News for Friday 022318
By Dave Graichen
A 15 year old Rapides Parish Student was arrested yesterday and has been charged with five counts of terrorizing and one count of obstruction of justice for allegedly sending threatening emails to several schools in the parish. Authorities are not saying what school the teen attended or because of his age, his name. The student is believed to be responsible for emails threatening Alexandria Senior High School, Bolton High School and Northwood High School.
City of Alexandria utility customers have recently reported receiving fraudulent calls from individuals claiming to be City representatives inquiring about utility rebates and rebate credits and asking for personal information. The City reminds all customers that it will not call customers asking them for personal or credit information or to make a credit card payment or wire money for any fees or bill payment.
Gridlock continued at the Capitol Thursday as state lawmakers did not move any closer to closing a nearly one-billion dollar budget deficit that’s caused by expiring sales taxes. Medicaid reform bills that House Republican leaders are pushing failed to get out of a committee. Legislation that would raise revenues are also not moving.
Medicaid reform legislation was pulled from consideration in the House Health and Welfare Committee before it could be voted on, maintaining the special session’s current run of inaction. The bill would have implemented work requirements for Medicaid recipients. Opelousas Democrat Dustin Miller says the proposal was similar to Kentucky’s Medicaid reform that is currently estimated to cost that state roughly 300 million dollars to implement. Hoffman says the Medicaid program is burdened by a noticeable amount of unemployed people who lack the motivation to work, but Miller says the numbers don’t back that up.
In the wake of the Florida school shooting that left 17 dead, Chalmette Representative Raymond Garafalo is planning to reintroduce a bill in the regular session that would allow school educators to carry weapons on campus if they have proper training. In the wake of recent threats and attacks, Garafalo says allowing guns in the classroom may prevent future mass school shootings. Garafalo says faculty who choose to voluntarily carry, would be trained appropriately.
A high school student was arrested and two other elementary school students have been suspended from their respective schools in LaFourche Parish for alleged threats. Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Lt. Brennan Matherne says a 15-year-old male threatened to kill a South Lafourche High School teacher.
Secretary of State Tom Schedler faces accusations of sexual harassment. A lawsuit filed in state court in Baton Rouge alleges that Schedler sent a female state worker love letters, made sexual advancements and gave her unwanted gifts, including sex tapes. Defense attorney Jill Craft says her client was punished after she rebuffed his repeated advances.
An LSU study paid for by the waterway and shipyard industries found that the downturn in oil prices resulted in a loss of 21-thousand jobs and 1.4 billion dollars in wages from 2014-2016. The closure of the Avondale Shipyards in Jefferson Parish resulted in five-thousand lost jobs alone.
There are some big Louisiana Lottery winners that haven’t claimed their prizes, which are in some cases at least 50-thousand-dollars. Lottery spokesperson Kim Chopin says they are seeking a winner who matched four of the five white ball numbers on September 2nd. Their ticket is about to expire. So what happens to the unclaimed lottery winnings? Chopin says there are roughly between nine and 11-million-dollars in unclaimed money annually that can be won again.
Two college baseball powerhouses meet this weekend at Alex Box Stadium as 14th ranked Texas visits 22nd ranked LSU. Tigers Coach Paul Mainieri says he has a lot of respect for the Longhorn program and their six national title. Texas is 3-1 on the season, while the Tigers are 2-and-2. Zack Hess will start on the mound for the Tigers tonight.. airtime 6:30 on KSYL 970am / 100.3 hd3 fm
In Basketball.. LSU has a chance to build on its NCAA Tournament resume on Saturday when they visit Georgia. It’s a winnable game for the Tigers who is trying to become one of the 68 teams in the Big Dance. But Coach Will Wade says has asked his team not to focus on the tourney talk. LSU has lost five straight road games. Wade says they’ve been competitive in most of those contests, but he says they are not finishing…
In NBA action, the Pelicans Play host to the Miami Heat tonight. Airtime 6:30p on 94.7 ESPN.
News for Thursday 022218
By Dave Graichen
Governor John Bel Edwards yesterday addressed the issue of gun control in the wake of the latest mass shooting in Florida. The Governor said he would like to see a more robust background check system for firearm purchases and would like to see a purchasing ban for those on the No-Fly list, those who commit violent crimes, and have a history of mental illness. Edwards also came out against aftermarket additions that alter the capabilities of legally purchased rifles.
The special session grounded to a halt yesterday after a vote on a tax reform bill that would have kept a quarter of the one penny sales tax intact, and remove some of the special sales tax exemptions for specific industries was postponed indefinitely. LaPolitics-dot-com publisher Jeremy Alford says it was the bill with the most momentum, and its failure could tank the entire session. Lawmakers were optimistic heading into the capitol Monday, but Alford says the political realities of an impending election and a bitter partisan divide didn’t take long to grind the session to a halt.
Police are reporting copycat type incidents throughout Louisiana since the mass school shooting in Florida. LSU Pediatric psychologist Joy Osofsky (Oh-saf-ski) says there is a danger that kids are becoming star stuck by these killers, relishing that they are in control. The latest threat was made against Northwood High School in Blanchard in Caddo Parish…
State Police is asking the public not to share unsubstantiated threats through social media. Senior Trooper Dustin Dwight says they encourage citizens to report suspicious activity, but they ask the public not to share unsubstantiated threats through social media because it creates chaos and panic. Dwight says if you do see a threat and if it’s viewed as an imminent danger, you should call 9-1-1. If there is more investigation needed, other agencies will step in. He says citizens are more scared than usual right now.
The State Department of Education is launching the “Be Irreplaceable. Be a Teacher” campaign. It’s an effort to convince high school and college students to make a career in the teaching profession. But Teacher of the Year Kim Eckert says it’s a challenge to bring in new teachers to Louisiana due to lower teacher pay. She’s urging teachers to speak openly with lawmakers and education officials and it starts with this campaign…
A bill to require Medicaid patients to pay a copay if they use an emergency room for non-emergency treatment is expected to be heard Today in a House committee. Supporters say visits to the E-R for minor medical issues drives up health care costs, but opponents say the bill will result in low-income individuals not getting the care they need.
Next week it’s the girls state high school basketball championships in Alexandria and the week after it will be the boys turn in Lake Charles. But the LHSAA is having trouble having enough basketball referees during the season. Assistant Executive Director Keith Alexander says unfortunately rowdy fans can prevent some from wanting to be a ref.
Owner of the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans Tom Benson is in the hospital. The 90- year old has flu like symptoms and is in ICU, but is resting comfortably.
News for Tuesday 022018
By Dave Graichen
Recent above normal temperatures are making it feel more like Spring, but a pesky front is expected to move into North Louisiana starting this evening, which State Climatologist Barry Keim says will bring the temperatures closer to normal in that area for the remainder of the week and along with that the good chance for rain through the weekend.
Governor John Bel Edwards addressed the legislature, calling on the state’s governing body to put party politics aside to fix the impending fiscal cliff that triggers July 1st after a series of sales taxes expire. If no deal is struck, TOPS, higher Ed, and healthcare would see massive cuts. Edwards says it’s time to put party aside for the future of the state.
The governor called on lawmakers to adopt his plan that would reduce the state sales tax, and replace the funds by widening the tax base, removing certain business sales tax exemptions, and compressing income tax brackets. Edwards says funding popular state programs should be every legislator’s objective.
The Senate Democratic Caucus offers a solution on solving the one-billion dollar shortfall. Chairman Troy Carter proposes compressing income tax brackets, removing sales tax exemptions that benefit some businesses and expand the sales tax base, so certain services are taxed. But anti-tax critics say proposal would raise income taxes on the middle class.
LSU president F. King Alexander is calling on legislators to find a budget solution that funds higher ed and TOPS by the end of the February special session.
Alexander says there was a noticeable impact the last time the state failed to properly fund TOPS in a timely manner. He says if lawmakers wait until June to solve the one billion dollar fiscal cliff, the damage will already have been done for the 2018-2019 school year.
At least three Louisiana schools received social media threats over the weekend, with Ville Platte High receiving one Monday morning. That threat forced a lockdown for several hours. Dutchtown and Ponchatoula High Schools were threatened in social media over the weekend.
North Louisiana Congressman Ralph Abraham made no bones about his intentions to take a hard look at running for Governor. On the day when Governor John Bel Edwards took center stage at the capitol and opened the special legislative session, Abraham took a swipe at his potential opponent while speaking to the Baton Rouge Press club.
Abraham says in the days of lightning fast social media, Louisiana voters are less likely to consider where a candidate is from and more likely to hear his message.
The State Transportation Department will begin work on the I-10 bridge in Lake Charles on March 3rd. DOTD spokesperson Rodney Mallett says they will replace the expansion joints on the bridge, initially closing one eastbound lane. Mallett says this work is part of a large scale job they plan to perform. The project is expected to be completed in four to six months.
Sad story out of Pointe Coupee Parish as a female employee at False River Academy was killed when her 74-year-old husband accidentally pinned her between his truck and a school bus. 66-year-old Edith Atkinson died from her injures at a local hospital.
A 71-year-old Louisiana inmate serving a life sentence for the fatal shooting of a sheriff’s deputy was denied parole Monday by a three-member panel of the state’s parole board. Henry Montgomery just turned 17-year-old when he fatally shot an East Baton Rouge sheriff’s deputy in 1963. He received a parole hearing thanks to a US Supreme Court ruling that juvenile homicide offenders should have an opportunity at parole.
News for Wednesday 022118
By Dave Graichen
We’ve been telling you for some time now that this is a very deadly flu season. That claim was confirmed by Rapides parish Coroner Jonathan Hunter this week. Hunter confirmed that The flu has claimed the lives of at least six people in Rapides Parish alone since October. Rapides Regional Medical Center is reporting 230 confirmed flu cases between October 2017 and January 2018, compared to 98 between October 2016 and January 2017. Best defense is still to get the shot.
Schools in Evangeline Parish were closed yesterday because of social media threats. Officials say the schools have been cleared. A 15-year-old was arrested for posting one of the threats. All in all, Six threats were reported. All school campuses in Rapides Parish were placed on "soft lockdown" Tuesday morning while authorities investigated a potential email threat.
Four parishes in northwest Louisiana, Bossier, Caddo, Claiborne and Webster, are under a flash flood watch through Thursday morning. Forecaster Brandi Hughes, with the National Weather Service in Shreveport says several inches of rain are possible.. And more rain could be coming. Hughes says the long range forecast looks wet for the next several days, which could add to already swollen creeks and rivers.
The House Ways and Means Committee is expected to vote today on a series of bills that would make changes to the state’s tax code as part of the effort to plug the billion dollar budget shortfall. Jackson Representative Kenny Havard says the current system, which provides tax breaks for businesses in certain industries, is unfair. But Baton Rouge Representative Barry Ivey says he’s concerned that the current push to fix the fiscal cliff by taxing business will hurt the state’s economy. He says it could result in jobs heading out of state. No agreement has been reached on a detailed proposal to solve the fiscal cliff, as legislators have shied away from specifics in the first two days of the special session.
Automotive insurance rates are on the rise again, after the Louisiana Department of Insurance approved double-digit hikes last year for at least six insurance companies. State Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon says State Farm Insurance accounts for 30 percent of Louisiana insured drivers and it’s customers are paying on average ten-percent more starting this month. Donelon advises motorists to shop around if they think their rates are too high.
New data is out that shows salaries for Louisiana public school teachers is 17-hundred dollars less than the Southern Regional Average. Legislative Director for the Louisiana Federation of Teachers Cynthia Posey says it’s disappointing to see this, when ten years ago, educators were paid about the same as other southern states. Posey hopes lawmakers can stabilize the budget, so more money can be available for teacher salaries.
A bill to create a transparency tool called Louisiana Checkbook passed the House Appropriations committee, and may be considered on the House floor later this week. The program closely mirrors Ohiocheckbook.com, where Ohio residents are presented a detailed report about state expenses.
Tangipahoa Parish School Board member Mike Whitlow is facing heavy backlash for posting a picture of a noose on his public Facebook page. The picture had the caption: “If we want to make America great again, we will have to make evil people fear punishment again.” Whitlow says the post was not racially motivated, he says it was about criminal justice.
Governor John Bel Edwards and Attorney General Jeff Landry have agreed to coordinate efforts in the State of Louisiana’s litigation against opioid manufacturers.
Under this agreement, the Attorney General’s office will take over primary responsibility for the suit filed by the Louisiana Department of Health in the 19th Judicial District Court. Furthermore, the AG’s office will lead the efforts with other state agencies and departments to pursue all claims Louisiana has as a result of the opioid crisis.
Emile the crawfish will be allowed to live his life out peacefully thanks to Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser who picked “Emile” to be pardoned for their “annual pardoning of the crawfish” in New Orleans yesterday.
After poor starting pitching performances in the series loss to Notre Dame, LSU Coach Paul Mainieri is making changes to his weekend rotation. Mainieri says Zack Hess will start on Friday against the Texas Longhorns, instead of Caleb Gilbert. Thibodaux native Cam Sanders will start on the mound tonight against UNO. Airtime 6p on KSYL 970am / 100.3 HD3fm.
News for Monday 021918
By Dave Graichen
The Town Talk is reporting a shortage of substitute school bus drivers in Rapides Parish has become so severe that there are days the district isn't providing transportation for some students. according to Director of Transportation Velt Edwards the shortage has been a growing problem for about three years. Among the factors compounding the issue is the district's dependence on substitutes to drive routes full-time. Some of those substitutes are quitting after a year or more of performing the same job as salaried drivers, while making $67 a day with no benefits.
The special state legislative session kicks off today to address a one billion dollar budget shortfall. Lawmakers have until March 7th to find a fix to the looming fiscal cliff or else cuts will occur in the areas of higher education and health care. Governor Edwards is calling for the replacement of the expiring sales taxes with permanent tax reform that would eliminate certain deductions for businesses, and the GOP wants spending reductions. Political analysts have warned the special session could be a political minefield, with Republicans attempting to make sure the governor does not leave with a “win” that could propel him to another term in office.
Louisiana is taking more taxes out of workers’ paychecks. The state constitution allows for it, if the federal government lowers their tax brackets, which they did last month. Baton Rouge area CPA Brandon LaGarde says The state tax wage adjustment is automatic as it is built into the Louisiana Constitution. LaGarde says your employer has nothing to do with the change. LaGarde says the federal tax break outweighs the state’s updated tax withholding tables, meaning you still take home more than you did last year.
Governor Edwards and state lawmakers are in Baton Rouge for the special session to find a solution to the looming fiscal cliff that threatens to gut popular programs like TOPS. The governor is seeking tax reform, and Republicans want spending reductions. Erath Representative Blake Miguez says the GOP caucus is demanding the creation of the Louisiana Checkbook. He says the program would increase transparency, and would closely resembles Ohio’s Ohiocheckbook.com. Along with implementing Medicaid copays, tighter eligibility, and work requirements, Miguez says he also wants to see a state spending cap that is tied to private sector economic performance.
Democrats say they will not allow a full renewal of the expiring one penny sales tax, as they feel it unfairly targets the poor.
Springtime is acceptance letter season for most college bound high school students, and the state’s budget uncertainty is causing many to rethink whether they want to attend school in Louisiana. LSU president F. King Alexander is calling on legislators to find a budget solution that funds higher ed and TOPS by the end of the February special session. Alexander says there was a noticeable impact the last time the state failed to properly fund TOPS in a timely manner. Alexander says if lawmakers wait until June to solve the one billion dollar fiscal cliff, the damage will already have been done for the 2018-2019 school year.
Many Americans are swimming in debt and getting in deeper than ever. One report suggests total household debt has risen to 13-trillion-dollars for 2017. Louisiana appears to be America’s capital of past due debt, with almost half of its residents in debt that has gone into collections. Professor of Economics at Xavier University of Louisiana Dr. Jose Bautista says a lot of workers aren’t making enough money. Another reason credit debt is so high is the lack of a savings account. Dr. Bautista says most are left with no choice but to use credit cards for emergencies, but it starts a slippery downhill slide. Medical bills are a large part of financial distress, especially if there isn’t enough insurance coverage. Dr. Bautista says get coverage to cover all your medical needs…
Debates are raging about school safety in the wake of the Florida school shooting that left 17 people dead by a mental unstable teen. Since the shooting, calls for increased mental health treatment in school have grown louder, But Louisiana Federation of Teachers President Larry Carter says when state budget cuts come in, one of the first things on the chopping block tends to be social work programs. Carter says along with an increased investment in counseling programs, we need to be taking a look at improving the layout of schools to improve security.
The Baton Rouge police officer shot by a man described as mentally ill a week ago is out of the hospital. Doctors say he should fully recover. Cpl. Shane Totty was admitted after sustaining a gunshot wound from Eugene Thomas Jr. Thomas is charged with four counts of attempted first degree murder, attempted first degree murder of a police officer and a felon in possession of a firearm.
Rough start to the baseball season, as the LSU Tigers lost two of three from Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish clinched the series victory with an 11-3 drubbing of LSU. The Bayou Bengals had a dramatic come from behind victory on Friday, but it was all downhill from there. Coach Paul Mainieri says it’s hard to find any positives…
News for Friday 021618
By Dave Graichen
Richland Parish Congressman Ralph Abraham has introduced a bill to allow rural communities direct access to more than two-billion-dollars in FAST ACT grant funding. The money can be used to build better highways, bridges and utilities including broadband internet. Abraham says the money is available for these projects but current FAST ACT dollars are not making it to rural Louisiana. His bill would allow local governments to apply for FAST ACT dollars without much red tape.
In response to the 2017 death of LSU student Maxwell Gruver, Lafayette Representative Nancy Landry is proposing a bill that would increase legal penalties for campus hazing related incidents. She says the current penalties of a 100 dollar fine or less and 30 days in jail isn’t enough for such a dangerous activity…
The latest campaign finance report for Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry shows he has one-point-two million dollars on hand. There’s speculation Landry will run for governor in 2019. Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards reported five million dollars in his campaign account earlier this month.
LSU and GB Sciences Louisiana has found a location to grow medical marijuana that can be distributed to patients who have specific conditions. Director of the LSU AgCenter’s Therapeutic Cannabis Program Ashley Mullens says a 36-thousand square foot warehouse near Highland Road and Interstate 10 in Baton Rouge will house the plants. Mullens says medical cannabis should be available to patients in late summer.
Hollywood superstars Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson will be in Louisiana over the coming weeks filming a movie called Highwaymen which details the chase for Bonnie and Clyde. Tom Hanks’ World War Two movie will also soon start shooting in Baton Rouge. Executive Director of Louisiana Entertainment Chris Stelly says the state’s reformulated film tax credit incentive is encouraging movie producers to reconsider Louisiana.
Most persons are happy with their jobs. A recent Bankrate-dot-com survey finds the average worker rates their job satisfaction at a seven out of ten. And half of those gave a rating of at least eight. And there is no surprise in this stat, the survey found higher income earners with higher average levels of workplace happiness.
Some crawfish crazies are heating up over the higher prices and smaller size of the crop this year. LSU Ag Center Professor Greg Lutz says suppliers aren’t trying to rip you off, farmers are just having a hard time finding enough crop after the historic winter to justify pulling their traps. Lutz says the crawfish survived the winter just fine, but the little fellas are just taking some extra time to develop. Lutz says if you don’t want to pay the inflated prices, give it a few weeks, the cost of a boil should be returning to normal.
The Young Leadership Council partnered with ArcGNO this carnival season to collect beads and recyclables on the parade routes through uptown New Orleans. After a Nola.com story revealed that the city removed more than 64 tons of beads from a five block stretch of St. Charles, YLC Recycles Project Leader Hannah Kincannon says it’s a public safety issue. About 200 people worked the ground, passing out recycling and collection bags over the programs two weekends. Kincannon says two and a half tons of Mardi Gras beads were collected on the first day alone.
LSU’s Paul Mainieri begins his 12th season as the head coach of the Tigers tonight as the Bayou Bengals host Notre Dame. Mainieri says opening day always brings out some anxiety, because there are a lot of unknowns. We will have the entire three game series starting tonight at 6:30 on KSYL 970 am / 100.3 HD3 fm
News for Thursday 021518
By Dave Graichen
The Louisiana Department of Health is extending its free flu shot drive after initially planning to end the program Monday. Immunization Director Dr. Frank Welch says they were excited to extend the program after a very successful two week run. This year’s flu shot has been criticized for having a potentially lower than normal effectiveness. Welch says despite some claims to the contrary, getting the flu shot is still a great idea.
A series of Mardi Gras day shootings in New Orleans left three dead and five injured. None of the shootings occurred on an active parade route. New Orleans Police Superintendent Michael Harrison says the shootings shouldn’t mar an otherwise positive carnival season. Harrison says despite Tuesday’s shootings, there’s been a decrease in violence in the city thanks to increased police efforts.
Three Cenla restaurant managers were cited after allegedly selling swai fish and calling it catfish. Department of Wildlife and Fisheries spokesperson Adam Einck says Robert Fant, Mollie McDowell and Michael Rhodes all of Pineville, used the swai fish at Rosie Joe’s and Debarges’s Crawfish in Alexandria and Crazy Cajun in Tioga. Truth of the matter, most people can tell the difference between the two.
Catholics are cutting back on eating meat for the Lenten season, in most places, that’s a sacrifice, but for spoiled bayou Catholics, it’s not too tough. Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board member Chalin Delaune says there’s a good supply of seafood, but the cold weather could keep crawfish prices high.
Shreveport Police are looking for a man who is robbing elderly women and assaulting them with a baseball bat. The robberies started in late January and have continued since. Detective Richard Turpen says since the attacks started, police have become more concerned since the suspect has been acting more aggressive. Turpen says a few of the victims have been able to describe their attacker, but the description police are working with isn’t much since the attacks are from behind
The LSU Vet School is providing care for a goose who was pierced with an arrow. The wounded goose was found near the LSU Lakes and captured by Wildlife and Fisheries crews. Since there is no identification on the goose, they will not give the goose out for adoption. Spokesperson Julie Thomas says once he has recovered, he will live in the wild again. Officials do not know by whom or where the goose was shot.
Livingston Parish deputies have arrested three men in connection with the death of a 19-year-old female. The body of Emily Rodgers was found Tuesday in a wooded area off Catfish Landing Road in Maurepas (more-a-pa).
News for Wednesday 021418
By Dave Graichen
The State Police report an accident yesterday morning on Highway 28 east of Gardner killed 79-year-old Imogene Jones of Ball. Troopers say she was traveling in the wrong lane when she struck a pickup truck head on. The driver of the truck, 45-year-old Joseph Bordelon of Alexandria sustained moderate injuries and was taken to Rapides Regional Trauma Center.
The Louisiana Family Forum is honoring the top ten Louisiana couples married the longest on this Valentine’s Day. For the third year in a row, the longest married couple is Lawrence and Varrie (Very) Player of Benton, married for 83 years. The second longest married couple is Wallace and Gladys Menard of Duson married for 79 years.
A survey ranks Louisiana 49th in well-being. The Bayou State only finished ahead of West Virginia in the Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index. Researcher Dan Witters says their survey found many in Louisiana are not proud of where they live or believe they are living in the good place. Witters says the Bayou State also ranks low in their index, because about a quarter of those surveyed admit not having enough money to buy food for their family. Witters says they asked Louisiana residents if they felt safe and secure in their community and most said no.
The National Federation of Independent Businesses says the Small Business Optimism Index set a record in January, with small business owners saying now is a good time to expand. Louisiana NFIB Director Dawn Starns says they have found owners are enthusiastic about investing the extra money they are getting from federal tax reform into their business. Starns says while it might be a good time to expand because of less federal taxes and regulations, small business owners are concerned about finding qualified workers for open positions.
A survey by offers-dot-com finds the average consumer will spend 55-dollars on Valentine’s Day this year. Spokesperson Sarah Hollenbeck says many will get their sweetheart something for their sweet tooth.
Chronic wasting disease in deer has been detected in Mississippi and Louisiana wildlife officials are concerned the fatal disease will end up in the Bayou State. A four-year-old buck was found dead of C-W-D near the Louisiana border. State Wildlife Veterinarian, Doctor Jim LaCour says East Carroll, Madison and Tensas parish landowners should curtail supplemental feeding of deer. C-W-D is similar to mad cow disease and L-D-W-F is working with Mississippi wildlife officials on sampling and containment. LaCour says there’s no evidence C-W-D can infect humans, but there are concerns about eating deer that had the disease.
Global sports entertainment leader Topgolf is coming to Baton Rouge in late 2018. The ten-million-dollar entertainment venue will feature 15-hundred square feet of private event space and 72 climate controlled hitting bays. Spokesperson Caroline Jerome says it is the ultimate family experience. It will bring 325 jobs to Baton Rouge.
The Baldwin Police Department was heavily damaged and a prisoner was injured after a fire yesterday afternoon. State Fire Marshal Butch Browning says it will be a while before normal operations can resume as the police department sustained quite a bit of damage. Browning says they continue to conduct interviews and will talk with the jailed man when he has sufficiently recovered.
Panola Pepper and Providence Foods founder Grady Wyly “Bubber” Brown Sr. will be laid to rest today. The 83-year-old from Lake Providence died Saturday. Panola Pepper was founded in 1983 so that Brown’s farmhands would have work through the winter. Lake Providence Mayor Bobby Amacker says he made the first batch on his mother’s stovetop. Amacker says Brown’s death leaves a big hole in the community
News for Tuesday 021318
By Dave Graichen
It’s Fat Tuesday and there’s big parades in south Louisiana and Mardi Gras activities in Shreveport as well, but unfortunately there’s a chance of rain. State Climatologist Barry Keim says you might need a poncho. Keim says temperatures are expected to reach in the upper 60s in New Orleans, but it will be a little cooler in southwest Louisiana for their Mardi Gras festivities. Keim says after today we’ll see high temperatures get into the 70s.
Over a million visitors will be enjoying Mardi Gras in New Orleans this year, but it’s not the only place to celebrate the last day before Lent. The town of Mamou will keep the chicken run tradition alive this year and in Lafayette parades will run throughout the day.
The federal government has declared this year’s flu season as the worst breakout since the 2009 swine flu epidemic. Estimates say nearly half a million people around world will die from the flu this year. State Health Secretary Rebeka Gee says if you’re concerned about potential mercury in the flu vaccine, you’re misinformed. There is none.. Gee says there is a lot of misinformation about vaccines and the flu. She says get trustworthy advice from your doctor.
Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser is celebrating Mardi Gras, he’s just not in Louisiana. He’s helping to promote Louisiana’s new travel tourism slogan “Louisiana: Feed Your Soul.” The new brand is being promoted in several states, including the Nation’s capital. Atlanta, Dallas and Houston are also participating in helping to roll out the new brand with food trucks and King Cake.
An 83-year-old grandmother is the first Louisiana Lotto jackpot winner for the year. Louisiana Lottery Spokesperson Kim Chopin says Josephine Prendergast of Gonzales thought she won only 600-dollars. Prednergast was quite surprised when she found out at the lottery office she won 525-thousand-dollars. Ms Prendergast said first thing she was going to do was stop and get a good cup of coffee.. The ticket was bought at a store in Breaux Bridge and they will get a reward for selling the winning ticket.
A man is under arrest after allegedly firing shots at a Baton Rouge Police Department officer and some family members. Cops located 34-year-old Eugene Thomas Junior about 15 minutes after the initial shooting and Sgt. Don Coppola says that’s when the suspect started shooting at the officer. The officer was rushed to the hospital where he is expected to make a full recovery.
A Shreveport woman was arrested and charged with exploitation of persons with infirmities and felony identity theft after an investigation by Caddo Parish deputies. 37-year-old Dorothy Edwards was a caregiver for a disabled 65-year-old-woman and is accused of stealing more than 20,000 dollars.
Rayne Police have arrested 41-year-old Raushe Turner after he allegedly stabbed a woman multiple times inside a vehicle. Turner was charged with attempted second-degree murder. Authorities did not say why the attack occurred and did not provide an update on the victim’s condition.
The man who brought flavor to Louisiana in the form of Panola pepper has died. Bubber Brown died Saturday at 83 years old. Brown began Panola back in 1983 to give his workers year-round work. The company operates in East Carroll Parish just outside of lake Providence.
An invasive species of snail is posing a threat to crawfish harvests. The apple snail is indigenous to South America, and can devour vegetation crucial to the development of Louisiana crawfish. An abundance of apple snail shut down a 220 acre farm in Acadia Parish. LSU Ag Center Agent Mark Shirley says so far, there is no solution to the problem. The invasion is being blamed on aquarium owners who decided to dump the snails into the water way.
The LSU Tigers have another tough test on the road tonight in the SEC as they visit Alabama. The Crimson Tide is coming off a 28-point win over at the time 15th ranked Tennessee. LSU is coming off an 82-66 victory over Ole Miss. Airtime 7:30 on KSYL 970am & 100.3 HD3.
News for Monday 021218
By Dave Graichen
The weather decided to cooperate Sunday allowing the 25th annual Alexandria Mardi Gras Association Krewes Parade starts on schedule. A few small sprinkles of rain were felt early on, but not enough to dampen the spirits of spectators. Saturday’s Children’s parade was not so lucky. Heavy rains Saturday morning forced officials to call the event off..
Governor John Bel Edwards has called for a special session to start on February 19th. The 17-day special session is being called to address a one-billion-dollar fiscal cliff facing the state starting July 1st when a one-cent sales tax drops off the books. His plan calls for structural changes to the budget and tax policy. He is proposing to replace 994-million-dollars to keep TOPS and healthcare funded. The GOP has said the Governor’s excessive spending needs to stop. However, they have not made any solid suggestions as to where those cuts should be made.
Legislative leaders are optimistic the February special session will end with a deal to fill the one billion dollar budget gap that’s the result of the expiration of sales taxes in July. The session will begin February 19th, and House Democratic Caucus Chairman Gene Reynolds says the two sides are getting close on an agreement. Governor Edwards has pushed for replacing the expiring one cent sales tax by eliminating certain sales tax deductions that benefit certain businesses.
