIM SAYS WE ARE IN A TYPICAL SEPTEMBER WEATHER PATTERN. KEIM SAYS WE WILL CONTINUE TO SEE TEMPERATURES GOING UP AND DOWN THROUGH MID OCTOBER. AT LEAST THERE'S A GOOD CHANCE OF RAIN OVER THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS. BUT KEIM SAYS LA NINA CONDITIONS SHOULD KEEP LOUISIANA RELATIVELY DRY OVER THE NEXT FEW WEEKS

WE'RE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE HURRICANE SEASON, AND THE TROPICS ARE RELATIVELY QUIET. THE ONLY SYSTEM THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER IS TRACKING IS HURRICANE MARIA WHICH WILL HAVE NO IMPACT ON THE UNITED STATES. STATE CLIMATOLOGIST BARRY KEIM SAYS EVEN THOUGH THINGS ARE CALM RIGHT NOW, HE SUSPECTS THAT WILL CHANGE. KEIM SAYS WE'VE ALREADY HAD 14 NAMED STORMS WHICH MEANS THERE ARE ONLY 7 STORM NAMES LEFT IN THE 2011 HURRICANE NAME ROTATION. KEIM SAYS THE RISK OF A HURRICANE HITTING LOUISIANA RUNS THROUGH THE END OF OCTOBER. HE SAYS THE LANINA THAT HAS REFORMED WILL PROVIDE WILL PROVIDE FAVORABLE CONDITIONS FOR STORMS TO FORM...

FORMER GOVERNOR EDWIN EDWARDS IS SPEAKING TO THE BATON ROUGE PRESS CLUB TODAY. ALONG WITH HIS MANY PUBLIC APPEARANCES AROUND THE STATE, EDWARDS GIVES THE IMPRESSION OF BEING ON THE STUMP AGAIN. EDWARDS HAS BEEN MAKING A SERIES OF WELL PUBLICIZED APPEARANCES ACROSS THE STATE SINCE HE WAS RELEASED FROM CUSTODY. MOST OF EDWARDS' APPEARANCES HAVE BEEN A PART OF A BOOK TOUR TO PROMOTE HIS BIOGRAPHY.

SINCE THIS YEAR'S STATEWIDE ELECTIONS ARE NOT DRAWING MUCH INTEREST, POLITICOS ARE LOOKING AHEAD TO THE NEXT BIG STATEWIDE ELECTION IN 2014 WHEN SENATOR MARY LANDRIEU IS EXPECTED TO SEEK A FOURTH TERM. JOHN MAGINNIS, WITH LAPOLITICS.COM, SAYS THERE ARE SEVERAL REPUBLICANS WHO ARE ALREADY CONSIDERING THAT RACE. MAGINNIS SAYS WHETHER CONGRESSMAN JEFF LANDRY WINS OR LOSES NEXT YEAR'S ELECTION AGAINST CONGRESSMAN CHARLES BOUSTANY IN A NEWLY MERGED DISTRICT, HE'S GOT HIS SIGHTS SET ON A STATEWIDE RACE. HE SAYS, FOR NOW, LANDRIEU LOOKS VULNERABLE AS THE ONLY ELECTED DEMOCRAT IN THE STATE, BUT A LOT CAN CHANGE IN THREE YEARS.

A PANEL OF STATE LAWMAKERS UNANIMOUSLY APPROVES A NEW BUILDING & BUSINESS PLAN FOR THE PROPOSED $1-BILION RESEARCH & TEACHING HOSPITAL IN NEW ORLEANS. JOINT LEGISLATIVE BUDGET COMMITTEE CO-CHAIR JIM FANNIN SAYS THE STATE HAS AN OPPORTUNITY TO BUILD A WORLD-CLASS MEDICAL CENTER FOR THE REGION. THE HOSPITAL HAS BEEN IN PLANNING STAGES FOR SIX YEARS AND SUBJECT OF MUCH DISPUTE OVER IT'S SIZE, STRUCTURE AND COST. THE NEW PLAN WILL NOT REQUIRE ANY STATE-BACKED BORROWING. HOUSE SPEAKER JIM TUCKER, OF ALGIERS SAYS THE NEW 424-BED PLAN IS MUCH LESS COSTLY THAN PREVIOUS MODELS. STATE TREASURER JOHN KENNEDY WONDERS ABOUT COMPETITION FROM EXISTING NEW ORLEANS AREA HOSPITALS--WHO HE SAYS WON'T LIE DOWN AND GIVE UP BUSINESS TO THE NEW TEACHING FACILITY. FANNIN SAYS THE BUSINESS PLAN COVERS EVERY POINT THAT CONSULTANTS COULD CONCEIVE.

NATCHEZ POLICE SAY A LOUISIANA MAN HAS BEEN ARRESTED ON CHARGES OF WATCHING PORNOGRAPHIC MATERIAL INSIDE A LOCAL MCDONALD'S "PLAY PLACE" WHERE TWO CHILDREN WERE PLAYING. POLICE TELL THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT (HTTP://BIT.LY/NU8EKJ ) THAT 53-YEAR-OLD RONNIE L. HOBBS OF FERRIDAY, LA., WAS ARRESTED FRIDAY ON CHARGES OF PUBLIC DISPLAY OF SEXUALLY-ORIENTED MATERIALS AND CONTRIBUTING TO THE NEGLECT OR DELINQUENCY OF A CHILD. POLICE SAY OFFICERS COULD SEE THE IMAGES HOBBS WAS ALLEGEDLY VIEWING ON HIS COMPUTER FROM THE PARKING LOT AND DRIVE-THRU.

A NEW STUDY IN THE JOURNAL OF PEDIATRICS SHOWS THE NUMBER OF YOUNG CHILDREN TREATED FOR MEDICATION POISONING HAS RISEN 22-PERCENT. DR. MARK RYAN, DIRECTOR OF THE LOUISIANA POISON CONTROL CENTER, SAYS UNTIL RECENTLY, MOST POISONING CASES AMONG CHILDREN CAME FROM HOUSEHOLD PRODUCTS, BUT THAT HAS CHANGED IN THE LAST FEW YEARS. THE STUDY SHOWS PAIN MEDICATIONS, MUSCLE RELAXANTS, SLEEPING PILLS AND HEART MEDICATIONS ARE THE MOST DANGEROUS. RYAN SAYS FAILURE TO PROPERLY USE CHILD RESISTANT PACKAGING IS A MAJOR CAUSE FOR THE INCREASE IN MEDICATION POISONINGS. MANY MEDICATIONS AND HEALTH PRODUCTS SUCH AS VITAMINS, ESPECIALLY THOSE MADE FOR CHILDREN, ARE CANDY COATED OR MADE TO LOOK LIKE TREATS.




SPORTS..

DREW BREES KEPT NEW ORLEANS' OFFENSE ROLLING, AND JAY CUTLER HAD LITTLE CHANCE OF KEEPING UP AGAINST A SAINTS DEFENSE DETERMINED TO REGAIN AN INTIMIDATING EDGE. BREES THREW FOR THREE TOUCHDOWNS, NEW ORLEANS' DEFENSE BEAT UP ON CUTLER WITH SIX SACKS, AND THE SAINTS DEFEATED THE CHICAGO BEARS 30-13 ON SUNDAY. PAYTON AND HIS TEAM WILL NOW GET READY FOR THE TEXANS...

News For Friday 09/16/11


NEWS FOR FRIDAY 091611
BY DAVE GRAICHEN


GOV. BOBBY JINDAL AND OTHER STATE, LOCAL AND MILITARY OFFICIALS CELEBRATED THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF MORE THAN $25 MILLION IN STATE FUNDS FOR INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENTS IN THE FORT POLK AREA THURSDAY. THE $25.2 MILLION IN FUNDING ANNOUNCED AT A PRESS CONFERENCE IN LEESVILLE IS EXPECTED TO SPUR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, CREATE ABOUT 2,000 JOBS, ADD HOUSING AND QUALITY-OF-LIFE OPPORTUNITIES FOR MILITARY FAMILIES, AND BOOST FORT POLK'S POSITION AS ONE OF THE MILITARY'S TOP BASES.

FOUR RAPIDES PARISH HIGH SCHOOLS WERE AMONG THE CENLA SCHOOLS RANKED BY U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT AS BEING AMONG THE NATION'S BEST HIGH SCHOOLS. HONORED WERE BOLTON HIGH SCHOOL WITH A SILVER MEDAL RATING; AND NORTHWOOD, RAPIDES AND PLAINVIEW HIGH SCHOOLS, EACH WITH A BRONZE MEDAL RATING. THREE OTHER AREA SCHOOLS WERE HONORED AS WELL AS NATIONAL BLUE RIBBON SCHOOLS. THEY ARE ROSENTHAL MONTESSORI ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IN ALEXANDRIA, THE LOUISIANA SCHOOL FOR MATH, SCIENCE AND THE ARTS IN NATCHITOCHES AND MANY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL. RAPIDES PARISH SUPT. GARY JONES WAS PROUD TO SAY. "RAPIDES PARISH HAD MORE SCHOOLS (ON THE BEST LIST) THAN ANY OTHER PARISH IN THE STATE.

THOUGH STILL BEHIND THE NATIONAL AVERAGE, LOUISIANA MOTORISTS ARE BUCKLING UP AT A RECORD RATE. THE SURVEY, FROM THE STATE HIGHWAY COMMISSION, FOUND 77.7 PERCENT OF LOUISIANA MOTORISTS HAD THEIR SEATBELTS FASTENED, MATCHING THE RECORD-HIGH RATE ACHIEVED IN 2005. HOWEVER, THE ALEXANDRIA AREA IS LAGGING BEHIND A BIT. ALEXANDRIA TIED WITH LAKE CHARLES FOR LOWEST USAGE RATE OBSERVED WITH 74.8 PERCENT OF DRIVERS BUCKLING UP. STATE OFFICIALS REPORT AN ESTIMATED EIGHT LIVES ARE SAVED IN LOUISIANA FOR EVERY ONE PERCENTAGE POINT INCREASE IN SEATBELT USE.

THE TWO REPUBLICANS VYING TO BE LOUISIANA'S SECRETARY OF STATE TRADED CRITICISMS THURSDAY OVER PAY RAISE VOTES AND PROPERTY TAXES, WHILE SHARING LARGELY SIMILAR STANCES ON THE ELECTIONS ISSUES THE OFFICE OVERSEES.
AT A DEBATE WHERE THEY WERE ABLE TO ASK EACH OTHER QUESTIONS, CURRENT OFFICEHOLDER TOM SCHEDLER SAID HOUSE SPEAKER JIM TUCKER WAS OUT OF STEP BY SUPPORTING A LEGISLATIVE PAY RAISE THREE YEARS AGO THAT WAS WIDELY CRITICIZED IN THE PUBLIC. TUCKER HIT SCHEDLER FOR IMPROPERLY TAKING A HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION ON TWO PROPERTIES AT ONCE, FOR THREE YEARS, CUTTING HIS PROPERTY TAX BILL. BOTTOM LINE THOUGH, THE TWO AGREED ON MUCH MORE THAN THEY DISAGREED ON.

SETTING UP A BATTLE WITH THE GOP-CONTROLLED HOUSE, SENATE DEMOCRATS ON THURSDAY MUSCLED THROUGH A $7 BILLION BILL TO REPLENISH NEARLY EMPTY FEDERAL DISASTER AID ACCOUNTS. THE CHAMBER ADVANCED THE LEGISLATION BY A 62-37 VOTE TO DEFEAT A REPUBLICAN FILIBUSTER. TEN REPUBLICANS JOINED WITH EVERY DEMOCRAT PRESENT TO ADOPT THE MEASURE, WHICH INCLUDES $500 MILLION IN IMMEDIATE, EMERGENCY FUNDING FOR THE FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY TO MAKE SURE FEMA WON'T HAVE TO CUT OFF HELP FOR VICTIMS OF HURRICANE IRENE AND TROPICAL STORM LEE AT THE END OF THE MONTH.

A BATON ROUGE JUDGE HAS REFUSED TO BLOCK THE STATE FROM SIGNING CONTRACTS WITH THREE PRIVATE INSURANCE COMPANIES CHOSEN TO TAKE PART IN LOUISIANA'S NEW HEALTH-CARE DELIVERY SYSTEM FOR THE POOR. JUDGE WILLIAM MORVANT REJECTED ARGUMENTS FROM AN ATTORNEY FOR AETNA BETTER HEALTH INC., WHICH FAILED TO GET SOME OF THE BUSINESS, THAT AETNA WILL BE IRREPARABLY HARMED IF THE STATE IS ALLOWED TO MOVE FORWARD WITH THE THREE WINNING PROPOSALS.

THE UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE SAYS IT MAY CLOSE A DOWNTOWN NEW ORLEANS MAIL SORTING CENTER THAT EMPLOYS 880 PEOPLE. THE CENTER IS ONE OF MORE THAN 250 MAIL PROCESSING FACILITIES ACROSS THE COUNTRY THE AGENCY MIGHT CLOSE. A POSTAL SORTING FACILITY IN LAFAYETTE IS ALSO ON THE LIST OF POSSIBLE CLOSURES. THE CLOSINGS, AND SERVICE CHANGES, COULD SAVE THE POST OFFICE AS MUCH AS $3 BILLION ANNUALLY AND ARE PART OF AN EFFORT TO REDUCE ANNUAL COSTS BY $6.5 BILLION.

THANKS TO A FEDERAL GRANT, STATE ALCOHOL & TOBACCO CONTROL AGENTS WILL BE CARRYING OUT COVERT INVESTIGATIONS OF OVER 3000 RETAIL STORES STATEWIDE, TO SEE IF THEY'RE SELLING TOBACCO TO MINORS. THE FOOD & DRUG ADMINISTRATION IS PICKING UP THE TAB FOR THE STING OPERATION. ATC COMMISSIONER TROY HEBERT SAYS THE STINGS WILL USE REAL MINORS, BETWEEN 15 AND 17, TO TRY TO BUY CIGARETTES AT SHOPS. IF THEY ARE SOLD SMOKES, ATC AGENTS THEN COME IN AND CITE THE STORE AND CLERK.

THE U.S. COAST GUARD SAYS AN OIL LEAK FROM AN ABANDONED WELLHEAD IN BAYOU DUPONT IN JEFFERSON PARISH IS UNDER CONTROL. ON THURSDAY, OFFICIALS SAID ABOUT 1,470 GALLONS OF OIL HAD BEEN RECOVERED. THE COAST GUARD SAYS BOOM HAS BEEN PLACED IN THE WATER TO CONTAIN THE LEAK AND ABOUT 40 WORKERS ARE CLEANING UP THE SPILL. THE COAST GUARD SAYS ONE LEAK IN THE WELLHEAD HAS BEEN PLUGGED AND TWO OTHER SPOTS WHERE OIL WAS OOZING OUT HAVE STOPPED LEAKING. THE LEAK WAS REPORTED TO THE COAST GUARD ON SUNDAY.

