News for Monday 010917
By Dave Graichen
A Monroe woman was arrested and charged late Saturday night with shooting Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Agent Tyler Wheeler five times after a traffic stop in Morehouse Parish. Wheeler is listed in stable condition at University Health in Shreveport after being shot twice in the head, twice in the arm and once in the shoulder. 31 year old Amethyst Baird of Monroe was charged with attempted first degree murder of a police officer. Police also arrested 34 year old Jeremy Gullette of Monroe and charged him with one count of accessory after the fact to attempted first degree murder.
The Town Talk reports The domestic abuse charge against Cleco CEO Darren Olagues has been dropped at the request of the victim. The Rapides Parish District Attorney's Office announced in a release that it is no longer pursuing the case. Olagues was arrested on Dec. 8 and charged with one count of domestic abuse strangulation, involving his wife. Olagues has been on leave from Cleco since the arrest.
The Transportation Task Force has released their final report on how to improve the state’s transportation infrastructure, and of course, funding is number one. DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson says the state needs to increase its investment in transportation by $700 million a year. But he says they haven’t decided how those dollars will be raised. Wilson says they’re also looking into tolls and public-private partnerships as a means of funding. He says something has to be done to address the $13 billion backlog of transportation projects, as well as address the $16 billion in new projects, like a new Mississippi River Bridge in Baton Rouge.
Gov. John Bel Edwards said Friday he expects a special legislative session to rebalance Louisiana's budget will be needed if a looming midyear deficit reaches $300 million or more, as projected. House Republican leaders, however, hope to avoid a special session. At issue are the constitutional limits on how and where Louisiana's governor and lawmakers can make cuts when a midyear budget gap emerges. The size of the gap will be decided next week by the Revenue Estimating Conference.
Governor John Bel Edwards has sent a letter to Congress urging national leaders not to repeal the Affordable Care Act. But US Senator Bill Cassidy says Obamacare isn’t working for everyone. He says when premiums and deductibles cost thousands of dollars, that’s anything but affordable. But Louisiana Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rebekah Gee urges federal lawmakers not to fix what isn’t broken. While she admits Obamacare is causing premiums to go up nationwide, she is adamant that the Medicaid expansion has been a godsend.
Monroe is a top contender for a new Graphic Packaging facility. Senior Manager of Corporate Communications, Sue Appleyard, says while they are still looking at other potential locations, the company reached a conceptual agreement with the local union to build the facility in the Monroe area. Appleyard expects a final decision to come in the next few months. She says there won’t be any impact on their current paper mill, which employs the bulk of their 400 workers in West Monroe, but the two other facilities would be consolidated. Appleyard says this new 70-million facility will be Graphic Packaging’s first brand new plant in 10 years.