News for Friday 061413
By Dave Graichen
A 29-year-old man from Hammond died in yesterday's chemical plant explosion in Ascension Parish. Zachary Green was one of 600 workers at the Williams Olefins plant in Geismar, when a huge fireball went up into the sky at around 8:30 yesterday morning. The department of health and hospitals says another 77 individuals were
taken to local hospitals and three remain in intensive care. Now that all of the workers have been accounted for, officials will try to determine what ignited the blaze. State Police Col. Mike Edmonson says several experts are assisting in the investigation.
Word is from Michael Jenkins the new owner of the Hotel Bentley, the refurbished downtown landmark show be open in December. Jenkins tol the “Town Talk” earlier this week that “He could have probably opened 3-4 months earlier, but he wanted to go ahead and do the job right the first time. Jenkins saying, It’s going to take longer, but that he thinks it will pay off in the long run.” Under Jenkins’ plans, the original portion of the Bentley will remain a hotel with nearly 100 rooms. The seven-floor tower portion, which was added in the 1930s, is being gutted and converted to condominiums. The entire interview is in today’s “Town Talk”.
Speaking of the Town Talk, The company that owns our local newspaper, Gannett, has purchased Belo Broadcasting, the owner of WWL TV in new Orleans and other TV stations across the country. The cost, $1.5 Billion and the assumption of $715 Million in debt.
A new poll shows Louisiana voters support passage of a bipartisan immigration bill currently moving through the U.S. Senate. Sponsored by the Alliance For Citizenship, the poll was conducted by Burland & Associates. Pollster James Burland says 70% of those polled say they support the immigration reform bill, co-authored by the "Gang of Eight"; four House and four Senate members from both parties. The bill could come up for a U.S. Senate vote soon. Senator Mary Landrieu leans toward a "yes" vote, but Senator David Vitter opposes the bill, because it doesn't prioritize securing the boarder. The bill would however authorize and pay for national guard troops to patrol the border.
Dad should do alright this Sunday, Father's Day, as the National Retail Federation projects spending for Dad should be higher this year. Baton Rouge retail analyst Jim Rutledge says the average person will spend just under $120 this year--up from $117 last year. Total spending for Father's Day nationwide is expected to top $13-billion.
Four months after requesting a speedy trial, an attorney for one of two Baton Rouge men accused in the 2007 slaying of two LSU graduate students from India asked a judge Thursday to scrub the scheduled June 24 trial date and set a later one.
State District Judge Chip Moore scheduled a new trial date of Sept. 23 for both men.
The attorney who represents one of accused, told the judge he needs time to investigate forensic evidence that prosecutors recently turned over to the defense.
The judge warned both sides Thursday that the Sept. 23 trial date will not be altered.
A 7-mile stretch of the southbound lanes along the main Plaquemines Parish evacuation route will be closed for most of hurricane season. The LA Hwy 23 project hopes to raise that part of the road to prevent future flooding.
State Police inspectors have given Bossier City's new Margaritaville casino the all-clear to open its doors the the public. The casino hopes to have that soft opening this Saturday. A Grand Opening is planned for July 3rd, with a live performance by Jimmy Buffett.
Senator Mary Landrieu's son was arrested in New Orleans for driving the wrong way in the French Quarter, hit & run, and an open alcoholic beverage in the car. 21-year-old Connor Snellings reportedly hit a pedestrian, who wasn't badly hurt. In a written statement, Senator Landrieu says she and her husband are "extremely
disappointed" in their son's "irresponsible actions".
Ouachita Parish deputies arrested Philadelphia Eagles all-pro offensive tackle Jason Peters for alleged drag racing early Wednesday morning. Sheriff's spokesman Major Mike Moore says Peters fled when officers tried to pull him over--reaching speeds of up to 100 miles an hour. He says Peters eventually pulled over and was booked on two charges. Moore says Peters posted bail and was released. Peters was busted by Shreveport cops back in March of 2011, for a loud music violation and resisting an officer.