BATON ROUGE — A 47-year-old woman arrested by New York authorities on Dec. 3 in the 1984 slaying of businessman has been extradited to Louisiana.
Leila Mulla, of Astoria, N.Y., was transported to Baton Rouge Thursday after being arrested by New York police. Mulla was booked with criminal conspiracy, simple robbery and second-degree murder.
Ronald Dalton Dunnagan, 64, of Bossier City, was arrested by the Bossier Parish sheriff’s deputies and booked on Dec. 4 on counts of first-degree murder, simple robbery and criminal conspiracy in the case.
The two are accused of conspiring to rob and kill Gary Kergan, of Crowley, sometime around Nov. 29, 1984. Police said Kergan was last seen alive at Mulla’s north Baton Rouge home.
Shaw stockholders approve sale
BATON ROUGE — Shaw Group shareholders on Friday overwhelmingly approved the $3 billion sale of the company to CB&I.
Company officials said that 83 percent of shareholders voted to approve the sale. A vote of at least 75 percent was required for the deal to go forward.
Earlier this week, CB&I shareholders approved the purchase.
Shaw founder J.M. Bernhard Jr. said he expects the sale to close in mid-February.
Bernhard said he expected shareholders to approve the sale, since CB&I agreed to pay about $46.86 in cash and stock for each Shaw share. He said that was a premium of about 76 percent over the $26.69 that Shaw shares were trading at on July 27, the day before the deal was announced.
Lafayette parks tax election OK’d
LAFAYETTE — The State Bond Commission has voted to approve an April 6 vote in the city of Lafayette on a property tax increase to support the struggling Parks and Recreation Department.
The department stands to gain an estimated $6.5 million annually if voters approve the measure, which would replace an existing 1.92-mill property tax with a new 7-mill property tax.
The net gain of $6.5 million would not only replace the nearly $4 million annual general fund subsidy that keeps the department afloat, but it would also provide enough money to keep the city’s parks and recreation facilities in better condition in order to avoid more costly repairs down the road.
On Thursday, Treasurer John Kennedy, chairman of the State Bond Commission, asked if anyone wanted to comment on the Lafayette proposal, but no one did.
Commissioners had received a letter from Lafayette resident Ross Little Jr. protesting the proposition because Lafayette government officials had missed the Nov. 19 deadline to submit a resolution asking for the election. The City-Parish Council approved a resolution in favor of putting the issue on the April 6 ballot during its Nov. 20 meeting, one day after the deadline.
Whit Kling, director of the Bond Commission, said the application was submitted on time, along with a draft of the resolution, but the signed resolution was late. He said commission rules say the chairman can waive that last requirement.
“We’ve been flexible in terms of the deadline,” Kennedy said. “If I had not waived anything before, I would have not waived this.”
Kling pointed out the April 6 election is not a special election because it is a regularly scheduled ballot for local issues.
Wal-Mart workers arrested for theft
MARRERO — The grocery manager and another employee at a Wal-Mart store in Marrero have been arrested in an alleged scheme to steal Apple iPads from the store.
Manager Kenneth Rancifer, 33, of Harvey, and Robert Brown, 51, of New Orleans, were arrested Tuesday and booked with theft of property worth more than $1,500, according to Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office arrest reports.
Investigators said loss-prevention officers there were investigating the disappearance of several iPads. They said they spotted Rancifer on Monday taking iPads from a locked case while Brown acted as a lookout. Both men were detained.
Deputies said they found several items believed to have been stolen from the store at Rancifer’s apartment.
Official vows better inspections
BATON ROUGE — Louisiana’s Office of Public Health is going statewide with a plan that officials say cut past-due restaurant and retail food inspections by at least one-third during a nine-parish pilot that began in February.
Assistant Secretary J.T. Lane said Thursday that he’s making other changes to fix problems noted in a highly critical state audit released last month.
“Everyone will be working with the same system. We’ll have everyone’s schedule and be linked statewide,” he said. “We can see who is measuring up and who is not.”
Auditors said OPH gave permits to restaurants that failed to correct violations found before the restaurants opened. The office didn’t meet its own standards, such as inspecting restaurants four times a year, Lane said.
He said restaurants working with raw meat and produce will see inspectors four times a year.