Attorney General Jeff Landry filed a lawsuit against the Corps of Engineers alleging that the Corps expanded the Intracoastal Waterway in Vermillion Parish beyond the borders set in a 1920s agreement. He says even though there are agreements that allow states to construct new waterways, Landry says those states wouldn’t have allowed the Corp to over expand. The Governor says he’ll review the suit, but is concerned Landry did not consult with him, or the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority.
Out of the eight members of Louisiana’s congressional delegation, only three of them voted for the spending bill that reopened the federal government after a brief shutdown. US Representative Ralph Abraham was one of those three yes votes, because he says it increases federal funding for our military. Senator John Kennedy voted against the measure, because he says the bill increases the federal debt.
Governor John Bel Edwards and State Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson are in Washington to discuss infrastructure plans with the Trump Administration. Reports indicate the President could soon unveil a massive new infrastructure spending plan. Wilson says today’s roundtable discussion is a great opportunity to bring attention to the state’s aging infrastructure. The reports indicate the President could be seeking as much as 1.5 trillion dollars in new infrastructure spending.
Mangers and operators of Raising Canes attended a conference recently in Baton Rouge, celebrating the company’s success since opening their first store near the LSU campus in 1996. CEO Todd Graves had an exciting announcement for attendees. Some big expansions are taking place. 80 new locations are planned for this year. Stores are also operating overseas in the Middle East.
A Monroe man has designed a product called Streamleash to help you have better control of your dog. Ian Blaylock says as a runner, if his dog quickly ran in one direction, he would lose his balance and control of his pet. So far, the Kickstarter project has raised 21-hundred-dollars. Blaylock says orders made through the website will begin being delivered in May.
Al Wester, the first radio voice of the Saints, whose local and national broadcasting career spanned more than 60 years, died last week in a New Orleans hospital. Along with broadcasting the Saints games from 1967-70, Wester was the sports director at WDSU-TV for several years beginning in 1952 when he came to New Orleans from Greenville, South Carolina. Al Webster was 93.
News for Friday 020918
By Dave Graichen
Many Mardi Gras revelers will keep one eye on the parades and one eye on the skies as threatening weather may put a damper on their celebrations The National Weather Service says rain, heavy at times, is predicted for southeast Louisiana. Here in Cenla, the forecast calls for a 90% chance of rain Saturday and an 80% chance on Sunday..
Here in Cenla we will keep our fingers crossed in the hopes mother nature cooperates. This afternoon it’s the 2018 Hixson Classic Cars and College Cheerleaders Parade. It rolls in downtown Alexandria staring at 4:30 p.m. and will travel down Murray street to, Fifth, then to Jackson, Third and St. James.
Saturday The Alexandria Mardi Gras Association Children's Parade starts at 10 a.m. and follows the same downtown route as the Cars and Cheerleaders Parade.
Mardi Gras at the Alexandria Zoo is scheduled for 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday. Sunday, The 25th annual Alexandria Mardi Gras Association Krewes Parade starts at 2 p.m.
There will be an expanded presence of state police troopers in New Orleans as Mardi Gras ramps up for the final weekend. They have committed 165 troopers to working the French Quarter and the metro area. Senior Trooper Melissa Matey says they will perform a variety of assignments. Last year, State Police and New Orleans Police confiscated dozens of firearms along parade routes.
A Tioga man who had been facing 50 counts of pornography with juveniles pleaded guilty to one reduced charge on Monday and avoided jail time. Terry Lee Adams Jr. pleaded guilty to a felony charge of obscenity and the 49 other charges were dropped. Adams was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and $495 in a plea deal.
A 27-year-old Mansura man was arrested for distribution of child pornography on Wednesday. Dustin Novo is being held at the Avoyelles Parish Detention Center on a 100,000 dollar bond. State Police spokesperson Scott Moreau says deputies were tipped off about a month ago. A warrant for Novo’s residence was served, and after a search of the premises, he was arrested and charged.
House Republicans are looking at renewing at least some or all of the temporary one cent sales tax as a way to address a looming one billion dollar shortfall. But the governor says he will not support any plan that maintains the current sales tax rate, which is currently five-cents.
Today is the deadline for Governor John Bel Edwards to call a February special session to address the looming one billion dollar budget hole resulting in the expiration of sales taxes. The governor said he would not call the session without an agreement in principle on a fiscal cliff deal, but LAPoltics.com publisher Jeremy Alford says the governor is being pushed to call the session. Because it’s a revenue issue, the fiscal cliff can only be addressed in a special session.
The Humane Society of Louisiana has a facebook page where you can adopt horses that appear in Mardi Gras parades this week. H-S-L Director Jeff Dorson says 19 horses are up for adoption this year after 17 horses were adopted last year, keeping them from heading to a slaughter house. The facebook page is New Orleans Mardi Gras Horses Available for Adoption.
Governor Edwards will be in Washington D-C on Lundi Gras for a White House event to discuss President Trump’s plans to improve infrastructure. Edwards, along with Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson, will participate in a roundtable with federal, state and local leaders.
Mandeville Representative Paul Hollis has filed legislation that would make it easier for voters to recall their elected officials. Currently, 33 percent of registered voters in districts with more than 100,000 voters must sign the recall petition before a special election is triggered. Hollis says his bill would cut that number down to 20 percent. If adopted, Hollis says it’ll still take a serious effort to unseat an official. Hollis had a similar bill that failed in the legislature last year.
Drax Biomass is relocating its headquarters from Atlanta to Monroe, in what Governor John Bel Edwards is hailing as another big win for Louisiana’s economy. Drax already operates two wood pellet manufacturing facilities and a shipping operation in the state. Monroe Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Sue Nicholson says that means 150 good paying jobs are on the way.
News for Thursday 020818
By Dave Graichen
Pineville-based Cleco Corporate Holdings has acquired South Central Generating LLC, which includes nine utility cooperatives and eight generating assets in Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas, totaling one-billion-dollars. Spokesperson Jennifer Cahill says they will be able to significantly increase the scale of their operations in Louisiana with the ability to provide over 35-hundred megawatts of power in all three states. The sale is expected to close by the end of the year.
More on that Alexandria daycare center that was shut down by the state this week. The Department of Education shut the doors at Jumpin’ Jacks Development Center after receiving several reports of children escaping or nearly escaping the facility. DOE Spokesperson Sydni Dunn says a complaint from a parent in December was the final straw. Dunn says the center failed to report 55 incidents of non-compliance over the last two years. There were lesser violations, but the amount of them served sent up a lot of red flags. Providers who have had their licenses revoked are ineligible to apply for another license for two years from the date of the revocation.
The TOPS task force formed five months ago to find a long term solution to funding the scholarship program has decided against endorsing a single position, and instead is submitting a series of proposals for the legislature to consider. Jennings Senator Blade Morrish says he hopes the results will help legislators when voting on potential changes to TOPS in the upcoming regular session.
24-7 sports ranks LSU’s recruiting class as 15th best in the nation. The worst ranking for LSU since 2005, which was Les Miles first class. Tiger Rag Associate Editor James Moran says Orgeron’s staff did well in adding depth to the offensive and defensive lines, but signed just one five-star prospect Wednesday.
Governor John Bel Edwards says FEMA has agreed to his request to help ease the financial burden of flood survivors living in Temporary Housing Units. Starting March 1st, rent for the units will be reduced to $50.00 a month which will last through the new deadline of May 14th when the program is scheduled to end. Edwards says he will continue to request extensions as needed.
The Coast Guard rescued four people from the Lower Atchafalaya River south of Patterson yesterday after an emergency landing of a twin-engine plane. Petty Officer Lora Ratliff says the pilot made a valiant effort trying to avoid the emergency landing, but realized he couldn’t make it to an airstrip. One person suffered a minor injury.
The 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans is considering whether or not a 2016 Louisiana law that would ban women under 21 from dancing naked at strip clubs is too broad in its application. Opponents are concerned that the law was so vaguely written that it could outlaw 18, 19, and 20-year-olds from some theatrical or ballet productions that involve nudity. Proponents argue that the law protects young women from sex trafficking. The court has not indicated which way it is leaning.
A biologist at LSU is working to develop biodegradedable beads in a push to stop the environmental damage that occurs after millions of pounds of beads end up in landfills every year. His solution involves growing large ponds of algae that will develop oils that can be refined into degradedable material. Four to five million pounds of beads are thrown every carnival season.
Once every few years, holidays important to Louisianans fall in the same week. This year, Mardi Gras will be Tuesday, February 13th and Valentine’s Day will fall on the next day. It may prove to be interesting for restaurants to get couples to eat out on the second most popular holiday. Erika Burns with the Louisiana Restaurant Association says if you are considering taking your sweetheart out for dinner Wednesday, it’s best to make sure you have a reservation so you’re not left out.
News for Wednesday 020718
By Dave Graichen
It’s going to be an upside down day with weather in the Bayou State. It’s a type of day that occurs once in a while when a cold weather front moves through. State Climatologist Barry Keim says many areas in Central and south Louisiana will see their high temperatures early in the day and temps will fall throughout the day. After some wet weather today, a dry day is on tap for Thursday. Then Keim says another front is moving in just in time to put a damper on Mardi Gras weekend.
The Louisiana Department of Education on Tuesday revoked the license an Alexandria child care center, Jumpin' Jacks Development Center on Metro Drive, after receiving a complaint from a mother who said her child nearly escaped from the child care center. The parent explained it was not the first time such an incident had occurred. The center, which has a history of noncompliance, failed to report the critical incidents. The state also terminated the center’s public funding.
Can you imagine opening your water bill to find that you owe more than $40 thousand dollars? Up to 60 Pineville residents have had that experience after a computer malfunction sent out bogus bills. Chief of Staff Rich Dupree says something went wrong, when information from a meter-reading device that wasn't working properly, had to be manually entered into the billing system. The problem has been resolved. But, city officials say anyone with concerns are welcome to contact the utility office.
With a one billion dollar state budget gap looming, Governor John Bel Edwards has a self-imposed Friday deadline on whether he will call for a Legislative special session before the regular session starts on March 12th. A group of 14 bipartisan senators have sent a letter to Governor Edwards urging him to call a special session this month, so legislators can solve the shortfall the state faces on July 1st. Port Allen Senator Rick Ward says solving the fiscal cliff now will make it easier for legislators to pass a budget in June. Governor Edwards is expected to make a call for a special session by Friday.
Workers are starting to see a difference in their paychecks. The federal tax reform bill has kicked in, giving the average worker an additional one-point-six-percent more in take home pay. But not everyone is seeing the increase just yet. Co-owner of Metairie based Crescent Payroll Solutions Sanders Offner says some of the income tax bracket changes are just getting to some employers.
U.S. Republican Senator John Kennedy has joined Democratic Senator Tom Carper of Delaware in introducing the Stopping Improper Payments to Deceased People Act. Kennedy says in 2015, the Social Security Administration made nearly ten-billion-dollars in improper payments. After contacting the Social Security Administration as to why they couldn’t share their dead person’s database with the Treasury Department, Kennedy was told they didn’t have the legal authority to do so. Kennedy says this bill will allow them to trade that information, stopping the waste of billions of dollars.
Baton Rouge Representative Barry Ivey is proposing legislation for the regular session that would require state agencies to publish all of their expenditures online for the public. The measure would create a “Louisiana Checkbook” that Ivey says it’s all about transparency. The proposal seeks to replicate Ohiocheckbook.com, where all Ohio state expenditures are logged, and available to view using a user-friendly interface. Ivey says an online checkbook would provide citizens with the ability to keep a close eye on every single transaction the state makes.
Topcashback.com surveyed thousands of adults asking their opinion on Valentine’s Day gifts that may have some of you scrambling for the receipts. Chief Communications Officer Natasha Rachel Smith says according to their results, materialistic gifts are out, and quality time is in.
Investors are concerned with the recent drop in the Stock Market. Monday’s drop of 1,175 points of the Dow Jones Industrial average was the biggest one day point decline and percentage wise the largest loss in six years. Financial analyst Fred Dent says if you find yourself concerned about your portfolio, don’t sell out. He says it’s a good time to talk with a financial adviser to reevaluate your portfolio.
Search crews recovered the body of a St. Martinville man from Bayou Amy Tuesday morning in St. Martin Parish. LDWF enforcement agents and the St. Martin and Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Offices recovered the body of 54-year-old Richard Pellerin. Officials were notified about a capsized vessel found in the Bayou. Upon recovery there was no personal flotation device found on the body.
The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office says a student at Barbe High School brought a weapon to school Tuesday. The 15-year-old boy brought the firearm that belonged to a sheriff’s deputy, identified as a family member. The weapon was taken without the deputy’s knowledge. The juvenile was arrested and the sheriff’s office is conducting an internal investigation in reference to the firearm.
A Krewe of Oshun horse rider was given a citation for animal cruelty after he were filmed abusing his horse Friday during the uptown Mardi Gras New Orleans parade. SPCA Communications Director Alicia Haefele says the video was a disturbing example of animal abuse. The horse is in good condition and is being transferred to SPCA control.
Today marks National Signing Day, but it’s not like how it used to be. LSU signed 21 players during the first ever December signing period and they will likely sign four more players today to complete the 2018 recruiting class.
News for Tuesday 020618
By Dave Graichen
Investigators with Louisiana State Police and the Rapides Parish District Attorney's Office were at the town of Ball's offices Monday morning, reviewing records of former police chief Nate Ussery. Ussery resigned on Friday night amid an unspecified investigation by an unidentified agency or agencies. A statement from Louisiana State Police said it was asked to "assist the District Attorney's Office with a potential complaint against Ussery. "The matter remains ongoing and active."
In a rather unusual day Monday two Rapides parish inmates took off from their work crews. This first inmate was captured within an hour of walking away from his crew in Pineville. The second, Richard Allen Morris, who walked away from his work crew at the Pentecostals of Alexandria, was captured later in the day without incident. Officials are now investigating whether or not the two cases were connected.
State Immunization director Dr. Frank Welch says the flu outbreak has eased up somewhat over the past week. He says people getting their flu shots have helped. And those that are sick are heeding the advice to stay away from others. But he says even if you have recovered from the flu, you are not out of danger. With three different strains reported in Louisiana, you still have the chance of catching the flu again. The best protection still is the flu shot. If you haven’t gotten it, you should.
One man died and another hospitalized after a Mardi Gras parade route shooting in Jeanerette on Sunday. Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office spokesman Major Wendell Raborn says there are a lot of potential witnesses, but no one has come forward with any information. There is no word on the condition of the second person shot.
Shreveport police say a Good Samaritan trying to help in an accident on I-20 was killed Sunday afternoon. A major accident had occurred in the westbound lanes between a tractor trailer and a pickup truck. The pedestrian stopped to help, attempting to cross both eastbound lanes of traffic when he was struck and killed. The victims in the initial accident were taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
President Trump has asked Congress to pass a one-point-five-trillion-dollar infrastructure funding bill. But will Louisiana see any of those dollars if it passes? State Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson is worried because Louisiana doesn’t have enough state transportation dollars to match what the federal government might be willing to offer. The state currently has a backlog of 13-billion-dollars in infrastructure repairs and projects.
The stats are very slow in coming. But, it appears Louisiana’s number of work related fatalities decrease in 2016. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows there were 95 fatalities, down from 112 in 2015. Injury rates also saw a decline from 5.8 per 100,000 full time workers in 2015 to 5.0 in 2016. Most of the fatalities occurred in trade, transportation and utilities.
State Police arrest a 20-year-old Kaplan man for a hit and run crash that killed two high school students. Sergeant Jared Sandifer says Tyler Meaux was driving a Ford F-150 and heading the wrong way on U-S 167 Sunday night when he slammed into a Honda Civic, carrying four teenagers. Sandifer says they believe Meaux was drunk. Those killed are identified as 16-year-old Alana Duhon of Abbeville and 15-year-old Sydney Colomb of Maurice.
A Port Allen high school volunteer has been accused of having sex with a 15-year-old-student. Reports say the 30-year-old Ronald Barbier has been charged with one count of felony carnal knowledge of a juvenile and five counts of indecent behavior with a juvenile. The reports say Barbier worked as an athletics volunteer. Barbier is being accused of communicating with the minor through social media.
The LSU Department of Comparative Biomedical Sciences has developed a new treatment for heart disease using antioxidants from red wine. Research has indicated that having a glass of red wine could be good for your heart, but with Professor Tammy Dugas’s program, even the sober can get those benefits. Dugas developed a stent that can be inserted into arteries that releases antioxidants directly into problem areas.
Experts have recommend having two glasses a day to start noticing the heart health benefits.
Many Entergy Louisiana customers have suffered sticker shock after seeing their most recent bill, following the extreme cold snap in late December and January. For many, the normal storm restoration fee went up. Entergy says they are working with customers to set up payment arrangements if they are having problems paying for their last bill.
The LSU men’s basketball team is in a five-way tie for eighth place in the SEC standings as they get ready to play Florida tomorrow night in Gainesville. The Tigers are 13-9 overall, 4-6 in the SEC and Coach Will Wade says his team still has an opportunity to make a postseason tournament. LSU is coming off a 94-86 win over Arkansas.
News for Monday 020518
By Dave Graichen
Pineville Police Friday requested the public’s assistance in locating a 94 year old man who was last been seen on Main Street in Pineville on Wednesday. Saturday, The body Landry Chatelain was located by divers at the Red River Boat Landing behind Buhlow Lake. Next of kin has been notified and more information will be released pending further investigation and an autopsy.
A highway traffic safety enforcement program that resulted in some state troopers receiving overtime pay when they were at home has been reinstated after new rules were put in place. The investigation by WVUE-TV in New Orleans led to the suspension of three troopers. State Police Major Doug Cain says changes have been made to prevent payroll fraud. The investigation found one Trooper made 240-thousand dollars a year by abusing the LACE program.
The governor’s deputy chief of staff says another meeting could take place today between Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards and Republican House Speaker Taylor Barras. Edwards is waiting on Barras to provide him with a list of revenue generating tax proposals that republican legislators could support in a possible special session this month to address a one-billion dollar shortfall for next fiscal year. Barras has already provided the governor with recommendations on how to reduce state spending.
Employees of the DeSoto Parish School System will soon receive a one-time salary supplement for a job well done. In recognition of the district earning an “A” rating from the Louisiana Department of Education, the School Board authorized a $2,000 bonus for all full-time employees. The DeSoto Parish School System was ranked 49th in Louisiana in 2010, but is now ranked 9th.
Peninsula Pacific is evaluating the prospect of moving it’s Diamond Jack Casino in Bossier City to Tangipahoa Parish. The company is looking at moving the casino to the Tangipahoa River at the Robert exit. The move would require a difficult series of local and state requirements to be met and approved before the project could be initiated, but Tangipahoa Parish President Robby Miller says it’s a great opportunity for the parish. The project could cost north of 100 million dollars.
Monroe-based CenturyLink is opening a new outbound sales center bringing 150 jobs to the area. The center will be located on Forsythe Avenue. CenturyLink spokesperson Anne Marie Sartor says the center will focus on small businesses throughout the country in helping them with their communication needs. A job fair will be held later this month in Monroe to help fill the new jobs.
State Police have announced charges against a man who was shot by a Bienville Parish Sheriff’s deputy as they were attempting to arrest him. 41-year-old Steven Hulion has been charged with two counts of aggravated assault of a peace officer and one count of aggravated battery.
3rd District Congressman Clay Higgins has 50-thousand-dollars in the bank for a re-election bid and still needs to repay seven-thousand-dollars in debt from his 2016 campaign. Political analyst Bernie Pinosnat says even though Higgins is well liked in southwest Louisiana, he needs more funds to get re-elected. Higgins has the fewest dollars on hand out of Louisiana’s Congressional delegation as mid-term elections take place in November.
A Louisiana chef has found a solution to the invasive and very large Asian Carp. It involves a little white wine and butter. Fishermen have been asking what to do if a 100-pound Asian Carp jump out of the water and into their boat, which has been known to happen. Chef Philippe Parola has developed a way to cook the huge fish. Parola says if you catch an Asian Carp, don’t toss it back, toss it in Tony’s. He says if cooked right they have a wonderful flavor, similar to lemon fish.
February is American Heart Month, dedicated to the education and prevention of heart disease. Louisiana ranks fifth in the nation in heart disease deaths. Dr. Tiffany Powell-Wiley with the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute says to turn the tide around, start with small steps.
News for Friday 020218
By Dave Graichen
U-S Senator John Kennedy proposes a way to finance large infrastructure projects like a new Jimmie Davis Bridge in Shreveport, widening I-10 in New Orleans and finishing the Comite River Diversion Canal. Kennedy says the state can generate 150-million dollars if it leverages noncash securities held by the state’s Unclaimed Property Division. Governor John Bel Edwards calls it an unrealistic proposal and urges Kennedy to help pass a funding bill that would pay for major projects.
Governor John Bel Edwards filed his annual campaign finance report today showing about $5 million dollars cash on hand at the halfway point of his term. Edwards raised nearly $2.2 million in 2017 and spent about $310,230. His campaign says 85 percent of the contributions came from Louisiana citizens.
CNN anchor Don Lemon’s sister has been identified as the woman who died in an accidental drowning in Denham Springs. Livingston Sheriff Jason Ard says 58-year-old L’tanya Grimes drowned in a neighborhood pond. Foul play is not suspected.
Alabama tourism claims the city of Mobile is “America’s original Mardi Gras.” That’s at least what they are saying in billboards that can be seen in New Orleans and southern Mississippi. Mardi Gras expert Arthur Hardy disagrees. Hardy says no one should be unduly upset about the claim being made by Alabama. Both have terrific celebrations. Plus, He says the country knows where the birthplace of Mardi Gras really is.
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled state corrections officials do not have to prevent the heat index from going above 88 degrees on Angola’s death row. Attorney General Jeff Landry says Louisiana argued on appeal that the inmates do not have a constitutional right to be comfortable in jail.
Shreveport police say they are investigating the discovery of male body found in a trunk of burned out vehicle. Corporal Marcus Hines says The Shreveport Fire Department responded to a call and found the 1998 Mercury Grand Marquis on fire Wednesday night. Hines says they are hopeful some witnesses will come forward to help them solve this strange case. He says due to the severity of the burns, they can’t identify the victim.
Starting this month, Louisiana State Police will be adding Dodge Chargers to their fleet with a twist. Some of the new vehicles will be fully marked, while others will be semi-marked and a few will not be marked at all. State Police Lt. J.B. Slaton says the new less visible vehicles will allow Troopers to blend in with traffic and stop drivers who are reckless. He says it’s not about handing out tickets. It’s about highway safety.
One northwest Louisiana private school is rooting hard for Philadelphia in Super Bowl 52 Sunday. The Eagles’ head coach Doug Pederson was the head coach for Calvary Baptist Academy in Shreveport between 2005 and 2009, leading them to their first ever district title just two years after taking the helm.
The iconic Voice of the Saints Jim Henderson is retiring after a storied career calling the most triumphant and heartbreaking moments in Black and Gold history. The announcement came as a shock to many, as the Saints are a team on the rise, full of young talent, but Henderson says that’s exactly why he chose this moment to leave.
Henderson says he’s looking forward to just being a fan again.
The LSU Board of Supervisors is expected to approve today new contracts for LSU offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger and defensive coordinator Dave Aranda. Ensminger will make much less than his predecessor Matt Canada who collected 1.5 million dollars last season. Tiger Rag Associate Editor James Moran says Ensminger’s contract is 800-thousand dollars a year and will run through March of 2020. Defensive coordinator Dave Aranda’s annual salary will go up to 2.5 million dollars. And LSU Pitching Coach Alan Dunn will receive a one-year contract extension, but no raise.
News for Thursday 020118
By Dave Graichen
An Amtrak train carrying Republican members of Congress to a retreat in West Virginia, including Senator Bill Cassidy and Representative Garret Graves collided with a garbage truck near Charlottesville, Virginia. Cassidy says he was fortunate and he and his wife Laura were not injured, but says other passengers felt the brunt of the collision, which derailed the train. One person in the garbage truck was killed and five others are reportedly injured.
Gas prices keep going up, which could signal high prices in the future. Triple A fuel analyst Don Redman says with price increases coming on a daily basis, we may be paying much higher prices during the busy travel season this spring, like around $3.00 a gallon. Regular gas is at 2.43 a gallon on average in Louisiana.
A task force’s recommendations, to alter the TOPS scholarship, is taking fire from advocates for lower income students. Jennings Senator Blade Morrish’s proposal would cap payments to lower performing high school students. Taylor Foundation Executive Director Dr. James Caillier says Morrish’s proposal will have a negative effect on poor students. Caillier says the proposal takes money from poor families to line rich student’s pockets. The TOPS task force will vote on adopting several different proposals February 7th.
Yesterday was the deadline for retailers to mail notices to Louisiana residents who purchased products online, but did not pay sales tax at the time of purchase. Customers are required to include these forms so they can pay those taxes when they file their taxes this year. Louisiana Department of Revenue spokesperson Byron Henderson says if you fail to report these taxes, it’ll cost you. The good news, Louisiana customers won’t need to worry about Amazon, as they charge sales tax at the time of purchase.
Louisianans looking to buy local products at their grocery store should look for a new logo. Louisiana Ag Commissioner Mike Strain says they have overhauled their Certified logo program with flashier, more diverse logos to further highlight goods made in the Bayou State. He hopes it spurs more interest in Louisiana goods.
A Jefferson Parish man imprisoned for nearly four decades is free after being cleared in a 1979 rape. 58-year-old Malcolm Alexander’s conviction and life sentence were thrown out Tuesday by a state judge in Gretna.
Monroe-based CenturyLink is being relied upon to keep the lights on, and the broadcast rolling for this year’s Super Bowl. U.S. Bank Stadium is a new stadium built from the ground up with state-of-the-art technology, mostly by CenturyLink. Director of Smart Solutions Jesse Sullivan says it’s a project years in the making. CenturyLink will handle all of the major network video streams coming out of the stadium, as well as the massive data load of 72,000 fans sending snaps, Facebook videos, and Instagram selfies. Tech giant CenturyLink employs 2,700 Louisianans, with a payroll over 200- million dollars a year.
The St. Landry Parish Crime Stoppers program has been awarded the 2017 Best “Crime of the Week” segment in the nation for cities up to 250-thousand people. The program is responsible for assisting in 60 arrests in 50 different cases in 2017.
The Louisiana movie industry is seeing a revitalization after lawmakers reworked the state’s film tax credit program in 2016. The state offers a 150-million-dollars-a-year-cap on credits issued, or 20-million-dollars per production. Louisiana Economic Development says producers spent an estimated 668-million-dollars in 2017, up from 365-million-dollars the year before. Secretary Don Pierson says Oscar winner Tom Hanks has chosen the Capital City to film the World War II movie “Greyhound”. Pierson says shooting will begin in Mid-March aboard the U.S.S. Kidd and other Baton Rouge locations.
A tough game last night for the LSU Men’s Basketball team as they fell to The Tennessee Volunteers. The final 84 to 61. The Tigers will attempt to pick up the pieces before they host Arkansas Saturday afternoon..
News for Wednesday 013118
By Dave Graichen
The State Health Department is making available free flu shots at more than 60 parish health units between 1 and 4:30pm today. The vaccinations are in response to one of the worst flu seasons in recent memory. The flu shots will be available at Parish Health units in Rapides, Grant, Natchitoches, La Salle and Avoyelles parishes.
Republican House Speaker Taylor Barras provides Governor John Bel Edwards with budget cutting proposals as part of the negotiations to solve a nearly billion dollar shortfall. House Republican delegation chairman Lance Harris says in an effort to reduce health care spending, they would like to see work requirements for certain people who receive Medicaid. Governor Edwards responded to the proposals saying while none of these measures accomplish fixing the fiscal cliff, he views them as a positive development in their ongoing discussions.
A TOPS task force will vote on a series of recommendations today they hope will bring long-term sustainability to the popular scholarship program. Jennings Senator Blade Morrish says under his proposal many TOPS students would not have their tuition fully paid for anymore. Morrish proposes a 4,000 dollar stipend for TOPS Opportunity recipients, those are incoming freshman that have a C average high school grade. He says students that have a higher GPA and ACT score will receive higher financial awards. Morrish’s proposal would need legislative approval during the regular session. He says if enacted, it would save the state 20-million dollars a year.
A 14-year-old Lafayette girl who is battling cystic fibrosis got the thrill of a lifetime, being a special guest in attendance at the State of the Union address last night. Bella Reed was a guest of St. Landry Parish Congressman Clay Higgins. He says having Bella in attendance hopefully will bring more awareness to the disease as he introduces legislation supporting ongoing research.
New Orleans city officials are getting ready for Mardi Gras. Mayor Mitch Landrieu announced today NOPD will be on the streets at 100% capacity. He also says there is a ban on closed tents along parade routes. The Mayor says it’s because someone fired a gun from inside a port-a-potty last year. They won’t be allowed on parade routes either and anyone with a port-a-potty will be fined 250 dollars.
Members of the Lafayette Cajun band The Lost Bayou Ramblers are back in Louisiana today after a couple of days of celebrating their Grammy in New York City. “Kalenda” won the group a gramophone for Best Regional Roots Music Album. Co-founder Andre Michot says they’ve been playing non-stop for almost two decades, and now the guys would like to take a vacation. A Louisiana artist has won the Regional Roots award six times in the 7-year-old category.
The state Department of Revenue is suing three companies for tax evasion for not withholding and remitting appropriate payroll taxes from employee earnings. The companies are Elliott Roofing Services in Metairie, Antunez Painting in Baton Rouge and Extreme Cars and Trucks in Monroe. LDR Spokesperson Byron Henderson says fraud robs the state.
The port of New Orleans set a record in 2017 for cruise passengers as 1.1 million moved through the Big Easy last year alone. Spokesman Donnell Jackson says this marks the fourth consecutive year of more than a million passengers at their terminals. They are expecting additional growth this year, with Norwegian Cruise Line replacing the Norwegian Pearl. Jackson says these yearend results validate the continued appeal of cruising from The Crescent City.
