KVCL Local News

Twenty nine percent of Louisiana's 12,982 bridges are deficient -- the 14th highest percentage in the nation, according to the latest federal transportation data. Minnesota had the lowest percentage of deficient bridges -- 9 percent -- while Rhode Island and Massachusetts had the worst, with more than half their bridges listed as deficient. The 2014 data was compiled by the Federal Highway Administration. Nationally, the highway administration said that 24 percent of U.S. bridges -- almost one in four -- are deficient. According to the data, Louisiana had 3,781 deficient bridges, of which 1,837 were labeled structurally deficient and 1,944 functionally obsolete. Louisiana's neighboring states all had lower percentages of deficient bridges. Twenty two percent of bridges in Arkansas and Alabama were listed as deficient; 21 percent in Mississippi, and 19 percent in Texas.

Gasoline price observers say consumers should expect an increase at the pump for the next few weeks, based on what’s happening with wholesale prices. GasBuddy.com said Thursday that a rally in gasoline markets increased prices for wholesalers, which will be passed along to consumers in the form of price increases of perhaps 10 cents a gallon next week, and 10 cents the week after that. GasBuddy Dot Com said that the expected increases are due to an increase in wholesale gas prices since the beginning of February, severe winter weather in the Northeast, and strikes at a dozen or so refineries across the country. GasBuddy Dot Com said that consumers can expect to pay $2.30 to $2.40 for a gallon of regular unleaded after the wholesale price increases kick in. Price increases in Louisiana have been comparable to the rest of the country.

A Campti man is behind bars for allegedly operating an illegal bar inside his house. Authorities say 42-year-old Leslie Williams advertised operating a bar by the name of "Unc's Place" at his residence on a social media site. The advertisements indicated that Williams charged patrons an entry fee ranging from $5 to $25 per person. Undercover Louisiana Alcohol and Tobacco Control agents and Natchitoches Parish deputies visited Williams' home in Campti Saturday night. According to police, agents were allowed to enter the bar after each paid a $20 door fee. Both agents were also reportedly able to order alcoholic beverages and were separately served a beer and a mixed drink by Williams. Williams was booked into the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center and charged with operating without either high content or low content alcohol permits.

State Education Superintendent John White says he's concerned that Governor Bobby Jindal's budget proposal will strip dollars for student testing. Jindal opposes Louisiana's use of testing tied to the Common Core education standards. Jindal administration spokeswoman Meghan Parrish says no specific testing cuts are proposed in the governor's spending recommendations for next year, which will be unveiled Friday. In a conference call Monday, White said he's heard speculation Jindal's budget would cut money the state education department uses to pay for standardized testing required under state and federal law. He says that it could put $800 million in federal aid Louisiana receives at risk. Parrish said every state agency will face "strategic reductions to contracts" in the governor's budget proposal, but she said White's department can decide where to cut its contracts.

Central Louisiana has been announced as the site for a proposed $1.2 billion aluminum mill that would hire 650 or more workers to supply aluminum for automobile bodies. The announcement was made Friday in a news release from Governor Bobby Jindal's office. American Specialty Alloys officials said that several states were considered for the plant, including Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee and Alabama. American Specialty says it plans a 1.4 million square-foot plant that would make more than 600,000 tons of aluminum sheet and aluminum plate each year, with operations planned to start in late 2016. The facility will be located on 1,200 acres formerly operated by International Paper in Pineville, Louisiana.

Winn Parish Sheriff's Department Arrest Report:

On Wednesday, February 18, the Winn Parish Sheriff's Department arrested James Steven Long, of Winnfield. Long was charged with cruelty to a juvenile. On Thursday, February 19, deputies arrested Janice Davenport, of Winnfield, on a warrant for failure to appear. On Friday, February 20, James Susan, of Dodson, was arrested for probation violation. Also arrested Friday was Bobby County, of Winnfield, on a warrant for failure to appear. On Saturday, February 21, Roger Dale Fisher, Jr., of Sikes, was arrested for cruelty to a juvenile. On Sunday, February 22, deputies arrested Kevin Sanders, of Winnfield, for possession of a Schedule II substance.

The Winnfield Band Boosters will hold their monthly meeting on Tuesday, March 10 in the WSHS Band Room starting at 6:00 p.m. Parents and alumni are invited.

LifeShare Blood Center will host a Health and Wellness Fair at Specialty Hospital in Winnfield on Thursday, March 19. Activities will be from 9:00 a.m. until 12:00 noon, and there will be a variety of exhibits and vendors. The goal of the fair is to connect and serve local communities, and to provide awareness of the services available to assist people in their day to day lives. LifeShare will also hold a blood drive at Wal Mart in Winnfield on Thursday, March 19, from 1:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m.

The next meeting of the Louisiana Crime Victims Reparations Board will be on Tuesday, March 10, at 9:00 a.m., at the Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement Office, at 602 North Fifth Street in Baton Rouge. The public is invited to attend this meeting, and assistance will be provided to those who need special accommodations in order to attend this meeting. For more information, persons may call 225.342.1500

The Juanita Pharr Cancer Support Group meets on the first Friday of each month at 12:00 noon for a dutch treat meeting. All cancer survivors and caretakers are invited. There is a different meeting place each month, and persons may contact Maxine Godman for more information at 628-3858.