KSYL Local News Archives for 2012-10

News For Wednesday 10/31/12


News For Wednesday 103112

By Dave Graichen

 

A record number of Louisiana voters have cast ballots in advance of the Nov. 6 election, as early voting wrapped up Tuesday. The Secretary of State's Office said more than 280,000 people, out of 2.9 million registered voters have voted for next week's election, which includes the presidential race, six congressional races, constitutional amendments, judgeships and local contests around the state. Meg Casper, spokeswoman for the secretary of state, said early voting turnout has been nearly 25 percent higher than it was for the last presidential election in 2008.

 

The Alexandria City Council at it’s regular meeting last night, voted to add $200,000 to the renovation budget for upgrades to Frank O. Hunter Park. The move allows the park's improvement project to move forward. Frank O. Hunter Park is on Willow Glen River Road and is one of the oldest parks in the city. It is one of six parks included as part of a master plan improvement project developed by Lose & Associates. The company, which was hired to study the city's parks, recommended in August 2009 that the city invest $60 million in its parks and recreation systems.

 

At a special meeting of the  Rapides Parish School Board last night, members approved a $128,000  increases in cost for two ongoing repair projects in the district. The Board approved a $53,000 increase to the contract to re-roof Peabody Montessori Elementary, which followed the Oct. 16 approval of a $75,000 increase in the contract in the Pineville High School track project. Contractors in both cases found, upon the start of work, needed repairs were more extensive than anticipated.

 

State Police say an elderly man was  struck and killed by an elderly motorist on state highway 121 in Vernon  Parish  early yesterday morning. Troopers say a 78-year-old woman driving a small SUV hit 88-year-old Eddard  Morrison  as  he  was sitting on the edge of the  southbound lane. The woman drove on, apparently  unaware she'd hit someone. She was located later. A toxicology test is  pending and authorities say she  may be charged  with  hit  &  run,  vehicular homicide or both--pending the results of an investigation.

 

Former  LSU  Quarterback  Jordan  Jefferson  is behind bars. Yesterday morning, a District Judge in Baton Rouge ruled that, due to his arrest last week on drug charges, he  violated  the terms of his bond  related to a bar fight last year. Word is Jefferson may have to remain in jail until his next court hearing on December 12th.

 

The demand for tickets to Saturday night's LSU-Alabama game is just as  high as last year's game in Tuscaloosa, which was dubbed as the "Game  of the Century." That's according to Stubhub spokesperson Joellen  Ferrar, who says two tickets fairly close to the field will  likely cost you over one-thousand dollars.  However, Ferrar says nosebleed seats are going for as little as 165-dollars. She expects strong sales leading up  to kick-off.

 

State Police is reminding parents of trick or treaters to put safety  first this evening. Captain Doug Cain says trick or treaters should bring a flashlight and wear  reflective clothing if possible. He says you should also be mindful of adult to child ratio to make sure one adult is  handling too large a group of children.

 

We should know later today if LSUA chancellor Dr. David Manuel will be Leaving Cenla To take the chancellor’s job at Drury university. Drury is expected to announce which of the two finalists for the job, Manuel being one of them, will get the position. It is believed Dr. Manuel will be the announced winner.  LSUA has made no official announcement on the matter, other than say Manuel would be out of the office until Friday.

 

A Mansura man is facing a long list of charges after investigators from the Avoyelles parish sheriff’s department raided his home on a tip and found a  marijuana farm inside. 50 year old Blaine Roy was arrested and charged with the manufacturing and distribution of a controlled dangerous substance. Deputies reportedly found a hydroponic system with growing tents, lighting, ventilation and watering systems. Investigators seized 36 suspected marijuana plants, along with several pounds of harvested marijuana valued at about $45 Grand. Deputies also seized 19 rifles, one semi-automatic handgun, an all-terrain vehicle and a boat.

 

The  Louisiana  Highway  Safety  Commission  has some good  news, seat-belt  use in Louisiana reached a record high  of  79.3  percent this year. Officials  believe this high number of motorists buckling up is contributing to the  state's  declining  highway  death  rate. Preliminary  crash  statistics  for  2011  indicate that Louisiana's highway  death  toll declined for the fourth year  in  a  row.  Lake Charles leads the state in seat belt use, followed by Lafayette, New Orleans and Houma.

 

It's  official;  Leucadia Corporation  will  locate  a  $2.5-billion gasification plant  at  the  Port  of  Lake  Charles. The plant will gasify  petroleum  coke, a refining by-product,  to  extract  useful gases,  like  methanol,   hydrogen  and  carbon  dioxide  for  sale. Construction is set to get underway early next year, bringing over a thousand  construction  jobs   and  over  150  full-time  jobs  once complete.

 

A growing, 5.5-acre sinkhole in northern Assumption Parish swamps gobbled up an another strip of land Tuesday. The 80-by-20-foot section on the eastern side of the sinkhole fell in, or sloughed off. So far, the growing sink hole has  cost  the Louisiana  Department  of Natural Resources more than $2-million for response  efforts.  And,  there's  no  estimate  of  when  emergency response needs in Assumption Parish will end. 150 families have been evacuated from their homes since August 3rd and it doesn’t look like they’ll be going home anytime soon.  

 

Cruise ships are big business for Louisiana; bringing in millions in revenue and supporting thousands of jobs. Port of New Orleans president  Gary LaGrange says cruise ship spending in our state topped $280-million  in 2011. That figure is up 35% from 2010. To give you an idea of how big the industry has become to the state, The port of New Orleans over 730-thousand cruise ship passengers in  2011.

 

 

 

 

 

News For Tuesday 10/30/12


News For Tuesday 103012

By Dave Graichen

 

Today is the last day to cast early votes for the November 6th election,  and state officials say expect more long lines at early voting places.  Secretary of State Tom Schedler says it's easy to see that  more people are early voting than in previous election cycles. Schedler says, as of noon Monday, nearly 227-thousand registered voters have cast early votes. You have until 6pm tonight to cast your early ballot.

 

A dump truck being towed lost a rear wheel yesterday morning on Interstate 49, which caused both a fire and a Bobcat skid it was carrying to fall from the elevated road onto Murray Street below. Miraculously No one was injured in the incident. According to the APD, the driver of the wrecker was ticketed for having an expired driver's  license and for having an unsecured load.

 

LSU hosts the Alabama Crimson Tide this Saturday in Death Valley, and  the Baton Rouge area is preparing for a big weekend. Paul Arrigo  (uh-REE-go) with the Greater Baton Rouge Convention and Visitors Bureau  says this will be a big weekend for the hospitality industry. Arrigo says thousands of Alabama fans will be flocking to Baton Rouge,  and with them comes TV networks, sport writers, photographers all  coming to see the matchup between two legendary SEC coaches and  programs.  Arrigo says hotels are booking up quickly, and what rooms are available  are going at premium rates.

 

The November 6th ballot has a number of constitutional amendments  covering everything from term limits to taxes. Public Affairs Research  Council President Robert Scott says Amendment number eight will extend  industrial property tax breaks, enjoyed by manufacturers, in the state  to a narrow range of non-manufacturing businesses. Among the arguments for the amendments is that it would put Louisiana on  the same footing with competing states for new white collar and high  tech jobs. Scott says one argument against it is that it could cut into  local tax revenues.  Under the amendment each parish would have the option to agree to the  tax breaks.

 

The Alexandria District Probation and Parole Office will conduct an education session Halloween night for all registered sex offenders in the area. The Alexandria District serves Avoyelles, Catahoula, Concordia, Grant, LaSalle and Rapides parishes. The session, will be held from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday at 1534 Lee St. in Alexandria. All supervised cases are required to attend. All unsupervised cases are invited to attend. The aim is to keep all sex offenders, especially those that are under supervision, away from any contact with children on Halloween, as well as to update offenders on any new and/or revised laws and to review compliance issues with them.

 

Gas  prices  in Louisiana continue the downward spiral as the cooler weather moves  in.  The  current  statewide  average for a gallon of regular gasoline is $3.39 cents a gallon which  is  down  almost  20

cents from last month. Analysts expect the price to dip even more as we get further into winter.

 

Two UL-Lafayette Football players have been dismissed from the team  and placed under arrest for allegedly fondling a female student  without her consent. University Police Sgt Billy Abrams says after questioning the victim officers determined they were  dealing with a sexual battery case.  20-year-old Darrell Green and 22-year-old Eric Ferguson  are each charged with one count of sexual battery.

 

A Monroe man faces assault charges after letting his large vicious dog  attack two Ouachita Parish Sheriff's deputies. OPSO Chief Deputy Marc  Mashaw says officers responded to a domestic disturbance last night to  find 26-year-old Coy Williams at the door. He says Williams let the  large Mastiff-mix dog loose at them. One deputy had to shoot the dog twice, when it  charged them.  Mashsaw says Williams will be charged with two counts of aggravated  assault on a law officer, and with a leash law violation for letting the  dog attack the officers.

 

The Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness is  sending response teams to Pennsylvania and Maryland to help authorities  there with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.  Both states sent over a hundred National Guard personnel each to  Louisiana after Hurricanes Katrina, Rita in 2005 and Hurricane Gustav in  2008

 

A woman driving on I-49 in Shreveport survives a 60 foot fall at the 70th  Street  overpass Sunday. Shreveport Police say it appears  the woman was attempting  to  avoid  a mattress on the on the road. They say the she lost control and fell  60  feet to ground below. She had to be cut out of the vehicle, but, police say, she had only minor injuries.

 

The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to review the case of a former Natchitoches man scheduled to be executed this week for the murder of an East Texas woman nine years ago. 41 year old Donnie Lee Roberts Jr.is scheduled to die by lethel injection tomorrow night at the Texas state prison in Huntsville for the 2003 murder of Vicki Bowen at her home on Lake Livingston. The 44 year old Bowen was found shot twice in the head. Roberts confessed to her killing and while in custody, also confessed to the March 1992 murder of Archie Crow Jr. in Natchitoches Parish. Until that confession, Natchitoches Parish authorities had not considered Crow's death a homicide.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

News For Monday 10/29/12


News For Monday 102912

By Dave Graichen

 

It appears, imprisoned Former Ball Mayor Roy Hebron, will be losing his retirement account. In court papers filed last  week, federal authorities say they plan to garnish his municipal retirement account to pay the remaining $68,237 he owes for overcharging the federal government after hurricane Gustav and using the money to fill holes in the town budget. Hebron pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the federal government and was sentenced in May of 2011 to 48 months in federal prison, he’s due to be released in December of 2014. The 58-year-old six-term mayor is serving the sentence at a minimum-security facility in Pensacola, Florida.

 

An attempt has failed to get Louisiana lawmakers into special session to consider reversing Gov. Bobby Jindal's recent cuts to health-care programs and a state prison. State senators blocked the effort, and the lawmaker leading the charge could not meet a Friday deadline to garner enough votes. State Rep. Jerome "Dee" Richard, an independent from Thibodaux, needed 13 senators to sign onto supporting the idea, the threshold for triggering a mail-in balloting of the Legislature, only nine signed the petition.

 

A federal grand jury has indicted two St. Landry Parish School Board members for conspiring to extort money in exchange for their votes for a new school superintendent. U.S. Attorney Stephanie A. Finley says indictments were handed up Wednesday against 50-year-old Quincy Richard Sr. and 71-year-old John Miller, both of Opelousas. From mid-July until Sept. 24, the defendants each accepted $5,000 from a superintendent candidate who was cooperating with the FBI. If convicted, both men face up to $250,000 in fines and five years in prison on the conspiracy count and up to 10 years in prison for the bribery counts.

 

State Police and Livingston Parish  sheriff's  investigators want to know  how and why  a funeral home employee managed  to  accidentally cremate  the  fetus  that  was  cut from its mother’s womb last week,

before the baby could be autopsied. 31-year-old Jeffrey Reynolds has been  arrested  for  1st degree feticide  in  that  crime,  and  for attempted murder for the attack on the mother.

 

State health  officials  report  another  17 confirmed cases of West Nile virus among Louisiana residents, bringing  the  total  infected this year to 338. The Department of Health & Hospitals also confirms

another person has died from the neuro-invasive form of the disease, also  called West Nile Encephalitis. So far 13 people in the  state have died from West Nile this year.

 

A new commanding officer is on his way to Central Louisiana to take charge of Fort Polk and the Army’s Joint Readiness Training Center located there. Brig. Gen. Bill Hickman, who until Friday was deputy commanding general for support of the famed 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Ky., will replace Brig. Gen. Clarence K.K. Chinn as the commanding officer at Fork Polk.

 

Lake Charles Clean Energy is expected to announce today a new project to  produce clean energy from gasified petroleum coke. Development partner  Hunter Johnston says about 1500 construction jobs will result, with  nearly 200 full-time permanent jobs at the finished plant. Johnston says the plant will produce methanol, hydrogen, argon and  sulfuric acid; all of which will be sold to eager users.  Johnston says, when completed, the plant will use state-of-the-art  technology to capture 90% of the cardon dioxide released by gasification  to sell for use in enhanced oil recovery techniques. He says the plant

will be clean, efficient and will provide needed jobs in southwestern  Louisiana.

 

There are nine Constitutional amendments on the November 6th ballot.  Today, we spotlight proposed Amendment Five, which would let lawmakers  pass laws to deprive public officials the state-paid part of their  retirement, if they're convicted of corruption. Metairie Rep. Tony Ligi  authored the original legislation.  A "yes" vote on Amendment Five will give the Legislature authority to  enact state laws for the forfeiture of state-paid retirement benefits to  those found guilty of public corruption.

 

A three day paid "business trip" to Venice by several members of the  Louisiana House is being called a "fishing trip" by some. Lawmakers  were paid $149 a day in per diem and .55 cents per mile so they could

meet at a popular fishing site near the Gulf of Mexico. Political  watchdog CB Forgotston says this was a costly trip for taxpayers. Some lawmakers who attended the retreat reportedly say the trip included several productive meetings and discussions. Forgotston says  there was a clear effort to keep this trip quiet which seems fishy. Some lawmakers admit they were looking for a getaway  where they could be candid with each other outside of the public's  eye.

 

The LSU Board of Supervisors have approved the merger of the positions of president of the LSU System and chancellor of the Baton Rouge campus into a single position. The board's unanimous vote Friday created the new position, "President of LSU." LSU is currently managed by interim president and chancellor, William Jenkins who replaced John Lombardi as president in April and then assumed the chancellor's responsibilities when Michael Martin departed in May.

 

A recent U-S-D-A survey forewarns of a potential crisis in the ag  industry, because of the lack of young people involved in agriculture.  According to the survey, only 5-percent of the nation's farm operators

are under the age of 35. Louisiana's Agriculture Commissioner Mike  Strain says society needs to do more to get young people involved.  Strain hopes more younger people consider a career in ag. He says there  are plenty of excellent opportunities. Some people may steer away from agriculture, because of manual labor.  But Strain says there's plenty of lucrative positions within the ag  industry that do not require work in the field.

 

According to the state’s attorney general, significant rate increases for state-sponsored wind and hail property insurance policies that Citizens Property Insurance Corp. approved earlier this year were legal. Attorney General James “Buddy” Caldwell issued the opinion last week. The rate increases brought the cost of insurance up more than 100 percent in some coastal parishes. State Treasurer John Kennedy had attacked the rate increases, saying he believed they were illegal.

 

The New Orleans Saints are now 2 and 5, after an embarrassing 34-14 loss  to the Broncos last night in Denver. Interim head coach Joe Vitt says he  made mistakes and the team made mistakes, and failed to manage Payton  Manning and the Broncos offense.  The Saints were plagued with missed cues, incomplete passes and dropped  balls. Vitt takes responsibility for the teams lack of preparation for

 matchup in Denver. Vitt says there's a lot of work ahead to get the team tightened up in  time for next week's home game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

 

The week Purple and Gold fans have been waiting for has arrived. Some  are calling the LSU-Alabama rematch Saturday the biggest in college  football this season and ESPN Magazine is even dedicating an entire  issue to the contest.

 

News For Friday 10/26/12


News For Friday 102612

By Dave Graichen

 

Another cool front is moving across Louisiana, bringing the coldest  temperatures seen so far this season. State Climatologist Barry Keim  says you'll want to have a coat or at least a sweater ready this weekend, especially in the overnight hours. Keim says parts of the state may see some rain today, as the cold front pushes through. He says, by early Sunday morning, we can expect lows in  the 30's in northern and central parishes, and in the mid-to-upper 40's nearer  to the coast.

 

Police say they arrested four former LSU football players, including one-time Heisman Trophy finalist  Tyrann Mathieu, after finding them with marijuana at Mathieu’s apartment. Baton Rouge police on Thursday said they also arrested ex-LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson, and former defensive backs Derrick Bryant and Karnell Hatcher. Police say Mathieu, Jefferson and Hatcher were booked on charges of marijuana possession while Bryant faces a charge of possession with intent to distribute. Police say they were called to the apartment complex after receiving a complaint from a neighbor of Mathieu.

 

Gannett newspapers report a yet-unnamed steel manufacturer will locate  a plant in the Caddo-Bossier area--creating hundreds of new jobs. An  official announcement is scheduled for this afternoon at the Caddo- Bossier Port.  The steel mill project could mean 800 new jobs and even more indirect

 jobs.

 

Rapides and 51 other Louisiana parishes are about to share $68.8 million in windfall tax money that has accumulated in escrow during a long-running court battle with three pipeline companies. Rapides will receive the seventh-largest share of the purse, and now is figuring out how to disperse almost $2.57 million among its taxing districts, including the School Board and Police Jury. The case, which has been ongoing for close to 17 years, has to do with the amount of taxes several pipelines pay and have paid over the years, to travel through the state.  

 

It’s what you call a win win negotiation ,The England Authority Board of Commissioners approved an agreement Thursday that will transfer land to St. Mary's Residential Training School in return for the cancellation of a lease on land that is part of England Airpark. The authority recently purchased 149 acres from the state with the intention of using some of that property to extend a Runway. The Diocese of Alexandria and St. Mary's held lease rights on that land, renewable for more than 150 years. In exchange for cancelling the lease, the authority is donating 47 of the 149 acres to St. Mary's. When the transfer is complete, the airpark will have 102 of the 149 acres to do with as they see fit, while St. Mary's will take ownership of 62 acres of land.

 

The RPSO Reports an investigation into a Tuesday armed robbery and battery resulted in the arrests of two Hineston men living across the street from the crime scene. 30 year old Brandon Stokes and 23 year old Jarret Dryden were both charged with one count of armed robbery, one count of aggravated second-degree battery, one count of criminal conspiracy and two counts of false imprisonment while armed with a dangerous weapon. Both were booked into the Rapides parish jail.

 

The American Dream; get married,  start  a  family,  buy  a home and retire at 65, right? Now a survey by Pew Research says fewer  of  us believe  we'll be able to retire at so young an age. Over 30% of the 1000 surveyed  don't  think  they'll  be able to retire until 80. Good luck with that. The  average life expectancy in the US. is 78 & a half.

 

The  Walker  man  charged  with  first degree feticide and attempted second-degree murder could face a  first  degree  murder  charge  if autopsy  evidence  of the baby he cut out of his pregnant wife shows that the fetus began  to  breathe after being removed from the womb. District  Attorney Scott Perriloux  says  they're  awaiting  autopsy results on  the  baby  and  toxicology tests for 31-year-old Jeffrey Reynolds.

 

An  abandoned pipe that is believed to be the source of an oil sheen spotted near the site of the 2010 Gulf Oil spill has now been capped and plugged  according  to  BP. The company announced yesterday  that the Coast Guard says no oil has been  seen leaking out of that container since it was capped and plugged. Reports  of  the  sheen in the Gulf started in September.

 

A  Baton  Rouge  mother  is under arrest accused of putting her baby inside of a plastic box then  leaving  her  alone  inside her house. Apparently 26-year-old Sharesse Joseph was walking down  the  street when  the  16  month  old  baby's grandmother notified the apartment manager that the child may be  left  inside alone. Police reportedly found the baby inside a Rubbermaid container  with  an  empty bottle and wearing a soiled diaper.

