KSYL Local News Archives for 2011-12

News For Thursday 12/22/11


NEWS FOR THURSDAY 122211
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

A STORMY DAY IS AHEAD FOR MOST ALL OF LOUISIANA TODAY. STATE CLIMATOLOGIST BARRY KEIM SAYS THE FRONT THAT BROUGHT US RAIN TUESDAY NIGHT HAS STALLED OUT OVER THE COAST, AND ISN'T DONE WITH US YET. KEIM SAYS MOST OF THE STATE WILL GET AN INCH OF RAIN OR PERHAPS MORE DURING THE DAYLIGHT HOURS, WITH THE CHANCE OF SOME SEVERE WEATHER. THE GOOD NEWS IS, THE RAIN SHOULD END THIS EVENING, WITH CLEARING SKIES AND SOMEWHAT COOLER TEMPERATURES FOR FRIDAY. RAIN WILL RETURN AGAIN ON SATURDAY.

A PINEVILLE MAN WAS SHOT BY POLICE AND A PINEVILLE POLICE OFFICER HAS BEEN PLACED ON ADMINISTRATIVE LEAVE AFTER OFFICERS LOOKING INTO A REPORT OF A STOLEN VEHICLE, GOT INTO A CHASE WITH 19 YEAR OLD COREY CHEEK. WHEN SPOTTED BY THE OFFICERS, CHEEK TOOK OFF DOWN DONAHUE FERRY ROAD. AT ONE POINT IN THE CHASE CHEEK TRAVELED THROUGH THE YARD OF A HOME TO ELUDE THE OFFICERS, ONLY TO DRIVE HEAD ON INTO ONE OF THE POLICE CARS. CHEEK WAS TAKEN TO A LOCAL HOSPITAL FOR TREATMENT. HIS CONDITION IS UNKNOWN AT THIS TIME. THE PLACEMENT OF THE OFFICER ON LEAVE IS SIMPLE PROCEDURE WHEN EVER A FIRE ARM IS FIRED AND THE OFFICER IS EXPECTED TO BE BACK AT WORK SHORTLY.

LOUISIANA COLLEGE IS IN HOT WATER WITH S.A.C.S. AGAIN OVER THE ISSUE OF ACCREDITATION. ACCORDING TO SACS, LOUISIANA COLLEGE WAS DENIED REAFFIRMATION OF ACCREDITATION AND PLACED ON WARNING UNTIL DECEMBER OF 2012 BECAUSE THE COMMISSION’S BOARD OF TRUSTEES DETERMINED THAT, AT THE TIME OF THE INSTITUTION’S LAST REVIEW, IT HAD FAILED TO DEMONSTRATE COMPLIANCE WITH A LONG LIST OF ISSUES. IN RESPONSE TO THE DECISION ANNOUNCED BY SACS, LC PRESIDENT DR. JOE AGUILLARD AND VICE PRESIDENT OF ACADEMIC AFFAIRS, DR. TIM SEARCY SAID THAT LC HAS ALREADY BEGUN THE PROCESS OF ANSWERING ALL THE FINDINGS OF THE SACS REPORT, BUT ALSO NOTED THAT LC REMAINS FULLY ACCREDITED DURING THE CONTINUED EVALUATION PROCESS.

LEGISLATION IS EXPECTED TO BE SIGNED INTO LAW SOON THAT WOULD PREVENT THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR FROM INSTITUTING WAGE HIKES FOR SEASONAL IMMIGRANT WORKERS IN 2012. VARIOUS INDUSTRIES, INCLUDING SEAFOOD PROCESSING AND FORESTRY IN LOUISIANA AND ELSEWHERE, HAVE BEEN WORRIED THAT THE WAGE HIKES WOULD DRIVE UP COSTS SO MUCH THAT SOME COMPANIES WOULD GO OUT OF BUSINESS. U.S. SEN. MARY LANDRIEU, D-NEW ORLEANS, AND A U.S. SENATOR FROM MARYLAND INSERTED LANGUAGE IN THE RECENTLY PASSED FISCAL YEAR 2012 MEGA-APPROPRIATIONS BILL IN WASHINGTON THAT PREVENTS THE LABOR DEPARTMENT FROM PROCEEDING WITH THE WAGE HIKES IN 2012. PRESIDENT OBAMA IS EXPECTED TO SIGN THE LEGISLATION.

NEW U.S. CENSUS BUREAU DATA SHOWS LOUISIANA RANKED 15TH OF 50 STATES FOR POPULATION GROWTH SINCE APRIL 2010. NEW ORLEANS AREA DEMOGRAPHER GREG RIGAMER SAYS THE STATE POPULATION IS OVER 41-THOUSAND PERSONS HIGHER, HE
CREDITS THE STATE'S IMPROVED ENVIRONMENT FOR BUSINESS RELOCATION, AND CONTINUING REBUILDING.

A HOLLYWOOD FILM TRADE PUBLICATION NAMES LOUISIANA THE TOP STATE FOR FILM & TV PRODUCTION WORK. THE MAGAZINE "P3 UPDATE" SAYS LOUISIANA'S PRODUCTION TAX INCENTIVES, BURGEONING INFRASTRUCTURE AND CAN-DO ATTITUDE MAKE IT A WINNER. LA ENTERTAINMENT OFFICE DIRECTOR CHRIS STELLY SAYS ONLY CALIFORNIA AND NEW YORK STATE HAVE MORE ANNUAL FILM & TV PROJECTS. RIGHT NOW, THERE ARE TEN FILM OR TV PRODUCTIONS UNDERWAY IN LOUISIANA; AN INCREASE OF ALMOST 400% FROM 2002. STELLY SAYS 2011 IS ON TRACK TO SURPASS 2010, WHEN OVER 100 PRODUCTIONS WERE FILMED HERE.

THE STATE OF LOUISIANA IS SUING THE FEDERAL INTERIOR DEPARTMENT OVER THE REDRAWING OF BOUNDARIES IN THE GULF OF MEXICO THAT DETERMINE HOW STATES RECEIVE PETROLEUM ROYALTIES. ATTORNEY GENERAL BUDDY CALDWELL SAID WEDNESDAY THAT THE PROPOSED REALLOCATION WOULD RESULT IN LOUISIANA HAVING TO SHARE SOME OF ITS ROYALTIES FROM THE PAST 25 YEARS WITH TEXAS AND MISSISSIPPI. THE SUIT, FILED IN FEDERAL DISTRICT COURT IN WASHINGTON, D.C., SAYS THAT COULD TOTAL $2.8 MILLION IMMEDIATELY AND REDUCE FUTURE DISTRIBUTIONS. IN LOUISIANA, THE FUNDS ARE CONSTITUTIONALLY DEDICATED TO SCHOOLS, UNIVERSITIES, AND COASTAL RESTORATION. THEY COME FROM MINERAL ROYALTIES IN A THREE-MILE ZONE BEYOND THE STATES' IMMEDIATE WATERS IN THE GULF OF MEXICO.

LOUISIANA IS DEMANDING NEARLY $10 MILLION FROM THE FORMER CONTRACTOR OF THE ROAD HOME PROGRAM FOR ALLEGED OVERPAYMENTS TO HOMEOWNERS. THE STATE SAYS DEMAND LETTERS HAVE BEEN SENT TO ICF INTERNATIONAL, WHICH ADMINISTERED THE HOUSING RECOVERY PROGRAM FOR THREE YEARS AFTER HURRICANES KATRINA AND RITA.
PAT FORBES OF THE STATE OFFICE OF COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT SAID WEDNESDAY THAT THE STATE IS SEEKING THE MONEY FROM THE COMPANY, RATHER THAN HOMEOWNERS, BECAUSE THE ALLEGED IMPROPER PAYMENTS WOULD VIOLATE ITS CONTRACT. THE ROAD HOME PROGRAM IS FUNDED WITH FEDERAL MONEY.

CONGRESS IS SENDING LOUISIANA A CHRISTMAS PRESENT; ABOUT $500-MILLION IN FUNDING FOR A NUMBER OF PRIORITY PROJECTS FOR THE STATE. SENATOR MARY LANDRIEU SAYS THE $915-BILLION SPENDING BILL INCLUDES $66-MILLION TO DREDGE THE MISSISIPPI RIVER FROM BATON ROUGE TO THE GULF, AS WELL AS CASH FOR NEW MEDICAL FACILITIES. LANDRIEU SAYS ANOTHER $358-MILLION IN THAT BILL GOES TO A LOUISIANA DEFENSE CONTRACTOR.

POLICE IN WALKER ARE TRYING TO FIND OUT WHO DESTROYED THE TOWNS "WALKER WONDERLAND" CHRISTMAS DISPLAY TUESDAY NIGHT. MAYOR BOBBY FONT SAYS A PUBLIC BATHROOM AT THE PARK WAS ALSO SMASHED UP. HE SAYS THE VANDALS SLASHED EVERY ONE OF THE INFLATABLES WITH A RAZOR. THE NICE THING ABOUT LIFE IN A SMALL TOWN, WHEN RESIDENTS HEARD OF THE VANDALISM, THEY CHIPPED IN TO REPLACE THE DISPLAY WITHOUT MISSING A NIGHT.

RIVER BEND NUCLEAR POWER STATION OFFICIALS ANNOUNCED YESTERDAY FINDING ELEVATED LEVELS OF TRITIUM IN A GROUNDWATER SAMPLE TAKEN ON PLANT PROPERTY. ACCORDING TO PLANT OFFICIALS THE FINDING DOES NOT INDICATE ANY HEALTH THREAT TO PUBLIC HEALTH OR SAFETY. THE SAMPLE WAS COLLECTED NEAR THE PLANT IN A GROUNDWATER WELL, NOT A DRINKING WELL.

MOST EVERYONE IS IN THE HOLIDAY SPIRIT WITH JUST A FEW MORE DAYS BEFORE CHRISTMAS, BUT THERE ARE SOME WHO GET VERY DEPRESSED AT THIS TIME OF YEAR. DR. HOWARD OSOFSKY, PROFESSOR AND HEAD OF PSYCHIATRY AT THE LSU HEALTH SCIENCES CENTER, ENCOURAGES THE PUBLIC TO LOOK FOR LOVED ONES WHO SEEM WITHDRAWN OR DOWN IN THE DUMPS. THE LSU HEALTH SCIENCES CENTER CRISIS HOTLINE AT (504) 568-8772 WILL BE MANNED OVER THE HOLIDAYS.

IF YOU'RE PLANNING TO HAVE OYSTERS AS PART OF YOUR FEAST THIS CHRISTMAS, THEY WON'T BE HARD TO FIND BUT THEY'LL BE MORE EXPENSIVE. MIKE VOISIN IS ON THE GOVERNOR'S OYSTER ADVISORY COMMITTEE. HE SAYS CONSUMERS WILL PAY BETWEEN 10 TO 15-PERCENT MORE FOR OYSTERS THIS YEAR. VOISIN SAYS THERE'S A HIGH DEMAND FOR OYSTERS IN THE GULF SOUTH. VOISIN SAYS DESPITE THE HIGH PRICE, THE OYSTERS THIS YEAR ARE BIG, SALTY AND DELICIOUS.

News For Wednesday 12/21/11


NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY 122111
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

THE SALVATION ARMY CENTER FOR WORSHIP AND SERVICE ON LEE STREET IN ALEXANDRIA. WAS ROBBED FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER EARLY TUESDAY MORNING. INSIDE THE FACILITY, TOYS THAT HAD BEEN DONATED TO NEEDY CHILDREN. POLICE SAY THE CROOKS STOLE 10 DONATED BICYCLES THAT WERE GOING TO BE GIVEN AS CHRISTMAS PRESENTS. EACH BIKE COST ABOUT $100. GLASS SPECIALTIES SAYS THEY WILL DONATE THEIR PRODUCT AND SERVICES TO THE TUNE OF $900 TO REPLACE THE WINDOW THE CROOKS BROKE TO GET INTO THE BUILDING. MAYBE YOU CAN FIND IT IN YOUR HEART TO REPLACE ONE OF THE BIKES.. CALL THE SALVATION ARMY AT 442-0446.

NOW A FEEL GOOD STORY.. 15 YEAR OLD CALVIN HAYNES WENT HOME FROM THE HOSPITAL TUESDAY. CALVIN, WHO LIVES IN NATCHITOCHES, NEARLY DIED EARLIER THIS MONTH DURING NATCHITOCHES CENTRAL'S FRESHMAN BASKETBALL GAME AT PINEVILLE HIGH SCHOOL. HE COLLAPSED, HIS HEART STOPPED FOR EIGHT MINUTES. HE WAS IN ACTUALLY DEAD. HOWEVER, FATE WAS TO HAVE DONNA LEMOINE, A NURSE FROM RAPIDES REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER WHO HAPPENED TO BE AT THE GAME WITH HER DAUGHTER, WAS ABLE TO GET HIS HEART BEATING AGAIN AND THE CALVIN WAS RUSHED TO THE HOSPITAL. SINCE THEN A DEFIBRILLATOR WAS SURGICALLY PLACED IN HIS CHEST. CALVIN MOTHER SAYS SHE BELIEVES HE WAS BLESSED WITH ANGELS THAT WORKED WITH HER SON THAT GOT HIM BACK TO LIFE. MRS. HAYNES WENT ON TO SAY, SOME PEOPLE SAY HE IS LUCKY TO BE ALIVE. SHE BELIEVES HE WASN'T LUCKY, HE WAS BLESSED.

WINTER OFFICIALLY BEGINS THIS EVENING WITH THE WINTER SOLSTICE AT :30 MINUTES BEFORE MIDNIGHT. STATE CLIMATOLOGIST BARRY KEIM SAYS DAYS MAY BE LESS COLD, WITH LESS PRECIPITATION, BECAUSE OF A DOMINANT PACIFIC LA NINA WEATHER PATTERN, THAT WILL SHIFT THE JET STREAM A BIT FURTHER NORTH OVER THE WINTER WEEKS AHEAD. KEIM SAYS THE LA NINA WILL MAKE IT UNLIKELY LOUISIANA WILL SEE ANY SNOW THIS WINTER, BUT THEN AGAIN, ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.

A LOS ANGELES FEDERAL JUDGE HAS RULED THAT THE CONDITIONS FILIPINO TEACHERS WERE SUBJECTED TO WHEN BROUGHT TO LOUISIANA QUALIFIES THEIR CASE TO BE HEARD UNDER THE FEDERAL HUMAN TRAFFICKING LAW.
(THE SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER, BASED IN ALABAMA, FILED THE LAWSUIT AGAINST THE EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH BOARD, PRIMARILY THE SUPERINTENDENT'S OFFICE. ALSO INVOLVED ARE THE MANILA- AND LOS ANGELES-BASED COMPANIES WITH WHOM THE SCHOOL BOARD DID BUSINESS.)
AN OFFICIAL IN THE EAST BATON ROUGH SCHOOL BOARD SUPERINTENDENT'S OFFICE FACILITATED THE IMPORTATION OF TEACHERS AND CONDUCTED INTERVIEWS IN MANILA. SOME OF THE TEACHERS ALSO ENDED UP WORKING IN THE AVOYELLES PARISH SCHOOL DISTRICT. THE TEACHERS ALLEGE THEY HAD TO PAY EXORBITANT FEES, TO GET TO THE U.S. AND THAT THEY WERE CROWDED INTO APARTMENTS AND CHARGED MORE FOR RENT THAN OTHER TENANTS. THEY WERE TOLD WITH WHOM THEY COULD COMMUNICATE.

NOW THIS IS GOOD NEWS.. UNEMPLOYMENT IN THE STATE HAS FALLEN TO ITS LOWEST LEVEL SINCE THE SUMMER OF 2009, AS EMPLOYERS ADD MORE NEW JOBS. LOUISIANA WORKFORCE COMMISSION EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR CURT EYSINK SAYS THE JOBLESS RATE HERE IS THE 15TH LOWEST IN THE US; 6.9 PERCENT COMPARED WITH THE FEDERAL UNEMPLOYMENT RATE OF 8.6 PERCENT. EYSINK SAYS LOUISIANA ADDED NEARLY 3500 NON-FARM JOBS BETWEEN OCTOBER AND NOVEMBER OF THIS YEAR, AND THERE'S BEEN A MARKED INCREASE IN JOBS JOBS SINCE NOVEMBER 2010, GIVING LOUISIANA THE THIRD LOWEST UNEMPLOYMENT RATE IN THE SOUTH. EYSINK SAYS THE NUMBERS INDICATE THAT MORE PEOPLE ARE WORKING, AND FEWER ARE WITHOUT A JOB.

THE LAFAYETTE PARISH SCHOOL BOARD HAS VOTED 5-4 TO APPROVE A FOUR-YEAR, $190,000-A-YEAR CONTRACT FOR NEW SUPERINTENDENT PAT COOPER. THE ADVERTISER REPORTS (HTTP://BIT.LY/SVY7KB) THAT COOPER TOLD BOARD OFFICIALS LAST WEEK THAT THOSE WERE HIS TERMS FOR THE JOB. HE ALSO GOT MORE THAN $65,000 IN BENEFITS AND EXPENSES.

US SENATOR MARY LANDRIEU ANNOUNCED YESTERDAY THE ARMY BASE AT FORT POLK, HOME TO THE JOINT READINESS TRAINING CENTER, WILL RECEIVE $70.1 MILLION FOR EXPANSION AND UPGRADES, INCLUDING ACREAGE ACQUISITION AND A NEW BRIGADE COMPLEX. THE MONEY IS IN A HUGE SPENDING BILL, APPROVED BY CONGRESS OVER THE WEEKEND, THAT GROUPS NINE APPROPRIATIONS BILLS FUNDING THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UNTIL THE END OF THE FEDERAL FISCAL YEAR, SEPT. 30, 2012. MEDIA REPORTS SAY THE OMNIBUS BILL CONTAINS $1 TRILLION TO FUND DEPARTMENTS, INCLUDING THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE. A PORTION OF THE $70.1 MILLION APPROPRIATION, $27 MILLION, WILL PAY FOR AN ADDITIONAL 8,250 ACRES AT THE BASE LOCATED NEAR LEESVILLE.

AT&T HAS DECIDED TO END ITS $39 BILLION BID TO BUY T-MOBILE USA, WHICH WOULD HAVE MADE IT THE LARGEST CELLPHONE COMPANY IN THE UNITED STATES. THE MERGER FACED STRONG OBJECTION BY GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS. PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION MEMBER FOSTER CAMPBELL SAYS THE MERGER WOULD HAVE REDUCED COMPETITION AND LEAD TO HIGHER PRICES. CAMPBELL SAYS THE STOPPING OF THE MERGER WAS THE RIGHT THING TO DO BECAUSE IT WOULD HAVE ONLY LEAD TO LESS RECEPTION FOR CUSTOMERS AND HIGHER BILLS. TO QUOTE THE COMMISSIONER, AT&T ALREADY HAS THE WORST SERVICE IN LOUISIANA.

A $93-MILLION STATE SUPREME COURT RULING AGAINST THE STATE-RUN LAST RESORT PROPERTY INSURER COULD MEAN MORE ASSESSMENTS LEVIED AGAINST ALL LOUISIANA PROPERTY OWNERS. INSURANCE COMMISSIONER JIM DONELON SAYS FURTHER ASSESSMENTS ARE POSSIBLE, BUT SHOULDN'T COME UP IN THE NEAR FUTURE. THE HIGH COURT RULED THAT LA CITIZENS INSURANCE PROCESSED POST-HURRICANE CLAIMS TOO SLOWLY, AND CALLS FOR $5000 CHECKS TO BE ISSUED TO OVER 18-THOUSAND CLAIMANTS. DONELON SAYS DESPITE POST-HURRICANE CHAOS, LA CITIZENS DID SEND $2500 CHECKS TO ALL CLAIMANTS ASAP. HE WANTS THE COURT TO RECONSIDER. DONELON SAYS CURRENTLY, BARING ANY OTHER MAJOR CLAIM SCENARIOS. THERE IS OVER $200-MILLION IN FUNDS AVAILABLE TO PAY THE JUDGMENT AGAINST LA CITIZENS

LOUISIANA STATE HEALTH OFFICIALS SAY THE FLU SEASON'S OFF TO SLOW START, BUT YOU SHOULD STILL GET A FLU SHOT. THE STATE'S FLU BUG EXPERT DR. FRANK WELCH SAYS THERE WAS A SPIKE IN FLU ACTIVITY A FEW WEEKS AGO, BUT THINGS HAVE SLOWED DOWN CONSIDERABLY. DR WELCH SAYS WHILE THE FLU IS LARGELY UNPREDICTABLE, HE BELIEVES WE'VE SEEN FEWER CASES SO FAR THIS YEAR BECAUSE MORE PEOPLE ARE GETTING THEIR FLU SHOT. OR, THE LOW NUMBER OF CASES SO FAR THIS SEASON MIGHT ALSO MEAN THAT OUR FLU SEASON HASN'T OFFICIALLY STARTED YET. THE GOOD DR. SAYS, IF YOU HAVEN’T GOTTEN YOUR FLU SHOT YET.. WELL YOU KNOW..

MISSISSIPPI GOV. HALEY BARBOUR ANNOUNCED YESTERDAY ALLOWING OIL AND GAS DRILLING 10 TO 12 MILES SOUTH OF MISSISSIPPI'S COASTLINE IN THE GULF OF MEXICO IS A GOOD IDEA BECAUSE IT COULD GENERATE STATE REVENUE. THE MISSISSIPPI DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY ON MONDAY PUBLISHED PROPOSED REGULATIONS TO LEASE STATE WATERS IN THE GULF FOR THE DRILLING. THE REGULATIONS ARE OPEN FOR PUBLIC COMMENT UNTIL JAN. 20. IF THEY'RE APPROVED, A LEASE SALE COULD TAKE PLACE IN 2012

LSU'S SPOT IN THE BCS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME IS HELPING MANY AREAS OF THE UNIVERSITY, INCLUDING ENROLLMENT. KURT KEPPLER IS THE VICE CHANCELLOR OF STUDENT LIFE AND ENROLLMENT SERVICES AT LSU. HE SAYS THEY'VE SEEN A SPIKE IN THE NUMBER OF STUDENTS APPLYING AT LSU THIS YEAR. KEPPLER SAYS THE RISE IN ENROLLMENT IS UP DESPITE HIGHER ADMISSION STANDARDS STARTING AT LSU. HE SAYS LSU HAS BEEN GETTING LOTS OF NATIONAL EXPOSURE BECAUSE OF THE FOOTBALL TEAM.

STATE POLICE SAY A POLICE OFFICER AT THE RAYVILLE POLICE DEPARTMENT HAS BEEN ARRESTED FOR ONE COUNT OF FELONY CARNAL KNOWLEDGE OF A 15-YEAR-OLD JUVENILE. TROOPER MARK DENNIS SAYS AFTER THEY RECEIVED THE COMPLAINT, 21-YEAR-OLD CHANNEN RICKS OF RAYVILLE WAS ARRESTED. DENNIS SAYS RICKS WAS BOOKED INTO THE RICHLAND PARISH DETENTION CENTER AND BONDED OUT AT $10,000. DENNIS SAYS THEY BELIEVE THE ALLEGED INCIDENT DIDN'T HAPPEN DURING WORK HOURS.

