News for Friday 011218
By Dave Graichen
Dr. Frank Welch , the state's immunization director, says he fears 600 to 700 people will die in Louisiana this year from flu-related deaths. According to Welch, Louisiana is suffering its worst flu season in decades. He says he has been doing his job for 20 years and he’s never seen the flu season here so aggressive so early. The best protection is still the Flue Shot. Welch said even those who have already suffered from the flu should get the vaccine because it could protect them from a second strain. He also said even if the vaccine doesn't prevent the flu it can make symptoms be less severe.
A state lawmaker is proposing to change TOPS scholarship amounts. Students who meet the minimum eligibility would receive a four-thousand-dollar payment for the year, but students who achieve a very high ACT and GPA get a full scholarship, plus a stipend. Jennings Senator Blade Morrish says four-thousand-dollars may seem low, but it’s still the most lucrative college tuition program in the U-S.
WalMart announces a minimum wage increase to 11 dollars but also announces the closings of 63 Sams Clubs in 10 states. One of those stores is in Louisiana. The Sam’s Club near Cortana Mall in Baton Rouge is closed and has displaced about 175 workers.
Teachers from multiple parishes have gathered in Abbeville yesterday afternoon to show their support for middle school teacher Deyshia Hargrave, who was arrested at a school board meeting after questioning a raise given to the Vermilion Parish Schools superintendent. Superintendent Jerome Puyau says he, his staff and family have received death threats over the incident. He also says he should have stood up for Hargrave.
Meanwhile it’s been learned that the marshal who arrested Hargrave was previously sued for excessive force. Reggie Hilts was working as a police officer in the city of Scott and was named as a defendant in the 2012 lawsuit. The suit was eventually settled in 2016. Hilts left the Scott Police Department before the lawsuit was filed.
The Louisiana Property Assistance Agency will resume its monthly state surplus property auctions in Baton Rouge this weekend. The auction will feature a wide variety of items once used by state agencies. Division of Administration spokesperson Jacques Berry says there’s something for everyone. Berry says the proceeds from the auction, go back to the state to take care of a large portion of their transportation needs.
The auction will start Saturday at 8am.
In 2017, poison control centers dealt with more than 10,000 reports of children eating detergent pods. Authorities report they now seeing an increasing number of teenagers ingesting the colorful cases with the hope of getting high. Louisiana Poison Control President-Elect Mark Ryan says there is nothing in the pods that could do that. Ryan says the pods aren’t dangerously poisonous, but could trigger a reaction that will put you in the hospital. He says if one of your children or friends ingests a pod, call the national poison hotline.
Wildlife and Fisheries agents have arrested a Point Coupee Parish man for allegedly killing a protected black bear. The bear was a part of the Louisiana Black Bear Management and Research project. LDWF Spokesperson Adam Einck says agents responded after the tagged bear set off an alert. He says 28-year-old Ronald Kimble is a convicted felon and is not allowed to possess a firearm in the first place.
Officials broke ground Thursday on a major I-10 widening project which will affect travelers between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. The job will stretch over a six mile portion of the interstate from Highland Road to Highway 73. Officials encourage drivers to visit 511LA.org for traffic and road closure info.
LSU head coach Ed Orgeron introduced his new offensive coordinator Thursday, Steve Ensminger. Ensminger is an old face around Tiger Stadium, having been with the team since 2010, and having captained LSU to three bowl games in the late 70s at quarterback. Ensminger was LSU’s interim offensive coordinator in 2016.