Monday, July 30, 2007

We are Under Construction and Moving

This blog will move soon.
Until that time please visit kalb.com for more daily news, weather and information.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Viewer's Voice - Vitter Feedback

Liz says...
Everybody forgave Bill Clinton, why not David Vitter. He at least told the truth, Clinton did not.

Anonymous says...
I think Vitter's biggest mistake was...He got caught. I'll still vote for him.

Anonymous says...
If Vitter had ran just a regular campaign and not run to all of the preachers to help him run on a platform of him being this great "family man" this would be no big deal. This is not my idea of a husband, father or the moral platform he ran on. He should have done like Edwin Edwards and said he loved all women! Black, white, small and big---he just loved women. We would have voted for him and not been disappointed. Women in Louisiana elected Edwin Edwards the first time he ran and we were never disappointed that he was not faithful to his wife. But, when you use your high morals as your platform you need to be able to live up to what you said you were. Also, if you go back to the scandal of Bill Clinton, if I am not mistaken Mrs. Vitter voice her opinion of Hillary staying with him to the media. And Mr. Vitter has been very quick to treaten the politicans that did not support him with an investigation by the FBI. Can he go through such an investigation? SHAME ON VITTER! He has embrassed his family and his supporters. He will never be taken seriously again.

Barbara says...
Regarding Vitters behavior, I don't think it will impact his politics at all. Unfortunately, it seems to be the thing for politicians to do. If they aren't homosexuals or perverts of some kind, then they are caught stealing massive amounts of money. Is it any wonder people don't vote. Everyone who gets elected seems to get richer and quickly develop their power base. They can give themselves huge raises and agree on that. I think they all use a common speech @ election time and pass it around to each other.

Goldia says...
I support David Vitter. He has an exceptionally good voting record, and if his wife can forgive him--who am I to not do so also.
Conservative politicians are always under attack by mean spirited people, while many liberals go uncensored by the same people. We must stop this needless waste of good people! No one is perfect except God and Jesus Christ. Jesus said to "Go and sin no more," not to throw the first rock...

Pattie says...
I think the people of Lousiana deserve MORE than an apology - How about - A REIMBURSEMENT of Expenditures that Vitter Misappropriated???? I'm Sure we can put the money into some kind of FUND for later.........

Ashley says...
I am pasting below my blog entry from your website to this message. I would love for my voice to be heard.
I'm not sure why we are always so surprised when something like David Vitter's situation comes out. We rightly hold our goverment to a higher standand than we hold ourselves but we always need to remember that these people are regualar men and women who sometimes fall short in morality and ethics. Should we be dissapointed in David Vitter? Yes. Should this ruin his carreer and plauge his ability to do his job? No. We should never judge a man or woman by their worst mistake. We are all bigger than that one action.
I understand what all of you are saying ... Shame on Vitter! But does this mean that his vision for Louisiana has become less valuable? I didn't vote for him because he was a good husband or father. And for those that did, shame on you. Politics is not ENTIRELY about personal life but about insight into the bigger picture. Can Vitter still deliver the forethought that he promised in the beginning? Absolutely! We must all rally around him and support the business side of his course of action. This does not mean condoning his choices. Leave the judgment of personal matters with his wife and God. Make no mistake, he will be accountable ... But at what cost? Hopefully not at the expense of the greater good of Louisiana.
One more thought ...
The subject of infidelity is an entirely different subject than Health Care, the War in Iraq, or Border control. I don't understand how his shortcomings as a husband play a role in his vision for this state. Furthermore, all the accusations made against him come well before his bid to D.C. Who are we to judge? As far as I can tell, he made peace with his inadequacies long before his campaign to be a Senator. If his wife can forgive, why not us?

Ty says...
Were his actions in his office under the desk?

Anonymous says...
I say leave Senator Vitter alone. Has he been a good Senator? If so, elect him again. Why spend so much energy crucifying him for a mistake made prior to his election.Focus on what really matters - what he's done and can continue to do for Louisiana.

Anonymous says...
Hustler just issued a press release, and they claim their $1 million dollar investigation has yieled credible information to link Vitter to five (5) prostitutes. I guess the snowball just gets bigger as it rolls down the hill Vitter tried to suppress.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Viewer's Voice - Vitter Future

After reading the latest AP report on Senator Vitter take a moment to tell us what you think by calling 445-6397 Ext. 589. Or you can join the conversation here.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - New allegations tie Sen. David Vitter to a high-priced brothel in his hometown, one day after he publicly apologized for his connection to an alleged prostitution ring in Washington, D.C.

On Monday, Vitter acknowledged being involved with a D.C. escort service that federal prosecutors say was a prostitution ring. A day later, new revelations linked him to a former madam in New Orleans and old allegations that he frequented a former prostitute resurfaced, further clouding his political future.

Jeanette Maier on Tuesday said Vitter was once a client of the Canal Street brothel. She pleaded guilty to running the operation in 2002. Vitter won his seat in the U.S. Senate in 2004.
Saying he was a "decent guy" who appeared to be in need of company when he visited the brothel, Maier added unexpected details to a scandal enveloping the first-term Republican.

"As far as the girls coming out after seeing David, all they had was nice things to say. It wasn't all about sex. In fact, he just wanted to have somebody listen to him, you know. And I said his wife must not be listening," Maier said in an interview with The Associated Press.
She also was interviewed by several other news organizations. Vitter's office did not respond to calls for comment on the latest allegations.

Federal prosecutors unveiled the existence of the $300-an-hour brothel in April 2002. It was linked to similar operations in other U.S. cities.

"It wasn't all about dirty, raunchy, crazy sex," Maier told the AP. "It was a bunch of guys coming over hanging out with the girls and having a few cocktails, and men being men."
Maier was among 17 defendants who pleaded guilty in the investigation. With all the guilty pleas, there never was a trial, and that kept under wraps a list of customers that reportedly included prominent lawyers, doctors and business professionals.

"He is a decent guy. He's not a freak. He's not using drugs.
He's not using taxpayers money to buy hookers or drugs or anything like that. He's just a decent, normal guy," she said.

Vinny Mosca, Maier's attorney in the brothel case, said in a statement late Tuesday that she never told him about Vitter being a client and that his name never came up in the case.
"Throughout the time that I represented Jeannette Maier in the Canal Street brothel case, the name of David Vitter or any code name for him never came up," Mosca said. "It was not contained in any evidence in the case, including in any book, list or document seized by the federal government or given to the federal government by Ms. Maier."

Mosca also said Vitter's name "was never picked up on any government wiretap nor is it listed in any transcript or court document as part of the Canal Street brothel case."

Also Tuesday, details resurfaced about an allegation that Vitter paid weekly visits to a prostitute in the French Quarter in the late 1990s. The allegations were investigated by a Republican rival when Vitter ran for a House seat in Congress in 1999. The seat had been vacated by Robert Livingston, who resigned after disclosure of marital indiscretions.

Vincent Bruno, a member of the state Republican Party's central committee, said Tuesday that he had confirmed the allegations at the time while working for the campaign of David Treen, a former Louisiana governor running against Vitter.

The allegations never surfaced in the congressional campaign, but The Louisiana Weekly, a New Orleans newspaper, wrote about them in 2002 and 2004. Vitter denied the accusations. The prostitute never spoke publicly about the alleged affair, which was largely ignored by mainstream news organizations.

"She said she was having a paid affair often on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Dauphine and Dumaine," Bruno said, referring to two French Quarter streets.
"It's very sleazy, and it's illegal. But, OK, it doesn't apply to senators. They're an elite group," Bruno said with irony. He has called on Vitter to resign.

