News for Thursday 070314
By Dave Graichen
At a public meeting yesterday in Leesville, the mode was somewhat somber. The message, The public must take action to help save Fort Polk from a 60 percent troop reduction that would devastate the Central Louisiana economy. Michael Reese, chairman of Fort Polk Progress, a nonprofit group that supports the Army base in Vernon Parish said the cuts would decimate the economy here in Central Louisiana. Jon Grafton executive director of the England Authority pointed out that this is as serious as it gets. Fort Polk possibly could lose about 6,500 personnel from its military population of close to 11,000. All involved yesterday emphasized that the public must write letters and send emails to show support for keeping Fort Polk’s troop strength at current levels.
Attorney Robert "Bob" Levy has ended his campaign for the Division G seat in the 9th Judicial District Court. Levy cited the recent candidacy announcement of incumbent Judge Harry Randow as the reason for his withdrawal.
The Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control issued 40 citations to Central Louisiana businesses since the agency’s Summer Crackdown operation began June 2. Dozens of businesses were cited, some more than once, for selling alcohol and tobacco to minors. Businesses doing so are subject to criminal and administrative charges and face fines and penalties that could result in suspension or revocation of their alcohol and tobacco permits. The complete list of the businesses can be found in today’s “Town Talk”.
Now, here’s an interesting twist in the battle between the BESE board and Governor Jindal over common core. The state education board announced earlier this week it’s plan to hire attorneys for advice on a possible lawsuit against Gov. Bobby Jindal. Here’s the twist, The contract for special legal counsel appears to need the governor's approval. Under Louisiana law, state agencies, boards and commissions that hire outside lawyers must get written approval from the attorney general and the governor. Board President Chas Roemer said the two law firms selected for the work have agreed to represent the education board for free, which gives the Jindal administration no room to argue over payment structure.
A new poll on Louisiana's US Senate race shows it's a toss-up. Democratic incumbent Mary Landrieu and Republican challenger Bill Cassidy each had 47-percent of the vote in a potential run-off, according to a survey conducted by Public Policy Polling. Pollster Tom Jensen gives a slight edge to Cassidy, because of Landrieu's poor approval ratings. In the Senate primary, the Public Policy Polling survey shows Landrieu with 44-percent of the vote, Cassidy at 27-percent, and other Republican challengers Rob Maness and Paul Hollis had single digit support.
Authorities say Jonesville man died after the ultralight aircraft he was piloting crashed near Wallace Lake. Catahoula Parish Sheriff James Kelly said 56-year-old Richard Stafford was flying the aircraft on an apparent pleasure trip when he struck the top of a tree and crashed approximately five miles north of Jonesville The crash happened around 8 p.m. Monday evening.
Authorities say a 21-year-old victim in the Sunday morning Bourbon Street shooting has died. Brittany Thomas of Hammond succumbed to her injuries this afternoon. A total of 10 people were shot in the incident. Four victims remain hospitalized. The New Orleans Police Department has identified 20-year-old Justin Odom as a person of interest in the shooting.
Lafayette Police havemade an arrest in the case of one of their officers who was run over two times by a vehicle at Wal Mart during an apparent robbery overnight. Cpl Paul Mouton says during the investigation, the officer was hit once by a vehicle then run over again. He says the officer then held on to the car and was drug for about 100 feet. 19-year-old Alexis Pitre of Lafayette is charged with attempted 1st degree murder and felony hit and run.
The Louisiana Fire Marshal's Office wants everyone to be cautious when using fireworks during this Fourth of July holiday. State Fire Marshal Butch Browning says they document about 17,000 injuries nationwide per year due to fireworks use. Having a fire extinguisher or bucket of water on hand to put out a potential fire is recommended. Browning says you should read all labels and follow all instructions when lighting fireworks. He says if a firework is designed to shoot up in the air, it's important that that firework shoots up. Browning says you should never consume alcohol while using fireworks.
Arbitrator Stephen Burbank has ruled that Jimmy Graham should be franchised as a tight end, not a wide receiver. The decision gives Saints management leverage in negotiations over a long-term deal. Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, Graham can appeal the decision within 10 days.
NFL.com is out with a 2014 list of the Best College Football Stadiums and LSU's Death Valley made number two. Bryan Fischer says opponents can't argue that a trip to Baton Rouge for a game lives up to all the hype with "ridiculous" tailgating and an environment that gets louder than anywhere else when the Tigers need the noise. The Rose Bowl Stadium came in at No. 1 and Husky Stadium a No. 3.
A Slidell woman is facing criminal charges after she allegedly forgot that her five-week-old infant was locked inside a parked car at a strip mall. Authorities say an alert citizen saw the child and immediately called 9-1-1. The outside temperature was 90-degrees and temps inside the vehicle were probably over 130-degrees. It's believed the toddler was in the steamy car for more than 30 minutes. Officers say when they got to the child it was unresponsive, sweating profusely and had internal temperature at a deadly level. This story has a happy ending, the toddler has made a full recovery.
Lake Charles PD says a man is still behind bars for allegedly stealing a Mermentau Police Car. They say 38-year-old Russel Shane was driving the stolen vehicle down I-10 with it's lights and sirens going and refused to stop. He was eventually detained and booked into the Calcasieu Parish Jail for illegal possession of stolen things.