KSYL Local News Archives for 2011-11

News For Wednesday Morning 11/30/11


NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY 113011
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

DESPITE SOME COLD TEMPS. A LARGE CROWD OF PEOPLE TURNED OUT LAST NIGHT, AT KENT HOUSE, FOR THE FIRST EVENT CELEBRATING THE BICENTENNIAL OF LOUISIANA STATEHOOD. LT. GOVERNOR JAY DARDENNE WAS SCHEDULED TO APPEAR. BUT, AT LAST MINUTE SENT A VIDEO TAPE IN HIS PLACE. RETIRED GENERAL RUSSELL HONORE THE CHAIRMAN OF THE BICENTENNIAL COMMISSION WAS THERE AND HE TOLD THE CROWD THAT THE KENT HOUSE WAS THE PERFECT PLACE TO HOLD THE OPENING EVENT. THAT EVENT LEADING UP TO THE 200TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE STATE ON APRIL 30, 2012.

THE REPORT CARD FOR THE CITY OF ALEXANDRIA IS IN. THE CITY’S AUDITOR UNCOVERED NINE FINDINGS IN ITS REVIEW OF THE CITY'S FINANCES FOR THE 2010-11 FISCAL YEAR -- MORE THAN DOUBLE THE AMOUNT FOUND THE YEAR BEFORE. THE CITY'S AUDITOR, PRESENTED A BRIEF REPORT TO THE ALEXANDRIA CITY COUNCIL ON TUESDAY THAT WENT OVER A "COUPLE OF HIGHLIGHTS" FROM THE AUDIT. THE AUDITOR IS SLATED TO GIVE A MORE DETAILED REPORT TO THE COUNCIL'S FINANCE COMMITTEE ON DEC. 13

THE INVESTIGATION CONTINUES INTO A FRIDAY SHOOTING ON STRACENER STREET IN THE CITY THAT LEFT A LOCAL MAN IN VERY SERIOUS CONDITION. ALEXANDRIA POLICE HAVE YET TO RELEASE THE NAME OF THE VICTIM. HOWEVER, THEY DO SAY AN ARREST HASB BEEN MADE IN CONNECTION WITH THE CASE. 34 YEAR OLD JONATHAN JOHNSON HAS NOW BEEN CHARGED WITH ATTEMPTED SECOND-DEGREE MURDER .IN THE

THE HEAD OF LOUISIANA'S EDUCATION BOARD DOESN'T EXPECT A LONG, NATIONAL SEARCH FOR THE NEXT STATE SUPERINTENDENT, SAYING SHE'S NOT EVEN SURE IF THE BOARD WILL ACCEPT APPLICATIONS OR INSTEAD JUST VOTE ON JOHN WHITE, GOV. BOBBY JINDAL'S CHOICE FOR THE JOB. PENNY DASTUGUE, PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION, SAID SHE EXPECTS ANY SEARCH WOULD BE BRIEF, IF THERE IS ONE. WHITE IS HEAD OF THE RECOVERY SCHOOL DISTRICT, WHICH OVERSEES AND MANAGES SCHOOLS TAKEN OVER BY THE STATE FOR POOR PERFORMANCE, MOST OF THEM IN NEW ORLEANS.

STATE TREASURER JOHN KENNEDY IS ONCE AGAIN TRYING TO UNITE LOUISIANANS WITH UNCLAIMED PROPERTY - USUALLY MONEY - THAT THEY MAY HAVE COMING TO THEM. KENNEDY SAYS THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS ARE TURNED IN TO THE STATE DAILY FROM OLD BANK ACCOUNTS, UNCASHED PAYROLL CHECKS, UTILITY DEPOSITS AND OTHER FUNDS. HE SAYS A SHORT LIST WILL BE PUBLISHED IN MOST STATE NEWSPAPERS, BUT THEY CANNOT PUBLISH ALL ELIGIBLE NAMES. HE SAYS THERE IS ANOTHER WAY TO FIND OUT IF MONEY'S OWED TO YOU. THAT’S BY VISITING THE TREASURER’S WEBSITE, LATREASURY.COM

THE STATE REVENUE DEPARTMENT IS OFFERING A MOBILE WEBSITE FOR OWNERS OF SMARTPHONES AND TABLETS WHO WANT TO CHECK THE STATUS OF TAX REFUNDS, MAKE PAYMENTS AND ASK QUESTIONS OF TAX EXPERTS. THE LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE ANNOUNCED THE MOBILE SITE, LDR MOBILE, ON TUESDAY. TO USE THE SITE, PEOPLE CAN LOG IN WITH THEIR PHONE OR TABLET AT WWW.REVENUE.LOUISIANA.GOV . THE SITE WILL REDIRECT THEM TO LDR MOBILE.

THE 2011 HURRICANE SEASON COMES TO A CLOSE TODAY. STATE CLIMATOLOGIST BARRY KEIM SAYS OCEAN TEMPERATURES COOL OFF THIS TIME OF YEAR AND TROPICAL STORMS AND HURRICANES GENERALLY NO LONGER FORM. KEIM SAYS THERE WERE 18 NAMED STORMS IN THE 2011 HURRICANE SEASON MAKING IT THE 7TH BUSIEST SEASON ON RECORD. KEIM SAYS IN THE UNITED STATES, THE BIGGEST STORM WAS HURRICANE IRENE. IN LATE AUGUST WHICH PELTED THE NORTHEAST WITH RAINFALL AND DID BILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN DAMAGE. HE SAYS THE MOST ACTIVITY IN LOUISIANA CAME FROM TROPICAL STORM LEE. THE COLORADO STATE UNIVERSITY'S HURRICANE TEAM IS EXPECTED TO GIVE IT'S 2012 FORECAST IN EARLY DECEMBER. KEIM PREDICTS ANOTHER ABOVE AVERAGE SEASON NEXT YEAR.

SHUTTERED EVER SINCE BEING SMASHED BY HURRICANE KATRINA, THE OLD SIX FLAGS AMUSEMENT PARK IN NEW ORLEANS COULD BE PUT TO NEW USE SOON. PROPOSALS ARE BEING CONSIDERED BY THE CITY TO REVIVE THE LOCATION. ONE PLAN WOULD MAKE IT A NEW, "GREEN-THEMED" AMUSEMENT PARK. ANOTHER WOULD REBUILD THE SITE AS AN UPSCALE MALL. THE PARK HAS BEEN AN ABANDONED RUIN SINCE 2005.

SPEAKING OF NEW ORLEANS, A NATIONAL MAGAZINE READERS' SURVEY NAMES NEW ORLEANIANS THE "WEIRDEST PEOPLE IN THE NATION". TRAVEL & LEISURE MAGAZINE EDITOR RICH BEATTIE SAYS IT'S THE RESULT OF THEIR ANNUAL SURVEY OF FAVORITE CITIES
BY CATEGORY. BEATTIE SAYS THE BIG EASY SHOULD TAKE THE DESIGNATION AS AN AFFECTIONATE TERM, AS MOST FIND THE CITY AND HER PEOPLE CHARMING--BUT WEIRD. HE SAYS THE RESPONDENTS WERE ASKED TO SAY IF THEY WERE LOCALS OR VISITORS TO THE CITY. NEW ORLEANS IS A CITY WHERE PEOPLE DRESS IN COSTUME FOR ANY OCCASION, WRESTLE IN THE STREET OVER PLASTIC CUPS AND BEADS, AND PARTY AT THE DROP OF A HAT. BEATTIE SAYS TRAVELERS WANT TO MEET UNIQUE PEOPLE WHILE ON VACATION, AND HE SAYS NEW ORLEANS NEVER DISAPPOINTS.

A PANEL APPOINTED TO STUDY BETTER GOVERNANCE OF LOUISIANA'S PUBLIC COLLEGES RECOMMENDS REFORMING TOPS PERFORMANCE-BASED TUITION GRANTS. COUNCIL FOR A BETTER LOUISIANA PRESIDENT BARRY ERWIN IS ON THE COMMISSION. HE SAYS THE IDEA IS A FLAT GRANT AMOUNT FOR QUALIFYING STUDENTS. IN ITS CURRENT FORM, THE TOPS PROGRAM REWARDS GOOD GRADES WITH FREE TUITION, WHICH IS TIED TO THE SCHOOL THE STUDENT ATTENDS. ERWIN SAYS THE COMMISSION RECOMMENDS CAPPING THE TOTAL GRANT AMOUNT ACROSS THE BOARD. THE PANEL'S TOPS RECOMMENDATION IS AMONG 21 IDEAS THEY'LL FORWARD TO STATE LAWMAKERS FOR CONSIDERATION AS LEGISLATION THIS SPRING.

AN ONLINE TICKET BROKER IS REPORTING THAT THE COST FOR A TICKET TO SATURDAY'S SEC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME IS GOING DOWN. FANSNAP.COM CEO MIKE JANES SAYS A LARGE SUPPLY OF TICKETS IS PUSHING PRICES DOWN. JANES SAYS $328 IS THE AVERAGE TICKET PRICE FOR THE SEC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME WHILE OTHER CONFERENCE GAME TICKETS THIS WEEKEND AVERAGE WELL BELOW $200. JANES SAYS 50-TO-60-PERCENT OF THE TICKETS HAVE BEEN SOLD IN GEORGIA. HE BELIEVES TICKET PRICES FOR THE GAME WILL CONTINUE TO FALL AS WE GET CLOSER TO GAMETIME SATURDAY

ATTORNEYS FOR THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE AND TWO OTHER STATE AGENCIES HAVE URGED A JUDGE TO THROW OUT FORMER ALCOHOL AND TOBACCO CONTROL COMMISSIONER MURPHY PAINTER'S WRONGFUL-TERMINATION AND DEFAMATION CLAIMS. THE ATTORNEYS ARGUED PAINTER'S PUBLIC SERVICE CAME TO AN END IN THE SUMMER OF 2010 BECAUSE OF HIS OWN MISDEEDS. A LAWYER REPRESENTING PAINTER, HOWEVER, ASKED STATE DISTRICT JUDGE JANICE CLARK MONDAY NOT TO DISMISS PAINTER'S CLAIMS AND ALLOW PAINTER TO HAVE HIS DAY IN COURT SO HE CAN CLEAR HIS NAME. THE JUDGE TOOK THE ARGUMENTS UNDER ADVISEMENT. A FEBRUARY INSPECTOR GENERAL'S REPORT ALLEGED PAINTER USED HIS ATC POST TO ILLEGALLY OBTAIN INFORMATION ON JUDGES, THE GOVERNOR'S STAFF, U.S. SEN. DAVID VITTER'S WIFE AND OTHERS MORE THAN 1,000 TIMES OVER FIVE YEARS.

A JURY HAS BEEN SEATED IN BOSSIER PARISH FOR THE DOUBLE MURDER TRIAL OF DALTON FLETCHER, THE WEST MONROE TEEN ACCUSED OF SHOOTING HIS PARENTS TO DEATH IN SEPTEMBER 2010. FLETCHER HAS PLEADED NOT GUILTY BY REASON OF INSANITY. HE SAYS PHYSICAL ABUSE BY HIS FATHER DROVE HIM OVER THE EDGE. OPENING ARGUMENTS SHOULD BEGIN TODAY.

CALCASIEU PARISH DEPUTIES ARREST A FORMER SUMMER BIBLE SCHOOL TEACHER-AIDE FOR ALLEGEDLY HAVING SEX WITH A 13-YEAR-OLD BOY. 28-YEAR-OLD HEATHER DAUGHDRILL IS ACCUSED OF MULTIPLE ENCOUNTERS WITH THE BOY IN BOTH CALCASIEU AND BEAUREGARD PARISHES, SO SHE FACES CHARGES IN BOTH.

A RICE AND CRAWFISH FARMING REGION ON THE LOW-LYING SOUTHWEST LOUISIANA COAST HAS DECLARED A STATE OF EMERGENCY BECAUSE A LARGE FRESHWATER BASIN FARMERS RELY ON FOR IRRIGATION IS BEING SPOILED BY SALT WATER FROM THE GULF OF MEXICO.
ON MONDAY, VERMILION PARISH DECLARED AN EMERGENCY AND PLEADED FOR HELP FROM STATE AND FEDERAL OFFICIALS TO PREVENT THE SALT WATER FROM FOULING THE MERMENTAU RIVER BASIN, A 700-SQUARE-MILE AREA OF MOSTLY FRESHWATER MARSH.
THE RISING SALT LEVEL IN THE BASIN IS THREATENING THOUSANDS OF ACRES OF FARMLAND USED FOR CRAWFISH PONDS, CATTLE RANCHES, DUCK HUNTING, RICE FIELDS AND ALLIGATOR AND FISH FARMS. FARMERS RELY ON FRESHWATER FROM THE BASIN. SALT WATER INTRUSION IS A GROWING PROBLEM IN LOUISIANA BECAUSE THE STATE IS LOSING ITS SHORELINE BUFFER AGAINST THE GULF.

A CONSTRUCTION" WORKER WAS FOUND DEAD AFTER HIS TRACK HOE GOT CAUGHT IN A SINKHOLE IN OUACHITA PARISH. THE PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE SAYS 53-YEAR-OLD KENNY ROBINSON, OF WEST MONROE, WAS FOUND AROUND 5:30 P.M. MONDAY, BUT RESPONDERS WERE NOT ABLE TO RECOVER THE BODY UNTIL 4 A.M. TUESDAY. AUTHORITIES REPORT THE EQUIPMENT, WITH ROBINSON TRAPPED INSIDE, WAS ALMOST COMPLETELY BURIED.

WITH THE CHRISTMAS PARTY SEASON IN FULL SWING, EXPERTS ARE WARNING WORKERS TO BEHAVE AT OFFICE HOLIDAY GATHERINGS. TULANE BUSINESS PROFESSOR MARK ROSA SAYS YOU SHOULDN'T DO ANYTHING AT THE PARTY, YOU COULDN'T DO AT WORK. ROSA SAYS THE HIGHER YOU ARE IN AN ORGANIZATION, THE MORE MANDATORY YOUR ATTENDANCE BECOMES AT THE PARTY. ROSA SAYS EVEN IF YOU'RE NOT A BIG REVELER, IT'S A GOOD IDEA TO AT LEAST SHOW UP.




News For Tuesday 11/29/11


NEWS FOR TUESDAY 112911
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

THE CELEBRATION OF LOUISIANA'S 200TH ANNIVERSARY OF STATEHOOD WILL KICK OFF THIS EVENING AT KENT PLANTATION HOUSE IN ALEXANDRIA. JULIE VEZINOT IS THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE LOUISIANA BICENTENNIAL COMMISSION. SHE SAYS TODAY'S EVENT WILL BE THE START OF YEARLONG STATEWIDE CELEBRATIONS. VEZINOT SAYS THE EVENT STARTS AT 5:30 AND IS FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. SHE SAYS FEATURED SPEAKERS INCLUDE LT. GOVERNOR JAY DARDENNE AND COMMISSION CHAIRMAN LT. GENERAL RUSSELL HONORE. VEZINOT SAYS A US POSTAGE STAMP COMMEMORATING THE ANNIVERSARY WILL ALSO BE UNVEILED AT THE EVENT. VEZINOT SAYS THEY'VE RELIED ON FUND RAISING TO CELEBRATE LOUISIANA'S 200TH BIRTHDAY AND SO FAR THEY'VE RAISED NEARLY $700,000.

FEDERAL HEALTH OFFICIALS ON MONDAY DENIED LOUISIANA'S REQUEST TO DELAY THE STATE'S COMPLIANCE WITH A REQUIREMENT THAT HEALTH INSURERS SET ASIDE 80 PERCENT OF THE MONEY THEY RECEIVE IN PREMIUMS AND USE IT TO PAY FOR MEDICAL SERVICES. THE REQUIREMENT, PART OF LAST YEAR'S HEALTH-CARE REFORM LAW, SAYS THE MONEY COLLECTED ON PLANS SOLD TO INDIVIDUALS AND SMALL GROUPS MUST BE SPENT ON MEDICAL SERVICES RATHER THAN BEING KEPT AS PROFITS OR SPENT ON MARKETING, SALARIES OR OTHER ADMINISTRATIVE COSTS. INSURERS THAT DON'T MEET THE 80 PERCENT REQUIREMENT MUST PAY REBATES TO CUSTOMERS. LOUISIANA OFFICIALS HAD SAID THE REQUIREMENT COULD PROMPT SOME INSURERS TO LEAVE THE STATE. FEDERAL OFFICIALS SAID MONDAY THAT THERE'S NO EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT THAT CONCERN.

THREE-TERM NATCHITOCHES MAYOR WAYNE MCCULLEN ANNOUNCED MONDAY THAT HE WOULD NOT SEEK A FOURTH TERM IN THE SPRING 2012 ELECTION. MCCULLEN, WHO IS NOW 64, WAS FIRST ELECTED MAYOR IN 2000. PRIOR TO THAT HE SERVED 20 YEARS ON THE NATCHITOCHES CITY COUNCIL, WHERE HE SERVED AS COUNCILMAN AT-LARGE. MCCULLEN SAID HE LOOKS FORWARD TO SPENDING MORE TIME WITH HIS WIFE, CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN.

THE CITY OF ALEXANDRIA’S AGREEMENT WITH CLECO TO PROVIDE RESIDENTS OF THE CITY WITH POWER COULD EXPIRE AS EARLY AS 2015. WITH THAT IN MIND, THE MAYOR AND CITY OFFICIALS WANT TO LOOK AT ALL POSSIBLE ALTERNATIVES. ONE PLAN WOULD BE TO EXPAND THE HUNTER POWER STATION. BUT, THAT COULD BE COSTLY DUE TO RECENTLY IMPOSED RULES FROM THE EPA LIMITING EMISSIONS FROM POWER PLANTS. IT’S HOPED THE CITY WILL BE ABLE TO WORK OUT A DEAL WITH CLECO THAT WILL BENEFIT ALL PARTIES INVOLVED.

JURY SELECTION IS UNDERWAY IN BOSSIER PARISH FOR THE MURDER TRIAL OF DALTON FLETCHER. HE'S A TEENAGER ACCUSED OF KILLING HIS PARENTS IN OUACHITA PARISH IN SEPTEMBER OF 2010. FLETCHER REPORTEDLY TOLD AUTHORITIES HE PLANNED THE SLAYINGS, BECAUSE HIS FATHER WAS BEATING HIM. FLETCHER IS FACING TWO COUNTS OF SECOND-DEGREE MURDER. HE HAS PLEADED NOT GUILTY BY REASON OF INSANITY.

4-YEAR OLD S. J. LEWIS OF COUSHATTA HAS BEEN RELEASED FROM A SHREVEPORT HOSPITAL, ALMOST A MONTH AFTER HE WAS INJURED ON A RIDE AT THE STATE FAIR OF LOUISIANA IN SHREVEPORT. THE CHILD WAS TRAPPED BETWEEN A MINIATURE CAR AND THE METAL DECK OF THE DEMOLITION DERBY RIDE ON NOVEMBER SECOND. INVESTIGATORS FOUND ANOTHER CHILD STARTED THE RIDE WHILE THE OPERATOR WAS HELPING OTHER CHILDREN GET ON THE RIDE. BUT THE FIRE MARSHALL'S OFFICE SAYS THE OPERATOR WAS AT FAULT BECAUSE HE SHOULD HAVE DISABLED THE SWITCH THAT STARTED THE RIDE.

GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL HAS BEGUN MEETINGS WITH STATE LAWMAKERS AND EDUCATION OFFICIALS, TO PUT TOGETHER HIS 2012 LEGISLATIVE AGENDA FOR CONTINUED EDUCATION REFORMS. JINDAL STRESSES THE IMPORTANCE OF ASSURING GOOD TEACHERS IN ALL SCHOOLS, PROVIDING PARENTS OF KIDS IN FAILING SCHOOLS WITH MORE OPTIONS, AND HE WANTS TO SEE LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS GIVEN MORE CONTROL OVER THEIR FUNDING. JINDAL WILL CONTINUE MEETING WITH EDUCATION "STAKEHOLDERS" FOR THE NEXT FEW WEEKS. HE SAYS HE'LL REVEAL HIS EDUCATION AGENDA FOR THE SPRING LEGISLATIVE SESSION AFTER THE HOLIDAYS.

THE LATEST COMMISSION SET UP TO STUDY THE GOVERNANCE, MANAGEMENT AND FUNDING OF LOUISIANA'S PUBLIC COLLEGES IS SET TO START VOTING ON ITS RECOMMENDATIONS, WHICH ARE DUE TO LAWMAKERS BY JANUARY. THE 18-MEMBER STUDY COMMISSION WADED THROUGH A PILE OF PROPOSALS MONDAY, WITH VOTES SET ON THE IDEAS SCHEDULED FOR TODAY. PROPOSALS INCLUDE REVAMPING THE STATE'S FREE COLLEGE TUITION PROGRAM CALLED TOPS, RESHUFFLING SCHOOLS AMONG THE DIFFERENT UNIVERSITY SYSTEMS AND CHANGING THE FUNDING PLANS FOR COLLEGES. NEARLY ALL WOULD NEED LEGISLATIVE APPROVAL TO ENACT. THE STUDY GROUP INCLUDES LAWMAKERS, HIGHER EDUCATION OFFICIALS, BUSINESS LEADERS AND OTHERS. IT HAS BEEN MEETING MONTHLY.

THE GOVERNOR HAS HIRED BOTH THE BROTHER AND BROTHER-IN-LAW OF TIMMY TEEPELL, HIS FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF. MATT PARKER IS NOW THE INTER-GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS DIRECTOR AND TAYLOR TEEPELL IS NOW THE GOVERNORS DEPUTY LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS DIRECTOR. TAYLOR TEEPEL WAS DIRECTOR OF THE STATE REPUBLICAN PARTY'S VICTORY FUND AND HAS ALSO WORKED AS POLICY ADVISOR TO MISSISSIPPI GOVERNOR HAYLEY BARBOR. PARKER WAS CAMPAIGN MANAGER FOR JINDAL'S 2011 RE-ELECTION CAMPAIGN.

THE THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY WEEKEND WAS A GOOD ONE FOR RETAIL MERCHANTS. LOUISIANA RETAILERS ASSOCIATION SPOKESPERSON JESSICA ELLIOT SAYS, BETWEEN BLACK FRIDAY AND SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY, IT WAS A "FANTASTIC WEEKEND" FOR RETAIL STORES. ELLIOT SAYS THE BRISK WEEKEND SALES COULD HAVE BEEN BECAUSE MORE PEOPLE ARE FEELING BETTER ABOUT THE ECONOMY, OR PERHAPS DUE TO THE INCREASED SHOPPING HOURS AT MANY STORES. ELLIOT SAYS LOUISIANA MERCHANTS PLAN TO DO WHATEVER NECESSARY TO KEEP THE SHOPPERS COMING.

A MAN WANTED IN LIVINGSTON PARISH FOR STALKING, LED LAWMEN ON A HIGH SPEED CHASE THAT ENDED IN BATON ROUGE ON I-12 SATURDAY NIGHT. 31-YEAR-OLD JONATHAN LIVINGSTON WAS STOPPED BY A SPIKE STRIP DEPLOYED BY BATON ROUGE COPS. HIS BOOKING SHEET NOW HAS OVER 15 CHARGES; HIS BAIL SET AT OVER $185-THOUSAND.

JANUARY 9TH, 2012, IS SHAPING UP TO BE A BIG DAY IN LOUISIANA. IT'S THE DAY GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL WILL BE SWORN IN FOR A SECOND TERM IN OFFICE AND IT'S ALSO THE SAME DAY THE LSU TIGERS WILL LIKELY PLAY FOR A B-C-S NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP. JINDAL SAYS THEY'RE PLANNING A SCALED DOWN INAUGURATION AND THERE WON'T BE ANY EVENTS THAT NIGHT. JINDAL'S INAUGURATION FOUR YEARS AGO WAS A BIG CELEBRATION ON THE
STEPS OF THE STATE CAPITOL. THE GOVERNOR SAYS HIS INAUGURATION WILL BE
MUCH SMALLER. WITH NO BALL ON THE 9TH.

A BOX PLANT STARTED SEVEN YEARS AGO WITH 40 EMPLOYEES, ONE CONTRACT AND A $500,000 STATE GRANT HAS JUST COMPLETED A $4.5 MILLION UPGRADE, WITH A NEW MACHINE THAT CAN MAKE UP TO 350 BOXES A MINUTE. THAT'S DOUBLE THE SPEED OF THE ORIGINAL BOX PRESS, WHICH IS STILL IN USE AT LOUISIANA CORRUGATED PRODUCTS LLC, OPERATING PARTNER KINGSLEY MCCROCKLIN SAYS THE COMPANY NOW HAS 80 EMPLOYEES AND LOTS OF CUSTOMERS.



SPORTS..

THE SAINTS USUALLY PLAY THEIR BEST FOOTBALL IN PRIMETIME GAMES AT HOME AND LAST NIGHT WAS NO EXCEPTION AS THE BLACK AND GOLD TOPPLED THE NEW YORK GIANTS 45 TO 24. THE SAINTS HAD 577 YARDS OF TOTAL OFFENSE AS DREW BREES THREW FOR 363 YARDS AND FOUR TOUCHDOWNS. HE ALSO RAN FOR A SCORE. SEAN PAYTON AND THE SAINTS ARE NOW 8-AND-3 ON THE SEASON.





News For Monday Morning 11/28/11


NEWS FOR MONDAY 112811
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

STATE POLICE ARE INVESTIGATING THE DEATH OF A GLENMORA TEENAGER SATURDAY NIGHT. 19-YEAR-OLD RICHARD B. KELLOGG WAS KILLED WHEN HIS VEHICLE LEFT A ROADWAY IN MCNARY AND STRUCK A CULVERT AND OVERTURNED. KELLOGG WAS NOT WEARING A SEATBELT AND WAS EJECTED FROM THE VEHICLE. HE WAS PRONOUNCED DEAD AT THE SCENE. ROUTINE TOXICOLOGY TESTS ARE PENDING.

FOR MORE THAN TWO DECADES HE EMBRACED THE ARTS IN CENTRAL LOUISIANA THROUGH LEADERSHIP ROLES AND PERFORMANCE. HE SERVED AS MANAGING AND ARTISTIC DIRECTOR FOR CITY PARK PLAYERS. AT L.S.U.A. HE WAS AN ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF SPEECH AND THEATRE, CHAIR OF THE DEPARTMENT OF ARTS, ENGLISH AND HUMANITIES, AND SPONSOR FOR LSUA EMPTY SPACE PLAYERS AND CHOIRMASTER AND DIRECTOR OF MUSIC AT ST. JAMES EPISCOPAL CHURCH. FEW PEOPLE HAVE AFFECTED THE CENTRAL LOUISIANA ARTS COMMUNITY LIKE RICHARD GWARTNEY. HE LOST HIS BATTLE WITH CANCER OVER THE THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY. RICHARD GWARTNEY WAS A VERY YOUNG 60 YEARS OLD.

EMAILING, PAYING BILLS ONLINE, SOCIAL NETWORKING AND DELIVERY COMPETITION HAS FINANCIALLY CRIPPLED THE U.S. POSTAL SERVICE, WHICH IS CONSIDERING CLOSING PARTS OF TWO MAJOR LOUISIANA MAIL PROCESSING CENTERS, YET SPARING BATON ROUGE.
THE SERVICE IS STUDYING WHETHER TO SHUT DOWN THE OUTGOING MAIL SECTIONS OF THE LAFAYETTE AND NEW ORLEANS MAIL FACILITIES. THE MOVE WOULD AFFECT 1,000 WORKERS, MOST OF WHOM WOULD GET DIBS ON THE EXPANSION OF A SIMILAR NUMBER OF JOBS IN BATON ROUGE. THE PROPOSAL IS PART OF A NATIONWIDE PLAN TO SHUT DOWN AT LEAST PARTS OF ABOUT 200 MAIL PROCESSING CENTERS ACROSS THE COUNTRY FOR A SERVICE THAT RECENTLY POSTED A $5.1 BILLION LOSS AT THE END OF THE FISCAL YEAR ON SEPT. 30. THE SERVICE HAS WATCHED ITS VOLUME OF MAIL DROP BY 41.1 MILLION PIECES OVER THE LAST FOUR YEARS. THE LOUISIANA MOVE WOULD SAVE $7.3 MILLION A YEAR

A CHRISTMAS ORNAMENT DESIGNED BY LAFAYETTE ARTIST TONY BERNARD WILL SERVE AS LOUISIANA'S OFFICIAL ORNAMENT FOR THE WHITE HOUSE TREE. BERNARD AND STUDENTS AT COPPER MILL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IN ZACHARY DECORATED ORNAMENTS, ALONG WITH LOUISIANA FIRST LADY SUPRIYA JINDAL LAST WEEK AT THE REQUEST OF THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE FOR SHOWCASING ON THE 2011 NATIONAL CHRISTMAS TREE IN WASHINGTON, D.C., AND ON THE "LOUISIANA" TREE, WHICH STANDS IN THE SAME AREA. ONE ADDITIONAL ORNAMENT WAS CREATED FOR SHOWCASING AT THE LOUISIANA GOVERNOR'S MANSION.

