News for Tuesday 090418
Compiled By Dave Graichen
The National Hurricane Center says Tropical Storm Gordon is expected to make landfall along the Mississippi Gulf Coast later tonight or early tomorrow morning as a category one hurricane. State Climatologist Barry Keim Tropical storm warnings are in effect for the Southeast Louisiana Coast and inland areas. The center of the storm is expected to track over north Louisiana on Wednesday. Governor John Bel Edwards has declared a state of emergency in advance of Tropical Storm Gordon. Edwards 200 National Guard troops will be deployed today.
The fire late Saturday night caused extensive damage to a storage facility at Skip Converse contractors on Jones St. in Pineville. Fire Chief Scott Kessler said the initial call about the fire was received at 9:15 p.m. The last crews left the site around 5 a.m. Sunday. Kessler says it might take up to a week for investigators to get more answers on what started the blaze.
The Pineville PD reports one of their officers has been arrested in Monroe on a battery charge. Sgt. Edric Smith was arrested by University of Louisiana at Monroe police and booked into the Ouachita Parish Correctional Facility on a misdemeanor charge of battery of an umpire. According to the affidavit from the arrest, the 45-year-old sergeant attacked an umpire during a softball game on the late Saturday night. Smith claims the umpire threatened his daughter, who was playing in a game.
An agreement between the state and the federal government has been reached on a plan to borrow 650-million dollars for major roadway projects. DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson says this particular agreement with the Federal Highway Administration is the first of its kind in Louisiana. The funding will go towards widening Interstate 10 in Baton Rouge, a new interchange on I-10 in Kenner at Loyola Drive and a new road from I-20 directly into Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier City. Wilson says the state bond commission will have to pick an underwriter at its next meeting later this month. The state will have to pay back the loan over the next 12 years.
On this the day after labor Labor Day, the percentage of unemployed workers is less than last year. Chief Economist for the Louisiana Workforce Commission, Dr. Ali Bustamante, (Ah-lee Boost-uh-monty) anticipates the unemployment rate to continue to decline. Bustamante says for those looking for work, the health care industry continues to look for qualified workers. Employers and job seekers can go to La-Works-dot-net and click on the Hire tab , which is a website tool that connects businesses with those looking for a job.
Louisiana’s top banking regulator and 12 others are asking Congress to clear the way for banks to do business with the marijuana industry, which for years has struggled to find financial institutions willing to handle their cash and already has seen one participant back out in Louisiana. Despite state actions, the drug remains illegal under federal law and is classified as a Schedule I narcotic. That fact has deterred most banks from doing business with the industry.
Louisiana recently announced an additional 80-million in federal transportation dollars, but Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson says the days of the state getting extra money from the feds for road improvements might stop. Wilson says state resources have become so tight, it will be difficult for Louisiana to put up the matching dollars.
The Louisiana Department of Education has a new grading system to check year to year academic growth progress of students and it’s already beginning to show interesting results. Assistant Superintendent Jessica Baghian (Bahg-e-ON) says it’s not all good news. The state’s achievement gap between the general population and black students continues to grow, adding to the academic performance distance between those two groups that’s existed for decades.
The CDC says there were nearly 2.3 million cases of STDs in America last year, an all-time record for the nation. Louisiana routinely ranks in the top five for highest STD rates. New Orleans and Baton Rouge often feature in yearly top tens for cities with the highest STD rates, but Department of Health Region One Medical Director Dr. Joseph Kanter says they aren’t the only areas with real problems. Chlamydia and syphilis infection rates are high all across the state.
The LA Wallet App has a few new tricks up it’s sleeve. Now Louisiana residents who’ve purchased the app that features a digital copy of your driver’s license will be able to verify whether or not someone is of the legal age from across the room. Envoc President Calvin Fabre says it’s useful for everyone from rideshare customers to real estate agents. But, That’s raised some fears that the new functionality could lead to security breaches and the transmission of private information to people who shouldn’t have it. Fabre says they put layers of security on the service, and consulted privacy advocates like.