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State News

News For Monday 07/09/12


NEWS FOR MONDAY 070912
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

WINN IS FIRST, OTHER PARISHES ARE EXPECTED TO FOLLOW.. DRY AND HOT WEATHER HAS LED TO A BURN BAN BEING POSTED FOR WINN PARISH. THE BAN WILL STAY IN PLACE UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. VIOLATORS MAY BE FINED $500, JAILED FOR SIX MONTHS OR BOTH.

ACADIA PARISH SHERIFF WAYNE MELANCON SAYS DEPUTIES ARE TRYING TO IDENTIFY A MAN WHOSE BODY WAS FOUND ON A HIGHWAY, WRAPPED IN A TARPAULIN. POLICE SAY A WOMAN REPORTED SEEING THE BUNDLE ABOUT SHORTLY BEFORE 5AM SATURDAY. NEAR THE RICHARD COMMUNITY. A NEWS RELEASE FROM THE SHERIFF'S OFFICE SAYS THE BODY WAS THAT OF A HISPANIC MAN ABOUT 25 TO 30 YEARS OLD, WITHOUT ANY IDENTIFICATION.
THE BODY WAS SENT TO THE CALCASIEU PARISH CORONER'S OFFICE FOR AUTOPSY. AUTHORITIES ARE ASKING ANYONE WITH INFORMATION TO PLEASE CALL IN A TIP.

AS HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS AWAIT THE STATE'S PLAN TO CUT $859 MILLION FROM THE MEDICAID PROGRAM OVER THE NEXT TWO YEARS, MANY ARE WORRYING. SUPPORTED LIVING NETWORK EXECUTIVE BRUCE BLANEY WANTS THE LEGISLATURE TO CONVENE A SPECIAL SESSION TO REPEAL SOME TAX EXEMPTIONS, AS WELL AS TO TAP HEALTH CARE TRUST FUNDS. THE MEDICAID PROGRAM IS FUNDED BY A COMBINATION OF FEDERAL AND STATE MONEY, PAYING FOR HEALTH SERVICES FOR THE POOR, UNINSURED, DISABLED AND ELDERLY. THE CUTS MEAN AN 11 PERCENT REDUCTION FROM THE $7.7 BILLION MEDICAID BUDGET THAT HAD BEEN PLANNED FOR THE FISCAL YEAR.

LOUISIANA HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS SHOW IMPROVED SCORES ON EVERY ONE OF THE STATE'S END-OF-COURSE EXAMS. DR. SCOTT NORTON IS ASSISTANT EDUCATION SUPERINTENDENT, OVERSEEING SCHOOL & STUDENT PERFORMANCE. HE SAYS THE SCORES SHOW CONTINUED IMPROVEMENT OVER A TEN-YEAR PERIOD. NORTON SAYS "EXCELLENT OR GOOD" SCORES IN ALGEBRA ARE UP 20% SINCE 2008. ENGLISH SCORES UP 17%. GEOMETRY TEST SCORES ARE UP 16% OVERALL, AND BIOLOGY SCORES ARE UP NEARLY 9%. NORTON SAYS THE IMPROVEMENTS SHOW THAT PUBLIC EDUCATION IS MOVING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION AND IMPROVING OUTCOMES FOR KIDS.

STATE POLICE SAY ONE DRUNK DRIVING STATISTIC HAS GONE DOWN IN LOUISIANA, WHILE ANOTHER KEEPS CLIMBING. LSP SUPERINTENDENT COLONEL MIKE EDMONSON SAYS DESPITE PUBLIC AWARENESS CAMPAIGNS, STIFF NEW PENALTIES IN LAW BOOKS AND BEEFED UP PATROLS...IMPAIRED DRIVING CONTINUES TO BE A BIG PROBLEM. EDMONSON SAYS TRAFFIC DEATHS RELATED TO ALCOHOL WERE DOWN FOR 2011, BUT INJURIES FROM ACCIDENTS OF THAT TYPE ARE ON THE RISE.

THE CITY OF ZACHARY HAS MADE FAMILY CIRCLE MAGAZINE'S 10 BEST TOWNS FOR FAMILIES LIST. ZACHARY HAS THE DISTINCTION OF BEING ONE OF ONLY TWO SOUTHERN CITIES, AND THE ONLY CITY FROM LOUISIANA ON THE LIST. THE MAGAZINE PICKED EXCLUSIVELY SMALL TOWNS FOR ITS TOP TEN LIST OF PERFECT PLACES TO CALL HOME. FAMILY CIRCLE CONSIDERED FACTORS LIKE AFFORDABLE HOUSING, GOOD NEIGHBORS, GREEN SPACES AND STRONG PUBLIC SCHOOLS. THE LIST, WHICH APPEARS IN THE CURRENT AUGUST ISSUE OF FAMILY CIRCLE, INCLUDES PLACES LIKE BAY VILLAGE, OHIO, FISHERS, INDIANA AND FORT MILL, SOUTH CAROLINA.

THE RESTORE ACT WRITTEN INTO THE TRANSPORTATION BILL, JUST SIGNED BY PRESIDENT OBAMA, PROMISES A WINDFALL TO LOUISIANA'S EFFORTS AT COASTAL RESTORATION. CONGRESSMAN STEVE SCALISE, WHO AUTHORED THE HOUSE VERSION OF THE RESTORE ACT, CALLS IT THE SINGLE MOST SIGNIFICANT ACTION TO RESTORE OUR COAST IN LOUISIANA HISTORY. SCALISE SAYS THE FINES LEVIED AGAINST B-P COULD BE ANYWHERE BETWEEN FIVE AND 20 BILLION DOLLARS WITH 80-PERCENT OF THAT GOING TO THE GULF STATES AND THE MAJORITY OF THAT GOING TO LOUISIANA. SCALISE SAYS THE FINAL AMOUNT OF THE FINES IS NOW IN THE HANDS OF THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT. THE SENATE VERSION OF THE BILL WAS WRITTEN BY SENATOR LANDRIEU.