THE POINSETTIA BOWL BETWEEN NO. 16 TCU AND LOUISIANA TECH ISN'T MERELY A MATCHUP OF TEAMS HAPPY TO BE IN A POSTSEASON GAME. WEDNESDAY NIGHT IS A SHOWDOWN OF CONFERENCE CHAMPIONS THAT WILL GIVE THE VICTOR AN EIGHT-GAME WINNING STREAK TO CARRY INTO 2012. YOU CAN HEAR THE GAME TONIGHT ON ESPN1410. AIRTIME 6PM.







News For Tuesday 12/20/21


NEWS FOR TUESDAY 122011
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

21 YEAR OLD LAWRENCE BLADE OF PINEVILLE, WHO WAS CONVICTED ON SIX COUNTS OF AGGRAVATED ASSAULT WITH A FIREARM ,HAS BEEN SENTENCED TO 15 YEARS IN PRISON. BLADE WAS SENTENCED BY 9TH DISTRICT JUDGE THOMAS YEAGER TO SIX 2 ½-YEAR TERMS IN PRISON, TO BE SERVED CONSECUTIVELY, FOR SHOOTING A SHOTGUN INTO A CROWD ON JUNE 21ST OF LAST YEAR, INJURING TWO PEOPLE. THE SIX COUNTS, WERE DESIGNATED AS CRIMES OF VIOLENCE, WHICH WILL REDUCE BLADE’S CHANCES OF PAROLE.

PERSONAL INCOME IN LOUISIANA GREW BY JUST 0.4 PERCENT IN THE THIRD QUARTER, BUT IT WAS ENOUGH TO RANK THE STATE THIRD ON A LIST RELEASED BY U.S. BUREAU OF ECONOMIC ANALYSIS. THE BEA REPORTED PERSONAL INCOME — INCOME RECEIVED FROM ALL PERSONS FROM ALL SOURCES WAS $176 BILLION IN LOUISIANA FOR THE QUARTER ENDING SEPT. 30. MUCH OF LOUISIANA’S INCREASE CAME IN THE HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES SECTORS, WHICH GREW 3.0 PERCENT OR $398 MILLION. WASHINGTON’S RATE OF PERSONAL INCOME GROWTH WAS FIRST, FOLLOWED BY TEXAS. IN FOURTH PLACE WAS UTAH, FOLLOWED BY NORTH DAKOTA.

GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL LEAVES TODAY FOR IOWA, TO CAMPAIGN FOR TEXAS GOVERNOR RICK PERRY'S BID FOR THE GOP PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION. THE IOWA CAUCUSES ARE COMING UP JANUARY 3RD, JINDAL SAYS HE'S GOING TO LEND PERRY'S CAMPAIGN A HAND. MR. JINDAL HAS BEEN SUPPORTIVE OF PERRY'S CANDIDACY FOR THE OVAL OFFICE FROM IT'S BEGINNING EARLY THIS YEAR. JINDAL SAYS HE BELIEVES PERRY'S EXPERIENCE RUNNING THE LONE STAR STATE BETTER QUALIFIES HIM TO LEAD THE NATION. PERRY IS SEEKING TO REGAIN SOME GROUND LOST TO POOR DEBATE PERFORMANCES. MR. JINDAL WILL SPEND TWO DAYS IN IOWA; ATTENDING TOWN HALL MEETINGS AND OTHER EVENTS PRIOR TO THE CAUCUSES, TWO WEEKS FROM TODAY.

THIS IS THE BUSIEST DAY OF THE YEAR FOR THE U-S POST OFFICE AS OVER 600-MILLION CARDS AND LETTERS WILL BE PROCESSED. U-S POSTAL SERVICE SPOKESPERSON, DARLENE REID, SAYS THE RUSH IS ON TO GET THOSE HOLIDAY CARDS TO THEIR DESTINATION BEFORE CHRISTMAS DAY. REID SAYS IF YOU ARE SENDING HOLIDAY CARDS AND GIFTS FIRST-CLASS, THEN IT NEEDS TO BE MAILED TODAY IN ORDER FOR IT TO ARRIVE BY CHRISTMAS DAY.

LOUISIANA'S LAWMAKERS ARE SNAPPING UP TICKETS TO THE BCS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME, BUT ONLY THE CURRENT LEGISLATORS. NEW LAWMAKERS ARE OUT OF LUCK. THEIR TERMS START ON GAME DAY. TICKETS TO THE JAN. 9 MATCHUP BETWEEN LSU AND ALABAMA ARE SELLING FOR THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS ON INTERNET AUCTION SITES. THE SUGAR BOWL COMMITTEE MADE FOUR TICKETS AVAILABLE TO EACH LEGISLATOR WHO WAS IN OFFICE WHEN TICKETS WENT ON SALE, AND LSU ALSO FREED UP AN ADDITIONAL TWO TICKETS FOR THEM. THE PRICE IS $350 PER TICKET.

ACCORDING TO A STATE ECONOMIST, LOUISIANA'S ANNUAL PUBLIC SCHOOL FUNDING FORMULA IS BUILT ON OUTDATED STUDENT COUNT PROJECTIONS, SKEWING THE BUDGETING AND LEADING TO REPEATED MIDYEAR FUNDING SHORTAGES. LOUISIANA HAD A $43 MILLION SHORTFALL IN THE 2011-12 SCHOOL FINANCING PLAN, WHICH WAS MADE UP BY BUDGET CUTS APPROVED LAST WEEK. A YEAR EARLIER, THE SCHOOL FUNDING FORMULA WAS SHORT $42 MILLION. THE YEAR BEFORE THAT, IT HAD A $52 MILLION MIDYEAR GAP. GREG ALBRECHT, CHIEF ECONOMIST FOR THE LEGISLATIVE FISCAL OFFICE, SAID THE PROCESS IS NOT WORKING BECAUSE THE FUNDING FORMULA USES CURRENT YEAR STUDENT COUNTS TO BUILD THE NEXT YEAR'S BUDGET, INSTEAD OF USING PROJECTIONS FOR HOW MANY WILL ATTEND SCHOOL IN THE NEXT BUDGET YEAR WHEN THE MONEY IS TO BE SPENT. GOV. BOBBY JINDAL SAID MONDAY IT IS TOO EARLY TO TELL WHETHER STATE AID TO PUBLIC SCHOOLS WILL BE FROZEN FOR THE FOURTH CONSECUTIVE YEAR.

FEMA IS NO LONGER REQUIRED TO RECOUP OVER PAYMENTS IN DISASTER AID MADE TO HURRICANE KATRINA AND RITA VICTIMS. US SENATOR MARY LANDRIEU SAYS THE LEGISLATION PASSED OVER THE WEEKEND WILL IMPACT 63-THOUSAND FAMILIES IN LOUISIANA AND MISSISSIPPI. LANDRIEU SAYS IN SOME CASES FEMA GAVE AN EXTRA 1-THOUSAND DOLLARS OR MORE TO HURRICANE VICTIMS BETWEEN 2005-2010. LANDRIEU SAYS LEGISLATION WAS NEEDED FOR FEMA TO STOP GOING AFTER HURRICANE VICTIMS FOR OVERPAYMENTS IN DISASTER AID. LANDRIEU SAYS IF SOMEONE FRAUDULENTLY RECEIVED KATRINA AND RITA AID, THIS NEW LAW WILL NOT APPLY TO THEM. ALSO, THE SENATOR SAYS HOUSEHOLDS WITH ANNUAL INCOMES OF 90-THOUSAND DOLLARS OR MORE WILL STILL PAY BACK AT LEAST A PORTION OF THE ERRONEOUS DISASTER PAYMENT

LOUISIANA TAXPAYERS WILL NOW START GETTING THEIR STATE REFUNDS BACK ON A DEBIT CARD. LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE SECRETARY CYNTHIA BRIDGES SAYS THE LOUISIANA MY REFUND CARD PROGRAM IS A WIN-WIN FOR TAXPAYERS AND THE STATE. BRIDGES ALSO SAYS THE PROGRAM WILL ALSO SAVE THE STATE ABOUT $500,000 SINCE THE DEPARTMENT WILL NOT BE BEARING THE COST OF PRODUCING AND MAILING THE CARD. SHE SAYS THE REFUND CARDS CAN BE USED TO BUY ANYTHING. BRIDGES SAYS THE CARDS WILL BE ISSUED TO TAXPAYERS WHO ARE OWED REFUNDS BUT DIDN'T SIGN UP FOR THE DIRECT DEPOSIT OPTION. SHE SAYS FOR THOSE NOT INTERESTED IN RECEIVING THE DEBIT CARD, YOU CAN STILL REQUEST A CHECK, THE MORE TRADITIONAL FORM OF PAYMENT.

SHRIMP LOVERS ARE BEING ALERTED TO STOCK UP ON THE SHELLFISH NOW, AS A SHORTAGE IS EXPECTED IN 2012 AND THE PRICE OF SHRIMP IS GOING TO SHOOT UP. AMERICAN SEAFOODS OWNER WAYNE HESS SAYS THERE IS GOOD PRODUCTION NOW GOING INTO THE HOLIDAY SEASON, BUT AFTER THAT SHRIMP WILL BE HARD TO FIND. HESS SAYS IF YOU'RE USED TO GETTING A SHRIMP POBOY BETWEEN $8-$10, YOU MIGHT HAVE TO START PAYING $12-$15 FOR THE SANDWICH DURING LENT AND OTHER HIGH DEMAND PERIODS. HE SAYS, HOWEVER, CRAB AND FIN-FISH WILL BE PLENTIFUL. HESS ALSO SAYS THE OYSTERS ARE INCREDIBLE THIS SEASON.

A TODDLER WAS SHOT IN THE HEAD OVER THE WEEKEND IN NEW ORLEANS DURING A DRIVE BY SHOOTING AND ONE LAWMAKER CALLING FOR THE NATIONAL GUARD TO RETURN TO CITY. STATE REPRESENTATIVE AUSTIN BADON SAYS THIS TRAGEDY IS ONLY ONE EXAMPLE OF HOW CRIME HAS GOTTEN OUT OF HAND IN NEW ORLEANS. POLICE BELIEVE THAT PEOPLE IN TWO CARS OPENED FIRE ON A MAN WALKING THE STREET, AND BULLETS HIT AND KILLED KERIA GORDON WHO WOULD HAVE BEEN 2 YEARS OLD ON THURSDAY. BADON SAYS THERE HAS TO BE A MORE PRO-ACTIVE EFFORT BY LAW ENFORCEMENT TO STOP THESE CRIMINALS ONCE AND FOR ALL, AND REMOVE THEM FROM SOCIETY. BADON SAYS YOU CAN'T WALK DOWN THE STREET WITHOUT CRIMES HAPPENING. HE SAYS THE BAD GUYS ARE RUNNING THE CITY RIGHT NOW, AND IT NEEDS TO BE TAKEN BACK.

BATON ROUGE POLICE SAY AN 18-YEAR-OLD SHOT HIMSELF IN THE LEG AS HE WAS ROBBING AN 89-YEAR-OLD MAN. CORPORAL L' JEAN MCKNEELY SAYS THE SUSPECT WALKED UP TO THE ELDERLY VICTIM AS HE WAS WASHING HIS CAR AND THE TEEN DEMANDED HIS WALLET. POLICE SAYS THE 18-YEAR-OLD FIRED A GUN IN THE AIR AND THE 89-YEAR-OLD VICTIM DECIDED IT WAS BEST TO GIVE UP HIS WALLET. MCKNEELY SAYS AS THE SUSPECT WAS PUTTING THE GUN BACK INTO HIS POCKET, THE WEAPON WENT OFF, STRIKING THE TEENAGER IN HIS LEG. HE SAYS THE SUSPECT WAS CAUGHT A SHORT TIME LATER, AFTER LEAVING THE SCENE IN A GETAWAY VEHICLE.

ROYAL DUTCH SHELL SAYS IT HAS SHUT DOWN AN OFFSHORE DRILLING RIG OFF THE COAST OF ALABAMA FOLLOWING A LEAK OF DRILLING FLUID. SHELL SAYS 319 BARRELS OF THE SYNTHETIC AND BIODEGRADABLE FLUID LEAKED FROM A BOOSTER LINE. THE COAST GUARD SAYS THE LEAK WAS REPORTED SUNDAY AND THAT THE LINE WAS CONNECTED TO A VESSEL SUPPLYING THE DRILLING FLUID. SHELL SAYS THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF SAFETY AND ENVIRONMENTAL ENFORCEMENT APPROVED A PLAN TO TEMPORARILY STOP DRILLING AND MAKE REPAIRS.

SPORTS..

JAE CROWDER AND NO. 10 MARQUETTE MIGHT STILL BE UNBEATEN IF THEY HAD SAVED THEIR 3 BEST MINUTES OF BASKETBALL FOR THE END. MARQUETTE RACED TO 13-0 LEAD AT LSU ON MONDAY NIGHT, ONLY TO WATCH THE TIGERS METHODICALLY CLAW BACK, ENERGIZE THEIR CROWD AND ULTIMATELY EXTEND THEIR OWN WINNING STREAK TO FIVE GAMES WITH A 67-59 UPSET VICTORY. THE TIGERS PLAY NEXT ON THURSDAY AT NORTH TEXAS.

News For Monday 12/19/11


NEWS FOR MONDAY 121911
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

THE JINDAL ADMINISTRATION UNVEILS ITS PLAN TO ADDRESS A 251-MILLION DOLLAR MID-YEAR BUDGET SHORTFALL. THE DEFICIT IS THE RESULT OF LOWER THAN EXPECTED TAX REVENUES AND NOT HAVING ENOUGH DOLLARS TO FUND PUBLIC EDUCATION. COMMISSIONER OF ADMINISTRATION PAUL RAINWATER SAYS STRATEGIC CUTS WERE MADE TO MITIGATE THE IMPACT TO PUBLIC COLLEGES AND HEALTH CARE. AS A RESULT OF JINDAL'S BUDGET CUTTING PLAN, HIGHER ED FUNDING WILL BE CUT 50-MILLION DOLLARS. RAINWATER SAYS THE BUDGET CUTTING PLAN ALSO CALLS FOR THE ELIMINATION OF NEARLY 300 FULL-TIME POSITIONS WITHIN STATE GOVERNMENT.

STATE POLICE AND LOCAL LAWMEN WARN MOTORISTS THEY WILL HAVE ENHANCED PATROLS ON HIGHWAYS NOW THROUGH NEW YEARS--SEEKING OUT DRUNK DRIVERS. STATE POLICE LT. DOUG CAIN SAYS, IN ADDITION TO CHECKPOINTS, THERE WILL BE SATURATION PATROLS AIMED AT CATCHING DRIVERS WHO TRY TO AVOID THEM. HE SAYS IT'S PART OF THE NATIONAL "DRIVER SOBER OR GET PULLED OVER" CAMPAIGN; AIMED AT CRACKING DOWN ON DRUNK DRIVERS AND SAVING LIVES. (CAIN SAYS CHECKPOINTS COULD BE ANYWHERE, NOW THROUGH NEW YEARS.

THE STATE FIRE MARSHAL SAYS RESCUE WORKERS WERE UNABLE TO REVIVE A CHURCH POINT WOMAN WHOSE NEIGHBOR HAD PULLED HER FROM A FIRE IN HER HOME.MARSHAL BUTCH BROWNING SAYS FIREFIGHTERS AND POLICE OFFICERS TRIED TO RESUSCITATE 47-YEAR-OLD ELAINE THIBODEAUX FAUL, WHO WAS LYING IN HER YARD WHEN RESPONDERS ARRIVED ABOUT 3 P.M. SATURDAY. .BROWNING'S OFFICE IS INVESTIGATING THE FIRE. INVESTIGATORS FOUND A SMOKE ALARM IN THE MOBILE HOME BUT IT DID NOT HAVE A BATTERY INSIDE

THE JEFFERSON DAVIS PARISH POLICE JURY IS CONSIDERING A COMPANY'S REQUEST TO REZONE NEARLY 23 ACRES NEAR THE LACASSINE INDUSTRIAL PARK FOR CONSTRUCTION OF A RUM DISTILLERY. LOUISIANA SPIRITS WANTS TO REZONE THE LAND NEAR INTERSTATE 10 FROM LIGHT INDUSTRIAL TO HEAVY INDUSTRIAL TO ALLOW IT TO MAKE RUM. PARISH ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR MARION FOX SAID THE COMPANY PLANS TO OPERATE THE DISTILLERY JUST NORTH OF THE SYRUP MILL NEAR THE INDUSTRIAL PARK. LOUISIANA SPIRITS HOPES TO BE OPEN BY APRIL AND SAID IT WILL EMPLOY 35 PEOPLE. IN ADDITION TO MAKING RUM, THE DISTILLERY WILL BE OPEN FOR PUBLIC TOURS.

THE AVOYELLES PARISH SCHOOL SYSTEM HAS SATISFIED ONE OF SIX REQUIREMENTS TOWARD LIFTING THE FEDERAL DESEGREGATION ORDER IT'S UNDER. U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE DEE DRELL RULED ON FRIDAY THAT AVOYELLES HAS DONE ENOUGH TO DESEGREGATE TRANSPORTATION IN THE SCHOOL DISTRICT. THAT IS ONE OF SIX AREAS THE DISTRICT MUST IMPROVE TO MEET TO BE DECLARED "UNITARY." THE DISTRICT STILL MUST PROVE IT HAS ACHIEVED UNITARY STATUS IN FIVE OTHER AREAS, FACILITIES, ADMINISTRATIVE ASSIGNMENTS, FACULTY ASSIGNMENTS, EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES AND STUDENT ASSIGNMENTS.

A RECENT GALLUP POLL ON GUN OWNERSHIP SHOWS THE NUMBER OF WOMEN REPORTING THEY OWN FIREARMS IS AT NEW HIGH; 43%. THAT'S UP 19% FROM 2010. GUN SHOP OWNER’S SAYS THAT'S CERTAINLY THE CASE HERE IN LOUISIANA. THE GALLUP POLL ALSO SHOWS THAT ONLY 26% OF MEN AND WOMEN SURVEYED SUPPORT A NATIONAL HANDGUN BAN.

THE STRAWBERRY CROP IN LOUISIANA IS COMING IN EARLIER THAN USUAL THIS SEASON. LSU AGCENTER HORTICULTURE AGENT SANDRA BENJAMIN SAYS THERE'S A NEW VARIETY OF THE FRUIT BEING PLANTED BY GROWERS CAUSING THE CROP TO COME IN SEVERAL MONTHS EARLIER. BENJAMIN ALSO SAYS THE WARMER WEATHER PROMPTED FARMERS TO PLANT EARLIER HENCE THE EARLY HARVEST.

AN ULTRA-LIGHT, TWO-SEAT AIRCRAFT HAS CRASHED IN A FIELD IN IBERIA PARISH. SHERIFF LOUIS ACKAL SAYS THE CRASH OCCURRED A LITTLE PAST 2 SUNDAY AFTERNOON. THE PLANE WAS OCCUPIED BY TWO PEOPLE, BOTH OF WHOM RECEIVED MODERATE INJURIES AND WERE TRANSPORTED TO A LOCAL HOSPITAL. THE CAUSE OF THE CRASH WILL BE INVESTIGATED BY THE FAA.



SPORTS..

THE SAINTS TOOK ANOTHER STEP TOWARDS AN NFC SOUTH CHAMPIONSHIP WITH A 42 TO 20 THRASHING OF MINNESOTA VIKINGS. QUARTERBACK DREW BREES THREW FIVE TOUCHDOWN PASSES. THE OFFENSE HAD A COUPLE OF EARLY TURNOVERS AND IT WAS 14-13 GAME IN THE SECOND QUARTER, BUT THE BREES AND THE OFFENSE WOULD SCORE THE NEXT FOUR TOUCHDOWNS. THE SAINTS ARE NOW 11-AND-3 ON THE SEASON. IT'S THE THIRD CONSECUTIVE SEASON NEW ORLEANS HAS WON 11 OR MORE GAMES. THE SAINTS HOST ATLANTA A WEEK FROM TONIGHT ON MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL.

THE RAGIN CAJUNS WON THEIR FIRST BOWL GAME IN SCHOOL HISTORY IN DRAMATIC FASHION ON SATURDAY NIGHT AT THE MERCEDES BENZ SUPERDOME. BRETT BAER NAILED A 50-YARD FIELD GOAL AS TIME EXPIRED TO GIVE U-L-L A THRILLING 32 TO 30 VICTORY OVER SAN DIEGO STATE.

THE LOUISIANA TECH FOOTBALL TEAM IS IN SAN DIEGO, GETTING READY TO FACE 15TH RANKED T-C-U IN THE POINSETTIA BOWL ON WEDNESDAY NIGHT. THE DAWGS ARE RIDING A SEVEN-GAME WINNING STREAK WHICH LED TO A WAC CHAMPIONSHIP. THE GAME WILL BE NATIONALLY TELEVISED ON ESPN WEDNESDAY AND KICKOFF IS AT 7 P-M.

News For Friday Morning 12/16/11


NEWS FOR FRIDAY 121611
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

A DEADLY CRASH EARLY YESTERDAY MORNING IN PINEVILLE HAS CLAIMED THE LIVES OF TWO AREA MEN. PINEVILLE PD REPORT THE ACCIDENT OCCURRED ON THE APPROACH TO THE OK ALLEN BRIDGE, WHEN ONE VEHICLE CROSSED THE CENTER LINE AND STRUCK AN ONCOMING VEHICLE HEAD ON. THE DRIVERS OF BOTH VEHICLES, 24 YEAR OLD MARCELL FULTON II OF BALL AND 46 YEAR OLD KEVIN TURNER OF PINEVILLE WERE KILLED. THE SPECIFICS OF THE ACCIDENT ARE STILL BEING INVESTIGATED AT THIS TIME.

SOMETIMES THE STRESS OF MILITARY SERVICE IS MORE THAN ONE CAN BEAR. YESTERDAY
A FORT POLK SOLDIER APPARENTLY LOCKED HIMSELF IN HIS VEHICLE WITH A GUN AND THREATENED TO KILL HIMSELF. AFTER THREE HOURS, THE SOLDIER WAS TALKED INTO COMING OUT OF THE VEHICLE. THE SOLDIER, A MEMBER OF THE ARMED SERVICES, WAS LATER TURNED OVER TO FT. POLK AUTHORITIES.

GLENN YOUNGER, AN ALEXANDRIA HOMEBUILDER WAS APPOINTED TO THE ALEXANDRIA HOUSING AUTHORITY'S BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS ON THURSDAY, FINALLY FILLING THE FIFTH SEAT THAT HAS LONG BEEN UNOCCUPIED. ALSO AT THE MEETING, BOARD CHAIRMAN JOE PAGE ANNOUNCED THAT THE ALEXANDRIA HOUSING AUTHORITY AND BOBBY R. COLLINS, WHO IS HEAD OF THE WINNFIELD HOUSING AUTHORITY, "COULD NOT COME TO TERMS" ON AN EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT. COLLINS WAS AMONG A HOST OF APPLICANTS WHO EXPRESSED INTEREST IN THE AHA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR JOB. CYNTHIA ROSENTHAL REMAINS AHA INTERIM EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR.

CRIME STOPPERS AND THE RAPIDES PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE ARE LOOKING FOR AN ALEXANDRIA WOMAN LAST SEEN IN LAKE CHARLES. 20 YEAR OLD MISTY HASTINGS WAS REPORTED MISSING ON DEC. 5. SHE WAS LAST SEEN IN LAKE CHARLES DRIVING A 2007 FOUR-DOOR WHITE TOYOTA COROLLA. AUTHORITIES BELIEVE SHE MAY BE IN THE ALEXANDRIA AREA. ANYONE WITH INFORMATION IS ASKED TO CALL CRIME STOPPERS OR THE RAPIDES PARISH SHERIFF’S OFFICE.

