KSYL Local News


News for Thursday 072816

By Dave Graichen

 

A memorial service honoring the three fallen Baton Rouge police officers will be held at 2pm today at Healing Place Church in Baton Rouge. Vice President Joe Biden, US Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Governor John Bel Edwards will speak at the memorial. Hicks says this shows that their local, state, and federal counterparts are coming together in this community’s time of need.

 

Each of the families of the three fallen Baton Rouge police officers will receive 250 thousand dollars from the Law Enforcement Officers and Fireman’s Survivor’s Fund. AG Jeff Landry says each child of the officers will receive 15 thousand dollars and the chance to attend college in Louisiana tuition free. He says the families should be receiving lump sum checks in just a couple of weeks.

 

Louisiana ranks second for the number of police officers killed in the line of duty this year, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. The report shows firearms related fatalities spiked 78% nationwide this year. In Louisiana, four of the officer deaths were by gunfire, two by vehicular assault, and one in a car accident.

 

Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand said the dialogue has to change about shootings involving police. Normand made the statement, after one of his deputies shot 17-year-old Tuesday night. The teen’s gun misfired when he attempted to shoot the officer after being caught attempting to steal some tire rims. Normand showed pictures from teen’s Facebook page showing him holding a gun and drugs and listed off highlights from the suspect’s rap sheet. Normand says that he keeps hearing that we need to develop trust between police and the public, but he says trust is a two way street. He says it’s bilateral, not unilateral.

 

We are starting to see more endorsements in the US Senate race. Former Louisiana Governor Buddy Roemer is officially backing State Treasurer John Kennedy and Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain has endorsed Congressman Charles Boustany. Political analyst Clancy Dubos says Strain being a current statewide elected official will be beneficial to Boustany.

 

A Breaux Bridge Catholic priest has been arrested on child porn charges after investigators allegedly found 500 images of child pornography on a computer that he uses. Trooper Brooks David says 50-year-old Felix David Broussard could spend a long time in jail, if convicted. The Diocese of Lafayette says Broussard was placed on administrative leave.

 

The ALS Association says the millions of dollars raised during the 2014 “Ice Bucket Challenge” helped scientists identify a gene that contributes to the disease. Kelly Viator, director of the Louisiana chapter of the ALS Association, says it shows small donations can make a big difference. Now that this gene has been connected to ALS, researchers can develop targeted therapy to treat it.

 

Natchitoches Police say no charges will be filed at this time regarding the shooting death of a 15-year-old. The teenager was shot several times in a parking lot on Sunday afternoon. Police say he was in possession of an AK-47 style weapon at the time of the shooting and the shooter, a 21-year-old man, told authorities he fired his weapon when he was approached by the 15 year-old who is now dead. The District Attorney’s office is reviewing the case.

 

Many Saints fans are expected to make their way to White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, where the Black and Gold are holding training camp.  The region was hit with devastating flooding about a month ago, but Kristy Godby with the Greenbrier County Convention and Visitors Bureau, says the area has recovered. Godby says the Greenbrier Hotel and all the hotels in nearby Lewisburg are open and ready to welcome fans. She says there’s lots of good food in the area and plenty to do after the practices. This is the third year the Saints have held their camp at the Greenbrier, and Godby says they expect this year to be bigger and better than the previous years.

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News for Wednesday 072716

By Dave Graichen

 

The University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors has chosen former state legislator and attorney Rick Gallot as the new president at Grambling State. Gallot replaces Willie Larkins, who resigned nearly a month ago. Gallot says he’s looking forward to bringing a sense of community back to the university. He says the connections he made as a legislator could help the university tremendously.

 

Today at the Democratic National Convention, pro-life Democrats, will honor Governor John Bel Edwards with the Governor Casey Whole Life Leadership Award. Executive Director of Democrats for Life, Kristen Day, says Governor Casey was a pro-life governor of Pennsylvania who also advocated for women’s rights and higher minimum wage, so Governor Edwards was a clear choice for the award.

 

Tonight’s Powerball Jackpot is a whopping 422-million dollars. Louisiana Lottery Spokesperson Kim Chopin says this jackpot has been growing since May 7th when it was last hit at 430 million dollars, which was the 5th largest Powerball jackpot. The cash value for tonight’s grand prize is 291-million dollars.

 

Over a dozen Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Deputies went to Dallas Tuesday to deliver checks to help the families of the officers who were killed in the July 7 attack. Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Brennan Matherne says the money was raised in just one day, and they were humbled by the love and support from the community.

 

While members of the Louisiana National Guard were training in Slidell, someone broke into their vehicles at the facility in Franklinton. Franklinton Police Maj. Justin Brown says there aren’t security cameras there yet because the facility is still under construction. He says they will continue to investigate until the culprit is behind bars. Brown says 25 vehicles were broken into.

 

It’s been a hot summer and it appears there’s no relief in sight. The Climate Prediction Center predicts above average temperatures for the next three months. State climatologist Barry Keim says the long-range prediction also calls for less rainfall from August to October. Keim says 2015 was the warmest on a record dating back the 1880s. But he says 2016 could be another record breaker

 

Oil prices have fallen to a three month low, and Associate Director of the Tulane Energy Institute says it’s because of an abundant supply. Smith says some companies jumped the gun and started drilling, expecting prices to rise, but the increase in supply pushed them back down. He says we’ve seen the number of oil rigs increase for the past three or four weeks in a row. He says eventually oil prices will reach 60-dollars a barrel, but there will be ups and downs along the way.

 

The owners of a used car dealership in Lafayette are facing criminal charges for allegedly stealing thousands of state tax dollars. Byron Henderson with the Louisiana Department of Revenue says owners of Lauco Auto Sales, Shawn Calvit and Michael Vilchez, underreported the sale price of more than 100 vehicles and pocketed the sales tax difference. He says the value of the cars sold was more than $1 million.

 

A man who was driving drunk and traveling over 100 miles per hour and involved in a fatal wreck on Mardi Gras Day in 2015 has plead guilty to vehicular homicide. 25-year-old Bryce Chapman faces up to 30 years in prison.  Lafayette prosecutor Daniel Landry says Chapman is a first time offender, but that likely won’t help his case. Lafayette Parish School system employee Carol Richard was killed in the wreck.

 

The Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office says a man drowned in a subdivision lake Tuesday  morning in Denham Springs while he was fishing with a juvenile. They say initial reports indicate the two were in the boat when it capsized. The juvenile was able to make it to safety but the adult male did not. The investigation continues, no foul play is suspected.

 

Governor John Bel Edwards said yesterday that he’ll be joined by Vice President Joe Biden and Attorney General Loretta Lynch at the vigil honoring the three fallen law enforcement officers who were killed in the line of duty. The event is open to the public and will be held at the Healing Place Church in Baton Rouge Thursday beginning at 11:30 am

 

The Saints report to training camp today as they look to avoid a third straight losing season. New Orleans defense has been among the worst in the NFL the last couple of seasons. Dennis Allen is the defensive coordinator this year, but NFL analyst Mike Detillier says the team lacks quality pass rushers on the roster. Detillier says one of the big camp battles will be along the offensive line.

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News for Tuesday 072616

By Dave Graichen

 

The final of the three Baton Rouge law enforcement officers slain in an ambush on cops was laid to rest yesterday. Over two-thousand people turned out for the funeral of BRPD’s Corporal Montrell Jackson who leaves behind a wife and baby boy, Mason. There will be another memorial service for the Baton Rouge officers on Thursday. We’ve learned Vice President Joe Biden and Attorney General Loretta Lynch will be among the list of the speakers.

 

A father and his two sons drowned on the Sabine River near Merryville this past weekend. Beauregard Parish Sheriff Rick Mosely says the bodies of the both boys were pulled out of the river Sunday night. Mosely says a strong current pulled the two children under the water while they were swimming and the father died trying to rescue them.