Bernie Pinsonat, a Louisiana political analyst, said Republicans most likely would stand behind Vitter despite the new allegations.
"They aren't going to throw him to the wolves," he said, citing support from religious organizations, conservative commentators and the general public.

Vitter declined interview requests throughout the day Tuesday, and made no public appearances in the Capitol. The night before, he'd made a startling confession in an e-mail to The Associated Press about his association with a purported call-girl operation in Washington.
"This was a very serious sin in my past for which I am, of course, completely responsible. Several years ago, I asked for and received forgiveness from God and my wife in confession and marriage counseling."

Vitter's statement said his telephone number was on phone records of Pamela Martin and Associates, an escort service, before he ran for the Senate in 2004. Federal prosecutors have accused Deborah Jeane Palfrey of racketeering by running a prostitution ring that netted more than $2 million over 13 years, beginning in 1993. She contends that her escort service was a legitimate business offering sexual fantasies.

Vitter, 46, and his wife, Wendy, live in the New Orleans suburb of Metairie with their four children. Vitter recently played a prominent role in derailing an immigration bill backed by President Bush. He also is a key supporter of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani's presidential bid, serving as regional campaign chairman for the South.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Tunica-Biloxi Tribe Hosts State Rep Debate

This is an event we will be covering. If you have questions for the candidates feel free to post them here and we will deliver them to the panel.


TBIPAC and Tunica-Biloxi Tribe to Host 2007 Avoyelles Candidates for State Representatives Debate

Marksville, LA - Officials of the Tunica-Biloxi Indian Political Action Committee and the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana will host a debate for all qualifying candidates in the 2007 State Representatives election for Avoyelles Parish. The debate will be held on Tuesday, July 24, at 6 p.m. in the new Showroom of the Mari Convention Center at Paragon Casino Resort.

“The TBIPAC and the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe are pleased to host a debate which will allow the voters of Avoyelles Parish the opportunity to hear issues openly discussed,” stated Tribal Chairman, Earl J. Barbry, Sr.
Admission to the debate is one non-perishable food item. All items collected from this event will be donated to the Central Louisiana Food Bank. “Creating awareness, let us lead and feed by example,” said David Rivas, Tribal Director of Political Affairs.

Candidates scheduled to debate are: Digger Earles, Robert Johnson, Dr. Warren Plauche and Kirby Roy. Each candidate will pull a number to determine the order of seating throughout the debate. The candidates will be given a list of 15 questions to review during a thirty-minute period before the debate begins at 6 p.m. Each candidate will answer three of the 15 questions posed by panel members.
For more information, please visit http://www.paragoncasinoresort.com/ or call 1-800-946-1946.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Louisiana College gets 2 million for new degrees

Pineville, LA. …Louisiana College has received a one-time grant for two million dollars from the State of Louisiana to begin a new Allied Health program. The new program will include degrees in the following areas:


Respiratory Therapy
Physical Therapy Assistant
Medical Licensed Technician
Radiologic Technology

Students will be able to obtain an Associates’ or Bachelors’ degree in all of these areas. Individuals, after completing two years of coursework and completing other requirements for an Associate degree will be able to enter the workforce and help fill the critical need for healthcare professionals in central Louisiana and throughout the state.

Healthcare is either the largest or second largest economic driver of the state’s economy. One half of the 30 fastest growing occupations in the entire labor market today are in Allied Health.

This funding initiative given by the State of Louisiana in partnership with the Louisiana Rural Healthcare Association will be administered by the Louisiana Board of Regents.

Louisiana College is filling a great need in the state, especially the rural areas of the state where healthcare professionals are desperately needed. The college will build upon a solid foundation of academic excellence in nursing and pre-med programs. For decades, the college has produced outstanding nurses and candidates for medical school who have gone on to serve their communities. With this one-time grant from the state of Louisiana, Louisiana College will be able to develop a new academic program that will continue to grow and educate students from across the state.

The new Allied Health program will begin this August with the fall semester. Students interested in these areas should contact the Louisiana College Office of Admissions for additional information (318) 487- 7259. Individuals who apply to enter the Allied Health program this fall will be eligible for additional scholarships specifically for students in the Allied Health program.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Happy Fourth of July - The Legislature's Party.


Here is a brief excerpt from the John Maginnis polical newsletter we subscribe to.

The entire column will be printed July Fourth. Interesting...is everyone celebrating?


Legislators End Fantasy Session
"At the big party following the Legislature's adjournment, lawmakers danced--with their wives mostly--to the rock'n'roll renditions of the Harmon Drew Super Group (led by the appellate judge) in a newly restored historic hotel downtown. Beyond the giant ballroom windows the mighty Mississippi rolled by in the moonlight, as did an endless stream of railroad tankcars transporting propylene and hydrochloric acid. A dreamy Louisiana night.
The previous 60 days had been a dream of sorts for legislators, and just in time for the term-limited many who had waited their careers for a fantasy session like this. Faced with excess billions and the option to spend it or give it back in tax relief, they did both, though much of the latter will be delayed a year or could end up being a mirage.
They also had it both ways on the big ethics issue of financial disclosure for legislators, which nearly everyone voted for but which died when both houses disagreed over how tough to make it. Surely they didn't plan it that way, did they?"

Friday, June 29, 2007

Viewer's Voice on KALB - Jena Six Reaction to Bell Conviction

More comments on the Jena issue.
All comments are posted unedited.