THE CITY OF ALEXANDRIA’S ANNUAL AUDIT OF THE 2010-11 FISCAL YEAR REVEALED THAT THE CITY WAS ABLE TO DEPOSIT MORE THAN $4.8 MILLION IN SURPLUS FUNDING INTO ITS GENERAL FUND, PUSHING THE CITY'S FUND BALANCE TO NEARLY $17 MILLION AS OF APRIL 30. THE CITY'S INDEPENDENT AUDITOR, SAID APPROXIMATELY $1.4 MILLION OF THE SURPLUS CAME FROM INCREASED SALES TAX COLLECTIONS, $1.3 MILLION CAME FROM SAVINGS THROUGH SALARY ATTRITION AND A HIRING FREEZE, WHILE APPROXIMATELY $2 MILLION CAME FROM KEEPING A TIGHT REIN ON THE CITY’S PURSE STRINGS.

THE JOINT LEGISLATIVE BUDGET COMMITTEE MEETS THIS MORNING TO DISCUSS BALANCING A $198-MILLION REVENUE SHORTFALL IN THE CURRENT STATE BUDGET. GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL SAYS HIS COMMISSIONER OF ADMINISTRATION, PAUL RAINWATER, WILL PRESENT RECOMMENDATIONS FOR BUDGET CUTS TO OFFSET THE DEFICIT. STATE LAW SAYS WHENEVER A CURRENT BUDGET IS REVISED TO SHOW A DEFICIT, IT MUST BE RE-BALANCED WITHIN 30 DAYS. MR. JINDAL BELIEVES IT'S BETTER TO GET THAT DONE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, SO HIS TEAM WILL HAVE A PLAN READY FOR LAWMAKERS THIS MORNING. JINDAL SAYS HIS PLAN WILL DO ALL IT CAN TO AVAOID ANY FURTHER CUTS TO HEALTH CARE OR HIGHER EDUCATION; TWO AREAS OF THE STATE BUDGET THAT HAVE TAKEN THE BRUNT OF BUDGET CUTS OVER RECENT YEARS.

LOUISIANA'S ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CHIEF STEPHEN MORET SAID THURSDAY, LOW NATURAL GAS PRICES, AN IMPROVING BUSINESS IMAGE FOR THE STATE AND MANUFACTURERS SHIFTING THEIR FOCUS BACK TO THE UNITED STATES SHOULD BE STRONG POINTS IN THE STATE'S DRIVE TO ATTRACT JOBS. AT THE SAME TIME, THE STATE'S ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT RELEASED A 2011 REPORT CARD ON THURSDAY, SAYING COMPANY EXPANSIONS AND RELOCATIONS ANNOUNCED IN LOUISIANA DURING THE YEAR WILL CREATE MORE THAN 20,000 JOBS AND BRING IN $18 BILLION IN CAPITAL INVESTMENT.

ATTENTION SHOPPERS...YOU ONLY HAVE ABOUT ONE WEEK LEFT TO FINISH THAT CHRISTMAS SHOPPING LIST. RETAIL ANALYST JIM RUTLEDGE SAYS REPORTS INDICATE ITS BEEN A GOOD SEASON FOR RETAILERS, WITH SPENDING UP OVER LAST YEAR. BUT HE SAYS THE PUSH WILL BE ON THIS WEEKEND TO MOVE EXCESS INVENTORY.

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL HAS AGREED TO A REVAMP OF THE JOB EVALUATION SYSTEM FOR LOUISIANA GOVERNMENT'S 54,000 RANK-AND-FILE STATE EMPLOYEES. THE PLAN WAS APPROVED WEDNESDAY BY THE STATE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION. KEY CHANGES INVOLVE MOVING TO A THREE-TIER EVALUATION SYSTEM RANKING CLASSIFIED EMPLOYEE WORK AS "EXCEPTIONAL," ''SUCCESSFUL" OR "NEEDS IMPROVEMENT-UNSUCCESSFUL." NO LONGER WOULD JOB EVALUATIONS AND POTENTIAL PAY RAISES BE TIED TO AN EMPLOYEE'S ANNIVERSARY DATE. INSTEAD, PAY RAISES, IF GRANTED, WOULD BE AWARDED OCT. 1 EACH YEAR. THE PLAN DOES NOT TIE PAY RAISE AMOUNTS TO ATTAINMENT OF CERTAIN RATINGS , A FEATURE OF AN EARLIER PROPOSAL, TO WHICH MANY EMPLOYEES OBJECTED.

THE DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES IS SEEING GROWING SUCCESS IN EFFORTS TO INTERCEPT CASINO WINNINGS FROM DEAD-BEAT PARENTS. TREY WILLIAMS SAYS SINCE THE PROGRAM LAUNCHED BACK IN SEPTEMBER, THEY'VE COLLECTED MORE THAN 41-THOUSAND DOLLARS FROM 21 NON-CUSTODIAL PARENTS WHO OWE CHILD SUPPORT.
THERE'S A LOT OF EXCITEMENT IN THE BIG EASY THIS WEEKEND AS ULL'S RAGIN CAJUNS PREPARE TO FACE THE SAN DIEGO STATE AZTECS IN THE R&L CARRIERS NEW ORLEANS BOWL. ULL HAS NOT BEEN TO A BOWL GAME IN 41 YEARS. NEW ORLEANS BOWL SPOKESPERSON PAUL VALTEAU SAYS ATTENDANCE FOR THIS YEAR'S GAME IS EXPECTED TO SHATTER BOWL RECORDS.

LAFAYETTE PARISH SCHOOL SYSTEM BOARD MEMBERS HAVE VOTED TO OFFER ITS SUPERINTENDENT POSITION TO PAT COOPER, WHO IS SERVING AS THE CEO/PRESIDENT OF EARLY CHILDHOOD AND FAMILY LEARNING FOUNDATION IN NEW ORLEANS. COOPER, WHO HAS 41 YEARS OF EDUCATION EXPERIENCE, IS KNOWN FOR LAUNCHING THE FIRST UNIVERSAL "BIRTH TO FIVE" PROGRAM MODEL IN LOUISIANA WHILE SERVING AS THE SUPERINTENDENT IN WEST FELICIANA PARISH FROM 1989-93. RAPIDES PARISH SUPT. GARY JONES WAS BEING CONSIDERED FOR THE POSITION. BUT, HE REMOVED HIS NAME FROM CONSIDERATION.

FEDERAL JUDGE ELDON FALLON ANNOUNCED YESTERDAY HOMEOWNERS WHO WERE SOLD DRYWALL FROM CHINA WILL BE COMPENSATED FOR THEIR LOSSES. THE TOTAL VALUE OF THE SETTLEMENT FROM KPT DRYWALL IS ESTIMATED BETWEEN 800-MILLION AND ONE BILLION DOLLARS. THE COMPANY'S PRODUCT ENDED UP IN OVER FOUR THOUSAND HOMES AND CAUSED SERIOUS DAMAGES WHERE IT WAS INSTALLED. THE AGREEMENT CREATES TWO FUNDS FROM WHICH PLAINTIFFS MAY RECOVER.

A 15-YEAR OLD STUDENT IN BOSSIER PARISH IS IN TROUBLE AFTER HE WAS CAUGHT WITH A LOADED GUN AT SCHOOL EARLIER TODAY. BILL DAVIS WITH THE SHERIFFS OFFICE SAYS ANOTHER STUDENT TOLD SCHOOL AUTHORITIES ABOUT THE TEENAGER HAVING THE GUN. A 25-CALIBER LOADED HANDGUN WAS FOUND IN THE BOY'S POSSESSION, BUT THEY DON'T KNOW WHY HE BROUGHT THE GUN TO THE CHARLOTTE ANN MITCHELL EDUCATIONAL CENTER.

WITH THE OFFICIAL END OF THE US MILITARY ACTION IN IRAQ, THE STATE'S VETERANS' AFFAIRS SECRETARY SAYS HIS OFFICE STANDS READY TO HELP LOUISIANA SOLDIERS AS THEY RETURN HOME. LANE CARSON SAYS THE LDVA WILL ASSIST RETURNING IRAQ WAR VETS WITH FILING G.I. BILL CLAIMS, DISABILITY CLAIMS AND MORE. HE SAYS MANY WILL BE LEAVING THE MILITARY FOR GOOD, AFTER RETURNING HOME AND THERE'S EVEN HELP TO RETURN THEM TO THE CIVILIAN WORKFORCE. HE SAYS HELPS FOR RETURNING VETS IS ONLINE AT VETAFFAIRS.LA.GOV.

POPULAR COMEDIC ACTOR WILL FERRELL WILL BE BACCHUS IN 2012. THE KREWE MADE THE ANNOUNCEMENT THIS MORNING. FERRELL'S MOVIE CREDITS INCLUDE ELF, ANCHORMAN AND OLD SCHOOL. HE ROSE TO FAME ON SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE AND WAS THE GEORGE W. BUSH IMPERSONATOR FOR YEARS.

STATE POLICE ARREST TWO WOMEN FOR DEFRAUDING A LAKE CHARLES GAMBLING CASINO. ONE WAS A CASINO EMPLOYEE ENTRUSTED WITH SELECTING RANDOM WINNERS FOR PERIODIC CASH PRIZE DRAWINGS. THE OTHER IS A FRIEND WHO WAS THE RECIPIENT OF OVER $25-THOUSAND DOLLARS IN WINNINGS FROM THE FIXED DRAWINGS.

THE U.S. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT CALLS IT THE LARGEST CRIMINAL FINE EVER IMPOSED IN LOUISIANA FOR VIOLATIONS OF THE CLEAN AIR ACT. A FEDERAL JUDGE IN LAFAYETTE ON THURSDAY APPROVED A $10 MILLION FINE AND $2 MILLION IN COMMUNITY SERVICE PAYMENTS TO BE PAID BY TEXAS-BASED PELICAN REFINING COMPANY LLC FOR FELONY VIOLATIONS OF THE ACT AND OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE. A JUSTICE DEPARTMENT NEWS RELEASE NOTED THAT PELICAN ADMITTED TO SEVERAL VIOLATIONS AT ITS LAKE CHARLES REFINERY, INCLUDING THE USE OF REQUIRED EQUIPMENT THAT DID NOT WORK OR WAS POORLY MAINTAINED. ALSO, A PILOT LIGHT IN A FLARE TOWER WHERE GASES WERE BURNED OFF DIDN'T WORK, SO EMPLOYEES USED AN EMERGENCY FLARE GUN TO RE-IGNITE THE GASES. PELICAN PLEADED GUILTY AND AGREED TO THE PAYMENTS IN OCTOBER.


News For Thursday 12/15/11


NEWS FOR THURSDAY 121511
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

THE GULF'S FIRST OFFSHORE PETROLEUM LEASE SALES SINCE THE 2010 BP OIL SPILL HAVE DRAWN OVER $330-MILLION IN WINNING BIDS. OIL & GAS EXPLORERS PLACED 240 BIDS ON 191 TRACTS IN THE WESTERN GULF. LOUISIANA OIL & GAS ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT DON BRIGGS SAYS IT'S GOOD NEWS FOR HIS INDUSTRY, BUT STILL PALES TO ACTIVITY PRIOR TO THE BP OIL SPILL. THE LARGEST SINGLE BID WAS FROM HOUSTON-BASED CONOCO-PHILLIPS; $103- MILLION FOR A SINGLE DEEPWATER TRACT. BRIGGS SAYS IT COULD BE A FEW YEARS BEFORE ANY OF WEDNESDAY'S LEASE SALES PRODUCE ACTUAL RIG JOBS, BUT HE'S HAPPY THAT FEDERAL REGULATORS ARE LETTING HIS INDUSTRY GET BACK TO
BUSINESS IN THE GULF OF MEXICO.

A AVOYELLES PARISH TODDLER WAS SERIOUSLY INJURED YESTERDAY AFTERNOON IN A SINGLE VEHICLE ACCIDENT ON HIGHWAY 1 IN FIFTH WARD. STATE POLICE SAY 24 YEAR OLD MELISSA MOSE OF MOREAUVILLE LOST CONTROL OF THE VEHICLE SHE WAS DRIVING, LEFT THE ROADWAY AND OVERTURNED SEVERAL TIMES. NONE OF THE 5 ADULT PASSENGERS OR THREE JUVENILES IN THE VEHICLE WERE WEARING SEATBELTS. MOSE WAS CHARGED WITH CARELESS OPERATION, NO SEATBELT, AND NO CHILD RESTRAINT (2 COUNTS).

A NEW STATEWIDE POLL SAYS STATE GOVERNMENT'S TOP PRIORITIES FOR 2012 SHOULD BE BRINGING JOBS TO LOUISIANA AND IMPROVING EDUCATION. ACCORDING TO THE SOUTHERN MEDIA AND OPINION RESEARCH SURVEY, 25% OF RESPONDENTS SAY EDUCATION IS THE STATE'S MAIN PROBLEM, WHILE 22% SAY JOBS AND UNEMPLOYMENT. GOVERNOR JINDAL SAYS EDUCATION IS A TOP PRIORITY WHEN HIS SECOND TERM BEGINS IN JANUARY. HE'S BEEN MEETING WITH STAKEHOLDERS TO DEVELOP EDUCATION REFORM IDEAS & STRATEGIES.

STATE TREASURER JOHN KENNEDY SAYS YOU MIGHT HAVE EXTRA CHRISTMAS CASH, IN THE FORM OF UNCLAIMED PROPERTY THAT WINDS UP IN STATE HANDS. HE SAYS IT COULD BE UTILITY DEPOSITS, INTEREST PAYMENTS, OLD BANK ACCOUNT BALANCES AND MORE. HE SAYS OVER $500-MILLION IN UNCLAIMED PROPERTY IS WAITING TO BE CLAIMED.

MORE THAN $200 MILLION HAS TO BE CUT FROM THE STATE BUDGET TO COVER AN ANTICIPATED DROP IN STATE REVENUES AND A RISE IN SOME EXPENSES. THE REVENUE ESTIMATING CONFERENCE ON WEDNESDAY ADOPTED A REPORT BY LEGISLATIVE FISCAL OFFICE ECONOMIST GREG ALBRECHT THAT SHOWS REVENUES ARE PREDICTED TO RUN $197.8 MILLION SHORT BY JUNE 30, 2012. THAT SHORTFALL, PLUS A $42.7 MILLION INCREASE IN THE COST OF PUBLIC SCHOOLS, IS FORCING COMMISSIONER OF ADMINISTRATION PAUL RAINWATER AND HIS STAFF TO GO OVER EACH SECTION OF THE BUDGET LOOKING FOR PLACES TO CUT $240.5 MILLION. RAINWATER SAID YESTERDAY AFTER THE REC MEETING, "WE WILL HAVE A BALANCED BUDGET, A PLAN THAT MITIGATES CUTS TO HIGHER EDUCATION AND HEALTH CARE."

HURRICANE FORECASTER WILLIAM GRAY WILL WAIT UNTIL SPRING TO PREDICT HOW MANY STORMS WILL FORM IN THE ATLANTIC. GRAY AND HIS RESEARCH PARTNER AT COLORADO STATE UNIVERSITY, PHILIP KLOTZBACH, USUALLY START MAKING PREDICTIONS IN DECEMBER BUT THIS MONTH, FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 20 YEARS, THEY'RE HOLDING OFF ON FORECASTING THE NUMBER OF NAMED STORMS, INCLUDING HURRICANES. KLOTZBACH SAYS THEY'VE TRIED VARIOUS MODELS BUT NONE HAVE BEEN SUCCESSFUL IN ESTIMATING THE NUMBER OF STORMS THAT EARLY. HE ACKNOWLEDGES THAT, CURRENTLY, PREDICTING HURRICANES THAT FAR OUT IS "JUST ABOUT AS GOOD AS MAKING A GUESS." THE FIRST ESTIMATE OF THE NUMBER OF STORMS WON'T COME UNTIL APRIL.

EXITING LOUISIANA HOUSE SPEAKER JIM TUCKER IS ADVISING ROOKIE HOUSE MEMBERS TO AVOID THE PITFALLS OF PARTISAN POLITICS. TUCKER'S ADVICE CAME TUESDAY IN THE OPENING OF A LEGISLATIVE ORIENTATION SESSION. TUCKER TOLD INCOMING LAWMAKERS, "YOU DON'T MOVE THE STATE FORWARD THROUGH PARTISANSHIP. THERE ARE WAYS TO MAKE IT WORK WITH THE OTHER SIDE." THE REPUBLICAN TUCKER, WHO WAS A VOCAL AND OFTEN-PARTISAN CRITIC OF FORMER GOV. KATHLEEN BLANCO WHEN HE WAS CHAIRMAN OF THE HOUSE REPUBLICAN DELEGATION, SAYS HE HAS REALIZED THAT ALL POINTS OF VIEW ARE IMPORTANT AND SHOULD BE ACCOMMODATED. THE HOUSE SPEAKER FROM TERRYTOWN, WHOSE TERM ENDS JAN. 9, ALSO ADVISED NEW MEMBERS NOT TO HOLD GRUDGES AND TO ALWAYS KEEP THE VOTERS AT HOME IN MIND.

THE 2012 NEW ORLEANS JAZZ & HERITAGE FESTIVAL LINEUP HAS SUPERSTAR NAMES, LIKE THE EAGLES, TOM PETTY AND MORE. TICKETS FOR THE FESTIVAL GO ON SALE TODAY AND THE FULL LINEUP IS LISTED AT "NOJAZZFEST.COM". FESTIVAL PRODUCER QUINT DAVIS SAYS, AS USUAL, THE JAZZFEST WILL FEATURE A WIDE VARIETY OF ARTISTS IN GENRES LIKE COUNTRY MUSIC, GOSPEL, BLUES, R&B, CAJUN, ZYDECO AND MUCH MORE. THE JAZZ FEST WILL ALSO FEATURE STANDARDS LIKE IRMA THOMAS, BONNIE RAITT, BUCKWHEAT ZYDECO AND OTHERS.

THE LAST TIME AN LSU HEAD FOOTBALL COACH LEFT THE SCHOOL FOR THE MIAMI DOLPHINS, IT DIDN'T WORK OUT SO WELL. LES MILES DOES NOT WANT TO BE THE NEXT ONE. LSU SPORTS INFORMATION DIRECTOR MICHAEL BONNETTE SAYS MILES WANTS EVERYONE TO KNOW HE'S NOT INTERESTING IN THAT JOB. THE FLORIDA SUN-SENTINEL LISTS MILES AS ONE OF 11 "POTENTIAL REPLACEMENTS" FOR RECENTLY FIRED MIAMI COACH TONY SPARANO.

EMPLOYEES IN THE TOWN OF BALL FOUND OUT THIS WEEK THAT THEY WILL BE GETTING A 3% PAY BOOST NEXT YEAR. MAYOR JONATHAN DEAN SAID ONE OF HIS TOP PRIORITIES AFTER BEING ELECTED IN OCTOBER WAS TO LOOK AT GIVING PAY RAISES TO TOWN EMPLOYEES. SOMETHING HE FEELS IS WELL DESERVED. THE RAISE WILL AFFECT APPROXIMATELY 25 TO 30 EMPLOYEES AT BOTH THE BALL POLICE DEPARTMENT AND BALL TOWN HALL. DEAN SAID THE ONLY TOWN EMPLOYEES WHO WILL NOT RECEIVE RAISES ARE THE TOWNS ELECTED OFFICIALS, THE MAYOR AND THE FIVE ALDERMEN.

JEFFERY LEE GUILLORY, CONVICTED IN ONE DEATH AND SUSPECTED IN OTHERS, HAS BEEN FORMALLY SENTENCED TO LIFE IN PRISON FOR A 2002 MURDER IN BATON ROUGE.
A STATE DISTRICT IMPOSED THE MANDATORY SENTENCE FOR GUILLORY, WHO WAS CONVICTED OF SECOND-DEGREE MURDER IN SEPTEMBER. THE 45-YEAR-OLD GUILLORY WAS ARRESTED IN LATE 2009 AND BOOKED IN THE DEATHS OF 46 YEAR OLD RENEE NEWMAN AND TWO OTHER BATON ROUGE WOMEN. THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE HAS SAID GUILLORY WILL NOT BE PROSECUTED FURTHER. HE ALREADY IS SERVING 50 YEARS FOR SECOND-DEGREE ROBBERY AND ATTEMPTED SECOND-DEGREE MURDER OF A WOMAN IN LAFAYETTE IN 2007.

A PANEL STUDYING PAY FOR LOUISIANA JUDGES SAYS LAWMAKERS SHOULD BUMP UP JUDGES' SALARIES FOR THE NEXT TWO YEARS, TO GET THEM TO THE AVERAGE PAID TO JUDGES ACROSS THE SOUTH. THE JUDICIAL COMPENSATION COMMISSION VOTED WEDNESDAY FOR THE PROPOSAL, WHICH WOULD NEED BACKING FROM THE LEGISLATURE BEFORE IT COULD BE ENACTED.

TOLLS FOR I-49 SOUTH? A CONSULTING FIRM STUDYING WAYS TO PAY FOR EXTENDING I-49 SOUTH TO NEW ORLEANS SAYS TOLL ROADS COULD PAY UP TO HALF THE COST. KAM MOVASSAGHI IS A FORMER HIGHWAY SECRETARY AND HEADS UP FENSTERMAKER CONSULTANTS. HE SAYS THE IDEA IS IN ITS EARLY STAGES, BUT THE STUDY SHOWS THE PROJECT COULD BE FEASIBLE WITH REVENUE FROM TOLLS. MOVASSAGHI SAYS A TOLL OF 16-CENTS A MILE THROUGH THE LAFAYETTE AREA ON AN IMPROVED HIGHWAY 90 COULD BRING IN NEEDED REVENUE FOR I-49 SOUTH.

UL-LAFAYETTE'S 18-THOUSAND TICKETS TO THE RAGIN-CAJUNS-SAN DIEGO STATE MATCHUP SATURDAY IN THE NEW ORLEANS BOWL...? ALL GONE. SOLD OUT. IT'S THE CAJUNS' FIRST BOW APPEARANCE IN OVER 40 YEARS.

A 15-YEAR-OLD BOY HAS BEEN SENTENCED TO A THREE-YEAR JUVENILE PRISON SENTENCE FOR HIS ROLE IN A CONSPIRACY TO SHOOT UP LAKESHORE HIGH SCHOOL IN ST. TAMMANY PARISH. THE BOY WHO WAS THE ALLEGED LEADER IN THE PLOT PLEAD GUILTY TO SOLICITATION FOR MURDER AND CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT TERRORIZING. THE STUDENTS WERE ACCUSED OF PLANNING THE ATTACK FOR THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL.

FORMER GOVERNOR EDWIN EDWARDS SAYS HE WOULD BE MORE THAN HAPPY TO ATTEND GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL'S INAUGURATION ON JANUARY 9TH, BUT HE ALREADY HAS PLANS TO TAILGATE WITH FELLOW LSU FANS FOR THE BCS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME IN NEW ORLEANS. EDWARDS SAYS HE HASN'T BEEN INVITED TO THE INAUGURATION. A SPOKESMAN WITH GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL'S OFFICE SAYS INVITATIONS WILL BE MAILED OUT THIS WEEK.