 

Disabled veterans will see an increase in their compensation beginning next year thanks to a bill by Congressman Ralph Abraham that has just been signed into law. Abraham says the bill will adjust the amount of compensation veterans receive for disability, dependents, and clothing allowance, as well as compensation for surviving spouses. Abraham says the increase is tied to the social security increase, so we won’t know how much more money these vets will get until the end of November.

 

More students than ever have achieved ACT scores that allow them to go to college, according to State Superintendent John White, who says the state’s composite ACT score has increased nearly a half a point since 2013. He says over 25-thousand students in the Class of 2016 scored an 18 or higher on the ACT. White says he credits this to the 2012 “ACT for All” initiative that allows students to take the exam at no cost, which he says gives more students access to the test. He says they also saw a record number of students qualify for the TOPS scholarship.

 

The Alexandria Zoo's made a sad announcement over the weekend that their resident male black bear Mike died Friday. The 21-year-old had been receiving medical treatment for more than two years for chronic renal disease and while he seemed to be responding well to his treatment he recently took a turn for the worse. The Zoo said Mike's "decline in health prompted the decision to humanely euthanize him once all therapy options were exhausted.

 

Mitchell Casmere, the man suspected in the July 1 armed robbery of a Regions Bank branch in Alexandria was captured on Saturday in New Orleans. Authorities report the 55 year old Casmere was arrested by the New Orleans Police Department on the warrants for armed robbery and attempted first-degree murder from the Alexandria Police Department. He currently is being held in the New Orleans Parish Detention Center, awaiting extradition to Alexandria.

 

According to AAA, nationwide gas prices are at a 12 year low. Spokesperson Don Redman says the current statewide average for a gallon of regular gas is about $1.98. Redman says the price of oil is also down to around $40 a barrel. He says drivers could see prices at the pump go down even more before the end of the summer. Redman says abundant supply has driven prices down. He says refineries have kept up with the supply surprisingly well considering the high demand.

 

Lawmakers will likely consider a bill to increase the state’s gasoline tax, when they meet for the 2017 fiscal session. That’s according to Representative Kenny Havard, who serves as chair of the House Transportation Committee and sits on the newly-formed Transportation Taskforce. Havard says there are not enough funds to address the $12 billion backlog for transportation maintenance, much less new projects. Louisiana’s 20-cent gas tax ranks 41 in the nation.

 

After a nearly 4-hour meeting, the LHSAA Executive Committee decided Eddie Bonine will remain the executive director of the organization. Bonine referred to the LHSAA as a “proverbial dumpster fire” in a report to the N-F-H-S, which led to the special meeting that went into executive session. Before the meeting went behind closed doors, Bonine apologized for his dumpster fire comment. He also talked about his frustrations over not being able to come up with a solution to end the public-private playoff split.  Bonine says after the airing it out session, he believes the board is fully behind him.

 

LSU kicker Colby Delahoussaye returns to New Iberia today after surviving a fatal wreck in Wisconsin. Delahoussaye was in Wisconsin to participate in the Kohl’s Kicking Camp. He was participant in the camp last week and was scheduled to serve as a camp counselor this week. Delahoussaye’s coach at New Iberia High, Rick Hutson says Delahoussaye has attended that camp since high school and he’s thankful his former player only suffered minor injuries.

 

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News for Monday 072516

By Dave Graichen

 

A Zwolle man was killed early Sunday morning when his Motorcycle left the roadway and struck a culvert. State police say 63 year old  Ralph C. Higginbotham Jr. was wearing a helmet but the impact was so great he died at the scene. Routine toxicology tests are pending. So far this year Troop E Troopers have investigated 31 fatal crashes resulting in 36 fatalities.

 

The funeral for fallen Baton Rouge Police Corporal Montrell Jackson will be held today. Jackson was a 10 year veteran of the BRPD and the father of a new baby boy. The 32 year old was gunned down along with two fellow officers in an ambush on police. Two weeks before he was killed on the job, he made a post on Facebook pleading for people not to let hate infect their hearts — in the aftermath of the death of Alton Sterling during a confrontation with cops.

 

A record 24 candidates will appear on the November ballot for the US Senate seat being vacated by David Vitter. One of those who will be on the ballot is Former KKK leader and state legislator David Duke. The Louisiana Republican Party denounces Duke’s candidacy, and Chairman of the Louisiana Republican Party Roget Villere says they’ll do whatever they can to make sure he doesn’t get elected. Duke says being rejected by the party is the best endorsement he could get.

 

The Democratic National Convention begins today in Philadelphia with 59 Louisiana delegates in attendance. Michael McHale, from Lake Charles, is one of those delegates. He expects  this convention to be much different than last week’s Republican convention. McHale says Clinton is the most qualified candidate we’ve ever seen run for president in the US. He is confident that she can move the country forward.

 

Watch out what you say on Facebook. A man is behind bars for threatening Caddo Parish Sheriff Steve Prator. Caddo Parish Sheriff’s office spokesperson Cindy Chadwick says 25-year-old Michael Evans was arrested in California and she says the extradition process will begin to bring Evans back to Caddo parish. Evans, who is being charged with terrorism, had bond set at 10-million dollars.

 

Baton Rouge Congressman Garret Graves says law enforcement will receive $650,000 in federal funding to defray some of the costs incurred when they responded to the attack on police officers a little over a week ago.  Graves says when you consider the amount of overtime that officers worked, total costs for the police could reach $3-5 million dollars.

 

An 81-year-old man has been arrested for the alleged rape of a six-year-old child. Caddo Parish Sheriff deputies say James Dickens had sexual contact with a little girl on number of occasions while at his home. Dickens was arrested and booked into Caddo Correctional Center for first-degree rape.

 

Mandeville Police have arrested an owner of a snowball stand, who allegedly received sexual favors from his juvenile employees and in exchange he would give his victims cash and drugs. Authorities say 56-year-old Anthony Fortune conducted his indecent behavior for about two months.

 

The LHSAA Executive Committee has a special meeting this afternoon where the only item on the agenda is to discuss the comments made by executive director Eddie Bonine that referred to the LHSAA as a “proverbial dumpster fire.” Executive committee member and Doyle High School Principal Tommy Hodges says they’ll discuss the controversial statement in a report submitted to the NFHS. Hodges says to his knowledge they will not seek to buy out Bonine’s contract and was shocked by media reports that suggested that is the reason for today’s meeting. He says the objective is really to clear the air.

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News for Friday 072216

By Dave Graichen

 

Heat indices will hit well over 100 degrees again today, so the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness is urging everyone to take caution. Stay hydrated and check in on seniors. This hot and humid weather is expected to continue through the weekend.

 

Today is the first of three funerals that will be held for the fallen Baton Rouge officers. The Funeral service for Matthew Gerald is today. Deputy Brad Garafola will be laid to rest on Saturday and Baton Rouge police officer Montrell Jackson’s services will be Monday.

 

There is good news when it comes to one of the officers that was injured in Sunday’s attack. Deputy Bruce Simmons was released from a Baton Rouge hospital yesterday. However, One deputy, Nick Tullier, still remains in the hospital. He is being treated for gunshot wounds to his head and torso and is still in critical condition.

 

There are 21 individuals who have their eyes set on becoming Louisiana’s next US Senator. That’s how many people have qualified for the seat that will be vacated by David Vitter. Political analyst Clancy Dubos says with this many people in the race, anything is possible when voters go to the polls in November. The final day to qualify for the US Senate race or one of the six Congressional races is Friday.

 

Republican state Rep. Mike Johnson of Bossier City and fellow Republican former state Sen. Elbert Guillory of Opelousas joined the 4th Congressional District race on Wednesday.

Incumbent Congressman John Fleming, R-Minden, is giving up the seat to run for the U.S. Senate.

