News for Wednesday 102214
By Dave Graichen
Alexandria Mayor Jacques Roy announced yesterday that plans are still in motion to sell the downtown Alexander Fulton Hotel to the Southern Hospitality Group, LLC, which operates other hotels. The Fulton would undergo major improvements and be operated as a Holiday Inn. The mayor says the deal should be completed in about 6 months and word of the renovations is already paying dividends. Word is the Louisiana Municipal Association’s 2016 convention will be held in Alexandria.
An investigation is underway after an inmate from Deville died Tuesday, one day after suffering what appeared to be a seizure at the Rapides Parish Detention Center.
24 year old Robert Keith Rachal Jr., was transported to and died at a local hospital Tuesday. Foul play is not suspected, according to the release, and an autopsy and toxicology tests will be performed later this week.
Regional Trauma Center and Louisiana State Police Troop E are conducting a free child passenger safety seat check-up event today from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. The event will take place at Rapides Regional Trauma Center Medical Terrace on Fourth Street, downtown Alexandria. No appointment is necessary.
The Louisiana Workforce Commission says we’re getting closer and closer to the 2 million mark when it comes to the number of people who have jobs here. LWC Executive Director Curt Eysink says non-farm employment grew by 33,100 jobs over the year ending September 30th — a new record with employment now exceeding 1.98 million. Construction added the most jobs with 11,000 over the year.
However, not all the news was good. The information sector lost 1,500 jobs, as did the mining and logging sector, which includes jobs in the oil and gas industry. Government agencies lost 5,800 jobs in Louisiana. State government shrank by 4,100 jobs, and local government dropped 1,500 jobs. Despite steady job growth, Louisiana’s unemployment rate increased for the fifth consecutive month and was 6.0 percent in September — 0.1 percent higher than the nation’s unemployment rate of 5.9 percent
Louisianians are seeing big savings at the gas pump as we approach the holiday travel season. The average price for a gallon of regular gas has fallen to under three dollars a gallon in the Bayou State. Gasbuddy-dot-com Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHann says these are the lowest gas prices we’ve seen in over three years.
Louisiana’s average price for regular gas is $2.95 a gallon. DeHaan says some stations in the state are charging less than $2.60 per gallon. He says we could see prices below $2.50 at some stations in the next week.
The number of Louisiana Public Schools earning a state performance grade of an A has gone up from 187 to 241 this year, according to the Department of Education. Education officials released the reports earlier today. Superintendent John White says numbers are up because schools are responding to what they have been asked to achieve.
School performance scores are primarily based on student test scores. Rapides Parish public schools' state performance scores moved the district from a C rating to a B, ranking the district fifth in the state for growth. This year’s school report card also shows 10 Louisiana school districts earning an A and no school districts in the state receiving an F grade.
Advance Publications on Tuesday announced plans to lay off 100 more Times-Picayune workers and abandon its long-time headquarters as it consolidates its printing operations in Alabama. The move is expected to occur in late 2015 or early 2016. The layoffs are the largest since the newspaper’s massive reduction in 2012, which preceded the company’s decision to reduce home delivery to 3 days a week.
There’s a new poll out by Real Clear Politics which found Landrieu ahead with 38 percent, Bill Cassidy with 36 percent and Rob Maness with 9%. LSU Political Science Professor Robert Hogan says that while it may be true that Maness is taking votes away from Cassidy, the Congressman will need support from those ultra-conservative voters by addressing the policies that are most important to them. Hogan says when it comes to the undecided voters so late in the campaign, they are the ones who are likely conservative but are influenced by Landrieu’s longtime incumbency.
A ULM freshman basketball player has been suspended indefinitely from the team, after an alleged rape of a female student Sunday night. University spokesperson Donna Bernard says police interviewed the alleged victim the next day. That player charged is 18 year-old Roderick Taylor.
Governor Bobby Jindal has 14 months left in office and he says he still has plenty of work to do in Louisiana, even though a presidential campaign could be on the horizon. During recent debates, candidates have been asked what grade they would give the governor, Jindal says it’s too early to give himself a grade. Jindal defends his record, based on the record number of people who are working in the state today. Jindal has made it no secret that he is considering a potential Presidential run in 2016. The governor says he’s not interested in running for his old job as a US Representative
The Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s office says an arrest has been made in the October 11th hit and run that left a 6 month old child injured after a truck rammed into a house. They say 28-year-old Dustin Wayne Lasseter was the owner of a vehicle spotted Monday with damage that matched evidence collected at the scene. The man was booked into the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center for hit and run and reckless operation.