News For Wednesday 12/14/11


NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY121411
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

SEVERAL CHANGES WERE MADE YESTERDAY ON THE ALEXANDRIA CITY COUNCIL. JERRY JONES JR. WAS APPOINTED TO THE DISTRICT 3 COUNCIL SEAT REPLACING JONATHAN GOINS WHO RESIGNED FROM THE COUNCIL ON DEC. 2. THE 28 YEAR OLD JONES, WHO GREW UP IN DISTRICT 3, WILL NOW SERVE THE REMAINDER OF GOINS' TERM, WHICH EXPIRES NEXT DECEMBER. THE COUNCIL WAS DEADLOCKED BETWEEN JONES AND VON JENNINGS. MAYOR JACQUES ROY BROKE THE TIE. THE COUNCIL ALSO ELECTED A NEW PRESIDENT AND VICE PRESIDENT. DISTRICT 4 COUNCILMAN HARRY SILVER REPLACES AT-LARGE COUNCILMAN ROOSEVELT JOHNSON AS PRESIDENT, WHILE DISTRICT 2 COUNCILWOMAN MITZI GIBSON SUCCEEDS DISTRICT 1 COUNCILMAN ED LARVADAIN III AS VICE PRESIDENT.

THE ALEXANDRIA CITY COUNCIL ON TUESDAY DELAYED A VOTE THAT WOULD REDRAW DISTRICT BOUNDARIES IN THE CITY, INSTEAD OPTING FOR A SPECIAL MEETING NEXT WEEK ON THE MATTER.

THE RAPIDES PARISH HOUSING AUTHORITY IN BOYCE WILL RECEIVE $99,117 TO ISSUE HOUSING VOUCHERS TO 25 MORE HOMELESS MILITARY VETERANS AND THEIR FAMILIES.
THE EXTRA HOUSING VOUCHER FUNDING COMES FROM THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT'S SUPPORTING HOUSING PROGRAM, HUD ANNOUNCED TUESDAY.
THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF ADDITIONAL MONEY FOR HOUSING VOUCHERS COINCIDES WITH A DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS REPORT THAT ESTIMATES THE NUMBER OF HOMELESS VETERANS IN THE UNITED STATES IS FALLING BECAUSE MORE RESOURCES ARE ADDRESSING THE PROBLEM. THE HOUSING AUTHORITY IN BOYCE ALREADY ISSUES VOUCHERS TO 50 VETERANS, A NUMBER THAT WILL JUMP TO 75.

TODAY'S PLANNED OFFSHORE OIL & GAS LEASE SALE, THE FIRST SINCE THE 2010 BP OIL SPILL, WILL PROCEED, DESPITE ACTION BY ENVIRONMENTALISTS TO STOP IT. THE SUIT ALLEGES FEDERAL REGULATORS HAVEN'T DONE ENOUGH TO PREVENT ANOTHER POSSIBLE SPILL. INTERIOR SECRETARY KEN SALAZAR SAYS THE INDUSTRY HAS IMPROVED ITS ABILITY TO CONTAIN A BLOWOUT OR SPILL. JOHN SAYS HE BELIEVES DRILLERS WILL BID COMPETITIVELY TODAY, TO WIN THE LEASES. THE ACTUAL LEASE AREA COVERS 21-MILLION ACRES IN THE WESTERN GULF, OFF THE COAST OF TEXAS. THE AREA IS BETWEEN 9 AND 250 MILES OFFSHORE, IN WATERS UP TO 11-THOUSAND FEET DEEP.

THE NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD IS ASKING ALL STATES TO BAN THE USE OF CELL PHONES AND OTHER ELECTRONIC DEVICES WHEN BEHIND THE WHEEL, BUT A LOCAL HIGHWAY SAFETY ADVOCATE DOESN'T THINK THE LEGISLATURE WILL FOLLOW THE RECOMMENDATION. COL JIM CHAMPAGNE SAYS THOUGH, HE’S HOPEFUL THAT LAWMAKERS SOON ER OR LATER WILL PASS SUCH A LAW. CHAMPAGNE SAYS HE'S CONFIDENT IF LEGISLATION IS PASSED, LIVES WOULD BE SAVED.

DEPLOYMENT CEREMONIES ARE SCHEDULED TODAY FOR MEMBERS OF THE LOUISIANA AIR NATIONAL GUARD HEADED FOR AFGHANISTAN. LOUISIANA NATIONAL GUARD SPOKESMAN COLONEL MIKE KAZMIERZAK SAYS THE MEN ARE FROM THE 236TH COMBAT COMMUNICATIONS SQUADRON; PART OF THE THE 159TH FIGHTER WING. COL. KAZMIERZAK SAYS THE AIRMEN WILL BE IN AFGHANISTAN FOR THE NEXT 6 MONTHS, PROVIDING DEPLOYABLE VOICE AND DATA COMMUNICATIONS IN SUPPORT OF US MILITARY OBJECTIVES. HE SAYS THIS IS A NON-COMBAT ROLE, BUT IT'S STILL CONSIDERED A DANGEROUS ASSIGNMENT.

LOUISIANA IS AMONG THE WORST STATES AT ENFORCING FEDERAL CLEAN AIR, CLEAN WATER AND HAZARDOUS WASTE LAWS, ACCORDING TO A REPORT BY THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY'S INSPECTOR GENERAL. THE INSPECTOR GENERAL'S REPORT DOES NOT SPOTLIGHT SPECIFIC ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS CAUSED BY LOUISIANA'S ALLEGED LAX REGULATORY REGIME, BUT FOCUSED ON A BROAD FAILURE TO CARRY OUT REQUIRED INSPECTIONS AND CITE VIOLATORS. IT CONCLUDED THAT THE WEAK ENFORCEMENT MIGHT BE DRIVEN IN PART BY "A CULTURE IN WHICH THE STATE AGENCY IS EXPECTED TO PROTECT INDUSTRY." DEQ OFFICIALS, AS YOU MAY SUSPECT, DISAGREE WITH THE REPORT, SAYING STATE’S ENFORCEMENT RECORD WAS NOT ACCURATELY REPRESENTED.

LAFAYETTE LAWMAKER JOEL ROBIDEAUX ENDED HIS BID TO BE HOUSE SPEAKER TUESDAY, GIVING HIS SUPPORT TO GOV. BOBBY JINDAL'S CHOICE FOR THE JOB WHEN THE NEW TERM BEGINS IN JANUARY. ROBIDEAUX'S EXIT APPEARED TO ASSURE LAKE CHARLES REPUBLICAN REP. CHUCK KLECKLEY WILL GET THE POSITION WHEN LAWMAKERS CHOOSE THEIR LEADERS NEXT MONTH AND STOPPED WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN A RARE PUBLIC FIGHT OVER THE SPEAKERSHIP ON THE HOUSE FLOOR.

LOUISIANA'S 41 NEW LAWMAKERS, WHO WILL BEGIN THEIR FIRST TERMS IN JANUARY, ARE HAVING ORIENTATION SESSIONS AT THE STATE CAPITOL THIS WEEK. THEY'RE HOLDING MOCK COMMITTEE HEARINGS AND FLOOR SESSIONS, GETTING A REVIEW OF ETHICS AND CAMPAIGN FINANCE LAWS AND HEARING FROM LEGISLATIVE STAFF ABOUT THE PROCESS ON HOW A BILL BECOMES A LAW. IN THE HOUSE, THE 31 NEW MEMBERS ALSO ARE GETTING ADVICE FROM CURRENT LAWMAKERS, WITH SESSIONS ABOUT HOW TO OPERATE THEIR DISTRICT OFFICES AND HOW TO MANAGE THEIR TIME. IN THE SENATE, THE 10 NEW MEMBERS AND CURRENT SENATORS ARE GETTING UPDATES ON EDUCATION AND BUDGET ISSUES FACING THE STATE. THE HOUSE ORIENTATION BEGAN TUESDAY, WHILE THE SENATE ORIENTATION BEGINS TODAY. BOTH HAVE SESSIONS THROUGH FRIDAY.

IT MAY BE DRY HERE BUT, THE ATCHAFALAYA RIVER HAS TOPPED FLOOD STAGE. THE GOOD NEWS IS IT IS WELL SHORT OF LEVELS THAT USUALLY CAUSE PROBLEMS ON THE UNPROTECTED SIDE OF MORGAN CITY'S FLOODWALL. THE ATCHAFALAYA STOOD TUESDAY AT ABOUT 4 FEET, ACCORDING TO MEASUREMENTS OF THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE'S ADVANCED HYDROLOGIC PREDICTION SERVICE. THE RIVER HAS RISEN ALMOST A FOOT SINCE DEC. 4. THE WEATHER SERVICE SAYS THE RISE IS DUE TO HEAVY RAINS IN THE OHIO AND TENNESSEE VALLEYS PUTTING MORE WATER INTO THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER, WHICH DUMPS SOME INTO THE ATCHAFALAYA.

A WOMAN FROM EUNICE IS UNDER ARREST FOR TRYING TO SMUGGLE DRUGS IN A BOX OF CUPCAKES TO HER SON WHO'S IN THE EUNICE CITY JAIL. POLICE SAY DANDALINE SATTLER AND HER BOYFRIEND WERE EACH CHARGED WITH INTRODUCTION OF CONTRABAND INTO A PENAL INSTITUTION. HER SON PHILLIP LAFLEUR, HAD A TRUSTY STATUS AT THE JAIL WHICH HAS NOW BEEN REMOVED. LAFLEUR ALSO FACES CHARGES FOR HAVING A BOX OF CUPCAKES WITH DRUGS INSIDE.

LITTLE BLACK AND GOLD FANS WILL GET A TREAT ON THURSDAY MORNING'S EPISODE OF SESAME STREET AS SAINTS QUARTERBACK DREW BREES IS MAKING A SPECIAL APPEARANCE WITH ELMO. IN THE SEGMENT THAT WAS TAPED BEFORE THE START OF THIS YEAR'S REGULAR SEASON, BREES AND ELMO TALK ABOUT MEASURING. THE FORMER SUPERBOWL MVP HAS TWO YOUNG SONS, BAYLEN AND BOWEN.

SEVERAL MOTORISTS WERE INJURED YESTERDAY MORNING WHEN A TRACTOR TRAILER TURNED OVER ON I-12 IN BATON ROUGE , DUMPING LARGE PIPES INTO THE ROADWAY. STATE POLICE TROOPER RUSSELL GRAHAM SAYS MOTORISTS WHO WERE TRYING TO AVOID THE PIPES HAD TO COME TO A SUDDEN STOP DURING A HEAVY TRAFFIC PERIOD WHICH IS WHAT CAUSED SEVERAL OTHER ACCIDENTS. THE ACCIDENT CLOSED THE INTERSTATE FOR SEVERAL HOURS. THE GOOD NEWS ID, NONE OF THE INJURES CAUSED BY THE ACCIDENT WERE LIFE-THREATENING.

A FORMER EMPLOYEE OF THE LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION AND DEVELOPMENT HAS BEEN SENTENCED TO MORE THAN 11 YEARS IN PRISON FOR RECEIVING CHILD PORNOGRAPHY. U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE RICHARD HAIK ON MONDAY SENTENCED 56-YEAR-OLD DAVID RICHARD, OF ERATH, TO 140 MONTHS IN PRISON. PROSECUTORS SAY RICHARD, WHO PLEADED GUILTY IN JUNE, SAVED VIDEO FILES CONTAINING CHILD PORNOGRAPHY ON A DEPARTMENT SERVER. THE MATERIAL WAS DISCOVERED DURING A ROUTINE CHECK. INVESTIGATORS ALSO ALLEGEDLY FOUND NINE VIDEOS CONTAINING CHILD PORNOGRAPHY ON RICHARD'S HOME COMPUTER.

THE LSU AG CENTER IS GETTING A NEW BUILDING THAT WILL EXPAND THE RESEARCH PROGRAMS WITHIN THE DEPARTMENT. CHANCELLOR BILL RICHARDSON SAYS THE NEW STATE OF THE ART FACILITY WILL BE USED PRIMARILY FOR IT'S FOOD SCIENCE AND ANIMAL SCIENCE PROGRAMS. RICHARDSON SAYS BREAKTHROUGHS IN ANIMAL AND FOOD RESEARCH BOOST THE ECONOMY. HE SAYS THIS NEW FACILITY WILL HELP BOOST THE AG CENTER'S REPUTATION AND BRING IN MORE STUDENTS AND SCIENTISTS.

BAYOU LAFOURCHE OFFICIALS CLOSED A SALTWATER-CONTROL STRUCTURE IN THE COMPANY CANAL YESTERDAY TO STOP SALTWATER CONTAMINATION OF LOCAL DRINKING SUPPLIES. OFFICIALS FEARED HIGH WINDS OVER THE NEXT FEW DAYS COULD PUSH SALTWATER INTO THE BAYOU. THE BAYOU PROVIDES FRESHWATER TO NEARLY 300,000 PEOPLE IN LAFOUCHE, TEREBONNE, ASSUMPTION AND OTHER PARISHES.

SPORTS..

THE SAINTS BEGIN PREPARATIONS TODAY FOR SUNDAY'S ROAD GAME AT MINNESOTA. NEW ORLEANS IS BATTLING WITH SAN FRANCISCO FOR THE SECOND SEED IN THE NFC PLAYOFFS. BOTH TEAMS HAVE IDENTICAL RECORDS WITH THREE GAMES LEFT, BUT THE 49ERS OWN THE TIE-BREAKER. NFL ANALYST MIKE DETILLIER SAYS THE SAINTS HAVE THE EASIER REMAINING SCHEDULE AND THEY ARE MORE EXPERIENCED.


News For Tuesday 12/13/11


NEWS FOR TUESDAY 121311
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

ALEXANDRIA CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS ARE EXPECTED TO VOTE ON THE APPOINTMENT OF A NEW REPRESENTATIVE FOR DISTRICT 3 TO REPLACE JONATHAN GOINS TODAY. ROOSEVELT JOHNSON, THE PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL, SAID ON MONDAY THAT THE COUNCIL OFFICE HAD RECEIVED INSTRUCTIONS FROM THE LOUISIANA SECRETARY OF STATE'S OFFICE ON HOW TO PROCEED AND "WILL GO FORWARD WITH IMMEDIATE ACTION" TO REPLACE GOINS. SOME OF THE NAMES BEING TOSSED AROUND, INCLUDE VON JENNINGS, JESSE TURNER AND EMILE HURTS. JENNINGS IS THE PRESIDENT OF THE LOWER THIRD NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH & CONCERNED CITIZENS ORGANIZATION AND A FORMER MAYORAL CANDIDATE. TURNER IS VICE PRESIDENT OF THE ACADIAN VILLAGE CONCERNED CITIZENS GROUP, WHILE HURTS IS THE PRESIDENT OF THE SAMTOWN-WOODSIDE NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION.

A GRAND JURY NEXT MONTH WILL HEAR THE CASE AGAINST A FORMER SUPERVISOR OF THE RAPIDES PARISH DRUG TASK FORCE METRO NARCOTICS, WHO WAS ARRESTED AUG. 25 AND ACCUSED OF IMPROPER CONTACT WITH FEMALE DRUG OFFENDERS AND TAMPERING WITH EVIDENCE. THE PARISH DA’S OFFICE SAYS THE SHERIFF'S OFFICE IS INVESTIGATING THE CASE AGAINST FORMER SHERIFF'S LT. MICHAEL LACOUR, WHO RESIGNED AFTER HIS ARREST IN AUGUST. LACOUR REMAINS OUT OF JAIL ON BOND.

TWO SEPARATE SHOOTING INCIDENTS IN NATCHITOCHES OVER THE PAST FEW DAYS HAS LEFT A WOMAN IN CRITICAL CONDITION. POLICE SAY THE FIRST INCIDENT SUNDAY NIGHT LEFT A MAN WITH NON-LIFE THREATENING INJURIES. HE WAS TREATED AND RELEASED FROM A LOCAL HOSPITAL. HOWEVER, A HOME INVASION YESTERDAY MORNING. CONSWELA MITCHELL SUFFERED A GUNSHOT WOUND TO HER TORSO MONDAY MORNING AFTER TWO MEN BROKE INTO HER HOME AND DEMANDED MONEY. AFTER SHOOTING AND ROBBING THE WOMAN, THE MEN FLED THE SCENE WITH THE CASH.

GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL GIVES NO INDICATION HE WILL FIRE PAUL RAINWATER AS HIS COMMISSIONER OF ADMINISTRATION FOLLOWING HIS ARREST THIS PAST WEEKEND FOR A D-W-I. RAINWATER WAS ARRESTED EARLY SATURDAY MORNING IN BATON ROUGE ON FIRST-OFFENSE D-W-I, RECKLESS OPERATION OF A VEHICLE AND FAILURE TO OBEY A STOP SIGN. JINDAL SAYS RAINWATER MADE A POOR DECISION. AS COMMISSIONER OF ADMINISTRATION, RAINWATER CRAFTS THE STATE'S OPERATING BUDGET AND MONITORS SPENDING THROUGHOUT THE YEAR. JINDAL SAYS RAINWATER HAS ADMITTED HE MADE A MISTAKE AND THE GOVERNOR BELIEVES HE'S STILL THE RIGHT MAN FOR THE JOB.

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL IS INVITING ALL FOUR OF HIS LIVING PREDECESSORS TO HIS JAN. 9 INAUGURATION. THAT INCLUDES EDWIN EDWARDS, WHO WAS RELEASED FROM PRISON EARLIER THIS YEAR AND REMAINS ON PROBATION FOR A FEDERAL CORRUPTION CONVICTION. JINDAL SPOKESMAN FRANK COLLINS SAYS INVITATIONS WILL BE SENT TO FORMER GOVS. KATHLEEN BLANCO, MIKE FOSTER, BUDDY ROEMER AND EDWARDS FOR THE SWEARING-IN CEREMONY AT THE OLD STATE CAPITOL. COLLINS SAYS THE INVITATIONS WILL GO OUT LATER THIS WEEK.

A NEW VETERANS AFFAIRS MEDICAL CENTER CLINIC IN WILL OPEN TODAY IN LEESVILLE ON UNIVERSITY PARKWAY. THE 15,500-SQUARE-FOOT OUTPATIENT CLINIC WILL BE ABLE TO SUPPORT ABOUT 2,500 VETERANS AND 7,000 CLINIC VISITS PER YEAR, OFFICIALS SAID. SERVICES TO BE PROVIDED INCLUDE PRIMARY CARE, MENTAL HEALTH, PHARMACY EDUCATION, PHLEBOTOMY, NUTRITION COUNSELING AND MEDICAL SOCIAL WORK.

STATE EDUCATION OFFICIALS ANNOUNCE THE LEAP AND I-LEAP TESTS THAT THOUSANDS OF PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS TAKE EVERY YEAR WILL BE REPLACED BY A NEW EXAM. BESE PRESIDENT PENNY DASTUGUE SAYS STUDENTS WILL TAKE A DIFFERENT TYPE OF TEST STARTING IN THE 2014-15 SCHOOL YEAR BECAUSE OF AN ONGOING EFFORT TO MAKE PUBLIC SCHOOL COURSES MORE RIGOROUS. RAPIDES PARISH SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT GARY JONES IS HOPEFUL A MOVE AWAY FROM THE LEAP TEST WILL PROVIDE A MORE COMPREHENSIVE EVALUATION OF A STUDENT'S PERFORMANCE.

THE NUMBER OF WOMEN LAWMAKERS IN THE STATE OF LOUISIANA IS DROPPING. WHEN THE NEW LEGISLATIVE TERM STARTS IN JANUARY, 16 WOMEN WILL BE IN THE HOUSE AND SENATE WHICH IS DOWN FROM 23 FEMALE LAWMAKERS IN 2011. LOUISIANA WOMEN'S NETWORK EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR CHERON BRYLSKI SAYS IT'S A DISCOURAGING TREND BECAUSE FEWER FEMALES IN THE STATE LEGISLATURE, MEANS ISSUES THAT ARE IMPORTANT TO WOMEN GET LESS ATTENTION.

CADDO PARISH DEPUTIES ARREST A FAST FOOD RESTAURANT WORKER FOR ALLEGEDLY STEALING CREDIT CARD INFORMATION TO RUN UP THOUSANDS IN PURCHASES. CADDO SHERIFF'S SPOKESPERSON CINDY CHADWICK SAYS 21-YEAR-OLD CHARLES GRANT IS CHARGED WITH UNAUTHORIZED USE OF AN ACCESS CARD. CHADWICK SAYS GRANT COPIED A CUSTOMER'S CREDIT CARD INFORMATION DOWN, AND LATER USED IT TO MAKE OVER $3000 IN PURCHASES.

LOUISIANA SEAFOOD PRODUCERS ARE URGING CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATES TO STOP A FEDERALLY MANDATED WAGE INCREASE FOR FOREIGN WORKERS DOING SEASONAL JOBS ON WORK VISAS. LOUISIANA SEAFOOD PROMOTION & MARKETING BOARD EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR EWELL SMITH SAYS THAT WOULD MEAN RISING WAGES BY 50 TO 70%, AND THAT WOULD BE DISASTROUS FOR HIS INDUSTRY. THE FEDERAL LABOR DEPARTMENT RULE APPLIES TO THOSE HERE ON THE FEDERAL H-2B VISA PROGRAM. THAT ENCOMPASSES NOT ONLY SEASONAL SEAFOOD WORKERS, BUT ALSO LANDSCAPING, FORESTRY AND OTHER INDUSTRIES. SMITH SAYS MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE AND SENATE ARE TRYING TO UNDO WHAT HE FEELS IS AN UNWISE AND IMPRACTICAL FEDERAL POLICY.

AN OFF-DUTY NEW ORLEANS COP IS ARRESTED FOR DRUNK DRIVING AND HIT & RUN, AFTER HE ALLEGEDLY SLAMMED INTO THREE PARKED CARS, IN THREE DIFFERENT PLACES. NOPD SAYS 34-YEAR-OLD OFFICER CHARLES COULON WAS DRIVING HIS OWN PERSONAL VEHICLE AT THE TIME. AFTER THE THIRD IMPACT WITH A PARKED CAR, COULON REPORTEDLY PULLED OVER AND TURNED HIMSELF IN.

A HOUMA TEENAGER FACES A VEHICULAR HOMICIDE CHARGE AFTER A WEEKEND CRASH THAT CLAIMED THE LIFE OF HIS PASSENGER. STATE POLICE TROOPER RUSSELL GRAHAM SAYS THEY BELIEVE 18-YEAR-OLD STEPHEN MURPHY OF HOUMA WAS DRIVING DRUNK WHEN HE FLIPPED HIS TRUCK INTO A DITCH. IN ADDITION TO THE VEHICULAR HOMICIDE CHARGE, MURPHY ALSO FACES CHARGES OF POSSESSION OF ALCOHOL BY A PERSON UNDER 21 AND RECKLESS OPERATION.

A TERREBONNE PARISH COUNCILMAN SAYS HE'LL INTRODUCE A NEW ORDINANCE IN RESPONSE TO COMPLAINTS ABOUT BRIGHTLY COLORED TOMBS AND GRAVE MARKERS AT A PUBLIC CEMETERY. AMONG THE MOSTLY WHITE AND GRAY SLABS OF CONCRETE AT SOUTHDOWN CEMETERY ARE A HANDFUL THAT ARE PAINTED IN A VARIETY OF SPLASHY COLORS, PINK, RED, GREEN, BLUE AND YELLOW. COUNCILMAN ALVIN TILLMAN SAYS THAT THE BRIGHT COLORS ARE WRONG FOR A CEMETERY. HIS PROPOSED ORDINANCE REQUIRING THAT TOMBS BE PAINTED WHITE WOULD APPLY TO THREE CEMETERIES IN THE PARISH.