 

For the seventh time  in  the past 30 days, Governor Bobby Jindal has traveled out of state to attend  campaign  or  other  functions. His office announced  that  he  was  in  Iowa stumping for Mitt  Romney Wednesday  and in Jacksonville last night to  attend  the  first  coast women's services  pro-life  dinner. He returned home after that.

 

The earth is moving again at the site of that giant sinkhole in Assumption  Parish  near Bayou Corne.  The  U.S.  Geological  Survey confirms a sharp tremor  Wednesday around 9. The tremor was located about 500 meters deep, near  the  underground  salt cavern under the sinkhole.  The  sinkhole now covers about 4 acres  in  area.  Nearby residents were evacuated  in  early August, and haven't been able to return home since.

 

Long-time northeast Louisiana  philanthropist  Kitty  DeGree  passed away  this morning at the age of 90. DeGree made millions of dollars in real  estate  and  gave much of it back to the community. She was ULM's  largest  benefactor   and   the   university's   director  of development,  Anne  Lockhart,  says  DeGree touched every aspect  of Louisiana-Monroe. DeGree's foundation has given away over $4-million to worthy causes.

 

The Thibodaux man accused of beheading and dismembering his disabled 7-year-old  son last year has  had  a  key  hearing  delayed  again. 31-year-old Jeremiah  Wright  was  originally scheduled for a mental competency hearing in September. It  was delayed until November, but then  delayed  again  until  January 3rd.   Wright  reportedly  told authorities he killed the boy because he was tired of taking care of him. He remains in jail pending a $5-million bond.

 

Downtown Houma will be full of Halloween fun tonight with the first ever  Rougarou Festival. Jonathan Foret is the development director of the  South Louisiana Wetlands Discovery Center. He says the festival will  feature a parade, a costume contest, an obstacle course in involving  zombies and swamp monsters and lots of Cajun-themed food. Foret says the festival kicks off at 5 o'clock this afternoon with live  music  in Courthouse Square. He says the festival aims to  capitalize on renewed interest in Cajun culture thanks to shows like  "Swamp People."

 

Former LSU track star LoLo Jones is has landed a spot  on the United States  bobsled  team.  The  2-time  Olympic hurdler was one  of  24 athletes  selected for the team and 1 of  6  women's  push  athletes selected.  The  skeleton  roster  for  the  national  team  will  be announced next week after team selection races take place in Utah.

 

The Saints seek their third win in a row on Sunday night when they meet  the Denver Broncos. After an 0-and-4 start, New Orleans has been playing  better, but interim head coach Joe Vitt says the Broncos are getting  better too. Vitt says Denver Q-B Peyton Manning is looking more  comfortable with his new team. Sunday marks Vitt's first game with the Saints since serving a six-game  suspension as a result of the NFL's bounty investigation. Vitt says it's  been a great week.

 

 

 

News For Thursday 10/25/12


NEWS FOR THURSDAY 102512
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

VOTERS IN LOUISIANA ARE SETTING RECORDS  FOR EARLY VOTING. SECRETARY OF STATE TOM SCHEDLER SAYS HIS OFFICE IS ANTICIPATING  A TOTAL VOTER TURNOUT  JUST SHORT OF 70-PERCENT, WHICH IS AHEAD OF THE  67-PERCENT VOTER TURNOUT IN 2008. HE CREDITS WIDE SPREAD EXCITEMENT AMONG VOTES WHO HAVE FOLLOWED THE CAMPAIGNS CLOSELY. THE SECRETARY  OF  STATE'S  OFFICE  REPORTS THAT ROUGHLY 40-THOUSAND BALLOTS WERE CAST ON THE OPENING DAY OF EARLY VOTING. ABOUT 2,000 PEOPLE HAVE CAST EARLY BALLOTS IN THE PAST TWO DAYS HERE IN RAPIDES PARISH ALONE.

VOTING IN THE NOV. 6 ELECTIONS THAT WAS TO BE DONE AT MARTIN PARK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL HAS BEEN MOVED TO NEWMAN UNITED METHODIST CHURCH IN ALEXANDRIA.

MARTIN PARK ELEMENTARY, LOCATED ON LISA STREET IN ALEXANDRIA, WAS DAMAGED BY A FIRE ON OCT. 12, FORCING ITS CLASSES TO BE RELOCATED TO THE FORMER LEAD CENTER ON LINCOLN ROAD. NEWMAN UNITED METHODIST CHURCH IS LOCATED AT 5700 ORAN ST. IN ALEXANDRIA. THE RAPIDES PARISH POLICE JURY APPROVED THE RELOCATION OF THE POLLING PLACE FOR VOTING PRECINCT C21 AT A SPECIAL MEETING TUESDAY. THE NEW POLLING PLACE MUST STILL RECEIVE CLEARANCE FROM THE STATE AND U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE.

THE RAPIDES PARISH POLICE JURY WAS DIVIDED ON, BUT APPROVED, $7,500 IN FUNDS TO BE USED TO SEND PROMOTIONAL MATERIAL TO CITIZENS ABOUT THE UPCOMING VOTE ON THE RAPIDES COLISEUM. VOTERS WILL DECIDE ON NOV. 6 WHETHER TO SUPPORT A $23 MILLION BOND ISSUE TO RENOVATE AND UPGRADE THE AGING COLISEUM AND A ONE MILL PROPERTY TAX TO PAY FOR ITS OPERATIONS OVER 20 YEARS.

LOUISIANA GETS ANOTHER FAILING GRADE IN THE ANNUAL PENNINGTON BIOMEDICAL  CENTER REPORT CARD ON PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND HEALTH FOR CHILDREN AND  YOUTH. THE REPORT MEASURED THINGS LIKE PHYSICAL ACTIVITY, SCREEN TIME,  SPORTS INVOLVEMENT, OBESITY AND OVERALL PHYSICAL WELL BEING.

ALL NINE SCHOOLS IN THE UNIVERSITY OF LOUISIANA SYSTEM WILL SOON OFFER A BACHELOR  OF  ARTS  ONLINE DEGREE PROGRAM IN ORGANIZATIONAL LEADERSHIP. THE PROGRAM IS IS AIMED AT FORMER COLLEGE STUDENTS WHO DID NOT COMPLETE THEIR DEGREES. STATE HIGHER ED OFFICIALS ESTIMATE  THERE'S  600 THOUSAND  ADULTS  IN LOUISIANA WITH SOME COLLEGE CREDIT AND NO DEGREE.

LSU'S  SIX YEAR GRADUATION RATE HAS HIT  AN  ALL TIME HIGH OF 67 PERCENT. IT'S THE FIRST TIME IN LSU’S HISTORY, THE GRADUATION  RATE  IS  HIGHER  THAN  THE  AVERAGE OF ITS PEERS IN THE SOUTH. LSU'S GRADUATION RATE HAS NEARLY DOUBLED OVER THE PAST 20 YEARS.

LOUISIANA COLLEGE IN PINEVILLE HAS BEEN NAMED NO. 12 ON THE “MOST CONSERVATIVE COLLEGE” LIST, ACCORDING TO NEWSWEEK AS PART OF ITS “2012’S BEST COLLEGES FOR YOU" REPORT. ON THE LIST OF 25 CONSERVATIVE COLLEGES, LC, A PRIVATE BAPTIST COLLEGE, WAS RANKED JUST AHEAD OF BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY IN IDAHO AND JUST BEHIND HARDING UNIVERSITY OF SEARCY, ARK. AVE MARIA UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA WAS RANKED AS THE MOST CONSERVATIVE SCHOOL IN THE UNITED STATES.

LOUISIANA COLLEGE IS EMBARKING ON A $50 MILLION CAPITAL CAMPAIGN, ASKING FOR $12 MILLION FROM LOUISIANA BAPTIST CONVENTION CHURCHES.. THE $12 MILLION WILL BE USED TO IMPROVE STUDENT HOUSING. LC PRESIDENT JOE AGUILLARD SAID EVERY HOUSING UNIT ON CAMPUS IS TO BE COMPLETELY RENOVATED, FROM NEW HVAC SYSTEMS TO NEW ROOFS.

THE SAINTS ARE PREPARING FOR THEIR NATIONALLY TELEVISED GAME THIS SUNDAY  AGAINST THE DENVER BRONCOS. QUARTERBACK DREW BREES HAS PLAYED IN DENVER FOUR TIMES AND HIS TEAM HAS NEVER WON. THE HIGH ALTITUDE IS A CONCERN,  BUT BREES SAYS PLAYING A MILE ABOVE SEA LEVEL DOESN'T IMPACT HIS GAME. BUT, TO BE ON THE SAFE SIDE  THE SAINTS ARE LEAVING ON FRIDAY TO GET ACCUSTOMED TO THE HIGH ALTITUDE.

A NEIGHBOR TELLS THE BATON ROUGE ADVOCATE THAT THE LIVINGSTON PARISH MAN  ACCUSED  OF  CUTTING THE FETUS OUT OF HIS SEVEN MONTHS PREGNANT WIFE SAID HE SWALLOWED  BATH  SALTS. LIVINGSTON PARISH SHERIFF JASON ARD SAYS THEY ARE STILL AWAITING  TOXICOLOGY  RESULTS ON 31-YEAR-OLD JEFFREY REYNOLDS OF WALKER, WHO ALLEGEDLY STABBED  HIS  WIFE  IN THE ABDOMEN  AND  PULLED OUT THE BABY. ARD SAYS PARAMEDICS WERE NOT ABLE TO SAVE THE BABY, BUT THE MOM IS THANKFULLY IN STABLE CONDITION.

A DOMESTIC DISPUTE HAS TAKEN THE LIVES OF TWO PEOPLE IN CADDO PARISH.  THE INCIDENT INCLUDED A POLICE CHASE AND A SHOOTOUT WITH OFFICERS. SHREVEPORT POLICE RECEIVED  A CALL YESTERDAY MORNING  ABOUT  A  MAN  THREATENING  A  WOMAN WITH  A  GUN.  SHERIFFS  OFFICE SPOKESPERSON CINDY CHADWICK SAYS  WHEN OFFICERS ARRIVED ON THE SCENE A HIGH SPEED CHASE ENSUED. SHE SAYS THE CHASE ENDED WITH THE SUSPECT FIRING  AT  OFFICERS AND POLICE RETURNING  FIRE,  KILLING  THE  MAN. CHADWICK SAYS  THEY  BELIEVE  THE SUSPECT SHOT AND KILLED THE FEMALE RIDING WITH HIM DURING THE CHASE.

THE  CEO  OF  ENTERGY  LOUISIANA TOLD THE PUBLIC SERVICE  COMMISSION TODAY  THEY DID EVERYTHING  THEY  COULD  TO  RESTORE  POWER  TO ITS CUSTOMERS  AS  QUICKLY  AS POSSIBLE FOLLOWING HURRICANE ISAAC . BILL MOHL DID SAY THE UTILITY COMPANY NEEDS TO DO A BETTER JOB OF GETTING MORE INFORMATION OUT TO CUSTOMERS  AND BETTER SET EXPECTATIONS ABOUT HOW LONG IT WILL TAKE TO RESTORE ELECTRICITY.

LSU'S FACES LAB WILL ASSIST IN IDENTIFYING  A  HUMAN  SKULL FOUND IN BEAUREGARD PARISH TUESDAY. OTHER HUMAN BONES WERE ALSO  FOUND IN THE AREA, JUST WEST OF MERRYVILLE. LSU'S DR. MARY MANNHEIN AND  HER TEAM WILL TRY TO DETERMINE WHO THE PERSON WAS AND HOW THEY DIED.

FOUR  CONTRACTORS  WHO HELPED TO BUILD BATON ROUGE'S NEWEST GAMBLING CASINO RESORT HAVE FILED LIENS AGAINST THE COMPLEX--SAYING  THEY HAVEN'T  BEEN  PAID  FOR MORE THAN $3-MILLION IN WORK DONE. PINNACLE ENTERTAINMENT, WHO OWNS THE  L'AUBERGE  BATON  ROUGE,  REFERRED ALL  QUESTIONS  TO  THE GENERAL CONTRACTOR, MANHATTAN CONSTRUCTION.  THAT COMPANY CAN'T BE REACHED FOR COMMENT.

THE 106TH LA STATE FAIR KICKS OFF TODAY IN SHREVEPORT. THIS YEAR'S  FAIR WILL RUN THROUGH NOVEMBER 11TH AND IS CLOSED ON MONDAY'S AND  TUESDAY'S. STATE FAIR PRESIDENT CHRIS GIORDANO SAYS THIS YEAR'S FAIR  FEATURES LOTS OF NEW EXCITING ATTRACTIONS. MORE INFORMATION ON THE  FAIR IS ONLINE AT STATEFAIROFLOUISIANA.COM.





News For Wednesday 10/24/12


news for wednesday 102412

by dave graichen

 

an investigation by the rapides parish sheriff’s department into what is being described as a major brawl at the bolton / grant game last friday night has been concluded.  RPSO deputies who were working security for the game, were told of a large disturbance on the field while they were escorting the officials  off the field.   Deputies then responded to the scene, breaking up the disturbance and separating the individuals involved. After the subjects were interviewed from both sides, it was determined none of the people involved wanted to pursue any criminal action. 

 

the rapides parish sheriff’s department reports Three people face drug charges in connection with a drug operation, including a Deville man who has been arrested six times since January. 37 year old Richard Schweiger  was charged Friday with possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute. Also arrested on drug charges were 32 year old Jeremy Allinson and 30 year old Amber Allinson, both from pineville.

 

lsua Chancellor dr. David Manuel should know this week whether he will be the next president of Drury University. the 65 year old manuel is one of two finalists for the job. the other name on the list, 71 year old dr. David Steele, who is currently the dean of the College of Business at San Jose State.

 

john white, the state’s  education chief has been summoned to federal court in new orleans to testify in a case involving the state's new school voucher law and a 47-year-old desegregation case. The Tangipahoa school system argues that the voucher law, which pays private school tuition for some lower-income students from low-performing schools, diverts state money from the local school district. And they say that affects the system's ability to comply with orders in the desegregation case. Those orders include construction of four elementary schools and the continuation of magnet school programs. a second lawsuit, brought by the state’s two teacher’s unions and dozens of school boards across the state, is scheduled to be heard late next month.

 

new information is coming out about the attack that critically injured a winnsboro woman. on sunday night, 20 year old sharmeka moffitt told police she was attacked and set on fire while walking through city park. kkk was painted on the hood of her vehicle and racial slurs under that. a candlelight vigil was held last night in winnsboro for moffitt, who remains in critical condition. but, here’s the twist, Franklin Parish Sheriff Kevin Cobb said during a press conference at the Franklin Parish Courthouse yesterday afternoon that all forensic evidence pointed toward Sharmeka Moffitt concocting the story and setting herself on fire.

 

Long lines could  be  seen in some early voting locations yesterday as the doors opened to kick off a week of early ballot punching for the November 6th Presidential election. Early  voting  is from 8:30 until 6 now through October 30th, except of course this Sunday. Voters can find the location in their district online a sos.la.gov.

 

440  schools  will  receive  about  10-thousand   dollars  each  for achieving  or  exceeding  goals  established  by  the  state. Overall thirty-seven-percent of Louisiana public schools received  an "A" or "B"  grade,  according to school performance scores released by the state dept. of ed earlier this week.  State  Superintendent  of  Education John White says He is also encouraged be the number of "D" and "F" schools  dropping from 44-percent in 2011 to 36-percent this year.


The calendar says the 2012 hurricane season  should be winding down, but  the  activity  in  the  tropics says something  different.  The National hurricane Center is tracking  Tropical  Storm  Sandy in the Caribbean and Tropical Depression 19, which is in the middle  of the Atlantic.  State Climatologist Barry Keim says Sandy is not a threat to the Gulf. Sandy is the  18th named storm of the hurricane season and Keim says 2012 will go down as one of the most active seasons in history.

 

The state  House  of  Representatives  has  gathered  enough  member signatures to support calling a special session to possibly overturn recent  deep  cuts  to  health  care  services  made  by  the Jindal Administration. The Special Session Call has until Thursday to amass enough  State  Senate signatures to make the session happen.  If  it does happen, it would be after Thanksgiving.


The Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control has a new dog in the fight against synthetic marijuana. ATC used money it raised from fines and  penalties  to  buy  a  two-year-old   German   Shepard, specifically  trained  to  sniff  out  the illegal drug. The K-9 was brought  in  from  Holland  and is currently  undergoing  additional training in Acadiana.

 

A man stabbed his pregnant wife and cut the fetus from her body Tuesday afternoon in livingston parish. The woman, who was seven months pregnant, is in stable condition, but the child is dead. Sheriff’s deputies took Jeffrey Reynolds into custody and were testing him for drugs. Investigators issued warrants against Reynolds on felony counts of feticide and attempted second-degree murder.

 

A pair of Baton Rouge area pee wee football  coaches  are  suspended after  a  passerby  recorded  a  halftime rant, in which the coaches loudly and angrily berate the pre-teen  team.   The organizers of Baton Rouge youth sports say the coaches are out for the rest of this season and may not be asked back at all.

 

 

 

 

 

NEWS FOR TUESDAY 102312


NEWS FOR TUESDAY 102312
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

THE RAPIDES PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE IS LOOKING FOR THE PERSON OR PERSONS RESPONSIBLE FOR DOING UP TO $15,000 WORTH OF DAMAGE TO GRAVES AT A CEMETERY. THEY SAY SOME OF THE TOMBSTONES WERE POSSIBLY ABOUT 100 YEARS OLD AND WERE OVERTURNED AND CRACKED.

EARLY VOTING FOR THE NOVEMBER 6TH PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION OPENS TOADY AND RUNS THROUGH NEXT TUESDAY, OCTOBER 30TH. SECRETARY OF STATE TOM SCHEDLER SAYS THEY ARE EXPECTING A VERY HIGH VOTER TURNOUT AND EARLY VOTING IS A GOOD WAY TO AVOID THE RUSH. SCHEDLER SAYS VOTING EARLY IS BECOMING MORE AND MORE POPULAR IN LOUISIANA. HE SAYS THIS IS ESPECIALLY TRUE FOR ELECTIONS LIKE THIS ONE THAT FALL ON A WEEKDAY RATHER THAT A SATURDAY. SCHEDLER SAYS VOTING EARLY IS EASY AND SIMPLE.

STATE SUPERINTENDENT OF EDUCATION JOHN WHITE IS APPLAUDING THE EFFORTS OF PUBLIC SCHOOLS AFTER ANNOUNCING THAT 36-PERCENT OF SCHOOLS EARNED AN AN A OR B LETTER GRADE, WHICH IS A 28-PERCENT INCREASE FROM LAST YEAR. WHITE SAYS A HIGHER GRADUATION RATE AMONG HIGH SCHOOLS HELPED MANY SCHOOLS RECEIVE HIGHER GRADES. BUT THE RELEASE OF YESTERDAY’S SCHOOL PERFORMANCE SCORES ALSO SHOWS MORE SCHOOLS RECEIVED "F" LETTER GRADE. 157 SCHOOLS RECEIVED AN "F" THIS YEAR COMPARED TO 115 LAST YEAR. WHITE SAYS MORE "F" GRADES WERE GIVEN OUT, BECAUSE SCHOOLS HAD TO SCORE HIGHER TO RECEIVE A PASSING GRADE. UNDER THE OLD GRADING SYSTEM ONLY 70 SCHOOLS WOULD HAVE HAD A FAILING GRADE.

