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State News

News For Friday 07/13/12


NEWS FOR FRIDAY 071312
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

INVESTIGATORS CHECKED OUT A TIP THURSDAY ABOUT POSSIBLE GRAVE SITES ROUGHLY TWO MILES FROM THE HOME OF A MAN BOOKED WITH MURDER OF A MISSING LAFAYETTE COLLEGE STUDENT, BUT FOUND NOTHING. ST. LANDRY PARISH SHERIFF BOBBY GUIDROZ SAID A FARMER CALLED ABOUT THREE PILES OF DIRT NEAR HIS FIELDS. CADAVER DOGS WERE BROUGHT IN, BUT ALL THREE SITES WERE RULED OUT AS GRAVES. THE AREA WAS ABOUT TWO MILES FROM THE LAWTELL HOME OF BRANDON LAVERGNE, WHO HAS BEEN BOOKED WITH AGGRAVATED KIDNAPPING AND FIRST-DEGREE MURDER OF MICKEY SHUNICK. THE UNIVERSITY OF LOUISIANA AT LAFAYETTE STUDENT HAS BEEN MISSING SINCE MAY 19.

AS STATE OFFICIALS LOOK TO BEEF UP THE COLLECTION OF HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN DEBTS OWED TO AGENCIES ACROSS LOUISIANA GOVERNMENT, ONE PROPOSAL WOULD AUCTION OFF SOME OF THE PAST-DUE ACCOUNTS. LOUISIANA HAS NO CENTRALIZED COLLECTION AGENCY TO HANDLE ALL STATE GOVERNMENT DEBTS. LAWMAKERS IN THE RECENTLY-ENDED REGULAR SESSION AUTHORIZED THE CREATION OF A TWO-YEAR PILOT PROGRAM THAT WOULD LET THE STATE SELL OR AUCTION OFF A CERTAIN SLICE OF LONG-TERM DELINQUENT ACCOUNTS FOR UPFRONT CASH TO COMPANIES THAT BELIEVE THEY CAN COLLECT SOME OF THE MONEY OWED.

AN ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS REPORT ISSUED THURSDAY CONFIRMED THAT DEBRIS WAS BURIED IN A LEVEE BUILT AFTER HURRICANE KATRINA, BUT THE AGENCY SAID THE DEBRIS DOES NOT POSE A DANGER TO THE STABILITY OF THE 3.5-MILE LEVEE. LAST YEAR THE CORPS CONVENED A SO-CALLED "TIGER TEAM" OF SPECIALISTS AFTER THE LOCAL LEVEE AUTHORITY COMPLAINED ABOUT FINDING DEBRIS IN LEVEES BEING BUILT AROUND THE WEST BANK. LOCAL INSPECTORS REPORTED FINDING TREE TRUNKS, A SHOPPING CART, CHUNKS OF CONCRETE AND BRICKS IN LEVEE WORK.

THE LOUISIANA STATE POLICE AND THE DEPARTMENT OF WILDLIFE AND FISHERIES ARE EXPLORING THE POSSIBILITY OF A JOINT TRAINING ACADEMY AS A WAY TO RECRUIT NEW OFFICERS AND REDUCE AGENCY COSTS. STATE POLICE SUPERINTENDENT MIKE EDMONSON SAYS THAT NO DATE HAS BEEN SET FOR A POSSIBLE CLASS. BOTH AGENCIES HAVEN'T HELD TRAINING ACADEMIES BECAUSE OF THE STATE'S BUDGET TROUBLES. THE DEPARTMENT OF WILDLIFE AND FISHERIES HAS NOT HAD A CADET CLASS IN TWO YEARS, THE STATE POLICE SINCE 2009.

