KSYL Local News Archives for 2012-06

News For Friday 06/29/12


NEWS FOR FRIDAY 062912
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

POLICE IN PINEVILLE PULLED A VEHICLE FROM FT. RANDOLPH LAKE YESTERDAY MORNING. THE VEHICLE WAS FOUND CLOSE TO WHERE CONSTRUCTION OF THE NEW FT. RANDOLPH BRIDGE IS TAKING PLACE. AT THIS POINT, NO ONE KNOWS FOR SURE WHERE THE 70’S VINTAGE VEHICLE CAME FROM. THE GOOD NEWS IS, IT APPEARS THE VEHICLE HAD BEEN THERE FOR QUITE A WHILE AND POLICE SAY NO BODY WAS FOUND INSIDE.

AFTER GOING WITHOUT FOR TWO YEARS, PINEVILLE CITY EMPLOYEES WILL GET A 2 PERCENT RAISE. THE PINEVILLE CITY COUNCIL UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED MAYOR CLARENCE FIELDS' PROPOSED BUDGET FOR FISCAL YEAR 2013 DURING A SPECIAL MEETING AT NOON THURSDAY. THE NEW YEAR BEGINS JULY 1 THE CITY HAS 280 EMPLOYEES IN 17 DEPARTMENTS. THE RAISE, WILL NOT INCLUDE ELECTED OFFICIALS.

NO ONE IS SAYING HOW THE BLAZE STARTED, BUT A FIRE YESTERDAY MORNING IN THE RAPIDES PARISH JAIL HAD DOWNTOWN BUZZING FOR A WHILE. THE SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT REPORTS NO ONE WAS INJURED AND DAMAGE WAS MINIMAL.

TODAY IS THE DEADLINE FOR PARENTS TO APPLY FOR LOUISIANA'S NEW PRIVATE SCHOOL VOUCHERS PROGRAM. THE SCHOOL CHOICE PLAN OFFERS STUDENTS IN FAILING PUBLIC SCHOOLS A CHANCE TO ATTEND A PRIVATE OR PAROCHIAL SCHOOL; THE TUITION PAID BY THE STATE. NICK BOLT, WITH THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, SAYS TODAY IS THE LAST DAY TO SIGN UP FOR THE FALL SEMESTER. BOLT SAYS THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION IS AWARE OF OVER 6000 APPLICATIONS TO STATE PRIVATE SCHOOLS SO FAR, BUT HE EXPECTS THE FINAL NUMBER TO BE CONSIDERABLY HIGHER.

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL'S ADMINISTRATION WILL CONTINUE TO RESIST ENACTING THE FEDERAL HEALTH CARE OVERHAUL IN LOUISIANA, EVEN THOUGH THE LAW WAS UPHELD THURSDAY BY THE U.S. SUPREME COURT. INSTEAD, THE REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR SAID HE WILL FOCUS ON PUSHING FOR A FULL REPEAL OF THE PRESIDENT’S HEALTHCARE PACKAGE, RATHER THAN IMPLEMENTING IT. THE GOVERNOR CALLED THE HIGH COURT DECISION A "BLOW TO OUR FREEDOMS."

TWO-THIRDS OF STATE SENATORS HAVE TURNED IN PAPERWORK SEEKING TO SCRAP A PLANNED JULY 14 VETO SESSION, MORE THAN ENOUGH TO CANCEL THE SESSION. BUT THE DECISION ISN'T FINAL YET. BRENDA HODGE, A SPOKESWOMAN FOR THE LOUISIANA SENATE, SAID THURSDAY THAT 26 OF 39 SENATORS ALREADY HAD SENT IN BALLOTS TO CANCEL THE SESSION, WELL BEFORE THE JULY 9 DEADLINE TO MAKE A DECISION. THE VETO SESSION WAS AUTOMATICALLY SET WHEN GOV. BOBBY JINDAL REJECTED BILLS FROM THE REGULAR LEGISLATIVE SESSION. IT TAKES A MAJORITY WRITTEN VOTE OF EITHER THE HOUSE OR SENATE TO CANCEL THE SESSION. LAWMAKERS HAVE NOT HELD A VETO SESSION SINCE THE CURRENT LOUISIANA CONSTITUTION WAS ENACTED FOUR DECADES AGO.

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL'S FORMER REVENUE SECRETARY, WHO ABRUPTLY RESIGNED AFTER A DISPUTE OVER A TAX BREAK INTERPRETATION, HAS A NEW JOB IN CALIFORNIA. CYNTHIA BRIDGES HAS BEEN NAMED THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE CALIFORNIA STATE BOARD OF EQUALIZATION, AN ELECTED BODY THAT ADMINISTERS SALES AND USE TAXES IN THE STATE AND HEARS BUSINESS AND INCOME TAX APPEALS. THE BOARD ANNOUNCED BRIDGES' HIRING THURSDAY. SHE'LL BEGIN THE NEW JOB AUG. 1.

THE BOARD GOVERNING LOUISIANA'S PROPERTY INSURER OF LAST RESORT AGREED THURSDAY TO DROP RATES BY 10 PERCENT ACROSS A DOZEN SOUTH LOUISIANA PARISHES RETROACTIVE TO JUNE 7, WHEN THE REDUCTION WAS SIGNED INTO LAW. THE REDUCTION WAS REQUIRED UNDER A BILL WORKED OUT IN THE LAST DAYS OF THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION. CITIZENS CUSTOMERS WON'T LIKELY SEE A CHANGE ON THEIR BILLS UNTIL NOVEMBER, AFTER THE COMPLEX PROCESS FOR CHANGING RATES IS COMPLETE. THEY'LL GET REBATES FOR ANY MONEY THEY PAID ABOVE WHAT THEY SHOULD HAVE.

POLICE SAY A CITY OF OPELOUSAS EMPLOYEE ALLEGEDLY DEPOSITED 14 CITY CHECKS TOTALING NEARLY $12,000 INTO HER PERSONAL BANK ACCOUNT OVER THE COURSE OF A YEAR. 29-YEAR-OLD RACHEAL ST. ROMAIN OF OPELOUSAS WAS ARRESTED AND BOOKED THIS WEEK WITH THREE COUNTS OF THEFT, 11 COUNTS OF FELONY THEFT, MONETARY INSTRUMENT ABUSE AND MALFEASANCE. POLICE SAY ST. ROMAIN HAS BEEN EMPLOYED IN THE CITY'S ACCOUNTS PAYABLE DEPARTMENT FOR 5 1/2 YEARS.

A FEDERAL JUDGE HAS DISMISSED A WRONGFUL TERMINATION AND RETALIATION CASE AGAINST THE SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY SYSTEM BOARD OF SUPERVISORS, A BOARD MEMBER AND A FORMER INTERIM PRESIDENT OF THE SYSTEM. U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE JAMES BRADY RULED WEDNESDAY THAT JOSEPH SHELTON, SOUTHERN'S FORMER ALUMNI AFFAIRS ADMINISTRATOR, DID NOT PROVE HIS CASE DURING THE THREE-DAY TRIAL. SHELTON HAD ALLEGED THAT HE WAS FIRED IN 2009 BECAUSE HE TESTIFIED ON BEHALF OF FORMER SOUTHERN PRESIDENT RALPH SLAUGHTER IN A RETALIATION SUIT SLAUGHTER FILED AGAINST THE BOARD.

GRAMBLING STATE UNIVERSITY'S ACCREDITATION HAS BEEN EXTENDED BY THE SOUTHERN ASSOCIATION OF COLLEGES AND SCHOOLS, BUT THE REGIONAL ACCREDITING AGENCY PLACED THE SCHOOL ON WARNING FOR SIX MONTHS. DEBRA A. JOHNSON, GRAMBLING'S DIRECTOR OF ALUMNI AND PUBLIC RELATIONS SAYS THE WARNING INVOLVED TWO ISSUES.
THE FIRST ISSUE INVOLVED THE SCHOOL'S FINANCES RELATES TO FINANCIAL AID. THE OTHER ISSUE CONCERNS THE SCHOOL'S MOVEABLE PROPERTY, SUCH AS COMPUTERS AND CALCULATORS. JOHNSON SAID THE WARNING IS NOT EXACTLY A PROBATION OR SUSPENSION. SHE SAID THE UNIVERSITY HAS SIX MONTHS TO COME UP WITH A PLAN TO ADDRESS THE ISSUES.

A NEW IBERIA FATHER HAS BEEN CHARGED WITH CHILD DESERTION AFTER HIS 2-YEAR-OLD BABY WAS FOUND WALKING DOWN A HIGHWAY ALONE. 29-YEAR-OLD JONATHAN PENLEY AND 68-YEAR-OLD DELLA BEARD, THE CHILD'S GRANDMOTHER, HAVE BOTH BEEN CHARGED IN THE CASE

AFTER ALMOST 24 HOURS OF SWELTERING HEAT, RESIDENTS OF MORGAN CITY WERE ABLE TO COOL OFF WHEN POWER CREWS WERE ABLE TO RESTORE ELECTRICITY TO MOST OF MORGAN CITY. A PLANT EXPLOSION TUESDAY BLEW OUT A TRANSFORMER, PUTTING ALMOST THE ENTIRE CITY IN THE DARK FOR CLOSE TO 24 HOURS. THE CAUSE OF THE EXPLOSION THAT DAMAGED THE MAIN TRANSFORMER IS STILL UNDER INVESTIGATION.

LAFAYETTE PARISH DEPUTIES SAY THE FATHER WHO'S 11-MONTH-OLD CHILD DIED THIS WEEK, AFTER BEING FORGOTTEN ALL DAY IN A HOT CAR, WILL LIKELY NOT FACE ANY CHARGES. THEY SAY THIS INCIDENT IS APPARENTLY A TRAGIC ACCIDENT, AND NOT THE RESULT OF WILLFUL NEGLIGENCE.

MOTORISTS ARE FINDING GASOLINE AT BELOW $3 A GALLON FOR THE FIRST TIME IN QUITE A WHILE. ACCORDING TO "LOUISIANAGASPRICES.COM", ONE STATION IN WESTWEGO, ON THE NEW ORLEANS WESTBANK, HAS REGULAR AT $2.79. SEVERAL OTHER SPOTS IN JEFFERSON PARISH ARE PRICED AT $2.83 OR $2.85. TODAY'S STATEWIDE AVERAGE PRICE IS $3.13, DOWN 26-CENTS FROM ONE MONTH AGO.




SPORTS..

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS GENERAL MANAGER MICKEY LOOMIS SAYS THE CLUB AND THIRD-ROUND DRAFT CHOICE AKIEM HICKS HAVE AGREED ON FOUR-YEAR CONTRACT. HICKS, A 6-FOOT-5, 324-POUND DEFENSIVE TACKLE, WAS THE TOP OVERALL DRAFT PICK BY THE SAINTS. HICKS, WHO BRIEFLY TRANSFERRED TO LSU FROM JUNIOR COLLEGE BUT NEVER PLAYED FOR THE TIGERS, FINISHED HIS COLLEGE CAREER AT THE UNIVERSITY OF REGINA IN CANADA.

SAINTS QUARTERBACK DREW BREES CRACKED A FEW JOKES ON THE DAVID LETTERMAN SHOW LAST NIGHT, BUT HIS CONVERSATION WITH DAVE GOT SERIOUS WHEN HE TALKED ABOUT THE NFL'S BOUNTY INVESTIGATION. BREES USED THE CBS LATE NIGHT SHOW TO URGE THE LEAGUE TO SHOW ITS EVIDENCE THAT THE SAINTS RAN A PROGRAM THAT PROVIDED MONEY TO PLAYERS FOR INJURING OPPONENTS.

AS EXPECTED, THE HORNETS SELECTED FORMER KENTUCKY STAR ANTHONY DAVIS WITH THE NUMBER ONE OVERALL PICK IN LAST NIGHT'S NBA DRAFT. THE 6-FOOT- 10 FORWARD AVERAGED 14 POINTS A GAME AS HE HELPED THE WILDCATS WIN THE NATIONAL TITLE LAST SEASON.



News For Thursday 06/28/12


NEWS FOR THURSDAY 062812
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

LOUISIANA COLLEGE IN PINEVILLE HAS BEEN DENIED ACCREDITATION TO OFFER JURIS DOCTORATE DEGREES AT IT'S NEW LAW SCHOOL BY SACS, THE SOUTHERN ASSOCIATION OF COLLEGES AND SCHOOLS. THE COLLEGE WAS DENIED THE MOVE FROM LEVEL III TO LEVEL V BECAUSE THE INSTITUTION, ACCORDING TO SACS, "IT DID NOT PROVIDE AN ACCEPTABLE PLAN AND SUPPORTING DOCUMENTATION. BELLE. WHEELAN, PRESIDENT OF SACS, SAID BEING DENIED ACCREDITATION AT THIS LEVEL HAPPENS BUT LESS THAN 10 PERCENT OF THE TIME. LC PLANS TO RESPOND TO SACS ONCE THE FULL REPORT IS RELEASED NEXT MONTH.

THEY SAY THEY ARE LOOKING FOR A NEW LOCATION, BUT IT IS VERY LIKELY GREYHOUND BUS SERVICE WILL END IN ALEXANDRIA ON JULY 9TH. GREYHOUND HAS OPERATED OUT OF THE LEEBO'S CONVENIENCE STORE OFF OF AIRBASE ROAD AT THE INTERSECTION OF INTERSTATE 49 SINCE NOVEMBER 2010. THE OWNER OF LEEBO'S HAS DECIDED HE WILL NOT RENEW THE BUS COMPANY’S CONTRACT. CUSTOMERS WHO HAVE TICKETS FOR FUTURE TRAVEL AFTER JULY 9 ARE ABLE TO USE THOSE TICKETS AT ANY GREYHOUND LOCATION NEAR THEM. ONLY PROBLEM IS, THERE ARE NO LOCATIONS NEW THEM. THE CLOSEST GREYHOUND LOCATIONS ARE IN LAFAYETTE, MONROE AND SHREVEPORT.

JINDAL ADMINISTRATION LEADERS WARNED WEDNESDAY THAT A PROPOSAL BEING CONSIDERED BY CONGRESS DURING FINAL NEGOTIATIONS OVER A MASSIVE TRANSPORTATION SPENDING PLAN COULD STRIP MORE THAN $650 MILLION IN FEDERAL FUNDING FROM LOUISIANA'S MEDICAID PROGRAM OVER TWO YEARS. THE CUT COULD SHUTTER SERVICES AND FORCE DEEP REDUCTIONS TO SPENDING ON HOSPITALS THAT CARE FOR THE POOR AND UNINSURED IN THE FISCAL YEAR THAT BEGINS JULY 1. CONGRESSIONAL REPUBLICANS HAVE BEEN PUSHING TO FIND WAYS TO OFFSET SOME OF THE COSTS FOR THE HIGHWAY PROGRAM.

THE STATE BOARD OF REGENTS ANNOUNCED YESTERDAY, NEARLY ALL OF LOUISIANA'S PUBLIC COLLEGES HAVE MET THE PERFORMANCE STANDARDS AND THEY NEED TO BE ALLOWED TO RAISE TUITION ON STUDENTS BY 10 PERCENT IN THE UPCOMING SCHOOL YEAR. TWO SCHOOLS WEREN'T APPROVED TO BOOST STUDENT COSTS: LSU-EUNICE AND SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY AT SHREVEPORT. THE CAMPUSES FELL SHORT OF THE STANDARDS REQUIRED UNDER THE 2010 LAW AUTHORIZING THE TUITION INCREASES, CALLED THE GRAD ACT.

LOUISIANA IS ABOUT TO BECOME WHAT OFFICIALS CALL THE FIRST STATE TO LAUNCH A HUGE EXPANSION OF HOW COURSES ARE OFFERED TO PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS, WITH PRIVATE FIRMS, COLLEGES AND EVEN FORMER TEACHERS EXPECTED TO ENTER A REVAMPED EDUCATION SYSTEM. EDUCATION LEADERS ARE TOUTING THE EXPANSION AS PRIMARILY ANOTHER OPTION FOR STUDENTS IN C, D AND F SCHOOLS. OFFICIALS SAY THE NEW COURSE PROVIDERS WILL HELP STUDENTS TO CATCH UP WITH THEIR PEERS AND GRADUATE ON TIME, OR TO TAKE CLASSES NOT OFFERED IN THEIR SCHOOLS.

COL. BRET VAN CAMP WILL TAKE COMMAND TODAY OF THE 1ST MANEUVER ENHANCEMENT BRIGADE BASED AT FORT POLK. IT IS A JOINT ORGANIZATION OF MORE THAN 3,100 SOLDIERS, AIRMEN AND MARINES FROM 21 UNITS AT 12 INSTALLATIONS, TRAINED TO SUPPORT LOCAL, STATE, AND FEDERAL DISASTER OPERATIONS WITH COMMUNICATIONS, POLICE AND OTHER WORK. VAN CAMP WILL TAKE CONTROL FROM COL. DAVID THEISEN, WHO HAS COMMANDED THE BRIGADE SINCE MAY 2010.

FOLLOWING THE TRAGIC DEATH OF A LAFAYETTE TODDLER, LEFT IN A PARKED VEHICLE ALL DAY, STATE OFFICIALS URGE PARENTS AND CAREGIVERS TO TAKE WHATEVER STEPS NECESSARY TO REMEMBER WHEN CHILDREN ARE IN THE BACK SEAT. DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES SPOKESMAN TREY WILLIAMS RECOMMENDS USING VISUAL CUES TO REMIND YOU WHEN YOUR KID IS IN THE CAR. HE SAYS IT CAN BE EASIER TO FORGET A CHILD IN THE BACK SEAT THAN ONE MIGHT THINK---ESPECIALLY IF THE CHILD IS QUIET.

ANOTHER CHILD HAS DROWNED IN DENHAM SPRINGS. THE LIVINGSTON PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE SAYS THE FAMILY FOUND THEIR 3-YEAR-OLD IN AN ABOVE GROUND POOL. CPR WAS ATTEMPTED, BUT THE CHILD DIED AT THE HOSPITAL. THIS IS THE 5TH DROWNING OF A LOUISIANA CHILD UNDER THE AGE OF 1O IN ONE WEEK.

HOT DRY WEATHER IS SLOWLY PUSHING PORTIONS OF THE STATE BACK INTO DROUGHT CONDITIONS. STATE CLIMATOLOGIST BARRY KEIM SAYS IT'S A RETURN OF A SUMMER PATTERN THE STATE HAS BEEN FORCED TO ENDURE FOR THE LAST FEW YEARS. HE SAYS THE LATEST DROUGHT IS AGAIN HITTING NORTH LOUISIANA HARDEST. KEIM SAYS AS LONG AS THIS HIGH PRESSURE AREA PERSISTS, THE NORTHERN PART OF THE STATE WILL STAY DRY.

A DESOTO PARISH GRAND JURY INDICTS THREE MEN FOR A BRUTAL HOME INVASION ASSAULT ON AN ELDERLY WOMAN IN MANSFIELD EARLIER THIS MONTH. THE SUSPECTS ARE ACCUSED OF BATTERY, AGGRAVATED BURGLARY AND AGGRAVATED RAPE. THE LATTER CARRIES A MANDATORY LIFE SENTENCE, WITH NO PAROLE OR PROBATION, IF CONVICTED. THE TRIO ARE ALL EITHER 18 OR 19 YEARS OLD. THEY'RE BEING HELD PENDING BOND AT OVER A MILLION DOLLARS EACH.

MONROE SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT KATHLEEN HARRIS HAS BEEN SUSPENDED WHILE THE MONROE CITY SCHOOL BOARD CONDUCTS AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE OPERATION OF THE DISTRICT DURING HER TENURE. SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS VOTED 5-2 TUESDAY TO PLACE HARRIS ON LEAVE WITH PAY WHILE THEY LOOK INTO SEVERAL AREAS OF CONCERN.
THE CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER WILL SERVE AS THE DISTRICT'S ACTING SUPERINTENDENT DURING THE INVESTIGATION. THE BOARD ALREADY HAS VOTED NOT TO RENEW HARRIS' CONTRACT, WHICH EXPIRES ON DEC. 31, BUT HAS NOT DISCUSSED AN EARLY END TO THAT CONTRACT.

A WEST MONROE PACKAGING PLANT PLANS AN EXPANSION THAT WILL MEAN 40 NEW JOBS. GRAPHIC PACKAGING INTERNATIONAL WILL MAKE NEW PAPER-BASED PACKAGING FOR CAPRI SUN CHILDREN'S BEVERAGES. GOVERNOR JINDAL WAS ON HAND IN WEST MONROE TODAY FOR THAT ANNOUNCEMENT. HE SAYS THE NEW CAPRI SUN PACKAGES WILL BE MORE ECO-FRIENDLY AND MAKING THEM WILL CONSERVE ENERGY.

A LAKE CHARLES WOMAN AND HER SONS ARE UNDER ARREST FOR POSSESSING THE SYNTHETIC DRUG COMMONLY CALLED "BATH SALTS". ALL THREE ARE CHARGED WITH POSSESSION WITH INTENT TO DISTRIBUTE. DRUGS WITH A STREET VALUE OF OVER $100-THOUSAND WERE SEIZED.

FORTY-YEAR-OLD LAFOURCHE PARISH SHERIFF'S DEPUTY MURPHY MELANCON IS UNDER ARREST FOR ALLEGEDLY HAVING A SEXUAL RELATIONSHIP WITH A 16-YEAR-OLD RUNAWAY. THE TERREBONNE PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE MADE THE ARREST AFTER GETTING A TIP ABOUT THE UNDERAGE GIRL. MELANCON HAS SINCE BEEN FIRED.

A CLASS-ACTION LAWSUIT FILED WEDNESDAY IN NEW ORLEANS SEEKS TO HAVE NEARLY 500 PEOPLE WHO WERE CONVICTED OF SOLICITING ORAL OR ANAL SEX FOR MONEY UNDER LOUISIANA'S "CRIME AGAINST NATURE BY SOLICITATION" LAW REMOVED FROM THE STATE'S SEX OFFENDER REGISTRY. A FEDERAL JUDGE IN NEW ORLEANS RULED IN APRIL THAT THE NAMES OF NINE PLAINTIFFS WHO WERE CONVICTED OF THE SAME OFFENSE MUST BE STRICKEN FROM THE REGISTRY. THE FEDERAL SUIT ARGUES THE RULING SHOULD BE APPLIED TO ANYONE IN THE SAME POSITION. THE STATE LEGISLATURE AMENDED THE 200-YEAR-OLD LAW LAST YEAR SO THAT ANYONE CONVICTED OF A "CRIME AGAINST NATURE BY SOLICITATION" NO LONGER WILL BE REQUIRED TO REGISTER. BUT THE LEGISLATIVE CHANGE DIDN'T APPLY TO THE NINE PEOPLE WHO SUED OR ROUGHLY 484 OTHER PEOPLE STATEWIDE WHO ALREADY WERE REGISTERED.

THE ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS SAYS IT'S SCRAPPING PLANS TO BUILD A LEVEE SYSTEM TO PROTECT A LARGE AREA OF SOUTH LOUISIANA AGAINST HURRICANE FLOODING COMING UP THE BARATARIA ESTUARY SOUTHWEST OF NEW ORLEANS. THE CORPS SAID IT COULD NOT FIND AN ECONOMICALLY FEASIBLE WAY TO BUILD LEVEES OR RAISE ENOUGH HOMES TO GIVE PARTS OF NINE PARISHES PROTECTION AGAINST A STORM WITH A 1 PERCENT CHANCE OF OCCURRING A YEAR, ALSO KNOWN AS 100-YEAR PROTECTION. THE PROJECT WAS SUPPOSED TO PROVIDE ADDITIONAL PROTECTION FOR PARTS OF ASCENSION, ASSUMPTION, JEFFERSON, LAFOURCHE, ORLEANS, PLAQUEMINES, ST. JAMES, ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST, ST. CHARLES.

 

News For Wednesday 06/27/12


NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY 062712
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

LAFAYETTE POLICE REPORT AN 11-MONTH-OLD INFANT WAS DECLARED DEAD AFTER BEING LEFT IN A HOT VEHICLE THROUGH AN ENTIRE WORK DAY. THE CHILD WAS PRONOUNCED DEAD AT WOMEN'S AND CHILDREN;S HOSPITAL MONDAY. DETAILS ARE UNAVAILABLE AT THIS TIME, BUT POLICE REPORT AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE DEATH IS ONGOING.

THE RAPIDES PARISH SCHOOL BOARD HAD IT’S FIRST DISCUSSIONS ON THE MATTER OF REAPPORTIONMENT YESTERDAY, THAT AFTER A PRESENTATION FROM JOHN MILLER, THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE RAPIDES AREA PLANNING COMMISSION. MILLER WENT OVER SOME OF THE CHALLENGES THE DISTRICT WILL FACE IN REDRAWING DISTRICTS TO MATCH POPULATION CHANGES IN THE PARISH. MILLER HOPES TO HAVE A COMPLETED PLAN TO SUBMIT TO THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT BY THE END OF THE YEAR.

ALEXANDRIA MAYOR JACQUES ROY TOLD THE ALEXANDRIA CITY COUNCIL'S UTILITY COMMITTEE YESTERDAY THE HE WOULD LIKE THE CITY TO CONSIDER BUILDING THE CITY'S OWN NATURAL GAS INTERCONNECT. THE PROJECT WOULD COST ABOUT $5.5 MILLION. THE SAVINGS FOR THE CITY WOULD BE ABOUT $400,000 A YEAR, WITH THE PROJECT PAYING FOR ITSELF IN ABOUT 12 YEARS. CURRENTLY THE CITY'S NATURAL GAS SUPPLY IS NEGOTIATED THROUGH THE LOUISIANA MUNICIPAL GAS AUTHORITY AND IS TRANSPORTED THROUGH A PIPELINE OWNED BY LOUISIANA INTRASTATE GAS CORP. THE NEW PIPELINE WOULD CONNECT THE CITY WITH A LARGER SUPPLY LINE, CUT OUT TRANSPORTATION FEES AND GIVE IT MORE SUPPLY CHOICES FROM WHICH TO NEGOTIATE. THE UTILITY COMMITTEE AGREED TO PUT THE DISCUSSION ON THE AGENDA FOR THE NEXT MEETING.

THE FBI ARREST NEARLY 30 PEOPLE IN THE SHREVEPORT-BOSSIER AREA FOR TRAFFICKING IN UNDERAGE GIRLS FOR PROSTITUTION. A LARGE NUMBER OF CHILDREN WERE ALSO RECOVERED. AGENTS SAYS THE PIMPS ARRESTED TOOK ADVANTAGE OF RUNAWAYS AND GIRLS FROM BROKEN HOMES TO COERCE THEM INTO HAVING SEX FOR MONEY. MORE ARRESTS ARE EXPECTED.

THE MAN ACCUSED OF KILLING 7 PEOPLE IN A HEAD-ON DRUNK DRIVING CRASH IN EAST FELICIANA PARISH LAST MONTH HAS PLEADED NOT GUILTY TO ALL CHARGES. STATE POLICE SAY BRETT GERALD BLEW A .15 BREATHALYZER RESULT AFTER THE CRASH--NEARLY TWICE THE LEGAL LIMIT. THE SEVEN PEOPLE KILLED IN THE MAY 30TH CRASH WERE ON THEIR WAY HOME FROM EVENING BIBLE STUDY.

FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER JOE SALTER HAS A NEW JOB AS UNDERSECRETARY FOR MANAGEMENT AND FINANCE AT THE SECRETARY OF STATE'S OFFICE, WHICH OVERSEES ELECTIONS AND CORPORATE REGISTRATIONS ACROSS LOUISIANA. SALTER WILL RECEIVE A SALARY OF $115.000 ALMOST TWICE AS HIGH AS HIS PREDECESSOR. SALTER RECENTLY LEFT HIS JOB AS DIRECTOR FOR GOVERNMENTAL RELATIONS AT THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, WHERE HE WAS PAID $125,000 ANNUALLY.

THE DEADLINE TO APPLY FOR THE LOUISIANA SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM IS FRIDAY. ELIGIBLE STUDENTS IN GRADES K THRU 12 FOR THE UPCOMING SCHOOL YEAR MUST SUBMIT THEIR APPLICATIONS AT A QUALIFYING SCHOOL BY THAT TIME. NICK BOLT WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION SAYS RESPONSE FROM THE PUBLIC HAS BEEN OVERWHELMING. BOLT SAYS
A FINAL TOTAL OF THE AVAILABLE SCHOLARSHIPS WILL DEPEND THE NUMBER OF QUALIFYING SCHOOLS AND THE NUMBER OF PLACES THEY OFFER. IN CASES WHERE THE NUMBER OF APPLICATIONS EXCEED THE NUMBER OF OPENINGS AT A PARTICULAR SCHOOL, A RANDOM LOTTERY WILL BE HELD.

IF YOU HAVEN'T ALREADY SEEN GASOLINE PRICED BELOW THREE DOLLARS A GALLON, YOU PROBABLY WILL IN THE NEAR FUTURE. LOUISIANA AAA SPOKESMAN DON REDMAN SAYS THERE ARE ALREADY GAS STATIONS AROUND THE STATE WHERE A SUB-THREE DOLLAR PRICE CAN BE FOUND. HE SAYS THAT MAY BE THE STATEWIDE AVERAGE SOON. THE CURRENT STATEWIDE AVERAGE IS AROUND $3.16 A GALLON. REDMAN SAYS WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS FOR GAS PRICES DEPENDS ON WHICH ANALYST YOU'RE TALKING TO. HE SAYS INSTABILITY IN THE MIDDLE EAST, WHICH COULD PUSH PRICES HIGHER, IS BEING OFFSET BY A WEAK GLOBAL ECONOMY.

DEPUTIES IN LIVINGSTON PARISH SAY THE WEEKEND DROWNING DEATH OF A 4-YEAR-OLD BOY WAS AN ACCIDENT AND NOTHING MORE. IT WAS THE FOURTH DROWNING OF A CHILD UNDER 10 IN LOUISIANA IN THE PAST WEEK.

THE NATION'S HIGHEST COURT WON'T REVIEW RULINGS THAT REQUIRE LOUISIANA'S PROPERTY INSURER OF LAST RESORT TO PAY AN ESTIMATED $110 MILLION TO INDIVIDUALS WHOSE CLAIMS WERE NOT TIMELY ADDRESSED AFTER HURRICANES KATRINA AND RITA.
MONDAY'S U.S. SUPREME COURT RULING IS ONE OF THE LAST HURDLES BEFORE POLICYHOLDERS COULD START RECEIVING THEIR MONEY FROM THE JUDGMENT.

ALLEN PARISH SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER KEITH WELCH HAS PLEADED GUILTY TO ONE COUNT OF MISDEMEANOR THEFT, AS PART OF THE GUILTY PLEA. THE 46-YEAR-OLD WELCH MUST RESIGN FROM HIS SCHOOL BOARD POSITION AND PAY $2,000 IN RESTITUTION. ATTORNEY GENERAL BUDDY CALDWELL SAID TUESDAY'S PLEA WAS THE RESULT OF AN INTERNAL THEFT FROM COUSHATTA RESORT CASINO, WHERE WELCH WAS FORMERLY EMPLOYED.

ST. LANDRY PARISH'S NEWEST CHARTER SCHOOL, J.S. CLARK LEADERSHIP ACADEMY, IS ON SCHEDULE TO OPEN AUG. 1 WITH 180 STUDENTS AND A WAITING LIST OF AT LEAST 60.
THE SCHOOL'S CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, TIFFANIE LEWIS SAYS SHE EXPECTS INTEREST IN THE SCHOOL TO GROW NEXT YEAR AFTER PARENTS LEARN MORE ABOUT THE SCHOOL'S APPROACH TO LEARNING, WHICH INCORPORATES TECHNOLOGY AND PROJECT-BASED LESSONS. THE SCHOOL, OPERATED BY THE NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION OUTREACH COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT CORP., OPENS WITH GRADES FIFTH THROUGH SEVENTH AND WILL EXPAND EACH YEAR THROUGH GRADE 12.

A BATON ROUGE COUPLE IS COUNTING THEIR BLESSINGS AFTER HAVING THEIR BOAT SINK IN ALLIGATOR INFESTED WATERS LAST WEEKEND. ASSUMPTION PARISH SHERIFF MIKE WAGUESPACK SAYS THEY FOUND GERALD AND LISA TRICHE EARLY MONDAY WAY UP IN CYPRESS TREES ON LAKE VERRETT, SCREAMING FOR HELP. WAGUESPACK SAYS ONCE DEPUTIES RESCUED THE COUPLE FROM THE TREE, THE TWO EXPLAINED THAT THEIR BOAT HAD BROKEN DOWN, THEN CAPSIZED. ONCE THEY WERE IN THE WATER, THEY SAW GATORS SWIMMING TOWARDS THEM. WAGUESPACK SAYS THE ADRENALIN RUSH MUST HAVE BEEN WHY THEY WERE ABLE TO CLIMB 15 FEET AND TIE THEMSELVES TO A CYPRESS TREE. WAGUESPACK SAYS THEY WERE ABLE TO LOCATE THE COUPLE AFTER THEY HAD BEEN UP THERE FOR SEVEN HOURS.