BLACK FRIDAY, THE FIRST BIG CHRISTMAS SHOPPING DAY IS BEHIND US. TODAY IS CYBER MONDAY; DEDICATED TO BUYING HOLIDAY GIFTS ONLINE. RETAIL ANALYST JIM RUTLEDGE SAYS WEB-BASED MERCHANTS ARE EXPECTING AN "UNBELIEVABLE DAY". RUTLEDGE SAYS ANNUAL SALES FIGURES FOR CYBER MONDAY ARE CATCHING UP QUICKLY WITH DOLLARS EARNED IN RETAIL STORES FOR BLACK FRIDAY. HE SAYS ONLINE SHOPPERS CAN FIND SOME EXCELLENT BARGAINS TODAY. ONLINE MERCHANTS URGE CONSUMERS TO USE TODAY TO PLACE THOSE WEB ORDERS FOR CHRISTMAS, TO BE SURE THEY ARRIVE IN PLENTY OF TIME.

THE BIG THANKSGIVING FEAST IS BEHIND US, AND CHRISTMAS PARTIES ARE COMING. HOW DOES ONE AVOID GAINING A LOT OF WEIGHT FOR THE HOLIDAYS? LSU AGCENTER NUTRITIONIST DR. BETH REAMES SAYS MANY JUST LET THE EXTRA COME, THEN WORRY ABOUT LOSING THEM AGAIN AFTER THE NEW YEAR. REAMES SAYS THAT’S SIMPLY NOT A GOOD IDEA. SHE SAYS GIVE YOURSELF SMALL PORTIONS AT HOLIDAY PARTIES & TRY USING
A SMALLER PLATE TO ENCOURAGE THAT. SHE ALSO ADVISES YOU STAND OR SIT AWAY FROM THE FOOD TABLE, SO YOU'RE NOT TEMPTED TO NIBBLE. FYI, THE AVERAGE PERSON GAINS BETWEEN 2 AND 10 POUNDS OVER THE HOLIDAYS.

A MAN MANAGED TO ESCAPE AN APARTMENT WHERE ANOTHER RESIDENT ATTACKED HIM WITH A KNIFE, BUT IT TOOK THE SWAT TEAM TO MAKE AN ARREST. A 28-YEAR-OLD MAN TOLD LAFAYETTE POLICE HE WAS SLEEPING ON A COUCH INSIDE 30-YEAR-OLD JAMES DANTONI'S APARTMENT SUNDAY MORNING WHEN DANTONI ATTACKED HIM WITH A KNIFE. THE VICTIM WAS TRANSPORTED TO AN AREA HOSPITAL FOR INJURES TO HIS CHEST, FOOT AND HANDS.
DANTONI BARRICADED HIMSELF IN THE APARTMENT WHEN OFFICERS APPROACHED IT.
THE SWAT TEAM WAS CALLED OUT AND ARRESTED THE SUSPECT WITHOUT INCIDENT. DANTONI WAS ARRESTED AND CHARGED WITH AGGRAVATED BATTERY.



SPORTS..

THE NFC SOUTH LEADING SAINTS ARE BACK ON THE FOOTBALL FIELD TONIGHT FOR THE FIRST TIME IN OVER TWO WEEKS. NEW ORLEANS WILL HOST THE SIX-AND-FOUR NEW YORK GIANTS. TONIGHT'S GAME IS ALSO A HOMECOMING FOR NEW ORLEANS NATIVE AND GIANTS QUARTERBACK ELI MANNING. THE SAINTS HEAD INTO TONIGHT'S GAME WITH JUST A HALF-GAME LEAD OVER THE FALCONS FOR FIRST PLACE IN THE NFC SOUTH.

NUMBER ONE RANKED LSU IS HEADING TO THE SEC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME TO PLAY THE GEORGIA BULLDOGS. ITS ANOTHER BIG GAME FOR THE 12-AND-0 TIGERS, WHO HAVE ALREADY DEFEATED SEVEN RANKED TEAMS. COACH LES MILES IS EXPECTING AN EXCELLENT WEEK OF PREPARATION AND A GREAT PERFORMANCE ON SATURDAY IN THE GEORGIA DOME.

LOUISIANA TECH IS CHAMPIONS OF THE WESTERN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE AND THEY ARE HEADING TO THE POINSETTIA BOWL, WHICH WILL BE HELD IN SAN DIEGO ON DECEMBER 21ST. THE BULLDOGS WON THE WAC CROWN WHEN NEVADA LOST TO UTAH STATE AND TECH CRUSHED NEW MEXICO STATE 44 TO 0.



News For Wednesday Morning 11/23/11


NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY 112311
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

LOCAL AND STATE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OFFICIALS ANNOUNCED TUESDAY THAT BIOFUELS COMPANY SUNDROP FUELS, INC. WILL BUILD ITS FIRST PRODUCTION FACILITY NEAR ALEXANDRIA. THE APPROXIMATELY $450 MILLION PLANT WILL SIT ON MORE THAN 1,200 ACRES OF LAND JUST OFF INTERSTATE 49 NORTHWEST OF ALEXANDRIA, ADJACENT TO COWBOY TOWN IN THE RAPIDES STATION AREA. ONCE UP AND RUNNING, THE FACILITY WILL EMPLOY ABOUT 150 PEOPLE WITH AN AVERAGE SALARY OF $58,000 A YEAR. CONSTRUCTION ON THE PLANT IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN NEXT YEAR. PRODUCTION IS EXPECTED TO START BY THE END OF 2014. THE FACILITY IS EXPECTED TO PRODUCE UP TO 50 MILLION GALLONS OF FUEL PER YEAR. THE COMPANY PLANS TO OPEN NEW FACILITIES YEARLY AND HAVE A TOTAL PRODUCTION CAPACITY OF MORE THAN ONE BILLION GALLONS ANNUALLY BY 2020.

GOVERNOR JINDAL SAYS MARITIME INTERNATIONAL, A COMPANY THAT MAKES MOORING COMPONENTS FOR HARBORS, IS MOVING ITS PRODUCTION FACILITIES FROM CHINA TO BROUSSARD, IN LAFAYETTE PARISH. THE MOVE MEANS 90 DIRECT JOBS AND 150 NEW INDIRECT JOBS. MARITIME WILL START BUILDING THEIR FACILITY EARLY NEXT YEAR.

AN ALEXANDRIA TEENAGER WHO WAS SHOT AND WOUNDED MONDAY WAS ARRESTED AFTER HE WAS RELEASED FROM A LOCAL HOSPITAL, CHARGED IN A ROBBERY THAT OCCURRED DURING THE WEEKEND. 17 YEAR OLD ROBERT TAYLOR WAS SHOT IN THE LEG WHILE IN THE 400 BLOCK OF BENNETT STREET JUST AFTER 5 P.M. MONDAY. FOLLOWING HIS RELEASE FROM THE HOSPITAL, TAYLOR WAS TAKEN INTO CUSTODY BY APD DETECTIVES AND ARRESTED ON A WARRANT FOR ONE COUNT OF ARMED ROBBERY, THAT OCCURRED SATURDAY IN THE 3600 BLOCK OF THIRD STREET. THE CASE REMAINS UNDER INVESTIGATION.

LOUISIANA'S UNEMPLOYMENT RATE ROSE SLIGHTLY IN OCTOBER, BUT THE OUTLOOK WAS BETTER COMPARED TO THE SAME MONTH LAST YEAR, ACCORDING TO FIGURES RELEASED TUESDAY. THE LOUISIANA WORKFORCE COMMISSION SAID THE STATE'S PRELIMINARY UNEMPLOYMENT RATE IN OCTOBER WAS 7.1 PERCENT, UP FROM SEPTEMBER'S REVISED RATE OF 6.9 PERCENT. BUT LAST MONTH'S RATE WAS LOWER THAN THE OCTOBER 2010 RATE OF 7.5 PERCENT. OVER THE YEAR, THE GOODS-PRODUCING SECTOR GAINED 12,800 JOBS, WHILE THE SERVICE-PROVIDING SECTOR ADDED 31,300 JOBS. GOVERNMENT JOBS FELL BY 600 OVER THE SAME PERIOD. UNEMPLOYMENT RATES FELL IN THREE-QUARTERS OF U.S. STATES LAST MONTH, A SIGN THAT MANY PARTS OF THE COUNTRY ARE EXPERIENCING MODEST JOB GAINS.

SENATOR DAVID VITTER IS SAYING "I TOLD YOU SO". THE SENATOR SAYS HE'S NOT SURPRISED THAT THE BIPARTISAN SUPER COMMITTEE IN CONGRESS FAILED TO AGREE ON A TRILLION DOLLARS IN DEFICIT REDUCTIONS. HE SAYS THE PANEL HAD TOO MANY EXTREME PARTISANS WHO WERE UNWILLING TO COMPROMISE. VITTER SAYS, HE WILL SEEK DEFICIT CUTS LEGISLATIVELY INSTEAD. VITTER SAYS HE VOTED AGAINST CREATING THE SUPER COMMITTEE IN THE FIRST PLACE.

THE LONGTIME DIRECTOR OF THE MONROE REGIONAL AIRPORT HAS BEEN FIRED TODAY. NO OFFICIAL REASON FOR CLEVE NORRELL'S TERMINATION WAS GIVEN. THE NEW AIRPORT TERMINAL, WHICH OPENED LAST MONTH IS PLAGUED WITH PROBLEMS. JETWAYS ARE THE WRONG HEIGHT TO LINK WITH PLANES, A DE-ICER UNIT WAS INSTALLED IMPROPERLY AND THE OBSERVATION DECK DOESN'T GIVE A VIEW OF PLANES COMING AND GOING; IT LOOKS AT ANOTHER BUILDING.

WITH THE LEGISLATIVE RUNOFFS NOW DECIDED, THE REPUBLICAN PARTY HAS TAKEN COMFORTABLE MAJORITIES IN BOTH THE STATE HOUSE AND SENATE. 58 REPUBLICANS IN THE 105-MEMBER HOUSE, AND 24 REPUBLICANS IN THE 39-MEMBER SENATE. POLITICAL ANALYST CLANCY DUBOS SAYS THE GOP HOPED FOR A SUPER MAJORITY IN ORDER TO WIN VOTES THAT REQUIRE A TWO-THIRDS VOTE. BUT, THAT DIDN’T HAPPEN. DUBOS SAYS HE EXPECTS TO SEE SOME DEMOCRATIC LAWMAKERS GIVEN COMMITTEE CHAIRMANSHIPS, FOR THE SAKE OF BALANCE AND POLITICAL FAIR PLAY.

THE REPUBLICAN PARTY OF LOUISIANA HAS FILED A FEDERAL LAWSUIT SEEKING TO STOP A STATE JUDGE'S RULING THAT COULD SHRINK ITS GOVERNING BODY. A BATON ROUGE-BASED JUDGE RULED THIS MONTH THAT A PLAN FOR THE REPUBLICAN STATE CENTRAL COMMITTEE'S MEMBERSHIP FOR THE 2012-2016 TERM DIDN'T COMPLY WITH STATE LAW. THE DECISION REQUIRES THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE TO SHRINK FROM 230 SEATS TO 144.
IN RESPONSE, THE GOP FILED A FEDERAL LAWSUIT MONDAY SEEKING TO STOP THE RULING FROM TAKING EFFECT AND CALLING THE STATE LAWS GOVERNING THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE'S MEMBERSHIP UNCONSTITUTIONAL. THE LAWSUIT SAYS THE STATE LAWS VIOLATE THE REPUBLICAN PARTY'S RIGHTS TO FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION. THE TIMELINE FOR RESOLVING THE DISPUTE IS SHORT. QUALIFYING FOR THE COMMITTEE SEAT ELECTIONS IS SCHEDULED FOR DEC. 7-9.

BAYOU CLASSIC FANS ARE BEING ENCOURAGED TO TAKE A FREE HIV TEST WHILE IN NEW ORLEANS FOR THE ANNUAL FOOTBALL MATCHUP BETWEEN ARCH RIVALS SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY AND GRAMBLING STATE. ON GAME DAY, BETWEEN 10 A.M. AND 1 P.M., FREE HIV TESTING WILL BE AVAILABLE OUTSIDE THE SUPERDOME AT THE LOUISIANA STD/HIV PROGRAM HEALTH FAIR TENT. TESTING WILL CONSIST OF A QUICK, PAINLESS SWAB OF THE MOUTH, AND RESULTS WILL BE AVAILABLE IN JUST 20 MINUTES.

AS THANKSGIVING NEARS, CONSUMERS WITH A TASTE FOR OYSTER SOUP AND OYSTER DRESSING WITH THEIR HOLIDAY MEALS ARE DISCOVERING THE DELECTABLE SHELLFISH ARE STILL IN SHORTER SUPPLY AND MORE EXPENSIVE THAN BEFORE LAST YEAR'S GULF OIL SPILL. BUT MOST DON'T SEEM TO MIND. MIKE VOISIN, OWNER OF AN OYSTER PROCESSING AND SALES BUSINESS SOUTHWEST OF NEW ORLEANS, SAID GULF OYSTER PRODUCTION IS AT THE LOWEST LEVEL IT'S BEEN IN DECADES. OYSTER HARVESTERS TOOK A BASHING LAST YEAR DURING THE GULF OIL SPILL WHEN MUCH OF THE CROP WAS KILLED OFF IN COASTAL WATERS OF LOUISIANA, MISSISSIPPI AND ALABAMA.

ON WHAT'S OFTEN THE BUSIEST TRAVEL DAY OF THE YEAR, SENATOR MARY LANDRIEU ANNOUNCES LEGISLATION THAT WOULD ENSURE AIR TRAVELERS OF THEIR BASIC RIGHTS. LANDRIEU CALLS HER MEASURE THE AIRLINE PASSENGER BASICS ACT. SHE SAYS BASICS STANDS FOR BASIC AIRLINE STANDARDS TO IMPROVE CUSTOMER SATISFACTION. LANDRIEU SAYS MORE AND MORE AIRLINES ARE "NICKEL AND DIMING" TRAVELERS; CHARGING THEM EXTRA FEES FOR THINGS LIKE CHECKED LUGGAGE LANDRIEU SAYS HER BILL WOULD ASSURE FLYERS THAT--FOR THE COST OF THEIR AIRLINE TICKET--THEY GET A SEAT, DRINKING WATER, ACCESS TO A RESTROOM, ONE CHECKED BAG AND ONE CARRY-ON BAG. SHE SAYS CONSUMERS DESERVE NO LESS.

CADDO PARISH SHERIFF'S DEPUTIES ARE INVESTIGATING A FATAL CRASH THAT OCCURRED ON I-49 AT SOUTHERN LOOP SOUTH OF SHREVEPORT. DEPUTIES SAY A 24-YEAR-OLD SHREVEPORT MAN WAS DRIVING AT A HIGH RATE OF SPEED NORTHBOUND ON I-49 WHEN HE LOST CONTROL OF THE CAR, RAN OFF THE ROAD INTO A DITCH, HIT A CULVERT, AND ROLLED THE VEHICLE SEVERAL TIMES. A PASSENGER WAS EJECTED FROM THE CAR BEFORE IT BURST INTO FLAMES. THE DRIVER WHO WAS NOT EJECTED, DIED AT THE SCENE. THE PASSENGER WAS AIRLIFTED TO LSU SHREVEPORT.

AN AMERICAN FARM BUREAU THANKSGIVING SURVEY SAYS YOUR TURKEY DINNER FOR TEN WILL COST - ON AVERAGE - JUST UNDER $50 THIS YEAR; AN INCREASE OF BETWEEN 5 AND 6 BUCKS. STILL, THAT'S ABOUT $5 PER PERSON.

ACADIA PARISH DEPUTIES ARREST A RAYNE MAN FOR ALLEGEDLY RAPING A 4-YEAR-OLD. 29-YEAR-OLD CHRISTOPHER P. BELLARD FACES AGGRAVATED RAPE CHARGES. HID BAIL SET AT A MILLION DOLLARS. IF CONVICTED, BELLARD COULD FACE LIFE BEHIND BARS.

A TRIAL HAS BEEN POSTPONED FOR ONE OF THREE BOYS ACCUSED OF PLOTTING A SHOOTING RAMPAGE AT A SUBURBAN NEW ORLEANS HIGH SCHOOL. A TRIAL FOR THE BOY, WHO WAS 15 YEARS OLD AT THE TIME OF HIS ARREST IN AUGUST, WAS SCHEDULED TO BEGIN TUESDAY IN ST. TAMMANY PARISH STATE COURT. BUT THE JUDGE HEARING THE CASE AGREED TO RESCHEDULE THE TRIAL FOR DEC. 21.EARLIER THIS MONTH, ANOTHER TEEN ADMITTED HIS ROLE IN THE ALLEGED PLOT AT LAKESHORE HIGH SCHOOL IN COVINGTON AND WAS SENTENCED TO TWO YEARS IN JUVENILE PRISON. THE TEENAGERS ARE ACCUSED OF PLANNING THE ATTACK FOR THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL. THEY ALLEGEDLY ARRANGED TO STEAL GUNS FROM A FRIEND'S HOUSE THE NIGHT BEFORE.





News For Tuesday Morning 11/22/11


NEWS FOR TUESDAY 112211
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

THERE'S A CHANCE FOR SEVERE WEATHER ACROSS THE STATE TODAY. STATE CLIMATOLOGIST BARRY KEIM SAYS A COLD FRONT SWINGING THROUGH LOUISIANA WILL PRODUCE NUMEROUS SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS. A COLD FRONT THAT CAME ACROSS THE STATE LAST WEEK PRODUCED ISOLATED TORNADOES AND KEIM SAYS THERE IS A CHANCE FOR THAT AGAIN TODAY. BUT, HE DOESN’T EXPECT TO SEE THAT.

YOU MAY HAVE NOTICED THE LARGE CROWDS AND EXTRA TRAFFIC AT THE RAPIDES PARISH COLISEUM OVER THE PAST FEW DAYS. THE LOUISIANA BAPTIST CONVENTION'S YOUTH EVANGELISM CELEBRATION, WHICH DREW OVER 6,600 YOUNG PEOPLE, HAS BEEN IN TOWN SINCE THE WEEKEND. THOSE WHO FLOCKED TO THE ANNUAL CONFERENCE, CAME TO FOR ENTERTAINMENT AND SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT. IT’S BELIEVED THEY GOT BOTH. WE ARE TOLD, THE EVENT WHICH OFFICIALLY CAME TO A CLOSE YESTERDAY EVENING, WAS A BIG SUCCESS.

RETAIL STORES ACROSS LOUISIANA ARE GEARING UP FOR BLACK FRIDAY; THE TRADITIONAL START OF CHRISTMAS SHOPPING SEASON. MANY ARE TURNING IT INTO BLACK THURSDAY--CHOOSING TO OPEN ON THANKSGIVING NIGHT. RETAIL ANALYST JIM RUTLEDGE SAYS STORES LIKE TARGET, TOYS R US, WAL-MART AND MORE ARE DOING IT...AND NOT JUST ON A WHIM. RUTLEDGE SAYS DECISIONS TO OPEN FOR SHOPPING ON THURSDAY NIGHT WERE BASED ON CONSUMER MARKET RESEARCH. HE SAYS DESPITE WHAT SOME DISGRUNTLED STORE EMPLOYEES MAY FEEL, A BLACK THURSDAY OPENING IS WHAT SHOPPERS WANT. RUTLEDGE SAYS MACY'S, BEST BUY & KOHL'S STORES IN LOUISIANA WILL OPEN AT MIDNIGHT FRIDAY MORNING. HE SAYS STORES ARE STOCKING UP, AND WILL MAKE GOOD USE OF THE ADDITIONAL HOURS TO, HOPEFULLY, PROCESS BIG CHRISTMAS GIFT ORDERS.

GOVERNOR JINDAL IS HAPPY THAT SEVERAL CANDIDATES HE SUPPORTED FOR SEATS ON THE BOARD OF ELEMENTARY & SECONDARY EDUCATION WON IN FALL ELECTIONS. HE SAYS THAT WILL BE HELPFUL IN PASSING FURTHER K-12 EDUCATION REFORMS. JINDAL SAYS HE SPENT $420-THOUSAND FROM HIS CAMPAIGN WARCHEST IN SUPPORT OF BESE CANDIDATES WHO BACK HIS NEW EDUCATION STRATEGIES. HE SAYS VOTERS HAVE CHOSEN TO SUPPORT REFORM CANDIDATES, AND MORE PUBLIC EDUCATION IMPROVEMENTS WILL BE COMING FOR THE SPRING LEGISLATIVE SESSION. JINDAL WOULD LIKE TO RE-EXAMINE TEACHER TENURE, MAKING IT EASIER TO DISMISS TEACHERS WHO PERFORM POORLY. HE ALSO FAVORS MERIT PAY FOR TEACHERS WHO PERFORM VERY WELL.

REPUBLICAN GROUPS TRYING TO SUBSTANTIALLY WIDEN THEIR MARGIN OF SUPPORT IN THE STATE HOUSE FELL SHORT IN THIS WEEKEND'S ELECTIONS, WHILE WHITE DEMOCRATS SHOWED THEY COULD STILL WIN LEGISLATIVE RACES IN LOUISIANA DESPITE GROWING TRENDS TO THE GOP. DEPENDING ON WHERE THEY STARTED COUNTING AND HOW THEY CALCULATED VICTORY, BOTH REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS WERE DECLARING TRIUMPH IN THE OUTCOMES OF SATURDAY'S RUNOFFS, WHERE ABOUT ONE IN FIVE ELIGIBLE VOTERS CAST BALLOTS.

PINEVILLE MAN HAS FILED A LAWSUIT AGAINST THE CITY OF PINEVILLE, CLAIMING POLICE OFFICERS NEEDLESSLY ARRESTED HIM USING A TASER STUN DEVICE THAT CAUSED INJURIES IN NOVEMBER OF LAST YEAR AT THE SUPER 1 FOODS GAS STATION. 47 YEAR OLD CLEVELAND RITCHIE JR. WAS TASERED AND ARRESTED AFTER POLICE WERE TOLD A MAN WAS BLOCKING THE GAS STATION AND THAT HE MAY BE PLANNING ON COMMITTING SUICIDE. RITCHIE WAS TASERED AFTER REFUSING REPEATED DEMANDS TO LEAVE HIS VEHICLE, AND AFTER GRABBING THE OFFICER’S HAND WHILE HE WAS ATTEMPTING TO TAKE AWAY A BOX CUTTER.. THE POLICE REPORT STATES, ONCE THE FULL EFFECTS OF THE TASER SUBSIDED, MR. RITCHIE BECAME COMBATIVE, SWINGING HIS ARMS IN AN ATTEMPT TO AVOID BEING TAKEN INTO CUSTODY. RICHIE WAS THEN STUNNED AGAIN. IT WAS LATER DETERMINED THAT RITCHIE SUFFERED FROM SCHIZOPHRENIA AND THAT HE WAS KNOWN FOR BEING OFF OF HIS MEDICATION.

BOSSIER PARISH VOTERS HAVE OVERWHELMINGLY APPROVED A FOURTH FLOATING CASINO IN BOSSIER CITY -- A GAMING BARGE AND MARGARITAVILLE-THEMED HOTEL. 61 PERCENT OF THOSE VOTING SATURDAY APPROVED OF THE CASINO WHILE 39 PERCENT WERE OPPOSED.
THE $195 MILLION PROJECT JUST NORTH OF LOUISIANA BOARDWALK WILL FEATURE A 400-ROOM HOTEL, THEATER, POOL AREA AND A MARGARITAVILLE RESTAURANT. DEVELOPER WILLIAM TROTTER SAID HE PLANS TO BEGIN CONSTRUCTION AT THE FIRST OF NEXT YEAR WITH COMPLETION IN MAY 2013. HE SAYS THE DEVELOPMENT WILL EMPLOY 1,200 PEOPLE.

U.S. SEN. MARY LANDRIEU WANTS THE ARMY TO EXPAND FORT POLK, A MAJOR MILITARY FORT IN SOUTHWESTERN LOUISIANA. ON MONDAY, LANDRIEU SENT A LETTER TO SECRETARY OF THE ARMY JOHN MCHUGH TO EXPRESS HER SUPPORT OF BUYING 8,250 ACRES OF LAND THAT THE ARMY HAS SOUGHT TO PURCHASE. THE SENATOR SAYS A DEAL WITH THE LAND'S OWNERS COULD BE REACHED WITHIN THE NEXT 30 TO 45 DAYS. LANDRIEU SAID THE "NEW LAND IS EQUALLY IMPORTANT TO FORT POLK'S MISSION AND THE LOCAL COMMUNITIES." FORT POLK IS AN IMPORTANT TRAINING INSTALLATION FOR TROOPS BOUND FOR WAR OVERSEAS.

THE HEAD OF LOUISIANA STATE POLICE SAY HE'S SENDING 30 TROOPERS FROM SOUTHEAST LOUISIANA TO NEW ORLEANS TO HELP WITH ENFORCEMENT OVER THE THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY IN THE CENTRAL BUSINESS DISTRICT AND FRENCH QUARTER. COL. MIKE EDMONSON SAYS POLICE CHIEF RONAL SERPAS AND MAYOR MITCH LANDRIEU ASKED FOR AN ADDITIONAL CONTINGENT OF STATE TROOPERS TO SUPPORT THE POLICE DEPARTMENT'S ENFORCEMENT EFFORTS OVER THE HOLIDAY. EDMONSON SAYS THE EXTRA TROOPERS WILL HELP THE DEPARTMENT FROM FRIDAY THROUGH TUESDAY AS THE CITY EXPECTS AN INFLUX OF THOUSANDS OF VISITORS FOR THE BAYOU CLASSIC COLLEGE FOOTBALL MATCHUP BETWEEN GRAMBLING STATE AND SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY AND THE MONDAY NIGHT SAINTS FOOTBALL GAME AGAINST THE NEW YORK GIANTS.


ST. MARTIN PARISH SHERIFF'S DEPUTIES SAY A 49-YEAR-OLD BREAUX BRIDGE WOMAN AND HER 30-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER ALLEGEDLY STRANGLED JESSIE MESSEX, THE WOMAN'S 83-YEAR-OLD MOTHER. A DEPUTY FOUND MESSEX'S BODY AT LAKE MARTIN EARLY THURSDAY DURING A ROUTINE PATROL. DEPUTIES ARRESTED HELLER DUPUIS AND TONI DUPUIS, BOTH OF BREAUX BRIDGE, ON ONE COUNT EACH OF FIRST-DEGREE MURDER. DETAILS SURROUNDING THE DEATH HAVE NOT BEEN RELEASED. BOTH WOMEN WERE BOOKED INTO THE ST. MARTIN PARISH CORRECTIONAL CENTER.

THE DEADLINE IS QUICKLY APPROACHING FOR THOSE SEEKING FEMA DISASTER AID FOR TROPICAL STORM LEE. THE MONEY IS MADE AVAILABLE TO LOCAL GOVERNMENT AGENCIES, SCHOOL DISTRICTS AN NON-PROFITS TO HELP COVER EMERGENCY WORK AND DAMAGE REPAIR FROM THE SEPTEMBER STORM. FEMA PAYS UP TO 75 PERCENT OF THE COSTS OF RECOVERY WORK. THE APPLICATION DEADLINE IS NOVEMBER 27TH.

FOUR LOUISIANA PHYSICIANS WROTE HUNDREDS OF BOGUS PRESCRIPTIONS THAT POWERED MULTIMILLION-DOLLAR HEALTH-CARE FRAUDS IN THE BATON ROUGE AREA, ACCORDING TO EVIDENCE AMASSED BY THE NEARLY TWO-YEAR-OLD LOCAL MEDICARE FRAUD STRIKE FORCE. YET ALL FOUR PHYSICIANS REMAIN LICENSED TO PRACTICE MEDICINE, INCLUDING TWO WHO PLEADED GUILTY AND A THIRD CONVICTED AT A JURY TRIAL IN AUGUST. THE FOURTH DOCTOR, WHO HAD PREVIOUS PROBATIONS OF HIS LICENSE, IS FIGHTING THE CHARGES IN HIS INDICTMENT. OFFICIALS OF THE LOUISIANA STATE BOARD OF MEDICAL EXAMINERS DECLINED TO COMMENT ON THE TARGETED PHYSICIANS, THREE OF WHOM HAD THEIR LICENSES SUSPENDED OR PLACED ON PROBATION FOR QUESTIONABLE PRESCRIPTION PRACTICES BEFORE BEING CHARGED IN THE MEDICARE FRAUD CASES. DOCTORS CAN HOWEVER CONTINUE PRACTICING MEDICINE WHILE THEIR LICENSES ARE ON PROBATION, BUT CANNOT DURING A SUSPENSION.

