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Michelle Southern reporting.
LSU star running back Leonard Fournette is on the cover of this week's national Sports Illustrated magazine. The No. 6 Tigers remain undefeated on the year thanks to help from the sophomore who has averaged more than 200 yards per game and scored 12 of the team's 22 touchdowns this season.

LSU Sports Information Director Michael Bonnette says Fournette is also a great guy and teammate off the field.

"He's hard not to like and he's one of those guys that you want to give attention to," said Bonnette.

Bonnette says it's only October and there's a lot of ball left to play, so one of the things they are focusing on is keeping Fournette in check.

He says Coach Les Miles has asked team leaders to keep in mind that Leonard is at LSU to go to school and play football and doesn't want too much on his plate.

"But at the same time you hate to let some of this exposure bypass us and not take advantage of it," says Bonnette. "He's a 50 year kinda guy. You don't know if you'll ever get another one of these."

LSU takes on No. 8 Florida this Saturday night in Tiger Stadium and it's being hailed as one of the most anticipated matchups of the week.

A quote on the SI cover from Fournette says "In that ball, the whole of Louisiana is in your hands."

Bonnette says being on the cover of Sports Illustrated is a huge honor for Leonard and for LSU.

"Shaq and Chris Jackson have been on it. Kevin Faulk after we beat Florida that year in '97 when they were ranked No. 1. Pete Maravich did it once and Tommy Casanova," says Bonnette. "There have been a few, but not very many."


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The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals has launched a statewide campaign to educate Louisiana patients and families on how to use available health information technology.  DHH Secretary Kathy Kliebert says the campaign is called "Your Health in Your Hands".

"It provides education and promotes awareness of the use of health IT to improve the overall health of Louisiana residents and reduce their health care cost."

A main component of the initiative is its website, makemyhealth-dot-me.  Kliebert says the site contains resources and information designed to help Louisianians become more engaged in their health and health care.

"Promoting health lifestyle decisions, information about how to take an active role in your health care, how to know more about your cost for health care and use that information to promote healthier outcomes."

The website also contains information about how to request copies of medical records and how to use those to improve your health.  Kliebert says Louisiana is the first state in the country to have a consumer engagement tool like this.

"That allows people to have all these resources in one place to be able to figure out how to better know about their health care options."


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The Washington Parish Sheriff's Office has arrested a mother and daughter accused of neglecting more than 40 animals at their home in Bogalusa.  Terri Turner and Frannie Fisher are charged with multiple counts of animal cruelty.  

Humane Society of Louisiana Director Jeff Dorson says the Sheriff's Office was aware of the poor condition of the animals.
"And advised them numerous times to provide better care and upkeep.  They simply chose not to and didn't listen to the authorities."

The Humane Society was able to remove more than 20 dogs, 20 cats, a duck, and a rabbit from the property.  Dorson says since Washington Parish does not have an animal control department, care for all these animals falls on the Humane Society.

"You and I take one animal to the vet, it's several hundred dollars.  Multiply that by 43 and you're looking at enormous costs right off the top."

The Humane Society is seeking donations from the public to help with veterinary costs.  Dorson says they plan to go to court and present evidence against Turner and Fisher of long-term, chronic neglect for all of these animals.

"And all the evidence points to we'll get a conviction.  I can't say that for sure, but that's what everything shows." 


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The US Supreme Court will hear arguments today from the lawyers of an Angola inmate who is serving a life sentence for murdering a sheriff’s deputy as a teenager in 1963. In 2012, the US Supreme Court banned automatic life sentences for teenagers. Legal analyst Tim Meche says Louisiana prisoner Henry Montgomery wants the Supreme Court to make that ruling retroactive, so he has a chance at parole.

“The Supreme Court has a lot of prior jurisprudence determining when laws are retroactive and when they’re not. But it is important because a number of people fall into that category.”

When Montgomery was 17-years-old, he shot Deputy Charles Hurt to death while playing hooky from school. Meche says Montgomery has a solid argument to make and a number of Justices on the court will be sympathetic of him.

“So he’s got as good of a forum as he’s ever going to have. It’s never the less an uphill battle to get them to say that it’s retroactive.”

Meche says we should know the Supreme Court’s decision by the end of the year. He says if the nation’s highest court rules in favor of Montgomery, hundreds of inmates sentenced to life for murder for a crime they committed as teenager will seek an opportunity at parole as well.

The state department of corrections estimates there are about 300 inmates who were sentenced to life for crimes they committed as teenagers.