ACCORDING TO A NEW SCIENTIFIC STUDY, PUBLISHED BY THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES, AREAS AROUND BARATARIA BAY, THAT WERE INUNDATED BY OIL FROM THE B-P SPILL, LOST TWICE AS MUCH GROUND TO EROSION AS OTHER AREAS OF THE COAST. UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA RESEARCHER, DR. BRIAN SILLIMAN, SAYS THEY HAVE BEEN ABLE TO RECLAIM THE EDGES OF THE MARSH BY REPLANTING GRASSES ANYWHERE THEY COULD FIND A PLACE TO PLANT. HE SAYS THEIR EFFORTS HAVE STABILIZED THE EDGE OF THE MARSH AND AT LEAST STOPPED THE INCREASED RATE OF EROSION. SILLIMAN SAYS EFFORTS TO REBUILD THE MARSH ARE ONGOING, BUT WHAT HAS BEEN LOST TO THE GULF IS GONE FOREVER.









News For Tuesday 06/26/12


NEWS FOR TUESDAY 062612
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

PRACTICALLY PARKED OFF FLORIDA'S GULF COAST SINCE THE WEEKEND, TROPICAL STORM DEBBY RAKED THE TAMPA BAY AREA WITH HIGH WIND AND HEAVY RAIN MONDAY IN A DRENCHING THAT COULD TOP 2 FEET OVER THE NEXT FEW DAYS AND TRIGGER WIDESPREAD FLOODING. AT LEAST ONE PERSON WAS KILLED SUNDAY BY A TORNADO SPUN OFF BY DEBBY IN FLORIDA, AND ALABAMA AUTHORITIES SEARCHED FOR A MAN WHO DISAPPEARED IN THE ROUGH SURF. DEBBIE, ACCORDING TO FORECASTERS, IS NO LONGER A THREAT TO LOUISIANA.

A MAGISTRATE JUDGE IN COURT PAPERS CHASTISES THE CITY OF ALEXANDRIA FOR PROHIBITING A FORTUNETELLER FROM PLYING HER TRADE, A CASE THAT LAST YEAR FORCED A WOMAN TO ABANDON PLANS TO OPEN A SHOP ON JACKSON EXTENSION AFTER THE CITY DENIED HER A PERMIT AND THREATENED HER WITH CRIMINAL CHARGES. U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE JAMES D. KIRK SAYS THE ALEXANDRIA LAW BANNING "PALMISTRY, CARD READING, ASTROLOGY, FORTUNE-TELLING, PHRENOLOGY, MEDIUMS OR ACTIVITIES OF A SIMILAR NATURE" UNCONSTITUTIONALLY INFRINGES ON THE FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHT OF FREE SPEECH. KIRK RECOMMENDED TO U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE DEE DRELL THAT THE CITY'S LAW BE STRICKEN.

THE STATE LEGISLATIVE AUDITOR REPORTED MONDAY, TWO-THIRDS OF COMMUNITY AND TECHNICAL COLLEGES PARTICIPATING IN A PROGRAM THAT ALLOWS THEM TO RAISE THEIR STUDENT COSTS DIDN'T PROVIDE RELIABLE DATA TO GAIN THAT AUTHORITY.
THAT DATA IS USED TO DETERMINE IF THE SCHOOLS ARE MEETING PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENTS NEEDED TO INCREASE TUITION, BENCHMARKS REQUIRED UNDER A 2010 LAW AUTHORIZING TUITION INCREASES OF UP TO 10 PERCENT A YEAR. THE REPORT SAID 11 OF 16 COMMUNITY AND TECHNICAL COLLEGES USED UNRELIABLE FACTS AND FIGURES AND THAT INCLUDED ALL SEVEN OF THE TECHNICAL COLLEGES AND FOUR OF THE NINE COMMUNITY COLLEGES. TWO PUBLIC COLLEGES OUTSIDE THE COMMUNITY AND TECHNICAL COLLEGE SYSTEM, SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY AT SHREVEPORT AND THE UNIVERSITY OF LOUISIANA AT MONROE, ARE ALSO ON THE LIST.

THE LEGISLATIVE AUDITOR’S OFFICE ALSO REPORTED, A MULTIMILLION DOLLAR COMPUTER UPGRADE AT THE STATE TRANSPORTATION DEPARTMENT HAS BEEN PLAGUED WITH COSTLY PROBLEMS. THE 54-PAGE REPORT SAYS MORE THAN $26 MILLION IN FEDERAL EXPENSES WEREN'T BILLED FOR REIMBURSEMENT AND FINANCIAL STATEMENT ERRORS EXCEEDED $42 MILLION.

A 4-YEAR-OLD GIRL WHO FELL INTO A SOUTH BOSSIER CITY POOL HAS REPORTEDLY DIED AND HER TWIN SISTER REMAINS IN THE HOSPITAL. DETAILS ARE LIMITED BUT THE TWO GIRLS REPORTEDLY WANDERED OFF FROM THEIR HOME IN THE BELLAIRE NEIGHBORHOOD OF BOSSIER CITY AND FELL INTO A POOL MONDAY. FIRE OFFICIALS SAY A FAMILY MEMBER FOUND THE GIRLS IN THE SWIMMING POOL AND PULLED THEM OUT. BOTH GIRLS WERE TAKEN TO LOCAL HOSPITAL, WHERE ONE WAS PRONOUNCED DEAD. THE OTHER GIRL REMAINS IN VERY CRITICAL CONDITION.

A COMPANY THAT MAKES TITANIUM TUBING FOR THE AEROSPACE INDUSTRY SAYS IT WILL EXPAND ITS MANUFACTURING PLANT IN ARCADIA, CREATING 19 NEW JOBS AT THE SITE.
INDIANA-BASED HAYNES INTERNATIONAL INC. ANNOUNCED THE $37 MILLION EXPANSION MONDAY, AT AN EVENT WITH GOV. BOBBY JINDAL. THE NORTH LOUISIANA FACILITY EXPANSION IS ESTIMATED TO BE FULLY OPERATIONAL BY OCTOBER 2014. THE STATE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT IS GIVING HAYNES A NEARLY $1.2 MILLION MODERNIZATION TAX BREAK OVER FIVE YEARS.

THE NEW ORLEANS HORNETS HAVE A NEW BROADCASTING DEAL WITH FOX SPORTS, WHICH WILL TELEVISE MOST OF THE NBA CLUB'S GAMES ON A REBRANDED FOX SPORTS NEW ORLEANS AFFILIATE. THE AGREEMENT, ANNOUNCED MONDAY, REPLACES AN EXPIRING DEAL WITH COX SPORTS TELEVISION, AND IS EXPECTED TO SUBSTANTIALLY INCREASE THE NUMBER OF HOMES IN WHICH HORNETS TELECASTS WILL BE AVAILABLE.

GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL HAS SIGNED A NEW BILL INTO LAW THAT WOULD MAKE IT A CRIME FOR A PARENT TO FAIL TO REPORT A CHILD MISSING OR FAIL TO REPORT THE DEATH OF A CHILD -- WITHIN A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF TIME. THE BILL IS BY SHREVEPORT REPRESENTATIVE BARBARA NORTON WHO SAYS FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH THIS LAW CARRIES A STIFF PENALTY. NORTON SAYS PARENTS MUST REPORT A MISSING CHILD UNDER THE AGE OF 7
WITHIN 12 HOURS, AGES 7-13 WITHIN 24 HOURS AND TEENS BETWEEN 13-17 WITHIN 36 HOURS. NORTON SAYS THEY WANT TO PUT A STRONG MESSAGE OUT TO PARENTS THAT YOU MUST KNOW WHERE A CHILD THAT YOU ARE RESPONSIBLY FOR IS AT ALL TIMES.

A COMMERCIAL WASTE DISPOSAL FACILITY IN RURAL JEFFERSON DAVIS PARISH IS SEEKING A NEW INJECTION WELL PERMIT FROM THE STATE. PHIL THIBODEAUX, DISTRICT MANAGER FOR MBO LACASSINE OILFIELD SERVICES SAYS THE PERMIT PROCESS IS EXPECTED TO TAKE FROM SIX MONTHS TO A YEAR TO COMPLETE. THE FACILITY ACCEPTS DRILLING FLUIDS, PRODUCTION SLUDGE AND OTHER OIL EXPLORATION AND PRODUCTION FLUIDS.
THE STATE APPROVED COMPANY PLANS IN 2007 TO REOPEN THE CLOSED OILFIELD-WASTE-TREATMENT FACILITY, DESPITE PUBLIC PROTEST.

A LAFAYETTE POLICE DEPARTMENT OFFICER WAS KILLED IN A WEEKEND BOATING ACCIDENT AT LAKE MAUREPAS IN LIVINGSTON PARISH. LAFAYETTE POLICE SAID 29-YEAR-OLD CPL. JOEL GRAYSON HAD BEEN WITH THE DEPARTMENT FOR MORE THAN FIVE YEARS AND HAD EARNED A MEDAL OF VALOR. HE WAS OFF DUTY AT THE TIME OF THE SATURDAY EVENING ACCIDENT. THAT THE ACCIDENT HAPPENED AFTER A PASSING BOAT SLICED THE ANCHOR LINE FROM GRAYSON'S BOAT. GRAYSON WAS INJURED BY HIS BOAT'S PROPELLER AFTER HE JUMPED INTO THE WATER TO GET HIS BOAT'S ANCHOR.

A NEW STUDY FINDS THAT 1-IN-5 LOUISIANA HOUSEHOLDS IS EXPERIENCING SIGNIFICANT ECONOMIC INSECURITY IN THE POST-RECESSION ECONOMY. THE REPORT IS FROM THE ROCKEFELLER FOUNDATION AND YALE UNIVERSITY. RESEARCHER STUART CRAIG SAYS OUR STATE RANKS 11TH MOST INSECURE IN THE ECONOMIC SECURITY INDEX OF ALL 50 STATES. CRAIG SAYS THE STUDY MEASURED HOUSEHOLDS' ABILITY TO PAY THE BILLS AND BUY GROCERIES WITH THE INCOME RESOURCES AVAILABLE. HE SAYS OVER 20% OF LOUISIANA HOUSEHOLDS SAW THOSE RESOURCES DECLINE BY 25% OR MORE IN 2010. HE SAYS THIS INSECURITY FACTOR IS HIGH IN LOUISIANA, BUT HARDLY UNIQUE AMONG STATES.

THE REPUBLICAN PARTY OF LOUISIANA'S POLITICAL ARM HAS SPENT MORE THAN $50,000 TO COMBAT EFFORTS TO RECALL HOUSE SPEAKER CHUCK KLECKLEY. THE GOP'S POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE DETAILED THE MAY EXPENSES IN A CAMPAIGN FINANCE REPORT FILED WITH STATE ETHICS OFFICIALS. THAT PARTY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR JASON DORE SAYS MORE SPENDING IS PLANNED. KLECKLEY, A REPUBLICAN FROM LAKE CHARLES, IS THE TARGET OF A RECALL EFFORT ORGANIZED BY VETERAN CALCASIEU PARISH TEACHERS UPSET WITH HIS SUPPORT FOR GOV. BOBBY JINDAL'S EDUCATION REVAMP. JINDAL ALSO IS TARGETED FOR RECALL. THOSE SEEKING KLECKLEY'S OUSTER HAVE UNTIL MID-SEPTEMBER TO FILE PETITIONS WITH ENOUGH VOTER SIGNATURES TO PROMPT A RECALL ELECTION.

THE BCS PRESIDENTIAL OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE WILL MEET IN WASHINGTON TODAY TO CONSIDER THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF PROPOSAL. LSU CHANCELLOR MIKE MARTIN SAYS HE HOPES THE COMMITTEE WILL DECIDE ON A FOUR TEAM PLAYOFF THAT FEATURES THE TOP FOUR TEAMS IN THE COUNTRY. THE PLAYOFF WOULD GO INTO EFFECT STARTING THE 2014 SEASON. MEMBERS OF THE BIG TEN AND THE PAC-12 DON'T LIKE THE PLAYOFF IDEA AND MARTIN SAYS IT'S BECAUSE THEY FEEL MORE THAN ONE SEC TEAM WOULD MAKE THE PLAYOFFS REGULARLY. REPORTS HAVE INDICATED THAT A SELECTION COMMITTEE WOULD BE CREATED TO DETERMINE WHO THE TOP FOUR TEAMS ARE.






News For MOnday 06/25/12


NEWS FOR MONDAY 062512
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

LOUISIANA MAY HAVE DODGED A BULLET WITH TROPICAL STORM DEBBY. THE FIVE DAY FORECAST ON SUNDAY MORNING CALLED FOR DEBBY TO MAKE LANDFALL IN SOUTHEAST LOUISIANA AS A HURRICANE. BUT NOW FORECASTERS BELIEVE DEBBY WILL HIT THE FLORIDA PANHANDLE. BUT STATE CLIMATOLOGIST BARRY KEIM BECAUSE THE FORECAST ON THIS STORM HAS BEEN CHANGING, IT'S IMPORTANT FOR LOUISIANA RESIDENTS TO KEEP AN EYE ON IT. KEIM SAYS DEBBY WILL SPEND THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS SOAKING FLORIDA AND KEEPING LOUISIANA ON ITS GUARD, BECAUSE ITS NOT EXPECTED TO MOVE MUCH. BY THE WAY, WITH THE FORMATION OF DEBBIE, IT IS THE 1ST TIME SINCE 1851 THAT 4 STORMS HAVE FORMED BEFORE JULY.

BOBBY COLLINS, FORMER DIRECTOR OF THE WINNFIELD HOUSING AUTHORITY, WAS NAMED EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE ALEXANDRIA HOUSING AUTHORITY IN A UNANIMOUS VOTE FRIDAY OF THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS. THE VOTE CAME ONE DAY AFTER COLLINS' APPOINTMENT WAS PUT ON HOLD WHEN THE BOARD OF THE STATE-CHARTERED AGENCY DEADLOCKED 2-2 ON HIS HIRING. BOARD MEMBER LISA HARRIS WAS ABSENT THURSDAY WHILE COMMISSIONERS DAVID CRUTCHFIELD AND GLENN YOUNGER VOTED AGAINST HIRING COLLINS. ALL THREE VOTED IN FAVOR OF HIRING COLLINS ON FRIDAY. COLLINS WILL RECEIVE A SALARY OF $84,000 AND OTHER BENEFITS OF THE JOB, INCLUDING A CAR.

THE STATE IS REPORTING ITS FIRST HUMAN CASE OF THE WEST NILE VIRUS. A ST. BERNARD PARISH RESIDENT TESTED POSITIVE FOR THE MOSQUITO-BORNE DISEASE AFTER DONATING BLOOD. THE WOMAN DID NOT SHOW ANY SYMPTOMS, WHICH IS COMMON FOR WEST NILE.

A 21-YEAR-OLD NATCHITOCHES PARISH MAN HAS BEEN CHARGED WITH SECOND-DEGREE MURDER IN CONNECTION WITH THE DEATH OF HIS MOTHER. PHYLLIS MCMAHON'S BODY WAS FOUND IN A SMALL POND, LOCATED ON HER PROPERTY. SHERIFF VICTOR JONES BELIEVE JAMES MCMAHON AND HIS MOTHER GOT INTO A PHYSICAL ALTERCATION THAT ENDED WITH THE DEATH OF THE 55 YEAR OLD WOMAN.

APPARENTLY IT'S NEVER TOO EARLY TO START POLLING FOR LOUISIANA'S NEXT GUBERNATORIAL ELECTION. THAT DOESN'T HAPPEN FOR ANOTHER THREE YEARS, BUT POLLSTER VERNE KENNEDY SAYS HE WAS COMMISSIONED TO SURVEY LIKELY VOTERS ABOUT WHO THEY'D VOTE FOR AS LOUISIANA'S NEXT GOVERNOR. THE RESULT...? KENNEDY'S POLL SHOWS GOP SENATOR DAVID VITTER AND DEMOCRAT NEW ORLEANS BUSINESSMAN JOHN GEORGES IN A RUNOFF--BASED ON RESPONSES FROM OVER 600 LIKELY VOTERS. HE SAYS VITTER AND GEORGES CAME OUT TIED WITH 20-PERCENT EACH. JAY DARDENNE DREW 14%, JOHN KENNEDY 9%. OF THAT SPECULATED PACK, GEORGES IS THE ONLY DEMOCRAT. KENNEDY WOULD NOT REVEAL WHO PAID FOR THE POLL, BUT IT'S BEEN REPORTED GEORGES FUNDED THE SURVEY.

THE U-S SUPREME COURT COULD ANNOUNCE ITS RULING AS EARLY AS TODAY ON PRESIDENT OBAMA'S HEALTH CARE LAW. THE MAIN POINT OF CONTENTION IS THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT'S HEALTH-INSURANCE MANDATE. DURING THE REPUBLICAN PARTY'S RESPONSE TO PRESIDENT OBAMA'S WEEKLY RADIO ADDRESS, BATON ROUGE CONGRESSMAN BILL CASSIDY, SOUNDED OFF ON THE LEGISLATION. CASSIDY SAYS A MAJORITY OF AMERICANS WANT THE SUPREME COURT TO OVERTURN ALL OR PART OF THE HEALTH CARE LAW THAT WAS PASSED IN 2010. THE BATON ROUGE REPUBLICAN SAYS IT DRIVES UP HEALTH CARE COSTS, MAKING IT HARDER FOR SMALL BUSINESSES TO HIRE WORKERS. THE PRESIDENT DID NOT ADDRESS THE SUPREME COURT'S ANTICIPATED RULING IN HIS ADDRESS, INSTEAD HE URGED CONGRESS TO PASS THE TRANSPORTATION BILL AND ARGUED AGAINST HIGHER INTEREST RATES FOR FEDERAL STUDENT LOANS.

A SECOND TEACHERS UNION SUED FRIDAY OVER GOV. BOBBY JINDAL'S VOUCHER PROGRAM, OBJECTING TO THE USE OF THE STATE'S PUBLIC-SCHOOL FINANCING FORMULA TO PAY FOR TUITION TO ATTEND PRIVATE AND PAROCHIAL SCHOOLS. THE LOUISIANA ASSOCIATION OF EDUCATORS FILED ITS LAWSUIT IN BATON ROUGE DISTRICT COURT, ASKING FOR THE NEWLY PASSED LEGISLATION TO BE THROWN OUT AS UNCONSTITUTIONAL. THE LAWSUIT ARGUES THAT THE PROCESS FOR PASSING A PACKAGE OF JINDAL-SOUGHT EDUCATION CHANGES AND THEIR FINANCING THROUGH THE PUBLIC SCHOOL FORMULA VIOLATES THE LOUISIANA CONSTITUTION.

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL HAS TAPPED HIS FORMER CHIEF LAWYER TO DEFEND THE GOVERNOR'S EDUCATION LAWS IN COURT. JIMMY FAIRCLOTH IS THE ATTORNEY REPRESENTING THE STATE, THE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT AND THE STATE EDUCATION BOARD IN LAWSUITS SEEKING TO THROW OUT THE GOVERNOR'S SIGNATURE EDUCATION POLICIES, INCLUDING THE CREATION OF A STATEWIDE VOUCHER PROGRAM.

STATE OFFICIALS ARE SEEKING ADVICE FROM THE IRS ON WHETHER LOUISIANA'S NEW STATE PENSION SYSTEM WOULD MEET FEDERAL RULES. GOV. BOBBY JINDAL'S ADMINISTRATION IS SEEKING AN OPINION ON WHETHER A CASH BALANCE RETIREMENT PLAN WOULD PROVIDE BENEFITS EQUIVALENT TO SOCIAL SECURITY. RIGHT NOW, LOUISIANA STATE EMPLOYEES ARE NOT ENROLLED IN THE FEDERAL SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM, MEANING THAT THE STATE DOESN'T HAVE TO PAY THE EMPLOYER'S SHARE OF SOCIAL SECURITY TAXES. IF THE NEW SYSTEM ISN'T JUDGED EQUIVALENT, THE STATE AND EMPLOYEES COULD HAVE TO ENROLL IN SOCIAL SECURITY AND START PAYING TAXES. THE NEW PENSION PLAN, MEANT TO SAVE THE STATE MONEY, WILL TAKE EFFECT FOR STATE EMPLOYEES HIRED AFTER JULY 1, 2013.

AFTER TWO YEARS OF BELOW-AVERAGE RAINFALL IN LOUISIANA, THE RAIN SEEMS TO BE RETURNING THIS YEAR. THE STATE'S AVERAGE RAINFALL MARK STANDS AT 31.6 INCHES, WHICH IS ABOVE THE NORMAL LEVEL OF 21.9 INCHES. DURING THE PAST TWO YEARS, LESS THAN NORMAL RAINFALL RESULTED IN A DEFICIT OF 25 TO 30 INCHES IN THE STATE. THE RELIEF FROM DROUGHT STARTED EARLIER THIS YEAR WHEN THE ENTIRE STATE OFFICIALLY WAS CLASSIFIED AS BEING OUT OF DROUGHT, STARTING IN APRIL. ACCORDING TO STATE CLIMATOLOGIST BARRY KEIM, "FOR THE FIRST TIME IN TWO YEARS, NO PLACE ANYWHERE IN LOUISIANA WAS IN DROUGHT”.

HIKING TRAILS, VEHICLE TRAILS, FISHING PIERS, CAMPSITES AND AN OBSERVATION DECK COULD BE PART OF PLANS MAKE THE ATCHAFALAYA BASIN MORE WELCOMING TO THE PUBLIC. THE U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS IS SEEKING PUBLIC COMMENT ON A PUBLIC ACCESS PLAN FOR LAND IT OWNS AROUND THE RIVER. MUCH OF THE LAND IS IN THE INDIAN BAYOU RECREATION AREA, A 28,500 TRACT IN ST. MARTIN AND ST. LANDRY PARISHES NORTH OF INTERSTATE 10. THE NEW PLAN CONTINUES TO ADDRESSES WATER QUALITY ISSUES, HUNTING AND FISHING REGULATIONS, AND CONSERVATION. BUT PUBLIC-ACCESS ENHANCEMENTS ARE A FOCUS OF THE UPDATED PLAN. WHAT GETS BUILT DEPEND ON HOW MUCH MONEY THE FEDERAL AGENCY RECEIVES. THE DEADLINE FOR COMMENTING IS JULY 19.

THE STATE FIRE MARSHAL'S OFFICE HAS DETERMINED CONSTRUCTION WORKERS STARTED A FIRE THAT DESTROYED A GYMNASIUM THAT WAS UNDER CONSTRUCTION AT THE GLENBROOK OF MINDEN PRIVATE SCHOOL. INVESTIGATORS SAY METAL GRINDER SPARKED A FIRE IN THE WALL AND FLAMES SPREAD VERY QUICKLY. PRELIMINARY DAMAGE ESTIMATES ARE NEARLY A HALF-MILLION DOLLARS. OFFICIALS SAY THE ONLY INJURY WAS TO A FIREFIGHTER, WHO SUFFERED FROM HEAT EXHAUSTION.


SPORTS..

THE NEW ORLEANS SAINTS ARE ABOUT ONE MONTH AWAY FROM STARTING TRAINING CAMP, AND THE BIG QUESTION ON THE MINDS OF BLACK AND GOLD FANS IS, "WILL QUARTERBACK DREW BREES BE THERE?" NFL ANALYST MIKE DETILLIER SAYS ABSOLUTELY. HE SAYS THE DEADLINE IS JULY 16TH FOR THE FRANCHISE TO MAKE A DEAL WITH THE SUPERBOWL MVP AND HE EXPECTS IT TO GET DONE LAST MINUTE. DETILLIER SAYS THERE ARE ONLY A FEW KINKS LEFT TO BE IRONED OUT. DETILLIER BELIEVES ONCE A DOLLAR AMOUNT IS SETTLED UPON AND AN AGREEMENT ON HOW THE MONEY WILL BE DISTRIBUTED, BREES WILL BE SIGNED ON WITH THE SAINTS LONG TERM.

News For Friday 06/22/12


NEWS FOR FRIDAY 062212
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER SAYS THERE'S A 50-PERCENT CHANCE WE COULD SEE OUR FIRST NAMED STORM IN THE GULF OF MEXICO BY THE END OF THE WEEK. STATE CLIMATOLOGIST BARRY KEIM SAYS A BROAD AREA OF LOW PRESSURE IN THE SOUTH-CENTRAL GULF IS SHOWING SIGNS OF STRENGTHENING. IF IT DOES, IT WILL BE KNOWN AS DEBBIE..

THE RAPIDES PARISH SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT REPORTS THAT TWO SUSPECTS WERE ARRESTED YESTERDAY IN CONNECTION WITH A WEDNESDAY NIGHT SHOOTING IN BOYCE THAT LEFT A MAN IN CRITICAL CONDITION. 34 YEAR OLD ROBERT LEBLANC, FROM ALEXANDRIA, AND 36 YEAR OLD DANIEL DAVIS FROM PINEVILLE, HAVE BEEN BOOKED IN THE PARISH JAIL ON SUSPICION OF ATTEMPTED SECOND-DEGREE MURDER AND POSSESSION OF DRUGS. DEPUTIES FOUND, THE UNIDENTIFIED VICTIM, WHO HAD BEEN SHOT, NEAR JIMMY BROWN ROAD IN BOYCE NEAR MIDNIGHT WEDNESDAY. HE WAS TRANSPORTED TO A LOCAL HOSPITAL WHERE HE IS LISTED IN CRITICAL CONDITION.

BETWEEN 75 AND 100 LOCAL OFFICIALS, BUSINESS PEOPLE AND CONCERNED CITIZENS ATTEND A NEWS CONFERENCE YESTERDAY AFTERNOON OUTSIDE THE RAPIDES PARISH SCHOOL DISTRICT OFFICE IN SUPPORT OF KEEPING DR. GARY JONES AS SUPERINTENDENT. LOCAL ATTORNEY AND FORMER JUDGE CHRIS ROY SR. SPOKE TO THE CROWD AS DID ROYOMARTIN PRESIDENT ROY MARTIN. MARTIN SAID GETTING RID OF JONES COULD MEAN A RETURN TO THE "BANANA REPUBLIC" DAYS OF THE PAST, WHEN A "BLOATED, INEFFICIENT SCHOOL SYSTEM" THREW MONEY AWAY AND AWARDED POSITIONS BASED ON CRONYISM. IN ADDITION TO BUILDING ITS BASE, MARTIN SAID CENLA CITIZENS FOR EDUCATION WOULD CONTINUE TO VOICE THEIR OPPOSITION TO REMOVING JONES "VERY, VERY LOUDLY," ATTEND SCHOOL BOARD MEETINGS AND PRESS THE FIVE BOARD MEMBERS WHO VOTED NOT TO RENEW JONES' CONTRACT TO EXPLAIN THEIR DECISION PUBLICLY.

THE ALEXANDRIA HOUSING AUTHORITY'S BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS IN A SPLIT VOTE FAILED TO HIRE A NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR THURSDAY, AND A FORMER BANKER WHO PLAYED A PART IN LENDING AHA $2.5 MILLION IN 2009, TOLD BOARD MEMBERS HE WOULD HELP GET MONEY FROM A FEDERAL AGENCY TO REPAY THE LOAN. BOBBY COLLINS, WHO HAS BEEN DIRECTOR OF THE WINNFIELD HOUSING AUTHORITY SINCE 2006, RECEIVED TEPID AHA BOARD SUPPORT IN HIS BID TO BECOME EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, A JOB THAT IS TO PAY $84,000 A YEAR. AHA WILL HOLD A SPECIAL MEETING TODAY AT 5:30 P.M. TO VOTE AGAIN, WITH ALL FIVE COMMISSIONERS SCHEDULED TO ATTEND.

FUNDING IS AVAILABLE TO CONSTRUCT ANOTHER STRETCH OF INTERSTATE 49, BUT WORK WON'T START FOR ANOTHER 15 MONTHS. LAWMAKERS IN THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION THAT ENDED JUNE 4 CLEARED THE WAY TO USE UNCLAIMED PROPERTY IN THE STATE TREASURY TO FINANCE BONDS TO CONSTRUCT A SECTION IDENTIFIED ON DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION AND DEVELOPMENT MAPS AS SECTION K. IT'S JUST NORTH OF INTERSTATE 220 IN SHREVEPORT. USING UNCLAIMED PROPERTY, WHICH PILES UP EVERY YEAR, WAS THE BRAINCHILD OF TREASURER JOHN KENNEDY.

LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF WILDLIFE AND FISHERIES AGENTS WILL BE OUT IN FORCE THIS WEEKEND, CRACKING DOWN ON DWI BOATERS. AGENTS WILL BE PATROLLING THE STATE'S WATERWAYS DURING OPERATION DRY WATER TODAY THROUGH SUNDAY.

ANOTHER "SWAMP PEOPLE" CAST MEMBER IS IN THE NEWS. "TRAPPER JOE" LAFONTE WAS ARRESTED IN CALIFORNIA ON A DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CHARGE. THE ARREST STEMS FROM A FIGHT WITH HIS GIRLFRIEND AT AN ORANGE COUNTY HOTEL AND SPA. LAFONTE REPORTEDLY PUNCHED THE WOMAN IN THE CHEST AND SHOOK HER VIOLENTLY. TRAPPER JOE WAS BEING HELD ON $1500 BOND.

A&E HAS ORDERED ANOTHER SEASON OF THE SERIES "DUCK DYNASTY" --- THE REALITY SHOW SET IN WEST MONROE ABOUT DUCK HUNTERS. THE NETWORK SAYS IT'S ONE OF THEIR FASTEST GROWING SERIES AS THE FINALE OF DUCK DYNASTY IN SEASON 1 DREW IN 2.6 MILLION TOTAL VIEWERS.

THE LOUISIANA NATIONAL GUARD SAYS MEMBERS OF THE GROUP KNOWN AS THE "BAYOU MILITIA" HAVE BID FAREWELL TO FAMILIES AND FRIENDS DURING A DEPLOYMENT CEREMONY HELD AT THE NAVAL AIR STATION IN BELLE CHASSE. THURSDAY'S CEREMONY WAS FOR ABOUT 250 MEMBERS OF THE LOUISIANA AIR NATIONAL GUARD'S 159TH FIGHTER WING. THE GUARD GAVE FEW DETAILS ABOUT THEIR MISSION, SAYING THEY ARE DEPLOYING IN SUPPORT OF OVERSEAS OPERATIONS IN SOUTHWEST ASIA.

A TEACHER UNION SAYS IT IS ABOUT TO FILE A LAWSUIT AGAINST GOV. BOBBY JINDAL'S VOUCHER PROGRAM. LEADERS OF THE LOUISIANA ASSOCIATION OF EDUCATORS SAY THEY WILL LODGE THEIR CHALLENGE AGAINST THE EDUCATION CHANGES FRIDAY IN BATON ROUGE DISTRICT COURT. THEY OBJECT TO THE USE OF THE STATE'S PUBLIC SCHOOL FINANCING FORMULA TO PAY FOR TUITION TO PRIVATE AND PAROCHIAL SCHOOLS.
THE LAE WILL JOIN ANOTHER UNION, THE LOUISIANA FEDERATION OF TEACHERS, WHICH FILED TWO LAWSUITS EARLIER THIS MONTH AGAINST EDUCATION PROGRAMS JINDAL PUSHED IN THE RECENT LEGISLATIVE SESSION.

GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL WILL ATTEND A WEEKEND RETREAT WITH GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE MITT ROMNEY IN UTAH. THE RETREAT IS REPORTEDLY FOR POTENTIAL RUNNING MATES AND CABINET MEMBERS. UL-MONROE POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR JOSHUA STOCKLEY SAYS ROMNEY'S GUEST LIST IS A WHO'S WHO OF GOP MOVERS AND SHAKERS, WHICH ROMNEY WILL EVALUATE. ALSO ON ROMNEY'S GUEST LIST, NAMES LIKE TIM PAWLENTY, JEB BUSH, CONDOLEEZA RICE AND PAUL RYAN.

THREE TEENAGERS FROM MANSFIELD HAVE BEEN ARRESTED ON A HOST OF CHARGES INCLUDING THE AGGRAVATED RAPE OF A 76-YEAR-OLD WOMAN. POLICE SAY THE INCIDENT HAPPENED DURING A ROBBERY AND ONE OF THE SUSPECTS PUNCHED HER IN THE FACE AND SHE WAS RAPED WHILE SHE WAS BLACKED OUT. A JUDGE THIS MORNING SET THE BOND FOR THE MEN A $1 MILLION EACH.

IT WILL SOON BE LEGAL FOR LOUISIANA MOTORISTS TO USE THEIR CELL PHONE TO SHOW PROOF OF AUTO INSURANCE. SLIDELL REPRESENTATIVE GREG CROMER PASSED A LAW THAT GOES INTO EFFECT AUGUST FIRST THAT GIVES THE GREEN LIGHT FOR INSURERS TO EMAIL AN INSURANCE CARD AS A PDF TO BE USED ON AN ELECTRONIC DEVICE. GOVERNOR JINDAL HAS SIGNED THIS BILL, WHICH WAS SUPPORTED BY STATE POLICE.

