News for Thursday 092514
By Dave Graichen
The grand opening of the Martin Luther King Jr. Branch of the Rapides Parish Library is set for 3:30 to 5 p.m. today. The MLK branch library is at 1115 Broadway Ave. in Alexandria. The 4,000-square-foot building opened at that new location last month after the branch was closed for more than a year. It was previously located on Lower Third Street.
The Internal Revenue Service has slapped the city of Leesville with more than $400,000 in fines and penalties as a result of failure to properly file W-2 forms in 2010. Mayor Rick Allen said this was the first notice the city has received of the fine and that officials could not locate any other notice in its mail log. Allen said he is hopeful that the city can negotiate a lower penalty.
The Alexandria Police Department will host the 7th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Public Safety Complex on Bolton Ave. The Drug Enforcement Administration again will coordinate a collaborative effort with state and local law enforcements agencies, focused on removing potentially dangerous controlled substance from our nation’s medicine cabinet. More than 2 million pounds of medication has been taken out of circulation, nationwide, during the past Take Back events
The Jindal administration and the Louisiana Legislature’s fiscal advisors reported Wednesday that rising health insurance claims and a 9 percent reduction in premiums were responsible for the Office of Group Benefits reserves dropping nearly $300 million over a three year period. The reports were released to counter allegations in blogs and among some state workers that Gov. Bobby Jindal and his staff balanced the state budget by raiding state insurance program reserves. Opponents of the Group Benefits overhaul contend the administration created the financial problem that it is now using to justify changes that will increase costs, some substantially, for the roughly 230,000 state employees, teachers, retirees and their dependents who receive their health coverage from the Office of Group Benefits.
State Police say an on-duty St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s deputy was fatally shot by a fellow deputy yesterday during a domestic dispute in LaPlace. The Sheriff’s Office received a call of a deputy involved in a domestic dispute brandishing a weapon, when officers arrived, they found that Lt. Nolan Anderson was armed. During a short standoff, Anderson turned the gun on the officers, at that point deputies then fired. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital. Anderson was a 25-year veteran of the sheriff’s office.
Higher education leaders gave general overviews of their budget outlooks to the state Board of Regents on Wednesday. Three of Louisiana’s college and university systems are just hoping the state Legislature won’t cut higher education funding next year. Meanwhile, the Southern University System is facing significant funding issues next year, as officials suspect the Baton Rouge campus will fail to meet state benchmarks necessary to raise tuition for a second year.
Baton Rouge Congressman and Senate candidate Bill Cassidy has agreed to two public debates before the November 4th election which Senator Mary Landrieu, says signals a lack of courage. But Cassidy says Landrieu’s record is well known and there’s no need to debate it over and over. Cassidy, Landrieu and the other Republican challenger, Col Rob Maness, will appear together at a debate in Shreveport on October 14th and Baton Rouge on October 29th. Cassidy says meeting voters face to face is a better way to discuss the issues. Landrieu says debates are routine in elections and the fact that Cassidy is dodging so many speaks volumes.
Baton Rouge Congressman and US senate candidate Bill Cassidy says it was inappropriate for Senator Mary Landrieu to assist another man perform a keg stand at an LSU tailgate. Cassidy says beer distributors are also not happy because it promotes drunkenness. Cassidy made the comments at an event where he received the endorsement of the National Federation of Independent Business. He says the beer industry spends a lot of money promoting responsible drinking and Landrieu’s actions on a college campus were unfitting for a US Senator.
A Federal Judge ordered today that businesses won’t have to pay BP back money the oil giant says was overpaid as a result of a flawed settlement money formula. Judge Carl Barbier had ordered the formula changed several weeks ago but as for money already paid, the ruling was a deal is a deal. With that ruling total liability for BP continues to grow; now approaching $50 billion dollars
The Louisiana State Police are investigating the death of a High School freshman who was allegedly shot by a Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s deputy. Trooper Evan Harrell says authorities responded to a report of several armed individuals running inside a home in Houma. He says they aren’t sure exactly what transpired when deputies arrived. The teen is identified as Cameron Tillman. Harrell says three other suspects were taken into custody and another fled the scene.
St. Bernard Parish President David Peralta was indicted Wednesday by a state grand jury on a single charge of stalking his ex-wife, marking the second time that the first-term parish leader has faced criminal charges this year. Thus far the 60 year old Peralta has resisted pressure to resign his post, though many parish observers expect that the latest indictment, which is a felony, could force his hand.
Survey results released by the Louisiana Department of Education show that future teachers need more time in the classroom. The survey polled more than 6,000 educators. Superintendent John White agrees, but says the extra time in the classroom should be used for teaching and not observation. White says the department is moving toward a model where the educator is a classroom teacher for a year, as an apprentice, under a mentor teacher before entering their own classroom.
Sugar cane harvest season starts to ramp up with the beginning of grinding season today. American Sugar Cane League’s Jim Simon (SEE-moan) says this year’s start-up is a week to ten days later that normal. Simon says the crop looks to be a little short compared to the last few years. He says a couple of sugar mills will begin operation today and all 11 mills in the state will be up and running by October 10. He also reminds everyone to be on the lookout for the trucks that carry the cane.
The Saints are back on the practice field, looking to even up their record at 2-and-2. New Orleans is preparing to face Dallas in Sunday night game and Quarterback Drew Brees says he hopes last week’s win over Minnesota is the start of a long winning streak.