FIVE SCHOOLS IN RAPIDES PARISH ACED THEIR 2012 SCHOOL PERFORMANCE SCORES, ACCORDING TO DATA RELEASED MONDAY BY THE LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION.
TWO HIGH SCHOOLS -- ALEXANDRIA SENIOR HIGH AND PINEVILLE HIGH SCHOOL -- RECEIVED AS FROM THE STATE, ALONG WITH THREE ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS -- PHOENIX MAGNET, PEABODY MONTESSORI AND J.I. BARRON. PHOENIX MAGNET ELEMENTARY MAINTAINED THE HIGHEST SCORE IN THE DISTRICT AGAIN THIS YEAR,

AMONG THE NINE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS TO BE DECIDED ON THE NOVEMBER 6TH BALLOT, ONE SEEKS TO MAKE IT HARDER TO TAMPER WITH GUN RIGHTS ASSURED UNDER THE SECOND AMENDMENT. THE ORIGINAL BILL WAS SPONSORED BY COLUMBIA SENATOR NEIL RISER, WHO SAYS THE AMENDMENT WILL HELP PROTECT INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS TO POSSESS AND BEAR FIREARMS. THE COUNCIL FOR A BETTER LOUISIANA FEELS IT'S A BAD IDEA TO VOTE FOR THE AMENDMENT. CABL PRESIDENT BARRY ERWIN SAYS THEY WORRY IT COULD LEAD TO PLACES CURRENTLY DESIGNATED "GUN-FREE ZONES" PERMITTING WEAPONS ON THE PREMISES.

LOUISIANA HIGHER EDUCATION LEADERS HAVE AGAIN ASKED LEGISLATORS TO HAND OVER AUTHORITY TO SET TUITIONS AND OTHER FEES TO THEM. STATE HIGHER EDUCATION COMMISSIONER JIM PURCELL SAYS THEY'VE ASKED LAWMAKERS TO CONSIDER GIVING OVER SOME CONTROL TO THE FOUR UNIVERSITY SYSTEM BOARDS. PURCELL SAYS COLLEGES SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO SET THEIR OWN TUITIONS AND FEES, TO BECOME MORE IN LINE WITH THE SOUTHERN REGIONAL EDUCATION BOARD AVERAGE. HE SAYS THE $426-MILLION HIGHER EDUCATION BUDGET CUTS SINCE 2008 MAKE IT HARD TO MAINTAIN ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE AND RETAIN FACULTY.

JOE VITT IS BACK WITH THE SAINTS AFTER SERVING HIS SIX-GAME SUSPENSION FOR HIS ROLE IN THE TEAM'S BOUNTY SCANDAL. VITT WILL SERVE AS THE TEAM'S INTERIM HEAD COACH FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR. THE SAINTS HAVE A 2-AND-4 RECORD, BUT VITT IS NOT PLANNING ON MAKING ANY MAJOR CHANGES.

A WINNSBORO WOMAN IS IN CRITICAL CONDITION AFTER SHE WAS SET ON FIRE BY THREE ASSAILANTS SUNDAY NIGHT. STATE POLICE TROOPER ALBERT PAXTON SAYS THE VICTIM, 20-YEAR-OLD SHARMIKA MOFFITT, WAS ON A WALKING TRAIL IN A LOCAL PARK, WHEN THE MEN ATTACKED. PAXTON SAYS THE MEN THREW SOME KIND OF ACCELERANT ON THE WOMAN AND SET THE WOMAN ON FIRE. MOFFITT SUSTAINED SERIOUS BURNS OVER A LARGE PART OF HER BODY, AND WAS TAKEN TO LSU HOSPITAL IN SHREVEPORT. K-K-K WAS REPORTEDLY WRITTEN ON HER CAR AS WELL.

NUCOR STEEL ANNOUNCES THEY ARE LOOKING FOR APPLICANTS FOR 150 NEW FULL TIME JOBS AT THEIR ST. JAMES PARISH FACILITY. NUCOR IS COLLABORATING WITH LED FAST START, THE STATE'S WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM, TO FILL THE POSITIONS. FAST START EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR JEFF LYNN SAYS THE MAJORITY OF THE JOBS ARE ENTRY LEVEL PRODUCTION AND MAINTENANCE POSITIONS PAYING UP TO 75-THOUSAND DOLLARS A YEAR PLUS BONUSES. LYNN SAYS THE APPLICATION PROCESS IS STRAIGHT FORWARD...
THE WEBSITE IS WWW.NUCORJOBSLOUISIANA.COM.

AREA DEVELOPMENT MAGAZINE'S 2012 TOP STATES FOR DOING BUSINESS SURVEY PUTS LOUISIANA AT NO 6 IN THE NATION AS A PRIME PLACE FOR BUSINESS INVESTMENT, JOB CREATION AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT. THE MAGAZINE'S EDITORS SAY THE STATE'S PROGRESS IS REMARKABLE AS LOUISIANA HAD NOT RANKED IN THE TOP 10 BEFORE 2011.

ONE TEENAGER IS DEAD AND ANOTHER IS FIGHTING FOR HER LIFE AFTER THE CAR THEY WERE TRAVELING IN CRASHED AND SANK INTO BAYOU TERREBONNE. STATE POLICE TROOPER EVAN HARRELL SAYS THE 16-YEAR-OLD FRONT SEAT FEMALE PASSENGER WAS ABLE TO ESCAPE TO SAFETY THROUGH AN OPEN WINDOW, BUT ANOTHER 15-YEAR-OLD FEMALE IN THE BACK SEAT WAS TRAPPED UNTIL FIRST RESPONDERS ARRIVED. SHE IS REPORTED TO BE IN CRITICAL CONDITION. THE DRIVER, 18-YEAR-OLD JUSTIN NAQUIN, WAS PRONOUNCED DEAD AT THE SCENE.






News For Monday 10/22/12


News for monday 102212

by dave graichen

 

The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Alexandria saturday was another major success. large crowds turned out not only to participate, but to cheer on friends who were taking part in the race. survivors ranged from one who had been cancer free to another who was on day 80. crowds were somewhat smaller this year due to the fact the alexandria event is now a local rather than a regional race, as is has been in the past. Seventy-five percent of the money raised stays local to be granted out through non-profit organizations. Twenty-five percent goes to research.

 

Unemployment in Louisiana fell to 7% in September, according to federal  Labor Department numbers. That's down from 7.4% in August and lower than  it was one year ago. LSU economist Dr. Loren Scott says he believes  upturns in the chemicals and oil & gas industries are largely behind the  surge.

 

Sundrop Fuels Inc. has hired some plant managers and has started preliminary site work north of Alexandria, where construction on the company's $450 million synthetic gasoline plant is to begin early next year with completion in 2014. The Colorado company, which chose Central Louisiana for its first commercial plant, continues financing negotiations with lenders. The company, plans to use natural gas and woody biomass to produce car-ready synthetic gasoline.

 

We know the New Orleans Times Picayune is now only delivering three  days a week, but now Newsweek magazine has announced it will stop printing all together in order to concentrate on online publication. Is print becoming a thing of the past? LSU Mass Comm Dean Jerry Ceppos he isn't at all surprised by the Newsweek move. Ceppos says, though it depends on the situation, but using paper  journalism as a legitimate news source is essentially dead. in big and struggling markets like New Orleans, scaling  back daily delivery is what makes the most economic sense. However he  says smaller market newspapers are still steady on their feet.

 

 

Ten years ago today, former Governor Edwin Edwards woke up to his first  full day as a federal prisoner, after his conviction for conspiring to  fix casino licenses. U.L.-Lafayette political science professor Pearson  Cross says a decade ago, it must have seemed like rock-bottom for  Edwards...but things have dramatically changed for him. While in federal prison Edwards met Trina Scott, who is some 50 years  younger than he. The two were married in 2011, and are planning to have  a child. Cross says Edwards has found happiness in his senior years.  Edwards served 8 & 1/2 years of his ten-year sentence, and was released  in early 2011, with time off for good behavior.

 

Sixth ranked LSU enters the bye week with just one loss after a come  from behind win over Texas A-and-M, 24-19.

 

Louisiana-Monroe is all alone in first place in the Sun Belt Conference  after a dramatic 43-to-42 overtime victory over Western Kentucky. U-L-M is 3-and-0 in the Sun Belt and the Warhawks will host South  Alabama this Saturday.

 

After starting the season with a four-game losing streak, the Saints  have now won two in a row. New Orleans fell behind 21-7 to Tampa Bay  yesterday, but rallied for a 35 to 28 victory.

News For Friday 10/19/12


news for friday 101912

by dave graichen

 

the rapides parish sheriff’s department has arrested a  Pineville man after several complaints that he was taking advantage of a 92 year old man. Detectives arrested Delane clark and charged him with burglary, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, criminal damage greater than $500 and possession of stolen items. More charges are pending, as the investigation unfolds.

 

authorities are still looking for a Woodworth man who fled into some woods yesterday morning after what appears to have been a domestic dispute. the Rapides Parish Sheriff's department  believes 48 year old john mcneal was picked up in a car by a third party. woodworth police  were called to a Bayou Clear Road home shortly before 9 yesterday morning to find a victim who had been battered and had suffered a small neck laceration. the victim was treated and released from a local hospital.

 

44 year old therand thacker of deville has been found guilty of nine sex crimes and obstruction of justice in a case involving two sisters, one now 20, the other is 16. thacker’s defense was that he was being framed by the girls and these was no physical evidence, only the testimony of the girls.  but, the jury did not buy the argument. thacker, who is disabled with just one arm,  will be sentenced  november 2nd, he could be facing up to 230 years in prison.

 

a construction worker on the O.K. Allen Bridge replacement project was seriously injured yesterday when is leg was caught in a piece of. The worker, 26-year-old Robert Williams, suffered a partially severed leg in the accident.

Two New Orleans toddlers  are dead, and their mother is charged with their murder. The 3 and 4-year-old  boy & girl were found last night by  their grandmother; both dead in the  bathtub.  Police  say  the mother,  23-year-old   Chelsea  Thornton,  reportedly  suffers  from bipolar disorder and other mental troubles, and had quit taking her meds. Thornton faces two counts of 1st degree murder.

 

Could local control of  the  BP  settlement  be  lost.  According to reports out of Alabama unnamed officials have said settlement  talks are  now  favoring putting money toward the Natural Resources Damage Assessment. That program would put dollars solely into making up for natural resources damage  by  the  spill. While the long fought for Restore Act had allowed the direct fines  to be spent more freely on locally chosen projects. A bipartisan group  of Gulf Coast senators, including Louisiana's U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu,  to send a letter of objections  to  the  Justice Department and the President. Our other U.S. Sen. David Vitter, did not sign the letter

 

The   state  Bond  Commission  has  given  approval  to   a   Jindal Administration plan  to  borrow $350-million for needed repairs and upgrades of rural Louisiana  roads.  The  list  of  targeted project spreads across 37 parishes. The roads in question don't  qualify for any  federal  matching highway money. The debt will be paid  over  a 22-year term, with  money  from license & registration fees ad taxes on commercial vehicles.


NOAA's  Climate Prediction Center anticipates  wetter  than  average conditions across  the  Gulf Coast states during the winter months. But  long-range forecaster  Mike  Halpert  says  they  had  trouble producing a winter  outlook for the United States this year, because an El  Nino  weather pattern did not show up as expected. He says if an El Nino  intensifies,   then   we  can  expect cooler than normal temperatures for this winter.

 

State  Fire  Marshal  Butch Browning says someone in Winn Parish  is setting fires intentionally  and  he's  determined to catch them. He says there have been over 80 suspicious wildfires  in  the area over the past three years in at around the St. Maurice community. He says the  Arson  Task force will eventually catch those responsible  with the public's help. He says the Confidential Arson Tip line is 225-922-1458.

Budget  cuts to the LSU hospital system  have  impacted  E.A  Conway Medical Center  in Monroe. Administrators sent out layoff notices to 38 employees. The hospital's  emergency room capacity has also been cut by 25%. Intensive Care by 6 beds and surgical by 12 beds.

 

The state's coastal protection agency says Hurricane Isaac brought 565- thousand pounds of oil to the surface. Coastal Restoration and  Protection Authority Chairman Garrett Graves says they have told B-P  and the Coast Guard the oil clean-up in the Gulf is not complete and  this is proof they are right.  About four-point-nine million barrels of oil spilled into the gulf during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Disaster. Graves estimates there's  still a million barrels unaccounted for.

 

The 2013 LSU football schedule was released today. It has the Tigers playing Alabama on November 9th, with an open date between and after the game with the Crimson Tide. LSU will still close out the regular season with Arkansas Thanksgiving weekend and Texas A&M is scheduled to visit Baton Rouge on November 23rd.

 

If the Saints want to get back into the N-F-C playoff picture, a win at  Tampa Bay this Sunday is a must. New Orleans enters the game with a  1-and-4 record and the odds of getting into the playoffs are not good. Tampa Bay comes into the game with a two and three record.

 

 

News For Thursday 10/18/12


News for thursday 101812

by dave graichen

 

Following Tuesday's evacuation at alexandria senior high school  and  Rumors circulated Wednesday about a second threat,  About 100 students decided not to chance it and checked out of school the day, others simply were no shows. school officials say they had not received any word of yet another threat and that Tuesday's threat remains under investigation by the Alexandria Police Department. In the meantime, extra precautions are being taken at the school. Two Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office detectives manned metal DETECTORS  and checked students as they entered the building Wednesday morning.

 

The Rapides Parish School Board has declared a public emergency for damages caused by a recent fire at Martin Park Elementary, allowing for quicker action in signing contracts to repair the building. The declaration, which came at a special School Board meeting Tuesday night, authorizes the interim superintendent or assistant superintendent of administration to negotiate required construction and repairs with costs to be paid from special reserve funds and with insurance proceeds. Roy Rachal, coordinator of risk management for the district, said the school is a "significant loss" after Friday's fire burned classrooms, collapsed a portion of the roof and covered the school's contents with smoke and soot.

 

The U.S. Department of Energy says it needs more time to consider an  environmental group's objections to a Texas company's plans to build an export terminal for liquefied natural gas in southwest Louisiana. Earlier this year regulators approved a permit allowing Houston-based Cheniere Energy Inc. to build the Sabine Pass LNG terminal in Cameron Parish. The project was the first large-scale natural gas export facility to be approved in the U.S. In September, the Sierra Club objected and asked DOE to block the project. The group said a more in-depth environmental analysis should be done to examine whether building the facility would result in an increase in natural gas production and environmental damage. no word as to when a ruling may come from the feds.

 

Police  say a woman who drove off the parking garage at the Boomtown Casino in  Bossier  city is fighting for her life at LSU-Hospital in Shreveport. Bossier City  Police  Spokesperson  Mark  Natale says the woman drove from the top floor of the garage and fell about 60 feet.  the car landed on its roof onto a concrete exit  ramp  and pinned the woman inside. natale says police do believe alcohol to be a factor.

Lafayette  Police report an arrest  in  the  case  of  a  murder  in downtown Lafayette.  The  body of 24-year-old Michael Luke Darby was found Monday afternoon behind  a  shrub, next to a business. The U-S Marshal's office arrested 26-year-old  Kyle  James Toups of Carencro last night near Beaumont. Lafayette Police Corporal Paul Mouton says Toups was arrested in Texas, because that's where  he  was  working. Mouton  says investigators do not believe Darby and Toups knew  each other prior to the murder.

 

The president of the Louisiana Association of School Superintendents calls the state's new anti-bullying law an administrative nightmare. Michael  Faulk says the new rules, as established by BESE, will pile on multiple layers of new bureaucratic procedures. BESE drafted the rules in response to a new anti-bullying law passed by the legislature.  Faulk  says  school administrators will work on recommendations to make the process easier.

 

The Federal Aviation Administration  is  in  Vernon Parish trying to determine the cause of a single-engine plane crash  that  killed  an assistant  church  pastor. Authorities say James Roberts' plane went down in a wooded area  near  Simpson on  Sunday. Stormy weather may have been a factor.


New  federal  campaign  finance numbers show Charles Boustany with a sizable cash-on-hand lead  over fellow republican Jeff Landry in the race for the newly redrawn 3rd  Congressional District. According to the report Boustany raised a half  million dollars between July 29th and   September  30th,  compared to  Landry   who   raised   nearly 380-thousand  dollars  during  that  same period. The F-E-C report shows the lone democratic in the race, Ron Richard,
with  15-thousand dollars in cash. Two other candidates, Libertarian Jim Stark and  republican Bryan Barilleaux, did not report any cash funds.

 

Six parishes in southeast Louisiana have banded together to improve  flood protection and storm response in the region. The Storm Defense  Compact includes the parishes of St. John the Baptist, St. Tammany, St.  Bernard, Tangipahoa, St. Charles and Jefferson. St. Tammany Parish  President Pat Brister says the idea arose after Hurricane Isaac.  The six parishes in the compact were all on the receiving end of severe  flooding in the wake of Hurricane Isaac. There is speculation that some  of the flooding there was the result of runoff due to beefed up  flood protection in New Orleans and Jefferson Parish after Katrina.

 

Capitol Area Congressman Bill Cassidy is up for re-election on November  6th, but already talking about a run for Senate in two years. Cassidy  says he'd be honored to be asked to run against Senator Mary Landrieu.  Cassidy made the comment to the Baton Rouge Business Report. He says  he's not necessarily running in 2014.  Cassidy says he'd want to have his family's approval, plenty of campaign  cash and support of big donors and organizers in order to even enter the  2014 Senate race.

 

State Police say 20 people have been arrested and nearly 150 pounds of  illegal drugs have been seized in a narcotics investigation that started  over a year ago. Troop C spokesman Trooper Evan Harrell says  The people arrested are all from Houma, Lockport or Bourg.  Trooper Harrell says officers seized over 5 pounds of methamphetamine,  130 pounds of marijuana, three guns, 2 vehicles and over tens of  thousands of dollars in cash. He says the group was bringing the dope in  from Texas and California.

 

The number of people who identify themselves as being a part of a  particular religion is on the decline according to a Pew Research  Center study. Dr. Tom Ryan is the director of the Loyola Institute for  Ministry. He believes  that churches need to put a stronger focus on  attracting young adults. The study also indicates nearly 20% of  Americans say they aren't affiliated with a denomination which is up  5% from five years ago. But Ryan says nearly 2/3 of "non-religious"  are spiritual people who believe in God.  The study shows that most unaffiliated people are not looking to be  associated with a religion.

 

 

 

 

News For Wednesday 10/17/12


news for wednesday 101712

by dave graichen

 

A threatening Internet tweet sent Alexandria Senior High students to the football stadium during their first hour class yesterday. Bill Morrison, Rapides Parish School District assistant superintendent of administration, said the school was evacuated to allow authorities to conduct a room-to-room search of the building.  the all clear was sounded  about 9:30 a.m., and students were returned to class.

 

More information has surfaced  about  the  man  convicted  of killing UL-Lafayette student Mickey Shunick. A search of 33-year-old Brandon  Scott Lavergne's  home during the investigation of Shunick revealed a driver's license of  a  still missing Texas woman. A case file revealed detectives tracked down  the brother of that woman who says  he  kicked  her out of his house because  she  had  too  many personal issues. The brother told investigators he was putting money in  the account of Madeline  Aumiller  but  that  it  had  not been  accessed since April.

 

A new contract between the city of alexandria and british PETROLEUM energy will save residents about $262,000 a year. The Council adopted an ordinance authorizing the mayor to execute a base contract to buy natural gas from bp. that natural gas delivered to the city by Crosstex LIG, which is the company that currently delivers the natural gas to the city. the city had been looking at the possibility of building it’s own gas pipeline. however, it appears now that crosstex has decided to reduce what it charges the city to deliver the gas. under the new agreement, bp is offering to provide natural gas at 3 cents per MBTU. the current charge is more than three time as high.

 

more on that fire last friday at martin park elementary school. we told you yesterday A 12-year-old  student  was under arrest for setting  the  school  on fire last week and has been charged with simple arson. you may wonder how authorities were able make an arrest so quickly. Larry King with the Alexandria Fire Department says  they  had  video  evidence  of the boy going into the school shortly before 5 Friday morning  and setting the  fire. king says the fire itself affected three classrooms and he's unsure how long it's going to take to clean everything up.

 

State safety officials say they're not certain why, but the number of  people killed on motorcycles, bicycles and on foot is going up, while  overall traffic deaths are declining. Louisiana Highway Safety  Commission director John LeBlanc says PEDESTRIAN fatalities were up  almost 18% in 2011.  Overall, 676 people died in highway crashes in 2011; down over 6% from  2010. Motorcycle deaths increased by over 8%. LeBlanc says 2011 was the  fourth straight year reflecting that trend. He hopes the increased  number of motorcycle fatalities is not the start of trend.