RUSTON IS CELEBRATING THE PEACH FESTIVAL THIS SATURDAY AND SUNDAY. THE 61ST ANNUAL EVENT WILL BRING THOUSANDS OF VISITORS TO THE SMALL COLLEGE TOWN. FESTIVAL SPOKESPERSON SCOTT TERRY SAYS EVEN THOUGH THE NUMBERS OF PEACH FARMS HAVE FALLEN IN RECENT YEARS, THE CROP STILL REPRESENTS A BIG BOOST TO THE LOCAL ECONOMY. TERRY SAYS VISITORS COME TO THE FESTIVAL FROM FOUR OR FIVE STATES AWAY.

TWO FORMER NFL PRO BOWL RUNNING BACKS HIGHLIGHT THE 2012 LOUISIANA SPORTS HALL OF FAME CLASS THAT WILL BE INDUCTED ON SATURDAY NIGHT IN NATCHITOCHES. CHAIRMAN OF THE HALL OF FAME, DOUG IRELAND, SAYS DEUCE MCCALLISTER AND WARRICK DUNN WERE TWO OF THE BETTER NFL BACKS IN RECENT HISTORY.

ST. LANDRY PARISH PRESIDENT BILL FONTENOT SAYS HE WILL VETO A PARISH COUNCIL'S VOTE TO RE-ESTABLISH A COUNCIL-APPOINTED SEVEN-MEMBER COMMISSION OVERSEEING THE PARISH AIRPORT. FONTENOT SAID CREATING ANOTHER COMMISSION ADDS ANOTHER LAYER OF GOVERNMENT AND USURPS THE POWERS OF THE PARISH PRESIDENT. TWO FORMER COMMISSION MEMBERS, CHARLES RENAUD AND STEPHEN WOODS, SPOKE AT WEDNESDAY'S MEETING IN FAVOR OF CREATING A NEW COMMISSION. RENAUD SAID A COMMISSION CREATES A SYSTEM OF CHECKS AND BALANCES. COUNCIL CHAIRMAN WAYNE ARDOIN SAID THURSDAY HE IS CONFIDENT THE COUNCIL WOULD CONSIDER OVERRIDING THE PROPOSED VETO BY FONTENOT.

LOUISIANA'S STATE-LICENSED CASINOS TOOK IN $204 MILLION FROM GAMBLERS IN MAY, WINNINGS ON PAR WITH THEIR HAUL A YEAR EARLIER AND A NEARLY 7 PERCENT JUMP FROM THE PREVIOUS MONTH. THE FIGURES, COMPILED BY THE STATE POLICE, WERE PRESENTED THURSDAY TO THE LOUISIANA GAMING CONTROL BOARD. ACROSS THE STATE, THE MIX OF RIVERBOAT, LAND-BASED AND RACE TRACK CASINOS BROUGHT IN $1 MILLION MORE THAN THE $203 MILLION THEY COLLECTED IN 2011 AND NEARLY $13 MILLION MORE THAN THE $191.5 MILLION TAKEN FROM GAMBLERS IN APRIL.

THE STATE'S GAMING CONTROL BOARD HAS APPROVED PLANS FOR AMERISTAR CASINOS' NEW LAKE CHARLES PROJECT; THE PLACE FORMERLY KNOWN AS MOJITO POINTE. THE COMPANY PLANS A $500-MILLION CASINO-RESORT PROJECT RIGHT NEXT TO THE L'AUBERGE DU LAC CASINO IN LAKE CHARLES. CONSTRUCTION SHOULD BEGIN IN JULY.

THE INCOMING FORMER TERREBONNE PARISH SHERIFF HAS INFORMED 24 DEPUTIES AND STAFF WITHIN THE OFFICE THAT THEY WILL NOT HAVE JOBS WHEN HE TAKES OVER JULY 1.
JERRY LARPENTER, THE PARISH'S SHERIFF FOR 22 YEARS WHO OPTED OUT OF RUNNING AGAIN IN 2007 TO RUN FOR PARISH PRESIDENT, SAID HE INFORMED PERSONNEL OF THE LAYOFFS AND DEMOTIONS BY LETTERS. THOSE IN THE SHERIFF'S OFFICE DO NOT HAVE CIVIL SERVICE PROTECTION, SO THE DEPUTIES AND STAFF WHO ARE BEING LET GO WILL LOSE THEIR SALARIES AND BENEFITS AT MIDNIGHT JULY 1. LARPENTER SAID HE IS CONCERNED HE WILL NOT HAVE ENOUGH MONEY TO RUN OPERATIONS WHEN HE TAKES OFFICE.

SCIENTISTS PREDICT THAT THIS YEAR'S "DEAD ZONE" OF LOW-OXYGEN WATER IN THE GULF OF MEXICO WILL BE LARGER THAN AVERAGE BUT NOWHERE NEAR A RECORD. NANCY RABALAIS OF THE LOUISIANA UNIVERSITIES MARINE CONSORTIUM SAYS SCIENTISTS EXPECT THE AREA WHERE OXYGEN LEVELS ARE TOO LOW TO SUSTAIN LIFE TO COVER ABOUT 6,210 SQUARE MILES OFF LOUISIANA AND TEXAS THIS SUMMER. THAT'S A BIT LARGER THAN THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT.

A RESEARCHER AT THE LSU HEALTH SCIENCES CENTER IN SHREVEPORT HAS BEEN AWARDED A $1.8 MILLION GRANT TO CONTINUE HIS STUDIES ON HOW HYDROGEN SULFIDE COULD HELP IMPROVE POOR CIRCULATION IN PEOPLE'S LEGS. DR. CHRIS KEVIL SAYS THE AIM IS TO DEVELOP NEW DRUGS TO TREAT PERIPHERAL ARTERY DISEASE.

News For Thursday 06/21/12


NEWS FOR THURSDAY 062112
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

FORMER LEESVILLE SHERIFF BOBBY HICKMAN HAS PLEADED GUILTY TO UNLAWFUL POSSESSION OF A FIREARM WITH AN OBLITERATED SERIAL NUMBER. HICKMAN ENTERED THE PLEA IN U.S. DISTRICT COURT ON WEDNESDAY. SENTENCING WILL BE AT A LATER DATE. DURING THE HEARING BEFORE JUDGE RICHARD HAIK, HICKMAN AGREED TO FORFEIT THREE WEAPONS INCLUDING A SAWED-OFF SHOTGUN. FEDERAL LAW PROHIBITS POSSESSION OF FIREARMS ON WHICH THE SERIAL NUMBERS HAVE BEEN ALTERED OR DESTROYED. HICKMAN WAS FIRED IN JANUARY 2011 FOR FAILURE TO COOPERATE WITH AN INTERNAL INVESTIGATION BY THE CITY OF LEESVILLE. THE WEAPONS WERE FOUND DURING A SEARCH OF HIS HOME. HICKMAN FACES A MAXIMUM OF FIVE YEARS IN PRISON AND UP TO $250,000 IN FINES.

IF SHE SHOULD DEVELOP INTO SOMETHING MORE, HER NAME WOULD BE DEBBIE.. A WIDESPREAD TROPICAL SYSTEM IS SPREADING CLOUDS, WIND AND RAIN FROM CUBA TO THE NORTHWESTERN CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER SAYS THE SYSTEM HAS A 20-PERCENT CHANCE OF BECOME A TROPICAL STORM. STATE CLIMATOLOGIST BARRY KEIM SAYS HE WOULDN'T BE SURPRISED IF THIS TROPICAL WAVE EVENTUALLY BECAME A TROPICAL STORM, OR WORSE.

A DAY AFTER ELECTING THEIR FIRST AFRICAN-AMERICAN PRESIDENT IN A HISTORIC MOVE THAT STRIVES TO ERASE ITS LEGACY OF RACISM, SOUTHERN BAPTISTS PASSED A RESOLUTION OPPOSING THE IDEA THAT SAME-SEX MARRIAGE IS A CIVIL RIGHTS ISSUE.
THOUSANDS OF DELEGATES AT THE DENOMINATION'S ANNUAL MEETING IN NEW ORLEANS ON WEDNESDAY WERE NEARLY UNANIMOUS IN THEIR SUPPORT FOR THE RESOLUTION THAT AFFIRMS THEIR BELIEF THAT MARRIAGE IS "THE EXCLUSIVE UNION OF ONE MAN AND ONE WOMAN" AND THAT "ALL SEXUAL BEHAVIOR OUTSIDE OF MARRIAGE, GAY OR STRAIGHT, IS SINFUL."

THE NATION'S LARGEST PROTESTANT DENOMINATION HAS VOTED TO ADOPT AN ALTERNATIVE NAME FOR CHURCHES THAT FEEL THE TITLE "SOUTHERN BAPTIST" COULD BE A TURN-OFF TO POTENTIAL BELIEVERS. ALTHOUGH THE DENOMINATION'S NAME WILL OFFICIALLY REMAIN SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION, MANY DELEGATES STILL OPPOSED THE OPTIONAL "GREAT COMMISSION BAPTISTS." THOSE WHO SUPPORTED THE NEW NAME ARGUED THAT IT WOULD HELP MISSIONARIES AND NEW CHURCHES TO REACH MORE PEOPLE. FIFTY-THREE PERCENT OF DELEGATES VOTED IN FAVOR WHILE 46 PERCENT VOTED AGAINST.

A HIGH-RANKING SENATOR IS CALLING OFF A PROPOSED HEARING ON BOUNTIES IN PROFESSIONAL SPORTS BECAUSE HE IS SATISFIED WITH NFL COMMISSIONER ROGER GOODELL'S RESPONSE TO THE ISSUE. SEN. DICK DURBIN OF ILLINOIS, THE NO. 2 SENATE DEMOCRAT, MET WITH GOODELL WEDNESDAY. THE MEETING CAME ABOUT THREE MONTHS AFTER DURBIN FIRST SAID HE WANTED CONGRESS TO EXAMINE WHETHER FEDERAL LAW SHOULD MAKE IT A CRIME TO HAVE A BOUNTY SYSTEM SUCH AS THE ONE THE NFL SAYS THE NEW ORLEANS SAINTS RAN FROM 2009-11.

IN A RELATED STORY…. ESPN IS REPORTING THAT INTERIM HEAD COACH JOE VITT CALLED GOODELL TO TELL HIM HE NEVER OFFERED ANY BOUNTY MONEY AND THE ALLEGATIONS AGAINST HIM ARE UNTRUE. VITT IS ALSO REPORTEDLY WILLING TO TAKE A LIE-DETECTOR TEST.

THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT'S FIRST AUCTION OF OFFSHORE PETROLEUM LEASES IN THE SAME AREA WHERE THE DEEPWATER HORIZON EXPLODED IN 2010 BROUGHT IN $1.7 BILLION IN WINNING BIDS WEDNESDAY, PROMPTING INTERIOR DEPARTMENT SECRETARY KEN SALAZAR TO DECLARE GREAT STRIDES ARE BEING MADE TO GET DRILLING BACK ON TRACK IN THE GULF OF MEXICO. SALAZAR CALLED THE SALE ROBUST AND SAID IT DEMONSTRATED THAT THE DRILLING INDUSTRY WAS RETURNING TO LEVELS SEEN BEFORE BP’S CATASTROPHIC OIL SPILL FORCED THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO SCALE BACK PRODUCTION IN THE GULF AND IMPOSE A SWEEP OF NEW SAFETY MEASURES AND REQUIREMENTS.

LOUISIANA WILL PAY AS MUCH AS $1 MILLION TO COVER THE COSTS OF A TAX CREDIT EXPANSION THAT WAS RESCINDED BY GOV. BOBBY JINDAL AMID COMPLAINTS IT COULD DAMAGE THE STATE BUDGET, AND THE PRICE TAG FOR THE MORE LIMITED TAX CREDIT HAS FAR EXCEEDED INITIAL ESTIMATES. THE DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE ISSUED A LITTLE-NOTICED RULE IN APRIL GOVERNING THE STATE'S ALTERNATIVE FUEL TAX CREDIT, WHICH EXPANDED THE LIST OF QUALIFYING VEHICLES. JINDAL SCRAPPED THE RULE LAST WEEK, AND REVENUE SECRETARY CYNTHIA BRIDGES ABRUPTLY RESIGNED WITH NO EXPLANATION. REVENUE SPOKESMAN BYRON HENDERSON SAID WEDNESDAY THAT 372 CLAIMS FOR THE ALTERNATIVE FUEL TAX CREDIT WERE FILED WHEN THE EXPANDED LIST WAS IN EFFECT, INCLUDING 286 AMENDED TAX RETURNS. HENDERSON SAID THOSE $1.1 MILLION IN CLAIMS FILED BETWEEN APRIL 30 AND LAST WEEK WILL BE GRANTED, EVEN IF THEY WERE TIED TO THE NOW-REJECTED LIST.

THERE'S BEEN A LOT OF WORK DONE TO REPAIR AND RENOVATE THE MERCEDES-BENZ SUPERDOME SINCE HURRICANE KATRINA. THE STORMS FIERCE WINDS TORE A HOLE IN THE DOME'S ROOF, RESULTING IN SERIOUS DAMAGES. FEMA HAS ALLOCATED AN ADDITIONAL MILLION DOLLARS TO REPAIR NEWLY DISCOVERED DAMAGE. FEMA SPOKESPERSON MANUEL BROUSSARD SAYS SEVERAL OUTSIDE STRUCTURES CONNECTED TO THE DOME WERE ALSO DAMAGED AND THIS MONEY WILL GO TOWARDS REPAIRING TICKET BOOTS AND PARKING GARAGE NUMBER SIX. BROUSSARD SAYS EVEN THOUGH IT'S BEEN SIX AND A HALF YEARS SINCE KATRINA, THERE ARE OCCASIONS WHERE DAMAGE FROM A STORM IS NOT
NOTICED FOR YEARS.

LAWMAKERS ARE FUNNELING MORE MONEY INTO PUBLIC DEFENDERS' OFFICES, KEEPING SOME FROM SHUTTERING THE PROGRAMS THAT PROVIDE LAWYERS TO THOSE WHO CAN'T AFFORD THEIR OWN. A BILL BY REP. JEFF ARNOLD, D-NEW ORLEANS, WILL INCREASE CRIMINAL COURT FEES BY $10 IN MOST DISTRICT COURTS TO HELP SHOULDER THE COSTS OF DEFENSE ATTORNEYS WHO ARE REQUIRED BY LAW. LOUISIANA PUBLIC DEFENDER BOARD CHAIRMAN FRANK NEUNER ESTIMATES THE INCREASE COULD BRING IN AS MUCH AS $7 MILLION A YEAR.

FOUR PROPOSED BUDGET PLANS PRESENTED BY MONROE CITY SCHOOLS SUPERINTENDENT KATHLEEN HARRIS COULD RESULT IN 50 TO 100 TEACHERS BEING CUT NEXT YEAR.
ACCORDING TO HARRIS, CUTS NECESSARY TO BRING THE 2012-13 BUDGET IN LINE MUST COME FROM CLASSROOM TEACHERS IN A DISTRICT SHE SAID HAS BEEN CALLED "TOP HEAVY" WITH INSTRUCTIONAL PERSONNEL. BOARD MEMBERS DISAGREED. HARRIS HAD PREVIOUSLY RECOMMENDED A BUDGET THAT DECREASED THE DISTRICT'S SURPLUS BY $5 MILLION, BUT BOARD MEMBERS DIRECTED HER TO PROVIDE A BUDGET THAT DID NOT SPEND MORE THAN THE DISTRICT TAKES IN EACH YEAR. ON TUESDAY, HARRIS DID JUST THAT AND PRESENTED FOUR DIFFERENT BUDGETS THAT DID NOT INCLUDE DEFICIT SPENDING, BUT INCLUDED SIGNIFICANT CUTS TO CLASSROOM TEACHERS.

STATE POLICE SAY A DERIDDER MAN WAS KILLED IN A SINGLE VEHICLE WRECK ON HIGHWAY 464 IN VERNON PARISH. THIRTY-TWO-YEAR-OLD RICKY CHARLES KEEL LOST CONTROL OF HIS FORD TAURUS AND THE VEHICLE COLLIDED WITH A TREE AND BURST INTO FLAMES.

A BOSSIER CITY FAMILY IS GRIEVING TODAY OVER THE DEATH OF A ONE-YEAR-OLD CHILD. POLICE SERGEANT MARK CAVANAUGH SAYS THE INFANT GIRL DROWNED IN FAMILY'S BACKYARD POOL. CAVANAUGH SAYS DESPITE THE EFFORT OF FIRST RESPONDERS AND DOCTORS AT THE HOSPITAL, THE CHILD WAS PRONOUNCED DEAD YESTERDAY AFTERNOON. HE SAYS THE TODDLER'S MOTHER WAS HOME AT THE TIME OF THE ACCIDENT, BUT DIDN'T
REALIZE HER CHILD FELL INTO THE POOL.

THE LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY SAYS A 41-YEAR-OLD WOMAN WHO OWNS A COMPANY THAT TRANSPORTS WASTE TIRES WAS ARRESTED AND CHARGED WITH NUMEROUS COUNTS IN CONNECTION WITH A SCHEME TO ALLEGEDLY CHEAT THE STATE'S WASTE TIRE FUND. ANNA GUILLORY WAS ARRESTED WEDNESDAY. SHE IS THE OWNER AND OPERATOR OF REDS TRANSPORT. SHE WAS CHARGED WITH 34 COUNTS OF FORGERY, 34 COUNTS OF FILING A FALSE PUBLIC RECORD, ONE COUNT OF THEFT OF ABOUT $3,930 AND ONE COUNT OF DEFRAUDING THE LOUISIANA WASTE TIRE MANAGEMENT FUND.
DEQ ACCUSED GUILLORY OF INFLATING THE NUMBER OF ELIGIBLE TIRES AND FORGING NAMES SO THAT SHE COULD BE REIMBURSED BY A WASTE TIRE PROCESSOR UNDER THE STATE PROGRAM.






News For Wednesday 06/19/12


NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY 062012
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

A FIRE BROKE OUT EARLY TUESDAY AT NATCHITOCHES' LEVY EAST BED AND BREAKFAST, GUTTING THE HISTORIC STRUCTURE. IT HAPPENED ABOUT 5:45 A.M. AND TOOK FIREFIGHTERS ABOUT AN HOUR TO GET THE BLAZE UNDER CONTROL. ONE FIREFIGHTER SUFFERED MINOR INJURIES. AUTHORITIES DO NOT BELIEVE ANYONE WAS INSIDE WHEN THE FIRE STARTED AND THE BLAZE IS UNDER INVESTIGATION. LEVY EAST BED AND BREAKFAST DATES BACK TO THE 1860S.

THE NUMBERS ARE PRETTY MUCH CONFIRMED AND STILL, VERY HARD TO SWALLOW. NEARLY 300 CENTRAL LOUISIANA RESIDENTS WILL BE LAID OFF FROM STATE JOBS IN PINEVILLE NEXT MONTH. ACCORDING TO THE LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HOSPITALS, 101 EMPLOYEES WILL LOSE THEIR JOBS AT PINECREST SUPPORTS AND SERVICES CENTER, 82 WILL BE CUT FROM PAYROLL AT CENTRAL LOUISIANA STATE HOSPITAL, AND MORE THAN 100 WILL LOSE THEIR JOBS AT THE DABADIE CORRECTIONAL CENTER. ALL THREE FACILITIES ARE IN PINEVILLE. THE CUTS ARE THE RESULT OF THE GOVERNORS VETO LAST WEEK OF FUNDING FOR DABADIE AND CUTS MADE BE LAWMAKERS, IN THE JUST COMPLETED LEGISLATIVE SESSION.

A COMMITTEE CHARGED WITH DEVELOPING THE PROCESS FOR FINDING THE NEXT RAPIDES PARISH SCHOOLS SUPERINTENDENT IS SPLIT ON WHEN THAT PROCESS SHOULD WRAP UP.
COMMITTEE MEMBER JANET DIXON PROPOSED TUESDAY THAT THE COMMITTEE'S PREVIOUSLY RECOMMENDED DATE OF DEC. 12 TO HAVE A NEW SUPERINTENDENT IN PLACE BE MOVED UP TO NOV. 15. JULIE MCCONATHY SUPPORTED THE MOTION, BUT STEVE BERRY AND PAM WEBB VOTED AGAINST IT, LEAVING THE MOTION TO FAIL AT 2-2.

CENTRAL LOUISIANA OFFICIALS ARE UPSET WITH GOVERNOR JINDAL FOR USING HIS VETO PEN TO TAKE AWAY FUNDING FROM THE DABADIE CORRECTIONAL CENTER IN PINEVILLE. THAT WILL RESULT IN THE LOSS OF 100 STATE JOBS, BECAUSE THE PRISON WILL HAVE TO CLOSE. INMATES WILL BE CONSOLIDATED INTO THE AVOYELLES CORRECTIONAL CENTER IN COTTONPORT. PINEVILLE REPRESENTATIVE CHRIS HAZEL PREDICTS THE GOVERNOR'S NEXT STEP IS TO TRY AGAIN TO PRIVATIZE THE AVOYELLES PRISON.

AT THE END OF THE DAY TODAY, THE PRESIDENCY OF THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION WILL PASS TO AN AFRICAN AMERICAN PASTOR FOR THE FIRST TIME. THE NATION'S LARGEST PROTESTANT DENOMINATION VOTED TUESDAY TO ELECT THE REV. FRED LUTER JR. TO LEAD THEM. FACED WITH DECLINING MEMBERSHIP, THE SBC IS TRYING TO APPEAL TO A MORE DIVERSE GROUP OF BELIEVERS. LUTER'S ELECTION AT THE SBC'S ANNUAL MEETING IN NEW ORLEANS HELPS THOSE EFFORTS. SOME SOUTHERN BAPTISTS ALSO BELIEVE ADOPTING THE ALTERNATIVE NAME “GREAT COMMISSION BAPTISTS” WILL HELP. THEY SAY THERE ARE TOO MANY PEOPLE WHO HAVE NEGATIVE ASSOCIATIONS WITH THE CURRENT NAME.
THE RESULTS OF A VOTE ON THAT PROPOSAL WILL BE ANNOUNCED TODAY.

NOTIFICATION LETTERS WERE SENT TO LOUISIANA'S LAWMAKERS TUESDAY, ADVISING THEM ABOUT THE PLANNED JULY 14 VETO SESSION AND HOW TO SCRAP THE MEETING IF THEY DON'T WANT TO HOLD IT. THE VETO SESSION WAS AUTOMATICALLY SET WHEN GOV. BOBBY JINDAL REJECTED BILLS FROM THE REGULAR LEGISLATIVE SESSION THAT ENDED THIS MONTH. A VETO SESSION WOULD ALLOW LAWMAKERS TO DECIDE IF THEY WANT TO OVERRIDE SOME OF THE GOVERNOR'S DECISIONS. A MAJORITY WRITTEN VOTE OF EITHER THE HOUSE OR SENATE CAN CANCEL THE VETO SESSION. THE DEADLINE FOR LAWMAKERS TO SEND IN BALLOTS TO STOP THE SESSION IS MIDNIGHT JULY 9. LAWMAKERS HAVE NOT HELD A VETO SESSION SINCE THE CURRENT LOUISIANA CONSTITUTION WAS ENACTED FOUR DECADES AGO.

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL WAS ON THE ROAD YESTERDAY RAISING MONEY FOR REPUBLICANS IN WEST VIRGINIA. THE GOVERNOR ATTENDED FUNDRAISERS FOR REPUBLICAN GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE BILL MALONEY AND FOR THE WEST VIRGINIA REPUBLICAN PARTY.

U.S. INTERIOR SECRETARY KEN SALAZAR IS IN NEW ORLEANS TODAY, TO ANNOUNCE THE RESULTS OF OFFSHORE OIL & GAS LEASE SALES IN THE CENTRAL GULF OF MEXICO. LOUISIANA OIL & GAS ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT DON BRIGGS SAYS HE IS ENCOURAGED BY THE NUMBER OF SUBMITTED BIDS FOR THE LEASES; 593 FROM 48 COMPANIES. THIS IS THE FIRST OFFSHORE LEASE OFFERING IN THE CENTRAL GULF SINCE THE 2010 BP OIL SPILL. BRIGGS SAYS THE OFFERING TOTALS ABOUT 39-MILLION ACRES...:

FOUR LOUISIANA PARISHES RANK IN THE TOP 100 IN THE COUNTRY FOR GROWTH. THE DATA, FROM THE U.S. CENSUS BUREAU, LISTS LIVINGSTON PARISH AS THE COUNTRY'S 37TH FASTEST-GROWING. ASCENSION IS 69TH, ORLEANS 77TH AND BOSSIER PARISH IS 91ST. DEMOGRAPHER GREG RIGAMER SAYS IT'S MORE EVIDENCE THAT LOUISIANA'S ECONOMY IS OUTPACING THE NATION'S.

THE NINE SCHOOLS IN THE UNIVERSITY OF LOUISIANA SYSTEM HAVE RECEIVED PERMISSION TO NEARLY TRIPLE ANNUAL CAR REGISTRATION FEES FOR STUDENTS FROM $35 TO UP TO $100 STARTING IN THE FALL. SYSTEM SPOKESWOMAN JACKIE TISDELL SAID TUESDAY THAT THE FEE POLICY WAS ADJUSTED TO ACCOMMODATE THE UNIVERSITY OF NEW ORLEANS, WHICH WAS ADDED TO THE SYSTEM THIS YEAR, AND CHARGES $100. EACH CAMPUS WILL ANALYZE ITS NEEDS BEFORE DECIDING INDEPENDENTLY HOW CLOSE TO THE $100 MAXIMUM IT WILL CHARGE.

A STATE REPRESENTATIVE HAS GIVEN UP HIS POSITION ON A HOUSE COMMITTEE TO DEVOTE MORE TIME TO REFORMING THE STATE BUDGET. IN A LETTER TO HOUSE SPEAKER HUCK KLECKLEY, LAKE CHARLES REPRESENTATIVE BRETT GEYMANN RESIGNED HIS SEAT ON THE HOUSE NATURAL RESOURCES COMMITTEE TO SPEND MORE TIME ON THE HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE. GEYMANN IDENTIFIES HIMSELF AS ONE OF THE FISCAL HAWKS, A GROUP OF CONSERVATIVE LEGISLATORS WHO TRIED TO STRIP SO CALLED ONE-TIME MONEY OUT OF THE STATE BUDGET. GEYMANN CALLED THE BUDGET, JUST PASSED BY THE LEGISLATURE AND SIGNED BY THE GOVERNOR...SHAMEFUL...

LAFAYETTE REGIONAL AIRPORT IS GETTING A $1.1 MILLION GRANT FROM THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION. THE MONEY IS FOR IMPROVEMENTS TO RUNWAY SAFETY AREAS — SPACES FOR PLANES THAT OVERSHOOT, UNDERSHOOT OR VEER OFF THE RUNWAY. SEN. MARY LANDRIEU'S OFFICE ANNOUNCED THE GRANT IN A TUESDAY NEWS RELEASE THAT SAID MONEY FROM THE GRANT WILL HELP LAFAYETTE REGIONAL MEET FEDERAL SAFETY REQUIREMENTS BY A DEC. 31, 2015, DEADLINE.

A 23-YEAR-OLD PREGNANT WOMAN WAS SHOT IN THE BACK AND ARM AS SHE SAT INSIDE A CAR IN BATON ROUGE. POLICE SAY THE WOMAN, WHOSE NAME HAS NOT BEEN RELEASED, WAS TRANSPORTED TO AN AREA HOSPITAL FOR TREATMENT. POLICE SAY SHE'S LISTED IN STABLE CONDITION. MEANWHILE POLICE SAY THE SHOOTING SUSPECT, A 26-YEAR-OLD MAN, REMAINS AT LARGE.






News For Tuesday 06/19/12


NEWS FOR TUESDAY 061912
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

THE RAPIDES PARISH SCHOOL BOARD HAS DECIDED TO CONTINUE MOVING FORWARD WITH IT’S SEARCH FOR A NEW SUPERINTENDENT. THE BOARD, IN A SPECIAL MEETING YESTERDAY, VOTED TO ADVERTISE AND SOLICIT APPLICATIONS FOR THE JOB. BOARD MEMBER JANET DIXON SAID, THE VOTE WAS JUST A MOTION TO MOVE THE PROCESS FORWARD. THE BOARD VOTED 5-4 IN MAY NOT TO RENEW THE CONTRACT OF JONES, WHO HAS BEEN SUPERINTENDENT SINCE 2003. THE COMMITTEE CHARGED WITH MAKING RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE BOARD ABOUT THE SHAPE THE SUPERINTENDENT SEARCH SHOULD TAKE IS SCHEDULED TO HAVE ITS SECOND MEETING AT 5:30 P.M. TODAY.

THE STATE EDUCATION BOARD AGREED MONDAY TO A FRAMEWORK FOR A NEW STATEWIDE VOUCHER PROGRAM THAT WILL USE TAX DOLLARS TO SEND CHILDREN TO PRIVATE SCHOOLS WITHIN MONTHS, BUT WITHOUT ACCOUNTABILITY STANDARDS STILL BEING DEVISED BY THE LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION. THE REGULATIONS LARGELY TRACK THE PROVISIONS INCLUDED IN THE LAW PUSHED BY GOV. BOBBY JINDAL AND PASSED BY THE LEGISLATURE EARLIER THIS YEAR. THEY INVOLVE REGISTRATION, STUDENT ENROLLMENT AND SCHOOL ELIGIBILITY. ONE EXCEPTION: BESE'S REGULATIONS WILL INCLUDE A CAP ON HOW MUCH PRIVATE SCHOOLS CAN RAISE TUITION AS THEY TAKE VOUCHER STUDENTS. THAT IS DESIGNED TO ADDRESS CONCERNS THAT THE SCHOOLS WILL SIGNIFICANTLY INCREASE THEIR RATES NOW THAT THE STATE IS PAYING FOR STUDENTS TO ATTEND.

FORMER LOUISIANA HOUSE SPEAKER JOE SALTER IS LEAVING HIS JOB AS THE DIRECTOR OF GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS FOR THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION. SALTER TOLD THE ADVOCATE THAT HE WAS LEAVING VOLUNTARILY TO TAKE A NEW JOB, THOUGH HE DECLINED TO SAY WHAT HE WILL BE DOING. HIS DEPARTURE TAKES EFFECT FRIDAY.A DEMOCRAT FROM THE SMALL TOWN OF FLORIEN, SALTER WAS HOUSE SPEAKER FROM 2004 TO 2008. HE WAS A LAWMAKER FOR MORE THAN TWO DECADES. HE ALSO HAD WORKED AS A PRINCIPAL AND ASSISTANT SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT.

THREE COMPANIES ARE VYING FOR THE JOB OF MANAGING STATE EMPLOYEE HEALTH PLANS. THE JINDAL ADMINISTRATION REFUSED MONDAY TO DISCLOSE HOW MUCH MONEY BLUE CROSS AND BLUE SHIELD, HUMANA AND UNITED HEALTHCARE ARE SEEKING TO HANDLE HEALTH-CARE PREMIUMS FOR THE OFFICE OF GROUP BENEFITS. MICHAEL DIRESTO, SPOKESMAN FOR THE DIVISION OF ADMINISTRATION, CITED A STATE LAW THAT STATES “DISCUSSIONS SHALL NOT DISCLOSE ANY INFORMATION DERIVED FROM PROPOSALS SUBMITTED BY COMPETING PROVIDERS.” COMMISSIONER OF ADMINISTRATION PAUL RAINWATER SAID MONDAY THAT HE HOPES TO HIRE A THIRD-PARTY ADMINISTRATOR BY THE END OF SUMMER.

A NEW REPORT OUT SHOWS FEW STATES HAVE ENOUGH MONEY IN THEIR RETIREMENT SYSTEMS TO COVER ALL THE PENSIONS THEY'RE REQUIRED TO PAY IN COMING DECADES. ECONOMIC PROBLEMS HAVE DECREASED THE VALUE OF THEIR INVESTMENTS, AND MANY STATES HAVE SIMPLY FAILED TO CONTRIBUTE THEIR FULL SHARE TO RETIREMENT SYSTEMS.
EXPERTS SAY RETIREMENT SYSTEMS SHOULD HAVE ASSETS TO COVER AT LEAST 80 PERCENT OF THE MONEY THEY OWE IN THE LONG RUN. THE REPORT INCLUDED A TOP 10 LIST OF STATES WITH THE LOWEST CONTRIBUTIONS. LOUISIANA CAME IN AT #5. LOUISIANA: HAS COVERED 56 PERCENT OF THE $41.4 BILLION IT OWES LONG-TERM.

THE NFL INSISTS IT HAS EVIDENCE GALORE IN THE NEW ORLEANS SAINTS BOUNTY PROGRAM, AND EVEN MADE SOME OF IT PUBLIC ON MONDAY. THE PLAYERS AND LAWYERS INVOLVED WEREN'T IMPRESSED. ON A STRANGE DAY THAT INCLUDED A MORNING ADJOURNMENT OF THE HEARINGS WITH NFL COMMISSIONER ROGER GOODELL, FOLLOWED BY ONE OF THE SUSPENDED PLAYERS, JONATHAN VILMA, OPTING NOT TO RETURN FOR AFTERNOON SESSIONS, THE LEAGUE SHOWED REPORTERS SOME OF THE 20,000 DOCUMENTS IT SAYS INVESTIGATORS UNCOVERED. AMONG THE THINGS THE LEAGUE REVEALED: A PRIZE OF $35,000 FOR KNOCKING BRETT FAVRE OUT OF THE NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME IN JANUARY 2010.

