News for Thursday 121213
By Dave Graichen
Some Rapides parish school officials say they believe it is time for the school district to break down and buy some new school busses. Rapides’ Director of Transportation Velt Edwards said he surveyed the 13 surrounding parishes and learned, “We have the oldest fleet by far, some dating back to the mid 90’s. Director of Finance Liz Domite said the school system has received $3.5 million in certificates of indebtedness. In January, she will ask board members for permission to seek bids to buy newer buses. The bids will be for the purchase of 10 to 15 new special education buses, which cost more than $100,000 each, and about 35 used regular buses
The state health report card is out, and Louisiana is no longer the second most unhealthy state. It's now the third most unhealthy for many of the same reasons as before. United Health Senior Health Advisor Dr. Rhonda Randall says Even though progress is being made, there's still a long way to go in obesity and smoking. High immunization coverage among adults and rising
high school graduation rate are some of the state's strengths.
An ordinance called "Be Fair Shreveport", which protects people against discrimination based on sexual orientation, was passed by the city council Tuesday night. Adrienne Critcher is the Communications Director for "People Acting for Change." She says the passing of this ordinance is great news for the city of Shreveport, because young talented and creative people, especially in high tech fields, look at a city's openness as a way to determine whether or not it's a place they would like to move to. The council's vote was 6-1 in favor of Be Fair.
The St. Landry Parish Sheriff's office says two security guards at the jail there have been released and are now under investigation for allegedly abusing a child prisoner. They say videotapes of the
alleged incident have been sent to the DA's office for possible criminal indictments. In the meantime the officers are no longer employed at the jail.
The good news for Obamacare sign-up is that nearly five times the original number of Louisiana residents have been able to sign up online since the computer glitches were fixed. The bad news is that number is a little over 2,000 people, and that's still less than projected at the end of November. Enrollment continues until March 31st.
The state Department of Insurance says property owners who have to resort to the state-run insurance company of last resort now are at record low levels. Over 14-thousand property owners have transferred their policies from Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance to private market carriers. Citizens customers now make up only 2.7% of the state homeowners marketplace.
Veronica LaBeaud, of New Orleans, has made history within the Louisiana National Guard. LaBeaud has been promoted to Command Sgt. Maj. of the 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, becoming the first African American woman to achieve this status. LaBeaud says she never planned on this high rank during her 32 years in the National Guard. LaBeaud wants to be an inspiration for females in the military.
The state's Motorist Assistance Patrol service, offered in New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Shreveport, has picked up a corporate sponsor. State Farm Insurance will pay a quarter-million dollars a year to assist in keeping the roadside help service running.
Federal authorities cite an Ascension Parish chemical plant for safety violations that caused an explosion and fire last June that killed two workers and injured dozens of others. OSHA recommends $99-thousand in fines against the Williams Olefins plant in Geismar.
The woman who last year won the case regarding her first amendment right to display a middle finger in Christmas lights on the roof of her Denham Springs home is at it again. This year Sarah Childs has put a two middle finger light display on her roof. Neighbors claim Childs thinks someone stole her dog which is why she is upset with them.
Police in Hammond are looking for two men who allegedly attempted to rob an ATM using a blowtorch. It happened at a Capital One bank branch and the incident was caught on surveillance cameras. The suspects were not able to get the cash inside using this method. Anyone with information on this crime is urged to contact law enforcement.