Toni says...
"I am in total shock that in 2007 we still have the bigotry and hate among the races. I come from a family that is mixed with almost every nationality. We have black, white, hispanic and asian. This is really a disgrace to the state of Louisiana and the USA as a whole. We think that we have come so far, and that things have changed, but then some idiot comes along to ruin what we believe.
How in the world were they able to get away with an all white jury and be able to hold the trial in Jena, where ther is already so much racial tension going on? The attorney for Michael Bell, must have been paid off in some kind of way to let this happen to that child.
The boy that they claimed he tried to kill looks pretty darn healthy to me going into the courtroom smiling.
The African American people in Jena should also be ashamed that they do not have enough courage to stand together and make sure that this was fair justice. Why didn't they call in the NAACP from Baton Rouge and other places to stand with them and make sure that they received a fair trial?
Michael Bell must have been a pretty good athlete and was probably in line for a scholorship that someone else in Jena wanted and they decided to get him out of the way.
Also, why wasn't there anything done when the ropes were hung from a tree in the school yard, and this probably wouldn't have gone this far, or why wasn't something done when the so-called victim took a gun to school?
This ia another case of railroad justice and history is doomed to repeat itself again and again until something happens and we realize that people are people, no matter what color their skin is."
A Jena Citizen says...
"I'm ashamed of myself for contributing to the nonsense, but here goes.
This was not a FIGHT-It was a BEATING.
Justin Barker is the victim. It could have been any other white kid. These boys are BAD and they were going to get a white kid that day. Ask around their neighborhoods. Ask their teachers. Ask students at JHS- black or white.
The same handful of people keep showing up for the little rallies. Maybe 15-20 including children. AND the press. The press is trying to make something from nothing. They are inventing a big problem with racism. Are they trying to create violence to get a good story? Please pack up and go home. There is nothing else to report. A crime was committed. The jury returned a verdict. The victim is white and the accused are ALL (6 boys on 1)black. Maybe it is racist-but it looks like the racism is from the black boys-not the white kid. OH-WAIT!
That doesn't work does it? Black people are NEVER racist-ONLY white people! Sorry, I forgot."
Lea says…
“our kids are suppose to be safe at school. where were the principal and any teachers?i went to a school in another state there were as many blacks as whites. we got along, i don't remember any racial problems like this.there should not be a all white jury, i am white and don't agree with that at all. how could they let that happen?”
Dontrail says…
“I'm a student in Avoyelles parish and justing watching the activity from this case makes me upset. The black community in Jena and surrounding areas did not make a effort to help the six young boys in this case, for example last year when the Valendictorian situation happen at Marksville High, the community stood behind the young lady until the case was settle. Now these six boys that could have made something out of their lives, can't now because of this situation. Tonight at our school, Avoyelles High, we decided to help take the case off of some of the players minds, we will host a bonding night with the basketball players from Jena High at our school.”
James says...
"I was born and raised in Deville,Louisiana ,as everyone knows Deville has got a reputation for being a racist community.I am not happy about that reputation.I wish people would stop making a big deal about race not only on this issue but every issue.Have we as the HUMAN race forgot so soon how we all pulled togeather after 9-11-01.I would like to see our community as well as the whole USA refer to each other as the HUMAN race and stop using the color of our skin to determine race.As for as the case goes I think a crime was commited and all parties involved should be brought to justice.As for now we should all PRAY for all involved."
Ann says...
"Aside from who we may think is innocent or guilty, I think it is a crime as well as a sad attestation to the justice system in Jena that the the "defense" attorney did not think enough of his client to even attempt to put up a defense. I also feel that the trial was a joke and the defense attorney was an embarrassment to attorneys everywhere and certainly a liability to both the defendant and to everything else that we as Americans consider decent. Shame on you, Mr. "NO DEFENSE" attorney.
Since you could not convince the defendant to accept a "plea bargain", which is the usual way attorneys like youself clear your dockets, it appears you just decided to get rid of your client a different way and mount a NO DEFENSE case. Even child molesters, whom I consider to be the scurge of the earth get better attorneys. Why don't you do all of your future potential clients a favor and crawl back under the rock you crawled out of. "Innocent until proven guilty", I don't think so! Not with this attorney! More like "NO DEFENSE, NOW YOU'RE DEFINITELY GUILTY". Check the numbers:
Prosecution: 25 witnesses
Defense: 0
What a joke!"
Lyrica says...
"I believe in my heart that the lawyer for Michael Bell was paid not to do the best he could do. He should be investigated and then disbarred. As for the other prospective witnesses, they to were afraid because someone there in Jena threatended them. The trial shouldn't have taken place in Jena anyway. The town and the people who make up the town are prejudice."
DMartin says...
"well first let me say that a all white jury. what does that tell you right there. i am not in the parish but guess what. racism was suppose to be over. well its not. i live right here in avoyelles parish and there is so much prejudice its a shame. a black person dont stand a chance of making it around here and i feel that the people of jena is doing the right thing. this is big, cnn , nancy grace, anderson cooper, ophrah, rev. al sharpton, they all need to know about this. slavery has been over and things need to change. we have just as much freedom and rights around here. but we as black people just dont stand a chance. we are always being treated unfair. they are putting more and more of our blacks in the prison system and we just let it happen. this should not happen. they are ruining our kids lives, and their future. put murderers and robbers away, dont antagonize our kids and take away there dreams. we cant get ahead by destroying there lives. so i say sti ck together and fight the system because all they are trying to do is keep us as black people behind bars and were crowded in the penititiary already."
Truth says...
"What started this whole thing is that Justin Barker allegedly said to his group of freinds that day- "the ignorant niggers are going the wrong way." Barker only intended for his friends to hear this comment but his voice projected. The school nor law enforcement seems to have never properly investigated to validate this claim. If this claim is true, Barker's whipping was well deserved. Justin is made out to be an innocent little angel. He is FAR from it. Yes the boys were wrong for their beating of him. But I believe they were encouraged by Barker's alleged comments. The charges was too harsh for this crime. I do believe the evidence consists of too much he said and she said, and is void of valid facts."
Lloyd Killen says...
"From the information that has been provided by the news media, I would submit that the most racist person involved in this fiasco is the District Attorney. To charge a group of students with attempted second murder when involved in a school yard altercation is ludicrous. Had the situation been reversed, in all probability there would have been no charges filed."
Kim says...
"I grew up in Jena, and you cant tell me this is fair,or even justice for this young man, there has been serveral minoritys(blacks or african americans wich ever you choose to be politically correct) Murder,and beaten my the whites(caucasions) and have never spent a day in jail. You tell me wheres the justice?????? Its 2007 and there is still no justice in this place i call home..Its sad but true.....
Come on Jena, join the 21st Century. Let the races live in harmony."
Vic says...
"If the principals of these schools were able to render punishment such as a paddling like they did when we were in school, this incident probably could have been avoided. MANY STUDENTS ARE NO LONGER AFRAID THEY WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES FOR THEIR ACTIONS! Not that many years ago when I was in school if they found you misbehaving they would send you to the principal and you would get your punishment right then and there in the form of an old fashioned tale whipping with a nice thick board otherwise referred to as a paddle. I was afraid to misbehave due to the consequences that would follow. Many students from all walks of life and color are not afraid of authority because they have no authority at home and no one to teach them respect for authority. In the third grade our teachers took us to the parish jail for a tour, we stood against the wall and looked into the cells of many a person whose DISMAL condition instilled fear into each of us. It was forever engrained in my memory growing up and I still haven't forgotten it. Maybe we need to start doing that again. We certainly need to return to the days where students were made to say Yes Mam, No Mam, Yes Sir, No Sir, EXcuse me, I'm sorry, and the teachers and principals be able to say "I WILL CALL YOUR PARENTS IF YOU DO NOT BEHAVE" and the students actually be afraid of their consequences. I knew if I got into trouble at school there would be more trouble when I got home!"
Anonymous says...
"I'm a former student of Jena High School, and a resident of Jena. I hate that it took all of this to finally recognize that Jena is a RACIST TOWN. I've read all the comments of the locals and they're talking about they're not racist, but I say they are. The worse cases of racism is the people who think they're not prejudice. White people saying they're not racist with their mouth, but their actions is saying we are."
HT says...
"The real story here is what the "Jena six gang"'s history really is. Someone needs to interview members of the black community that have been celebrating the arrest of these "kids". They've been terrorized for the last two to three years by this gang. If you could protect their identity you'd get the real story.
I've lived here for nine years and I have yet to see a KKK anywhere but I have gone to the Christmas parades and have always been side-by-side with blacks regardless of where I go. "Frank" needs to actually come to Jena at least once.
As for Natasia the so-called social worker, I hope she doesn't ever get to work with rape victims, since she must think they do something to deserve it. "
Myrissa says...
"If you are going to cover a story cover the hole story. These six boys who are on trial for the school fight were also in several fights over the previous weekend. One were they even pulled a girl out of a truck and started beating on her. Also the all white jury was all white because the blacks that were called for jury dutty didn't even show up. You may also want to check the time frame on the jury. They were in debate for 2 hours not just 30 minutes."
Mary says...
"Watch out Jena, the whole world is watching and you all know there is blame on both sides of the fence in this case. It is just a matter of time before Justin and Mychal's lives will be ruined by this incident. The worst is yet to come."
Thomas says...
"You need to come over to JJ's and see what its really like in jena . you are making us look racist"
JOHN says...
"I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW WHY THIS INCIDENT IS NOT BEING CLASSIFIED AS A "HATE CRIME" OR A CIVIL RIGHTS VIOLATION. IT SEEMS THAT IF ITS A WHITE ON BLACK CRIME THIS IS THE FIRST THING THAT IS MENTIONED. ARE WHITE PEOPLE THE ONLY ONES THE LAWS APPLY TO?"
Welch says...
"My opinion in this case is that these boys did do the crime. The victim clearly could not defend himself and these boys after Barker was knocked out did not have to keep beating him. Noone forced them to do such a thing so in my opion, just as an adult, you do the crime, you do the time or at least be tried for it. Either way it would have gone, each needs to deal with their own trials and get on with it. I have lived in Jena for many years and have never heard of this town being racial. My children have many good friends of both races. I don't see how anyone could even consider letting these boys go and forget this ever happened. Barker could have died, no matter what and there is no worst feeling in the world than losing a child. Believe me, we know this from personal experience. Even if the verdict would have come in "not guilty" Bell was still tried for the crime legally and fully. I hope everyone in this town from now on can get along with each other. Never bef ore this incident have I heard in all my years of living here, anything like this happening and when outsiders come in to state their opinion and say we are the most racial town in the state, I beg to differ as I've lived all over Louisiana and to this day I still say this is a good place to call home."
Jenn says...
"Everyone keeps screaming about the prejudism whites show against blacks in Jena. They aren't stopping to think that it goes both ways. If that incident had been reversed and 6 white boys had attacked 1 black boy they would be facing the same charges. It has nothing to do with color, it has to do with the crime that is commited. I believe that there were black people subpoened for petit jury, I think they chose not to show up. If they had shown up,and actually been selected for jury duty then they would not have had anything to whine bout. Its ridiculous any way you look at it. This is going to turn into a riot in the town of Jena at some point, and I have innocent children who could get caught in the crossfire, especially since one of them is starting high school in the fall. This is ridiculous, inflammatory, and just plain stupid. If you are going to commit a crime, maybe you should think about the punishment before you do it. If you know its wrong, WHY DO IT AT A LL. There is absolutely nothing right about 1 child being jumped on by 6 REGARDLESS OF RACE. "

