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Mail: Chemical $3B plant in Lake Charles; Major porn busts; Katrina Jackson's letter about Andrew Jones
Written by  // Tuesday, 14 June 2016 12:07 // News//
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It's Bayoubuzz's Louisiana politics mailbag time: 

Here are press releases and statements we have received today of great interest--Rep. Katrina Jackson's letter regarding Andrew Jones;  largest child pornography bust by Lousiana State Police in Louisiana history; and $3 billion chemical manufacture project, in Lake Charles. 

Dear Editor:
 
I am writing this letter because of the inquiries I have received after my office and others announced the graduation ceremony for Andrew Jones.  My efforts to give this young man an experience he was denied is not, in any way, telling students that they should not follow the rules.  Important facts that will be explained in this letter is that at Tangipahoa Schools have not enforced this rule in years and this year, they only attempted to enforce it a few days before graduation at only one of their high schools, although it is a parish-wide uneforced rule.  For those unfamiliar with the story of this extraordinary young man, Andrew Jones is an 18-year-old senior at Amite High School.  He is an honor student, maintaining a 4.0 grade point average throughout his entire high school career. Not only is he an outstanding scholar, but Andrew also played varsity football and basketball for Amite High, and was named "Student of the Year".
 
The matter that is the impetus for this event stems from the enforcement of a school board's policy.  The Tangipahoa School Board has a policy and it states the following, in pertinent part, in the Student Handbook on page 8: 
 
"DRESS CODE REGULATIONS: GRADES 4-12:
1. Hairstyles and mustaches shall be clean, neatly groomed and shall not distract from the learning environment nor be a safety factor for any of the school's curricular offerings. Beards will not be allowed. Any hairstyle that distract from the unique environment of a school shall be dealt with by the principal or his/her designee of that school."
 
I have no criticism of this policy but I do take issue with the fact that the policy has not been enforced until right before graduation and even then, was not applied to all Tangipahoa Parish graduates.
 
This policy has gone unenforced all year while Jones was attending Amite High School, representing the school in academia, and while playing both basketball and football. (See Picture 1 on Attachment A)  As an LHSAA All Academic Scholar team member, when Andrew was awarded this honor, he was wearing a beard while standing with fellow students as well as the Tangipahoa School Board Parish superintendent and a school board member. (See Picture 2 on Attachment A)  
 
Throughout his tenure at Amite High School, Andrew demonstrated true leadership, maturity, and responsibility. The excellence he exhibited in all his endeavors, and particularly in the classroom, resulted in Jones being named as Amite High School's 2016 valedictorian.  Upon being named the valedictorian, Amite High School leaders asked Jones to shave his beard in accordance with district policy. What is most surprising in this unenforced rule has been in place for years; however, the school board never enforced it in recent years past, and only partially enforced it this year.  There are pictures on file in our office that reflect graduate of 2015 waring beards during their graduation ceremony at Amite High School and other Tangipahoa Parish school.  Also, there are pictures on file showing that graduates of 2016 in Tangipahoa Parish were allowed to walk across the stage with beards. (Pictures documenting this are on file in my office and are not provided here because it is not my intention to call attention to the other students who were allowed to wear beards to graduation nor to negatively impact their image.) 
 
Once Andrew was made aware that he needed to shave his beard, he complied by having his beard professionally shaven, leaving a neatly trimmed mustache and goatee. Jones' attempt to comply with the previously unenforced school policy was met with the school denying him an opportunity to commemorate this monumental achievement. (See Picture 3 on Attachment A) 
 
I, State Representative Katrina Jackson, of Monroe, Pastor Roosevelt Wright, III, of New Orleans, and Legacy Builders have joined together to give Andrew Jones the graduation celebration that this exceptional young man was denied.  Together, we are attempting to support this young man in his current and future endeavors. Andrew is still searching to find his ideal choice to continue his educational and athletic endeavors. Andrew has not received any full scholarships as of yet; but we have faith that through God and community, doors will be opened. We are urging all of you to take this to your communities as a call to action to right the grave injustice done to our youngest, brightest, and most talented.
 
