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Air Force plans to cut more than 600 positions at Barksdale AFB

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Written By 

Deborah Barfield Berry
Gannett Washington Bureau  

 

 

  

 

 

WASHINGTON — Barksdale Air Force Base near Bossier City would lose more than 600 positions next fiscal year, mostly due to the loss of A-10 combat planes, under a plan proposed by the Air Force.

The plan calls for cutting 409 drill positions and 171 air reserve technician/civilian positions at Barksdale’s reserve unit in fiscal 2013, which begins Oct. 1. Six active-duty positions and 38 civilian positions also would be cut.

A total of 831 positions would be lost for the period covering fiscal 2012 and fiscal 2013, according to the report.

 

Fort Polk would add 32 positions, and there would be no personnel changes next year at the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in New Orleans.

 

The cuts are part of $487 billion in reductions approved last year when Congress agreed to increase the nation’s debt limit. The agreement also requires about $1 trillion in cuts over the next nine years unless Congress can come up with a plan to reduce the debt by that amount. Half of those cuts – about $500 billion – would come from the defense budget.

 

The Air Force budget-cutting plan is subject to congressional approval.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told lawmakers at a recent congressional hearing that proposed reductions at the Air National Guard focus more on equipment such as the A-10, and on whether the planes fit into the military’s strategy.

 

Defense officials decided that such single-mission aircraft “are the ones that we need to gradually reduce,’’ Panetta said.

 

Panetta said he asked Air Force officials “to do everything possible to try to mitigate the impact of those reductions.’’

 

Earlier this year, Air Force officials outlined plans to cut or transfer 24 of Barksdale’s A-10 combat planes.

 

Air Force officials plan to save money by retiring 200 aircraft in fiscal 2013. They would retire or reclassify aircraft from seven squadrons, including five A-10 squadrons, one F-16 squadron and one F-15 training squadron.

 

Most proposed cuts to the reserve unit at Barksdale relate to the A-10, officials said.

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Written by demon53

March 9, 2012 at 3:28 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Early voting begins Saturday for March 24 elections in Cenla

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Source: Town Talk.com 

 

 

Early voting for the March 24 presidential preference primary elections and local elections — including mayoral races in Natchitoches, Ferriday and four other Cenla municipalities, will begin Saturday.

Early voting, which takes place in parish registrars of voters’ offices, will continue Monday through Friday next week, March 12-17.

Hours for early voting at the Rapides Parish registrar’s office are 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on those days.

The deadline to accept requests for ballots to vote absentee by mail is 4:30 p.m. March 20, according to a news release from Rapides Registrar Joanell Wilson.

In addition to Natchitoches and Ferriday, the Cenla communities holding mayoral elections on March 24 are Chataignier, Clarence, Powhatan and Florien.

The Democratic presidential primary candidates on Louisiana ballots are “Bob” Ely, Barack Obama, Darcy G. Richardson and John Wolfe.

Listed on ballots for the Republican Party presidential preference primary, even though some of the candidates have dropped out of the race, are Michele Bachmann, Randy Crow, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Charles “Buddy” Roemer, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum.

Here are the March 24 elections, for which early voting begins Saturday:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Natchitoches Parish

 

Mayor, City of Natchitoches

 

Marvin Blake Jr. (D)

 

Juanita Howard Fowler (D)

 

Lee Posey (N)

Written by demon53

March 9, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

BP ready for lengthy oil spill trial

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Written By: The Associated Press

 

BP chief executive Bob Dudley said the company is able to fight a lengthy court battle over the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Dudley, who took control of BP in October 2010 after former chief executive Tony Hayward resigned amid criticism over the way he had handled the oil spill, told Sunday Telegraph newspaper that BP can continue to function even if the court case that begins in New Orleans Monday continues for years.

We have to remember we are a business that invests in decade-long cycles,” he said in an interview published Sunday. “For the vast majority of people now at BP, the company is back on its feet and it is starting to move forward,” he said.

 

BP has set aside $40 billion to deal with fines and associated costs of the April 20, 2010, blowout of BP’s deepwater Macondo well which killed 11 workers and injured 17. The burning drilling rig Deepwater Horizon toppled and sank to the Gulf floor, where it sits today.

 

It took engineers 85 days to permanently cap the well. By then, more than 200 million gallons of oil leaked from the well and had covered much of the northern half of the Gulf of Mexico — endangering fisheries, killing marine life and shutting down offshore oil drilling operations.

 

President Barack Obama called the BP spill “the worst environmental disaster the nation has ever faced.”

 

Dudley said BP had improved safety standards on its rigs, five of which are working again in the Gulf of Mexico, and that the company was still committed to deepwater drilling.

Written by demon53

February 27, 2012 at 2:47 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

La. retirement system board opposes Jindal’s plan

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Written By:

The Associated Press

 

 

 

 

BATON ROUGE — The board that governs the Louisiana State Employees Retirement System now is on record in opposition to most of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s proposed pension system overhaul.

Board members voted Friday to oppose the plan, saying the revamp would violate constitutional guarantees and existing employment contracts.

The changes would shrink retirement benefits for thousands of state workers, boost their costs and push back the age for collecting benefits.