MOST OF LOUISIANA'S STATE-LICENSED CASINOS EXPERIENCED A DROP IN WINNINGS LAST MONTH COMPARED TO AUGUST 2010. AND ALL OF THEM WON LESS THAN THEY DID IN JULY.
THE TOTAL TAKE FOR AUGUST FOR HARRAH'S CASINO AT NEW ORLEANS, THE 13 RIVERBOAT CASINOS AROUND THE STATE AND FOUR SLOT-MACHINE OPERATIONS AT HORSE TRACKS WAS $185.5 MILLION. THAT COMPARES TO $193.4 MILLION FOR AUGUST 2010 AND $224.3 MILLION IN JULY 2011.

GATORS; THEY'RE NOT JUST FOR SWAMP COUNTRY ANYMORE. WILDLIFE & FISHERIES AGENTS WERE SUMMONED TO A SUBDIVISION IN BOSSIER CITY TO DISPOSE OF A SIX FOOT ALLIGATOR THAT WAS SPOTTED WEDNESDAY. AGENTS SHOT THE ANIMAL AND HAULED IT AWAY.




News For Thursday 09/15/11


NEWS FOR THURSDAY 091511
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

LOUISIANA WILL SEE A RETURN TO COOLER AUTUMN-LIKE TEMPERATURES OVER THE NEXT FEW DAYS. STATE CLIMATOLOGIST BARRY KEIM SAYS A FRONT WILL START MOVING INTO LOUISIANA TODAY. THE COOL FRONT WILL MOVE IN; BRINGING SOME CLOUDS TODAY, AND A SLIGHT CHANCE OF RAIN...BUT BEHIND THAT, COOLER AND MORE PLEASANT WEATHER. KEIM SAYS THE WEEKEND SHOULD BE MOSTLY CLEAR AND MILD.

LOUISIANA PAID OUT $497 MILLION IN IMPROPER UNEMPLOYMENT PAYMENTS IN THE PAST THREE YEARS, CLOSE TO HALF OF ALL CLAIMS FILED. VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN RELEASED THE FIGURES TUESDAY IN ANNOUNCING THE ADMINISTRATION’S EFFORTS TO CRACK DOWN ON GOVERNMENT FRAUD, WASTE AND ABUSE. THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR REPORTED THAT LOUISIANA HAD THE HIGHEST PERCENTAGE OF IMPROPER EMPLOYMENT PAYMENTS IN THE NATION AT 43.6 PERCENT, OR ALMOST ONE OUT OF TWO CLAIMS FILED IN THE PAST THREE YEARS.

ACCORDING TO US NEWS & WORLD REPORT'S 2012 BEST COLLEGES LIST, FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER LOUISIANA TECH HAS MADE A FIRST TIER RANKING AMONG NATIONAL UNIVERSITIES. TECH SPOKESPERSON DAVE GUERIN SAYS LOUISIANA TECH WAS THE ONLY UNIVERSITY IN THE STATE TO BE ELEVATED TO A HIGHER TIER AND ONLY THE BULLDOGS AND LSU-BATON ROUGE HAVE A FIRST TIER RANKING. GUERIN SAYS THE BEST COLLEGES RANKINGS ARE BASED ON FACULTY ASSESSMENT, RETENTION AND GRADUATION RATES.

THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT'S REPORT ON THE CAUSES OF THE MACONDO DISASTER PLACES BLAME ON POOR MANAGEMENT DECISIONS BY BP AND OTHERS. ERIC SMITH, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF THE TULANE ENERGY INSTITUTE SAYS THE FEDERAL REPORT ULTIMATELY PUTS THE BLAME ON B-P FOR CREATING THE WORST OFFSHORE OIL SPILL IN US HISTORY. SMITH SAYS THE REPORT POINTS OUT SEVERAL DECISIONS THAT THE OIL GIANT MADE THAT COMPLICATED CEMENTING OPERATIONS ON THE RIG. BUT HE SAYS THE REPORT DOES NOT MENTION A SPECIFIC CAUSE FOR THE DISASTER...

MARKETS ANALYSTS REPORT THAT AS MANY AS 20 MORE OIL & GAS RIGS MAY LEAVE THE GULF OF MEXICO, UNLESS FEDERAL PERMITS FOR DRILLING PICK UP SPEED. THE FBR CAPITAL MARKETS REPORT INDICATES 11 HAVE ALREADY LEFT. LOUISIANA MID-CONTINENT OIL & GAS PRESIDENT CHRIS JOHN SAYS MORE LOSSES ARE PROBABLE, IF FEDERAL REGULATIONS DON'T EASE. JOHN SAYS FEDERAL PERMITS TO DRILL IN THE GULF HAVE SLOWED TO A TRICKLE, AND THE BACKLOG OF UNAPPROVED APPLICATIONS CONTINUES TO GROW. HE SAYS LOSING MORE RIGS WILL MEAN MANY LOST JOBS. JOHN SAYS EACH ACTIVE RIG IN THE GULF EMPLOYS ABOUT 250 PEOPLE, AND CREATES SUPPORT JOBS ON A 3-TO-1 RATIO.

NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS IN THE OCT. 22 ELECTION, ABOUT A QUARTER OF LOUISIANA'S LAWMAKERS WON'T RETURN IN JANUARY TO THEIR SAME POSTS. WHILE SOME ARE FORCED OUT BY TERM LIMITS, MORE THAN A DOZEN CHOSE NOT TO SEEK RE-ELECTION. TWENTY-FIVE OF THE 105 HOUSE MEMBERS WILL BE LEAVING WITH THE NEW TERM, INCLUDING 12 WHO ARE HEADING OUT VOLUNTARILY. EIGHT OF 39 SENATORS WON'T RESUME THEIR POSTS IN JANUARY, INCLUDING TWO WHO CHOSE NOT TO SEEK RE-ELECTION IN THE QUALIFYING PERIOD THAT ENDED LAST WEEK. SOME FACED DIFFICULT RE-ELECTION BIDS IF THEY TRIED IT, AND SOME ARE RUNNING FOR OTHER OFFICES.

STATE EDUCATION OFFICIALS SAY THE NUMBER OF LOUISIANA PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS EARNING A QUALIFYING SCORE ON ADVANCED PLACEMENT TESTS FOR COLLEGE HAS INCREASED FOR THE FIFTH YEAR IN A ROW — FROM 5,140 LAST YEAR TO 5,662 THIS YEAR.
SINCE 2007, THE NUMBER OF STUDENTS QUALIFYING FOR ADVANCED PLACEMENT HAS GROWN BY 54 PERCENT. THE FIGURES COME FROM THE COLLEGE BOARD, WHICH ADMINISTERS THE STANDARDIZED ADVANCED PLACEMENT AND SAT COLLEGE EXAMS.

A SECRETARY OF STATE DEBATE WILL BE HELD TODAY BETWEEN THE INCUMBENT TOM SCHEDLER AND HIS CHALLENGER, HOUSE SPEAKER JIM TUCKER. LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS PRESIDENT JEAN ARMSTRONG SAYS THIS IS AN IMPORTANT DEBATE. ARMSTRONG SAYS THE SECRETARY OF STATE'S OFFICE HOLDER IS 3RD IN SUCCESSION TO THE GOVERNOR WHICH IS WHY THIS IS SUCH AN IMPORTANT ELECTION TO FOLLOW. ARMSTRONG SAYS THE DUTIES OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE ARE ALSO VITAL. SUCH AS OVERSEEING THE STATES ELECTIONS. THE DEBATE WILL ONLY BE BROADCAST IN BATON ROUGE.

RESEARCHERS AT LSU HEALTH SCIENCES CENTER IN NEW ORLEANS MAY HAVE DISCOVERED A REAL BREAKTHROUGH IN TREATING BREAST CANCER. THEY DETERMINED THAT A NATURALLY-OCCURRING PROTEIN, CALLED NISCHARIN (NISH-UH-RIN), CAN INHIBIT BREAST CANCER CELLS. ONCE THEY UNDERSTAND THE MECHANISM THAT PRODUCES NISCHARIN IN THE BODY, IT'S POSSIBLE A THERAPY COULD BE DEVELOPED TO STOP BREAST TUMORS FROM DEVELOPING. THE NATIONAL CANCER INSTITUTE ESTIMATES THAT OVER 39-THOUSAND WOMEN WILL DIE OF BREAST CANCER OVER THE NEXT YEAR.

News For Wednesday 09/14/11


NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY 091411
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

FIRE CREWS ARE ON THE SCENE OF A BLAZE THIS MORNING AT 1ST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH ON HIGHWAY 165 IN PINEVILLE. THE BLAZE BROKE OUT EARLY THIS MORNING IN THE CHURCH’S YOUTH BUILDING. WHEN FIRE FIGHTERS THE BUILDING WAS TOTALLY ENGULFED IN FLAMES AND WAS A TOTAL LOSS. THE GOOD NEW, THE MAIN CHURCH BUILDING ONLY RECEIVED MINOR DAMAGE.

THE STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE HAS CLEARED RAPIDES PARISH SHERIFF CHUCK WAGNER IN AN INVESTIGATION LOOKING INTO WHETHER WAGNER STOPPED AN ANIMAL-ABUSE PROBE IN 2010. WAGNER SAID THE ALLEGATIONS WERE ROOTED IN ELECTION SHENANIGANS LEADING TO THE OCT. 22 PRIMARY. IN A BRIEF LETTER DATED MONDAY, THE AG'S CRIMINAL DIVISION DIRECTOR SAID THE INVESTIGATION OF WAGNER WAS CLOSED.
"AFTER A COMPLETE REVIEW OF THE FILE, IT IS DETERMINED THAT NO CRIMINAL CHARGES ARE WARRANTED REGARDING THIS INCIDENT.

GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL ANNOUNCES THAT SOUTH AFRICAN-BASED SASOL IS CONSIDERING BUILDING A NEW, GAS-TO-LIQUIDS FACILITY, IN CALCASIEU PARISH IF BUILT, THE COMPLEX WOULD COST BETWEEN EIGHT AND TEN-BILLION DOLLARS AND WILL GENERATE 850 NEW DIRECT JOBS AND 4,000 INDIRECT JOBS. JINDAL SAYS THIS COULD BE A HUGE ECONOMIC WINDFALL FOR LOUISIANA. THE COMPANY WILL CONDUCT A FEASIBILITY STUDY OVER THE NEXT 12 TO 18 MONTHS. ONE THING IN OUR FAVOR, SASOL ALREADY HAS A 175-MILLION DOLLAR CHEMICAL FACILITY UNDER CONSTRUCTION IN LAKE CHARLES. JINDAL SAYS THE FACILITY WOULD BE ONE OF THE LARGEST INDUSTRIAL PROJECTS IN LOUISIANA HISTORY. THE PLANT WOULD USE BETWEEN 1.3 TO 1.5 BILLION OF NATURAL GAS PER YEAR. JINDAL SAYS THE NEW FACILITY WILL CREATE DEMAND FOR NATURAL GAS PRODUCED HERE IN LOUISIANA.

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL HAS ENDORSED INCUMBENT ATTORNEY GENERAL BUDDY CALDWELL FOR RE-ELECTION OVER FORMER U.S. REP. JOSEPH CAO, BUT HE STAYED OUT OF TWO OTHER STATEWIDE RACES INVOLVING FELLOW HIGH-PROFILE REPUBLICANS. WHEN JINDAL'S LIST OF ENDORSEMENTS CAME OUT TUESDAY AFTERNOON, THERE WAS NO MENTION OF THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR'S RACE, IN WHICH INCUMBENT JAY DARDENNE IS CHALLENGED BY PLAQUEMINES PARISH PRESIDENT BILLY NUNGESSER; OR THE SECRETARY OF STATE' S RACE, IN WHICH INCUMBENT TOM SCHEDLER FACES OUTGOING HOUSE SPEAKER JIM TUCKER.

BP IS SENDING CLEANUP CREWS TO FOURCHON BEACH BECAUSE TROPICAL STORM LEE CAUSED SOME EROSION THAT HAS REVEALED MORE OIL. BP SPOKESPERSON CURTIS THOMAS SAYS THE STORM UNEARTHED TAR BALLS, TAR MATS AND ABANDONED CLEANUP EQUIPMENT LEFT FROM LAST YEAR'S OIL SPILL. THOMAS SAYS SINCE THEY WERE EXPECTING THIS TO HAPPEN, BP WAS ABLE TO RESPOND VERY QUICKLY.

DROUGHT CONDITIONS CONTINUE TO PERSIST IN NORTHWESTERN LOUISIANA AND IT APPEARS THERE'S NO RELIEF IN SIGHT. METEOROLOGIST MATT HEMINGWAY, WITH THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN SHREVEPORT SAYS RAINFALL IN THAT AREA OF THE STATE IS 16 INCHES BELOW AVERAGE. HEMINGWAY SAYS THE REGION ALSO POSTED A RAINFALL DEFICIT IN 2010 SO THIS IS AN ONGOING PROBLEM THAT JUST KEEPS GETTING WORSE. HE SAYS THE LA NINA THAT HAS RE-EMERGED ONLY MEANS MORE BAD NEWS FOR THE AREA.

LIFE IS GETTING HARDER IN THE NATION'S POOREST STATES. CENSUS DATA SHOW THOSE STATES ARE MISSISSIPPI AND LOUISIANA, WITH ABOUT ONE IN FIVE RESIDENTS LIVING IN POVERTY AND ABOUT THE SAME PERCENTAGE SURVIVING WITHOUT HEALTH INSURANCE.
THE CENSUS BUREAU SAID TUESDAY THAT ROUGHLY 618,000 MISSISSIPPI RESIDENTS AND 886,000 IN LOUISIANA DON'T HAVE ANY HEALTH INSURANCE. THAT'S 21.1 PERCENT OF MISSISSIPPI RESIDENTS AND 20 PERCENT IN LOUISIANA. TEXAS HAS THE NATION'S HIGHEST PERCENTAGE: 24.6 PERCENT. MISSISSIPPI WAS THE NATION'S POOREST STATE IN 2010. THE BUREAU SAYS AN ESTIMATED 664,000 RESIDENTS — 22.7 PERCENT — HAD INCOME BELOW THE POVERTY LINE. LOUISIANA WAS THE SECOND-POOREST, AT 21.6 PERCENT, OR 958,000 PEOPLE. NATIONALLY, ABOUT ONE IN SIX PEOPLE LIVE BELOW THE OFFICIAL POVERTY LEVEL OF $22,314 A YEAR FOR A FAMILY OF FOUR.