SPORTS..

CHRIS PAUL ISN'T COMING TO LOS ANGELES, AT LEAST NOT NOW. THE CLIPPERS ON MONDAY REJECTED A PROPOSED DEAL BY THE NEW ORLEANS HORNETS FOR THE ALL-STAR GUARD BECAUSE, ACCORDING TO GENERAL MANAGE NEIL OLSHEY, THE TEAM FELT "THE COST WAS JUST TOO HIGH. OLSHEY WENT ON TO SAY, “WHETHER THE DEAL IS ALTOGETHER DEAD, THOUGH, REMAINS TO BE SEEN. NEW ORLEANS MADE A FAIR OFFER ON THEIR END. WE DIDN'T THINK THAT IT WAS SOMETHING THAT WE WANTED TO PURSUE AT THIS POINT."

News For Monday 12/12/11


NEWS FOR MONDAY 121211
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

NEWLY ELECTED STATE LAWMAKERS WILL BE IN BATON ROUGE THIS WEEK FOR ORIENTATION AND TO DISCUSS PREFERENCES FOR HOUSE AND SENATE LEADERSHIP ROLES. REPUBLICAN FRESHMAN SHREVEPORT SENATOR BARROW PEACOCK SAYS HE CANNOT SUPPORT GOVERNOR JINDAL'S CHOICE OF JOHN ALARIO FOR SENATE PRESIDENT. PEACOCK SAYS HE'S LET GOVERNOR JINDAL KNOW HE MUST VOTE AGAINST ALARIO, AND HOPES SOME SENATE COLLEAGUES WILL FOLLOW HIS LEAD. PEACOCK SAYS ALARIO REPRESENTS THE LOUISIANA OF THE PAST, AND THE STATE CANNOT PROGRESS WITH "OLD GUARD" LEADERSHIP. GOVERNOR JINDAL REPORTEDLY RESPONDED TO PEACOCK, SAYING THERE WERE PLENTY OF VOTES TO MAKE ALARIO SENATE PRESIDENT WITHOUT HIM.

BY NOW YOU’VE HEARD OF GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL PLANS TO CLOSE THE HUEY P LONG MEDICAL CENTER IN PINEVILLE AND OPEN A NEW PUBLIC HOSPITAL AT ENGLAND AIRPARK IN ALEXANDRIA. PINEVILLE MAYOR CLARENCE FIELDS SAYS EVEN THOUGH HIS CITY IS LOSING A HOSPITAL, THIS ACTUALLY STRENGTHENS HEALTHCARE TO THE POOR IN CENTRAL LOUISIANA. THE MODERNIZED FACILITY WILL BE OPEN 12 HOURS A DAY MONDAY THRU FRIDAY. THE PINEVILLE HOSPITAL IS ONLY OPEN DURING WORKING HOURS. JINDAL SAYS THE EXPANDED HOURS WILL CUT DOWN ON COSTLY EMERGENCY ROOM VISITS. FIELDS SAYS THE HOSPITAL WILL ALSO PROVIDE MORE UP TO DATE HEALTH CARE TO THE COMMUNITY.

PERHAPS IT WAS THE COLD WEATHER, MAYBE IT WAS FOOT BALL ON THE TV, IT’S ANYBODY’S GUESS. BUT, DESPITE THE SLIGHTLY SMALLER CROWD, THE STREETS WERE STILLED LINED FOR THE ALEXANDRIA CHRISTMAS PARADE YESTERDAY AFTERNOON. THE EVENT GOING OFF WITHOUT A HITCH.. TEMPERATURES IN THE LOW 40S DIDN'T STOP A BIG CROWD FROM ATTENDING THE PINEVILLE CHRISTMAS PARADE ON FRIDAY NIGHT. BIG CROWDS ALSO TURNED OUT FOR PARADES IN POLLOCK, BALL, BOYCE, BUNKIE, AND LEESVILLE.

AN EARLY SUNDAY MORNING FIRE IN PITKIN KILLED ONE MAN AND INJURED HIS WIFE.
THE VERNON PARISH FIRE DISTRICT NO. 1 AND PITKIN VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT RESPONDED SHORTLY AFTER MIDNIGHT TO FIND THE HOME ENGULFED IN FLAMES. UPON ARRIVING, FIREFIGHTERS DISCOVERED THAT A WOMAN HAD ESCAPED THE FIRE WITH ONLY MINOR BURNS. THE UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN'S HUSBAND, 84 YEAR OLD DELTON BAILEY WAS NOT SO LUCKY. HE DIED IN THE FIRE. THE STATE FIRE MARSHALL’S OFFICE SAYS THE HOME DID HAVE A WORKING SMOKE ALARM.

THE LOUISIANA WORKFORCE COMMISSION RE-LAUNCHES ITS WEB PORTAL TODAY; MAKING IT EASIER FOR JOB SEEKERS TO USE. LWC EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR CURT EYSINK SAYS LOUISIANA VIRTUAL ONE-STOP, OR LAVOS, HAS BEEN WHOLLY REDESIGNED, WITH A FOCUS ON BEING STREAMLINED AND USER-FRIENDLY. EYSINK SAYS VISITORS TO THE WEBSITE WILL SPEND LESS TIME SEARCHING FOR SERVICES AND FEATURES, AND MORE TIME ACCESSING THEM. HE SAYS THE NEW WEBSITE IS INTENDED TO BE EQUALLY USEFUL TO EMPLOYERS WHO ARE SEEKING NEW WORKERS. THE WEB SITE CAN BE ACCESSED AT "LAWORKS.NET".

THE LOUISIANA NATIONAL GUARD HAS A NEW COMMANDER, BRIG. GEN. GLENN H. CURTIS.
CURTIS TOOK OVER THE COMMAND AS THE ADJUTANT GENERAL OF THE GUARD DURING A LARGE CEREMONY AT CAMP BEAUREGARD IN PINEVILLE SATURDAY. THE CEREMONY MARKED THE BEGINNING OF NEW LEADERSHIP FOR THE GUARD AND COMMEMORATED THE RETIREMENT OF MAJ. GEN. BENNETT C. LANDRENEAU AFTER 42 YEARS OF MILITARY SERVICE. CURTIS IS A NATIVE OF BUCKEYE AND HAS NEARLY 30 YEARS OF MILITARY EXPERIENCE.

THE LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF WILDLIFE AND FISHERIES IS TELLING HUNTERS THAT PARKING ON SHOULDERS AND GRASSY AREAS ALONG HIGHWAYS IS ILLEGAL. LOUISIANA STATE POLICE SAY THEY ARE ENCOUNTERING MORE VEHICLES PARKED ON SHOULDERS AND ADJACENT AREAS, PARTICULARLY ON INTERSTATE 10 BETWEEN BATON ROUGE AND NEW ORLEANS, DURING HUNTING SEASON. AUTHORITIES SAY VEHICLES FOUND PARKED IN THESE AREAS MAY BE TOWED AND OWNERS FACE FINES.

THERE'S A LOT OF SPECULATION AS TO HOW GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL WILL ULTIMATELY HANDLE THE WEEKEND DWI ARREST OF HIS COMMISSIONER OF ADMINISTRATION PAUL RAINWATER. JINDAL'S OFFICE HAS SAID THE GOVERNOR WILL STAND BY RAINWATER. POLLSTER AND POLITICAL ANALYST BERNIE PINSONAT SAYS THAT'S WHAT HE EXPECTED THE GOVERNOR TO SAY. RAINWATER WAS PULLED OVER BY BATON ROUGE POLICE EARLY SATURDAY MORNING. THEY REPORT HE WAS DRIVING ERRATICALLY, RAN A STOP SIGN & AND BLEW A .17 BREATHALYZER RESULT; TWICE THE LEGAL LIMIT. PINSONAT SAYS RAINWATER IS JINDAL'S CHIEF BUDGET ARCHITECT AND DISMISSING HIM OVER THE INCIDENT IS FAIRLY UNLIKELY.

STATE OFFICIALS SAY A TEST FOR FOURTH- AND EIGHTH-GRADERS THAT BECAME A SYMBOL OF LOUISIANA'S BID TO IMPROVE PUBLIC SCHOOLS WILL BE PHASED OUT. THE EXAM, WHICH IS CALLED LEAP, AND OTHERS WILL BE SCRUBBED IN THREE YEARS BECAUSE NEW TESTS WILL BE LAUNCHED IN CONNECTION WITH A NATIONAL DRIVE TO MAKE PUBLIC SCHOOL COURSES MORE RIGOROUS. UNDER CURRENT RULES, FOURTH- AND EIGHTH-GRADERS HAVE TO PASS LEAP, AND MEET OTHER STANDARDS, TO MOVE TO THE FIFTH AND NINTH GRADES.
WHETHER A SIMILAR RULE WILL BE IN EFFECT FOR PASSAGE WHEN THE NEW EXAMS BEGIN FOR THE 2014-15 SCHOOL YEAR IS UP TO THE STATE BOARD OF ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION, WHICH SETS POLICIES FOR PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS STATEWIDE.

LSU, SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY AND OTHER COLLEGES ARE BEGINNING TO ADD NEW ACADEMIC PROGRAMS NOW THAT THE STATE'S TWO-YEAR MORATORIUM ON CREATING NEW DEGREES IS OVER. THE LOUISIANA BOARD OF REGENTS HAS APPROVED A NEW BACHELOR'S DEGREE IN ATHLETIC TRAINING AT LSU. THE REGENTS ALSO APPROVED THREE NEW DOCTORATE OF NURSING PRACTICE PROGRAMS AT SOUTHERN, THE LSU HEALTH SCIENCES CENTER IN NEW ORLEANS AND A JOINT DEGREE OFFERING WITH THE UNIVERSITY OF LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE AND SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA UNIVERSITY.

LSU HAS SENT CEASE AND DESIST LETTERS TO VENDORS SELLING T-SHIRTS AND OTHER MERCHANDISE USING THE LIKENESS OF TYRANN MATHIEU WITH A HONEY BADGER, SAYING IT'S A VIOLATION OF NCAA RULES. TULANE SPORTS LAW PROFESSOR GABE FELDMAN SAYS UNIVERSITIES AND PLAYERS HAVE TO ASK PEOPLE SELLING SUCH UNLICENSED ITEMS, TO STOP. FELDMAN SAYS THIS IS JUST LSU IS COVERING ITS BASES TO ENSURE THAT THE NCAA CAN'T COME AFTER THEM OVER CONCERNS THAT MATHIEU WAS SOMEHOW MAKING A PROFIT FROM THE SALE OF THIS MERCHANDISE. HE SAYS NOBODY THINKS THAT'S THE CASE HERE. THE LETTERS DON'T SAY THE MERCHANTS ARE BREAKING ANY LAWS, THEY JUST SAY THE SELLING OF PARAPHERNALIA WITH VARIATIONS OF MATHIEU'S NAME AND THE PHRASE "HONEY BADGER" COULD IMPACT THE PLAYER'S ELIGIBILITY.

IT WAS ANOTHER DEADLY WEEKEND IN AND AROUND NEW ORLEANS.. AUTHORITIES SAY THREE MEN HAVE BEEN KILLED IN THREE SEPARATE SHOOTINGS. THE MEN WERE SHOT TO DEATH IN THE EARLY HOURS OF SUNDAY. THE KILLINGS TOOK PLACE IN THE HOLLYGROVE NEIGHBORHOOD OF NEW ORLEANS AND IN TERRYTOWN AND KENNER IN JEFFERSON PARISH.

IT’S SAD THERE SHOULD HAVE TO BE SUCH QUESTIONS, BUT THE CADDO PARISH SHERIFF STEVE PRATOR SAYS HIS OFFICE IS OFFERING A FREE COURSE FOR RESIDENTS COVERING THE RIGHTS HOMEOWNERS HAVE WHEN SOMEONE BREAKS INTO THEIR HOME OR CAR, ATTEMPTS A BURGLARY, OR ENTERS THEIR PROPERTY ILLEGALLY. THE ONE NIGHT COURSE IS FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.


SPORTS..

THE SAINTS HAVE CLINCHED A PLAYOFF SPOT AS RESULT OF THEIR VICTORY OVER TENNESSEE AND DENVER'S COME FROM BEHIND OVERTIME VICTORY AGAINST THE CHICAGO BEARS. NEW ORLEANS WIN IN NASHVILLE WASN'T EASY. THE SAINTS NEEDED TWO TOUCHDOWN PASSES FROM DREW BREES TO BEAT THE TITANS 22-17. BREES DELIVERED.. THE SAINTS ARE NOW 10-AND-3 AND TIED WITH SAN FRANCISCO FOR THE SECOND SEED IN THE N-F-C PLAYOFFS.

WITH CHRISTMAS RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER, AND ALL OF THE EXCITEMENT SURROUNDING THE BCS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME, LSU MERCHANDISE IS FLYING OFF THE SHELVES. LSU ASSOCIATE ATHLETIC DIRECTOR HERB VINCENT SAYS PURPLE AND GOLD GEAR ALWAYS SELLS WELL THIS TIME OF YEAR, BUT THEY HAVEN'T SEEN NUMBERS LIKE THIS IN YEARS. VINCENT SAYS SALES FROM LSU MERCHANDISE ARE SPLIT 50/50 BETWEEN THE ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT AND THE UNIVERSITY.





NBA Says NO To Paul Trade


THE NBA'S DECISION TO REJECT A PROPOSED TRADE INVOLVING ALL-STAR GUARD CHRIS PAUL SET THE STAGE FOR AN AWKWARD OPENING TO TRAINING CAMPS ON FRIDAY IN NEW ORLEANS, LOS ANGELES AND HOUSTON. THE NBA-OWNED HORNETS THOUGHT THEY HAD WORKED OUT A THREE-TEAM DEAL TO SEND PAUL TO LOS ANGELES IN A DEAL THAT ALSO WOULD HAVE SENT LAMAR ODOM TO NEW ORLEANS AND FOUR-TIME ALL-STAR PAU GASOL TO HOUSTON. THE LEAGUE, HOWEVER, DECLINED TO APPROVE THE TRADE, MEANING PAUL WAS EXPECTED TO REPORT TO HORNETS CAMP, WHILE ODOM AND GASOL WERE EXPECTED TO SHOW UP WHEN THE LAKERS OPENED PRACTICE UNDER NEW HEAD COACH MIKE BROWN.
AFTER DEAL FELL THROUGH, PAUL SIMPLY WROTE, "WOW," ON HIS TWITTER PAGE.
ODOM, TOO, TOOK TO TWITTER TO SHARE HIS FEELINGS: "WHEN A TEAM TRADES U AND IT DOESN'T GO DOWN? NOW WHAT?" THE FALLOUT FROM THE TRADE THAT NEVER WAS CAUSED THE NBA TO DENY REPORTS THAT DEAL WAS NIXED BECAUSE A NUMBER OF TEAM OWNERS COMPLAINED ABOUT IT TO NBA COMMISSIONER DAVID STERN.
 

News For Friday 12/09/11


NEWS FOR FRIDAY 120911
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

THE RUMORS HAVE BEEN CIRCULATING FOR A WHILE. BUT, NOW IT IS OFFICIAL, HUEY P. LONG MEDICAL CENTER IN PINEVILLE WILL SOON BE SHUT DOWN. GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL ANNOUNCED THAT THE HOSPITAL WILL MOVE TO ENGLAND AIRPARK BY THE SUMMER OF 2014. HUEY P’S NEW HOME WILL BE IN THE CURRENT LSU HEALTH SCIENCES CENTER BUILDING ON VANDENBURG DRIVE. THE CENTER NOW SERVES AS AN OUTPATIENT FACILITY, BUT IT WILL BE RENOVATED TO TAKE OVER MEDICAL SERVICES NOW PROVIDED AT THE HOSPITAL IN PINEVILLE. A NEARBY BUILDING IN THE AIRPARK, THE FORMER SITE OF ST. RITA SCHOOL, WILL HOUSE THE OUTPATIENT SERVICES. THE GOVERNOR ESTIMATED THE COST TO MODERNIZE THE AIRPARK BUILDINGS IS $30 MILLION. THE ENGLAND AUTHORITY HAS PLEDGED $5 MILLION. THE GOVERNOR ALSO SAID THE CURRENT FACILITY IN PINEVILLE COULD POSSIBLY BE USED BY LOUISIANA COLLEGE FOR THEIR NEW MEDICAL SCHOOL.

THE CITY OF PINEVILLE WILL CLOSE SEVERAL STREETS TO ACCOMMODATE ITS CHRISTMAS PARADE, WHICH BEGINS TONIGHT AT 7. HUDSON BOULEVARD AND CLAIBORNE, BEALL, PAYNE AND FAIRMOUNT STREETS WILL CLOSE AT 5 P.M. BEALL, PAYNE AND FAIRMOUNT STREETS WILL BECOME ONE-WAYS FOR DROP-OFFS AT PINEVILLE HIGH SCHOOL. TRAFFIC ON MAIN STREET AND MILITARY HIGHWAY WILL HAVE DELAYS STARTING AT 5 P.M. UNTIL THE START OF THE PARADE, OFFICIALS SAID. BOTH WILL BE CLOSED TO TRAFFIC IN THE PARADE AREA STARTING AT 6:30 P.M. THE PARADE WILL BEGIN ON MILITARY HIGHWAY, TRAVEL ONTO CLAIBORNE STREET AND CONTINUE SOUTH AND END AT THE INTERSECTION OF MAIN STREET AND NAPOLEON BOULEVARD.

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL SAYS POOR PERFORMING TEACHERS WHO WANT TO IMPROVE SHOULD GET INTENSIVE ATTENTION FROM THE STATE, WHILE THOSE WHO RESIST CHANGE SHOULD BE REMOVED FROM THE CLASSROOM. JINDAL SPOKE THURSDAY AT THE COUNCIL FOR A BETTER LOUISIANA MEETING ABOUT HIS PUSH TO IMPROVE TEACHER QUALITY, WHICH HE SAYS WILL BE ONE OF HIS MAIN INITIATIVES IN THE 2012 LEGISLATIVE SESSION. THE GOVERNOR SAID LOUISIANA'S CONTINUING LOW EDUCATION PERFORMANCE HINDERS THE STATE'S ECONOMIC GROWTH.

STATE POLICE ARE INVESTIGATED A SINGLE VEHICLE CRASH ON U.S. HIGHWAY 190 EAST OF EUNICE THAT CLAIMED THE LIFE OF A 33-YEAR-OLD MAN. TROOPERS SAY RUSSELL FONTENOT OF EUNICE WAS EASTBOUND THURSDAY WHEN HIS CAR RAN OFF THE ROAD AND STUCK A UTILITY POLE. FONTENOT DIED A SHORT TIME LATER AT A LOCAL HOSPITAL. THE CRASH REMAINS UNDER INVESTIGATION.

PROSECUTORS HAVE FILED ADDITIONAL CHARGES AGAINST A WEST FELICIANA PARISH POLICE JUROR AND A MINISTER IMPLICATED IN AN ALLEGED SCHEME TO DIVERT A NONPROFIT'S MONEY TO PRIVATE HANDS. JUROR JOHN COBB PLEADED NOT GUILTY THURSDAY TO FIVE COUNTS OF FORGERY AND ONE COUNT OF CRIMINAL CONSPIRACY.
THE REV. GEORGE VEAL PLEADED NOT GUILTY TO ONE COUNT OF CRIMINAL CONSPIRACY.
COBB WAS INDICTED LAST YEAR ON THREE FELONY THEFT COUNTS, WHILE VEAL WAS INDICTED ON ONE THEFT COUNT.

CARGILL ANNOUNCED THE RECALL THIS WEEK OF TWO BRANDS OF DOG FOOD PRODUCED AT ITS LECOMPTE PLANT DUE TO CONCERNS THEY MAY CONTAIN UNSAFE LEVELS OF TOXIN.
AFLATOXIN LEVELS ABOVE THE ACCEPTABLE LIMIT WERE DETECTED IN CORN USED TO MAKE SOME KINDS OF RIVER RUN AND MARKSMAN BRAND DRY DOG FOODS. AFLATOXIN IS A FUNGAL TOXIN THAT COMMONLY CONTAMINATES CROPS DURING SEVERE HEAT AND DROUGHT. EXPOSURE TO EXCESSIVE LEVELS OF AFLATOXIN, ESPECIALLY OVER EXTENDED PERIODS OF TIME, CAN LEAD TO LIVER FAILURE. NO ILLNESSES HAVE BEEN REPORTED IN ASSOCIATION WITH THE RECALLED PRODUCTS. RETAILERS HAVE BEEN INSTRUCTED TO TAKE THE PRODUCTS OFF THEIR SHELVES.

ATTORNEY GENERAL BUDDY CALDWELL IS ASKING CONGRESS TO REJECT A BILL THAT WOULD ALLOW SO-CALLED "ROBO-CALLS" TO YOUR CELL PHONE. SAM PLEASANT IS DIRECTOR OF THE PUBLIC PROTECTION DIVISION OF CALDWELL'S OFFICE. SHE SAYS CURRENT LAW ALLOWS AUTOMATED SEQUENTIAL ADVERTISING CALLS TO LAND LINES, BUT CELL USERS HAVE TO PAY FOR THEIR OUTGOING AND INCOMING CALLS. CALDWELL HAS JOINED AG'S IN THE OTHER 49 STATES, PLUS GUAM, PUERTO RICO AND THE VIRGIN ISLANDS, TO ASK FEDERAL LAWMAKERS TO OPPOSE THE MOBILE INFORMATION CALL ACT (H.R. 3035). PLEASANT SAYS CALDWELL AND HIS PEERS ARE CONCERNED THAT THE BILL WILL NOT ONLY BE COSTLY FOR CELLULAR USERS, BUT AN INVASION OF THEIR PRIVACY.

TULANE UNIVERSITY BELIEVES A HOME-FIELD ADVANTAGE WILL MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE.
THE SCHOOL ON THURSDAY ANNOUNCED PLANS TO BUILD A $60 MILLION STADIUM ON CAMPUS. THE GREEN WAVE HAS PLAYED MOST OF ITS HOME FOOTBALL GAMES IN THE SUPERDOME SINCE 1975. TULANE'S OLD STADIUM WAS DEMOLISHED IN 1980. TULANE, WHICH HASN'T HAD A WINNING SEASON IN A DECADE, HIRED NEW ORLEANS SAINTS WIDE RECEIVER COACH CURTIS JOHNSON TO LEAD THE PROGRAM ON DEC. 5.

FOUR MORE REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES HAVE SIGNED UP FOR LOUISIANA'S MARCH 24 PRIMARY BALLOT. THE CAMPAIGNS OF U.S. REP. MICHELE BACHMANN, FORMER UTAH GOV. JON HUNTSMAN, FORMER U.S. SEN. RICK SANTORUM AND FORMER LOUISIANA GOV. BUDDY ROEMER SUBMITTED PAPERWORK TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE'S OFFICE ON THURSDAY. QUALIFYING FOR THE PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY CONTINUES UNTIL FRIDAY. THE ELECTION IS CLOSED PRIMARY, SO DEMOCRATS CAN VOTE ONLY FOR DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS CAN VOTE ONLY FOR GOP CANDIDATES.