Changes in benefits and retirement conditions can be made for new hires without violating the law, and LASERS has in the past supported such measures when they made fiscal sense, LASERS executive director Cindy Rougeou said.

“It’s not that we are opposed to change. We are opposed to unconstitutional change,” Rougeou said.

Jindal’s deputy chief of staff Kristy Nichols said the plan is constitutional and legal. And she said the changes are needed to reduce the retirement system’s unfunded accrued liability — the amount by which the retirement system’s benefit obligations exceed the assets of the system. State voters passed a constitutional amendment requiring the state to pay off that old debt by 2029.

The unfunded liability for the Louisiana State Employees Retirement System and other state worker retirement systems is more than

$18 billion.

LASER’s share of that liability is about $6.45 billion — much of it attributable to promises made decades ago by past governors and legislatures.

Nichols said LASERS’ opposition is predictable.

“They are opposed but offer no solution to address the problem that exists,” Nichols said.

The board took no position on Jindal-pushed legislation that would move LASERS from a defined benefits to cash-balance system based on individual pension accounts similar to 401(k)s.

Written by demon53

February 27, 2012 at 2:43 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

JOBWATCH: Louisiana unemployment claims fall

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Source : Shreveport Times.com

Written By:

Adam Duvernay

aduvernay@shreveporttimes.com

 

Louisiana unemployment claims for the week ending Feb. 18 fell again following a pattern consistent since mid-January.

Initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased to 3,007 from the previous week’s total of 3,143.

The week ending Feb. 19, 2011, saw 3,167 initial claims filed that week, according to the Louisiana Workforce Commission.

The four-week moving average of initial claims, a less volatile measure of claims, decreased to 3,205 from the previous week’s average of 3,289 claims.

Continued unemployment insurance weeks claimed decreased to 39,009 from the previous week’s total of 40,007, according to the commission.

The four-week moving average of continued weeks claimed decreased to 40,540 from the previous week’s average of 41,591.

In the week ending Feb. 18, the U.S. Department of Labor reported nationwide initial unemployment claims were 351,000, unchanged from the previous week’s revised figure.

The four-week moving average was 359,000, a decrease of 7,000 from the previous week’s revised average of 366,000.

 

Written by demon53

February 27, 2012 at 2:35 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Today is the deadline to register to vote March 24

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Written By: Town Talk Staff

Source: Town Talk.com

 

 

 

 

The last day to register to vote in the March 24 election is today, Feb. 22. Early voting is March 10-17.

Voters are required to present a picture identification.

 

Local issues and the presidential preference primary are on the March ballot.

 

Runoffs, if needed, will be held April 21.

 

—Online: To register online, go to www.GeauxVote.com.

Written by demon53

February 22, 2012 at 3:16 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Bill to fix Louisiana’s ‘forgotten’ rural roads gets Jindal’s support

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Source: News-Star.com

Written by:

GREG HILBURN

 

 

 

 

 

CHATHAM, La. — Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal will back a bill by Louisiana House Appropriations Chairman Jim Fannin that would raise $325 million to fix dilapidated state roads and highways, some of which have been neglected for three decades.

Jindal said Monday the state has invested about $4.1 billion for infrastructure projects during his tenure, but little of that went to the rural state roads that aren’t eligible for federal match funding.

 

“Many of these roads have seen no major work for 30 years,” Jindal said. “It’s appalling. It’s important to invest in every corner of the state, and these roads have been forgotten too long.”

 

There are 6,000 miles of mostly rural state roads that aren’t eligible for federal funds and have been virtually ignored by the state.

 

Fannin’s bill would allow the state to sell 20-year bonds to raise $325 million to repair the roads. The bonds would be funded by a revenue stream from truck and trailer fees already dedicated to the roads, about $50 million a year.

 

He plans to pre-file the bill this week, and Jindal said he will include it in the administration’s package of legislation.

 

“It’s a wonderful piece of news for our whole state,” Fannin, D-Jonesboro, said of the governor’s support. “It allows the rural communities to be re-connected to the state.”

 

Fannin’s proposed bill also has the backing of both House Transportation Chairman Karen St. Germain, D-Plaquemine, and Senate Transportation Chairman Robert Adley, R-Benton.

 

The eligible state roads, like Louisiana 147 in Jackson Parish, don’t meet the traffic count requirements to make them eligible for federal matching money.

 

“These roads may not technically qualify as major roads, but if you have a house or a business on one of them then it’s a major road to you,” Jindal said.

 

Marshall Hill, administrator for the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development’s Monroe District, said the legislation, if passed, would have a major impact throughout northeastern Louisiana.

 

“It would be a game-changer for us,” Hill said. “It will give us an opportunity to do some major work that hasn’t been done for a long time. Louisiana 147 is a prime example. It’s in bad shape and not getting any better.”

 

Terry Baugh, chief financial officer for D&J Construction in West Monroe, an asphalt company, said road project would create much needed business for contractors.

 

“It would help us because the rural highways that would benefit from this program are right in our company’s wheelhouse,” Baugh said. “Those roads have been neglected a long time. Investing in them is good for these communities and it’s good for the economy.”

Written by demon53

February 22, 2012 at 3:08 pm

Posted in Uncategorized