AUTHORITIES ARE INVESTIGATING AN APPARENT MURDER-SUICIDE IN BATON ROUGE.
THE EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE, SAYS DETECTIVES RESPONDED TO A CALL AT ABOUT NOON MONDAY AND FOUND A COUPLE DEAD INSIDE THE HOME.
INVESTIGATORS BELIEVE 52-YEAR-OLD TIMOTHY GRADY SHOT HIS WIFE, 49-YEAR-OLD NATALIE GRADY, AND THEN TURNED THE GUN ON HIMSELF. THE GUN USED IN THE SHOOTINGS WAS FOUND AT THE SCENE. NO WORD AS TO WHAT MAY HAVE SPARKED THE SHOOTING.

SPORTS..

NUMBER ONE RANKED LSU IS PREPARING TO HOST THIRD RANKED ARKANSAS ON FRIDAY AFTERNOON IN TIGER STADIUM. COACH LES MILES SEEMS EXCITED THAT THE GAME IS A DAY EARLIER THAN USUAL. ARKANSAS HAS ONE OF THE BEST OFFENSES IN THE COUNTRY. THEY LEAD THE SEC IN PASS OFFENSE, AVERAGING 316 YARDS A GAME. TWO PLAYERS IN LSU'S SECONDARY ARE DEALING WITH INJURIES, ERIC REID AND CRAIG LOSTON, BUT MILES IS OPTIMISTIC THEY WILL BE ABLE TO PLAY FRIDAY.


SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA UNIVERSITY HAS FIRED FOOTBALL COACH MIKE LUCAS, EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY. THE UNIVERSITY ANNOUNCED LUCAS' DISMISSAL MONDAY. IT DID NOT PROVIDE REASONS FOR LETTING HIM GO. ALTHOUGH THE PROGRAM ENDED THE 2011 SEASON WITH A WIN, DEFEATING IN-STATE RIVAL NICHOLLS STATE 31-14 LAST WEEK, THE LIONS WERE 3-8 (1-6 SOUTHLAND CONFERENCE) THIS YEAR.


News For Monday Morning 11/21/11


NEWS FOR MONDAY 11/21/11
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

WILLIAM EARL HILTON IS HEADING BACK TO THE RAPIDES PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE.
HILTON, A FOUR-TERM SHERIFF WHO RETIRED IN 2008, DEFEATED INCUMBENT SHERIFF CHUCK WAGNER IN SATURDAY'S RUNOFF ELECTION. ENDING WHAT TURNED OUT TO BE A RACE FILLED WITH ACCUSATIONS AND MUDSLINGING FROM BOTH SIDES. HILTON CAME AWAY FROM THE ELECTION WITH 54.1 PERCENT OF THE VOTE. HILTON SAYING AT HIS VICTORY PARTY THAT HE WAS JUST VERY, VERY HONORED. HILTON'S TERM IS SCHEDULED TO BEGIN JULY 1 OF NEXT YEAR.

IN OTHER CENLA SHERIFF’S CONTESTS, DOUG ANDERSON WAS RE-ELECTED IN AVOYELLES PARISH; STEVEN MCCAIN WAS ELECTED IN GRANT PARISH; CRANFORD JORDAN WAS ELECTED IN WINN PARISH; AND RONNY RICHARDSON WAS ELECTED IN SABINE PARISH.

CRAIG SMITH CAPTURED 52.05 PERCENT OF THE VOTE TO EDGE JOHN R. "RANDY" PATTERSON III IN THE DISTRICT C RAPIDES PARISH POLICE JURY RUNOFF. RICHARD VANDERLICK WON RE-ELECTION IN DISTRICT E OVER CHALLENGER DEWAYNE OLSON.
VANDERLICK FINISHED 58.77 PERCENT OF THE VOTE.

TWO OFFICIALS WHO HELD INTERIM OFFICES WERE ELECTED TO FULL TERMS SATURDAY.
ROBIN L. HOOTER WAS ELECTED CLERK OF COURT BY A NEARLY TWO-TO-ONE MARGIN OVER LINDA "LIN" DYESS STEWART. HOOTER HAD BEEN CHIEF DEPUTY UNDER FORMER CLERK CAROLYN RYLAND AND INTERIM CLERK SINCE RYLAND RETIRED THIS YEAR. HOOTER GRABBED 63.8 PERCENT OF THE VOTE. IN THE ALEXANDRIA CITY MARSHAL RACE, INTERIM MARSHAL TERENCE GRINES WON COMFORTABLY OVER T.A. MESSINA. GRINES HAD BEEN CHIEF DEPUTY UNDER FORMER MARSHAL JAMES BYRD AND TOOK OVER THE OFFICE WHEN BYRD RETIRED FOR HEALTH REASONS. GRINES FINISHED WITH 60.99% OF THE VOTE.

A $20 MILLION-PLUS BOND INITIATIVE FOR SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION AND RENOVATION IN PINEVILLE'S DISTRICT 52 PASSED WITH APPROVAL FROM NEARLY 60 PERCENT OF VOTERS.
FIFTH WARD SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 51'S REFERENDUM FOR A 6.97-MILL TAX PASSED, WITH MORE THAN 52 PERCENT APPROVAL. ON THE OTHER HAND, VOTERS IN SCHOOL DISTRICT 57 AND 61 SAID NO IN THEIR REFERENDUM.

ONLY ONE OF THREE FORMER SENATORS SEEKING TO RETURN TO THEIR OLD POSTS HAS SUCCEEDED IN OUSTING A CURRENT OFFICEHOLDER. GREG TARVER OF SHREVEPORT IS HEADING BACK TO THE JOB HE HELD FOR TWO DECADES UNTIL 2004, AFTER DEFEATING INCUMBENT LYDIA JACKSON IN SATURDAY'S ELECTION. BOTH ARE DEMOCRATS. BUT TWO OTHERS WERE UNSUCCESSFUL IN UNSEATING INCUMBENTS. IN SOUTHWEST LOUISIANA, JAMES DAVID CAIN OF DRY CREEK COULDN'T FORCE SEN. JOHN SMITH OF LEESVILLE OUT OF THE SEAT CAIN HELD BEFORE TERM LIMITS KEPT HIM FROM A RE-ELECTION BID FOUR YEARS AGO. BOTH MEN ARE REPUBLICANS. IN SOUTH CENTRAL LOUISIANA, OPELOUSAS MAYOR DON CRAVINS SR. WAS DEFEATED IN HIS BID TO GET BACK THE SENATE SEAT HE HELD FOR 25 YEARS, LOSING TO INCUMBENT SEN. ELBERT GUILLORY. BOTH MEN ARE DEMOCRATS.

FORMER STATE HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT EMPLOYEE TERRY BROWN UPSET HOUSE DISTRICT 22 INCUMBENT STATE REP. BILLY CHANDLER SATURDAY. CHANDLER HAD A VAST CAMPAIGN WAR CHEST ADVANTAGE AND THE BLESSING OF GOV. BOBBY JINDAL BUT STILL LOST.

LOUISIANA VOTERS OVERWHELMINGLY APPROVED AN AMENDMENT SATURDAY THAT BANS TRANSFER TAXES ON THE SALE OF REAL ESTATE AND OTHER IMMOVABLE PROPERTY. THE AMENDMENT WAS THE ONLY STATEWIDE MEASURE ON THE BALLOT.

THE CHARTER SCHOOL MOVEMENT AND STATE EDUCATION OVERHAUL PLANS SOUGHT BY GOV. BOBBY JINDAL GOT A BOOST FROM THE RUNOFF ELECTIONS FOR THE BOARD OF ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION. AND THE STALEMATE OVER LOUISIANA'S NEXT EDUCATION SUPERINTENDENT APPEARS ON TRACK TO END, WITH JINDAL'S CONTENDER LIKELY TO GET THE POST. IN ALL THREE BESE RUNOFFS, CANDIDATES CONSIDERED CLOSELY ALIGNED WITH JINDAL'S POLICIES AND DISTANT FROM TEACHER UNIONS AND OTHER TRADITIONAL PUBLIC EDUCATION LEADERSHIP WON THEIR CONTESTS SATURDAY.
KIRA ORANGE JONES AND CAROLYN HILL WON SEATS ON THE BOARD. CHAS ROEMER WAS RE-ELECTED TO HIS SEAT.

STATE POLICE ARE EXPANDING A PILOT PROGRAM DESIGNED TO BRING NEWS AND ALERTS TO YOUR CELL PHONE OR WIRELESS DEVICE STATEWIDE. LSP SPOKESMAN LT. DOUG CAIN SAYS THE NIXLE COMMUNITY INFORMATION & ALERT SYSTEM HAS BEEN IN USE IN THE TROOP A & TROOP L REGIONS FOR SOME TIME, WITH GREAT SUCCESS. BUT NOW, IT’S GOING STATEWIDE. HE SAYS REGISTERED USERS WILL BE IMMEDIATELY NOTIFIED OF ANY PERTINENT PUBLIC SAFETY INFORMATION, LIKE ROAD CLOSURES, AMBER ALERTS, EVACUATIONS AND MORE. CAIN SAYS IT'S THE INFORMATION YOU WANT AND NEED; SENT INSTANTLY TO YOUR PHONE. SIGN UP ONLINE AT "NIXLE.COM"

IT'S THANKSGIVING WEEK, AND LOUISIANA HIGHWAYS ARE EXPECTED TO BE BUSY WITH HOLIDAY TRAFFIC. LOUISIANA AAA'S DON REDMAN SAYS AAA EXPECTS TO SEE MORE THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY TRAVEL THAN IN 2010. HE SAYS THE MAJORITY OF TRAVELERS WILL BE ON THE HIGHWAYS. REDMAN SAYS, IF AAA'S TRAVEL FORECAST HOLDS TRUE, THANKSGIVING WILL BE THE FIRST TIME SO FAR THIS YEAR THERE'S BEEN AN INCREASE IN HOLIDAY TRAVEL.

A SPOKESMAN FOR THE FFA SAYS FOUR-SEAT AIRPLANE CRASHED INTO LAKE PONTCHARTRAIN SHORTLY AFTER TAKING OFF FROM LAKEFRONT AIRPORT THE PILOT NOTIFIED CONTROLLERS SHORTLY AFTER HE WAS AIRBORNE THAT HE WAS HAVING ENGINE TROUBLE. THE SINGLE-ENGINE PLANE HIT THE LAKE AT 10:38 A.M. SUNDAY. THE PILOT THEN PULLED THE EMERGENCY PARACHUTE THAT IS BUILT INTO THE PLANE AND NOTIFIED THE AIRPORT MOMENTS LATER THAT HE WAS OK. THE PILOT WAS SITTING ON THE TAIL OF THE PLANE WHEN A FISHING BOAT ARRIVED TO RESCUE HIM.

AT LEAST TWO AIRLINES SERVING MONROE WILL BE CUTTING THE FREQUENCY OF FLIGHTS TO THE AREA IN COMING WEEKS. FOR MONROE, THAT MEANS THE THREE ROUND AMERICAN EAGLE TRIPS A DAY SCHEDULED BETWEEN MONROE AND DALLAS AMERICAN'S HUB IN DALLAS-FORT WORTH WILL BE REDUCED TO TWO A DAY STARTING THURSDAY. A SPOKESMAN FOR UNITED CONTINENTAL CONFIRMED THEY ARE ALSO REDUCING THEIR SERVICE BY ONE FLIGHT PER DAY TO MATCH A SEASONAL REDUCTION IN DEMAND.

SPORTS..

THE LATEST AP COLLEGE FOOTBALL POLL GIVES A NEW MEANING TO THE TERM ALL-SEC.
THE SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE IS THE SECOND LEAGUE TO HAVE THE TOP THREE SPOTS IN RANKING ALL TO ITSELF. NO. 1 LSU HELD THE TOP SPOT FOR THE NINTH STRAIGHT WEEK IN SUNDAY'S RANKINGS, AND AFTER A WEEKEND WHEN THREE OTHER TOP-FIVE TEAMS LOST, ALABAMA MOVED UP A SPOT TO NO. 2 AND ARKANSAS JUMPED THREE PLACES TO NO. 3. THE ONLY OTHER TIME IN THE 75-YEAR HISTORY OF THE ASSOCIATED PRESS RANKINGS THAT THE TOP THREE TEAMS ALL CAME FROM THE SAME CONFERENCE WAS THE FINAL REGULAR-SEASON POLL OF 1971, WHEN NEBRASKA, OKLAHOMA AND COLORADO FROM THE BIG EIGHT WERE 1-2-3.

News For Friday 11/18/11


NEWS FOR FRIDAY 111811
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

THE ALEXANDRIA HOUSING AUTHORITY IS ONE STEP CLOSER TO HIRING A NEW DIRECTOR. THE AUTHORITY BOARD YESTERDAY ASKED IT’S ATTORNEY TO BEGIN NEGOTIATIONS WITH BOBBY COLLINS, THE CURRENT WINFIELD HOUSING AUTHORITY DIRECTOR. THE 40 YEAR OLD COLLINS WAS ONE OF 26 APPLICATIONS SUBMITTED TO THE AUTHORITY AFTER A NATIONWIDE SEARCH EARLIER THIS YEAR. NO WORD YET AS TO WHAT THE JOB WILL PAY.

TOMORROW IS ELECTION DAY ACROSS LOUISIANA, BUT BASED ON TOTALS FOR EARLY VOTING, THIS THE TURNOUT IS EXPECTED TO BE VERY LOW. SECRETARY OF STATE TOM SCHEDLER SAYS HIS OFFICE IS PREDICTING AS FEW AS 20-PERCENT OF REGISTERED VOTERS WILL TAKE PART IN TOMORROW'S ELECTION. THERE IS ONLY ONE STATEWIDE BALLOT ISSUE AND NO STATEWIDE OFFICES TO BE SETTLED. SCHEDLER SAYS THERE WILL BE HIGHER POCKETS OF ACTIVITY DEPENDING ON A VARIETY OF LOCAL RACES.

THE CHRISTMAS SEASON OFFICIALLY KICKS OFF IN NATCHITOCHES THIS WEEKEND WITH THE 85TH ANNUAL FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS. NATCHITOCHES CONVENTION AND VISITORS BUREAU EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR IRIS HARPER SAYS WHEN THE LIGHTS TURN ON AT 6:30 SATURDAY NIGHT, THE 45 NIGHTS OF CELEBRATIONS WILL BEGIN. HARPER SAYS THE FESTIVAL WILL FEATURE LOTS OF ENTERTAINMENT, GREAT FOOD---INCLUDING THE STAPLE NATCHITOCHES MEAT PIES, FIREWORKS SHOWS AND OF COURSE, SANTA. ABOUT 100,000 PEOPLE ARE EXPECTED TO ATTEND THIS YEAR’S FESTIVITIES,

A MARKSVILLE MAN WAS FOUND GUILTY OF SECOND-DEGREE MURDER THURSDAY IN THE KILLING OF A DRUG-ADDICTED MAN WHOSE BODY WAS FOUND BURNING OFF A LONELY AVOYELLES PARISH ROAD IN JANUARY. MATTHEW CONWAY, WHO WAS 22 AT THE TIME OF THE SLAYING, WAS CONVICTED BY AN EIGHT-WOMAN, FOUR-MAN JURY WHICH DELIBERATED FOR ABOUT AN HOUR. CONWAY WAS CONVICTED OF KILLING 27-YEAR-OLD DEREK J. DESSELLE OF VICK. THE JURY'S VERDICT THURSDAY WAS UNANIMOUS, AND CONWAY WILL SPEND THE REST OF HIS LIFE IN PRISON.

FEDERAL HEALTH OFFICIALS HAVE GIVEN LOUISIANA THE GREEN LIGHT TO IMPLEMENT A BRAND NEW MODEL FOR DELIVERING HEALTH CARE VIA THE MEDICAID SYSTEM. STATE HEALTH & HOSPITALS SECRETARY BRUCE GREENSTEIN SAYS IT'S THE BIGGEST CHANGE IN THE HISTORY OF LOUISIANA MEDICAID. GREENSTEIN SAYS BAYOU HEALTH WILL PHASE IN OVER THE NEXT 7 MONTHS, AND WILL BE AVAILABLE TO ALL MEDICAID AND LACHIP ENROLLEES.

THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND FORESTRY HAS DONATED 13,456 POUNDS OF PET FOOD TO FIVE LOUISIANA ANIMAL SHELTERS. COMMISSIONER MIKE STRAIN SAYS THE FOOD, GIVEN TO THE STATE BY NATIONAL PET FOOD PRODUCER HILL'S PET NUTRITION, WAS UNUSED FROM THE STATE'S EMERGENCY PET SHELTERING RESPONSE TO THIS YEAR'S SPRING FLOOD EVENT. HE SAYS BECAUSE THE FLOODING DIDN'T CAUSE A LARGE SCALE PET EVACUATION, THE COMPANY AGREED TO LET THE STATE DONATE THE FOOD TO ANIMAL SHELTERS BEFORE ITS USE-BY DATE EXPIRES. ONE OF THE SHELTERS GETTING THE FOOD IT THE ALEXANDRIA ANIMAL SHELTER.


THE STATE POLICE'S CRIME LAB HAS WIPED OUT THE BACKLOG OF DNA CASES, AFTER YEARS OF STRIVING TO CHIP AWAY AT THE THOUSANDS OF UNTESTED SAMPLES.
THE LOUISIANA STATE POLICE AND GOV. BOBBY JINDAL ANNOUNCED THE ACHIEVEMENT THURSDAY, SAYING THE STATE CRIME LAB IS PROCESSING DNA SAMPLES AS THEY COME IN NOW, TO ASSIST LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES. THE DNA SAMPLES ARE COLLECTED, ANALYZED AND CATALOGUED IN THE HOPES THAT THEY COULD HELP LINK PEOPLE TO UNSOLVED CRIMES.

A ST. MARTIN PARISH SHERIFF'S DEPUTIES HAVE RECOVERED THE BODY OF A BREAUX BRIDGE WOMAN FROM LAKE MARTIN. THE BODY OF 83-YEAR-OLD JESSIE MESSEX WAS DISCOVERED BY A DEPUTY ON ROUTINE PATROL EARLY THURSDAY MORNING. THE CAUSE OF DEATH REMAINS UNDER INVESTIGATION.

WHEN A TAX-FREE RECOVERY BOND PROGRAM TO HELP SPUR PRIVATE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AFTER HURRICANES KATRINA AND RITA ENDS NEXT MONTH, THE STATE WILL HAVE DOLED OUT NEARLY EVERY DOLLAR OF THE $7.8 BILLION BOND CAPACITY. WHIT KLING, DIRECTOR OF THE BOND COMMISSION, WHICH OVERSEES THE PROGRAM, TOLD THE PANEL THURSDAY THAT ONLY $181 IN BOND CAPACITY REMAINS IN LOUISIANA'S GULF OPPORTUNITY ZONE PROGRAM. THE PROGRAM, SET UP BY CONGRESS, EXPIRES AT YEAR'S END.
GO ZONE BONDS WERE AVAILABLE TO PROJECTS IN 31 HURRICANE-AFFECTED PARISHES. THE PROJECTS ARE GIVEN A SPECIAL BORROWING STATUS TO ENABLE BUSINESSES TO BORROW MONEY MORE CHEAPLY. A PORTION OF THE MONEY WAS SET ASIDE FOR PARISHES MOST HEAVILY DAMAGED BY THE STORMS. BUT SOME COULDN'T USE THEIR FULL ALLOCATIONS AND GAVE THEM TO LESS-DAMAGED AREAS.

AN ESCAPEE FROM A LOUISIANA PRISON IS ACCUSED OF ABDUCTING AND SEXUALLY ASSAULTING A 12-YEAR-OLD COLORADO SPRINGS GIRL AS SHE WALKED TO A BUS STOP. COLORADO SPRINGS POLICE THURSDAY ANNOUNCED THAT DNA COLLECTED IN THE INVESTIGATION MATCHED THAT OF 22-YEAR-OLD LEONARD WAYNE PALMER. PALMER AND FELLOW INMATE CHARLES MAGURN ESCAPED FROM THE WEST CARROLL DETENTION CENTER IN EPPS, LA., ON OCT. 14. AUTHORITIES CAPTURED MAGURN ON OCT. 24 WITH PALMER CAPTURED THE NEXT DAY, HOURS AFTER THE GIRL REPORTED BEING SEXUALLY ASSAULTED. POLICE SAY PALMER QUICKLY BECAME A PERSON OF INTEREST AFTER AN ALERT PATROLMAN RECOGNIZED PALMER FROM THE DESCRIPTION PROVIDED BY THE GIRL. PALMER FACES CHARGES OF KIDNAPPING AND SEXUAL ASSAULT ON A CHILD. PALMER HAD BEEN SERVING TIME FOR BURGLARY, FORGERY AND ESCAPE.






News For Thursday Morning 11/17/11


NEWS FOR THURSDAY 111711
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

A BOMB THREAT YESTERDAY MORNING AT PINEVILLE HIGH SCHOOL HAS LED IN THE ARREST OF A 16 YEAR OLD PINEVILLE BOY. THE CALL MADE TO THE 911 CENTER SHORTLY AFTER 7 AM, FORCED SCHOOL OFFICIALS TO EVACUATE THE AREA. BUT, AFTER A THROUGH SEARCH OF THE SCHOOL BUILDING, STUDENTS WERE ALLOWED TO REENTER THEIR CLASSES. AS A SIDE NOTE, RUMORS OF AN EXPLOSION AT BOLTON HIGH WERE FALSE. WORD OF THAT WAS BELIEVED TO STARTED WITH SOME STUDENTS TEXTING. THE UNNAMED 16 YEAR OLD HAS HAD SOME PROBLEMS PRIOR TO YESTERDAY’S INCIDENT. HE WAS ALSO CHARGED WITH COMMUNICATING FALSE INFORMATION OF A PLANNED ARSON AFTER A BOMB THREAT THIS MONTH AT A RESIDENCE IN PINEVILLE.

SEVERAL MEMBERS OF THE ALEXANDRIA CITY COUNCIL ARE ADAMANT ABOUT NOT REIMBURSING LEGAL FEES TO MAYOR JACQUES ROY FOR EXPENSES HE'S INCURRED IN THE TIFFANY SANDERS LAWSUIT. CHUCK JOHNSON, THE HEAD OF THE CITY'S LEGAL DIVISION, HOWEVER, SAID HE PLANS TO REIMBURSE THE MAYOR SHOULD ROY SUBMIT ANY INVOICES.
THE DISAGREEMENT IS ONE OF MANY IN A MATTER THAT DATES BACK MORE THAN A YEAR NOW INVOLVING SANDERS, A LOCAL ATTORNEY, AND THE ALEXANDRIA CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION. ON WEDNESDAY, MAYOR ROY SAID HE HADN'T DECIDED WHETHER HE WOULD SEEK REIMBURSEMENT OF HIS LEGAL FEES, BUT HE SAID HE THINKS HE'S WITHIN HIS RIGHTS TO DO SO.

AN ALEXANDRIA MAN IS IN CRITICAL CONDITION AFTER BEING STRUCK ON A MOTORCYCLE TUESDAY AFTERNOON ON MACARTHUR DRIVE. 44 YEAR OLD JEFFERY DUFFEY WAS STRUCK BY A PICKUP TRUCK BEING DRIVEN BY 72 YEAR OLD CAROL MITCHELL OF OTIS. POLICE SAY, MITCHELL FAILED TO YIELD UPON LEAVING LOGAN'S PARKING LOT AND STRUCK DUFFEY. AT LAST CHECK NO CHARGES HAVE BEEN FILED. POLICE SAY THE WRECK IS STILL UNDER INVESTIGATION.

THE ALEXANDRIA ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE AND DRUG ABUSE CONTROL COMMISSION HAS RECOMMENDED AGAINST GRANTING A LIQUOR LICENSE TO A PROPOSED BAR AT 86 BOLTON AVE. THE BAR OWNER WENT BEFORE THE COMMISSION WEDNESDAY BECAUSE AN OBJECTION HAD BEEN FILED AGAINST HIS APPLICATION FOR A LIQUOR PERMIT AND BECAUSE HE NEEDED A VARIANCE TO SERVE ALCOHOL WITHIN 300 FEET OF A RESIDENCE. FOLLOWING NEARLY TWO HOURS OF DEBATE WHICH SAW SEVERAL PEOPLE SPEAK IN SUPPORT OF AND AGAINST OPENING A BAR IN THAT LOCATION, THE COMMISSION DENIED BOTH THE LICENSE AND THE VARIANCE.

THE ST. LANDRY PARISH COUNCIL HAS VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO ASK THE STATE LEGISLATIVE AUDITOR'S OFFICE TO REVIEW ALL CONTRACTS APPROVED DURING THE TWO TERMS SERVED BY PARISH PRESIDENT DON MENARD. ON WEDNESDAY, COUNCIL MEMBER PAM GAUTREAU QUESTIONED MENARD'S HIRING OF FORMER OPELOUSAS MAYOR MIKE THIBODEAUX AS A STATE LOBBYIST FOR PARISH GOVERNMENT AT A COST OF $10,000 PER LEGISLATIVE SESSION. GAUTREAU SAID SHE BELIEVED THAT MENARD HAD ENTERED INTO CONTRACTS FOR PROFESSIONAL SERVICES WITH PEOPLE AND COMPANIES THAT REQUIRED COUNCIL APPROVAL.

ACADIAN HILLS COUNTRY CLUB HAS CLOSED ITS DOORS AFTER ALMOST 50 YEARS IN BUSINESS. JOHN GUILBEAU, THE CLUB'S OWNER, SAYS THE BOARD OF ACADIAN HILLS MANAGEMENT INC. DECIDED LATE TUESDAY TO CLOSE EFFECTIVE WEDNESDAY.
GUILBEAU SAYS HE HAS FOND MEMORIES OF THE 49-YEAR-OLD CLUB, INCLUDING WATCHING ITS TRANSITION FROM A DAIRY FARM INTO A GOLF COURSE. IN A MEMO TO CLUB MEMBERS, GUILBEAU SAID THE CLUB CAN NO LONGER BE A "COMPETITIVE ENTITY IN THE GOLFING INDUSTRY." HE SAYS THE CLUB HAS SEEN A DROP IN ITS MEMBERSHIP AND IN OUTSIDE PLAY BECAUSE FAMILIES ARE FEELING THE ECONOMIC DOWNTURN AND HAVE FEWER RECREATIONAL DOLLARS TO SPEND. HE ALSO SAYS THE FACILITY COULD NOT KEEP UP WITH RISING COSTS OF GOODS, FUEL, INSURANCE, EQUIPMENT, FERTILIZER AND WAGES.

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL ISSUED AN EXECUTIVE ORDER WEDNESDAY IN RESPONSE TO THE ALLEGATIONS OF SEXUAL ABUSE OF BOYS INVOLVING A FORMER PENN STATE UNIVERSITY ASSISTANT FOOTBALL COACH. JINDAL'S ORDER REQUIRES ANYONE WORKING AT A PUBLIC LOUISIANA COLLEGE WHO HAS WITNESSED CHILD ABUSE OR NEGLECT TO REPORT IT TO LAW ENFORCEMENT WITHIN 24 HOURS. CHILD CARE PROVIDERS AND ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOL TEACHERS ALREADY WERE REQUIRED TO REPORT ANY ABUSE OR NEGLECT THEY SEE, BUT THE LAW DIDN'T EXTEND TO COLLEGE PROFESSORS, ADMINISTRATORS, COACHES OR COLLEGE STAFF MEMBERS.

LAFAYETTE POLICE NAB A SUSPECT IN THE TUESDAY MURDER OF AN ELDERLY MAN--FOUND STABBED TO DEATH INSIDE A LOCAL COBBLER'S SHOP. POLICE BELIEVE 36-YEAR-OLD DEITRICK HARRIS IS THE PERSON WHO KILLED 83-YEAR-OLD JAMES BUNN, HIS BOSS AT LAFAYETTE SHOE REPAIR.

A BATON ROUGE JUDGE HAS AGREED THAT A PLAN FOR REPUBLICANS TO CHOOSE THEIR GOVERNING BODY MEMBERS DOESN'T COMPLY WITH LOUISIANA LAW, A DECISION THAT COULD SHRINK THE REPUBLICAN STATE CENTRAL COMMITTEE. JUDGE JANICE CLARK SIDED WITH VETERAN GOP ACTIVIST JOHN TREEN, PROHIBITING THE OPENING OF THE SCHEDULED DEC. 7-9 CANDIDATE SIGN-UP PERIOD FOR COMMITTEE SEATS. TREEN IS CHALLENGING A GOP PLAN TO KEEP 230 SEATS, A STRUCTURE HE CLAIMS ALLOWS THE "RELIGIOUS RIGHT" TO CONTROL THE PARTY. TREEN FAVORS A 144-MEMBER COMMITTEE. IN SEPTEMBER, THE REPUBLICAN PARTY ADVISED THE SECRETARY OF STATE'S OFFICE IT WANTED TO CONTINUE THE 230 ELECTION DISTRICTS IT HAS HAD SINCE 2008 FOR THE TERM RUNNING FROM 2012 TO 2016. TREEN SAYS THE PLAN WAS NOT APPROVED BY THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE.