 

Deridder authorities have arrested three Deridder residents in connection with a hold up of the Sabine state bank on Monday. A single man robbed the Bank shortly after noon and then fled on foot. A short time later, he met up with two people at a nearby restaurant, and the three left together in a vehicle. The Deridder police made several posts with photos of the three suspects. One suspect  turned herself in. The other two were arrested a short time later. All three were charged with one count of first-degree robbery

 

The Attorney General’s Office urges consumers to be cautious when making donations in wake of the Baton Rouge shootings. Amanda Larkins with the A-G’s office says they want to make sure contributions truly go to the families of the law enforcement officers and actually reach those they intend to help. Larkins says don’t assume that charity posts on social media are legitimate. A legitimate link can be found at cenlabroadcasting.com

 

Democratic Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden says he’s running for Congress in the 2nd district because he’s unhappy with the performance of Democratic incumbent Cedric Richmond. The district runs from New Orleans to Baton Rouge. Richmond says Baton Rouge needs its mayor tending to the business of the city, not running for Congress. Holden is serving out the final year of his term and he is term-limited.

 

The Louisiana Department of Health has received confirmation of one additional case of Zika virus. The patient had traveled to a region with ongoing Zika transmission and sought medical care in Louisiana after returning, where tests confirmed the viral infection. This is the ninth case of travel-associated Zika confirmed in Louisiana. There have been no confirmed cases of local transmission within Louisiana.

 

Tomorrow it’ll be one year since a man opened fire during a showing of a movie at a Lafayette theater, killing two people and injuring nine others. Joey Durel was the mayor on July 23rd, 2015. He’s says they couldn’t have moved on as easily if it weren’t for the love and support from people throughout the state, and the nation. He says one of the things that sticks out in his mind the most was a statement from an officer the next day who said, “All around the country people are throwing bricks at police, and here they are throwing food to us”.

 

State Police have made an arrest in the fatal hit and run crash back in May that killed a skateboarder near the Southeastern Louisiana campus. 37-year-old Vincent Young of Natalbany has been booked into jail. Young faces several charges including Felony Hit and Run. Authorities believe  Young’s vehicle was the second one that hit the victim. The search continues for the first.

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News for Thursday 072116

By Dave Graichen

 

Gov. John Bel Edwards said Louisiana lawmakers are already considering possible legislation for the coming year in response to the deadly shooting of three Baton Rouge law enforcement officers Sunday. Speaking on his monthly call-in radio show Wednesday, Edwards didn't elaborate on what proposals legislators might be putting together, but he said that the 2017 legislative session will partly focus on criminal justice reform and he's not opposed to efforts to outline how officer-involved shootings are handled in Louisiana. The program also featured State Police Superintendent Col. Mike Edmonson.

 

The US Department of Veterans Affairs reports their health records show the man responsible for the shooting deaths of three law enforcement officers in Baton Rouge had a number contacts with the V-A from 2008 to 2013. It’s been reported Gavin Long told people close to him that he suffered from post-traumatic stress disoder. The V-A says Long’s US Marine Corps’ service included overseas deployment.

 

A memorial service is set for next Thursday to remember and honor the three law enforcement officers who lost their lives in a shootout with a gunman in Baton Rouge. Governor John Bel Edwards says the service will take place a 2:00 p.m. at Healing Place Church in the Capital City.

 

13 candidates in the US Senate race officially signed up to run on the first day of qualifying yesterday. They include Republicans Congressmen Charles Boustany and John Fleming, State Treasurer John Kennedy and Joseph Cao. Democrats Caroline Fayard and Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell threw their hats in the ring, as well as former ATC Commissioner Troy Hebert.

 

Fifth District U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham was the first in line for qualifying here yesterday  morning, pulling into the Secretary of State's office 30 minutes before it opened at 8 a.m.

Nobody had qualified to run against Abraham by the end of the first day. Qualifying continues today and Friday.

 

The Jonesville Town Council asked its police chief to resign on Tuesday after a profanity-filled social media post that he made after the fatal shootings of three officers in Baton Rouge. Council members asked Chief Skylar Doré to resign after he posted an expletive- filled rant directed at President Barack Obama. Doré apologized at the meeting, saying he knew some Baton Rouge officers. The vote to ask for the chief’s resignation was unanimous.

 

The St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office has arrested a man accused of making threats against police officers on social media. Sheriff Greg Champagne says following the deadly rampage against officers in Baton Rouge a man by the name of Victor Pablo indicated he planned a similar ambush. Champagne says the suspect is being charged with terrorizing and threatening a public official, which carries up to a maximum of 15 years in prison.

 

Senate President John Alario says state senator Troy Brown has been suspended from all of his committee assignments after he’s been charged for a second time of domestic abuse. Alario says Brown will remain suspended until the matter is resolved. Brown was arrested on Monday after he allegedly bit his wife’s arm at their Ascension Parish home.

 

If you’re planning to install solar panels on your home, residents from this point will not be getting tax credits from the state. The Louisiana Department of Revenue says the solar energy tax incentive program is tapped out. But President of Solar Alternatives Jeff Cantin says there are still federal tax dollars available. He says this means around 2-thousand families will not get the state credit now.

 

Rumors are swirling the LHSAA executive committee is seeking to buyout or terminate the contract of executive director Eddie Bonine. LHSAA President Vic Bonnafee has called a special meeting of the LHSAA executive committee for Monday. Bonine is expected to discuss a report he presented to the NFHS convention last month, where he described high school sports in Louisiana as a “dumpster fire” because of the growing split of public and private schools.

 

Lafayette police officers will soon be equipped with modern crowd-control gear to replace decades-old equipment that spent much of its life aging on the shelf. The move to upgrade equipment to protect police officers comes in the wake of recent protests and unrest that have led to police officer killings in Baton Rouge, Dallas and elsewhere. The Lafayette City-Parish Council voted unanimously Tuesday to approve Mayor-President Joel Robideaux's emergency request for $120,000 to provide full-body gear for all officers within the Lafayette Police Department.

 

With Bobby Jindal out of office and Senator David Vitter leaving politics soon, it begs the question as to who is the face of the Republican Party in Louisiana. ULM political science professor Dr. John Sutherlin says the winner of this fall’s US Senate election could be the next Republican leader. Some may point to Steve Scalise as the republican leader in the state. But Sutherlin says the US Representative and House Majority Whip is the third-ranking Republican in the Congress, but he’s not well known out of the New Orleans area. Sutherlin says party leadership typically comes from the Governor’s office and having a democrat in the Governor’s mansion complicates the situation.

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News for Wednesday 072016

By Dave Graichen

 

A memorial fund for the families of the fallen Baton Rouge police officers has been set up by the Baton Rouge Area Foundation. Communications Director Mukul Verma says the East Baton Rouge First Responders Fund was established in 1988. He says donations can be made at BRAF.org, and every contribution helps. Verma says they have already raised over $33-thousand and more donations are still coming in.

 

Police officers around the state and across the country are reeling from the Sunday’s tragic ambush in Baton Rouge, and law enforcement now has to decide where to go from here. Pineville Police Deputy Chief and President of the Louisiana Fraternal Order of Police, Darrell Basco, says officers from all over the nation are doing everything they can to help, by sending money or officers to assist in Baton Rouge. Basco says they are also seeing tremendous community support as well. He says people have taken to social media in particular to show love for the men in blue.

 

Funeral arrangements have been announced for two of the officers who were killed in Baton Rouge on Sunday. A viewing for BRPD Officer Matthew Gerald will be held Thursday at Resthaven in Baton Rouge, then again at Healing Place on Friday before services. The burial for Gerald will be at the Louisiana National Cemetery in Zachary. Corporal Montrell Jackson’s visitation, Services and burial will take place beginning at 9am Monday at Living Faith Christian Center in Baton Rouge.

 

Qualifying for the US Senate race begins today. As many as eight well-known candidates are expected to file paperwork to put their name on the ballot, five republicans, two democrats and one independent. JMC Analytics pollster John Couvillion anticipates a Republican and Democrat will be the top two voters in the November open primary and advance to a December runoff. Couvillion says Democratic Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell and Republican State Treasurer John Kennedy are the front-runners for their respective parties.