MORE THAN THE IMAGE OF THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION IS AT STAKE WHEN IT HOLDS ITS ANNUAL MEETING THIS WEEK TO ELECT A NEW LEADER WHO COULD BE ITS FIRST AFRICAN-AMERICAN PRESIDENT. THE FUTURE OF THE NATION'S LARGEST PROTESTANT DENOMINATION WEIGHS IN THE MINDS OF CHURCH LEADERS AS THEY CONSIDER HOW TO REVERSE DECLINING MEMBERSHIP BY ATTRACTING MORE BELIEVERS TO ITS CHURCHES IN A COUNTRY THAT IS MORE DIVERSE THAN EVER. THE REV. FRED LUTER JR., A FORMER STREET PREACHER FROM NEW ORLEANS' LOWER 9TH WARD WHO FOUNDED FRANKLIN AVENUE BAPTIST CHURCH, IS CURRENTLY UNOPPOSED FOR PRESIDENT OF THE SBC. WHILE IT'S POSSIBLE THAT CHALLENGERS COULD JUMP INTO THE RACE, MOST OBSERVERS THINK LUTER WILL BE ELECTED.

GOVERNOR JINDAL HAS USED THE LINE-ITEM VETO TO CUT FUNDING FOR TWO STATE AGENCIES, WHOSE LEADERS HAVE BEEN CRITICAL OF HIS POLICIES. STATE TREASURER JOHN KENNEDY HAD OVER A HALF-MILLION DOLLARS STRIPPED FROM HIS BUDGET, AFTER QUESTIONING THE GOVERNOR'S PATCHWORK APPROACH TO BALANCING THE STATE BUDGET. LT. GOVERNOR JAY DARDENNE COMPLAINED EARLIER THIS YEAR ABOUT NOT GETTING ENOUGH MONEY FOR TOURISM ADVERTISING. LAST WEEK, MR. JINDAL VETOED
$2-MILLION IN MARKETING FUNDS FROM DARDENNE'S DEPARTMENT. BOTH MEN SAY HOWEVER, THAT THEY WILL MAKE DO DESPITE THE CUTS TO THEIR BUDGETS.

LONG-TIME CALCASIEU TEACHERS ANGIE BONVILLAIN AND BRENDA ROMERO LAUNCHED RECALL DRIVES AGAINST HOUSE SPEAKER CHUCK KLECKLEY AND GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL. IT WILL TAKE ABOUT 957-THOUSAND SIGNATURES TO RECALL JINDAL. BOTH DRIVES HAVE UNTIL SEPTEMBER 19TH TO GATHER THE REQUIRED NUMBER OF SIGNATURES. STATE GOP EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR JASON DORE SAYS THE RECALL EFFORTS ARE VIOLATING CAMPAIGN FINANCE LAWS, SINCE THEY HAVEN'T DISCLOSED WHO FUNDING THEIR EFFORTS. BONVILLAIN SAYS THEY ARE TALKING WITH THE SECRETARY OF STATE'S
OFFICE TO MAKE SURE THEIR RECALL PETITION IS NOT ILLEGAL. THE TEACHERS ARE UPSET WITH RECENTLY PASSED EDUCATION REFORMS THAT WERE RUSHED THROUGH THE LEGISLATURE.

STATE TROOPERS SAY A WOMAN IS DEAD AFTER BEING RUN OVER BY TWO VEHICLES ON I-10 IN NEW ORLEANS. POLICE SAY SHE WAS TRYING TO GET AWAY FROM HER BOYFRIEND WHO WAS BEATING HER UP. THE 35 YEAR OLD VICTIM WAS PRONOUNCED DEAD AT THE SCENE. THE BOYFRIEND FACES BATTERY AND MANSLAUGHTER CHARGES. THE DRIVERS WHO HIT THE WOMAN WERE NOT CHARGED.

A 16-MONTH-OLD HOUMA GIRL WAS STRUCK AND KILLED OVER THE WEEKEND, WHILE STANDING IN HER DRIVEWAY, BY A VEHICLE DRIVEN BY HER OWN MOTHER. HOUMA POLICE SAYS IT HAPPENED JUST BEFORE NOON SATURDAY. NO TICKETS OR CHARGES WERE HANDED OUT IN THE ACCIDENT. AUTHORITIES SAY THE UNFORTUNATE INCIDENT WAS SIMPLY THE RESULT OF THE PARENTS BEING INATTENTIVE FOR JUST A MOMENT. THE POLICE REPORT SHOWS THE MOTHER HAD NEITHER DRUGS NOR ALCOHOL IN HER
SYSTEM AT THE TIME OF THE ACCIDENT.

ONE OF THE TWO SUSPECTS IN THE MURDER AND DISMEMBERMENT OF A FRENCH QUARTER EXOTIC DANCER HAS BEEN ORDERED TO UNDERGO A PSYCHIATRIC EVALUATION. 28-YEAR-OLD MARGARET SANCHEZ HAS BEEN MOVED TO A MENTAL HOSPITAL IN HAMMOND. SANCHEZ AND HER COMPANION, TERRY SPEAKS, WERE SEEN ON SURVEILLANCE VIDEOS LEAVING A BOURBON STREET STRIP CLUB WITH 22-YEAR-OLD JAREN LOCKHART. PARTS OF HER BODY WASHED UP ON MISSISSIPPI BEACHES A FEW DAYS LATER.

AN UPTICK IN GLOBAL DEMAND IS HELPING LOUISIANA'S ALLIGATOR INDUSTRY STAGE A COMEBACK. GATOR FARMS REPORT RISING SALES OF SKINS TO MARKETS IN EUROPE AND ASIA. LSU AQUACULTURE SPECIALIST MARK SHIRLEY SAYS THE INDUSTRY IS FINALLY SHOWING SIGNS OF RENEWED LIFE AFTER SEVERAL YEARS OF SHRINKING SALES.

A GROUP OF FILIPINO GUEST WORKERS WHO ALLEGE IN A LAWSUIT THAT THEIR LOUISIANA-BASED EMPLOYERS SUBJECTED THEM TO INHUMANE WORKING AND LIVING CONDITIONS CLAIM COMPANY OFFICIALS HAVE THREATENED SOME OF THEM WITH DEPORTATION UNLESS THEY DROP THE CASE. A FEDERAL JUDGE ON MONDAY ISSUED AN ORDER BARRING GRAND ISLE SHIPYARD INC. AND DNR-OFFSHORE AND CREWING INC., A JOB-PLACEMENT FIRM, FROM CONTACTING ANY OF THE 20 WORKERS. THE WORKERS' CLASS-ACTION LAWSUIT CLAIMS THEY WERE CONFINED TO CRAMPED LIVING QUARTERS AND FORCED TO WORK LONG HOURS FOR SUBSTANDARD PAY. LAWYERS FOR THE COMPANIES SAY THE WORKERS' CLAIMS ARE FALSE AND SHOULD BE DISMISSED. SEVERAL RECRUITING AGENCIES THAT HELPED THE WORKERS SECURE VISAS ALSO ARE NAMED AS DEFENDANTS IN THE CASE.

IT'S BEEN OVER TWO YEARS SINCE THE BP OIL SPILL COMPLETELY WIPED OUT OYSTER BEDS IN LOUISIANA, AND IT SEEMS SOME OF THE MOST IMPORTANT HARVEST AREAS AREN'T COMING BACK AND NO ONE IS QUITE SURE WHY. MIKE VOISON IS ON THE STATE'S OYSTER ADVISORY COMMITTEE, HE SAYS MOST OF THE OYSTERS BEING PRODUCED RIGHT NOW ARE COMING FROM WESTERN AND CENTRAL LOUISIANA GULF COAST.

ONE OF THE LOANS USED TO FINANCE A TROUBLED TOLL BRIDGE IN COASTAL SOUTH LOUISIANA HAS BEEN DOWNGRADED TO JUNK BOND STATUS. FITCH RATINGS ANNOUNCED THE DOWNGRADE MONDAY OF A $66 MILLION OUTSTANDING FEDERAL LOAN THAT HELPED PAY FOR THE $161 MILLION BRIDGE ON LA. HIGHWAY 1 IN LEEVILLE, JUST WEST OF GRAND ISLE. FITCH SAID IT DOWNGRADED THE BOND RATING BECAUSE OF THE WEAK PERFORMANCE OF THE TOLL COLLECTIONS. THE RATING AGENCY SAID THERE'S A "STRONG LIKELIHOOD" OF A DEFAULT ON THE LOAN WITHOUT A RESTRUCTURING OF THE DEBT.

News For Monday 06/18/12


NEWS FOR MONDAY 061812
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

IS IT ANOTHER CASE OF PUNISHING LAWMAKERS WHO WOULDN’T FALL IN LINE WITH THE GOVERNOR’S LEGISLATIVE AGENDA? GOV. BOBBY JINDAL'S DECISION FRIDAY TO CLOSE THE DABADIE CORRECTIONAL CENTER IN PINEVILLE AND THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HOSPITALS LAYING OFF ABOUT 200 EMPLOYEES AT AREA MEDICAL FACILITIES, IS BEING DESCRIBED AS JUST THAT BY MANY CENTRAL LOUISIANA RESIDENTS. LOCAL LAW MAKERS WERE ALSO VERY CRITICAL OF THE GOVERNOR’S ANNOUNCED VETO LAST FRIDAY. IT’S HOPED THAT MANY OF THE NEAR 100 EMPLOYEES AT DABADIE, WILL BE ABLE TO TRANSFER TO OTHER FACILITIES ACROSS THE STATE. BUT, AS REP. HERBERT DIXON PUT IT, 300 JOBS ARE NOW GONE FOR GOOD FROM CENTRAL LOUISIANA.

THE CITY OF ALEXANDRIA WILL FORMALLY BREAK GROUND FOR THE NEW FIRE STATION NO. 5 TODAY AT THE SITE, ON COLISEUM BOULEVARD NEXT TO THE RAPIDES PARISH COLISEUM.
THE NEW STATION WILL REPLACE THE EXISTING FIRE STATION NO. 5 ON TEXAS AVENUE NEAR JACKSON STREET. THE CONSTRUCTION BUDGET IS $2.1 MILLION. WHEN COMPLETED, THE 10,831-SQUARE FOOT STATION WILL CONTAIN THREE PARKING BAYS AND WILL BE ABLE TO HOUSE A CREW OF NINE FIRE MEN.

ALCOHOL USE IS SUSPECTED IN A WEEKEND CRASH THAT LEFT TWO PEOPLE INJURED, ONE CRITICALLY. STATE POLICE SAY THE CRASH OCCURRED EARLY SUNDAY MORNING ON HIGHWAY 1 IN CLOUTIERVILLE, WHEN A VEHICLE CARRYING TO NATCHEZ, LA RESIDENTS LEFT THE ROADWAY AND OVERTURNED SEVERAL TIMES. 56 YEAR OLD DONALD ROBINSON, THE DRIVER OF THE VEHICLE RECEIVED CRITICAL INJURIES AND WAS FLOWN TO LSU SHREVEPORT. A PASSENGER, 50 YEAR OLD KATHERINE MOSS SUSTAINED MODERATE INJURIES. THE ACCIDENT IS UNDER INVESTIGATION.

LOUISIANA'S SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE ABRUPTLY RESIGNED FRIDAY AFTER SERVING DURING THE JINDAL, BLANCO AND FOSTER ADMINISTRATIONS. CYNTHIA BRIDGES SUBMITTED A LETTER OF RESIGNATION TO GOV. BOBBY JINDAL, WHO IMMEDIATELY NAMED FORMER STATE REP. JANE SMITH AS INTERIM SECRETARY. SMITH, R-BOSSIER CITY, WAS APPOINTED AS DEPUTY SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE AFTER LOSING A CAMPAIGN FOR THE STATE SENATE LAST FALL. JINDAL'S SPOKESMAN, KYLE PLOTKIN, WOULD NOT SAY WHY BRIDGES WAS LEAVING OR WHETHER SHE WAS ASKED TO RESIGN. WHEN ASKED DIRECTLY IF JINDAL ASKED FOR BRIDGES' RESIGNATION, PLOTKIN SAID: "WE APPRECIATE HER SERVICE AND WISH HER WELL."

SAINTS OWNER TOM BENSON HAS OFFICIALLY GAINED CONTROL OF THE NEW ORLEANS HORNETS FROM THE NBA. THE COMPLETION FRIDAY OF THE $338 MILLION SALE OF THE NBA CLUB COMES TWO DAYS AFTER THE LEAGUE'S BOARD OF GOVERNORS APPROVED THE DECISION TO SELL TO BENSON. AS PART OF THE DEAL, LOUISIANA GOV. BOBBY JINDAL HAS APPROVED THE HORNETS' LEASE EXTENSION AT THE STATE-OWNED NEW ORLEANS ARENA, WHICH RUNS THROUGH 2024 AND PROVIDES FOR $50 MILLION IN IMPROVEMENTS.

THE NFL TURNED OVER SOME EVIDENCE TO THE FOUR PLAYERS SUSPENDED FOR THE SAINTS BOUNTY PROGRAM, BUT LAWYERS FOR THE PLAYERS SAID FRIDAY THEY ARE SEEKING MORE INFORMATION. CURRENT SAINTS LINEBACKER JONATHAN VILMA AND DEFENSIVE END WILL SMITH, GREEN BAY DEFENSIVE END ANTHONY HARGROVE AND CLEVELAND LINEBACKER SCOTT FUJITA WILL HAVE THEIR APPEALS HEARD TODAY BY NFL COMMISSIONER ROGER GOODELL.

THE TOP NATIONAL ORGANIZATION OF UNIVERSITY PROFESSORS HAS CENSURED LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY FOR ALLEGED MISTREATMENT OF FACULTY, INCLUDING A COASTAL RESEARCHER FIRED AFTER HURRICANE KATRINA AND A BIOLOGY PROFESSOR REMOVED FROM A CLASS FOR ALLEGED HARSH GRADING. LSU IS THE ONLY PUBLIC FLAGSHIP UNIVERSITY ON THE NATIONAL LIST OF THOSE CENSURED SATURDAY BY THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF UNIVERSITY PROFESSORS. THE GROUP ALSO CENSURED SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA AND NORTHWESTERN STATE UNIVERSITIES. THEY WERE CENSURED FOR ALLEGEDLY USING STATE BUDGET CUTS AND ACADEMIC PROGRAM ELIMINATIONS AS EXCUSES TO FIRE SOME TENURED FACULTY MEMBERS.

THE NUMBER OF RIGS ACTIVELY EXPLORING FOR OIL AND NATURAL GAS IN THE U.S. IS DOWN BY 13 THIS WEEK TO 1,971. HOWEVER, HOUSTON-BASED OILFIELD SERVICES COMPANY BAKER HUGHES INC. REPORTED FRIDAY THAT NUMBERS WERE UP BY OVER A HUNDRED FROM A YEAR AGO, WHEN THERE WERE ACTIVE 1,860 RIGS.

THE BODY OF A 52-YEAR-OLD MISSISSIPPI MAN WAS FOUND SUNDAY MORNING IN LAKE ST. JOHN IN CONCORDIA PARISH. THE BODY OF LARRY ALLEN OF OF PEARL, MISS. WAS FOUND SUNDAY MORNING UNDER A COLLAPSED PIER. ALLEN WAS A PASSENGER IN A BOAT THAT CRASHED INTO THE PIER SHORTLY AFTER MIDNIGHT SATURDAY. THE DRIVER OF THE BOAT, 50 YEAR OLD BRUCE PICKLE OF FERRIDAY, ALSO DIED.

SHREVEPORT POLICE ARE LOOKING FOR A MAN POSING AS AN OFFICER WHO PULLED A WOMAN OVER LAST WEEK. POLICE SAY THE WOMAN WAS PULLED OVER BY A MAN DRIVING A WHITE NEWER MODEL CHEVROLET WITH A SINGLE FLASHING BLUE LIGHT IN THE FRONT WINDOW. POLICE SAID THE MAN WAS WEARING SOME TYPE OF NAVY BLUE OR DARK-COLORED UNIFORM WITH NO PATCHES, MARKINGS OR BADGES. THE WOMAN REFUSED TO GET OUT OF HER CAR AS THE IMPOSTOR ORDERED, AND ASKED TO SEE HIS IDENTIFICATION.
THE IMPOSTOR THEN RETURNED TO HIS VEHICLE AND LEFT.

A BATON ROUGE COUPLE IS NOW ACCUSED OF FIRST-DEGREE MURDER OF THEIR 8-YEAR-OLD SON, UP FROM SECOND-DEGREE MURDER. THE EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE REPORTS MICHAEL ROBERTSON AND LAVAUGHN RILEY WERE REBOOKED AFTER AN AUTOPSY FOUND THAT XZAYVION RILEY'S INTESTINE RUPTURED FROM BEING HIT IN THE BELLY. ROBERTSON AND RILEY WERE BOOKED WITH SECOND-DEGREE MURDER ON TUESDAY, THE DAY THE BOY DIED. DEPUTIES SAY XZAVION'S BODY BORE 56 BRUISES, ABRASIONS AND CUTS INCLUDING AN ADULT-SIZE BITE MARK ON HIS STOMACH.

THE MISSISSIPPI HIGHWAY PATROL SAYS THREE PEOPLE DIED WHEN A 2010 PICKUP TRUCK VEERED OFF MISSISSIPPI 27 SOUTH OF VICKSBURG, HIT A TREE, AND BURST INTO FLAMES. THE ACCIDENT OCCURRED IN THE EARLY MORNING HOURS OF SATURDAY. THE COUNTY CORONER SAYS THE BODIES WERE SO BURNED THAT DNA TESTS WILL BE NEEDED TO CONFIRM THEIR IDENTITIES.

A HOUMA TEEN, WHO PLEADED GUILTY TO DRIVING DRUNK WHEN HE WRECKED HIS CAR, KILLING HIS GIRLFRIEND LAST DECEMBER HAS BEEN SENTENCED TO 10 YEARS IN PRISON. STATE POLICE SAY STEPHEN MURPHY WAS DRIVING 81 MPH IN A 45-MPH ZONE AND HAD MORE THAN TWO TIMES THE AMOUNT OF ALCOHOL IN HIS SYSTEM ALLOWED BY LAW FOR A PERSON UNDER 21 WHEN THE CRASH OCCURRED.



News For Friday 06/15/12


NEWS FOR FRIDAY 061512
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

A RECALL PETITION HAS BEEN FILED WITH THE LOUISIANA SECRETARY OF STATE'S OFFICE AGAINST RAPIDES PARISH SCHOOL BOARD DISTRICT C MEMBER JULIE MCCONATHY.
A FAX ANNOUNCING THE RECALL AND A SUNDAY MEETING WAS SENT TO THE TOWN TALK OFFICE YESTERDAY MORNING, AND A SPOKESWOMAN IN THE SECRETARY OF STATE'S OFFICE CONFIRMED THAT THE PETITION WAS HAND-DELIVERED AND FILED ON WEDNESDAY.
THE FAX DOES NOT NAME WHO IS BEHIND THE RECALL PETITION. MRS. MCCONATHY'S FAMILY HAS RECENTLY RELOCATED TO NORTH LOUISIANA AND ACCORDING TO SEVERAL PEOPLE WE’VE TALKED TO, SHE HAS EXPRESSED HER INTENTION TO RESIGN FROM HER POSITION. BUT, NOT UNTIL AFTER HER VOTE HAS ASSURED THAT DR. JONES HAS BEEN REPLACED BY A NEW SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT. ACCORDING TO THE RECALL PETITION, "VOTERS IN THE COMMUNITY FEEL THAT HER MOTIVES TO REPLACE DR. JONES ARE PERSONAL AND POLITICAL.

THE GRANT PARISH SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT REPORTS THE BODY OF A 69-YEAR-OLD DRY PRONG RESIDENT, JESSIE MERCER JR, WAS RECOVERED FROM THE RED RIVER NEAR THE COLFAX RECREATION AREA YESTERDAY MORNING. THE SHERIFF'S OFFICE SAID MERCER WAS THROWN FROM HIS BOAT DUE TO ROUGH WATER EARLY WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON.

U.S. SENATOR MARY LANDRIEU CLAIMS HOUSE REPUBLICANS ARE PREVENTING CONGRESS FROM PASSING A TRANSPORTATION BILL THAT SHE SAYS WILL CREATE THOUSANDS OF JOBS AND PROVIDE THE GULF COAST STATES WITH BILLIONS OF DOLLARS AS A RESULT OF THE RESTORE ACT. THE RESTORE ACT IS INCLUDED IN THE TRANSPORTATION BILL. THE RESTORE ACT MANDATES THAT 80-PERCENT OF THE FINES FROM THE 2010 OIL SPILL WILL GO TO THE GULF COAST STATES. LANDRIEU THIS LEGISLATION WILL HELP WITH COASTAL RESTORATION AND CREATE JOBS. HOUSE GOP MEMBERS WANT THE DEMOCRATS TO AGREE TO EXPAND OFFSHORE DRILLING AND APPROVE THE KEYSTONE OIL PIPELINE FROM CANADA, IN EXCHANGE FOR PASSING THE TRANSPORTATION BILL.

MONITORING STATIONS AROUND THE STATE HAVE BEGUN TO REPORT FINDING MOSQUITOES WITH WEST NILE VIRUS. KYLE MOPPERT WITH DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HOSPITALS, SAYS ITS NORMAL FOR THE BUGS WITH THE VIRUS TO SHOW UP ABOUT THIS TIME OF YEAR. HE RECOMMENDS USING A REPELLENT WITH DEET, CHECK YOUR WINDOW SCREENS FOR HOLES, AND GET RID OF ANY STANDING WATER IN YOUR YARD.

A NATCHITOCHES PARISH DOUBLE MURDER SUSPECT HAS BEEN NABBED IN TACOMA, WASHINGTON. NATCHITOCHES SHERIFF VICTOR JONES OFFICE SAYS RENALDO NARGO WAS CAUGHT AT HIS BROTHER'S HOME. NARGO IS ACCUSED OF SHOOTING TWO MEN, REPORTEDLY OVER A STOLEN ASSAULT RIFLE. HE'LL BE RETURNED TO LOUISIANA TO FACE JUSTICE.

VIC STELLY, THE MAN BEST KNOWN FOR THE STELLY TAX PLAN, HAS STEPPED DOWN FROM THE STATE BOARD OF REGENTS. STELLY SAYS HE IS DISILLUSIONED WITH THE STATE OF HIGHER EDUCATION IN LOUISIANA. HE SAYS WE REACHED A HIGH WATER MARK FOR STATE FUNDING IN 2008, BUT SINCE THAT TIME THE STATE'S COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES HAVE LOST ALMOST HALF THEIR FUNDING. THE GOVERNOR AND HIS ALLIES IN THE LEGISLATURE BLAME CUTS TO HIGHER EDUCATION ON A NEED TO BALANCE THE STATE'S BUDGET. STELLY SAYS MOST OF THE BUDGET GAP CAN BE TRACED BACK TO HUGE TAX GIVE-AWAYS TO BUSINESS AND INDUSTRIES. HE SAYS THE EFFORT TO ATTRACT MORE JOBS INTO THE STATE IS AT A COST TO OUR COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES.

NEW ORLEANS POLICE ARE INVESTIGATING A SHOOTING IN ALGIERS THAT HAS LEFT ONE MAN DEAD AND ANOTHER IN CRITICAL CONDITION. IT HAPPENED SHORTLY BEFORE NOON ON THURSDAY. POLICE SAY THE TWO PEOPLE WERE SHOT WHILE INSIDE A CAR. POLICE SAY THE SHOOTER WAS SITTING IN THE BACK OF THE CAR WHEN HE OPENED FIRE.

A NORTHWEST LOUISIANA LAWMAKER WHO WAS A VOCAL CRITIC OF GOV. BOBBY JINDAL'S BUDGET PROPOSALS HAS BEEN REMOVED FROM HIS LEADERSHIP POSITION IN THE LEGISLATURE. REP. JIM MORRIS, A REPUBLICAN FROM OIL CITY, SAID THURSDAY THAT HE WAS STRIPPED OF HIS POSITION AS VICE CHAIRMAN OF THE HOUSE NATURAL RESOURCES AND ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE AFTER THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION ENDED. HOUSE SPEAKER CHUCK KLECKLEY CONFIRMED THE CHANGE, BUT HE WOULDN'T SAY WHY MORRIS WAS OUSTED FROM THE JOB.

GRANT PARISH IS CRACKING DOWN ON ILLEGAL DUMPING. BY LAW, ANY PERSON WHO IS NOT A RESIDENT OF GRANT PARISH MAY NOT DUMP GARBAGE IN GRANT PARISH TRASH BINS; SCAVENGING IN TRASH BINS IS NOT ALLOWED AND DUMPING CERTAIN ITEMS IS NOT ALLOWED. VIOLATORS ARE SUBJECT TO A FINE. NON-RESIDENTS WHO ARE CAUGHT VIOLATING THE OUT OF PARISH DUMPING ORDINANCE WILL BE REQUIRED TO PAY DOUBLE THE USUAL FINE, BEGINNING WITH $500 UPON THEIR FIRST OFFENSE. IN ADDITION TO THESE FINES, THE POLICE JURY HAS VOTED TO IMPOSE A FINE ON COMMERCIAL HAULERS WHO DEPOSIT GARBAGE INTO GRANT PARISH TRASH BINS.

THE LOUISIANA HIGHWAY SAFETY COMMISSION SAYS A NEW STUDY SHOWS SPEEDING IS THE CAUSE OF ABOUT ONE-THIRD OF CRASH DEATHS IN LOUISIANA. EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR COL JOHN LEBLANC SAYS DRIVERS NEED TO EASE UP ON THE PEDAL. HE SAYS SPEEDING HAS BECOME A MAJOR PROBLEM. HE SAYS ADD TO SPEEDING, DRIVING WHILE DRUNK AND FAILURE TO WEAR A SEAT BELT AND YOU HAVE A DEADLY COMBINATION. 668 PEOPLE DIED ON LOUISIANA HIGHWAYS LAST YEAR.

FALLEN TEXAS BILLIONAIRE, ALLEN STANFORD, WHO DEFRAUDED INVESTORS OF $7 BILLION, INCLUDING $1 BILLION IN LOUISIANA, HAS BEEN SENTENCED TO 110 YEARS IN JAIL. THE TEXAS TYCOON WAS ALSO ORDERED TO PAY BACK $5.9 BILLION, EVEN THOUGH HE NOW HAS NO MONEY. STANDFORD WAS CONVICTED IN MARCH OF RUNNING THE BILLION DOLLAR PONZI SCHEME,

A FORMER NFL PLAYER AND CURRENT TEACHER AT CROWLEY HIGH SCHOOL IS FACING CRIMINAL CHARGES FOR ALLEGED INAPPROPRIATE CONTACT WITH A STUDENT. ACADIA PARISH SHERIFF'S SPOKESPERSON, DEPUTY MAXINE TRAHAN, SAYS THEY RECEIVED A COMPLAINED LAST WEEK THAT 48-YEAR-OLD BRYANT KEITH ORTEGO (OAR-TA-GO) MAY HAVE DONE SOMETHING IMPROPER WITH A JUVENILE. SHE SAYS THEY AREN'T RELEASING MANY MORE DETAILS WHILE THE INVESTIGATION IS UNDERWAY.

LAFAYETTE CITY-PARISH COUNCILMAN WILLIAM THERIOT IS PUSHING FORWARD WITH A PROPOSAL TO ALLOW VOTERS TO DECIDE THE FATE OF THE CITY'S TRAFFIC-CAMERA ENFORCEMENT PROGRAM. THE MOVE COMES DESPITE WARNINGS FROM THE CITY-PARISH ATTORNEY THAT A PUBLIC VOTE ON THE ISSUE IS NOT ALLOWED UNDER STATE OR LOCAL LAW. THERIOT SAYS HE WILL INTRODUCE A MEASURE AT NEXT TUESDAY'S COUNCIL MEETING TO CALL FOR A REFERENDUM THIS FALL TO DECIDE IF THE CONTROVERSIAL TRAFFIC-CAMERA PROGRAM SHOULD END.

LAFAYETTE CITY-PARISH PRESIDENT JOEY DUREL SAYS HE IS GIVING THE CITY OF BROUSSARD 10 DAYS TO DROP TWO LAWSUITS OR RISK LOSING SERVICES LAFAYETTE PROVIDES, INCLUDING WATER, ANIMAL CONTROL AND FIRE DISPATCH. IN A CERTIFIED LETTER SENT TUESDAY TO BROUSSARD MAYOR CHARLES DUREL WROTE THAT HE IS WILLING TO RENEGOTIATE A WHOLESALE WATER AGREEMENT IN WHICH LAFAYETTE UTILITIES SYSTEM SELLS WATER AT WHOLESALE PRICES TO BROUSSARD, BUT ONLY IF BROUSSARD FIRST CEASES A PAIR OF LEGAL ACTIONS AGAINST LAFAYETTE. BROUSSARD SUED LAFAYETTE OVER AN $825,000 WATER BILL THE LAFAYETTE UTILITY SYSTEM SENT FOR WATER THAT BROUSSARD USED BUT DID NOT PAY FOR. BROUSSARD ALSO SUED LAFAYETTE OVER AN ANNEXATION DISPUTE.

LOUISIANA'S STATE HEALTH DEPARTMENT WANTS TO ADD A PHARMACY BENEFIT TO PRIVATE INSURANCE NETWORKS THAT ARE PROVIDING HEALTH CARE FOR MUCH OF THE POOR WHO RECEIVE COVERAGE THROUGH MEDICAID. THREE HEALTH INSURANCE ENTITIES WILL BE PAID A PER-MEMBER, PER-MONTH PREMIUM FOR BAYOU HEALTH PARTICIPANTS AND WILL START MANAGING THE DELIVERY OF PHARMACY SERVICES IN THEIR PATIENTS' CARE PLANS BY THE FALL. CURRENTLY, MEDICAID RECIPIENTS' PRESCRIPTION DRUG COVERAGE IS HANDLED THROUGH A STATE-RUN PHARMACY PROGRAM. THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HOSPITALS WILL HOLD SIX HEARINGS AROUND LOUISIANA THIS MONTH TO DISCUSS THE PLANNED CHANGES, WHICH WILL AFFECT HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE IN THE MANAGED CARE NETWORKS, PRIMARILY PREGNANT WOMEN AND CHILDREN.

KEVIN COSTNER SAID HIS REPUTATION WAS AT STAKE AS HE DEFENDED HIMSELF AGAINST ACCUSATIONS THAT HE CHEATED FELLOW ACTOR STEPHEN BALDWIN OUT OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN A LUCRATIVE BP CONTRACT FOR OIL-CLEANING MACHINES AFTER THE 2010 SPILL. BALDWIN AND A FRIEND WERE SEEKING $17 MILLION IN DAMAGES, SAYING THEY COULD HAVE MADE AT LEAST THAT MUCH IN THE DEAL. A FEDERAL GRAND JURY SIDED WITH COSTNER AND GAVE THEM NOTHING.






News For Thursday 06/14/12


NEWS FOR THURSDAY 061412
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

GOVERNOR JINDAL SIGNS INTO LAW A MEASURE THAT CREATES THE CENTRAL LOUISIANA TECHNICAL COMMUNITY COLLEGE. THE AUTHOR OF THE LEGISLATION, WINNFIELD SENATOR GERALD LONG, SAYS THEY ARE FORMING THE NEW COMMUNITY COLLEGE BY COMBINING SIX TECHNICAL SCHOOLS IN THE REGION. LONG SAYS THE NEW TECHNICAL COMMUNITY COLLEGE WILL PROVIDE MORE COLLEGE COURSES FOR RESIDENTS LIVING IN THE AREA. LONG SAYS CREATING THE CENTRAL LOUISIANA TECHNICAL COMMUNITY COLLEGE COMES AT A GOOD TIME AS THEY EXPECT THIS AREA OF THE STATE TO SEE A GROWTH IN OIL-RELATED JOBS.

GOVERNOR JINDAL SAYS HE EXPECTS HIS EDUCATION REFORMS, PASSED BY STATE LAWMAKERS, WILL WITHSTAND LEGAL CHALLENGES POSED BY TWO TEACHERS UNIONS.
MR. JINDAL CALL LAWSUITS FILED BY THE LOUISIANA FEDERATION OF TEACHERS AN ATTEMPT TO PRESERVE THE "STATUS QUO" IN PUBLIC EDUCATION. BUT, THE LFT SAYS THE STATE CONSTITUTION CLEARLY SAYS PUBLIC SCHOOL FUND DOLLARS GO TO THE SCHOOLS, AND GIVING ANY OF THAT MONEY TO PRIVATE OR PAROCHIAL SCHOOLS IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL. THE LOUISIANA ASSOCIATION OF EDUCATORS INTENDS TO FILE ITS OWN SUIT; CHALLENGING THE SCHOOL VOUCHERS PLAN, TEACHER TENURE REFORMS AND TEACHER EVALUATION RULES PASSED LAST YEAR.