The mother of the woman who went overboard a Carnival cruise ship says she has yet to hear from her son-in-law. KLFY TV says Marilyn Winfrey has not heard from Scott Brooks since her daughter Juwanna Brooks fell from the ship on January 21st. Witnesses says the couple was observed fighting just before she went missing. The Mexican Navy has since called off the search for Juwanna.
A group in New Orleans which fought the removal of Confederate monuments created a Mardi Gras bead to commemorate the Robert E. Lee statue which was taken down last May. But they are now gone as Forever Lee Circle said on Facebook that the beads bearing their name are sold out.
State Police has arrested an animal control officer in West Feliciana Parish for allegedly charging Entergy for performing his job duties while he was being paid by the sheriff’s office at the same time. 57-year-old Daniel Klein of St. Francisville is charged with four counts of abuse of office and one count of malfeasance in office — all felonies.
After losing by 25 points to 11th ranked Auburn on Saturday, LSU gets another chance at a ranked team tonight when they visit 18th ranked Tennessee. LSU is 3-5 in the SEC, while the Volunteers are 5-3. You can hear the game this afternoon starting at 5 on KSYL 970am & 100.3fm.
News for Tuesday 013018
By Dave Graichen
President Trump’s first official State of the Union address is tonight. It is believed the President will stress bi-partisanship with Mr. Trump himself calling it an “important speech.” Senior Administration officials have been quoted saying it will be an “optimistic speech.” You can hear the State Of The Union speech tonight starting at 8p on KSYL 970am & 100.3 HD3fm.
President Donald Trump invited a very special guest to his first State of the Union address tonight. Cajun Navy founder Jon Bridgers will be in attendance along with a section of 15 other special guests. Baton Rouge Congressman Garret Graves says Bridgers’ volunteer group has been credited with rescuing thousands of people during Hurricane Harvey and the 2016 floods. Bridgers was invited by President Donald Trump.
Tax filing season began yesterday. There are several ways to file, including using a tax preparer. If you decide to use a tax preparer to file your return, state department of revenue spokesperson Bryon Henderson says it’s important to find a reputable preparer. Your federal tax return is due April 17, state returns are due May 15.
Governor John Bel Edwards’ “Doomsday Budget” proposal has state agencies scrambling to shore up state funding, with LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Center looking at a potential 600,000 dollar cut. John Kirwan, who was named executive director last month, says the budget issues threaten to drive off talented researchers. Kirwan says the budget cuts threaten Pennington’s groundbreaking research on diabetes and pre-diabetes, which he says effects nearly 50 percent of the state’s population.
Officials cut the ribbon Monday on the new LSU Center for River Studies, which has a state of art model of the Mississippi River. Director Clint Wilson says it gives coastal scientists a powerful tool on how sediment diversion can help in the fight against coastal erosion. The project is the result of a collaboration between LSU and the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority.
The head of Louisiana’s Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control says they’ve suspended the liquor licenses for eight French Quarter strip clubs, because they found evidence of prostitution, drug sales and lewd acts. New Orleans Police Superintendent Michael Harrison says the investigation’s target was not prostitutes, but human traffickers. He says no one has been charged with human trafficking, but the investigation continues. Hearings are scheduled in February to see if the clubs who had their liquor licenses suspended will get them back.
This winter’s extremely cold weather in Louisiana has stunted or even killed many of the tropical plants that normally flourish in Louisiana. Horticulture expert Dan Gill with the LSU Ag Center says it’s a good idea to not be in a hurry to give up on a plant this soon after the extreme cold snap. He says they aren’t used to the chilly weather, but could rebound. He says some plants won’t begin rebounding until March or April and in some cases like trees, it could be summer before you can properly assess if they are still alive.
News for Monday 012918
By Dave Graichen
House Republican Caucus Chairman Lance Harris of Alexandria is still waiting on specifics from the Edwards administration on how to fix the fiscal cliff. The governor would like to call lawmakers into a special session, so changes can be made to our tax code to address a billion dollar shortfall. The governor is proposing a reduction in tax breaks for businesses as a way to bridge the one-billion-dollar budget deficit. But Harris says they should look at making more cuts in state spending first. Governor Edwards told legislators last week he’s made 600-million-dollars in cuts in his first two years in office. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne says it’s time for the legislature to “put up or shut up” and present a proposal on where additional cuts need to be made.
Several of the nation’s largest corporations announced they are giving employees a bonus as a result of federal tax reform. Walmart, who employs tens of thousands of Louisianans, announced they are increasing bottom salaries from nine dollars to 11 dollars, and authorizing up to a thousand dollars in bonuses for employees.
Walmart has come under fire in recent years for paying workers poverty level wages. Making Change at Walmart Director of Communication Amy Ritter says Walmart’s thousand dollar bonus headline was fairly misleading. Since most employees will receive less than $400. Ritter says even with the pay increase, hundreds of thousands of Walmart workers will still be below the poverty line. She says the costs for impoverished workers falls back on the taxpayer…
Gretna telecommunications contractor Ronald Gasser was found guilty of manslaughter Friday night for fatally shooting ex-NFL pro Joe McKnight at a Terrytown intersection a little more than a year ago. A Jefferson Parish jury returned the verdict about 8 p.m. after more than seven hours of deliberations. Gasser now faces up to 40 years in prison. He would have faced mandatory life imprisonment if found guilty of second-degree murder, as charged. Sentencing will take place March 15th.
UL-Lafayette has been named one of the Top 25 in U.S. News and World Report’s list of, “Universities and Colleges Where Students are Eager to Enroll.” Coming in at No. 24, UL-Lafayette was the only school in Louisiana named to the list.
The Trump administration says they will speed up the approval of a key coastal restoration project. The agreement would reduce the permitting process for the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion project from five years to two. Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana spokesperson Jimmy Frederick says it’s a big win. The state intends to pay for much of the project using funds it received from BP after the 2010 oil spill.
It’s been a year of repairs, replacement and testing for the water system in the town of St. Joseph in Tensas Parish, but it appears it is about ready for public use again. A public health emergency was declared in late 2016 forbidding use of the water after high amounts of lead was discovered. State Health Officer Dr. Jimmy Guidry says there has been a complete overhaul since then. The system is expected to be in full operation sometime in February.
The bodies of two adults and a child from West Feliciana Parish were found after their pontoon boat capsized while they were duck hunting early Sunday in Wilkinson County, Mississippi. Authorities say the hunters had two boats and were using their pontoon boat as a duck blind. The pontoon capsized as the people were trying to step onto it, causing them to become trapped underneath. A dog also died during the accident.
Rough News for the New Orleans Pelicans. Even after a thrilling victory over the Rockets Friday night, All-Star Demarcus Cousins went down and ESPN reports is out for the season with a torn Achilles. Cousins was averaging 25.4 points, 12.9 rebounds and 5.2 assists.
News for Friday 012618
By Dave Graichen
Due to the increasingly critical flu season, the state Health Department has announced no cost flu vaccines will be held at 55 Parish Health units across the state January 31st. The walk-in clinics will administer flu shots to anyone who has not done so yet. State Immunization Director Dr. Frank Welch says get the shot earlier if you can. He says one huge reason they are sponsoring the free clinics is the influx of people coming to the state to celebrate Mardi Gras next month. Louisiana has one of the highest flu rates in the nation.
A former Monroe children’s TV show host known as “Mr. Wonder” will now have to register as a sex offender as part of a plea deal for inappropriate conduct with a child back in 1979. 78-year-old Frank Selas pleaded guilty to indecent behavior with a juvenile earlier this month, but was not required to register due to a misunderstanding of the law. Selas could be paroled as early as this summer. If so, the former TV star plans to move back to California.
The Town Talk reports, The Rapides Parish School Board is considering a plan to create new feeder systems within three proposed school zones in Alexandria and Pineville by reconfiguring 12 elementary and middle schools. Administration is proposing to create new Community School Zones to change the way students are distributed. About 4,500 students are within the area that would be encompassed by the proposed system. The complete story can be found on the Town Talk’s Website.
Louisiana receives a green light for having nine critical traffic safety laws on the books. The Bayou State is one of seven listed as a “best state” in the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety report. Tara Gill, the Director of State Programs, says the ignition interlock offender law for convicted drunk drivers is one reason Louisiana scored high. Gill praises the efforts of the state in enforcing no texting while driving legislation. But, Gill says while the state ranks well in many areas, it’s critical Louisiana enforce better child restraint laws…
Congress has reached an agreement to hold a vote on the Dream Act before it expires in March. The Dream Act provides temporary legal status to people who were brought to the U.S. as children. A proposed deal would see funding for President Trump’s border wall in exchange for a Dreamer resolution, and Senator Bill Cassidy says drug traffickers can pay for the wall. Reports indicate that billions of dollars in drug money cross the border each year. Cassidy says the US is only intercepting a fraction of it. He says we need to step up our enforcement and confiscated more of it. Cassidy says the fate of Dreamers is dependent on what deal can be struck for building the wall..
The jury in the trial involving the death of Joe McKnight visited the defendant’s car Thursday. McKnight was fatally shot by Ronald Gasser, and prosecutors reconstructed what they believe the scene would have looked like after the shooting. The defense says Joe McKnight tried to lunge at Gasser through the passenger side window after a fit of road rage. The prosecution is attempting to demonstrate that the car would not have allowed for that. McKnight was shot on December 1st of 2016
A new study out of Tulane finds that Louisiana is making slow progress in electing minorities and women to judgeships. Professor of Political Science Sally Kenney says racial minorities are 36% of the state’s population, but non-white judges were only at 22 percent. She says women judges comprised less than 32 percent of all state and federal judges in Louisiana. She says there has been a gradual increase, but it’s up to citizens to commit to equal justice under law and keep vigilant that this progress is not reversed.
There’s a nearly limitless variety of king cakes available, reflecting the hundreds of years bakers have been cooking up that classic Mardi Gras desert. There’s traditional, fruit fillings, cream cheeses, almond, and now, cricket. Audubon Insectarium Curator of Animal Programs Zack Lemann says there’s over 30 grams of protein in a pound of crickets, and Lemann says the snack is quite filling. The cakes are baked from scratch at the insectarium. You can order one there, or this Sunday at the King Cake Festival in Champions Square in New Orleans.
Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis told reporters at the Senior Bowl they want Quarterback Drew Brees to return next season. Brees is coming off a season where he completed an NFL record 72-percent of his passes, but his contract will expire in March. Brees is one of seven Saints players that will play in Sunday’s Pro Bowl.
LSU’s all-time leading rusher and three time Super Bowl Champion Kevin Faulk has been named as the Director of Player Development for the LSU football program. He believes his life experiences will help develop these players not only for football but for whatever else life may present them. Faulk played for the Patriots for 13 years.
The LSU men’s basketball team gets a chance at beating the first place team in the SEC on Saturday when they visit the 19th ranked Auburn Tigers. LSU Coach Will Wade believes Auburn is one of the ten best teams in the nation. Auburn is 18-2 on the season and they lead the SEC in scoring, averaging 86 points a game. Wade says he wants to keep Auburn off the free throw line.
News for Thursday 012518
By Dave Graichen
Louisiana’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has declined for the eighth straight month to 4.6 percent in December. That’s the lowest unemployment rate in nearly a decade. Over 2.1 million Louisianan’s are currently working.
The American Lung Association has released their “State of Tobacco Control” and shows Louisiana lags behind the nation in reducing tobacco use. The report card gives the state “F”s in four out of five key categories. The report estimates that 72-hundred deaths in Louisiana are directly related to smoking with 23 percent of residents who regularly use tobacco, making it the 6th highest in the country.
Governor John Bel Edwards’ worst-case-scenario budget calls for a 76 million dollar cut in state funding for the Department of Corrections. The cuts are a combination of attrition, canceling of infrastructure repairs, and the lowering of per diems paid to local sheriffs who house state inmates. Corrections Secretary James Leblanc says the per diem cut in particular is dangerous. Leblanc says the cuts could lead to unsafe conditions for both inmates and corrections officers.
A mother who was 16 years old at the time her 27-day old baby died was sentenced to 17 years of hard prison labor. Donasty Cohen of Alexandria was convicted late last year in the death of her son Ashtyn Cohen. Cohen was facing second degree murder charges. The judge in sentencing Donasty prefaced her decision saying she didn’t take her decision lightly, but said an innocent baby died from severe abuse.
Deaf students have filed a discrimination suit against the Louisiana Community College System, alleging Delgado Community College denied sign language interpreters and other accommodations. Plaintiffs’ attorney Andrew Bizer says Delgado violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. Bizer says the discrimination directly led to a loss of financial aid.
Retired State Police Superintendent Mike Edmondson’s attorney has responded to a legislative audit that found evidence of misconduct and tax evasion throughout his nine year tenure. The letter touted Edmonson’s character and leadership, but Loyola University Law Professor Dane Ciolino says there was one notable omission.
Edmondson’s was accused of using a state facility for housing, and not reporting it on his taxes. Ciolino says finding a defense for that accusation will be difficult.
Governor John Bel Edwards, Louisiana’s Congressional delegation, state legislators, and lobbyists, are in DC this week for the annual Washington Mardi Gras. It’s a tradition that sees movers and shakers from the state throw a miniature Mardi Gras in the heart of the nation’s capital. LAPolitics publisher Jeremy Alford says it’s one of the hottest tickets in town.
A Lafayette tv station reports the person who fell off a Carnival Cruise Line near Mexico over the weekend has been identified as 44-year-old Juwanna Brooks. KLFY interviewed the mother Marilyn Winfrey who says the cruise was a Christmas gift from Brooks’ husband. Mexican officials are still looking for Brooks but haven’t found any evidence since she fell off the cruise ship on Sunday.
State police report a Fort Polk soldier injured in a November crash that killed a fellow soldier has been charged with vehicular homicide and reckless operation. 26 year old Alejandro Galvan Jr. was booked into the Vernon Parish Jail on Friday. The crash back on Nov. 30 of last year claimed the life of a 22 year old West Virginia man.
Tallulah has been struggling with water issues and now an electrical transformer failure has left the city without water today. Hard freezes hampered the system earlier this month. Administrative Assistant to the Mayor Yvonne Lewis says water was restored to the city Just Tuesday and Thursday the transformer failure knocked it out again. It is hoped water will start flowing again later today.
A mobile trailer fire in Hammond has claimed the life of one man. Preliminary findings from the state fire marshal’s office indicates the deadly blaze was a result of the resident using an outdoor cooking burner to heat the trailer.
News for Wednesday 012418
By Dave Graichen
Governor John Bel Edward’s worst-case-scenario budget is making waves across the state, from both inside, and outside of government. The budget is the result of the expiration of a billion dollars in sales taxes this summer, and Edwards says the revenue will need to be replaced to avoid the deep cuts. The governor’s proposal to fill the billion dollar gap leans heavily on eliminating tax breaks for businesses. President of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, Stephen Waguespack, says Edwards refuses to consider spending cuts. The state has until July 1st to address the fiscal cliff.
University of Louisiana System President Doctor Jim Henderson is not happy to see the governor proposing a budget for next fiscal year that cuts TOPS by 80-percent. Henderson says cutting TOPS would be a betrayal of hard working students. Henderson is hopeful TOPS will be fully funded when legislators approve a budget in June.
Aerosmith, Sting, Jimmy Buffett, Lionel Richie and Aretha Franklin will be headliners for this year’s New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, which takes place every year on the last weekend of April and the first of May. Bonnie Raitt and Smokey Robinson are also scheduled to perform during the two weekend festival.
Republican Congressman Clay Higgins is cosponsoring legislation that seeks to make immigration and border security reforms. Higgins says there’s also provisions in the bill that would punish sanctuary cities. New Orleans currently prohibits police officers from asking suspects about their immigration status. Higgins says he’s tired of these cities disrespecting federal laws. However, back in November, the Justice Department found no evidence that New Orleans is out of compliance when it comes to immigration laws.
Tulane Law School graduate Wendy Vitter was nominated by President Donald Trump today to fill a federal judgeship in New Orleans. Vitter was the campaign manager for her husband David Vitter’s three US House elections, and has served as general counsel for the Archdiocese of New Orleans since 2012.
Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser has unveiled a new brand to promote Louisiana. Formerly Pick Your Passion, the new slogan is now, “Louisiana: Feed Your Soul.” Nungesser said the brand will offer travelers a new outlook – that you may come to Louisiana hungry, but you’ll leave with your soul full of all the rewarding experiences we offer.
The recent cold snap could mean a delay in the strawberry harvest this year, and a possible increase in price at the grocery store. Whitney Wallace, LSU AgCenter agent in Tangipahoa Parish, says many of the blossoms on the plants that weren’t protected will have to regrow again, which is a 21 day process. Strawberry production in Louisiana is valued at an estimated 17-million-dollars.
A study from the Pennington Biomedical Research Center finds that walking, even if only ten minutes per day, can be beneficial. Dr. Tim Church says a group of 464 women who walked for 72 minutes a week for six months improved their heart health and fitness. Church cautions if you are looking to lose weight, you might need to exercise more than just ten minutes a day. A person’s metabolism can be elevated for one to three days following a workout. Church says this short burst of exercise is a start.
Super Bowl 52 in Minneapolis is right around the corner, so when will New Orleans host it’s 11th NFL Championship Game? President and CEO of the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation, Jay Cicero, says Super Bowl host sites are booked through 2022, but New Orleans would like to host the game in 2023. New Orleans put in attractive bids to host the Super Bowls in 2018 and 2019, but lost to Minneapolis and Atlanta, who have new stadiums. Cicero says they’re not sure what the NFL will be looking for when they ask for bids for the Super Bowl in 2023.
The LHSAA Annual Convention convenes today and on Friday, high school principals will vote on a number of proposals. A vote will NOT be taken on whether to end the split playoff in football.
News for Tuesday 012318
By Dave Graichen
Governor John Bel Edwards presented a proposed spending plan to lawmakers Monday that reduces state funding for TOPS by 80-percent and slashes another 656-million dollars from the state health department’s budget. Edwards says the cuts are necessary, because the state is set lose about a billion dollars of revenue in July.
Edwards is considering a February special session so lawmakers can pass a tax reform plan to address the fiscal cliff. But Slidell Senator Sharon Hewitt says before raising taxes, the state should consider lowering state expenditures. It’s unclear if a February special session will happen.
A study finds the military has an economic impact in Louisiana totaling over seven billion dollars. The Trump Administration has made it know they want to build up the nation’s military. State Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson says that would be huge for Louisiana. Pierson says there’s 77-thousand military related jobs in the state.
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise returned to the Capitol yesterday following surgery related to a shooting which injured him last summer shattering bone and striking internal organs. He says he feels great following the January 10th procedure which was quote “very successful, but it took a long recovery.
Gas prices have seen a big jump throughout the nation and the state over the past few weeks. The current average in Louisiana is $2.36 a gallon, which is up 6 cents from the prior week.
LSU crawfish researcher Doctor Greg Lutz is hopeful last year’s deep freeze in south Louisiana will not have a huge impact on this year’s mudbug harvest. However, Lutz says to help improve the crawfish supply for the days leading up to Mardi Gras a long stretch of sunny, mild days is needed to warm up the ponds.
Entergy Louisiana has broken ground on a new 872-million dollar plant near Lake Charles. The natural gas fired plant is expected to be operational in June of 2020. Entergy spokesperson Michael Burns the state-of-the-art plant is expected to run much cleaner than previous plants. Entergy projects the project will directly employ over 700 people during peak construction. Entergy says they selected Lake Charles due to the region’s rapid growth.
The U.S. is pumping out over ten-million barrels of oil per day, topping a nearly 50-year record. And forecasts show production could climb to eleven-million barrels a day by the end of 2019. President of the Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association, Chris John, says markets such as China are hungry for more fuel and Louisiana’s 170 offshore operators are showing they can keep up with demand. Crude oil topped $60.00 a barrel for the first time in over two years. John says the cost of oil could top $70.00 per barrel before long.
A nationwide non-profit to help veteran’s in their post military transition to the workplace is coming to New Orleans. NextOp represents veterans by placing them in jobs in industries and companies throughout the region. Louisiana Regional Manager Ben Armstrong says the challenge for veterans is not in obtaining work, but getting the type of jobs they need to support their families. Following their launch on February 1st, they are looking at expanding statewide.
The LSU men’s basketball team will look to snap a three-game losing streak tonight when they host Texas A-and-M at the PMAC. Airtime 7:30 on KSYL 970 & 100.3 HD3
Philadelphia’s Doug Pederson is the first person with ties to Louisiana to serve as a head coach in the Super Bowl. Pederson was a head coach at Calvary Baptist in Shreveport from 2004 to 2008, and is also a former ULM quarterback.
News for Monday 012218
By Dave Graichen
Governor John Bel Edwards will unveil a budget today that will show the effects of one-billion dollars in cuts to state agencies. Reports say healthcare and education will be the hardest hit, with the possibility of a 100-percent cut in funding to TOPS. Political analyst Clancy Dubos says it’s not the budget the governor wants, but it’s the budget he is constitutionally required to present. The budget is the result of a billion dollar shortfall generated by the expiration of a one cent sales tax, passed two years ago. So far, GOP legislative leaders and Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards have been unable to settle on a plan to address the fiscal cliff.
The Commissioner of Higher Education Joe Rallo is concerned about the possible lack of funding for the TOPS program. Governor Edwards will present his budget proposal on Today. Rallo says if funding for TOPS is eliminated, it will be devastating for students who benefit from the program. Rallo says if TOPS doesn’t get funding, it could affect Louisiana’s job market. The Governor, by law, must submit a balanced budget.
A 9.7 million dollar grant was awarded to a UL Lafayette consortium to study the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale oil deposit that stretches across central Louisiana into the Florida parishes. A study from the 80s indicated that Louisiana could be sitting on nearly seven billion barrels of crude oil. ULL Professor Mehdi Mokhtari (med-e mowk-tari) says the grant will help scientists unlock the shale’s potential.
The Louisiana Public Service Commission wants to know why utility customers were asked to reduce energy consumption for a time last Thursday morning over concerns the grids may not be able to handle the high demand in the cold. PSC Chairman Eric Skrmetta says nobody’s power was going to be shut off. The Midcontinent Independent System Operator, which manages the flow of electricity, said they had set a record Wednesday morning for peak winter power usage.
Emerge Louisiana chooses 25 Democratic women that will train on how to run for political office. They come from across the state and will get 70 hours of in depth education over six months. Executive Director Melanie Oubre says with Districts being redrawn following the 2020 census, it will be a great time to have newly graduated women starting to create their new active roles in government, increasing the amount of female Democrats in office. Since the program started in other states, more than 150 Emerge America alums have been elected to office.
Vermilion School Board President Anthony Fontana has announced he is resigning immediately. This comes amid the controversy surrounding school teacher Deyshia Hargrave and her arrest two weeks ago. A non-partisan group CrowdPac is concerned about the recent volatile actions of the board and wants to see changes. Crowdpac spokesperson Mason Harrison says Fontana’s resignation is perfect timing for a seminar coming to Abbeville to train citizens to become prepared to run for a school board position.
With Republicans in control of the House, Senate and the Executive branch, Republican Congressman Clay Higgins issued a statement declaring “The shutdown of the federal government belongs to the democrats. While Senator Bill Cassidy’s statement read, “They voted to shut down the government just to appease the pro-illegal immigration extremists in their party.” Both Representative Higgins and Senator Cassidy said the measure voted down would have funded the U.S. military and the reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
A state judge will hear a dispute next month between Governor Edwards and Attorney General Jeff Landry over which party should control the state’s lawsuit against opioid manufacturers. Edwards’ administration filed a lawsuit in September against more than a dozen drug companies. Landry filed a request to stop the suit since it didn’t include how it impacts other agencies. Landry says his office can supersede the state health department.
New Year’s resolutions are starting to fall by the wayside for many as day to day realities clash with their bold plans. LSU Ag Center nutritional specialist Elizabeth Gollub says many who start new diets plans can get frustrated with the changes and fall back on old habits with a binge. Gollub says one day of mistakes doesn’t mean you should abandon long-term healthy choices. Gollub says the key to making a long term positive change is to start with a series of smaller healthy habits.
A mysterious package left at a Slidell Post Office caused police to block off the area for the bomb squad to respond. The package was dropped off around 4 pm and after approximately 4 and half hours later the Slidell Police department said the contents of the package was about seventy pounds of human feces. Authorities say the person being questioned is thought to have mental health problems.
The couple found guilty of murdering a Zachary man and stuffing his body into a barrel were sentenced Friday. 23-year-old Jace Crehan was convicted of second degree murder and 19-year-old Brittany Monk, was sentenced to manslaughter. Both were from Walker. The victim, Robert Noce, was found guilty of sexually assaulting Monk for nearly ten years. Noce pleaded no contest to the charges two weeks before he was found in the barrel.
News for Friday 011918
By Dave Graichen
The north Louisiana TV show personality known as Mr. Wonder in the 70s will serve five years in prison. Frank Selas sexually assaulted a child while on a camping trip in Rapides Parish in 1979. All parties agreed a plea agreement with two years credit for time served. He will not have to register as a sex offender as that law was not in effect in 1979.
The freezing grip from the polar vortex is about to loosen in Louisiana. Forecasters say last night was the last night we’ll see temps below freezing as warmer temps will start to move in over the weekend. State climatologist Barry Keim says this weekend will feel like paradise after nearly a month of below normal temperatures… Saturday temps will be near 60, Sunday near 70..
Temperatures will return to the 50s today, but cold weather-related issues remain, especially in southeast Louisiana where many communities are dealing with low water pressure. The record breaking cold busted pipes and forced many to run their faucets to fight the freeze. Governor John Bel Edwards says water systems need a couple more days to catch up.
Residents in Louisiana were asked by their utility companies to conserve power for a few hours Thursday morning as energy demand was getting close to being more than what the power grids could handle. Entergy spokeswoman Sheila Pounders says they don’t foresee any future demand that would exceed the supply over the next several days as temperatures will be rising.
A man was found frozen outside his home in Crowley early Wednesday morning. The 56-year-old man was found by neighbors lying face down in his yard. Police chief Jimmy Broussard says they are interviewing neighbors to try to determine why he was outside and if health issues were related to his death. The victim’s identity is being withheld pending notification of the victim’s family.
Jury selection in the second-degree murder trial involving Joe McKnight’s shooter should conclude today. The former NFL and John Curtis running back was shot by Ronald Gasser on a roadside in Jefferson Parish in December of 2016. Loyola University Law Professor Dane Ciolino says the defense will likely claim McKnight tried to enter Gasser’s car after a road rage incident. Gasser was involved in another aggressive incident at the same intersection a decade ago.
A legislative task force recommends Louisiana loosen its restrictions on the gaming industry. The task force put forward two recommendations to make bayou gaming more nationally competitive. Lake Charles Senator Ronnie Johns says one of those proposals involves allowing riverboat casinos some inland real estate. Existing regulations only allow a certain square footage of “gaming space”, and Johns says this requirement is antiquated considering the size of new slot machines. These proposals will go before legislators during the upcoming legislative session.
Governor John Bel Edwards has moved the unveiling of his budget proposal to Monday due to winter weather in Louisiana. He had intended to show the administration’s proposed spending plan today but moved the meeting to next week because of concern about how lawmakers would get to Baton Rouge.
The chairman of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe pleaded guilty Wednesday to stealing more than $83,000 from the tribe. 40 year old Joey P. Barbry pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Dee Drell to one count of theft from an Indian tribal organization. Barbry faces five years in prison, three years of supervised release, restitution and a $250,000 fine.
There are nearly 50 boil advisories issued in the state right now due to water pressure concerns from excessive use and bursting frozen pipes. Louisiana Department of Health Chief Engineer Amanda Laughlin (Loff-Lin) it’s important to follow the orders because when pressure is low, bacteria could potentially enter the distribution system. She adds that the advisories are only precautionary.
LSU nose tackle Greg Gilmore has been added to the Senior Bowl. He’ll be one of four Tigers in the game on January 27th in Mobile. Defensive lineman Christian LaCouture, running back Darrel Williams and receiver DJ Chark have also received invitations.
And former LSU standouts Russell Gage and Frank Herron will play in the N-F-L-P-A Collegiate Bowl on Saturday in the Rose Bowl in Pasedena.
News for Thursday 011818
By Dave Graichen
After a very cold start this morning, most Cenla Schools will reopen today. I-49 has reopened has reopened in all areas with the exception of Shreveport.. but there are still major problems in south Louisiana.. I-10 between Breaux Bridge and Slidell is still closed as is I12 in the Baton Rouge area..
Wakefield’s Fire Chief died in the line of duty Wednesday morning. 48-year-old Russell Achord of St. Francisville was killed while responding to another accident on Highway 61 in West Feliciana Parish. He was struck by an oncoming vehicle on an icy road.
An eight month old baby died yesterday when the car her mother was driving slid off the roadway and plunged into a canal in Metairie. The mother is listed in critical condition
Cold temperatures claimed the life of a man in New Roads early Wednesday. Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff Bud Torres says they were notified by a neighbor that 84-year-old Paul Maker was found dead due to hypothermia in his home. They had some space heaters, but Maker and his wife were afraid to run them at night for fear of fire. The home’s temperature when police arrived was 20 degrees.
State Police report a single vehicle crash on Highway 167 South of Dry Prong claimed the life of a sergeant with the Alexandria Police, 53 year old Travis Lowe. Troopers say Lowe apparently lost control of his truck, causing him to leave the highway and strike some trees. Lowe, who was not wearing a seatbelt was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.
LifeShare Blood Center has a critical shortage, and hours are being extended this weekend so people can donate. All blood types are needed from both first-time and current blood donors. The center on North Mall Drive in Alexandria, will be open Today from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and Sunday, 8 a.m. to noon.