 

For nearly two hours an  American Airlines plane from Miami was held on the tarmac monday at the New Orleans' Armstrong airport after a passenger showed symptoms  of what was feared to be typhoid fever. The sick passenger was taken to  a  local  hospital  and  the  other passengers  were  told  to go home and wash their clothes. Officials have not been able to confirm  from what  illness  the passenger in question was suffering.

According  to  a poll by Shreveport pollster Elliot Stonecipher  the race between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney is too close to call. Stonecipher is predicting  the results will be similar to 2004, when George W. Bush won by a margin  of  less  than  two percent. He also adds a clear sign voters have made up their minds early will be the  turnout for early voting. LOUISIANA’S early voting  begins  on the 23rd.

 

Officials say a Lafayette man admitted in federal  court  to writing racial slurs on two churches with predominately black congregations, then  trying  to  pin it  on  his  white ex-girlfriend.  They  say 34-year-old  Brian  Crimiel, who is black, plead guilty to one count of damage to religious  property  and  making  a false statement. He will be sentenced at a later date.

 

Folks  in Webster Parish can breathe easy  after  authorities confirm  the explosion  monday night that shook several homes was an underground bunker that exploded  at  Camp Minden.  They  say  the military will  investigate exactly what happened, but the bunker did hat it was supposed to do. the blast was so strong, some nearby residents reported their windows were broken. one man told police the blast knocked him from his bed.

 

The Louisiana Supreme Court rules Bernette Johnson will be the court's  next chief justice. The decision ends a dispute between Johnson and  Justice Jeffrey Victory over who would succeed Kitty Kimball. some say Race may have been a factor as Johnson is black. but, Lapolitics.com publisher John  Maginnis says the legal argument was over who had more seniority. This issue was heard by a federal judge, who ruled in Johnson's favor  last month. Maginnis says the Louisiana Supreme Court eventually ruled  on its own today, making Johnson the state's first black chief justice..


A Sports Illustrated cover story  on former LSU football star Tyrann Mathieu indicates the Honey Badger  might  have  broken  NCAA  rules which  could  keep him  from returning to the Tigers next year. The Sports Illustrated article says starting defensive Anthony Johnson's image also appeared in a poster, along  with Mathieu, to promote an event at a Baton Rouge nightclub.  Tiger Rag.com Editor Cody Worsham says Johnson may have also violated an NCAA rule.

 

 

 

News For Tuesday 10/16/12


news for tuesday 101612

by dave graichen

 

Four people are in custody after a Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office School Resource Officer at Acadian Elementary New Vision Academy in Alexandria heard what sounded like gunshots near the school yesterday afternoon. The incident did not happen on Acadian's grounds, but officials from the Rapides Parish School District are working with law enforcement to piece together what happened. School officials delayed the release of Acadian's students because of the shooting. No firearm has been discovered, and the investigation is ongoing.

 

A 12-year-old boy has been arrested in connection with the fire at Martin Park elementary school friday that forced the closure of the facility and the relocation of students and staff. The juvenile, a student at Martin Park, was charged with one count of simple arson. fire officials do not expect to be making any more arrests in the case. after a busy few day of preparation, students will start classes today at the former Hadnot-Hayes Elementary. Martin Park staff spent Monday cleaning the building on Lincoln Road, moving desks, addressing wiring for technology and sorting school supplies among classrooms.

 

A state district judge Monday sentenced a Deville man to three years supervised probation for killing his male companion in 2007 and hiding the body in a box until it was found the following year. But Rapides Parish prosecutor Thomas "Rocky" Wilson said Monday afternoon that Judge Thomas Yeager was reconsidering the sentencing he meted out to Bobby Christopher Lucas, who pleaded guilty to manslaughter in June for killing Kerry anthony Lane. the 39 year old  Lucas sat in the rear of the court gallery with his wife yesterday. his attorney telling the judge "He's married. He's changed his lifestyle" and he's a manager at an Alexandria fast food restaurant.  Lucas could have received up to 40 years in prison at hard labor. judge Yeager said he reviewed Lucas' case and the circumstances of the killing. He sentenced Lucas to 10 years at hard labor, then suspended the sentence and imposed probation.

 

President Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney meet tonight for the  second Presidential Debate. Many felt that, during their first debate  two weeks ago, the President was subdued.. and handed in a lackluster  performance. LSU political science professor Robert Hogan says expect to see a different Barack Obama tonight. Tonight's debate is in a "town hall" format, with a number of undecided  voters posing questions of the two candidates. Hogan says both should  do just fine in this less formal debate setting.

 

State Education Superintendent John White is proposing new rules for  private schools who want to take on public school students via the new  vouchers program. Board of Elementary & Secondary Education (BESE)  President Penny Dastugue says schools recognized for their excellence  would be readily approved to receive the vouchers. BESE will consider Superintendent White's proposal during its meeting  today. Dastugue says the plan puts private and religious schools in the  voucher program under a microscope, to assure state education dollars  are wisely spent.

 

Two  people  on  a MOTORCYCLE were killed early Sunday morning, in an accident on US 190  in  St.  Landry  Parish.  State  Police  Trooper Stephen  Hammons  says 52-year-old Ronald Bellard of Eunice and  his passenger  died  in  the   wreck.   Hammons  says  they  were  on  a three-wheeled motorcycle that hit a  truck pulling  a horse trailer that apparently pulled out in front of them. The  truck driver  is  not  hurt. Hammons says an investigation  is underway.

 

it’s sorta like that movie “the Blob”, The giant sinkhole in Assumption Parish continues to grow. The  hole full  of muddy slurry is now about 4 acres in area. Nearby residents have been evacuated from their homes since August 3rd, when the hole first appeared--taking land and trees with it.

 

they may have gotten away with it in “porky’s” but not at tiger stadium. Baton Rouge Police  arrested  a  South  Caroline  Gamecocks  fan for allegedly mooning  LSU  fans  during saturday’s game. the man was spotted with his pants down below his knees and uttering loud  vulgarities.  Officers  took  34-year-old   charles Hattaway in for obscenity. He later posted bail.

 

New  Orleans  Police  arrest  a woman for child desertion, after her twin  6-year-old  girls were left  home  alone while the mother went to work.  fire fighters were able to rescue the girls after their apartment caught fire. however, they had  to  use CPR to revive the girls. it’s believed The fire started as a result of the girls playing with matches.

 

Voters in all but two parishes will  see an item on the November 6th election ballots, asking their preference in imposing term limits on local  school  board members.  The  vote  is   a   parish-by-parish referendum,  and  will not mean such limits imposed on  a  statewide basis. Jefferson and  Lafayette  parishes  already have school board term limits. early voting starts this saturday.

 

A Bossier City accountant is charged with stealing from the Minden  construction company where he worked, and blowing the money on  strippers. Webster Parish Sheriff's detective Scott Tucker says 36-year old Murlin Graham is suspected of taking at least $360-thousand  from his employer and living it up with the cash. Tucker says Graham was an accountant with the construction company, and  was creating phony supplier and vendor companies, whose names closely  resemble those of his company's actual suppliers and vendors. Graham's been booked with four counts of felony theft by fraud

 

The LSU football team's first trip to College Station, Texas, since 1995  is more challenging for the fans because of the 11 A-M kick-off this  Saturday.  LSU Travel Expert Jim Dumigan says many Tiger fans are  staying in the Houston Area on Friday, which means an early wake-up call  is needed to get to Kyle Field in time for kick-off.  Dumigan says the Tiger Athletic Foundation travel party is at the same  hotel where the team will stay, which is in Montgomery, Texas. He says they will leave before the sun rises.

 

News For Monday 10/15/12


NEWS FOR MONDAY 101512
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

MOTHER NATURE BEHAVED AND THE CROWDS CAME TO THE RAPIDES PARISH FAIR THIS PAST WEEKEND. LARGE CROWDS FILLED THE MIDWAY EACH EVENING AND PARKING CONTINUED TO BE A MAJOR CONCERN. AT TIMES CARS LINED THE SIDES AND CENTER OF THE ROADWAY ALL THE WAY FROM MENARD HIGH SCHOOL TO THE NEW WALMART. THE GOOD NEWS IS THERE WERE NO MAJOR INJURIES REPORTED AND ALL SEEMED TO HAVE A GREAT TIME.

FIRE OFFICIALS SAY, IT WILL BE A WHILE BEFORE ANYONE KNOWS THE CAUSE OF THE BLAZE THAT BROKE OUT EARLY FRIDAY MORNING AT MARTIN PARK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL. A JANITOR ARRIVING AT THE SCHOOL AROUND 5:30 IN THE MORNING SPOTTED SMOKE BILLOWING OUT OF ONE OF THE DOORS. THE FIRE DEPARTMENT WAS ON THE SCENE A FEW MINUTES LATER. 72 MINUTES LATER THE FIRE WAS UNDER CONTROL. SCHOOL OFFICIALS AT THIS POINT BELIEVE THE BUILDING IS NOT A TOTAL LOSS. BUT, THE WILL BE DETERMINED AFTER A FULL INVESTIGATION IS CONDUCTED. BEST CASE SCENARIO, 3 TO 5 MONTHS OF REPAIR WORK LIES AHEAD. IN THE INTERIM, STUDENTS AND SCHOOL STAFF WILL BE MOVED TO THE FORMER HADNOT-HAYES ELEMENTARY SCHOOL ON LINCOLN ROAD.

WITH ONE NEW WEST NILE VIRUS DEATH AND NINE NEW INFECTION CASES, STATE HEALTH OFFICIALS SAY THAT BRINGS THE TOTAL TO 12 DEATHS THIS YEAR AND 312 CONFIRMED CASES. THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HOSPITALS' REPORT SHOWS FIVE OF THE NEW CASES ARE OF THE MORE SERIOUS STRAIN OF THE DISEASE WITH TWO CASES REPORTED IN CALCASIEU AND ONE EACH IN IBERIA, LAFAYETTE AND ORLEANS PARISHES. RESIDENTS ARE REMINDED WEAR MOSQUITO REPELLENT AND TO DRAIN STAGNANT WATER TO PREVENT MOSQUITOES FROM BREEDING.

ACCORDING TO A LETTER FROM THE LSU SYSTEM’S OUTSIDE COUNSEL, GOV. BOBBY JINDAL’S EXECUTIVE COUNSEL SUGGESTED LSU REJECT PUBLIC RECORDS REQUESTS FOR DOCUMENTS RELATED TO BUDGET CUTS AND PRIVATIZATION EFFORTS AT LSU’S PUBLIC HOSPITALS. THE LETTER TO LSU SYSTEM PRESIDENT WILLIAM JENKINS, OBTAINED FRIDAY BY THE BATON ROUGE ADVOCATE, CONTRADICTS EARLIER ASSERTIONS BY JINDAL ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS THAT LSU DECIDED ON ITS OWN HOW TO RESPOND TO REQUESTS TO MAKE THE RECORDS AVAILABLE PUBLICLY. JINDAL’S OFFICE, THROUGH SPOKESMAN KYLE PLOTKIN, ASSERTED LAST WEEK THAT THE ADMINISTRATION HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH LSU INVOKING THE DELIBERATIVE PROCESS PRIVILEGE ON REQUESTS FILED BY THE ADVOCATE IN LATE SEPTEMBER.

THE COMMISSIONER OF THE OFFICE OF MOTOR VEHICLES WANTS TO REDUCE WAIT TIMES AT YOUR LOCAL D-M-V. STEPHEN CAMPBELL SAYS THERE ARE PROCESSES BEING PUT IN PLACE AT ALL 82 DMV OFFICES THAT WOULD IMPROVE EFFICIENCY. CAMPELL SAYS ANOTHER WAY TO CUT DOWN ON WAIT TIMES IS TO ENCOURAGE MORE PEOPLE TO TAKE CARE OF THEIR BASIC OMV NEEDS ONLINE AT EXPRESS-LANE-DOT-ORG.

EARLY VOTING GETS UNDERWAY ON SATURDAY AND A NON-PARTISAN PUBLIC POLICY RESEARCH GROUP SAYS NOW IS THE TIME TO GET FAMILIAR WITH THE NINE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS ON THE BALLOT. PUBLIC AFFAIRS RESEARCH COUNCIL
PRESIDENT ROBERT TRAVIS SCOTT ENCOURAGES VOTERS TO CHECK OUT PAR'S WEBSITE LOUISIANAPAR.ORG FOR AN IN DEPTH ANALYSIS OF EACH PROPOSED AMENDMENT...


TAXPAYERS, VENDORS AND CONTRACTORS OWE THE STATE OF LOUISIANA HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN TAXES AND THE STATE, TRADITIONALLY HAS HAD PROBLEMS COLLECTING. BUT NOW, THE LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE IS LAUNCHING A NEW PROGRAM THAT WILL HELP THEM COLLECT MONEY OWED TO THE STATE. STATE OFFICIALS ESTIMATE THAT THEY CAN COLLECT 11-MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR BY INTERCEPTING PAYMENTS THAT GO FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO THOSE VENDORS OR CONTRACTORS WHO OWE LOUISIANA MONEY.

FEDERAL OFFICIALS APPROVE A PLAN PRESENTED BY BP AND TRANSOCEAN THAT'S DESIGNED TO FIGURE OUT THE SOURCE OF AN OIL SHEEN IN THE GULF OF MEXICO THAT'S ASSOCIATED WITH THE 2010 DEEPWATER HORIZON OIL SPILL. ANALYSTS SAY THE OIL COULD BE FROM THE DRILLING WRECKAGE LYING ON THE BOTTOM OF THE GULF OF MEXICO FLOOR.

A 43-PAGE PRIMER WRITTEN BY THE JINDAL ADMINISTRATION ON LOUISIANA’S STATE TAX STRUCTURE SUGGESTS A RECIPE FOR IMPROVING THE PERCEPTION OF THE STATE’S BUSINESS CLIMATE. IN ESSENCE, IT IS A SWAP: SHED EXEMPTIONS IN EXCHANGE FOR ADOPTING LOWER TAX RATES. THE GOVERNOR MADE EDUCATION HIS PRIMARY PUSH DURING THIS YEAR’S 2012 LEGISLATIVE SESSION. DURING THE 2013 SESSION, HE WANTS THE THEME TO BE A COMPREHENSIVE REVIEW OF THE STATE’S TAX CODE. AS THE GOVERNOR TOLD SUPPORTERS IN AUGUST, HE WANTS TO “MAKE LOUISIANA’S TAX CODE FAIRER, FLATTER AND LOWER FOR LOUISIANA FAMILIES AND BUSINESSES.”

IF THE LOUISIANA BOARD OF ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION APPROVES THIS WEEK, NON-PUBLIC SCHOOLS WILL HAVE NEW STANDARDS TO MEET TO BE CERTIFIED TO RECEIVE STATE AND LOCAL ASSISTANCE. THE NEW REQUIREMENTS, WHICH WOULD GO INTO EFFECT FOR THE 2013-14 SCHOOL YEAR, ACCORDING TO STATE SUPERINTENDENT OF EDUCATION JOHN WHITE, WOULD ELIMINATE MUCH OF THE RED TAPE IN THE CURRENT APPLICATION PROCESS. UNDER THE PLAN, SCHOOLS THAT CURRENTLY HAVE RECOGNIZED NATIONAL OR REGIONAL ACCREDITATION THROUGH THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS OR THE SOUTHERN ASSOCIATION OF COLLEGES AND SCHOOLS WOULD IMMEDIATELY RECEIVE FIVE-YEAR APPROVAL, PROVIDED THEY PRESENT YEARLY PROOF THAT THEY RETAIN ACCREDITATION. CURRENTLY 200 NON-PUBLIC SCHOOLS IN THE STATE FALL INTO THAT CATEGORY.


NEW IBERIA CONGRESSMAN JEFF LANDRY IS CALLING ON LAFAYETTE CONGRESSMAN CHARLES BOUSTANY TO PARTICIPATE IN A DEBATE BEFORE THE NOVEMBER SIXTH ELECTION. THE TWO ARE THE MAIN CANDIDATES IN THE THIRD CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT RACE. A DEBATE WAS SCHEDULED FOR MONDAY, BUT IT WAS CANCELLED FOR A REASON THAT HAS NOT BEEN SPECIFICALLY SPELLED OUT. NO WORD FROM BOUSTANY'S CAMP ON IF THERE WILL BE A DEBATE.

STATE POLICE ARE INVESTIGATING A FATAL CRASH INVOLVING A POLICE CAR. THE INCIDENT HAPPENED IN THE VERMILION PARISH TOWN OF MAURICE. OFFICER WILLIS THOMAS WHO WAS RESPONDING TO AN EMERGENCY CALL WAS DRIVING ON U-S HIGHWAY 167 WITH HIS EMERGENCY LIGHTS AND SIREN ON WHEN HE SAYS 83-YEAR-OLD PAUL SUIRE PULLED OUT IN FRONT OF HIM. SUIRE DIED UPON IMPACT, THE POLICE OFFICER SUSTAINED MINOR INJURIES.

AFTER JANUARY 15TH, LOUISIANANS COULD FIND THEMSELVES NEEDING A PASSPORT FOR THINGS LIKE BOARDING A COMMERCIAL AIRLINER OR ENTERING A FEDERAL BUILDING, BECAUSE OUR STATE WON'T COMPLY WITH THE NEW FEDERAL REAL ID PROGRAM. STATE MOTOR VEHICLES COMMISSIONER STEPHEN CAMPBELL SAYS THE LEGISLATURE PASSED A LAW IN 2008 TO THAT EFFECT. THE FACT THAT THE ID’S WILL REQUIRE A RF ID CHIP IS WHAT LED OUR LAWMAKERS TO VOTE AGAINST WHAT THEY CALLED BIG BROTHERISM. CAMPBELL HOPES THE AIRLINE INDUSTRY WILL PUT ENOUGH PRESSURE ON HOMELAND SECURITY THAT THEY WILL AGAIN ALLOW LOUISIANA DRIVERS LICENSES.

News For Friday 10/12/12


NEWS FOR FRIDAY 101212
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

FANS OF THE HISTORIC HOTEL BENTLEY IN ALEXANDRIA CAN BREATHE A SIGH OF RELIEF. A DEAL TO PURCHASE THE HOTEL CLOSED YESTERDAY AFTERNOON. MICHAEL JENKINS, A LOCAL BUSINESSMAN WITH SIGNIFICANT INVESTMENTS IN DOWNTOWN ALEXANDRIA, IS NOW THE NEW OWNER BENTLEY. JENKINS PLANS TO REFURBISH THE PROPERTY, INSIDE AND OUT. ANNOUNCED PLANS HAVE THE SEVEN-STORY TOWER, THE NEWER PART OF THE HOTEL, TO BE TURNED INTO 28 LUXURY CONDOMINIUMS. THE OLDER PART OF THE PROPERTY WOULD RENOVATED INTO A BOUTIQUE HOTEL. THE BENTLEY HAS BEEN CLOSED SINCE DECEMBER 2004.

THE NORTHBOUND LANES OF I-49 BETWEEN WOODWORTH AND THE HIGHWAY 71 SOUTH EXIT WAS CLOSED THE BETTER PART OF THE DAY YESTERDAY AFTER AND EARLY MORNING CRASH BETWEEN TWO 18 WHEELERS. THE CRASH CAUSED ONE OF THE TRUCKS TO SPILL IT’S LOAD OF COFFEE AND COFFEE CANS. STATE POLICE REPORT ONE OF THE DRIVERS RECEIVED MODERATE INJURIES AND WAS TRANSPORTED TO A LOCAL HOSPITAL.