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Viewer's Voice on KALB - Jena Six Reaction

From the Associated Press...

A black teenager accused of taking part in the beating of a white schoolmate at a Jena high school has been convicted of felony charges.
Seventeen-year-old Mychal Bell was found guilty of aggravated second-degree battery and conspiracy to commit aggravated second-degree battery today. Before the trial, he had faced an attempted murder charge - but the prosecutor reduced that to the charges Bell was convicted of. Bell could be sentenced to more than 20 years in prison.
Last December's attack came amid increasing racial tensions at the school. Earlier, three white students had been suspended from hanging nooses from a tree at the school.
Bell was convicted by an all-white jury. Five other teens also face charges.

And now your comments...

Debby writes...
"Many years ago two white boys killed a black boy at the fair here in the same sort of incident. They spent many years in prison for their criminal act. A boy in Texas faces the death penalty this very day for killing a young woman in a car jacking there.
The Jena 6 should thank God that someone stopped this senseless act before they killed Justin Barker and faced what these men and the young man in Texas are facing. The laws are the same for black, white, or whatever color you are.
Jena is not a racist community in the eyes of many good, hard working black people living here. Nobody interviewing looked for any of them. The media have cast us as a town of racist. How wrong you are! We are not racist, we just expect people to be responsible for their actions.
Thank God for our Judge and DA. They have stood up for justice in the face of all this adversity. If you don't stand from something, you don't stand for anything.
By the way, the black persons called for jury duty DIDN'T BOTHER TO SHOW UP."

Jeff writes...
"They will find him not guilty, because he is black. They are afraid of another Rodney King is they find him guilty. They are afraid of blacks, i wish i was on the jury, he would be guilty right away."
J.P. Stephen writes...
"All stories refer to this as A fight. No witness in court hsaid that Barker ever raised his hand. Get A life."
Fitzgerald writes...
"On your evening report you asked, "What do you think about what is happening in Jena?" My opinion to this matter is that it is about time people do something about the racism that blacks hurl toward the whites. As for myself, I am sick of hearing about how the whites mistreat the blacks and how much we owe them because their ancestors where slaves. Many times the blacks just get a slap on the hand because of the NAACP. I hope justice is served with the Jena 6 trial so maybe others will realize that no one is exempt and must pay for their actions no matter what their color might be. Laws are for EVERYONE to follow!"
Frank writes...
"I lived in the Jena area for awhile..the whites and blacks do not mix... not even at the Christmas Parade.Whites one area ,blacks another area..Certain areas in Lasalle have KKK painted in public places. I don"t know about the Jena 6 case at all.. but I know there is alot of prejudice in the Jena area.. and not just for Blacks but for anyone not born in that area. You are considered an outsider and not easily accepted in that region."
Natasia writes...
"I feel that the charges these young men are receiving are very unfair and unjust. If anything they should have only received simple battery charges. For the record, I am a Caucasian female and a social worker. No matter what color the boys are, the charges are completely ridiculous. These are teenagers and the law is trying to ruin the rest of their lives by giving them such a huge sentence. The unGodly part of it all is the racism involved. The victim is white, the Jena 6 are black, and the entire jury is white. Just remember that we all must account for ourselves on judgement day. What would God say to this. What they did was wrong, but I wish there were something that I could do to fight for the Jena 6. I am sure the victim probably said some things that he should not have said also."
Sarah writes...
"The trial is over. Thank goodness! Actually the only racism I witnessed was all the reporters sitting on the "accused's " side of the courtroom. It was pretty obvious what the slant on the story is going to be. I hope you people find some news to report after this and leave Jena alone. No, actually, I hope you don't find any. You are not really reporters. You should work for The National Enquirer. It would be a step up for you. You are no more to be believed that the "supermarket rags"."

Friday, June 22, 2007

Viewers' Voice on KALB

While the Cenlamedia blog is being moved to kalb.com...please feel free to comment on the subject of the week on our Viewer's Voice Segment.

The number is 318-445-6397 Ext. 589.

The feature has been quite interesting and we look forward to your comments.

This week the subject has been the Alexandria City Council and Mayor Roy on the Channel 4 issue of airing the special council meeting.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Command Changes at Fort Polk

FORT POLK, La. - Fort Polk will host a Change of Command ceremony for the 83rd Chemical Battalion, 1st Combat Support Brigade (Maneuver Enhancement) at 10 a.m., Thursday, June 21 at 1st CSB Field, here.
During the ceremony, Lt. Col. Eric Brigham will relinquish command to Lt. Col. Scott Estes who recently served on the Army Staff as a Synchronization Staff Officer, and as the Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Defense Branch Chief.
Brigham, who has commanded the brigade since July of 2005, moves to fill the US Army chemical branch manager of the Human Resource Command.
The 83d Chemical Battalion effective nuclear, biological, and chemical reconnaissance, biological surveillance, decontamination, and smoke support to protect the forces assigned to the 18th Airborne Corps. or a Joint Task Force Commander.
The inclement weather location is the Youth Services Gym.
The ceremony is open to the public.

Here is the bio Lt. Col. Scott Estes...
Lt. Col. Scott Estes, a Virginia native, was commissioned into the U.S. Army Chemical Corps as a Lieutenant. After completion of the officer basic course at Ft McClellan, Alabama, he was assigned to the 25th Infantry Division (Light) at Schofield Barracks Hawaii, where he served in demanding and varied leadership positions including; squadron chemical officer for the 5th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, as Platoon Leader in the 71st Chemical Company, and the Assistant Division Chemical Officer.

Estes attended the Chemical Officer's Advanced Course and was then assigned to Fort Stewart Georgia. While assigned to Fort Stewart, he served as the 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized) Division Artillery Chemical Officer, and Commanded the Headquarters and Headquarters Company of the 3d Infantry (Mechanized) Division Support Command.