The graduation ceremony for Andrew Jones will be held on Friday, June 17, 2016 at 7 p.m. at the African-American Heritage Museum, 1600 Phoenix Square, in Hammond.
 
 The public can participate in the following ways:
 
1.  Attend the graduation.  Come out and show this young man your support.
2.  Walk with him if you are a 2016 high school graduate.  Any such graduate who would like to walk with him can contact my office using the information below.
3. Sponsor a scholarship if you are an individual, group, or business owner.  If you would like to provide scholarship funds, please contact my office using the information below.
4. Help sponsor the graduation.Individuals who would like to be listed as a sponsor of the graduation can contact my office using the information below or donate HERE. 
 
For more information about this graduation or its cause, please call (318) 362-5123 or visit www.louisiana4andrew.com.
 
Sincerely,
 
Katrina R. Jackson
State Representative

CHILD PORN AND STATE POLICE 
Last week, detectives assigned to the Louisiana State Police Special Victims Unit (SVU) arrested three subjects in the culmination of three separate statewide investigations focusing on the production and distribution of child pornography in Louisiana. The arrests lead to the largest ever seizure of child pornography by the Louisiana State Police to date, totaling over one million illicit files seized. During the course of the search warrants, Troopers seized over 800 DVD’s, 13 portable storage devices, numerous cell phones and multiple laptop computers. These electronic devices all contained lewd and lascivious pornographic images and videos of children. Within the seized files, Troopers discovered videos which depicted the rape of infant children. The following is a brief summary of each of the separate arrests:  
·       On June 10, 2016, Detectives with the Louisiana State Police (SVU) Shreveport Field Office executed a search warrant at the residence of 51 year old James Dalton Vail of Shreveport, LA. Vail was found to be in possession of over one million illicit files. Vail was subsequently arrested and booked into the Caddo Correctional Center for 51 counts of Distribution of Pornography Involving Juveniles and 1,500 counts of Possession of Child Pornography.
 
·       On June 10, 2016, Detectives with the Louisiana State Police (SVU) New Orleans Field Office, with the assistance of the Louisiana Department of Justice, United States Office of Homeland Security, and the St. John Parish Sheriff’s Office, executed a search warrant at the residence of 30 year old Steven Paul Lucia of LaPlace, LA. The search resulted in Lucia’s arrest for Distribution of Child Pornography and Possession of Marijuana. Furthermore, Lucia was arrested for Contempt of Court warrants in St. John and Terrebonne Parish.
 
·       On June 8, 2016, Detectives with the Louisiana State Police (SVU) Alexandria Field Office, with the assistance of the Avoyelles Parish Sheriff's Office, executed a search warrant at the residence of 35 year old Nicholas Bordelon of Hessmer, LA. The warrant resulted in the arrest of Bordelon for over three hundred separate counts of Possession and Distribution of Child Pornography.
“We created the Special Victims Unit for exactly this purpose with a focus on rescuing victims and targeting perpetrators of crimes involving the exploitation of children and the trafficking of humans for sex or labor,” said Colonel Mike Edmonson, State Police Superintendent.  “The Louisiana State Police will employ all available investigative resources and will remain vigilant as long as individuals choose to possess, distribute, and promote child pornography.  This is a team effort as we continue to partner with law enforcement agencies across the state to bring these criminals to justice.”
All three of these investigations remain on-going. The Louisiana State Police would like to encourage anyone with any additional information pertaining to these three individuals to contact the Louisiana State Police at 318-484-2194. Persons wishing to remain anonymous may visit http://dpsweb.dps.louisiana.gov/suspicious.nsf/WebForm?OpenForm to file an online complaint.

KOREAN $3 BILLION CHEMICAL MANUFACTURE PROJECT IN LAKE CHARLES
 
Today, Louisiana Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne and Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson joined Republic of Korea Ambassador Ahn Ho-young, Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin and Axiall CEO Tim Mann in breaking ground on a $3 billion chemical manufacturing project in Lake Charles.

LACC LLC, a joint venture of Lotte Chemical and Axiall Corp., will build a $1.9 billion ethane cracker complex near Axiall’s existing manufacturing plants in Calcasieu Parish. Using a portion of ethylene produced by that plant, Lotte Chemical will produce monoethylene glycol at a $1.1 billion plant constructed beside the ethane cracker. 