A YEAR-LONG UNDERCOVER DRUG INVESTIGATION HAS NETTED 44 ARRESTS IN SABINE PARISH. SABINE SHERIFF'S DEPUTIES WORKED IN COOPERATION WITH FEDERAL DEA AND STATE POLICE TO MAKE THE BUSTS. THE INDIVIDUALS WILL ALL FACE CHARGES RELATED TO GROWING AND SELLING MARIJUANA AND WITH COOKING AND SELLING CRYSTAL METH.

ELECTION OFFICIALS SAY EARLY STATEWIDE VOTER REGISTRATIONS SHOW AT LEAST 2.9 MILLION LOUISIANIANS WILL BE ELIGIBLE TO VOTE IN THE NOVEMBER 6TH PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION. THEY SAY THE STATISTICS SHOW THE NUMBER OF REGISTERED DEMOCRATS IN THE STATE IS ON THE DECLINE, WHILE REPUBLICAN AND OTHER PARTY REGISTRATIONS HAS INCREASED BETWEEN 2008 AND 2012.

SAMPLES TAKEN FROM AN OIL SHEEN THAT'S TURNED UP IN THE GULF MATCH UP WITH OIL FROM THE 2010 BP MACONDO WELL SPILL. LSU COASTAL SCIENTIST DR. ED OVERTON SAYS THE SHEEN IS PRETTY SMALL, AND THE OIL LIKELY CAME FROM WRECKAGE OF THE DEEPWATER HORIZON RIG THAT BURNED AND SANK. OVERTON SAYS THE LACK OF ANY SERIOUS VOLUME TO THE SHEEN WOULD SUGGEST THE WELL ITSELF IS STILL SEALED.

AUTHORITIES IN CANADA ARE SEARCHING FOR A 71-YEAR-OLD BATON ROUGE WOMAN REPORTED MISSING FROM A CRUISE SHIP OCTOBER 4TH. SARAH POWELL WAS A PASSENGER ON BOARD A HOLLAND AMERICAN CRUISE SHIP LEAVING BOSTON, HEADING TO NOVA SCOTIA. POLICE DON'T SUSPECT FOUL PLAY, BUT BELIEVE SHE BY PASSED SECURITY AT ONE OF THE STOPS WITH NO INTENTION OF RETURNING.

POLICE IN BOSSIER CITY ARREST A FIRED APARTMENT COMPLEX HANDYMAN FOR ALLEGEDLY MURDERING HIS FORMER BOSS. SPOKESMAN MARK NATALE SAYS 54-YEAR-OLD ROBERT EARL WALTER WAS LET GO WEDNESDAY MORNING, BUT RETURNED TO HIS JOB AND SHOT APARTMENT MANAGER APRIL FULGHUM TO DEATH IN HER OFFICE. TWO OTHER EMPLOYEES PRESENT WERE NOT HURT, BUT THEY WERE EYEWITNESSES TO THE CRIME. WALTERS FLED, BUT LATER TURNED HIMSELF IN TO FACE 2ND DEGREE MURDER CHARGES.

A DEBATE BETWEEN CANDIDATES FOR LOUISIANA DISTRICT THREE CONGRESS HAS BEEN CANCELLED. DUE TO REDISTRICTING LAST YEAR, CURRENT REPRESENTATIVES CHARLES BOUSTANY AND JEFF LANDRY MUST RUN AGAINST EACH OTHER FOR THE ONE AVAILABLE SEAT. THE DEBATE, WHICH WAS TO BE HOSTED BY UL-LAFAYETTE, REPORTEDLY RAN INTO SOME COMMUNICATION PROBLEMS WHICH FORCED IT TO BE CANCELLED.

SAINTS QUARTER BACK DREW BREES IS MAKING HEADLINE AGAIN, FOR CRITICAL COMMENTS ABOUT NFL COMMISSIONER ROGER GOODELL AND THE ONGOING BOUNTYGATE SCANDAL AND SUSPENSIONS. BREES TOLD ESPN'S MIKE & MIKE SHOW THAT HE AGREES WITH FORMER SAINT SCOTT FUJITA THAT GOODELL IS ABUSING HIS POWER AS COMMISSIONER AND THE SUSPENSIONS ARE A "BIG SHAM".

THE MAN ACCUSED OF CALLING IN THE BOMB THREAT LAST MONTH THAT FORCED THE EVACUATION OF THE ENTIRE LSU CAMPUS HAS PLEADED NOT GUILTY IN STATE DISTRICT COURT. 42-YEAR-OLD WILLIAM BOUVAY JR. ENTERED THE SAME PLEA IN FEDERAL COURT EARLIER THIS WEEK.

LOUISIANA SUPERINTENDENT OF EDUCATION JOHN C. WHITE HAS DELAYED PLANS TO GIVE HIS RECOMMENDATIONS FOR GRADING LOUISIANA'S FRAGMENTED SYSTEM OF PUBLICLY FUNDED PRE-KINDERGARTEN AND EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION PROGRAMS. WHITE WAS EXPECTED TO DISCUSS THE PERFORMANCE STANDARD FRAMEWORK WITH THE BOARD OF ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION NEXT WEEK. BUT HE SAID WEDNESDAY HE'S PUSHING THAT BACK UNTIL THE BOARD'S DECEMBER MEETING BECAUSE HE WANTS MORE TIME TO MEET WITH PEOPLE AND WORK ON THE PLANS. A NEW LAW PUSHED BY GOV. BOBBY JINDAL AND PASSED BY LAWMAKERS EARLIER THIS YEAR REQUIRED THE DEVELOPMENT OF A COMMON ASSESSMENT AND GRADING SYSTEM FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD PROGRAMS THAT ARE SCATTERED ACROSS AGENCIES. IT IS TO BE FULLY PHASED IN BY THE 2015-16 SCHOOL YEAR. A PLAN IS DUE TO LAWMAKERS BY MARCH 1.

STATE SUPERINTENDENT OF EDUCATION JOHN WHITE ANNOUNCED HIS EXECUTIVE STAFF THURSDAY AND SAID THAT, EVEN WITH THE SIX-FIGURE SALARIES, DEPARTMENT COSTS HAVE DROPPED AND THE AGENCY HAS FEWER EMPLOYEES. THE SALARIES ON THE SUPERINTENDENT’S TEAM RANGE FROM $110,000 PER YEAR TO $225,000 ANNUALLY.
WHITE, WHO IS PAID $275,000 PER YEAR, SAID DEPARTMENT SPENDING HAS BEEN TRIMMED BY NEARLY 11 PERCENT AMID STATE REVENUE PROBLEMS AND THAT PAYROLL HAS BEEN REDUCED BY ABOUT 50 POSITIONS. DEPARTMENT OFFICIALS ALSO SAID THAT THE DEPARTMENT’S RANKS HAVE DROPPED FROM 659 FROM MID-2008 TO 446 FOR THE CURRENT FINANCIAL YEAR, A 32 PERCENT DROP.


News For Thursday 10/11/12


NEWS FOR THURSDAY 101112
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

THE APD REPORTS TWO JUVENILES WERE ARRESTED TUESDAY IN CONNECTION WITH A CAR THEFT. OFFICERS SPOTTED THE VEHICLE AROUND 8 P.M. ON WHITE STREET. WHEN THEY ATTEMPTED TO STOP THE CAR, THE DRIVER SPED OFF. AS POLICE FOLLOWED THE CAR, IT HIT ANOTHER VEHICLE IN THE BROADWAY AND LEE STREETS AREA, AND THEN RAN INTO A BUILDING. ONE JUVENILE, A 14-YEAR-OLD FROM ALEXANDRIA BELIEVED TO BE THE DRIVER, WAS CHARGED WITH THEFT OF A MOTOR VEHICLE AND AGGRAVATED FLIGHT. THE SECOND JUVENILE, A 16 YEAR OLD, WAS A PASSENGER IN THE CAR AND WAS CHARGED WITH ACCESSORY AFTER THE FACT.

J. MICHAEL JOHNSON, WHO RECENTLY RESIGNED AS THE FOUNDING DEAN OF LOUISIANA COLLEGE'S LAW SCHOOL, HAS BECOME SENIOR COUNSEL FOR THE LIBERTY INSTITUTE.
JOHNSON RESIGNED FROM LC ON SEPT. 18 BECAUSE HE HAD WHAT LC PRESIDENT JOE AGUILLARD CALLED A "GREAT JOB OFFER." THE LIBERTY INSTITUTE RECENTLY POSTED A NEWS RELEASE ON ITS WEBSITE ANNOUNCING JOHNSON AS ITS NEW SENIOR COUNSEL.
THE INSTITUTE IS A NONPROFIT LEGAL ORGANIZATION THAT ADVOCATES FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM. IN THE RELEASE, JOHNSON SAID HE CHOSE THE INSTITUTE FOR ITS "IMPECCABLE REPUTATION IN THE CONSERVATIVE MOVEMENT."

THE BATON ROUGE ECONOMY IS PROJECTED TO ADD 9,000 JOBS BY THE END OF 2014, THANKS TO THE BOOMING PETROCHEMICAL INDUSTRY. AND THAT FORECAST COULD BE EVEN BRIGHTER, IF SOME POTENTIAL PROJECTS COME THROUGH. THAT’S ACCORDING TO THE “LOUISIANA ECONOMIC OUTLOOK. THE FORECAST, RELEASED WEDNESDAY, SAYS THERE IS AT LEAST $4.1 BILLION IN ONGOING OR ANNOUNCED PETROCHEMICAL CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS IN METRO BATON ROUGE. THE REPORT ALSO SAYS AN UPTICK IN THE ENERGY INDUSTRY WILL LEAD TO GROWTH IN THE LAFAYETTE AND LAKE CHARLES AREAS AS WELL.

THIBODAUX POLICE HAVE A MAN IN CUSTODY BELIEVED TO HAVE MADE THE THREATING 9-1-1 CALL TUESDAY THAT CAUSED THE EARLY DISMISSAL OF THIBODAUX SCHOOLS AND THE EVACUATION OF THE DISTRICT AND CITY COURT HOUSES. POLICE SAY 45-YEAR OLD DONALD BROOKS OF THIBODAUX IS CHARGED WITH TERRORIZING AND COMMUNICATING FALSE INFORMATION OF PLANNED ARSON. DETECTIVES SAY BROOKS WAS SCHEDULED TO APPEAR IN COURT TUESDAY OVER CHILD SUPPORT. THEY WERE ABLE TO LINK THE PHONE USED BY THE ANONYMOUS CALLER TO BROOKS.

LIVINGSTON PARISH SHERIFF'S DEPUTIES ARREST A DENHAM SPRINGS MAN FOR NEGLIGENT HOMICIDE, FOR THE DEATH OF HIS NEIGHBOR'S CHILD LAST MONTH. SHERIFF JASON ARD SAYS AN INVESTIGATION OF THE ACCIDENT DETERMINED THAT 32-YEAR-OLD BRAD WELCH WAS DISTRACTED BY TALKING ON HIS CELL PHONE, WHEN HE HIT THE BOY WHILE PULLING INTO HIS DRIVEWAY. ARD SAYS WELCH TOLD INVESTIGATORS HE FELT A BUMP AFTER ENTERING HIS DRIVEWAY. WHEN HE EXITED HIS CAR HE FOUND THE CHILD LYING BEHIND HIS VEHICLE. THE MAN’S BOND IS SET AT $25,000. ARD SAYS THE ACCIDENT IS A TRAGEDY FOR BOTH FAMILIES, AND IT COULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED.

AH YES, LOVE IS BLIND.. OR IN THIS CASE DEADLY. POLICE IN SHREVEPORT SAY A MAN IS UNDER ARREST AFTER GETTING INTO A SHOOTOUT WITH HIS EX-GIRLFRIEND. INVESTIGATORS SAY LOVELL ELLIS FIRED SEVERAL SHOTS AT THE WOMAN WHO THEN RETURNED FIRE. ELLIS WAS TAKEN INTO CUSTODY WITHOUT INCIDENT, THE WOMAN WAS NOT CHARGED.

THE WASHINGTON PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE SAYS A MOTHER HAS BEEN ARRESTED ON FIRST DEGREE MURDER CHARGERS OF HER 15-MONTH-OLD SON. THEY SAY THE CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL IN NEW ORLEANS SAID THE CASE WAS NON-ACCIDENTAL AND THAT THE PRIMARY CAUSE OF DEATH WAS SEVERE TRAUMA CAUSED BY INJURY TO THE BRAIN. INVESTIGATORS SAY THEY TODDLER'S INJURIES DID NOT MATCH THE EXPLANATION PROVIDED BY THE FAMILY.

SCHOLARS ARE SAYING IT’S A MAJOR AFFIRMATIVE ACTION TEST CASE. YESTERDAY, THE US SUPREME COURT BEGAN HEARING A CASE OF AN LSU GRADUATE WHO FILED SUIT AGAINST THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN CLAIMING SHE WAS DENIED ADMISSION BECAUSE OF HER RACE. ABIGAIL FISHER, WAS REJECTED FROM UT AUSTIN IN 2008. SHE IS WHITE.

CITY LEADERS IN WEST MONROE HAVE EXTENDED THEIR NO SMOKING POLICY TO INCLUDE PUBLIC PARKS. THE CITY COUNCIL APPROVED THE ORDINANCE BY A VOTE OF FOUR "YEAS" AND ONE ABSTAINED. WEST MONROE MAYOR DAVE NORRIS SAYS A NUMBER OF PARENTS PUSHED THE IDEA OF ELIMINATING SECOND-HAND SMOKE FOR PLACES THEIR CHILDREN FREQUENT. OBEYING THE BAN WILL BE ON THE HONOR SYSTEM ONCE SIGNS ARE POSTED.

THE LAFAYETTE FIRE DEPARTMENT RESPONDED TO A FIRE EARLY WEDNESDAY WHERE THEY BELIEVE A WOMAN DIED FROM INJURIES SUSTAINED FROM A FIRE STARTED FROM A LIT CIGARETTE. THEY SAY THE FIRE LIKELY STARTED AS 77-YEAR-OLD GENEIVE MCZEAL WAS ATTEMPTING TO LIGHT THE CIGARETTE WHILE WEARING AN OXYGEN NASAL TUBE.

THE PILOT OF A HELICOPTER THAT CRASHED INTO A RADIO TOWER AROUND NOON WEDNESDAY IN ACADIA PARISH, HAS DIED OF HIS INJURIES. SEVERAL WORKERS ON THE GROUND NEARBY WITNESSED THE CRASH BUT WERE NOT HURT. THE PILOT'S NAME HAS NOT BEEN RELEASED.

THE ST. TAMMANY PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE ANNOUNCES THEY ARE THE FIRST LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY IN THE STATE TO USE IRIS SCANNING IDENTIFICATION. SHERIFF JACK STRAIN SAYS THIS NEW TECHNOLOGY IS ABLE TO ESTABLISH A POSITIVE IDENTIFICATION VIRTUALLY INSTANTANEOUSLY, UNLIKE FINGERPRINTING. HE SAYS MOST INMATES IN THE PARISH JAIL ARE ALSO UNDERGOING AN IRIS SCAN.





News For Wednesday 10/10/12


NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY 100912
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

ALTHOUGH THE RAPIDES PARISH SCHOOL BOARD WILL NOT IMPLEMENT A HIRING FREEZE, IT APPEARS OVERSTAFFING WILL RESULT IN CURRENT FACULTY BEING USED TO FILL POSITIONS LEFT VACANT BY THOSE RETIRING OR LEAVING FOR ANY REASON NEXT YEAR. ACCORDING TO INTERIM SUPERINTENDENT GERALD WOODARD THERE ARE 1,733 POSITIONS FILLED IN THE DISTRICT FOR THE 2012-13 SCHOOL YEAR -- 32 MORE THAN LAST YEAR'S TOTAL. THE 32 ADDED POSITIONS INCLUDE SIX CURRICULUM SPECIALISTS FUNDED BY TITLE I AND 14 POSITIONS FOR THE NEWLY BUILT CAROLINE DORMON JR. HIGH IN WOODWORTH. THAT LEAVES AN INCREASE OF 12 OTHER NEW POSITIONS. ALTHOUGH THE DISTRICT SAYS IT IS OVERSTAFFED, SOME HIRING FOR THE CURRENT SCHOOL YEAR REMAINS UNDERWAY. THE DISTRICT IS IN THE PROCESS OF HIRING TEACHERS FOR SCHOOLS THAT ARE UNDERSTAFFED.

A STATE APPELLATE COURT HAS UPHELD THE RAPIDES PARISH CONVICTION OF A DRIVER WHO RAN A STOP SIGN ON HORSESHOE DRIVE IN 2008, HITTING ANOTHER CAR AND KILLING A WOMAN AND HER UNBORN BABY. 58 YEAR OLD PAUL HEIDER FROM ALEXANDRIA, WAS CONVICTED IN A BENCH TRIAL OF VEHICULAR HOMICIDE. HEIDER APPEALED. HE CONTENDED THAT THE EXPERT WITNESS WHO TESTIFIED HEIDER WAS HIGH ON MARIJUANA AT THE TIME OF THE ACCIDENT , WAS WRONG. HEIDER REASONED THAT BECAUSE HE WAS A CHRONIC MARIJUANA SMOKER, "THE LEVEL IN HIS BLOOD COULD BE PRESENT FROM PAST USE WITHOUT THE DEFENDANT BEING PHYSICALLY IMPAIRED ... AT THE TIME OF THE ACCIDENT. THE APPEALS JUDGES REJECTED THAT ARGUMENT.

STATE TREASURER JOHN KENNEDY SAYS HE CANNOT COMPLY WITH GOVERNOR JINDAL'S PLAN TO USE SURPLUS REVENUE FROM THE FISCAL YEAR THAT ENDED JUNE 30TH TO HELP FILL A HUGE HEALTH CARE BUDGET GAP. KENNEDY SAYS STATE LAW REQUIRES THE SURPLUS CASH BE PUT BACK INTO THE STATE'S RAINY DAY FUND. COMMISSIONER OF ADMINISTRATION PAUL RAINWATER SAYS KENNEDY MISINTERPRETS THE LAW, AND THE LANGUAGE THEREIN APPLYING TO THE RAINY DAY FUND HAS EXPIRED. KENNEDY SAYS NOTHING ABOUT THAT LANGUAGE INDICATES AN EXPIRATION DATE. THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE WANTS TO SHIFT $94-MILLION IN TO THE HEALTH CARE BUDGET, TO PREVENT ANY FURTHER MID-YEAR BUDGET CUTS.

STATE HOUSE AND SENATE LEADERS SAY THERE IS NO NEED FOR A SPECIAL SESSION TO ADDRESS RECENT MID-YEAR BUDGET CUTS MADE BY THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE. THE CALL FOR A SPECIAL COMES FROM THIBODAUX REP. DEE RICHARD, WHO'S UPSET ABOUT THE CLOSURE OF A CALCASIEU PARISH PRISON AND DEEP CUTS TO LSU HOSPITALS--ALL WITH NO APPARENT INPUT FROM LAWMAKERS. BUT SENATE PRESIDENT JOHN ALARIO SAYS RICHARD HAS NO ALTERNATIVES TO OFFER, WHERE THE BUDGET COULD BE CUT. BOTH ALARIO AND HOUSE SPEAKER CHUCK KLECKLY FEEL A SPECIAL SESSION COULD LEAD TO NEW TAXES AND THAT THERE'S NO NEED OF A SPECIAL SESSION.

THE SINKHOLE IN ASSUMPTION PARISH IS STILL GROWING. A 10 BY 50-FOOT CHUNK SLOUGHED OFF INTO THE HOLE TUESDAY MORNING. 150 HOMES HAVE BEEN EVACUATED SINCE AUGUST 3RD, WHEN THE SINKHOLE FIRST APPEARED. THE HOLE SITS ATOP A SALT DOME DEEP UNDERGROUND. DRILLERS ARE ATTEMPTING TO RELIEVE PRESSURE FROM GASSES WITHIN THAT CAVERN.

