NEW ORLEANS — Black Elk Energy has halted the search for a worker missing since Friday’s fire aboard the company’s oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico.
The missing crewman, Jerome Malagapo of the Philippines, was employed by Grand Isle Shipyard Inc., which had a contract with Black Elk to refurbish the platform.
The company said in a statement released Tuesday night that they would focus on the victims and their families, including those injured in the incident.
The body of 42-year-old Elroy Corporal was found over the weekend. Four workers who suffered burns during the platform fire are being treated at the Baton Rouge Medical Center.
The cause of the explosion and fire aboard the platform remains under investigation.
Wreck kills Opelousas man
ARNAUDVILLE — State police are investigating a two vehicle crash on La. 93 that claimed the life of an Opelousas man.
The accident happened just before 6 p.m. Monday.
Trooper Stephen Hammons says 68-year-old Paul Young was driving north on La. 93 near Arnaudville when his truck crossed the center line and struck a car driven by 57-year-old Beatrice Rabalais, of Lake Arthur, head-on.
Hammons says Young was pronounced dead by the St. Martin Parish Coroner, and Rabalais sustained moderate injuries.
I-49 construction nears Shreveport
SHREVEPORT — Construction of Interstate 49 north soon will reach Shreveport.
The Times reports that the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development will open bidding next month for the leg between La. Highway 1 and Shreveport’s Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. Construction would start in early 2013.
Since the state broke ground on the $631 million project in 2006, businesses and residents near the planned 36-mile corridor have anticipated economic growth from the highway.
Transportation spokeswoman Susan Stafford says construction of the final segment from MLK Drive to I-220 is expected to start in 2014.
Mayor Cedric Glover says he is thankful and relieved that something he and others have worked on for so long finally is coming to fruition.
There has been a concerted effort to revamp the MLK area in the past few years, said Bruce Roberts, director of the North Shreveport Business Association. But a lack of traffic — something companies look at — has been an obstacle. I-49’s development in that area will facilitate increased traffic, he said.
The state plans to open the first nine segments of I-49 from Arkansas to La. 1 next year followed by the latter two portions in 2016, said Kent Rogers, executive director of the Northwest Louisiana Council of Governments. “By this time next year, you should be driving on that part.”
Arkansas and Missouri are simultaneously working on their portions of the interstate system. Long-term plans call for I-49 to extend from Lafayette to New Orleans and north from Shreveport to Kansas City, Mo. where it will connect with other interstates and provide a link from Louisiana ports to the Canadian border, Stafford said.
Plans for an I-49 inner-city connector in Shreveport also are ongoing.
to be extended
KROTZ SPRINGS — Construction is under way on a $1 million project to extend waterlines from the Krotz Springs municipal system to serve an area along La. 105 dotted by residential water wells that have shown high levels of arsenic.
The Advocate reports the project has been driven mainly by residents, who came together to form the St. Landry Parish Water Works District 5 to oversee the project.
Arsenic, which can naturally occur or be introduced through agricultural or industrial activity, has been linked to cancer and a long list of other ailments.
Janie Neely, who serves on the water board, says the arsenic in the St. Landry Parish water wells is believed to be naturally occurring, and the only viable option for clean water was to find another source.
to have more wireless points
LAFAYETTE — All Lafayette Parish School System high schools and middle schools could have more wireless access points by the spring to make it easier for teachers to incorporate more e-learning into the classroom.
LaShona Dickerson, the district’s instructional technology director, has asked the school board to let her department move about $210,000 earmarked in her budget for the purchase of electronic reading devices for students into improving wireless access at middle and high schools.
The board will vote on the funds transfer at its Nov. 28 meeting.
The total cost of the project is about $350,000 with most of that amount covered by what had been budgeted for e-readers and other new equipment, Dickerson said.
A task force that analyzed technology needs for the school system earlier this year had recommended providing funding to acquire electronic readers.
Dickerson, who was hired after the task force’s analysis, said that the district’s schools are equipped with wireless technology but lack enough access points to support an electronic reader initiative.
More access is needed to realize the district’s goal of deploying e-readers and also launching a “bring your own mobile device” initiative in schools, Dickerson said.
Current technology and infrastructure needs have been reviewed by a volunteer task force of Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce members. An update on their work will be presented to the board at its Dec. 12 meeting, Dickerson said.
The district is already working to prepare for new state-mandated online assessments called Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, that will be fully implemented in the 2014-15 school year.
It will cost about $1.5 million for the district to become PARCC-ready, Lafayette Parish Schools Superintendent Pat Cooper said during a public event held last week.
About 1,600 Windows 7 computers will be purchased within the next year to allow time for students to practice, Dickerson said.
to challenge bridge tolls election
NEW ORLEANS — Opponents of Crescent City Connection tolls have ask Jefferson Parish officials to challenge referendum results.
The Nov. 6 referendum to extend the tolls passed by a 16 vote margin.
Stop the Tolls and the Voters League of Unincorporated West Jefferson contend a formal canvass of the election results is the only way to instill confidence in the outcome.
The Times-Picayune reports Stop the Tolls organizer Mike Teachworth and Wade Perrin, chairman of the Voters League, both wrote letters to council members and parish President John Young, stressing Jefferson voters rejection of the measure.
The tolls, which east bank-bound motorists pay 40 cents with a toll tag or $1 cash, generate $21 million annually.
From The Associated Press.