He’s held the NBC Defense Advisor position for the U.S. Navy’s Surface Warfare Officer School in Newport, Rhode Island. During his tour in Rhode Island, he earned his Masters degree in Environmental Management from the University of Rhode Island. His next assignment was as the Chemical Officer for the 19th Theater Support Command in the Republic of Korea. Upon his return from Korea, he attended the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Following graduation from CGSC, he was assigned to the 83rd Chemical Battalion where he served as the Battalion S-3 and Executive Officer. During this tour, he deployed with the Battalion in support of Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom.

Estes’ last assignment was in the Pentagon, where he served on the Army Staff as a Synchronization Staff Officer, and as the CBRN Defense Branch Chief.

Estes awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal (3OLC), the Army Commendation Medal (3OLC), the Navy Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal 5(OLC), Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge, and the Army Staff Identification Badge.

Estes is married and has two children.


Monday, June 18, 2007

The Mailbag

Here are some of the emails sent recently. Perspective from viewers is always appreciated. All email addresses are protected and verified.

Feel free to visit kalb.com and hit the "contact us" email to give input. A group of us read the comments and respond.


On Lowes in Pineville...

"So we saw no announcement from Lowes. They were too high on their numbers for the project. It seems they were going to pay for some road work in the area, but now they may have to drop that from the package and also scale back on the size of the store itself. Seems
the price for the old Wal-Mart was too much and put them over the normal 18.5 million for a new store. They may even ask the city for some breaks (even though the land isn't in Pineville city limits). It will be a couple of weeks into July before they come back again.
Since they've already locked in with the church and homes for a price, they have to try to cut elsewhere, so we'll see if the city has to make up for some of the difference."

"You may want to talk to the church (Northside Baptist) to see what their plans are after the sale. Lowes is really only buying one occupied home and a house that has been used as a place for various businesses for years (a small brokerage firm, a flower shop, etc.). Of course they are buying the church property as well. The church will be the biggie to concentrate on though."


"I appreciate your new media blog and understand that it is sometimes difficult to get first hand such things as Lowes announcement even though you know about it. I have to admit that it is somewhat misleading to the public to have the media allow the Pineville City Hall bunch to make every announcement regarding every new business . It misleads the public into associating new business with something this Administration does. You do not see the Roy administration announcing new openings. I am sure the private businesses would much rather speak for themselves and not have Fields grandstand on things he knows not of."

And on CLECO...
"I was visiting some friends last night and found out that they constantly have to deal with power outages the same as we do. I live on the west side of Alexandria and they live near Poland. We both have power through CLECO. We probably have to reset our clocks at least 2 times each week. All we need to have the power go out is for the wind to blow or the lines get wet. I have lived in many places and have never had to deal with so many power outages. We were in Lafayette for Hurricane Andrew and our power never went out. I know CLECO keeps a list of each time the power goes out so you can get an exact number. Information from CLECO to their customers as to why we have such poor service would be appreciated."

And the environment...

"Why is it that in today's environment should everyone but Rapids Parish, be expected to change. Such as change light bulbs, recycle grocery bags, and so on. Rapids Parish burns hundreds of gallons of diesel everyday just to haul garbage around 100 miles one way. Burning fuel, cluttering highways, tearing up highways, emitting greenhouse gases, littering highway, and so on. Just a thought."


Thoughts always welcome.

Friday, June 15, 2007

SSg. Timothy Cole - A Man to Remember

The story of Staff Sergent Timothy Bruce Cole was first blogged about here.

And since then the painful experience of bringing his body home is what the friends and family members have had to go through.

Today his mother Connie reached out to us and I wanted to take a moment to share her email.

In case you wonder why you have not seen the family interviewed in television it is a commitment of ours only to interview the families of the dead (whether it is from a crime, natural causes or in this case war) if they come to us. Do we get beaten by fellow journalists? All of the time. It is possible to take this approach in a more competitive environment? Probably not, but we put ourselves in the families place and waiting for them to come to us is the right thing to do. It's just that simple.

Here is the email with the author identifying herself as Connie Cole in her own words...

"I'm Timothy's mother. I wanted to let you know that I thought the coverage you did on Timothy was great. Since you were the first to run an article, I thought you would want to be the last. We've been informed that the small town of Elizabeth will be lining the streets today for his ride through town to his last resting place. The town of Oakdale did the same thing when we brought Timothy home on Wednesday. It touched my heart and brought me to tears to see so many people honoring my son for giving the ultimate price for his country, family, and friends. People crowded the boulevards and sidewalks holding flags, candles, pictures of him, and posters welcoming him home. Enlarged pictures of Timothy were posted down the boulevard. The fire department was blowing their sirens. Ten police cars with blue lights were at the head of us along with four motorcycle police ahead of them. People would stop their cars and exit to salute or hold their hands across their hearts when my son passed by. The patriotism shown still brings me to tears. It was wonderful to know that he wasn't forgotten. I and the rest of the family will miss his wit and laughter tremendously. We've received so many cards and notes from people expressing their condolences. Everyone has been so nice and the military has done so much to ensure that his last few days on earth are with honor. They posted two soldiers on either side of his casket since he arrived. They change every 15 minutes. Congressman Rodney Alexander has assisted us and sent someone to our house to express his deepest regrets. He is in Washington this week. I can never say enough to the people of Oakdale and surrounding towns for their support. The town of Forest Hill placed flags along Hwy 165 and the flag flew at half mast at the post office. Today, there are supposed to be four motorcycle clubs escorting Timothy to his services. One is the Leathernecks and the other the Patriot Ride rs. The other two I don't know. The cousin of my daughter-! in-law who is a Marine was flown to Delaware to escort my son home along with a soldier from the Army. A close friend of Timothy's said that if Timothy had to go, he would have wanted to go this way. He would have wanted a 24 karat casket with pearl handles and Mardi Gras beads hanging out. I know if Timothy is looking down, he would be so very pleased by everything that has been done in his honor. People ask what they can do for us, but the fact is that just asking and sharing our grief is more than enough. Again, thanks for your coverage."

And the response...

"Good Morning Mrs. Cole,I know this day could be the hardest of your life and my heart aces for you and your family. We appreciate you reaching out to us so much. We have assigned Diana Iles and excellent reporter to cover Timothy's funeral today and thank you for this information.I have been emailed by a member of your family looking for copies of the coverage and want to let you know personally I will make dubs for you. This is the least we can do for you and your family. I had planned to attend Timothy's funeral today but may not be able to. Please know I will bow my head and say a prayer for your beloved son and thank him for the incredible sacrifice he has given to keep my children safe from harm. God bless you all."

Please join me right now after you read this and take a moment of silence to send strength to the Cole Family.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Lowes to Locate in Kings Country - Anatomy of a Story

The CenlaMedia site is, in part, created to reveal how we approach reporting on stories at KALB-TV. It allows you to see the rationale and then the careful steps taken to be accurate.

A good recent case to examine is the story of Lowes possibly locating in Pineville. This could be one of the worst kept secrets in local real estate history (the Walmart on Hwy 28 West is another example) but it allows us to show you how the decisions are made to report on non-confirmed business news.

Several months ago Joel Massey a reporter with KALB-TV began tracking down a story about Lowes locating in the old Walmart in Pineville handled by Stirling Properties. We called the Pineville city administration and were told they could not confirm nor deny the deal. We approached members of a local church said to be involved in the deal and continued to pursue the people involved from Lowes to the property owner. Everything came up empty. We passed on reporting on the story and then woke up to read a Town Talk article attributed to sources on the development.

KALB-TV does not report from the paper and was unable to independently confirm the story.

Now skip to this week several months later. While reporting on the IP story we obtained an interesting comment from the Mayor of Pineville. He said a big retailer was in town to discuss the development but could not confirm who it was. This time we went with it after being able to independently confirm through two other sources that Lowes was in town talking about details.

