News for Thursday 012915
By Dave Graichen
It all comes down to attachment A. The Rapides Parish Police Jury voted Wednesday to approve an agreement with the city of Alexandria to settle the parking lot dispute, once the wording of that attachment is worked out. In case you are wondering what is in that attachment that is holding up the project, it is the definition of the project. The city rejected it saying they plan to draft their own. The overall agreement provides that the Police Jury will pay the city $1.1 million for its share of the jointly owned parking lot. Having a valid parking plan is needed before the $23 million Coliseum renovation can begin.
Sasol says it will delay a decision on whether or not it will make the final announced investment into the proposed gas-to-liquids plant in Westlake Near Lake Charles. The South African energy company says they’re holding off on the 14 billion dollar phase of the project due to tumbling oil prices. Sasol has already approved an $8.1 billion dollar cracker unit in Westlake but right now says they are working to conserve as much money as possible.
Sasol’s announcement of a delay in their final decision to invest in a proposed gas-to-liquids plant in southwest Louisiana has raised some concern in the business community. But George Swift, President of the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance, says construction has already begun on Sasol’s $8 billion ethane cracker and that quells his concern. Swift says his confidence that the project will go ahead is boosted by the infrastructure work that Sasol is doing around the site of the proposed plant.
The State Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating a fire early Wednesday morning in Ouachita Parish that has claimed the lives of two people. Fire Marshal Butch Browning says officials are still working to determine the exact cause of the fire. The identities of the man and woman who perished in the fire have not been released.
Governor Bobby Jindal says his proposed budget cuts will be presented to lawmakers, along with a list of “options” to ease some of the slashing. With the state facing a 1.6 billion dollar shortfall for the upcoming fiscal year, the Jindal administration is considering cuts for colleges, and to health care services.
State Police announce that 150 additional troopers will be deployed to New Orleans for this year’s Mardi Gras season. The detail will include a visible uniform security presence in the French Quarter and Central Business District as well as plain clothes officers. Superintendent Col. Mike Edmonson says the troopers will be working in the city through Fat Tuesday.
Republican Congressman Steve Scalise has agreed to a meeting with two civil rights leaders in the aftermath of reports that Scalise spoke to a group of white supremacists in 2002. The pair want to ask Scalise to help advance civil and human rights issues, like the renewal of the Voting Rights Act. Scalise has acknowledged it was a mistake to speak to the group and has apologized. Former KKK leader and State Representative David Duke says Congressman Steve Scalise is a sellout and he may consider running against him.
Officials from Grambling will be meeting with the Louisiana State Board of Nursing next month to rule on the school’s undergraduate program. Grambling’s nursing program has not maintained an 80 percent pass rate for students taking their state exams. Grambling currently has about 200 students in the program.
The Onion, a satirical news website, recently wrote an article skewering Governor Bobby Jindal that’s getting national attention. The fictitious article claimed that Jindal’s presidential campaign would last about two months before he pulled out of the race. ULM Political Science Professor Joshua Stockley says The Onion writing an article about Jindal is not flattering and not the kind of national attention that the governor would prefer at this time. He says the underlying joke in the article is one that Louisianians will surely understand. The governor may end up running a two month campaign. But, truth is he has running for the presidency for the past five years.
Saints and Pelicans Owner Tom Benson has responded to a lawsuit filed by his daughter and two grandchildren. In a court filing, Benson says for years he attempted to groom Renee Benson and his two grandchildren to take over the professional franchises once he dies, but they never rose to the task. He adds the decision for his wife to take control of the teams following his death was a deliberate and reasoned decision.
Louisiana Tech and Western Kentucky will battle for first place in Conference USA when the two basketball teams meet tonight in Ruston. Tech is 6-and-1 in Conference USA, while the Hilltoppers are 7-and-0. Bulldogs Coach Michael White says Tech has won 22 in a row at home and tonight is about protecting their home floor against a really good offensive team.