Multiple fire departments and police responded to a house fire yesterday morning on Mayflower Boulevard in Alexandria. The home belonged to Adam and Liz Jonson. The couple, their two children, and their dog were in the home when the fire started. All of them got out safely. Both Adam and Liz are employees at LSUA, and Adam is a member of the Rotary Club. LSUA faculty, and Rotary Club members are currently gathering donations for the family. Also, a Go Fund Me Account has been set up to help the family get back on their feet.. LINK
Louisiana continues to suffer through its worst flu season on record, with nearly 10 in 100 doctors’ visits in the last month for flu related symptoms. State Health Department Immunization Director Frank Welch says in his 20 years of doing this, he’s never seen so many cases. Welch says if you come down with flu like symptoms, you need to isolate yourself. Only after you have been without a temp for 24 hours are you no longer contagious. Welch says complications from the flu kills roughly 700 Louisianans a year.
Travel review website RewardExpert finds people vacationing in Louisiana are the “happiest and most satisfied of tourists.” The site found that 98-percent of visitors to the Bayou State are happier with their trip here than other states. Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser credits Louisiana’s hospitality. The Los Angeles Times also listed Louisiana as one of 25 must-see places this year and the New York Times says New Orleans is the number one place to go this year as the city celebrates its 300th birthday.
Last night in a game heard on the New 94.7 ESPN after winning their last two, The Pelicans dropped one to the Atlanta Hawks 94 to 93. Up next, the Pels play host to the Grizzlies Saturday night..
Former LSU great Kevin Faulk will reportedly re-join the program and work with the football support staff. The Advocate says his hiring would need approval from the SEC, because he’s currently an assistant coach at Carencro and can’t have any ties with current players or walk-ons.
McNeese announces Lance Guidry will remain the head coach of the Cowboys after talking with Florida State about becoming an assistant for the Seminoles. A-D Bruce Hemphill says he’s excited Guidry is staying.
Tough loss for the LSU Tigers Tuesday night as they fell to Georgia by one point. The Bayou Bengals are now 2-and-3 in the SEC and all three losses have come at home. LSU will now play three of the next four on the road. On Saturday, the Tigers visit Vanderbilt and then return home to face Texas A-and-M on Tuesday.
News for Wednesday 011718
By Dave Graichen
Some of the coldest temperatures Louisiana has seen so far are being observed this morning. Some areas are reporting near single digit temperatures while coastal areas are not warmer than the 20’s to start the day off. Lake Charles National Weather Service forecaster Robert Megnia (meg-knee-a) says after bottoming out this morning, temperatures will slowly rebound across the state over the next 48 hours…
Due to Icy Road conditions, most schools across Cenla are closed again today. Public Schools in Rapides, Avoyelles, Grant, Vernon, LaSalle and St. Landry Parishes are closed. Catholic schools in Avoyelles, Rapides and Natchitoches parishes Closed. Alexandria Country Day School, Louisiana College, Northwestern State University, LSUA and University Academy are closed..
All State Offices are closed today.
Iced roads and closed schools have many workers asking if they have to go to their jobs today. Baton Rouge Attorney Yigal Bander says if your boss threatens you with a pink slip for skipping out, you don’t have many legal options. Louisiana, like most states, is employment at will. Bander says outside of gender, race, religion, and other protected areas, this means your employment status is wholly up to your boss…
A statewide poll by UNO shows President Donald Trump beating Oprah Winfrey by double digits in a hypothetical general election matchup. Trump gathered 60 percent of support in the poll of 722 Louisiana voters. Pollster Ed Chervenak says part of the reason is the president’s high approval rating in the bayou…
Florida Governor Rick Scott has announced he’ll be in Louisiana this week on a domestic trade mission. Scott says he’ll try to convince Louisiana businesses to move to Florida. Scott says he will share with Louisiana companies how the Sunshine state is making it easier on families and job creators.
The State Revenue Department says online retailers outside of Louisiana which delivered goods or services to Louisiana addresses will soon notify shoppers to pay sales taxes on those purchases. LDR’s Byron Henderson says a 2016 makes it mandatory for customers to pay sales tax on shipped items if they didn’t at the time of purchase. Amazon, the nation’s leading online retailer, started charging the sales tax after the bill passed.
A legislative task force today recommended moving riverboat casinos onto dry land, and Republican State Senator Ronnie Johns of Lake Charles said he would draft bills based on the suggestions. The only casino on land now is Harrah’s in New Orleans. The proposed legislation would lift the requirement that the paddle wheels operate and that the boats be manned with a captain and other marine crew.
Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell says taxpayers could save millions, if electric companies and cities convert to new energy efficient environmentally friendly LED streetlights. Campbell is proposing that the PSC conduct a comprehensive review of streetlight technology and how cities can save money by changing over. For example he says 40 percent of Shreveport’s electric bill is for their 35,000 street lights…
Drew Brees’s contract is a huge question mark for the Saints this offseason. The quarterback turned 39 on Monday, and is a free agent in March. Brees and the Saints front office have been coy so far about contract negotiations, but Brees says he hopes to have a deal before the free agent deadline.
News for Tuesday 011618
By Dave Graichen
Louisiana is bracing for winter weather as winter storm warnings and watches are in effect through this evening. Snow accumulations as much as four inches are possible in northwest Louisiana, while central Louisiana could see about an inch.
With the icy weather in the forecast, Rapides Parish public schools will be closed today.
Public schools in Avoyelles, Grant, LaSalle, Natchitoches and Vernon also will also be closed.
Classes are also canceled today at all Catholic schools in Rapides, Avoyelles and Natchitoches parishes, LSUA, Louisiana College in Pineville and all Northwestern State University campuses.
Road conditions in north Louisiana could deteriorate quickly once this storm system begins producing ice then snow later. DOTD’s Rodney Mallet says they are already preparing for the storm and have a good idea where the trouble spots will be
Temperatures will get back into the teens on tonight for much of Louisiana. Mallett says to check L-A-5-1-1 before heading out to see if the route you are taking is open.
A strong cold front has moved through north Louisiana into central Louisiana this morning. The storm has already brought ice and snow to parts of Bayou state. National Weather Service meteorologist Kent Kuyper says as the front heads south, the chances of freezing precipitation continues as temperatures will drop throughout the day leading very cold temperatures overnight tonight. The good news is above normal temperatures are expected in Louisiana by this weekend.
State police have arrested a Montgomery man, 28 year old Christopher Welch and charged him with felony Hit and Run in connection with an incident back on November 26th of last year in which 21 year old Hunter Thomisee was killed. Welch was arrested and charged based on information obtained during the fatal crash investigation that killed Thomisee. He was booked into the Winn Parish Jail.
Governor Edwards will reportedly present a budget to lawmakers on Friday that includes a 100-percent cut to TOPS. The governor is constitutionally required to propose a balanced budget, and the spending plan presented on Friday would reflect what would happen if the state does not replace the money generated by an expiring one-cent sales tax. The governor’s office is also preparing a budget that would show how the state would spend its money, if the billion dollar shortfall is resolved.
It appears unlikely House legislators and Governor John Bel Edwards will come to a fiscal cliff agreement before a Friday deadline. The deadline was set by the Governor, who was hoping to enter into a February special session with an agreement in principle to fill a one-billion dollar budget shortfall. The GOP is requesting a budget with less spending, while the governor wants to replace the sales tax by eliminating certain business tax breaks. Edwards says a key piece of these negotiations is getting his tax reform plan passed.
Don Briggs’ 26 year run as the President of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association is coming to an end. Briggs says he’ll remain active, because he is concerned about the lost jobs in the industry. Briggs hopes there will be changes so the oil industry can operate without so many regulations that will encourage jobs growth in Louisiana. Briggs’ son Gifford Briggs will officially become president during LOGA’s annual meeting in March.
163 employees at CB and I in Livingston Parish are losing their jobs. The pipe fabrication facility in Walker says they are cutting costs due to a lack of available work. The Business Report says the decision was made after the company announced a six billion dollar merger with McDermott International. The layoffs go into effect February 19th.
The LSU men’s basketball team hosts Georgia tonight. The Tigers are looking for their first win at home in SEC play. Coach Will Wade says they need more from junior guard Brandon Sampson, who is averaging just four points a game in SEC contests and has yet to make a three-pointer. LSU lost to Alabama on Saturday 74-66.
News for Monday 011519
By Dave Graichen
The Saints season ended in heart breaking fashion in Minnesota last night. A 61-yard touchdown pass on the final play of the game gave the Vikings an improbable 29-24 victory over New Orleans. It appeared New Orleans had just completed a successful comeback from a 17-0 halftime deficit to win 24-23. But that touchdown pass from Case Keenum to Stefon Diggs ripped the hearts out of the Who Dat nation. Despite the devastating loss, Drew Brees believes the Saints can be a playoff team again next year…
There is the possibility of some nasty weather on Tuesday in the form of sleet and freezing rain.. With that in mind, Officials in Grant Parish have announced schools will be closed there on Tuesday as a precaution..
Governor John Bel Edwards announces the state will seek 600 million dollars in loans to pay for major highway projects. If accepted, the bonds will finance a major expansion of I-10 in Baton Rouge, the I-10 Loyola interchange in Kenner, and construction of an interchange into Barksdale Airforce Base in Bossier City. Edwards says the state will use federal highway money to pay back the loans…
The Legislative Women’s Caucus is investigating to see if it is necessary to overhaul sexual harassment policies for the legislature and state government employees. Chairman and New Orleans Representative Helena Moreno says the current policies are antiquated and need to be changed. She hopes if persons are found guilty of sexual harassment allegations, they’ll be held accountable.
Broussard and Lafayette Police say murders in their cities are possibly related. Broussard Police say the body of 23-year-old Skyler Barry of Lake Arthur was found lying face down under a home undergoing renovations Friday. Lafayette Police say earlier, they found the body of 28-year-old Justin Zeno of Lafayette lying beside a burning vehicle. Police say both people sustained gunshot wounds. Both departments are assisting one another in the investigation.
Legal Analyst Tim Meche says it’s an example of the new criminal justice reform measures put in place last year. A 26-year-old man was sentenced to five years in prison after plowing into a crowd of parade goers while intoxicated during a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans. He pled guilty to 11 felony counts of vehicular negligent injuring and 13 misdemeanor counts.
The Louisiana Heroes Project is asking folks to send some Fat Tuesday love to our troops serving in locations throughout the world who can’t be home this Carnival season. Mission Mardi Gras from Afghanistan coordinator Tawney Tallo, says their goal is to make sure all service members deployed from Louisiana receive a Carnival package before February 13th. If you would like to send a Mardi Gras Box to a deployed soldier, visit the Louisiana Heroes Project on Facebook for details.
It’s been a colder than normal winter to say the least in Louisiana and it might affect the insect population this summer. LSU Entomology Professor Timothy Schowalter says it’s expected that there will be a reduction in mosquitoes this year since some adults were more than likely killed in the December cold snap. Lovebugs on the other hand will more than likely survive these recent cold snaps.
Sportsman will be unable to renew their hunting and fishing licenses at retail stores for two months starting January 30th while the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries transitions to a new system. Spokesperson Rene LeBreton says the state has a new vendor for licensing. They will be available again at retail stores April 2nd.
The Louisiana Family Forum is celebrating the 2018 Longest Married Couple in Louisiana. The reigning champions, Lawrence and Varrie Player will be celebrating their 83rd anniversary this year.
A two year old child choked and died while at the Early Learning Center at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in Gentily. Seminary Spokesman Gary Meyers says the child was eating lunch when she chocked on food. Isabella Magee’s cause of death is under investigation
The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana has ruled in favor of LSU, dismissing claims made by Teresa Buchanan in a lawsuit against the university. Buchanan filed the suit after she was fired for allegedly making inappropriate comments during classes. The court ruled her comments were not protected by the First Amendment and that the university’s policies are constitutional, and that she received due process.
A police department in Ohio is trying to spread the word that they are not the Vermilion where a teacher was removed from a school board meeting this week for questioning the superintendent. Cops in Vermilion, Ohio say they have received angry and profane messages from people reacting to the controversial arrest of Deyshia Hargrave which actually happened in Vermilion Parish. The Ohio department said to please stop sending hate mail.
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.
News for Thursday 011118
By Dave Graichen
Get ready for a return of cold temperatures. State Climatologist Barry Keim says a strong cold front will move through the state today, dropping temperatures and keeping highs below 50 degrees for the weekend, with night time lows in the 20’s. The cold air is expected to stick around all weekend long and into next week.
A woman in Ouachita Parish has died as the result of a pit bull mauling. Ouachita Parish Sheriffs spokesperson Glen Springfield says deputies arrived at the Happy Hounds Hotel, a West Monroe area pet boarding facility, and found Laura Ray had been severely injured. No further details have been released about the incident, and Springfield says the pit bull is being held by Ouachita Parish Animal Control.
Former Ball police officer David Wayne Gagnard has been charged again, this time accused of extortion, fraud and more. The 46 year old Gagnard was booked yesterday into the Rapides Parish Detention Center on four counts of malfeasance in office, abuse of office, extortion, injuring public records and insurance fraud. That's in addition to a long list of charges from his December. The arrest happened after Ball Police Department Chief Nate Ussery requested an investigation back in December.
A lot of LSU news in a short story.. Steve Ensminger has been named Matt Canada’s replacement as LSU offensive coordinator. The Baton Rouge Advocate obtained the separation agreement between LSU and Canada which state’s the former OC’s $1.7 million dollar settlement would be voided if he interferes with the football program. In other Tiger news, Derrius Guice announced yesterday he’d be entering the NFL Draft.
US Senator John Kennedy says he’s considering a run for governor in 2019, as the GOP in Louisiana hopes to keep Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards from the post for a second term. ULM Political Science Professor Joshua Stockley says this is a very conservative state, so you can expect plenty of Republican candidates to line up for next year’s election. Other Republican names that have been mentioned include US Congressman Ralph Abraham, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and Attorney General Jeff Landry.
Eilers and Krejcik Gaming says Louisiana is one of 18 states that could discuss legislation to legalize sports betting, if the U-S Supreme Court rules in favor of New Jersey, which is challenging the constitutionality of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. Author of the report, Chris Grove, says legalizing sports betting would be a budgetary boon for the state.
The elementary school teacher who was arrested after speaking out against the Vermilion Parish superintendent’s raise has released a video statement. Deyshia Hargrave says by being asked to leave, the school board is attempting to silence an issue that effects the entire community. Governor John Bel Edwards said Wednesday he did not see that Hargrave did or said anything that warranted that type of action against her.
Who has the best King Cake in Louisiana? The website King Cake Snob is set to find out this carnival season. Jay Connaughton, CEO of Mandeville-based Innovative Advertising, says the competition will award the top “traditional” and “filled” King Cakes this year by separating the best from the rest. The site for people to submit reviews is at king-cake-snob-dot-com.
The Saints face their biggest challenge of the year this Sunday, as they head to Minnesota for a rematch of the season opener that they lost 19 to 29. The Vikings boast the best defense in the league, and have routinely suffocated even the best offenses, keeping both the Falcons and Rams in the single digits The Saints will be rolling into a raucous US Bank Stadium full of fans who know their team is only two wins away from the first ever home Super Bowl. The game kicks off at 3:40 Sunday afternoon.
News for Wednesday 011018
By Dave Graichen
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise undergoes another surgery today as he continues his recovery from a gunshot sustained while practicing for a charity baseball game. The bullet struck several of the Congressman’s internal organs. Scalise mentioned the surgery in a press conference on Tuesday. He says he’s looking forward to getting back to work on Capitol Hill and getting business done in the session that started this week.
A Monroe Police officer who died while on duty early Sunday morning apparently shot himself before crashing The Monroe News Star says it’s unknown if 26-year-old Officer Chris Beaudion accidentally shot himself or committed suicide. State Police are investigating the wreck while the Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office is investigating the cause of death.
After failing last year to raise Louisiana’s gas tax for road improvements, Baton Rouge Representative Steve Carter has a different idea this year by planning to file a constitutional amendment that would allow a region of the state to decide if they want a higher gas tax for their area. Carter says there’s not enough support for a statewide gas tax increase.
Governor John Bel Edwards has sent a letter to President Trump asking him to defend Louisiana’s ability to offer medical marijuana. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is ending a federal mandate that kept federal authorities from cracking down on legalized pot. St. Martinville Senator Fred Mills authored the law authorizing the regulation of cannabis treatment in Louisiana. The state Board of Pharmacy plans on issuing permits soon for nine selected pharmacies around the state that will be able to dispense the medical cannabis.
Officials say they will not press charges against a Vermilion Parish middle school teacher who was removed and then handcuffed after she spoke out during a school board meeting Monday night. English teacher Deyshia Hargrave opposed a pay raise for the superintendent. After asking several questions, Hargrave was led out by a marshal.
U-S Senator John Kennedy opposes a bipartisan bill designed to improve the national background check database. The legislation would penalize federal workers who fail to report relevant records to the database, and provide incentives to states that increase reporting levels. Kennedy says we don’t need legislation asking federal workers to do their job.
House Democratic Caucus Chairman Gene Reynolds says he and fellow Democrats came away frustrated after meeting with the GOP on how to prevent falling off a fiscal cliff when one-billion-dollars in revenue comes off the books June 30th. Governor John Bel Edwards is saying he will present a budget no later than January 19th, whether or not the one-billion-dollar shortfall is accounted for. Republican House Appropriations Chairman Cameron Henry says Democrats are going about this all wrong and is disappointed in the way Edwards and his party are discussing ways to tackle the budget.
Congressman Steve Scalise of Metairie says the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is already having a positive impact on families. Scalise lists over 100 businesses on his House Majority Whip website that have given bonuses, pay raises or made new investments as a result of the federal tax overhaul. Scalise says local businesses in southeast Louisiana are following suit…
The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index is the highest it’s ever been to start off 2018. NFIB State Director Dawn Starns says the federal tax reform legislation, de-regulation of businesses and the defeat of U-S Labor Department overtime rule have led to the high optimism rating. The rule would have required businesses to pay overtime to millions of workers.
State Police are warning motorists driving newer cars that their bright headlights, could increase the risk of accidents. Trooper Glen Younger says LED headlights are a particular problem, and motorists need to keep their distance while driving in bad weather with your bright light on. Many new cars come equipped with sensors that will automatically turn headlights on and off, but Younger says you still need to check your headlights when the weather clears up. He says driving with your high beams on could lead to you getting a ticket.
News for Tuesday 010918
By Dave Graichen
Governor John Bel Edwards met with House Speaker Taylor Barras again Monday to discuss solutions to a looming one-billion dollar budget deficit. Edwards would like to call a special session in February to pass a revenue-neutral tax plan to address the fiscal cliff. The governor is working on proposing a budget that reflects a billion dollars in cuts, if he can’t reach an agreement with legislators on a tax plan. In a twitter post, Governor Edwards outlined for the GOP what he would like to see accomplished.
What is going on in Baton Rouge? The Capitol city for the past two years a seen a major jump in the number of homicides. In 2017, that number eclipsed the number of homicides, per 100,000, in the city of Chicago. The number of parish wide homicides, defined by the FBI as intentional, not justified nor accidental, killings, increased by 70 percent from 2016, when 62 homicides were counted. And looking even beyond that one-year jump, 2017 still marked a 50 percent increase from an average of the previous five years.
State Police say an officer with the Monroe Police Department has died following a Sunday wreck. They say 26-year-old Chris Beaudion was involved in a single-vehicle crash while on duty in the early morning hours. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Beaudion leaves behind a wife and two children. He had been with the department since August 2016…
One person is dead, two others injured after a home invasion in Madison parish that happened Sunday night an apartment complex. Authorities have yet to make an arrest and they have not identified the victims. Investigators believe it was a random murder.
Governor John Bel Edwards has several items he would like to accomplish in the 2018 regular legislative session when it convenes March 12th. Edwards will once again ask legislators to increase the minimum wage. 18 states increased their minimum wage January 1st. He says $7.25 an hour is not enough for hard working Louisiana families. The Governor also feels there is an overabundance of state licensing boards, 71 of them to be exact and the Governor believes most need to be eliminated. By doing so, he says it would help small businesses trying to start up in Louisiana.
Saints fans following the team to Minnesota will be lucky if they experience temperatures above zero. Minneapolis is expecting arctic temperatures all weekend long, but the game itself will be played indoors.
The former Police Chief for the Town of Killian in Livingston Parish was paid for time he did not work, received excessive compensation and used work credit cards for personal use, according to a recent state audit. Investigative Audit Manager Greg Clapinski says they found that Dennis Hill submitted time sheets for overtime that he did not work.
News for Monday 010818
By Dave Graichen
Based on records released by the Division of Administration the state paid out one-point-three million dollars since mid-2009 to settle sexual harassment claims involving state officials and employees. There were 27 payouts ranging from 55-hundred dollars to 150-thousand dollars. University professors, judges, employees in the state prison system were among the ones accused in the settlement cases.
LSU athletics reportedly paid 1.7 million dollars to buy out the final two years of Matt Canada’s contract. So the search is on for a new offensive coordinator. Tiger Rag Editor Cody Worsham believes Athletics Director Joe Alleva is willing to spend a lot on a new play caller. Worsham says finding Canada’s replacement will be very important for Orgeron, because if he misfires again, it could mean the end of his tenure at LSU.
The New Orleans Saints advanced to the NFC Divisional playoffs next Sunday at Minnesota with a heart stopping, 31-26 victory over Carolina in the Wild Card playoffs Sunday afternoon at the Superdome.
Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards will meet with Republican House Speaker Taylor Barras today to continue negotiations centered on the looming fiscal cliff. Edwards set a January 19th deadline to come up with an agreement in principle on a plan to address a one billion dollar shortfall. The governor’s plan includes allowing the fifth penny of the state sales tax to expire, but removes some sales tax exemptions businesses enjoy. The plan echoes the recommendations of a bipartisan taskforce.
New Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul will be sworn in today and has a huge task ahead. East Baton Rouge recorded 104 murders in 2017, most were in the city limits of Baton Rouge. LSU Sociology Professor Matthew Valasik says Paul must heal any animosity between police and citizens, before progress can be made. Paul is a 19-year law enforcement veteran coming from Louisiana State Police. Valasik says this will enable Paul to bring experience and a different perspective.
Republican U-S Senator Bill Cassidy says the Trump’s administration plan to expand offshore oil and gas production to areas currently restricted would mean hundreds of thousands jobs. Cassidy says the job growth for Louisiana would about 31-thousand jobs. But Democrats and environmental groups are pushing against the plan, because of possible negative impacts to the environment.
East Baton Rouge sheriff deputies arrested a 29-year-old man after he allegedly stabbed his wife and three children with scissors. Sheriff’s office spokesperson Casey Rayborn Hicks says the victims fled and told neighbors to call 9-1-1. The suspect is in police custody.
It's been a billion-dollar lottery weekend after a lone Powerball ticket sold in New Hampshire matched all six numbers and will claim a $570 million jackpot, one day after another single ticket sold in Florida nabbed a $450 million Mega Millions grand prize.
Water has been distributed to residents in Tallulah as a state of emergency has been declared in Madison Parish because many residents are without water. Numerous pipes have busted because of the cold weather. Tallulah Mayor Payton Branch says the city’s water plant is 70 years old and they plan to rebuild it this year.
Since Christmas, Louisiana has seen 16 people die in home fires. That’s according to State Fire Marshal Butch Browning, who says many of the fires started because of misusing space heaters. He says some outlets can’t handle a space heater and another electrical item plugged into them. Browning says space heaters should also not be plugged into an extension cord.
State wildlife and fisheries says we could see fish kills throughout coastal Louisiana as a result of the arctic blast that produced freezing water temperatures. Biologists say many fish that may have been killed by the freeze would still be on the bottom of water bodies and may not be visible for a week or more.
The arctic blast halted crawfish farming, caused a rash of house fires, but it looks like this year’s strawberry crop should escape with minimal damage. The strawberry crop is a 15 million dollar a year industry for the state.
News for Friday 010518
By Dave Graichen
Former Louisiana College President Dr. Joe Aguillard is suing the school again .The suit filed in in U.S. District Court in Alexandria claims Aguillard was discriminated against for his "disability" , he had a heart attack and quadruple bypass surgery in 2011. Aguillard resigned from the presidency publicly stating health reasons. Aguillard also is claiming discrimination based on his religious beliefs, claiming current LC president, Rick Brewer, is a Calvinist.
Qualifying ends today for the March 24th election. So far, five men have qualified for the Alexandria city marshal race. Pineville Mayor Clarence Fields and five council members have drawn no opposition and no one has qualified yet for the Ward 10 justice of the peace contest.
The arctic blast is expected to start receding this weekend, sending the state back to its usual mild winter weather. Low temperatures this week sat in the lower 20s for much of Louisiana. State Climatologist Barry Keim says it’s one of the coldest weeks on record.
The federal tax reform bill slashed taxes for different businesses, and the state believes those tax savings could be passed on to utility customers. Governor John Bel Edwards has asked the Louisiana Public Service Commission to see if the state’s utility customers should see lower rates as a result of the recently approved federal tax overhaul legislation. P-S-C member Foster Campbell says Edwards is right and that will be a focus of their first meetings of 2018. Edwards says Dominion Energy in South Carolina has already announced plans to lower its rates, because of the new federal tax law.
Saturday’s Powerball jackpot and tonight’s Mega-Millions drawing are some of the largest jackpots the history of the multi-state lottery games. Louisiana Lottery spokesman Dustin Annison says a lot of money is on the line. Over $440 Million for tonight’s Megga Millions Drawing and $550 million for the Saturday’s Power Ball Drawing. Annison says the large jackpots are drawing people across state lines helping to increase the size of the jackpots.
Cleanup continues at the scene of a train derailment in Pointe Coupee Parish along LA 1 between New Roads and Morganza. The Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff’s Office reports that 23 train cars were involved in the derailment the occurred Thursday. No leaks or injuries reported.
The 96th Louisiana State Police cadet class will graduate today with 27 men and women being assigned to the ten different troops around the state. Sgt. Jared Sandifer says the new troopers will help drivers throughout the Bayou State. This was the first time in many years that LSP conducted two cadet classes at the same time. As the 96th is wrapping up, the 97th class began their over 20 week training program.
Three people, a mother and her two children, were killed in a mobile home fire in Zachary late Wednesday night. Zachary Fire Chief Danny Kimble says firefighters reported to a fully engulfed trailer shortly after 11pm. A cause of the blaze hasn’t been determined the but the State Fire Mashal says the below freezing temperatures have led to a surge in fire-related deaths.
A teenager who was found yesterday with multiple stab wounds inside a Lafayette home has died from his injuries. A 32-year-old man has been charged with manslaughter in the case. Lafayette Police Corporal Bridgette Dugas says they believe an argument between the teen and 32-year-old Lawrence Allen the Second escalated into murder. Allen has been booked into the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center.
A television series about the life of the men and women who live in the wilds of Louisiana will begin airing on a new channel this weekend. The Discovery Channel has signed “Out Da’ Bayou” for 13 episodes after five years on CST and the Sportsman Channel. Host John Jackson says the show puts you right in the middle of some of the toughest jobs in the state. Jackson says even if you were born and raised in the bayou, you’ll probably learn something new about your home state. The show airs Saturdays at 7:30am.
One of the top defensive coordinators in the country will stay in Baton Rouge. LSU and Dave Aranda have reportedly agreed to a four-year deal. Aranda was already the highest paid assistant college football coach in the country and now he’s set to make on average 2.5 million dollars a year.
A key member of LSU’s defense has declared for the NFL draft. Arden Key told fans on social media that he’ll skip his senior season. Tiger Rag Associate Editor James Moran says Key left the team during spring football to deal with a personal matter and also missed five games during his junior campaign, because of injuries. We’re still waiting to hear if running back Derius Guice will enter the NFL draft. He has until January 15th to decide.
New Orleans is nearly a touchdown favorite to beat Carolina on Sunday in their NFC playoff match-up. The Black and Gold already own two victories over the Panthers this season. The Saints have won seven straight inside the Superdome.
News for Thursday 010418
By Dave Graichen
Louisiana remains one of the states with the most confirmed cases of influenza during the early half of the flu season. Department of Health’s Dr. Frank Welch says he is very concerned at the early aggressiveness the flu is showing this year. Louisiana sees on average about 8,000 hospitalizations and 700 deaths per year as a result of the flu. Welch says not all flu cases are serious enough to go to the hospital, but stay away from people if you are sick.
The national price at the pump is at its highest in nearly five years after the busiest holiday travel season on record. The average here in Louisiana is 2.26 a gallon for regular gas, up nearly four cents over last week, but AAA spokesperson Don Redman says he doesn’t expect the price to hold. Redman says he believes gas will come down at least ten cents in the next month
Parts of coastal Southeast Louisiana saw snow early Wednesday morning. Measurable snow fell in Grand Isle and areas of south Plaquemines Parish. Alek Krautman with the National Weather Service in Slidell says the last time snow stuck to the ground in that area was December 1989
The Louisiana SPCA says they are getting numerous reports of pets left outside in this extremely cold weather. Some pets are being seized by authorities and owners are being charged with animal cruelty.
Dr. Joseph Johnson, one of the most influential alumni and presidents in Grambling State University’s history passed away yesterday. Johnson was instrumental in a 1981 consent decree that led to an increase in funding for the school, facilitating the creation of the Grambling School of Nursing, and the university’s first doctoral program. He was the university’s third president, serving from 1977 to 1991, and nearly tripled the institutions enrollment during his tenure.
A new component of driver’s education is a section on how to respond to being pulled over by a police officer. The additional curriculum is the result of a new law that went into effect January 1st, aimed at decreasing fatalities resulting from police interactions during traffic stops. Along with educating new drivers on how to talk to police, the new program will emphasize how to be prepared if you get pulled over.