A NONPARTISAN GOVERNMENT WATCHDOG GROUP IS SUGGESTING LAWMAKERS SHOULD SET UP A SPECIAL COMMISSION TO MONITOR THE JINDAL ADMINISTRATION'S PLANS TO RUN PART OF THE STATE MEDICAID PROGRAM THROUGH PRIVATE MANAGED CARE NETWORKS.
THE PUBLIC AFFAIRS RESEARCH COUNCIL MADE ITS RECOMMENDATIONS THURSDAY. THE ORGANIZATION SAYS THE LEGISLATURE SHOULD MAINTAIN STRONG OVERSIGHT OF THE MEDICAID REVAMP AND THE LEGISLATIVE AUDITOR SHOULD REVIEW EFFECTIVENESS OF THE CHANGES. HEALTH AND HOSPITALS SECRETARY BRUCE GREENSTEIN SAYS HE DOESN'T SEE THE NEED FOR ANOTHER COMMITTEE. HE SAYS THE LEGISLATURE HAS BEEN HEAVILY INVOLVED IN CRAFTING THE MEDICAID OVERHAUL AND WILL CONTINUE TO BE INVOLVED.

NEW PROGRAMS ARE BEING LAUNCHED THROUGHOUT THE STATE WITH THE GOAL OF TARGETING THE ON-GOING PROBLEM OF CHILDHOOD OBESITY. LSU'S EXTENSION SERVICE IS IMPLEMENTING THE SESSIONS AND CATHY AGAN WORKS IN FAMILY NUTRITION AT THE LSU AG CENTER. SHE SAYS AT LEAST ONE IN FOUR AMERICAN CHILDREN IS OVERWEIGHT AND MOST OF THEM WILL BECOME OVERWEIGHT ADULTS. SHE SAYS THE PROGRAMS WILL TEACH PARENTS AND STUDENTS THE IMPORTANCE OF EATING HEALTHY AND BEING PHYSICALLY ACTIVE.

A SMALL GATHERING OF UNEMPLOYED WORKERS WENT TO BATON ROUGE CONGRESSMAN BILL CASSIDY'S OFFICE TODAY WITH A LETTER ASKING HIM TO EXTEND UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE SET TO EXPIRE DECEMBER 31ST WITHOUT APPROVAL FROM CONGRESS. AFL-CIO SPOKESPERSON ERNEST STEPHENS SAYS UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS HELP FAMILIES AND ARE GOOD FOR THE ECONOMY.

ENGINEERING AND CONSTRUCTION COMPANY THE SHAW GROUP INC. HAS BEEN REFUSED EARLY PERMISSION TO SELL ITS MINORITY INVESTMENT IN NUCLEAR POWER PLANT COMPANY WESTINGHOUSE ELECTRIC CO. LLC BACK TO TOSHIBA CORP. SHAW ANNOUNCED THE SALE ON SEPT. 6, SAYING IT WANTED GET RID OF ABOUT $1.7 BILLION IN DEBT. SHAW'S NUCLEAR SUBSIDIARY OBTAINED THE 20 PERCENT STAKE IN WESTINGHOUSE IN OCTOBER 2006 FOR $1.08 BILLION, BUT THE STRENGTHENING YEN NEGATIVELY AFFECTED THE INVESTMENT THAT SHAW MADE WITH THE JAPANESE CURRENCY. ON THURSDAY, SHAW SAID THE BONDHOLDER TRUSTEE REFUSED TO ALLOW AN EARLY SALE.

AN HISTORIC MANSION AND A TAVERN THAT HAS OPERATE FOR DECADES IN DOWNTOWN NATCHEZ HAVE FILED FOR BANKRUPTCY PROTECTION FROM FORECLOSURE. WORD IS THAT BOTH MONMOUTH PLANTATION AND KING'S TAVERN REMAIN OPEN. MONMOUTH CO-OWNER RON RICHES SAYS THE BUSINESS FILED CHAPTER 11 BANKRUPTCY LAST WEEK TO AVOID THE FORECLOSURE SCHEDULED FOR THIS WEEK. SHAWYN MARS, A CO-OWNER OF KING'S TAVERN, SAYS THE TAVERN FILED FOR BANKRUPTCY IN SEPTEMBER AT THE ADVICE OF THEIR ATTORNEY SO THEY COULD KEEP THEIR DOORS OPEN. HE SAYS THE BUSINESS WAS AFFECTED BY THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER FLOOD AND THE LULL BETWEEN THE SPRING PILGRIMAGE AND FALL PILGRIMAGE. THE RESTAURANT HAS BEEN AT THE LOCATION FOR 40 YEARS.

SPORTS..

THE HONEY BADGER HEADS TO NEW YORK TODAY FOR TOMORROW NIGHT'S HEISMAN TROPHY PRESENTATION. LSU DEFENSIVE BACK TYRANN MATHIEU IS ONE OF FIVE FINALISTS. THE ONLY OTHER HEISMAN TROPHY WINNER IN LSU'S HISTORY IS BILLY CANNON.

THE STATE HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS KICKOFF TODAY AT THE MERCEDES BENZ SUPERDOME. FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 29 YEARS, THE WINNFIELD HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL TEAM IS COMPETING FOR A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP. THE CLASS 2A TIGERS WILL FACE JOHN CURTIS SATURDAY AT 11AM IN THE DOME. WINNFIELD HIGH PRINCIPAL JANE GRIFFIN SAYS THEY'VE SOLD 2,000 TICKETS WHICH IS AMAZING CONSIDERING THE TOWN'S POPULATION IS ABOUT FIVE-THOUSAND.

THE NBA'S DECISION TO REJECT A PROPOSED TRADE INVOLVING ALL-STAR GUARD CHRIS PAUL SET THE STAGE FOR AN AWKWARD OPENING TO TRAINING CAMPS ON FRIDAY IN NEW ORLEANS, LOS ANGELES AND HOUSTON. THE NBA-OWNED HORNETS THOUGHT THEY HAD WORKED OUT A THREE-TEAM DEAL TO SEND PAUL TO LOS ANGELES IN A DEAL THAT ALSO WOULD HAVE SENT LAMAR ODOM TO NEW ORLEANS AND FOUR-TIME ALL-STAR PAU GASOL TO HOUSTON. THE LEAGUE, HOWEVER, DECLINED TO APPROVE THE TRADE, MEANING PAUL WAS EXPECTED TO REPORT TO HORNETS CAMP, WHILE ODOM AND GASOL WERE EXPECTED TO SHOW UP WHEN THE LAKERS OPENED PRACTICE UNDER NEW HEAD COACH MIKE BROWN.
AFTER DEAL FELL THROUGH, PAUL SIMPLY WROTE, "WOW," ON HIS TWITTER PAGE.
ODOM, TOO, TOOK TO TWITTER TO SHARE HIS FEELINGS: "WHEN A TEAM TRADES U AND IT DOESN'T GO DOWN? NOW WHAT?" THE FALLOUT FROM THE TRADE THAT NEVER WAS CAUSED THE NBA TO DENY REPORTS THAT DEAL WAS NIXED BECAUSE A NUMBER OF TEAM OWNERS COMPLAINED ABOUT IT TO NBA COMMISSIONER DAVID STERN.






News For Thursday 12/08/11


NEWS FOR THURSDAY 120811
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

LOUISIANA IS WAKING UP TO SOME BITTERLY COLD TEMPERATURES THIS MORNING, WITH SOME AREAS UNDER A HARD FREEZE. STATE CLIMATOLOGIST BARRY KEIM SAYS THIS IS THE COLDEST DAY OF THE FALL / WINTER SEASON SO FAR. KEIM SAYS A CANADIAN HIGH PRESSURE SYSTEM IS PUSHING COLD AIR ACROSS THE SOUTH. HE SAYS WE CAN EXPECT THE CHILLY WEATHER TO BE WITH FOR THE NEXT FEW DAYS. THE GOOD NEWS, A WARMING TREND WILL ENTER THE FORECAST BY ABOUT SUNDAY.

JONATHAN GOINS IS OFFICIALLY A FORMER MEMBER OF THE ALEXANDRIA CITY COUNCIL.
SECRETARY OF STATE TOM SCHEDLER SAID HIS OFFICE RECEIVED GOINS' OFFICIAL RESIGNATION LETTER ON TUESDAY. A VACANCY ON THE COUNCIL IS FILLED BY A VOTE OF THE REMAINING COUNCIL MEMBERS. IN CASE OF A TIE, ALEXANDRIA MAYOR JACQUES ROY WOULD, ACCORDING TO THE CITY CHARTER, CAST THE DECIDING VOTE. THE COUNCIL WILL HAVE UNTIL DEC. 16 TO APPOINT GOINS' REPLACEMENT, WHO WOULD SERVE THE REMAINDER OF THE TERM.

THE CALDWELL PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE SAYS A NATIONAL GUARD SOLDIER YESTERDAY COMMITTED SUICIDE BY JUMPING OFF THE US 165 BRIDGE IN COLUMBIA INTO THE OUACHITA RIVER. CHIEF DEPUTY GLENN GILMORE SAYS 24-YEAR-OLD MARCUS WHITE OF MONROE WAS ARGUING WITH HIS FIANCE IN THE CAR AND JUMPED OUT WHILE IT WAS STILL MOVING. HE SAYS A BYSTANDER AND A POLICE OFFICER ATTEMPTED TO GRAB WHITE TO KEEP HIM FROM GOING OVER BUT HE BROKE AWAY AND JUMPED. HE SAYS THE OFFICER SAW WHITE TREADING WATER AND THEN GO UNDER.

THE COLORADO STATE HURRICANE FORECAST TEAM RELEASED ITS FIRST FORECAST FOR THE 2012 SEASON TODAY. THEY USUALLY PREDICT A SPECIFIC NUMBER OF STORMS, BUT DR. PHIL KLOTZBACH SAYS THIS YEAR THEY ARE WAITING TO SEE IF THERE WILL BE A DEVELOPMENT OF AN EL NINO WHICH COULD MEAN FEWER STORMS. THE TEAM EXPECTS A 40 PERCENT CHANCE OF A BELOW-AVERAGE HURRICANE SEASON NEXT YEAR.

STATE FARM FIRE AND CASUALTY CO HAS RECEIVED STATE APPROVAL TO INCREASE RATES BY AN AVERAGE 7.8 PERCENT. LOUISIANA'S LARGEST INSURER OF HOMES SAYS THE RATE HIKE WILL GO INTO EFFECT WITH NEW POLICIES ON FEBRUARY 15TH AND RENEWAL POLICIES ON APRIL 1ST.

CONGRATULATIONS TO JAMES HAYES JR. OF HAYES MANUFACTURING COMPANY. HE WAS NAMED SMALL BUSINESSPERSON OF THE YEAR YESTERDAY BY THE CENTRAL LOUISIANA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE. THE COMPANY, A FAMILY AFFAIR, HAS COME A LONG WAY OVER THE YEARS SINCE IT HUMBLE BEGINNINGS. HAYES FATHER STARTED HAYES MANUFACTURING IN 1954 WITH A WELDING MACHINE MOUNTED ON A MODEL-T FORD.

 

FANS HOPING TO ATTEND THE BCS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME ON JANUARY 9TH IN NEW ORLEANS MIGHT HAVE TO TAKE OUT A SMALL LOAN. JOELLEN FERRER IS WITH THE ONLINE TICKET BROKER STUBHUB. SHE SAYS "GET IN THE DOOR" TICKETS FOR THE REMATCH BETWEEN LSU AND ALABAMA START AT ABOUT $1300 AND AVERAGE OVER $2000. FERRER SAYS FOR FANS WHO CAN AFFORD IT, SINGLE SUITE TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE FOR AROUND $150,000.

THE STATE BOARD OF ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION HAS SIGNED OFF ON A NEW TEACHER EVALUATION PLAN THAT FACTORS IN STUDENT PERFORMANCE. BESE PRESIDENT PENNY DASTUGUE SAYS THE NEW TEACHER REVIEW SYSTEM IS SET TO BE PUT IN PLACE FOR THE FALL 2012 SEMESTER. DASTUGUE SAYS IT WILL HELP ASSURE THAT THERE ARE QUALIFIED, CAPABLE TEACHERS IN EVERY CLASSROOM.

THE ACTING SUPERINTENDENT FOR THE LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION HAS RESIGNED. OLLIE TYLER, WHO IS ALSO THE FORMER CADDO SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT, SAYS SHE'S BEEN SERVING STUDENTS IN LOUISIANA FOR DECADES, AND NOW IS THE TIME TO STEP AWAY FROM IT. TYLER HAS SERVED AS THE INTERIM SUPERINTENDENT OF EDUCATION SINCE PAUL PASTOREK'S RESIGNATION IN MAY.

LOUISIANA'S TOP HIGHER EDUCATION BOARD HAS BACKED THE BUDGET FOR SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY'S MAIN CAMPUS IN BATON ROUGE, AFTER DELAYING APPROVAL IN SEPTEMBER BECAUSE OF QUESTIONS ABOUT SPENDING CUTS. SINCE THEN, THE UNIVERSITY HAS DECLARED A FINANCIAL EMERGENCY AND IS RESTRUCTURING TO MAKE THE CUTS.
THE BOARD OF REGENTS SIGNED OFF ON THE PLANS WEDNESDAY. THE BUDGET YEAR BEGAN JULY 1.

IBERVILLE PARISH SHERIFF'S DEPUTIES HAVE FOUND THE BODY OF THE MAN WHO DISAPPEARED TUESDAY IN BAYOU GROSSE TETE AFTER HE RAN FROM OFFICERS DURING A TRAFFIC STOP ON INTERSTATE 10. A SHERIFF'S OFFICE SPOKESPERSON SAID THE BODY OF THE MAN WAS FOUND ABOUT 10:25 A.M. WEDNESDAY NEAR THE SPOT WHERE HE WAS LAST SEEN. DEPUTIES WERE GIVEN A NAME FOR THE MAN, BUT FINGERPRINTS AND DNA WILL BE USED TO POSITIVELY DETERMINE HIS IDENTITY. DEPUTIES FOUND COUNTERFEIT MONEY IN THE CAR THE MAN WAS RIDING IN, BUT IT'S UNCLEAR IF THAT IS WHY HE FLED.

MOTORISTS TRAVELING THROUGH BATON ROUGE ON INTERSTATE 10 WILL HAVE TO PUT UP WITH CONSTRUCTION LONGER BECAUSE THE STATE IS SEEKING A NEW CONTRACTOR FOR AN 86 MILLION DOLLAR WIDENING PROJECT. WORK WAS EXPECTED TO BE COMPLETED BY THE END OF THE YEAR ON A 4 MILE STRETCH, BUT DOTD SPOKESPERSON JODI CONACHEN SAYS THE PROJECT IS A YEAR BEHIND. CONACHEN SAYS THE STATE SENT A LETTER TO THE PROJECT'S INSURANCE AGENCY REQUIRING THEM TO FIND A NEW CONTRACTOR BEFORE THE END OF THE YEAR.

LSU FOOTBALL COACH LES MILES HAS BEEN NAMED WINNER OF THE HOME DEPOT NATIONAL COACH OF THE YEAR. HE'LL RECEIVE THE AWARD TONIGHT IN ORLANDO. MILES GUIDED THE TIGERS TO A 13-AND-0 RECORD FOR THE FIRST TIME IN SCHOOL HISTORY. EIGHT OF THOSE 13 WINS WERE AGAINST RANKED OPPONENTS.

 

News For Wednesday 12/07/11


NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY 120711
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

TODAY BEGINS THREE DAYS OF QUALIFYING FOR CANDIDATES TO RUN IN LOUISIANA'S PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY ELECTIONS IN MARCH. THE CURRENT TOP GOP CANDIDATES INCLUDE MITT ROMNEY, NEWT GINGRICH, RICK PERRY AND MICHELLE BACHMANN. TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR THE MARCH 24TH DEMOCRATIC AND REPUBLICAN PRIMARIES, CAMPAIGNS MUST FILE QUALIFYING PAPERWORK AT THE SECRETARY OF STATE'S OFFICE TODAY THROUGH FRIDAY.

THE RAPIDES PARISH SCHOOL DISTRICT IS OWED NEARLY $60,000 IN UNPAID STUDENT LUNCH BALANCES FROM THIS SCHOOL YEAR, THAT ACCORDING TO FOOD AND NUTRITION SERVICES DIRECTOR ERMA DAVIS. AT THE REQUEST OF THE SCHOOL BOARD, DAVIS GAVE A REPORT AT THE BOARD'S MONTHLY MEETING ABOUT OUTSTANDING MEAL BALANCES, SAYING THEY TRY EVERY POSSIBLE TO COLLECT THE MONEY FROM PARENTS, SENDING LETTERS, MAKING PHONE CALLS AND EVEN MAKING VISITS TO THE CHILD’S HOME. DAVIS SAYS THOUGH, MANY OF THE CHILDREN QUALIFY FOR FREE AND REDUCED-PRICE LUNCHES UNDER A FEDERAL PROGRAM. BUT PARENTS EITHER DON'T FILL OUT THE PAPERWORK OR FILL IT OUT INCORRECTLY. DAVIS SHARED STORIES OF PARENTS WHO DON'T FILL OUT A CHILD'S SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER OR EVEN THEIR BIRTH NAME ON AN APPLICATION, OR FILL OUT APPLICATIONS FOR THREE DIFFERENT CHILDREN WITH THREE DIFFERENT PHONE NUMBERS, OR USE AS A HOME ADDRESS AN ABANDONED BUILDING OR A VACANT LOT.

LOUISIANA AGAIN RANKS NEAR THE BOTTOM IN RANKINGS FOR PUBLIC HEALTH BY STATE. THE REPORT, DONE BY UNITED HEALTH FOUNDATION RANKS STATES FOR OBESITY, SMOKING NUMBERS, CHILD MORTALITY, PREVENTABLE HOSPITALIZATIONS AND OTHER FACTORS. STUDY RESEARCHER DR. CATHERINE PALMIER SAYS NEARLY 1 IN 4 IN THE STATE ARE OBESE, WHICH LEADS TO MORE SERIOUS HEALTH PROBLEMS, LIKE DIABETES, HEART DISEASE, EVEN CANCER. SHE SAYS WE STILL HAVE A FAIRLY HIGH RATE OF SMOKERS AS
WELL. ON A POSITIVE NOTE, PALMIER SAYS LOUISIANA DOES RANK HIGHLY FOR PRENATAL DOCTOR CARE.

THE AVOYELLES PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE IS NOT RELEASING DETAILS ABOUT THE DEATH OF A MARKSVILLE WOMAN WHOSE BODY WAS FOUND IN HER HOME EARLY MONDAY AFTERNOON. YESTERDAY, SHERIFF DOUG ANDERSON WOULD NOT SAY HOW 61 YEAR OLD CHRISTINE MAYEAUX DIED. NOR WOULD HE DIVULGE ANY SUSPECTED MOTIVE. THE SHERIFF DID SAY FOUL PLAY WAS INVOLVED.

DEPUTIES IN ST. MARY PARISH HAVE ARRESTED A MAN IN CONNECTION WITH HUMAN REMAINS FOUND IN A FIELD LAST MONTH. 38-YEAR-OLD DARBY FRICKEY IS CHARGED WITH 2ND-DEGREE MURDER IN THE DEATH OF MARK BERTHELOT, OF BAYOU VISTA. BERTHELOT'S BODY WAS FOUND IN A CANE FIELD NEAR CENTERVILLE. HE'D BEEN MISSING SINCE NOVEMBER 10TH.

STATE HEALTH OFFICIALS SAY FOR THE SECOND TIME THIS YEAR, A LOUISIANA RESIDENT HAS DIED AFTER IMPROPERLY USING A NETI POT. A NETI POT IS USED TO IRRIGATE SINUSES, BUT DHH'S DR. DAVID HOLCOMBE, SAYS INSTEAD OF USING SALINE OR DISTILLED WATER, THE VICTIMS APPARENTLY USED TAP WATER TO FLUSH OUT THEIR SINUSES, WHICH CAUSED PROBLEMS WITH THE BRAIN. A 51-YEAR-OLD DESOTO PARISH WOMAN DIED RECENTLY AFTER USING TAP WATER IN A NETI POT TO IRRIGATE SINUSES AND BECAME INFECTED WITH A DEADLY AMOEBA. A 20-YEAR-OLD ST. BERNARD PARISH MAN DIED IN JUNE UNDER THE SAME CIRCUMSTANCES.

THE STATE BOARD OF ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION HAS DECIDED HOW IT WILL TIE TEACHER EVALUATIONS TO STUDENT PERFORMANCE SCORES. A BESE PANEL TUESDAY BACKED A PLAN FOR SETTING THE SCORING STANDARDS STATEWIDE, TO COMPLY WITH A LAW PASSED TWO YEARS AGO AND STARTED WITH A PILOT PROGRAM. A SECOND VOTE WAS SCHEDULED TODAY, BUT A MAJORITY OF BESE MEMBERS ALREADY HAD AGREED TO THE PLAN. PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHERS WILL HAVE HALF THEIR REVIEW PEGGED TO STUDENT PERFORMANCE DATA, NOT THE FLAT STANDARDIZED TEST SCORES, BUT THE GROWTH IN STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT ON THOSE TESTS.

WITH SOME COLD NIGHTS AHEAD, STATE FIRE MARSHAL BUTCH BROWNING URGES CAUTION WHEN USING SPACE HEATERS. BROWNING SAYS ABOUT HALF OF LOUISIANA HOUSE FIRES DURING COLD WEATHER ARE CONNECTED TO PORTABLE ELECTRIC SPACE HEATERS. HE SAYS THAT'S A LOT OF LIVES LOST, THAT COULD HAVE BEEN PREVENTED. BROWNING SAYS HE CANNOT STRESS ENOUGH THE IMPORTANCE OF HAVING WORKING SMOKE DETECTORS IN YOUR HOME--ESPECIALLY IF YOU'RE USING SPACE HEATERS. HE ALSO SUGGESTS, IF POSSIBLE, TO USE ONE OF THE NEWER, SAFER MODELS OF SPACE HEATER.

GOVERNOR JINDAL IS IN TEXAS TODAY FOR A FUNDRAISING EVENT FOR TEXAS GOVERNOR RICK PERRY'S PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN. PERRY HAS SLIPPED IN POLLS AFTER SOME RECENT DEBATE APPEARANCES.

A 22-YEAR-OLD WESTLAKE MAN HAS BEEN ARRESTED BY CALCASIEU PARISH DEPUTIES FOR FORCIBLE RAPE. DARIN LAWSON IS ACCUSED OF SEXUALLY ASSAULTING AN 18-YEAR-OLD MENTALLY HANDICAPPED GIRL. HE'S CURRENTLY IN THE PARISH JAIL.

THE PRESIDENT OF ST. BERNARD PARISH IS GOING TO BE LEADING LOUISIANA'S HAZARD MITIGATION EFFORTS FOR GOV. BOBBY JINDAL'S ADMINISTRATION. CRAIG TAFFARO, WHO LOST HIS RE-ELECTION BID LAST MONTH, WILL BEGIN HIS STATE JOB THIS MONTH. THE JINDAL ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCED TUESDAY THAT TAFFARO WILL BE DIRECTOR OF HAZARD MITIGATION AND RECOVERY COORDINATION. HE'LL OVERSEE A PROGRAM THAT DOLES OUT MONEY FOR ELEVATING HOMES AND MAKING OTHER IMPROVEMENTS TO HOUSES AND PUBLIC INFRASTRUCTURE TO PROTECT AGAINST FUTURE STORMS.