THE HOLIDAY TRAVEL SEASON IS RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER AND A FUEL ANALYST TELLS US WE ARE SEEING THE HIGHEST PRICES EVER FOR THIS TIME OF THE YEAR. TRIPLE-A SPOKESPERSON DON REDMAN SAYS THE CURRENT STATEWIDE AVERAGE FOR REGULAR GASOLINE IS $3.24. REDMAN SAYS WE ARE PAYING ABOUT 50-CENTS MORE FOR A GALLON OF GASOLINE THAT AT THIS TIME LAST YEAR. BUT REDMAN SAYS ITS UNLIKELY THE HIGHER GAS PRICES WILL LEAD TO FEWER PEOPLE TRAVELING THIS HOLIDAY SEASON.

HOME SALES IN LOUISIANA ARE ON THE RISE. LOUISIANA REALTORS PRESIDENT MALCOLM YOUNG SAYS SALES IN THE STATE'S RESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE MARKET ARE UP NEARLY 3% FROM LAST YEAR AT THIS TIME. YOUNG SAYS THE HOUSING MARKET IS PICKING BACK UP BECAUSE OF NEW BUSINESS COMING TO LOUISIANA. YOUNG ALSO SAYS THERE IS MORE CONFIDENCE IN THE MARKET AMONG BUYERS. HE SAYS IT'S ENCOURAGING THAT THE HOME VALUE PRICE HAS ALSO GONE UP ABOUT 2% COMPARED TO THREE YEARS AGO. YOUNG SAYS LAKE CHARLES IS THE MARKET LEADER AND THE BATON ROUGE AND SHREVEPORT AREAS HAVE ALSO SHOWN SIGNIFICANT HOME BUYING GROWTH.

A SETTLEMENT HAS BEEN REACHED BETWEEN A MAJOR MANUFACTURER OF CHINESE-MADE DRYWALL AND HOMEBUILDERS WHO USED THE TAINTED PRODUCT IN ABOUT 1,500 GULF COAST HOMES. THERE WERE NO OBJECTIONS TO THE SETTLEMENT IN COURT WEDNESDAY IN NEW ORLEANS. PLAINTIFFS' LAWYER BRUCE STECKLER SAYS HE EXPECTS APPROVAL BY THE U.S. DISTRICT COURT.

THE WAVE OF HISPANICS WHO FLOODED THE GULF COAST AFTER HURRICANE KATRINA DOESN'T APPEAR TO HAVE DAMPENED LOUISIANA FAMILIES' DEMAND FOR THEIR CHILDREN TO GET A FRENCH EDUCATION. THERE'S A WAITING LIST AT ALL 29 OF THE STATE'S PUBLIC FRENCH IMMERSION PROGRAMS.

ST. TAMMANY PARISH SHERIFF'S INVESTIGATORS BLAME AN ARGUMENT ABOUT HOUSEHOLD CHORES FOR THE BLOODY BEATING DEATHS OF A SLIDELL COUPLE. SHERIFF JACK STRAIN SAID WEDNESDAY THAT 25-YEAR-OLD JOHN WILLIS WAS ARRESTED ON TWO COUNTS OF FIRST-DEGREE MURDER. STRAIN SAID A FRIEND OF JOHN WILLIS CALLED 911 TUESDAY NIGHT SAYING HE AND ARRIVED AT THE FAMILY'S HOME AND FOUND THE COUPLE DEAD. THE SHERIFF SAID WILLIS LATER CONFESSED TO THE MURDERS. BASED ON WILLIS' ADMISSION AND EVIDENCE COLLECTED AT THE SCENE, INVESTIGATORS BELIEVE WILLIS STRUCK HIS PARENTS IN THE HEAD WITH A HAMMER, CAUSING THEIR DEATHS.

THE OWNERS OF FIVE BARS IN DOWNTOWN LAFAYETTE HAVE LOST APPEALS ASKING THE CITY-PARISH COUNCIL TO OVERTURN THREE-DAY LIQUOR LICENSE SUSPENSIONS IMPOSED FOR REFUSING TO PAY A SPECIAL LAW-ENFORCEMENT LEVY. THE BAR OWNERS WILL NOW TAKE THE BATTLE TO DISTRICT COURT IN AN ATTEMPT TO OVERTURN THE ORDINANCE REQUIRING THE BARS TO PAY THE SPECIAL LEVY.

STRONG THUNDERSTORMS THAT MOVED ACROSS THE STATE EARLY YESTERDAY MORNING LEFT A SWATH OF DAMAGE ON THEIR WAKE. IN TANGIPHAOA PARISH, EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS DIRECTOR DAWSON PRIMES SAYS A CONFIRMED EF-1 TWISTER IN THE NORTHERN PART OF THE PARISH BLEW A TWO-STORY HOUSE RIGHT OFF ITS FOUNDATION. NUMEROUS TREES WERE DOWNED IN THE EARLY MORNING SQUALL. IN TERREBONNE PARISH, A SUSPECTED TORNADO DAMAGED SEVERAL BUILDINGS AND HOMES. MOST POWER HAS BEEN RESTORED AND THERE ARE NO REPORTED SERIOUS INJURIES.

A DESOTO PARISH JUDGE RULES THAT EVIDENCE COLLECTED FROM THE TAXICAB DRIVEN BY ACCUSED CHILD KILLER BRIAN HORN CAN BE USED IN HIS 1ST-DEGREE MURDER TRIAL. HORN'S ACCUSED OF ABDUCTING AND KILLING 12-YEAR-OLD JUSTIN BLOXOM OF STONEWALL IN MARCH 2010. PROSECUTORS SAY HORN, A REGISTERED SEX OFFENDER, POSED AS A GIRL AND TEXTED THE TEEN TO LURE HIM INTO HIS TAXI. JUSTIN'S BODY WAS FOUND LATER NEAR HIGHWAY 171.

THE FIVE PARISHES THAT MAKE UP THE BATON ROUGE METROPOLITAN AREA, ARE FINALLY IN COMPLIANCE WITH FEDERAL OZONE STANDARDS. BEING OUT OF COMPLIANCE WITH THE FEDERAL REGULATIONS RAISED THE COSTS OF DOING BUSINESS IN THE BATON ROUGE METROPOLITAN AREA. RODNEY MALLETT WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY SAYS REACHING THE GOAL OF ATTAINMENT SHOULD BOOST ECONOMIC ACTIVITY IN THE AREA. MALLETT SAYS DEQ DID STUDIES TO PINPOINT THE SOURCES OF OZONE. HE
SAYS IT TOOK HARD WORK AND COOPERATION TO REACH THE GOAL, BUT NOW THE ENTIRE STATE IS IN COMPLIANCE.

THE NEW ORLEANS SAINTS ARE URGING FANS TO ARRIVE EARLY AT THE SUPERDOME FOR THE TEAM'S REMAINING FOUR HOME GAMES BECAUSE OF INCREASED SECURITY MEASURES.
THE SECURITY SCREENING WILL INCLUDE HAND-HELD METAL-DETECTING WANDS AND PAT-DOWN SEARCHES. WWL-TV REPORTS THAT SAINTS FANS COMPLAINED EARLIER THIS MONTH AFTER THE TEAM PUT NEW SECURITY MEASURES IN PLACE BEFORE THEIR MATCHUP AGAINST THE TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS. SOME TICKET HOLDERS SAID THEY HAD TO WAIT 45 MINUTES IN LINE AND MISSED PART OF THE GAME. SAINTS OFFICIALS SAID WEDNESDAY THAT IT'S "HIGHLY RECOMMENDED" FOR FANS TO SHOW UP EARLY SO THAT THEY DON'T MISS ANY OF THE ACTION.




News For Wednesday Afternoon 11/16/11


NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY NIGHT 11/16/11
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL ISSUED AN EXECUTIVE ORDER WEDNESDAY IN RESPONSE TO THE ALLEGATIONS OF SEXUAL ABUSE OF BOYS INVOLVING A FORMER PENN STATE UNIVERSITY ASSISTANT FOOTBALL COACH. JINDAL'S ORDER REQUIRES ANYONE WORKING AT A PUBLIC LOUISIANA COLLEGE WHO HAS WITNESSED CHILD ABUSE OR NEGLECT TO REPORT IT TO LAW ENFORCEMENT WITHIN 24 HOURS. CHILD CARE PROVIDERS AND ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOL TEACHERS ALREADY WERE REQUIRED TO REPORT ANY ABUSE OR NEGLECT THEY SEE, BUT THE LAW DIDN'T EXTEND TO COLLEGE PROFESSORS, ADMINISTRATORS, COACHES OR COLLEGE STAFF MEMBERS.

LAFAYETTE POLICE NAB A SUSPECT IN THE TUESDAY MURDER OF AN ELDERLY MAN--FOUND STABBED TO DEATH INSIDE A LOCAL COBBLER'S SHOP. POLICE BELIEVE 36-YEAR-OLD DEITRICK HARRIS IS THE PERSON WHO KILLED 83-YEAR-OLD JAMES BUNN, HIS BOSS AT LAFAYETTE SHOE REPAIR.

A SETTLEMENT HAS BEEN REACHED BETWEEN A MAJOR MANUFACTURER OF CHINESE-MADE DRYWALL AND HOMEBUILDERS WHO USED THE TAINTED PRODUCT IN ABOUT 1,500 GULF COAST HOMES. THERE WERE NO OBJECTIONS TO THE SETTLEMENT IN COURT WEDNESDAY IN NEW ORLEANS. PLAINTIFFS' LAWYER BRUCE STECKLER SAYS HE EXPECTS APPROVAL BY THE U.S. DISTRICT COURT.

THE WAVE OF HISPANICS WHO FLOODED THE GULF COAST AFTER HURRICANE KATRINA DOESN'T APPEAR TO HAVE DAMPENED LOUISIANA FAMILIES' DEMAND FOR THEIR CHILDREN TO GET A FRENCH EDUCATION. THERE'S A WAITING LIST AT ALL 29 OF THE STATE'S PUBLIC FRENCH IMMERSION PROGRAMS.

ST. TAMMANY PARISH SHERIFF'S INVESTIGATORS BLAME AN ARGUMENT ABOUT HOUSEHOLD CHORES FOR THE BLOODY BEATING DEATHS OF A SLIDELL COUPLE. SHERIFF JACK STRAIN SAID WEDNESDAY THAT 25-YEAR-OLD JOHN WILLIS WAS ARRESTED ON TWO COUNTS OF FIRST-DEGREE MURDER. STRAIN SAID A FRIEND OF JOHN WILLIS CALLED 911 TUESDAY NIGHT SAYING HE AND ARRIVED AT THE FAMILY'S HOME AND FOUND THE COUPLE DEAD. THE SHERIFF SAID WILLIS LATER CONFESSED TO THE MURDERS. BASED ON WILLIS' ADMISSION AND EVIDENCE COLLECTED AT THE SCENE, INVESTIGATORS BELIEVE WILLIS STRUCK HIS PARENTS IN THE HEAD WITH A HAMMER, CAUSING THEIR DEATHS.

THE OWNERS OF FIVE BARS IN DOWNTOWN LAFAYETTE HAVE LOST APPEALS ASKING THE CITY-PARISH COUNCIL TO OVERTURN THREE-DAY LIQUOR LICENSE SUSPENSIONS IMPOSED FOR REFUSING TO PAY A SPECIAL LAW-ENFORCEMENT LEVY. THE BAR OWNERS WILL NOW TAKE THE BATTLE TO DISTRICT COURT IN AN ATTEMPT TO OVERTURN THE ORDINANCE REQUIRING THE BARS TO PAY THE SPECIAL LEVY.

STRONG THUNDERSTORMS THAT MOVED ACROSS THE STATE OVERNIGHT LAST
NIGHT LEFT A SWATH OF DAMAGE ON THEIR WAKE. IN TANGIPHAOA PARISH, EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS DIRECTOR DAWSON PRIMES SAYS A CONFIRMED EF-1 TWISTER IN THE NORTHERN PART OF THE PARISH BLEW A TWO-STORY HOUSE RIGHT OFF ITS FOUNDATION. NUMEROUS TREES WERE DOWNED IN THE EARLY MORNING SQUALL. IN TERREBONNE PARISH, A SUSPECTED TORNADO DAMAGED SEVERAL BUILDINGS AND HOMES. MOST POWER HAS BEEN RESTORED AND THERE ARE NO REPORTED SERIOUS INJURIES.

A DESOTO PARISH JUDGE RULES THAT EVIDENCE COLLECTED FROM THE TAXICAB DRIVEN BY ACCUSED CHILD KILLER BRIAN HORN CAN BE USED IN HIS 1ST-DEGREE MURDER TRIAL. HORN'S ACCUSED OF ABDUCTING AND KILLING 12-YEAR-OLD JUSTIN BLOXOM OF STONEWALL IN MARCH 2010. PROSECUTORS SAY HORN, A REGISTERED SEX OFFENDER, POSED AS A GIRL AND TEXTED THE TEEN TO LURE HIM INTO HIS TAXI. JUSTIN'S BODY WAS FOUND LATER NEAR HIGHWAY 171.

THE FIVE PARISHES THAT MAKE UP THE BATON ROUGE METROPOLITAN AREA, ARE FINALLY IN COMPLIANCE WITH FEDERAL OZONE STANDARDS. BEING OUT OF COMPLIANCE WITH THE FEDERAL REGULATIONS RAISED THE COSTS OF DOING BUSINESS IN THE BATON ROUGE METROPOLITAN AREA. RODNEY MALLETT WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY SAYS REACHING THE GOAL OF ATTAINMENT SHOULD BOOST ECONOMIC ACTIVITY IN THE AREA. MALLETT SAYS DEQ DID STUDIES TO PINPOINT THE SOURCES OF OZONE. HE
SAYS IT TOOK HARD WORK AND COOPERATION TO REACH THE GOAL, BUT NOW THE ENTIRE STATE IS IN COMPLIANCE.



News For Wednesday Morning 11/16/11


NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY 111611
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

A PINEVILLE HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER AND COACH ACCUSED OF HAVING SEX WITH A STUDENT WILL BE UP FOR DISMISSAL AT THE NEXT RAPIDES PARISH SCHOOL BOARD MEETING.
TIM RODRIGUEZ WAS SUSPENDED LAST WEEK AFTER HIS ARREST. THE SCHOOL DISTRICT CONDUCTED AN INTERNAL INVESTIGATION AFTER THE ARREST AND ON TUESDAY, THE BOARD'S PERSONNEL COMMITTEE PASSED ON TO THE FULL BOARD A MOTION TO DISMISS RODRIGUEZ. THE BOARD WILL TAKE ACTION ON THE MOTION AT ITS DECEMBER MEETING.

AT YESTERDAY’S ALEXANDRIA CITY COUNCIL MEETING, FIVE RESIDENTS OF THE LOWER THIRD STREET NEIGHBORHOOD SPOKEN OUT AGAINST ANOTHER POTENTIAL HOUSING DEVELOPMENT. ONE RESIDENT PRODUCED A PETITION WITH 18 SIGNATURES ASKING THE COUNCIL TO STOP THE PROJECT. THE COUNCIL WAS CONSIDERING CHANGING THE ZONING OF 46.6 ACRES ON LOWER THIRD STREET FROM AGRICULTURAL DISTRICT TO MULTI-FAMILY TO ALLOW FOR THE DEVELOPMENT. THE COUNCIL VOTED 7-0 AGAINST THE REZONING. THE RESIDENTS OBJECT TO THE MULTI-FAMILY DESIGNATION BECAUSE THEY FELT IT WOULD DEVALUE THEIR NEIGHBORHOOD, ALTHOUGH THE PROJECT’S DEVELOPER TOLD THE ASSEMBLED THE HOUSES ACTUALLY WOULD HAVE BEEN SINGLE-FAMILY MODULAR COTTAGE HOMES, WITH A PRICE TAG OF 55,000 TO $65,000.

THE SECRETARY OF STATE'S OFFICE IS PREDICTING A LOW TURNOUT FOR SATURDAY'S ELECTION AFTER FEWER THAN 4 PERCENT OF LOUISIANA'S REGISTERED VOTERS CAST BALLOTS IN EARLY VOTING. THE FINAL TOTALS SHOWED ABOUT 101,000 OF THE STATE'S 2.9 MILLION VOTERS VOTED IN ADVANCE. ONLY 36 PERCENT OF VOTERS SHOWED UP FOR THE OCT. 22 PRIMARY, WHEN FIVE STATEWIDE OFFICES WERE ON THE BALLOT. FIRST ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE KYLE ARDOIN SAYS THAT SATURDAY'S TURNOUT COULD BE AS LOW AS 18 PERCENT TO 20 PERCENT.

SOME STATE LAWMAKERS WANT TO CHANGE LEGISLATION SAYING SOLDIERS WHO SERVE MORE THAN ONE TOUR OF DUTY ARE NO LONGER ELIGIBLE FOR THE TOPS SCHOLARSHIP. BENTON STATE SENATOR ROBERT ADLEY SAYS THE LAW STATES ANY SOLDIERS WHO APPLY FOR TOPS HAVE TO DO SO WITHIN FIVE YEARS OF ENLISTING. THE BATON ROUGE ADVOCATE REPORTS A 27-YEAR-OLD VETERAN IS INELIGIBLE FOR TOPS AID AFTER SPENDING NINE YEARS IN THE MARINE CORPS.

INCASE YOU HAVEN’T NOTICED, OUR KIDS HERE IN LOUISIANA ARE GETTING FATTER.. OFFICIALS SAY THE PERCENTAGE OF OBESE KIDS IN LOUISIANA HAS NEARLY DOUBLED SINCE 1999, AND TWO-THIRDS OF THE STATE'S SCHOOLCHILDREN GET LESS THAN 20 MINUTES OF VIGOROUS ACTIVITY A DAY. STATE HEALTH SECRETARY BRUCE GREENSTEIN SAYS THE OBESITY RATE WAS 17.7 PERCENT IN 1999 AND IS NOW NEARLY 34 PERCENT. HE SAYS THE HEALTH DEPARTMENT IS WORKING ON A WEBSITE TO TRACK EXERCISE AND GOALS, LETTING FAMILIES WORK TOGETHER AND CHALLENGE OTHERS. THE 2011 FITNESS REPORT CARD FOR LOUISIANA'S CHILDREN AND TEENAGERS WAS RELEASED TUESDAY.

FANS OF THE LOTTERY ARE GETTING A NEW OPTION TODAY AS LOUISIANA IS TAKING PART IN THE MULTI-STATE MEGA MILLIONS DRAWINGS. KIMBERLY CHOPIN WITH THE LOUISIANA LOTTERY SAYS MEGA MILLIONS TICKETS COST $1 PER PLAY BY SELECTING FIVE NUMBERS FROM A FIELD OF 56 AND ONE YELLOW MEGA BALL NUMBER FROM A FIELD OF 46. CHOPIN SAYS MEGA MILLIONS IS A LOT LIKE THE POWERBALL AND FEATURES A STARTING JACKPOT OF $12 MILLION THAT KEEPS GROWING IF IT'S NOT HIT. CHOPIN SAYS MEGA MILLIONS IS PLAYED IN 41 STATES AND DRAWINGS ARE HELD ON TUESDAYS AND FRIDAYS.

STATE POLICE AND LOCAL LAWMEN IN OUACHITA PARISH BUST 13 BUSINESSES FOR ILLEGAL SALES OF BANNED SYNTHETIC MARIJUANA AND "EXOTIC BATH SALTS". TROOPER MARK DENNIS SAYS A JOINT INVESTIGATION BY LSP AND MONROE POLICE LED TO SEARCH AND ARREST WARRANTS FOR THE SHOPS. HE SAYS MANY WERE TOBACCO SPECIALTY STORES. DENNIS SAYS TROOPERS AND MONROE NARCOTICS COPS SEIZED SYNTHETIC MARIJUANA PRODUCTS, BATH SALTS, WHICH ARE A SYNTHETIC FORM OF COCAINE, PLUS GLASS PIPES AND OTHER DRUG PARAPHERNALIA. TROOPER DENNIS SAYS SOME SHOPS WEREN'T EVEN TRYING TO HIDE THE ILLEGAL ITEMS. DENNIS SAYS THE INVESTIGATION IS STILL UNDERWAY, AND THERE MAY BE MORE SEARCHES, SEIZURES AND ARRESTS TO COME.

THE CHIEF OF THE SPRINGHILL POLICE DEPARTMENT SAYS HIS DEPARTMENT HAS A BLACK EYE TODAY. WILL LYND SAYS ONE OF THEIR RESERVE OFFICERS WAS ARRESTED BECAUSE HE ALLEGEDLY HAD SEX WITH A FEMALE INMATE WHILE TRANSPORTING HER TO ANOTHER JAIL. LYND SAYS 27-YEAR-OLD OFFICER CHARLES BLANKS WAS TRANSFERRING THE FEMALE INMATE WHO WAS BEING EXTRADITED TO ARKANSAS WHERE SHE WAS FACING SOME CHARGES. UPON ARRIVING, THE INMATE INFORMED AUTHORITIES OF THE ENCOUNTER. BLANKS ADMITTED TO HAVING SEX WITH THE WOMAN AND WAS BOOKED ON A CHARGE OF MALFEASANCE IN OFFICE BY ENGAGING IN SEXUAL CONDUCT WITH AN INMATE.

A 32-YEAR-OLD HOUMA MAN IS ACCUSED OF BURNING HIS STEP-SON IN THE FACE WITH A CIGARETTE. TERREBONNE PARISH AUTHORITIES SAY THE SIX-YEAR-OLD TOLD THEM HIS STEP FATHER, JAMES WELLS WOULD BURN HIS FACE WITH A CIGARETTE WHEN HE WAS BAD. POLICE SAY WELLS IS CHARGED WITH SECOND DEGREE CRUELTY TO A JUVENILE AND ALSO DOMESTIC ABUSE BATTERY AFTER HE ADMITTED HITTING HIS WIFE AS WELL.

THE ENERGY COMPANY PLANNING TO BUILD A $120 MILLION WOOD PELLET PLANT IN PORT ALLEN SAYS IT HAS SIGNED A CONSTRUCTION CONTRACT, AND THE CONTI GROUP IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN WORK IN MARCH. WILLIAM NEW IS CHAIRMAN AND CEO OF POINT BIO ENERGY LLC. HE SAYS CONSTRUCTION IS TO START AT THE END OF THE FIRST QUARTER OF 2012, AND POINT BIO PLANS TO BEGIN DELIVERIES IN THE SECOND QUARTER OF 2013.
HE SAYS HE HAS CONTRACTS WITH EUROPEAN UTILITIES WHICH PLAN TO BURN THE PELLETS WITH COAL TO REDUCE THE AMOUNT OF CARBON RELEASED INTO THE ATMOSPHERE. HE WOULDN'T IDENTIFY THE UTILITIES. THE PELLETS ARE MADE FROM PULPWOOD AND SMALL TREES THINNED OUT OF FORESTS TO LET OTHER TREES GROW FASTER.

BP HAS LOST TWO BIG RULINGS IN ITS FIGHT TO SHIELD ITSELF FROM POTENTIALLY HAVING TO PAY BILLIONS OF DOLLARS MORE IN DAMAGES RELATED TO THE WORST OFFSHORE OIL SPILL IN U.S. HISTORY. A FEDERAL JUDGE RULED TUESDAY THAT BP PLC IS NOT ENTITLED TO COVERAGE FOR THE SPILL UNDER INSURANCE POLICIES TOTALING $750 MILLION HELD BY TRANSOCEAN LTD., OWNER OF THE DEEPWATER HORIZON RIG THAT BP WAS LEASING AT THE TIME OF LAST YEAR'S GULF OF MEXICO DISASTER. THE SAME JUDGE RULED MONDAY THAT ALABAMA AND LOUISIANA CAN PURSUE PUNITIVE DAMAGES AGAINST BP AND OTHER COMPANIES.

LT. GOV. JAY DARDENNE SAYS LOW-WATER LEVELS ARE NO REASONS FOR TOURISTS AND LOCALS ALIKE TO STAY AWAY FROM THE TOLEDO BEND RESERVOIR. DARDENNE SAID TUESDAY THAT THE WATERWAY REMAINS OPEN FOR FISHING AND OTHER TYPES OF WATER RECREATION, DESPITE LOW WATER LEVELS. DROUGHT CONDITIONS HAVE FORCED CLOSURE OF MANY OF THE RESERVOIR'S BOAT LAUNCHES, BUT DARDENNE SAYS DREDGING AND CYPRESS STUMP REMOVAL ARE EASING NAVIGATION IN THE BOAT LANES. BUT ONCE INSIDE THE RESERVOIR, HE SAYS THE FISHING IS SPECTACULAR.




 

Tuesday 11/15/11 Afternoon News Update


NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY 111611
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

SOME STATE LAWMAKERS WANT TO CHANGE LEGISLATION SAYING SOLDIERS WHO SERVE MORE THAN ONE TOUR OF DUTY ARE NO LONGER ELIGIBLE FOR THE TOPS SCHOLARSHIP. BENTON STATE SENATOR ROBERT ADLEY SAYS THE LAW STATES ANY SOLDIERS WHO APPLY FOR TOPS HAVE TO DO SO WITHIN FIVE YEARS OF ENLISTING. THE BATON ROUGE ADVOCATE REPORTS A 27-YEAR-OLD VETERAN IS INELIGIBLE FOR TOPS AID AFTER SPENDING NINE YEARS IN THE MARINE CORPS.

INCASE YOU HAVEN’T NOTICED, OUR KIDS HERE IN LOUISIANA ARE GETTING FATTER.. OFFICIALS SAY THE PERCENTAGE OF OBESE KIDS IN LOUISIANA HAS NEARLY DOUBLED SINCE 1999, AND TWO-THIRDS OF THE STATE'S SCHOOLCHILDREN GET LESS THAN 20 MINUTES OF VIGOROUS ACTIVITY A DAY. STATE HEALTH SECRETARY BRUCE GREENSTEIN SAYS THE OBESITY RATE WAS 17.7 PERCENT IN 1999 AND IS NOW NEARLY 34 PERCENT. HE SAYS THE HEALTH DEPARTMENT IS WORKING ON A WEBSITE TO TRACK EXERCISE AND GOALS, LETTING FAMILIES WORK TOGETHER AND CHALLENGE OTHERS. THE 2011 FITNESS REPORT CARD FOR LOUISIANA'S CHILDREN AND TEENAGERS WAS RELEASED TUESDAY.

THE CHIEF OF THE SPRINGHILL POLICE DEPARTMENT SAYS HIS DEPARTMENT HAS A BLACK EYE TODAY. WILL LYND SAYS ONE OF THEIR RESERVE OFFICERS WAS ARRESTED BECAUSE HE ALLEGEDLY HAD SEX WITH A FEMALE INMATE WHILE TRANSPORTING HER TO ANOTHER JAIL. LYND SAYS 27-YEAR-OLD OFFICER CHARLES BLANKS WAS TRANSFERRING THE FEMALE INMATE WHO WAS BEING EXTRADITED TO ARKANSAS WHERE SHE WAS FACING SOME CHARGES. UPON ARRIVING, THE INMATE INFORMED AUTHORITIES OF THE ENCOUNTER. BLANKS ADMITTED TO HAVING SEX WITH THE WOMAN AND WAS BOOKED ON A CHARGE OF MALFEASANCE IN OFFICE BY ENGAGING IN SEXUAL CONDUCT WITH AN INMATE.

A 32-YEAR-OLD HOUMA MAN IS ACCUSED OF BURNING HIS STEP-SON IN THE FACE WITH A CIGARETTE. TERREBONNE PARISH AUTHORITIES SAY THE SIX-YEAR-OLD TOLD THEM HIS STEP FATHER, JAMES WELLS WOULD BURN HIS FACE WITH A CIGARETTE WHEN HE WAS BAD. POLICE SAY WELLS IS CHARGED WITH SECOND DEGREE CRUELTY TO A JUVENILE AND ALSO DOMESTIC ABUSE BATTERY AFTER HE ADMITTED HITTING HIS WIFE AS WELL.

THE ENERGY COMPANY PLANNING TO BUILD A $120 MILLION WOOD PELLET PLANT IN PORT ALLEN SAYS IT HAS SIGNED A CONSTRUCTION CONTRACT, AND THE CONTI GROUP IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN WORK IN MARCH. WILLIAM NEW IS CHAIRMAN AND CEO OF POINT BIO ENERGY LLC. HE SAYS CONSTRUCTION IS TO START AT THE END OF THE FIRST QUARTER OF 2012, AND POINT BIO PLANS TO BEGIN DELIVERIES IN THE SECOND QUARTER OF 2013.
HE SAYS HE HAS CONTRACTS WITH EUROPEAN UTILITIES WHICH PLAN TO BURN THE PELLETS WITH COAL TO REDUCE THE AMOUNT OF CARBON RELEASED INTO THE ATMOSPHERE. HE WOULDN'T IDENTIFY THE UTILITIES. THE PELLETS ARE MADE FROM PULPWOOD AND SMALL TREES THINNED OUT OF FORESTS TO LET OTHER TREES GROW FASTER.