As Louisiana tourism enters 2018, there are some glaring concerns as to how to encourage more visitors to come to the Bayou State. Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser says the state’s tourism budget is facing a ten percent cut if legislators are unable to resolve the fiscal cliff issues. Nungesser says the Lt. Governor’s office has seen massive cuts the last several years and is afraid further cuts will reduce the ability to keep the state park system operating…
Three are under arrest in the shooting death of a man found near Gonzales in Ascension Parish. The body of 20 year old Francisco Nieves was found in a ditch near a trailer park Tuesday. Police say the shooting didn’t occur in Gonzales, but happened in Jefferson Parish. 20-year-old Archie Armstrong of Marrero is charged with second degree murder while two others face accessory to second degree murder charges…
Texas A&M is not taking no for an answer and is coming after LSU defense coordinator Dave Aranda again. Aranda turned down their original offer of 1.85-milllion dollars to make him the highest paid college assistant coach in the country. An LSU source says the new offer may be closer now to 3 million and Aranda would have the flexibility to hire his own defensive staff.
Kentucky beat LSU in Basketball last night.. the final 74 to 71 Up next, Texas A&M Saturday..
The Pelicans beat the Jazz last night, 108 - 98
News for Wednesday 010318
By Dave Graichen
2018 is off to a very cold start. Lows the last two mornings were in the teens to low 20s and wind chills were in the single digits in some areas. It was so cold yesterday that snow fell in parts of Southeast Louisiana in the areas of Morgan City, Houma, Grand Isle and Raceland. Phil Grigsby, with the National Weather Service in Slidell, says this arctic air mass is not going away. We’ll have to wait until this weekend before the Bayou State can finally thaw out.
Two people were found dead Tuesday at the site of a house fire in Baton Rouge, bringing the total to seven houses fire across the state in just 24 hours. The State Fire Marshal is warning residents to use extra care in using heating devices in the face of this unusually cold winter weather, and to make sure you check your fire alarms before going to sleep tonight. Few things can do more to save your life in a fire.
An audit found that some Boyce Police Department officers may have been given improper pay raises and that some are working excessive hours, including one officer who clocked more than 25 hours in one day. The town already has turned over the matter concerning the excessive hours to the Rapides Parish District Attorney's Office and a review of the pay raises is under way.
The arctic blast is keeping Louisianans indoors and is threatening this year’s crawfish harvest. The state’s winters are usually wet and mild, perfect conditions for breeding plenty of big crawfish, but the near record lows have halted production. Last year’s crop came with a low profit margin and Louisiana Crawfish Promotion Board President David Savoy says expect much smaller crawfish this year.
A few national corporations announced they’d be giving holiday bonuses last week as a result of the GOP tax bill, but on a local level the response has been somewhat more muted. LSU economist Loren Scott says the bill is a substantial reduction in corporate and business taxes, and is aimed at enticing foreign businesses to relocate to the USA, and inspiring domestic businesses to expand. Republicans say the bill will help maintain the current three percent growth in GDP, and Scott says if that happens, it would be a big boost to the Louisiana economy.
2018 could be a volatile year in Louisiana politics. It’s a somewhat quiet year for elections, but UL-Lafayette Political Science Professor Pearson Cross says the Legislature and Governor John Bel Edwards have a long road facing them after the one cent sales tax falls off the books June 30th, leaving Louisiana with a one-billion-dollar deficit. The Louisiana Congressional delegation appears to be solid going into the mid-term elections this year. Cross feels 3rd District Congressman Clay Higgins faces the most opposition…
The looming fiscal cliff has party leaders preparing for a series of tense negotiations ahead of a January 19th deadline imposed by Governor John Bel Edwards. That deadline was set with the hope that legislative leaders would have the framework for a deal to address an imminent one billion dollar shortfall. State Republican Party Chairman Roger Villere is not happy with the governor’s deadline. Edwards wants a deal in principle by January 19th so he can call a special session in February to pass new tax laws to address the budget deficit. The Governor says he wants a revenue neutral plan, but Villere says Edwards is really calling for a tax hike.
Fourth District Congressman Mike Johnson and Attorney General Jeff Landry have released the “Louisiana Student Rights Review.” Johnson says the publication found at mike-johnson-for-Louisiana-dot-com answers legal questions and clears up misconceptions about religious expression on school campuses. Johnson says the Constitution protects the rights of students to live out their faith in a public school.
Many find it hard to be motivated at work after taking time off for the holidays. And with the extended cold snap, it may be challenging to get out and go back to work. But once you get there, CEO of Mid-America Careers Nick Murphy says do not be too hard on yourself as you get back into “work mode” If you are in a job that you truly are not happy with, it may be a good time to make a change. Many employers are starting to hire with new budgets in place.
The LSU men’s basketball team has made great strides during the first year with Will Wade as their head coach. The 9-and-3 Tigers are coming off a road win over Memphis, tonight they face 17th ranked Kentucky. You can hear that game starting at 7 this evening on KSYL 970AM & 100.3 HD3FM.
News for Tuesday 010218
By Dave Graichen
All of the state starting the day in a deep freeze, with temps in the mid-teens here in Cenla. The cold weather plans to stick around for a while. 18 is the predicted low for tonight.
Department of Transportation and Development Secretary Shawn Wilson looks ahead to road projects coming and continuing into 2018. He says major progress will take place on the work being done on I-10, west of the Basin Bridge to Lafayette. Wilson says there is a major construction boom happening in Southeast Louisiana this year where over 100,000 people pass through each day, so motorists need to expect delays for at least the entire year.
Many people make quitting smoking one of their New Year’s resolutions. Louisiana is 47th out of 50 states for tobacco use, with over 22-percent of adults light up, one of the highest percentages in the nation. Smoking Cessation Trust CEO Mike Rogers says one of the main reasons people don’t succeed is they try to go it alone. He adds if you don’t succeed this time, to keep trying. An average person quits at least eight times before succeeding.
A new year can mean the start of several new things, including how you handle your finances. Trying to keep your financial house in order can be tough, if you are not aware of where you are spending your money. Baton Rouge CPA Layne McDaniel says one way to try to squeeze a little more out of your budget is knowing how you spend. How much to save is the big question. McDaniel says even though it’s an old cliché, he says to “pay yourself first”.
The number of Craft Breweries in Louisiana has more than doubled in the last five years, and with the recent corporate tax cuts as a result of the tax reform legislation passed by Congress, we could see a few more. Executive Director of the Louisiana Craft Brewers Guild Cary Koch says a provision in the new tax law will have big returns for local brewers.
Disappointing finish to the season for the LSU Tigers as Notre Dame scored a late touchdown to beat the Bayou Bengals 21-17.
Despite a 31-24 defeat at Tampa Bay Sunday afternoon, the Saints still won the NFC South and still will host Carolina in a Wild Card playoff game Sunday afternoon in the Superdome. The Saints-Panthers winner will advance to play at either No. 1 seed Philadelphia or No. 2 seed Minnesota.
News for Friday 122217
By Dave Graichen
Cleco has named Bill Fontenot as the new CEO effective January 1st. Fontenot has been with the company for 31 years, working in various capacities including business development, commercial operations and utility operations. He says he’s honored to help keep the focus of the utility on their customers. Fontenot’s family has a long history with the Pineville-based utility company. The father worked for the utility for over 30 years and son Bill followed in his footsteps. Cleco serves about 288-thousand customers in Louisiana.
For the seventeenth year in a row State Police troop E out of Alexandria will be delivering gifts to children who are stuck in the hospital for Christmas. The troop plans to meet Christmas Eve morning to start wrapping gifts to deliver to kids later that night. Master Trooper Scott Moreau says the troop works on the toy drive all year long.
Moreau says any hospitalized child, regardless of background, will be getting a gift…
Moreau says it’s his troops way of spreading a little holiday cheer.
A Southern Media and Opinion Research poll finds Governor John Bel Edwards has his highest approval numbers since taking office nearly two years ago at 65-percent. It eclipses his previous high of 63-percent and is higher than the 54-percent approval rating in May. Governor Edwards says he’s grateful for the trust the voters have placed in him. He says the first two years have seen it’s share of challenges, but he is looking forward to the future.
This will be a record setting holiday for traveling this Christmas. Over 103 million Americans will take to the roads and skies between now and the first of the year. Part of the reason behind the surge in travelers is low gas prices. Triple-A’s Don Redman says prices are higher than they were last year, but travelers feel more confident about the economy. Airline fares are seeing a drop. Some six million are expected to take to the skies during the final week of the year, a one-point-five-percent increase over 2016.
The roads will be packed this weekend with holiday traffic, and the Louisiana State police want everyone traveling to stay safe. Trooper Glen Younger says the stress and extended traffic times can stress drivers and sometimes lead to road rage. He says if you are driving, expect longer travel times. And of course, if you plan to drink, keep a designated driver handy.
Congress’s 1.5 trillion dollar tax overhaul has many wondering how this will impact their finances. The wholesale changes touch everything from investment returns to charitable donations, and radically alters tax season for most Louisianans. Baton Rouge area CPA Brandon Lagarde says the bill should lower taxes for most in the state. He says in any case, the changes will keep CPA’s very busy…
This will be a big weekend for Christmas present crunch time, and retailers are rolling out plenty of last-minute deals to get that holiday dollar. The last Saturday before Christmas is known as Super Saturday, and LSU Marketing Professor Dan Rice says it’s a big day for brick and mortar stores because it’s too late for online shopping in most cases. About 126 million people, or 53 percent of consumers, plan to shop on Saturday
A Zachary man is charged by a grand jury with first degree murder in the deaths of three people last month. 36-year-old Taurus Ike Hamilton allegedly killed his ex-girlfriend and two others in East Feliciana Parish. He has not yet been charged with a fourth murder in East Baton Rouge. His mother Belinda Folse is charged with accessory to second degree murder, after allegedly taking Hamilton across state lines…
Nearly 64,000 Americans died last year from drug overdoses, leading to a decline in life expectancy for the second year in a row, according to the CDC. Addiction Policy Forum President and CEO, Jessica Hulsey Nickel, blames the exploding opioid epidemic. According to the World Health Organization, The United states now ranks below several dozen other countries in average life expectancy.
Saints Safety Kenny Vaccaro has been placed on injured reserve as a result of a groin injury, which means he’ll miss the rest of the season. He suffered the injury on November fifth and a source says it never healed correctly and it will require surgery.
The Saints can qualify for the playoffs with a win over NFC South rival Atlanta or a Carolina loss this weekend. New Orleans has the easiest road to the post season of any NFL team still trying to qualify, only needing to win one of the next two to play in January. Quarterback Drew Brees says he would love to wrap this up and win in front of the home crowd.
It’s another case of people being more upset than the victim. Saints Head Coach Sean Payton has apologized for the choke gesture he made towards Falcons running back Devonta Freeman. TV cameras caught the incident when the two teams met two weeks ago in Atlanta and the two teams are set to meet again this Sunday. In a conference call with Atlanta reporters, Payton said he let his emotions get the best of him. Freeman says he’s not bothered by Payton’s actions.
Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame inductee Charlie Hennigan passed away Wednesday. Hennigan, a Northwestern State graduate, still holds two NFL receiving records and is in the top three of three more. A native of Bienville, Hennigan will be laid to rest there Saturday. Charlie Hennigan was 82.
News for Thursday 122117
By Dave Graichen
Governor John Bel Edwards held an end of the year press conference yesterday and set a deadline of January 19th for an agreement in principle with House Republican leaders regarding the one-billion dollar budget deficit the state is facing in 2018. If no agreement, then the governor will not call a special session to approve various proposals to close the budget gap. Edwards says if they are unable to reduce the deficit, he’ll have no chose but to propose deep cuts to education and health care. He says there is nowhere else to cut…
U-S Senator Bill Cassidy says the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act approved by Congress does more than just cut taxes for working families. Cassidy says the legislation also allows victims of last year’s floods in North and South Louisiana to deduct all of their personal casualty losses from their taxable income, which could mean thousands of dollars…
Cassidy says the bill also doubles the Child Tax Credit to two-thousand dollars.
The head of the Tiger Athletic Foundation is waiting to see what kind of impact the federal tax reform legislation will have on college athletics. TAF President Rick Perry says LSU season ticket sales for their major sports could be impacted since fans will no longer be able to deduct 80 percent of their donations to the athletic program for the right to buy season tickets.
A Southern Media and Opinion Research poll finds only 19 percent of registered Louisiana voters believe their taxes will decrease with the passage of the Republican tax reform bill. Pollster Bernie Pinsonat says Republicans say the average wage earner will see more money, but taxpayers are skeptical. According to the survey of 500 likely Louisiana voters, 42-percent of respondents believe their taxes will increase. Pinsonat says the massive tax reform legislation will have a major impact on next year’s federal mid-term elections.
An appeals court has ruled against the Rapides Parish School Board, which had appealed the reinstatement of a tenured teacher fired in 2001 and a more than $1 million judgment for her. The case of Patricia Powell was sent back to the 9th Judicial District Court "for a determination of the exact amount of damages awarded, along with appropriate interest and costs. In September of last year, District Judge Thomas Yeager ruled that Powell had been the victim of political retaliation and awarded her more than $1 million in damages. The school board appealed that decision to the 3rd Circuit.
The state attorney general’s office announced Wednesday the athletic director and basketball coach at Academy of the Sacred Heart in Grand Coteau has been arrested on various sex crimes, including indecent behavior with a juvenile. 51-year-old Mark Aune of Opelousas was booked into the St. Landry Parish jail with the help of Texas authorities.
Governor John Bel Edwards addressed two controversies yesterday involving former members of his administration. A legislative audit accuses former State Police Superintendent Mike Edmonson of abusing his power and possible illegal activity. The Governor defended his living arrangement at state police headquarters. But, said that other findings revealed by both the State Police Internal Affairs and a legislative audit revealed troubling behavior. Edwards former aide, Johnny Anderson, recently resigned over sexual harassment allegations. Edwards says the issue was handled swiftly.
Lottery tickets may seem like a great Christmas gift with adults buying them for children as stocking stuffers. But Quinetta Womack, director of Problem Gambling Services, says it gives the juvenile a false sense of dreams and ideas that can lead to gambling addiction. Womack says it’s much better to give a child a gift that will promote their creativity, based on real values.
LSU AgCenter sugarcane specialist Kenneth Gravois believes this will be a record breaking year for sugarcane production in this state. Gravois says 2012 is the record for production, 84-hundred pounds per acre harvested and he believes they’ll beat that this year.
The selections for the 2018 Pro Bowl were announced Tuesday night and they include six New Orleans Saints. Quarterback Drew Brees, defensive end Cameron Jordan, receiver Michael Thomas, cornerback Marshon Lattimore and running backs Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara have been named to the team.
A good night last night for Louisiana Tech in the first ever Frisco Bowl. The Bulldogs Squashed the SMU Mustangs 51 to 10
News for Wednesday 122017
By Dave Graichen
The U-S House and Senate approves a one-point-five trillion dollar tax package that supporters say will provide tax relief for working families, but opponents say only the rich will see tax breaks. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana says on average, families will see over two-thousand dollars more in their paychecks every year that will benefit them directly. The day was not without hiccups as several small provisions in the tax bill were found by the Senate parliamentarian to violate the budget rules that Republicans must follow to pass their bill through a process that shields it from a Democratic filibuster. As a result, the House will need to vote again on the tax bill, probably today, since both chambers must approve identical legislation.
State police report a 15-year-old girl died Monday night after losing control of the truck she was driving. Troopers say the accident happened shortly after 9pm on U.S. Highway 71 near Campti in Natchitoches Parish. Kristyn Hoffpauir, from the village of Atlanta in Winn Parish, died at the scene of the crash. A passenger in the vehicle received serious injuries and was transported to Rapides Regional.
A federal civil rights lawsuit filed Tuesday on behalf of DeJuan Guillory’s family claims an Evangeline Parish sheriff’s deputy fatally shot the then 27 year old Guillory on July 6 as Guillory tried to crawl away, posing no threat to the deputy. An Evangeline Parish grand jury on Dec. 13 declined to indict Lafleur in the shooting, which followed a fight between Guillory and Lafleur during a 4 a.m. traffic stop where Guillory and his girlfriend, Dequince Brown, had been riding an all-terrain vehicle. Brown, who jumped on Lafleur around the time the gun went off, is now charged with attempted murder of a police officer.
The future of two major safety-net hospitals in north Louisiana is close to being secured. Ochsner Health Systems signed a non-binding agreement to take control of the facilities from BRF. The hospitals in Shreveport and Monroe are set to enter into a public-private partnership between LSU and Ochsner, after years of criticism over BRF’s practices. State Officials say a contract could take a few months to complete.
According to an ULM economic impact study released, commercial use of the Ouachita River produces billions in revenue and several thousand jobs in North Louisiana. Ouachita River Valley Association President Randy Denmon says they will be able to use this study to ask the federal government to keep the river open and navigable.
A university of Kansas study says Uber customers are increasingly choosing the ride service for trips to the emergency room, over an ambulance. Chief of Emergency Medicine at LSU Health New Orleans, Dr. Keith Van Meter says sometimes people feel their illness is not that significant and just need an Uber driver to get them to the hospital, but that could be a mistake.
According to Trust for America’s Health, Louisiana achieved only four out of ten indicators for public health preparedness. The criteria is based on weather related events, flu vaccination rate, paid sick leave and other benchmarks. CEO John Auerbach says Louisiana’s flu vaccine rate is the seventh lowest in the nation.
Governor Edwards revealed his plan to help cover a one-billion-dollar deficit. It includes taxing services such as cable TV, but also reducing the state sales tax from five to four percent. Alexandria Representative Lance Harris says the House Republican delegation is still discussing the best options to address the fiscal cliff. Edwards plans on calling a special session in February to consider his tax proposals.
Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Director James Waskom says they plan to work towards having the state officially partner with the Cajun Navy for future disasters. Waskom says it would be beneficial for GOHSEP to know who these people are, and where they are being dispatched to during an emergency.
A River Ridge vet has been arrested after allegedly shooting her neighbor’s dog. 35-year-old Kelly Folse says she killed the dog due to excessive barking and was aggressive. Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joe Lopinto says the dog died a day after being shot. Authorities say they didn’t find evidence the dog was aggressive. Folse is charged with aggravated cruelty to animals and possession of narcotics.
Louisiana Tech can finish with a winning record for the 2017 season if it can beat SMU in the Frisco Bowl. It’s been an up and down season for the Bulldogs, who fell short of playing for the Conference USA title. But Bulldogs Coach Skip Holtz says finishing 2017 with a three-game winning streak would be great. You can hear the game this evening starting at 5:30 on ESPN 1410 & 93.1 HD3
LSU is expected to sign nearly 20 players over the next three days as part of the college football new early signing period. In the past recruits had to wait until February to sign, now they can do so in December.
News for Tuesday 121917
By Dave Graichen
The APD reported yesterday that four people have been arrested and charged in connection with a shooting in the city Saturday night that left a 19 year old man on life support. The department announced it had charged 18 year old Donterio Wilson and 17 year old Kevin Thompson, plus two juveniles with first-degree murder and armed robbery. Both Wilson and Thompson were booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center, while the juveniles were taken to a juvenile detention facility.
You may have notices if you were stuck standing in line.. But, Monday was the busiest day of the year for the U-S Postal Service. Spokesperson Twana Barber says If you want your gifts to arrive by Christmas Day, the deadline for first class mail is today.
The Cajun Navy has a new mission, getting people back in their homes in time for Christmas. A February 15th FEMA deadline is looming, where residents who are living in temporary housing face the possibility of paying rent to stay in their FEMA homes. Sondra Richard, a volunteer with the Cajun Navy says the mission is a grassroots, completely volunteer effort to get people back into their homes. They are looking for people who can help with rebuilding and transportation of supplies. The United Cajun Navy is accepting volunteers, more information can be found on their Facebook page.
Governor John Bel Edwards outlined his proposals for closing a $1 billion dollar budget gap, also known as the fiscal cliff. The governor proposes higher sales taxes on utilities that businesses pay, new sales taxes on various services like cable TV and changes to individual income tax brackets. He does not support the renewal of a one-cent temporary sales tax that will expire on June 30th. The governor says he plans to unveil a budget proposal on January 19th, but it will include $1 billion in cuts, since no decision on tax reform will be made until an anticipated February special session.
Hunger Free America has just released a report showing that Louisiana is tied with Mississippi for the second highest food insecurity in the country. Spokesperson Magen Allen of Hunger Free America says the survey shows that 14 percent of working adults in Louisiana suffered from food insecurity at some point between 2014 and 2016. Food insecurity is defined as “when a person is without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.” Another segment that is suffering silently is senior citizens in the state
The ACLU of Louisiana has filed a suit challenging the Webster Parish School District’s alleged practice of subjecting students to school sponsored Christian prayer and other religious rituals. The suit was filed on behalf of Webster Parish parent Christy Cole. ACLU attorney Bruce Hamilton says the suit alleges that Christian prayers are broadcast during morning school . Hamilton says graduation ceremonies have been held inside churches and at times resemble a church service. He says the teaching of evolution and creationism have become blurred at Webster Parish Schools.
The White House says judicial nominee Matthew Peterson has withdrawn his nomination. Peterson failed to answer basic legal questions when questioned by Republican Senator John Kennedy. Kennedy says he had no idea that Peterson had no litigation experience, and said that’s why the Senate holds hearings.
State Representative Chris Broadwater has announced he’s stepping down from the state legislature, so he can spend more time with his family. Broadwater has represented Hammond and parts of Tangipahoa Parish for the last six years. The GOP legislator has a reputation of working with both Republicans and Democrats. We’ve seen a lot of resignations lately because of sexual harassment, but Broadwater made it very clear, a possible scandal is not why he’s stepping down.
Penn National Gaming has purchased Pinnacle Entertainment for 2.8 billion dollars. Pinnacle operates the L’auberge in Baton Rouge and Lake Charles, and Boomtown in New Orleans and Bossier City. Wade Duty of the Casino Association of Louisiana says that the buyout won’t lead to big changes for players. He does not anticipate Penn National Gaming expanding their new properties in Louisiana.
A state audit finds the Louisiana Cancer Research Center, created by the state legislature in 2002, has yet to achieve the National Cancer Institute designation, which would open up additional federal funding to improve research and how cancer is treated. The audit notes changes are needed in their administrative structure of the research center in order to achieve the designation.
News for Monday 121817
By Dave Graichen
The flu season is ramping up in the Deep South with the highest number of cases in Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina. The State Health Department’s Dr. Frank Welch says Louisiana has already hit the CDCs highest criteria of widespread for flu activity. The Influenza A strain can make people extremely sick and can even be fatal. Keep in mind, even if you have been vaccinated, this year’s shot is only 30 percent effective against this particular strain. But doctors still recommend you getting it, because the shot protects you from other strains.
The deadline to sign up for health care through the Affordable Care Act has come and gone. Persons need to have health insurance in place for 2018 or pay a penalty. The State Director of Navigators for a Healthy Louisiana Brian Burton says premiums increased for this year, but the government has helped with more subsides, making it more affordable in the long run.
The Sabine Parish Sheriff’s Office says they found a man dead inside his vehicle in a cow pasture near Zwolle. 34-year-old Adam Lloyd Jeter was found with several gunshot wounds. Police don’t have a suspect in custody and the investigation continues…
Questions remain surrounding the death of two people found in a St. Landry Parish lake last week. Sheriff Bobby Guidroz says the initial autopsy finds that 21-year-old Lia Ali Kazan of Shreveport and 30-year-old Anthony Michael Murray of Rapides Parish drowned in Lake Dubbusion. Kazan was reported missing while visiting friends in Alexandria. Guidroz says the investigation continues and they are waiting for the toxicology reports…
A Governor’s Task Force to study the state’s sexual harassment policies was chosen Friday. The seven member panel will look at current polices into all state agencies which are under the direction of the Executive Branch. Their first meeting is today. They are required to report back to Governor John Bel Edwards with recommendations no later than March 1st. Their goal is to make sexual harassment policies the same across all offices…
Republican US Senator John Kennedy is receiving national attention for how he grilled a President Trump judicial nominee who had trouble answering basic questions regarding the law. Kennedy says he was just doing his job as he will not just blindly support Matthew Peterson, just because a Republican president nominated him. A vote has not been taken on Peterson’s confirmation.
An LSU Ag Center researcher believes he’s made a breakthrough when it comes to combating chronic wasting disease, mad cow disease and C-J-D, which is found in one-eighth of Alzheimer’s patients. Dr. Frank Bastain has developed a way to grow a bacteria that causes these diseases which makes it possible to develop tests and vaccines for them. Bastian says he hopes to begin working on a vaccine that could potentially cure the disease, especially in humans suffering from C-J-D. It develops in persons between 40 and 80 years old and ninety percent of those infected die with a few weeks to a year.
The Louisiana Bucket Brigade plans to put their bodies in the way of a proposed pipeline that would stretch 162 Miles across south Louisiana. Energy Transfer Partners only needs a couple of permits before they can start construction on the Bayou Bridge Pipeline. Bucket Brigade Director Anne Rolfes says they will resist non-violently. Rofles says Energy Transfer Partners has a long history of damaging the environment and shouldn’t be allowed in Louisiana…
The Saints made some mistakes.. but a win is a win.. 31-19 was the final score yesterday as the Sainte defeated the New York Jets. The Saints are now 10 and 4 on the season.
News for Friday 121517
By Dave Graichen
An appeals court has reversed the dismissal of a suit brought by former Cleco shareholders, clearing the way for the three-year-old class action petition to continue.
Plaintiffs in the suit allege that Cleco executives and directors breached their fiduciary duty by pushing through the sale of the company from public to private hands for their own financial benefit, resulting in shareholders receiving less than full value for their shares. The full story can be found online at thetowntalk.com
Former Governor and University of Southwestern Louisiana graduate Kathleen Blanco will give the Commencement address at UL-Lafayette today. Blanco announced last week she is fighting liver cancer. University President Joe Savoie says the plans for her to speak today were made before her latest diagnosis Savoie says Blanco has not only been a great political leader, but is a great person and looks forward to seeing her values shine through in the speech.
Republican U.S. Representative Mike Johnson along with Democratic Florida Representative Charlie Crist have established a bi-partisan Honor and Civility Caucus to restore trust and confidence in American politics. Johnson, who represents the northwestern parishes of Louisiana, says it’s time to change the tone of the way politics is done. Johnson authored the “Commitment to Civility” that’s been signed by over 120 bi-partisan members of Congress to commit to setting an example of personal integrity and mutual respect. He says it’s sad that an issue has to be made about this topic to remind people to be polite.
Through an Executive Order, Governor John Bel Edwards has the created the Governor’s Justice Implementation Oversight Council as a part of the sweeping criminal justice reform effort. A main aspect of the reform effort is the lowering of the state’s incarceration rate, which the Governor’s office says will save the state 78-million-dollars over ten years. The money will be reinvested for programs designed to rehabilitate former inmates into becoming productive citizens.
The state legislative auditor releases findings that point to possible misuse of state dollars and abuse of power by the former Superintendent of State Police Mike Edmonson. During a meeting of the legislative audit advisory council, an auditor who worked on the report gave an example of how Edmonson allegedly used public resources to run errands for his family. The report also details improper use of New Orleans hotel rooms during Mardi Gras. State Auditor Roger Harris says Edmonson and his family lived in a state owned building without proper authority. Edmonson says he plans to respond to the audit by January 15th and believes Louisiana residents will not prematurely reach conclusions until all facts are presented.
A grand jury met for the first time Thursday to determine if 10 LSU fraternity members should be charged in connection with Maxwell Gruver’s suspected hazing death. Gruver’s mother, Rae Ann, spoke on ABC’s Good Morning America yesterday saying the Phi Delta Theta brothers should be charged with murder. The Ten frat members are facing a charge of hazing and one of the accused is also charged with negligent homicide
The U-S Post office says time is running out to make sure your holiday gifts get to your loved ones on time. Spokesperson Twana Barber says all first class mail needs to be at the Post Office by December 19th, priority mail December 20th and December 22nd
for Priority Mail express. She says make sure the name and address of where the gift is going can be clearly seen.
The Louisiana Highway Safety Commission’s Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign is underway for the holiday season. Executive Director Katara Williams says law enforcement officers will be cracking down on drunk driving. She says they want Louisianans to celebrate the holidays responsibly.
A man faces sentencing next month afer he was found guilty of killing a man who allegedly sexually assaulted his then girlfriend. 21-year-old Jace Crehan killed and stuffed 47-year-old Robert Noce Jr. of Zachary in a barrel. Noce pled no contest to the claims of sexual assault before his death.
The Iberville Parish Sheriff’s office has confiscated an eighth-grader’s guns as a result of a threatening Instagram post. Sheriff Brett Stassi says the student admits to taking the picture showing him holding a rifle, but did not write the text telling students to stay home that had parents and law enforcement concerned. Stassi says the Math, Science and Arts Academy campus was opened, once they realized there was not a threat. Stassi says this appears to be a prank that went awry.
The 9-and-4 Saints are preparing to host the New York Jets Sunday. New Orleans is in a tie in the NFC South with Carolina after losing last Thursday to Atlanta. Quarterback Drew Brees says the long week has allowed the team to heal and prepare for the final four games of the regular season.
News for Thursday 121417
By Dave Graichen
The St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office is trying to figure out how two bodies ended up in Lake Dubbuisson near Ville Platte. Sheriff Bobby Guidroz says they are working with Alexandria Police, because they believe 30-year-old Anthony Michael Murray of Rapides Parish kidnapped 21-year-old Lia Ali Kazan in a motel parking lot.
Autopsies on the bodies will be conducted today.
Governor John Bel Edwards was a surprise visitor at yesterday’s House Republican delegation retreat in New Orleans. Edwards says he spoke to legislators about the looming fiscal cliff as the state is facing a one-point-one billion dollar budget deficit. The governor says the state can make up that revenue by removing dozens of sales tax exemptions. Edwards says it’s his goal not to raise taxes, but some republican legislators say eliminating tax breaks is a tax increase.
Col. Mike Edmonson is under public scrutiny for how he spent taxpayer money during his time as the leader of state police. The legislative auditor has released a preliminary report that shows Edmonson may have received special taxpayer funded treatment for housing, food and chauffer service for his wife.