 

The Congressional races in Louisiana officially kick-off today with the start of qualifying. Candidates will sign-up at the Secretary of State’s office between today and Friday. Pollster Bernie Pinsonat predicts the third congressional district seat will be the most competitive with some big names and heavily funded candidates trying to make it into the runoff. Former state representative Bret Geymann, law enforcement officer Clay Higgins and Lafayette businessman Gus Rantz are few of the other high-profile Republican candidates in the 3rd district, which is currently occupied by Republican Charles Boustany who is running for Senate.

 

Three Louisiana cities rank as very stressful. Shreveport is No. 6, New Orleans No. 8 and Baton Rouge came in at 13th. Dr. Michelle Moore with LSU Health New Orleans says that, especially in the case of New Orleans, crime is one of the biggest factors in the ranking.

Moore says the report shows Louisianians have high anxiety about things like money, health, ability to cope and safety.

 

Five people from Albany, in Livingston Parish, were killed in a head-on collision with an 18-wheeler in Alabama. State police report the driver of the big rig was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

 

There are plans to rebuild the Civil War-era Governor’s Mansion that was intentionally burned down a week ago today in Opelousas. Mayor Reginald Tatum is upset the original structure was destroyed, but he says the foundation of the old structure is still in good condition to rebuild. He says the building’s owners are seeking emergency funds to pay for a new mansion through the national trust for historic preservation.

 

There’s a growing buzz about Melania Trump’s speech last night at the Republican National Convention as some felt it was extremely similar to one Michelle Obama made in 2008. Former Jefferson Parish President and a Louisiana delegate at the convention in Cleveland, John Young, says at the end of the day the Trump campaign needs to deal with the issue and move on.

 

The community and faith-based organization, Together Baton Rouge, lays out a plan on how to move the Capital City forward in the wake of the ambush on Baton Rouge police and the fatal shooting Alton Sterling. Rev. Lee Wesley says one of the first things that needs to be done is getting help to people who struggle with mental health problems. Wesley says they also want to see more “community policing” in which police build a relationship with citizens.

Wesley says the group will hold “We the People” meetings over the next 6 months to allow people to voice their concerns on both sides.

 

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News for Tuesday 071916

By Dave Graichen

 

At an afternoon press conference yesterday, more details were released about the ambush attack that left three police officers dead and three more injured in Baton Rouge. Col. Mike Edmonson says they are still trying to determine what 29-year-old Gavin Long did prior to the attack and to whom he may have spoken. Edmonson says police are also investigating suspicious activity on Long’s social media accounts. He says they recovered a rental car Long used, which is being analyzed for evidence, as well as the weapons Long had at the time of the shooting. Edmonson says they believe Long acted alone in the shooting.

 

There were also three officers injured in the attack. East Baton Rouge Sheriff Sid Gautreaux said deputy Nicholas Tullier is in very, very critical condition. Gautreaux says another injured deputy, Bruce Simmons, was shot in the arm and a titanium rod was used to replace the bone that was shattered.

 

Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie defended law enforcement’s use of “militarized tactics” in light of the recent ambush on police officers. He says the officers who responded did exactly what they were trained to do. Dabadie says police have been questioned repeatedly over the past couple of weeks about their use of “militarized tactics.” He says the tragedy that occurred Sunday is an example of why they must be prepared to use any and all means to neutralize a threat..

 

The tragic police shooting in Baton Rouge is being felt at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Louisiana Republican Party Chairman Roger Villere says many people attending the convention are praying Baton Rouge, especially the families of the police officers who were killed. Villere says he believes public safety will become an even bigger platform for national leaders in response to the tragic shootings that have taken place throughout the country.

Villere says security has been ramped up at the convention because of the recent violence.

 

State senator Troy Brown is facing a domestic abuse charge in Ascension Parish. Sheriff Jeff Wiley says Brown was arrested at his Geismar residence after his wife called authorities and told them that the senator was irate and bit her on the forearm. Brown was also arrested eight months ago in New Orleans for allegedly punching a woman in the eye.

 

Officials with the Franklin Parish Sheriff’s Office says the 22-year-old woman who was abducted and nearly killed is still recovering at a hospital. 35-year-old Kevin Mathis is in jail in connection with the incident and charged with attempted murder and aggravated kidnapping. Authorities say the woman was found alone in a vehicle at a cemetery early Saturday morning. The case is under investigation.

 

The three law enforcement officers killed in Sunday’s ambush attack in Baton Rouge are being remembered today as heroes. Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie says Officer Matthew Gerald was a devoted husband and father of two and joined the Baton Rouge Police Department in March. Dabadie says Gerald also served in the Marine Corp, the Army, and served three tours in Iraq. 32-year-old Corporal Montrell Jackson also lost his life and was a ten year veteran of the Baton Rouge Police Department. Chief Dabadie says Jackson had been with his wife for 10 years and they have a four month old son. East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s deputy Brad Garafola was also killed by Gavin Long after trying to save a BRPD officer. Sheriff Sid Gautreaux says Garafola leaves behind a wife and four children. He says all the officers ran toward the threat, not away from it.  Fellow East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Deputy Nick Tullier was critically wounded and is in the hospital on life support from injuries to his head and stomach.

 

A murder/suicide in Sulphur has left a man and his 4-year-old-son dead. Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office Spokesperson Kim Myers says several calls came into their office of people who were worried about 59-year-old Kenneth Bacque (Bah-kay) Myers says police tried to make contact with Bacque when they arrived at his residence. She says when he did not respond, police forced their way into the home.  Myers says the investigation is in the preliminary stages but it appears Bacque shot his son and then shot himself.

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News For Monday 071816

By Dave Graichen

 

The city of Baton Rouge is on edge after three law enforcement officers were fatally shot and three others wounded in a shooting that occurred Sunday morning. State Police Colonel Mike Edmonson says at 8:40 in the morning, a police officer saw an individual wearing all black and holding a rifle on Airline Highway and two minutes later there were reports of shots fired. Originally,  Edmonson said it was possible there could be accomplices. But now they believe the deceased gunman, Gavin Long of Kansas City, Missouri, worked alone.  The Three  officers killed have been identified as 41-year-old Matthew Gerald, 32-year-old Montrell Jackson and 45 year old Brad Garafola.

 

East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore has announced that over half of the protestors who were arrested following the shooting death of Alton Sterling will not face charges. Moore says he will not prosecute about 100 of the cases, because the demonstrators were arrested only on misdemeanor counts, simple obstruction of a highway.

 

Authorities in Baton Rouge have arrested a fourth person who was allegedly involved in a pawn shop burglary where guns were stolen that would be used to kill police officers. The East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s office says a 12-year-old male juvenile was booked into the Juvenile Detention Center for simple burglary and theft of a firearm. Three other suspects are also in custody. Officials say eight handguns were stolen during the break-in earlier in the month.

 

Forty-two Louisiana delegates are at the Republican National Convention, which gets underway today in Cleveland. Kirk Williamson is a former Marco Rubio delegate who jumped on the Trump train. He says he’s looking forward to electing a good candidate that he believes can defeat Hillary Clinton in November. He says Trump has done a good job of uniting the Republican Party.

 

It’s a big week in politics with the Republican National Convention and qualifying for the federal elections. UL-Lafayette Political Science Professor Pearson Cross says Donald Trump’s acceptance speech as the Republican nominee on Thursday night is the most anticipated speech of the year. Cross says the Republican Party is not completely united behind Donald Trump but they’re more and more on their way. He says there are a significant number of party members that are not happy with the Donald.

 

Louisiana’s health department says enrollment for the state’s expanded Medicaid program, known as Healthy Louisiana, has reached 250-thousand new adults. According to the L-D-H, Healthy Louisiana will bring health insurance coverage to an estimated 375-thousand working Louisianans.

 

Republicans in the US Senate race are leading in campaign fundraising. ULM political science professor Dr. Joshua Stockley says US Representative John Fleming reports $2.4 million in his campaign funds and State Treasurer John Kennedy has collected $1.4 million. Congressman Charles Boustany had the best recent fundraising period with $2.5 million in the bank.

