News for Friday 121214
By Dave Graichen
It’s a big Christmas parade weekend here in Cenla. It starts tonight with The Pineville Christmas Parade at 7 p.m. The annual Ball Christmas Parade will begin at 2 p.m. tomorrow. In Glenmora , it’s noon Saturday. In Bunkie, the parade rolls at 4pm Saturday. In Leesville it’s 5:30 p.m. Saturday. And here in Alexandria the Christmas Parade is set for 2 p.m. Sunday. There’s a full weekend of activities scheduled in Natchitoches as well, all part of the city’s Christmas Festival.
Alexandria Representative and chairman of the state House Labor Committee, Herbet Dixon, is resigning. Dixon released a statement that said he’s stepping away from the legislature so that he can better manage his health situation, spend more time with his family and pursue other opportunities. Dixon says he has undergone a second round of chemotherapy treatments at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and next week he will have a biopsy to help determine future treatments. House Speaker Chuck Kleckley has called a special election February 21st to fill his seat.
State education Superintendent John White is concerned only 44 percent of public high school seniors fill out the paperwork required to receive federal financial aid to attend college or a technical training school. White says Louisiana students are missing out on millions of dollars in federal assistance. White says high school seniors should fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid to see if they’re eligible for Pell grants and other types of aid
Democratic US Senator Mary Landrieu gave a farewell speech on the Senate floor yesterday as her third and final term is coming to a close. Landrieu says it’s been a joy to serve in the Senate these last 18 years. Landrieu did not say what her future plans hold. Her Senate farewell was the first time she spoke publicly since losing to Republican Bill Cassidy in the Senate run-off and the outgoing senator she’s at peace with what happened.
Fourth District Representative John Fleming is saying he wants to succeed Senator David Vitter in the Senate if he wins the Governor’s race. In a written statement, Fleming says his focus IS on the 4th district, but he would be interested. Political analyst Elliot Stonecipher says it’s a little early to start speculating on who will fill Vitter’s Senate seat.
In a story first reported by LaPolitics.com, Republican State Treasurer John Kennedy may consider a run against Republican incumbent Buddy Caldwell in a race for Attorney General. Editor Jeremy Alford says Caldwell could be in trouble. He says the wild-card in the race is former Republican congressman Jeff Landy, who has already announced he’s running. Alford says not only is Kennedy thinking about running, but he’s actively been seeking advice from donors. He expects Kennedy will be reporting next year that he has $3.5 million dollars in the bank.
The National Hurricane Center will issue storm surge warnings during next year’s Hurricane Season. Storm surge is often cited as the greatest threat to life and property from a tropical cyclone. Storm Surge Specialist, Jamie Rhome, says this has been many years in the making. He says the watches and warnings will highlight life threatening conditions.
The Louisiana Highway Safety Commission announces that DWI patrols will be increased throughout the holiday period as part of their “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign. This is a state and national campaign aimed at keeping impaired drivers off the roadways and reducing deadly crashes. Lt. Col. John Leblanc says December is one of the deadliest months on Louisiana roadways. Leblanc says 59 people were killed statewide in fatal accidents in December last year and 11 people were killed in the four days comprising the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. He says alcohol use was a factor in more than half of the fatalities.