A FEDERAL JUDGE ALLOWED A GROUP OF OCCUPY PROTESTERS AND HOMELESS PEOPLE TO RETURN TO A NEW ORLEANS PARK ABOUT 12 HOURS AFTER POLICE EARLY TUESDAY PEACEFULLY EVICTED THEM. U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE JAY ZAINEY'S ORDER ALLOWS THE GROUP, OCCUPY NOLA, TO RETURN FOR SEVEN DAYS TO THE SITE WHERE THEY'VE BEEN CAMPED SINCE OCTOBER. ABOUT 150 OFFICERS MARCHED INTO THE ENCAMPMENT ACROSS FROM CITY HALL BEFORE DAWN, FORCING AN ESTIMATED 150 OCCUPANTS OUT AND REMOVING TENTS IN A PEACEFUL EVICTION THAT SOMETIMES DREW LOUD COMPLAINTS BUT DID NOT RESULT IN VIOLENCE.

HALLIBURTON DEFENDED ITSELF TUESDAY AGAINST ACCUSATIONS IT INTENTIONALLY DESTROYED EVIDENCE ABOUT THE QUALITY OF CEMENT SLURRY IN AN OIL WELL THAT BLEW OUT IN THE GULF OF MEXICO. THE CEMENT JOB ON THE MACONDO WELL IS EXPECTED TO PLAY A BIG ROLE IN THE COURT BATTLE OF WHO SHOULD BEAR THE BLAME FOR THE BLOWOUT THAT KILLED 11 WORKERS AND LED TO THE NATION'S WORST OFFSHORE OIL SPILL.

A SECOND GROUP OF JUVENILE WHOOPING CRANES HAS BEEN DELIVERED TO THE WHITE LAKE AREA OF VERMILION PARISH AS THE STATE CONTINUES ITS EFFORT TO BUILD THE POPULATION OF THE NATIVE BIRD.

DOTD SAYS THE CONTRACTOR THAT'S EXPANDING A SECTION OF I-10 IN BATON ROUGE IS MONTHS BEHIND SCHEDULE, SO THEY'RE SEEKING A NEW ONE TO FINISH THE JOB. AUSTIN BRIDGE AND ROAD IS OVER A YEAR BEHIND SCHEDULE ON THE SECTION OF I-10 THAT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE DONE BY YEAR'S END.

AVOYELLES PARISH DETENTION CENTER OFFICER HAS BEEN ARRESTED AND CHARGED WITH BRINGING DRUGS INTO THE JAIL. AUTHORITIES SAY JAWORSKI TOUSSAINT ALLEGEDLY BROUGHT SYNTHETIC MARIJUANA INTO THE DETENTION CENTER. SHE SHERIFF'S OFFICE SAYS ADDITIONAL CHARGES ARE EXPECTED.

A WOMAN IN OUACHITA PARISH WHO IS UNDER ARREST FOR ALLEGEDLY BITING A MAN HAS REPORTEDLY TOLD DEPUTIES THE VICTIM'S CAT OR DOG BIT HIM. THE VICTIM SAYS HIS GIRLFRIEND, TERRA TAYLOR, BIT HIM ON THE FACE AND HIT HIM ON THE BACK OF THE HEAD SEVERAL TIMES WITH A METAL STICK. DEPUTIES BELIEVE THE VICTIMS BITE MARKS ARE IN FACT HUMAN. TAYLOR IS CHARGED WITH AGGRAVATED BATTERY WITH A WEAPON.


SPORTS..

ULL FOOTBALL FANS ARE PLEASED WITH THE NEWS MARK HUDSPETH IS STAYING AS THE HEAD COACH OF THE RAGIN CAJUNS. HUDSPETH HAS BEEN RUMORED AS A CANDIDATE AT SEVERAL OTHER HEAD COACHING VACANCIES, BUT THE COACH OF THE YEAR CANDIDATE SAYS HE'LL DEFINITELY BE BACK NEXT SEASON. HUDSPETH HAS LED THE CAJUNS TO AN EIGHT-WIN SEASON AND THE PROGRAM'S FIRST TRIP TO A BOWL GAME IN 41 YEARS.

News For Tuesday 12/06/11


NEWS FOR TUESDAY 120611
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

A WEST MONROE TEENAGER HAS BEEN FOUND GUILTY, BY A BOSSIER PARISH JURY, OF MURDERING HIS PARENTS LAST YEAR. THE JURY WAS OUT LESS THAN TWO HOURS BEFORE RETURNING THE GUILTY VERDICT FOR 16-YEAR-OLD DALTON FLETCHER ON TWO COUNTS OF 2ND-DEGREE MURDER. FLETCHER'S DEFENSE ARGUED THE TEEN WAS VICTIM OF PHYSICAL AND EMOTIONAL ABUSE. PROSECUTORS SAY FLETCHER WAS A RULE BREAKER AND HAD PLANNED HIS PARENTS DEATHS FOR WEEKS. HIS SENTENCING WILL BE IN FEBRUARY.

THE YOUNG MAN WHO PULLED THE TRIGGER IN A 2010 DRIVE-BY SHOOTING THAT KILLED AN INNOCENT WOMAN IN PINEVILLE PLEADED GUILTY TO MANSLAUGHTER MONDAY AND AGREED TO TESTIFY AGAINST AN ACCOMPLICE WHO IS IN JAIL AND WILL STAND TRIAL NEXT MAY.
JEREMY KIRK WAS SENTENCED TO 25 YEARS IN PRISON AT HARD LABOR BY 9TH DISTRICT JUDGE JOHN DAVIDSON ON THE REDUCED MANSLAUGHTER CHARGE. KIRK WILL RECEIVE CREDIT FOR TIME SERVED. HE WAS ARRESTED ON THE NIGHT OF THE SHOOTING ON MAY 11 OF LAST YEAR .KIRK AND DIMITRI SMITH WERE INDICTED ON SECOND-DEGREE MURDER CHARGES IN JULY 2010. BOTH ARE FROM PINEVILLE. KIRK WAS 17 AND SMITH WAS 16 WHEN 36-YEAR-OLD ANNETTE HARRIS WAS SHOT IN THE HEAD WITH A .38-CALIBER BULLET AS SHE SAT IN HER LAKEVIEW STREET HOME.

IT’S OFFICIAL, THIS THURSDAY AFTERNOON, ALL THAT REMAINS OF ENGLAND AIR FORCE BASE WILL NOW BE PART OF THE ENGLAND AIRPARK. THE ENGLAND AUTHORITY AND THE U.S. AIR FORCE WILL HOLD A CEREMONY AT 4:30 P.M. THURSDAY TO TRANSFER THE LAST AIR FORCE PROPERTY TO THE ENGLAND AUTHORITY. THE PUBLIC IS INVITED TO ATTEND THE CEREMONY IN THE THIRD-FLOOR CONFERENCE ROOM OF THE JAMES L. MEYER COMMERCIAL TERMINAL AT ALEXANDRIA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT.

ALEXANDRIA CITY COUNCILMAN JONATHAN GOINS PAID A SURPRISE VISIT TO THE CENLA BROADCASTING STUDIOS TO DISCUSS HIS SUDDEN RESIGNATION FROM THE COUNCIL.
GOINS MAILED HIS RESIGNATION LETTER TO THE LOUISIANA SECRETARY OF STATE'S OFFICE ON FRIDAY. IN THAT LETTER, HE CITED INCREASED PROFESSIONAL OBLIGATIONS AS THE REASON BEHIND HIS RESIGNATION. GOINS TOLD US HE PLANNED TO BE DOING MORE WORK OUT OF STATE IN THE NEAR FUTURE AND THAT HE WAS PLANNING TO FOCUS MORE ON HIS LAW PRACTICE. GOINS HAD INITIALLY AGREED TO AN INTERVIEW WITH THE TOWN TALK TO DISCUSS HIS DECISION, BUT LATER DECIDED AGAINST SPEAKING FURTHER ON THE SUBJECT. THE SECRETARY OF STATE WILL SOON BE INFORMING THE COUNCIL ON WHAT STEPS NEED TO BE TAKEN TO FILL GOINS’ SEAT.

RAPIDES PARISH POLICE JURORS, MEETING IN COMMITTEE ON MONDAY, PASSED A MOTION TO ADOPT THE PARISH'S 2012 OPERATING BUDGET. A PUBLIC HEARING WAS HELD ON THE BUDGET DURING MONDAY'S FINANCE COMMITTEE MEETING. NO COMMENTS WERE MADE BY THE PUBLIC. THE BUDGET INCLUDES A PAY RAISE FOR PARISH EMPLOYEES OF 3 PERCENT OR $125 PER MONTH, WHICHEVER IS GREATER. THE FULL JURY WILL CONSIDER THE BUDGET FOR FINAL ADOPTION AT ITS MEETING NEXT MONDAY. THE BUDGET YEAR BEGINS JAN. 1.

AVOYELLES PARISH SHERIFF'S DEPUTIES ARE INVESTIGATING THE DEATH OF A WOMAN IN MARKSVILLE. 61 YEAR OLD CHRISTINE MAYEAUX WAS FOUND ABOUT 12:30 P.M. MONDAY WHEN DEPUTIES WENT TO HER HIGHWAY 452 HOME IN MARKSVILLE, AFTER RECEIVING A PHONE CALL OF AN UNRESPONSIVE OCCUPANT WITHIN THE HOUSE. AUTHORITIES SAY HER DEATH WAS THE RESULT OF FOUL PLAY.

A SLOW COLD FRONT MOVED ACROSS THE STATE MONDAY AND LEFT BEHIND THE BIGGEST RAIN EVENT NORTH LOUISIANA HAS SEEN SINCE OCTOBER OF 2009. JASON HANSFORD, SENIOR METEOROLOGIST AT THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN SHREVEPORT SAYS THE RAIN HAS BEEN A BIG HELP TO THE DROUGHT-STRICKEN AREAS OF NORTH LOUISIANA. HE SAYS NOW THAT THE RAIN IS LEAVING, TEMPERATURES LIKELY WON'T GET OUT OF THE 40'S FOR THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS.

A SPECIAL COMMITTEE OF THE BOARD OF ELEMENTARY & SECONDARY EDUCATION IS SET TO REVIEW THE STATE'S NEW EVALUATION PLAN FOR PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHERS. BESE PRESIDENT PENNY DASTUGUE SAYS THE NEW METHOD FOR ANNUAL REVIEWS WILL FACTOR IN THE STANDARDIZED TEST SCORES OF TEACHERS' STUDENTS. THE NEW PERFORMANCE REVIEW SYSTEM WILL TAKE EFFECT FOR FALL 2012. IT WOULD APPLY TO ABOUT A THIRD OF TEACHERS; THOSE TEACHING GRADES 4 - 9, AND WOULD USE STUDENT LEAP & ILEAP SCORES AS HALF THE EVALUATION. DASTUGUE SAYS IT'LL HELP ASSURE A GOOD TEACHER IN EVERY CLASSROOM.

FUNERAL SERVICES WERE HELD YESTERDAY FOR LSU BOARD OF SUPERVISORS CHAIRMAN BEN MOUNT WHO DIED OVER THE WEEKEND FOLLOWING A SIX-YEAR BATTLE WITH LUNG CANCER. MOUNT WAS FIRST APPOINTED TO THE BOARD IN 2006 BY THEN-GOVERNOR KATHLEEN BLANCO AND WAS REAPPOINTED BY GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL LAST YEAR. FELLOW BOARD MEMBER ROD WEST SAYS MOUNT WILL BE DEARLY MISSED BY HIS CO-WORKERS, FRIENDS AND HIS WIFE, STATE SENATOR WILLIE MOUNT OF LAKE CHARLES. HE DIED AT THE AGE OF 62.

TIGER FANS SHOPPING LSU'S OFFICIAL ONLINE STORE LATE SUNDAY AND EARLY MONDAY MAY HAVE NOTICED ALABAMA MERCHANDISE WAS FOR SALE, INSTEAD OF PURPLE AND GOLD GEAR. LSU ASSOCIATE ATHLETIC DIRECTOR HERB VINCENT SAYS IT WAS A MISTAKE THAT HAS BEEN CORRECTED. TEAMFANSHOP PROVIDES OFFICIAL ONLINE STORES FOR BOTH LSU AND ALABAMA. THE E-COMMERCE WEBSITE HAS SENT OUT AN OFFICIAL APOLOGY FOR THE ERROR.

PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS COMES TO LOUISIANA THIS WEEK, WITH THE CANDIDATE SIGN-UP PERIOD RUNNING FROM WEDNESDAY TO FRIDAY FOR THE STATE'S MARCH 24 PRESIDENTIAL PREFERENCE PRIMARY. THE $6 MILLION STATEWIDE ELECTION ALLOWS REGISTERED DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS TO VOTE FOR WHO THEY WANT TO GET THEIR PARTY'S PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION. NO DEMOCRATS ARE CHALLENGING PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA.

HOTEL ROOMS IN NEW ORLEANS FOR THE JANUARY 9TH BCS CHAMPIONSHIP GAME ARE GOING FAST. MAVIS EARLY IS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE GREATER NEW ORLEANS HOTEL & LODGING ASSOCIATION. SHE SAYS THE CONFIRMATION THAT LSU WILL FACE ALABAMA AGAIN IN THE TITLE GAME IS MAKING RESERVATIONS PICK UP FAST. EARLY SAYS MANY LSU FANS HAD FAITH AND BOOKED THEIR ROOMS FOR THE BCS CHAMPIONSHIP GAME IN THE SUPERDOME WEEKS AGO. EARLY SAYS SHE KNOWS OF SOME NEW ORLEANS HOTELS THAT HAVE ALREADY BOOKED SOLID FOR THE JANUARY 9TH COLLEGE TITLE GAME. SHE ADVISES FANS OF EITHER THE TIGERS OR THE TIDE TO MAKE THEIR RESERVATIONS NOW...:

A LAFAYETTE HIGH DANCE TEACHER IS BEHIND BARS AFTER SHE'S ARRESTED ON SIX COUNTS OF INDECENT BEHAVIOR WITH A JUVENILE. LAFAYETTE POLICE DEPARTMENT CORPORAL PAUL MOUTON SAYS THEY BEGAN INVESTIGATING 30 YEAR-OLD KATIE CHAMPAGNE ON NOVEMBER 15TH, AFTER RECEIVING A COMPLAINT FROM A 14-YEAR-OLD.
ONE OF THE VICTIMS REPORTEDLY TOLD AUTHORITIES THAT CHAMPAGNE GRABBED HER BREASTS AND SLAPPED HER BUTTOCKS. MOUTON SAYS THE LAFAYETTE DANCE TEACHER WAS ARRESTED MONDAY AFTERNOON ON SIX COUNTS OF INDECENT BEHAVIOR WITH A JUVENILE.

SLIDELL POLICE SAY TWO GUYS WHO OFFERED TO SELL A LOCAL MAN AN APPLE IPAD FOR $120--WHILE AT A GAS STATION--ENDED UP ROBBING HIM OF THAT CASH, AND GETTING IN A HIGH SPEED CHASE WITH COPS. THE VICTIM SAYS HE NOTICED THE IPAD WAS ACTUALLY AN OLD DELL LAPTOP WITH THE APPLE LOGO TAPED ON IT, AND WANTED HIS MONEY BACK. THE MEN DECLINED THE REFUND...AT GUNPOINT AND SPED OFF. THE VICTIM GAVE CHASE WHILE CALLING POLICE, WHO ENDED THE CHASE ON INTERSTATE 10. BOTH SUSPECTS
ARE IN JAIL.

STATE WILDLIFE & FISHERIES AGENTS SAY THE BLACK PANTHER PHOTOGRAPHED BY OFFICE WORKERS NEAR I-12 IN COVINGTON LAST WEEK, IS A BIG AND EXTREMELY FAT BLACK TOM CAT. AN LDWF BIG PREDATOR SPECIALIST LOOKED AT THE PHOTO, AND JUDGED IT TO BE A BIG DOMESTIC FELINE. THE EXPERT POINTS TO THE ANIMALS POINTED EARS. PANTHERS HAVE ROUNDED EARS.

IN RESPONSE TO THE PENN STATE SCANDAL INVOLVING CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE, SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA UNIVERSITY IS NOW OFFERING TRAINING TO ITS FACULTY AND STAFF ON HOW TO RECOGNIZE SIGNS OF SEXUAL ABUSE OF CHILDREN. THE PROGRAM CALLED STEWARDS OF CHILDREN IS A 2 AND A HALF HOUR CLASS TO BE HELD THIS WEEKEND.

PROTESTERS WHO HAVE BEEN CAMPED OUT AT A PARK ACROSS FROM CITY HALL IN NEW ORLEANS SAY POLICE HAVE BEEN HANDING OUT FLYERS INFORMING THEM THAT THEY ARE NO LONGER PERMITTED TO STAY IN THE PARK OVERNIGHT. MAYOR MITCH LANDRIEU SAID FRIDAY THAT IT'S TIME FOR THE PROTESTERS TO END THEIR ROUND-THE-CLOCK OCCUPATION. "OCCUPY NEW ORLEANS" PROTESTERS HAVE BEEN IN THE PARK SINCE OCT. 6, WHEN ROUGHLY 200 MARCHERS PARADED THROUGH NEW ORLEANS' BUSINESS DISTRICT. THEY SAID THEY ARE PROTESTING PROPOSED CUTS IN MEDICARE SPENDING, THE WAR IN AFGHANISTAN, PERCEIVED CORPORATE GREED AND A VARIETY OF OTHER SOCIAL ILLS IN A SPIN-OFF OF NEW YORK'S OCCUPY WALL STREET DEMONSTRATIONS.

UTILITY HOLDING COMPANY ENTERGY CORP. PLANS TO SPIN OFF ITS ELECTRIC TRANSMISSION BUSINESS AND MERGE IT INTO ITC HOLDINGS CORP., WHICH OPERATES POWER TRANSMISSION LINES IN THE MIDWEST. ENTERGY, BASED IN NEW ORLEANS, SAID MONDAY THAT IT WILL RECEIVE ABOUT $1.78 BILLION IN CASH, AND ITS STOCKHOLDERS WILL RECEIVE SHARES OF A NEW COMPANY CREATED BY THE COMBINATION OF THE TWO COMPANIES. ENTERGY SHAREHOLDERS WILL HAVE A 50.1 PERCENT STAKE IN THE NEW COMPANY. THE DEAL IS EXPECTED TO CLOSE IN 2013.


News For Monday 12/05/11


NEWS FOR MONDAY 120511
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

LOUISIANA COULD GET SOME SEVERE WEATHER TODAY, AS ANOTHER PACIFIC COLD FRONT MOVES ACROSS THE STATE. STATE CLIMATOLOGIST BARRY KEIM SAYS WE SHOULD EXPECT CLOUDY, RAINY WEATHER FOR MOST OF THE STATE TODAY AND TOMORROW THAT HAS POTENTIAL TO DUMP AS MUCH AS 5 INCHES OF RAIN. KEIM SAYS THE RAINY WEATHER PATTERN SHOULD PERSIST THROUGH TUESDAY AFTERNOON, WITH LOWS TONIGHT REACHING THE 40'S, A TEMPERATURES STAYING COLD ALL DAY TUESDAY. KEIM SAYS NO HARD FREEZES ARE EXPECTED WITH THIS WEATHER SYSTEM.

LOUISIANA POLITICIANS ARE ECSTATIC OVER LSU'S SPOT IN THE BCS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME AND WHAT IT MEANS FOR THE STATE'S ECONOMY. GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL SAYS WHEN OUR SPORTS TEAMS DO WELL, PEOPLE TEND TO SPEND MORE MONEY. LT. GOVERNOR JAY DARDENNE SAYS THE TIGERS SUCCESS THIS YEAR HAS BEEN GREAT FOR THE STATE IN TERMS OF TOURISM.

THE CHAIRMAN OF THE LSU BOARD OF SUPERVISORS HAS DIED AT THE AGE OF 62 OF CANCER. BENJAMIN W. MOUNT DIED SATURDAY AT HIS HOME IN LAKE CHARLES. SURVIVORS INCLUDE MOUNT'S WIFE, STATE SEN. WILLIE MOUNT OF LAKE CHARLES; HIS MOTHER AND TWO SISTERS. THE IOWA NATIVE WAS APPOINTED TO THE BOARD IN 2006 BY FORMER GOV. KATHLEEN BLANCO AND REAPPOINTED LAST YEAR BY GOV. BOBBY JINDAL. HE BECAME CHAIRMAN THIS YEAR.

FORMER LSU SYSTEM PRESIDENT ALLEN COPPING HAS DIED. HE SERVED AS SYSTEM PRESIDENT FOR 14 YEARS BEGINNING IN THE MID-1980S AND WAS INSTRUMENTAL IN THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE PENNINGTON BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH CENTER. COPPING DIED THURSDAY AFTER A LENGTHY ILLNESS AT THE AGE OF 84.

AFTER BEING DIAGNOSED WITH A NON-AGGRESSIVE FORM OF CANCER, LT GOVERNOR JAY DARDENNE HAD HIS PROSTATE REMOVED AND IS AT HOME RECOVERING. THE SURGERY WAS PERFORMED LAST WEEK AT TULANE MEDICAL CENTER IN NEW ORLEANS. DARDENNE SAYS HE IS RECOVERING NICELY. THE CANCER WAS DETECTED DURING A ROUTINE CHECKUP. DARDENNE'S DOCTOR SAYS THE LT GOVERNOR IS IN EXCELLENT HEALTH AND IS EXPECTED TO MAKE A FULL RECOVERY.

THE US UNEMPLOYMENT RATE HAS DROPPED TO 8.6 PERCENT, THE LOWEST IT'S BEEN SINCE MARCH OF 2009. THAT'S ALSO DOWN NEARLY A HALF A PERCENT SINCE OCTOBER OF THIS YEAR. BUT LSU ECONOMIST DR LOREN SCOTT SAYS THE RATE WENT DOWN BECAUSE OVER 300,000 THOUSAND PEOPLE GAVE UP LOOKING FOR WORK. EMPLOYERS ADDED 120,000 JOBS LAST MONTH. DR SCOTT SAYS WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE BIG PICTURE, THAT IS NOT NEARLY ENOUGH JOBS.

49 YEAR OLD BRADLEY CATHEY OF GLENMORA WAS KILLED IN AN EARLY MORNING CRASH SATURDAY. STATE POLICE REPORT BRADLEY’S VEHICLE LEFT THE TURKEY CREEK ROAD AT A HIGH RATE OF SPEED AND STRUCK SEVERAL TREES, FLIPPING OVER SEVERAL TIMES. THE REPORT SAYS CATHEY WAS NOT WEARING A SEATBELT AT THE TIME OF THE ACCIDENT. TROOPERS ALSO BELIEVE ALCOHOL WAS A FACTOR IN THE CRASH.

THE FAILURE OF TWO RAPIDES PARISH SCHOOL TAXES THE NOVEMBER ELECTION BALLOT COULD MEAN TOUGH DECISIONS ABOUT THE FUTURE OF TWO SCHOOLS IN LECOMPTE, RAPIDES HIGH AND CARTER C. RAYMOND ELEMENTARY. ACCORDING TO THE TOWN TALK, THE TAXES WILL BE UP FOR A VOTE AGAIN NEXT YEAR. THE CURRENT MAINTENANCE TAXES ALREADY ON THE BOOKS WILL GET THE TWO SCHOOLS THROUGH THIS SCHOOL YEAR. AS A RESULT OF THE NOVEMBER ELECTION, FOUR OTHER SCHOOL TAXES PASSED, INCLUDING A BOND ISSUE OF MORE THAN $20 MILLION TO IMPROVE SCHOOLS IN THE PINEVILLE AREA.

