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Office of Group Benefits Management
3:11 pm
Wed August 1, 2012

Civil service panel approves state insurance contractor

The Civil Service Commission has narrowly agreed to a Jindal administration plan to hire a private company to manage a state employee health insurance plan.

The panel voted 3-2 Wednesday to allow Blue Cross/Blue Shield to run an insurance plan in the Office of Group Benefits that covers more than 62,000 employees and their dependents. The outsourcing will take effect Jan. 1.

The move will eliminate 177 state jobs — 121 of which are currently filled.

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Environment
3:08 pm
Wed August 1, 2012

Stagnant swamp water causes odor in Bayou Manchac

State officials say a stinky smell reported from Bayou Manchac last week stems from stagnant swamp water in Spanish Lake that heavy rains pushed into the bayou.

Rodney Mallett, Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality spokesman, tells The Advocate in an email that inspectors reached that conclusion by tracking the flow of the water, visual observations and some field parameters.

Mallett said the stagnated water washed through Alligator Bayou to Bayou Manchac.

DEQ officials say the same phenomenon has occurred a few times a year for the past three to four years.

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Music Licensing Lawsuit
2:29 pm
Wed August 1, 2012

BMI sues Slidell bar over licensing fee

A Slidell bar accused of playing songs without paying a standard music licensing is being sued for copyright infringement.

The Times-Picayune reports Broadcast Music Inc., a nonprofit composers' rights organization, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in New Orleans against Tooloula's Bar.

Federal law mandates that writers and publishers of music are entitled to be paid for the public performance of their music. Bars and other businesses usually pay an annual fee to groups such as BMI for a blanket license to their songs.

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Latest News
2:26 pm
Wed August 1, 2012

Doctors: Father competent to stand trial in Thibodaux decapitation

Count documents show doctors believe a Thibodaux man accused of decapitating his disabled 7-year-old son nearly a year ago is competent to stand trial.

The Courier reports doctors have been treating Jeremiah Wright at the Feliciana Forensic Facility in Jackson for the past nine months.

Wright is accused of the Aug. 14 first-degree murder of Jori Lirette, who had cerebral palsy. Jori used a wheelchair and had to be fed through a tube.

A competency hearing is scheduled for Sept. 21.

Crime
2:23 pm
Wed August 1, 2012

Guilty pleas entered on 'Lil Boosie' drug charges

A friend of imprisoned rapper Torence "Lil Boosie" Hatch and a former Dixon Correctional Institute guard have pleaded guilty to charges of conspiring to smuggle drugs into Dixon for Hatch while he was jailed there.

As part of negotiated plea agreements, state District Judge Mike Erwin put Walnita Decuir on active supervised probation for five years and Joshua Wilson on unsupervised probation for six months.

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Baton Rouge Airport
2:15 pm
Wed August 1, 2012

Baton Rouge airport's budget projected to increase

The Baton Rouge Metro Airport's budget is projected to increase by nearly 5 percent in 2013 to $13.1 million. That's according to a proposal presented to the Airport Commission's finance committee.

Cary Morgan, the airport's business manager, says the increase from an expected $12.5 million expenditure in 2012 will be funded primarily through non-airline revenue, which is expected to jump $400,000 to $9 million.

Non-airline revenue comes from parking, concessions, rental car companies, leases of airport property and other sources.

Entergy Earnings
2:14 pm
Wed August 1, 2012

Entergy net income rises on hurricane tax ruling

Entergy Corp.'s net income rose 16 percent in the second quarter after the power company received favorable tax terms on financing costs for fixing damage to lines and equipment caused by hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

The increase also reflected stronger sales to Entergy's utility customers.

The New Orleans-based company reported Tuesday that its net income rose to $365 million, or $2.06 per share, for the three months ended June 30, up from $315.6 million, or $1.76 per share, a year ago.

Cockatoo Thievery
12:49 pm
Tue July 31, 2012

Man arrested in theft of neighbor's cockatoo

SHREVEPORT — A 33-year-old Shreveport man was arrested in the theft of his neighbor's cockatoo, which later showed up for sale on Craig's List.

Sunny, a white cockatoo, was left in a cage on its owner's patio on July 15. When the owner returned home two hours later, the $1,500 bird was missing.

Deputies say the owner noticed an ad for a cockatoo on Craig's List. She arranged a meeting with the seller, and contacted the Caddo Sheriff's Office.

Election 2012
12:47 pm
Tue July 31, 2012

Jefferson Parish judge race on Nov. ballot

Voters in parts of Jefferson Parish will go to the polls during the Nov. 6 primary to elect a replacement for Judge Patrick McCabe of the 24th Judicial District Court. McCabe, who was elected to his first term in 1987, will retire Dec. 31.

The Times-Picayune reports Gov. Bobby Jindal set the special election after the 66-year-old McCabe, of Metairie, announced his retirement in June.

Qualifying is Aug. 15-17. If needed, the runoff would be Dec. 8.

Angola 5 Trial
12:45 pm
Tue July 31, 2012

Jailhouse confession approved for Angola 5 trial

Attorneys for Angola 5 defendant David Mathis have persuaded a judge to allow them to use a jailhouse confession they say would show jurors their client had no intent to kill a prison security officer in 1999.

Mathis faces a first-degree murder trial in the stabbing and beating death of Capt. David C. Knapps.

The Advocate reports jury selection is set to begin Sept. 24 in Covington, where juries were chosen last year for three of Mathis' codefendants. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

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