KSYL Local News

News for Friday 121412

By Dave Graichen


An investigation by the Alexandria-Pineville Narcotic Task Force netted 14 arrests of people who either sold or bought synthetic marijuana or drug paraphernalia from a store in the 3100 block of Masonic Drive in Alexandria. Two store clerks and 12 customers were arrested, and more than $500,000 worth of guns, assets and cash were seized.


A  memorial  service  was held yesterday for  Ricky  Isaac, the Natchitoches   Parish   Sheriff's   office  deputy  who  died  in  a single-vehicle crash last weekend. Sheriff  Victor Jones says Isaac, who is a former Northwestern football player,  is  survived  by  his pregnant  wife  who  is  a  former  Lady  Demon. He said they'd been married less than two years. Issac  was killed during a rainstorm when his  car  hydroplaned  and left the road then crashed into some trees.


Law enforcement officials say a school bus crashed Wednesday evening in Alexandria  and several   young children were sent to the hospital. They say a pickup  truck ran a stop sign at the intersection of I-49 and Rapides State Road  and collided with the bus. All children were taken to local hospitals  for  precautionary  reason and no injuries were reported. The driver of the truck has been cited for failure to yield.


The state could  lose  $140-million  or  more  in tobacco settlement money, which would affect the free college tuition  program known as TOPS.  First Assistant Attorney General Trey Phillips  says  tobacco companies  contend that Louisiana hasn't met its part of the deal by failing to regulate off-brand cigarette companies. An arbitration panel will hear Big Tobacco's complaints and render a decision. Proceeds from the tobacco settlement fund a big portion of the TOPS scholarships.


For a fifth straight year, the state will need to cut the budget during  the middle of the fiscal year. It's the result of the Revenue Estimating  Conference, who lowered income projections for this fiscal year by 129-million dollars.  The Jindal administration is expected to unveil a budget cutting plan  at today’s joint  budget committee meeting. Public colleges and  health care will take a brunt of the cuts. Manfred Dix, the chief  economist for the governor's office, says next fiscal year's budget  picture is also bleak, with an income drop of about 200-million dollars .


Gas  prices  are  on  a  steady  decline.  The  American  Automobile Association says the price of gas has fallen 13-cents over  the last month  to a statewide average of $3.12 for a gallon of regular.  AAA Fuel analyst  Don  Redman says it's not a surprise to see gas prices fall during the holidays. And he says we should  continue to see this drop for the rest of the year. 


BP has sent a Remote Operated Vehicle down to the shut-in Macondo well  in the Gulf , to determine if any oil is still leaking from it. State  Coastal Affairs Director Garrett Graves says another sheen of oil was spotted in November--near the site of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon rig  explosion and subsequent oil spill. Graves says oil collected at the surface matches the characteristics of  the light, sweet crude that gushed from BP's well for months after the  rig disaster. He says the state asked the Coast Guard to make BP explore  that area, to determine where the latest reported sheen is coming from.


Governor Jindal and local leaders announce a $100-million industrial  investment in Bastrop, in Morehouse Parish. West Monroe Rep. Mike  Walsworth says Drax Biomass International plans to eventually employ 45  or more in a wood-processing plant. The plant will use northeast Louisiana timber to make wood pellets or  chips that will be shipped overseas to use as a renewable energy source. Walsworth says with the deal in place, construction should start soon. Walworth says the plant could be up and running by late in 2013 or very  early in 2014.


State Police is handling  the investigation into a fatal shooting of an armed robbery suspect by  a  federal deputy. Troop E spokesperson Scott Moreau says the shooting occurred yesterday in Marskville when members of the U-S Marshal's Violent  Offender  Task Force attempted to serve an arrest warrant on 51-year-old Larane Pierce. Moreau says an investigation into whether the shooting  is justified is ongoing.


A Carencro strip  club  raided  last week by federal agents for drug and prostitution offenses has now  lost  its  liquor  license for at least  a  month  -  possibly  more. State Alcohol & Tobacco  Control Commissioner Troy Hebert issued  the  order   yesterday. On December 5th,  agents  raided Desperado's Nightclub. Owner  James  Panos  and several employee were arrested on several charges.


Lafayette Parish Sheriff's deputies say a Carencro man tried to kill his  own father with a samurai sword. Sheriff's Captain  Kip  Judice says 32-year-old Albert Prejean attacked his dad during an argument. He says not only did the 63-year-old victim sustain series defensive wounds,  Prejean  managed  to  slice  his  own  thigh  in  the sword scuffle. Judice  says  once  Prejean is released from the hospital, he'll  be charged with attempted second-degree murder.


The firing of a Shreveport TV weather reporter  is  getting national attention. Rhonda Lee was fired for violating a station social media policy,  for  replying  to  a  viewer's  Facebook  critique  of  her short-cropped hair. Lee says she was unaware of any such policy. Some national  media outlets are speculating her termination  could  have been racially motivated. Lee is African-American.


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