BC-LA--Louisiana-News Digest,ADVISORY, LA

News,Science and Technology

Louisiana at 2 a.m. on Wednesday.

Good morning, Louisiana editors.

If you have any contributions for or questions about the report, call 1-800-662-7717. To report technical problems: 1-800-469-1362. AP stories, along with the photos that accompany them, can also be obtained from Reruns are also available from the Service Desk (800-838-4616). The news editor is Brian Schwaner. The breaking news staffer this morning is Bill Fuller.



NEW ORLEANS — Scientists in Michigan and Louisiana are predicting a big summer "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico unless a tropical storm hits the area shortly before or during the annual measurement. In the Chesapeake Bay, scientists expect a smaller-than-average area where there's too little oxygen to support fish, shellfish and other aquatic life. The hypoxic zone in the Gulf is likely to be the largest since annual measurements began in 1985, covering 8,561 square miles — about the size of New Jersey, according to scientists from Louisiana State University and the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium.


BATON ROUGE, La. — The state education board is on track to spend $2 million from an oil and gas trust fund for a pilot program to expand online high school course offerings to public school students, after the previous financing source was declared unconstitutional. A panel of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted 8-2 Tuesday to pay for the "Course Choice" program, to begin in the 2013-14 school year. A majority of the full board voted for the financing, with final approval slated for Wednesday. By Melinda Deslatte.


NEW ORLEANS — A 13-year-old boy from a New Orleans suburb was charged with second-degree murder in the death of his 5-year-old half-sister after investigators said he told them he repeatedly struck her with wrestling moves imitated from TV. "The 13-year-old reported he started to wrestle with the victim and practiced 'WWE' style wrestling moves on the 5-year-old," Col. John Fortunato of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office said in a news release Tuesday.


FRANKLINTON, La. — A pre-dawn gas line explosion shook residents out of their beds in a rural, wooded area of Washington Parish, briefly knocking out power to thousands of people but not injuring anybody. An 80-foot section of 30-inch pipeline ruptured about 5:30 a.m. Tuesday about 10 miles from Franklinton, said Louisiana State Trooper Nicholas Manale. With AP Photos.


NEW ORLEANS — For the second year in a row, Louisiana farmers have planted fewer acres of cotton than ever recorded. A new record low had been expected. But the estimated 125,000 acres are 50,000 fewer even than what was predicted earlier this year.


WALKER — An attorney for Livingston Parish School Board President Malcolm Sibley says his client is remorseful over his involvement in an accident that claimed the life of a 21-year-old Mississippi man. The comments by attorney Sherman Mack came Monday as state police had Sibley's damaged pickup towed from his home in Walker. Mack said Sibley is fully cooperating with troopers but declined to say why Sibley drove away from the scene after the fatal crash or what he was doing driving in the area around 5 a.m. Saturday. Sibley was booked into the St. Helena Parish Jail with one count of felony hit-and-run Sunday, more than a day after William Iasigi, of Liberty, Miss., was killed in the crash on La. Highway 43 just north of Greensburg.


BATON ROUGE — The owners of a Morgan City wastewater brokerage have been charged in Baton Rouge federal court for alleged participation in a conspiracy that illegally injected more than 380,000 gallons of industrial wastes down a well in Assumption Parish. On Monday, Raymond Marcel Jr., of Berwick, and Cyril D. Robicheaux, of Morgan City, were charged with a felony by U.S. Attorney Donald J. Cazayoux Jr. Both Marcel and Robicheaux were accused of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and violate the Safe Drinking Water Act.


BATON ROUGE — A former septic system inspector for the Onsite Wastewater Program of the state's Center for Environmental Services has admitted in federal court that he accepted approximately $50,000 in bribes from a septic tank contractor. Alan Forrest Pogue, 52, of Covington, pleaded guilty to a charge that he used a telephone in the bribery scheme, which extended from May 2009 until June 2011. The septic tank contractor was Glenn Kelly Johnson, formerly of Denham Springs. Johnson, who had moved to Brookhaven, Miss., also was charged in the case. Johnson died in April. Pogue entered his plea before visiting U.S. District Judge Patricia Minaldi on Monday. He will be sentenced on Sept. 20.


MONROE — The Monroe City School System spends more than twice as much on central office expenses as the nearest comparable district and that's something that concerns Superintendent Brent Vidrine and board members. The most recent data available through the Louisiana Department of Education shows Monroe City Schools spending $2,319 per student on central office and other non-school sites that provide support for the entire district. St. Martin Parish, the district with the closest number of students — about 250 less than Monroe — spends $1,190 per student. Vidrine said that number needs to go down.