THE NATIONAL FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESS SAYS SEPTEMBER WAS ANOTHER MONTH OF LOW EXPECTATIONS FROM SMALL BUSINESSES. RENEE AMAR IS THE DIRECTOR OF THE NFIB OF LOUISIANA. SHE BELIEVES THAT LOCAL BUSINESS OWNERS ARE RELUCTANT TO HIRE OR EXPAND THEIR BUSINESS UNTIL AFTER THE ELECTION. AMAR SAYS SINCE SMALL BUSINESSES DON'T KNOW WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN IN THE ELECTION, THEY AREN'T SPENDING MONEY UNLESS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY.

MIDSOUTH BANK OF LAFAYETTE HAS ANNOUNCED IT WILL MERGE WITH PEOPLES STATE BANK, BEFORE THE END OF THIS YEAR. OFFICIALS SAY THE MERGER WILL GIVE CUSTOMERS OF BOTH BANKS BETTER SERVICE AND MORE LOCATION OPTIONS.

A THREATENING PHONE CALL TO THE THIBODAUX POLICE DEPARTMENT LEAD TO THE EARLY CLOSE OF SCHOOL IN LAFOURCHE PARISH AND THE EVACUATION OF STUDENTS AND SEVERAL PARISH GOVERNMENT BUILDINGS. AN ANONYMOUS MALE CALLER MADE THE THREAT AROUND 8:45 YESTERDAY MORNING. ONCE THE SCHOOL DISTRICT WAS NOTIFIED SCHOOLS WERE LOCKED DOWN AND EVENTUALLY STUDENTS WERE SENT HOME. THIBODAUX POLICE DETECTIVE DAVID MELANCON SAYS THEY FOUND NO EVIDENCE THAT THE MAN WHO CALLED IN THE THREAT ACTUALLY PLANNED TO CARRY OUT AN ATTACK ON A SCHOOL OR GOVERNMENT BUILDING. THE SEARCH IS NOW ON FOR THAT MAN.

A BOIL WATER ADVISORY IS OUT FOR ...NEW ORLEANS. THAT MEANS ABOUT 300-THOUSAND PEOPLE ON THE CITY'S "EAST BANK" MUST BOIL WATER BEFORE DRINKING OR COOKING WITH IT. THE ORDER IS DUE TO A PROBLEM AT THE CITY'S MAIN SEWAGE TREATMENT PLANT.

A WESTLAKE WOMAN ACCUSED OF SEDUCING A 13-YEAR-OLD BOY DURING SUMMER CHURCH CAMP HAS PLEADED GUILTY IN CALCASIEU AND BEAUREGARD PARISHES TO FELONY CARNAL KNOWLEDGE OF A JUVENILE. 29-YEAR-OLD HEATHER DAUGHDRILL WILL SERVE AT LEAST ONE YEAR IN PRISON AND HAVE NO FURTHER CONTACT WITH ANYONE UNDER 17. SHE MUST ALSO PAY RESTITUTION TO THE BOYS FAMILY.

CAJUN & CREOLE FOODMAKER TONY CHACHERE'S ANNOUNCES ITS FIRST NEW SEASONING BLEND IN OVER TWENTY YEARS. CELESTE CHACHERE IS ONE OF THE FAMILY, AND MARKETING DIRECTOR. SHE SAYS THE NEW BOLD SEASONING WAS A RESPONSE TO FANS WHO TOLD THEM THEY'D LIKE SOMETHING EVEN SPICIER THAN TRADITIONAL TONY’S
CAJUN AND CREOLE SEASONING. BOLD WILL BE IN MOST SUPERMARKETS BY LATER
THIS MONTH, BUT THOSE WHO CANNOT WAIT CAN ORDER IT ONLINE AT "TONYCHACHERE.COM".

THE BEARDS ARE BACK. THE SECOND SEASON OF A&E'S DUCK DYNASTY FEATURING THE WEST MONROE ROBERTSON FAMILY BEGINS TONIGHT AT 9PM. SHELIA SNOW FROM THE MONROE-WEST MONROE CONVENTION AND VISITORS BUREAU SAYS IT ALL STARTED WITH PHIL "THE DUCK COMMANDER" ROBERTSON AND HIS FAMOUS DUCK CALL EMPIRE THAT HE'S GROWN WITH HIS SON AND CEO WILLIE. SNOW SAYS THE POPULARITY OF THE SHOW, AND THE DUCK CALL, HAS SHINED A HUGE SPOTLIGHT ON WEST MONROE. SHE SAYS SINCE THE SHOW STARTING AIRING LAST SPRING, PEOPLE STOP IN TO THEIR OFFICE ALMOST DAILY LOOKING FOR THE DUCK COMMANDER...:

News For Tuesday 10/09/12


NEWS FOR TUESDAY 100912
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

WEYERHAUSER CORP. SAYS IT WILL INVEST $6-MILLION IN MODERNIZING ITS PLANT IN NATCHITOCHES. THE WORK IS SET TO BEGIN EARLY NEXT YEAR AND FINISH BY THE END OF 2013. THE UPGRADE WILL ALSO MEAN AROUND 30 NEW JOBS AT THE PLANT.

STATE POLICE SAY AN 84-YEAR-OLD MAN FROM VERNON PARISH IS DEAD AFTER HE WAS RUN OVER BY A CAR EARLY YESTERDAY MORNING. THEY SAY ROBERT MICHALK OF HORNBECK WAS WALKING IN THE MIDDLE OF HWY 171 WHEN HE WAS RUN OVER BY 40-YEAR-OLD MAYNARD SMITH OF ANACOCO. THE ELDERLY PEDESTRIAN WAS PRONOUNCED DEAD AT THE SCENE.

THE RAPIDES PARISH POLICE JURY WASTED NO TIME GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS YESTERDAY AS THEY WADED THROUGH A 55-ITEM AGENDA IN 24 MINUTES WITH NO DISCUSSION AND WITHOUT A DISSENTING VOTE FROM THE NINE-MEMBER PANEL. THE POLICE JURY AWARDED TWO CONTRACTS WORTH $373,620 FOR LEVEE WORK. ONE TO CONTRACTOR DON M. BARRON, ANOTHER TO RYLEE CONSTRUCTION. JURORS WERE SCHEDULED TO HEAR FROM RAPIDES COLISEUM AUTHORITY BOARD MEMBER JIMBO THIELS ON THE CAMPAIGN FOR THE UPCOMING PROPERTY TAX VOTE ON NOV. 11, BUT THIELS WAS A NO-SHOW FOR THE MEETING. HE WAS HOSTING THE RAPIDES PARISH FAIR PARTY FOR SEVERAL HUNDRED MEMBERS OF THE MEDIA AND COMMUNITY. A FULL LIST OF ITEMS PASSED CAN BE FOUND AT THETOWNTALK.COM

23 YEAR OLD GREGORY NASH OF ALEXANDRIA HAS BEEN CHARGED WITH SECOND DEGREE MURDER IN CONNECTION WITH THE DEATH OF A 14TH STREET MAN OVER THE WEEKEND. APD REPORTS A CALL TO THE 300 BLOCK OF 14TH STREET SUNDAY AFTERNOON LED TO THE DISCOVERY OF AN UNIDENTIFIED 24 YEAR OLD MAN HOW HAD BEEN SHOT AND KILLED. LATER THAT NIGHT ABOUT 10PM NASH TURNED HIMSELF INTO POLICE AND WAS CHARGED. THE INCIDENT IS STILL UNDER INVESTIGATION.

WITH GOV. BOBBY JINDAL POISED TO SNAG A PLUM POLITICAL ROLE IN NATIONAL CIRCLES, A POLL RELEASED MONDAY DELVES INTO WHO MIGHT SUCCEED HIM AS GOVERNOR IN THREE YEARS. THE POLL, PREPARED BY MAGELLAN STRATEGIES, PUTS U.S. SEN. DAVID VITTER, R-LA., SLIGHTLY AHEAD OF DEMOCRATIC NEW ORLEANS MAYOR MITCH LANDRIEU IN A SLATE OF POSSIBLE CANDIDATES FOR THE 2015 GOVERNOR’S RACE. LANDRIEU’S SISTER, U.S. SEN. MARY LANDRIEU, D-LA., FARED LESS FAVORABLY IN THE SURVEY, WITH 50.8 PERCENT RESPONDING THAT THEY WOULD PREFER SOMEONE DIFFERENT SHOULD SHE TRY TO HANG ONTO HER JOB. SEN. LANDRIEU, WHO IS UP FOR RE-ELECTION IN 2014, DECLINED COMMENT ON THE POLL MONDAY. THE SENATOR, JUST LAST WEEK ACCORDING TO YET ANOTHER POLL, HAD THE HIGHEST APPROVAL RATE OF ANY STATEWIDE ELECTED OFFICIAL. EXACTLY WHO UNDERWROTE THIS POLL IS UNCLEAR.

NEW TRAFFIC SAFETY DATA SHOWS THE NUMBER OF REAR-SEAT PASSENGERS KILLED IN LOUISIANA CRASHES FELL TO A LONG-TIME LOW LAST YEAR. LOUISIANA HIGHWAY SAFETY COMMISSION DIRECTOR COL. JOHN LEBLANC SAYS THE NUMBERS WERE COMPILED BY AN LSU RESEARCH GROUP, AND THE NUMBERS ARE SIGNIFICANT. IN 2009, THE STATE LEGISLATURE PASSED A LAW REQUIRING ALL OCCUPANTS OF ANY MOTOR VEHICLE TO WEAR THEIR SEAT BELT. LEBLANC SAYS THE NUMBERS COLLECTED SINCE THEN SHOW THAT THE LAW IS WORKING.

A TEENAGER ARRESTED IN CALDWELL PARISH FACES NEGLIGENT HOMICIDE AND OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE CHARGES BECAUSE AT FIRST HE SAID HE WASN'T DRIVING A VEHICLE INVOLVED IN A FATAL CRASH. TROOPER ALBERT PAXTON SAYS 17-YEAR-OLD MICHAEL WOODS OF COLUMBIA WAS KILLED INSTANTLY IN THE CRASH ON HWY 849 EARLY SATURDAY MORNING, AND THE DRIVER 17-YEAR-OLD EUGENE WILLIAMS, LIED AND TOLD POLICE WOODS WAS DRIVING. PAXTON SAYS WILLIAMS AND ANOTHER 16-YEAR-OLD PASSENGER ENDED UP COMING CLEAN. WILLIAMS COULD FACE UP TO 10 YEARS IN PRISON.

CNN IS REPORTING THAT LOUISIANA GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL COULD BE THE NEXT CHAIRMAN OF THE REPUBLICAN GOVERNORS ASSOCIATION THROUGH THE NEXT TWO ELECTION CYCLES. THE REPORT SAYS THE ARRANGEMENT APPEARS TO HAVE THE BLESSING OF RGA MEMBER GOVERNORS.

STATE SENATOR DAN CLAITOR OF BATON ROUGE SAYS A LAW THAT'S BEEN ON THE BOOKS SINCE THE 90'S COULD PUT SOME EXTRA DOLLARS IN STATE COFFERS. THAT LAW GIVES THE STATE THE RIGHT TO REQUIRE ANYONE WHO DEALS IN MARIJUANA TO PURCHASE TAX STAMPS FROM THE STATE, EVEN THOUGH THEIR PRODUCT IS ILLEGAL. CLAITOR SAYS THE LAW COULD BE USED TO GIVE THE DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE THE POWER TO STEP INTO LOCAL DRUG BUST AND ASK FOR THE STATE'S SHARE FROM THE DISPOSAL OF PROPERTY THAT IS FREQUENTLY SEIZED AT THE TIME OF THE ARREST.

ST. MARTIN PARISH DEPUTIES SAY A DOMESTIC DISTURBANCE LED THE THE FATAL STABBING OF A BREAUX BRIDGE MAN. DEPUTIES REPORT THEY RESPONDED TO A DOMESTIC CALL EARLY SUNDAY TO FIND A 38-YEAR-OLD MAN, DEAD FROM AN APPARENT STAB WOUND. HIS 39 GIRLFRIEND WAS BOOKED WITH 2ND DEGREE MURDER.

News For Monday 10/08/12


NEWS FOR MONDAY 100812
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

DREW BREES GOT SUSPENDED COACH SEAN PAYTON IN THE BUILDING, BROKE A PRESTIGIOUS NFL PASSING RECORD AND LED NEW ORLEANS TO A DESPERATELY NEEDED FIRST WIN OF THE SEASON. FOR ONE MEMORABLE NIGHT, AT LEAST, THE ENTIRE BELEAGUERED SAINTS ORGANIZATION AND ITS FRUSTRATED FANS COULD CELEBRATE A SPECIAL MOMENT IN FOOTBALL HISTORY AND RECAPTURE THAT WINNING FEELING THAT HAD BECOME COMMONPLACE BEFORE AN OFFSEASON OVERSHADOWED BY THE NFL'S BOUNTY INVESTIGATION. BREES BROKE HALL OF FAME QUARTERBACK JOHNNY UNITAS' HALF-CENTURY-OLD RECORD BY THROWING A TOUCHDOWN PASS IN HIS 48TH STRAIGHT GAME, AND THE SAINTS DEFEATED THE SAN DIEGO CHARGERS 31-24 ON SUNDAY NIGHT.

JUST A REMINDER, IF YOU HAVEN’T REGISTERED TO VOTE YET FOR THE NOVEMBER 6TH ELECTION, TOMORROW IS YOUR LAST DAY TO DO SO. YOU CAN REGISTER AT THE PARISH REGISTRAR OF VOTERS OR ONLINE AT WWW.SOS.LA.GOV OR WWW.GEAUXVOTE.COM. EARLY VOTING IS FROM OCT. 23 THROUGH OCT. 30 WITH NO VOTING ON SUNDAY.

THE CLOSURE OF THE PHELPS CORRECTIONAL CENTER IN DEQUINCY IS PROCEEDING. AS OF FRIDAY, THE PRISON HAS ABOUT HALF ITS FORMER POPULATION. 461 PHELPS INMATES HAVE BEEN TRANSFERRED TO ANGOLA STATE PRISON THIS WEEK, LEAVING FEWER THAN 400 REMAINING AT PHELPS. THE STATE PLANS TO CLOSE PHELPS BY NOVEMBER 1ST, FOR A SAVINGS OF NEARLY $14-MILLION OVER THE NEXT TWO FISCAL YEARS.

STATE LAWMAKERS ARE BEING ASKED TO CALL THEMSELVES INTO A SPECIAL SESSION TO LOOK AT RECENT BIG BUDGET CUTS MADE WITHOUT THEIR INPUT. THIBODAUX REP. DEE RICHARD MADE THE SESSION CALL, AND IS WAITING TO SEE IF ENOUGH FELLOW LAWMAKERS VOTE TO HAVE ONE. RICHARD SAYS HE AND OTHER LAWMAKERS WERE BLIND-SIDED BY THE JINDAL ADMINISTRATION'S DECISION TO CLOSE THE PHELPS STATE PRISON IN DEQUINCY, AND WITH RECENT DEEP CUTS TO LSU HOSPITALS. RICHARD SAYS HE'S RECEIVED BIPARTISAN SUPPORT FOR CALLING A SPECIAL SESSION TO CONSIDER LEGISLATION TO OVERSEE SUCH BUDGET CUTS. HE SAYS HE HAS BIPARTISAN SUPPORT FOR A SPECIAL SESSION. STILL, IT'S BEEN OVER 50 YEARS SINCE THE LEGISLATURE CALLED ITSELF INTO SPECIAL SESSION. USUALLY THE GOVERNOR DOES THAT.

STATE HEALTH OFFICIALS REPORT 25 NEW CONFIRMED CASES OF WEST NILE VIRUS IN LOUISIANA RESIDENTS; SEVEN ARE THE POTENTIALLY DEADLY WEST NILE ENCEPHALITIS. NO NEW DEATHS HAVE BEEN REPORTED. SO FAR, 11 PEOPLE HAVE SUCCUMBED TO THE DISEASE IN OUR STATE THIS YEAR.

FORMERLY CONSIDERED ONE OF THE COUNTRY'S WORST, LOUISIANA'S OFFICE OF JUVENILE JUSTICE HAS RECEIVED NATIONAL HONORS FOR INNOVATIVE PROGRAMS UNDERWAY. OJJ DEPUTY SECRETARY DR. MARY LIVERS (PRONOUNCED LYE-VERS) SAYS WHAT'S DIFFERENT IS THAT NOW EACH NEW CASE IS HANDLED BY JUST ONE CASE WORKER, TO FOLLOW EACH
CHILD--MAKING SURE THAT INDIVIDUAL'S CASE IS BEING HANDLED PROPERLY AND
WITH COMPASSION. UNDER THE SYSTEM, FEWER JUVENILES ARE INCARCERATED AND FEWER ARE ON PROBATION. HARVARD UNIVERSITY HAS RECOGNIZED LOUISIANA’S "BRIGHT IDEAS" PROGRAM FOR BEING INNOVATIVE AND EFFECTIVE.

A BOSSIER CITY MAN IS MAKING A 250-MILE JOURNEY ACROSS THE STATE ON A HAND-OPERATED BICYCLE, TO PROMOTE INDEPENDENT LIVING FOR DISABLED PERSONS. 41-YEAR-OLD SCOTT WELLS SUFFERED A SPINAL CORD INJURY 13 YEARS AGO. HE PLANS TO USE HIS ARMS TO TAKE HIM TO THE STATE CAPITOL BY FRIDAY. WELLS IS COVERING 40 MILES ON HIS HANDBIKE EACH DAY NOW THROUGH THURSDAY. ON FRIDAY HE'LL COMPLETE THE LAST FEW MILES TO BATON ROUGE. WELLS WON'T BE ALONE. HE SAYS TWO OTHER PARAPLEGIC HANDCYCLISTS WILL BE BY HIS SIDE.

THE EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS DIRECTOR FOR ASSUMPTION PARISH SAYS WELLS ARE BEING DUG TO VENT AND INVESTIGATE NATURAL GAS TRAPPED BENEATH A COMMUNITY NEAR A 4-ACRE SINKHOLE. AN UNKNOWN AMOUNT OF GAS IS TRAPPED BELOW BAYOU CORNE. THE WATER-BEARING SANDS ARE UNDER A LAYER OF CLAY. JOHN BOUDREAUX TOLD THE ADVOCATE THERE ARE WORRIES THE GAS MIGHT BUILD UP PRESSURE UNDER THAT CLAY. HE SAYS CONTRACTORS BEGAN DRIVING CASING ON SATURDAY FOR THREE VENT WELLS TO GET A BETTER IDEA ABOUT WHAT IS HAPPENING UNDERGROUND. HE SAID CREWS ALSO HAVE BEGUN INSTALLING UNDERGROUND DEVICES CALLED GEOPROBES TO MONITOR GAS LEVELS. BAYOU CORNE'S 150 HOUSEHOLDS HAVE BEEN EVACUATED SINCE THE SINKHOLE APPEARED AUG. 3. IT IS JUST OFF THE EDGE OF THE NAPOLEONVILLE DOME, A 1-MILE-BY-3-MILE UNDERGROUND SALT DEPOSIT.

DEER HUNTERS IN SOUTHEAST LOUISIANA FACE A CURTAILED HUNTING SEASON THIS YEAR, DUE TO THE IMPACT OF HURRICANE ISAAC. STATE WILDLIFE & FISHERIES BIOLOGIST KENNY RIBBECK SAYS AGENTS DID AERIAL AND GROUND INSPECTIONS FOR DEER KILLED BY THE STORM, AND MADE A RECOMMENDATION TO THE WILDLIFE & FISHERIES COMMISSION. HUNTING SEASON IN THOSE AREAS WILL BE SHORTENED AND RESTRICTED TO BUCKS ONLY THIS YEAR. HUNTERS CAN FIND ALL THE DETAILS ONLINE AT "DWF.LOUISIANA.GOV".

