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State News

News For Tuesday 07/31/12


NEWS FOR TUESDAY 073112
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

TEMPERATURES ACROSS THE STATE FOR THE PAST FEW DAYS HAVE ALL BEEN IN THE UPPER NINETY'S WITH SOME HITTING TRIPLE DIGITS. A HIGH PRESSURE AREA, STRETCHING ACROSS MUCH OF THE SOUTH CENTRAL UNITED STATES, HAS TRAPPED THE STATE IN A CYCLE OF HIGH HEAT AND HIGH HUMIDITY. SOUTH LOUISIANA HAS RECEIVED PLENTY OF RAIN IN THE PAST FEW WEEKS AND ISN'T IN MUCH DANGER OF SLIPPING BACK INTO DROUGHT BUT NORTH LOUISIANA IS STILL RUNNING BEHIND ON RAIN AND THE HIGH HEAT IS BAKING THE MOISTURE RIGHT OUT OF THE GROUND.

NEARLY 20 ADDITIONAL CASES OF WEST NILE VIRUS HAVE BEEN CONFIRMED BY THE LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HOSPITALS. THE NEW CASES WERE REPORTED FROM HERE IN RAPIDES PARISH TO CADDO, CONCORDIA, EAST BATON ROUGE, JEFFERSON, LAFOURCHE, LIVINGSTON, ORLEANS, OUACHITA, AND ST. TAMMANY
PARISHES. AG COMMISSIONER MIKE STRAIN SAYS THE NUMBERS ARE GROWING
FAST AND ARE AHEAD OF SCHEDULE. STRAIN SAYS CITIZENS SHOULD TAKE ALL THE NECESSARY PRECAUTIONS TO PROTECT THEMSELVES AND THEIR LOVED ONES FROM BEING BITTEN BY A MOSQUITO.

CONTRARY TO WHAT IS TAUGHT IN PUBLIC SCHOOL SCIENCE CLASSES, LOUISIANA'S NEW VOUCHER PROGRAM WILL BE TEACHING STUDENTS CREATIONISM. RELIGIOUS PRIVATE AND PAROCHIAL SCHOOLS WILL BE EDUCATING TAXPAYER-SUBSIDIZED STUDENTS CREATIONIST VIEWS. CRITICS DON'T FEEL THAT'S APPROPRIATE. BUT, SUPPORTERS SAY, BOTH VIEWS CAN BE TAUGHT EFFECTIVELY. SUPERINTENDENT OF EDUCATION JOHN WHITE SAYS ANNUAL SCIENCE TESTS WILL DETERMINE WHETHER OR NOT STUDENTS ARE GETTING THE APPROPRIATE SCIENCE EDUCATION.

DEPUTIES IN ST. LANDRY PARISH SAYS THEY'VE ARRESTED A MAN WHO WAS ON DRUGS WHEN HE HIT AND KILLED A PEDESTRIAN IN EARLY JUNE. ROUTINE TOXICOLOGY TESTS ON 28-YEAR-OLD MICHAEL J. STELLY SHOW HE WAS UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF AMPHETAMINES AND METHAMPHETAMINE WHEN HE HIT SHERMAN BOONE, WHO WAS OUT FOR HIS DAILY MORNING WALK ON JUNE 8TH. STELLY IS CHARGED WITH VEHICULAR HOMICIDE, OPERATING UNDER THE INFLUENCE, SPEEDING AND OTHER CHARGES.