“If you get a life sentence in Louisiana, it means you die in Angola. So in states like Louisiana, there will be people like Mr. Montgomery looking to this for relief.”



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Michelle Southern reporting.
The game this Saturday night in Tiger Stadium between No. 6 LSU and No. 8 Florida is one of the most anticipated matchups of the week. Cameron Papp with StubHub says this is the best selling LSU game of the season on their online ticket marketplace.

"And you're definitely seeing it in the ticket prices," says Papp. "The cheapest available on StubHub right now is going for $135 and that's for an upper level seat."

The game in Death Valley kicks off at 6pm and will be televised on ESPN. 

Papp says the average ticket price for the LSU/Florida game in Baton Rouge is about $220. He says tickets aren't impossible to find, but you'll have to dig deep in your wallet if you want a good seat.

"The highest ticket purchased so far was around $1200, and that was for a 50 yard line lower level seat," said Papp.

Things got more interesting Monday after it was announced that starting Gator QB Will Grier is suspended indefinitely for failing a drug test when a banned over the counter substance was discovered in his system.

Papp says it's definitely a big year for LSU, but they always see a lot of demand for the Tigers anyway.

"It's a great program and they seem to be highly ranked every year," says Papp. "They have great fans and people are willing to pay a lot to get to the home games."


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The four candidates running for Lt. Governor discussed how they would improve the film industry in the state at a forum hosted by the Baton Rouge Press Club. Republican Billy Nungesser says when many people see movies filmed in Louisiana, they’re drawn to visit so we need to make changes to the current film tax credit incentive program to keep filmmakers coming to the state.

“We’ve got to make sure we’re getting our bang for our buck. We need to restore it to where we’ve got those movies coming here but we’ve got to make sure the public thinks we’re getting the bang for our buck.”

Republican John Young says before this most recent legislative session, Louisiana was number one in the world for film production. He says people from all over the country travel to the state to visit the Duck Commander Warehouse in West Monroe and the Swamp People in Pierre Part.

“We need to make sure there is transparency and accountability but we don’t want to throw the baby out with the bath water, we have grown that industry from scratch.”

Democrat Kip Holden says it’s time to close the loopholes in the film tax credit incentive program that could lead to fraud and wasteful spending.

“State auditors have looked at it and they found the loopholes, close the loopholes. Look at both, not only financial penalties but also criminal penalties.”

Republican Elbert Guillory says we shot ourselves in the foot when we made the changes to the film tax credits and we need to cap each movie rather than capping the entire industry. He says every movie filmed here projects Louisiana.

“It shows Louisiana, it helps tourism. People see something and say ‘that looks pretty good, I want to go there.’ So we should continue that investment in those tax credits.”



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The Times-Picayune and NOLA.dot com endores Republican David Vitter for governor. NOLA's editorial staff says Vitter is committed, a resolute chief executive that has a desire to govern and lead on many fronts. Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat says this is a big deal for Vitter's campaign, who is facing attacks from the three other candidates and supporting groups.

"With the credibility of a newspaper saying that David Vitter is our guy, it ends up being a huge plus for David Vitter," Pinsonat said.
Pinsonat says newspaper endorsements don't guarantee victory on election day, but it's definitely a boost for a candidate that has endured many personal attacks. 
"It's an endorsement of not only his candidacy, but also his character, which has been under attack," Pinsonat said. 
Republicans Scott Angelle and Jay Dardenne have brought up Vitter's past and his involvement in a prostitution scandal. Democrat John Bel Edwards has also questioned whether Vitter is the right leader for Louisiana.  


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There will be a lot of hype leading up to Saturday’s showdown in Tiger Stadium between 6th ranked LSU and 8th ranked Florida. Players from the two teams were in a twitter war over the summer, over which school can lay claim to D-B-U, which stands for defensive back university. Coach Les Miles doesn’t want see any more trash talking leading up to the game.
"Certainly, there's no reason for Twitter. The game is always played on the filed, not in the media chat rooms. So it would be my guess that our guys would recognize that."

Both teams are undefeated heading into Saturday’s contest. The Gators have allowed just 13 points in their last two SEC games and they are one of the best teams at defending the run. Miles is interested to see if LSU can have success running the football against the Gators.
"I think it's certainly a very competitive match up. They're big, strong, fast guys that you're going to have to use great technique to block. It's going to be a war. Both the offensive line and the defensive line that play against each other on both sides of the ball are talented and very capable."