The next day we get this email:
"You ran a story last night and also on your website saying that speculation is that there will be an announcement from Lowes this week. You also say that the supposed site would be Kings Country. I can confirm that it is that location, as they have already signed deals to purchase the Northside Baptist Church property, as well as the 5 lots/homes northeast of the church. The store will go in at the old WalMart end of the shopping center."

The email continues with personal information not proper for this forum but it ends with...

"They have known about this since January, so you guys are a little behind the curve."

After a response and an email request for an interview we received the following email...

"I doubt very seriously that they would be willing to go on camera. Their agreement doesn't preclude them from saying they have a deal, but it does preclude them from saying what the deal is. If the "rumor" is King'sCountry, then a little legwork (other than talking to the mayor) would have let you break the news (as there are a lot of church members at Northside that know about it, etc.). It will be big for the area, but unfortunately will hurt a church that has been there for decades as well as households/families who have been there for decades. The biggest thing though is traffic. Military Highway is already turning into a very busy area, especially there in Kingsville. This will only compound the problem. One of your questions for the Mayor should be when is the city going to annex that area (it's currently not annexed) and how are traffic concerns going to be addressed. Those issues are HUGE! Glad to see the area being revitalized after the Wal-Mart move and other closed stores becoming an eyesore in King's Country."

Now we wait for the the news to come "officially" from either Lowes or Northside.
Here is the online listing.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

City Council vs. Mayor - Fights Erupt Over Attorney

KALB-TV Video Blog is active and up with the city council video.

Tuesday's special council meeting erupted in argments over the CLECO mediation and who can attend closed door sessions.
In the KALB-TV Video Blog we have posted three parts of the confrontations.
In this link - part one the Mayor of Alexandria Jacques Roy and City Attorney Chuck Johnson are engaged in a heated conversation with City Councilman Myron Lawson. At issue is what power the city attorney has and if he has the right to take a legal position for the council without its approval.
In this link - part two central Louisiana attorney Bridgett Brown argues with the Mayor of Alexandria over who should be allowed to decide on her attending a closed door session on the CLECO mediation.
Brown asks a series of questions to the Council President Everett Hobbs and can be seen angry at the process of deciding what rights the city council has over her attending CLECO mediation meetings.
In this link - part three Trey Gist who has worked on behalf of the City Of Alexandra's interest for over 25 years explains why Ms. Brown should not be allowed to sit in on a closed door session over the CLECO mediation.
Mr. Gist says "she can't sue the city and enroll as a lawyer (for the city) at the same time"
You may recall the council was to meet in executive session to hear an update on the CLECO mediation. The meeting ended and the council met with the mayor in open session to hash out the issue of what lawyers can or can not be present for the executive session. Most of the arguments stem from the idea that councilman feel they are not being told the details about the CLECO mediation and some want to allow attorney Bridgett Brown to attend closed door meetings.

IP Stays Open - "Among the Most Efficient"

Courtesy IP...

International Paper Pineville, La., Mill to Remain Operational

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – June 12, 2007—International Paper (NYSE:IP) today announced that its Pineville, La., containerboard mill will remain operational. The decision is the outcome of an extensive two-year study of options to strengthen the company’s North American containerboard business.

The company had explored alternatives, including possible closure, for the Pineville, La., containerboard mill as part of its transformation plan, announced in 2005. However, the mill has achieved dramatic cost improvement in the past two years, and is now among the most globally cost efficient mills in the system. With global box demand expected to grow at a healthy rate, keeping Pineville as part of the containerboard system will allow the company to further integrate its box businesses in Europe and Asia.

“This announcement is excellent news for the employees of the Pineville mill, their families, and the Central Louisiana community that supports us. It took an incredible amount of hard work and determination on the part of the Pineville Team to make the difficult changes required to make this mill competitive and thus allow the company to continue operations in Pineville. I want to express my heartfelt thanks to everyone who has helped us get to this point. I have no doubt that this team will do what is required to keep Pineville competitive,” said Scott Moorhead, site manager of the Pineville Mill.

The Pineville mill was acquired by International Paper in 1979. The mill today employs approximately 226 people. The mill produces containerboard for corrugated packaging to supply produce, agricultural, poultry and industrial customers.

International Paper (NYSE:IP), founded in 1898, is a global uncoated paper and packaging company with primary markets and manufacturing operations in North America, Europe, Russia, Latin America, Asia and North Africa. Its uncoated papers and packaging businesses are complemented by xpedx, North America's largest distributor of printing papers and graphics supplies and equipment. Headquartered in the United States, International Paper employs approximately 54,000 people in more than 20 countries, and serves customers worldwide. Annual sales are about $22 billion. International Paper partners with customers and environmental, academic, civic and governmental organizations, as well as landowners and harvesting professionals, to encourage responsible forest stewardship, improve the health and productivity of forestlands and increase recovery of our recyclable products. The company has a long-standing policy of using no wood from endangered forests. To learn more about International Paper, its products and commitment to economic, social and environmental sustainability, visit www.internationalpaper.com.



Monday, June 11, 2007

UPDATE: England Airpark Award

If you are interested in more information regarding the England Airpark FAA award stay tuned tonight at 6pm on KALB-TV.

Authority Chariman William Barron will be on live to discuss the honor and tell us how this will help the Airpark promote its services.

England Airpark Honored

From the Associated Press...
England Airpark to receive national award from FAA
ALEXANDRIA, La. (AP) - Credited for its support of women- and minority-owned businesses, the England Economic and Industrial Development District has been awarded the 2007 Federal Aviation Administration Disadvantaged Business Enterprise award.

England officials say the prestigious award, which will be presented Wednesday in Las Vegas, recognizes only one airport in the United States for success in promoting women- and
minority-owned businesses.

Jon Grafton, the Airpark executive director, said he was pleased about the award, which comes at a time when several programs and construction projects continue to shape the three-housand-acre community known as England Airpark.
England Airpark grew out of the shuttered England Air Force Base, which closed in the 1990s and left many buildings little used but with great potential.

The Airpark has a hotel, a restaurant, an 18-hole golf course, a day care facility, apartments and about 50 industrial tenants, many of which are minority-owned enterprises.
In some of its latest developments, the Airpark is weeks from the start of several other projects, including additional rental car parking, the renovation of the Learning Center for Rapides
Parish and the review of its master plan.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Local Soldier Killed in Iraq

The call came into the News Channel 5 studios today at about 2:00pm. It was a family member of Sgt. Timothy Bruce Cole. They wanted to know why we had not reported on the death of Cole who was 28 and from Oakdale. We explained the Department of Defense, in our experience, runs about three days behind the date of death because there are important policies regarding notification of next of kin for a fallen soldier.

The call was agonizing to take because the pain of the loss was so raw.

John-Thomas Kobos visited Oakdale today and has this report. We're told Timothy Bruce Cole was a career soldier. He graduated from Oakdale High School and went into the Marines. He loved being a solider and transferred to the 82nd Airborne Army. He was scheduled to return from Iraq in August but his service there was extended to November. He was to transfer from Ft. Bragg to Ft. Polk then.

We will continue to follow this important story and offer this link to the latest data on soldiers killed in Iraq.

The war continues to strike families all over America now one of our own in Oakdale.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Hines vs. Kennedy - Kennedy wins one?

The Baton Rouge Advocate is reporting Senator Hines has dropped his quest, SB 14, to remove State Treasurer John Kennedy from the State Bond Commission.

You may recall Kennedy when in Alexandria recently talked about the issue with us in the KALB-TV Video Blog. Saying Hines was angry with him over the failed Bunkie Sugar Mill deal. This issue has been a favorite of Chad Rogers of The Dead Pelican. And the Video Blog we did with Kennedy has had plenty of hits with people looking for his side of the issue.