BP HAS LOST TWO BIG RULINGS IN ITS FIGHT TO SHIELD ITSELF FROM POTENTIALLY HAVING TO PAY BILLIONS OF DOLLARS MORE IN DAMAGES RELATED TO THE WORST OFFSHORE OIL SPILL IN U.S. HISTORY. A FEDERAL JUDGE RULED TUESDAY THAT BP PLC IS NOT ENTITLED TO COVERAGE FOR THE SPILL UNDER INSURANCE POLICIES TOTALING $750 MILLION HELD BY TRANSOCEAN LTD., OWNER OF THE DEEPWATER HORIZON RIG THAT BP WAS LEASING AT THE TIME OF LAST YEAR'S GULF OF MEXICO DISASTER. THE SAME JUDGE RULED MONDAY THAT ALABAMA AND LOUISIANA CAN PURSUE PUNITIVE DAMAGES AGAINST BP AND OTHER COMPANIES.




News For Tuesday 11/15/11


NEWS FOR TUESDAY 111511
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

REMEMBER THE INMATE WHO WAS KILLED WHILE WORKING ALONG COLISEUM BLVD LAST MONTH? THE WOMAN WHO WAS DRIVING THE VEHICLE THAT STRUCK THE INMATE AND A CITY SANITATION WORKER HAS BEEN ARRESTED AND CHARGED IN THE CASE. YESTERDAY POLICE CHARGED 38 YEAR OLD KELLIE TUTTLE WITH ONE COUNT EACH OF VEHICULAR HOMICIDE, FIRST-DEGREE VEHICLE NEGLIGENT INJURY AND CARELESS OPERATION OF A VEHICLE. AUTHORITIES SAY TUTTLE SWERVED OFF THE ROADWAY AND STRUCK THE MEN. AN INMATE FROM NEW ORLEANS, 38 YEAR OLD SYLVESTER MILLER, DIES AS A RESULT OF HIS INJURIES.

A 14-YEAR-OLD RIDING A DIRT BIKE ON CITY STREETS WITHOUT A HELMET RAN A STOP SIGN MONDAY IN SOUTH ALEXANDRIA AND CRASHED INTO THE SIDE OF A CHEVROLET SUBURBAN. THE CRASH OCCURRED AT THE INTERSECTION OF 9TH AND UNIVERSITY STREETS. THE APD REPORTS THE TEENAGER WAS TRANSPORTED TO A LOCAL HOSPITAL WHERE HE WAS PRONOUNCED DEAD AT 3:34. THE NAMES OF THOSE INVOLVED IN THE ACCIDENT HAVE NOT BEEN RELEASED. POLICE SAY THE DRIVER OF THE VEHICLE, A MAN FROM TEXAS,WILL MOST LIKELY NOT BE CHARGED. HOWEVER, THE CRASH REMAINS UNDER INVESTIGATION.

THE RAPIDES PARISH POLICE JURY ACCEPTED NEARLY $900,000 IN FEDERAL FUNDS FOR STREETSCAPING ON AIRBASE ROAD AT ITS MONTHLY MEETING YESTERDAY.THE MONEY COMES FROM THE FEDERAL HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATION'S TRANSPORTATION IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM. THE PARISH WILL HAVE TO FUND A MINORITY PERCENTAGE OF THE LOCAL MATCH FOR THE PROJECT. MORE SIGNIFICANTLY, SEWER ISSUES IN THE AIRBASE ROAD AREA MUST BE RESOLVED BEFORE THE PROJECT CAN MOVE FORWARD. THE PARISH HAS APPLIED FOR COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT FUNDS TO FIX THOSE ISSUES.

THE RAPIDES PARISH POLICE JURY SET SET A PUBLIC HEARING OF DEC. 5 TO DISCUSS THE PARISH'S 2012 OPERATING BUDGET. THE PROPOSED BUDGET INCLUDES A PAY RAISE FOR PARISH EMPLOYEES OF 3 PERCENT OR $125 PER MONTH, WHICHEVER IS GREATER THE CONSENSUS AMONG MOST JURORS WAS THAT WHILE THE THOUGHT WAS ADMIRABLE, A 5 PERCENT RAISE WAS MORE THAN THE PARISH'S FINANCES COULD BEAR.

SEVERAL ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS IN LOUISIANA RELEASED A REPORT YESTERDAY THAT SAYS REFINERIES ACROSS THE STATE AVERAGE AN ACCIDENT A DAY. ANNE ROFLES WITH THE LOUISIANA BUCKET BRIGADE SAYS THESE ACCIDENTS LEAD TO NOT ONLY WORKER SAFETY ISSUES, BUT SOMETIMES HURT THE ENVIRONMENT. ROFLES SAYS THE MAJORITY OF THESE ACCIDENTS ARE DUE TO CORRODED PIPING IN THE GROUND. ROFLES SAYS REFINERIES HAVE MAINTENANCE ISSUES THAT COULD BE REDUCED BY SIMPLY HIRING MORE WORKERS WHICH WOULD ALSO BOOST THE ECONOMY. THE REPORT SAYS THE TWO EXXON REFINERIES IN THE STATE WERE RESPONSIBLE FOR A THIRD OF THE ACCIDENTS. THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY IS REVIEWING THE REPORT AND HAS NO COMMENT AT THIS TIME.

STATE POLICE DISAGREES WITH A RECENT REPORT THAT SAYS LOUISIANA HAS THE WORST DRIVERS IN THE NATION. THE REPORT FROM CARINSURANCECOMPARISON.COM SAYS THE STATE TOPS THE LIST FOR FATALITIES, TICKETS ISSUED, DRUNK DRIVING AND CARELESSNESS. STATE POLICE SPOKESPERSON LT DOUG CAIN SAYS LOUISIANA DRIVERS ARE IMPROVING. CAIN SAYS WHEN SEATBELT USAGE IS UP, THE NUMBER OF TRAFFIC FATALITIES IS REDUCED. HOWEVER, HE SAYS, DRINKING AND DRIVING CONTINUES TO BE A PROBLEM IN LOUISIANA.

LOUISIANA ATTORNEY GENERAL BUDDY CALDWELL ON MONDAY FILED SUIT IN THE U.S. SUPREME COURT SEEKING TO RECOVER THE CONGRESSIONAL SEAT TAKEN FROM THE STATE AS A RESULT OF THE 2010 CENSUS. IN A SPECIAL LEGISLATIVE SESSION IN MARCH, STATE LAWMAKERS HAD TO SHRINK THE NUMBER OF LOUISIANA'S CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS FROM SEVEN TO SIX. CALDWELL SAID THE CENSUS BUREAU INCLUDED ILLEGAL FOREIGN NATIONALS, ALONG WITH HOLDERS OF GUEST-WORKER AND STUDENT VISAS, IN THE CENSUS COUNT OF EACH STATE. AS A RESULT, HE SAID STATES WITH LARGE NUMBERS OF ILLEGAL FOREIGN NATIONALS GAINED CONGRESSIONAL SEATS, WHILE STATES WITH LOW NUMBERS, LIKE LOUISIANA, LOST CONGRESSIONAL SEATS.

U-S SENATOR MARY LANDRIEU SAYS LOUISIANA WILL RECEIVE AN ADDITIONAL 350 TO 400 MILLION DOLLARS IN HAZARD MITIGATION MONEY TO HELP COMMUNITIES HARDEST HIT FROM HURRICANES KATRINA AND RITA. LANDRIEU SAYS THE STATE IS RECEIVING THIS MONEY SIX YEARS AFTER THE STORMS, BECAUSE FEMA HAS RE-CALCULATED THE DAMAGES AND DETERMINED LOUISIANA DESERVES MORE DOLLARS. LANDRIEU SAYS THESE DOLLARS THAT WILL SOON FLOW INTO THE STATE WILL HELP HARD HIT KATRINA AND RITA AREAS RECOVER FROM THE STORMS AND PAY FOR INFRASTRUCTURE TO MINIMIZE DAMAGES FROM THE NEXT HURRICANE.

STATE POLICE SAY A JONESVILLE MAN WAS SHOT AND KILLED WHILE HUNTING IN THE CATAHOULA WILDLIFE REFUGE. FIFTY-TWO-YEAR-OLD BOATNER K. SMITH, ALSO OF JONESVILLE, WAS HUNTING ABOUT 5:50 MONDAY MORNING WHEN HE SHOT AT SOMETHING MOVING IN THE BRUSH. SMITH'S BULLET STRUCK 63-YEAR-OLD ROD GORDO, WHO WAS KILLED INSTANTLY. THE LOUISIANA STATE POLICE BUREAU OF INVESTIGATIONS WAS ASKED TO INVESTIGATE THE SHOOTING BY THE CATAHOULA PARISH SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT. SMITH IS AN OFFICER AT THE CATAHOULA CORRECTIONAL CENTER, BUT IS NOT A COMMISSIONED DEPUTY. AUTHORITIES HAVE NOT ARRESTED SMITH, SAYING THE INVESTIGATION IS ONGOING. AN AUTOPSY WILL BE PERFORMED BY THE CATAHOULA PARISH CORONER'S OFFICE.

A 23-YEAR-OLD WOMAN STOPPED HER SUV ON THE TRAIN TRACKS, PARKED, TURNED UP THE MUSIC INSIDE THE VEHICLE AND WAS HIT BY A TRAIN. THE DRIVER WAS PARTIALLY EJECTED AFTER THE CAR WAS KNOCKED OVER JUST BEFORE 8 A.M. MONDAY. SHE WAS TAKEN TO AN AREA HOSPITAL WITH MODERATE TO SERIOUS INJURIES. A MAN AND THREE CHILDREN ALSO INSIDE THE VEHICLE WERE NOT INJURED. POLICE AREN'T SURE WHY THE WOMAN PARKED ON THE TRACKS.

A BIG CHUNK OF CONCRETE FELL ABOUT 30 STORIES FROM NEW ORLEANS' VACANT WORLD TRADE CENTER YESTERDAY MORNING, SCATTERING CONCRETE AND STEEL ACROSS THE YARD AND INTO THE STREET AFTER IT HIT GROUND. AUTHORITIES SAY IT WAS A MIRACLE THAT NOBODY WAS HURT.

A LOUISIANA PEDIATRICIAN SAYS HE AND HIS EX-GIRLFRIEND SPENT TIME WITH REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE HERMAN CAIN MORE THAN A DECADE AGO. THE ACCOUNT MONDAY BY VICTOR JAY ZUCKERMAN IS A DIRECT CONTRADICTION TO CAIN'S ASSERTIONS THAT HAD NEVER MET ACCUSER SHARON BIALEK OR HAD NEVER HEARD HER NAME UNTIL RECENTLY. BIALEK TOLD REPORTERS LAST WEEK THAT CAIN MADE UNWANTED SEXUAL ADVANCES WHILE HE WAS CEO OF THE NATIONAL RESTAURANT ASSOCIATION IN WASHINGTON, D.C. AT LEAST THREE OTHER WOMEN HAVE ALLEGED THAT CAIN ENGAGED IN INAPPROPRIATE SEXUAL BEHAVIOR. CAIN HAS DENIED THE ACCUSATIONS.

BOSSIER PARISH VOTERS WHO HEAD TO THE POLLS SATURDAY WILL BE ASKED TO EXPAND RIVERBOAT GAMING TO INCLUDE A NEW 18-STORY MARGARITAVILLE RESORT HOTEL AND CASINO. THE $195 MILLION PROJECT WOULD FEATURE A 400-ROOM HOTEL, A TWO-STORY ENTERTAINMENT COMPLEX, OUTDOOR TROPICAL POOL AREA, AND A 400-SEAT MARGARITAVILLE RESTAURANT, AMONG OTHER AMENITIES. BUT SOME LOCAL CASINO OPERATORS ARGUE THE ADDITION OF A SIXTH RIVERBOAT CASINO COULD CANNIBALIZE THE EXISTING MARKET. CRITICS SAY SHREVEPORT-BOSSIER CITY'S GAMING MARKET COULD NOT SUPPORT ADDITIONAL GAMING VENUES AND, IF ADDED, MARGARITAVILLE WOULD TAKE A BITE OUT OF THEIR REVENUES. DEVELOPERS SAY MARGARITAVILLE WILL CREATE MORE THAN 1,200 PERMANENT JOBS.

THE SUNDANCE CHANNEL IS LOOKING FOR A REAL-LIFE "WILL AND GRACE" IN NEW ORLEANS.
THAT IS, THEY ARE IN SEARCH OF WOMEN WHOSE BEST FRIENDS ARE GAY TO BE THE SUBJECTS OF THE THIRD SEASON OF SUNDANCE'S REALITY SHOW, "GIRLS WHO LIKE BOYS WHO LIKE BOYS." THE SHOW TAKES A DOCUMENTARY-STYLE APPROACH TO THE POPULAR NBC SITCOM "WILL AND GRACE," WHICH RAN FROM THE LATE 1990S TO 2006. CASTING WILL BE HELD IN NEW ORLEANS AND DENVER THROUGH THE END OF THE YEAR, BUT ONLY ONE CITY WILL BE CHOSEN. CASTING AGENT CASSIE RUBINO SAID APPLICANTS MUST LIVE IN THOSE CITIES. THE SHOW'S FIRST SEASON WAS SHOT IN NEW YORK AND ITS SECOND IN NASHVILLE.



 

News For Friday 11/11/11


NEWS FOR FRIDAY 111111
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

EARLY VOTING FOR THE NOVEMBER 19TH RUNOFF ELECTING TAKES A DAY OFF TODAY IN OBSERVANCE OF VETERANS DAY, AND RESUME FOR A FINAL DAY TOMORROW, SATURDAY. THE SECRETARY OF STATE'S OFFICE REPORTS EARLY VOTING IS RUNNING JUST OVER HALF OF WHAT IT WAS FOR THE OCTOBER 22ND PRIMARY. SO FAR JUST OVER 56-THOUSAND EARLY BALLOTS HAVE BEEN CAST.

TODAY, 11-11-11, IS VETERAN'S DAY, A DAY TO HONOR THE MILLIONS OF VETERANS WHO HAVE SERVED OUR COUNTRY AND FOUGHT FOR OUR FREEDOM. LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS SECRETARY LANE CARSON SAYS HE IS PROUD OF ALL THE ATTENTION THIS IMPORTANT DAY IS RECEIVING. CARSON SAYS THERE ARE MANY VETERAN'S DAY EVENTS PLANNED ACROSS THE STATE TODAY AND YOU CAN FIND A SCHEDULE ON THEIR WEBSITE AT WWW.VETAFFAIRS.LA.GOV

THE ALEXANDRIA VETERANS AFFAIRS MEDICAL CENTER CELEBRATES VETERANS DAY TODAY WITH A TRIO OF EVENTS ON THE MEDICAL CENTER GROUNDS. AT 10 A.M., THERE WILL BE A VETERANS DAY PROGRAM HELD AT THE MEDICAL CENTER QUADRANGLE WITH GUEST SPEAKER RETIRED COL. LOUIS DECHERT. THE VAMC'S ANNUAL PARADE BEGINS AT 11 A.M. FOLLOWING THE PROGRAM. AFTER THE PARADE WILL BE A HOT DOG PICNIC ON THE HISTORIC GROUNDS OF THE VAMC.

TODAY LOUISIANIANS WOKE UP TO THE COLDEST TEMPERATURES OF THE SEASON, BECAUSE OF A FRONT THAT MOVED THROUGH TWO DAYS AGO. STATE CLIMATOLOGIST BARRY KEIM SAYS TEMPS IN MANY AREAS OF THE STATE ARE IN THE MID-30S TODAY. KEIM SAYS THIS IS PACIFIC AIR THAT'S SETTLED OVER THE STATE AND IF IT WERE CANADIAN AIR, WE'D SEE TEMPERATURES 10-20 DEGREES COOLER. KEIM SAYS ONCE AGAIN, THIS LATE-WEEK COOL FRONT IS GOING TO RESULT IN A FANTASTIC WEEKEND..

WE SHOULD KNOW SOONER THAN LATER WHETHER OR NOT FEDERAL OFFICIALS WE RETRY FORMER RAPIDES PARISH POLICE JUROR STEVE BORDELON. U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE DEE DRELL ORDERED THIS WEEK THAT BORDELON MUST BE RETRIED BY JAN. 12. AFTER DECLARING A MISTRIAL ON NOV. 3 BECAUSE OF A HUNG JURY, THE JUDGE INITIALLY GAVE U.S. PROSECUTORS 120 DAYS TO RETRY THE CASE, IN WHICH BORDELON IS CHARGED WITH BRIBERY. IN A MOTION WEDNESDAY TO SHORTEN THE TIMETABLE, ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY EARL CAMPBELL CITED THE 70-DAY POST-MISTRIAL LIMIT CONTAINED IN THE FEDERAL SPEEDY TRIAL ACT. DRELL SIGNED THE ORDER WEDNESDAY.

IT’S ANOTHER FEATHER IN THE CAP OF FT. POLK. THE LOUISIANA ARMY NATIONAL GUARD WILL ADD ANOTHER TRAINING FACILITY TO ITS ARSENAL. CONSTRUCTION WILL BEGIN SOON ON A NEW TACTICAL UNMANNED AERIAL SYSTEM FACILITY AT THE FORT POLK. IT IS EXPECTED TO BE COMPLETED BY THE END OF JULY.

STATE FIRE MARSHAL H. "BUTCH" BROWNING AND AGRICULTURE AND FORESTRY COMMISSIONER MIKE STRAIN HAVE LIFTED THE BAN ON OUTDOOR BURNING ISSUED ON AUG. 24. THE BAN IMPACTED THE CENTRAL LOUISIANA PARISHES OF ALLEN, AVOYELLES, BEAUREGARD, CATAHOULA, EVANGELINE, GRANT, LASALLE, NATCHITOCHES, RAPIDES, SABINE, VERNON AND WINN.

STATE REGULATORS ARE UPSET THAT THE STATE HAS LET AN 80-MILLION DOLLAR FEDERAL GRANT TO EXPAND BROADBAND INTERNET TO POOR AND RURAL AREAS OF THE STATE GET AWAY. PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION MEMBER FOSTER CAMPBELL WANTS GOVERNOR JINDAL TO ASK THE PRESIDENT TO RESTORE THE GRANT. JINDAL SPOKESPERSON KYLE PLOTKIN SAYS THE GOVERNOR HAS NO PLANS TO CALL MR. OBAMA. CAMPBELL SAYS THAT'S UPSETTING TO HEAR BECAUSE HIGH SPEED INTERNET IN POORER PARISHES WOULD HELP THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE. THE GRANT WAS ORIGINALLY MADE BY THE US COMMERCE DEPARTMENT. OFFICIALS THERE SAY THE MONEY WILL BE RETURNED TO THE FEDERAL TREASURY.

LOUISIANA RESEARCHERS ARE DISAPPOINTED THAT ONLY ONE-IN-THREE SCHOOLCHILDREN IN THE STATE CAN PASS AN AEROBIC ENDURANCE TEST. THE STUDY WAS CONDUCTED BY THE PICARD CENTER FOR CHILD DEVELOPMENT AND LIFELONG LEARNING WHICH IS ASSOCIATED THE ULL. PROJECT DIRECTOR JOAN LANDRY SAYS THE STUDY ALSO SHOWED THAT MORE THAN ONE-IN-FIVE STUDENTS ARE CLASSIFIED AS OBESE. SHE SAYS THIS IS A PROBLEM THAT NEEDS TO BE RESOLVED BECAUSE HEALTHIER CHILDREN BECOME MORE PRODUCTIVE ADULTS.

THE LAWYER FOR A MAN CHARGED WITH KILLING A CATHOLIC PRIEST SAYS HIS CLIENT CAN'T GET A FAIR TRIAL IN MISSISSIPPI BECAUSE A CAMPAIGN COMMERCIAL IN THE STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL'S RACE SAID HE MURDERED THE CLERIC IN COLD BLOOD. BRIAN ALEXANDER REPRESENTS JEREMY MANIERI, CHARGED IN THE JULY DEATH OF THE REV. ED EVERITT OF HAMMOND, LA. AUTHORITIES SAY THE PRIEST WAS ROBBED AND SHOT AT A BEACH HOUSE IN MISSISSIPPI.

WITH QUESTIONS STILL CIRCULATING IN THE PENN STATE UNIVERSITY CHILD SEX ABUSE COVER-UP SCANDAL, LOUISIANA CHILD WELFARE OFFICIALS URGE US TO REPORT SUSPECTED ABUSE OF CHILDREN. DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES SPOKESMAN TREY WILLIAMS SAYS THERE'S A TOLL-FREE LINE SET UP, AND CALLERS CAN REMAIN ANONYMOUS. WILLIAMS SAYS DCFS HAS TRAINED PROFESSIONALS STANDING BY 24 HOURS A DAY TO HEAR REPORTS OF SUSPECTED ABUSE OR NEGLECT OF CHILDREN. PENN STATE'S IMAGE PROBLEMS FROM THE SCANDAL STEM FROM THE FAILURE OF WITNESSES TO
ALERT PROPER AUTHORITIES TO BEHAVIOR THEY KNEW WAS WRONG. HE SAYS, IF YOU HAVE INFORMATION ON WHAT YOU THINK IS ABUSE, CALL 855-4-LA-KIDS.

A FEDERAL APPEALS COURT RULED YESTERDAY, LOUISIANA STATE PRISONS CAN'T JUSTIFY BANNING INMATES FROM RECEIVING COPIES OF A NEWSPAPER PUBLISHED BY THE NATION OF ISLAM. A THREE-JUDGE PANEL FROM THE 5TH U.S. CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS UPHELD A FEDERAL JUDGE'S RULING THAT THE DAVID WADE CORRECTIONAL CENTER MUST DELIVER COPIES OF THE FINAL CALL NEWSPAPER TO HENRY LEONARD, A CONVICTED MURDERER. THE AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION OF LOUISIANA BACKED LEONARD'S CLAIMS THAT THE HOMER PRISON VIOLATED HIS RIGHT TO FREE EXERCISE OF RELIGION. PRISON OFFICIALS ARGUED THE NEWSPAPER CONTAINS RACIST RHETORIC THAT COULD PROVOKE AN OUTBREAK OF VIOLENCE.

STATE POLICE REPORT AN IBERIA PARISH SHERIFF'S DEPUTY HAS BEEN ARRESTED FOR ALLEGEDLY POSSESSING SEXUAL IMAGES OF CHILDREN. LSP TROOPER STEPHEN HAMMONS SAYS THE IBERIA SHERIFF'S OFFICE REQUEST STATE POLICE AIDE, WHEN THEY REALIZED THE SUSPECT IN THEIR CHILD PORN INVESTIGATION WAS ONE OF THEIR OWN OFFICERS. HAMMONS SAYS LSP INVESTIGATORS OBTAINED A WARRANT TO SEARCH THE HOME OF 32-YEAR-OLD DEPUTY DANIEL BOURQUE, OF ERATH. HAMMONS SAYS HUNDREDS OF IMAGES AND MOVIES DEPICTING KIDS IN SEXUAL SITUATIONS WERE FOUND ON MEDIA STORAGE DRIVES IN BOURQUE'S HOME. HE FACES A 100 COUNTS OF POSSESSING CHILD PORNOGRAPHY.

LOUISIANA'S DUCK HUNTING SEASON OPENS SATURDAY MORNING, AND HUNTERS WILL LIKELY SEE THE IMPACT THIS YEAR'S DROUGHT HAS HAD ON THEIR HUNT. STATE WILDLIFE & FISHERIES DUCK SPECIALIST LARRY REYNOLDS SAYS FINDING GOOD PLACES TO HUNT MAY BE TOUGH, BECAUSE SO MANY HAVE GONE DRY. REYNOLDS SAYS AREAS PARCHED BY DROUGHT DON'T ATTRACT DUCKS, SO HE THINKS HUNTERS' LUCK THIS WEEKEND WILL BE MIXED.




News For Thursday 11/10/11


NEWS FOR THURSDAY 111011
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

TIM RODRIGUEZ, AN ASSISTANT BASEBALL COACH AND TEACHER IN HIS FIRST YEAR AT PINEVILLE HIGH HAS TURNED HIMSELF IN TO GRANT PARISH SHERIFF'S AUTHORITIES AFTER A WARRANT WAS ISSUED FOR HIS ARREST ON TWO COUNTS OF PROHIBITED SEXUAL CONDUCT BETWEEN AN EDUCATOR AND A STUDENT. JODY BULLOCK, THE CHIEF OF DETECTIVES FOR THE GRANT PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE, SAID A COMPLAINT WAS FILED BY A 17-YEAR-OLD PINEVILLE HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT AND HER PARENTS WITH THE BALL POLICE DEPARTMENT ON TUESDAY. SUPERINTENDENT DR. GARY JONES SAID THAT RODRIGUEZ WAS SUSPENDED ON TUESDAY WHEN THE COMPLAINT SURFACED, AND HE LIKELY WILL BE FIRED AT NEXT MONTH'S SCHOOL BOARD MEETING.

IT WAS A MAJOR TRAFFIC MESS THAT LASTED CLOSE TO SEVEN HOURS YESTERDAY. THE DRIVER OF AN 18 WHEELER LOST CONTROL OF HIS RIG WHILE TRYING TO ENTER I-49 NORTH FROM THE PURPLE HEART BRIDGE. THE TRUCK OVERTURNED, AND THE ENTRANCE RAMP LEADING FROM THE BRIDGE TO I-49 NORTH WAS CLOSED FOR MOST OF THE DAY. IT RE-OPENED TO TRAFFIC JUST BEFORE 3 P.M. THE DRIVER, 48 YEAR OLD THOMAS HATHCOCK WAS CITED FOR FAILURE TO MAINTAIN CONTROL.

IT HAS BEEN A LONG TOME COMING, SUDDENLINK HAS FINALLY OPENED AN OFFICE IN ALEXANDRIA. THE CABLE TV, INTERNET AND PHONE PROVIDER HELD A GRAND OPENING FOR ITS RETAIL STORE IN THE ALEXANDRIA MALL WEDNESDAY. THE RETAIL STORE IS NEXT TO BURLINGTON COAT FACTORY IN THE MALL. IN ADDITION TO BEING ABLE TO PAY BILLS AND SET UP SERVICE, THE STORE FEATURES INTERACTIVE, HANDS-ON DISPLAYS OF SUDDENLINK PRODUCTS. IT WILL BE OPEN FROM 10 A.M. TO 7 P.M. MONDAY-SATURDAY AND FROM NOON TO 6 P.M. SUNDAY.

JUST A REMINDER.. EARLY VOTING FOR THE NOV. 19 RUNOFF ELECTION WILL BE CLOSED ON FRIDAY, FOR THE VETERANS DAY HOLIDAY. SECRETARY OF STATE TOM SCHEDLER SAYS EARLY VOTING WILL RESUME SATURDAY, WHICH WILL BE THE FINAL DAY TO CAST BALLOTS BEFORE ELECTION DAY.

THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HOSPITALS STATEWIDE FLU CAMPAIGN KICKS OFF TODAY. DR. FRANK WELCH IS THE STATE DIRECTOR OF IMMUNIZATION. HE SAYS THIS YEAR IT'S RECOMMENDED THAT EVERYONE OVER THE AGE OF 6 MONTHS GET A FLU SHOT. DR. WELCH SAYS THERE IS PLENTY OF FLU VACCINE AVAILABLE THIS YEAR. WELCH SAYS EACH YEAR MORE THAN 200,000 AMERICANS ARE HOSPITALIZED BECAUSE OF THE FLU AND MORE THAN 36,000 DIE FROM INFLUENZA-RELATED CAUSES.

PERHAPS YOU HEARD THE NATIONAL TEST OF THE EMERGENCY ALERT SYSTEM YESTERDAY. FEDERAL AUTHORITIES CANNOT CALL IT A SUCCESS. MOST RADIO LISTENERS HEARD ELECTRONIC TONES AND A JUMBLE OF VOICES. SOME REPORTED HEARING LADY GAGA.

CADDO PARISH LAWMEN SAYS THEY'VE ARRESTED 15 PEOPLE AT THE LOUISIANA STATE FAIR IN SHREVEPORT, -MOSTLY ON DRUG CHARGES. AUTHORITIES SAY UNDERCOVER OPERATIONS LED TO THE ARRESTS; THE PERPETRATORS RANGING IN AGE FROM 19 TO 56 AND COMING FROM SEVERAL STATES. SOME WERE ARRESTED FOR POSSESSION OF DRUGS; SEVERAL FOR POSSESSION WITH INTENT TO DISTRIBUTE.

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS IS REPORTING THAT GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL MAY SEEK A THIRD TERM. JINDAL HAS 4.6-MILLION DOLLARS IN HIS CAMPAIGN WARCHEST. JINDAL'S CHIEF POLITICAL STRATEGIST, TIMMY TEEPELL SAYS JINDAL CAN HANG ONTO THE REMAINING MONEY AND MAKE A BID FOR A THIRD TERM. ACCORDING TO THE STATE CONSTITUTION, HE WOULD HAVE TO SIT OUT FOUR YEARS BEFORE RUNNING AGAIN. TEEPELL SAYS JINDAL ENJOYS BEING GOVERNOR.