An achilles heel for LSU has been special teams. This past week they gave up a 96-yard kick off return for a touchdown. Their kicking game has also been flagged on numerous occasions. Miles says they are looking at making personnel changes and kicking the ball in different spots, but in the end it comes down to the players.
"We're really going to bring it to the team because the team's got it get it fixed. If they want to be something special, if they want to play in more significant games than---and very much like this Saturday's game, then they're going to have to correct it."


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Michelle Southern reporting.
The State Department of Education released “preliminary” results to Common Core tests Monday, and found that just 22-40 percent of Louisiana students show “mastery” in skills it says are needed for the next grade. The tests were administered to grades 3-8 in the spring. State Superintendent John White says the results are not surprising.

"They are consistent with roughly how students have performed on LEAP tests and NAEP tests in the past," said White.

The results showed that, on average, 37 percent of students are at the needed skill level in English Language Arts, while nearly 30 percent show mastery skills in mathematics.

White says in November they will be releasing specific data from the tests that will show performance on groups of standards for individual students.

"To the standards review committees and to the accountability commission as well as to all districts," said White. "This will show them as to how well statewide each district did with these individual skills."

BESE will vote tomorrow on whether or not Louisiana will adopt the same skill scoring levels as other states, called cut scores, that determine mastery, advanced, basic, approaching basic and unsatisfactory.

White says cut scores are a key point in declaring who did well and who didn’t.

"The students did fine. They did as we might expect them to do," said White. "The cut scores though assign responsibility to us as adults."


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A recent poll conducted for WWL-TV and The Advocate shows that less than half of Louisiana African-American voters are in favor of removing or renaming monuments that honor Confederate leaders.  The Clarus Research Group survey shows only 46-percent of black respondents support removal of the monuments.  

Pollster Ron Faucheux...
"The support level was significantly higher among African-Americans than it was among whites.  But even having said that, there was a significant percentage of African-Americans who opposed it as well."

The poll shows 31-percent of African-Americans oppose the removal of the monuments.  Overall, only 18-percent of voters support removing or renaming the monuments while 68-percent oppose the move.  Faucheux says Louisiana voters are attuned to the issue of Confederate monuments.

"They're interested in the issue and they have opinions about the issue and they are very strongly against making those changes."

Faucheux says he expected a larger number of black voters to be in favor of removing the monuments.  He says the poll shows voters are more certain about the Confederate monuments issue than they are about the governor's race.

"At the time we took the survey, there were twice as many people who were undecided on a governor's candidate than they were undecided on the Confederate monuments issues." 


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Michelle Southern reporting. 
State Police is investigating an officer involved shooting in Lake Charles which claimed the life of a male suspect. Sgt. James Anderson says the Lake Charles Police Department responded to a domestic disturbance at a residence early Sunday morning.

"They encountered the suspect's wife and got her to a safe location," says Anderson. "The suspect retrieved a handgun."

Anderson says officers saw the suspect, 44-year-old Kevin Lau, standing in the doorway of the house with a gun.

"It appears at this point that he pointed it at police officers, and would not drop the gun despite commands to do so," said Anderson. "He was subsequently shot."

Anderson says Lau died at a local hospital. No officers were injured in the incident.

The Lake Charles Police Department requested that State Police conduct the investigation into the incident.

"We will conduct a complete investigation and turn those findings over to the Calcasieu Parish District Attorney's Office," said Anderson.

(Photo by Michael Perry)



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Fall is definitely in the air and so are allergies.  LSU Health Sciences Center Professor, Dr. Sanjay Kamboj, says ragweed is, by far, the biggest allergy trigger of the season.  

He says ragweed plants produce a lot of pollen as autumn gets underway.
"Actually one plant can produce up to billions of pollen and they are mainly responsible for fall allergies."

Kamboj says they are seeing an increase of patients coming in for allergy problems than in years past.  He says warm temperatures and high humidity levels help increase pollen production so Louisiana can have a longer pollen season compared to other parts of the country.  Kamboj says if you're allergic to ragweed, you are quite familiar with the symptoms.

"Patients can have blocked nose or runny nose, sinus congestion, post nasal drip, watery eyes, and some people can even have itching of the skin."

He says over-the-counter allergy medications, such as Zyrtec, Allegra, and Claritin, can help manage symptoms and it's also important to rinse nasal passages with a saline rinse.  Kamboj says pollen production peaks daily between 9 and 11AM so it's important to avoid contact at that time.