A US SENATE COMMITTEE PASSES AN AGRICULTURE FUNDING BILL THAT RESTORES OVER A MILLION DOLLARS FOR THE FINANCIALLY-STRAPPED LSU AGCENTER THAT WAS CUT FROM A PREVIOUS HOUSE VERSION. AGCENTER CHANCELLOR BILL RICHARDSON SAYS THE FEDERAL DOLLARS GO TO HELP SUPPORT THE AGCENTER'S RESEARCH AND EXTENSION PROGRAMS. RICHARDSON SAYS AFTER THREE YEARS OF STEADY STATE BUDGET CUTS, THIS NEW DEVELOPMENT IS WELCOME NEWS. HE SAYS THE BILL NOW GOES TO THE FULL US SENATE FOR DEBATE. THE RESTORED AGRI-FUNDING BILL WILL NEED APPROVAL IN BOTH CHAMBERS.

OCTOBER ELECTIONS FOR 7 SEATS ON LOUISIANA'S BOARD OF ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (BESE) ARE GENERATING A LOT OF INTEREST, BECAUSE THE OUTCOMES COULD CHANGE THE COURSE OF EDUCATION POLICY IN LOUISIANA. FORMER BESE MEMBER LESLIE JACOBS SAYS CANDIDATES THIS YEAR ARE POLAR OPPOSITES ON EDUCATION REFORM ISSUES. 20 PEOPLE HAVE SIGNED UP TO RUN FOR THE SEVEN CONTESTED BESE SEATS.

THE LABOR DEPARTMENT HAS CITED AN EXXONMOBIL REFINERY IN BATON ROUGE FOR ALLEGEDLY EXPOSING WORKERS TO FIRE HAZARDS. THE DEPARTMENT'S OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCED TUESDAY THAT IT HAS PROPOSED $126,000 IN PENALTIES FOR ALLEGED SAFETY VIOLATIONS DISCOVERED DURING A MARCH 14 INSPECTION.

LAFAYETTE WAS ON THE SEASON PREMIERE OF THE TV SHOW "COPS" SATURDAY NIGHT AND WILL BE SHOWN SEVERAL MORE TIMES DURING THE SEASON. LAFAYETTE PD SPOKESPERSON CPL PAUL MOUTON SAYS FILMING LASTED FOR ABOUT EIGHT WEEKS AND BEGAN IN MAY. MOUTON SAYS THE DEPARTMENT WILL BE FEATURED IN SIX SEGMENTS THIS SEASON.

THE LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF WILDLIFE AND FISHERIES HAS SET UP A 24-HOUR INFORMATION HOTLINE FOR THE PUBLIC TO FIND OUT ABOUT SEASON DATES AND REGULATIONS. THE NUMBER IS 1-800-256-2749. THE DEPARTMENT ANNOUNCED THE HOTLINE TUESDAY AND SAYS IT WILL UPDATE IT REGULARLY. HUNTING AND FISHING DATES WILL BE AVAILABLE THROUGH THE HOTLINE. PLUS, INFORMATION ON BOATING SAFETY, WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREA AND HUNTER SAFETY AND CONTACT INFORMATION FOR REGIONAL OFFICES WILL ALSO BE AVAILABLE. THAT NUMBER AGAIN 800-256-2749.

A FEDERAL JUDGE IS SET TO SENTENCE AN OPELOUSAS MAN WHO PLEADED GUILTY TO LYING TO THE FBI ABOUT WHAT HE SAW NEAR THE NEW ORLEANS BRIDGE WHERE POLICE SHOT AND KILLED TWO PEOPLE AND WOUNDED FOUR OTHERS AFTER HURRICANE KATRINA.
MARION DAVID RYDER FACES A MAXIMUM SENTENCE OF 15 YEARS IN PRISON WHEN HE IS SENTENCED TODAY IN U.S. DISTRICT COURT. RYDER, A CONVICTED FELON, WAS POSING AS A ST. LANDRY PARISH SHERIFF'S DEPUTY WHEN GUNFIRE ERUPTED ON THE DANZIGER BRIDGE SEVERAL DAYS AFTER THE 2005 STORM. PROSECUTORS SAID RYDER LIED WHEN HE CLAIMED HE SAW SOMEBODY SHOOT AT HIM AND RUN TOWARD THE BRIDGE.LAST MONTH, FIVE CURRENT OR FORMER NEW ORLEANS POLICE OFFICERS WERE CONVICTED OF CIVIL RIGHTS VIOLATIONS STEMMING FROM THE SHOOTINGS.

A KEY FEDERAL REPORT INTO WHAT CAUSED THE WORST OFFSHORE OIL SPILL IN U.S. HISTORY WAS BEING READIED FOR RELEASE AS EARLY AS WEDNESDAY AMID REVELATIONS THAT BP MADE CRITICAL MISTAKES ON THE WELL AND FAILED TO TELL ITS PARTNERS AND THE U.S. GOVERNMENT WHEN IT REALIZED IT. AN INVESTIGATION TEAM OF THE U.S. COAST GUARD AND THE AGENCY THAT REGULATES OFFSHORE DRILLING HELD HEARINGS OVER THE COURSE OF A YEAR FOLLOWING THE APRIL 20, 2010, DEEPWATER HORIZON TRAGEDY.

News For Tuesday 09/13/11


NEWS FOR TUESDAY 091311
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

ALEXANDRIA POLICE HAVE IDENTIFIED THE WOMAN FOUND DEAD IN THE MEDIAN OF INTERSTATE 49 SATURDAY. THE WOMAN IS 21-YEAR-OLD ASHLEY QUINN OF PINEVILLE. A MOTORIST ALERTED POLICE TO THE WOMAN'S BODY, AFTER SHE RAN OVER A PART OF THE WOMAN WITH HER CAR. INVESTIGATORS SAY MS. QUINN WAS MOST LIKELY DEAD BEFORE THAT HAPPENED. A MEDICAL EXAMINER IS DETERMINING HOW SHE DIED.

TENSIONS BETWEEN THE ADMINISTRATION AND THE ALEXANDRIA CITY COUNCIL CONTINUES TO GROW, THE ISSUE AGAIN, WHICH BRANCH OF CITY GOVERNMENT HAS CONTROL AND ACCESS TO THE CITY’S PUBLIC ACCESS CHANNEL. CITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT JOHNSON SAYS HE PLANS TO CONTACT THE FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION AND INVESTIGATE THE DAY TO DAY OPERATIONS OF THE SERVICE. CHANNEL 4 ROUTINELY SHOWS GOVERNMENT MEETINGS, INCLUDING COUNCIL MEETINGS AND PRESS BRIEFINGS HOSTED BY MAYOR JACQUES ROY, AS WELL AS PROMOTIONAL ANNOUNCEMENTS FOR CITY PROGRAMS AND OTHER RELATED ACTIVITIES. SOME COUNCIL MEMBERS BELIEVE THE MAYOR IS USING THE CHANNEL AS A BULLY PULPIT.

THE RAPIDES PARISH POLICE JURY AGREED MONDAY TO PICK UP THE TAB ON ANY FUNDS NEEDED TO REBUILD THE RIGOLETTE ROAD BRIDGE. THE BRIDGE WAS BADLY DAMAGED IN A FIRE IN MARCH AND HAS BEEN CLOSED SINCE THEN. THE STATE HAS PLEDGED $740,000 TOWARDS THE CONSTRUCTION OF A NEW BRIDGE. AT ITS MONTHLY MEETING MONDAY, THE POLICE JURY VOTED TO PROVIDE WHATEVER FUNDS ARE REQUIRED BEYOND THAT.
THE LATEST ESTIMATE TO BUILD THE NEW BRIDGE IS $834,000.

43 YEAR OLD KAREN LACHNEY OF PINEVILLE HAS BEEN ARRESTED ON CHARGES INVOLVING ILLEGAL PRESCRIPTIONS. THE ARREST CAME FOLLOWING A DRUG INVESTIGATION AND AFTER A TIP REPORTING SOMEONE WAS WRITING LARGE AMOUNTS OF SCRIPTS FOR PRESCRIPTION DRUGS. IN THE END, THE INVESTIGATION CENTERED ON LACHNEY. AFTER HER ARREST, SHE WAS CHARGED WITH 72 COUNTS OF OBTAINING A CONTROLLED DANGEROUS SUBSTANCE BY FRAUD. THE INVESTIGATION IS ONGOING, AND MORE CHARGES ARE PENDING.

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL ENDORSED RICK PERRY FOR PRESIDENT ON MONDAY, CALLING THE TEXAS GOVERNOR "THE CANDIDATE WHO CAN LEAD THE REPUBLICAN PARTY TO VICTORY IN 2012." JINDAL AND PERRY ANNOUNCED THE ENDORSEMENT AHEAD OF MONDAY NIGHT'S GOP PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE IN TAMPA, FLA. AND JUST HOURS AFTER FORMER MINNESOTA GOV. TIM PAWLENTY ENDORSED MITT ROMNEY, PERRY'S MOST SIGNIFICANT RIVAL FOR THE REPUBLICAN NOMINATION. JINDAL PRAISED PERRY'S JOB CREATION RECORD AS TEXAS GOVERNOR, THE CENTRAL MESSAGE OF PERRY'S CAMPAIGN.

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL HAS NO WELL-FUNDED COMPETITORS FOR HIS RE-ELECTION BID — BUT THAT HASN'T STOPPED HIS HEFTY FUNDRAISING EFFORTS. JINDAL'S OFFICE SAID THE REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR HEADED TO PHILADELPHIA ON MONDAY TO RAISE CAMPAIGN CASH FOR THE OCT. 22 ELECTION. HIS LATEST CAMPAIGN FINANCE REPORT SHOWED JINDAL WITH NEARLY $9 MILLION IN HIS ACCOUNT.

THE ANNOUNCED CLOSURE OF A GEORGIA-PACIFIC PLYWOOD AND LUMBER PLANT IN SOUTHERN ARKANSAS WILL MEAN UP TO 700 LOUISIANA RESIDENTS OUT OF WORK. WEST MONROE STATE SENATOR MIKE WALSWORTH SAYS HOUSING STARTS ARE AT PRACTICALLY ZERO, AND THE PLANT'S CLOSURE REFLECTS HOW BAD THE ECONOMY IS. WALSWORTH SAYS OTHER COMPANIES IN THE MONROE AREA ARE EXPANDING AND HIRING, AND IT'S HOPED THEY CAN ABSORB SOME OF THE JOBS LOST.

POLICE HAVE VOLUNTARILY RETURNED 33 PAIRS OF SHOES TO SUSPENDED LSU QUARTERBACK JORDAN JEFFERSON, BUT ARE KEEPING 16 PAIRS WHILE THEY CONTINUE AN INVESTIGATION OF A BAR FIGHT INVOLVING LSU FOOTBALL PLAYERS. JEFFERSON'S LAWYERS HAD FILED A MOTION LAST WEEK SEEKING THE RETURN OF ALL OF THE SHOES UNLESS POLICE COULD SHOW PROBABLE CAUSE TO KEEP ANY OF THEM AS EVIDENCE IN THE PROBE OF AN AUG. 19 BRAWL. THE INCIDENT LED TO THE FELONY BATTERY ARRESTS OF JEFFERSON AND RESERVE LINEBACKER JOSH JOHNS. THOUGH JUDGE CHIP MOORE MONDAY DELAYED RULING ON THE MATTER UNTIL SEPT. 26, POLICE RETURNED MOST OF THE SHOES AFTER THE HEARING IN EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH DISTRICT COURT. INVESTIGATORS HAVE SAID THEY WANT TO TEST JEFFERSON'S SHOES FOR DNA OR BLOOD EVIDENCE.

THE PUBLIC AFFAIRS RESEARCH COUNCIL ISSUES A GUIDE TO HELP VOTERS UNDERSTAND THE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS ON THE OCTOBER 22ND AND NOVEMBER 19TH BALLOTS. PAR PRESIDENT, ROBERT TRAVIS SCOTT, SAYS PART OF THE FIRST AMENDMENT ON THE OCTOBER 22ND BALLOT WOULD RENEW THE FOUR-CENT PER-PACK CIGARETTE TAX. ANOTHER KEY AMENDMENT ON THE OCTOBER 22ND BALLOT WOULD HELP BRING FINANCIAL STABILITY TO THE STATE WORKER AND TEACHER RETIREMENT SYSTEMS. SCOTT SAYS THIS AMENDMENT WOULD GUARANTEE A PORTION OF ANY FUTURE, ONE-TIME, DOLLARS GO TO PAY DOWN THE SYSTEMS THE LONG TERM LIABILITY. THE COMPLETE 23 PAGE GUIDE CAN BE FOUND ON THE KSYL WEBSITE AT WWW.KSYL.COM

THE U.S. COAST GUARD SAYS CREWS ARE CLEANING UP A LEAK OF CRUDE OIL IN BAYOU DUPONT AND BARATARIA BAY FROM A PIPELINE. THE AGENCY SAYS A PIPELINE LEAK FROM A PLATFORM WAS REPORTED ON SUNDAY AFTERNOON AND THAT CREWS WERE CALLED IN TO CLEAN UP THE SPILL. THE COAST GUARD SAYS A SECOND LEAK WAS DISCOVERED TOO AT THE WELLHEAD. FEDERAL OFFICIALS SAY NO WILDLIFE HAS BEEN HURT BY THE SPILL AND THAT CREWS ARE WORKING TO FIX THE PIPELINE AND STOP THE LEAKS.

THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE LOUISIANA SCHOOL BOARDS ASSOCIATION HAS BEEN DISMISSED. NOLTON SENEGAL, WHO HELD THE JOB SINCE 2007, WAS REMOVED FROM HIS POST BY THE BOARD OF THE ASSOCIATION, WHICH REPRESENTS ABOUT 650 LOCAL SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS STATEWIDE. DARRIN MANUEL, PRESIDENT OF THE LSBA BOARD, SAYS SENEGAL'S DISMISSAL STEMMED FROM AN INVESTIGATION OF POSSIBLE MISAPPROPRIATION OF FUNDS BY ANOTHER MEMBER OF THE STAFF. HOWEVER, LSBA CONSULTANT DON WHITTINGHILL SAYS THE BOARD'S ACTION WAS THE RESULT OF SENEGAL'S ALLEGED FAILURE TO PROPERLY REPORT ALLEGATIONS OF WRONGDOING IN HIS OFFICE.