Combined, the projects will create 215 new direct jobs, with the ethane cracker producing 135 new direct jobs with an average annual salary of $75,500, plus benefits, and the monoethylene glycol facility producing 80 new direct jobs with an average annual salary of $87,000, plus benefits. Louisiana Economic Development estimates the combined projects will result in 1,892 new indirect jobs, for a total of more than 2,100 new jobs in Southwest Louisiana. With its project, Axiall will retain 1,600 existing workers in the Lake Charles area, and the company estimates 2,000 construction jobs will be created at peak building activity for the new plants.

“The Southwest Region of Louisiana is a global industry leader, from the production of refined fuels and chemicals to liquefied natural gas, cryogenic insulation, paper products and agricultural goods,” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “Axiall and its predecessor, PPG, have operated one of the largest economic driver industrial sites in Louisiana for many decades. We are excited that Axiall and Lotte Chemical have combined forces to create hundreds more quality jobs in addition to the thousands of existing manufacturing jobs in the Lake Charles area. This $3 billion investment adds great value for our state and tremendous economic opportunity for our people.”

Both plants are expected to begin operating in 2019. Axiall will use its portion of the ethylene output to make vinyl chloride monomer, a precursor to plastics, and other products, such as caustic soda, chlorine and ethylene dichloride. Lotte Chemical will make monoethylene glycol, commonly called MEG, which is an important ingredient in the making of paper, textile fibers, latex paints, asphalt, resins, antifreeze, coolants and adhesives. It is expected to be the largest MEG plant in the U.S.  

“Among Korean petrochemical companies, Lotte Chemical is the first to locate a project in the United States; as such, this project represents a significant investment by Lotte Chemical,” said Lotte Chemical President and CEO Soo Young Huh.

“For Axiall, this commitment marks the next phase of our continued investment in the Lake Charles area,” said Axiall President and CEO Tim Mann. “Our construction site is just west of our largest chemicals plant, where we have operated for nearly 70 years.”
 
Axiall and Lotte Chemical disclosed the potential investment in December 2013, with their corporate boards agreeing to proceed with the project in a final investment decision in December 2015. Lotte will be the sole owner of the MEG plant, with construction on that site and the ethane cracker underway now. Upon completion of the MEG plant, Lotte plans to produce 700,000 tons per year of that product, chiefly for export to customers abroad. The ethane cracker is designed for an annual capacity of 1 million tons to be shared equally by the two companies.

The groundbreaking ceremony follows months of site preparation on approximately 250 acres at the southwest corner of the junction of Interstates 10 and 210 in the Lake Charles area.

“Southwest Louisiana continues to experience remarkable economic development, and Axiall and Lotte are contributing significantly to that activity in this part of our state,” said President Chris Landry of the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury. “The combined investment by these companies shows that, among other things, we have world-class infrastructure and a highly skilled workforce. This project further confirms what we locally already know, that Southwest Louisiana is a great place to do business and a great place to live.”

“The Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance would like to thank Lotte Chemical and Axiall Corporation for their investment in our region,” said Vice President R.B. Smith, who oversees business and workforce development for the Alliance. “Bringing this company to Southwest Louisiana keeps us on the world stage. This new complex will have a large economic impact in our region, with a major capital investment and a large number of employed workers. The Alliance stands ready to assist this project in any way possible.”

Louisiana faced competition for the projects, including from Texas for the ethane cracker, and Texas and South Korea for the MEG production facility. To secure the combined projects, the State of Louisiana offered the companies a competitive incentive package that includes a Modernization Tax Credit of $4.55 million for the ethane cracker project. Both projects will receive the comprehensive solutions of LED FastStart®, the top-ranked state workforce development program in the nation. The projects will receive Economic Development Award Program incentives of $700,000 for the ethane cracker and $1.47 million for the MEG facility to pay for site infrastructure improvements. In addition, the companies are expected to utilize Louisiana’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs.

 

LOUISIANA LEGISLATIVE TWEETS

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