MURPHY PAINTER, THE FORMER COMMISSIONER OF THE LOUISIANA OFFICE OF ALCOHOL AND TOBACCO CONTROL, ENTERED A NOT GUILTY PLEA WEDNESDAY IN THE CASE WHERE HE'S ACCUSED OF USING HIS POWER AND ACCESS TO SPY ON PEOPLE, MOSTLY WOMEN. LAST WEEK, A JUDGE RELEASED PAINTER ON HIS OWN RECOGNIZANCE, ALLOWING HIM TO REMAIN FREE THROUGHOUT HIS TRIAL. A GRAND JURY LAST MONTH INDICTED THE 59-YEAR-OLD ON CHARGES OF COMPUTER FRAUD, MAKING FALSE STATEMENTS AND AGGRAVATED IDENTITY THEFT.

LAWMAKERS SEEKING TO CURTAIL DRUNKEN DRIVING BACKED A STRING OF PROPOSALS THAT TOUGHEN PENALTIES, GIVE LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS MORE METHODS TO TEST FOR DRIVER IMPAIRMENT AND CRACK DOWN ON REPEAT OFFENDERS. SIX BILLS ADDRESSING INTOXICATED DRIVERS HAVE BEEN SIGNED BY GOV. BOBBY JINDAL. CLOSE TO 300 PEOPLE DIED IN ALCOHOL-RELATED CRASHES IN THE STATE LAST YEAR. AS HIGH AS THAT NUMBER IS, THE DEATH RATE IS DOWN SUBSTANTIALLY FROM JUST A FEW YEARS AGO.

CONSTRUCTION TO WIDEN AND INSTALL LEFT TURN LANES ON HORSESHOE DRIVE AT MASONIC DRIVE IN ALEXANDRIA WILL BEGIN MONDAY AND WILL LAST ABOUT 60 DAYS. HORSESHOE DRIVE WILL BE WIDENED FROM PRESCOTT ROAD TO ABOUT 600 FEET EAST OF MASONIC DRIVE TO ALLOW FOR LEFT TURN LANES TO BE INSTALLED. THERE WILL BE SOME LANE RESTRICTIONS WITHIN THE WORK AREAS; HOWEVER MINIMAL AMOUNTS OF ROAD CLOSURES AND DETOURS ARE ANTICIPATED, ACCORDING TO CITY OFFICIALS.

FORMER PORT ALLEN MAYOR DEREK LEWIS HAS BEEN SENTENCED TO 40 MONTHS IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR HIS GUILTY PLEA TO A CHARGE OF RACKETEERING. THE JUDGE ALSO ORDERED LEWIS TO REPAY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CLOSE TO $19 GRAND FOR CASH AND OTHER BRIBES HE AND FORMER PORT ALLEN POLICE CHIEF FRED SMITH ACCEPTED DURING A FBI STING AGAINST CORRUPT MUNICIPAL OFFICIALS. SMITH WAS CONVICTED AT TRIAL IN OCTOBER ON RELATED RACKETEERING AND FRAUD CHARGES. ALL IN ALL, SIX OFFICIALS IN WHITE CASTLE, ST. GABRIEL, NEW ROADS AND PORT ALLEN WERE CONVICTED AS A RESULT OF THE STING.

US SENATOR DAVID VITTER IS DEMANDING ANSWERS FROM THE CENSUS BUREAU REGARDING ALLEGED ERRORS DURING THE COUNT OF RESIDENTS IN MONROE IN 2010. OFFICIALS HAVE SAID THAT THE CITY HAS ACCOUNTED FOR ABOUT 2,000 MORE PEOPLE LIVING IN MONROE THAN THE CENSUS COUNTED.

THE STATE'S BOARD OF PAROLE WILL BE ELIMINATED AND ITS DUTIES GIVEN TO THE PARDON BOARD UNDER A COST-CUTTING BILL SIGNED INTO LAW BY GOV. BOBBY JINDAL. THE PARDON BOARD CURRENTLY MAKES RECOMMENDATIONS ON WHICH PRISONERS SHOULD BE GRANTED A COMMUTED SENTENCE BY THE GOVERNOR. UNDER ITS EXPANDED ROLE, THE PANEL ALSO WILL GAIN THE RESPONSIBILITY TO RECOMMEND WHEN AN INMATE DESERVES PAROLE.

A UNITED AIRLINES FLIGHT ATTENDANT REMAINS IN SERIOUS CONDITION AFTER BEING INJURED BY TURBULANCE THAT FORCED THE PLANE TO MAKE AN EMERGENCY LANDING IN LAKE CHARLES. THE SUDDEN LURCHING OF THE PLAN TOSSED FLIGHT ATTENDANTS ABOUT THE CABIN LIKE DOLLS; ONE WAS HURT PRETTY BADLY. THE PLANE WAS EN ROUTE FROM HOUSTON TO NEW YORK CITY. AFTER REPLACING INJURED CREW, THE PLANE CONTINUED ON ITS ROUTE AFTER A DELAY OF MORE THAN 5 HOURS.

A WESTLAKE MAN HAS BEEN SENTENCED TO 120 YEARS IN PRISON FOR COMMITTING SEX CRIMES ON YOUNG BOYS. BERGERSON PLEADED GUILTY IN DECEMBER TO 12 COUNTS OF ORAL SEXUAL BATTERY, 12 COUNTS OF INDECENT BEHAVIOR AND ONE COUNT OF SEXUAL BATTERY. PROSECUTOR CYNTHIA GUILLORY SAID BERGERON WOULD INVITE YOUNG BOYS INTO HIS HOME AND GIVE THEM DRUGS AND/OR ALCOHOL UNTIL THEY PASSED OUT. HE WOULD THEN PERFORM ORAL SEX ON THEM. GUILLORY CALLED BERGERON "THE SICKEST OF THE SICK".

A BATON ROUGE COUPLE HAVE BEEN ARRESTED AND BOOKED WITH SECOND-DEGREE MURDER AND CRUELTY TO A JUVENILE FOLLOWING THE DEATH OF THEIR 8-YEAR-OLD SON.
DEPUTIES SAY MICHAEL ROBERTSON AND LAVAUGHN RILEY WERE ARRESTED TUESDAY NIGHT AFTER BRUISES AND BITES WERE DISCOVERED ON 8-YEAR-OLD XZAYVION RILEY.
THE CHILD WAS PRONOUNCED DEAD AT A HOSPITAL. DEPUTIES SAY THE MEDICAL STAFF DOCUMENTED 56 BRUISES, CUTS AND ABRASIONS ON THE CHILD, INCLUDING AN ADULT-SIZE BIGHT MARK ON HIS STOMACH.

A SHREVEPORT MAN HAS PLEADED NOT GUILTY TO CHARGES ARISING FROM THE DEATH OF HIS INFANT SON IN 2007 AND RECENT INJURIES TO ANOTHER OF HIS CHILDREN.
TWENTY-SEVEN-YEAR-OLD KENNETH R. WILLIS ENTERED THE PLEAS TUESDAY. HE FACES A CHARGE OF FIRST-DEGREE MURDER IN THE DEATH OF ZAMIAN WILLIS, WHO WAS A MONTH OLD WHEN HE DIED OF HEAD INJURIES IN 2007. HE ALSO HAS BEEN CHARGED WITH SECOND-DEGREE CHILD CRUELTY CHARGES IN CONNECTION WITH THE INJURIES TO HIS 3-MONTH-OLD SON. A PROSECUTOR SAID TUESDAY THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE WILL SEEK THE DEATH PENALTY IN THE 2007 CASE.

FAMILY MEMBERS OF A MAN WHO DIED AFTER A WEEKEND FIGHT WITH POLICE IN A HOUMA WAL-MART SAY THEY HAVE MET WITH THE TERREBONNE PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE TO DISCUSS THE INVESTIGATION INTO HIS DEATH. THE DEAD MAN WAS 41-YEAR-OLD RANDOLPH BONVILLIAN JR. OF HOUMA. POLICE SAID AN OFFICER WORKING A SECURITY DETAIL AT THE STORE HEARD A MAN SCREAMING SHORTLY BEFORE MIDNIGHT SATURDAY. THE OFFICER APPROACHED BONVILLIAN AND A FIGHT BEGAN THAT EVENTUALLY INVOLVED SEVERAL POLICE OFFICERS. THREE OFFICERS WERE INJURED. BONVILLIAN DIED SHORTLY AFTER THE STRUGGLE. FAMILY MEMBERS SAY A TASER GUN WAS USED, HOWEVER, POLICE WILL NOT CONFIRM OR DENY THAT. AN AUTOPSY IS PENDING.

A FORMER NEW ORLEANS GROUP HOME RESIDENT IS ACCUSED OF KILLING THE HOME'S CARETAKER. POLICE SAY 31-YEAR-OLD RICKY RUSSELL HIT THE 74-YEAR-OLD WOMAN OVER THE HEAD WITH A WINDOW UNIT AIR CONDITIONER AND PUT A PLASTIC BAG OVER HER HEAD. HE THEN STOLE HER CAR AND DROVE IT INTO LAKE PONCHARTRAIN.

THE AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION SAYS THE STATE COULD SAVE MILLIONS IF IT WOULD RELEASE NON-VIOLENT PRISON INMATES WHO ARE OVER 50. ACLU-LA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR MARJORIE ESMAN SAYS THE COST OF HOUSING AND CARING FOR OLDER INMATES IS NEARLY DOUBLE THAT OF THE AVERAGE PRISONER, AND MOST ARE NOT A PUBLIC SAFETY RISK. THE ACLU FEELS CAREFUL INDIVIDUAL REVIEW OF EARLY PAROLE CASES IS CALLED FOR, TO ASSURE NO ONE WHO IS STILL DANGEROUS IS RELEASED. ESMAN SAYS LOUISIANA CURRENTLY HAS ABOUT 6600 STATE PRISONERS WHO ARE OVER 50. LAST YEAR THET STATE PASSED A LAW ALLOWING SOME ELDERLY PRISONERS AN EARLY PAROLE HEARING.

A PINEVILLE FAMILY, WHOSE HOME BURNED DOWN LAST WEEKEND, SAYS THEY WOULD HAVE DIED IN THAT FIRE IF NOT FOR THE FAMILY DOG. THE EVANS FAMILY SAYS THEIR LITTLE POOCH GOT ON THE HEAD OF THEIR BED AS THEY SLEPT AND BARKED THEM AWAKE. THEY MADE IT OUT OF THE SMOKE-FILLED HOUSE ALIVE. THE FIRE IS UNDER INVESTIGATION. FIREFIGHTERS THINK IT STARTED AT THE WATER HEATER.

TEXTRON MARINE & LAND SYSTEMS HAS GOTTEN AN ORDER FOR 71 MOBILE STRIKE FORCE VEHICLES FOR THE AFGHANISTAN NATIONAL ARMY, WITH A COST CAP OF JUST UNDER $79.2 MILLION. THE ORDER BRINGS THE TOTAL MADE FOR AFGHANISTAN, INCLUDING TEST VEHICLES, TO 499. TEXTRON SAYS THE DELIVERIES ARE SCHEDULED THROUGH OCTOBER 2013.

A FORMER IBERIA PARISH SHERIFF'S DEPUTY HAS BEEN SENTENCED TO 12 YEARS IN PRISON FOR RECEIVING CHILD PORNOGRAPHY. U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE RICHARD T HAIK ALSO SENTENCED DANIEL J. BOURQUE JR., OF ERATH ON WEDNESDAY TO 15 YEARS OF SUPERVISED RELEASE FOLLOWING THE PRISON SENTENCE. THE 33-YEAR-OLD BOURQUE PLEADED GUILTY IN FEBRUARY TO RECEIVING CHILD PORNOGRAPHY.












News For Wednesday 06/13/12


NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY 061312
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

ANOTHER QUESTIONABLE INSTITUTION COULD BE RECEIVING A LARGE AMOUNT OF TAXPAYER MONEY UNDER THE NEW SCHOOL VOUCHER PROGRAM. AN ARTICLE IN TODAY’S TOWN TALK INDICATED THE OPERATOR OF THE BEAU VER CHRISTIAN ACADEMY IN DERIDDER HAS A CRIMINAL RECORD AND IS ON PROBATION FOR WRITING BAD CHECKS AND IS PROHIBITED FROM SIGNING CHECKS ON PERSONAL OR BUSINESS ACCOUNTS. THE SCHOOL, WHICH IN IT PRIOR INCARNATION EXPERIENCED SEVERE FINANCIAL PROBLEMS, HAS RECEIVED INITIAL APPROVAL FOR 119 SCHOOL VOUCHERS IN THE STATE'S STUDENT SCHOLARSHIPS FOR EDUCATIONAL EXCELLENCE PROGRAM. IF ALL WERE FUNDED, THEY WOULD BE WORTH MORE THAN $400,000 IN A 10-MONTH SCHOOL YEAR.

THE SALE OF DOGS AND CATS WILL BE BANNED FROM ROADSIDES, FLEA MARKETS, PUBLIC PARKS AND PUBLIC PLAYGROUNDS. GOV. BOBBY JINDAL SIGNED INTO LAW TUESDAY THE PROHIBITION INCLUDED IN A BILL BY JEFFERSON PARISH REP. TONY LIGI. VIOLATION WILL CARRY UP TO A $250 FINE THE FIRST TIME, THEN UP TO $1,000 FOR SUBSEQUENT OFFENSES.

IT’S A STORY THAT EVEN MADE THE FRONT PAGES OF PAPERS IN GREAT BRITAIN. IT’S THE BEGINNING OF THE END FOR AN INSTITUTION THAT HAS HAD A MAJOR INFLUENCE IN LOUISIANA FOR CLOSE TO 200 YEARS. THE TIMES-PICAYUNE SAID TUESDAY 200 EMPLOYEES WILL LOSE THEIR JOBS WHEN ONE OF THE NATION'S OLDEST DAILY NEWSPAPERS SHIFTS ITS FOCUS TO ONLINE NEWS AND PUBLISHES JUST THREE DAYS A WEEK BEGINNING THIS FALL. THE PAPER SAID 84 OF THE NEWSROOM'S 173 EMPLOYEES WERE CUT AT THE 175-YEAR-OLD PAPER. ADVERTISING, CIRCULATION AND OTHER DEPARTMENTS ALSO WERE AFFECTED. THE CHANGE MEANS NEW ORLEANS WILL BECOME THE LARGEST METRO AREA IN THE NATION WITHOUT A DAILY NEWSPAPER.

A STATE DISTRICT JUDGE HAS SET BAIL AT $1 MILLION FOR THE SUSPECTED DRUNKEN DRIVER ACCUSED OF VEHICULAR HOMICIDE IN THE DEATHS OF SEVEN PEOPLE IN A MAY 30 HEAD-ON COLLISION IN EAST FELICIANA PARISH. BRETT GERALD HAD BEEN IN THE EAST FELICIANA PARISH PRISON WITHOUT BAIL SINCE JUNE 4. GERALD, RECOVERING FROM ANKLE INJURIES AND SEATED IN A WHEELCHAIR, APPEARED BEFORE JUDGE WILLIAM G. CARMICHAEL FOR TUESDAY'S BAIL HEARING ON THE SEVEN COUNTS OF VEHICULAR HOMICIDE. THE CONDITIONS OF THE BAIL INCLUDE LIVING WITH HIS FATHER, NOT LEAVING THE HOUSE UNLESS GOING TO CHURCH OR GETTING MEDICAL TREATMENT, AND BEING OUTFITTED WITH AN ELECTRONIC MONITORING DEVICE. GERALD'S ARRAIGNMENT ON THE CHARGES SLATED FOR TUESDAY WAS POSTPONED UNTIL JUNE 26 BECAUSE GERALD DID NOT HAVE AN ATTORNEY PRESENT.

A NEW REPORT FROM THE LEGISLATIVE AUDITOR'S OFFICE SAYS A STATE JOB-TRAINING AND EMPLOYMENT PROGRAM SPENT BETWEEN $3 MILLION AND $5 MILLION MORE ON TRANSPORTATION THAN IT SHOULD HAVE COMPARED TO PRACTICES USED IN OTHER STATES OR EVEN WITHIN OTHER AREAS OF STATE GOVERNMENT. THE STRATEGIES TO EMPOWER PEOPLE PROGRAM, KNOWN AS STEP AND RUN THROUGH THE DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES, ALSO FAILED TO MEET ITS GOALS OF GETTING WELFARE RECIPIENTS BACK TO WORK, WITH ONLY A QUARTER OF THOSE INVOLVED LAST YEAR LEAVING THE PROGRAM WITH A JOB. ISSUED MONDAY, THE REPORT SHARPLY CRITICIZES THE AMOUNT STEP PAYS TO GET ITS ROUGHLY 2,860 PARTICIPANTS TO WORK ACTIVITIES. MORE THAN 60 PERCENT OF THE PROGRAM'S $8.9 MILLION BUDGET GOES TOWARD TRANSPORTATION COSTS.

A LEADER OF CONSERVATIVE HOUSE REPUBLICANS CALLED IT "SHAMEFUL" TUESDAY THAT A GOP-CONTROLLED LOUISIANA LEGISLATURE PASSED A $25.6 BILLION BUDGET THAT CONTAINED ONE-TIME FUNDING SCRAPED TOGETHER TO AVERT DEEP CUTS TO STATE SERVICES. REP. BRETT GEYMANN, R-LAKE CHARLES, SAID WHILE THE GOP HOLDS THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE AND BOTH CHAMBERS OF THE LEGISLATURE, LITTLE HAS CHANGED AT THE STATE CAPITOL IN BUDGETING MANEUVERS. GEYMANN IS ONE OF THREE DOZEN LAWMAKERS IN THE HOUSE WHO CALL THEMSELVES "FISCAL HAWKS" AND WHO PUSHED FOR REDUCED SPENDING IN THE FISCAL YEAR THAT BEGINS JULY 1. ALEXANDRIA’S LANCE HARRIS IS ALSO A MEMBER OF THE HAWKS.

A HANDFUL OF PROPOSALS THAT CHIP AWAY AT PROVISIONS OF THE STATE'S ETHICS CODE RECEIVED THE BACKING OF GOV. BOBBY JINDAL, WHO SIGNED INTO LAW NEW EXCEPTIONS TUESDAY TO NEPOTISM BANS AND CONTRACTING PROHIBITIONS. CRITICS OF SOME OF THE PROVISIONS SAY THE CHANGES COULD UNDERMINE ETHICS LAWS AND LEAD TO MORE SWEEPING EXCEPTIONS IN LATER YEARS. GOVERNOR JINDAL SIGNED THAT MEASURE AND THREE OTHER ETHICS EXEMPTION BILLS, ALL OPPOSED BY THE BOARD OF ETHICS.

GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL HAS SIGNED INTO LAW A BILL THAT WOULD BAN DOCTORS FROM PERFORMING ABORTIONS 20 WEEKS AFTER CONCEPTION. THE BILL GOES INTO EFFECT AUGUST 1ST AND CARRIES FINES AND IMPRISONMENT FOR ANY PHYSICIAN THAT PERFORMS AN ABORTION AFTER THE 20 WEEK CUT-OFF.

STATE TRANSPORTATION OFFICIALS ARE EXAMINING WHETHER TOLLS WOULD BE A VIABLE OPTION TO PAY FOR THE COMPLETION OF INTERSTATE 49 SOUTH FROM LAFAYETTE TO NEW ORLEANS. THE STATE LEGISLATURE PASSED A RESOLUTION REQUESTING A STUDY TO BE COMPLETED BY DECEMBER. IT'S BEEN ESTIMATED THAT IT WILL COST FIVE-BILLION DOLLARS TO BUILD AN INTERSTATE THAT WOULD CONNECT LAFAYETTE AND NEW ORLEANS.

GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL HAS SIGNED A BILL SHORTENING VOTING HOURS FOR SATURDAY ELECTIONS IN LOUISIANA. UNDER THE MEASURE, POLLS WILL OPEN AN HOUR LATER AT 7AM STARTING NEXT YEAR.

A FEDERAL APPEALS COURT RULES IN FAVOR OF RED LIGHT CAMERAS. THE CASE WAS A CHALLENGE OF USING THE TRAFFIC CAMS IN THE CITY OF NEW ORLEANS. THE 5TH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS RULED THE CAMERAS ARE CONSTITUTIONAL; AFFIRMING A LOWER COURT'S RULING. THE COURT RULED THE CAMS DO REDUCE ACCIDENTS.

THE LOUISIANA COMMUNITY AND TECHNICAL COLLEGE SYSTEM BOARD OF SUPERVISORS IS EXPECTED TO CONSIDER A PROPOSAL TO MERGE CERTAIN NORTHEAST LOUISIANA TECHNICAL COLLEGE CAMPUSES WITH LOUISIANA DELTA COMMUNITY COLLEGE AT ITS WEDNESDAY'S BOARD MEETING IN BATON ROUGE. GOV. BOBBY JINDAL SIGNED THE MERGER BILL THURSDAY. BOARD APPROVAL IS THE SECOND STEP IN THE MERGER PROCESS.
THE LEGISLATION WILL MERGE THE BASTROP, DELTA-OUACHITA, NORTH CENTRAL, NORTHEAST LOUISIANA, RUSTON AND TALLULAH CAMPUSES OF THE LOUISIANA TECHNICAL COLLEGE WITH DELTA AND TRANSFERS ALL FUNDS, OBLIGATIONS, PROPERTY, PROGRAMS, FACILITIES AND FUNCTIONS RELATIVE TO THESE TECHNICAL COLLEGE CAMPUSES TO LOUISIANA DELTA COMMUNITY COLLEGE EFFECTIVE JULY 1. THE MERGER WILL STILL NEED TO RECEIVE THE BLESSING OF THE SOUTHERN ASSOCIATION OF COLLEGES AND SCHOOLS (SACS), WHICH MEETS IN LATE THIS MONTH.

THE MONROE FIRE DEPARTMENT ARE TRYING TO DETERMINE HOW A MORNING FIRE YESTERDAY GOT STARTED AT THE UNIVERSITY OF LOUISIANA AT MONROE. REPORTS INDICATE THE FIRE STARTED IN A JANITOR'S CLOSET. FIRE AND UNIVERSITY PERSONNEL REPORT THERE WERE NO INJURIES IN THE BLAZE.


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News For Tuesday 06/12/12


NEWS FOR TUESDAY 061212
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

THE NEWLY APPOINTED RAPIDES PARISH SCHOOL BOARD ADVISORY COMMITTEE HELD ITS FIRST MEETING LAST NIGHT AND EVEN THOUGH BOARD MEMBER STEVE BERRY WAS CHAIRED THE MEETING, IT WAS CLEAR WHO WAS IN CHARGE. BOARD MEMBER JANET DIXON TOLD COMMITTEE MEMBERS SHE MET WITH LAFAYETTE PARISH SCHOOL BOARD PRESIDENT SHELTON COBB THIS PAST FRIDAY TO FIND OUT HOW THAT BOARD APPROACHED ITS RECENT SEARCH FOR A NEW SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT. DIXON INFORMED THE BOARD SHE WAS DEVELOPING A POWERPOINT PRESENTATION OUTLINING WHAT LAFAYETTE DID DIFFERENTLY FROM THE RAPIDES PARISH SCHOOL BOARD'S LAST SEARCH IN 2003 WHICH RESULTED IN THE HIRING OF CURRENT SUPERINTENDENT DR. GARY JONES. THE BOARD AS YOU KNOW HAS DECIDED NOT TO RENEW DR. JONES CONTRACT WHICH EXPIRES AT THE END OF THE YEAR.

THE RAPIDES PARISH POLICE JURY VOTED UNANIMOUSLY MONDAY TO PUT AN ELECTION ON THE NOV. 6 BALLOT FOR A $23 MILLION BOND ISSUE TO UPGRADE THE COLISEUM AND A ONE MILL PROPERTY TAX TO FUND ITS OPERATIONS FOR THE NEXT 20 YEARS. IN ADDITION TO MAJOR RENOVATIONS TO THE COLISEUM, MAJOR IMPROVEMENTS ARE ALSO PLANNED FOR THE EXHIBITION HALL, AGRICULTURE FACILITIES AND PARKING AREAS. JAMES GREER, WHO RECENTLY PURCHASED COWBOY TOWN, ASKED THE JURY TO CONSIDER BUYING THE VACANT FORMER ENTERTAINMENT VENUE OFF INTERSTATE 49 AND MAKING IT THE PARISH'S ARENA. BUT, JURORS FEEL THAT FACILITY WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO HANDLE MANY OF THE EVENTS CURRENTLY HELD AT THE COLISEUM.

A PINEVILLE MAN AND A DRY PRONG WOMAN PLEADED GUILTY YESTERDAY TO ATTEMPTED MURDER AND ROBBERY CHARGES IN CONNECTION WITH AN INCIDENT THAT TOOK PLACE IN JANUARY OF LAST YEAR. DURING THE ROBBERY A MAN WAS SHOT. 20 YEAR OLD QUINN SONNIER AND 28 YEAR OLD TABITHA MCGLOTHLIN WERE SENTENCED TO 15 YEARS IN PRISON AT HARD LABOR FOR ATTEMPTED MURDER, AND 15 YEARS AT HARD LABOR FOR ROBBERY. THE SENTENCES ARE TO RUN CONCURRENT. HOWEVER, BOTH RECEIVED CREDIT FOR TIME SERVED. THAT WILL KNOCK ABOUT A YEAR OFF THE 30 YEAR SENTENCES.

THE LEADER OF THE UNIVERSITY OF LOUISIANA SYSTEM SAID MONDAY HE'S ASKED THE STATE'S TOP HIGHER EDUCATION BOARD TO SCRAP ITS METHOD FOR DIVVYING UP DOLLARS AMONG LOUISIANA'S PUBLIC COLLEGES, SAYING THE FORMULA IS INAPPROPRIATE TO USE WITH BUDGET CUTS. UL SYSTEM PRESIDENT RANDY MOFFETT SAID THE PERFORMANCE-BASED FORMULA DEVISED BY THE BOARD OF REGENTS WAS DESIGNED WHEN STATE FUNDING FOR HIGHER EDUCATION WAS INCREASING, TO CREATE INCENTIVES FOR CAMPUSES TO IMPROVE THEIR PERFORMANCE. HE SAID IT WASN'T DESIGNED TO STRIP FUNDING FROM SCHOOLS. SINCE JULY 2008, GOV. BOBBY JINDAL'S ADMINISTRATION AND LAWMAKERS HAVE STRIPPED NEARLY $427 MILLION IN STATE GENERAL FUNDS FROM HIGHER EDUCATION. ANOTHER $66 MILLION HAS BEEN CUT FROM THE BUDGET YEAR THAT STARTS JULY 1ST.

VOTERS WILL FACE A HEFTY LIST OF QUESTIONS IN THE FALL ELECTION WHEN THEY SEE THE CHANGES PUSHED BY LAWMAKERS FOR THEM TO CONSIDER. NINE PROPOSALS TO AMEND THE LOUISIANA CONSTITUTION WILL BE ON THE NOV. 6 BALLOT AFTER THE ACTION OF THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION THAT ENDED LAST WEEK. A TERM LIMIT QUESTION ALSO WILL APPEAR, TIED TO OTHER NEWLY PASSED LEGISLATION. IN THE MOST ATTENTION-GRABBING ITEM, VOTERS WILL DECIDE WHETHER TO SET A TOUGHER STANDARD FOR RESTRICTING THE USE OF WEAPONS AND WHETHER TO REMOVE A PROVISION THAT GIVES THE LEGISLATURE EXPLICIT AUTHORITY TO LIMIT CONCEALED HANDGUNS.

A BAIL HEARING IS BEING HELD TODAY FOR A MAN ACCUSED OF DRIVING DRUNK NEAR SLAUGHTER AND SMASHING INTO A CAR HEAD-ON KILLING SEVEN PEOPLE. THE EAST FELICIANA PARISH DISTRICT ATTORNEY SAYS 30-YEAR-OLD BRETT GERALD WILL BE CHARGED WITH SEVEN COUNTS OF VEHICULAR HOMICIDE. ON MAY 30TH WHEN THE HORRIBLE ACCIDENT OCCURRED, STATE POLICE SAY GERALD HAD A BLOOD-ALCOHOL CONTENT OF .15 PERCENT. MEDIA REPORTS SAY HE'S ALSO BEEN ARRESTED AT LEAST THREE OTHER TIMES FOR DRUNK DRIVING. A SINGLE VEHICULAR HOMICIDE CONVICTION CARRIES A SENTENCE OF BETWEEN FIVE AND THIRTY YEARS.

GOVERNOR JINDAL HAS SIGNED INTO LAW A BILL MAKING MOTOR VEHICLE INSPECTIONS NECESSARY EVERY TWO YEARS, INSTEAD OF THE CURRENT ANNUAL INSPECTIONS. DRIVERS WILL STILL PAY THE SAME HOWEVER, AND DRIVERS WILL STILL, IF THEY LIKE, BE ABLE TO GET THEIR VEHICLE INSPECTED ANNUALLY AND PAY THE CURRENT $10 FEE. THE NEW OPTION WILL ALLOW DRIVERS TO PAY $20 AND ONLY BRING THEIR VEHICLE IN EVERY OTHER YEAR. THE NEW LAW DOES NOT APPLY TO DRIVERS IN THE FIVE PARISH CAPITAL AREA, THEY WILL STILL HAVE TO GET YEARLY INSPECTIONS, DUE TO FEDERAL POLLUTION COMPLIANCE. THE NEW LAW TAKES EFFECT SEPTEMBER 1ST..

GAS PRICES HAVE FALLEN ANOTHER PENNY OVER THE PAST FEW DAYS. ACCORDING TO THE AMERICAN AUTOMOBILE ASSOCIATION THE STATEWIDE AVERAGE FOR A GALLON
OF REGULAR GAS IS $3.28.

AMID SPECULATION THAT GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL MAY BE ASKED TO BE MITT ROMNEY'S VICE-PRESIDENTIAL RUNNING MATE...LT. GOVERNOR JAY DARDENNE SAYS HE'S PREPARED TO STEP UP. IF JINDAL WAS TAPPED TO RUN WITH ROMNEY AND IF THE GOP RECLAIMS THE WHITE HOUSE, DARDENNE WOULD BECOME THE STATE'S NEXT CHIEF EXECUTIVE AND HE SAYS HE'S PREPARED FOR THAT POSSIBILITY.

GOOD MORNING AMERICA ANCHOR AND FAMOUS SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA UNIVERSITY ALUM ROBIN ROBERTS ANNOUNCED YESTERDAY MORNING SHE HAS BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH A RARE BLOOD AND BONE MARROW DISORDER CALLED MDS. ROBERTS SAYS THE DISEASE IS THE RESULT OF COMPLICATION FROM THE SUCCESSFUL CANCER TREATMENT SHE RECEIVED IN 2007. ROBERTS WILL RECEIVE A BONE MARROW TRANSPLANT FROM HER SISTER SALLY ANN ROBERTS OF WWL-TV.

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HAS ISSUED AN EL NINO WATCH, WHICH MEANS THERE IS A 50-PERCENT CHANCE OF AN EL NINO FORMING IN THE EQUATORIAL PACIFIC BY THE END OF THE YEAR. AN EL NINO BY THIS SUMMER WOULD CHANGE THE WIND CURRENTS IN THE HURRICANE BREEDING GROUNDS OF THE TROPICAL ATLANTIC MAKING IT HARDER FOR STORMS TO FORM AND GROW. IT WOULD ALSO MAKE FOR CHANGES TO OUR WEATHER PATTERNS FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR. AN EL NINO PATTERN USUALLY MEANS COOLER AND WETTER WINTERS FOR LOUISIANA, WHICH, ACCORDING TO STATE CLIMATOLOGIST BARRY KEIM, WOULD BE AS WELCOME HERE AS FEWER HURRICANES. KEIM DESCRIBES AN EL NINO AS A HUGE POOL OF WARMER THEN NORMAL WATER IN THE TROPICAL PACIFIC BETWEEN SOUTH AMERICA AND TAHITI.

SWEDISH DEVELOPER SKANSKA AND JOINT VENTURE PARTNER MAPP CONSTRUCTION, A BATON ROUGE-BASED CONSTRUCTION FIRM, HAVE SECURED THE SECOND PIECE OF THE STATE CONTRACT FOR THE NEW UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER IN NEW ORLEANS. SKANSKA SAID THE SECOND PORTION OF THE CONTRACT IS FOR $130 MILLION AND SKANSKA'S SHARE IS $118 MILLION. THE COMPANY SAYS THE CONTRACT INCLUDES A 258,000 -SQUARE-FOOT AMBULATORY CARE FACILITY AND A 1,300-SPACE PARKING GARAGE. THE HOSPITAL IS EXPECTED TO OPEN IN FEBRUARY 2015.

A CONSTRUCTION WORKER HAS DIED AFTER AN INDUSTRIAL ACCIDENT AT THE SITE OF A NEW JAIL IN CAMERON PARISH. THE SHERIFF'S OFFICE SAID THE ACCIDENT HAPPENED SHORTLY AFTER 9 ON MONDAY, WHEN A LOAD OF MATERIALS FELL ONTO A CONSTRUCTION WORKER.

TERREBONNE PARISH SHERIFF'S DEPUTIES SAY A HOUMA MAN INJURED THREE POLICE OFFICERS IN A SCUFFLE AT THE CITY'S WAL-MART SATURDAY, THEN COLLAPSED AND DIED. AN OFF-DUTY OFFICER SAID 41-YEAR-OLD RANDOLPH BONVILLIAN WAS SHOUTING LOUDLY IN THE STORE AND GREW VIOLENT WHEN THE OFFICER APPROACHED HIM. AN INVESTIGATION IS UNDERWAY.