HOUMA — The Terrebonne Levee District is gearing up for its busiest year of levee-building yet as its board plans to move ahead with millions of dollars in construction paid for with a new 1/2-cent sales tax. The board will review its upcoming budget at a meeting noon Wednesday. Terrebonne Levee Director Reggie Dupre said this fiscal year's budget, which extends from July 1 to June 30, will be the biggest in Levee District history. A majority of this year's budget is devoted to ongoing work on the local Morganza-to-the-Gulf levee project. Morganza is a system of levees and floodgates designed to protect Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes from storm flooding. The local Morganza effort aims to build 10-foot levees and 18-foot floodgates from Cut Off to Dularge.


Editors: The following brief items moved Tuesday on AP's Louisiana wire and may be of interest for your Wednesday editions.


NEW ORLEANS — Federal investigators say someone poisoned and killed two bald eagles in Thibodaux. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries are offering $3,500 for information leading to the conviction of whoever killed the national birds.


NEW ORLEANS — A New Orleans Police officer has been fired for violating the department's policy on moral conduct. In a news release, officials said Jeremy Wilcox was dismissed Tuesday.


SHREVEPORT, La. — There shouldn't be any hang-ups if hunters and fishermen want to donate their catch to nonprofits that feed the hungry. Gov. Bobby Jindal on Tuesday signed a bill by Keithville Sen. Sherri Buffington that allows for the donations. The legislation came after state health inspectors destroyed 1,600 pounds of deer meat donated by hunters to a homeless shelter in northwest Louisiana.


MONROE — The city of Monroe will spend $1.7 million to purchase equipment for its Sanitation Division to add 14 new tractors and eight mowers city officials say should help eliminate much of the mowing concerns. Several Monroe City Council members brought up the need for more mowing during budget discussions in February.


BATON ROUGE — The former owner of the now-defunct House of Blues Club on Airline Highway has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for raping an intoxicated 18-year-old woman in a private room at the Baton Rouge club in 2009. State District Judge Mike Erwin, who convicted Leonard Ray Douglas of simple rape in August, imposed the maximum sentence on Monday.


PONCHATOULA — Livingston Parish sheriff's deputies are searching for an inmate who walked away from his work release job. Sheriff's office spokeswoman Lori Steele said Tederick Bessie, 39, of Baton Rouge, walked away from Elmer's Chocolate Factory in Ponchatoula at about 6 a.m. Monday.


A 12-year-old girl from Livingston Parish will represent Louisiana in the Braille Challenge Finals on Saturday in Los Angeles. Chloe Ashford won a regional contest at the Louisiana School for the Visually Impaired, in the category for students in grades 7-9. She will compete in the "junior varsity" division against 11 other students.



NEW YORK — Lil Wayne says he wasn't intentionally stepping on the American flag when shooting his latest video. Video of the rapper from his music video shoot for the song "God Bless Amerika" hit the Web on Monday. In it, he appears to be stepping on top of the American flag. But he said in a Facebook post Tuesday the flag on the ground will not appear in the clip.

AP Photos NYET217-0201131448, NYET218-0201131448.



BATON ROUGE — The Research Park Corp. board of directors is set to vote next month on selling off its interest in the Bon Carre Business Center development in Baton Rouge. The tax-funded Research Park Corp. acquired the financially ailing former mall development in 2003 — selling a $6 million stake in the property to six local investors, while holding onto a $2 million interest in Bon Carre. The RPC sent out an agenda for its July 18 meeting on Monday, with one of the items to approve the sale of all of the organization's interest in Bon Carre. Last month the RPC board held a closed-door meeting to discuss a proposal related to real estate transactions, but took no action.



NEW ORLEANS — A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought by the Dixie Brewing Co. in an effort to stop any demolition of the building which is now part of the new VA hospital under construction in New Orleans. The VA plans to demolish some parts of the German Romenesque building, which opened in 1907 but was crumbling even before Hurricane Katrina damaged it.



OMAHA, Neb. — Home runs are few and far between at the College World Series these days, which made Brian Holberton's first-inning shot all the more important for North Carolina. Holberton staked freshman starter Trent Thornton to a two-run lead before he even took the mound Tuesday, and No. 1 national seed Carolina went on to beat LSU 4-2 in an elimination game. By Eric Olson.

AP Photos NENH104-0618131414, NENH103-0618131321, NENH105-0618131415, NENH106-0618131416, NENH110-0618131555, NENH109-0618131451, NENH107-0618131511, NENH112-0618131618, NENH111-0618131619.


OMAHA, Neb. — An LSU team that came to the College World Series as one of the top offensive clubs in the nation left town wondering how it could have scored only three runs in two losses. Cody Glenn gave up a first-inning home run to Brian Holberton and the Tigers left 13 runners on base in a 4-2 loss to No. 1 national seed North Carolina on Tuesday. By Eric Olson.

AP Photos NENH104-0618131414, NENH103-0618131321, NENH105-0618131415, NENH106-0618131416, NENH110-0618131555, NENH109-0618131451, NENH107-0618131511, NENH112-0618131618, NENH111-0618131619.

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