AN OPELOUSAS NURSE HAS BEEN ARRESTED ON CHARGES HE SEXUALLY ABUSED PATIENTS AT THE DOCTORS OFFICE WHERE HE WAS WORKING. AUTHORITIES SAY 45-YEAR-OLD PHILLIP TINUBU HAS SO FAR BEEN CHARGED WITH ONE COUNT OF SEXUAL BATTERY. BUT, MORE CHARGES MAY BE COMING SOON. POLICE ARE ACTIVELY INVESTIGATING THREE SIMILAR COMPLAINTS AGAINST THE SUSPECT. IT'S BEEN REPORTED TINUBU IS EMPLOYED AT THE OPELOUSAS GENERAL HEALTH SYSTEM MEDICAL COMPLEX NORTH WHERE HE WORKS FOR HIS WIFE.

THE RECENT RENEWAL ON THE FOUR CENT TAX ON CIGARETTES COULD MEAN EVEN MORE MONEY FOR HEALTH CARE IN THE STATE. THE TAX RENEWAL, THAT WAS TACKED ON TO AN AMENDMENT DIRECTING MORE MONEY TO TOPS, WAS DESIGNED TO GENERATE $12 MILLION A YEAR FOR THE HEALTH EXCELLENCE FUND. THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OFTEN MATCHES DOLLARS PUT UP BY STATES AND THE TAX RENEWAL COULD GENERATE ANOTHER $36 MILLION IN FEDERAL FUNDS FOR HEALTH CARE. THE HEALTH EXCELLENCE FUND HELPS PAY FOR THINGS LIKE CHILDREN'S HEALTH INSURANCE, SCHOOL BASED HEALTH CLINICS AND OTHER EXPENSES.

THE ONE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT ON THE NOVEMBER 19TH BALLOT IS DRAWING CHEERS AND JEERS. THE AMENDMENT SEEKS TO PROHIBIT STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS FROM EVER IMPOSING A REAL ESTATE TRANSFER TAX; AN ADDITIONAL TAX ON HOMES AND PROPERTIES AT THE POINT OF SALE. MANDI MITCHELL, WITH LOUISIANA REALTORS, SAYS VOTE YES. BUT, BATON ROUGE-BASED GOOD GOVERNMENT GROUP, THE COUNCIL FOR A BETTER LOUISIANA (CABL) FEELS VOTERS SHOULD REJECT THE AMENDMENT. ERWIN SAYS CABL FEELS THE AMENDMENT IS UNNECESSARY, AS NO ONE IS EVEN PROPOSING A REAL ESTATE TRANSFER TAX..

A 26-YEAR-OLD LAFAYETTE PARISH WOMAN IS CHARGED WITH CRUELTY TO THE INFIRM, FOR ALLEGEDLY MISTREATING A MENTALLY HANDICAPPED PERSON UNDER HER CHARGE. COURTNEY MINIX WAS EMPLOYED AS CAREGIVER TO THE 44-YEAR-OLD PATIENT, WHO REQUIRES 24-HOUR CARE. MINIX WAS BOOKED, THEN RELEASED ON $5000 BAIL.

THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION AND DEVELOPMENT IS SPENDING NEARLY $2-MILLION TO UPGRADE INTERSTATE SIGNAGE. MOST OF THAT MONEY IS FEDERAL HIGHWAY DOLLARS. DOTD SPOKESPERSON JODI CONACHEN SAYS THE NEW SIGNS ARE MADE FROM A HIGH-INTENSITY, REFLECTIVE MATERIAL WHICH WILL MAKE THEM EASIER TO SEE AND READ FROM A GREATER DISTANCE AT NIGHT. CONACHEN SAYS THE NEW SIGNS WILL SOON BE A COMMON SIGHT ON INTERSTATE HIGHWAYS IN ALL AREAS OF THE STATE.

YESTERDAY MORNING. POLICE AND SHERIFF'S DEPUTIES IN LAFOURCHE PARISH ROUNDED UP 23 DRUG SUSPECTS, AS RESULT OF A 5-MONTH LONG INVESTIGATION. THE BIG BUST ALSO SEIZED MORE THAN $78-THOUSAND WORTH OF CRACK, HEROIN, PILLS AND MARIJUANA. OFFICER WENT DOOR-TO-DOOR TO NAB SUSPECTS.

THE US COAST GUARD HAS GIVEN BP IT'S APPROVAL TO END MOST OF IT'S OIL SPILL CLEANUP EFFORTS. THE COAST GUARD HAS RULED THAT 90% OF GULF COAST BEACHES & MARSHES ARE CONSIDERED CLEAN. COAST GUARD SPOKESPERSON LT. SUZANNE KERVER SAYS THE FOCUS OF THE WORK IS ENTERING A RESTORATIVE PHASE. BP HAS SET ASIDE A BILLION DOLLARS FOR RESTORATION PROJECTS ON THE GULF COAST.

NEW ORLEANS POLICE ARE INVESTIGATING THE DEATH OF A MAN WHOSE BODY WAS FOUND TUESDAY IN A TENT AT THE OCCUPY NOLA PROTESTS CAMP. DETECTIVES SAY THERE WERE NO VISIBLE SIGNS OF VIOLENCE ON THE MIDDLE-AGED MAN'S BODY. THEY'RE QUESTIONING PROTESTORS, WHILE AN AUTOPSY DETERMINES THE CAUSE OF DEATH.

AN ELEVATOR IN THE AMERICAN TOWER IN DOWNTOWN SHREVEPORT FELL SEVERAL STORIES WITH ONE PERSON SUFFERING MINOR INJURIES. THREE PEOPLE WERE ON BOARD WHEN THE ELEVATOR FELL FIVE FLOORS BEFORE IT BRAKED, STOPPING AT THE SECOND FLOOR TUESDAY AFTERNOON. ARRIVING FIREFIGHTERS WERE UNABLE TO OPEN THE CLOSED ELEVATOR WITH THE EMERGENCY KEY AND HAD TO FORCE ENTRY USING THE JAWS OF LIFE. FIREFIGHTERS SAY THE UNIDENTIFIED INJURED 24-YEAR-OLD MAN WAS TAKEN TO A LOCAL HOSPITAL FOR TREATMENT OF BACK PAIN.

SPORTS..

NUMBER ONE RANKED LSU IS A 41-POINT FAVORITE TO BEAT WESTERN KENTUCKY ON SATURDAY NIGHT IN TIGER STADIUM. THE HILLTOPPERS COME INTO THE GAME ON A FIVE-GAME WINNING STREAK AND COACH WILLIE TAGGART SAYS HIS TEAM IS LOOKING FORWARD TO THE OPPORTUNITY.

GOOD NEWS AT SAINTS CAMP AHEAD OF AN EXCITING NFC SHOWDOWN AGAINST THE ATLANTA FALCONS SUNDAY, BLACK AND GOLD RUNNING BACK MARK INGRAM RETURNED TO PRACTICE WEDNESDAY. NOT PRACTICING YESTERDAY --- CORNERBACK TRACY PORTER (WHO WAS SIDELINED IN THE TAMPA BAY GAME) MIDDLE LINEBACKER JONATHAN VILMA, DEFENSE END TURK MCBRIDE AND DEFENSIVE BACK PATRICK ROBINSON.

LOUISIANA-MONROE HOPES TO FINISH THE FOOTBALL SEASON ON A HIGH NOTE AS THEY BEGIN A TWO-GAME HOMESTAND THIS SATURDAY AGAINST MIDDLE TENNESSEE. THE WARHAWKS ARE TWO AND SEVEN AND JUST ONE AND FOUR IN THE SUN BELT. ULM COACH TODD BERRY SAYS HE'S NOT HAPPY WITH THE RESULTS OF THIS SEASON, BUT PROUD OF THE CHARACTER HIS TEAM HAS SHOWN. THE GAME AGAINST THE BLUE RAIDERS SATURDAY AFTERNOON KICKS OFF AT 2:30.

NICHOLLS STATE AND MCNEESE STATE PLAY THEIR FINAL HOME GAMES THIS WEEKEND. THE COLONELS, WHO HAVE JUST ONE WIN THIS SEASON, HOST LAMAR. THE COWBOYS ARE HOSTING TEXAS SAN ANTONIO AND IF MCNEESE IS VICTORIOUS IN THEIR FINAL TWO GAMES OF THE SEASON, THEY'LL FINISH WITH A WINNING RECORD.

AND THE PENN STATE BOARD OF TRUSTEES HAS FIRED JOE PATERNO DESPITE THE HEAD COACH SAYING HE'D RETIRE AFTER THE FOOTBALL SEASON ENDED. THE IMMEDIATE TERMINATION CAME AFTER SEVERAL ALUMNI AND OTHERS CRITICIZED THE SCHOOL OVER HOW THEY HANDLED SEX ABUSE ALLEGATIONS AGAINST AN ASSISTANT COACH.


News For Wednesday 11/9/11


NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY 110911
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE OF HOMELAND SECURITY AND EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS SAYS THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WILL CONDUCT THE FIRST NATIONWIDE TEST OF THE EMERGENCY ALERT SYSTEM TODAY AT 1PM. GOHSEP COMMUNICATION SECTION CHIEF BENJAMIN BOURGOYNE SAYS THIS WILL BE THE FIRST TIME AN EAS TEST WILL BROADCAST SIMULTANEOUSLY ACROSS THE US. BOURGOYNE (BER-GOIN) SAYS THE TEST WILL LAST ABOUT 30 SECONDS AND WILL BE BROADCAST ON EVERY TELEVISION, RADIO, CABLE AND SATELLITE PROVIDER IN THE COUNTRY. HE SAYS A NATIONAL E-A-S WILL ALLOW THE PRESIDENT TO ADDRESS THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WITHIN A MATTER OF MINUTES. BOURGOYNE SAYS THE TEST IS ONLY A PRECAUTIONARY MEASURE, BUT IT IS A GOOD REMINDER TO LOUISIANA RESIDENTS TO MAKE SURE THEY HAVE A GAME PLAN IN PLACE FOR AN ACTUAL EMERGENCY.

THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION SAYS IT'S DEEPWATER OIL & GAS LEASING PLAN CALLS FOR 12 LEASE SALES IN THE GULF OVER 5 YEARS, BUT ONE LOUISIANA CONGRESSMAN SAYS THAT'S NOWHERE NEAR ENOUGH. LAFAYETTE US REP. CHARLES BOUSTANY SAYS HE'LL BE AMONG VOICES ASKING FOR MORE DEEPWATER LEASE SALES AND FOR THE REACTIVATION OF SHALLOW WATER ACTIVITY--WHICH HAS BEEN SLOWED TO A CRAWL EVER SINCE THE 2010 DRILLING MORATORIUM. BOUSTANY SAYS WHITE HOUSE POLICY ON DOMESTIC ENERGY DOESN'T MAKE SENSE TO HIM AND THAT NORMALIZING THE PACE OF GULF ENERGY ACTIVITY COULD PROVIDED NEEDED REVENUE AND JOBS..:

A STATE LAWMAKER SAYS IT'S TIME TO INSTALL HANDRAILS ON THE STEPS OF THE STATE CAPITOL, AFTER A HAMMOND BOY BROKE SEVERAL BONES IN A FALL FROM THE STAIRS LAST WEEK. THE BOY BROKE BOTH HEELS, A LEG, AN ARM AND HIS COLLAR BONE IN THE 25-FOOT FALL. PONCHATOULA REP. STEVE PUGH SAYS HE WAS THERE, ON SCENE MINUTES AFTER THE ACCIDENT. WITNESSES SAY THE 2 YEAR OLD WAS PLAYING NEAR THE EDGE WHEN HE LOST HIS BALANCE.

WILDLIFE & FISHERIES SECRETARY BOB BARHAM SAYS THE STATE AND A BOGALUSA PAPER MILL HAVE REACHED A CASH SETTLEMENT FOR THE AUGUST POLLUTION RELEASE THAT KILLED MORE THAN A HALF-MILLION FISH ON THE PEARL RIVER. BARHAM SAYS TEMPLE INLAND WILL PAY $760-THOUSAND. BARHAM SAYS THE WATER CONDITION OF THE PEARL NOW IS GOOD. IT WAS RECENTLY RESTOCKED WITH HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF FISH.

THE LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS HAS ISSUED DISABILITY PAYMENTS TO TWO NATIONAL GUARD SOLDIERS FOR INJURIES THEY RECEIVED IN THE LINE OF DUTY. THEY ARE THE FIRST PAYMENTS MADE UNDER A STATE LAW PASSED IN 2007. VETERANS AFFAIRS SECRETARY LANE CARSON SAYS ONLY TWO OF 13 CLAIMS HAVE BEEN APPROVED SO FAR. TO QUALIFY FOR THE BENEFIT, SOLDIERS MUST BE CERTIFIED AS 100-PERCENT PERMANENTLY AND TOTALLY DISABLED. CARSON SAYS HE WILL MEET WITH LAWMAKERS TO DISCUSS CHANGING THE LANGUAGE OF THE LAW TO MAKE IT EASIER TO QUALIFY

STATE POLICE SAY A 2-VEHICLE CRASH IN VERMILION PARISH TOOK THE LIFE OF A 12-YEAR-OLD BOY. TROOPERS REPORT THE CHILD WAS A PASSENGER IN AN SUV THAT MADE A LEFT TURN ACROSS THE PATH OF AN 18-WHEELER ON LA 35 YESTERDAY MORNING. THE VEHICLE WAS HIT BROADSIDE--KILLING THE BOY AND CRITICALLY INJURING THE DRIVER. THE BIG RIG DRIVER WAS NOT SERIOUSLY HURT. THE CRASH IS UNDER INVESTIGATION.

A NEW ORLEANS HOSPITAL IS NOW ABLE TO REPLACE A PATIENT'S HEART VALVE WITHOUT THE NEED FOR OPEN HEART SURGERY. OCHSNER MEDICAL CENTER IS ONE OF 22 SITES IN THE UNITED STATES APPROVED FOR THIS NEW IMPLANT HEART VALVE PROCEDURE. DOCTOR STEPHEN RAMEE OF OCHSNER HOSPITAL SAYS THE PROCEDURE INVOLVES CARRYING VALVE TISSUE THROUGH A STATE-OF-THE-ART CATHETER FROM THE LEG, UP TO THE STILL BEATING HEART. RAMEE SAYS RECOVERY TIME IS SHORTER AND PATIENTS COULD RESUME DAILY ACTIVITIES WITHIN A MONTH OF THE PROCEDURE.

E FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS SEEKING TO OVERTURN A 2009 RULING THAT FOUND THE ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS RESPONSIBLE FOR MASSIVE FLOODING AFTER HURRICANE KATRINA BECAUSE IT FAILED TO PROPERLY MAINTAIN A NAVIGATION CHANNEL KNOWN AS THE MR. GO. A LANDMARK RULING BY U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE STANWOOD DUVAL IS SCHEDULED TO BE HEARD TODAY BY A PANEL OF THE 5TH U.S. CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS IN NEW ORLEANS.
DUVAL RULED THAT THE CORPS' SHODDY WORK TO MAINTAIN THE CHANNEL LED TO THE FLOODING OF ST. BERNARD PARISH AND THE LOWER 9TH WARD. THE FEDS DON’T DENY THAT. BUT. FEDERAL LAWYERS WILL ARGUE, AS THEY DID AT TRIAL, THAT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS IMMUNE FROM LIABILITY AS STIPULATED BY THE FLOOD CONTROL ACT OF 1928.

MISSISSIPPI VOTERS ON TUESDAY APPROVED A PROPOSED CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT TO REQUIRE THAT VOTERS PRESENT GOVERNMENT-ISSUED IDENTIFICATION AT THE POLLS.
THE ISSUE HAS BEEN DEBATED AT THE MISSISSIPPI LEGISLATURE FOR 15 YEARS. REPUBLICAN SEN. JOEY FILLINGANE OF SUMRALL WITH BACKING OF THE MISSISSIPPI GOP LAUNCHED A PETITION DRIVE THAT GOT THE INITIATIVE ON THE BALLOT. THE AMENDMENT SEEKS TO REQUIRE EVERY PERSON VOTING IN MISSISSIPPI TO SHOW A DRIVER'S LICENSE OR OTHER GOVERNMENT-ISSUED PHOTO ID AT THE POLLS.

REPUBLICAN PHIL BRYANT OF BRANDON WON THE MISSISSIPPI GOVERNOR'S RACE TUESDAY, DEFEATING DEMOCRAT JOHNNY DUPREE OF HATTIESBURG. BRYANT WILL TAKE OFFICE JAN. 10 TO SUCCEED REPUBLICAN HALEY BARBOUR, WHO COULDN'T SEEK A THIRD TERM AS GOVERNOR. THE 56 YEAR OLD BRYANT MAKES HISTORY AS THE FIRST REPUBLICAN TO SUCCEED ANOTHER REPUBLICAN AS MISSISSIPPI GOVERNOR IN MODERN TIMES. BARBOUR UNSEATED A ONE-TERM DEMOCRAT IN 2003.




News For Tuesday 11/08/11


NEWS FOR TUESDAY 110811
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

DESPITE ONGOING TENSIONS WITH CERTAIN MEMBERS OF HIS SCHOOL BOARD, RAPIDES PARISH SUPT. OF SCHOOLS DR. GARY JONES ANNOUNCED YESTERDAY THAT HE HAD WITHDRAWN HIS NAME FROM CONSIDERATION FOR THE SUPERINTENDENT’S JOB IN LAFAYETTE PARISH. WHY THE WITHDRAWAL? AT A RECENT SCHOOL BOARD MEETING WHERE A CONTRACT EXTENSION FOR JONES WAS BEING DISCUSSED, ALL THE PRINCIPALS IN RAPIDES PARISH SIGNED A LETTER OF SUPPORT FOR THEIR BOSS. MAYORS FROM PINEVILLE, ALEXANDRIA AND WOODWORTH ALSO SPOKE IN SUPPORT OF JONES. DR. GARY JONES HAS HELD HIS POSITION SINCE JANUARY OF 2003.

COULD HE HAVE STEPPED OVER A LINE? SOME SUPPORTERS OF FORMER SHERIFF WILLIAM EARL HILTON ARE SAYING YES. A NEW RADIO AD CAMPAIGN AIRING ON BLACK RADIO STATIONS IN THE PARISH CALL CURRENT SHERIFF CHUCK WAGNER “BOSS WAGNER”. THE ADS ACCUSE WAGNER OF INVADING BLACK NEIGHBORHOODS IN THE PARISH AND ARRESTING NON-VIOLENT DRUG OFFENDERS. OR AS THE ADS SAYS, YOUR SONS AND DAUGHTERS. POLITICAL ANALYST BERNIE PINSONAT SAYS HE BELIEVES THE “STRONG RACIAL OVERTONES” IN THE ADS, COULD COST HILTON VOTES.

A NEW COLD FRONT WITH THE POTENTIAL TO STIR UP SOME SEVERE WEATHER, IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN TRACKING ACROSS THE STATE LATER TODAY. STATE CLIMATOLOGIST BARRY KEIM SAYS THE FRONT SHOULD TOUCH OFF SOME THUNDER SHOWERS AS IT MOVES THROUGH. KEIM SAYS THERE COULD BE PROBLEMS WITH FALLING LIMBS AND BLOWING DEBRIS AS THE FRONT PASSES. HE EXPECTS THIS SYSTEM TO PRODUCE WIND GUSTS IN
EXCESS OF 30 MILES PER HOUR. THIS SYSTEM IS SIMILAR TO THE LAST COLD FRONT THAT PASSED THROUGH THE STATE BUT WITH STRONGER WINDS AND COLDER TEMPERATURES. KEIM SAYS WE COULD SEE THE FIRST LIGHT FROST OF THE SEASON IN THE NORTHERN PARISHES OF THE STATE.

THE STATE FIRE MARSHAL BLAMES OPERATOR ERROR FOR AN ACCIDENT THAT INJURED A FOUR YEAR OLD BOY LAST WEEK AT THE LOUISIANA STATE FAIR. STATE FIRE MARSHAL BUTCH BROWNING HELD A NEWS CONFERENCE IN SHREVEPORT MONDAY TO RELEASE DETAILS OF HIS INVESTIGATION INTO THE ACCIDENT. BROWNING SAYS THE RIDE IS EQUIPPED WITH TWO SAFETY FEATURES. ONE IS A KEY THAT PREVENTS THE RIDE FROM STARTING. THAT KEY WAS NOT ENGAGED AND ANOTHER CHILD PUSHED THE BUTTON, STARTING THE RIDE. 4-YEAR-OLD SHELDON LEWIS WAS LEAVING THE RIDE WHEN IT STARTED MOVING, APPARENTLY CAUSING HIM TO FALL AND BECOME TRAPPED BETWEEN A CAR AND THE RIDE'S METAL DECK. LEWIS REMAINS IN CRITICAL CONDITION AT LSU HEALTH SCIENCES CENTER.

STATE POLICE DETECTIVES HAVE CONCLUDED THAT THE SEPT. 30 DEATH OF A DEPARTMENT OF WILDLIFE AND FISHERIES ENFORCEMENT AGENT WAS AN ACCIDENT. THE BODY OF SGT. PAUL STUCKEY WAS FOUND ON RIVER ROAD IN ST. FRANCISVILLE BETWEEN THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER AND THE U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS MAT-CASTING PLANT. LT. DOUG CAIN SAYS DETECTIVES REPORTED THEIR FINDINGS LAST WEEK TO STUCKEY'S FAMILY AND THE COMMAND STAFF OF THE DEPARTMENT OF WILDLIFE AND FISHERIES. CAIN SAID STUCKEY WAS INVESTIGATING AN ACTIVE COMPLAINT OF NIGHT HUNTING IN THE AREA. HE SAID THAT IT WAS OBVIOUS THAT STUCKEY WAS SETTING UP SURVEILLANCE AND HAD AN ACCIDENTAL DISCHARGE OF HIS SHOTGUN.

THE ST. MARTIN PARISH SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT SAYS IT WILL CLOSE ITS JUVENILE DETENTION CENTER. THE FACILITY WILL OFFICIALLY CLOSE AT THE END OF THIS YEAR. ACCORDING TO THE DEPARTMENT, DWINDLING NUMBERS OF JUVENILES SENT TO THE FACILITY IS ATTRIBUTED TO THE CLOSURE. A REGIONAL FACILITY ALSO IS CURRENTLY UNDER CONSTRUCTION IN BUNKIE BY THE STATE THAT WOULD FURTHER DECREASE NUMBERS. THE SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT SAYS IT WILL CONSIDER FUTURE USES FOR THE FACILITY, WHICH IS ALSO PARTIALLY USED FOR TRAINING AND OTHER FUNCTIONS.

LOUISIANA IS LOOSING 17-MILLION DOLLARS IN FEDERAL MONEY THAT IS USED TO HELP FAMILIES WHO ARE CARING FOR RELATIVES' CHILDREN. THE DOLLARS, WHICH WOULD HELP A GRANDMOTHER CARE FOR THEIR GRANDCHILDREN WILL GO AWAY ON DECEMBER FIRST. DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES SECRETARY RUTH JOHNSON SAYS CUTS BY CONGRESS IS THE REASON FOR THE LOSS OF FUNDS. JOHNSON SAYS LOUISIANA IS ONE OF 17 STATES TO RECEIVE THIS TYPE OF FUNDING TO HELP A GRANDMOTHER OR AUNT BE THE PRIMARY CARETAKER OF A CHILD. SHE SAYS ITS UNLIKELY CONGRESS WILL RESTORE THESE DOLLARS.

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL'S PICK TO BE LOUISIANA'S NEXT EDUCATION SUPERINTENDENT SAID MONDAY THAT IT'S NOT APPROPRIATE TO TALK WITH EDUCATION BOARD MEMBERS ABOUT THE JOB UNTIL AFTER THE NOV. 19 ELECTION. JOHN WHITE, HEAD OF THE STATE-RUN RECOVERY SCHOOL DISTRICT, SAID HE'S FOCUSED ON HIS CURRENT POSITION AND HASN'T BEEN PITCHING HIMSELF TO THE MEMBERS OF THE BOARD OF ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION FOR THE STATE SUPERINTENDENT'S POST. HE WAS ALSO GUARDED ABOUT EXPRESSING HIS INTEREST IN THE POSITION. WHITE SAYS, IF THE BESE BOARD IS INTERESTED IN HAVING HIM AS SUPERINTENDENT, AFTER THEIR INAUGURATION, HE'D BE MORE THAN HONORED AND AT THAT POINT HE WOULD CONSIDER THAT DEEPLY.

HORNBECK OFFSHORE SERVICES, AN OFFSHORE VESSEL PROVIDER BASED IN COVINGTON, PLANS TO SPEND ABOUT $720 MILLION BUILDING 16 NEW OFFSHORE SUPPLY VESSELS THAT WILL BE DELIVERED IN 2013 AND 2014. THE COMPANY, WHICH PROVIDES WATER TRANSPORTATION FOR THE OFFSHORE PETROLEUM INDUSTRY, ALSO MAY BUILD ANOTHER 16 VESSELS — BEYOND THE INITIAL 16 — IF MARKET CONDITIONS WARRANT. HORNBECK EXPECTS TO DEPLOY THE VESSELS, WHICH WILL BE BUILT IN THE UNITED STATES, IN THE GULF OF MEXICO, BRAZIL AND MEXICO.

METAL SHARK ALUMINUM BOATS OF JEANERETTE HAS A $192 MILLION CONTRACT TO REPLACE THE COAST GUARD'S FLEET OF SMALL PORT SECURITY BOATS. PRESIDENT AND CO-OWNER CHRIS ALLARD (AL'-URD) SAYS THE COMPANY WILL BUILD UP TO 500 OF THE BOATS. ALLARD’S COMPANY WAS ONE OF TWO FINALISTS THAT EACH PROVIDED A BOAT FOR TRIALS BY COAST GUARD CREWS IN JUNE AND JULY.
HE SAYS THE COMPANY HAS JUST UNDER 100 WORKERS, AND EXPECTS TO HIRE 20 TO 40 MORE WELDERS, RIGGING AND ELECTRONIC EXPERTS AND INSTALLERS OVER THE NEXT YEAR. HE SAYS THE CONTRACT COULD LEAD TO EVEN MORE BUSINESS, SINCE THE BOATS WILL BE SEEN IN PORTS AND WATERWAYS AROUND THE COUNTRY.

THE SHAW GROUP MAY HAVE OVERBILLED THE STATE ABOUT $500,000 AFTER IT WAS HIRED BY GOV. BOBBY JINDAL'S ADMINISTRATION TO BUILD $250 MILLION WORTH OF SAND BERMS ALONG THE GULF OF MEXICO TO BLOCK OIL SPEWING FROM AN OUT-OF-CONTROL BP WELL FROM WASHING ASHORE, ACCORDING TO THE STATE LEGISLATIVE AUDITOR. A LEGISLATIVE AUDITOR'S REPORT MONDAY SAID SHAW BILLED THE STATE BETWEEN JUNE 2010 AND AUGUST 2011 FOR $251 MILLION AND THAT ABOUT $495,000 WORTH OF INVOICES EITHER SHOULD NOT BE PAID OR SHOULD BE PAID ONLY WITH MORE DOCUMENTATION. THE AUDIT FOUND PROBLEMS WITH BILLS FOR MATERIAL AND EQUIPMENT, TRAVEL CHARGES AND REIMBURSABLE EXPENSES. BP GAVE LOUISIANA THE MONEY TO BUILD THE BERMS.

News For Monday 11/07/11


NEWS FOR MONDAY 110711
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

PINEVILLE RESIDENTS WILL HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY ON SATURDAY THE 19TH TO SAY YEA OR NAY TO A $20 MILLION BOND ISSUE THAT WOULD BE PUT TO WORK MAKING IMPROVEMENTS TO SEVERAL PINEVILLE SCHOOLS, INCLUDING PLANS FOR A NEW UPPER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TO EASE OVERCROWDING AT J.I. BARRON ELEMENTARY AND A NEW ATHLETICS FIELDHOUSE AT PINEVILLE HIGH SCHOOL. EARLY VOTING FOR THE ELECTIONS STARTED SATURDAY.

NEAR PERFECT WEATHER BROUGHT OUT, WHAT SOME ARE SAYING, RECORD CROWDS FOR THE 43RD LOUISIANA PECAN FESTIVAL IN COLFAX. AS USUAL IT WAS THE LURE OF PECAN PIES AND CANE SUGAR, CARNIVAL RIDES AND ENTERTAINMENT THAT FILLED THE STREETS. PECANS, THOUGH PRICY THIS YEAR WERE ALSO A BIG SELLER.