Louisiana once again ranks 49th out of 50 states in a health ranking report. America’s Health Rankings Annual Report analyzes 35 health guidelines. CEO of United Health Care of Louisiana Joe Ochipinti says the Bayou State ranks near the bottom because a quarter of it’s residents smoke and that in turn raises other health related problems.
Ochipinti says education and healthy lifestyles are the key to lowering sickness and death rates.
A “Report Card on State Efforts to Improve Financial Literacy in High Schools” gives Louisiana schools a “D”, down from a “B” grade just two years ago. Minden State Representative Gene Reynolds authored a 2016 law that requires financial literacy to be taught in high schools, but it appears some schools are only teaching personal finance as another existing course of study.
A white man accused in two racially motivated murders in Baton Rouge pleaded not guilty yesterday to all charges against him. Kenneth James Gleason allegedly fatally shot two black men in September and also fired shots into a home that was occupied by a black family. A trial date has not been set. Prosecutors can seek the death penalty in this case.
The Assumption Parish Sheriff’s Office says they’ve arrested and fired one of their deputies after he allegedly wrecked his patrol car while driving intoxicated early yesterday morning. Commander Lonny Cavalier says authorities responded to calls of a vehicle in a ditch and it turned out to be 22-year-old Deputy Joseph Edward Repp of Pierre Part. Cavalier says Repp blew a .09 on the breath test, which is just above the legal limit.
The headquarters for the state Department of Transportation in Baton Rouge were vandalized Tuesday night. Windows on the east side of the building received damage from the gunshots. Senior Trooper Bryan Lee says steps have been taken to ensure the building is secure and it is monitored by the Department of Public Safety.
A Tulane researcher has received a 414-thousand-dollar grant from the National Institutes of Health to study why males have more impulse control issues than females. Director of the Tulane University Brain Institute Jill Daniel says if are able to determine why males are more vulnerable to attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and addiction, it will lead to better treatment. Daniel says they know impulsive behavior issues start when a person is a child and continue into adulthood.
A Boutte man is thanking his beloved pup, Rusty, for saving him from a house fire. Calvin Baldwin says he fell asleep on his couch after a long day of watching the high school football championship games in New Orleans when he was woken by Rusty pawing at his hands. Baldwin saw smoke near the bathroom and was able to get out of the house with the dog. It’s believed the fire was started by an electrical spark.
The who man serves as LSU’s General Manager for the football program, Austin Thomas, is leaving for the same job at Tennessee. Thomas is a Tennessee native and has been a critical part of LSU’s recruiting efforts. He was with LSU for four and a half years.
A Kentucky state lawmaker facing sexual assault allegations has apparently killed himself. Officials say Republican Dan Johnson shot himself on the side of a road outside Louisville. A woman told the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting that Johnson sexually assaulted her in 2013. Police did not file any charges against Johnson. The report was published on Monday. Johnson denied it the following day.
News for Wednesday 121317
By Dave Graichen
Police have identified the woman found in a lake in St. Landry Parish. 21-year-old Lia Ali Kazan was reported kidnapped over the weekend while visiting Alexandria. Authorities say a white man’s body was also found Tuesday in the 2007 Ford Taurus that was pulled from Lake Dubuisson. (du-bah-son). The St. Landry Sheriff’s Office says he appears to be in his late 20s to early 30s. His identity is unknown.
A bi-partisan group of 12 governors, including Governor John Bel Edwards, is urging Congress to reauthorize funding for a popular children’s health insurance program as soon as possible. Fresh funding for the $14 billion CHIP program ran out October 1st. In a letter the governor’s say resources are nearly exhausted and some states already have begun to inform families that their children’s coverage may end on January 31.
In order to address the state’s high rates for teen pregnancy and STDs, the Louisiana Public Health Institute has started a new campaign to promote comprehensive sex ed in public schools and at home. Associate Director Kristie Bardell says parents, students, teachers and legislators can log on to geaux-talk-dot-org to receive tips on how to have informed conversations about the value of sexual health. She says a recent study shows 84 percent of Louisiana parents and caregivers believe sex ed is an important part of their students’ curriculum. However, in many school districts in the state sex ed is a low priority.
The Rapides Parish Police Jury was informed Monday the recent sale of SMG, the company that manages the Coliseum, will have little if any effect on day to day operations. SMG, which took over management of the coliseum in September, announced Monday that they had been bought by Canadian private equity firm for an undisclosed amount. The Police Jury turned to SMG when the coliseum struggled to meet revenue projections in the months following a $23 million renovation of the facility. SMG has more than 230 facilities under management, making it a global leader in the industry.
State police report a man driving the wrong way on a Sabine Parish highway collided with another car Monday night. 50 year old Wallace Brumfield from Many was killed in the crash. The driver of the other vehicle received moderate injuries. Troopers believe Alcohol may have been a factor in the crash.
A Lafayette attorney has claimed the $191 million dollar Powerball prize on behalf of a three-member family partnership from the winning ticket in the October 25th drawing sold in Eunice. Louisiana Lottery spokeswoman Kimberly Chopin says the group opted for the cash prize. That boils down to about $119.4 Million dollars. Chopin says the family wants to remain anonymous but released a statement saying they are obviously elated. The payout represents the largest single prize ever won in the Louisiana Lottery’s 26-year history.
The Louisiana Board of Regents has given Grambling State University the green light to proceed with plans to establish the first cybersecurity degree program in the state. Grambling State University President Rick Gallot says an estimated two million cybersecurity workers will be needed by 2019. Once the components are in place, the university will have to go back to the Regents for final approval of the new degree program.
There’s buzz about the possibility of Congressman Ralph Abraham of Richland Parish running for governor in 2019. He says it’s an option he’s considering, but will run for re-election in the 5th Congressional District next year. He says he’d run for governor because he’d like to see less government oversight on a state level.
Small business optimism nationwide is near a record high, according to the National Federation of Independent Business. NFIB State Director Dawn Starns says we haven’t seen this kind of optimism in 34 years, when the economy was booming during the Reagan administration. Starns credits the positivity to the push for tax reform in Washington D.C.
A Saints season ticket holder is asking for a refund due to the National Anthem protests. Lee Dragna of Morgan City is seeking a refund for the tickets and attorney fees. He says he and his family are not able to enjoy the games due to players not standing for the National Anthem. He claims the rowdy, angry reaction of the people around his seats during the protests have made the tickets unusable.
A coalition of student groups called Renew LSU is pushing for university leaders to rename two prominent buildings on campus, Murphy J. Foster Hall and the John M. Parker Agriculture Coliseum. Parker served as governor, but participated in an 1891 lynching of 11 Sicilian immigrants who were allegedly involved in the murder of a New Orleans Police Chief. The group’s spokesperson Savanah Dickinson says because of his actions, they want to rename it in honor of Dr. Pinkie Gordon Lane.
Louisiana’s original craft brewery Abita Brewing Company is helping to celebrate New Orleans’ Tricentennial next year with a new brew called Maison Blanc. Brewmaster Mark Wilson says the concept comes from the area’s long standing history with French culture and lifestyles. They expect to have the new brew available statewide by the first of the year. He says Maison Blanc is combining the best of wine and beer, making it into one delicious recipe.
College football’s first ever early signing period begins a week from today. From December 20th to 22nd, schools can sign high school prospects to national letters of intent. The next signing day will be February 7th. LSU has 20 commitments and Coach Ed Orgeron says it’s their anticipation they’ll sign most of their verbal pledges next week. Orgeron says over half of their commitments are linemen.
News for Tuesday 121217
By Dave Graichen
The St. Landry Sheriff’s Office is investigating the death of a 21-year-old whose body was found by a fisherman in Lake Dubuisson. Sheriff Bobby Guidroz says the woman’s purse was found and shows a Shreveport address but they believe she was visiting friends in Alexandria. Family members notified deputies she was abducted while here. Guidroz says deputies are hoping to finds a lead to identify a suspect. Authorities are asking anyone who has any information to please contact them.
The RPSO reports criminal scammers are targeting local citizens with phone calls threatening them with arrest and prosecution for failing to comply with jury service in federal or state courts. In the calls, recipients are pressured to bring a "fine payment" for missing jury duty to the Federal Courthouse in Alexandria. Then the victim receives a phone call to "expedite the process" to put the money on a Green Dot Visa Card. The Rapides Parish Sheriff’s office reminds you that this is a scam and something law enforcement would never ask you to do.
A 32-year-old Lafayette man faces up to five years in prison after he admitted to using Donald Trump’s social security number in an effort to get the president’s federal tax information. Court documents say Jordan Hamlett was unsuccessful. He’ll be sentenced at a later time. Legal Analyst Tim Meche says Hamlett will likely get probation or very little time. He says no harm was done by Hamlett’s actions.
Two time Academy Award winner Tom Hanks is coming to Baton Rouge early next year to star in a World War Two era film entitled “Greyhound”. Louisiana Economic Development’s Don Pierson says it will employ over 250 persons in Baton Rouge.
Pre-production started this week and crews are expected to film aboard the U-S-S Kidd on the Mississippi River and other Baton Rouge locations next March.
Gasoline prices are on the decline for the first time in several weeks. Usually they start to fall in October after the summer driving season, but there was a still a strong demand for gasoline in the fall. AAA fuel analyst Don Redman says the current statewide average is $2.26, which is four-cents lower on the week.
Democrat Justin Dewitt of Baton Rouge has announced he plans to run against Republican Congressman Garret Graves next year. Dewitt was born in Sulphur and moved to Zachary, where he graduated from Zachary High School. He says he’s running because Graves does not represent the interests of the 6th Congressional District. As a victim on last year’s historic flood, he says he plans to seriously address flood control. Dewitt says he’s only accepting individual contributions for his campaign.
Totals are in from Friday’s historic snow event. Kentwood saw the most in the state with 6 and a half inches. That’s according to Shawn O’Neil with the National Weather Service in Slidell, who says parts of the Baton Rouge area saw three to five inches.
O’Neil says it’s the biggest snow event in south Louisiana since December of 2008.
Twin brothers who are Gonzales firefighters will appear in the next season of the CBS reality show “The Amazing Race.” 33-year-old Daniel and Eric Guiffreda said they competed against world champion skiers, NBA players, and competitive eater, Joey Chestnut. The show premieres January 3rd on CBS for its 17th season.
An anonymous donor gave one-million-dollars to the University of Louisiana at Monroe. It was given as part of the SOAR Capital Campaign to support the School of Education at ULM. Development Officer of the fund raising effort Morgan Patrick says the donation gets them closer to their 54-million-dollar goal. Dr. Eric Pani, Vice President of Academic Affairs is awed that the donation was given by a retired teacher in the Monroe area who is also a ULM alum.
News for Monday 121117
By Dave Graichen
Louisiana officials on Sunday offered prayers and support to former Gov. Kathleen Blanco, who announced she is fighting melanoma in her liver, for which she said there is no cure. The former governor, who served from 2004 to 2008, said she has begun a treatment program but no cure exists for this type of melanoma. She asked for “prayers and loving support” as she continues to undergo treatment.
Court officials say a senior federal judge in Louisiana has died, days before he was to preside over the trial of a private investigator accused of trying to get Donald Trump's tax returns illegally during the presidential campaign. Judge James J. Brady died over the weekend after a short illness. Brady was to preside as jury selection began Monday in the trial of Jordan Hamlett. Brady was nominated to the bench in 1999 by then-President Bill Clinton. Judge Brady was 73.
LaPolitics Weekly reports 5th District Congressman Ralph Abraham is considering a run for governor in 2019. Abraham says he hasn’t made any decisions, but a number of people are asking him about it. ULM Political Science Professor Joshua Stockley says the Richland Parish physician will need to boost his name recognition. U.S. Senator John Kennedy, Attorney General Jeff Landry and Congressman Garret Graves are a few GOP politicians that are suspected to run against current Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards.
The face-off between state Attorney General Jeff Landry and New Orleans Mayor-elect LaToya Cantrell over Cantrell’s possible abuse of a city credit card has sparked accusations of political motivations and set off a round of musical chairs at Criminal District Court over which judge may handle the case. And that’s before Landry has filed any charges over the matter, if he ever does. Landry’s preliminary digging, which apparently is focused on Cantrell alone and comes even as the state legislative auditor is looking into the credit card spending of all seven members of the City Council.
After a timeout in August, the Louisiana Board of Regents is set today to consider tightening the rules on how high school students can earn college credit, without unduly curbing access to the popular classes. The board delayed action on the initial proposal at the request of Gov. John Bel Edwards' office and amid concerns by Jim Henderson, president of the University of Louisiana System. Henderson said the revised draft is far better than the proposed changes unveiled in August, which he said would have overly restricted access to the courses.
The LSU AgCenter has developed a milk-based meal replacement powder to help consumers lose weight. Studies show drinking meal replacement shakes for 12 weeks instead of meals is a safe way to drop pounds. Director of the AgCenter Food Incubator Gaye Sandoz says they’ve developed the powder and now LSU’s Pennington Research Center will test the product.
A Baker woman left an autistic child in a truck with the engine off in 35-degree weather while she played bingo on Friday afternoon, according to a Baker police report.
An anonymous caller told police Friday that someone had been sitting in a truck outside the Baker Bingo Hall for nearly four hours. When officers arrived, they found the person inside the vehicle was a non-verbal, autistic child, according to the police report. The child’s mother was booked in Parish Prison on improper supervision, cruelty to juveniles and child endangerment.
A dozen juvenile whooping cranes have been released at the Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge as part of an ongoing effort to protect them from extinction. Biologist Sara Zimorski with Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says they are joining eleven juveniles that were released a couple of weeks ago in Vermilion Parish. Whooping cranes are the tallest bird in North America, standing on average five feet tall.
Multiple reports indicate fewer people are watching as much pro football than they used to. Baton Rouge-based Todd Advertising Agency owner Deborah Todd says it’s not just national anthem protests, she says viewer fatigue has also set in, because of an over saturation of NFL games. Todd says cord cutters, households who get rid of cable or satellite TV, is also hurting NFL viewership. She says internet based apps like Netflix, Hulu and Directvnow, is helping to further divide people’s attention away from professional football and it’s cheaper.
News for Friday 120817
By Dave Graichen
A few schools districts decided to play it very safe and are closed today due to the threat of nasty weather overnight.. Avoyelles Parish public and Catholic schools are closed.. as are St. Landry parish public schools, Beauregard parish, Vernon and Evangeline Parish schools .. All Schools in the Alexandria Pineville area are open..
If you are planning on attending the Pineville Christmas parade tonight, bundle up, it will be cold… The parade starts at 7:00 pm at Huey P. Long Hospital Blvd. it will then travel up main street and end at the Trotter Center at Claiborne. The Annual Christmas Parade in Ball it tomorrow starting at 2:30p. And the Alexandria Christmas parade is set for Sunday at 2p
Thursday afternoon it took a 9th Judicial court jury less than an hour to find Akeeley Blade guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Michael Butler during a motel room invasion back in August of last year. No sentencing date was set yet because a hearing will have to be held to determine if Blade, who was17 at the time of the crime, should receive life in prison or be declared eligible for parole after serving 25 years.
The reward for information on the death of a St. Tammany Parish Fire Chief’s wife has been increased to ten-thousand-dollars. Nanette Krentel, the wife of Fire District No. 12 Chief Stephen Krentel, was thought to have died when the couple’s house burned down, but her death was later ruled a homicide.
The U.S. House of Representatives has passed 231-to-198 the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act to allow a person with a concealed carry permit issued in one state to carry a firearm in another state. U.S. Congressman Mike Johnson says by passing this bill, there will be less confusion as to which states allow concealed carry and those that don’t.
With Christmas right around the corner, the Louisiana SPCA encourages people to give the gift of a home to a pet in need through adoption. Spokesperson Alicia Haefele says they’re offering a 50-dollar adoption special until December 23rd. She says last year 222 animals found forever homes during the holiday season. Haefele says this service is available around the state. She says it’s important to make sure everyone adopting a pet understands it’s a life time commitment, not just a holiday gift.
Louisiana Tech in Ruston has been granted 1.3 million dollars to enhance its cybersecurity programs. The money was awarded by the National Science Foundation. U.S. Congressman Ralph Abraham of Alto says LA Tech is a leader in training the next generation of professions that will be tasked with protecting our nation. Louisiana Tech is the first university in the country to establish a Bachelor of Science in Cyber Engineering degree program. Abraham says Louisiana Tech is looking toward the future.
The National Retail Federation predicts holiday shoppers will spend about 967 dollars a person on gifts this year, up 3.4-percent from in 2016. Mark Rosa, Professor with the UNO School of Business, says everybody gets excited during the season and wants to be generous but we have to resist the urge to overspend. He says it’s easy to put purchases on credit cards. It’s much more difficult to pay them off..
News for Thursday 120717
By Dave Graichen
Governor Edwards has established a seven member task force to review sexual harassment and discrimination policies in state agencies. They will review current polices, identify the most effective mode of training to prevent harassment and develop a protocol for new employees The report must be submitted to the Governor no later than March 1. This all comes after Governor Edwards’s staff member Johnny Anderson resigned following sexual harassment allegations…
A new study from the University Council on Gender Equity finds that LSU male professors make more money than female professors. Assistant Accounting Professor Christine Cheng says the data is missing variables such as experience, education and other market factors. But she says additional research needs to be done when outside information is used…
The embattled National Flood Insurance Program is set to expire on Friday if Congress doesn’t take some sort of action. The House has already passed a five-year re-authorization of the NFIP, but the Senate is very wrapped up in dealing with the tax reform legislation right now. Lafayette Congressman Clay Higgins predicts there will be a brief extension to buy some time.
Louisiana’s Medicaid program is spending at a slower pace than expected. The forecast shows they may spend as much as 650-million-dollars less, which could give the program a surplus in six months. 30-million-dollars of that money would go to a state general fund surplus that could be spent elsewhere in state government.
You may be thinking about using heaters and fireplaces to keep you warm now that winter weather has arrived. The chances for house fires increases, especially if proper precautions are not followed. State Fire Marshal Butch Browning says it’s not advisable to use space heaters for an extended period of time.
The holiday season is supposed to be a joyous time but can often be overwhelming, causing seasonal depression. Our Lady of the Lake Psychiatric Nurse Glenda Natale says this time of year, they receive more calls for help dealing with the holiday blues. She says we live in a perfectionist society. Natale says people who feel like they don’t have a strong support system are at a higher risk for developing holiday depression. She suggests getting out to volunteer or befriending a neighbor, rather than dwelling on past memories with people who are no longer with you.
The 2017 Allstate Sugar Bowl—L-H-S-A-A Prep Classic begins today and runs through Saturday at the Mercedes Benz Superdome. Nine state champions will be crowned over the next three days and Association Executive Director Eddie Bonine says they anticipate several close games.
The recent cold snap could bring central and south east Louisiana some wintry precipitation tonight into Friday morning. State Climatologist Barry Keim says even though the air temperature will stay above freezing, you may still see freezing precipitation. Sunny but still cold weather is expected to return by the weekend. Temperatures will remain in the 50’s for the majority of the state.
The New Orleans Saints are set to square off against the Atlanta Falcons tonight in a key NFC South showdown. Quarterback Drew Brees says the short week can make it difficult to prepare, but he knows the Falcons will be ready with some new tricks up their sleeve. Kickoff is tonight at 7:25 at Mercedes-Benz stadium in Atlanta. Saints running back Mark Ingram is listed as questionable with a toe injury.
News for Wednesday 120617
By Dave Graichen
Health officials are concerned that Louisiana might have a severe flu season. There are more cases of flu here and in Alabama than elsewhere in the country. Louisiana Department of Health Doctor Frank Welch says there are more medical visits for the flu than there should be this early in the season. Some officials warn this year’s flu vaccine may only be ten percent effective against the “A” strain of the virus. Welch is concerned that this influenza will cause several problems the current vaccine does not immunize against.
A cold front has crossed the state, bringing Louisiana its coldest weather of the season. State Climatologist Barry Keim says we can expect to see clouds and lingering rain through tomorrow. He says break out the sweaters and winter coats as highs won’t get out of the 40’s today. Keim says by Friday and over the weekend, we’ll see temperatures in the 30s in the morning with afternoon highs in the 50s.
Over the past few weeks, he has made two trips to Washing DC to testify that Louisiana’s voting system is unhackable. But now Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler says they are looking at replacing the state’s voting machines. Schedler says tampering with the current machines is remote, but a new system would further decrease the chances of tampering. He is awaiting approval from the state Division of Administration.
John Schroder was sworn in last night as Louisiana’s next state treasurer after being chosen by a record low number of voters in the November 18th runoff. John Kennedy stepped down from the position to become a U.S. Senator.
Singer John Mayer cancelled last night’s New Orleans show with Dead and Company, a Grateful Dead revival band after he underwent an emergency appendectomy. There is no word on when a concert will be rescheduled. Ticket holders can either ask for a refund or use their tickets at the rescheduled show.
Two Slidell Junior High School students are arrested after allegedly bringing a firearm to school. Police received a crime stoppers tip that a 14-year-old boy brought the weapon while a 12-year-old boy showed the weapon to several students. The younger boy also went as far as pointing it at another student and making threats on social media. Both suspects are in custody at the Florida Parishes Juvenile Detention Center.
Denham Springs Police have arrested a man who allegedly tried to rob a woman at gunpoint during a sale of an XBOX video game. The victim told police that she met Michael Mitchell at a bank parking lot, when Mitchell drew a gun. The victim screamed and Mitchell fled from the scene in a car. He was later found at a Baton Rouge restaurant where he was taken into custody. The victim identified him in a police lineup. He is in custody on a 100-thousand-dollar bond.
State Police and the FBI seek the public’s help in the apprehension of suspects involved in two bank robberies in north Louisiana. The Guaranty Bank in Epps was robbed November 10th. Seventeen days later the Barksdale Federal Credit Union in Cotton Valley was held up. State Police say the suspected man and woman hid their identities, but they believe both robberies are connected. A reward is being offered for information that leads to the arrests of the suspects.
Facebook plans to launch a new app for kids so they can message their friends with the approval of their parents. It’s called Messenger Kids and is aimed at children under 13 LSU Mass Communications Professor Lance Porter says this new app is a way to reduce the exposure to things kids are not ready to developmentally deal with.
The Richwood Rams of Monroe in Ouachita Parish will play in the 3A State Championship against West Feliciana at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans Friday. There are many fans that want to go watch, but can’t afford to make the long trip. Tyron Dickens is trying to help raise money through his non-profit program K-9 Outreach and he says donations have started coming in. This is the first time since 1974 that the Rams have been involved in a state championship game.
There has been a lot of buzz over the Instagram post by LSU star running back Derrius Guice which says he will decide whether to enter the draft after the Citrus Bowl against Notre Dame. The junior is expected to be selected in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft if he leaves early. Tiger Rag Associate Editor James Moran says he would be shocked if Guice stayed another year..
News for Tuesday 120517
By Dave Graichen
It’s going to get cold real fast in the Bayou State as a major weather system begins affecting the state today. National Weather Service says thunderstorms are a good possibility with this arctic blast…Temps will peak early and will begin to drop during the afternoon. The good news is, after the front moves through, the clouds will give way to a sunny, but cold temperatures for the latter half of the week into the weekend.
The Department of Health has gotten better about erroneously making Medicaid payments to deceased recipients over the last four years, but still has work to do. A new report from the state’s Legislative Auditor found LDH made nearly $718,000 in improper payments between July 2013 and August 2017. Performance Audit Manager Chris Magee says LDH has improved since 2013.
Louisiana is one of a dozen states asking the US Supreme Court to block a California law which states any eggs sold in California must come from hens who have been able to stretch their limbs in their cages. In most cases, chickens we eat and get eggs from live in cages so small they can’t turn around. State Ag Commissioner Mike Strain says California can pass whatever law they want, but saying that their standards should apply to all eggs shipped into their state violates the Commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution. Strain says, at the end of the day, this would inhibit the free flow of products across state lines.
Three people, including the President of the East Baton Rouge Parish NAACP have sued Baton Rouge Mayor Pro Tem Scott Wilson and the city. They claim they were allegedly removed during a public comment portion of a council meeting after wanting to discuss the Alton Sterling case. Their attorney says since it was during the public comment part of the meeting, they had a right to speak, even though it wasn’t on the agenda.
Allegations against Louisiana State Police have been flying after investigations into the LACE program and troopers taking a side trip while driving to a conference. Superintendent Kevin Reeves says changes have been made when it comes to deciding disciplinary action. He says now a case goes before the Disciplinary Review Panel. Reeves says the Panel ensures that all decisions regarding troopers’ actions are decided in a way where no one receives special treatment from the Superintendent.
Funeral services have been announced for Acadiana area visionary and UL-Lafayette supporter Judge Kaliste (collie) Saloom Jr., Saturday at 10am at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church in Lafayette. The 99-year-old former Lafayette City judge died over the weekend following a short illness. Visitation will be Friday at Martin and Castile’s downtown Lafayette location.
Southern Mississippi and Florida State will play in Walk-On’s Independence Bowl in Shreveport on Wednesday December 27th. The Seminoles won’t have head coach Jimbo Fisher who left for Texas A & M. I-Bowl spokesman Stefan Nolet says they hope this game marks the beginning of better times for Florida State and their fans.
Louisiana Tech is heading to a bowl game for a fourth consecutive season as they’ll play SMU in the first ever Frisco Bowl on December 20th in Frisco, Texas. Bulldogs Head Coach Skip Holtz says they look forward to the matchup against the 7-5 Mustangs.
News for Monday 120417
By Dave Graichen
The Alexandria Zoning Commission will meet today at 4 to discuss the possibility of rezoning the former Cavalier Motel property on Masonic Drive from part commercial, part single family housing to entirely commercial. The Greater Alexandria Economic Development Authority, which owns the property, has agreed to sell it to a developer for a new Family Dollar store, but the zoning variance must be granted before the sale is finalized.
Over the weekend, Alex Winter Fete had an incredible run. The near perfect weather and an amazing line up of family entertainment led to large crowds each night. Estimates have the crowds at over 40,000 for the event. All in all, a great success..
In Natchitoches, record crowds were also reported for that city’s Christmas festival.
Both of Louisiana’s U-S Republican Senators voted for the tax bill that was approved on a 51-49 vote. Senior Senator Bill Cassidy says it will cut taxes for working families in Louisiana. John Kennedy says the non-partisan Tax Foundation says Louisiana will see an increase of 12-thousand jobs and the average family will gain 18-hundred dollars in after-tax income. But Louisiana Budget Project Director Jan Moller says only the wealthy will get a tax break, while low-income and middle-class Americans would face a tax increase.
For the second straight year, LSU is headed to the Citrus Bowl in Orlando and this year they’ll play Notre Dame. Last year the Tigers trounced Louisville 29-9 on New Year’s Eve. This year’s game will be played on New Year’s Day at noon in Camping World Stadium.
Shreveport police have arrested a 16-year-old who allegedly threatened to shoot his classmates at Caddo Magnet High School. Investigators say the troubled teen also surfed the internet on how to make bombs and watched videos of other school shootings. Authorities seized undisclosed items from his home and the suspect was booked on one count of terrorizing.
There are reports Smoothie King is looking at moving its corporate headquarters from Metairie to Texas. A five-year deal between Louisiana and the fruit drink maker expires at the end of the year. Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson says under the deal set to expire, the state pays Smoothie King, who employs about 60 people, hundreds of thousands of dollars in incentives. Pierson says Louisiana Economic Development will work with Smoothie King to explore all options for them to remain in the state.
After a third consecutive losing season, UL Lafayette has fired head coach Mark Hudspeth. Athletic Director Bryan Maggard informed Hudspeth of his decision Sunday morning following the team’s 63-14 loss to Appalachian State. Hudspeth directed the school to four straight New Orleans Bowl titles from 2011 to 2014, but because of NCAA sanctions, UL Lafayette was forced to forfeit 22 victories, including two bowl wins.
Broussard Police say the man that held up the First Community Bank on Monday is now in custody. 29-year-old Jeremi Raymond of New Iberia allegedly wounded one of the bank tellers when he fired his weapon. Broussard Police Chief Brennan Decou says Raymond, who is a convicted felon, faces several charges.
A newly released 300-page State Police report provided to the Advocate, shows former LSP Superintendent Mike Edmonson retired last March after learning some troopers were being internally investigated after claiming overtime and expensive hotel stays in Arizona and Nevada on taxpayers money. President of the Metropolitan Crime Commission Rafael Goyeneche (go-en-nech-che) says Edmonson’s tampering with key evidence could bring felony charges, including obstruction of justice…
A new addiction treatment center is opening on the Northshore. The ten-million-dollar Longbranch Recovery Center will open around the first of the year in Abita Springs. Longbranch Healthcare CEO Chris McMahon, sober for 17 years, says he wants to do his part in helping those who need it the most. McMahon says the location of the facility was as important as treating the patient. He says the former Longbranch Hotel in Abita Springs is a now a 32-bed facility that will be able to house patients during 30 to 90 day treatment programs
The Saints regained control of the NFC South with a convincing 31-21 win over the Carolina Panthers. The Atlanta Falcons also lost, so now New Orleans has a one-game lead over the Panthers and a two-game lead over the Dirty Birds for the division lead. Quarterback Drew Brees threw for 269 yards and one touchdown in the victory. The Saints are 9-3 heading into a Thursday night showdown with the Falcons.
News for Thursday 113017
By Dave Graichen
The city of Alexandria’s Christmas festival starts tonight as Alex Winter Fete kicks off with downtown being illuminated with Christmas lights. Community Services Director for Alexandria, Robert Weeks, says the festival runs through Saturday night and visitors will enjoy live music, food, an Indie Village and everyone’s favorite; ice-skating.
State police report a two vehicle accident yesterday afternoon claimed the life of a Moreauville man. The accident occurred on Hwy 1 and 1195. Troopers say 59 year old Terrell Ducote was killed when he lost control of his motorcycle, crossed the centerline of the highway and hit a pickup head on. Ducote was wearing a helmet, but was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the pickup, who authorities say was wearing a seatbelt, was uninjured.
