GULF OIL SPILL-INDICTMENT
Ex-BP employees face new indictments over spill
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Federal prosecutors have secured new indictments against a former BP engineer and a former BP executive charged separately with obstructing probes of the company's 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Wednesday's indictment of former BP executive David Rainey adds language alleging that he knew of the pending congressional investigation he is charged with obstructing. A federal judge had dismissed the obstruction of Congress charge from Rainey's original indictment, in part because it didn't contain that allegation.
A grand jury also handed up a new indictment Wednesday against former BP engineer Kurt Mix, who is charged with deleting text messages about the company's response to the spill. The new indictment makes few substantive changes to the version it replaces and doesn't add any new counts.
Tropical Storm Barry forms off Mexican coast
MIAMI (AP) - Forecasters say Tropical Storm Barry has formed off the southeastern Mexican coast.
The National Hurricane Center in Miami said the Atlantic season's second tropical storm is drenching areas in its path with up to 10 inches of rain in some places, raising the threat of flash floods.
Barry was about 75 miles (115 kilometers) east-northeast of Veracruz, Mexico, on Wednesday afternoon. It is expected to make landfall Thursday morning in Veracruz.
The storm has maximum sustained winds of 40 mph (64 kph), just above the threshold of at least 39 mph (63 kph) to become a named storm. It formed as a depression off the coast of Belize on Monday.
A tropical storm warning is in effect from Punta El Lagarto to Barra de Nautla.
Sheriffs discuss hurricane prep in Orleans
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Representatives from southeast Louisiana sheriff's offices met in New Orleans to discuss preparations for the current hurricane season.
Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman hosted Wednesday's meeting. At a news conference, he discussed evacuation plans for his office's facilities and inmates in the Orleans Parish Prison. Also discussed were New Orleans' booking procedures for anyone arrested during or after an evacuation; and, coordination with neighboring sheriff's offices.
Taking part with Gusman were representatives from the West Baton Rouge, St. Bernard, Jefferson and Plaquemines sheriff's offices, the Louisiana Sheriffs Association and the state Department of Corrections.
The Orleans office's support vehicles used during emergencies, including the mobile communications and booking bus, were on display, along with Orleans Parish boats and a mobile kitchen from the West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office.
6 arrested in La. for improper explosives storage
(AP) - Six executives of a Louisiana company have been arrested on charges of improperly storing explosives.
Among those arrested Tuesday were 65-year-old Explo Systems President David Fincher of Burns, Tenn.; 57-year-old Vice President David Smith of Winchester, Ky.; and 67-year-old Vice President of Operations William Terry Wright of Bossier City, La. Also arrested were 54-year-old Lionel Koons and 50-year-old Todd Dietrich, both of Haughton, La., and 43-year-old Michael Kile of Bossier City.
The men were indicted June 10 and allowed to turn themselves in. Each is free on $50,000 bond. The company was also indicted.
Each man faces five felony charges and five accompanying conspiracy counts.
State officials say Explo improperly stored millions of pounds of military propellant after an explosion, a discovery that led to the evacuation of Doyline, La.
Seafood board oversight shifted to lt. governor
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne has received new responsibilities from state lawmakers, giving him oversight of a board that promotes Louisiana seafood.
Dardenne spoke to the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board on Wednesday about the change. While Dardenne said he didn't seek the new responsibility, he said the board will fit into his office, which is charged with Louisiana's tourism marketing.
The seafood board had only modest funding before the BP oil spill in 2010, with about a $300,000 annual budget. It had been largely autonomous, under some oversight from the wildlife and fisheries department.
But the board's profile was raised when it received $30 million from BP for a seafood marketing campaign, to reassure visitors that Louisiana's seafood was safe.
WHITE CASTLE FERRY
White Castle ferry closing a week early on Friday
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - The White Castle ferry is shutting down a week early because the state has no staff to continue operating the vessel until its planned June 28 closure.
The state Department of Transportation and Development said the ferry will close permanently Friday because workers are resigning in advance of their planned layoffs and the state has no licensed staff to run the ferry.
DOTD says the state will save $1.3 million a year by closing the ferry.
Without the service, drivers must go 22 miles north to the Plaquemine ferry or 42 miles south to the Sunshine Bridge.
DOTD has shut down several ferries that primarily serve locals, including crossings at St. Francisville and Melville. The department intends to close the Edgard-Reserve ferry later this year.
Alleged 'sexting' teacher may face upgraded charge
EUNICE, La. (AP) - The "sexting" case against former Eunice High School teacher Jackie Fruge, originally filed in Eunice Municipal Court, is likely to be upgraded to a felony and moved to the state district court.
The Daily World reports both prosecutors and defense attorney Laura Rougeau have agreed to the change.
Fruge appeared in Eunice City Court Monday after Rougeau moved for a hearing to alter the original charge, prohibited sexual conduct between educator and student. Rougeau said that charge refers to direct sexual contact, which is not what police are accusing Fruge of and it doesn't fit the case.
Fruge is accused of sending several picture text messages of herself at least partially nude to at least one student.
Police arrest Metairie moving company owner
MANDEVILLE, La. (AP) - Mandeville Police have arrested a Metairie moving company owner following an investigation into an incident in which his company allegedly withheld a woman's property when she would not pay an extravagant bill.
The Times-Picayune reports 45-year-old Dundwoodie McDuffie, of Metairie, has been booked in to the St. Tammany Parish Jail on extortion and unauthorized use of a movable charges.
Lt. Gerald Sticker says police launched an investigation into McDuffie's company, Mr. Move, on May 29 after a woman said the company was holding her property because she wouldn't pay her grossly inflated bill.
Sticker says the woman said Mr. Move raised her bill to more than $2,000 after she originally was quoted a $700 price.
It was unclear whether McDuffie has an attorney.
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