KSYL Local News

News For Tuesday 12/17/13

News for Tuesday 121713

By Dave Graichen


The website CarInsuranceComparison.com says Louisiana is ranked  No. 1 on its annual list of the nation's worst drivers. According to the site,  The Bayou State is in the top 5 for failure to obey, speeding tickets  and careless driving. This is the second year in a row that motorists in the state have topped the list.


The  Louisiana State Legislative Auditor's Office says the Louisiana Department  of  Education  needs to do a better job of administering the voucher program.  In a recent  report, State Legislative auditor

Darryl Purpera says they found some  blurred lines in determining if the voucher schools spent those tax dollars appropriately. Purpera   suggests   lawmakers  pass  legislation   that   sets   up standardized criteria  for  academic  performance,  before  a school accept a voucher student. Also,  the department of education needs a  better system when determining if a voucher school has the capacity for  the number of students they request.


The jackpot for tonight's Mega Millions drawing is approaching 600- million dollars and it can surpass that number before the drawing takes  place at ten o' clock.  The cash value of tonight's Mega Millions drawing is the second largest  ever for the multi-state lottery game.


As the year draws to a close, state Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon  reminds homeowners that time is running out to claim rebates on  assessments made to everyone's property insurance for Louisiana Citizens  Insurance.  He says you have only four years to claim a rebate on each  assessment.  The deadline to claim your Citizens assessment for 2009 is  December 31st. Details on how to do that are online at "ldi.la.gov." He  says a huge total of these Louisiana Citizens  assessments have gone  unclaimed, and reverted back to the state treasury.


Louisiana is ranked America's second-biggest "judicial hellhole" by the  American Tort Reform Foundation. The ranking is for state's with civil  court systems deemed unfair, and unbalanced - generally to the  disadvantage of the defendant.  The Judicial Hellholes report ranks only California worse than Louisiana  for places in which to face a civil lawsuit. According to the report, Louisiana moved  up the list thanks to abusive so-called "legacy lawsuits" against BP,  the oil & gas industry in general. The report also had less that flattering things to say about Attorney General Buddy.


The state Legislative Auditor's Office says the former DeSoto Parish  school superintendent may have given himself improper pay raises,  and misused a parish credit card & took bogus  reimbursements. Auditor  Roger Harris says their report shows Walter Lee's salary went from just under $71-thousand in 1999 to  over $240-thousand by late 2012, with no clear contract language authorizing those raises on record..


The state department of transportation  says  the work on I-49 North is nearing completion, and next the focus will soon shift to a south interstate  connector  between  Lafayette  and  New  Orleans.   DODT spokesperson  Sherri  Lebas (la-BAH) says the overall  stretch  will cost hundreds of millions, but an initial stretch near Lafayette was recently put out for bid. She adds this will be a  big  focus  for  DOTD over the next several years.


Divers with the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office have recovered a body they believe  is  a Slidell-area mom, reported missing December 9th. The remains were found  in  a  submerged  vehicle  matching the description of Crystal Friedman's. The coroner will make  a positive ID.


Funeral arrangements are set for artist George Rodrigue, beloved for his  Blue  Dog  paintings  and  more.  He died Saturday after a long battle with cancer. A public mass is scheduled  Thursday  morning at St.  Louis  Cathedral  in  New  Orleans,  with  a  private  mass and interment Friday in New Iberia. Rodrigue was 69.



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