A SHREVEPORT LAWMAKER IS CALLING FOUL ON THE NEW WAY TEACHER'S IN LOUISIANA ARE BEING EVALUATED. REPRESENTATIVE ALAN SEABAUGH SAYS SOME TEACHERS AT HIGH PERFORMING SCHOOLS ARE RECEIVING POOR MARKS BECAUSE EVEN A SLIGHT DROP FROM A HIGH PERFORMING STUDENT COULD REFLECT NEGATIVELY ON THAT TEACHER. STATE SUPERINTENDENT OF EDUCATION JOHN WHITE SAYS THIS IS AN ISOLATED INCIDENT THAT HAPPENED AT A HIGH PERFORMING SCHOOL, BUT THE CURRENT TEACHER EVALUATION SYSTEM STILL WORKS.

THE VERMILION PARISH SHERIFF'S IS INVESTIGATING A FATAL HELICOPTER CRASH FRIDAY IN THE INTRACOASTAL AREA. SPOKESMAN RON SONNIER SAYS THE PILOT IS FROM TEXAS AND WITNESSES NEAR THE HELIPORT THOUGHT FOG MAY HAVE PLAYED A FACTOR IN THE CRASH. SONNIER SAYS THEY CAN CONFIRM THE PILOT OF THE HELICOPTER DIED IN THE CRASH, AND HE WAS THE ONLY PERSON ABOARD.

LSU'S 18-GAME REGULAR SEASON WINNING STREAK ENDED ON SATURDAY WITH A DISAPPOINTING 14-6 LOSS TO THE UNDEFEATED FLORIDA GATORS. THE TIGERS PASSING GAME AGAIN LACKED CONSISTENCY AND FLORIDA HELD LSU TO 42 RUSHING YARDS. ON THE LSU SPORTS RADIO NETWORK, COACH LES MILES EXPRESSED HIS DISAPPOINTMENT.

News For Friday 10/05/12


NEWS FOR FRIDAY 100512
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

THE RAPIDES PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE SAYS ONE OF THEIR DEPUTIES FATALLY SHOT A 69-YEAR-OLD ALEXANDRIA MAN AFTER A LENGTHY STANDOFF WEDNESDAY NIGHT. LT. TOMMY CARNLINE SAYS OFFICERS WERE CALLED TO ROBERT VAUGHN'S HOME, AFTER HE FIRED A WEAPON DURING AN ARGUMENT WITH FAMILY MEMBERS. HE SAYS SEVERAL HOURS LATER, VAUGHN WAS SHOT AND KILLED WHEN HE EXITED THE RESIDENCE AND PRODUCED A FIREARM. NO ONE ELSE WAS HURT IN THE INCIDENT. CARNLINE SAYS THEY ARE TRYING TO DETERMINE WHY VAUGHN WAS SO ANGRY. HE SAYS THE RAPIDES PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE DID NOT HAVE ANY PREVIOUS RUN-INS WITH THE VAUGHN. BY ALL ACCOUNTS VAUGHN WAS A FAMILY MAN.

ALEXANDRIA POLICE HAVE CHARGED A 17-YEAR-OLD AND AN 18-YEAR-OLD IN CONNECTION WITH THE HIT-AND-RUN OF TWO SCHOOL CHILDREN WAITING FOR THEIR BUS WEDNESDAY MORNING. 17 YEAR OLD KENDRICK DIXON JR. OF ALEXANDRIA, WAS ARRESTED AND CHARGED WITH ONE COUNT OF HIT AND RUN, ONE COUNT OF UNAUTHORIZED USE OF A VEHICLE, ONE COUNT OF RECKLESS OPERATION OF A VEHICLE AND ONE COUNT OF HAVING NO DRIVER'S LICENSE. 18 YEAR OLD SANTANA SANDERS WAS ARRESTED AND CHARGED WITH ONE COUNT OF BEING AN ACCESSORY AFTER THE FACT. THE TWO CHILDREN - AGES 7 AND 10 - WERE WAITING FOR THEIR BUS WHEN A VEHICLE RAN UP ON A CURB AND HIT THEM. APD REPORTS THE OCCUPANTS OF THE VEHICLE RAN FROM THE SCENE. THE CHILDREN SUFFERED MINOR INJURIES.

A 26-YEAR-OLD MAN WAS SHOT AND KILLED WHILE SITTING IN HIS CAR WEDNESDAY NIGHT IN A PARKING LOT, IN AN APPARENT ROBBERY ATTEMPT. ALEXANDRIA, CITY POLICE REPORT THE SHOOTING TOOK PLACE SHORTLY AFTER 8 IN THE EVENING 3723 MACARTHUR DRIVE. THE VICTIM WAS TAKEN TO A LOCAL HOSPITAL, WHERE HE WAS PRONOUNCED DEAD.

LSUA CHANCELLOR DAVID MANUEL IS ONE OF THREE FINALISTS SET TO INTERVIEW FOR THE POST OF PRESIDENT AT DRURY UNIVERSITY IN SPRINGFIELD, MO. MANUEL AND THE OTHER TWO CANDIDATES WILL MAKE MULTI-DAY VISITS TO THE DRURY CAMPUS THIS WEEKEND. REACHED BY THE TOWN TALK IN MISSOURI, MANUEL PREFERRED TO WITHHOLD COMMENT UNTIL HE RETURNS TO ALEXANDRIA. MANUEL HAS BEEN CHANCELLOR AT LSUA SINCE MARCH 2008. HE SUCCEEDED ROBERT CAVANAUGH

A RAPIDES PARISH GRAND JURY HAS INDICTED SIX ALEXANDRIA RESIDENTS, INCLUDING A 16-YEAR-OLD, IN THE LATE AUGUST ATTACKS ON TWO PRIESTS IN THE ST. RITA CATHOLIC CHURCH RECTORY. FIVE OF THE SIX HAVE BEEN CHARGED WITH ATTEMPTED FIRST-DEGREE MURDER IN THE HOME INVASION WHERE THE REV. CRAIG SCOTT WAS SHOT AND THE REV. MAREK NORJEK WAS PISTOL-WHIPPED. BOTH PRIESTS SURVIVED THE AUG. 29 ATTACK, THE NIGHT HURRICANE ISAAC BLEW ASHORE.

GET READY FOR ANOTHER COUPLE DAYS OF COOL AUTUMN WEATHER ARRIVING THIS WEEKEND. STATE CLIMATOLOGIST BARRY KEIM SAYS THE WEATHER CHANGE BEGINS WITH A FRONT MOVING THROUGH LOUISIANA TODAY AND TOMORROW. KEIM SAYS TEMPERATURES WILL BEGIN TO FALL BEHIND THE FRONTAL SYSTEM SATURDAY, TAKING SUNDAY MORNING LOWS INTO THE 50'S ACROSS MOST OF THE STATE. MONDAY MORNING WILL BE THE COOLEST, WITH MORNING LOW TEMPERATURES IN THE 40'S IN NORTHERN PARISHES, THE LOW 50'S IN CENTRAL LOUISIANA AND THE UPPER 50'S NEAR THE COAST.

THE MAN ACCUSED OF PHONING IN A BOMB THREAT THAT SHUT DOWN THE LSU CAMPUS LAST MONTH WILL BE ARRAIGNED TODAY. EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH DISTRICT ATTORNEY HILLAR MOORE SAYS WILLIAM BOUVAY JR. WAS ARRESTED AFTER THE BOMB SCARE CALL TO 9-1-1 WAS TRACED TO A CELL PHONE IN HIS POSSESSION. MOORE SAYS BOUVAY IS KNOWN TO AREA LAWMEN, WITH A LONG RECORD OF ARRESTS FOR CHARGES RANGING FROM PETTY CRIMES, TO TERRORIZING, TO ATTEMPTED 2ND DEGREE MURDER. MOORE SAYS BOUVAY COULD GET UP 40 YEARS IN JAIL IF CONVICTED.

LSU'S BOARD OF SUPERVISORS HAS AGREED TO AN ADDITIONAL $152-MILLION IN CUTS TO THE UNIVERSITY'S PUBLIC HOSPITALS SYSTEM FOR THE POOR AND UN-INSURED. LSU HEALTH SCIENCE CHIEF FRANK OPELKA SAYS THE CUTS WILL BE SPREAD ACROSS SEVEN LOUISIANA HOSPITALS, WITH THE INTENT TO KEEP AS MANY FACILITIES OPEN AS POSSIBLE. OPELKA OUTLINED THE BUDGET CUTS TO LSU'S BOARD THURSDAY MORNING, AND THEY GAVE THEIR APPROVAL WITHOUT OBJECTION. HE SAYS SEVERAL DOZEN IN-PATIENT BEDS WILL BE CUT STATEWIDE, AND THERE WILL BETWEEN 1400 AND 1500 JOBS LOST.

TWO GAS STATION CASHIERS IN ST. MARY PARISH WERE ARRESTED FOR ALLEGEDLY SELLING DRUGS OUT OF THE CONVENIENCE STORE WHERE THEY WORKED. SHERIFF'S OFFICE SPOKESPERSON TRACY LANDRY SAYS 29-YEAR-OLD HOLLY RHODES AND 20- YEAR-OLD DARYAN PARVINO FACE NUMEROUS DRUG CHARGES. LANDRY SAYS NARCOTICS AGENTS HAD RECEIVED NUMEROUS TIPS ABOUT ILLEGAL DRUG ACTIVITY AT THE STORE.

MANY PURPLE AND GOLD FANS ARE HEADED OUT TO FLORIDA YESTERDAY GETTING READY TO CHEER ON LSU AS THEY FACE THE GATORS SATURDAY AFTERNOON. VICE PRESIDENT OF ALUMNI RELATIONS JASON RAMEZAN SAYS THE TRIP TO THE SUNSHINE STATE IS NOT ALL ABOUT FOOTBALL. HE SAYS SOME LSU FANS WILL GET THE CHANCE TO VISIT DISNEY WORLD. RAMEZAN SAYS THE TRIP WITH ABOUT 150 FANS NEARLY SOLD OUT THIS YEAR.

LSU'S FACULTY RECEIVES A ONE-POINT-FIVE MILLION DOLLAR GRANT TO INVESTIGATE HOW BOTH THE ENVIRONMENT AND HUMANS ARE CONTRIBUTING TO COASTAL LAND LOSS. LSU ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR, NINA LAM, SAYS THIS STUDY WILL ALSO INVESTIGATE WHETHER SOUTHERN COASTAL LOUISIANA HAS BECOME TOO COSTLY TO SUSTAIN.






News For Thursday 10/04/12


NEWS FOR THURSDAY 100412
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

A 21-YEAR-OLD DEVILLE MAN DIED AND A 59-YEAR-OLD PINEVILLE MAN WAS SERIOUSLY INJURED AS A RESULT OF A VEHICLE COLLISION WEDNESDAY MORNING NEAR THE INTERSECTION OF LA. HIGHWAY 28 EAST AND SANDIFER LANE IN PINEVILLE. POLICE IDENTIFIED THE DRIVERS AS 59 YEAR OLD LLOYD IVY OF PINEVILLE AND 21 YEAR OLD WESLEY DAVENPORT OF DEVILLE. BOTH WERE TAKEN TO RAPIDES REGIONAL, WHERE DAVENPORT DIED. AS OF LATE YESTERDAY AFTERNOON IVY WAS IN GUARDED CONDITION.

A GARBAGE TRUCK REAR-ENDED A SCHOOL BUS WEDNESDAY IN MONROE, BUT NO MAJOR INJURIES WERE REPORTED. THE BUS HAD JUST DROPPED OFF A CHILD WHEN THE GARBAGE TRUCK STRUCK THE BUS. STATE POLICE SAY THEY ARE NOT SURE HOW MAN CHILDREN WERE ON THE BUS. HOWEVER, THEY DO REPORT NONE OF THE CHILDREN WERE SERIOUSLY INJURED.

A PANEL OF STATE LAWMAKERS MEETS TODAY TO DISCUSS RECENT CUTS TO LOUISIANA'S SYSTEM OF HEALTH CARE FOR THE POOR AND UNINSURED. CHARITY HOSPITALS ARE UNDER THE LSU HEALTH SYSTEM, AND HAVE RECENTLY BORNE THE BRUNT OF $329-MILLION IN CUTS. ABITA SPRINGS REP. SCOTT SIMON CHAIRS THE HOUSE HEALTH & WELFARE COMMITTEE. HE SAYS TODAY'S MEETING IS "A FACT-FINDING MISSION", TO DETERMINE WHAT LSU WILL DO AND HOW THEY'LL HANDLE THE MANDATE TO TRIM THE BUDGET.

FIVE PARISHES IN CENTRAL LOUISIANA ARE GETTING MILLIONS IN FEDERAL MONEY TO PLUG GAPS IN HIGH SPEED MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS IN THE REGION. DAN HOPKINS, WITH CELLULAR ONE, SAYS THE FEDERAL COMMUNICATION COMMISSION HAS AWARDED THEM $3.35-MILLION FOR THE UPGRADE. HOPKINS SAYS CELLULAR ONE'S PARENT COMPANY, CENTRAL LOUISIANA CELLULAR, WILL GET THE GRANT TO PROVIDE MORE COMPLETE "3G" AND "4G" COVERAGE. HE SAYS IT WILL MEAN A GENERALLY BETTER EXPERIENCE FOR CELL CUSTOMERS IN CENTRAL LOUISIANA. THE FCC GRANT COVERS FIVE PARISHES; GRANT, NATCHITOCHES, RAPIDES, SABINE AND VERNON.

LOUISIANA'S LONE DEMOCRATIC STATEWIDE ELECTED OFFICIAL PULLS IN GOOD NUMBERS IN A NEW POLL BY SOUTHERN MEDIA AND OPINION RESEARCH. IN A SURVEY OF SIX-HUNDRED LOUISIANA VOTERS, 61-PERCENT APPROVE OF SENATOR MARY LANDRIEU'S JOB PERFORMANCE, WHICH IS THE HIGHEST OF ANY ELECTED STATEWIDE OFFICIAL. POLLSTER BERNIE PINSONAT SAYS HE'S NOT SURPRISED. BATON ROUGE CONGRESSMAN BILL CASSIDY HAS BEEN MENTIONED AS A POSSIBLE CHALLENGER TO LANDRIEU. BUT THE POLL SHOWS NEARLY 63-PERCENT OF THE STATE'S VOTERS ARE NOT FAMILIAR WITH CASSIDY.

A FEDERAL GRAND JURY INDICTS NINE MEN, INCLUDING TWO LAFAYETTE LAWYERS AND A LOCAL BUSINESS FOR ALLEGEDLY PARTICIPATING IN A MULTISTATE SYNTHETIC MARIJUANA TRAFFICKING RING. PROSECUTORS ALLEGE THAT THE INDIVIDUALS INVOLVED EARNED MILLIONS OF DOLLARS BY SELLING SYNTHETIC MARIJUANA OVER A TEN-MONTH PERIOD. THE TWO LAFAYETTE LAWYERS HAVE BEEN IDENTIFIED AS 54-YEAR DANIEL STANFORD AND 52-YEAR-OLD BARRY DOMINGUE (DO-MAIN).

THE LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES HAS HANDED OUT NEARLY 104-MILLION-DOLLARS IN DISASTER FOOD STAMPS AS A RESULT OF HURRICANE ISAAC. DCFS SPOKESPERSON TREY WILLIAMS SAYS THEY ACCOMPLISHED A LOT IN A VERY SHORT TIME. WILLIAMS SAYS THE STATE HAS LEARNED A LOT SINCE PAST STORMS AND AS A RESULT THE PACE OF THE DELIVERY OF BENEFITS FOLLOWING ISAAC WAS MUCH
IMPROVED.

TRAFFIC WAS BACKED UP YESTERDAY MORNING ON I-10 EAST NEAR VINTON AFTER A PEDESTRIAN, WHO WAS STOPPED FOR A TRAFFIC VIOLATION, WAS STRUCK AND KILLED BY AN 18-WHEELER. STATE POLICE SGT. JAMES ANDERSON SAYS THE THE INCIDENT OCCURRED AROUND 8:00 THIS MORNING, WHEN THE CALCASIEU PARISH ANTI-DRUG TASK FORCE PULLED OVER A VEHICLE. ANDERSON SAYS THEY HAVE NOT PUBLICLY IDENTIFIED THE VICTIM. HE SAYS THEY ARE NOT SURE IF THE INDIVIDUAL INTENTIONALLY PUT HIMSELF IN FRONT OF THE 18-WHEELER OR JUST DIDN'T SEE THE SEMI COMING.

REPUBLICAN LEADERS IN TWO-THIRDS OF THE PARISHES IN THE NEWLY-DRAWN 3RD CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT SAY THEY SUPPORT US REPRESENTATIVE JEFF LANDRY OVER THE CONGRESSMAN CHARLES BOUSTANY. THE LANDRY ENDORSEMENTS COME FROM GOP EXECUTIVE COMMITTEES IN ACADIA, IBERIA, ST. MARTIN, ST. MARY AND VERMILION PARISHES. SCIENCE PROFESSOR PEARSON CROSS SAYS THIS IS A STRONG SHOWING OF
SUPPORT FOR LANDRY. LANDRY AND BOUSTANY ARE FORCED INTO A RUN-OFF AFTER LOUISIANA LOST A CONGRESSIONAL SEAT.

A NEW ORLEANS CITY PROSECUTOR IS IN TROUBLE AFTER A MARIJUANA CIGARETTE DROPPED FROM HIS POCKET, WHILE TALKING WITH A POLICE OFFICER IN A CITY COURT ROOM. 43-YEAR-OLD JAMES CALDWELL WAS CITED FOR SIMPLE POSSESSION AND RELEASED, UNDER A NEW CITY POLICY FOR LOW-LEVEL OFFENSES.

RESEARCH FROM PENNINGTON BIOMEDICAL CENTER IN BATON ROUGE SUGGESTS THAT CHILDREN LIVING IN HIGH POVERTY AND CRIME AREAS HAVE A BETTER CHANCE OF DEVELOPING HEART DISEASE. DOCTOR STEPHANIE BROYLES SAYS UNTIL NOW, RESEARCH MAINLY FOCUSED ON THE CONNECTION THAT OBESITY HAS WITH DIFFERENT DISEASES. BROYLES SAYS THIS NEW FINDING PROVIDES EVIDENCE THAT WHERE WE LIVE CAN IMPACT OUR HEALTH STATUS. BROYLES SAYS RESULTS SHOW THAT NEARLY 19-PERCENT OF THE CHILDREN LIVING IN HIGHER LEVELS OF POVERTY OR CRIME HAD ELEVATED LEVELS OF A PROTEIN THAT'S A MARKER FOR HEART DISEASE IN ADULTS.

News For Wednesday 10/03/12


NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY 100312
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

A NEW POLL BY SOUTHERN MEDIA AND OPINION RESEARCH HAS GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, MITT ROMNEY, CARRYING LOUISIANA BUT NOT BY A HEFTY MARGIN. THE SURVEY OF 600 LIKELY VOTERS HAD ROMNEY WITH 45-PERCENT OF THE VOTE, WHILE PRESIDENT OBAMA HAS 39-PERCENT IN WHAT IS CONSIDERED TO BE A HEAVILY RED STATE. TONIGHT'S FIRST OF THREE SCHEDULED TELEVISED PRESIDENTIAL DEBATES WILL BE AIMED SQUARELY AT UNDECIDED VOTERS IN A FEW KEY STATES.

GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL IS NOT CONCERNED ABOUT A NEW POLL THAT SHOWS HIS APPROVAL RATING HAS DROPPED. ACCORDING TO SOUTHERN MEDIA AND OPINION RESEARCH, 51-PERCENT APPROVE OF JINDAL'S PERFORMANCE, COMPARED TO 61- PERCENT IN A SURVEY DONE IN THE SPRING. JINDAL SAYS HE DOESN'T USE POLLS TO JUDGE HIS PERFORMANCE, INSTEAD HE LOOKS TO THE STATE'S ECONOMY, WHICH IS ONE OF THE BEST IN THE COUNTRY. THE POLL, TO SOME, SUGGESTS THE GOVERNOR’S POPULARITY IS DROPPING BECAUSE OF CONTINUOUS BUDGET CUTS AND CONCERNS WITH THE FUTURE OF THE LSU HOSPITAL SYSTEM. JINDAL SAYS AS GOVERNOR HE HAS TO MAKE TOUGH DECISIONS THAT ARE SOMETIMES UNPOPULAR.