HEARD THIS BEFORE.. THE CHECK’S IN THE MAIL?? WELL HERE’S A TWIST, THE BILL ISN’T IN THE MAIL YET. ALEXANDRIA RESIDENTS WHO TYPICALLY RECEIVE UTILITY BILLS AT THE BEGINNING OF EACH MONTH SHOULD RECEIVE A BILL NEXT WEEK. THE PROBLEM, A COMPUTER UPGRADE AND A SHORTAGE OF METER READERS. THOUGH THE BILL WILL BE LATE, KEEP IN MIND, YOU STILL OWE FOR WHAT YOU USE. BUT THIS TIME THE BILL WILL BE FOR 40-DAY BILL OR MORE.

ALEXANDRIA POLICE CHIEF LOREN M. LAMPERT WANTS RESIDENTS TO KNOW HIS DEPARTMENT IS BECOMING A DATA-DRIVEN AGENCY. THE DEPARTMENT HAS BEGUN AN INTELLIGENCE-DRIVEN POLICING INITIATIVE TO CRACK DOWN ON CRIME AND RESPOND IN A TIMELY MANNER TO OTHER EMERGENCIES. LAMPERT SAYS POLICE HAVE BEEN GATHERING CRIME DATA SINCE 1998, BUT HAS UNDERUSED THE AVAILABLE INFORMATION.

MAJOR, EXPENSIVE IMPROVEMENTS TO THE BOGALUSA PAPER MILL RESPONSIBLE FOR A MASSIVE AUGUST FISH KILL IN THE PEARL RIVER WILL BEGIN AT THE END OF THE YEAR.
THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY RELEASED A TIMELINE LAST WEEK DETAILING WHEN THE TEMPLE-INLAND MILL MUST BEGIN AND COMPLETE CONSTRUCTION OF NEW INFRASTRUCTURE DESIGNED TO PREVENT ANOTHER FISH KILL. THE MILL'S EQUIPMENT MALFUNCTIONED AND SPILLED AN UNAUTHORIZED BY-PRODUCT KNOWN AS BLACK LIQUOR INTO THE PEARL, DEPLETING OXYGEN AND KILLING HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF FISH AND MUSSELS. MILL OFFICIALS ORIGINALLY ESTIMATED THE COST OF THE IMPROVEMENTS AT ABOUT $10 MILLION, BUT NOW ANTICIPATE THE COST WILL EXCEED $15 MILLION.

FARM-STATE LAWMAKERS ARE MOVING TO CREATE A WHOLE NEW SUBSIDY THAT WOULD PROTECT FARMERS WHEN THEIR REVENUE DROPS , AN UNPRECEDENTED PROGRAM THAT CRITICS SAY COULD PAY BILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO FARMERS NOW ENJOYING RECORD-HIGH CROP PRICES. THE SUBSIDY, FREE INSURANCE THAT WOULD COVER FARMERS' "SHALLOW CROP LOSSES" BEFORE THEIR PAID INSURANCE KICKS IN, HAS BEEN PUSHED BY CORN AND SOYBEAN FARMERS WHO COULD BENEFIT THE MOST FROM THE PROGRAM. GROWERS GET THE DIRECT PAYMENTS REGARDLESS OF CROP YIELDS OR PRICES. THEY DON'T EVEN HAVE TO FARM. TOP REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS ON THE HOUSE AND SENATE AGRICULTURE COMMITTEES ARE LOOKING AT FOLDING THE NEW SUBSIDY INTO A FARM BILL PROPOSAL THEY ARE QUIETLY CRAFTING AS PART OF THEIR CHARGE BY THE DEFICIT-CUTTING CONGRESSIONAL SUPERCOMMITTEE TO CUT FARM SPENDING.

A NEW TERM FOR LAWMAKERS BEGINS IN JANUARY, BUT NOTHING MUCH IS CHANGING OR ADVANCING IN THE WAYS OF THE LOUISIANA LEGISLATURE. UNLIKE IN OTHER STATES, WHERE OFFICIALS EXERCISE A TRUE SEPARATION OF POWERS BETWEEN THE LEGISLATIVE AND EXECUTIVE BRANCHES, LOUISIANA'S LAWMAKERS ARE MORE THAN WILLING TO CEDE THEIR AUTHORITY TO THE GOVERNOR. THEY'RE AGAIN LETTING THE GOVERNOR CHOOSE THEIR LEADERS, RATHER THAN GOING THROUGH A PUBLIC DEBATE ABOUT WHO MIGHT BE BEST FOR THE JOB AND BEST TO LEAD THE LEGISLATURE. AFTER WINNING OVERWHELMING RE-ELECTION TO A SECOND TERM, JINDAL SHORTLY THEREAFTER ANNOUNCED HIS PICKS FOR SENATE PRESIDENT AND HOUSE SPEAKER: SEN. JOHN ALARIO, R-WESTWEGO, AND REP. CHUCK KLECKLEY, R-LAKE CHARLES. THE GOVERNOR DIDN'T EVEN WAIT UNTIL THE FULL LEGISLATURE WAS CHOSEN FOR THE NEXT TERM. FOUR SENATE SEATS AND 21 HOUSE SEATS REMAIN UNDECIDED, UNTIL THE NOV. 19 RUNOFF.

THE LSU-ALABAMA GAME DREW THE SECOND-HIGHEST RATING OF ANY CBS REGULAR-SEASON COLLEGE FOOTBALL BROADCAST SINCE THE NETWORK BEGAN TRACKING RATINGS IN 1987. THE NETWORK SAID SUNDAY THE NO. 1 VERSUS NO. 2 SHOWDOWN EARNED AN AVERAGE OVERNIGHT RATING/SHARE WAS UP 170% FROM LAST YEAR'S MEETING. THE HIGHEST RATED CBS REGULAR SEASON GAME WAS NOTRE DAME-MIAMI IN 1989

THE NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH IS CONDUCTING THE LARGEST STUDY TO DATE ON THE HEALTH EFFECTS OF THE BP OIL SPILL ON THE 55-THOUSAND CLEANUP WORKERS AND VOLUNTEERS. DALE SANDLER, PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR FOR THE GULF STUDY SAYS EXPERTS KNOW VERY LITTLE ABOUT THE EFFECTS OF LONG TERM EXPOSURE TO OIL AND OTHER CHEMICALS USED IN THE CLEANUP. THE STUDY WILL MONITOR THE WORKERS WHO HELPED WITH THE CLEANUP OF THE SPILL ALONG THE GULF COAST. RIGHT NOW THE STUDY IS TRYING TO CONTACT EVERYONE WHO WORKED ON THE OIL SPILL CLEANUP OR MAY HAVE TRAINED TO WORK THERE.

MEMBERS OF THE UNITED HOUMA NATION TRIBE OF AMERICAN INDIANS HAVE CREATED A DIGITAL PETITION ON THE WHITE HOUSE'S WEBSITE AS THEY CONTINUE A DECADES-LONG QUEST FOR FEDERAL RECOGNITION. THE UNITED HOUMA NATION'S PETITION MUST GET 25,000 SIGNATURES BEFORE DEC. 1 TO GET AN OFFICIAL RESPONSE FROM THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION. THEY HAVE A LONG WAY TO GO, AS OF THE WEEKEND, THE PETITION, WHICH WAS LAUNCHED TUESDAY OF LAST WEEK, HAD GARNERED JUST UNDER 2,000 SIGNATURES.

SCAM ARTISTS ARE TARGETING ELDERLY LAKE CHARLES AREA RESIDENTS BY IMPERSONATING THEIR GRANDCHILDREN AND SEEKING TRANSFERS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS. AUTHORITIES REPORT THE SCAMMERS ARE USING TECHNOLOGY TO SHIELD THEIR IDENTITIES FROM WOULD-BE VICTIMS AND AVOID DETECTION. THE SCAMMERS APPEAR TO BE USING GOOGLE VOICE, AN INTERNET BASED TELEPHONE SERVICE, TO CALL POTENTIAL VICTIMS IN SOUTHWEST LOUISIANA. GOOGLE VOICE IS AVAILABLE FOR PUBLIC USE AND IS FREE OR, FOR PEOPLE WHO MAKE INTERNATIONAL CALLS, LOW-COST. CARMEN MILLION, PRESIDENT OF THE LOCAL BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU, SAID THAT WHILE THE SCAM RECENTLY AFFECTING LAKE CHARLES IS CLASSIC, THE TECHNOLOGY THAT PERMITS GREATER ANONYMITY IS A NEW WRINKLE.

POLICE IN THIBODAUX SAY A MAN FIRED GUNSHOTS AT A CAR WHERE HIS EX-GIRLFRIEND WAS SITTING WITH A FRIEND IN A STORE PARKING LOT, THEN KILLED HIMSELF AFTER LEADING POLICE ON A CHASE THAT ENDED WITH A CAR CRASH. THE INCIDENT OCCURRED EARLY SATURDAY MORNING.

STILL INSISTING HE IS INNOCENT, A MAN CONVICTED IN A 2010 KILLING IN FERRIDAY HAS BEEN FORMALLY SENTENCED TO LIFE PLUS 90 YEARS IN PRISON. BRYANT BETHLEY WAS CONVICTED OCT. 21 ON ONE COUNT OF SECOND-DEGREE MURDER AND THREE COUNTS OF ATTEMPTED SECOND-DEGREE MURDER IN THE DEATH OF REGINALD "CHUCKY" GREEN. GREEN DIED AFTER BETHLEY FIRED SHOTS INTO A PARKED CHEVY BLAZER FOLLOWING WHAT POLICE SAID AT THE TIME WAS A MONEY-RELATED DISPUTE. THREE OTHERS WERE IN THE VEHICLE BUT WERE UNHARMED.

THE LOUISIANA STATE DEPARTMENT OF AG AND FORESTRY IS LAUNCHING A STATEWIDE AD CAMPAIGN PROMOTING "LOUISIANA GROWN" TURFGRASS THAT FEATURES LSU HEAD COACH LES MILES. AG COMMISSIONER MIKE STRAIN SAYS MILES IMAGE WILL BE USED IN A SERIES OF OUTDOOR, PRINT AND WEB ADS. STRAIN SAYS THE SLOGAN IS "YOU DON'T HAVE TO CHEW IT TO LOVE IT, LOUISIANA GROWN TURFGRASS DEMAND IT." STRAIN SAYS MILES IS A NATURAL FOR THEIR AD CAMPAIGN, ESPECIALLY SINCE THE HEAD COACH LIKES TO EAT GRASS.



SPORTS..
LSU IS NUMBER ONE IN THE BCS STANDINGS AND IN CONTROL ITS OWN DESTINY, AFTER ITS NINE TO SIX OVERTIME WIN AT ALABAMA. THE TIGERS HAVE FOUR GAMES LEFT ON THEIR SCHEDULE, INCLUDING THE SEC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME. JERRY PALM OF COLLEGE-B-C-S-DOT-COM, SAYS LSU COULD STILL LOSE A GAME AND PLAY IN THE BCS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME. PALM SAYS IF LSU REACHES THE BCS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME, HE EXPECTS THEM TO FACE STANFORD.

AFTER A DISAPPOINTING LOSS A WEEK AGO TO THE ST. LOUIS RAMS, THE SAINTS BOUNCED BACK WITH A NICE WIN YESTERDAY OVER DIVISION RIVAL TAMPA BAY. QUARTERBACK DREW BREES THREW FOR 258 YARDS AND TWO TOUCHDOWNS AND THE SAINTS ALSO RUSHED FOR 195 YARDS IN A 27-16 VICTORY OVER THE BUCS.







News For Friday 11/4/11


\NEWS FOR FRIDAY 110411
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

NOW FOR THE LATEST CHAPTER IN THE ONGOING BATTLE BETWEEN THE ALEXANDRIA CITY COUNCIL AND THE ADMINISTRATION. CITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT JOHNSON HAS SUBPOENAED MAYOR JACQUES ROY AND KEY MEMBERS OF HIS STAFF, ORDERING THEM TO APPEAR BEFORE THE COUNCIL AT A SPECIAL MEETING DECEMBER 1ST AND PRODUCE DOCUMENTS PERTAINING TO THE OPERATION OF THE ALEXANDER FULTON HOTEL. IN ADDITION TO THE SUBPOENAS, JOHNSON SENT A COPY OF SECTION 2-08 OF THE CITY'S HOME RULE CHARTER, WHICH AUTHORIZES THE COUNCIL TO INVESTIGATE ANY CITY DEPARTMENT AND THE OVERALL "AFFAIRS OF THE CITY," AS WELL AS A COPY OF A RESOLUTION PASSED BY THE COUNCIL ON OCT. 18 THAT AUTHORIZED THE COUNCIL'S FINANCE COMMITTEE TO INVESTIGATE THE ALEXANDER FULTON HOTEL'S FINANCIAL STATUS. JOHNSON SAYS HE BECAME CONCERNED OVER A TOTAL OF ROUGHLY $200,000 THAT THE CITY HAS SPENT IN RECENT MONTHS FOR CAPITAL REPAIRS AT THE HOTEL, SOMETHING THAT "RAISED A RED FLAG.

IT’S OVER FOR NOW, THE FEDERAL BRIBERY TRIAL OF FORMER RAPIDES PARISH POLICE JUROR STEVE BORDELON ENDED IN A MISTRIAL LAST NIGHT WHEN THE JURY COULD NOT REACH A UNANIMOUS DECISION AFTER 2½ DAYS OF DELIBERATION. THE 72 YEAR OLD BORDELON FACED UP TO 10 YEARS IN PRISON AND A FINE IF HE HAD BEEN CONVICTED ON THE ONE COUNT OF BRIBERY. BUT, BORDELON’S TROUBLES ARE NOT OVER YET, THE U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE WANTS A RETRIAL. THE JUDGE GAVE THE GOVERNMENT 120 DAYS TO DO SO.

SOME ALEXANDRIA CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS STILL WOULD LIKE TO SEE THE CITY'S TRASH PICKUP SERVICE IMPROVED. COUNCIL PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT JOHNSON HAS CONTINUED TO PUSH FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF A CITYWIDE TRASH PICKUP SCHEDULE, SIMILAR TO WHAT THE CITY DOES WHEN IT PICKS UP HOUSEHOLD GARBAGE. HOWEVER, MAYOR JACQUES ROY AND HIS STAFF MEMBERS, INCLUDING PUBLIC WORKS DIRECTOR T.W. THOMPSON, HAVE SAID A SIMILAR SCHEDULE IS NOT FEASIBLE. UNLIKE GARBAGE, IT'S NOT POSSIBLE TO SET A SCHEDULE BECAUSE PEOPLE DON'T CUT TREE LIMBS OR DO MAJOR CLEANING PROJECTS ON A REGULAR BASIS. THE CITY RUNS FIVE LIMB TRUCKS PER WEEK, WITH AN ADDITIONAL FOUR TRUCKS OUT OF COMMISSION FOR REPAIRS. THOSE TRUCKS ROAM NEIGHBORHOODS THROUGHOUT THE CITY PICKING UP DEBRIS, AND THOMPSON SAID THE AVERAGE PICKUP TIME IS BETWEEN NINE AND 10 DAYS AT THIS POINT.

IT'S THAT TIME OF YEAR WHERE THE TEMPERATURES ARE UP ONE WEEK AND DOWN THE NEXT. STATE CLIMATOLOGIST BARRY KEIM SAYS ANOTHER COOL FRONT HAS SETTLED OVER THE STATE BRINGING IN SOME CHILLY DRY AIR TODAY. KEIM SAYS THIS IS PACIFIC AIR MOVING IN RATHER THAN CANADIAN AIR SO IT'S NOT QUITE AS COLD AS IT WAS LAST WEEK AND HE DOESN'T EXPECT FREEZING TEMPERATURES. KEIM SAYS IT'S GOING TO BE A DELIGHTFUL WEEKEND. KEIM SAYS NOT ONLY IS THE WEATHER GOING TO BE BEAUTIFUL THIS WEEKEND FOR US HERE WATCHING THE LSU/BAMA GAME OUTDOORS ON TV, BUT THOSE TRAVELING TO BRYANT DENNY STADIUM WILL GET SOME NICE WEATHER TOO. HE SAYS MORNING TEMPERATURES IN TUSCALOOSA SATURDAY WILL BE IN THE LOW 40S, AND BY KICKOFF TEMPS WILL BE AROUND 55.

A CAR INSURANCE WEBSITE'S REPORT INDICATES THAT LOUISIANA HAS THE WORST DRIVERS IN THE NATION, OVERALL. THE STUDY COMPILED STATE-BY-STATE DATA ON TRAFFIC DEATHS, TICKETS ISSUED, DWIS, CARELESS OPERATION AND DISREGARD FOR TRAFFIC LAWS. INSURANCE COMMISSIONER JIM DONELON SAYS POOR DRIVING HABITS ARE WHY OUR CAR INSURANCE RATES ARE SO HIGH. THE WEBSITE CAR INSURANCE COMPARISON.COM" SHOWS LOUISIANA FINISHING IN THE BOTTOM 10 STATES IN EACH CATEGORY. ONLY MONTANA HAS MORE ANNUAL TRAFFIC DEATHS.

THE STATE FIRE MARSHAL'S INVESTIGATION INTO YESTERDAY'S ACCIDENT AT THE STATE FAIR IN SHREVEPORT IS FOCUSING ON THE POSSIBILITY THAT SOMEONE MAY HAVE RESTARTED THE RIDE THAT SENT A 4-YEAR-OLD CHILD TO THE HOSPITAL IN CRITICAL CONDITION. STATE FIRE MARSHAL BUTCH BROWNING SAYS THEY ELIMINATED MECHANICAL OR ELECTRICAL FAILURE AS THE CAUSE. WITNESS ACCOUNTS REPORTED THE RIDE SUDDENLY RESTARTED AS CHILDREN, INCLUDING FOUR-YEAR-OLD SHELDON LEWIS, WERE GETTING OFF. HE WAS PINNED UNDER ONE OF THE CARS. SHELDON REMAINS IN CRITICAL CONDITION.

CALCASIEU PARISH SHERIFF'S INVESTIGATORS SAY THEY'VE TURNED UP NO EVIDENCE THAT CYBERBULLYING LED TO THE OCTOBER 25TH SUICIDE OF A LAKE CHARLES TEEN. SPECIALISTS COMBED THROUGH 15-YEAR-OLD HANNAH PAULEY'S COMPUTER AND CELL PHONE FOR E-MAILS, TEXT MESSAGES, ANY EVIDENCE. THEY ALSO SAYS IT'S IMPOSSIBLE TO PROVE SHE WAS VICTIM OF VERBAL OR FACE-TO-FACE BULLYING, UNLESS SOMEONE COMES FORWARD.

LOUISIANA NATIONAL GUARD MAJOR GENERAL BENNETT LANDRENEAU IS RETIRING, AFTER 40 YEARS IN MILITARY SERVICE--THE LAST 14 AS THE LNG'S ADJUTANT GENERAL. LANDRENEAU LED THE GUARD'S RESPONSES TO KATRINA, RITA, GUSTAV AND IKE. AS HE EXITS, BRIGADIER GENERAL GLENN CURTIS TAKES OVER, AND LANDRENEAU SAYS THE GUARD IS IN GOOD HANDS.

A TEENAGE MOM IN TALLULAH IS JAILED FOR 2ND-DEGREE MURDER FOR THE JULY DEATH OF HER 2-MONTH OLD BABY GIRL. STATE POLICE TROOPER MARK DENNIS SAYS 16-YEAR-OLD AMANDA LEE WILL BE TRIED AS AN ADULT. DENNIS SAYS THE BABY DIED OF PNEUMONIA, CAUSED BY A BROKEN RIB THAT PUNCTURED HER LUNG. HE SAYS THE BABY HAD OTHER EVIDENCE OF PHYSICAL ABUSE.

THREE YEARS AGO TODAY, BARACK OBAMA WAS ELECTED PRESIDENT OF THE U.S.; TAKING 53% OF THE POPULAR VOTE. DR. PEARSON CROSS, HEAD OF UL- LAFAYETTE'S POLITICAL SCIENCE DEPARTMENT, SAYS THE PRESIDENT'S FIRST THREE YEARS IN OFFICE HAVE BEEN A ROLLER COASTER. CROSS SAYS OBAMA'S BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT SO FAR HAS BEEN PASSING HIS HEALTH CARE REFORM LEGISLATION. HE SAYS LOW POINTS FOR OBAMA HAVE BEEN LESS-THAN-SUCCESSFUL STIMULUS PLANS, HIGH FEDERAL DEBT, THE POOR ECONOMY AND HIS SEEMING INABILITY TO WORK WITH CONGRESS SINCE THE 2010 ELECTION. LOOKING TO NEXT FALL, WHAT ARE THE PRESIDENT'S CHANCES OF A SECOND TERM? CROSS SAYS IF THE ECONOMY DOESN'T IMPROVE, OBAMA'S CHANCES AT 4 MORE YEARS DIMINISH.

GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL SAYS HE AND ALABAMA GOVERNOR ROBERT BENTLEY HAVE A GENTLEMAN'S WAGER ON SATURDAY'S LSU-BAMA GAME. IF THE TIGERS WIN, BENTLEY WILL PROVIDE FOR MR. JINDAL TUSCALOOSA'S FAMOUS "MAMMOTH" SANDWICH, FROM THE RAMA JAMA RESTAURANT; WHICH FEATURES 13 STRIPS OF BACON. A CRIMSON TIDE WIN MEANS JINDAL PROVIDES A NICE BIG LOUISIANA SEAFOOD DINNER. JINDAL SAYS HE'S STOKED FOR THE GAME OF THE CENTURY.

STATE WILDLIFE & FISHERIES HAS RESTOCKED THE PEARL RIVER WITH FISH, FOLLOWING THE AUGUST POLLUTION DISCHARGE THAT KILLED OVER A HALF-MILLION FISH AND FRESHWATER MUSSELS. LDWF RELEASE 30-THOUSAND CHANNEL CATFISH AND ABOUT 24-THOUSAND YOUNG BLUEGILL INTO THE RIVER YESTERDAY.

BIG CHANGES ARE COMING TO THE UNIVERSITY OF LOUISIANA – LAFAYETTE CAMPUS. OFFICIALS ARE PUTTING THE FINAL TOUCHES ON A MASTER PLAN THAT WOULD PROVIDE THE BLUEPRINT FOR FUTURE GROWTH. LEAD ARCHITECT, STEVEN OUBRE, SAYS THE PLAN CALLS FOR MORE GREEN SPACES, IMPROVED TRANSIT AND HOUSING, AND REMODELED PEDESTRIAN PATHS. PLUS HE SAYS THE CAMPUS WILL BE BIKE FRIENDLY. THE PLAN ALSO FEATURES AN EXPANSION OF THE CAJUNDOME.

A PRAIRIEVILLE MAN HAS PLEADED GUILTY TO A CHARGE HE SHOT AND WOUNDED TWO HISPANIC MEN IN WHAT FEDERAL PROSECUTORS CALL A RACIALLY MOTIVATED ATTACK.
FIFTY-YEAR-OLD MARK GAUTREAU FACES UP TO 10 YEARS IN PRISON AND A $250,000 FINE FOLLOWING HIS GUILTY PLEA THURSDAY TO ONE COUNT OF ASSAULT WITH A DANGEROUS WEAPON. PROSECUTORS SAY GAUTREAU FIRED A SINGLE SHOTGUN BLAST AT FOUR HISPANIC MEN WHO WERE FISHING ON THE BONNET CARRE SPILLWAY IN ST. CHARLES PARISH ON AUG. 20, 2006. TWO OF THE MEN WERE WOUNDED AND HOSPITALIZED.
BEFORE THE SHOOTING, GAUTREAU ALLEGEDLY TOLD A BYSTANDER THAT HE INTENDED TO "SHOOT SOME MEXICANS." PROSECUTORS SAID THE VICTIMS DIDN'T THREATEN GAUTREAU IN ANY WAY. GAUTREAU WAS CHARGED IN SEPTEMBER. HIS SENTENCING IS SET FOR FEB. 9.

STATE HEALTH AND HOSPITALS SECRETARY BRUCE GREENSTEIN SAID THURSDAY HIS OFFICE IS LAUNCHING A STATEWIDE OUTREACH CAMPAIGN TO TELL MEDICAID RECIPIENTS ABOUT CHANGES THAT WILL RUN MUCH OF THE MEDICAID PROGRAM THROUGH MANAGED CARE NETWORKS. ABOUT 865,000 LOW-INCOME RESIDENTS WHO GET MEDICAL TREATMENT THROUGH MEDICAID, MOSTLY CHILDREN, WILL BE STEERED INTO THE "COORDINATED CARE NETWORKS," WHICH WILL BE A LARGELY INSURANCE-BASED MODEL WHEN FULLY PHASED IN BY MID-2012. THE PROGRAM IS BEING CALLED BAYOU HEALTH. THE CHANGES WILL BEGIN FIRST IN THE NEW ORLEANS AREA FEB. 1

News For Thursday 11/3/11


NEWS FOR THURSDAY 110311
DAVE GRAICHEN

HERE'S AN ALARMING STATISTIC FROM THE USDA; ONE OUT OF EVERY FIVE LOUISIANANS IS ON FOOD STAMPS. STATE DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN & FAMILY SERVICES SPOKESMAN TREY WILLIAMS CONFIRMS THAT ABOUT 907-THOUSAND STATE RESIDENTS WERE RECEIVING FEDERALLY-FUNDED SUPPLEMENTAL NUTRITION ASSISTANCE AS OF AUGUST OF THIS YEAR. HE SAYS THE SLUGGISH ECONOMY IS LARGELY THE REASON, BUT IT'S HOPED THAT NUMBER WILL LEVEL OFF AND DROP OVER THE NEXT FEW MONTHS.

LOUISIANA SEAFOOD PROCESSORS, FORESTERS AND OTHERS WHO USE IMMIGRANT WORKERS SAID IN FEDERAL COURT WEDNESDAY THAT GOVERNMENT-MANDATED WAGE HIKES FOR FOREIGN WORKERS COULD PUT THEM OUT OF BUSINESS. THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WANTS EMPLOYERS TO RAISE THE WAGES OF SEASONAL WORKERS TO $11.03 AN HOUR BY NOVEMBER 30. EMPLOYERS WHO USE THE H-2B VISA PROGRAM ARE ASKING U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE DEE DRELL IN ALEXANDRIA TO POSTPONE THE WAGE INCREASES AND ATTORNEYS FOR THE GOVERNMENT WANT DRELL TO TRANSFER THE CASE FILED IN HIS COURT TO A FEDERAL COURT IN PENNSYLVANIA. DRELL DID NOT RULE WEDNESDAY ON TRANSFERRING THE CASE OR POSTPONING THE NOV. 30 IMPLEMENTATION.

IT’S BACK TO SQUARE ONE FOR TIFFANY SANDERS, AS HER FATE AS A MEMBER OF THE ALEXANDRIA CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION IS HEADED BACK TO DISTRICT COURT. A THREE-JUDGE PANEL WITH THE 3RD CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEAL OVERTURNED A PREVIOUS DECISION BY 9TH DISTRICT JUDGE GEORGE METOYER THAT THREW OUT TWO CASES RELATED TO SANDERS' APPOINTMENT AND ALLOWED FOR THE ALEXANDRIA ATTORNEY TO BE SEATED ON THE COMMISSION. ON JAN. 14, METOYER ORDERED THAT LAWSUITS FILED BY ALEXANDRIA MAYOR JACQUES ROY AGAINST ALEXANDRIA CITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT JOHNSON AND FILED BY SANDERS AGAINST THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION BOTH BE DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE AND THAT THE PROCESS OF APPOINTING A COMMISSIONER START ANEW. THE APPELLATE PANEL, HOWEVER, SAID METOYER DID NOT HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO RESTART THE PROCESS.

THEY WORKED ALL DAY. BUT TO NO AVAIL. THE JURY IN THE FEDERAL BRIBERY TRIAL OF FORMER RAPIDES PARISH POLICE JUROR STEVE BORDELON DELIBERATED ALL DAY WEDNESDAY WITHOUT REACHING A VERDICT. IT WILL RETURN AT 9 A.M. TODAY TO TRY AGAIN. THE 72 YEAR OLD BORDELON WAS INDICTED IN APRIL 2010 ON ONE COUNT OF BRIBERY CONNECTED TO THE PURCHASE OF TWO RESIDENTIAL LOTS OUTSIDE PINEVILLE.


A RECENTLY FIRED DEPARTMENT HEAD AT UL-LAFAYETTE HAS BEEN FOUND DEAD IN A BATON ROUGE HOTEL ROOM, AN APPARENT SUICIDE. SIMON BROUSSARD OVERSAW TRANSIT AND PARKING AT THE UNIVERSITY UNTIL LAST THURSDAY. BATON ROUGE POLICE SAY A SUICIDE NOTE WAS FOUND NEXT TO HIS BODY. BROUSSARD'S OFFICE WAS UNDER INTERNAL INVESTIGATION FOR THEFT ALLEGATIONS, BUT IT'S UNKNOWN IF HE WAS SUSPECTED OF ANY WRONGDOING.