The Governor’s Office is hosting a series of human trafficking summits and one of them is today here in Alexandria. The goal is to highlight information regarding existing services, protocols and community response to human trafficking victims. Director of the Governor’s Children’s Cabinet Dr. Dana Hunter says they want to make sure different local and state agencies have the resources to tackle this problem. The next summit will be held in Shreveport on December 13th.
The State Police is alerting the public about fraudulent LSP solicitation phone calls. Troopers say the impersonators contact the phones of potential victims by using a call that appears to be originating from Troop A. The caller is pretending to be law enforcement and attempting to gain personal information. They remind you to never give unsolicited callers any personal information.
The 2017 hurricane comes to an end today and it will go down as one of the most active seasons we have seen. Hurricanes Nate and Tropical Storms Cindy and Harvey made landfall in Louisiana this year. State Climatologist Barry Keim says overall, many records going back 167 years were tied.
The current La Nina pattern is to blame for the recent arid conditions in Louisiana. An updated three month forecast from the Climate Prediction center is due today and State Climatologist Barry Keim says he expects more of the same. He says this strong La Nina will keep moisture from coming south. Keim says he expects parishes will start issuing burn bans soon..
State senator Sharon Hewitt of Slidell is calling on Louisiana Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera to review the state’s sexual harassment policies and she also wants an investigation into the hiring of Johnny Anderson. Anderson is a former aide to Governor Edwards, who resigned last week after sexual harassment allegations surfaced. Hewitt is seeking recommendations on how the state can strengthen its policies, procedures and laws pertaining to sexual harassment.
Matt Lauer of the Today Show is now another prominent figure to be fired after being accused of sexual harassment. LSU Health New Orleans Assistant Professor of Psychiatry Michelle Many believes the general consciousness of sexual harassment has been raised over the last 10 years allowing for more victims to be taken seriously. She says it’s time for employers to take another look at this issue.
A Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s deputy was involved in a shooting after responding to a burglary. Authorities say 45-year-old David Rozas broke into the home of his estranged wife and refused to put a gun down when police arrived. Rozas raised the gun toward the deputy and the deputy fired. Rozas began firing back at the deputy, causing the deputy to continue to fire, hitting Rozas several times. Rozas was transported to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries. He faces multiple charges including attempted first degree murder of a police officer.
North Korea launched a ballistic missile yesterday that landed in the Sea of Japan. Retired U.S. Army Lt. General Russel Honore says the 33-year-old leader of North Korea is ordering these strikes to act like he has a seat at the table with powerful countries like the U.S. But he says if Kim Jong Un tries to go to war with us, he will lose.
The St. Bernard Parish District Attorney’s Office announces the Chalmette man accused of murdering his ex-wife with an axe in September won’t face the death penalty. Mark Owens is charged with first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder. Authorities say Owens hid under his ex-wife’s bed at her house, waited until she left for work, then attacked her in the front yard.
News for Wednesday 112917
By Dave Graichen
The suspected killer accused in the random shooting deaths of three people has pleaded not guilty to two of the murders which occurred in East Feliciana Parish. 36-year-old Ryan Sharpe entered two pleas yesterday and requested a public defender. Sharpe also allegedly shot and killed a man in East Baton Rouge Parish.
Governor John Bel Edwards participated in a criminal justice reform event organized by the Pew Charitable Trusts in Washington DC yesterday. The Edwards Administration helped passed ten new laws allowing for the early release of non-violent prisoners. Nearly two-thousand were released earlier this month. U.S. Senator John Kennedy says Edwards criminal justice reform effort isn’t working, saying some who were released under the new guidelines are already back in jail. But, the numbers don’t support Kennedy’s claims.. Nearly 2,000 non-violent prisoners were released as part of the reform program. Fewer than 10 have returned to jail.
A new report from Wallet hub ranking which states are the most charitable, is giving Louisiana low marks.. Charitable was defined in the report as “volunteering and service” and “charitable giving." Utah came in at #1 as the most charitable state in the nation. Louisiana came in at #47, #50 being the least charitable. That distinction by the way went to Hawaii.
Secretary of State Tom Schedler is today slated to once again testify before a US House committee that there is no need to worry that elections in Louisiana are being hacked by Russians. Schedler says the main concern is over online voter registration lists, but Louisiana was not one of the states identified as a target of hackers during last year’s election.
Kyle Duncan, the Louisiana nominee for the federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals seat will go before the Senate Judiciary committee today. Attorney General Jeff Landry has been lobbying for Duncan, who was nominated by President Donald Trump. He says especially for conservatives, this is an easy selection. Senator John Kennedy sits on the committee and has yet to make a decision on if Duncan should be judge. Landry says it’s a bit odd that Kennedy is taking so long to decide on an individual with Duncan’s record and skill set.
State Police say a 49-year-old Slidell man was killed when a boat struck his vehicle while he was traveling in St. James Parish. Trooper Jesse LaGrange says the boat trailer detached from a vehicle that was towing it, striking David Burvant’s vehicle. Burvant died from his injuries.
A 17-year-old, who was on the football team at North Webster High School in Springhill, was fatally shot Monday night and police are searching for the gunman. Police say a 45-caliber pistol was used to shoot Jaylen Thomas. 16 shots were fired and police say they have a person of interest.
A Livingston Parish woman is under arrest after allegedly falsely claiming she was raped by a sheriff’s deputy. 38-year-old Sherri Penton claimed a deputy sexually assaulted her in his car after meeting on an internet dating site. The trooper claimed the sex was consensual. State police says they didn’t find evidence in the deputy’s car. Penton is at the East Baton Rouge Jail.
Its Grambling State versus Alcorn State for a third consecutive season in Saturday’s SWAC Championship game in Houston. The winner advances to play North Carolina A-and-T in the Celebration Bowl on December 16th in Atlanta.
LSU Head Football Coach Ed Orgeron has said he expects offensive coordinator Matt Canada will seek a head coaching job. Football analyst Mike Detillier says there appears to be a rift between Coach “O” and Canada and he believes the young play caller has coached his last game at LSU.
News for Tuesday 112817
By Dave Graichen
17 year old Camryn Lasyone of Alexandria was sentenced yesterday to 25 years in prison, with 10 suspended, for his part in the beating death of a Lecompte man. Lasyone admitted that he was present at the former Motel 6 in August 2015 when he and two others barged into the room of 54-year-old Michael Butler. But he denied beating Butler, who later died from his injuries. Lasyone pled guilty to manslaughter in a plea deal. The original charge was 1st degree murder.
During the Thanksgiving weekend, State Police investigated four fatal crashes, the same number as last year. Sgt. Jared Sandifer says typically fatal crashes around this time are a result of drunk driving or not wearing a seat belt. But this year it seemed like the common theme was hit and runs.
State Police have arrested a Slidell man in a fatal hit and run of a bicyclist, after cops tracked the suspect down by following a trail of vehicle fluid from the scene of the crash. Authorities say the suspect pulled the man and his bike from his windshield and though him in a ditch before he could escape the scene...
State Police continue to look for the driver of a pickup truck after a man riding in the bed of the truck, fell out and died in Winn Parish Sunday morning. Master Trooper Scott Moreau says Troopers are still trying to determine how 21-year-old Hunter Thomisee of Montgomery fell out and why he was in the bed of the pickup. Moreau says while they continue the investigation, they need the public’s help to find the vehicle and it’s driver
Spare the rod, spoil the child.. That apparently doesn’t apply to a belt. A 38-year-old father is charged with cruelty to a juvenile after allegedly beating his son with a belt for getting suspended from school. Baton Rouge Police Sgt. Don Coppola says Edward Humphrey dropped the child off at his mother’s workplace, who called police about her 11-year-old son’s injuries. Coppola says the father’s discipline went too far.
Starting this week, nearly 500 Louisiana educators will begin training to become mentors to future teachers. This is the first step in a three-year effort to train at least 25-hundred public school teachers. Assistant Superintendent for Talent Hannah Dietsch says nearly 500 veteran educators were nominated by their local school systems to participate in the mentor training program.
Authorities say two suspects linked to the fatal shootings of four people in Zachary and East Feliciana was arrested in Alabama. Ike Hamilton is being charged with multiple counts of 2nd-degree murder. Zachary Police Chief David McDavid says they also learned that Hamilton’s mother, Belinda Folse, was responsible for taking her son to Alabama.
Former LSU Head Football Coach Les Miles is sticking around Baton Rouge. Reports indicate Miles has purchased a home in the Settlement at Willow Grove for one-point-three-million-dollars. He recently sold his home in Bocage Lakes for one-point-45-million-dollars. He still owns a lot there. He is currently working as a television analyst for FOX and ESPN.
The swearing-in ceremony for John Schroder as State Treasurer will take place on Tuesday, December 5th. Schroder, a Republican, received 56 percent of the vote, to Democratic opponent Derrick Edwards’ 44 percent during the November 18th runoff election. The turnout was record-low.
LSU will rename multiple streets on campus, including Raphael Semmes Road, which was named after a Confederate officer. LSU Mass Communication professor Bob Mann says earlier this year, his students looked at street names and buildings that should be changed. Raphael Semmes Road will be changed to Veterans Drive. Mann says in reality, Semmes had almost no association with the university.
With his 347 yard passing performance in the victory over Texas A-and-M, LSU’s Danny Etling became the fifth quarterback to throw for over 2,000 yards in multiple seasons. Jeff Wickersham, Zach Mettenberger, Toddy Hodson and JaMarcus Russell are the others. In 12 games this season, Etling has thrown for 2,234 yards, 14 touchdowns and just two interceptions. Etling is glad he ended up at LSU.
News for Monday 112717
By Dave Graichen
State Police are investigating a single vehicle crash that killed a young man from Montgomery shortly before 2am Sunday. Police report 21 year old Hunter Thomisee who was riding in the bed of a pickup truck, fell out of the vehicle and into the roadway.
The crash remains under investigation. Anyone with information, regarding this crash, is asked to call Troop E.
Governor John Bel Edwards is voicing his frustration with the 13-percent turnout for the November 14th election. Edwards says everyone has the freedom to vote or not vote, but it’s something you would think residents would do. He says it’s more convenient than ever to vote with seven days of early voting, but still it seems there’s lower turnout than ever. Edwards says it’s likely voter apathy is keeping residents away from the polls.
After months of grinding negotiations over the future of the National Flood Insurance Program, lawmakers return to Capitol Hill on Monday with less than two weeks before the program expires.
Despite progress in the U.S. House of Representatives before Congress split town for its Thanksgiving break, deep and longstanding divisions remain over the federal program, which is heavily in debt and now facing billions in claims from victims of a spate of destructive hurricanes this year. Members of Congress and those keeping a close eye on the flood insurance debate are increasingly expecting the Dec. 8 deadline to come and go without a comprehensive, long-term reauthorization for the program. Instead, most are now hoping for a shorter deal to temporarily extend the program — possibly for six months or a year — to buy more time for negotiations on a more comprehensive set of reforms.
An aide to Governor Edwards has resigned as a result of sexual harassment allegations. Anderson was the Deputy Chief of Staff for Programming and Planning. He told the Advocate he’s innocent, but doesn’t want to be a distraction as he attempts to clear his name.
Construction begins today on a new oyster reef in Calcasieu Lake near Lake Charles. About 12,500 cubic yards of crushed limestone will be spread on the lake bottom to create 100 acres of artificial oyster reef. Assistant Secretary for Fisheries Patrick Banks says it will increase oyster and seafood production. Oyster reefs have been constructed in Calcasieu Lake since 1963. They were smaller in size, anywhere from 18 to 59 acres. Banks says more money is allowing them to do a much larger project.
November is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month. National Hospice and Palliative Care President and CEO Edo Banach (Ban-ick) says about 50 percent of Louisiana Medicare decedents were enrolled in hospice at the time of death. Banach says although it may be difficult to discuss, the holiday season provides an opportunity to discuss advance care planning with loved ones. Banach says every adult should complete an advance directive and appoint a health care proxy or else your end of life decisions will be taken out of your hands…
There was no happy ending in Los Angeles for the Saints, who had their eight-game winning streak snapped by the up and coming Rams. New Orleans had trouble getting its offense going and the defense missed its top two cornerbacks, who are injured. Coach Sean Payton says L-A was the better team in the 26-20 win. The loss drops the Saints record to 8-3 and into a first place tie with Carolina for first place in the NFC South. New Orleans and the Panthers meet this Sunday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Texas A&M has fired coach Kevin Sumlin after six winning seasons, just a day after losing to LSU 45-21 at Tiger Stadium.
So now that the regular season is over for the LSU Tigers, what bowl game will they play in? Jerry Palm does bowl projections for CBS Sports and he expects the Tigers will be in Florida on New Year's Day. Palm says he currently has them in the Outback Bowl. If LSU goes to the Outback Bowl, they'll play a team from the Big 10.
News for Wednesday 112217
By Dave Graichen
AAA predicts nearly 51-million people will travel 50 miles or more for the Thanksgiving holiday, a three-percent increase from last year and it’s the highest number since 2005. AAA spokesman Don Redman says gas prices are about 35-cents higher than last year, but that’s not stopping the expected 45-million that will hit the highways..
The U.S. Department of Agriculture reminds holiday chefs to be conscious of food safety. Sarah Lichtman with the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service says the first step is cleaning your hands and surfaces before and after touching raw meats. She says it’s also important to make sure you cook your turkey to 165 degrees Fahrenheit and don’t forget about leftovers sitting out on the table. Now where this reporter disagrees with Lichtman, She debunks the need to clean poultry before you cook it.. If you have ever seen chicken or turkeys processed I am sure you, as well, would disagree..
The lines have become blurred between family traditions on Thanksgiving and getting the good deals before everyone else to kick off the holiday shopping season. National Retail Federation’s Ana Serafin Smith says many stores are opening earlier on Thanksgiving this year. According to best-black-Friday-dot-com, 38 retail chains will be open Thursday. They include Best Buy, JcPenney,’s, Sears, Walmart and numerous others. Most other retailers will remain closed until early afternoon.
A report by Well Being Trust finds the state’s drug, alcohol and suicide death rate could increase 42-percent in the next decade. Chief Policy Officer Ben Miller says the opioid epidemic is at the root of this upsetting report. The report outlines a strategy of prevention, early identification and treatment for those addicted to opioids.
The Restore Louisiana Homeowner Assistance Program has offered grant awards for nearly 31-hundred homeowners affected by the floods in 2016, totaling nearly 92-million dollars. Office of Community Development Executive Director Pat Forbes says these funds are helping people rebuild their homes and many of the homeowners are reimbursed for work already done. Over 38-thousand homeowners have qualified to receive assistance.
The man accused of fatally shooting two people at Grambling State University last month appeared in court Tuesday and plead not guilty on two counts of first degree murder. 19-year-old Jaylin Wayne’s next court appearance is in March.
On the second anniversary of his election, Governor John Bel Edwards sent an email to supporters asking for donations for his upcoming reelection battle. The governor’s latest campaign finance report shows he has 3.3 million dollars on hand but Political Analyst Clancy Dubos says Edwards will need every penny he can get. Dubos says if Edwards is able to help solve Louisiana’s fiscal problems, it will help his re-election chances.
Delhi Senator Francis Thompson, who has served in the state legislature for 40 years, has announced he is battling prostate cancer. Despite this health scare, the chairman of the Senate Ag committee plans to be ready for the next legislative session. The 76-year-old will have surgery in Baton Rouge next month.
News for Tuesday 112117
By Dave Graichen
A report finds that black students in Louisiana public schools are twice as likely as white students to face suspensions. The study also finds low-income students are likely to face longer suspension than non-low-income children. Researcher Nathan Barrett hopes school officials look at the report to reduce discipline disparities based on race and income.
A state audit finds that the Louisiana Department of Health is not calculating Medicaid rates for nursing facilities accurately. Louisiana Legislative Office Director of Performance Audits Karen LeBlanc says they discovered 19.7 million dollars the state could have saved this past year was spent on patients not covered by Medicaid. Medicaid payments to the 260 private nursing home facilities in Louisiana reached one-billion-dollars last year, yet nursing home populations went up less than one-percent. LeBlanc says better procedures are needed to ensure the nursing homes are compensated accurately.
State Police is reminding holiday travelers that buzzed driving is drunk driving. Sgt. James Anderson says 10 people died and over 700 injured in crashes in Louisiana during the last Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Anderson says troopers will be out in full force under the Zero Deaths for the Holidays campaign to put an end to drunk driving.
There’s good and bad news when it comes to holiday shopping here in Louisiana. The good news, Holiday shopping is expected to increase this Christmas. That’s the view of LSU Marketing Professor Dan Rice who says households have largely recovered from the 2016 floods and the state’s unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been since 2008…The bad news, experts say says consumers will keep using the internet to fill out their shopping lists, rather than shopping local.
A year after thousands of homes flooded in Livingston Parish, residents in the eastern part of the parish said "no" to tax proposals that would have paid for drainage improvements. Residents living east of Walker were faced Saturday with ballot proposals that would have funded gravity drainage districts, local boards that oversee off-road drainage maintenance and cleaning. Passing the tax would have created the first Livingston Parish-wide system of drainage districts. But residents issued a clear "no," to both proposals. Parish officials say they are at a total loss to explain the vote.
Human remains have been found in Amite in Tangipaoha Parish. A rabbit hunter made the discovery Monday. Police believe they are the remains of a middle aged man. The cause of death remains uncertain. The investigation continues.
A Shreveport man and two others are dead after a medical helicopter crashed in eastern Arkansas Sunday night. 26-year-old John Auld III was on the flight that went down about 60 miles southeast of Little Rock. The helicopter was flying from Pine Bluff to DeWitt.
The woman who was found fatally shot Sunday night in St. Claude is the mother of a 7-year-old boy that was reported missing. New Orleans Police say the child has been found safe and was with a neighbor when the incident occurred. Authorities made the connection that the missing child was the son of the deceased after the investigation was launched.
Monday in Atlanta, the Georgia Dome was imploded after 25 years in existence. Meanwhile, the Mercedes Benz Superdome in New Orleans continues to be one of the top entertainment venues. Alan Freeman, General Manager of the Dome, credits the success of the Superdome to the great relationship they have with the New Orleans Saints. He says the state owns the arena and provides the funds to keep up with improvements as the building ages, especially after Hurricane Katrina did major damage. Freeman says the Superdome is a viable building and in a city that thrives on hosting major events.
State District Judge Trudy White likened the actions of a 46-year-old Baton Rouge man convicted of human trafficking to those that participated in the African slave trade before sentencing him Monday to 40 years in prison. Carlos Lampley was found guilty in May on one count each of trafficking a child for sexual purposes, human trafficking and attempted human trafficking.
News for Tuesday 111417
By Dave Graichen
The state police report a suspect in an Alexandria kidnapping and rape was caught Monday in Grant Parish after a chase. 40-year-old Edward Williams would not stop for law enforcement on La. Highway 8 yesterday and after a short chase, he jumped from the car and ran. State Police Troopers were able to quickly take him into custody. Shortly thereafter, Alexandria authorities took custody of Williams. He is now facing multiple charges.
Governor John Bel Edwards says Virginia-based DXC Technology will open a New Orleans office that will employ two-thousand people. Officials are calling it the single largest jobs announcement in the city’s modern history. An exact location for the facility has yet to be decided, but it will be downtown. Average salaries of for those working there will be 63-thousand dollars.
LSU Athletics Director Joe Alleva says the elimination of tax break in the GOP tax reform bills could be disastrous for big-time collegiate athletics. LSU and many other schools require donations to purchase tickets to athletic events and Alleva is concerned those donations will go away, if fans can no longer claim 80-percent of the donation as a tax deduction. Alleva says LSU receives about 50-million dollars from this revenue stream.
U.S. Senator John Kennedy has written an op-ed piece to the Washington Examiner entitled “Please stop having children you aren’t willing to raise.” In the piece, Kennedy implores parents that if they are drug users or if the child would be born to a fatherless house, to think twice about bringing lives into the world. Kennedy says too many parents are failing their children these days in Louisiana. He says thousands of children are in the state’ foster care system and those who fail to find a good foster care home end up struggling in life.
Today, the Governor will begin traveling with Ag Commissioner Mike Strain on a listening tour with farmers across Louisiana to hear their concerns. Today’s stops will be in Mooringsport and Bastrop. Later this week they will be in Arnaudville, Ferriday, Slaughter and Ville Platte.
The latest poll on the New Orleans Mayors race is out. LaToya Cantrell continues to hang on to a double-digit lead over Desiree Charbonnet, according to UNO pollster Ed Chervenak, 46 percent to 35 percent, with 19 percent still undecided.
Expectations of a bumper pecan crop in Louisiana this year have been lowered due to unfavorable weather, but that shouldn’t affect your pies for the holidays. That’s according to LSU AgCenter Associate Professor Charlie Graham, who says pecans are still in greater supply than last year.
Reports indicate a Louisiana man was arrested trying to cross into North Korea. The man was detained by South Korean forces before he could cross the Demilitarized Zone that separates the two countries. The 58-year-old is identified as “A”. The Washington Post says he was trying to enter North Korea for “political purposes.”
If you want to know if the flu bug has invaded your neighborhood, a new phone app called Sickweather has been designed with you in mind. Founder and CEO Graham Dodge says they use the public’s help to track when there’s an outbreak of various illnesses from the common cold to the flu. Dodge says the app will alert you when you are entering an area where there’s been a large of number of verified illnesses reported. The app is currently available on Google Play and the Apple store for free.
For the third time this year, LSU linebacker Devin White has been named the SEC Defensive Player of the Week. The sophomore from Springhill, Louisiana had 14 tackles in the Tigers 33-10 win over Arkansas.
News for Monday 111317
By Dave Graichen
A pilot was killed when a small plane crashed in Rapides Parish, according to the Sheriff’s Office. The single-engine private airplane was found in thick brush between Lake Buhlow and the Veterans Administration Medical Center. Further details, including the name of the pilot or where he was going, have not been released. The FAA is investigating the crash.
There’s an estimated 600-thousand Louisiana adults who lack a high school diploma. Now, a program called WorkReady U is attempting to grow Louisiana’s workforce by helping to educate the 600-thousand Louisiana’s adults who do not have a high school diploma. Jason Beard is the senior manager for a nonprofit group called Educational Testing Service, which offers adults looking to better their education a chance at passing the High School Equivalency Test. More information can be found online at yesyoucan.la
It appears the state AG didn’t have his fact straight after all. The state Department of Health announces new data shows there are fewer opioids being prescribed since Medicaid expansion began in July 2016. This comes amid recent claims by Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry that the better access to healthcare is fueling the opioid crisis. But, the state Board of Pharmacy says there was a 2 percent reduction in the number of opioid prescriptions from the year before Medicaid expansion to the year after.
Four Baton Rouge police officers have been placed on paid administrative leave following allegations of possible payroll fraud. A source told WAFB TV that they include two sergeants. The information comes on the heels of similar allegations involving the Louisiana State Police concerning three troopers.
This week, two years from now, voters will cast their ballots for Louisiana’s next governor. Current Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards is planning to run again. Pollster Bernie Pinsonat says Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry could challenge Edwards and tensions between the two continue to escalate. He says expect GOP leaders to keep attacking the governor on various issues. Pinsonat says there’s been word that along with Landry, Congressmen Garret Graves and Steve Scalise as well as U.S. Senator John Kennedy are taking a look at the governor’s seat.
U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, supports the Senate’s GOP tax plan which was unveiled on Thursday. Cassidy says the proposed legislation would help families and help businesses grow by cutting taxes and simplifying the tax code. He says a family of four would see a tax cut of over 14-hundred-dollars…
A new phone app called OnPoint can help you keep an eye on politicians at nearly every level of government. Vote-Smart-dot-org National Director Walker McKusick says they have culled information on over 40-thousand politicians, including those in Louisiana. McKusick credits their non-partisanship donations in helping them to present the true facts behind every politician in Louisiana…
Two elderly people were killed after a logging truck struck their vehicle in Beauregard Parish Thursday. State Police Sgt. James Anderson says 86-year-old Elaine Picard and passenger 82-year-old William Picard were at a stop sign, when they pulled out onto Highway 112 east of DeRidder, directly into the path of a logging truck.
Complete domination. That’s the best way you can describe the Saints 47-10 beat down of the Bills in Buffalo yesterday. New Orleans had 482 yards of total offense to Buffalo’s 198 and the Saints had the ball for over 41 minutes in the game. It was the team’s seventh straight victory. The Saints rushed for 298 yards and set a franchise record by scoring six rushing touchdowns.
The LSU football team scored four touchdowns in the 2nd half on Saturday to beat Arkansas 33-10. LSU is now 7-3, 4-2 in the SEC and this Saturday they’ll visit a Tennessee team that was crushed by Missouri 50-17. The Vols are 0-6 in the league.
News for Friday 111017
By Dave Graichen
A Rapides Parish Jury found a 17 year old mother, Donasty Cohen, guilty of manslaughter in the death of her 27 day old son nearly a year ago. Cohen will be sentenced on Dec. 4, giving time for the completion of a pre-sentencing investigation ordered by 9th Judicial District Court after the verdict.
The Rapides Parish Police Jury and the company in charge of managing the Rapides Parish Coliseum are hoping a grant from the Greater Alexandria Economic Development Authority will allow for the purchase of some equipment that they say is needed to attract larger events to the venue. The Jury approved the $200,000 grant application at a special meeting Thursday. The money would be used to purchase a stage, chairs for the floor of the arena, speakers, spotlights, wireless intercom and a forklift.
Young people in Louisiana are smoking at a rate of 12-percent, which is lower than the national average of 16-percent, according to a report by Truth Initiative. President and CEO Robin Koval says when teenagers are given the facts and allowed to make their own decisions, they are more likely to positively respond. The down side of the report shows a different story when it comes to adult smoking. Over 22-percent, of adult smoke in the state, that compared to 15 in the rest of the country.
Tomorrow is the last day to early vote for the November 18th election and early voting locations are closed today in observance of Veteran’s Day. Secretary of State Tom Schedler says in the last days of early voting, the number of residents who cast a ballot exceeded his original expectation of around 10-percent. Aside from the statewide State Treasurer’s election, the New Orleans mayoral race is also on the ballot. Voters here in Alexandria will be asked whether to renew a 24-year-old property tax that funds "critical" capital projects, such as roads and drainage.
The five members of the Capitol Police Department at the baseball field in Alexandria, Virginia when House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was shot, have been awarded the medal of honor. Scalise says the excellent training undergone by members of this department prepared them and gave them the skills to save the lives of so many that day.
Authorities are refuting a WBRZ-TV report that a 13-year-old child was raped by an inmate in a bathroom during last month’s Angola Rodeo. Officials say the State Police Crime Lab through DNA testing determined no sexual contact occurred between the minor and prisoner. West Feliciana Sheriff Austin Daniel says an investigation started when it was observed a 13-year and an inmate walked out of a bathroom together. Daniel says they are not sure why the two were in bathroom together, but there is no evidence that sexual contact occurred.
University system presidents met at the governor’s mansion Thursday afternoon to discuss steps to eliminate hazing and alcohol abuse among sanctioned groups on campus. LSU System President F King Alexander says it’s not their intention to get rid of Greek organizations, because they do a lot of good work in the community.
The Kenner Police Department says a habitual offender that was released early from jail due to the state’s new criminal justice reform, committed an armed robbery 5 days after he was let out. Chief Michael Glaser says Tyrone White is well known in that neighborhood, and cops had already been alerted that he was lurking again pulling on car door handles to see if they were unlocked. Glaser says this 24-year-old man should never have been let out of jail…
A Denham Springs woman turned herself into police today after being suspected of texting before a fatal crash on I-12 that killed a 5-month-old baby. Denham Springs Police issued an arrest warrant for 23-year-old Jessica Cowart. Cowart is charged with negligent homicide, negligent injuring and reckless operation. She is free on a 51-thousand-dollar-bond.
Gas prices keep rising as demand remains high. The current statewide average for a gallon of regular is $2.29, up five cents from the prior week.
According to the Louisiana Lottery, no one has claimed the $50,000 Powerball prize from the drawing on June 14. The winning ticket was purchased at Super 1 Foods on Northeast Evangeline Thruway in Carencro. The winner has until Dec. 11 at 5 p.m. to claim the prize.
Have you ever wondered who is responsible for painting LSU’s Eye of the Tiger in Death Valley? Well it’s LSU graduate Hunter Sexton who is the Sports Turf Manager for Tiger Stadium. He says being the guy who paints the intimidating eye in the middle of the field is the coolest job ever. Sexton says he’s been painting fields since he was a kid, and to be able to work full time for LSU is a huge honor.
The Saints seek their seventh straight victory this Sunday when they visit Buffalo. When the schedule came out, many Saints fans probably thought the Bills would have a losing record at this point of the year. But Buffalo is 5-3 and New Orleans Quarterback Drew Brees says they are a perfect 4-0 at home.
News for Thursday 110917
By Dave Graichen
If you’re dumb enough to make repeated crank calls to 911, don’t get caught in the act. A Pollock man did just that. 21-year-old Arthur Veal was in the process of making another crank call to 911 when a Grant Parish deputy tracked him down. The GPSO says in addition to catching Veal, they found Multiple Bags Of Marijuana in the home he was calling from. But the story doesn’t end there. As Veal was being booked into jail, officials found crystal meth hidden in his underwear .We don’t have enough time to report how many things he has been charged with.
After an alleged confrontation with a student player on Friday, a Natchitoches Central High School football coach John Daughtery was charged with simple battery. The Natchitoches PD reports they received a complaint around 6 p.m. Monday about an incident that happened on Friday at Turpin Stadium. The 17-year-old alleges that Daughtery grabbed his helmet, eventually pulling it off and then began to pull him into a locker room by his jersey. Daughtery has a court date in December.
