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News in Brief- May 2, 2018

News in Brief- May 2, 2018

Louisiana site chosen for $25M graphite processing facility


VIDALIA, La. (AP) — Australian graphite producer Syrah Resources has selected a Louisiana site for a $25 million manufacturing processing facility, creating 25 new direct jobs.

The Natchez Democrat reports Gov. John Bel Edwards and the Melbourne-based firm announced the selection of a Vidalia site for a graphite processing facility in a press release Monday.

The new jobs will have an average salary of $60,000. Louisiana Economic Development estimates the project will also result in 30 new indirect jobs.

News outlets report the facility will process graphite from Syrah's Mozambique production operation into a component for lithium-ion batteries, focused on the growing electrical market.

Syrah Technologies CEO Paul Jahn says the raw material will be shipped to the Port of New Orleans and trucked to the Vidalia facility for processing.


Louisiana troopers arrested after probe of overtime program


BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Four current or former Louisiana State Police troopers were arrested Monday on charges stemming from an investigation of a program that pays overtime for extra police patrols.

State Police detectives made the arrests after a months long internal investigation of the agency's participation in the Local Agency Compensated Enforcement (LACE) program, a State Police news release said.

Current trooper Daryl Thomas and former trooper Byron Sims were arrested on charges of felony theft and filing false public records. Investigators filed those charges in East Baton Rouge Parish.

Last year, WVUE-TV in New Orleans used surveillance video to show that Thomas and Sims billed the ticket-writing program for hours they didn't work.

A second current trooper, Wayne Taylor, and former trooper Jimmy Rogers were arrested on charges of malfeasance in office and injuring public records. The charges against Rogers were filed in Calcasieu Parish; the charges against Taylor were filed in Rapides Parish.

Thomas is a 23-year-old veteran of the State Police; Taylor has more than 11 years of service with the agency. Their employment status "is pending the administrative process," the State Police news release says.

Local district attorneys pay for the overtime that troopers earn through the LACE program, outside their regular patrol shifts.

The program was suspended statewide while the State Police investigated, but was reinstated in February.

Lt. J.B. Slaton, a spokesman for the State Police, said in a text message that he doesn’t know the names of any attorneys representing the arrested troopers.


Scalise to address grads at LSU, LSU Law Center

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — House Majority Whip Steve Scalise returns to his alma mater to deliver keynote addresses to graduates of LSU and LSU Law Center.

Scalise, a Republican from Louisiana, will give the main address at LSU's 295th commencement on Friday, May 11, and at the law center ceremony on Friday, June 1.

Both events will be held in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

LSU President F. King Alexander says welcoming him back for commencement is just a small way to recognize him for his support "in helping spread the word on the great things happening at LSU."

LSU Law dean Tom Galligan says he’s confident Scalise will provide “important perspectives and seasoned advice” for the graduates as they begin their legal profession journeys.


Oklahoma gains 6 rigs as US rig count rises to 1,021

HOUSTON (AP) — The number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. increased by eight this week to 1,021.

At this time a year ago there were 870 active rigs.

Houston oilfield services company Baker Hughes reported Friday that 825 rigs drilled for oil this week and 195 for gas. One was listed as miscellaneous.

Among major oil- and gas-producing states, Oklahoma added six rigs, Texas gained four, North Dakota added three, Louisiana and Ohio each gained two and California added one.

Alaska and New Mexico each declined by three, Wyoming lost two and Colorado, Kansas and Pennsylvania each declined by one.

Arkansas, Utah and West Virginia were unchanged.

The U.S. rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981. It bottomed out in May of 2016 at 404.