What is interesting in the Advocate article is the partial quote attributed to Senator Hines
"Hines said he was taking the step in response to senators’ reluctance to embrace the idea because of “news media and conservative talk radio” questioning “of the motivation of this bill.”Hines said the executive committee that he proposed is needed because of “the arrogant and arbitrary manner,” in which Kennedy decides what the bond commission should hear.
Kennedy’s approach is “not in the best interest of the people of this state,” he said."

Here is more state coverage on the issue:
Editorial - Ouacita Citizen-Feb28th
nola.com-May 30th
LAnewslink-June 4th
WAFB, Tuesday

To Blog or not to Blog - that is the question

Several of you have emailed recently asking what is going on with this blog and the comment section. Comments are now allowed only from "team members" which signaled to some of you the listening had stopped.

Not true.

The cenlamedia blog will continue to be used as another way for us to make contact with the blogosphere, but it will move into the kalb.com fold soon.
As some of you know, on kalb.com we have a Video Blog section which has been a destination for newsmakers in our state. The video blog and cenlamedia are a part of a project by Media General to reach out to web users and find ways to communicate.

It has at times been a slugfest but for the most part very helpful in engaging a group of people who are unhappy with the staus quo in the central Louisiana media.
There is however, one new requirement. You must be willing to have a verifiable email to become a part of the discussion. We do not have to know who you are, just that you are willing to at least identify a part of your existence online.

That way we can begin to form a community advisory group online that has a say in what is local news. Keep it clean, focused and away from silly personal attacks and online you go.
Kalb.com now ranks among one of the top 25 website in the Media General system for unique visitors and you can become a part of that online community if you are willing to adhere to some basic rules.

Here's to the sharing of valuable information online!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Cool Sites

These are courtesy of a newsletter by the Poynter Institute.
Cool Sites
Tech reporter Bob Bicknell at KYW Newsradio 1060 in Philadelphia posts a nice collection of cool, unusual and useful Web sites you may have never heard of. Among them:
TechPresident.com -- One of the many sites following the candidates on their marathon journey toward the primaries and the White House is TechPresident.com.
Most interesting here is how the site tracks the candidates' MySpace.com pages and the number of viewings they get on YouTube.com.

ClinicalTrials.gov -- For anyone who's been diagnosed with any disease or disorder, the promise of a clinical trial offers the hope of a new and perhaps better treatment. That's where this site comes in.
ClinicalTrials.gov is run by the National Institutes of Health and can link you to help that you might not otherwise get.
DoMyStuff.com -- This site promises to help you "outsource your life." Here's where you can put your chores and errands up for bidding. Others can then browse the job, see what you're willing to pay for it, and "bid" on their own to take that job.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Whittington, Landrieu and Carter comments

Again from the AP:
Officials comment on Jefferson's indictment
Some responses from Louisiana officials on the indictment of U.S. Rep. William Jefferson:
"Congressman William Jefferson has always been a strong advocate for the people of Louisiana and has during his tenure in Congress made good votes and done great things to further the progress of the state.
"As far as Congressman Jefferson's legal issues, we will not
attempt to analyze the federal indictment nor interpret the law. An indictment is not an admission of guilt - we will leave that decision to the courts."
- Chris Whittington, Louisiana Democratic Party chairman

"These are serious allegations and must be considered promptly and thoroughly by our justice system. Every American is considered innocent until proven guilty, and our Constitution provides an opportunity for both sides to present their case.
"Such serious charges against a public official are troubling in any circumstance. But having this cloud hang over our state's efforts to recover and rebuild is particularly so, and I hope the matter will be brought to a swift and just resolution."
- U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La.

"It is unfortunate that the dark cloud surrounding Congressman Jefferson and his service to the 2nd congressional district continues to blanket our people while we are still struggling to recover.
"Despite these latest headlines, we cannot lose focus on the needs of tens of thousands here in this city that are still working to repair their homes and lives. This is a sad day for New Orleans from any vantage point."
- State Rep. Karen Carter, D-La., who unsuccessfully challenged Jefferson's re-election to Congress last year.

Pelosi Weighs in

Pelosi Statement on Indictment of Congressman William Jefferson
Washington, D.C.—Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued the following statement today following the federal indictment of Congressman William Jefferson of Louisiana:

“The charges in the indictment against Congressman Jefferson are extremely serious. While Mr. Jefferson, just as any other citizen, must be considered innocent until proven guilty, if these charges are proven true, they constitute an egregious and unacceptable abuse of public trust and power.
“As we have demonstrated in implementing tough ethics reforms and passing tough lobbying reforms already this year, Democrats are committed to upholding a high ethical standard and eliminating corruption and unethical behavior from the Congress.”

Jefferson shakedown example

In case you missed the live news conference on CNN click here for an example from the US Attorneys office of what they say Congressman Jefferson did. Also included in this link the full pdf file with the 94 page indictment.

Rep. Jefferson Indicted

The Associated Press reports

"U-S Representative William Jefferson of New
Orleans was indicted today on federal charges of racketeering,
soliciting bribes and money-laundering in a long-running bribery
investigation into business deals he tried to broker in Africa.
The indictment handed up in federal court in Alexandria,
Virginia, is more than an inch thick and list 16 alleged violations
of federal law that could keep Jefferson in prison for up to 200
years."

More later...

APD Weed and Seed and Community Policing

Alexandria Police Chief Daren Coutee is on record trying to revive the community policing idea in the city of Alexandria.

From Wikipedia we learn this about community policing..."Community policing is a political philosophy in which the police and police department are seen as members of the community, with police officers being part of where they live and work. Cities and counties that subscribe to this philosophy tend to do much more community work than traditional police departments. This often includes having more police officers who "walk the beat" as opposed to driving around in police cars. The basic idea is to create bonds of trust and reliance between police and the public."

Zone 4 commonly known as the Sonja Quarters has been the home of a program Coutee calls "Weed and Seed". Mid January KALB-TV Reporter Joel Massey spoke with Pastor Floyd Kirts about the Weed and Seed program in his community. He said the crime situation was getting better and he told Joel it had improved was because of the increase in police presence.

Coutee said in January "we weed out the bad, re-institute order in the community and then the seed portion is done by the residents to refurbish, rebuild and re-institute pride … It does work. If the people in the area want to become involved."

Kirts gave his take as well by saying it took more than just the police "Pastors, preachers, grandparents, mothers, it's everybody. The old cliche says it takes a village to raise a child. So I'm hoping that everybody in this area will come together and say let's do it together."

Six months later the Chief is still taking steps to add police to his staff and is points toward community policing as a way to combat crime.

But will it work?

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Tropical depression and we're off...

Hurricane season is off with a tropical depression and plenty of warning about being ready for another big one to hit the coast this year.

Check out the KALB Storm Team 5 Weather Blog where the subject is the tropics and has some interesting discussion.

Local emergency management agencies tell us they are ready. Plans are being developed for a new evacuation center in Cenla and a quick visit to the local Walmart we made shows people stocking up.

Reporter Diana Iles tells us in this report there are three areas you may want to focus on when getting prepared; review your insurance plans, store valuable documents and stock up on necessities.

Here are some websites you may want to bookmark for the season, the State of Louisiana emergency management site and a cool website the best in business use for all of the hurricane information they can get.

Are you ready?

Friday, June 1, 2007

Nagin for Governor?

Cnn.com has this item about New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin. Sources say he is considering a bid for governor. He says he is often asked when visiting with residents if he will run.

Say what you wish, Nagin running would certainly gain national attention and make the run for governor of our state interesting.

No word from the other candidates just yet.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Louisiana Libertarian State Party here.