A UTAH JUDGE ON MONDAY VACATED A LOUISIANA MAN'S 2003 CONVICTION AND PRISON SENTENCE ON AN AGGRAVATED ROBBERY CHARGE, SAYING HE IS FACTUALLY INNOCENT OF THE CRIME. COURT RECORDS SHOW 3RD DISTRICT JUDGE ROYAL HANSEN ALSO ORDERED THE STATE TO PAY HARRY MILLER NEARLY $125,000 IN REPARATIONS FOR HIS WRONGFUL CONVICTION. BASED ON THE VICTIM'S EYEWITNESS TESTIMONY, A JURY FOUND THE 57-YEAR-OLD GUILTY OF STEALING A WOMAN'S PURSE AT KNIFEPOINT. THAT WAS DESPITE EVIDENCE HE WAS RECOVERING FROM A STROKE IN LOUISIANA ON THE DAY OF THE CRIME IN 2000. MILLER WAS AT THE TIME SENTENCED TO A PRISON TERM OF FIVE YEARS TO LIFE.






News For Monday 09/12/11


NEWS FOR MONDAY 091211
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

A FIRE IN CROWLEY SUNDAY KILLED TWO SLEEPING CHILDREN. AUTHORITIES SAY THE TWO WERE 2 AND 4 YEARS OLD. FOUR OTHER PEOPLE ESCAPED THE BURNING HOUSE. IT’S BELIEVE THE FIRE STARTED IN THE MASTER BEDROOM AND QUICKLY SPREAD. INVESTIGATORS ALSO BELIEVE THE BLAZE WAS ACCIDENTAL.

ABOUT 170 SOLDIERS LEFT PINEVILLE ON SUNDAY, THE 10TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE SEPT. 11 TERRORIST ATTACKS, FOR THE WAR THAT STARTED IN AFGHANISTAN AFTER THOSE ATTACKS. THEY WERE SEEN OFF BY GOV. BOBBY JINDAL AND MAJ. GEN. BENNETT C. LANDRENEAU, ADJUTANT GENERAL OF THE LOUISIANA ARMY NATIONAL GUARD.
THE UNIT IS BASED OUT OF BUNKIE WITH DETACHMENTS IN VIDALIA AND VILLE PLATTE. IT WILL PROVIDE TRANSPORTATION AND COMBAT SUPPORT TO UNITS WITHIN ITS ASSIGNED AREA.

RAPIDES PARISH SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT GARY L. JONES HAS APPLIED FOR THE SOON TO BE AVAILABLE SUPERINTENDENT’S POSITION IN LAFAYETTE PARISH. THE LAFAYETTE PARISH SCHOOL BOARD IS LOOKING TO FIND A NEW SUPERINTENDENT BY ITS DEC. 7 MEETING, BEFORE CURRENT SUPERINTENDENT BURNELL LEMOINE'S CONTRACT EXPIRES AT THE END OF DECEMBER. LEMOINE ANNOUNCED IN MAY HE WOULD STEP DOWN AT THE END OF HIS CONTRACT. AS OF FRIDAY, 24 PEOPLE HAD APPLIED FOR THE JOB. MOST BELIEVE JONES, THE CURRENT SUPERINTENDENT OF THE YEAR, WOULD BE A PLUS TO ANY SYSTEM. JONES HAS BEEN THE RAPIDES SUPERINTENDENT SINCE 2003 . PRIOR TO THAT, HE WAS CLAIBORNE PARISH'S SUPERINTENDENT FROM 1999-2003.

ALEXANDRIA POLICE ARE INVESTIGATING THE DEATH OF A PEDESTRIAN FOUND IN THE MEDIAN OF INTERSTATE 49 NEAR AIRBASE ROAD. POLICE RESPONDED TO THE SCENE SHORTLY BEFORE 6 SATURDAY MORNING, AFTER A DRIVER REPORTED THAT SHE HIT SOMETHING WITH HER VEHICLE WHILE TRAVELING SOUTHBOUND ON I-49. ALEXANDRIA POLICE AND ACADIAN AMBULANCE PERSONNEL FOUND AN UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE IN THE MEDIAN. SHE WAS PRONOUNCED DEAD AT THE SCENE. DURING THE INVESTIGATION, AN ALEXANDRIA POLICE CAR WAS STRUCK BY ANOTHER VEHICLE. THE OFFICER INSIDE RECEIVED MODERATE INJURIES.

WHILE THEY HOPE TO ONE DAY KNOW JUST HOW AND WHY THEY WERE FALSELY ACCUSED IN A CHILD SEX CASE INVOLVING THREE YOUNG GIRLS, THE OWNERS OF THE PIG STAND RESTAURANT IN VILLE PLATTE LAST WEEK CHOSE INSTEAD TO FOCUS ON THE FUTURE RATHER THAN LOOKING BACK. IN A PRESS CONFERENCE FRIDAY, 57 YEAR OLD BARRY GIGLIO TOLD THE ASSEMBLED HE WANTED TO CLEAR HIS NAME. GIGLIO WAS FLANKED ON EITHER SIDE BY HIS WIFE, TWO ATTORNEYS AND A PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR. A GRAND JURY LAST WEEK DECLINED RAPE CHARGES AGAINST BARRY AND MARLA GIGLIO, AND SIX OTHERS WHO HAD BEEN ACCUSED IN THE CHILD SEX INVESTIGATION.

THE LA NINA THAT CAUSED EXTREME WEATHER DURING THE FIRST HALF OF 2011, IS BACK. STATE CLIMATOLOGIST BARRY KEIM SAYS LA NINA IS A COLD WATER POOL THAT DEVELOPS IN THE TROPICAL PACIFIC OCEAN THAT EFFECTS CLIMATE ALL ACROSS THE GLOBE. KEIM SAYS THE LA NINA WILL LIKELY MEAN LOUISIANA WILL SUFFER FROM DROUGHT CONDITIONS AGAIN DURING THE FALL. HE SAYS IT ALSO MEANS THE HURRICANE SEASON WILL CONTINUE TO REMAIN ACTIVE. KEIM SAYS LA NINA CONDITIONS TEND TO MAKE THE AIR DRIER AND WARMER THAN NORMAL IN LOUISIANA. HE SAYS THE LA NINA COULD LAST FOR SEVERAL MONTHS.

TROPICAL STORM MARIA IS MOVING AWAY FROM THE NORTHEASTERN CARIBBEAN ISLANDS WITH LITTLE CHANGE IN STRENGTH FORECAST. MARIA'S MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS EARLY MONDAY ARE NEAR 60 MPH. THE STORM IS CENTERED ABOUT 165 MILES NORTH OF SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO, AND IS MOVING NORTHWEST NEAR 9 MPH. THE U.S. NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER SAYS THE STORM'S CENTER IS EXPECTED TO PASS WELL EAST OF THE SOUTHEASTERN BAHAMAS. MARIA'S FORECAST TRACK SHOWS IT EVENTUALLY CURVING AWAY FROM THE U.S.

SEVEN OF 10 OIL WORKERS MISSING IN THE GULF OF MEXICO WERE FOUND ALIVE SUNDAY, THREE DAYS AFTER EVACUATING THEIR DISABLED RIG IN A TROPICAL STORM AND ESCAPING IN AN ENCLOSED LIFE RAFT. TWO BODIES ALSO WERE FOUND BUT HAVE YET TO BE IDENTIFIED. RESCUERS ARE STILL SEARCHING FOR ONE WORKER WHO REMAINS MISSING.

A 21-YEAR-OLD MAN TURNED HIMSELF IN SUNDAY TO FACE CHARGES IN THE SHOOTING DEATHS OF A 76-YEAR-OLD WOMAN AND TWO TEENAGE WOMEN, AND THE WOUNDING OF A MAN WHO SURVIVED. AUTHORITIES SAY COURTNEY WILLIAMS WAS BOOKED WITH THREE COUNTS OF FIRST-DEGREE MURDER AND ONE OF ATTEMPTED FIRST-DEGREE MURDER.
HE WAS BEING HELD WITHOUT BOND ON THE MURDER CHARGES. INVESTIGATORS CONSIDER THE SHOOTING AN INCIDENT OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE.

WITHIN JUST DAYS OF LAUNCHING A PILOT PROGRAM TO INTERCEPT CASINO WINNINGS OF DEADBEAT PARENTS, THE STATE HAS TAKEN IN ABOUT $2000 FROM A MAN MORE THAN $9000 BEHIND ON CHILD SUPPORT. (THE STATE IS ALSO INTERCEPTING GULF OIL SPILL PAYMENTS FROM BP, MADE TO DEADBEAT PARENTS.

A NATIONAL BICYCLE TRAIL MAY BE COMING TO ST. LANDRY PARISH AS SOON AS NEXT YEAR.
THE PARISH COUNCIL'S PUBLIC WORKS COMMITTEE HAS ENDORSED A PROPOSAL BY BATON ROUGE ADVOCATES FOR SAFE STREETS TO CREATE BICYCLE ROUTE 90 THROUGH THE PARISH. BICYCLE ROUTE 90 IS ONE OF SEVERAL TRAILS BEING CREATED NATIONWIDE FOR LONG-DISTANCE BICYCLE TRAVEL. FOR THE MOST PART, IT FOLLOWS U.S. HIGHWAY 90 FROM ST. AUGUSTINE, FLA., TO SAN DIEGO.




SPORTS..

THE LSU TIGERS PLAYED AS WELL AS EXPECTED ON SATURDAY NIGHT, BEATING NORTHWESTERN STATE 49 TO 3. BUT THE TIGERS NOW ONLY HAVE A FEW DAYS TO GET READY FOR THE SEC OPENER AGAINST MISSISSIPPI STATE. LSU COACH LES MILES SAYS IT WILL BE A CHALLENGING WEEK FOR HIS TEAM. LSU IS 2-AND-0 ON THE STATE, WHILE MISSISSIPPI STATE IS 1-AND-1 AFTER LOSING A HEARTBREAKER TO AUBURN.


News For Friday 09/09/11


NEWS FOR FRIDAY 090911
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

MEMBERS OF LOUISIANA'S CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION REACT TO PRESIDENT OBAMA'S JOBS SPEECH LAST NIGHT. THE PRESIDENT OUTLINED A PLAN TO STIMULATE JOBS GROWTH BY INVESTING IN RESTORING AMERICA'S AGING INFRASTRUCTURE OF ROADS, BRIDGES AND MORE. SEN. MARY LANDRIEU SAYS THIS IS SOUND THINKING FROM THE WHITE HOUSE. REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMAN STEVE SCALISE, OF JEFFERSON PARISH, SAYS THE SPEECH WAS A RETREAD OF OBAMA'S PREVIOUS FAILED STIMULUS PLANS. QUITMAN CONGRESSMAN RODNEY ALEXANDER, ALSO A REPUBLICAN, SAYS OBAMA NEEDS TO REVERSE COURSE AND ABANDON PLANS TO SPEND BILLIONS MORE TAX DOLLARS TO STIMULATE JOBS. ALEXANDER SAYS REDUCING FEDERAL REGULATIONS ON BUSINESS WOULD PRODUCE BETTER RESULTS. SENATOR VITTER ECHOED THE SAME. BOTH CONGRESSMAN ALEXANDER AND SENATOR VITTER SENT OUT THEIR PRESS RELEASES PRIOR TO THE END OF THE SPEECH.

HERE'S AN UPDATE ON QUALIFYING FOR THE OCTOBER PRIMARY ELECTION. ANOTHER DEMOCRAT HAS SIGNED UP TO RUN FOR GOVERNOR. HE'S IVO "TREY" ROBERTS OF GRETNA. HE JOINS FELLOW DEMOCRATS TARA HOLLIS AND CARY DEATON IN CHALLENGING BOBBY JINDAL'S RE-ELECTION BID. THREE INDEPENDENT CANDIDATES ARE ALSO IN THAT RACE; THEY ARE RON CAESAR OF OPELOUSAS, BOB LANG OF NATCHITOCHES AND LENNY BOLLINGHAM OF BATON ROUGE.

NEW ORLEANS BUSINESSMAN JOHN GEORGES HAS DECIDED TO FORGO A CAMPAIGN FOR GOVERNOR THIS YEAR. GEORGES SAYS HE GAVE A RACE AGAINST GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL SERIOUS CONSIDERATION AND THAT HE HAD POLLS THAT SHOWED HE WOULD HAVE GIVEN JINDAL A TOUGH RACE. GEORGES SAYS THERE WAS SIMPLY NOT ENOUGH TIME TO PUT TOGETHER A CREDIBLE STATEWIDE CAMPAIGN.

QUALIFYING FOR THE OCTOBER ELECTION ENDED WITH THE CLOSE OF BUSINESS YESTERDAY AND WITH THAT, MORE THAN HALF OF THE RAPIDES PARISH POLICE JURY WAS EITHER ELECTED OR RE-ELECTED TO OFFICE WITHOUT OPPOSITION. BUBBA MOREAU IS HEADING BACK TO THE POLICE JURY IN DISTRICT A. POLICE JURY PRESIDENT RICHARD BILLINGS OF DISTRICT H AND JURORS THEODORE FOUNTAINE JR. OF DISTRICT D, OLLIE OVERTON JR. OF DISTRICT F AND SCOTT PERRY OF DISTRICT I ALL WERE RE-ELECTED WITHOUT OPPOSITION, MEANING FIVE SEATS ON THE NINE-MEMBER POLICE JURY ARE FILLED. DISTRICT B JUROR JOE BISHOP WILL BE OPPOSED BY FELLOW PINEVILLE REPUBLICAN JASON PARKS. DANNY JOE DANIELS, JOHN PATTERSON III, AND CRAIG SMITH QUALIFIED TO RUN FOR POLICE JURY IN DISTRICT C. DEWAYNE OLSON, JOSH PACE AND WAYNE SETLIFF SR. QUALIFIED TO RUN AGAINST INCUMBENT RICHARD VANDERLICK FOR THE DISTRICT E JURY SEAT, WHILE SEAN MCGLOTHLIN IS CHALLENGING INCUMBENT STEVE COCO FOR THE DISTRICT G SEAT.

HERBERT DIXON IS HEADING BACK TO BATON ROUGE FOR A SECOND TERM IN THE LOUISIANA LEGISLATURE. DIXON WAS RE-ELECTED TO LOUISIANA HOUSE DISTRICT 26 ON THURSDAY WITHOUT OPPOSITION. DIXON WAS ONE OF THREE LEGISLATORS REPRESENTING CENLA TO BE RE-ELECTED ON THURSDAY. GERALD LONG AND NEIL RISER, WERE RE-ELECTED TO THE STATE SENATE WITHOUT OPPOSITION.