News For Monday 06/11/12


NEWS FOR MONDAY 061112
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

THE IMPASSE CONTINUES BETWEEN KALB AND THE DISH NETWORK. DISH HAS NOW STOPPED CARRYING FIVE HOAK MEDIA STATIONS ACROSS THE STATE. DISH INSISTS THAT WANTED A 200 PERCENT INCREASE IN CHARGES TO AIR BROADCASTS AND DEMANDED THAT DISH DROP A COMMERCIAL-SKIPPING FEATURE OF ITS DIGITAL RECORDERS KNOWN AS AUTOHOP. RICH ADAMS, HOAK MEDIA'S C.O.O. SAYS, THAT DISH'S ACCOUNT OF THE DISPUTE IS "A LIE." HOWEVER, IT WASN’T LONG AGO THAT HOAK WAS DROPPED FROM SUDDENLINK CABLE. AT THAT TIME, HOAK PLAYED DISH NETWORK AND DIRECT TV AGAINST SUDDENLINK. IN THAT CASE, SUDDENLINK BLINKED. HOWEVER, WHEN FACED WITH A SIMILAR STAND OFF IN BATON ROUGE, DISH STOOD IT’S GROUND. MANY MEDIA INSIDERS BELIEVE THE BIGGER ISSUE IN THIS CASE, AND WILL BE IN OTHER MARKETS IN WEEKS TO COME, IS THE NEW “AUTO HOP” FEATURE THAT ALLOWS DISH USERS TO SKIP OVER LOCAL COMMERCIALS.

FORMER LSU QUARTERBACK JORDAN JEFFERSON IS SCHEDULED IN COURT TODAY, FOR A MOTIONS HEARING RELATED TO HIS ARREST LAST AUGUST FOR A FIGHT OUTSIDE A BATON ROUGE BAR. LEGAL ANALYST TIM MECHE SAYS PROSECUTORS AND DEFENSE ATTORNEYS WILL HAVE THE CHANCE ASK THE JUDGE TO CONSIDER REQUESTS FOR TRIAL CONDITIONS. JEFFERSON IS CHARGED WITH SIMPLE BATTERY FOR HIS ROLE IN A FIGHT OUTSIDE SHADY'S BAR NEAR THE LSU CAMPUS. JEFFERSON'S CASE WILL BE DECIDED BY THE JUDGE, NOT A JURY. BECAUSE HE'S CHARGED WITH A MISDEMEANOR. MECHE DOUBTS JEFFERSON WILL SERVE ANY FURTHER JAIL TIME FOR THE CHARGE

TWO WEEKS AGO, MOST PEOPLE DIDN'T EVEN KNOW STONY BROOK HAD A BASEBALL TEAM. BUT LSU BASEBALL FANS ARE WELL AWARE OF THE SEAWOLVES AFTER THEY DEFEATED THE TIGERS SEVEN TO TWO LAST NIGHT TO WIN THE BATON ROUGE SUPER REGIONAL SERIES. LSU COACH PAUL MAINIERI SAYS HE WOULDN'T BE SURPRISED IF STONY BROOK WON THE COLLEGE WORLD SERIES.

56 YEAR OLD ELMER SYKES OF BROUSSARD WAS KILLED IN GRANT PARISH SATURDAY AFTER NOON, WHEN HIS VEHICLE LEFT HIGHWAY 500 NEAR GEORGETOWN AND STRUCK A TREE. STATE POLICE SAY, SYKES, WHO WAS NOT WEARING HIS SEATBELT, WAS EJECTED FROM THE VEHICLE. ROUTINE TOXICOLOGY TESTS ARE PENDING.

A TEENAGE BOY WHO IS THE SEVENTH VICTIM OF A MAY 30 HEAD-ON CRASH IN EAST FELICIANA PARISH DIED SUNDAY. 13 YEAR OLD ROGERICK JOHNSON JR. DIED AT ABOUT 3 P.M. AT THE CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL IN NEW ORLEANS. JOHNSON IS ONE OF SEVEN PEOPLE TO DIE AFTER A GREENSBURG MAN ACCUSED OF DRUNKEN DRIVING CRASHED HIS PICKUP INTO THEIR VEHICLE AS THEY WERE HEADING HOME FROM CHURCH .

THE AVOYELLES SOCIETY FOR THE DEVELOPMENTALLY DISABLED MAY CLOSE BECAUSE IT CAN'T PAY ITS STATE LICENSING FEE. THE MARKSVILLE, LA., GROUP CARES FOR 47 DISABLED ADULTS DURING THE DAY. AN OFFICIAL WITH THE ORGANIZATION SAYS THEY FACE A JUNE 30 DEADLINE TO RAISE OR BORROW $50,000 TO RENEW THE SOCIETY'S STATE LICENSE. BOARD PRESIDENT TROY GUILBEAUX SAYS IN ORDER TO SURVIVE, BOARD MEMBERS MAY HAVE TO SIGN FOR A PERSONAL LOAN TO RAISE THE MONEY. HOWEVER AT THIS TIME SOME BOARD MEMBERS SEEM UNWILLING TO TAKE THE RISK. GUILBEAUX SAYS 14 EMPLOYEES COULD LOSE THEIR JOBS IF THE ORGANIZATION CLOSES. HE SAID THE SITUATION, IS SCHEDULED TO BE DISCUSSED, AT BOARD MEETING TODAY.

A MEMBER OF LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY'S GOVERNING BOARD SAYS IT MAY BE WISE FOR THE SYSTEM TO AVOID ACROSS-THE-BOARD BUDGET CUTS. FACED WITH A 6.8 PERCENT CUT TO STATE FUNDS, BOARD MEMBER STEPHEN PERRY OF NEW ORLEANS SAID IT MIGHT BE BETTER TO CUT SPECIFIC PROGRAMS DEEPLY, INSTEAD OF JUST LEAVING SPECIFICS TO INDIVIDUAL CAMPUSES. PERRY GOT SUPPORT FROM INTERIM LSU SYSTEM PRESIDENT WILLIAM JENKINS. JENKINS WARNED THE SYSTEM IS "ON THE POINT OF IMPLOSION" WITHOUT A NEW STRATEGY. OVERALL, HIGHER EDUCATION IS EXPECTING A $66 MILLION CUT IN STATE FINANCING NEXT Y EAR WITH LSU BEARING $28 MILLION OF THOSE REDUCTIONS. THE BUDGET PASSED BY THE LEGISLATURE ALSO REQUIRES ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS TO TRIM ANOTHER $15 MILLION. THOSE REDUCTIONS MAY FALL ON HIGHER EDUCATION AND HEALTH CARE.

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL HAS VETOED A BILL THAT WOULD HAVE CREATED A TAX REBATE FOR DONATIONS TO PUBLIC SCHOOLS. HOUSE BILL 1106 WOULD HAVE CREATED A TAX REBATE FOR THOSE WHO GIVE TO LOW-PERFORMING SCHOOLS. THE SIZE OF THE REBATE WOULD HAVE DEPENDED ON THE SCHOOL'S PERFORMANCE GRADE. JINDAL WROTE IN HIS VETO LETTER FRIDAY THAT THERE WAS NO PROVISION IN THE STATE BUDGET FOR THE REBATES.
THE BILL WAS SPONSORED BY REP. KATRINA JACKSON, D MONROE. SHE DESCRIBED ITS REJECTION AS "TRULY A BLOW TO PUBLIC EDUCATION." THE MEASURE WAS FRAMED AS A RESPONSE TO A BILL THAT JINDAL ALREADY SIGNED, CREATING REBATES FOR THOSE WHO DONATE TO NONPROFIT GROUPS THAT THEN PROVIDE PRIVATE SCHOOL SCHOLARSHIPS.

THE LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION IS SPENDING MORE THAN $132.9 MILLION WITH TWO OUT-OF-STATE COMPANIES FOR STANDARDIZED TESTS USED IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS.
THE DEPARTMENT HAS 70 CURRENT CONTRACTS TOTALING $282 MILLION, MORE THAN HALF OF WHICH GOES TO CONTRACTORS OUTSIDE OF LOUISIANA. THE NUMBER OF CONTRACTS AWARDED BY THE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT DOESN'T SIT WELL WITH STATE TREASURER JOHN KENNEDY, WHO SAYS THE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT IS "RIGHT AT THE TOP OF THE LIST" WHEN IT COMES TO STATE GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS THAT "ABUSE" CONTRACTS.

THE LOUISIANA ASSOCIATION OF EDUCATORS SAYS IT, TOO, WILL FILE A LAWSUIT TO THROW OUT A SET OF EDUCATION CHANGES PUSHED BY GOV. BOBBY JINDAL AND PASSED BY LAWMAKERS. DIRECTORS OF THE TEACHERS UNION HAVE ALSO ENDORSED AN EFFORT TO RECALL JINDAL. THE UNION VOTED SATURDAY TO SUE OVER CHANGES TO THE STATE'S ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOL FUNDING FORMULA THAT WILL PAY FOR A STATEWIDE VOUCHER PROGRAM, ONLINE SCHOOLS, COLLEGE TUITION SCHOLARSHIPS AND AN EXPANSION OF CHARTER SCHOOLS. THE UNION SAYS THE CHANGES VIOLATE THE STATE CONSTITUTION AND ILLEGALLY TRANSFER LOCAL TAX MONEY FROM ONE DISTRICT TO ANOTHER.

A FORMER STATE SENATOR SAYS A JEFFERSON DAVIS PARISH TOWN MAY BE BREAKING STATE LAW BY SETTING TICKET QUOTAS FOR ITS OFFICERS. THE WELSH POLICE DEPARTMENT HAS FACED CRITICISM FROM TOWN COUNCIL MEMBERS FOR HIRING OFF-DUTY OFFICERS TO ENFORCE TRAFFIC LAWS ON INTERSTATE 10. FORMER STATE SEN. JOE MCPHERSON SAYS THAT THE ACTIVITY APPEARS TO VIOLATE A STATE LAW HE SPONSORED BEFORE LEAVING THE LEGISLATURE. WELSH POLICE CHIEF TOMMY CHAISSON INSISTED THE TRAFFIC DETAIL DOESN'T USE THEM. HOWEVER, CHAISSON TOLD THE WELCH TOWN COUNCIL IN MARCH THAT IF OFFICERS AREN'T WRITING ONE TICKET PER HOUR, THEY AREN'T BEING PRODUCTIVE. THE COUNCIL REFUSED THAT MONTH TO ALLOW CHAISSON TO LENGTHEN SHIFTS FROM SIX HOURS TO 12 HOURS.

SENATOR MARY LANDRIEU EXPRESSED HER DISAPPOINTMENT THAT THE PAYCHECK FAIRNESS ACT, WHICH SHE SUPPORTED, FAILED IN THE U.S. SENATE ON A 52 TO 47 VOTE, ON PARTY LINES. LANDRIEU SAYS THE BILL WOULD HAVE HELPED LOUISIANA WOMEN OVERCOME PAY DISCRIMINATION, WHICH HAS THEM EARNING LESS THAN MEN DOING THE SAME JOBS. THE BILL WOULD HAVE PLUGGED LOOPHOLES IN THE 50 YEAR OLD EQUAL PAY ACT OF 1963. LANDRIEU SAYS LOUISIANA WOMEN ARE EARNING LESS THAN MEN IN 264 OUT OF 265 OCCUPATIONAL FIELDS. SHE SAYS BECAUSE WOMEN BRING IN 40-PERCENT OF THEIR FAMILY'S INCOME, PAYCHECK DISCRIMINATION HAS BECOME AN ISSUE HOLDING BACK THE ECONOMIC RECOVERY.

WITH THE HEAT OF SUMMER COMING ON, STATE OFFICIALS REMIND PARENTS AND CAREGIVERS THAT IT'S NEVER SAFE TO LEAVE A CHILD UNATTENDED IN A VEHICLE. DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN & FAMILY SERVICES SPOKESMAN TREY WILLIAMS SAYS, ON HOT SUMMER SAYS, THE TEMPERATURE INSIDE A CAR CAN RISE 20 DEGREES IN A MATTER OF JUST MINUTES. IN LOUISIANA, 21 KIDS HAVE DIED OF HEAT STROKE FROM BEING LEFT ALONE IN A CAR SINCE 1989.

STATE HEALTH OFFICIALS ARE ENCOURAGING RESIDENTS TO PRACTICE SAFE FOOD HANDLING AND FREQUENT HAND WASHING AS A RESULT OF A E COLI OUTBREAK THAT SICKENED PEOPLE IN SIX STATES INCLUDING LOUISIANA. THERE'S BEEN FOUR CASES IN THE GREATER NEW ORLEANS AREA AND THE OUTBREAK RECENTLY CLAIMED THE LIFE OF A CHILD. ASSISTANT STATE HEALTH OFFICER DR. TAKESHI DAVIS SAYS THIS CURRENT OUTBREAK IS MOST LIKELY COMING FROM A FOOD SOURCE, BUT AT THIS POINT, HEALTH OFFICIALS DON’T KNOW WHICH FOOD.

THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR HAS GIVEN GOODWILL INDUSTRIES OF SOUTHEAST LOUISIANA $1 MILLION TO OFFER JOB TRAINING AND OTHER HELP TO RELEASED PRISONERS.
THE GRANT WILL PAY FOR TRAINING 250 TO 300 EX-OFFENDERS IN A 10-MONTH PROGRAM. THEY WILL BE TRAINED IN BROADBAND TECHNOLOGY, CULINARY ARTS OR THE BIO-DIESEL INDUSTRY. THEY ALSO WILL GET MENTORING AND INSTRUCTION IN "SOFT SKILLS" SUCH AS ANGER MANAGEMENT. THE FORMER PRISONERS ALSO WILL BE SET UP WITH HOUSING ASSISTANCE, SUBSTANCE ABUSE PROGRAMS AND MENTAL HEALTH TREATMENT AS NEEDED. MANY OF THE 15,000 PEOPLE RELEASED FROM LOUISIANA PRISONS EACH YEAR DO NOT RECEIVE ANY VOCATIONAL TRAINING OR RE-ENTRY ASSISTANCE. GOODWILL IS ONE OF 18 ORGANIZATIONS NATIONWIDE THAT RECEIVED FUNDING FROM THE LABOR DEPARTMENT'S REINTEGRATION OF EX-OFFENDER ADULTS PROGRAM.

ALARMING STATISTICS FROM THE PENTAGON SHOW THAT SUICIDES AMONG MILITARY PERSONNEL ARE SHARPLY RISING. THE DEFENSE DEPARTMENT REPORTS 154 SUICIDES AMONG ACTIVE-DUTY TROOPS IN THE FIRST 155 DAYS OF THIS YEAR. LOUISIANA NATIONAL GUARD COLONEL SCOTT ADAMS SAYS THE GUARD HAS PROGRAMS IN PLACE TO SPOT POTENTIAL PROBLEMS AND INTERVENE. ADAMS SAYS IT HAS BEEN ABOUT NINE MONTHS SINCE THE LAST SUICIDE OF A LOUISIANA NATIONAL GUARD MEMBER, BUT THAT IS STILL NOT ACCEPTABLE. HE SAYS GETTING GUARDSMEN TO OPEN UP ABOUT THEIR INNER FEELINGS IS KEY TO INTERVENTION.







News For Friday 06/08/12


NEWS FOR FRIDAY 060812
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

A FEDERAL MAGISTRATE HAS ORDERED THE GARNISHMENT OF MONEY FROM A LIFE INSURANCE POLICY OWNED BY FORMER BALL MAYOR ROY HEBRON, WHO IS SERVING A FOUR-YEAR PRISON SENTENCE FOR DEFRAUDING A FEDERAL AGENCY. U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE JAMES D. KIRK SIGNED THE ORDER TUESDAY TO CASH IN $32,429, THE SURRENDER VALUE OF THE INSURANCE POLICY, TO HELP PAY RESTITUTION TO F.E.M.A. IN EARLY 2011, HEBRON PLEADED GUILTY TO ONE COUNT OF DEFRAUDING FEMA BY OVERBILLING FOR HURRICANE GUSTAV CLEANUP IN 2008. HE WAS SENTENCED IN MAY 2011 AND ORDERED TO PAY FEMA ALMOST $131,000 IN RESTITUTION.

HEAVY STORMS ARE LIKELY OVER PARTS OF THE STATE IN THE NEXT FEW DAYS. STATE CLIMATOLOGIST BARRY KEIM SAYS A STALLED OUT FRONTAL BOUNDARY IS SETTING UP VERY UNSTABLE WEATHER CONDITIONS THAT COULD WASH OUT OUR WEEKEND PLANS. THE SILVER LINING ON THIS WEATHER SYSTEM IS THE DOSE OF RAIN ITS BROUGHT TO SOUTH LOUISIANA AND THE POTENTIAL FOR RAINFALL IN VERY DRY AREAS IN THE NORTHERN PART OF THE STATE. KEIM SAYS WE WERE RUNNING AHEAD OF OUR ANNUAL RAINFALL AVERAGES EARLY IN THE YEAR BUT THINGS HAVE CHANGED LATELY.

THE UNUSUAL HEAT THAT ENVELOPED MUCH OF THE USA THIS SPRING TURNED OUT TO BE A RECORD BREAKER: FEDERAL SCIENTISTS ANNOUNCED YESTERDAY THAT THE SPRING WAS THE WARMEST EVER RECORDED IN U.S. HISTORY. CLIMATOLOGISTS DEFINE SPRING AS THE MONTHS OF MARCH, APRIL AND MAY; WEATHER RECORDS GO BACK TO 1895.

17 YEAR OLD NICHOLAS WALKER OF QUITMAN WAS NAMED THIS YEAR'S STATE STAR FARMER AT THE FFA'S "STARS OVER LOUISIANA" LUNCHEON WEDNESDAY AT ALEXANDRIA CONVENTION HALL. THE LUNCHEON WAS PART OF THIS YEAR'S 83RD ANNUAL FFA STATE CONVENTION IN ALEXANDRIA. THE CONVENTION WRAPS UP TODAY..

U.S. TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY RAY LAHOOD ON THURSDAY ANNOUNCED A NATIONAL DISTRACTED DRIVING INITIATIVE THAT PUSHES 11 STATES WITHOUT LAWS AGAINST THE DEADLY PRACTICE OF TEXTING WHILE DRIVING, TO ENACT SUCH LAWS TO ELIMINATE THE PRACTICE. HE ALSO URGED CONGRESS TO ADOPT A NATIONAL BAN ON USING CELL PHONES WHILE DRIVING. LOUISIANA HAS A TEXTING LAW IN PLACE. HOWEVER, IT IS SELDOM ENFORCED.

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL NAMED A FORMER STATE SENATOR AND A LONGTIME CAMPAIGN SUPPORTER THURSDAY AS THE NEWEST MEMBERS OF THE LSU BOARD OF SUPERVISORS, GIVING THE GOVERNOR A SUPER-MAJORITY ON THE PANEL AS IT BEGINS SEARCHING FOR NEW LEADERSHIP. JINDAL'S OFFICE ANNOUNCED THAT THE GOVERNOR TAPPED BATON ROUGE-BASED PUBLISHER ROLFE MCCOLLISTER AND FORMER STATE SEN. ANN DUPLESSIS OF NEW ORLEANS FOR THE GOVERNING BOARD AND REAPPOINTED TWO EXISTING MEMBERS. DUPLESSIS, A DEPUTY NEW ORLEANS MAYOR, WAS PREVIOUSLY NAMED TO THE BOARD BY JINDAL BUT FAILED TO GAIN SENATE CONFIRMATION FOR THE SEAT IN 2011. JINDAL WAITED UNTIL THE END OF THE SENATE CONFIRMATION CYCLE THIS YEAR BEFORE NAMING HER AGAIN.

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL IS BACK ON THE ROAD FOR GOP CAUSES, WITH SCHEDULED STOPS INCLUDING A MITT ROMNEY FUNDRAISER IN CHICAGO. THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE SAID THURSDAY THAT JINDAL IS ATTENDING A FUNDRAISER TODAY FOR VIRGINIA GOV. BOB MCDONNELL'S POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE. LATER TODAY, HE'S HEADED TO CHICAGO TO SPEAK TO THE CONSERVATIVE POLITICAL ACTION CONFERENCE AND TO ATTEND A FUNDRAISER FOR ROMNEY'S PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN. JINDAL'S OFFICE SAID THE GOVERNOR WOULD RETURN TO LOUISIANA LATE TONIGHT.

A FEDERAL JUDGE IMPROPERLY BARRED TEXAS FROM ENFORCING A NEW RULE THAT EXCLUDES PLANNED PARENTHOOD CLINICS FROM PARTICIPATING IN A TAXPAYER-FUNDED PROGRAM PROVIDING HEALTH CARE AND CONTRACEPTION TO LOW-INCOME WOMEN, AN ATTORNEY FOR THE STATE ARGUED THURSDAY. TEXAS ATTORNEY GENERAL GREG ABBOTT'S OFFICE ASKED THE 5TH U.S. CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS IN NEW ORLEANS TO LIFT AN INJUNCTION THAT BARS THE STATE HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES COMMISSION FROM ENFORCING THE RULE. A THREE-JUDGE PANEL, WHICH HEARD ARGUMENTS FROM LAWYERS ON BOTH SIDES OF THE CASE, DIDN'T INDICATE WHEN IT WOULD RULE. ABBOTT'S OFFICE ARGUES THE STATE IS ENTITLED TO EXCLUDE GROUPS AFFILIATED WITH ABORTION PROVIDERS FROM ITS FEDERALLY SUBSIDIZED WOMEN'S HEALTH PROGRAM

A LOUISIANA TEACHERS UNION ASKED A STATE COURT THURSDAY TO THROW OUT A SET OF SWEEPING EDUCATION CHANGES PUSHED BY GOV. BOBBY JINDAL AND PASSED BY LAWMAKERS IN THE JUST-ENDED LEGISLATIVE SESSION. AT ISSUE ARE CHANGES TO THE STATE'S ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOL FUNDING FORMULA THAT WILL PAY FOR A STATEWIDE VOUCHER PROGRAM, ONLINE SCHOOLS, COLLEGE TUITION SCHOLARSHIPS AND AN EXPANSION OF CHARTER SCHOOLS. ALSO TARGETED ARE CHANGES MADE TO TEACHER TENURE AND SALARY LAW, TO MAKE IT HARDER FOR TEACHERS TO REACH THE JOB PROTECTION STATUS AND TO GET RID OF STATEWIDE PAY SCALES FOR TEACHERS.
THE LOUISIANA FEDERATION OF TEACHERS FILED TWO LAWSUITS IN BATON ROUGE DISTRICT COURT.

THIS SATURDAY AND SUNDAY IS A FREE FISHING WEEKEND AS PROCLAIMED BY THE LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF WILDLIFE AND FISHERIES. THE TWO DAY EVENT IS AN EFFORT TO GET MORE PEOPLE INVOLVED IN RECREATIONAL FISHING IN THE STATE. LDWF SPOKESPERSON BO BOEHRINGER SAYS THIS WEEKEND RESIDENTS AND VISITORS DON'T NEED A LICENSE TO GO FISHING. THERE WILL BE ORGANIZED EVENTS ALL ACROSS THE STATE TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE FREE WISHING WEEKEND.

GOVERNOR JINDAL HAS SIGNED INTO LAW LEGISLATION THAT REQUIRES THAT PREGNANT MOTHERS ARE GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO SEE AN ULTRASOUND AND HEAR THE HEARTBEAT OF THEIR UNBORN CHILD BEFORE THEY MAY HAVE AN ABORTION. UNDER THE LAW, ABORTION CLINICS WOULD HAVE TO OFFER THE ULTRASOUND IMAGES AND THE AUDIBLE HEARTBEAT, BUT WOMEN CAN REFUSE TO SEE OR HEAR THEM. SIMILAR LAWS HAVE BEEN PASSED IN OTHER STATES.

THE MOTHER OF TWO TEENS INJURED LAST YEAR ON A CARNIVAL RIDE IN GREENSBURG IS SUING THE STATE FIRE MARSHAL'S OFFICE. THE LAWSUIT ALLEGES THE FIRE MARSHAL'S OFFICE FAILED TO PROPERLY INSPECT THE RIDE PRIOR TO IT BEING USED AT A CARNIVAL ON THE GROUNDS OF ST. HELENA CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL. THE MOTHER FILED A LAWSUIT ON OCT. 7, 2011, BUT AMENDED ON MAY 4 TO ADD THE STATE FIRE MARSHAL'S OFFICE AND LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY AND CORRECTIONS AS DEFENDANTS.
THE ADDITIONS WERE MADE A DAY BEFORE BUTCH BROWNING RESUMED HIS POST AS STATE FIRE MARSHAL. BROWNING HAD RETIRED LESS THAN A MONTH EARLIER AMID ALLEGATIONS THAT HE SUPPRESSED INFORMATION ABOUT HIS OFFICE'S INVESTIGATION INTO THE CARNIVAL RIDE ACCIDENT.

THE NFL TENTATIVELY HAS SCHEDULED JUNE 18 FOR NFL COMMISSIONER ROGER GOODELL TO HEAR THE APPEALS OF FOUR PLAYERS SUSPENDED FOR THEIR ROLES IN THE SAINTS' BOUNTY PROGRAM. A PERSON WITH KNOWLEDGE OF THE PLANNED HEARING, SPEAKING ON CONDITION OF ANONYMITY BECAUSE NO DATE OFFICIALLY HAS BEEN ANNOUNCED, SAID THE DATE IS NOT FIRM. THE LEAGUE AND THE PLAYERS' UNION ARE AWAITING AN ARBITRATOR'S DECISION ON WHO SHOULD HEAR THE APPEALS BY JONATHAN VILMA, WILL SMITH, ANTHONY HARGROVE AND SCOTT FUJITA. THAT DECISION COULD DETERMINE IF THE JUNE 18 HEARING IS HELD.

IBERVILLE PARISH SHERIFF'S DEPUTIES SAY A 67-YEAR-OLD MAN AND HIS FOUR-YEAR-OLD GRANDSON WERE KILLED AFTER THE PICKUP THEY WERE IN RAN OFF A ROAD AND FLIPPED OVER IN A CANAL. THE IBERVILLE PARISH SHERIFF'S DEPUTIES ARRIVED AT THE SCENE SHORTLY BEFORE NOON WEDNESDAY, THE TRUCK WAS UPSIDE DOWN IN THE CANAL AND BOTH OCCUPANTS WERE DEAD.

A THREE-YEAR-OLD SHREVEPORT GIRL IS RECOVERING FROM A GUNSHOT WOUND AFTER SHE WAS HIT BY A STRAY BULLET WHILE SLEEPING ON THE SOFA IN HER HOME. SERGEANT BILL GOODIN SAYS THEY BELIEVE THE BULLET CAME FROM AN ALLEYWAY ACROSS THE STREET FROM THE HOME. GOODIN SAYS AN ACTIVE INVESTIGATION IS UNDERWAY, BUT NO ONE HAS BEEN ARRESTED YET...

SPORTS..

FRESHMAN AARON NOLA WILL START ON THE MOUND TODAY WHEN THE LSU TIGERS BEGIN THEIR SUPER REGIONAL SERIES AGAINST STONY BROOK. THE WINNER OF THIS BEST OUT OF THREE SERIES WILL GO TO OMAHA AND COMPETE IN THE COLLEGE WORLD SERIES. FIRST PITCH 11AM.. AIRTIME 10:30 IN 970 KSYL.

WWL RADIO AND SAINTS SIDELINE REPORTER KRISTIAN GARIC IS REPORTING A NEW FIVE-YEAR CONTRACT FOR QUARTERBACK DREW BREES IS VERY CLOSE TO GETTING DONE. GARIC SAYS BREES' AND THE SAINTS HAVE MADE PROGRESS AND A DEAL COULD BE DONE AS SOON AS TODAY. GARIC SAYS THE PROPOSED CONTRACT FOR BREES WOULD MAKE HIM ONE OF THE HIGHEST PAID PLAYERS IN THE NFL. HE SAYS CONTRACT TALKS HAVE PROGRESSED, BECAUSE BREES IS NOT HAPPY ABOUT MISSING OFFSEASON WORKOUTS AND THE SAINTS WANT THEIR LEADER BACK IN THE LOCKER ROOM..










News For Thursday 06/07/12


NEWS FOR THURSDAY 060712
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

CENLA BROADCASTING LOST A DEAR FRIEND YESTERDAY. LEONARD OR AS WE CALLED HIM LENNIE DUPREE. LENNIE WAS THE CHIEF ENGINEER AT KSYL AND LATER CENLA BROADCASTING FOR CLOSE TO 50 YEARS. LEGALLY BLIND FROM MOST OF HIS LIFE, LENNIE NEVER LET THAT SLOW HIM DOWN. HE WAS ONE OF THE MOST RESPECTED PEOPLE IN HIS FIELD. BUT, LENNIE WAS BLESSED AS WELL, WITH A LOVING WIFE AND TWO WONDERFUL DAUGHTERS. WHEN LENNIE LOST HIS FIRST WIFE SUE IN 2004 HE WAS LOST. BUT, THREE YEARS LATER, THROUGH A MIRACULOUS TURN OF EVENTS, LENNIE MET JOAN. THE TWO WERE TOGETHER UNTIL HE PASSED YESTERDAY AFTERNOON. TO ME, LENNIE WAS A MENTOR AND A DEAR FRIEND WHO WILL ALWAYS BE WITH ME.

SHREVEPORT POLICE ARE INVESTIGATING A SUSPICIOUS HOMICIDE CASE WHERE A 3-YEAR-OLD WAS FOUND ALONE PLAYING IN A YARD, WHILE HIS MOTHER WAS DEAD INSIDE. POLICE SAY A WITNESS SAW THE TODDLER OUTDOORS AND CALLED THE COPS. THEY FOUND 30-YEAR-OLD LATONYA JONES INSIDE THE HOME--DEAD UNDER SUSPICIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES. THE CHILD IS UNHARMED AND HAS BEEN PLACED WITH RELATIVES.

SEVERAL HUNDRED PEOPLE GATHERED AT THE WORLD WAR II MUSEUM IN NEW ORLEANS TO OBSERVE THE 68TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE D-DAY INVASION OF NORMANDY YESTERDAY. HISTORIANS AND VETERANS ALIKE TOOK TIME TO RECALL IN THE BIG PUSH THAT LED TO THE DEFEAT OF NAZI GERMANY LESS THAN A YEAR LATER. SADLY, THE NUMBER OF D-DAY VETERANS IN ATTENDANCE GETS SMALLER EACH YEAR.

WITH THE STATE'S BUDGET PROBLEMS PILING UP, STATE LAWMAKERS WILL REVIEW THE STATE'S MANY BUSINESS TAX BREAKS, CREDITS AND INCENTIVES, TO SEE IF ANY SHOULD BE ABOLISHED. IN 2008 CORPORATE TAX COLLECTIONS WERE AT $940-MILLION. FOR 2012 THEY'RE EXPECTED TO BE LESS THAN $200-MILLION. BUSINESS INCOME TAX BREAKS AND CREDITS ARE ESTIMATED TO COST THE STATE OVER A BILLION DOLLARS A YEAR.

CBS AND THE SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE MADE IT OFFICIAL YESTERDAY, THE HEATED RIVALRY BETWEEN THE LSU AND ALABAMA FOOTBALL TEAMS WILL BE ANOTHER SATURDAY NIGHT IN TIGER STADIUM. THE GAME ON NOVEMBER 3RD THIS YEAR WILL KICK OFF AT 7PM.

TWO REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMEN ARE DENOUNCING A SAME-SEX CEREMONY HELD LAST MONTH AT FORT POLK. U.S. REP. JOHN FLEMING SAID IN A STATEMENT WEDNESDAY THE "MARRIAGE-LIKE" CEREMONY SHOULDN'T HAVE BEEN ALLOWED BECAUSE LOUISIANA LAW DOESN'T RECOGNIZE SAME-SEX MARRIAGES OR CIVIL UNIONS. U.S. REP. TODD AKIN, R-MO., CLAIMS THE CEREMONY VIOLATED DEFENSE DEPARTMENT POLICY. FOLLOWING LAST YEAR'S REPEAL OF ITS "DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL" POLICY, THE DEFENSE DEPARTMENT SAID CHAPLAINS AT MILITARY INSTALLATIONS CAN OFFICIATE ANY PRIVATE CEREMONY THAT ISN'T PROHIBITED BY STATE AND LOCAL LAWS. FORT POLK SPOKESMAN SCOTT STEARNS SAID THE COUPLE TOOK PART IN A COMMITMENT CEREMONY. HE SAYS EVERYONE AT THE BASE CHAPEL UNDERSTOOD IT WAS NOT A MARRIAGE CEREMONY.