 

A Prairieville man faces up 10 years in prison as an Ascension Parish jury found him guilty of aggravated cruelty after he used a baseball bat to kill a dog. Thirty-three-year-old Jamari Jackson claimed in 2014 the dog got the stuck in a barbed wire fence, but veterinary experts said the dog died from blunt-force trauma injuries.

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News for Tuesday 071216

By Dave Graichen

 

A 15 month old child that went missing early Monday Morning here in Rapides Parish was located a short time later in a briar patch across the street from the Tioga home. Lt. Tommy Carnline with RPSO says the parents last saw the child around 3am asleep, and it’s unknown at this time how the 15 month old got out of the house. The child had numerous insect bites and was suffering from exposure to the elements. The investigation continues.

 

Close to 100 people, from all walks of life, showed up at the Rapides Parish Court House late yesterday afternoon for a prayer vigil aimed at healing the community. One of the organizers of the event the Rev. Sherri Jackson, said she didn't want a protest, but wanted a place where people could gather to begin to heal after all of the incidents of last week. The event according to many who attended, did just that.

 

Word yesterday afternoon that former Rapides Parish DA Edwin Ware III has passed away. Ware, who was DA from 1967 to 1984 passed Sunday. Funeral Services will be at 10 a.m. Thursday in First Presbyterian Church of Alexandria. Ware was 88.

 

Baton Rouge DA Hillar Moore has recused himself and his office from the investigation of Alton Sterling because he has connections with the parents an officer involved in the shooting. A report says Blane Salamoni’s mother was the Violent Crime and Crime Scene Commander and Salamoni’s father has commanded the department’s special operations unit during most of Moore’s time in office. Moore says he wants to give protesters justice.

 

The initial police report has been released in the death of Alton Sterling. According to a search warrant, officers saw the butt of Sterling’s gun in his front pocket and saw him reaching for it before shots were fired. Sterling refused orders from the two officers, Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake II, and was being tased when they noticed the gun in his pocket. The report says Sterling was reaching for his gun and was then shot by Salamoni to stop the threat.

 

The ACLU of Louisiana believe BRPD used excessive and illegal force this weekend on protesters marching for justice after the fatal police shooting of Alton Sterling. Many arrests were made from people obstructing roadways. Executive Director Marjorie Esman says treating peaceful protesters as though they are going to start a riot does not help relations that are already strained. EBR DA Hillar Moore says they are going to investigate every arrest case.

 

A man accused of fatally shooting a state police trooper last summer has been granted a change of venue for his case. Kevin Daigle is charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of officer Steven Vincent and state judge Guy Bradberry says the jury will be selected from Bossier Parish and transported to Calcasieu Parish for the trial.

 

A transportation task force created by Governor John Bel Edwards holds its first meeting today. The panel will make various recommendations that could lead to major changes for Louisiana’s roadways. State Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson says the task force holds its first meeting as the state faces a nearly 13-billion dollar backlog in transportation projects. The recommendations from this task force will be brought to the legislature in 2017.

 

Hammond Police continue to investigate a double homicide that claimed the lives of a 65-year-old woman and her 39-year-old nephew. Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for anyone with information on these killings. Cops responded to the scene around 1am Sunday.

 

Louisiana is ranked the third safest state for older drivers. That’s according to a report from Caring.com and Chief Caring Expert Dayna Steele 11-percent of people killed in car crashes in Louisiana are 65 and older and that age group makes up 14-percent of the population. She hopes this study sparks conversations and action with family members and loved ones who might not need to be driving anymore.

 

A bill by Louisiana Congressman Ralph Abraham has won the approval of the US House that seeks to defund a 2015 executive order from President Obama that could drive up the costs of building in Louisiana. Abraham says the President’s order would also make flood insurance more expensive for Louisiana residents. Abraham says the order scraps the base flood commonly used to determine flood risk and replaces it with a new one that takes into account future flooding from climate change. Though the bill passed the house, Abraham says he does expect the Senate to approve the bill.

 

With a historic budget crisis, torrential flooding in March, three legislative sessions, and now massive protests in the Capital City, Governor John Bel Edwards has certainly had a lot to deal with since taking office. ULM political science professor Dr. John Sutherlin says there likely hasn’t been another governor in office who’s had so much on his plate during the first few months of his term. Sutherlin says Edwards has done a fairly good job of managing situations that he did not create, and it’s unlikely that he will get a break anytime soon. He says it still remains to be seen how the governor will handle situations that he can control and what will come of all the work on the budget.

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News for Monday 071716

By Dave Graichen

 

A small, peaceful rally was held Sunday afternoon  in downtown Alexandria. The organizers say the held the rally as a call for unity and justice in light of recent officer-related shootings around the country. City and Parish officials organized throughout the day to insure the planned rally did not get out of control. In the end, it’s believed the afternoon thunderstorms kept the crowds away.

 

A prominent Black Lives Matter activist and 100 other people were taken into custody, Saturday In Baton Rouge after protesters took to the streets to call for justice and voice anger over the fatal shooting of an Alton Sterling by two white police officers. Some 30 people were arrested on Friday.

 

Gov. John Bel Edwards said Sunday he is proud of law enforcement's response to demonstrations in the wake of Alton Sterling's death in Baton Rouge and thanked community members who remained peaceful during the majority of the protests. But Edwards  characterized the 130 or so arrests in the demonstrations as a low number and emphasized there have been relatively few injuries to officers and protesters. Governor Edwards is asking that the public give the Department of Justice time to conduct its investigation into Sterling’s shooting.

 

A march from Wesley United Methodist Church to the State Capitol Sunday protesting the death of Alton Sterling at the hands of Baton Rouge police went from peaceful to confrontational when protesters decided to continue walking on Government Street to the Police Department’s Headquarters.  At least 12 people were arrested. The march was initiated by the NAACP of LSU and other young activist groups.

 

State Police Col Mike Edmonson says police have been investigating riot threats that have been made on social media and asks the public to be on the lookout for suspicious activity. He says they are working on race relations between law enforcement and the public. He says in order for people to respect authorities, they have to be able to trust them. He says that starts with transparency and communication.

 

The recent acts of violence across the country have many people asking what can be done to improve race relations in a country that seems more and more divided. LSU associate sociology professor Dr. Lori Martin says resolving the problem starts with acknowledging that there is one. She says what we need is an open and honest dialogue about racial issues.

Martin says racial problems are real, and they have real consequences because tragedies like the Dallas attack are occurring far too often.

 

A St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s deputy is donating his kidney today to a brother in blue from a neighboring parish. St. Tammany Deputy Robert Ardeneaux is scheduled to have the surgery today to donate his kidney to Jason Triche, a St. John the Baptist Parish Deputy whose kidneys are failing due to health problems from a 2012 shooting. Triche was injured in a shooting that took the lives of two officers.

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News for Wednesday 070616

By Dave Graichen

 

Hundreds of Louisiana workers will be out of work as a result of GE Oil and Gas in Pineville closing its doors in September. Pineville Mayor Clarence Fields says the company is closing its Pineville facility to move its operation to their other location in Jacksonville, Florida. He says he is disappointed to see this company move to another state. The plant closing will result in 269 of the company’s 289 employees encountering permanent layoffs .The move to Florida will be to a non-union shop. 

 

State Police are upping their efforts to enforce the “Move Over” law after several officers were struck by vehicles while working on the side of the road, Killing one over the weekend. State Police Sgt. Jared Sandifer says people should always watch out for any emergency vehicle on the side of the road, including police, EMS, firefighters and tow trucks. According to the “Move Over America” campaign, over 70% of Americans do not know about move over laws.

 

Just in time for summer vacations, drivers are seeing prices go down at the pump. AAA spokesperson Mike Right says we could see gas prices below $2 a gallon before the end of the summer. Gas prices have been falling for the past few weeks, and Right says that’s unusual during the summer months. He says this time last year, the statewide average was $2.55 a gallon, and today the average is $2.08. Here in Alexandria, prices are substantially lower than $2.00 a gal.