ALEXANDRIA DEMOCRAT MARY WARDSWORTH QUALIFIED ON THURSDAY AS ONE OF THREE CANDIDATES FOR THE DISTRICT 29 SEAT IN THE SENATE, WHICH RUNS FROM SOUTH RAPIDES PARISH TO LINCOLN PARISH. RICK GALLOT AND TONY "BO" VETS ALSO QUALIFIED FOR THE SEAT. HARRIS BROWN, JEFF GUERRIERO AND BOB KOSTELKA, ALL MONROE REPUBLICANS, ARE RUNNING FOR THE DISTRICT 35 SENATE SEAT. IN THE STATE HOUSE, ALEXANDRIA REPUBLICANS BARETT BYRD AND LANCE HARRIS QUALIFIED FOR THE DISTRICT 25 SEAT. HOUSE DISTRICT 27 INCUMBENT CHRIS HAZEL IS BEING CHALLENGED BY FORMER STATE REP. RANDY WIGGINS.

A THREE-VEHICLE WRECK THURSDAY MORNING IN WINN PARISH KILLED A DESOTO PARISH WOMAN AND SERIOUSLY INJURED A WINNFIELD WOMAN. 42 YEAR OLD KAREN H. SPEIGHTS OF STONEWALL WAS KILLED AND 25-YEAR-OLD HEATHER JOHNS OF WINNFIELD WAS INJURED IN THE U.S. HIGHWAY 84 CRASH. POLICE REPORTS SAY JOHNS' VEHICLE CROSSED THE CENTERLINE AND COLLIDED WITH SPEIGHTS' VEHICLE. A THIRD VEHICLE, DRIVEN BY PERCY D. HOGAN JR. OF CALHOUN, COLLIDED WITH BOTH VEHICLES AFTER THE INITIAL CRASH. HOGAN WAS UNINJURED. HOWEVER, SPEIGHTS WAS NOT WEARING HER SEATBELT AND WAS PRONOUNCED DEAD AT THE SCENE, STATE POLICE OFFICIALS SAID. JOHNS, WHO ALSO WAS NOT WEARING HER SEATBELT, WAS TRANSPORTED TO LSU HEALTH SCIENCES CENTER IN SHREVEPORT FOR TREATMENT. ROUTINE TOXICOLOGY TESTS AND CHARGES ARE PENDING. THE CRASH REMAINS UNDER INVESTIGATION.
TROPICAL STORM NATE IS STRENGTHENING IN THE BAY OF CAMPECHE, WEST OF MEXICO'S YUCATAN PENINSULA. NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER FORECASTERS THINK NATE WILL TURN WEST AND TOWARD THE TEXAS-MEXICO COAST. STATE CLIMATOLOGIST BARRY KEIM SAYS AT THIS POINT, NO ONE IS CERTAIN WHERE NATE WILL GO.

A SPECIAL CEREMONY AT THE STATE FIRE MARSHAL'S HEADQUARTERS THIS AFTERNOON WILL HONOR THE EMERGENCY PERSONNEL WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES DURING THE TRAGIC EVENTS OF 9-11. STATE POLICE SUPERINTENDENT, COLONEL MIKE EDMONSON, SAYS IT'S IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER THE SACRIFICES THAT WERE MADE THAT DAY. AMONG THE ARTIFACTS ON DISPLAY AT THE STATE FIRE MARSHAL'S HEADQUARTERS TODAY WILL BE THE "SPIRIT OF LOUISIANA" FIRE TRUCK THAT WAS GIVEN TO NEW YORK CITY IN THE WAKE OF THE ATTACK. EDMONSON SAYS THE TRUCK SERVED THE PEOPLE OF NEW YORK IN THEIR TIME OF NEED AND IT'S SERVING LOUISIANA TODAY...

ATTORNEY GENERAL BUDDY CALDWELL AND COMMISSIONER OF AGRICULTURE MIKE STRAIN WILL NOT RUN UNOPPOSED IN THE OCTOBER 22ND PRIMARY AS ORIGINALLY THOUGHT. FORMER ONE-TERM REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMAN JOSEPH CAO (GOW) OF NEW ORLEANS QUALIFIED TO RUN FOR ATTORNEY GENERAL. MEANWHILE REFORM PARTY CANDIDATE BELINDA ALEXANDRENKO OF PINEVILLE AND DEMOCRAT JAMIE LABRANCHE OF LA PLACE BOTH FILED PAPERS TO RUN AGAINST STRAIN.

FORMER NEW ORLEANS CONGRESSMAN JOSEPH CAO HAS ENTERED THE RACE FOR ATTORNEY GENERAL. CAO, A REPUBLICAN WILL CHALLENGE FELLOW GOP INCUMBENT BUDDY CALDWELL'S RE-ELECTION BID.

THE BOARD OVERSEEING DEVELOPMENT OF A NEW PUBLIC HOSPITAL IN NEW ORLEANS HAS APPROVED A BUSINESS PLAN CALLING FOR A 424-BED, $1.1 BILLION FACILITY , A PLAN PRAISED AS A BOOST TO THE ECONOMY WHILE FACING OPPOSITION FROM NEW ORLEANS RESIDENTS WHO WANT TO SEE THE REHABILITATION OF THE OLD CHARITY HOSPITAL, CLOSED SINCE HURRICANE KATRINA. THE PLAN, PRESENTED THURSDAY TO THE UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER GOVERNING BOARD, STILL NEEDS APPROVAL FROM A LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE THAT MEETS NEXT WEEK. IT WAS PRAISED EARLIER THIS WEEK BY GOV. BOBBY JINDAL AND MAYOR MITCH LANDRIEU.

THE DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION IS FOLLOWING LOUISIANA'S LEAD AND HAS PROPOSED A NATIONAL BAN ON THE POSSESSION AND SALE OF SO-CALLED ATH SALTS. THE DEA BAN TAKES EFFECT IN 30 DAYS.

LOUISIANA STATE POLICE AND THE OHIO ATTORNEY GENERAL HAVE SIGNED AN AGREEMENT ALLOWING RECIPROCITY BETWEEN THE STATES FOR RESIDENTS WITH VALID CONCEALED WEAPONS PERMITS. OHIO LAW PERMITS THE ATTORNEY GENERAL TO ENTER INTO WRITTEN AGREEMENTS WITH OTHER STATES WHOSE LAWS ARE COMPARABLE TO OHIO'S ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS FOR A LICENSE TO CARRY A CONCEALED HANDGUN. BOTH STATES REQUIRE A BACKGROUND CHECK FOR LONG-TERM RESIDENTS OF THEIR STATE OR AN FBI CHECK FOR SHORT-TERM RESIDENTS. BOTH REQUIRE TRAINING IN ORDER TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR A LICENSE. EACH STILL WILL MAKE THEIR VERIFICATION SYSTEMS AVAILABLE TO THE OTHER TO BE ABLE TO CHECK THE STATUS OF THE OTHER STATE'S LICENSES. LOUISIANA NOW HAS RECIPROCITY AGREEMENTS WITH 36 STATES.

THE LAWYER FOR SUSPENDED LSU QUARTERBACK JORDAN JEFFERSON HAS FILED A MOTION SEEKING THE RETURN OF PROPERTY THAT POLICE TOOK FROM THE PLAYER'S APARTMENT DURING THE INVESTIGATION OF A BAR FIGHT THAT LED TO JEFFERSON'S ARREST. DEFENSE ATTORNEY LEWIS UNGLESBY ALSO IS ASKING THE COURT FOR A COPY OF AN AFFIDAVIT OUTLINING PROBABLE CAUSE FOR THE SEARCH WARRANT. A JUDGE HAS SET A HEARING ON MONDAY IN EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH DISTRICT COURT TO CONSIDER THE MOTIONS.
JEFFERSON AND RESERVE LINEBACKER JOSH JOHNS WERE BOOKED WITH SECOND-DEGREE BATTERY FOR ALLEGEDLY BEATING A MAN IN A PARKING LOT OUTSIDE A BAR NEAR CAMPUS. POLICE LATER TOOK NEARLY 50 PAIRS OF JEFFERSON'S SHOES. UNGLESBY SAYS THAT PROPERTY SHOULD BE RETURNED IF IT IS NOT NEEDED AS EVIDENCE.

POLICE OFFICERS AND DETECTIVES WHO WERE INVOLVED IN THE DEATH OF 7-YEAR-OLD JORI LIRETTE ARE UNDERGOING MANDATORY COUNSELING. JORI WAS FOUND DECAPITATED AND DISMEMBERED OUTSIDE HIS HOME. THIBODEAUX POLICE CHIEF SCOTT SILVERII CALLED IN THE COUNSELORS TO HELP HIS OFFICERS COME TO TERMS WITH THE EXPERIENCE. JORI'S FATHER, 30-YEAR-OLD JEREMIAH WRIGHT, IS CHARGED WITH FIRST DEGREE MURDER IN THE CASE.

THE LOUISIANA SUPREME COURT HAS UPHELD THE DEATH PENALTY FOR A SHREVEPORT MAN WHO KILLED AND THEN SET ABLAZE A FIRE CAPTAIN WHO INTERRUPTED A HOLDUP IN 2006. IT REJECTED CLAIMS THAT PROSECUTORS SHOWED RACIAL BIAS IN CHOOSING A JURY TO TRY FELTON DORSEY FOR FIRST-DEGREE MURDER OF JOE PROCK, WHOSE MOTHER WAS BURNED BUT ESCAPED HER HOUSE THAT DORSEY WAS ROBBING. THE APPEAL ALSO ARGUED THAT CODEFENDANT RANDY WILSON'S TESTIMONY AGAINST DORSEY COULD NOT BE BELIEVED. NONE OF THE SEVEN JUDGES DISSENTED TO THE OPINION WRITTEN BY JUSTICE CATHERINE KIMBALL.

A FEDERAL JUDGE HAS REFUSED TO THROW OUT A COURT CHALLENGE TO 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 RULED THAT THE CHALLENGE RAISES A PLAUSIBLE ARGUMENT THAT THE LAW VIOLATES THE CONSTITUTION'S EQUAL PROTECTION CLAUSE THE LAW TARGETED PEOPLE ARRESTED FOR SOLICITING ORAL OR ANAL SEX FOR MONEY. THEY CAN BE CHARGED WITH PROSTITUTION OR A CRIME AGAINST NATURE. IF CONVICTED OF A CRIME AGAINST NATURE, THEY HAVE BEEN REQUIRED TO REGISTER AS SEX OFFENDERS. A PROSTITUTION CONVICTION DOESN'T REQUIRE SUCH REGISTRATION. THE STATE LEGISLATURE AMENDED THE LAW THIS YEAR. NOW, ANYONE CONVICTED OF A "CRIME AGAINST NATURE BY SOLICITATION" NO LONGER WILL BE REQUIRED TO REGISTER AS A SEX OFFENDER. BUT THE CHANGE DOESN'T APPLY TO ROUGHLY 400 PEOPLE WHO ALREADY HAVE BEEN CONVICTED OF THE CRIME AND ARE REGISTERED SEX OFFENDERS.

THE MATCH-UP BETWEEN THE LAST TWO SUPER BOWL CHAMPS LIVED UP TO THE HYPE, BUT THE OUTCOME IS DISAPPOINTING TO THE WHO DAT NATION. GREEN BAY OUTSCORED THE SAINTS 42 TO 34 IN A GAME THAT FEATURED A TON OF BIG PLAYS. HEAD COACH SEAN PAYTON SAYS THERE WERE BREAK DOWNS ON OFFENSE, DEFENSE AND SPECIAL TEAMS...





News For Thursday 09/08/11


NEWS FOR THURSDAY 090811
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

STATE POLICE SAY 17-YEAR-OLD DRIVER AND HIS 9-YEAR-OLD PASSENGER DIED IN A TWO VEHICLE CRASH NEAR LEESVILLE. THE ACCIDENT HAPPENED SHORTLY BEFORE TUESDAY AFTERNOON ON LA. HIGHWAY 28 AT HIGHWAY 121. TROOPERS SAY A CAR BEING DRIVEN CODY J. MARSHALL COLLIDED WITH AN 18-WHEELER. MARSHALL AND A PASSENGER IN HIS CAR, JADEN MARSHALL, DIED IN THE CRASH. CODY MARSHALL'S ONLY OTHER PASSENGER WAS A 15-YEAR-OLD, WHO RECEIVED MODERATE INJURIES. THE TRUCK DRIVER WAS NOT INJURED.

ALEXANDRIA BUSINESSMAN LANCE HARRIS QUALIFIED WEDNESDAY TO RUN FOR HOUSE DISTRICT 25, A SEAT HELD BY ATTORNEY REP. CHRIS ROY JR., WHO CHOSE NOT TO SEEK RE-ELECTION. HARRIS ALSO IS CHAIRMAN OF THE ENGLAND ECONOMIC & INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT DISTRICT, COMMONLY CALLED THE ENGLAND AUTHORITY. HARRIS WILL RUN AGAINST AT LEAST ONE OTHER CANDIDATE, FELLOW REPUBLICAN BARETT BYRD OF WOODWORTH.

TONY VETS, A COLFAX REPUBLICAN, FILED WEDNESDAY TO RUN IN THE MINORITY SENATE DISTRICT 29. AS OF NOW, HE'LL FACE REP. RICK GALLOT, D-RUSTON. IN HOUSE DISTRICT 27, INCUMBENT CHRIS HAZEL OF BALL QUALIFIED WEDNESDAY TO DEFEND THE SEAT HE WON FOUR YEARS AGO. FORMER LEGISLATOR RANDY WIGGINS OF PINEVILLE ALSO HAS QUALIFIED TO RUN AGAINST HIM. BOTH ARE REPUBLICANS.

IN RAPIDES PARISH POLICE JURY DISTRICT C, JOHN PATTERSON II HAS QUALIFIED TO RUN. THE INCUMBENT, JAMIE FLOYD, IS RUNNING FOR RAPIDES PARISH CLERK OF COURT. IN POLICE JURY DISTRICT E IN RAPIDES PARISH, JOSH PACE SIGNED UP TO CHALLENGE INCUMBENT RICHARD VANDERLICK.

GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL NOW HAS FIVE CHALLENGERS FOR HIS SECOND TERM IN OFFICE, AS TWO DEMOCRATS ENTERED THE RACE WEDNESDAY. ONE IS CLAIBORNE PARISH EDUCATOR TARA HOLLIS, WHO SAYS SHE VOTED FOR JINDAL IN 2007 BUT NOW FEELS HE'S FAILED TO LIVE UP TO HIS PROMISES. METAIRIE ATTORNEY CARY DEATON ALSO QUALIFIED TO RUN AGAINST JINDAL WEDNESDAY. THE DEMOCRAT SAYS HE'S RUNNING BECAUSE HE'S DEEPLY CONCERNED ABOUT A NATIONAL ISSUE; PRESERVING THE FUTURE OF SOCIAL SECURITY. QUALIFYING TO RUN FOR GOVERNOR ENDS TODAY, AND ONE NAME RUMORED TO BE GETTING INTO THE RACE IS NEW ORLEANS BUSINESSMAN JOHN GEORGES. GEORGES RAN UNSUCCESSFULLY AGAINST BOBBY JINDAL IN 2007, AS AN INDEPENDENT.

TROPICAL STORM NATE HAS FORMED IN THE SOUTHERN GULF OF MEXICO NEAR THE BAY OF CAMPECHE. NATE IS PACKING MAXIMUM WINDS AT 45 MILES AN HOUR, AND IS CURRENTLY MOVING EAST-SOUTHEAST AT JUST 2 MILES AN HOUR. COMPUTER MODELS VARY WIDELY ON WHERE NATE WILL GO, BUT MOST HAVE THE STORM HEADED INLAND ALONG MEXICO'S COAST. ONE MODEL HAS NATE MOVING MORE TOWARD TEXAS.

A STATE JUDGE HAS ISSUED A TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER BLOCKING THE LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HOSPITALS FROM IMPLEMENTING ITS PLAN TO SHIFT MORE THAN 800,000 MEDICAID RECIPIENTS AND THEIR $2.2 BILLION IN CLAIMS TO PRIVATE INSURERS. DISTRICT JUDGE JUDGE JANICE CLARK ON TUESDAY GRANTED AETNA INC.'S REQUEST TO BLOCK THE PLAN. AETNA IS PROTESTING THE STATE'S SELECTION OF THREE FIRMS TO RUN NETWORKS THAT WILL BE PAID A MONTHLY FEE FOR EACH MEDICAID RECIPIENT, AND WILL NEGOTIATE PAYMENTS WITH HEALTH PROVIDERS. AS YOU MAY SUSPECT, AETNA WAS NOT ONE OF THE THREE SELECTED.

A NEW WILDFIRE IN CADDO PARISH HAS OFFICIALS ASKING SOME RESIDENTS TO EVACUATE THEIR HOMES. THE FIRE IS CONSUMING PASTURE AND NEARBY WOODS NEAR THE TOWN OF VIVIAN; ABOUT 26 ACRES SO FAR. THIS NEW FIRE COMES JUST HOURS AFTER FIREFIGHTERS GOT BLAZES NEAR IDA AND OIL CITY UNDER CONTROL.

FIRST LADY SUPRIYA JINDAL IS ENCOURAGING ALL LOUISIANIANS TO DONATE NON PERISHABLE FOOD ITEMS TO LOCAL FOOD BANKS. JINDAL SAYS SUPPLIES IN FOOD BANKS ARE CURRENTLY VERY LOW. SHE URGES US TO CONTACT OUR LOCAL FOOD BANK TO FIND OUT HOW WE CAN GET INVOLVED IN HELPING TO STOP HUNGER. JINDAL SAYS THE STRAIN ON FOOD BANKS GETS PARTICULARLY TOUGH DURING HURRICANE SEASON. MS. JINDAL WILL BE IN TOWN TO VISIT THE FOOD BANK OF CENTRAL LOUISIANA TODAY.

THE SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE HAS ACCEPTED TEXAS A-AND-M AS THE LEAGUE'S 13TH MEMBER, BUT THE MOVE HAS BEEN DELAYED BY THE POTENTIAL THREAT OF LEGAL ACTION. BAYLOR IS REPORTEDLY NOT OKAY WITH A-AND-M LEAVING THE BIG 12. LSU CHANCELLOR MIKE MARTIN SAYS ADDING A POSSIBLE 14TH SCHOOL TO THE SEC IS BEING DISCUSSED. HE SAYS A 14-TEAM CONFERENCE WILL LIKELY MEAN THAT LSU WILL NO LONGER PLAY FLORIDA IN FOOTBALL EVERY SEASON.

LSU WILL UNVEIL A STATUE TONIGHT OF ONE OF ITS MOST FAMOUS ALUMNUS, WHO
IS ALSO A FUTURE NBA HALL OF FAMER. THE SHAQUILLE O' NEAL STATUE WILL BE LOCATED IN FRONT OF THE LSU BASKETBALL PRACTICE FACILITY. THE 900-POUND BRONZE STATUE FEATURES SHAQ DOING ONE OF HIS POWERFUL DUNKS IN AN LSU UNIFORM.

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL IS BACKING A NEW CONSTRUCTION PLAN FOR A NEW ORLEANS PUBLIC HOSPITAL THAT WOULDN'T REQUIRE STATE-BACKED BORROWING, BUT WOULD REMAIN LARGER IN SIZE AND PRICE TAG THAN AN ALTERNATIVE MODEL PUSHED BY U.S. SEN. DAVID VITTER. THE $1.1 BILLION PROPOSAL, TO BE PRESENTED TO THE UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER GOVERNING BOARD TODAY, ASSUMES $156 MILLION MORE IN FEDERAL HURRICANE RECOVERY FUNDING THAN THE STATE HAS IN HAND. IT ALSO WOULD REQUIRE AN LSU FOUNDATION OR THIRD-PARTY ENTITY TO FINANCE $157 MILLION OF THE COST, FOR THE PARKING STRUCTURE AND PHYSICIANS TOWER.

SPEAKING OF THE GOVERNOR, GOV. BOBBY JINDAL HAS ORDERED ALL FLAGS AT STATE BUILDING TO BE FLOWN AT HALF-STAFF UNTIL SUNSET ON SEPT. 11.
JINDAL'S EXECUTIVE ORDER SAYS THE MOVE IS AN EXPRESSION OF RESPECT FOR LOUISIANA CIVILIANS AND SERVICE MEMBERS WHO LOST THEIR LIVES DURING THE TERRORIST ATTACKS OF SEPT. 11, 2001 — AND THE WARS THAT FOLLOWED.

A TEXAS COMPANY THAT OWNS A REFINERY IN SOUTHWESTERN LOUISIANA WAS CHARGED WEDNESDAY WITH CRIMINAL VIOLATIONS OF FEDERAL ANTI-POLLUTION LAWS AND OBSTRUCTING JUSTICE. PROSECUTORS FILED A THREE-COUNT CHARGE DIRECTLY IN COURT WEDNESDAY AGAINST HOUSTON-BASED PELICAN REFINING CO. LLC. THE COMPANY IS ACCUSED OF OPERATING THE PELICAN REFINERY IN LAKE CHARLES WITHOUT FOLLOWING REQUIREMENTS TO PREVENT AIR POLLUTION FROM ESCAPING, INCLUDING POTENTIALLY DEADLY HYDROGEN SULFIDE, IN VIOLATION OF THE FEDERAL CLEAN AIR ACT. THE COMPANY FACES UP TO $500,000 IN FINES FOR EACH COUNT OR UP TO TWICE THE FINANCIAL GAIN OR LOSS TO VICTIMS FROM THE ALLEGED VIOLATIONS.





News For Wednesday 09/07/11


NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY 090711
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

MEMBERS OF THE ALEXANDRIA CITY COUNCIL HAVE DECIDED NOT TO RESPOND TO A REQUEST FROM MAYOR JACQUES ROY AS TO WHAT DIRECTION THE CITY SHOULD GO IN IT’S DEALINGS WITH THE ALEXANDER FULTON HOTEL. CITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT JOHNSON SAYING YESTERDAY, SINCE THE ADMINISTRATION HAS DIRECTED THE DECISIONS REGARDING THE HOTEL TO THIS POINT, THE COUNCIL SHOULDN'T GET INVOLVED NOW. JOHNSON SAYS THE ADMINISTRATION SHOULD CONTINUE DOING WHAT THEY'RE DOING AND THEN REPORT BACK TO THE COUNCIL. THE CITY HAS ENTERED INTO A CONTRACT WITH NOBLE HOSPITALITY TO MANAGE THE DAY-TO-DAY OPERATIONS AT THE DOWNTOWN ALEXANDER FULTON HOTEL. HOWEVER, THAT CONTRACT EXPIRES AT THE END OF THIS MONTH, AND IT'S UNKNOWN WHAT THE CITY WILL DO IF THE CONTRACT ISN'T EXTENDED.

THE BOYS & GIRLS CLUB OF CENTRAL LOUISIANA IS BACK IN OPERATION AND IN A NEW HOME. RAPIDES PARISH SCHOOL OFFICIALS ANNOUNCED TUESDAY THAT THE SCHOOL SYSTEM HAS ENTERED INTO AN INTERAGENCY AGREEMENT THAT WILL ALLOW THE CLUB TO REOPEN IN THE OLD HADNOT-HAYES ELEMENTARY BUILDING ON LINCOLN ROAD. THE CLUB, WHICH HAD BEEN ON SYLVESTER ST. IN ALEXANDRIA FOR MANY YEARS, CLOSED IN APRIL DUE TO LACK OF FUNDING AND BAD BOOK KEEPING. THE CLUB IS EXPECTED TO OPEN ITS DAY-TO-DAY OPERATIONS SEPT. 19.

FOUR CANDIDATES WHO WANT TO LEAD THE RAPIDES PARISH CLERK OF COURT'S OFFICE SIGNED UP TUESDAY, THE FIRST DAY OF QUALIFYING FOR LOCAL AND STATEWIDE ELECTIONS. ROBIN HOOTER, WHO TOOK OVER THE CLERK'S OFFICE AFTER LONGTIME CLERK OF COURT CAROLYN RYLAND RETIRED EARLIER THIS YEAR, WAS THE LAST TO QUALIFY TUESDAY. OTHER CLERK CANDIDATES WHO SIGNED UP ON THE FIRST DAY WERE CURRENT RAPIDES PARISH POLICE JUROR JAMIE FLOYD, LINDA DYESS STEWART AND ALEXANDRIA ATTORNEY BRIAN THOMPSON. IN THE RAPIDES PARISH SHERIFF'S RACE, SHERIFF CHARLES "CHUCK" WAGNER JR. AND FORMER SHERIFF WILLIAM EARL HILTON QUALIFIED. A THIRD ANNOUNCED CANDIDATE, MARK BADEN, DID NOT SIGN UP BY THE CLOSE OF BUSINESS.

GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL SHOWED UP ON THE FIRST DAY OF QUALIFYING FOR FALL ELECTIONS TO FILE HIS CANDIDACY PAPERS. MR. JINDAL SAYS HE HOPES VOTERS WILL GIVE HIM A SECOND TERM TO CONTINUE THE MOMENTUM BUILT UP SINCE 2007. JINDAL HAS FOUR CHALLENGERS, INDEPENDENTS BOB LANG OF NATCHITOCHES, LENNY BOLLINGHAM OF BATON ROUGE AND RON CAESAR OF OPELOUSAS. CEASAR LED AN UNSUCCESSFUL EFFORT TO RECALL JINDAL EARLIER THIS YEAR. HE SAYS RUNNING IS A WAY OF CONTINUING THE RECALL. DEMOCRATIC HAYNESVILLE SCHOOLTEACHER TARA HOLLIS IS EXPECTED TO QUALIFY TODAY.

ONLY LT. GOV. JAY DARDENNE AND SECRETARY OF STATE TOM SCHEDLER HAVE ATTRACTED WELL-FUNDED OPPONENTS SO FAR. DARDENNE FACES PLAQUEMINES PARISH PRESIDENT BILLY NUNGESSER, AND SCHEDLER HAS A CHALLENGE FROM HOUSE SPEAKER JIM TUCKER. ALL THE MEN ARE REPUBLICANS.

MEANWHILE, IN OTHER RACES, MORE THAN TWO-THIRDS OF STATE LAWMAKERS HAVE FILED THEIR PAPERWORK TO RUN AGAIN FOR THEIR SEATS, AND SIX OF THE EIGHT ELECTED MEMBERS OF THE STATE BOARD OF ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION HAVE SIGNED UP FOR RE-ELECTION BIDS. QUALIFYING CONTINUES THROUGH THURSDAY.

THE RACE FOR LT. GOVERNOR BETWEEN INCUMBENT JAY DARDENNE AND CHALLENGER BILLY NUNGESSER IS EXPECTED TO BE THE MOST CONTENTIOUS OF THIS ELECTION SEASON. DARDENNE SAYS THE OFFICE OF LT. GOVERNOR PROMOTES ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT INDUSTRIES IN THE STATE, TOURISM. PLAQUEMINES PARISH PRESIDENT BILLY NUNGESSER SAYS DARDENNE IS WRONG FOR SPENDING STATE MONEY ON AD AGENCIES OUTSIDE OF LOUISIANA, TO PROMOTE THE SEAFOOD AND TOURISM INDUSTRIES.

LOW TEMPERATURES DIPPED INTO THE 50'S YESTERDAY MORNING, BREAKING RECORDS STATEWIDE THAT STOOD FOR DOZENS OF YEARS. GAVIN PHILLIPS, WITH THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN SLIDELL, SAYS THIS IS UNUSUAL WEATHER, ESPECIALLY WHEN TODAY'S HIGH WILL ONLY BE IN THE LOW 80'S. PHILLIPS SAYS THE NICE WEATHER WILL LAST FOR SEVERAL DAYS. ENJOY IT WHILE IT’S HERE.

A 21-YEAR-OLD BASILE MAN WAS ARRESTED TUESDAY AFTER HE ALLEGEDLY WALKED INTO IOTA MIDDLE SCHOOL WEARING A HALLOWEEN MASK WHILE ARMED WITH FOUR KNIVES AND A HATCHET, AN OFFICIAL SAID TUESDAY. THE MASKED MAN, LATER IDENTIFIED AS GARRETT WEST, ENTERED THE SCHOOL THROUGH THE SOUTH ENTRANCE WEARING KHAKI OVERALLS, A WHITE HALLOWEEN MASK, A BLACK WIG AND A BELT AROUND THE WAIST, WHICH HELD THE KNIVES AND HATCHET. PRINCIPAL DEBRA SIEBERT APPROACHED THE MAN AND PERSUADED HIM TO REMOVE HIS MASK AND SURRENDER HIS WEAPONS. SIEBERT RECOGNIZED WEST AS A FORMER STUDENT OF IOTA MIDDLE SCHOOL. A MOTIVE HAS NOT YET BEEN DETERMINED.

