News for Tuesday 031913
By Dave Graichen
The Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office is investigating what they believe was a homicide, after finding a body inside a burnt structure yesterday afternoon. The fire at 120 Wayne Street that was reported shortly after noon. When Firefighters and deputies arrived witnesses told them that someone was still inside the house. When the fire was extinguished, a body was found inside. The causes of the fire and death are unknown, and there has been no identification made yet on the victim.
Classrooms were evacuated for a short period of time yesterday morning after a bomb threat was called into Acadian Elementary school. The building was searched and classes resumed. Police report the arrest of a 12 year old boy, who they believe was responsible for calling in the threat.
The Rapides parish school board appears a little closer to selecting the districts next superintendent of schools. The board has been interviewing candidates for the past week or so and this Thursday they will, in a special meeting, whittle the list down to three finalists.
The Louisiana Supreme Court hears oral arguments today over whether the financing of the state's voucher program is constitutional. In November, a Baton Rouge judge ruled in favor of opponents to the statewide voucher program. The state supreme court is not ruling on whether vouchers are illegal,
but whether Louisiana can divert dollars from the state's public education fund to pay for a student's tuition at a private or parochial school.
A letter signed by over 250 Louisiana clergy members says Governor Bobby Jindal's proposal to eliminate income taxes in favor of higher sales taxes is unfair to the poor. The letter was dropped off at the governor's office today. The Jindal administration says the tax swap plan will not lead to higher taxes for families.
Houston Based Texas Brine has begun the process of trying to buy out evacuated residents of Assumption parish who live near that giant sink hole. Some of the residents, who have been living away from their homes since August of last year, have said enough is enough and they want the company to buy their property so they could move elsewhere.
In the meantime, The Louisiana Department of Natural Resources says members will be appointed by the end of this week to a "blue ribbon commission" to determine when Bayou Corne residents can safely return home. Odds are though not many of the 150 homes will be deemed to be habitable, especially since Assumption parish officials say another acre of land was swallowed up at the sinkhole Sunday.
It looks like LSU has selected a new campus president. The LSU presidential search committee has recommended F. King Alexander of Cal State Long Beach for the job. Sources have confirmed LSU could finalize a deal and Dr. Alexander could be moved in by June first.
Once again this year, Louisiana tops an annual survey of car insurance costs by state. Auto coverage in our state costs more than any other state in the US. Michigan comes in a close second. The lowest car insurance rates are found in Maine. The high rates are due to high numbers of claims and high lawsuit rates.
The state Legislative Auditor's office uncovers some "problems" with two local governments. Auditor Alan Brown says Jonesboro, in Jackson Parish, had a number of non-compliance violations. Jonesboro Mayor Leslie Thompson was arrested last month for malfeasance related to charges in the audit. In addition, Brown says a 27-page audit turned up possible violations at the Calcasieu Parish Registrar of Voters office. Brown says the Registrar, Angie Quienalty (quee-uh-nall-ty) kept improper records of regular and overtime hours worked by her and her staff, and of vehicles and fuel usage. He also alleges she improperly had staff perform personal errands for her on company time.
A 21-year-old Prairieville man is dead after being run over by a train. Authorities say Ryan Freeman was struck by a Kansas City Southern train. The train conductor says Freeman was lying down
between the rails of the tracks and never looked up or moved as he approached. Freeman was pronounced dead at the scene.
The man suspected of stealing a Shreveport mother's car, with her 7-year-old child still inside, has turned himself in to police. 18-year-old Zerquario Reddix abandoned the car when he saw he had a
passenger. The car was recovered, the little girl unhurt. He is in the parish jail, charged with carjacking.