 

Governor John Bel Edwards announces the state’s Economic Development department will take a comprehensive look at the Louisiana’s film tax incentive program. With reports that movie industry jobs are fleeing to other states, LED Secretary Don Pierson says it’s time to see how they can help Hollywood South. Pierson says they’ll make recommendations on how to reform the program and legislators will get a chance to vote on them next year.

 

Louisiana is set to receive 60-million dollars in federal grants that will benefit significant road projects in the state. The grant will be used to improve and expand I-10 between Lafayette and the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge. The Funds will also allow the state to use dollars to address the bottleneck on I-10 east as you come over the Mississippi River Bridge from West Baton Rouge parish.

 

LSU student-athletes, coaches, and support staff will undergo sexual harassment sensitivity training and awareness classes. Deputy Athletic Director Eddie Nunez says they are increasing their efforts on this topic after troubling reports of sexual assaults involving athletes at other schools.  Nunez says their classes will be very broad and address everything from human relations risks to prevention of harassment and abuse.

 

An officer involved shooting outside a Baton Rouge convenience store left one man dead. The convenience store clerk told a Baton Rouge TV station he saw suspect carrying a gun but he did not have it out at the time of the shooting. The coroner has said that Sterling was shot multiple times in the chest and back. One officer is on administrative leave and the investigation is ongoing.

 

One man is dead and another is in the hospital following a shooting in Shreveport on Independence Day. Cpl. Marcus Hines says 33-year-old Antonio Collins and 32-year-old Exzavious Thomas were next door neighbors arguing over shooting fireworks. Hines says Collins suffered a fatal shot to the chest, and Thomas was also injured.

 

In Ascension Parish, a Gonzales man has been arrested after he fatally shot his ex-girlfriend in her vehicle after a high speed chase. Chief Deputy Bobby Webre says 26-year-old Jarvis McNair faces several charges. Authorities say the couple’s 10-month-old boy was in the back seat when she was shot.

 

Stadium Journey has ranked LSU’s Alex Box Stadium as the best ballpark in the country. In its review, they say the Box has it all, powerhouse ball club, state of the art facility, great food selection, rabid fan base and an intimidating atmosphere for opposing teams.

 

Abortion providers in Louisiana have filed suit over seven abortion laws enacted this year. The Center for Reproductive Rights brought forward the federal suit to keep the rules from taking effect on August 1.  The lawsuit seeks to get a judge to determine the state’s new 72 hour waiting period for a woman to get an abortion is illegal and they are also challenging the ban of the so-called dismemberment abortion, which is commonly used in the second trimester.

 

It's a new record. 34 drawings and still no Mega Millions jackpot winner. Virginia Lottery Director, Paula Otto says Friday's drawing is expected to be worth $508 million to the lucky winner.

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News for Tuesday 070516

By Dave Graichen

 

The APD is investigating the death of a man who was found lying in New York Avenue early Saturday Morning. Police say 45 year old Anthony Whitehead may have been lying in the road when he was struck by a vehicle. An autopsy and toxicology testing has been ordered.

 

A Grant Parish man died Saturday morning in a crash between two boats on Cane River Lake in Natchitoches Parish. The victim has been id’d as 65 year old William Morrison of Dry Prong. The LDWF is investigating the accident.

 

Governor John Bel Edwards has decided not to veto a measure that would “front load” the TOPS scholarship program. Higher Education Commissioner Dr. Joe Rallo says they support the governor. But those who oppose say this would put a massive burden on college students in the spring semester. Edwards did call this a disingenuous budgeting gimmick. Edwards says students should be prepared for cuts to TOPS in the fall, and an even bigger cut in the spring.

 

Louisiana is being sued over the seven abortion laws that were enacted during the legislative sessions. The Center for Reproductive Rights filed the federal suit to stop the rules from taking effect on August 1. This comes after the recent Supreme Court decision to overturn a Texas law requiring abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at hospitals. The suit attacks laws like the banning of dismemberment abortions and prohibiting the state from funding abortion clinics.

 

Two law enforcement officers standing on the side of the road have been struck by moving vehicles since last Friday, because drivers failed to merge into the next lane. In one of the cases, a Sterlington Police officer died from his injuries and a 44-year-old Monroe driver is facing several charges, including vehicular homicide. That incident happened early Sunday morning in Ouachita Parish.

 

A police officer in New Orleans collapsed and died while on Patrol in Bourbon Street over the weekend. The Orleans Parish coroner will conduct an autopsy, though it appears the officer’s death was of natural causes.

 

The Colorado State University forecast team has upped the number of anticipated named storms in 2016 by one. In June they called for 14 named storms, now they predict 15. State Climatologist Barry Keim says the change is due to the fact that there are already 4 named storms on the books this year. He says that’s the most ever for this early in the season.

The Atlantic Hurricane season runs from June 1st through November.

 

It was a safe Essence Festival in New Orleans. Organizers say 450-thousand people attended the 2016 event, which is down from the previous year which had an attendance of a half-million people.

 

State Police say a deputy with the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office shot and killed a man who allegedly came at the cop with a knife after a standoff. They say 40-year-old Shannon Labit of New Iberia is believed to have had stabbed two people earlier at a home before the standoff ensued. The deputy’s name is not being released at this time. The instigation is ongoing.

 

The Baton Rouge mom accused of whipping her kids after they robbed a house will not face any charges according to District Attorney Hillar Moore. 30-year-old Schaquana Spears was arrested on two counts of cruelty to a juvenile for whipping her two children with a cable after the burglarized a neighbor’s home. Moore says he doesn’t plan on changing his mind. Spears lost her job and custody of her kids after she was arrested.

 

 

The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office says a 2-year-old was saved after being left in a car on a 90 degree day while his mother and aunt were inside Walmart shopping. Employees noticed the little boy was by himself and still strapped in his car seat so they smashed the passenger side window. The windows in the vehicle had been rolled up and the car off for close to 30 minutes. The child was showing signs of heat stroke as he was sweating and had vomited. 37-year-old Shaun Buchanan and 25-year-old Cynthia Simmons were arrested on charges of child desertion and cruelty to a juvenile.

 

A lawsuit has been filed in attempt to restore voting rights to Louisiana felons. The suit states that prohibiting people released on parole or probation from voting in the state is unconstitutional. The suit was filed by the activist group called The Voice of the Ex-Offender. The Attorney General’s Office says they will review the lawsuit but believe the law is constitutional.

 

Police have arrested a 24-year-old man in connection with the shooting deaths of two people at the Monroe Civic Center. Jaterrious Godfrey of Monroe was booked into the Ouachita Correctional Center. Detectives believe Godfrey fired a weapon when a fight broke out in the parking lot after a private event was getting out early Sunday morning.

 

A Livonia couple has been arrested on child sex charges. Police say 35-year-old Damien Kimble was raping his girlfriend’s daughter over the course of 9 years. The Livonia Police Chief says the victim, who is under 13-years-old, reported the crime herself. Kimble has been charged with aggravated rape, molestation, and carnal knowledge of a juvenile, and the unnamed mother was charged with principal to molestation and indecent behavior of a juvenile.

 

A deputy with the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s office has been arrested for solicitation of a prostitute. State Trooper Scott Moreau says the investigation into 48-year-old Stacy Bender revealed he had an inappropriate relationship. Moreau says Bender is looking at 12 charges. The Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office says Bender was a deputy for over 17 years and has been terminated.

 

The town of Welsh, located in in Jefferson Davis Parish, is now the official The Home of the Cajun Dictionary.” Mayor Carolyn Louviere says the town’s long time pastor, the late Father Jules Daigle. Tha Pastor wasn’t pleased with the way Cajun French was spoken and wrote two books on the language. She credits Welsh’s city council for taking steps to get this official designation.

