96' Louisiana state ferry sold 

The state of Louisiana may no longer have wanted the 62-year-old steel ferry Saint Charles, but Troy Currault saw promise in the 96'x36'x7'6" vessel. So he picked it up at auction late last year for $58,000. Currault, who repairs vessels at his company, C&V Machine in Lockport, La., is not sure if he’ll put it to work in the bayou and bays or take the engine out and convert it to a barge. “It’s in very good shape,” he said. Built by Avondale Marine Ways Inc., Baton Rouge, La., the ferry carried about 51,000 vehicles a year across the Miss. River between White Castle and Carville, La. Citing low ridership and alternative river crossings, the state stopped service last June, saving an estimated $1.3 million annually, a state transportation department spokesman said. The ferry originally was to be auctioned in August with a minimum bid of $200,000, but there were no takers. So it was put up for sale again in November, this time with a minimum bid of $45,000, “based on the size of the auction pool and number of potential buyers,” a state Division of Administration spokesman said. “This type of vessel would be difficult to sell in any market as this mode of transportation is being phased out across the nation, not just here in Louisiana.” — D.K. DuPont



Navy begins testing for synthetic marijuana 

The U.S. Navy has begun testing personnel for the use of synthetic marijuana. The Navy is using random testing through urinalysis. According to NAVADMIN 334/13, testing for synthetic marijuana compounds will be randomly conducted on samples submitted to all drug screening laboratories, and positive results will subject members to disciplinary action under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The Navy expects to test more than 1.1 million samples this year, and a portion of them will be screened for synthetic marijuana. Those that potentially test positive will be forwarded to the Air Force Drug Testing Laboratory at Lackland, Texas, for confirmation. The Department of Defense estimates that nearly 1 percent of military personnel may be using synthetic marijuana.