News for Wednesday 071013
By Dave Graichen
Construction on the $23 million makeover of the Rapides Parish Coliseum is set to begin towards the end of January of next year. Word is, The design phase is expected to be finished in November. Bids could then be taken and the contract signed around the first of the year.
Teachers are continuing to retire here in Louisiana at higher than usual numbers, more than 7,500 in the last two years. The number of retirements in 2013 increased from the 24 percent increase last year. Dana Vicknair, the assistant director at the Teachers Retirement System of Louisiana says “We are up about 1,000 from what we would normally see. State Superintendent of Education John White said the exodus should be looked at as primarily a financial decision on the part of more veteran employees.
But school superintendents also said the decision has a lot to do with changes occurring in the classroom, including new teacher evaluations pushed by the Jindal administration, which one educator said created “a tipping point.”
AT&T says they are looking to hire 500 individuals in Louisiana as part of the company's multibillion dollar plan to expand and improve its 4G LTE network and wired I-P broadband network nationwide. AT&T Louisiana President Sonja Perez says its great news for the state, because it means new jobs and better telecommunication services. She says if you'd like to apply for one of the new jobs at A&T, you can visit the career's website at connect.att.jobs.
Gov. Bobby Jindal denounced a U.S. Senate immigration bill Tuesday as a government pork-laden power grab by Democrats that could demonize Republicans among Hispanic voters. Jindal, the son of immigrants, shared his viewpoint in an editorial for “National Review,” which is a self-described conservative magazine. The governor wrote that the so-called Gang of Eight bill passed by the U.S. Senate is a win-win for Democrats. Passage of the bill would grant amnesty to millions without resolving the country’s immigration problems, while failure would allow Democrats to tell Hispanic voters that Republicans are to blame. The so-called Gang of Eight group of four Republicans and four Democrats proposed the legislation, arguing that a majority of both parties want to fix the nation’s “broken” immigration system.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana is weighing in on a Lafayette's Councilman's plans to introduce an ordinance that would ban certain types of flags from being flown on government-owned flagpoles. Executive Director Marjorie Esman says ordinance gets close to infringing upon a citizens constitutional right to
expression. Councilman Andy Naquin said he brought up the issue after
constituents expressed anger over a gay pride flag flying seen flying along with an American flag at a city park.
The Louisiana Lottery says a man from Albany has claimed his $1million Powerball prize from the June 29th drawing. They say Eric Bankston's Quick Pick ticket matched all five white ball numbers.
A group of three Metairie co-workers pooled on a Powerball ticket that won a million dollars in the July 6th drawing. LA Lottery spokesperson Kimberly Chopin says the winners each got $233-thousand after taxes. She says all three have different plans of what to do with their winnings. Chopin says the three work together at the Macy's in Metairie, and had been pooling cash to play Powerball for a while. They matched all five white numbers last Saturday night to win the $1-million.
A new report says wildlife tourism along the Gulf Coast is a 19-billion dollar-a-year business that attracts 20-million visitors to the region. The Environmental Defense Fund and the Walton Family Foundation paid for the study. Lt Governor Jay Dardenne says they wanted to show that tourism is a critical industry to our coastal parishes. Dardenne says the groups who paid for the report are lobbying to make sure oil spill fine money will be used on the Gulf Coast ecosystem that was damaged in the 2010 deepwater horizon disaster. BP has already provided a one-billion dollar down payment for coastal restoration and it's still to be determined how more money in fines the Gulf Coast States will receive.
New Orleans Police have arrested three men in connect to the fatal hit and run that claimed the life of an off duty officer Sunday morning. Justin McKey was booked into Orleans Parish Prison on charges of manslaughter and hit and run. Two men were also arrested for obstructing justice including the owner of a body shop where the Porche McKey was allegedly driving was found.
Minden Congressman John Fleming is urging his fellow members of Congress to support efforts to allow U.S. military to publicly express their religious beliefs. Dr. Fleming says there have been numerous occurrences in the recent past of military personnel being discouraged, or forbidden from letting people know or see evidence of their faith. Fleming says the quashing of religious expression in the armed forces
seems, to him, to be more focused at Christians and Jews than other religions. Fleming's amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act - a key defense spending bill - drew a statement of opposition from the Obama White House.
The Coast Guard says natural gas is leaking from a well at a production platform in the Gulf of Mexico 74 miles southwest of Port Fourchon. Chief Petty Officer Bobby Nash says the well is not spewing, but a rainbow sheen four miles wide and three-quarters of a mile long was spotted in an aerial survey Tuesday. The Coast Guard says a crew was working Monday night to temporarily plug the well when workers lost control. Two other wells on the platform were closed off. No one was hurt.