The Associated Press

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State Hiring Freeze
4:47 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

Jindal continues state's partial hiring freeze

In what is becoming an annual ritual, Gov. Bobby Jindal has again issued a partial hiring freeze on executive branch agencies in state government.

The hiring freeze covers the 2012-13 fiscal year that began July 1.

For most agencies, Commissioner of Administration Paul Rainwater will set a number of vacant positions that the offices can't fill. If they want to add new workers who will shrink the number of vacancies below that benchmark, the agencies will need Rainwater's permission.

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Louisiana Healthcare
4:44 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

Hospitals facing fewer dollars for uninsured care

Gov. Bobby Jindal's decision against expanding the state's Medicaid program under the federal health law, combined with a provision that shrinks uninsured care dollars, could leave Louisiana hospitals with far less money to care for those not on private insurance.

Hospital leaders say the situation could leave some LSU-run public hospitals and small rural hospitals teetering on the edge of closure and give them little way to recoup money they spend to care for uninsured patients.

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New Orleans Police
12:12 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

Serpas defends use of police database

New Orleans Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas is defending a department policy that has led to more than 70,000 people having their names and personal information fed into an electronic database following traffic and pedestrian stops even if they weren't arrested.

Serpas tells The Times-Picayune that officers are "utilizing judgment in accordance with law and professional practice" in filling out "field interview cards" after stopping and questioning people.

But the newspaper reports that it's unclear how many names may have been improperly entered into the database.

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Environment
11:56 am
Wed July 11, 2012

Despite Debby, Fourchon beach rebuild progresses

Lafourche Parish officials say a restoration project aimed at rebuilding beach and dunes at West Belle Pass on Fourchon beach is nearly halfway done.

Progress has been made despite some damage from Tropical Storm Debby in late June.

Lafourche Parish Coastal Zone Administrator Archie Chaisson told The Courier that the restoration project was moving along smoothly with 66 percent of the beach and dune recreation finished. Sand fending to prevent erosion is 44 percent complete.

St. Charles Parish Burglaries
11:26 am
Wed July 11, 2012

Unlocked homes lead to St. Charles Parish burglaries

An increase in home burglaries in St. Charles Parish has deputies making a simple warning to residents: Lock your doors.

WWL-TV reports that five burglaries have been reported in the parish in the last few days, most recently in St. Rose and Luling. The burglaries have usually happened in the middle of the day.

Residents of each home had left their back door unlocked.

Shrimp Season
11:21 am
Wed July 11, 2012

Shrimping to close Saturday in Pontchartrain Basin

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says the 2012 spring inshore shrimp season will close at 6 a.m. Saturday in most remaining state inside waters east of the Mississippi River. The closure is designed to protect developing white shrimp.

The open waters of Breton and Chandeleur Sounds will remain open, but all other inside waters will be closed to shrimping.

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Louisiana Supreme Court
10:54 am
Wed July 11, 2012

Louisiana Chief Justice declines to discuss successor

Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Catherine "Kitty" Kimball says the state's code of judicial conduct prohibits her from meeting with a group of community leaders to discuss their concerns about the court's impending debate over naming Kimball's successor.

Several supporters of Justice Bernette Johnson, who sued last week to block her colleagues from debating and voting on whether she is entitled to become the next chief justice, had asked to meet this week with Kimball.

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Latest News
5:07 pm
Tue July 10, 2012

Newspaper: DOJ lawyer tried to stifle reporter

Two Louisiana congressmen are calling on the Justice Department to respond to a complaint that one of its attorneys tried to bar a newspaper reporter from quoting or recording her comments at a public hearing in New Iberia.

The Daily Iberian contends Justice Department attorney Rachel Hranitzky became "belligerent and threatening" after the reporter, Matthew Beaton, questioned why he couldn't quote her comments during a June 12 public hearing about the New Iberia Fire Department's hiring and promotion practices.

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Latest News
4:59 pm
Tue July 10, 2012

Missing student case to be taken up by grand jury

Officials say a grand jury next week will consider the case involving the man accused of kidnapping and murdering college student Mickey Shunick.

Lafayette Parish District Attorney Mike Harson told the Associated Press Tuesday that Brandon Scott Lavergne's case will be considered by a grand jury July 18.

Lavergne was arrested Thursday and is being held without bail at the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center.

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Latest News
12:33 pm
Tue July 10, 2012

Two killed in New Orleans shooting

Police say two men were fatally shot as they sat in a sport-utility vehicle in New Orleans.

Officer Frank Robertson tells The Times-Picayune the shooting was reported about 9 a.m. Tuesday.

Robertson said the men, whose names and ages were not immediately available, were approached by someone who fired at them as they sat in the SUV. He said both men died at Interim LSU Public Hospital a short time after the shooting.

Police did not immediately have a motive for the shooting.

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