"So don't try to get fresh air, don't open your windows in the morning.  If they have to drive, drive with the windows closed, AC on.  Stay inside and try not to do yardwork, wear a mask." 


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Michelle Southern reporting.
The Student Senate at LSU has passed a resolution asking Facility Services to change the signs on single stall restrooms on campus to read "gender neutral." Matthew Patterson, with Equality Louisiana, says this is a cost effective way of ensuring that all students, faculty and staff feel safe when using the restroom.

"It's not asking for new construction. It's literally not asking for anything other than updating the signs on facilities that are already there," said Patterson.

Patterson says there are several single occupancy bathrooms on campus, designed for people with mobility issues, that are obviously gender neutral facilities but they aren't marked that way.

He says often times transgender people don't feel safe or are denied access to the bathroom of the gender they identify as, because it makes others uncomfortable.

"That is wrong. You should probably be minding your own business in the restroom and not policing who else is using it," said Patterson.

Patterson says this doesn't mean transgender people are trying to make a statement, they are just trying to use the bathroom.

"It's unfortunate that we have to spend so much time talking about people having a safe place to pee because that's something you take for granted," said Patterson.


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Voters in Louisiana will have the opportunity to vote on some Constitutional amendments on the October 24th ballot.   Robert Scott, President of the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana, says the ballot will feature four new amendments to the Louisiana Constitution.  

Scott says if you know nothing about these amendments, it could be overwhelming.
"It's gobbledy-gook language when you read it on the ballot.  If you go into the booth and this is the first time you've faced these amendments, you might very well be confused."

He says this is better than last year when 14 amendments were on the ballot.  Scott says Amendment number one is the one that would probably have the most impact for the state.  It would create a new transportation fund for the state in addition to the existing one.

"It does not create a new tax or a new revenue.  It simply takes money that would have flowed into the rainy day fund and puts it into a transportation fund."

You can find a guide to all four amendments at parlouisiana-dot-org.  Scott says Louisiana's Constitution has been changed 181 times since 1974.  He encourages voters to do a little research on these amendments before entering the voting booth.

"Get to know what these amendments are about beforehand because they're way down the ballot after you've voted for governor, your state representative and senator, and so on." 


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The four candidates for Lt. Governor are slated to be at a forum hosted by the Baton Rouge Press Club today. Political Analyst Clancy Dubos says it’s a very close race between the Democrat Kip Holden and Republicans John Young and Billy Nungesser, because they have the most money and name recognition.

“Elbert Guillory really hasn’t made that much of a splash and does not appear to be that much of a factor. Although, it’s certainly foreseeable that this will go to a runoff. I think any two of the top three candidates could make it to the runoff.”

Dubos says the odds favor the only democratic candidate, Kip Holden, entering the runoff. He says the trouble for Nungesser and Young is trying to differentiate themselves from each other because they come from similar backgrounds.

“I think it could go either way. The polls have constantly shown Young slightly ahead but that’s a race where a lot of the support is soft and it could change fairly quickly in the final two to three weeks.”

Dubos says nothing is certain in Louisiana politics, so it’s very difficult to predict how anyone will do. He expects Nungesser and Young to go after each other during the forum.

“I would expect to see John Young and Billy Nungesser butt each other’s records, and each other’s promises and platforms in the final two weeks of the campaign.”



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The Saints are now 1-4 on the season after a dismal performance in Philadelphia. The Eagles scored 29 second half points to beat New Orleans 39-17. The Saints turned it over four times, quarterback Drew Brees was sacked five times and New Orleans only ran the ball for 96 yards, while the defense gave up over 500 yards of total offense.

"Really struggled to stay on the field offensively, defensively you get that many plays and pretty soon you begin to wear down," Saints head coach Sean Payton said. "We talked about the keys heading into this game, was to control that rushing game, we didn't really compliment each other today." 
The Eagles rushed for 186 yards and recorded 34 first downs.
Up next for the Saints, it's a Thursday night home game against Atlanta. The Falcons are 5-0 after winning in overtime over the Washington Redskins.  


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LSU tried to be as accommodating as possible on Saturday for South Carolina, who was forced to play its home game at Tiger Stadium, because of flooding near their campus. The Tiger band played their fight song and alma mater and the South Carolina flag flew at Tiger Stadium.