A LAST-MINUTE PROVISION ADDED TO LEGISLATION HEADED TO THE GOVERNOR'S DESK WILL DELIVER A PRICE CUT TO SOUTH LOUISIANA PROPERTY OWNERS WHO GET INSURANCE THROUGH THE STATE-RUN INSURER OF LAST RESORT. THE COMPROMISE WAS DEVISED BY LAWMAKERS SEEKING TO LESSEN THE BLOW OF HEFTY RATE INCREASES ON WIND AND HAIL POLICIES FOR CUSTOMERS OF THE LOUISIANA CITIZENS PROPERTY INSURANCE CORP., WHICH PROVIDES INSURANCE TO PROPERTY OWNERS WHO HAVE TROUBLE GETTING COVERAGE IN THE PRIVATE MARKET. AS SENT TO GOV. BOBBY JINDAL, THE BILL WOULD LESSEN INSURANCE COSTS BY 10 PERCENT FOR CITIZENS CUSTOMERS IN 12 PARISHES ACROSS SOUTH LOUISIANA.

THE DIVVYING UP OF THE STATE REPUBLICAN PARTY'S DELEGATES TO THE NATIONAL CONVENTION HAS MELTED DOWN INTO A DISPUTE BETWEEN PARTY LEADERS LINING UP BEHIND PRESUMED NOMINEE MITT ROMNEY AND SUPPORTERS OF LIBERTARIAN RON PAUL.
IF THE TWO SIDES CAN'T WORK OUT THEIR DIFFERENCES, NATIONAL PARTY OFFICIALS MIGHT BE CALLED ON TO DECIDE WHICH DELEGATES FROM LOUISIANA CAN GO TO FLORIDA IN AUGUST. A REPUBLICAN MEETING IN SHREVEPORT OVER THE WEEKEND LED TO DUELING CONVENTIONS, DELEGATES CARTED OUT BY THE POLICE AND PAUL SUPPORTERS DESCRIBING INJURIES FROM THE MELEE. SIMILAR ARGUMENTS HAVE BROKEN OUT IN OTHER STATES. LOUISIANA'S GOP LEADERS CHOSE DELEGATES TO THE REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION, BUT SO DID PAUL SUPPORTERS. THE PAUL FACTION CLAIMS LOUISIANA REPUBLICAN PARTY CHAIRMAN ROGER VILLERE VIOLATED PARTY RULES GOVERNING THE SELECTION OF DELEGATES.

A FEDERAL APPEALS COURT WILL REVIEW A NEW TEXAS RULE THAT PROHIBITS PLANNED PARENTHOOD GROUPS FROM PARTICIPATING IN A TAXPAYER-FUNDED PROGRAM PROVIDING HEALTH CARE AND FAMILY PLANNING SERVICES TO LOW-INCOME WOMEN. THE STATE IS ASKING THE 5TH U.S. CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS IN NEW ORLEANS TO LIFT AN INJUNCTION THAT BARS THE TEXAS HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES COMMISSION FROM ENFORCING THE RULE. A THREE-JUDGE PANEL IS SCHEDULED TO HEAR ARGUMENTS THURSDAY ON THAT REQUEST. TEXAS ATTORNEY GENERAL GREG ABBOTT ARGUES THE STATE IS ENTITLED TO EXCLUDE GROUPS AFFILIATED WITH ABORTION PROVIDERS FROM ITS FEDERALLY SUBSIDIZED WOMEN'S HEALTH PROGRAM. PLANNED PARENTHOOD ATTORNEYS SAY THE RULE IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL AND WOULD DEAL A PUNISHING FINANCIAL BLOW TO DOZENS OF CLINICS SERVING ROUGHLY HALF OF THE MORE THAN 100,000 WOMEN ENROLLED IN THE PROGRAM.

LOUISIANA'S UNIQUE CULTURE IS ONCE AGAIN GOING TO BE SHOWN OFF TO A NATIONAL AUDIENCE AS A NEW SHOW DEBUT'S TONIGHT AT 9PM ON A&E CALLED "CAJUN JUSTICE." THE COP SHOW WILL FOLLOW TERREBONNE PARISH SHERIFF VERNON BOURGEOIS AND HIS DEPUTIES AS THEY PATROL THE ONE-OF-A –KIND REGION. BOURGEOIS SAYS THIS IS NO ORDINARY COP SHOW. BOURGEOIS SAYS THERE WERE 21, 30 MINUTE EPISODES FILMED AND EACH ONE WILL FOLLOW A DIFFERENT CRIMINAL STORY LINE. ACCORDING TO A DESCRIPTION OF THE SHOW ON A&E'S WEBSITE, "AS THE HEAT AND HUMIDITY RISES, SO DOES THE CRIME RATE AND BIZARRE BEHAVIOR." BOURGEOIS SAYS THE FILM WILL ALSO SHOW MORE OF LOUISIANA'S BEAUTIFUL SCENERY.

THE STATE BOARD OF FUNERAL DIRECTORS IS IN COURT TODAY; AGAIN SEEKING TO BLOCK A GROUP OF ST. TAMMANY PARISH MONKS FROM MAKING AND SELLING CASKETS. LOYOLA LAW PROFESSOR DANE CIOLINO SAYS TODAY'S ARGUMENTS ARE AN APPEAL OF A FEDERAL COURT DECISION LAST YEAR...IN THE MONKS' FAVOR. TODAY, LAWYERS FOR THE LOUISIANA BOARD OF EMBALMERS & FUNERAL DIRECTORS WILL ARGUE FOR REVERSAL OF JUDGE DUVAL'S RULING BEFORE A PANEL OF FEDERAL APPELLATE JUDGES IN NEW ORLEANS. CIOLINO FEELS THEY'LL HAVE A DIFFICULT TASK CONVINCING THE PANEL TO RULE AGAINST THE MONKS' CASKET- MAKING VENTURE.

AN ILLINOIS-BASED COMPANY CALLED WILL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR EDUCATING SOME OF CADDO PARISH SCHOOLS' MOST AT-RISK STUDENTS. THE CADDO PARISH SCHOOL BOARD VOTED 8-4 TUESDAY TO HAVE THE COMPANY RUN ITS ALTERNATIVE SCHOOLS.
THE MOVE IS ESTIMATED TO SAVE THE DISTRICT APPROXIMATELY $5 MILLION, WITH THE COMPANY GETTING JUST OVER $3 MILLION ANNUALLY. SUPERINTENDENT GERALD DAWKINS SAID THE DISTRICT WAS SPENDING TWICE WHAT IT SPENDS AT REGULAR HIGH SCHOOLS AT THE ALTERNATIVE SCHOOLS AND GETTING NO RESULTS. THE COMPANY HAS A SUCCESS RATE OF BETTER THAN 70%.

THE ANNUAL DROPOUT RATE IN ST. LANDRY PARISH HIGH SCHOOLS DIPPED MORE THAN 50 PERCENT FROM THE 2009-10 SCHOOL YEAR TO THE 2010-11 SCHOOL YEAR. ONLY 3 PERCENT OF NINTH- TO 12TH-GRADE STUDENTS DROPPED OUT OF ST. LANDRY SCHOOLS IN 2010-11, COMPARED TO 6.7 PERCENT THE YEAR BEFORE. THE DRASTIC IMPROVEMENT MADE ST. LANDRY PARISH'S 2010-11 HIGH SCHOOL DROPOUT RATE THE FIFTH MOST IMPROVED IN THE STATE. STATEWIDE, 4.9 PERCENT OF HIGH-SCHOOLERS DROPPED OUT IN THE 2010-11 SCHOOL YEAR.

HERE’S A CASE OF TOUGH LOVE. FIFTEEN PRINCIPALS OF JEFFERSON PARISH PUBLIC SCHOOLS ARE BEING DISMISSED FROM THEIR JOBS UNDER A POLICY THAT REMOVES LEADERS WHEN THEIR CAMPUSES FAIL TO REACH ACADEMIC GOALS FOR THREE YEARS. BUT, IT COULD HAVE BEEN WORSE. ACTING SUPERINTENDENT JAMES MEZA SAYS 33 PRINCIPALS WERE ON THE CUSP OF REMOVAL THIS YEAR BUT ABOUT HALF OF THOSE SCHOOLS SHOWED PERFORMANCE UPTICKS THAT SAVED THEIR JOBS


FOLKS IN THE LAFAYETTE PARISH TOWN OF SCOTT ARE STILL REELING OVER A CANNIBAL-LIKE ATTACK ON A LOCAL MAN. POLICE SAY 43-YEAR-OLD CARL JACQUNEAUX GOT IN A SCUFFLE WITH HIS EX-WIFE'S BOYFRIEND--REPORTEDLY OVER A CHILD CUSTODY DISPUTE. JACQUNEAUX BIT THE MAN'S FACE; TAKING OFF A PIECE THE SIZE OF A HALF-DOLLAR. IT'S BELIEVED JACQUNEAUX MAY HAVE BEEN UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF THE SYNTHETIC DRUG KNOWN AS "BATH SALTS", WHICH CAN CAUSE ERRATIC BEHAVIOR. THE FLORIDA MAN RECENTLY SHOT AND KILLED BY POLICE WHILE EATING ANOTHER MAN'S FACE, WAS HIGH ON BATH SALTS AT THE TIME.

A STUDY COMMISSIONED BY TWO NONPROFIT GROUPS SAYS THOUSANDS OF JOBS WOULD BE CREATED ALONG THE GULF COAST IF MONEY FROM BP OIL SPILL PENALTIES AND OTHER SOURCES IS DEDICATED TO COASTAL RESTORATION. THE REPORT BY THE RESEARCH FIRM MATHER ECONOMICS COMES AS GULF INTERESTS PRESS CONGRESS FOR PASSAGE OF THE RESTORE ACT, WHICH WOULD TAKE 80 PERCENT OF CLEAN WATER ACT PENALTIES CHARGED TO PARTIES RESPONSIBLE FOR THE 2010 GULF OF MEXICO OIL SPILL AND DEDICATE IT TO COASTAL WETLANDS RESTORATION AND ECONOMIC RECOVERY IN THE STATES AFFECTED BY THE SPILL. THE FINES COULD RUN ANYWHERE FROM $5.4 BILLION TO $21.1 BILLION.




News For Wednesday 06/06/12


NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY 060612
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

INFORMATION IS STILL SKETCHY, BUT ALEXANDRIA POLICE REPORT ONE WOMAN IS DEAD AND ANOTHER IS INJURED AFTER AN INCIDENT TUESDAY AFTER NOON ON BERTIE STREET. POLICE SAY 34 YEAR OLD DERRICK PICKENS OF ALEXANDRIA, TURNED HIMSELF IN EARLY TUESDAY EVENING AND WAS CHARGED WITH FIRST-DEGREE MURDER AND TWO COUNTS OF ATTEMPTED FIRST-DEGREE MURDER IN CONNECTION WITH THE INCIDENT. OFFICERS WERE CALLED TO THE HOME AROUND 12:30 YESTERDAY. UPON ARRIVAL OFFICERS FOUND A 33-YEAR-OLD WOMAN WHO HAD SUFFERED A HEAD INJURY. SHE WAS TRANSPORTED TO A LOCAL HOSPITAL, POLICE SAID. FURTHER INTO THE INVESTIGATION, OFFICERS DISCOVERED A DEAD FEMALE IN A NEARBY RESIDENCE. ALEXANDRIA POLICE DETECTIVES AND CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATORS WERE CALLED TO THE SCENE.
DETECTIVES BELIEVE THE TWO INCIDENTS ARE RELATED.

ISIAH TATE, A RESERVE ON THE LOUISIANA COLLEGE FOOTBALL TEAM, DIED TUESDAY IN A DROWNING ACCIDENT IN LAKE PONTCHARTRAIN. TATE, A 21-YEAR-OLD SLIDELL NATIVE WHO WOULD HAVE BEEN A JUNIOR WITH THE WILDCATS IN THE FALL, FELL FROM A BOAT IN ROUGH WATERS ABOUT 3:30 YESTERDAY MORNING. SEARCHERS PULLED TATE'S BODY FROM THE LAKE ABOUT 11 HOURS LATER. THE BODY WAS TURNED OVER TO THE PARISH CORONER'S OFFICE TO DETERMINE AN EXACT CAUSE OF DEATH.

MONDAY AND TUESDAY , IT WAS THE OK ALLEN BRIDGE THAT WAS CLOSED FOR INSPECTION. D.O.T.D. OFFICIALS SAY TODAY AND TOMORROW IT WILL BE THE GILLIS LONG (JACKSON STREET) BRIDGE’S TURN FOR INSPECTION. THE BRIDGE IS SCHEDULED TO BE CLOSED FROM 9 A.M. UNTIL 3 P.M. EACH DAY.

PINEVILLE CITY EMPLOYEES WILL RECEIVE A TWO PERCENT RAISE IF THE CITY COUNCIL APPROVES THE BUDGET PROPOSED BY MAYOR CLARENCE FIELDS' ADMINISTRATION.
THE CITY'S PROPOSED BUDGET FOR THE 2012-2013 FISCAL YEAR, WHICH BEGINS JULY 1, WAS MADE PUBLIC TUESDAY AT A FINANCE COMMITTEE MEETING. THE CITY HAS 280 EMPLOYEES SPREAD OVER 17 DEPARTMENTS. THE RAISE, WHICH DOES NOT INCLUDE ELECTED OFFICIALS, WOULD BE THE FIRST IN TWO YEARS FOR EMPLOYEES.

A MARKSVILLE CITY COUNCILMAN HAS BEEN CITED FOR ANIMAL CRUELTY, AFTER AVOYELLES DEPUTIES FOUND THREE UNDERNOURISHED HORSES ON HIS PROPERTY. NO FEED WAS PRESENT FOR THE ANIMALS AND THEIR PASTURE WAS BARREN. COUNCILMAN ELLIOT JORDAN WAS ARRESTED FOR CRUELTY, PUBLIC INTIMIDATION AND RESISTING AN OFFICER.

IN THE WAKE OF THE RECENT ANNOUNCEMENT THAT THE TIMES PICAYUNE WOULD BE REDUCING DELIVERY SERVICE TO JUST THREE DAYS, A GROUP OF CONCERNED CIVIC AND BUSINESS LEADERS ARE SPEAKING OUT. MEG LOUSTEAU IS DIRECTOR OF A FRENCH QUARTER ADVOCACY GROUP. SHE SAYS THEY BELIEVE THE PAPER'S OWNERS SHOULD SELL IT TO SOMEONE WHO WILL PUBLISH DAILY AND SHE SAY, HER GROUP WILL TRY TO COME UP WITH SOME POTENTIAL BUYERS. LOUSTEAU SAYS THE TIMES PICAYUNE IS AN IMPORTANT RESOURCE FOR SOUTHEAST LOUISIANA. THE TIMES PICAYUNE HAS PUBLISHED DAILY FOR OVER 150 YEARS.

THE FINAL VERSION OF THE BUDGET BILLS ADJUSTING SPENDING PLANS FOR THIS YEAR AND NEXT YEAR CONTAINED CUTS FOR LOUISIANA COLLEGES. THE BOARD OF REGENTS YESTERDAY PROVIDED A PRELIMINARY BREAK-DOWN OF HOW THE STATE GENERAL FUND CUTS WILL BE DIVVIED UP. THE BOARD OF REGENTS WILL SEE A HALF MILLION DOLLAR CUT THIS YEAR AND $5.1 MILLION NEXT YEAR. LOUISIANA COMMUNITY AND TECHNICAL COLLEGE SYSTEM; $3.7 MILLION THIS YEAR; $20.5 MILLION NEXT YEAR. LSU SYSTEM: $10.6 MILLION THIS YEAR; $28.1 MILLION NEXT YEAR. THE SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY SYSTEM: $1.5 MILLION THIS YEAR; $6 MILLION NEXT YEAR. FINALLY, THE HARDEST HIT OF ALL, THE UNIVERSITY OF LOUISIANA SYSTEM. IT WILL SEE AN $8.6 MILLION CUT THIS YEAR AND A MASSIVE $54 MILLION NEXT YEAR.

LEGAL CHALLENGES ARE STILL EXPECTED AGAINST THE NEWLY CREATED STATEWIDE VOUCHER PROGRAM. LOUISIANA FEDERATION OF TEACHERS PRESIDENT STEVE MONAGHAN SAYS THEY BELIEVE IT'S UNCONSTITUTIONAL, BECAUSE PRIVATE AND PAROCHIAL SCHOOLS WHO WILL TEACH VOUCHER STUDENTS, WILL RECEIVE STATE DOLLARS FROM A FUND THE CONSTITUTION SAYS SHOULD GO TO PUBLIC SCHOOLS. THERE'S CURRENTLY A VOUCHER PROGRAM IN NEW ORLEANS, WHICH HELPS LOW INCOME FAMILIES SEND THEIR CHILD TO A PRIVATE OR PAROCHIAL SCHOOL. BUT MONAGHAN SAYS THE FUNDING FOR THAT PROGRAM DOES NOT TAKE MONEY AWAY FROM THE STATE'S PUBLIC SCHOOL BUDGET...

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL VETOED A PACKAGE OF BILLS TUESDAY THAT WOULD HAVE TWEAKED THE STATE'S VIDEO POKER LAWS, AFTER THE CONSERVATIVE LOUISIANA FAMILY FORUM ASKED HIM TO SCRAP THE CHANGES. IN A LETTER SENT TO THE GOVERNOR, FAMILY FORUM LEADER GENE MILLS SAID THE BILLS WOULD DEREGULATE THE GAMBLING OPERATIONS AND CALLED THEM A "BAD BET FOR LOUISIANA FAMILIES." JINDAL AGREED, SAYING THEY WOULD WEAKEN GAMBLING SAFEGUARDS.

THE FAMILY OF A LAFAYETTE CO-ED WHO'S BEEN MISSING FOR THREE WEEKS HAS HIRED A PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR TO HELP SOLVE THE CASE. P.I. JOHN ABDELLA SAYS HE'S WORKING 'ROUND THE CLOCK LOOKING FOR 22-YEAR-OLD MICKEY SHUNICK--TAKING BETWEEN 50 AND 100 TIP CALLS DAILY. MICKEY VANISHED ON MAY 19TH; LAST SEEN LEAVING A FRIEND'S HOUSE TO RIDE THE FIVE MILES HOME ON HER BICYCLE. THAT BIKE WAS FOUND LAST WEEK UNDER THE I-10 WHISKEY BAY BRIDGE IN ST. MARTIN PARISH. ABDELLA SAYS HE BELIEVES HE'S CLOSE TO A BREAKTHROUGH IN THE CASE.

PROSECUTORS URGED A JUDGE TUESDAY TO REJECT DEFENSE ATTORNEYS' CLAIMS THAT A "SECRET PUBLIC RELATIONS CAMPAIGN" BY FEDERAL AUTHORITIES DEPRIVED FIVE FORMER POLICE OFFICERS OF A FAIR TRIAL ON CHARGES STEMMING FROM DEADLY SHOOTINGS ON A NEW ORLEANS BRIDGE FOLLOWING HURRICANE KATRINA. IN A COURT FILING, JUSTICE DEPARTMENT PROSECUTOR BOBBI BERNSTEIN SAYS THE CONVICTED OFFICERS' BID FOR A NEW TRIAL MUST BE REJECTED BECAUSE IT ISN'T BASED ON ANY NEWLY DISCOVERED EVIDENCE. BERNSTEIN ALSO ARGUED THAT THE OFFICERS' ATTORNEYS HAVEN'T SHOWN HOW MEDIA REPORTS ON THE FEDERAL PROBE OF THE DANZIGER BRIDGE SHOOTINGS LED TO AN UNFAIR TRIAL. U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE KURT ENGELHARDT HASN'T INDICATED WHEN HE WILL RULE ON THE ISSUE. THE OFFICERS WERE SENTENCED IN APRIL TO PRISON TERMS RANGING FROM SIX TO 65 YEARS FOR THEIR CONVICTIONS ON CIVIL RIGHTS CHARGES.

"BILLY" BRETHERTON, STAR OF THE A&E REALITY TV SHOW "BILLY THE EXTERMINATOR," HAS BEEN ARRESTED ON DRUG POSSESSION CHARGES. BOSSIER CITY POLICE REPORT THAT A WARRANT WAS ISSUED LAST WEEK FOR BRETHERTON AND HIS WIFE, MARY, AFTER ITEMS RECOVERED FROM THEIR HOTEL ROOM TESTED POSITIVE FOR SYNTHETIC MARIJUANA. THEY SURRENDERED TO AUTHORITIES, POSTED $6,000 BOND EACH AND WERE RELEASED LATER THAT DAY. WORD IS POLICE WERE CALLED ON APRIL 28 TO A BOSSIER CITY HOTEL FOLLOWING A 911 HANG-UP CALL FROM THE ROOM. POLICE SAY THEY FOUND THE BRETHERTONS, WITH SUSPECTED SYNTHETIC MARIJUANA AND A DEVICE COMMONLY USED TO SMOKE NARCOTICS.

A FORMER COMMISSIONER OF THE STATE OFFICE OF ALCOHOL AND TOBACCO CONTROL WAS ALLOWED TO REMAIN FREE WITHOUT BAIL TUESDAY ON FEDERAL CHARGES THAT HE ILLEGALLY GAINED NATIONAL CRIME COMPUTER INFORMATION ON PEOPLE WHO WERE NOT UNDER INVESTIGATION. THE JUDGE REQUIRED MURPHY PAINTER TO SURRENDER HIS PASSPORT AND A GUN COLLECTION. PAINTER, WHO RESIGNED IN 2010 AFTER 14 YEARS IN OFFICE, HAS NOT COMMENTED ON THE INDICTMENT BUT HAS DENIED ANY WRONGDOING. SHORTLY AFTER HIS RESIGNATION, HE TOLD A BATON ROUGE TELEVISION STATION THE ALLEGATIONS WERE ORCHESTRATED TO SMEAR HIM PAINTER WAS INDICTED MAY 23 ON CHARGES OF COMPUTER FRAUD, MAKING FALSE STATEMENTS AND IDENTITY THEFT. HE’S DUE BACK IN COURT NEXT WEEK.

THE CHANCELLOR OF LSU'S SHREVEPORT CAMPUS, VINCENT MARSALA, HAS RETIRED AFTER 17 YEARS IN THE JOB. WITH MARSALA'S RETIREMENT, THE LSU SYSTEM ANNOUNCED THAT CAMPUS PROVOST PAUL SISSON WAS NAMED INTERIM CHANCELLOR TUESDAY. A PROCESS TO FIND A PERMANENT CHANCELLOR IS SLATED TO BEGIN .

HOUMA POLICE SAY A MAN IS BELIEVED TO HAVE STABBED HIS GIRLFRIEND IN THE CHEST AS HE DROVE DOWN A HOUMA STREET. THE CAR CRASHED INTO A LOCAL STORE AND BOTH PEOPLE WERE HOSPITALIZED. THE 38-YEAR-OLD MAN IS IN CRITICAL CONDITION AFTER MONDAY'S INCIDENT. THE 35-YEAR-OLD WOMAN WAS IN STABLE CONDITION. POLICE SAID THE CAR CARRYING THE TWO CRASHED INTO THE BRICK WALL OF AN AUTO PARTS STORE AROUND 1 A.M. THE MAN THEN CHASED THE WOMAN INTO THE PARKING LOT OF A NEARBY FAST FOOD RESTAURANT, WHERE HE FELL AGAINST A CURB AND STRUCK HIS HEAD.
POLICE SAID THEY FOUND THE WOMAN IN THE RESTAURANT WITH STAB WOUNDS TO HER CHEST. POLICE SAID THEY WILL SEEK AN ARREST WARRANT FOR THE MAN, IF HE SURVIVES.

THE 2ND CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEAL HAS UPHELD THE CONVICTION AND SENTENCING OF A MONROE MAN WHO IS SERVING LIFE IN PRISON WITHOUT THE BENEFIT OF PROBATION OR PAROLE IN THE 2010 NEW YEAR'S DAY SHOOTING OF HIS WIFE. 60-YEAR-OLD HERBERT JAMES BRADLEY WAS SENTENCED IN JULY 2011 AFTER BEING CONVICTED THAT APRIL ON ONE COUNT OF SECOND-DEGREE MURDER IN THE SHOOTING DEATH OF 38-YEAR-OLD SALLIE SCOTT BRADLEY. MONROE POLICE SAID THE SHOOTING OCCURRED IN THE EARLY MORNING OF JAN. 1, 2010. NEIGHBORS FOUND SALLIE SCOTT BRADLEY LYING IN THE STREET OUTSIDE HER HOUSE WITH FOUR OR FIVE GUNSHOT WOUNDS TO THE CHEST. AUTHORITIES APPREHENDED HERBERT BRADLEY IN ARLINGTON, TEXAS, A COUPLE OF DAYS AFTER THE MURDER.

LAFAYETTE, LA.-BASED IBERIABANK CORP. HAS RECEIVED APPROVED TO BUY FLORIDA GULF BANCORP INC. AND FLORIDA GULF BANK. IBERIABANK ANNOUNCED THE PROPOSED $43.7 MILLION CASH-AND-STOCK DEAL IN MARCH.

A DEBATE IN NEW ORLEANS OVER WHETHER TULANE UNIVERSITY SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO BUILD A NEW FOOTBALL STADIUM IS ABOUT TO PLAY OUT ON CAMPUS. TULANE HAS SET A WEDNESDAY NIGHT FORUM ON THE ISSUE. THE UNIVERSITY HAS PLAYED FOOTBALL AT THE DOMED STADIUM DOWNTOWN FOR DECADES BUT TULANE NOW WANTS TO BRING FOOTBALL BACK TO CAMPUS. IT IS AN ISSUE THAT HAS DIVIDED NEIGHBORS OF THE PROPOSED SITE IN UPTOWN NEW ORLEANS. AND IT WILL BE PLAYING OUT IN THE COMING WEEKS IN COURT AS WELL AS BEFORE THE NEW ORLEANS PLANNING COMMISSION AND THE CITY COUNCIL.





News For Tuesday 06/05/12


NEWS FOR TUESDAY 060512
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

YOU WILL WANT TO AVOID THE O.K. ALLEN BRIDGE BETWEEN ALEXANDRIA AND PINEVILLE TODAY. THE BRIDGE WILL BE CLOSED FROM 9 A.M. UNTIL 3 PM FOR WHAT THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION AND DEVELOPMENT OFFICIALS SAY IS A ROUTINE INSPECTION.

CENLA BROADCASTING WELCOMES MEMBERS OF THE FFA TO TOWN FOR THEIR 83RD ANNUAL LOUISIANA FFA CONVENTION. THE EVENT WILL RUN TODAY THROUGH FRIDAY AT THE ALEXANDRIA RIVERFRONT CENTER. THE FFA IS A NATIONWIDE ORGANIZATION OF OVER A HALF MILLION AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS, INCLUDING MORE THAN 9,500 FROM LOUISIANA ALONE.

THE RAPIDES PARISH POLICE JURY VOTED UNANIMOUSLY AT ITS COMMITTEE MEETINGS MONDAY TO PLACE AN ITEM ON THE NOV. 6 ELECTION BALLOT FOR A $23 MILLION BOND ISSUE TO COMPLETELY REDO THE COLISEUM AND A 20-YEAR, ONE-MILL MAINTENANCE TAX TO FUND ITS OPERATIONS. THE FACILITY BUILT BACK IN 1964 IS COMING UP ON IT’S 50 ANNIVERSARY. ACCORDING TO BILL TUDOR AN ARCHITECT WITH ALLIANCE DESIGN GROUP WHO HAS WORKED WITH THE COLISEUM STUDY COMMITTEE TO DEVELOP PLANS FOR RENOVATIONS, BY BUILDING ON THE BASIC STRUCTURE OF THE COLISEUM, THE PARISH CAN FOR A $23 MILLION INVESTMENT GET WHAT WOULD COST $45 MILLION TO $50 MILLION TO BUILD FROM SCRATCH.

STATE LAWMAKERS IN THE FINAL HOURS OF THE 2012 LEGISLATIVE SESSION APPROVED PLANS TO CREATE CENTRAL LOUISIANA TECHNICAL COMMUNITY COLLEGE BY COMBINING SIX TECHNICAL COLLEGES IN THE REGION AND CALLING FOR INCREASED COURSE OFFERINGS.
SENATE BILL 247 BY SEN. GERALD LONG, R-WINNFIELD, WENT THROUGH SOME LAST-DAY MANIPULATIONS THAT ASSURED FUNDING FOR THE ALEXANDRIA, AVOYELLES, HUEY P. LONG, LAMAR SALTER, OAKDALE AND SHELBY M. JACKSON CAMPUSES OF THE LOUISIANA TECHNICAL COLLEGE WHILE THE TRANSITION TAKES PLACE. GAINING ACCREDITATION AS A COMMUNITY COLLEGE SO STUDENTS CAN QUALIFY FOR FEDERAL ASSISTANCE COULD TAKE UPWARDS OF FIVE YEARS.

STATE POLICE REPORT 54-YEAR-OLD BRENDA JOHNSON OF ALEXANDRIA DIED SUNDAY NIGHT IN A CRASH INVOLVING THREE VEHICLES IN AVOYELLES PARISH ON HIGHWAY1.
BRENDA JOHNSON WAS A PASSENGER IN A PICKUP TRUCK BEING DRIVEN BY 57 YEAR OLD LONNIE JOHNSON. TROOPERS SAY JOHNSON WAS ATTEMPTING TO PASS IN A NO-PASSING ZONE WHEN HE STRUCK TWO OTHER VEHICLES, ONE OF THE HEAD ON.

LOUISIANA LAWMAKERS SHUT DOWN THEIR REGULAR LEGISLATIVE SESSION MONDAY, ENDING THREE MONTHS OF BITTER DISPUTES OVER BUDGETS, EDUCATION AND RETIREMENT. THE SESSION GAVE GOV. BOBBY JINDAL SIGNIFICANT WINS ON HIS MASSIVE REVAMP OF LOUISIANA'S EDUCATION SYSTEM. BUT IT ALSO HIGHLIGHTED DEEP DIVISIONS BETWEEN THE GOP GOVERNOR AND A BLOC OF HOUSE REPUBLICANS WHO QUESTION HIS CONSERVATIVE CREDENTIALS ON SPENDING MATTERS. JINDAL ALSO LOST HIS PUSH TO CHANGE THE STATE'S PENSION PLANS AND COSTS FOR EXISTING WORKERS, INSTEAD ONLY GETTING THROUGH TO FINAL PASSAGE A MEASURE TO CREATE A NEW RETIREMENT PLAN FOR RANK-AND-FILE WORKERS HIRED IN 2013 AND BEYOND. IN THE FINAL HOURS OF THE SESSION, LAWMAKERS COMPLETED WORK ON A $4 BILLION MULTIYEAR CONSTRUCTION BUDGET AND GAVE FINAL PASSAGE TO A $3.4 BILLION ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOL FUNDING FORMULA.

GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL SAYS THE 2012 LEGISLATIVE SESSION WAS ONE OF THE MOST SUCCESSFUL AND TRANSFORMATIVE IN LOUISIANA'S MODERN HISTORY. MR. JINDAL SAYS LAWMAKERS ARE TO BE COMMENDED FOR PASSING HIS PACKAGE OF EDUCATION REFORMS, LIKE TEACHER TENURE REFORM, A PRIVATE SCHOOL VOUCHERS BILL AND OTHERS. THE GOVERNOR SAYS THE SECOND-MOST IMPORTANT LEGISLATION PASSED CHANGED THE STATE WORKERS' RETIREMENT TO SOMETHING MORE AKIN TO A 401-K. HE SAYS THIS WILL HELP THE STATE PAY DOWN OVER $18-BILLION IN STATE RETIREMENT DEBT. JINDAL SAYS HE WILL INSPECT EACH BILL THAT CROSSES HIS DESK, INDIVIDUALLY AND GIVE CAREFUL CONSIDERATION BEFORE HE EITHER SIGNS IT, VETOES IT, OR ALLOWS IT TO BECOME LAW WITHOUT HIS SIGNATURE. JINDAL SAYS MANY OF THE THE BILLS WILL HELP MAKE LOUISIANA A BETTER PLACE.

AN ARBITRATOR RULED MONDAY THAT NFL COMMISSIONER ROGER GOODELL HAS THE AUTHORITY TO DISCIPLINE NEW ORLEANS SAINTS PLAYERS FOR THEIR ROLE IN A BOUNTY SYSTEM. THE NFL PLAYERS ASSOCIATION CHALLENGED GOODELL'S POWER TO IMPOSE PENALTIES FOR WHAT THE LEAGUE SAYS WAS A THREE-YEAR BOUNTY PROGRAM THAT TARGETED SPECIFIC PLAYERS. STEPHEN BURBANK, A UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA LAW PROFESSOR, TOOK ONLY FIVE DAYS TO DETERMINE THAT GOODELL HAS THE POWER TO PUNISH THE PLAYERS UNDER THE COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT REACHED LAST AUGUST TO END THE LOCKOUT.

THE GREENSBURG MAN CHARGED WITH KILLING FIVE PEOPLE IN A DRUNK DRIVING CRASH LAST WEEK IN THE TOWN OF SLAUGHTER HAS BEEN ARRESTED AGAIN. ONE OF TWO TEENS THAT WERE CRITICALLY INJURED IN THAT FATAL WRECK HAS DIED, MEANING 30-YEAR-OLD BRETT GERALD NOW FACES SIX COUNTS OF VEHICULAR HOMICIDE. GERALD'S PICKUP WAS DRIVING DOWN THE WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD AND RAN HEAD-FIRST INTO THE SEDAN, CARRYING SEVEN PEOPLE ON THEIR WAY HOME FROM CHURCH.
THE SOLE SURVIVOR OF THE CRASH, A 13-YEAR-OLD BOY IS SHOWING IMPROVEMENT.