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News for Friday 070116

By Dave Graichen

 

Times are tough everywhere. Even in the church. With less money in the collection plate, fewer charitable donations and ever-increasing expenses, The Catholic Diocese of Alexandria has announced its eliminating 13 positions, including three clergy positions, at St. Joseph Catholic Center. Bishop Ronald Herzog said in a letter about the staff reductions, this coming year’s deficit is approaching $500,000,”

 

Pineville Mayor Clarence Fields saying yesterday during a public meeting on the city’s budget that the city is sound financially, but it cannot continue dipping into reserve funds. The City Council unanimously approved the amended 2015-16 budget and the 2016-17 budget. The new fiscal year which starts today. The budget was amended to accommodate the city paying the IRS over $244 thousand for missed Social Security payments for firefighters. City officials actually are relieved that they could settle the debt for that amount, since the city was facing a potential $2.36 million debt.

 

The state’s newly expanded Medicaid program goes into effect today, and the Louisiana Department of Health says some people may be able to see a doctor for the first time in their lives. Secretary Rebekah Gee says the expansion will improve health outcomes for Louisiana residents.

 

Two arrests have been made in the murder of the Raising Cane’s shift manager who was killed during an armed robbery. 23-year-old Joshua Every and 24-year-old Mark Crocklen are both charged with armed robbery and first degree murder for the death of 21-year-old Taylor Friloux. Kenner Police Chief Michael Glaser says the suspects are going back and forth about who stabbed the girl, but the video clearly shows what happened. Police say this was a planned robbery, and only $1,000 was stolen.

 

Beginning today, able-bodied food stamp recipients without dependents will be required to participate in job-training if they do not work or go to school. DCFS Deputy Assistant Secretary, Sammy Guillory, says the requirement could be different on a case by case basis.

Guillory says this new requirement will affect about 52-thousand food stamp recipients.

 

Cuts will still need to be made on government services as the new fiscal year starts,   but the concern is that there will be a deficit in the current year that would carry over Rob Henson with the State Treasurer’s Office says even with the work that the legislature did in the two special sessions, there are still major money problems ahead.

 

ALT:

The Revenue Estimating Conference learned Thursday that lawmakers raised $371 million dollars in revenue that can be used in the budget year that begins Friday. But Ron Henson with the State Treasurer’s Office says there are still concerns that Louisiana won’t be able to pay its bills until taxes are collected and it’s possible state government will have to borrow money.

 

A motion has been filed to allow a jury to hear a secret recording of Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal calling a federal prosecutor in a pending case a “sorry son of a b****”. Legal analyst Tim Meche says Ackal did not know he was being recorded. Ackal also allegedly made anti-Semitic remarks about the prosecutor

 

Two 18th District judges have been suspended without pay, due to misconduct. Judge Robin Free and Judge James Best’s region covers Iberville, Pointe Coupee and West Baton Rouge parishes. Judge Alvin Batiste, who also handles cases in that district, says anytime a judge is punished, it is serious. The Supreme Court suspended Free for a year, and Best was suspended 15 days.

 

Summer is upon us and many people will be out enjoying the water, so the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is giving out some tips on what to do in the event of an alligator encounter. LDWF Alligator Program Manager Edmond Mouton says whatever you do, don’t feed or approach alligators.  He says if you see an alligator in an area that could pose a public safety hazard, call LDWF immediately because state law prohibits taking it into your own hands. Mouton advises Louisiana residents to visit LA-gator-program-dot-com

 

One man is dead following an officer-involved shooting in Monroe. State Trooper Michael Reichardt says deputies were following up on a domestic violence call when the suspect pointed a weapon at them, so they fired. Reichardt says the deputies were not harmed, and the investigation is ongoing.

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News for Thursday 063016

By Dave Graichen

 

Alexandria Mayor Jacques Roy at yesterday’s administrative meeting outlined several possible plans to boost development downtown along the Red river.  One plan would involve the city renovating the Capitol One Bank building and moving city hall to the building just a few blocks from the current location. Roy says the project would cost roughly $6 million. Part of the current city hall building would be torn down to create a “mall” or green space while still retaining the Convention Hall part of the building. The project is still very much still in the talking stage.

 

No change of venue for now.. A decision on whether to grant a change of venue in the case of one of the former Marksville Ward 2 marshals accused in the fatal shooting of a 6-year-old boy and the serious wounding of his father has been deferred until prospective jurors are questioned. Attorneys for Derrick Stafford appeared before 12th Judicial District Court Judge William Bennett on Wednesday morning for a hearing on seven motions they filed in the case. Stafford faces trial on charges of second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder.

 

A rather bazaar story out of Pineville yesterday as a police arrested a man who attempted to steel an ambulance at gunpoint. Police say 43 year old Harlan Farque  had attempted to steal a car first, only to find it had a flat. He then went to the Acadian Ambulance office on Melrose Street and demanded they give him an ambulance. Farque was booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center, charged with carjacking, two counts of aggravated assault with a firearm, attempted simple escape and battery on a police officer.

 

Kenner Police say an armed robbery at a Raising Cane’s left a 21-year-old employee dead from multiple stab wounds. Chief Michael Glaser says the victim is identified as 21-year-old Taylor Friloux. Glaser says they are still working to identify possible suspects in the crime. Cane’s issued a statement saying they are deeply saddened by the loss of one of their crew members and they are working with the Kenner Police Department in an active investigation.

 

Governor John Bel Edwards asked the Board of Regents and colleges and universities not raise tuition for the upcoming school year. He said he kept his word about protecting higher education and he doesn’t want any more of a burden to be placed on students and families. Still no word on whether the governor will line item veto language in the budget bill that fully funds TOPS in the fall, but pays for less than half in the spring.

 

Starting today through Monday, more Americans than ever are expected to be hitting the road for the 4th of July weekend. Triple A Spokesperson Don Redman says close to 43 million people will be traveling over the holiday, which is five million more than Memorial Day.

Redman says the average price for a gallon of regular gasoline in the state is $2.10, we haven’t seen prices this low since 2005.

 

The second special session ended a week ago today, and lawmakers proposed several constitutional amendments to be decided by voters in November. President of the Public Affairs Research Council, Robert Travis Scott, says there will be six changes on the ballot in the fall. He says one of them would change the state’s corporate income taxes. He says another amendment would affect those who have lost a spouse in the line of duty. And finally, one proposal would no longer allow the legislature to set tuition at colleges and universities. That power would go to higher education boards instead.

 

A statewide campaign begins today that seeks to reduce drunk driving this Fourth of July weekend. Jessica Bedwell with the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission says the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign will include multiple enforcement efforts aimed at keeping drunk drivers off the road. Bedwell says they also ask people to eliminate distractions while behind the wheel and focus on driving safely

 

The defense lawyers for Cardell Hayes, the man accused of fatally shooting Saints player Will Smith, do not want the trial to take place during football season. Currently, the trial is set to begin September 20th. Hayes’ attorneys believe any trial date during the season could cause unfair bias against their client. Hayes is charged with second degree murder of Will Smith and attempted murder for shooting Smith’s wife Racquel.

 

Inspector General Stephen Street has announced that a film company claimed over $1 million in fraudulent tax exemptions in Louisiana. Street says Horizon Entertainment and Productions claimed excess expenses in the 2011 filming of The Sean Payton Show and the documentary Saintsational. He calls on the legislature to put tighter regulations on the film tax credit program to prevent this type of fraud. Horizon denies doing anything wrong.

 

This week Louisiana’s Interstate Highway System marks it’s 60ith birthday. DOTD Secretary Sean Wilson says our system is very valuable, effective but sometimes over capacity. Wilson says they’re going to work on improving parts of I-10 and I-20 to make room for more travelers. He says travel has increased by 43% on Louisiana’s interstates from 2000 to 2014

 

The UL-System appointed Leon Sanders, vice president of finance and administration at Grambling State, to act as the school’s leader while the job search is underway. President Willie Larkin’s resignation is effective tomorrow. The UL-System says they are currently accepting applications for the job and hope to do interviews at their July 26th meeting.

