News for Wednesday 111412
By Dave Graichen
The Rapides Parish School Board was scheduled to select 10 semifinalists for the position of superintendent at a special meeting Tuesday night, but, as in the past, the board decided to not decide and instead voted to continue accepting applications until May 15, shortly before the end of the school year. The Board discussed the candidates in executive session for about 90 minutes. When the Board returned to open session, member Steve Berry made a motion to extend the search. The board unanimously approved the extension without explanation. Board President Wilton Barrios said no reason could be given for the extension as it was discussed in executive session. Barrios said interim Superintendent Gerald Woodard will remain in his post as long as needed.
They don’t have the money yet, but they are a major step closer to getting it. Louisiana College was granted approval Tuesday from the Louisiana Baptist Convention to ask for $12 million from member churches. LC President Joe Aguillard formally requested permission to make direct appeals to Baptist churches to raise a portion of a capital campaign to renovate facilities Monday night at the LBC annual state meeting. He said the college has grown by 50 percent since 2006 and that the $12 million would go toward improving student housing.
It’s all over but approval from the feds. The Pineville City Council unanimously approved its new reapportioned districts Tuesday, one of the final steps in a process that Rapides Area Planning Commission Executive Director John Miller said was the easiest among local government entities. The new map can be viewed at RAPC's website (www.rapc.info) or at locations including City Hall and Kees Park. The reapportionment plan must still be approved by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Congratulations to Alexandria Senior High. The students and faculty were congratulated yesterday for earning the school's first A rating from the state with its school performance score of 120. ASH was one of five schools in the Rapides Parish school district to receive an A and one of 22 high schools in the state, putting it in the top six percent of high school scores in Louisiana.
Nearly 1,000 rank-and-file state employees have lost their jobs since July, bringing the total to nearly 3,200 since Gov. Bobby Jindal took office in 2008, according to a just released Civil Service report. The State Civil Service on Tuesday reported 967 state employee layoffs for the first four months of the state fiscal year. The number exceeds the 957 employees losing their jobs in all of fiscal year 2010-11, according to the report. The Civil Service totals do not include the announced reduction of 1,500 state employees planned for Jan. 21 throughout the LSU public hospital system. The report only reflects state employees who are in the classified service. They are rank-and-file workers who have Civil Service job protection from political interference. Civil Service does not track layoffs involving unclassified employees, who are subject to hiring and firing at will.
Governor Jindal calls on Republicans to try to reach out to more voters, and to "stop being the stupid party". In a Politico.com interview, Jindal says the image of the GOP being the "party of the rich" needs to go. In the interview with Politico, Jindal says Republicans must speak up when party members make offensive comments like Missouri Rep. Todd Akin's "legitimate rape" comment. Jindal calls on Republicans to NOT be the "party that simply protects the rich, so they get to keep their toys". He calls for the GOP to offer real, detailed policy solutions, rather than criticizing the political opposition. Jindal takes over as head of the Republican Governors Assn this week.
There's been another dip in the price at the pump. As most of Louisiana woke up to temperatures in the 30's this morning, the American Automobile Association's prediction the price would fall as
the temperatures did, is holding up. The current statewide average for a gallon of regular gasoline is $3.25 down from $3.60 just a month ago.
The Rev. Allen Gintz is scheduled to report to prison on Nov. 26, that after a state district judge in Avoyelles Parish has sentenced a preacher to at least five years in prison for sexual molestation of a child. Gintz was pastor of the Abundant Life Church outside Marksville at the time of his Oct. 21, 2010 arrest. He has been under court-ordered home incarceration since then.
It looks like Louisiana can expect a direct response from the White House to a petition asking that the state be allowed to secede from the Union. The President says he'll respond to any petition that
gets over 25-thousand signatures within 30 days. Louisiana's secession petition has gotten over 29-thousand signatures in a week. McNeese State University Politics & Government professor Henry Sirgo
says such a petition will never lead to actual secession. Dr. Sirgo says a two-thirds majority of Congress would have to vote approval of a state leaving the Union, and that, according to Sirgo, is not going to happen.
United States Attorney Stephanie Finley announced today that former Ouachita Parish Sheriff Royce Toney will not have to go to jail for his unauthorized access of a protected computer. Toney plead guilty
to eight counts of fraud and related activity in connection with computers. He was sentenced today to six months home confinement, four years of supervised release and a $15,000 fine.
Police in Broussard says they have found the body of a woman who went missing last Wednesday. 45-year-old Paulette Thibodeaux walked out of her home that day, leaving her car, wallet and cellphone
behind. Her roommate called police Friday, after she was missing for just over a whole day. Thibodeaux was found yesterday in a densely wooded area; dead from an apparently self-inflicted fatal wound.
A state inspector general's report released yesterday says the State Fire Marshal's office failed to report major mechanical problems with a carnival ride where two teenagers were severely injured in St. Helena Parish last year. Inspector General Stephen Street says the inspector should have shut the ride down. the accident happened in May of 2011 in Greensburg. A 13-year-old girl and a 15-year-old boy were severely injured when they were thrown from a ride. The inspector general's report also criticizes State Fire Marshal Butch Browning for failing to include in his report that mechanical defects caused the accident. Browning's supervisor, State Police Colonel Mike Edmonson, says there was no wrong doing by the fire marshal's office.
Louisiana's Department of Children and Family Services has deployed personnel to New Jersey to assist in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. DCFS spokesman Trey Williams says a team is in the Garden State now; helping with sheltering operations. Williams says the federal government has asked DCFS to consult with New Jersey and New York in setting up a disaster food stamp program, like the ones implemented here after recent hurricanes.
The March of Dimes has given Louisiana an "F" grade for number of premature births in the state. A pre-term birth is defined as one occurring before 37 weeks of pregnancy. March of Dimes Spokesperson Karen Moreau says in order to fix this problem, women need to be better educated on ways to reduce the risk of premature birth. DHH Secretary Bruce Greenstein says Louisiana was the first state to accept the March of Dimes' challenge to reduce premature births 8% by 2014. He says its up to ALL Louisianians to make healthy lifestyle changes and bring these numbers down.
State Wildlife & Fisheries agents remind you to be watchful for wild animals in the roadway, after a female black bear was hit by traffic and killed on US 90 in St. Mary Parish. LDWF big predator expert
Maria Davidson, says this is the time of year when there are more animal-vehicle accidents.
Hunters and land managers are reporting an increase in the number of dead deer found in the Florida parishes of Louisiana. Officials say a lot of the deer died from hemorrhagic disease, a virus transmitted by a small biting fly. LSU Ag Center entomologist Lane Foil says hemorrhagic disease can produce local and intense outbreaks. Hemorrhagic (hem-or-rag-ic) disease in deer is recognized as a fall disease. Foil says a more widespread outbreak in the Florida parishes could be the result of Hurricane Isaac and the flooding it produced, which forced a large number of deer into a small area, allowing for an easier transmission by the insects that carry the disease.