NEW LOUISIANA SCHOOL BUS DRIVERS WILL NO LONGER BE ABLE TO REACH THE JOB PROTECTION STATUS CALLED TENURE, UNDER A BILL GIVEN FINAL PASSAGE MONDAY.
CURRENTLY, SCHOOL BUS DRIVERS HAVE A PROBATIONARY TERM OF THREE YEARS. IF THEY ARE NOT DISMISSED OR FOUND UNSATISFACTORY DURING THAT TIME, THEY REACH TENURE, WHICH GIVES THEM A PERMANENT JOB STATUS AND MAKES IT HARDER FOR THEM TO BE FIRED. LOUISIANA IS IN THE ONLY STATE IN THE NATION THAT HAS TENURE FOR BUS DRIVERS.

LOUISIANA'S PAROLE AND PARDON BOARDS WILL BE MERGED, UNDER A BILL (HOUSE BILL 518) THAT WAS SENT TO THE GOVERNOR WITH UNANIMOUS HOUSE AND SENATE VOTES SUNDAY. THE DUTIES OF THE PAROLE BOARD WILL BE MOVED UNDER THE OVERSIGHT OF THE PARDON BOARD, AS A COST-CUTTING MOVE. THE MEASURE ALSO ADDS NEW EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND REQUIREMENTS FOR MEMBERS OF THE MERGED BOARD.

AS THE 2012 HURRICANE SEASON GETS UNDERWAY, THE STATE'S DISASTER MANAGER IS FORMING PUBLIC & PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS TO PROVIDE ABUNDANT SHELTER SPACE FOR STORM EVACUEES. GOVERNOR'S OFFICE OF HOMELAND SECURITY & EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR KEVIN DAVIS SAYS THE STATE HAS ARRANGED ABOUT 50-THOUSAND EVACUATION SHELTER SPACES, BUT STILL NEEDS UP TO 20-THOUSAND MORE. HE SAYS GOHSEP IS TAKING A "WHOLE COMMUNITY APPROACH"; ENCOURAGING EVACUATING COMMUNITIES TO SHELTER TOGETHER IN GROUPS, WITH MEDICAL, POLICE AND OTHER ESSENTIAL PERSONNEL SHELTERING WITH THEM. HE SAYS AGREEMENTS OF THIS NATURE ARE ALREADY IN PLACE WITH ABOUT 14 PARISHES.

CALCASIEU PARISH SHERIFF'S DEPUTIES HAVE RECOVERED THE BODY OF A MAN FROM WATER BEHIND L'AUBERGE CASINO RESORT IN LAKE CHARLES. AUTHORITIES SAY THE BODY WAS THAT OF 23 YEAR OLD RORY MCDONAGH OF NEW YORK, WHO WENT MISSING FRIDAY NIGHT. SURVEILLANCE VIDEO SHOWS MCDONAGH IN THE CASINO PARKING GARAGE FRIDAY MORNING AROUND 2:30 A.M. VERY INTOXICATED AND DISORIENTED. THAT WAS THE LAST TIME HE WAS SEEN ALIVE. IT’S BELIEVED HE FELL IN THE WATER AND DROWN.

News For Monday 06/04/12


NEWS FOR MONDAY 060412
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

THE LOUISIANA HOUSE HAS AGREED TO A $25.6 BILLION BUDGET FOR NEXT YEAR THAT STARTS JULY 1ST THE FINAL BUDGET CONTAINS HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN SPENDING ABOVE THE FIGURE SOUGHT BY A GROUP OF CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICANS. LAWMAKERS VOTED 62-40 SUNDAY FOR THE SENATE VERSION OF THE SPENDING PLANS, THAT CONTAIN MORE THAN $270 MILLION IN ONE-TIME MONEY TO PAY FOR ONGOING PROGRAMS AND SERVICES IN STATE AGENCIES. THE BILL NOW HEADS TO THE GOVERNOR’S DESK FOR HIS SIGNATURE. THE SESSION, MUST END BY 6PM TONIGHT.

AN INVESTIGATION CONTINUES INTO A WEEKEND SHOOTING THAT LEFT A 19-YEAR-OLD ALEXANDRIA MAN IS DEAD AND A 16-YEAR-OLD MALE UNDER ARREST AND CHARGED WITH HIS MURDER. THE ALEXANDRIA POLICE REPORTS, OFFICERS WERE CALLED SHORTLY BEFORE 10 SATURDAY NIGHT TO THE 100 BLOCK OF GORDON STREET WHEN NEIGHBORS REPORTED A SHOOTING. THE INITIAL INVESTIGATION DISCOVERED THAT DURING A DISTURBANCE BETWEEN SEVERAL PEOPLE, A 19-YEAR-OLD ALEXANDRIA MAN HAD SUFFERED A GUNSHOT WOUND. THE VICTIM, 19 YEAR OLD JAREN GILLAM OF ALEXANDRIA, DIED A FEW HOURS LATER AT A LOCAL HOSPITAL. A JUVENILE WHO WAS TAKEN INTO CUSTODY SUNDAY AND CHARGED WITH THE SHOOTING, IS CURRENTLY BEING HELD IN JUVENILE DETENTION.

AFTER TWO TRIALS, A FORMER MEMBER OF THE RAPIDES PARISH POLICE JURY HAS BEEN ACQUITTED OF A BRIBERY CHARGE. THE FEDERAL JURY ACQUITTED STEVE BORDELON OF ONE COUNT OF BRIBERY, THAT COULD HAVE PUT HIM BEHIND BARS FOR UP TO 10 YEARS IF CONVICTED. THE JURY DELIBERATED FOR A LITTLE MORE THAN TWO HOURS FRIDAY IN A TRIAL THAT LACKED TESTIMONY OR DOCUMENTS TYING BORDELON DIRECTLY TO A BRIBE.
A JURY LAST YEAR DELIBERATED FOR MORE THAN TWO DAYS AND DIDN'T REACH A UNANIMOUS DECISION, PROMPTING U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE DEE DRELL TO DECLARE A MISTRIAL. FEDERAL PROSECUTORS ACCUSED THE FOUR-TERM POLICE JUROR OF ACCEPTING LAND IN EXCHANGE FOR HIS INFLUENCE AND VOTE CONCERNING A SUBDIVISION. ACCORDING TO THE 72 YEAR OLD BORDELON’S ATTORNEY, MIKE SMALL, THE GOVERNMENT HAD NO EVIDENCE.

A FORMER REGISTERED NURSE HAS BEEN SENTENCED TO TWO AND A HALF YEARS IN PRISON FOR THE SEXUAL BATTERY OF A MALE PATIENT WHO WAS SEDATED AFTER AN EMERGENCY APPENDECTOMY. PHILLIP RAINES WAS SENTENCED FRIDAY. AT THE SENTENCING, STATE DISTRICT JUDGE THOMAS YEAGER SAID THE 47 YEAR OLD RAINES WILL SERVE THE TIME IN JAIL AT HARD LABOR WITHOUT THE POSSIBILITY OF PAROLE OR PROBATION. THE JUDGE ALSO ADMONISHED OFFICIALS AT RAINES' FORMER EMPLOYER, RAPIDES REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER OF ALEXANDRIA, SAYING THE HOSPITAL DELAYED CALLING POLICE ON THE MORNING OF THE ASSAULT AND DIDN'T FULLY COOPERATE IN THE INITIAL INVESTIGATION. RAINES, A HUSBAND AND FATHER OF FOUR WAS CONVICTED APRIL 19 BY A SIX-PERSON JURY IN A UNANIMOUS DECISION THAT TOOK LESS THAN AN HOUR.

A LONG AND SOMETIMES DIFFICULT LEGISLATIVE SESSION FOR LAWMAKERS ENDS TODAY. ACCORDING TO STATE LAW, THE STATE LEGISLATURE MUST WRAP UP ITS BUSINESS BY SIX P-M TONIGHT. COUNCIL FOR A BETTER LOUISIANA PRESIDENT BARRY ERWIN SAYS THE SESSION PROVIDED MIXED RESULTS FOR THE GOVERNOR. AFTER THE HOUSE PASSED ITS VERSION OF NEXT FISCAL YEAR'S BUDGET, THERE WERE WORRIES ABOUT DRASTIC CUTS TO HIGHER EDUCATION, STATE AGENCIES, AND EVEN THE CLOSURE OF SOME PRISONS. BUT ERWIN SAYS THE STATE SENATE RESTORED MANY OF THOSE CUTS AND THE HOUSE AGREED WITH THE SENATE'S VERSION, SENDING THE BUDGET TO THE GOVERNOR'S DESK. THERE WERE SEVERAL HIGH PROFILE BILLS THAT FAILED TO PASS. A BAN ON HAND HELD CELL PHONES WHILE DRIVING, A PROPOSED MERGER OF LOUISIANA TECH AND LSU-S AND RANDOMLY DRUG TESTING WELFARE RECIPIENTS ALL FAILED TO GET LEGISLATIVE SUPPORT. ERWIN SAYS THESE BILLS WILL BE BACK AGAIN NEXT YEAR.

LOUISIANA'S REPUBLICAN PARTY LEADERS HAVE CHOSEN DELEGATES TO THE PARTY'S NATIONAL PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATING CONVENTION IN TAMPA. THIRTY OF THE STATE'S 46 DELEGATES WERE SELECTED SATURDAY AT THE STATE GOP CONVENTION IN SHREVEPORT.
TEN ARE SUPPORTERS OF RICK SANTORUM, WHO WON LOUISIANA'S REPUBLICAN PRIMARY CONTEST EARLIER THIS YEAR. FIVE SUPPORT MITT ROMNEY, WHO WILL BE THE PARTY NOMINEE FOR THE FALL PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION. ONE DELEGATE IS FOR RON PAUL. ANOTHER 14 DELEGATES WEREN'T BOUND TO A SPECIFIC CANDIDATE, BUT THE STATE REPUBLICAN PARTY SAID THOSE WERE EXPECTED TO SUPPORT ROMNEY. THERE WERE NO NOMINATIONS FOR 13 OF THE 16 REMAINING POSITIONS. THE PARTY SAYS THAT WAS DONE TO ALLOW TALKS WITH PAUL SUPPORTERS WHO REFUSED TO PARTICIPATE IN THE CONVENTION.

CASEY ANTHONY'S TRIAL AND SUBSEQUENT ACQUITTAL ARE LEADING TO CHANGES IN LOUISIANA LAW WITH A PAIR OF BILLS THAT WOULD PENALIZE CARETAKERS WHO FAIL TO REPORT OR GIVE FALSE INFORMATION TO LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS REGARDING MISSING OR DEAD CHILDREN. THE BILLS ARE HEADING TO GOV. BOBBY JINDAL'S DESK AND HE INTENDS TO SIGN THEM INTO LAW. THE MEASURES BY REP. BARBARA NORTON AND SEN. BOB KOSTELKA WILL MAKE IT A MISDEMEANOR CRIME FOR CARETAKERS TO FALSIFY INFORMATION TO POLICE DURING A MISSING CHILD INVESTIGATION. THEY ALSO MAKE IT A CRIME TO FAIL TO REPORT A MISSING OR DEAD CHILD, WITH JAIL SENTENCES RANGING UP TO 50 YEARS.

TAXPAYERS WHO DON'T DIRECT DEPOSIT THEIR REFUNDS WILL AGAIN BE ABLE TO GET PAPER CHECK REFUNDS, RATHER THAN DEBIT CARDS. THE LOUISIANA HOUSE GAVE FINAL PASSAGE FRIDAY WITH A UNANIMOUS VOTE TO A BILL THAT WILL PROHIBIT LOUISIANA'S REVENUE DEPARTMENT FROM REQUIRING PEOPLE WHO DON'T USE DIRECT DEPOSIT TO GET THEIR TAX REFUNDS ON PRE-PAID CHASE VISA CARDS. REVENUE DEPARTMENT OFFICIALS INTRODUCED THE DEBIT CARDS AS A COST-SAVING MEASURE, SAYING THAT GETTING RID OF THE PAPER CHECKS SAVED MONEY. LAWMAKERS SAY THEY RECEIVED COMPLAINTS FROM PEOPLE WHO DON'T UNDERSTAND HOW TO USE THE CARDS OR WERE CHARGED FEES WHEN THEY DO. THE MEASURE HEADS TO THE GOVERNOR'S DESK. HOWEVER, IT WILL BE SHORT LIVED. THE BILL WILL EXPIRE AFTER THE 2015 TAX YEAR.

THE U.S. HOUSE HAS VOTED TO RESTORE MILLIONS IN FUNDS FOR LOUISIANA COASTAL RESTORATION, PROPOSED BY THE OBAMA WHITE HOUSE. METAIRIE CONGRESSMAN STEVE SCALISE SAYS THE HOUSE APPROVED TEN OF $17-MILLION FOR COASTAL WORK THAT WAS STRIPPED FROM AN ENERGY AND WATER SPENDING BILL. IN A RARE SHOW OF BIPARTISANSHIP, REPUBLICAN SCALISE WORKED SIDE-BY-SIDE WITH DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSMAN CEDRIC RICHMOND TO PUSH THE AMENDMENT, WHICH TACKS THE COASTAL FUNDS ONTO AN ENERGY & WATER SPENDING BILL.

A $4 MILLION HIGH-SPEED RAIL LOADING FACILITY BEING BUILT IN RURAL JEFFERSON DAVIS PARISH IS EXPECTED TO BE ABLE TO MOVE 25,000 BUSHELS OF GRAIN PER HOUR WHEN IT OPENS THIS SUMMER. CONSTRUCTION OF THE FACILITY IS EXPECTED TO BE COMPLETED BY JULY 15. THAT WOULD BE IN TIME FOR THE START OF THE RICE HARVEST IN SOUTHWEST LOUISIANA. THE FACILITY WILL GIVE FARMERS THE ABILITY TO EXPORT NEARLY 800 METRIC TONS OF RICE, CORN, SOYBEANS, WHEAT AND OTHER GRAINS A YEAR TO GLOBAL MARKETS.
THE FACILITY WILL OPERATE YEAR-ROUND.

THE COLORADO STATE HURRICANE FORECAST TEAM NUDGED UP THE NUMBERS FOR THE
2012 HURRICANE SEASON, PREDICTING 13 NAMED ATLANTIC STORMS, AND FIVE HURRICANES. THIS NUMBER INCLUDES THE TWO, PRE-SEASON STORMS IN MAY, ALBERTO AND BERYL. RESEARCHER PHIL KLOTZBACH SAYS THE FORECAST TEAM RAISED THEIR ORIGINAL PREDICTION FROM 10 TO 13 NAMED STORMS AND INCREASED THE NUMBER OF HURRICANES BY ONE. KLOTZBACH SAYS BESIDES UNCERTAINTY OVER EL NINO, THERE'S INCREASED SPECULATION ABOUT WHAT'S HAPPENING IN THE HURRICANE BREEDING GROUNDS OF THE TROPICAL ATLANTIC.

PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION VICE CHAIRMAN JIMMY FIELD SAYS HE WILL NOT SEEK A THIRD FULL TERM. THE 72-YEAR-OLD FIELD CITES MORE TIME FOR FAMILY AND HIS PART-TIME LAW PRACTICE. FIELD TOOK OVER THE SEAT ON THE COMMISSION THAT WAS HELD BY KATHLEEN BLANCO WHEN SHE DECIDED TO RUN FOR LT. GOVERNOR IN 1996. FIELDS REPRESENTS AN AREA STRETCHING FROM BATON ROUGE TO LAFAYETTE AND DOWN TO THE COAST.

THE LSU TIGERS RALLIED BACK FROM A TWO-RUN DEFICIT TO BEAT OREGON STATE 6-5 IN 10 INNINGS LAST NIGHT AND ADVANCE TO THE SUPER REGIONALS. LSU TRAILED 5-TO-3 BUT SCORED ONE RUN IN THE 7TH, ONE IN THE 9TH TO TIE AND THE GO-AHEAD RUN SCORED IN THE 10TH ON A WILD PITCH. LSU IS NOW TWO WINS AWAY FROM GETTING BACK TO OMAHA AND PLAYING IN THE COLLEGE WORLD SERIES. LSU WILL HOST A BEST OUT OF THREE SUPER REGIONAL SERIES THIS WEEKEND, AGAINST THE WINNER OF TONIGHT'S GAME BETWEEN CENTRAL FLORIDA AND STONEY BROOK.




News For Friday 6/1/12


NEWS FOR FRIDAY 060112
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

THE RAPIDES PARISH SCHOOL BOARD TOOK THE FIRST STEP THURSDAY TOWARD FINDING A NEW SUPERINTENDENT. AT A SPECIAL MEETING THURSDAY, THE BOARD APPOINTED AN ADVISORY COMMITTEE TO BRING RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE FULL BOARD ABOUT THE SHAPE THE PROCESS TO REPLACE GARY L. JONES SHOULD TAKE. THE BOARD VOTED 5-4 LAST MONTH TO NOT RENEW THE CONTRACT OF JONES, WHO HAS BEEN SUPERINTENDENT SINCE 2003. HIS CONTRACT RUNS THROUGH DECEMBER 31.

LOUISIANA COLLEGE IS PREPARING TO WELCOME HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS FROM AROUND THE WORLD TO ITS CAMPUS IN PINEVILLE STARTING THIS FALL. OFFICIALS WITH LC AND PARTNER HORIZON ENGLISH ANNOUNCED THURSDAY THE CREATION OF LOUISIANA COLLEGIATE INTERNATIONAL ACADEMY, A DUAL-ENROLLMENT INSTITUTION WHERE HIGH SCHOOL JUNIORS AND SENIORS CAN FINISH THEIR SECONDARY EDUCATION WHILE EARNING COLLEGE CREDIT FROM LC. THREE STUDENTS WHO WERE PARTICIPATING IN DUAL ENROLLMENT AT LC WILL BE THE FIRST OFFICIAL GRADUATES THIS MONTH. THE FIRST FULL CLASS OF STUDENTS WILL ENTER FOR THE 2012-13 SCHOOL YEAR. SCHOOL OFFICIALS EXPECT ABOUT 50 LOCAL STUDENTS AND 8-10 INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS.

THE LOUISIANA BLACK ALLIANCE FOR EDUCATIONAL OPTIONS HAS SCHEDULED MEETINGS IN JUNE TO DISCUSS WITH LOW-INCOME PARENTS THE NEW SCHOOL VOUCHER PROGRAM. THE MEETING IN ALEXANDRIA HAS BEEN SCHEDULED FOR 5 P.M. THIS MONDAY JUNE 4 AT THE RESOURCE CENTER ON BROADWAY. THE OUTREACH INITIATIVE COINCIDES WITH THE APPLICATION PERIOD FOR THE STUDENT SCHOLARSHIPS FOR THE EDUCATIONAL EXCELLENCE PROGRAM. THE APPLICATION PERIOD STARTED MAY 22 AND CONTINUES THROUGH THE END OF THE MONTH.

PROPOSALS FOR THREE DEGREES AT LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY AT ALEXANDRIA WILL BE CONSIDERED JUNE 8 WHEN LSU SYSTEMS BOARD OFFICIALS MEET. BOARD MEMBERS WILL CONSIDER LETTERS OF INTENT TO SET UP A BACHELOR OF SCIENCE DEGREE IN RADIOLOGIC TECHNOLOGY, A BACHELOR OF ARTS IN CHEMISTRY AND A BACHELOR OF SCIENCE IN MEDICAL LABORATORY SCIENCE. MORE THAN 200 STUDENTS ARE ENROLLED IN LSU-ALEXANDRIA’S ALLIED HEALTH PROGRAMS, WHICH HAVE PRODUCED 250 GRADUATES SINCE 1999, ACCORDING TO THE UNIVERSITY. BOARD MEMBERS ALSO WILL GET AN UPDATE ON THE EFFECTS OF PROPOSED STATE BUDGET CUTS.

DESPITE ALREADY HAVING TWO NAMED STORMS OCCUR, TODAY MARKS THE OFFICIAL START OF THE 2012 ATLANTIC HURRICANE SEASON. STATE EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR KEVIN DAVIS SAYS THE TWO RECENT EARLY NAMED STORMS--ALBERTO AND BERYL--SERVE TO REMIND US TO HAVE A STORM PLAN IN PLACE, WITH THE CRITICAL SUPPLIES NEEDED TO EVACUATE READY. FEDERAL STORM FORECASTERS PREDICT NEARLY-NORMAL ACTIVITY; WITH 9-TO-15 NAMED STORMS, 4-TO-8 OF THEM HURRICANES...1-TO-3 OF THOSE BEING MAJOR STORMS.

ACCORDING TO STATE EDUCATION OFFICIALS, LOUISIANA'S DROPOUT RATE HAS FALLEN FOR THE THIRD CONSECUTIVE YEAR. THE FIGURES SHOW THE DROPOUT RATE THE LAST TWO YEARS FELL 36-PERCENT IN GRADES SEVEN THROUGH 12. THAT MEANS 52-HUNDRED MORE STUDENTS STAYED IN SCHOOL. BESE PRESIDENT PENNY DASTUGUE GAVE CREDIT FOR THE IMPROVEMENT TO A NUMBER OF NEW STATE INITIATIVES, INCLUDING SUCCESS IN DEVELOPING NINTH GRADE ACADEMIES, WHICH WORK WITH HIGH SCHOOL FRESHMEN TO DEVELOP A FOUR-YEAR PLAN. SHE SAYS AN EMPHASIS ON A STRONGER RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN STUDENT AND SCHOOL COUNSELOR HAS ALSO HELPED.

THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE WILL CLOSE FOUR OF ITS FARM SERVICE AGENCY OFFICES IN LOUISIANA, ONE BEING IN GRANT PARISH, AS A RESULT OF BUDGET CUTS. THE FARM SERVICE AGENCY MAKES LOANS TO FARMERS WHO CAN'T BORROW FROM BANKS. THE OFFICES TO CLOSE INCLUDE LIVINGSTON-EAST BATON ROUGE, LAFAYETTE, GRANT AND BOSSIER PARISHES. THE ST. MARY PARISH OFFICE WAS ORIGINALLY SCHEDULED FOR CLOSURE BUT NOW WILL REMAIN OPEN.

SAINTS ASSISTANT HEAD COACH JOE VITT AND DREW BREES HAVE SPOKEN ABOUT PREPARATIONS FOR TRAINING CAMP, AND VITT SAID HE EXPECTS THE STAR QUARTERBACK TO BE BACK WITH THE TEAM BY THEN. WHEN ASKED WHY HE'S CONFIDENT BREES WILL BE BACK FROM HIS CONTRACT HOLDOUT, VITT CRACKED, "WHAT ELSE IS HE GOING TO DO? HE CAN'T SING OR DANCE." NEW ORLEANS GENERAL MANAGER MICKEY LOOMIS HAS SAID HIS TOP PRIORITY IS TO COME UP WITH A CONTRACT THAT SATISFIES BREES, BUT THAT THE CLUB HAS TO BE CAREFUL TO AVOID RUSHING INTO A DEAL THAT WILL AFFECT TEAM SIGNIFICANTLY FOR YEARS TO COME.

SENATORS HAVE BACKED HOUSE BILL #1, A $25.6 BILLION STATE OPERATING BUDGET FOR NEXT YEAR THAT CONTAINS HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS MORE THAN THE SPENDING PLANS PASSED BY THE HOUSE. FEW CHANGES WERE MADE THURSDAY, AND THE SENATE DEBATE CONTAINED NONE OF THE RANCOR THAT MARKED THE ONGOING HOUSE DISPUTE OVER THE 2012-13 BUDGET. THE BUDGET BILL HEADS BACK TO THE HOUSE, WHERE THE JINDAL ADMINISTRATION HOPES TO DRUM UP ENOUGH VOTES TO BACK THE SENATE VERSION.

THE SENATE HAS ALSO PASSED HOUSE BILL 2, THE CAPITOL OUTLAY PLAN FOR STATE CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS, ROAD IMPROVEMENTS AND FACILITIES MAINTENANCE FOR THE NEXT YEAR. THAT BILL PASSED WITH 36 YEAS AND 3 NAYS. IT TOO RETURNS TO THE HOUSE FOR AMENDMENT CONCURRENCE.

LOUISIANA VOTERS WILL BE ASKED ON THE NOVEMBER BALLOT WHETHER THEY WANT TO OFFER A 10-YEAR LOCAL PROPERTY TAX BREAK, THAT IS CURRENTLY GIVEN TO MANUFACTURERS, TO A LONGER LIST OF BUSINESSES. THE JINDAL ADMINISTRATION PROPOSAL RECEIVED FINAL PASSAGE THURSDAY WITH A UNANIMOUS HOUSE VOTE. IF APPROVED BY VOTERS IN THE STATEWIDE ELECTION, PARISHES WOULD BE ABLE TO OFFER THE TAX BREAKS TO DIGITAL MEDIA BUSINESSES, DATA CENTERS, CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS AND RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT FIRMS. THE BUSINESSES WOULD HAVE TO MAKE A CAPITAL INVESTMENT IN LOUISIANA GREATER THAN $25 MILLION AND CREATE AT LEAST 50 NEW JOBS.

FORMER LOUISIANA GOV. CHARLES "BUDDY" ROEMER ENDED HIS LARGELY UNNOTICED PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN THURSDAY, AFTER ATTEMPTS TO COBBLE TOGETHER A THIRD PARTY CANDIDACY FELL APART. HE FIRST SOUGHT TO BECOME A GOP NOMINEE, BUT NEVER POLLED ABOVE SINGLE DIGITS AND WASN'T ALLOWED TO PARTICIPATE IN THE MAJOR TELEVISED DEBATES. WITH NO TRACTION AS A REPUBLICAN, ROEMER THEN SOUGHT TO GET THE NOMINATION OF AMERICANS ELECT, A NONPARTISAN GROUP PUSHING FOR A THIRD-PARTY CANDIDATE. BUT AMERICANS ELECT SHUT DOWN ITS EFFORTS RECENTLY, AFTER NO CANDIDATE MET THE BENCHMARKS FOR ITS NOMINATION PROCESS.

LOUISIANA'S ULTRASOUND REQUIREMENT FOR WOMEN SEEKING AN ABORTION WILL BE CHANGED, WITH THE SONOGRAM MANDATED 24 HOURS BEFORE THE PROCEDURE, RATHER THAN TWO HOURS. THE MEASURE WILL ALSO REQUIRE DOCTORS TO OFFER WOMEN THE ABILITY TO HEAR THE FETAL HEARTBEAT BEFORE AN ABORTION, ADDING NEW MANDATES TO THE SONOGRAM REQUIREMENT PASSED BY LAWMAKERS LAST YEAR. NO ONE SPOKE IN OPPOSITION TO THE IDEA ON THE SENATE FLOOR THURSDAY. GOV. BOBBY JINDAL SUPPORTS THE BILL.

A SENATE COMMITTEE GRILLED EDUCATION SUPERINTENDENT JOHN WHITE ABOUT A RUSTON PRIVATE SCHOOL APPROVED FOR OVER 300 TUITION VOUCHERS, DESPITE REPORTEDLY HAVING NO CLASSROOMS, COMPUTERS OR TEACHERS. SENATE GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE MEMBERS WANTED TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE 315 VOUCHERS APPROVED FOR THE NEW LIVING WORD SCHOOL IN RUSTON AND ITS HEAD, REVEREND JERRY BALDWIN. LAWMAKERS WANTED TO KNOW WHY VOUCHERS WERE APPROVED WITHOUT APPARENT DUE DILIGENCE. A MONROE NEWSPAPER REPORTS ITS VISIT TO THE SCHOOL REVEALED NO STAFF, COMPUTERS NOR FACILITIES TO ACCOMMODATE THE INFLUX OF STATE SPONSORED PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS AUTHORIZED BY DOE. WHITE SAYS ONSITE INSPECTIONS WILL BE DONE, BEFORE THE SCHOOL GETS ANY STATE SCHOLARSHIP FUNDS.

LAWMAKERS ARE ONE STEP FROM GIVING FINAL PASSAGE TO A BILL THAT WOULD PROHIBIT LOUISIANA'S REVENUE DEPARTMENT FROM REQUIRING CERTAIN PEOPLE TO GET THEIR TAX REFUNDS ON DEBIT CARDS. THIS YEAR, TAXPAYERS WHO DIDN'T GET THEIR REFUNDS THROUGH DIRECT DEPOSIT INTO A BANK ACCOUNT FOUND THEIR PAPER CHECKS REPLACED WITH A PRE-PAID CHASE VISA CARD. REVENUE DEPARTMENT OFFICIALS SAID DOING AWAY WITH THE CHECKS SAVES MONEY. BUT LAWMAKERS SAID THEY RECEIVED COMPLAINTS FROM PEOPLE WHO DON'T UNDERSTAND HOW TO USE THE CARDS OR HAVE BEEN CHARGED FEES WHEN THEY DO.

THE LOUISIANA LEGISLATURE'S BUDGET WILL GROW BY ABOUT $3 MILLION NEXT YEAR, UNDER SPENDING PLANS THAT RECEIVED FINAL PASSAGE THURSDAY WITH A UNANIMOUS SENATE VOTE. THE $93 MILLION BILL TO FINANCE LEGISLATIVE AGENCIES (HOUSE BILL 1044) INCLUDES A $2 MILLION INCREASE TO NEXT YEAR'S OPERATING EXPENSES FOR THE LOUISIANA SENATE, WHILE THE HOUSE OPERATING BUDGET REMAINS FLAT. ATTEMPTS TO CUT LEGISLATIVE SPENDING BY A BLOC OF HOUSE REPUBLICANS FELL FAR SHORT OF THE SUPPORT NEEDED TO MAKE THE REDUCTIONS.

A PACKAGE OF MEASURES ATTEMPTING TO LESSEN LEAD CONTAMINATION IN PLAYGROUNDS, DAY CARE CENTERS AND SCHOOLS AROUND LOUISIANA RECEIVED FINAL PASSAGE WITH NEAR-UNANIMOUS SENATE VOTES THURSDAY. THE BILLS HEADED TO THE GOVERNOR'S DESK WILL REQUIRE THAT NEW DAY CARES, PRESCHOOLS AND CERTAIN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL FACILITIES AROUND LOUISIANA BE INSPECTED FOR POSSIBLE LEAD CONTAMINATION. THE RESULTS OF THE INSPECTIONS WILL BE POSTED ONLINE FOR PUBLIC VIEWING.

A 40-YEAR-OLD MOTHER AND HER 5-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER DIED AFTER THEY WERE TRAPPED INSIDE THEIR BURNING KENNER HOME. THE FATHER IS BEING TREATED FOR SMOKE INHALATION. THE NAMES OF THE VICTIMS HAVE NOT BEEN RELEASED. THE ONE-ALARM FIRE BROKE OUT JUST AFTER 3 A.M. THURSDAY. FIRE OFFICIALS SAY THAT A MAN AND WOMAN WERE ABLE TO ESCAPE THE HOUSE AFTER PUSHING THEIR TWO SONS THROUGH A WINDOW.
WHEN THE WOMAN RAN BACK INSIDE TO SAVE THE DAUGHTER, BOTH BECAME TRAPPED BY THE FLAMES AND SMOKE. THE CAUSE OF THE FIRE IS UNDER INVESTIGATION.

DRIVERS USING TWO-LANE, 55-MPH U.S. HIGHWAY 71 AS A TO-AND-FROM TO ARKANSAS COULD BE CRUISING ALONG THE NEW INTERSTATE 49 NORTH AS SOON AS NEXT YEAR.
CONSTRUCTION IS COMPLETE IN FOUR OF 11 SEGMENTS OF THE HIGHWAY, SHORT OF SIGNS AND STRIPING. FIVE SEGMENTS ARE UNDER CONSTRUCTION, AND TWO ARE SCHEDULED TO GO OUT FOR BIDS IN 2012 AND 2013. SUSAN STAFFORD, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER FOR THE STATE D.O.T.D. SAYS THE ENTIRE CORRIDOR SHOULD BE COMPLETE BY 2016.

FIVE PEOPLE, INCLUDING TWO CHILDREN, WERE KILLED WEDNESDAY NIGHT IN A HEAD-ON COLLISION WITH A PICKUP TRUCK ON A RURAL ROAD IN EAST FELICIANA PARISH. THE BATON ROUGE FAMILY WAS RETURNING HOME FROM CHURCH WHEN A TRUCK DRIVEN BY 30-YEAR-OLD BRETT GERALD OF GREENSBURG CROSSED INTO THEIR LANE ON HIGHWAY 67. TWO TEENAGE PASSENGERS WERE HOSPITALIZED WITH LIFE-THREATENING INJURIES. GERALD IS SUSPECTED OF DRIVING IMPAIRED AND IS IN THE EAST FELICIANA PARISH JAIL.

POST-SEASON BASEBALL RETURNS TO ALEX BOX STADIUM TODAY AS BATON ROUGE SERVES AS A HOST SITE FOR THE NCAA TOURNAMENT. THE FIRST GAME OF THE DAY IS AT TWO O' CLOCK, OREGON STATE VERSUS BELMONT STATE. A LARGE CROWD IS EXPECTED FOR TONIGHT'S GAME BETWEEN LSU AND U-L MONROE. HERE IT TONIGHT ON 970 KSYL BEGINNING AT 6:30P









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