A BATON ROUGE PASTOR HAS BEEN ARRESTED, ACCUSED OF SETTING FIRE TO HER HOME IN ZACHARY FOR THE INSURANCE MONEY. AUTHORITIES ARRESTED BRIDGETT STEB AND HER SISTER LUCILLE BROWN IN CONNECTION WITH THE MONDAY FIRE. STEIB AND HER HUSBAND ARE PASTORS AT THE MINISTRY OF LOVE IN BATON ROUGE. INVESTIGATORS SAY MORE ARRESTS COULD FOLLOW.

CONGRESSMAN JEFF LANDRY OF NEW IBERIA IS ASKING UL LAFAYETTE PRESIDENT DR. JOSEPH SAVOIE TO DROP THE NEW MINOR IN LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, AND TRANSGENDER STUDIES. IN A LETTER TO SAVOIE, LANDRY REASON FOR THE REQUEST IS ORIGINAL, HE SAYS HE'S CONCERNED THE MINOR WILL LIMIT EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES. LANDRY SAYS THE COUNTRY IS STILL STRUGGLING WITH HIGH UNEMPLOYMENT AND HIGHER EDUCATION'S MISSION SHOULD BE ENSURING STUDENTS HAVE THE TOOLS NECESSARY TO COMPETE IN THE 21ST CENTURY ECONOMY.

VIOLATING THE CITY OF THIBODAUX'S SAGGY PANTS ORDINANCE HELPED LAND A TEEN IN JAIL. OFFICERS STOPPED THE 16-YEAR-OLD FOR VIOLATING THE ORDINANCE, BUT THEN FOUND SEVERAL BAGS OF MARIJUANA AND A STOLEN HANDGUN ON HIM. THE BOY IS NOW IN CUSTODY.

OIL GIANT BP HAS AGREED TO PAY AN ADDITIONAL $13 MILLION TO SETTLE CHARGES OF FAILING TO FIX SAFETY VIOLATIONS AT ITS TEXAS CITY OIL REFINERY AFTER A 2005 EXPLOSION KILLED 15 WORKERS. THE SETTLEMENT ANNOUNCED THURSDAY IS THE LATEST MOVE TOWARD RESOLVING HUNDREDS OF VIOLATIONS AT THE PLANT ALLEGED BY THE FEDERAL OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION. BP HAD ALREADY PAID $50 MILLION IN 2010 TO SETTLE SOME OF THE OSHA VIOLATIONS. THE GOVERNMENT HAD BEEN SEEKING A TOTAL OF $80 MILLION IN PENALTIES, THE LARGEST FINE IN ITS HISTORY.

A FORMER NEW ORLEANS PASTOR WAS SENTENCED THURSDAY TO 10 YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR STEALING NEARLY $1 MILLION IN DISASTER LOAN PAYMENTS MEANT TO REBUILD HIS CHURCH AFTER HURRICANE KATRINA. 41 YEAR OLD TORIS YOUNG APOLOGIZED FOR HIS "MISTAKES" AND "BAD CHOICES" BEFORE U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE CARL BARBIER HANDED DOWN A SENTENCE THAT WAS ROUGHLY TWICE THAT RECOMMENDED UNDER FEDERAL SENTENCING GUIDELINES. BARBIER ALSO ORDERED YOUNG TO PAY OVER $900,000 IN RESTITUTION TO THE S.B.A.

FROM THE “HOW WILL THE SURVIVE IN THE REAL WORLD DEPARTMENT” THE DAUGHTER OF ALABAMA FOOTBALL COACH NICK SABAN IS BEING SUED BY A SORORITY SISTER OVER A POST ON FACEBOOK. THE LAWSUIT CLAIMS THAT KRISTEN SABAN WAS PLAYING A DRINKING GAME WITH SARAH GRIMES WHEN THE TWO FOUGHT BECAUSE SABAN MADE A POST ON FACEBOOK SAYING THAT NOBODY LIKE GRIMES. APPARENTLY THE POST LED GRIMES TO NEED NASAL SURGERY AND SEEK PSYCHOLOGICAL HELP AND SABAN TO TAKE ANGER MANAGEMENT CLASSES.
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