But on the field, LSU was not a very good host as a balanced offensive attack led to a 45-24 victory over the Gamecocks.
For once, LSU didn't have to rely on running back Leonard Fournette for all of its offense. Quarterback Brandon Harris threw for 228 yards and two touchdowns. Wide receiver Malachi Dupre had six grabs for 74 yards and a touchdown, while Travin Dural caught 4 passes for 109 yards and a touchdown.
Fournette missed out on his fourth straight 200-yard plus performance, but he still provided an electrifying moment. On the second play of the 2nd half, Fournette ran through the middle of the South Carolina defense for an 87-yard touchdown run. During that run, Fournette went over the 1,000 yard mark for the season, the fastest in school history.  
Fournette finished with 158 yards on 20 carries for the day and didn't play in the 4th quarter.
It was a break out game for freshman running back Derrius Guice. The Baton Rouge native had several nice runs and finished with 161 yards and a touchdown.
LSU's defense played well, but had a couple of blown assignments that led to touchdowns in the 2nd half. South Carolina Quarterback Perry Orth threw 43 and 36 yard TD passes in the 3rd quarter. 
The Tigers special teams were not very good again. Trent Domingue sent the opening kick-off out of bounds.  In the 2nd quarter, South Carolina's Rashad Fenton returned a kick 96-yards for a touchdown. LSU was also offsides in the 2nd half on a kickoff. 
But all and all a good victory for the Tigers, as they now get ready for a big home game against Florida.  
The attendance on Saturday was 42,058.  


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State Treasurer John Kennedy says state revenues for the first quarter of this fiscal year are down 13% compared to the first quarter of last year. Kennedy says tax collections from individuals and businesses are down, while sales tax receipts are flat.

“Overall, I’m disappointed. I think we’re starting to see more of the bite from the declining oil revenues, that’s part of it.”

Kennedy says the national economy and the fact that the legislature raised taxes 800 million dollars last spring are some other factors in play with Louisiana’s declining revenue. He says you can’t raise taxes without having economic implications and the state is still spending more money than we take in.

“The longer we delay dealing with this, the worse it’s going to get. We’ve got to come up with a plan to deal with it without gutting higher education like a fish.”

Kennedy believes the Jindal administration created much of the revenue problem and it has a moral obligation to deal with it. He says Jindal should at least try to come up with a plan to deal with the reality right now.

“These are not good revenue numbers. You cannot put lipstick on a pig here, it’s still a pig. And while I hope it doesn’t happen, it could get worse.”



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After a lengthy investigation, authorities in St. Martin Parish have busted a cockfighting ring in Breaux Bridge. Major Ginny Higgins says three men were arrested for their part in cockfighting and were booked into the St. Martin Parish Correctional Center.

“Investigators launched an investigation into that allegation. They were able to obtain a warrant, they executed the warrant and when they did they arrested three gentleman in connection with the cockfighting.

Higgins says animal cruelty is taken very seriously. She says on the property authorities found and confiscated 48 roosters and over 300 hens and chicks.

“They were taken into custody by the St. Martin Parish Animal Control.”

Higgins says 30-year-old Dallas Grossie of Butte La Rose and 28-year old Brandon Cormier of Breaux Bridge are both charged with 24 counts of Cruelty to Animals and 24 counts of Cockfighting. She says 50-year-old Patrick Stelly of Washington is charged with 48 counts of Cruelty to Animals and 48 counts of Cockfighting.

“You look at the charges, one of the gentleman was charged with 48 charges. That’s because there is one count for each rooster that he had in his possession.”



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A television ad targeting Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Bel Edwards has been released by the Republican Governors Association.  In the commercial, the RGA tries to link Edwards to President Barack Obama.  

Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat says this is a strategy that has worked for Republicans for the last several years.
"Republican run against Barack Obama and the Democratic candidate, whoever he or she is, like Mary Landrieu, it's not about them it's about their ties to Barack Obama."

The ad claims Edwards has repeatedly supported President Obama and that he plans to raise taxes.  The RGA is reportedly spending $1 million to spread this message across the state.  Pinsonat expects that Edwards' negative ratings will increase as more people view this commercial.

"He will lose a lot of his white support that appears right now because voters don't know a lot about John Bel Edwards, but they're getting ready to find out a lot about him."

In a statement, Edwards says this is a last ditch effort to stop the only candidate for governor that will truly expose and change Governor Jindal's broken policies.  Pinsonat feels Edwards will fight the ads by focusing on what he plans to do as governor to make things better in Louisiana.

"What's wrong with that is Louisiana voters, a vast majority of white voters, they don't look at what's happening locally.  They're turned off by Democrats at the national level and what Barack Obama's doing with national Democrats." 


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