Louisiana news briefs
5 fertilizer plants planned in La.
LETTSWORTH — A Florida company has plans to build five plants in Louisiana’s Pointe Coupee Parish that will convert agricultural waste into fertilizer.
BioNitrogen Corp., of Doral, Fla., said Thursday it has been granted preliminary approval by the Louisiana Community Development Authority to issue up to $1.25 billion in tax-exempt bonds to acquire land for the plants and build and develop the facilities.
BioNitrogen said it signed a letter of intent to buy about 250 acres of land next to the Pointe Coupee Parish Port near Lettsworth that will be used for the plants.
Bryan Kornegay Jr., president and chief financial officer of BioNitrogen, said each of the Pointe Coupee plants would hire about 52 full-time employees.
on land purchase
ALEXANDRIA — Sundrop Fuels, Inc. has closed on the purchase of more than 1,213 acres of land in Louisiana where the biofuels company plans to locate its plant manufacturing “green gasoline.”
Sundrop has had an option on the property for more than a year while it moved forward with pre-construction efforts, including permitting.
Sundrop, a Colorado-based biofuels startup, announced plans in late 2011 to build a $500 million pilot plant for its renewable fuel in the Alexandria area.
The plant will use woody biomass and natural gas to produce liquid fuel ready to drop into a gas tank. Vehicles don’t need to be modified to use it, and it doesn’t need to be blended with petroleum-based gasoline.
Civil War re-enactors in Thibodaux
THIBODAUX — Re-enactors based in Thibodaux will tell the history of the Bayou Lafourche region during the Civil War and demonstrate camp cooking, military drill and other aspects of life in the Union and Confederate armies this weekend.
The unit called Hellfire Stew Mess/Bouanchaud’s Battery will spend the weekend encamped at the E.D. White Historic Site.
A news release from the Louisiana State Museum and Friends of E.D. White Historic Site says the event is free and open to the public.
The re-enactors will be there from 2 to 4 p.m. Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. For more information call 985-447-0915.
The site was the home of Edward Douglass White, who was Louisiana’s governor from 1835 to 1839, and his son, Edward Douglass White Jr., who served in the Confederate Army. The younger White left the U.S. Senate in 1894 for the United States Supreme Court, and was chief justice from 1910 to 1921.
Deaths of couple ruled murder-suicide
LAFAYETTE — Sheriff’s detectives investigating the deaths of a north Lafayette Parish couple say they have concluded that Joseph Babineaux shot his wife Judith Babineaux then turned the handgun on himself
Sheriff’s office spokesman Kip Judice says the bodies of the Babineauxs, both 52, were found by a family member on Wednesday in a front room of their home.
Judice says the handgun, which detectives believe belonged to Joseph Babineaux, was found close to the bodies.
One-stop permit, license shop hailed
NEW ORLEANS — The New Orleans mayor’s office says a ribbon cutting will be held later this month to mark the consolidation of several city offices into what it calls a “One Stop Shop” for securing permits and licenses.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s office said Thursday that the offices involved are completing their moves to the City Hall One Stop Shop this week.
Early graduation program abandoned
BATON ROUGE — Plans to create a statewide program that would give college tuition grants to Louisiana students who graduate early from high school have been scrapped.
The scholarship program was approved by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education last year in the state’s education financing formula, with expectations it would begin in the 2013-14 school year.
But Superintendent of Education John White didn’t include the program in his proposal to BESE for next year’s school funding formula. He said Thursday that his department has no plans to move ahead with creating the program.
Methanol plant planned in Vacherie
VACHERIE — Companies from Texas and New Zealand plan a $1.3 billion methanol plant in the St. James Parish town of Vacherie, Gov. Bobby Jindal said Thursday. The owners say it will be the largest methanol plant in the United States.
Methanol is used to produce everyday goods such as plastics, polyester fibers and fabrics, pesticides, fuel additives, pharmaceuticals and adhesives for the wood products industry. It is generally made from methane, a component of natural gas.
South Louisiana Methanol LP, owned by Todd Corp. of Wellington, New Zealand, and Zero Emission Energy Plant Ltd. — or ZEEP — of Austin, Texas, expects to have 63 employees earning an average of $66,500 a year, Jindal said.
Carnival signs deal with Orleans port
NEW ORLEANS — Carnival Cruise Lines has signed a three-year extension of its current berthing agreement with the Port of New Orleans, port officials said Thursday in a news release.
The extension means there will be two Carnival cruise ships sailing year round from New Orleans through at least Feb. 12, 2016, the port said.
“This agreement continues to demonstrate Carnival’s commitment to the New Orleans market as a top homeport for its customers,” Gary LaGrange, the port’s president and CEO, said in the release.
Carnival has two ships home-ported in New Orleans year round: The Carnival Conquest, which carries up to 2,974 passengers on seven-day cruises to the eastern and western Caribbean; and the Carnival Elation, which can carry 2,052 on its four- and five-day cruises to Cozumel and Progreso, Mexico.
MONROE — A former teacher who made bomb threats against three Ouachita Parish schools will serve at least four months in jail.
David Reyna was sentenced in state district court in Monroe on Thursday. Judge Stephens Winters sentenced Reyna to 65 months hard labor with all but 20 months suspended. Reyna could be eligible for parole in four months.
Winters also sentenced Reyna to three years supervised probation and 100 hours of community service following his release.
NEW ORLEANS — The Coast Guard says a wellhead damaged earlier this week off Plaquemines Parish has been secured.
Ensign Tanner Stiehl says Wild Well Control crews secured the well shortly after a specialized barge arrived Thursday in Lake Grande Ecaille Bay, nine miles southwest of Port Sulphur.
The wellhead owned by Houston-based Swift Energy Co. was damaged Tuesday by one of the company’s crewboats. Stiehl says skimmer boats have since collected more than 1,200 gallons of oily water. He says 4,880 feet of boom was set out to contain the spill and keep it out of marshes.
Officials say the wellhead released less than 840 gallons of oil a day. Swift says the well was producing about 756 gallons of oil a day in January 2008, when it was shut in.
B.R. parks may start selling alcohol
BATON ROUGE — The commission that oversees East Baton Rouge Parish parks has approved a policy that will govern the sale of alcohol at its facilities.
But before the beer and wine flow, the Metro Council will have to change a parish ordinance that generally prohibits the possession of alcohol at most facilities.
Park Superintendent Carolyn McKnight said there will be no hard liquor sold.
Man indicted for investment fraud
BATON ROUGE — A federal grand jury has indicted a Louisiana man on 18 counts of mail fraud for allegedly executing a $13 million investment fraud scheme.
U.S. Attorney Donald J. Cazayoux Jr. announced Thursday that 57-year-old James R. Holdman, of Baker, operated a hedge fund called Greenwing Capital Management LLC and solicited and received millions of dollars in investment funds from the victim investors.
The indictment alleges that Holdman falsely represented to the victims that their investments were earning positive rates of return when, in fact, he had lost more than 98 percent of their funds.
From The Associated Press.