A TRAGIC ACCIDENT AT THE STATE FAIR IN SHREVEPORT HAS LEFT A 4-YEAR-OLD BOY CRITICALLY INJURED. LITTLE SHELDON LEWIS, OF COUSHATTA, WAS PART OF A SCHOOL FIELD TRIP TO THE FAIR WHEN HE BECAME STUCK UNDER A RIDE CALLED THE DEMOLITION DERBY. JAWS OF LIFE WERE NEEDED TO GET HIM OUT, WHICH TOOK ABOUT 20 MINUTES. THE ACCIDENT IS UNDER INVESTIGATION. SHELDON'S CONDITION REMAINS
CRITICAL.

ST. TAMMANY PARISH SHERIFF'S DEPUTIES ARREST THE MAN THEY SAY ROBBED A MANDEVILLE BANK ON MONDAY, AFTER A DYE BOMB IN THE SACK OF CASH HE STOLE WENT OFF. A LOCAL BUSINESS CALLED TO REPORT A CUSTOMER TRYING TO MAKE A TRANSACTION WITH CASH COVERED IN RED DYE; HIS HANDS ALSO COVERED WITH DYE. 36-YEAR-OLD LORENZO LOMAX IS BEHIND BARS AFTER BEING - LITERALLY - CAUGHT RED-HANDED.

VILLE PLATTE POLICE ARREST A WOMAN AND CHARGE HER WITH SECOND-DEGREE FETICIDE AFTER SHE ALLEGEDLY BEAT-UP A PREGNANT WOMAN AT A GAS STATION. AUTHORITIES SAY THE VICTIM WAS TWO MONTHS PREGNANT AND HAD A MISCARRIAGE A FEW DAYS AFTER THE ATTACK. NO WORD ON WHY RACHEAL BELLARD ALLEGEDLY BEAT UP THE WOMAN.

A STATE JUDGE IN BATON ROUGE HAS REVOKED A PERMIT THAT ALLOWED A TRUCK STOP OWNER TO KEEP A LIVE TIGER ON DISPLAY ALONG I-10 IN IBERVILLE PARISH. THE ANIMAL LEGAL DEFENSE FUND FILED A LAWSUIT IN ORDER TO SHUT DOWN THE EXHIBIT, BECAUSE THEY BELIEVE THE TIGER SHOULD LIVE IN A MORE NATURAL SETTING. NO WORD ON IF THE TRUCK STOP OWNER WILL APPEAL THE RULING.

PHONE COMPANY CENTURYLINK INC. SAYS ITS THIRD-QUARTER NET INCOME FELL AS RISING OPERATING EXPENSES RELATED TO ITS APRIL ACQUISITION OF LARGER PHONE COMPANY QWEST OVERSHADOWED INCREASED REVENUE. IN THE JULY-SEPTEMBER QUARTER, CENTURYLINK EARNED $140 MILLION, OR 23 CENTS PER SHARE. THIS IS 40 PERCENT LOWER THAN THE $232 MILLION, OR 76 CENTS PER SHARE, A YEAR EARLIER. EXCLUDING ONE-TIME ITEMS, THE COMPANY EARNED 34 CENTS PER SHARE, MATCHING ESTIMATES OF ANALYSTS POLLED BY FACTSET.


News For Wednesday 11/02/11


NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY 110211
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

AN INTERNAL BATTLE FOR CONTROL CONTINUES WITHIN THE RAPIDES PARISH SCHOOL BOARD. MEMBERS LAST NIGHT PUT OFF MAKING A DECISION ABOUT THE FUTURE OF SUPERINTENDENT GARY JONES. JONES, WHO RECENTLY INTERVIEWED FOR THE SAME POSITION IN LAFAYETTE PARISH, IS UNDER CONTRACT THROUGH DEC. 31, 2012. AT TUESDAY'S SCHOOL BOARD MEETING, A MOTION BY PRESIDENT STEVE BERRY, SOMETHING HE CALLED A SHOW OF GOOD FAITH, WOULD HAVE EXTENDED THE CONTRACT UNDER THE SAME TERMS AND SALARY THROUGH DEC. 31, 2014. INSTEAD, A SUBSTITUTE MOTION TO ADDRESS THE SUPERINTENDENT'S CONTRACT AT THE SEPTEMBER 2012 BOARD MEETING PASSED BY A 5-4 MARGIN. JONES HAD SAID, IF HIS CONTRACT WAS EXTENDED, HE WOULD WITHDRAW HIS NAME FROM CONSIDERATION FOR THE LAFAYETTE POSITION.

A FEDERAL JURY IN ALEXANDRIA WILL RESUME DELIBERATIONS AT 9 A.M. TODAY IN THE BRIBERY TRIAL OF FORMER RAPIDES PARISH POLICE JUROR STEVE BORDELON. THE JURY OF 10 WOMEN AND TWO MEN BEGAN DELIBERATING SHORTLY BEFORE NOON TUESDAY AFTER HEARING CLOSING ARGUMENTS. DELIBERATIONS CONTINUED FOR ABOUT SIX HOURS BEFORE STOPPING FOR THE DAY. THE JURY WILL DECIDE WHETHER BORDELON, WHO WAS A FOUR-TERM POLICE JUROR, ACCEPTED A FREE RESIDENTIAL LOT IN EXCHANGE FOR HIS VOTE AND ABILITY TO MOVE CANNON SUBDIVISION THROUGH THE PARISH GOVERNMENT APPROVAL PROCESS. IF FOUND GUILTY, BORDELON COULD FACE UP TO 10 YEARS IN JAIL AND A FINE.

THE CITY OF ALEXANDRIA ON TUESDAY HIRED A CONSULTANT TO HELP BRING MORE MINORITY AND WOMEN-OWNED BUSINESSES TO THE CITY. THE ALEXANDRIA CITY COUNCIL UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED THE HIRING OF CHARBONNET & ASSOCIATES PLANNERS AND CONSULTANTS OF NEW ORLEANS TO LOCATE DISADVANTAGED, MINORITY-OWNED AND WOMEN OWNED BUSINESSES WHICH COULD DO BUSINESS WITH THE CITY'S SPECIAL PLANNED ACTIVITY REDEVELOPMENT CORRIDORS INITIATIVE. AN OFFICIAL WITH THE CONSULTING FIRM SAYS HE WILL MOVE HIS SENIOR PLANNER TO ALEXANDRIA , SO HE CAN WORK ON THE PROJECT ON A FULL TIME BASIS.

LOUISIANA'S MEDICAID PROGRAM FOR THE POOR, ELDERLY AND DISABLED HAS A NEARLY $127 MILLION STATE FUNDING SHORTFALL. THE STATE HEALTH DEPARTMENT ANNOUNCED THE DEFICIT FIGURE TUESDAY. BUT THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HOSPITALS SAYS IT WILL USE AVAILABLE FEDERAL FUNDS TO PLUG MUCH OF THE GAP. THE SHORTFALL IS ABOUT 5 PERCENT OF THE STATE FUNDING IN THE MEDICAID PROGRAM, AND IT'S CAUSED BY GROWTH IN MEDICAID ENROLLMENT AND PEOPLE USING MORE SERVICES THAT EXPECTED.

A NATIONAL REPORT ON READING AND MATH ACHIEVEMENT AMONG FOURTH- AND EIGHTH-GRADERS SHOWS LOUISIANA PUBLIC SCHOOLS STILL PERFORMING BELOW THE NATIONAL AVERAGE, DESPITE STRIDES MADE SINCE THE 1990S. THE NATIONAL ASSESSMENT OF EDUCATION PROGRESS STATISTICS RELEASED TUESDAY BY THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION SHOW MORE THAN A THIRD OF THE STATE'S EIGHTH-GRADERS FAILING TO ACHIEVE BASIC READING AND MATH SKILLS IN 2011. AND 45 PERCENT OF FOURTH-GRADERS SCORED BELOW THE BASIC READING LEVEL.

TWO FORMER LOUISIANA NATIONAL GUARD SOLDIERS, WHO WERE INJURED WHILE SERVING THE COUNTRY, HAVE SUED THE STATE. THEY APPLIED FOR THE STATE'S $100-THOUSAND BENEFIT THAT WAS SET UP TO HELP DISABLED SOLDIERS, BUT THEY WERE REJECTED. STATE SENATOR ROBERT ADLEY IS THE CHAIRMAN OF THE VETERANS AFFAIRS COMMITTEE. LOUISIANA NATIONAL GUARD SOLDIERS WHO ARE 100-PERCENT PERMANENTLY AND TOTALLY DISABLED WITHIN ONE YEAR OF THEIR INJURY ARE ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE THE $100-THOUSAND, BUT ADLEY SAYS IT APPEARS THE STATE LAW IS TOO STRICT. STATE OFFICIALS SAY OUT OF THE 12 APPLICATIONS RECEIVED, ONLY 1 WAS ACCEPTED.

CHEF'S FROM LOUISIANA AND ALABAMA ARE GETTING TOGETHER BEFORE THE NOVEMBER 5TH MATCHUP BETWEEN THE TIGERS AND THE TIDE FOR THE FIRST EVER "LOUISI-BAMA" GUM-BOWL. CHEF JOHN FOLSE SAYS THE GIANT POT OF GUMBO WILL SET A GUINNESS WORLD RECORD AND PROCEEDS WILL BENEFIT TUSCALOOSA TORNADO VICTIMS. HE SAYS IT WILL BE A MONSTER POT OF GUMBO. FOLSE SAYS THEY'LL BE SERVING 10,000 BOWLS OF GUMBO FOR $5 EACH NEXT TO BRYANT DENNY STADIUM BETWEEN 10:30 AND 3PM THE DAY OF THE GAME.

A NEW TRIAL ORDERED BY AN APPEALS COURT WAS TO BEGIN WEDNESDAY IN STATE DISTRICT COURT IN BATON ROUGE TO DETERMINE IF A TRUCK STOP CAN RETAIN THE TIGER IT HAS KEPT ON DISPLAY FOR OVER A DECADE. THE ANIMAL LEGAL DEFENSE FUND HAD WON A RULING PREVENTING THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF WILDLIFE AND FISHERIES FROM ISSUING A PERMIT ALLOWING THE TIGER TRUCK STOP IN GROSSE TETE, LA., FROM CONTINUING TO EXHIBIT A LIVE TIGER AS A ROADSIDE ATTRACTION. STATE DISTRICT JUDGE MIKE CALDWELL, WHO ORIGINALLY RULED FOR THE FUND, WILL HEAR THE RETRIAL.

TRANSOCEAN, THE COMPANY THAT OWNED THE DRILLING RIG THAT EXPLODED IN THE GULF OF MEXICO LAST YEAR, ARGUED IN COURT DOCUMENTS FILED TUESDAY THAT ITS CONTRACT WITH BP SHIELDS IT FROM HAVING TO PAY FOR THE LARGEST OFFSHORE SPILL IN THE NATION'S HISTORY. IN COURT DOCUMENTS FILED IN FEDERAL COURT IN NEW ORLEANS, TRANSOCEAN SAID IT WAS OPERATING UNDER A CONTRACT WITH BP THAT CONTAINED "STANDARD INDUSTRY RECIPROCAL INDEMNITY LANGUAGE" AND THAT BP PROMISED TO EXEMPT TRANSOCEAN FROM "FINES AND PENALTIES." A TRIAL DESIGNED TO ASSIGN SHARES OF FAULT TO THE COMPANIES IS SCHEDULED TO START FEB. 27. THE TRIAL ALSO IS TO DETERMINE WHETHER RIG OWNER TRANSOCEAN CAN LIMIT WHAT IT PAYS CLAIMANTS UNDER MARITIME LAW.

SIXTEEN PEOPLE WERE SHOT AND AT LEAST TWO KILLED IN A BLOODY HALLOWEEN IN NEW ORLEANS THAT INCLUDED GUNFIRE ON BOURBON STREET, THE TOURIST HOT SPOT IN THE FRENCH QUARTER. NEW ORLEANS MAYOR MITCH LANDRIEU, AT A NEWS CONFERENCE CALLED TUESDAY IN RESPONSE TO THE FIVE SEPARATE SHOOTINGS, SAID A "CULTURE OF VIOLENCE," THAT INVOLVED YOUNG BLACK MEN WITH ILLEGAL GUNS HAS PLAGUED THE CITY AND MUST BE STOPPED. LANDRIEU SAYING THAT THIS CONTINUES TO BE A BATTLE FOR THE FUTURE OF NEW ORLEANS.

TOM SCHEDLER WAS SWORN IN TUESDAY AS SECRETARY OF STATE. SCHEDLER, A REPUBLICAN FORMER STATE SENATOR, DEFEATED GOP HOUSE SPEAKER JIM TUCKER TO COMPLETE THE REMAINING UNEXPIRED TERM OF FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE JAY DARDENNE, AS WELL AS THE NEXT FOUR-YEAR TERM THAT STARTS IN JANUARY.
DARDENNE, WHO LEFT THE OFFICE WHEN HE WAS ELECTED LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR, SWORE IN SCHEDLER AT AN INFORMAL CEREMONY AT THE LOUISIANA STATE ARCHIVES.

A STATE COST-CUTTING COMMISSION FORMED TO MAKE SUGGESTIONS DURING SEVERAL BUDGET SHORTFALLS IS GOING AWAY AT THE END OF THE YEAR. THE COMMISSION ON STREAMLINING GOVERNMENT HELD ITS FINAL MEETING TUESDAY TO REVIEW WHAT HAPPENED TO ITS 238 RECOMMENDATIONS FOR REDUCING STATE SPENDING, CUTTING PROGRAMS AND SHRINKING THE GOVERNMENT WORK FORCE. THE 10-MEMBER PANEL BEGAN ITS WORK IN JULY 2009 AND SUBMITTED ITS RECOMMENDATIONS BY THAT YEAR'S END. THE COMMISSION ESTIMATES THAT THE MOST SIGNIFICANT RECOMMENDATIONS THAT HAVE BEEN FOLLOWED HAVE SAVED THE STATE MORE THAN $750 MILLION OVER THREE YEARS. AMONG THE IDEAS EMBRACED BY THE STREAMLINING PANEL AND FOLLOWED BY AGENCIES WERE PROPOSALS TO: SHRINK THE NUMBER OF STATE-OWNED CARS, REDUCE THE NUMBER OF MANAGERS IN STATE AGENCIES AND PRIVATIZE SEVERAL FUNCTIONS OF STATE OFFICES, LIKE LAB SERVICES, UTILITIES, PRINTING AND FOOD SERVICES.

ACCORDING TO A REPORT BY THE FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION, LOUISIANA CITIZENS HAVE CHIPPED IN NEARLY $1.2-MILLION TO 2012 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGNS. THE REPORT SAYS TEXAS GOVERNOR RICK PERRY HAS RECEIVED NEARLY HALF OF THAT TOTAL. FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR MITT ROMNEY HAS DONE WELL IN LOUISIANA, BRINGING IN JUST OVER $278-THOUSAND IN DONATIONS. THAT'S JUST OVER HALF OF WHAT THE PERRY CAMPAIGN HAS GATHERED. PRESIDENT OBAMA HAS GATHERED JUST OVER $125-THOUSAND FROM LOUISIANA SUPPORTERS.

A SUBSTITUTE TEACHER IN RICHLAND PARISH HAS BEEN DISCIPLINED FOR ALLEGEDLY USING A RACIAL SLUR FOR BLACKS...THE RACIAL SLUR...ON A STUDENT, IN THE CLASSROOM. THE SUB TEACHER IS AFRICAN-AMERICAN, AND SO IS THE STUDENT. PARISH SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT SHELDON JONES DECLINES GIVING DETAILS OF WHAT ACTION HAS BEEN TAKEN, BUT SAYS STEPS HAVE BEEN TAKEN TO ASSURE IT DOESN'T HAPPEN AGAIN. HE CALLS THE INCIDENT "UNFORTUNATE".

A LOUISIANA SATE TROOPER IS CHARGED WITH SIMPLE RAPE, AFTER AN INTERNAL INVESTIGATION. LSP SAYS 47-YEAR-OLD TROOPER ROMAUS ALMOND, OF RUSTON, ALLEGEDLY SEXUALLY ASSAULTED A FEMALE WHO'D STAYED OVERNIGHT AT HIS HOME AFTER A PARTY. THEY SAY ALMOND WAS OFF-DUTY AND ON SICK LEAVE AT THE TIME OF THE INCIDENT.

A BIZARRE ATTEMPTED ROBBERY ON A SHREVEPORT CASINO HAS LED TO THE ARREST OF A TWO BROTHERS. THE TWO ARE IN CUSTODY FOR ATTEMPTING TO ROB SAM'S TOWN CASINO EARLY YESTERDAY MORNING, THEN PLANNING TO GET-AWAY ACROSS THE RED RIVER ON A STOLEN JET SKI. THE PLAN DID NOT WORK..





News For Tuesday 11/01/11


NEWS FOR TUESDAY 110111
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

SHE SAYS SHE MADE THE DECISION WITHOUT CONSULTING HER HUSBAND. SARAH BORDELON, TOOK THE STAND IN HER HUSBAND’S BRIBERY TRIAL YESTERDAY, TO TESTIFY THAT SHE MADE THE DECISION IN JUNE 2005 TO PURCHASE TWO LOTS FOR THE PRICE OF ONE IN CANNON SUBDIVISION. SHE INSISTS THAT IS THE FIRST TIME HER HUSBAND HEARD ABOUT THE LOTS. THE COUPLE LATER BUILT A HOME ON THE LAND. STEVE BORDELON, A RAPIDES PARISH POLICE JUROR FROM 1992 UNTIL THE END OF 2007, FACES UP TO 10 YEARS IN PRISON AND A FINE IF THE FEDERAL JURY DECIDES HE'S GUILTY OF ACCEPTING A BRIBE, THE FREE LOT, IN EXCHANGE FOR HIS VOTE AND INFLUENCE IN APPROVING THE PLANS FOR CANNON. YESTERDAY WAS THE FINAL DAY OF TESTIMONY IN THE CASE.

YA HAVE TO ASK YOURSELF, WHAT’S NEXT? FIRST THE TAKE OUR JOBS, THEY’VE ALLOWED US TO OVER DRAW OUR BANK ACCOUNT TO THE TUNE OF 15 TRILLION DOLLARS, IN PART FUNDING TWO OF OUR WARS. BUT NOW THE CHINESE HAVE GONE TOO FAR. THEY’RE BUYING OUR INVENTORIES OF PECANS. GROWERS NATIONWIDE SAY A GROWING TASTE FOR PECANS IN CHINA HAVE DRIVEN UP PRICES AND CUT SUPPLIES. ALLREADY CONSUMERS HERE IN THE US HAVE SEEN PRICES GO UP BY CLOSE TO 300%.

STATE TREASURER JOHN KENNEDY WILL BE THE KEYNOTE SPEAKER AT AN ECONOMIC FORUM TODAY IN DOWNTOWN ALEXANDRIA. THE CENTRAL LOUISIANA REAL ESTATE AND ECONOMIC FORUM, PRESENTED BY THE CENTRAL LOUISIANA BOARD OF REALTORS, IS FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. IT RUNS FROM 1 P.M. TO 5 P.M. TODAY IN THE COUGHLIN-SAUNDERS PERFORMING ARTS CENTER, 1202 THIRD ST. THE STATED GOAL OF THE BOARD OF REALTORS IS TO EDUCATE AND PROTECT THE PUBLIC WHILE PROMOTING HOME OWNERSHIP IN CENTRAL LOUISIANA.

THEY WANTED A LOCATION IN DOWNTOWN PINEVILLE AND DOLLAR GENERAL HAS GOTTEN IT’S WISH. OFFICIALS FROM RATCLIFF DEVELOPMENT AND THE CITY OF PINEVILLE BROKE GROUND MONDAY ON THE SITE OF A NEW DOLLAR GENERAL AT 1106 MAIN ST, RIGHT BEFORE THE RAILROAD UNDERPASS. THE NEW STORE WILL BE 9,100 SQUARE FEET AND ONCE OPEN WILL EMPLOY ABOUT 8 PEOPLE. PINEVILLE MAYOR CLARENCE FIELDS HOPES THE PROJECT WILL SPUR FURTHER COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT DOWNTOWN.

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL IS INTERVIEWING HIS HIGHEST-RANKING OFFICIALS AS HE DETERMINES HOW HE'LL PIECE TOGETHER THE SECOND TERM OF HIS ADMINISTRATION. MOST OF HIS MORE THAN A DOZEN CABINET SECRETARIES HAVE SAID THEY ARE SEEKING TO RETURN TO THEIR POSITIONS, AND JINDAL HASN'T INDICATED ANY INTENTIONS FOR A WHOLESALE SHAKE-UP. THE REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR WON OVERWHELMING RE-ELECTION TWO WEEKS AGO TO HIS SECOND FOUR-YEAR STINT AS LOUISIANA'S TOP EXECUTIVE. THE NEW TERM BEGINS IN JANUARY.

FIRST LADY, MICHELLE OBAMA IS IN NEW ORLEANS TODAY FOR A 5-THOUSAND DOLLAR-A-PLATE FUNDRAISING LUNCHEON ON BEHALF OF PRESIDENT OBAMA'S 2012 RE-ELECTION CAMPAIGN. THE FUND RAISER IS HOSTED BY ACTOR WENDELL PIERCE, STAR OF H-B-O'S TREME AND IS BEING HELD AT A PRIVATE HOME.

LOUISIANA'S OIL & GAS INDUSTRY - EXTRACTION, REFINING AND PIPELINES IS RESPONSIBLE FOR OVER 310-THOUSAND DIRECT AND INDIRECT JOBS, PAYING OVER $16-BILLION IN HOUSEHOLD WAGES. LSU ECONOMIST DR. LOREN SCOTT SAYS THE ENERGY SECTOR IS STILL A HUGE ECONOMIC ENGINE FOR THE STATE. DR. SCOTT'S ECONOMIC STUDY WAS COMMISSIONED BY THE LOUISIANA MID-CONTINENT OIL & GAS ASSOCIATION. HE SAYS DIRECT OIL & GAS INDUSTRY JOBS MAKE UP A LARGE CHUNK OF THE STATE'S TOTAL WORKFORCE. SCOTT SAYS LOUISIANA IS #1 IN THE US FOR CRUDE OIL PRODUCTION, #2 FOR OIL & GAS REFINING CAPACITY AND THE COUNTRY'S #3 PRODUCER OF NATURAL GAS.

THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY HAS ENACTED THE CROSS STATE AIR POLLUTION RULE, WHICH REQUIRES POWER PLANTS TO REDUCE EMISSIONS TO LOWER LEVELS SO ANY AIR POLLUTION WON'T CROSS STATE LINES. BUT THE LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY SAYS POWER PLANTS IN OUR STATE AREN'T EQUIPPED TO DO THAT. AND IF THEY DO, IT WILL PROBABLY LEAD TO ROLLING BLACKOUTS NEXT SUMMER. UTILITY COMPANIES HAVE HAD 22 YEARS TO PREPARE FOR THE NEW RULES. BUT, FEW DID EXPECTING THE REQUIREMENT WOULD BE ELIMINATED BEFORE IT BECAME LAW.

NEW ORLEANS POLICE ARE INVESTIGATING AN EARLY MORNING SHOOTING IN THE FRENCH QUARTER THAT LEFT ONE MAN DEAD AND 7 OTHERS INJURED. AUTHORITIES SAY PRELIMINARY INFORMATION SHOWS THAT TWO PEOPLE OPENED FIRE INTO A CROWD AT 12:30 A.M. THIS MORNING ON BOURBON STREET. THE PERSON WHO WAS FATALLY SHOT WAS PRONOUNCED DEAD AT A LOCAL HOSPITAL. ANOTHER ONE OF THE VICTIMS WAS SHOT IN THE HIP AND THE SIX OTHERS SUFFERED NON-LIFE THREATENING INJURIES. POLICE SAY THEY HAVE NO MOTIVE OR SUSPECTS IN THE SHOOTING.

WEST FELICIANA PARISH SHERIFF'S DEPUTIES HAVE ARRESTED A LOUISIANA STATE PENITENTIARY EMPLOYEE ACCUSED OF TRYING TO SMUGGLE MORE THAN A POUND OF MARIJUANA INTO THE PRISON. OFFICERS FOUND 26 OUNCES OF MARIJUANA ON 33-YEAR-OLD DERRICK K. CAVALIER WHEN HE WAS STOPPED SATURDAY AS HE ENTERED THE PRISON'S FRONT GATE. CAVALIER, OF ST. FRANCISVILLE, WAS BOOKED ON CHARGES OF INTRODUCTION OF CONTRABAND INTO A PENAL INSTITUTION AND POSSESSION WITH INTENT TO DISTRIBUTE MARIJUANA. HE REMAINED JAILED MONDAY ON $60,000 BOND. AUTHORITIES SAY CAVALIER GAVE OFFICERS PERMISSION TO SEARCH HIS HOME, WHERE THEY ALLEGEDLY FOUND ANOTHER 12 OUNCES OF MARIJUANA.

STATE POLICE ARE INVESTIGATING A SINGLE CAR CRASH ON LA. HIGHWAY 86 SUNDAY NIGHT THAT CLAIMED THE LIFE OF A ST. MARTINVILLE WOMAN AND LEFT THREE JUVENILES IN CRITICAL CONDITION. TROOPERS SAY THE VEHICLE LEFT THE ROADWAY, STRUCK A DRIVEWAY CAUSING IT TO OVERTURN SEVERAL TIMES. INVESTIGATORS SAY NO ONE IN THE VEHICLE WAS WEARING A SEATBELT.

SINGLE DAY TICKETS FOR THE TWO-DAY BAYOU COUNTRY SUPERFEST FOR 2012 GO ON SALE THIS MORNING. THE THIRD ANNUAL COUNTRY MUSIC FESTIVAL IN TIGER STADIUM FEATURES CARRIE UNDERWOOD, KEITH URBAN, RASCAL FLATTS AND MORE. EVENT PRODUCER QUINT DAVIS SAYS SPECIAL TWO-NIGHT TICKET PACKAGES HAVE BEEN ON SALE FOR A COUPLE WEEKS, AND HAVE SOLD VERY WELL. HE ESTIMATES THAT ABOUT HALF THE
TWO-NIGHT SEATS AVAILABLE HAVE ALREADY BEEN SOLD. NOTHING LIKE GETTING YOUR TICKETS EARLY, THE TWO-NIGHT EVENT IS SCHEDULED FOR MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND, MAY 26TH & 27TH.

RICK SEATON, A FORMER TOP AIDE TO SHREVEPORT MAYOR CEDRIC GLOVER, WILL STAND TRIAL JAN. 17 ON RAPE CHARGES. A STATE JUDGE SET THE DATE FOR THE BENCH TRIAL ON MONDAY. SEATON IS ACCUSED OF ASSAULTING THE YOUNG WOMAN ON A SOFA IN THE MAYOR'S PRIVATE OFFICE IN GOVERNMENT PLAZA LAST DECEMBER. HE DENIES THE RAPE CHARGES, SAYING WHAT HAPPENED WAS CONSENSUAL. THE ACCUSER WAS IN SHREVEPORT FOR LAST YEAR'S INDEPENDENCE BOWL. HER BOYFRIEND HAD GOTTEN ARRESTED FOR CAUSING A DISTURBANCE AT THE GAME. SEATON, WHO WAS HELPING GET PEOPLE ON SHUTTLES FROM THE STADIUM, GAVE HER A RIDE TO THE CITY JAIL. THEY WOUND UP IN GOVERNMENT PLAZA, WHERE THE 18-YEAR-OLD SAID SHE WAS RAPED.

NICK SABAN SAYS THERE'S NO MAGIC FORMULA TO WINNING BIG GAMES. SABAN AND NO. 2 ALABAMA ARE GEARING UP FOR SATURDAY NIGHT'S VISIT FROM TOP-RANKED LSU WITH THE WINNER KEEPING AN INSIDE TRACK TO THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME. SABAN SAYS SUCH GAMES TYPICALLY COME DOWN TO EXECUTION AND TURNOVERS. THE TIGERS ARE SEEKING THEIR FIRST 9-0 START SINCE 1973 IN THE MUCH-HYPED GAME. BOTH TEAMS HAD OPEN DATES LAST WEEKEND TO EXTEND THE BUILDUP AND EACH HAVE WON A NATIONAL TITLE OVER THE PAST FIVE YEARS. IT'S THE FIRST 1 VERSUS 2 SEC MATCHUP OUTSIDE THE LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME. IT'S ONLY THE 23RD TIME IT'S HAPPENED IN THE REGULAR SEASON SINCE THE AP POLL BEGAN IN 1936.

LSU IS FINALLY GETTING ANOTHER NIGHT GAME. THE UNIVERSITY HAS ANNOUNCED THE HOMECOMING GAME NOVEMBER 12TH AGAINST WESTERN KENTUCKY WILL KICK OFF AT 6 PM AND BE TELEVISED ON ESPN-U. THE LSU MEN'S BASKETBALL TEAM OPENS THEIR SEASON THE SAME DAY WITH A NOON TIP-OFF IN THE MARAVICH ASSEMBLY CENTER. ADMISSION TO THE BASKETBALL GAME IS FREE.



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