A new scheduler will let inspectors easily see which inspections are needed first and statewide standards are being implemented instead of regional control, he said. An audit released in November criticized DHH for not having standardized practices and fines.
The department also is streamlining the steps to make restaurants with problems meet the regulations — including bringing in the courts, so owners that don’t pay fees can be held in contempt of court.
New programs start in January; Lane said he hopes to have them statewide by June and expects the department to clear its backlog of inspections by September.
Fight brews over Fourchon Beach
PORT FOURCHON — A legal conflict is brewing over public access to Fourchon Beach, and Lafourche Parish’s authority to develop the area for tourism.
The beach is owned by Caillouet Land Co. and Wisner Donation, a private land trust. It has long been off-limits to vehicles and sporadically closed to pedestrians.
Thibodaux seeks downtown director
THIBODAUX — Thibodaux Main Street is seeking applicants for its executive director position.
The current executive director Cody Blanchard is resigning Dec. 31 from her post as head of the downtown development group and will lead a local advertising and marketing firm.
The director is responsible for coordinating downtown revitalization activities. The group is seeking applicants with a bachelor’s degree and experience in one or more of the following: historic preservation, planning, economic development, retailing, marketing, design, volunteer management, nonprofit management and small business development.
The salary range is $28,000 to $32,000 a year.
is on schedule
LAKE CHARLES — Leucadia’s Clean Energy is making progress on its $2.5 billion facility and plans are on schedule, a company spokesman says.
Rick Richard said that $19 million has been invested in site preparation.
In October, Lake Charles Clean Energy, a subsidiary of Leucadia, secured agreements with BP Products North America, Air Products and Chemicals and Denbury Offshore to buy products that will be produced at the facility. It will be on Port of Lake Charles property along the Calcasieu Ship Channel near the Citgo Refinery.
Port Executive Director Bill Rase said the port received a 25-year operating contract with Clean Energy for the site. Besides drainage improvements, Rase said Clean Energy is also raising the property 10-12 feet.
The plant will use 7,000 metric tons of petcoke a day acquired from Gulf Coast refiners under an agreement with Koch Carbon. Petcoke is an energy-rich waste byproduct produced from refining high-in-sulfur content crude oil.
Texas reporter killed in crash
to be buried in La.
BEAUMONT, Texas — A funeral and mass for a 20-year TV anchor and reporter in Beaumont who was killed in a car crash will be held in his hometown of Kinder, La.
KFDM anchorman Bill Leger was killed around 1 a.m. Saturday while driving south on Louisiana 93, north of the town of Scott. Police say the 48-year-old failed to negotiate a curve.
The network says a wake will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 25 at Ardoin Funeral Home in Kinder, where Leger was born. A funeral service will be held at St. Philip Neri Catholic Church in Kinder at 2 p.m. on Wednesday.
Leger is survived by his wife Patricia, two daughters, Tatum and Tori, and his parents, Stanley and Kathryn Leger.
Grambling band to march at inaugural
GRAMBLING — The Grambling State University Tiger Marching Band will represent Louisiana in January at the parade honoring the inauguration of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.
The parade is set for Jan. 21 in Washington.
“We are just so happy and excited to have this opportunity,” said GSU band director Larry Pannell. “It’s just an honor being bestowed upon us.”
The Grambling band marched in parades for the inaugural parades of presidents Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush in addition to the 2009 inaugural of Obama.
Feds seek to seize Carencro strip club
LAFAYETTE — Federal prosecutors are seeking to seize Desperado’s Gentlemen’s Cabaret as part of the case against the Carencro strip club’s owner, who was arrested earlier this month in an investigation of drugs and prostitution at the business.
James Panos, 54, was booked Dec. 5 on a federal complaint charging him with “maintaining drug-involved premises” in connection what federal agents have alleged was open drug dealing by dancers and other employees at the club.
A federal grand jury last week indicted Panos on the charge.
Panos’ attorney disputes whether the club’s owner had direct knowledge of an illegal activity at the club.
Weather threatens St. James bonfires
LUTCHER (AP) — St. James Parish officials are concerned the parish’s oldest tradition may face an unwanted enemy this year.
Sheriff Willy Martin said a forecast of thunderstorms and southerly wind could cause the annual Christmas Eve tradition of lighting bonfires along the Mississippi River to be postponed.
The traditional 7 p.m. lighting of the bonfires is on today.
From The Associated Press.