News for Thursday 120513
By Dave Graichen
The state DOTD announced yesterday that The Jackson Street Bridge will reopen to vehicle traffic on Thursday, Dec. 12. However, the sidewalk for pedestrians will remain closed "until further notice,". The existing shuttle service will continue for pedestrians and bicyclists.
A series of Christmas festivals will begin this evening in Alexandria. The event kicks off the city of Alexandria’s Twelve Nights of Christmas celebration. Holiday Magic Downtown begins at 5 p.m. today in the Alexander Fulton mini-park across from Alexandria City Hall. It will feature food, music and Santa Claus.
US Senator David Vitter sent an email to his supporters this Wednesday saying that friends and family members have been encouraging him to run for Governor in 2015. Vitter says he and his wife Wendy plan to pray about the decision over the Christmas holiday and they will make an official announcement one way or the other next month.
U.S. Representative Vance McAllister from the sixth district hasn't been in Washington that long, but he's already secured spots on the House Natural Resources and House Agriculture committees. He has a one-year term because of the time left on Rodney Alexander's term, who resigned in the middle of his sixth term.
Get ready for a change in the weather. Meteorologist Gary Chatelain with the National Weather Service says the mild temperatures we've seen this week will go away, as the result of a very strong cold front that arrives in the bayou state today. The cold front won't push through south Louisiana until tomorrow, but once it does, temperatures will drop. On Saturday, high temps will be in 40s for much of south Louisiana, upper 30s for north Louisiana. Chatelain says there's a chance for mixed precipitation from I-20 to the north on Saturday.
Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols announced late Wednesday, personal information for about 13,500 Louisiana residents was compromised when the data collected by three state government agencies was breached. Computer hackers penetrated the computer security systems at JPMorgan Chase. About 6,000 recipients of a pre-loaded debit card used by the Louisiana Department of Revenue to distribute state income tax refunds could have been compromised, as well as approximately 5,300 Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services child support debit cardholders and about 2,200 people receiving unemployment benefits from the Louisiana Workforce Commission via a Chase debit card.
A last-ditch bid to impose a two-year moratorium on letter grades for public schools failed Wednesday. Instead, the state’s top school board voted to tweak a new policy so that schools will not be unfairly penalized as they move to the national academic standards called Common Core. All the action followed Tuesday’s three-hour debate, which ended with the panel endorsing a wide range of changes to soften the impact of the overhaul. The grades stem from a 2010 state law. They are aimed at showing parents and others how schools are operating. Critics say the grades are too imprecise to be meaningful.
State Sen. Dan Claitor said Wednesday he will run for Congress in the 6th district after deciding he could bring some “reason” back to Washington. The state senator from Baton Rouge is serving his second term in the Legislature after first being elected in 2009. The 6th congressional district seat is being vacated after 2014 because current Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, is running for the U.S. Senate next year.
Louisiana’s higher education commissioner said Wednesday that he won’t seek a contract renewal when his current deal as the state’s chief policy leader for public colleges ends in March. Jim Purcell, who has been in the job since February 2011, notified the Board of Regents about his decision at its monthly meeting. The announcement wasn’t necessarily a surprise. Purcell has often been at odds with Gov. Bobby Jindal over the depth of budget cuts, with more than $700 million in state funding stripped from higher education by the Jindal administration and lawmakers since 2008.
You could call it Karma, The Opelousas Police Department says a man carjacked a vehicle
Wednesday, crashed the SUV he stole a short time later and is now in serious condition. They say 28 year old Kendall Reed allegedly whacked the victim in the head with a tool as he was leaving for work and sped off in his vehicle. Reed is suffering from internal injuries and several cuts on his head and hands. Once he gets out of the hospital, police say they will be waiting for him.
LSU freshman Quarterback Anthony Jennings will be the play caller for the Tigers' bowl game in January. That's because of Zach Mettenberger's season-ending knee injury. Football analyst Mike Detillier says the news for Mentenburger is not all bad. In fact, he still has a chance to be drafted in the 1st round of the NFL draft, even with the injury. Mentenberger became the third quarterback in LSU history to throw for 3,000 yards in a season and he's one of the nation's leaders in passing efficiency.
Sheriff's deputies in Iberia Parish seek a pair of armed robbers, who used Facebook to set their victim up for a holdup. Sheriff's spokesman Captain Ryan Turner says the 28-year-old victim had been communicating with a man on the social media website, and agreed to meet him face-to-
face. When the woman arrived at the address given by the Facebook friend, but was quickly confronted outside the home by two armed men who took her money.
The Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge gets nearly $16-million in grants for continued studies of optimal nutrition and combat readiness for soldiers. The two Department of Defense grants will continue research into nutrition and fitness strategies for America's fighting men and women.