 

State Police say an off duty Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Deputy is facing a DWI. Trooper Jesse LaGrange says Tara Whitney was pulled over in Houma after an officer noticed she wasn’t wearing her seat belt, then was found to be intoxicated with an open container. He says Whitney, who was placed on leave from the sheriff’s office, faces multiple charges.

 

A Baton Rouge man is in the ICU after contracting a flesh-eating bacteria in Mississippi last week. Dick Empson reportedly had to have his leg amputated because of the infection and is currently in a medically induced coma. Doctors told family members that the survival rate for this kind of infection is 20% to 30%. This type of bacteria has been discovered at beaches along the Gulf Coast, and people are advised not to enter the water with open cuts or sores.

 

Three of the major Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by David Vitter appeared at a debate in Baton Rouge to discuss why they should be elected on November 8th. Congressman Charles Boustany says he wants to create a better sense of trust between the people and government. Congressman John Fleming says he has a record of fighting for what the people of Louisiana want. State Treasurer John Kennedy says government is too big and plans to give the power to the people. So basically nothing new.. Democrat Foster Campbell apologized for not being able to attend the debate.

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News for Wednesday 062916

By Dave Graichen

 

Social media has been going wild with rumors regarding an increase in SNAP benefits this month. However the Bureau of Communications and Governmental Affairs had denied these rumors and urges SNAP recipients to remain cautious of online, and telephone scams. DCFS says the rumor is 100% false, and SNAP recipients will continue to receive their usual benefit amount on their regularly scheduled day.

 

The story of the missing girl out of a quiet Caldwell Parish community seems to be over after authorities located what is believed to be her body inside a vehicle that was found in a lake. Sheriff Steve May says search teams had been looking for Joann Jarrell for about a month and found her in the water Tuesday.  He says they do not suspect foul play at this time.

 

Dow Chemical announced Tuesday it will lay off 2500 workers worldwide, though it’s not clear whether the job cuts would affect the company’s more than 6,000 employees and contract workers in Louisiana. The cuts are part of Dow’s efforts to achieve $500 million in cost savings and boost revenue after taking full control of the Dow Corning Corp.

 

People making plans for their Fourth of July celebrations like to head to Louisiana for the festivities. According to WalletHub, the New Orleans is the third best city for Independence Day parties. Jill Gonzales with WalletHub says the study looked at entertainment and food options, attractions and activities, and weather forecast. She says New Orleans did particularly well in the food category. Seattle and Minneapolis were the only two cities to top New Orleans on the list.

 

A Louisiana Congressman has filed legislation that seeks to help prepare for potential health emergencies, like outbreaks of Ebola and Zika. The proposal by Congressman Bill Cassidy would wave some red-tape regulations and authorize funding if a public health emergency is declared. Cassidy, a doctor, says this could help contain outbreaks. The bill would also authorize about $1.5 billion to control the outbreak when a health emergency is declared.

 

After waiting for more than 10 years, today is the groundbreaking ceremony for the site of the permanent VA clinic in Lake Charles. Chairman of the Lake Charles Mayor’s Armed Forces Commission Jim Jackson says he’s looking forward to finally having a clinic that will help around 10-thousand veterans in the southwest Louisiana area. He says it’s time we looked at the long range issue of care for the men and women who fought for our freedoms.  Jackson says the project should take about 12 months to complete.

 

A crash in Iberville Parish claimed the life a 9-year-old and injured several others. Trooper Bryan Lee with State Police says 27-year-old Tommie Killough was trying to pass another vehicle in a no passing zone when the cars collided. He says Killough is still in the hospital, but once she gets out, she will face multiple charges. Lee says no on in the other vehicle was hurt.

 

The Catahoula Parish Sheriff’s Office have arrested three people in connection to the murder of a Siciliy Island man shot to death in his front yard. 24-year-old Daquan Thomas and 31-year-old Perry Gibson have been charged with first degree murder in George Harris’ death. 30-year-old April Simmons has been charged with accessory after the fact of First degree murder.

 

A former Eunice police officer is facing charges of obstruction and malfeasance in office, for allegedly cussing out someone he was arresting and threatening to beat him up. Major Eddie Thibodaux with the St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office says Lt. Varden Guillory became irate with Heath Bergeron, a domestic violence suspect, when Bergeron came in to make his statement. It ended up that the husband was the victim. Guillory left the Eunice Police Department after the incident.

 

State Police says they are reviewing a viral video that appears to show a trooper body slamming a suspect.  LSP spokesperson Melissa Matey says the unnamed trooper was walking down Bourbon Street on his way home after a 12 hour shift. Matey says State Police supervisors are reviewing the video.

 

Country music legend Charlie Daniels and rock band Theory Of A Deadman will be the featured entertainers Saturday at FreedomFest 2016 at Fort Polk. The one-day festival, which begins at 5 p.m. Saturday, is free and open to the public. It will take place at Headquarters Field at Fort Polk. The day will wrap up with a large fireworks display.

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News for Tuesday 062816

By Dave Graichen

 

The Supreme Court struck down a Texas abortion law Monday, which could mean a similar Louisiana law is coming off the books as well. The law required abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at hospitals, and Louisiana has similar legislation. Loyola law professor Dane Ciolino says the justices ruled the law violates the Constitution. Attorney General Jeff Landry issued a statement saying his office will review the implications of the Supreme Court’s ruling on Louisiana’s law, but will continue to fight Louisiana’s case to protect women’s health.

 

Just in time for the soaring summer temperatures, Cleco utility customers are getting a break on their power bills. Cleco spokesperson Robbyn Cooper says beginning July 1, customers will start seeing a credit on their bills, averaging $475. The credit comes as a result of the Pineville-based utility company’s sale to a foreign investment group.  Cooper says they want customers to benefit from the sale as well.

 

Health officials have posted beach advisories along the Gulf Coast as many people put the finishing touches on their 4th of July Holiday plans. They advise folks planning to head the ocean in Louisiana, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama and Texas to not get into the water at certain locations due to high levels of a harmful flesh eating bacteria. You can get Louisiana water advisories online at dhh.louisiana.gov.

 

Governor John Bel Edwards has been elected as the chair of the Southern Regional Education Board. Edwards’ Communication Director Richard Carbo says says K-12 education has been cut for in the state for the first time in a generation. He says this new position will give Governor Edwards an opportunity to find new ideas to improve education throughout the 16 state region.

 

Governor John Bel Edwards is taking a lot of heat from industry leaders in the state after he issued an executive order to make changes to a program that gives manufactures big tax breaks. Local governing bodies will now have a say in how the exemptions are handed out, and requires companies applying to show they are creating or retaining jobs. Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson says this order is nothing out of the ordinary since 38 other states give local oversight on the local exemption process.

 

State Police say a Sunday afternoon crash in St. Landry Parish took the life a one-year-old child. Master Trooper Brooks David says 24-year-old Bendel Williams ran off  highway 182 and struck some trees. The infant in the back seat was not properly restrained and was killed. Charges are pending against Williams.

 

State Police say a child is dead and 8 people are injured after an a vehicle was passing in a no passing zone and flipped multiple times after being hit by another vehicle yesterday  afternoon in Iberville Parish.

 

Police say the Bossier City woman who falsely accused a man of molesting his 5-month-old daughter has turned herself in. Authorities say Carrie Rivers has been booked into the Bossier Maximum Security facility. Rivers reportedly worked as a babysitter for the family, and when her services were no longer needed, she made up the story to get back at the family.

 

Two men are behind bars in Lafayette in connection to the murders of two people who were found in two separate burned out vehicles. Deputies say 31-year-old Joshua Willis and 21-year-old Joseph Sylvester face charges including two counts of first degree murder in the deaths of 23-year-old Ashley Metz and her boyfriend, 22-year-old Walter Hill. The case remains under investigation.

 

Despite rumors to the contrary, sources say the New Orleans Saints do plan to still hold mini camp at the Greenbrier in West Virginia, following devastating flooding at the site of the team’s practice facility. The Saints say they feel the practice complex and all other necessary facilities will be ready for them when camp opens late next month.

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