A PLANNED MAINTENANCE FACILITY FOR MILITARY VEHICLES AT A NORTH LOUISIANA NATIONAL GUARD TRAINING SITE IS FORECAST TO CREATE 350 NEW JOBS. TIBURON ASSOCIATES INC. AND THE STATE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT ANNOUNCED THE PLANS FOR THE FACILITY AT YESTERDAY. THE STATE OFFERED TIBURON A LOAN OF $500,000 THAT'S FORGIVABLE IF THE COMPANY MEETS PAYROLL COMMITMENTS. THE STATE SAYS TIBURON PLANS TO HIRE 40 EMPLOYEES IN AUGUST AS IT BEGINS OPERATIONS WITH THE RECONDITIONING OF HEAVY-DUTY TRAILERS FROM THE RED RIVER ARMY DEPOT. TIBURON'S EMPLOYMENT WILL REACH 100 BY THE END OF 2012 AND IT WILL INCREASE ITS JOBS AT CAMP MINDEN TO 350 IN THE NEXT THREE TO FIVE YEARS.

BATON ROUGE-BASED SHAW GROUP IS BEING PURCHASED BY TEXAS BASED CB & I IN A CASH AND STOCK DEAL. THE GOING PRICE IS ESTIMATED TO BE AROUND THREE-BILLION DOLLARS. NO EMPLOYEES ARE EXPECTED TO LOOSE THEIR JOBS IN THE SALE. CB&I HAS INDICATED THAT SHAW WILL BE A SUBSIDIARY AND REMAIN HEADQUARTERED IN BATON ROUGE. THE COMBINED COMPANY WILL HAVE NEARLY 50-THOUSAND EMPLOYEES WORLDWIDE.

ALMOST A DOZEN RACEHORSES IN LOUISIANA HAVE TESTED POSITIVE FOR A POWERFUL PERFORMANCE ENHANCING DRUG. THE STATE RACING COMMISSION HAS LAUNCHED A FULL INVESTIGATION INTO THE PROBLEM. THE DRUG IN QUESTION IS A PAIN KILLER CALLED DERMORPHIN THAT LETS HORSES RUN FASTER, WITHOUT FEELING PAIN.

A LOUISIANA SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT HAS TOLD A MAINE CITY TO KEEP AN UNMARKED POLICE CRUISER THAT WAS DRIVEN 1,800 MILES BY A JAIL ESCAPEE. POLICE SAY 43-YEAR-OLD BENJAMIN GOTTKE, A JAIL KITCHEN WORKER, DROVE THE 2002 FORD CROWN VICTORIA TO THE CANADIAN BORDER AFTER ESCAPING FROM THE TENSAS PARISH DETENTION CENTER IN WATERPROOF, LA. HE WAS ARRESTED EARLIER THIS MONTH AFTER SPEEDING AWAY FROM A BORDER CROSSING AND ABANDONING THE VEHICLE IN HOULTON. HOULTON POLICE CHIEF BUTCH ASSELIN SAYS THEY’LL KEEP THE CAR. IT HAS NEARLY 170,000 MILES ON IT BUT APPEARS TO BE, ACCORDING TO THE CHIEF, IN GOOD CONDITION. GOTTKE IS CHARGED IN MAINE AS BEING A FUGITIVE FROM JUSTICE AND RESISTING ARREST. AN EXTRADITION HEARING IS SCHEDULED FOR AUG. 7.

LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES ACROSS THE STATE ARE STARTING A NEW CRACKDOWN ON DRIVERS WITH DIRTY OR OBSCURED PLATES AND ANYONE FITTING THAT DESCRIPTION IS SUBJECT TO GETTING PULLED OVER AND ISSUED A TICKET. STATE POLICE TROOPER NICK MANALE SAYS THE AGGRESSIVE ENFORCEMENT IS IN RESPONSE TO NUMEROUS MOTORIST COMPLAINTS REGARDING LICENSE PLATES THAT ARE NOT READABLE. HE SAYS WHEN A TAG IS OBSCURED IT IMPAIRS ACCURATE REPORTING BY DRIVERS WHO ARE ATTEMPTING TO AID POLICE WITH VITAL INFORMATION. HE SAYS MORE AND MORE PEOPLE ARE PUTTING BRACKETS OR COVERS OVER THEIR PLATES. BUT, IF THAT IN ANY WAY OBSCURES THE PLATE, YOU WILL BE PULLED OVER.



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