IBERIA PARISH DEPUTIES SAYS THE SHOOTING DEATH OF A TEENAGE GIRL MONDAY IN NEW IBERIA WAS A TRAGIC ACCIDENT. SHERIFF'S SPOKESMAN CAPTAIN RYAN TURNER SAYS DEPUTIES AND EMTS RUSHED TO A LOCAL CAMPGROUND LAST NIGHT TO FIND AN 18-YEAR-OLD GIRL WITH A GUNSHOT WOUND. SHE WAS PRONOUNCED DEAD AT A NEARBY HOSPITAL. TURNER SAYS THEY WILL NOT RELEASE THE GIRL'S IDENTITY UNTIL HER NEXT OF KIN ARE NOTIFIED AND INVESTIGATORS GATHER MORE INFORMATION.

CHEVRON CORP. HAS ANNOUNCED AN OIL DISCOVERY IN THE DEEPWATER REGIONS OF THE GULF OF MEXICO. CHEVRON SAID TUESDAY THAT AN EXPLORATORY WELL AT KEATHLEY CANYON FOUND MORE THAN 380 FEET OF OIL RESERVES. THE WELL IS LOCATED ABOUT 216 MILES OFF THE LOUISIANA COAST. THE WELL IS IN JUST OVER 6,700 FEET OF WATER AND HAS BEEN DRILLED TO A DEPTH OF 31,545 FEET. CHEVRON SAID IT IS EVALUATING THE RESULTS AND MORE WORK WILL BE NEEDED TO DETERMINE THE EXTENT OF THE DISCOVERY.

SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY'S GOVERNING BOARD DEADLOCKED TUESDAY ON A PROPOSAL TO DECLARE A FINANCIAL EMERGENCY FOR THE SYSTEM'S MAIN BATON ROUGE CAMPUS, LEAVING THE CHANCELLOR TO FIND ANOTHER WAY TO BALANCE HIS BUDGET. THE DECLARATION WOULD HAVE GIVEN THE HISTORICALLY BLACK UNIVERSITY MORE LEEWAY TO LAY OFF PROFESSORS AND CUT THEIR SALARIES, BUT WOULD BE CONSIDERED A NEGATIVE MARK AGAINST THE SCHOOL THAT COULD HARM RECRUITING AND ACCREDITATION. NO PUBLIC LOUISIANA UNIVERSITY HAS MADE SUCH A DECLARATION SINCE THE UNIVERSITY OF NEW ORLEANS AFTER HURRICANE KATRINA.

ENGINEERING AND CONSTRUCTION COMPANY THE SHAW GROUP INC. WILL SELL ITS MINORITY INVESTMENT IN NUCLEAR POWER PLANT COMPANY WESTINGHOUSE ELECTRIC CO. LLC BACK TO TOSHIBA CORP. THE SALE WILL HELP SHAW SHED SOME DEBT AND STRENGTHEN ITS BALANCE SHEET. BUT IT ALSO MEANS THAT THERE WILL NO LONGER BE ANY U.S. INVESTORS IN WESTINGHOUSE, WHICH IS MORE THAN 100 YEARS OLD AND IS BASED IN PENNSYLVANIA.

SPORTS..

AFTER THEIR DECISIVE VICTORY SATURDAY OVER THE #3-RANKED OREGON DUCKS, THE LSU FIGHTING TIGERS HAVE BEEN MOVED TO #2 ON THE AP'S WEEKLY COLLEGE FOOTBALL POLL. THE TIGERS FACE NORTHWESTERN STATE THIS SATURDAY IN TIGER STADIUM.

THE SAINTS LEAVE FOR GREEN BAY TODAY WHERE THEY'LL TAKE ON THE SUPER BOWL CHAMPION PACKERS TOMORROW NIGHT ON NATIONAL T-V. ITS A HIGHLY ANTICIPATED SEASON OPENER, FEATURING THE LAST TWO SUPER BOWL CHAMPS.


News For Tuesday 09/06/11


NEWS FOR TUESDAY 090611
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

POWER COMPANIES THAT SERVE MUCH OF SOUTH AND CENTRAL LOUISIANA SAY HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE REMAIN WITHOUT POWER BECAUSE OF TROPICAL STORM LEE, BUT CREWS ARE MAKING PROGRESS IN RESTORING ELECTRICITY. ENTERGY SPOKESMAN PHILIP ALLISON SAYS THE UTILITY HAD 2,600 OUTAGES IN LOUISIANA AS OF LATE MONDAY AFTERNOON, DOWN FROM A HIGH OF 38,000. CLECO CORP. SPOKESWOMAN SUSAN BROUSSARD SAYS MOST OF THEIR CUSTOMERS WHO LOST POWER SUNDAY NIGHT ARE BACK ON THE LINE. THE REMAINDER SHOULD BE BACK UP SOMETIME TODAY.

MANY ACROSS SOUTH AND CENTRAL LOUISIANA SPENT THE BETTER PART OF THE DAY CLEANING UP FROM THE WEEKEND’S STORM. DOWNED LIMBS AND OTHER REMNANTS OF THE STORM SCATTERED THE LANDSCAPE. THOUGH MUCH OF THE SOUTHERN PART OF THE STATE SAW GOOD AMOUNTS OF RAIN. GOOD PORTIONS OF CENTRAL LOUISIANA AND THE ENTIRE NORTHERN PORTION OF THE STATE SAW LITTLE RELIEF FROM THE SUMMER DROUGHT. WILD FIRES IN THE NORTHERN HALF OF THE STATE HAVE EITHER BEEN BROUGHT UNDER CONTROL OR EXTINGUISHED. HOWEVER, STATE OFFICIALS REPORT MANY AREAS OF THE STATE ARE STILL A TINDER BOX.

EVEN WITH THE HURRICANE SEASON STILL IN FULL SWING THE SEASONS APPEAR ABOUT TO TURN ACROSS THE STATE. STATE CLIMATOLOGIST BARRY KEIM SAYS A COLD FRONT, THAT HELPED MOVE TROPICAL STORM LEE OUT OF THE AREA, HAS BROUGHT US A PREVIEW OF FALL IN ITS WAKE. AS A MATTER OF FACT, SOME OF THE COOLEST TEMPS WE HAVE SEEN SINCE EARLY SPRING.

LOUISIANA WAS ABLE TO AVOID MAJOR DAMAGE FROM TROPICAL STORM LEE, BUT THE HURRICANE SEASON IS FAR FROM OVER. JORGE (GEORGE) AGUIRRE, WITH THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER, SAYS ITS VERY LIKELY WE'LL SEE MORE STORMS THREATEN THE GULF COAST. THE 2011 HURRICANE SEASON HAS PRODUCED A DOZEN NAMED STORMS AND GOVERNMENT FORECASTERS PREDICTED ANYWHERE BETWEEN 12 TO 18 NAMED STORMS BEFORE THE SEASON STARTED. AGUIRRE SAYS CONDITIONS ARE FAVORABLE FOR MORE STORMS.

THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES SAYS A POSSIBLE 3RD MAJOR DEPOSIT OF OIL & GAS IN SHALE UNDER LOUISIANA COULD BE A BIG PART OF THE STATE'S ENERGY FUTURE. LOUISIANA OIL & GAS ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT DON BRIGGS SAYS THE SO-CALLED "BROWN DENSE" SHALE SPANS NORTHERN LOUISIANA AND INTO SOUTHERN ARKANSAS, AND LOOKS PROMISING. BRIGGS SAYS AT LEAST ONE COMPANY HAS INVESTED ABOUT $150-MILLION TO DRILL IN THE BROWN DENSE.

QUALIFYING FOR THE OCTOBER 22ND PRIMARY BEGINS TODAY. U-L LAFAYETTE POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR PEARSON CROSS SAYS IT APPEARS GOVERNOR JINDAL WILL NOT FACE A WELL-FINANCE CHALLENGER FOR RE-ELECTION. CROSS SAYS THE REAL ACTION AMONG STATEWIDE RACES WILL TAKE PLACE WITH LT. GOVERNOR AND SECRETARY OF STATE. HE SAYS LT. GOVERNOR'S RACE WILL BE A DOGFIGHT BETWEEN TWO REPUBLICANS, INCUMBENT JAY DARDENNE AND PLAQUEMINES PARISH PRESIDENT BILLY NUNGESSER. DEMOCRAT CAROLINE FAYARD MIGHT RUN FOR SECRETARY OF STATE. BUT CROSS EXPECTS FAYARD WILL SKIP THIS ELECTION, LEAVING THE SECRETARY OF STATE'S RACE BETWEEN CURRENT S-O-S TOM SCHEDULER AND HOUSE SPEAKER JIM TUCKER. QUALIFYING RUN THROUGH 5 PM THURSDAY.

THE SAINTS AND SEAN PAYTON HAVE AGREED TO A CONTRACT EXTENSION THAT WILL KEEP THE WINNING SUPER BOWL HEAD COACH IN NEW ORLEANS THROUGH 2015. GENERAL MANAGER MICKEY LOOMIS SAYS THEY'VE BEEN TALKING WITH PAYTON ABOUT AN EXTENSION FOR SEVERAL WEEKS AND THEY JUST HAPPENED TO GET IT DONE BEFORE THE SEASON OPENER. NOW THAT PAYTON HAS BEEN LOCKED UP LONG TERM, THE SAINTS WILL ATTEMPT TO IRON OUT A CONTRACT EXTENSION FOR QUARTERBACK DREW BREES. BREES IS IN THE FINAL SEASON OF HIS CURRENT CONTRACT. LOOMIS SAYS PAYTON AND BREES ARE VITAL PARTS OF THEIR ORGANIZATION.

CALCASIEU PARISH SHERIFF TONY MANCUSO SAYS TWO WOMEN HAVE BEEN KILLED IN A TRAILER WEST OF SULPHUR. MANCUSO SAYS THE TWO WOMEN WERE DEAD WHEN DEPUTIES ARRIVED SUNDAY NIGHT. HE DECLINED TO GIVE A CAUSE OF DEATH. THE SHERIFF SAYS A 50-YEAR OLD OCCUPANT OF THE TRAILER HAS BEEN ARRESTED AND CHARGED WITH THE MURDERS.

FEDERAL OFFICIALS SAY OFFSHORE OIL AND GAS WORKERS IN THE GULF OF MEXICO ARE GOING BACK TO PLATFORMS AND RIGS THAT HAD BEEN EVACUATED BECAUSE OF TROPICAL STORM LEE. THE BUREAU OF OCEAN ENERGY MANAGEMENT, REGULATION, AND ENFORCEMENT SAID MONDAY THAT 232 PRODUCTION PLATFORMS AND 24 RIGS HAD BEEN EVACUATED. THAT MEANT ABOUT 38 PERCENT OF THE TOTAL 617 MANNED PLATFORMS AND 33 PERCENT OF THE 70 DRILLING RIGS OPERATING IN THE GULF WERE EVACUATED. THE RIGS AND PLATFORMS WILL BE INSPECTED FOR DAMAGE AND THEN BROUGHT BACK ONLINE.

DIVORCE RATES FOR MEN IN LOUISIANA AND OTHER SOUTHERN STATES ARE HIGHER THAN THE U.S. AVERAGE, ACCORDING TO A RECENT U.S. CENSUS BUREAU REPORT. THE DIVORCE RATE FOR MEN IN LOUISIANA IS 11 MEN PER 1,000 WHILE THE NATIONAL DIVORCE RATE FOR MEN IS 9.2 MEN PER 1,000, ACCORDING TO THE REPORT. “MARITAL EVENTS OF AMERICANS: 2009” PROVIDED THE STATISTICS. LSU DEMOGRAPHER AND SOCIOLOGY PROFESSOR TROY BLANCHARD SAID THERE ARE HIGHER RATES OF MARRIAGE AT A YOUNGER AGE IN THE SOUTH BECAUSE OF HOW MARRIAGE IS PERCEIVED IN THE BIBLE BELT AND LOWER EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT.












News For Friday 09/02/11


NEWS FOR FRIDAY 090211
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

PINEVILLE MAYOR CLARENCE FIELDS HAS BEEN CLEARED OF ANY WRONGDOING IN THE JULY 31ST TRAFFIC ACCIDENT IN WHICH HE HIT AND KILLED A WOMAN WHO STEPPED IN FRONT OF HIS CAR. INVESTIGATORS SAY 29-YEAR-OLD ERICA TERRELL HAD A BLOOD ALCOHOL LEVEL OF .26; THREE TIMES THE LEGAL LIMIT. TESTS SHOWED THAT MAYOR FIELDS HAD A SMALL AMOUNT OF ALCOHOL IN HIS SYSTEM -- A BLOOD-ALCOHOL LEVEL OF 0.018, WHICH IS THE EQUIVALENT OF LESS THAN A FULL BEER FOR A 200-POUND MAN. THE LEGAL LIMIT FOR INTOXICATION IS 0.08. THE STATE POLICE SAYING THE MAYOR WAS IN NO WAS IMPAIRED AT THE TIME OF THE ACCIDENT.

A SLOW-MOVING TROPICAL DEPRESSION WAS SLOGGING TOWARD THE GULF COAST FRIDAY, PACKING WALLOPING RAINS THAT COULD DRENCH THE REGION WITH UP TO 20 INCHES.
LOUISIANA'S GOVERNOR DECLARED A STATE OF EMERGENCY THURSDAY BECAUSE OF THE THREAT OF FLASH FLOODING. TROPICAL STORM WARNINGS WERE ISSUED FROM MISSISSIPPI TO TEXAS INCLUDING NEW ORLEANS. THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER SAID THE SYSTEM WILL DUMP 10 TO 15 INCHES OF RAIN OVER SOUTHERN AREAS OF LOUISIANA, MISSISSIPPI AND ALABAMA THROUGH SUNDAY AND AS MUCH AS 20 INCHES IN SOME SPOTS. THE DEPRESSION ALSO COULD BECOME TROPICAL STORM LEE, THE 12TH NAMED STORM OF THE ATLANTIC HURRICANE SEASON.

THE CITY OF NATCHITOCHES HAS ISSUED A CITYWIDE BOIL ORDER DUE TO LOW WATER PRESSURE FOR ALL CUSTOMERS OF THE CITY, WATER WORKS DISTRICT #1 AND CLARENCE WATER SYSTEM. ALL WATER USED FOR CONSUMPTION OR WASHING DISHES SHOULD BE BOILED FOR ONE MINUTE. PEOPLE CAN USE BOTTLED WATER INSTEAD OF TAP WATER, AS WELL. IT'S NOT NECESSARY TO BOIL TAP WATER USED FOR OTHER HOUSEHOLD PURPOSES.
ALSO, THE CITY IS IMPLEMENTING MANDATORY WATER RESTRICTIONS BECAUSE OF HIGH WATER DEMAND. NORTHWESTERN STATE UNIVERSITY WILL BE OPEN TODAY, BUT NATCHITOCHES PARISH SCHOOLS AND PAROCHIAL SCHOOLS WILL BE CLOSED BECAUSE OF THE BOIL WATER ADVISORY.