The Louisiana Libertarian State Party is holding its 2006-2007 State Convention in Alexandria this weekend.

What is a Libertarian? Here is one definition from Wikipedia.
"Libertarianism is a political philosophy maintaining that all persons are the absolute owners of their own lives, and should be free to do whatever they wish with their persons or property, provided they allow others the same liberty and avoid abusing their liberty."

According to a press release, Saturday is the big day with the morning guest speaker being Joe Vaughn of the Louisiana Department of Revenue. Also speaking, Kevin Lavine a retired state trooper who will deliver a presentation on the prohibition of drugs and answer questions.

After lunch the Libertarian Presidential Candidates George Phillies and Daniel Imperato will deliver speeches and then answer questions from the audience.

If you are interested, all events are being held at the Holiday Inn Express in Alexandria this weekend.

Why won't Edwards talk to us?

We came across this article in nola.com of a recent visit with former Governor Edwin Edwards.

Jim Gill of the Times Picayune begins his piece...
"OAKDALE -- Laughter and animated conversation fill the air, especially at our table on the verandah this sunny May morning, but the mood, if not slightly forced, cannot be typical of this place.
It is visiting day at the federal prison camp in Oakdale, where I have come to see former Gov. Edwin Edwards, whose continued confinement should offend any sense of justice or decency."

It reminds us that we have requested a visit with the former Governor as well and wonder why he is not interested in talking with us. We are, after all, one of the news organizations he grew up with. If Edwards watches local news we are one of his choices.

So we ask again, Mr. Edwards, if you are inclined to grant an interview to your local news source please call us in the KALB-TV newsroom (318) 445-6397 and we will look forward to seeing you again. Maybe a Video Blog?

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The New Orleans Levee - FREE Satire in the City


A friend gave us a copy of a newspaper produced in New Orleans described as "free satire in the city."
It is called The New Orleans Levee and the newspaper is filled with snappy repartee. This is the kind of stuff that has you laughing out loud and grabbing the phone to call someone and read it out loud.
The issue given to me is Volume 1, Issue 6. The headline blaring "City Hall now officially a joke"
Yes, it is sad. Yes, the news is at times raunchy and disrespectful (warning - this stuff is for adults) but it is funny, and some might say during these tough times it is important to keep your sense of humor.
Check out The New Orleans Levee, if not just to have a quick laugh, just to see how others in New Orleans are trying to find humor in all of the absurdity.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Farrar to seek reelection

As expected Representative Rick Farrar (D) of House District 27 will seek reelection.

According to the Legislature web page his committee assignments are as follows;
Insurance, Vice Chair
Judiciary
Ways and Means
Joint Legislative Committee on Capital Outlay
Legislative Audit Advisory Council

He is an attorney and has one challenger for the seat Chris Hazel who announced several weeks ago.

Friday, May 25, 2007

CLECO Execs Stock Dumping - no news

This story had us looking for answers Thursday and it is another good example of how we can be transparent, show the anatomy of a story and separate fact from fiction.

Thursday an email was sent to the kalb.com "contact us" box. It contained the following:
Anonymous said...
The Cleco VP dumps at least $430,000 worth of stock... which is immediately reported in the Houston Chronicle, Boston Globe, Forbes, and MSNBC.Not worthy of a mention in the Town Talk or KALB though.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007 6:35:00 PM

It turns out this was actually a post in the Cenla Antics blog. The item was of interest to us simply because of the lack of information surrounding the CLECO and City of Alexandria litigation.
The statement in the emailed comment above is not factual. Here are the facts and why this is not a news story.
CLECO Executives, like any other high level employee of a publicly traded company have a small window of opportunity to sell their earned options/shares. This is regulated by the SEC and there are public filings required. A quick visit to the CLECO website at this link, SEC filings shows all of the executives and what stock they have sold in May and for how much.

05/22/07 CRUMP KEITH D 15k
05/22/07 BUNTING ANTHONY L 8k
05/11/07 FONTENOT WILLIAM G 19k
05/10/07 FONTENOT WILLIAM G 19k
05/10/07 DAVIS R RUSSELL 17k
05/08/07 JAMES F BEN JR 8k
05/08/07 WESTBROOK W L 10k
05/08/07 GARRETT J PATRICK 19k
05/08/07 NOLEN KATHLEEN F 14k
05/08/07 MILLER JUDY P 19k
05/08/07 DAVIS R RUSSELL 17k

This is not a hidden transaction and stock holders are encouraged to check with the company they hold stock in.
Susan Broussard of the CLECO Public Relations Department responded to our calls for clarification and says "...as you know our stock has been very strong lately, CLECO has been a good investment."
Were we wrong? Did we miss an important story?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Buddy Caldwell wants to be your Attorney General

Buddy Caldwell has spent 29 years of service as a District Attorney and visited the KALB-TV studios recently for a Video Blog. Mr. Caldwell is emphasizing his long public service as an attorney for the people of Louisiana. We talked with him about why he would go after a job which some say pays too low for the position. His answer is that this is not the kind of election a person goes after to get rich.

He was elected to the office of District Attorney for the parishes of East Carroll, Madison, and Tensas in September of 1978, and has been reelected to that office ever since. On his website it says "Buddy has already been assigned and personally handled more Attorney General cases for the state than all living Attorneys General combined, despite the fact that he is not yet Attorney General."

Thinking about politics and fallen soldiers

We wish this item had come to our attention earlier this week when interviewing State Treasurer John Kennedy...


Without fanfare or national media attention, White House strategist Karl Rove went to Louisiana the weekend before last to woo State Treasurer John Kennedy (D) to the GOP and into the 2008 Senate race against Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA).
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As Memorial Day approaches our area is poised to acknowledge the huge sacrifice soldiers make to keep the push going against people who hate the American way of life.
Conservatives link our struggles to the war on terror. Liberal thinkers want communication not war.
We have interviewed countless soldiers in our exclusive coverage of Fort Polk. No other local media has made the effort to cover the post more than KALB-TV. Just ask John-Thomas Kobos what the experience has meant to him and the feedback he gets.

Today, John-Thomas attends another soldier memorial for Sergeant Jason Alan Schumann, 23, of Hawley, Minnesota. He died Saturday,May 19, near Ad Diwaniyah, Iraq. Schumann died of wounds sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle. Schumann was a Cavalry Scout assigned to Apache Troop, 3rd Squadron,89th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Infantry Division.

Schumann joined the Army in Sept. 2001 and arrived at Fort Polk in Oct. 2004.

He may not have been from central Louisiana, but he lived with us since 2004. Is it too much to ask for everyone today to bow your head and say a silent prayer for these soldiers?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Race for High Sheriff - Cenla Style

Today in the Paragon Casino candidates for the Avoyelles Parish sheriffs race gather for a debate. Longtime Sheriff Bill Belt is not running for reelection and we're told this race could be one to watch. What are the major issues facing the area and how can a new sheriff help improve law enforcement? If you have insight your comments are welcome. We will be on our toes for any election irregularities...

And speaking of election irregularities and sheriffs races, the Rapides Parish race is like a bomb waiting to go off with someone (unnamed) lighting a big fuse earlier this week.

KALB-TV news was contacted with a tip there are activities going on within the sheriffs office that are against the law(whose law we haven't figured out). We take calls like this frequently during election season and unless there is a credible and verifiable complaint that has been filed with the Elections Commission we take a pass. The majority of the complaints right now center around election signs but there are more serious issues being brought to us.

In response KALB-TV ran an item explaining where to go if there are election complaints. Nothing on the radar worth sharing yet unless we missed something, did we?
On the blogosphere this blog has been created to follow the Rapides race.
Thoughts?