LOUISIANA'S TWO U.S. SENATORS ARE ASKING THE FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION TO DECLARE EMPHATICALLY THAT SEAFOOD FROM THE GULF OF MEXICO IS SAFE TO EAT.
U.S. SEN. DAVID VITTER, R-LA., SAYS THE FDA NEEDS TO "PUBLICLY AND VIGOROUSLY" DECLARE GULF SEAFOOD SAFE AND QUELL FEARS THAT IT'S NOT. "GULF SEAFOOD IS SAFE, AND WE WANT THE FDA TO MAKE SURE THE PUBLIC KNOWS THAT," VITTER SAID.
U.S. SEN. MARY LANDRIEU, D-LA., SIGNED THE LETTER, WHICH SAID "SOME GROUPS CONTINUE TO SPREAD MISINFORMATION AND UNSCIENTIFIC CLAIMS" ABOUT GULF SEAFOOD SINCE THE MASSIVE APRIL 2010 BP OIL SPILL. FDA HAS DECLARED GULF SEAFOOD SAFE TO EAT, BUT THE SENATORS WANT THE AGENCY TO BE MORE VOCAL ABOUT IT AND HOLD A NEWS CONFERENCE TO HIGHLIGHT THE SAFETY OF GULF SEAFOOD.

A FORMER EMPLOYEE OF A NOW-CLOSED PATHOLOGY LABORATORY IN ALEXANDRIA HAS PLEADED NOT GUILTY TO 10 COUNTS OF WIRE FRAUD IN AN EMBEZZLEMENT CASE WHERE U.S. PROSECUTORS ALLEGE THE DEFENDANT STOLE NEARLY $600,000 OVER A PERIOD OF YEARS. LINDA DESELLE ENTERED THE PLEA IN FEDERAL COURT ON FRIDAY. DESELLE WAS INDICTED IN NOVEMBER ON CHARGES SHE FRAUDULENTLY WIRED MONEY BELONGING TO THE ALEXANDRIA PATHOLOGY LABORATORY TO HER OWN BANK ACCOUNT AND TO CREDIT CARD COMPANIES TO PAY OFF HER DEBTS.

THE EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE SAYS A 39-YEAR-OLD WOMAN IS DEAD AFTER LOSING CONTROL OF HER SUV AND HITTING A NEIGHBOR'S HOUSE. DEON BRUMFIELD SPEARS VEERED ACROSS SIX LAWNS BEFORE HER CADILLAC ESCALADE HIT A HOUSE ABOUT FIVE BLOCKS FROM HER OWN SATURDAY NIGHT. THE CORONER'S OFFICE WILL CONDUCT AN AUTOPSY THIS WEEK TO LEARN THE CAUSE OF DEATH, INCLUDING WHETHER A MEDICAL CRISIS MAY HAVE CAUSED SPEARS TO LOSE CONTROL.

GOVERNOR JINDAL ANNOUNCES HIS THREE APPOINTED MEMBERS OF THE BOARD OF ELEMENTARY & SECONDARY EDUCATION HAVE BEEN RE-APPOINTED FOR ANOTHER TERM. MR. JINDAL SAYS THE RETURNING APPOINTEES ARE CONNIE BRADFORD, JOHN BENNETT, AND PENNY DASTUGUE--WHO IS CURRENTLY BESE'S PRESIDENT. JINDAL SAYS BESE WILL, IN THE COMING MONTHS, TACKLE FURTHER EDUCATION REFORMS; LIKE OVERHAULING TEACHER TENURE, LOOKING INTO MERIT PAY FOR TEACHERS WHO EXCEL...AND MORE.

SPORTS..

THE SAINTS WON THEIR FOURTH IN A ROW LAST NIGHT AS QUARTERBACK DREW BREES THREW THREE MORE TOUCHDOWN PASSES IN A 31-17 WIN OVER DETROIT. BREES THREW FOR 342 YARDS TO GO ALONG WITH THOSE THREE TOUCHDOWNS. BUT NEW ORLEANS DEFENSE GAVE UP 409 PASSING YARDS TO ALLOW THE LIONS TO STAY IN THE GAME. COACH SEAN PAYTON ON THE VICTORY. THE VICTORY IMPROVES THE SAINTS RECORD TO 9-AND-3, TWO GAMES AHEAD OF ATLANTA FOR FIRST PLACE IN THE N-F-C SOUTH.




 

News For Friday 12/02/11


NEWS FOR FRIDAY 120211
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

YESTERDAY’S MEETING BETWEEN THE ALEXANDRIA CITY COUNCIL AND MAYOR JACQUES ROY AND HIS STAFF PERTAINING TO THE CITY’S INVOLVEMENT IN THE DOWNTOWN ALEXANDER FULTON HOTEL, CONSISTED OF LITTLE MORE THAN LEGAL POSTURING. THE ATTORNEYS FOR MAYOR ROY AND HIS STAFF, SPENT MUCH OF THURSDAY ATTEMPTING TO QUASH SUBPOENAS ISSUED BY THE COUNCIL FOR THE ADMINISTRATION MEMBERS TO TESTIFY AT THURSDAY AFTERNOON'S FINANCE COMMITTEE MEETING. IN THE END THOUGH, CITY COURT JUDGE RICHARD STARLING RULED HE DIDN'T HAVE JURISDICTION TO DO SO. THE MEETING TOOK PLACE AND THE COUNCIL’S QUESTIONS WERE ANSWERED. AS THE DAY CAME TO AN END, MAYOR ROY SAID HE FELT THE MEETING WAS A "WASTE OF TIME," BUT, IF IT HELPED TO HEAL THE FRACTURED RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE ADMINISTRATION AND COUNCIL, THEN IT WAS "WORTH IT."

LOUISIANA'S OLDEST CITY, NATCHITOCHES, IS READY TO HOST ONE OF THE MOST SPECTACULAR HOLIDAY EVENTS IN THE STATE--KICKING OFF THIS WEEKEND. IT'S THE 85TH ANNUAL CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL; PART OF ITS YEARLY FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS. THE ANNUAL HOLIDAY EVENT LASTS FROM TOMORROW RIGHT UP THROUGH CHRISTMAS AND FEATURES A BIG PARADE, LIVE MUSIC AND FIREWORKS EVERY SATURDAY NIGHT AND AT MIDNIGHT ON NEW YEAR'S EVE.

ALL NINE JUDGES OF THE 21ST JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT HAVE BEEN RECUSED FROM HEARING THE CASE OF A FORMER ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT ACCUSED OF EMBEZZLING MORE THAN $1 MILLION FROM THE FLORIDA PARISHES JUVENILE JUSTICE COMMISSION.
BRENDA BICKFORD, 61, OF HAMMOND, IS AWAITING TRIAL ON CHARGES THAT SHE CREATED INVOICES FOR A BOGUS COURT REPORTING SERVICE AND SHIFTED HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS A YEAR INTO HER PERSONAL BANK ACCOUNT.

US SENATOR MARY LANDRIEU IS HOPING A BILL THAT WOULD DEDICATE 80% OF BP PENALTY MONEY TO THE GULF COAST WILL PASS BEFORE CHRISTMAS. LANDRIEU SAYS THE BILL WAS INTRODUCED IN RESPONSE TO THE DEEPWATER HORIZON DISASTER THAT CAUSED BILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN DAMAGE. SHE SAYS MOST OF BP'S FINES SHOULD GO BACK TO WHERE THE DAMAGE WAS DONE.

EARLIER IN THE WEEK, WE TOLD YOU ABOUT THE EFFORTS OF STATE TREASURER JOHN KENNEDY TO RETURN MILLION OF UNCLAIMED DOLLARS TO LOUISIANA RESIDENTS. TODAY, IT’S THE IRS. LOUISIANA TAXPAYERS ARE OWED $1.3 MILLION IN UNDELIVERED TAX REFUNDS
THE INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE IS LOOKING TO RETURN THE MONEY TO THE NEARLY 1,400 LOUISIANA TAXPAYERS WHO ARE DUE REFUND CHECKS THIS YEAR THAT COULD NOT BE DELIVERED BECAUSE OF MAILING ADDRESS ERRORS. THE REFUNDS AVERAGE $965.
TAXPAYERS WHO BELIEVE THEIR REFUND CHECK MAY HAVE BEEN RETURNED TO THE IRS AS UNDELIVERED SHOULD USE THE "WHERE'S MY REFUND?" TOOL ON THE IRS WEBSITE, WWW.IRS.GOV. THE TOOL WILL PROVIDE THE STATUS OF THEIR REFUND AND, IN SOME CASES, INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO RESOLVE DELIVERY PROBLEMS.

OFFICIALS SAY POLICE FOUND A FAKE BOMB IN A CAR ON THE SECOND FLOOR OF THE PARKING GARAGE AT THE BATON ROUGE METROPOLITAN AIRPORT. AIRPORT SPOKESMAN JIM CALDWELL SAYS THE FAKE BOMB WAS A GROUP OF STICKS WRAPPED IN TAPE WITH A CLOCK ON TOP. POLICE WERE CALLED OUT TO THE AIRPORT AT 7:30 A.M. THURSDAY AFTER AIRPORT POLICE SAW THE OBJECT INSIDE A VEHICLE DURING A ROUTINE PATROL. CALDWELL SAID FLIGHT OPERATIONS WERE NOT AFFECTED AS A RESULT OF THE INVESTIGATION.

A FEDERAL JUDGE HAS DECIDED THE REPUBLICAN PARTY OF LOUISIANA CAN MOVE AHEAD WITH ITS PLAN FOR THE SIZE OF ITS GOVERNING BODY. U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE JAMES BRADY SAYS THE GOP WON'T BE REQUIRED TO SHRINK THE MEMBERSHIP OF THE REPUBLICAN STATE CENTRAL COMMITTEE, AS A STATE JUDGE HAD PREVIOUSLY ORDERED. BRADY RULED LATE WEDNESDAY THAT THE SECRETARY OF STATE'S OFFICE SHOULD FOLLOW THE REPUBLICAN PARTY'S PLAN WHEN THE SIGN-UP PERIOD FOR THE COMMITTEE SEAT ELECTIONS IS HELD NEXT WEEK. WITH THE FEDERAL JUDGE'S DECISION, THE GOP CENTRAL COMMITTEE WILL STAY AT 230 SEATS FOR THE 2012-16 TERM, RATHER THAN DROP TO 144.
THE STATE REPUBLICAN PARTY ARGUED THE STATE JUDGE'S RULING WAS UNCONSTITUTIONAL, VIOLATING THE PARTY'S RIGHTS TO FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND ASSOCIATION.

ALL 265 EMPLOYEES AND MANAGEMENT PERSONNEL AT A LAFAYETTE CALL CENTER WILL BE LAID OFF IN EARLY 2012. THE NOTICES WERE GIVEN TO TRANSCOM EMPLOYEES EARLIER THIS WEEK. COMPANY SPOKESWOMAN CAROLINE SPIVAK SAID THEIR LAST DAY OF WORK WILL BE JAN. 29. SPIVAK SAID THE TRANSCOM LAFAYETTE OFFICE SERVICES ONE LARGE CLIENT WHO NOTIFIED THE COMPANY IT NO LONGER NEEDED THEIR SERVICES. ACCORDING TO ITS WEBSITE, TRANSCOM OPERATES CENTERS IN 27 COUNTRIES AND HAS A TOTAL OF 53 SITES, INCLUDING 18 IN NORTH AMERICA. IN LATE 2009, TRANSCOM ANNOUNCED PLANS TO ADD AS MANY AS 700 JOBS TO ITS LAFAYETTE CENTER.

EUNICE POLICE REPORT A 5-YEAR-OLD DOUBLE HOMICIDE "COLD CASE" HAS BEEN SOLVED. EUNICE POLICE CHIEF RONALD DIES (DEE-EZ) SAYS TWO EUNICE MEN HAVE BEEN ARRESTED. ON JANUARY 10, 2006, 84-YEAR-OLD YOURIC "HUEY" COURVILLE AND HIS 70-YEAR-OLD WIFE MARY ANNE WERE FOUND STABBED TO DEATH INSIDE THEIR HOME. POLICE SAY ROBBERY OF CASH AND MEDICATIONS WAS THE MOTIVE. DIES SAYS A MULTI-AGENCY TASK FORCE TURNED UP NEW WITNESS TESTIMONY LAST SEPTEMBER THAT GOT THE CASE MOVING AGAIN. BOTH MEN HAVE BEEN CHARGED WITH 1ST DEGREE MURDER.

A 20-YEAR-OLD FROM OUACHITA PARISH SAYS SHE HAS NEVER SEEN SUCH HATRED IN HER YOUNGER BROTHER'S EYES AS SHE DID THE NIGHT HE SHOT AND KILLED THEIR PARENTS.
ASHLEIGH FLETCHER TOLD A STATE COURT JURY IN BENTON THAT SHE HEARD HER MOTHER SAY "DALTON, DON'T!" AND THEN SAW HER 15-YEAR-OLD BROTHER PULL THE TRIGGER AND KILL HER. SHE TESTIFIED WEDNESDAY IN THE SECOND-DEGREE MURDER TRIAL OF DALTON FLETCHER, WHO IS NOW 16 AND BEING TRIED AS AN ADULT. HE HAS PLEADED NOT GUILTY BY REASON OF INSANITY TO KILLING HIS PARENTS JOHN AND TAMMY FLETCHER.

THE SHREVEPORT POLICE PASTORS, A GROUP OF VOLUNTEER CLERGYMEN, WILL BE HITTING THE STREETS WITH THE CITY'S PATROL OFFICERS AS PART OF A NEW PROGRAM. THE MINISTERS ARE NOT SWORN AND HAVE NO POWERS OF ARREST, BUT ON FRIDAY WILL BE ASSISTING REGULAR OFFICERS IN A SUPPORT CAPACITY. MEMBERS OF THE PROGRAM ATTEND THE PATROL ROLL CALL AT THE SHREVEPORT POLICE COMPLEX AND THEN ACCOMPANY THE OFFICERS AS THEY GO OUT ON PATROL.








News For Thursday 12/01/11


NEWS FOR THURSDAY 120111
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

A DWINDLING OCCUPANCY RATE AND RISING COSTS HAS FORCED OFFICIALS WITH ST. JAMES EPISCOPAL CHURCH TO PULL THE PLUG ON CANTERBURY HOUSE, THE LOW-INCOME ASSISTED-LIVING HOME IN ALEXANDRIA ESTABLISHED BY THE CHURCH BACK IN THE MID-1990S. AN ATTORNEY FOR THE CHURCH SAID PAPERS ARE BEING PREPARED TO TAKE THE MATTER INTO U.S. BANKRUPTCY COURT. HE SAID BOARD MEMBERS AND OTHERS ARE HOPING TO "QUICKLY" SELL THE FACILITY IN A PUBLIC AUCTION SO IT CAN REMAIN VIABLE FOR ASSISTED-LIVING. CANTERBURY HAS 60 ROOMS FOR 60 RESIDENTS, WITH TWO-BED, ONE-BED AND EFFICIENCY UNITS FOR RESIDENTS. AS OF YESTERDAY, THERE WERE FIVE RESIDENTS.

THE ALEXANDRIA CITY COUNCIL HOPES TO GET SOME ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS IT HAS BEEN ASKING FOR MONTHS REGARDING EXPENSES AT THE ALEXANDER FULTON HOTEL. THE COUNCIL'S FINANCE COMMITTEE WILL MEET IN A SPECIAL MEETING THIS AFTERNOON REGARDING ITS ONGOING INVESTIGATION INTO THE CITY'S FINANCIAL STATUS AND TRANSACTIONS AT THE HOTEL. THE COUNCIL ISSUED SUBPOENAS FOR FINANCIAL INFORMATION FROM MAYOR JACQUES ROY AND SEVERAL OF HIS STAFF MEMBERS. NOW EARLIER THIS WEEK, AN AUDIT ON THE CITY'S FINANCES SHOWED NO QUESTIONANLE FINDINGS ON THE CITY'S SPENDING AT THE HOTEL, AND MAYOR ROY SAYS HE IS CONFIDENT THE COUNCIL'S INVESTIGATION WON'T TURN UP ANY WRONGDOING EITHER.

CHRISTUS ST. FRANCES CABRINI HOSPITAL EMPLOYEES WERE TOLD THIS WEEK THAT SOME POSITIONS WILL BE ELIMINATED IN A COMING RESTRUCTURING DUE TO DECLINING REVENUE FROM A CHANGING HEALTH-CARE CLIMATE. ACCORDING TO CHRISTUS HEALTH LOUISIANA PRESIDENT AND C.O.O. STEPHEN WRIGHT, HE REGRETS , ESPECIALLY DURING THE HOLIDAY SEASON, TO MAKE ANY CHANGES WHICH AFFECT HOSPITAL ASSOCIATES, BUT A COMMITMENT THEIR MINISTRY OBLIGATES THEY MAKE ANY CHANGES NECESSARY TO ENSURE THAT CHRISTUS CABRINI REMAINS VIABLE." THE HOSPITAL HAS ABOUT 1,500 EMPLOYEES, MAKING IT ONE OF THE LARGER EMPLOYERS IN THE AREA.

AFTER TWO ROBBERIES ON WEDNESDAY, AN ALEXANDRIA MAN IS FACING CHARGES OF ATTEMPTED FIRST-DEGREE MURDER AND ROBBERY. 18 YEAR OLD SHELDON FRANKLIN WAS CHARGED WITH ATTEMPTED FIRST-DEGREE MURDER AND ROBBERY AFTER A REPORTED ROBBERY IN THE LOUISIANA AVENUE AND DAY STREET AREAS. AUTHORITIES ALSO LINKED FRANKLIN TO A ROBBERY IN THE 14 BLOCK OF BOLTON AVENUE IN WHICH A VICTIM WAS SHOT. THE VICTIM WAS TREATED AND RELEASED FROM A LOCAL HOSPITAL. FRANKLIN WAS BOOKED INTO THE RAPIDES PARISH JAIL.

CENTRAL LOUISIANA AIDS SUPPORT SERVICES OR CLASS, WILL OBSERVE WORLD AIDS DAY TODAY, BU OFFERING FREE AND ANONYMOUS HIV TESTS ALL DAY, AT THE NEW CLASS LOCATION ON JACKSON STREET. THE DAY WILL ALSO SERVE AS A DAY TO HONOR THE 484 PEOPLE WHO HAVE DIED IN CENLA FROM AIDS-RELATED ILLNESSES.

A NEW STATEWIDE POLL PAID FOR BY W-W-L-T-V IN NEW ORLEANS SHOWS THAT LIKELY VOTERS FAVOR FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER NEWT GINGRICH OVER THE OTHER REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES. GINGRICH RECEIVED 31-PERCENT OF THE VOTE IN THE POLL, WHILE MITT ROMNEY HAD 23-PERCENT, HERMAN CAIN GOT 12- PERCENT AND RICK PERRY HAD 11-PERCENT.

WITH THE SUCCESS OF "CYBER MONDAY" ONLINE SHOPPING THIS WEEK, STATE OFFICIALS REMIND YOU THAT INTERNET SHOPPING IS NOT "TAX FREE". LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE SPOKESMAN BYRON HENDERSON SAYS THERE ARE MANY OF US STILL UNAWARE THAT OUR ONLINE PURCHASES ARE STILL SUBJECT TO STATE TAXES. HENDERSON SAYS OUR ONLINE PURCHASES ARE ALL SUBJECT TO THE STATE'S 8-PERCENT CONSUMER USE TAX, WHICH WE ARE ALL REQUIRED TO REPORT. HENDERSON SAYS ONLINE PURCHASES OF CLOTHES, BOOKS, APPLIANCES, COMPUTERS, ELECTRONICS, FURNITURE, MOVIE OR MUSIC MEDIA, SOFTWARE & MORE ARE ALL SUBJECT TO THE CONSUMER USE TAX.

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL HAS CHOSEN ST. TAMMANY PARISH PRESIDENT KEVIN DAVIS TO TAKE CHARGE OF LOUISIANA'S EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS OFFICE. DAVIS WILL START AS DIRECTOR OF THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE ON HOMELAND SECURITY AND EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS ON DEC. 9, LEADING PLANNING AND RESPONSE EFFORTS TO STORMS, FLOODS AND OTHER DISASTERS IN THE STATE.

SEVERAL DUNKIN' DONUTS LOCATIONS WILL SOON BE POPPING UP AROUND THE STATE. DUNKIN' BRANDS GROUP VICE PRESIDENT GRANT BENSON SAYS THE COMPANY IS EXPANDING NATIONWIDE AND LOUISIANA WAS CHOSEN FOR 25 NEW DUNKIN DONUT'S LOCATIONS BECAUSE OF THE POSITIVE BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT HERE. BENSON SAYS 25 LOCATIONS ARE SET FOR BATON ROUGE, SHREVEPORT AND NEW ORLEANS BUT THERE ARE ALSO FRANCHISE OPPORTUNITIES IN THE WORKS FOR THE LAKE CHARLES, ALEXANDRIA AND MONROE MARKETS.

LSU ATHLETICS DIRECTOR JOE ALLEVA SENT OUT A STATEMENT TODAY THAT SAID NO ONE HAS BEEN RULED ACADEMICALLY INELIGIBLE FOR POST-SEASON COMPETITION ON THE FOOTBALL TEAM. ALLEVA SAYS THE CURRENT SEMESTER IS NO COMPLETE AND FINALS ARE STILL AHEAD. COACH LES MILES SAYS ITS PREMATURE TO SPECULATE ON FINAL GRADES OF HIS PLAYERS. MEDIA AND MESSAGE BOARD SPECULATION HAS BEEN SWIRLING THAT BACK-UP QUARTERBACK JARRETT LEE AND SEVERAL PLAYERS MIGHT NOT PLAY IN THE BOWL GAME, BECAUSE OF A POOR FALL SEMESTER.

STATE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OFFICIALS ARE EXCITED ABOUT THE POSSIBILITY THAT A SOUTH AFRICAN ENERGY AND CHEMICALS COMPANY MAY BUILD AN ETHYLENE PLANT NEAR LAKE CHARLES. SASOL HAS TOLD THE STATE THEY PLAN ON CONDUCTING A FEASIBILITY STUDY, BEFORE BUILDING A FOUR-BILLION DOLLAR PLANT.

THE LOUISIANA DEMOCRATIC PARTY WILL OPEN UP QUALIFYING TO CANDIDATES FOR ITS CENTRAL COMMITTEE AND EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE NEXT WEEK. STATE PARTY CHAIRMAN BUDDY LEACH SAYS ANY REGISTERED DEMOCRAT MAY FILE FOR THE MARCH BALLOT. HE SAYS HE HOPES TO SEE CANDIDATES FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE. LEACH SAYS THE DEMOCRATS ARE SEEKING TO REBUILD THEIR PARTY, AFTER A ROUGH ELECTION CYCLE YEAR. HE SAYS MANY RACES FAILED TO EVEN ATTRACT AN ESTABLISHED DEMOCRAT TO RUN; MOST NOTABLY THE GUBERNATORIAL ELECTION. QUALIFYING TO RUN FOR THE DEMOCRATIC KEY COMMITTEES RUNS NEXT WEDNESDAY THROUGH FRIDAY.
 

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