THE STATE IS OFFICIALLY STARTING THE CLOSURE OF THE SOUTHEAST LOUISIANA MENTAL HOSPITAL NEAR MANDEVILLE THIS WEEK. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HOSPITALS DEPUTY SECRETARY KATHY KLIEBERT (CLEE-BEAR) SAYS THE RELOCATION OF ALL PATIENTS TO OTHER HOSPITALS IS EXPECTED TO BE COMPLETED BY THE END OF THE YEAR. DHH ANNOUNCED IN JULY THE HOSPITAL WOULD BE CLOSED DUE TO REDUCED FEDERAL MONEY FOR MEDICAID. YESTERDAY, 23 FEMALE PSYCHIATRIC PATIENTS ARRIVED AT CENTRAL STATE HOSPITAL IN PINEVILLE. NEXT WEEK 37 MALE PATIENTS ARE EXPECTED TO ARRIVE. THE TRANSFERS WILL DOUBLE THE PATIENT COUNT TO 120 AT CENTRAL.

AFTER A LENGTHY DISCUSSION MONDAY NIGHT, THE RAPIDES PARISH SCHOOL BOARD EDUCATION COMMITTEE WILL REVIEW A MOTION TO ABOLISH THE DISTRICT'S NO RETENTION POLICY FOR KINDERGARTEN THROUGH THIRD GRADE. THE SCHOOL BOARD VOTED TO SEND THE MOTION TO THE EDUCATION COMMITTEE AFTER PASSIONATE COMMENTS FROM BOARD MEMBERS AND EDUCATORS IN THE AUDIENCE. SOME BOARD MEMBERS AND TEACHERS COMPLAINED THAT SOME STUDENTS ARE GETTING TO THE FOURTH GRADE WITHOUT BEING AT GRADE LEVEL. HOWEVER, ONE SCHOOL PRINCIPAL DISAGREED SAYING 10-15 STUDENTS PER YEAR WOULD HAVE BEEN RETAINED SINCE 2006 BUT VERY FEW WERE. HE SAID ONLY A FEW HAD TO ATTEND LEAP SUMMER SCHOOL AND ALL PASSED.

THE BATON ROUGE POLICE DEPARTMENT IS WORKING AN UNSOLVED KIDNAPPING AND RAPE CASE. LT. DON KELLY SAYS THE 20-YEAR-OLD VICTIM REPORTED THE INCIDENT OCCURRED MONDAY AFTERNOON IN BROAD DAYLIGHT AROUND 2PM. KELLY SAYS THE VICTIM STATED THE MAN PUT AN OBJECT TO HER BACK, FORCED HER INTO A VAN, THEN DROVE TO A NEARBY WOODED AREA AND RAPED HER. KELLY SAYS THE VICTIM SAID AFTER THE MAN RAPED HER, HE DROVE HER BACK TO THE APARTMENT COMPLEX WHERE SHE WAS ORIGINALLY ABDUCTED. HE SAYS THE MAN IS DESCRIBED AS A 30-35 YEAR OLD WHITE MALE. AUTHORITIES ARE SEEKING THE PUBLIC'S HELP.

THE FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY SAYS THEY'VE DISTRIBUTED $96 MILLION IN AID TO HURRICANE ISAAC VICTIMS. HOMEOWNERS AND RENTERS HAVE RECEIVED 78-MILLION FOR HOUSING ASSISTANCE AND 17-MILLION HAS GONE OUT FOR OTHER TYPES OF AID. FEMA SPOKESPERSON RAY PEREZ SAYS THE HARDEST HIT PARISHES BY ISAAC ARE GETTING THE MOST HELP. PEREZ SAYS 191-THOUSAND HAVE REGISTERED FOR FEMA HELP, WITH 28-THOUSAND PEOPLE RECEIVING HOUSING ASSISTANCE.

THE ALABAMA FAN, ACCUSED OF RUBBING HIS GENITALS ON AN UNCONSCIOUS LSU FAN LAST JANUARY IN NEW ORLEANS, REACHED A LAST MINUTE PLEA DEAL WITH PROSECUTORS. UNDER THE AGREEMENT, 33-YEAR-OLD BRIAN DOWNING WILL SERVE TWO YEARS IN PRISON ON OBSCENITY CHARGES. THE DEAL EMERGED TUESDAY MORNING AFTER NEGOTIATIONS BETWEEN DOWNING'S LAWYERS AND ORLEANS PARISH PROSECUTORS. UNDER THE AGREEMENT DOWNING WILL NOT BE REQUIRED TO REGISTER AS A CONVICTED SEX OFFENDER.

A FIRE MONDAY NIGHT IN JENNINGS HAS TRAGICALLY CLAIMED THE LIFE OF A HANDICAPPED MAN. STATE FIRE MARSHAL BUTCH BROWNING SAYS OFFICIALS WERE CALLED OUT TO THE BLAZE SHORTLY BEFORE MID-NIGHT. BROWNING SAYS TWO OTHER PEOPLE IN THE HOME WERE ABLE TO ESCAPE THE FIRE, BUT WERE UNABLE TO RESCUE THE MAN IN THE WHEELCHAIR.

GOVERNOR JINDAL ANNOUNCES A PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP TO RENOVATE AND EXPAND LSU'S ENGINEERING EDUCATION COMPLEX. THE 100-MILLION DOLLAR PROJECT IS SLATED TO BEGIN NEXT FALL AND BE COMPLETE IN THE FALL OF 2016 RICHARD KOUBEK, DEAN OF THE LSU COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING SAYS THE FACILITY IS NEEDED TO MEET THE RISING DEMAND FOR QUALIFIED ENGINEERS. SO FAR THE SCHOOL HAS RAISED EIGHT-MILLION DOLLARS TOWARDS THE $50 MILLION IN PRIVATE DONATIONS IT NEEDS. THE GOVERNOR HAS THROWN HIS SUPPORT TOWARDS ANOTHER 50-MILLION IN TAX DOLLARS TO PAY FOR THE PROJECT.

THE LAFAYETTE POLICE DEPARTMENT HAS ISSUED A MISDEMEANOR WARRANT FOR SIMPLE BATTERY AGAINST A SUBSTITUTE TEACHER ACCUSED OF PLACING PAINTERS TAPE OVER THE MOUTH OF A 9-YEAR-OLD WHO REFUSED TO BE QUIET IN CLASS. AUTHORITIES SAY THE WARRANT WAS ISSUED MONDAY FOR 52 YEAR OLD CURLEY HENRY OF LAFAYETTE, STEMMING FROM AN INCIDENT THAT OCCURRED SEPT. 12. POLICE SAY THE WARRANT WAS ISSUED AFTER HENRY FAILED TO COME IN AND COOPERATE WITH INVESTIGATORS.




News For Tuesday 10/02/12


NEWS FOR TUESDAY 100212
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

THE RAPIDES PARISH SCHOOL BOARD WILL NOT VOTE ON CREATING A POSITION MEANT TO HELP INTERIM SUPERINTENDENT GERALD WOODARD BECOME ACCLIMATED TO THE DISTRICT AND HIS NEW POSITION. AT THE REQUEST OF WOODARD, BOARD PRESIDENT WILTON BARRIOS SAID HE WILL PULL THE MOTION TO CREATE A DEPUTY ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT POSITION FROM THE AGENDA TONIGHT. BARRIOS SAYS THE POSITION WAS DESIGNED TO HELP ACCLIMATE (WOODARD), AND HE SAID HE'S FINE AND DOESN'T NEED. AFTER HAVING MET THE STAFF DURING HIS FIRST WEEK AS INTERIM SUPERINTENDENT, BARRIOS SAYS WOODARD IS COMFORTABLE WITH THE SITUATION.

STEVE ROGGE, THE DIRECTOR OF THE RAPIDES PARISH LIBRARY, LAST NIGHT ASKED MEMBERS OF THE POLICE JURY TO SUPPORT RENEWAL OF A 7.08-MIL TAX THAT SUPPORTS THE DAY TO DAY OPERATIONS OF THE PARISH’S LIBRARIES.IN THE COMING WEEKS LEADING UP TO NOVEMBER’S ELECTION, ROGGE SAYS THEY PLAN AN ADVERTISING BLITZ AND A MAIL OUT CAMPAIGN TO REMIND RESIDENTS TO GET OUT AND VOTE.

LSUA WILL HOLD A RIBBON CUTTING WEDNESDAY AT 11 A.M. TO CELEBRATE THE COMPLETION OF THE CAMPUS WALKING TRAIL AT THE CAMPUS' BASEBALL/SOFTBALL COMPLEX. THE RIBBON CUTTING AND WALKING TRAIL ARE OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.
WALKERS WILL BE ABLE TO CHOOSE PATHS RANGING FROM ¼ MILE TO FOUR MILES. THE WALKING TRAIL WAS FUNDED IN PART BY A GRANT FROM THE RAPIDES FOUNDATION.

JUDGE CARL E. STEWART BECAME THE FIRST BLACK CHIEF JUDGE OF THE 5TH U.S. CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS ON MONDAY. THE SHREVEPORT RESIDENT SUCCEEDED JUDGE EDITH H. JONES, WHO STEPPED DOWN FROM THE POST SHE HAD HELD SINCE JANUARY 2006.
PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON APPOINTED STEWART TO THE COURT IN 1994. BEFORE THAT, THE 62-YEAR-OLD SERVED AS A STATE JUDGE IN CADDO PARISH AND WAS ELECTED TO LOUISIANA’S 2ND CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEAL.

ACCORDING TO A 2012-2013 COLLEGE SALARY REPORT BY PAYSCALE.COM LOUISIANA TECH RANKS NO. 1 AMONG LOUISIANA'S PUBLIC AND PRIVATE UNIVERSITIES IN STARTING SALARIES FOR RECENT GRADS. TECH SPOKESMAN DAVE GEURIN SAYS THE RANKING SHOWS THE QUALITY OF EDUCATION A STUDENT RECEIVES AT LOUISIANA TECH. THE REPORT SHOWS TECH GRADUATE'S WITH A BACHELOR'S DEGREE, EARN AN AVERAGE OF $45,900 PER YEAR AFTER TWO YEARS OF WORK EXPERIENCE. LSU WAS SECOND WITH $44,100 AND TULANE WAS THIRD WITH $43,800.

STATE POLICE ARE INVESTIGATING THE CASE OF AN OFFICER INVOLVED IN A SHOOTING OF A SUSPECTED BANK ROBBER. TROOPERS SAY THE LAFAYETTE POLICE DEPARTMENT WAS IN PRESUIT OF 41-YEAR-OLD THOMAS HELVIK OF PORT ALLEN AFTER IT WAS REPORTED THE MAN HAD JUST ROBBED A BANK. THEY SAY HELVIK DROVE OFF THE ROAD AND WAS SHOTS WERE FIRED BY ONE OF THE PERUSING OFFICERS. HELVIK WAS PRONOUNCED DEAD AT THE SCENE AND THE CASE REMAINS UNDER INVESTIGATION. HELVIK WAS ALSO A SUSPECT IN SEVERAL OTHER BANK ROBBERIES INCLUDING AN ATTEMPTED ROBBERY HERE IN ALEXANDRIA.

GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL’S CHIEF OF STAFF, STEPHEN WAGUESPACK IS LEAVING HIS POST TO TAKE A PRIVATE SECTOR JOB. ITS IS REPORTED THAT PAUL RAINWATER, THE CURRENT COMMISSIONER OF ADMINISTRATION WILL MOVE UP TO FILL WAGUESPACK'S
POSITION. ITS IS PROJECTED THAT KRISTY NICHOLS, THE GOVERNORS CURRENT DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF, WILL TAKE OVER THE COMMISSIONER OF ADMINISTRATION POSITION.

THE DEADLINE TO REGISTER FOR THE NOVEMBER 6TH PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION IS ONE WEEK FROM TODAY. OF THE TWO-POINT-NINE MILLION REGISTERED VOTERS IN THE STATE, ONE-POINT-FOUR MILLION ARE REGISTERED AS DEMOCRATS, 801-THOUSAND ARE REPUBLICANS AND 705-THOUSAND ARE INDEPENDENT.

CANDIDATES RUNNING FOR AN OPEN SEAT ON THE STATE PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION HAVE VARYING VIEWPOINTS ON TAKING CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS FROM UTILITY COMPANIES THEY WOULD REGULATE. REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES SCOTT ANGELLE AND BATON ROUGE REP. ERICH PONTI BOTH SAID HAVE TAKEN SUCH DONATIONS AND WILL CONTINUE TO DO SO . . REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE SARAH HOLLIDAY, OF BATON ROUGE, AND THIBODAUX BUSINESSMAN GREG GAUBERT, A NO-PARTY CANDIDATE, BOTH VOWED TO NEVER TAKE MONEY FROM COMPANIES THEY WOULD REGULATE AS A MEMBER OF THE PSC. THE RACE'S LONE DEMOCRAT IS FORREST WRIGHT, OF NEW ORLEANS. HE SAYS HE WILL NOT ACCEPT CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS FROM ANY COMPANY THAT THE PSC WOULD REGULATE.

THE ALABAMA FOOTBALL FAN ARRESTED FOR ALLEGEDLY SEXUALLY ASSAULTING AN LSU FAN FOLLOWING THE BCS CHAMPIONSHIP GAME LAST JANUARY 9TH, GOES TO TRIAL TODAY. BRIAN DOWNING WAS CHARGED WITH SEXUAL BATTERY AND OBSCENITY AFTER A VIDEO OF THE ASSAULT APPEARED ON YOUTUBE. DOWNING REPORTEDLY REJECTED A DEAL ALLOWING HIM TO PLEA GUILTY TO OBSCENITY AND SERVE TWO YEARS BUT WOULD NOT BE REQUIRED TO REGISTER AS A SEX OFFENDER.



News For Monday 10/01/12


NEWS FOR MONDAY 100112
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

H. ROUSE CAFFEY, WHO SERVED TWO TENURES AS THE CHANCELLOR OF LSUA, DIED SATURDAY AT THE AGE OF 83. CAFFEY WAS CHANCELLOR OF LSUA FROM 1981 THROUGH 1984. HE RETURNED TO THE SCHOOL AS INTERIM CHANCELLOR FOR THE FALL SEMESTER IN 2007 AND SERVED UNTIL CURRENT CHANCELLOR DAVID MANUEL WAS HIRED THE FOLLOWING SPRING. FUNERAL SERVICES ARE SCHEDULED FOR 11 A.M. TUESDAY AT CALVARY BAPTIST CHURCH IN ALEXANDRIA. VISITATION IS 4-8 P.M. TODAY AT HIXSON BROTHERS FUNERAL HOME IN ALEXANDRIA.

OCTOBER IS HERE; MEANING WE'RE INTO THE LAST WEEKS OF THE 2012 ATLANTIC HURRICANE SEASON. STATE CLIMATOLOGIST BARRY KEIM SAYS, THOUGH THE TROPICS APPEAR TO CALMING DOWN, WE SHOULDN'T PUT AWAY OUR EMERGENCY STORM SUPPLIES JUST YET. SINCE MANY TIMES IN THE PAST NAMED STORMS HITTING LOUISIANA AT THIS TIME OF YEAR. HURRICANE MATTHEW IN 2004, LILY IN 2002, AND JUAN BACK IN 1985. KEIM SAYS A PACIFIC EL NINO IS STILL EXPECTED TO DEVELOP, WHICH WILL GREATLY LESSEN THE CHANCES OF NAMED STORMS FORMING IN THE ATLANTIC.

OCTOBER MEANS FLU SEASON WILL BE STARTING SOON IN LOUISIANA, AND HEALTH OFFICIALS SAY IT'S TIME TO START THINKING ABOUT THIS YEAR'S FLU SHOT. BILL SCHAFFNER, WITH THE CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL, SAYS THERE ARE AMPLE SUPPLIES OF FLU VACCINE AVAILABLE THIS YEAR...AND MOST ALL OF US SHOULD GET VACCINATED. HE SAYS PARISH HEALTH CENTERS WILL HAVE FREE FLU SHOTS AVAILABLE TO THOUSANDS, OR THEY CAN BE EASILY OBTAINED THROUGH YOUR DOCTOR'S OFFICE OR, IN MANY CASES AT YOUR LOCAL PHARMACY, AT MINIMAL COST.

A TEACHER AT A PRIVATE SCHOOL HAS BEEN ARRESTED ON SUSPICION OF CALLING IN A BOMB THREAT AT THREE PRIVATE SCHOOLS IN OUACHITA PARISH LAST WEEK. 30 YEAR OLD DAVID REYNA WHO TEACHES SPANISH AT RIVER OAKS SCHOOL, WAS BOOKED INTO THE OUACHITA CORRECTIONAL CENTER ON FRIDAY AFTER HE WAS ARRESTED BY SHERIFF’S OFFICE INVESTIGATORS. HE’S BEING HELD WITHOUT BOND PENDING A COURT HEARING. HE WAS BOOKED WITH ONE COUNT OF COMMUNICATING FALSE INFORMATION OF A PLANNED BOMBING OF SCHOOL PROPERTY. THE HEADMASTER AT RIVER OAKS SCHOOL SAYS REYNA WAS A QUIET MAN, GIVING NO INDICATION OF A TROUBLED LIFE.

THE LSU TIGERS ARE RANKED FOURTH IN THE COUNTRY, BUT THEY ARE NOT PLAYING THE LIKE THE FOURTH BEST TEAM IN THE NATION. THE BAYOU BENGALS WERE UNIMPRESSIVE IN THEIR 38-22 VICTORY OVER TOWSON. THE TIGERS WERE ONCE AGAIN HAMPERED BY TURNOVERS AND PENALTIES. COACH LES MILES IS DISAPPOINTED HIS TEAM DIDN'T SHOW SIGNS OF IMPROVEMENT.

THE SAINTS LOST A HEARTBREAKER YESTERDAY, 28-27 TO THE GREEN BAY PACKERS AT LAMBEAU FIELD ON SUNDAY.

IN A MONTH, THE PHELPS CORRECTIONAL CENTER IN DEQUINCY IS SET TO CLOSE AND LOCAL OFFICIALS ARE TRYING TO COME UP WITH IDEAS TO MAKE SURE WORKERS AT THE PRISON CONTINUE TO RECEIVE A PAY CHECK AFTER NOV. 1ST. DEQUINCY MAYOR LAWRENCE HENAGAN SAYS OVER TWO-HUNDRED PEOPLE WILL SOON BE UNEMPLOYED. THE JINDAL ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCED LAST MONTH ITS CLOSING THE PHELPS CORRECTIONAL CENTER AND MOVING THE INMATES TO ANGOLA. SOME WORKERS AT PHELPS COULD BE HIRED AT ANGOLA AS WELL. BUT HENAGAN SAYS HE AND OTHER ELECTED OFFICIALS IN SOUTHWEST LOUISIANA DON’T WANT TO SEE THE 269 PRISON WORKERS LEAVE THE AREA. THEY ARE NOW LOOKING AT OTHER USES FOR THE SOON TO BE CLOSED PRISON.

A LOUISIANA DEATH ROW INMATE IS A FREE MAN AFTER DNA TESTS EXONERATED HIM OF THE MURDER AND RAPE OF HIS STEP-COUSIN. THIRTY-EIGHT- YEAR-OLD DAMON THIBODAUX OF MARRERO SPENT 15 YEARS ON DEATH ROW. LOUISIANA ACLU EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR MARJORIE ESMAN SAYS THIBODEAUX GAVE A FALSE CONFESSION WHICH LED TO THE WRONGFUL CONVICTION. THIBODEAUX WAS WRONGFULLY CONVICTED IN THE MURDER OF HIS 14-YEAR-OLD STEP COUSIN, CRYSTAL CHAMPAGNE. HER BODY WAS FOUND IN JULY OF 1996. ESMAN SAYS SIX PEOPLE HAVE BEEN EXONERATED FROM LOUISIANA'S DEATH ROW SINCE 2000.


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