THE 2011 LOUISIANA SECOND AMENDMENT SALES TAX HOLIDAY KICKS OFF TODAY AND RUNS THROUGH SUNDAY. LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE SPOKESPERSON BYRON HENDERSON SAYS ITEMS ELIGIBLE FOR TAX EXEMPTION THIS WEEKEND ARE SPECIFICALLY GEARED TOWARD HUNTING OR CAMPING. HENDERSON SAYS THIS WEEKEND IS THE PERFECT OPPORTUNITY FOR SPORTSMEN TO GET PREPARED FOR THE UPCOMING HUNTING SEASON.

U-S SENATOR DAVID VITTER HAS ENDORSED PLAQUEMINES PARISH PRESIDENT BILLY NUNGESSER IN HIS CAMPAIGN AGAINST INCUMBENT AND FELLOW REPUBLICAN JAY DARDENNE FOR THE OFFICE OF LT. GOVERNOR. NUNGESSER ROSE TO NATIONAL PROMINENCE IN THE WAKE OF THE B-P OIL SPILL. NUNGESSER SAYS HE HAS GONE BEYOND THE LIMITS OF HIS OFFICE AS PARISH PRESIDENT TO FIGHT FOR CAUSES THAT AFFECT LOUISIANA. THE STATEWIDE PRIMARY IS OCTOBER 22ND.

THE AMERICAN AUTOMOBILE ASSOCIATION IS PREDICTING FEWER MOTORISTS WILL HIT THE ROAD THIS LABOR DAY HOLIDAY WEEKEND COMPARED TO LAST YEAR. AAA SPOKESPERSON DON REDMAN SAYS THERE'S A 2 PERCENT DECREASE IN THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE TRAVELING 50 MILES OR MORE FROM HOME FOR LABOR DAY. REDMAN SAYS HOTEL RATES ARE ALSO 6% HIGHER THAN THEY WERE LAST YEAR AT THIS TIME. HE SAYS PEOPLE ARE CHOOSING TO STAY HOME BECAUSE IT'S TOO EXPENSIVE TO TRAVEL.

THE LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES HAS POSTED IT'S ANNUAL MOST WANTED POSTER OF THE STATE'S TOP OFFENDERS FOR FAILING TO PAY COURT ORDERED CHILD SUPPORT. DCFS SPOKESPERSON TREY WILLIAMS IT'S HOPED THE POSTER WILL HELP TRACK DOWN SOME OF THE NON-CUSTODIAL PARENTS AND GET THEM TO PAY UP. HE SAYS MORE THAN 53-THOUSAND PEOPLE IN LOUISIANA ARE BEHIND IN THEIR CHILD-SUPPORT; MAKING IT A 1.2-BILLION DOLLAR PROBLEM FOR STATE AGENCIES.

A 74-YEAR-OLD BATON ROUGE WOMAN ACCIDENTALLY SHOT HERSELF IN HER SLEEP. BATON ROUGE POLICE SPOKESPERSON DON STONE SAYS THE WOMAN APPARENTLY SLEEPS WITH THE GUN IN HER BED AT NIGHT AND DISCHARGED THE GUN WHEN SHE ROLLED OVER ON TOP OF IT. THE WOMAN IS BEING TREATED FOR NON-LIFETHREATENING INJURIES.

A COMMERCIAL AIRPLANE MADE AN EMERGENCY LANDING THURSDAY AT BATON ROUGE METRO AIRPORT BECAUSE OF A LANDING GEAR FAILURE, AN AIRPORT SPOKESMAN SAID.
NO ONE WAS INJURED FROM THE INCIDENT INVOLVING DELTA CONNECTION FLIGHT 5058 FROM ATLANTA.

VALERO ENERGY CORP. AGREED THURSDAY TO ACQUIRE MURPHY OIL CORP.'S REFINERY AT MERAUX FOR ABOUT $625 MILLION. THE DEAL INCLUDES $325 MILLION FOR THE REFINERY AND RELATED ASSETS AND $300 MILLION FOR THE REFINERY'S CURRENT INVENTORY. SAN ANTONIO-BASED VALERO SAID IT PLANS TO FUND THE PURCHASE FROM AVAILABLE CASH AND HOPES TO CLOSE THE DEAL IN THE FOURTH QUARTER IF REGULATORS APPROVE.
EL DORADO, ARK.-BASED MURPHY OIL SAID THE SALE IS PART OF A PLAN TO EXIT THE REFINING BUSINESS.



News For Thursday 09/01/11


NEWS FOR THURSDAY 090111
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

STATE POLICE REPORT A DEADLY CRASH ON HIGHWAY 121 AT VALENTINE ROAD IN RAPIDES PARISH YESTERDAY AFTERNOON CLAIMED THE LIFE OF AN OAKDALE MAN. TROOPERS SAY A LOGGING TRUCK BEING DRIVEN BY 41 YEAR OLD STACY DICKENS CROSSED THE CENTER LINE OF THE HIGHWAY AND STRUCK AN ONCOMING PICKUP TRUCK. THE LOGGING TRUCK OVERTURNED SEVERAL TIMES EJECTING DICKENS. HE WAS PRONOUNCED DEAD AT THE SCENE. THE DRIVER OF THE PICKUP 27 YEAR OLD TORI THACKER OF HINESTON RECEIVED MODERATE INJURIES AND WAS TRANSPORTED TO A LOCAL HOSPITAL. NEITHER DRIVER WAS WEARING A SEATBELT.

THE DECISION AS TO WHETHER OR NOT THREE LAWYERS WILL GET PAID FOR THEIR EFFORTS IN REPRESENTING THE CITY OF ALEXANDRIA IN IT’S CASE AGAINST CLECO IS NOW IN THE HANDS OF JUDGE DEE DRELL. MUCH OF WEDNESDAY'S TESTIMONY IN U.S. DISTRICT COURT CAME FROM CITY ATTORNEY CHUCK JOHNSON, AS HE WAS CROSS-EXAMINED BY ATTORNEYS FOR BRIDGETT BROWN, BATON ROUGE ATTORNEY CRAIG DAVIDSON AND JOHN SHARP, A FORMER ATTORNEY WHO LIVES NEAR BATON ROUGE. DRELL GAVE ATTORNEYS FOR ALL FOUR PARTIES 15 DAYS TO FILE AMENDMENTS TO THEIR FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW PERTAINING TO THE CASE, ALTHOUGH HE ASKED THAT NO ADDITIONAL BRIEFS BE FILED. THE JUDGE SAYING HE WILL MAKE A DECISION AS PROMPTLY AS HE CAN.

HURRICANE KATIA IS CONTINUING ITS TREK ACROSS THE ATLANTIC WITH LITTLE CHANGE IN STRENGTH. KATIA HAS MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS EARLY THURSDAY NEAR 75 MPH (120 KPH). THE U.S. NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER IN MIAMI SAYS SOME STRENGTHENING IS EXPECTED AND KATIA COULD BECOME A MAJOR HURRICANE BY THE WEEKEND.
IT'S CENTERED ABOUT 1,065 MILES EAST OF THE LEEWARD ISLANDS AND MOVING WEST NEAR 20 MPH.

FORECASTERS ARE ALSO WATCHING AN AREA OF LOW PRESSURE SITUATED BETWEEN MEXICO'S YUCATAN PENINSULA AND THE WESTERN TIP OF CUBA. NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER FORECASTERS SAYS THE SYSTEM HAS A 30% CHANCE OF DEVELOPING INTO A TROPICAL STORM WITHIN THE NEXT DAY OR TWO. IF THAT HAPPENS, IT WILL BE NAMED "LEE".

THE LOUISIANA NATIONAL GUARD IS SENDING MORE TRUCKS OF WATER TO FERRIDAY AS THE TOWN REMAINS WITHOUT CLEAN DRINKING WATER. CONCORDIA PARISH EMERGENCY OPERATION CENTER DIRECTOR MORRIS WHITE SAYS FERRIDAY'S WATER SYSTEM NEEDS NEW FILTERS, WHICH THEY'LL GET BY THE END OF THE WEEK. HOWEVER IT COULD BE ANOTHER THREE TO FOUR WEEKS BEFORE RESIDENTS CAN DRINK THE WATER.

LOUISIANA'S "SECOND AMENDMENT TAX HOLIDAY" WEEKEND IS COMING UP THIS WEEKEND. FOR THREE DAYS, THE STATE SALES TAX ON GUNS, AMMO, ARCHERY GEAR AND A NUMBER OF HUNTING-RELATED ITEMS WILL BE SUSPENDED. IN MANY LOCATIONS LOCAL SALES TAXES WILL APPLY, THOUGH.

THE SAINTS WRAP UP THE PRESEASON TONIGHT BY HOSTING THE TENNESSEE TITANS. QUARTERBACK DREW BREES AND SEVERAL OTHER STARTERS WILL NOT PLAY AS COACH SEAN PAYTON WILL USE THE GAME TO HELP HIM MAKE FINAL ROSTER CUTS.

BOSSIER CITY POLICE SAY A 45-YEAR-OLD MAN GUNNED DOWN HIS ESTRANGED WIFE AS SHE WAS WALKING OUT OF A CHURCH DAYCARE CENTER, THEN TURNED THE GUN ON HIMSELF. SPOKESMAN MARK NATALE SAYS ALLAN HALTOM SHOT 44-YEAR-OLD ANGELA HALTOM OUTSIDE OF FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH YESTERDAY AFTERNOON. HE SAYS THERE HAD BEEN DOMESTIC ISSUES BETWEEN THE TWO.

THE LAWYER FOR THE LSU QUARTERBACK CHARGED WITH FELONY BATTERY IN AN OFF-CAMPUS BAR FIGHT WANTS POLICE TO CLEAR HIS CLIENT. JORDAN JEFFERSON IS REPRESENTED BY ATTORNEY LEWIS UNGLESBY, WHO SAYS NEW WITNESSES HAVE COME FORWARD THAT COULD CLEAR HIS CLIENT OF WRONG-DOING. UNGLESBY SAYS THE CHARGES AGAINST JEFFERSON ARE UNWARRANTED, BECAUSE THE ALLEGED VICTIMS AREN'T HURT THAT BADLY. LAWYER MIKE BIENVENU REPRESENTS THE FOUR VICTIMS. HE SAYS HIS CLIENTS SUFFERED FRACTURED BONES, BRUISES, CUTS, HAD TEETH KNOCKED OUT AND ONE MAY HAVE A HAD A CONCUSSION. HE SAYS THOSE THAT DOWNPLAY THE INCIDENT AS A SIMPLE BAR FIGHT ARE OFF-BASE. BIENVENU SAYS HE FEELS MORE ARRESTS RELATED TO THE BRAWL ARE COMING.

THE NATIONAL GUARD IS ASSISTING IN EFFORTS TO CONTROL THE MARSH FIRE THAT HAS CONSUMED 23-HUNDRED ACRES OF DRY SWAMPLAND JUST EAST OF NEW ORLEANS. GUARD HELICOPTERS ARE DROPPING WATER ON HOT SPOTS IN AN ATTEMPT TO CONTAIN THE BLAZE. DEQ SPOKESMAN RODNEY MALLET SAYS A CHANGE IN THE WEATHER WOULD BE THE BEST WAY TO IMPROVE THE AIR. MALLETT WARNS THE SMOKE MAY BE IRRITATING TO BREATHE FOR FOLKS WITH SENSITIVE RESPIRATORY SYSTEMS.

A BODY BELIEVED TO BE THAT OF THE 22-YEAR-OLD VACHERIE MAN, WANTED FOR ATTACKS ON A NUMBER OF WOMEN, HAS BEEN FOUND FLOATING IN THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER. KENNER POLICE SAY THEY BELIEVE THE BODY IS THAT OF KYLAN LAURENT BUT ARE WAITING ON AUTOPSY RESULTS FOR A POSITIVE IDENTIFICATION. LAURENT JUMPED FROM THE VETERANS MEMORIAL BRIDGE NEAR GRAMERCY ON AUGUST 23RD TO ELUDE POLICE FOLLOWING A HIGH SPEED CHASE.

STATE AUTHORITIES ARE CRACKING DOWN ON UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE FRAUD AND,
SO FAR, 47 ARRESTS HAVE BEEN MADE SINCE APRIL. LOUISIANA WORKFORCE COMMISSION EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR CURT EYSINK SAYS MOST OF THE CASES INVOLVE PEOPLE WHO'VE CONTINUED TO COLLECT UNEMPLOYMENT EVEN AFTER THEY'VE GOTTEN A JOB. EYSINK SAYS NEW EFFORTS ARE BEING PUT IN PLACE IN ORDER TO CATCH PEOPLE WHO ARE DEFRAUDING THE SYSTEM AND HOPING THE STATE DOESN'T FIND OUT ABOUT IT. HE SAYS THE NEW METHODS WILL QUICKLY UNCOVER QUESTIONABLE ACTIVITIES.

THE NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION ENDORSES GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL FOR A SECOND TERM IN OFFICE. AT AN EVENT WEDNESDAY AT CABELLA'S OUTDOORS STORE IN GONZALES, NRA POLITICAL VICTORY FUND CHAIRMAN CHRIS COX PRAISED MR. JINDAL'S SUPPORT FOR SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHTS.

TWO MOSS BLUFF MEN ARE CHARGED WITH THE ARMED ROBBERY OF THE LUCKY STAR CASINO ON MONDAY. CALCASIEU PARISH DEPUTIES SAY 29-YEAR-OLD BENJAMIN WEAVER AND 36-YEAR-OLD DAGIEL MATTHEWS ENTERED THE CASINO AT AROUND 3:30 AM, AND HELD EMPLOYEES AND CUSTOMERS AT BAY WHILE THEY STOLE AN UNDISCLOSED AMOUNT OF CASH. BOTH ARE NOW IN THE PARISH PRISON.

THE CADDO PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE SAYS A DRIVER SWERVED TO MISS A DOG, LOST CONTROL OF HIS PICKUP TRUCK, AND BROKE AN ABOVE-GROUND NATURAL GAS LINE.
A NEWS RELEASE SAYS NOBODY WAS HURT IN THE ACCIDENT WEDNESDAY. DEPUTIES AND FIREFIGHTERS CORDONED OFF AN AREA THREE-QUARTERS OF A MILE AROUND THE BREAK


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