THE DIRECTOR OF A YOUTH PRISON IN BATON ROUGE IS ON ADMINISTRATIVE LEAVE WHILE OFFICIALS INVESTIGATE HIS HIGH-SPEED CHASE AFTER A CAR HE THOUGHT CONTAINED TWO ESCAPED INMATES. JUVENILE JUSTICE SPOKESWOMAN JEREL GIARRUSSO SAYS DIRECTOR DAREN BROWN HEARD A RADIO REPORT THAT THE TWO ESCAPED INMATES MIGHT BE AT A BATON ROUGE ADDRESS. SHE SAYS BROWN HEADED THERE EVEN THOUGH HE WAS OFF DUTY. HE STARTED CHASING A CAR BUT IT DID NOT CONTAIN THE INMATES, WHO WERE 15 AND 18 YEARS OLD. THE TEENS WERE CAUGHT BY INVESTIGATORS SATURDAY NIGHT IN BATON ROUGE.

A MAMOU MAN DIED SATURDAY AFTER HIS PICKUP TRUCK HIT THE LEVEE OF A CRAWFISH POND. LOUISIANA STATE TROOPERS SAY 20-YEAR-OLD GARRETT DESHOTELS WAS NOT WEARING A SEAT BELT AND WAS EJECTED FROM THE TRUCK. HE WAS PRONOUNCED DEAD AT THE SCENE OF THE ACCIDENT.

A NEW DOCUMENTARY ABOUT THE PAN AM CRASH THAT KILLED 154 PEOPLE IN KENNER WILL BE RELEASED TODAY, THE 30TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE CRASH. FLIGHT 759 CRASHED JUST AFTER TAKEOFF IN A BAD THUNDERSTORM FROM NEW ORLEANS' INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT. IT KILLED ALL 146 PEOPLE ON BOARD AND EIGHT IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD WHERE IT CRASHED. IT ALSO INTENSIFIED WORK ALREADY IN PROGRESS TO LEARN ABOUT WIND SHEAR AND MICROBURSTS, SUDDEN DOWNWARD WINDS, LIKE THOSE THAT CAUSED THE CRASH. ROYD ANDERSON SPENT A YEAR WORKING ON THE FILM, TITLED "PAN AM FLIGHT 759." HE COLLECTED ARCHIVAL FOOTAGE OF THE CRASH SCENE AND INTERVIEWED FIRST RESPONDERS, WITNESSES, AND RELATIVES AND FRIENDS OF THE DEAD. IT WILL SHOW ON COX CABLE AND AROUND SOUTHEAST LOUISIANA.

CONSTRUCTION OF A $5 MILLION RUM DISTILLERY IN JEFFERSON DAVIS PARISH CONTINUES, WITH PRODUCTION EXPECTED TO START THIS FALL. TREY LITEL, PRESIDENT OF LOUISIANA SPIRITS, SAYS THAT SOME OF HIS COMPANY'S RUM IS EXPECTED TO BE AVAILABLE BY YEAR'S END. LITEL BRINGS 25 YEARS OF SALES AND MARKETING EXPERTISE, INCLUDING OVER 10 YEARS WITH BACARDI USA, TO THE JOB. THE FACILITY PLANS TO PRODUCE 200 GALLONS OF RUM A DAY USING LOCAL INGREDIENTS INCLUDING LOUISIANA SUGAR AND MOLASSES. HEAD DISTILLER JEFF MURPHY SAYS THE COMPANY PLANS TO SEEK A FARMER TO GROW ABOUT 5 ACRES OF SUGAR CANE ON THE PROPERTY. ACCORDING TO MURPHY, LOUISIANA PRODUCES MORE SUGAR CANE THAN ANYONE, YET PUERTO RICO PRODUCES THE MOST RUM. THAT’S SOMETHING THEY WANT TO CHANGE.

SHREVEPORT POLICE ARE INVESTIGATING THE DISAPPEARANCE A 14,000 PILLS THEY SEIZED IN A 2011 DRUG BUST. POLICE REPORT AN AUDITOR DETERMINED THAT THE HYDROCODONE PAIN PILLS ARE MISSING. PART OF A TOTAL OF 26,000 PILLS THAT WERE TAKEN IN A NARCOTICS CASE, THEY'RE SUPPOSED TO BE STORED IN THE DEPARTMENT'S PROPERTY ROOM UNTIL THE CASE IS HEARD IN COURT. POLICE SAY THEY LEARNED ABOUT THE MISSING PILLS IN MAY. ONCE THE AUDITOR CONFIRMED THEY WERE GONE, A CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION WAS LAUNCHED.

THE DEADLINE FOR QUARTERBACK DREW BREES TO SIGN A CONTRACT WITH THE NEW ORLEANS SAINTS IS ONE WEEK FROM TODAY. MANY FANS IN THE WHO DAT NATION ARE GETTING NERVOUS, BUT NFL ANALYST MIKE DETILLIER IS CONFIDENT A DEAL WILL GET DONE. HE EVEN THINKS DETAILS WILL BE WORKED OUT THIS WEEK. THE ACTUAL DEADLINE IS JULY 16TH AT 3PM. BREES HAS GONE ON RADIO AND TELEVISION PROGRAMS AND SAID THAT HE'S BEEN FRUSTRATED WITH THE LACK OF COMMUNICATION TAKING PLACE.





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