Three state police troopers have been placed on paid administrative leave amid allegations of claiming overtime on hours they never actually worked. State Police Major Doug Cain says the investigation started after surveillance video was uncovered by a New Orleans television station.
An Arson fire in Many destroyed the ARC of Sabine building, which benefits the developmentally disabled. State Fire Marshal Butch Browning says they have a person in custody. The suspect has been identified as 25-year-old Brett Shoemaker and he’s a former client of ARC. No injuries were reported.
Early voting for the November 18th election comes to a close on Saturday and the candidates for State Treasurer continue to get their message out to voters. Republican candidate John Schroder is a former lawmaker from Covington, a veteran and a business owner. He says he’s ready to take on the job and separate himself from any loyalties to do what is the best for our state. Democratic candidate Derrick Edwards has a Master’s degree in accounting and is an attorney in the New Orleans area. Edwards says he will bring accountability and transparency to the office of the State Treasurer. He says this race is not about party affiliation.
A 25-year-old man has been arrested for allegedly attacking a woman who tried to help him as he was lying in a ditch near Oak Grove. West Carroll Parish Sheriff Jerry Philley says the victim saw Christian Turnbow on the side of the road as she was driving her kids to school. He says police arrived after one of her children called 911 to report the attack. The victim suffered minor injuries.
The state department of corrections is not saying much about a Baton Rouge television station’s report that claims a 13-year-old boy was raped by an inmate during the last weekend of the Angola Prison rodeo. A D-O-C spokesperson says an investigation is underway into an alleged incident that may have occurred and details will be released at the appropriate time.
Two people were injured and dozens were evacuated yesterday off of a Shell platform about 115 miles off the Louisiana coast, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. Petty Officer Lexie Preston says a 54-year-old male suffered from flash burns and a concussion and a 29-year-old male suffered a sprained wrist and a concussion. Preston says the fire has been reduced to a small flame and a light sheen is reported north of the platform. The incident occurred early Wednesday morning.
The Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office says a Covington woman is under arrest amid allegations she lied about an NFL referee physically abusing her. Lt. Brennan Matherne says 49-year-old Sandra Brooks told cops in June that her live in boyfriend, 57-year-old Carl Johnson Sr. of Thibodaux, was hitting her. He says no evidence of wrongdoing by Johnson was found and ultimately he was exonerated in the investigation and Brooks is one now facing the charges.
Authorities have arrested a 14-year-old after he allegedly brought a handgun and rifle ammunition to Rayville High School. Rayville Police Chief Willie Robinson says the rifle rounds were in the teen’s backpack and a gun belonging to him was found in another student’s vehicle. Robinson says the teen told detectives he forgot to take the ammo out of his bag after he went hunting.
More than half of LSU’s 27 fraternities are in some kind of trouble for violating policy both before and after the death of LSU pledge Max Gruver. The punishments range from suspensions, being kicked off campus, on probation or letter of reprimand. The latest is an LSU letter sent to Alpha Gamma Rho saying they must stop all charter events because of an incident, “not in compliance with university policies.”
A state law approved seven years ago allows persons to possess guns inside a place of worship, under strict conditions. The person must be approved by the church leader, the congregation is made aware and persons must receive specialized training. One of those courses is coming up later this month in Livingston Parish. Sheriff Jason Ard says there is increased interest since the Texas church shooting.
Washington Parish authorities arrest the owner of a 2006 Porsche after he allegedly came up with a scheme to burn his water damaged vehicle in an effort to collect insurance money. Chief Deputy Mike Haley says 49-year-old Gary Joseph Leblanc of Robert was arrested following a six week investigation.
Multiple sources are reporting that former LSU coach Les Miles is interested in the coaching job at Oregon State. The Beavers are 1-8 under interim coach Cory Hall after Gary Andersen and the school opted to part ways following a loss to Southern California earlier this season.
News for Wednesday 110817
By Dave Graichen
Louisiana’s Superintendent of Education John White released the annual school performance scores for the 2016-2017 year yesterday. White says the scores have remained steady for the third consecutive year. White says unfortunately, 272 schools statewide received D of F grades for three straight years or saw high school graduation rates less than 67-percent. Here in Rapides Parish, The School System received another "B" grade. The number of schools given an "A" based on their scores is down to five from seven last year.
The investigation continues into a Sunday night armed robbery and shooting at a Wardville convenience store. The operator of Lee Rays on Bayou Marie Rd. told police three armed men entered the store and ordered everyone to the back of the store. The clerk told police he armed himself and fired at the men, hitting two of them. One was hit in the abdomen, he remains in the hospital in critical condition, the other in the arm. Police say arrests are still pending.
Recent record breaking heat in some areas of the state will give way today to much cooler temperatures as a cold front moves in. State Climatologist Barry Keim says expect a gray dreary day. After the front moves through, Keim says to expect much colder air descending on Louisiana providing, us with fall like weekend.
Republican U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy has introduced the Vehicular Terrorism Prevention Act, aimed at preventing terrorists from using vehicles to attack Americans. Cassidy says as technology improves, newer vehicles can become weapons in the hands of terrorists. Cassidy says this bill would give Congress information law enforcement needs to help expand their role to more technical issue.
A man identified as the legislative aid to Lafayette Representative Stuart Bishop was found dead Tuesday in Central. East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Casey Hicks says they believe 31-year-old Larry Warino Jr. took his own life after fatally shooting his ex-girlfriend.
The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office says two men who fell from a helicopter have died. The men were from California and were working on electrical lines in Sulphur. The safety harness they were using rubbed against the power lines, causing the harness to snap and the men fell some 100 feet to their death.
Emerge Louisiana is a new group that will train female Democrats on how to run a successful campaign for political office. Executive Director Melanie Oubre says any interested females can apply for the training program through November 18th and 20 to 25 women will be selected. Oubre says after graduating, the women will be provided with a network of support locally and nationally.
LSUA opens its Basketball season tonight at The Fort as they play host to Xavier of Louisiana. You can hear that game tonight beginning at 7 on Magic 100.9
News for Tuesday 110717
By Dave Graichen
The state’s education department developed a website to help parents decide the best K-12 public school for their child. The website, Louisiana-schools-dot-com (louisianaschools.com), launches today. Director of Family and Education Communications Annie Morrison says families can find information about all traditional public schools in the state, along with facts on charter, magnet and scholarship schools. Again that website, louisianaschools.com
The Energy Information Administration says October gasoline consumption was the highest in month-to-month numbers since 2006, which is why there has been a slight increase in prices at the pump. Triple A fuel analyst Don Redman believes the warm fall has led to more people driving increasing demand for gasoline. Redman says Louisiana prices are the sixth lowest in the nation with drivers paying an average of $2.26 a gallon, but still about 20 cents more a gallon than last year.
The state Department of Education releases the 2016-2017 annual school performance scores today and this is the last time schools with be graded on a curve. President for the Council for a Better Louisiana Barry Erwin says it’s time to go back to the system where grades really give a true reflection of the school’s performance. Erwin says after getting rid of a curve, we do sometimes see a dip in school performance with more receiving D’s and F’s. He expects it might take a year or two but schools will eventually score better as the bar is raised.
The first two days of early voting for the November 18 election shows numbers remain dismal with just under 26-thousand voters participating. Secretary of State Tom Schedler says even though they are getting the word out to encourage voters, not many have taken the advice. Early voting remains open until Saturday with the exception of Friday for the observance of Veteran’s Day.
Reactions are coming in the aftermath of the largest church mass shooting in Texas history this past weekend near San Antonio which killed 26. Seven years ago, former Shreveport area State Representative Henry Burns authored a bill which allows guns in places of worship, with church leadership approval. When asked if there are any additional steps that churches need to take to ensure the safety of attendees, Burns says installing metal detectors may be an extreme but necessary step.
Some 60 dogs and cats rescued from Hurricane Maria and relocated to Louisiana are looking for their new forever home. Zeus’ Rescues in New Orleans is currently sheltering the animals. They were surrendered after many lost their homes. Director Michelle Ingram says some animals are having a hard time adjusting to their new circumstances at their shelter. She says foster families are needed to help these animals.
A 19-year-old Tibodaux woman who was shot last week has died. Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre says Shantell Pollard was shot on October 31st. When police arrived, they found Pollard in the passenger side of an SUV bleeding from a head wound and was unresponsive. She was in critical condition after she was transferred to Our Lady of the Lake Hospital in Baton Rouge. Police say the investigation is continuing.
LSU Football Head Coach Ed Orgeron says quarterback Danny Etling will remain the Tigers starting quarterback. Orgeron says despite some missed opportunities in the passing game against Alabama, Etling is the better option over freshman Myles Brennan to achieve a 10-win season. LSU will play Arkansas this Saturday after losing to Alabama by two touchdowns last weekend.
Louisiana Tech now has a new Tech XXII mascot after Tech XXI retired last fall. Vice President for Student Advancement Jim King says they are excited to finally introduce the beloved bulldog to students. King says Tech is well taken care of by the university’s pre-vet club and has been adopted by a local Ruston family.
News for Monday 110617
By Dave Graichen
State Police report an early morning single vehicle crash, Saturday Morning,
Took the life of 53 year old Carl LaBorde of Marksville. LaBorde’s vehicle was northbound on LA Hwy 115 when he lost control, exited the right side of the roadway and collided with a concrete culvert. Laborde, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Early voting for the November 18 election is under way. Secretary of State Tom Schedler is expecting a low turnout, around 10 percent. There is a statewide treasurer’s race, the New Orleans mayoral race and a handful of local ballot items in about half of the state’s parishes. Early voting continues through Saturday.
The senate approved a 23 month contract extension Friday for the state’s Medicaid managed-care companies unanimously, but House members voted against it, blocking the Governor’s efforts to help extend high-dollar contracts for managed-care companies beyond January. House Appropriations Committee chairman Cameron Henry expects more meetings next month to find savings in the proposed 15.4-billion-dollar deal.
A 67-year-old grandmother is dead in Plaquemine after her grandson allegedly shot her by mistake. Police say 19-year-old Blaise Horton reported he was holding a gun in a house when Kathleen Fulton was killed. Police Chief Kenny Payne says the bullet grazed a dog and struck Fulton in the back. He says Horton’s sister was in the home at the time and evidence at the scene matches up with the story Horton and the sister told officers.
Officers say a three-year-old toddler has died as the result of an alleged accidental shooting in St. Martin Parish. Police have arrested the child’s 28 year old uncle. He has been charged with Illegal Possession of a Stolen Firearm and Obstruction of Justice.
A Mandeville man has been arrested after allegedly blocking off the exit of a subdivision and holding two teens at gunpoint after they toilet papered his house. Police Chief Gerald Sticker says homeowner Craig Scott unjustifiably took matters into his own hands.
Especially now that it’s getting darker earlier, State Farm wants to remind people to watch out for deer while driving. Louisiana ranks 41st in the country for the most deer collisions. State Farm Spokesperson Kip Diggs says it’s now mating season deer and they’re on the move. He says dusk to dawn are the highest risk times to see deer out on the roadways.
We turned back our clocks for Standard time Sunday morning.. State Fire Marshal Butch Browning reminds residents now is a good time to check the batteries in your smoke alarm. He says first generation fire alarms need to have the batteries replaced every 12 months, and it also might be time for an upgrade. Many of the new Smoke detectors can run 10 years between battery changes.
So what do CPAs say the GOP tax plan will do for us and our pocketbooks? Among the changes, the plan eliminates the ability to deduct state income tax, which is between two and six percent in Louisiana. Brandon Legarde with the Society of Louisiana CPA’s says one of the reasons the GOP is happy with tax reform is the change afforded to businesses in trying to urge corporations to come back to the U.S. Legarde says his office is still trying to determine how all the tax breaks will benefit businesses and if they will be able to get around some of the new laws…
For the first time since 2005, two state police cadet classes will run simultaneously. Aspiring troopers have reported for the 97th cadet class with 49 individuals. The 96th class has entered their 11th week of training. Sgt. Jared Sandifer says both classes are going through an intense training program. After graduation, troopers will participate in a 10-14 week field training program before beginning their new careers.
Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser and 10 Louisiana chefs are in New York City to prepare the Bayou State’s world-class food and give the Big Apple a taste of what we have to offer. Nungesser says they hope to woo people with our culture and encourage them to take their next vacation to Louisiana. This trip is a marketing and communications effort in part of the Louisiana Culinary Campaign.
The Saints won their sixth straight on Sunday as they dominated Tampa Bay 30-10. A blocked punt that went for a touchdown in the 1st quarter gave New Orleans a 9-0 lead and they never looked back.
LSU outgained Alabama on Saturday night but still lost to the Crimson Tide 24-10 in Tuscaloosa. Tigers Head Coach Ed Orgeron says Alabama’s ability to make the big play was the difference. LSU entered the game as a three touchdown underdog, but lost by two touchdowns.
News for Friday 110317
By Dave Graichen
The RPSO is investigating a shooting that occurred in Sieper yesterday shortly before noon. Upon arrival, deputies located the victim suffering from two gunshot wounds. One deputy responding to the scene located the suspect, identified as 68 year old Jimmy Carl Harper of Sieper, walking down Jesse Perry Rd. Harper was taken into custody without incident. The victim was transported to a local hospital. Harper was placed under arrest for Attempted 2nd Degree Murder.
Early voting begins today for the November 18 election. There is a state treasurer race, New Orleans mayoral contest and local propositions in 32 parishes to be decided. The October 13 election only saw a 14 percent turnout. Secretary of State Tom Schedler predicts an even lower turnout this month.
The House GOP tax reform plan announced Thursday would consolidate the current seven tax brackets into four and would double the standard deduction, giving an average family of four nearly 12-hundred-dollars more income per year. But Jan Moller with the Louisiana Budget Project says the one-and-a-half-trillion-dollar cuts in the package over ten years will affect services many rely on.
A Morning Consult poll finds Governor John Bel Edwards approval rating among voters is 52-percent. LSU Political Science Professor Robert Hogan says that’s a solid number for a Democrat in a red state. Hogan says Edwards has done well to stay away from partisan disputes. Edwards is closing in on two years in office.
There are now 14 former LSU Tigers who are World Champions. The latest two are third baseman Alex Bregman and relief pitcher Will Harris, who helped the Astros win their first world series title in franchise history.
Another feud is brewing between Governor John Bel Edwards and Attorney General Jeff Landry. The AG believes his office should handle the lawsuit against opiod manufacturers; not the administration. The state Department of Health claims in a suit that drug firms intentionally flooded Louisiana with highly addictive opioids. Landry says his office is working on its own litigation. The AG won a legal battle this week over the governor’s office on an executive order dealing with discrimination of LGBT state workers.
The head of a veterans advocates group in Slidell will not go to this Sunday’s Saints game to accept an award, because some NFL players kneel during the National Anthem. Retired Navy Commander John Wells understands that some players want to protest racial injustice, but doing so during the national anthem is not the time. Wells was set to receive the Peoples Health Champion Award.
Lafayette Police say no charges will be filed against a man who fatally shot another man in a Home Depot parking lot on Evangeline Thruway. Authorities say a violent struggle occurred when an owner of a vehicle saw the now deceased male trying to break into his car. Detectives say during that struggle the vehicle owner shot and killed the subject and they are ruling it a justifiable homicide.
The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s office announces the arrest of a private school teacher who allegedly bit a two-year-old in the face. Investigators say 28-year-old Heather Marcotte admitting to biting the little boy, when she became frustrated with his behavior at Northlake Christian School.
A group committed to the survival of the Louisiana black bear has announced their intent to file suit to place them back on the endangered species list. The Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility contends they were removed prematurely.
This weekend the Vermilion Parish town of Abbeville will hold their annual Giant Omelet Celebration. The event has been held for 33 years and was created after a group who traveled to France to attend a similar festival. Spokesperson Arlene Collee (Coal-lee) says they will use over 5,000 eggs cooked in a 12-foot skillet with several different ingredients. The festival will be held Saturday and Sunday with the omelet preparation to begin at 1pm Sunday.
Also this weekend it’s the Louisiana Pecan Festival in Colfax. The fun starts tonight and runs through Sunday.. With Live entertainment on the stage tonight and throughout the day on Saturday. Also a large fireworks display Saturday night.
Another event this weekend is the Swine Festival in Basile. With food and entertainment through Sunday.
Not many people are giving LSU the chance to beat top ranked Alabama on Saturday night in Tuscaloosa. The Tigers are three touchdown underdogs. Alabama has won six straight games against LSU. 2010 was the last time the Tigers scored more than 20 points in a game against the Crimson Tide.
The Saints look to extend their winning streak to six games on Sunday when they host NFC South rival Tampa Bay at 12:00 in the Mercedes Benz Superdome. The Bucs are 2-and-5, but New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees expects a tough game.
News for Thursday 110217
By Dave Graichen
Governor Edwards suffered a loss in the courtroom Wednesday as a state appellate court ruled against his executive order that sought to project LGBT state workers from being discriminated against. Edwards released a statement that said, “Discrimination in state government and by state contractors is wrong, makes us weaker and is bad for business and economic development.” He also cites President Trump’s executive order that remains in place and was identical to his order.
Wednesday on the day Louisiana is released 19-hundred non-violent offenders, a state audit finds the Department of Corrections is not able to track offenders or did not have proper methods in place to calculate correct prisoner release dates. Auditor Kristen Jacobs says the DOC tried to plug up the holes in the records system. They spent 3.6-million-dollars a few years ago on a computer data system that was quickly abandoned…
Louisiana earned an ‘F’ grade on the latest March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card. Dr. Martha Whyte with the state Department of Health says the preterm birth rate in Louisiana is 12.6-percent. Caddo Parish has the highest number of premature births in the state with 17 out of every 100 babies born preterm. Whyte says African American women also have more premature babies in the Bayou State. Whyte says changing this failing grade starts with addressing chronic diseases like diabetes and obesity. Another startling statistic, 60-percent of births in Louisiana are unplanned.
The 24-billion-dollar acquisition of Level 3 Communications by Monroe based CenturyLink is now complete. CenturyLink Spokesperson Ann Marie Sartor says this merger will allow them to expand in the US, and overseas. Based upon a state contract, CenturyLink’s corporate headquarters must remain in Monroe through 2020.
The open enrollment period began today for those who would like to purchase change or renew their health insurance policies through the Affordable Care Act. State Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon says policyholders can anticipate an 18 and a half percent increase in premiums, because of an uncertainty surrounding the Affordable Care Act. Visit healthcare.gov to search policies. The enrollment period ends December 15.
When it comes to popularity in Congress, both of Louisiana’s US Senators rank in the middle, according to a new Morning Consult poll. John Kennedy’s approval rating is at 50-percent, while Bill Casssidy’s is at 47-percent. Cassidy is up for re-election in three years…
UL Lafayette has fired its highly successful softball coach, claiming that Michael Lotief created a hostile learning and working environment. Lotief was placed on administrative leave in early October. In a news release, the university says Lotief violated school policies by subjecting student-athletes and coworkers to violent, vulgar language and verbal and physical assault. Lotief admits he has a loose tongue in competitive situations, but it shouldn’t result in his firing. Lotief has not made a decision on whether he’ll sue the university
The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services reports a record number of children were adopted form the state’s foster care system in a one year period ending September 30. 764 children were adopted up from the record of 735 the previous year.
News for Wednesday 110117
By Dave Graichen
An estimated 19-hundred prisoners will be released today as part of the state’s criminal justice reform legislation enacted this year. The Edwards Administration says this will lower the highest incarceration rate in the country and produce better outcomes for non-violent offenders. Nonviolent offenders will be allowed to be released after serving 35 percent of their sentence under the new law, but according to Department of Public Safety and Corrections Secretary Jimmy LeBlanc they will be still be monitored.
The suspect in last week’s double murder at Grambling State University, Jaylin Wayne, says he’s not guilty and has hired a defense team. Attorney Ronald Haley says there was yet another suspected shooting on campus this past weekend, and they feel more light should be shed on a bigger problem at Grambling, gun violence. Wayne faces first-degree murder charges.
State Attorney General Jeff Landry wants to take control of a lawsuit filed by Governor Edwards suing opioid manufacturers. Landry also wants to hire former Mississippi AG Mike Moore who successfully sued tobacco manufacturers in the 1990s. Landry is asking the court to allow him to supersede the state Department of Health’s lawsuit against more than a dozen pharmaceutical firms. He wants to include allegations of the increased cost to the criminal justice system and the loss of workforce productivity.
The FCC has approved Monroe headquartered CenturyLink’s acquisition of Level 3 Communications, paving the way to close the deal. The company says this is great news and means everything is now in place to complete the transaction, which they anticipate will be effective tomorrow. CenturyLink and Level 3 believe the merger will allow CenturyLink to compete with AT&T and Verizon Communications in the business communications market.
Baton Rouge Police are investigating a crash off Airline Highway, which left two people dead including a toddler. Sgt. Don Coppola says witnesses told detectives they saw the driver of a 2009 Mustang driving erratically and crossing over the median multiple times before hitting an 18-wheeler head on.
The hurricane season ends on November 30, but a named storm has never struck Louisiana in November in 167 years of record keeping. State Climatologist Barry Keim says the state came close to breaking that streak in 2009 when Tropical Storm Ida churned in the Gulf…
LSU takes on the Alabama Crimson Tide this Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium and ticket sales are on fire. Cameron Papp with Stub Hub says ticket prices range from 90 dollars to over 500 dollars for a seat to see the highly anticipated match up. He says this is the highest selling Alabama home game this season so far. Papp says there is still plenty of time left for fans to purchase tickets.
Ascension Sheriff deputies arrested two Prairieville men for allegedly stopping a school bus. Lt. Colonel Ward Webb says 58-year-old Clifton Hamby and 60-year-old Kerry LaSaicherre (Les-sha-share) were angry with the bus driver for speeding on the road they lived on. Webb says the men should have called police instead. Webb says one of the men was armed, but he never threatened the bus driver with the gun.
Caldwell Parish juvenile is in custody after allegedly destroying a building that belonged to St. Paul Baptist church in nearby Richland Parish. Sheriff Gary Gilley says the suspect also damaged several vehicles at Caldwell Parish High School and stole an Entergy truck before setting fire to the structure.
Jefferson Parish Sheriff deputies arrested a woman for allegedly pepper spraying people at a Chuck E. Cheese in Metairie. Lt. Jason Rivarde says 24-year-old Katarian Marshall was angry and started indiscriminately spraying pepper spray, hitting five adults and two kids. Marshall is charged with disturbing the peace by fighting.
News for Tuesday 103117
By Dave Graichen
Halloween is today and with that comes trick or treating. State Trooper Jesse LaGrange says it’s vital that drivers easily see children who are out and about. He says make sure they are easily seen in darker shaded costumes. LaGrange says drivers need to be aware of the extra foot traffic in neighborhoods and drive with caution. Other tips include children knowing their address and phone number in case they get lost, trick or treating in well-lit neighborhoods and having parents inspect all candy before eating after returning home. Trick or treating is from 5 to 8 this evening in Alexandria & Pineville.
Governor John Bel Edwards and First Lady Laura Edwards were in Puerto Rico yesterday along with leaders of the Louisiana National Guard and the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness to observe and give support to the island nation as it recovers from Hurricane Maria. Shortly after the storm, Louisiana launched a donation drive for Puerto Rico. The governor’s spokesperson Shauna Sanford says the state has sent approximately 100 pallets worth of essential items from diapers to non-perishable formula to help in the recovery efforts
An audit released by the state legislative auditor’s office accuses three former cashiers at Grambling State of improperly adding over 164-thousand dollars to spending accounts for 35 students, including two of the former cashiers. That adds up to over $4,600 per student. No word yet is charges will be brought against the cashier. Grambling is no longer giving cashiers the ability to manually allocate dollars to the spending cards.
The big game of the year has arrived as LSU visits top ranked Alabama this Saturday. The Bayou Bengals are looking for their first win over the Crimson Tide since 2011. Bama is a three touchdown favorite. On another LSU note, the school announced the time for the Arkansas game on November 11th will be 11am in Tiger Stadium.
LSU might be a big underdog headed into a date with top-ranked Alabama in Bryant–Denny Stadium Saturday, but that would never stop Tiger fans from traveling to watch it unfold. Barrett Elder with Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports says LSU/Alabama games are invariably exciting. Alabama has won six straight against LSU, but Elder says both sides consistently put up a challenge which is a blast for fans to take in.
The State Department of Health is warning those who frequent indoor shooting ranges about toxic exposure to lead. There are at least 50 shooting ranges in Louisiana, a third of those are indoor. Dr. David Holcombe with Office of Public Health says there are no regulations in place to control dangerous exposure levels. Over the past 40 years, the CDC says 36 studies show higher toxic lead levels among those who use gun ranges regularly. Health effects from lead can permanently damage vital organs and in children, damage the nervous system, slow growth and creates learning and behavior problems.
State Police say I-10 eastbound near Grosse Tete was closed for several hours yesterday after a fatal crash involving four 18-wheelers. Trooper Bryan Lee says one of the big rigs didn’t stop for upcoming traffic and smashed into three other 18 wheelers.
Two out of state residents were killed in the 18-wheeler that slammed into the other three.
New Orleans Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson is doing “very well” after being hospitalized overnight Sunday. Spokesman Greg Bensel said the 90-year-old was observed at Ochsner Hospital after experiencing brief weakness following the Saints 20-12 win over Chicago at the Superdome.
News for Monday 103017
By Dave Graichen
State police are investigating a late Saturday night crash that claimed the life of a Pineville man. Troopers say 66 year old Otis Walker lost control of his pickup on Louisiana highway 454 and collided with a utility pole. Walker, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was pronounced dead at the scene.
A survey from the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission finds Louisianans are buckling up but drivers and passengers in pickup trucks are not doing so as often. Executive Director Dr. Katara Williams says the seat belt usage rate has consistently increased annually in the Bayou State since 2009. However, Alexandria and Baton Rouge drivers and passengers had the lowest rates when it comes to wearing seat belts at nearly 83-percent and 85-percent.
Prison reform measures go into effect Wednesday when some 14-hundred non-violent offenders will be released as a result of changes to the state’s sentencing laws. It’s an effort led by Governor John Bel Edwards to lower the state’s incarceration rate which is considered the highest in the world. State Corrections Secretary Jimmy LeBlanc says most of these prisoners set free this week were nearing their release. Lowering the incarceration rate is estimated to save the state 262-million-dollars over ten years, most of the savings will go towards rehabilitation programs.
A federal judge agrees with Alton Sterling protesters in a class action lawsuit against Baton Rouge law enforcement agencies. A hearing was held Friday morning involving about 80 protesters who were arrested last year. The ACLU of Louisiana filed a similar lawsuit but one that did not seek damages. Executive Director Marjorie Esman applauds the ruling. The plaintiffs will receive a combined total of about $136,000, which amounts to individual payments ranging from $500-$1000.
The Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office says they arrested a suspect in Grambling State University’s deadly shooting. Jaylin Wayne of St Louis Missouri is in custody for the shooting that allegedly killed another student and his friend early Wednesday morning. Wayne turned himself in Thursday night after he learned he was wanted for 1st degree murder. The Shooting Occurred during an altercation outside some dorm rooms.
Halloween is a time for celebration, but State Fire Marshal Butch Browning reminds the public some costumes and decorations are highly flammable. Browning says costumes should have a fire retardant coating, so they don’t easily burn. He also says nearly half of all home fires during Halloween are a result of decorations too close to a heat source.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, there are over 10-thousand fires in American each year in the days leading up to and following Halloween.
Changes have been made to Mega Millions. It will result in larger multi-state jackpot prizes, but the price of a ticket has increased from one to two dollars. Louisiana Lottery Spokesperson Kimberly Chopin says the higher ticket price will mean the starting jackpot starts at 40 million, instead of 15 million dollars. Chopin says the odds of winning of the jackpot will increase, but other enhancements to the game will lead to more winners for the smaller prizes. Chopin says the first drawing for the revised Mega Millions game is tomorrow night.
Police in Gonzales arrested four men Sunday morning accused of stealing the ATM machine from a Gonzales convenience store after ramming a truck into the storefront.
At least one of the suspects has been linked to a similar convenience store burglary case in the same area earlier this year. All four men are from Houston, Texas.
Whether we like it or not, flooding is a disaster that happens in Louisiana. An LSU AgCenter building science instructor has found an effective way to repair flooded homes at a quicker pace. Bill Robinson calls it wet-proofing by using glass faced drywall. He says it’s easy to dry out these walls if they get damaged. There are some downsides. The first question that comes up is the cost. There is about a 25 percent increase in construction costs, but Robinson says the long term benefits are worth it.
Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson was taken to Ochsner Hospital following Sunday's game against the Chicago Bears for precautionary reasons. The 90 year old Benson was feeling a little weak and worn out after the game before being taken to the hospital. He had a busy weekend after attending the Saints' Hall of Fame event, the Pelicans and Cavaliers game, and then Sunday's game against the Bears. Saints spokesman Greg Bensel said Benson was "heading to get checked out and then home for rest.
LSU moved up three spots to No. 20 in the Amway coaches poll released Sunday and four spots to No. 19 in the AP top 25. The Tigers were off this week and travel to play top-ranked Alabama) on Saturday night in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Coach Ed Orgeron's Tigers carry with them a three-game winning streak. The Crimson Tide has won 29 consecutive regular season games and owns a six-game win streak against LSU.
The Saints are on a five game winning streak after beating the Chicago Bears 20-12. New Orleans did a lot of things well, the defense gave up just one touchdown, quarterback Drew Brees threw for 299 yards. The Saints are now 5-2 and host 2-5 Tampa Bay this Sunday.
News for Friday 102717
By Dave Graichen
Authorities say the man who murdered a woman whose body was found in Pineville last week, is also the person that allegedly killed two people, Kendrick Horn and Jeremy Norris, who’s burnt bodies were found in a ditch on Old Boyce Highway that same morning. Rapides Sheriff William Hilton says Matthew Sonnier now faces three counts of first-degree murder. Hilton says they also arrested Sonnier’s sister, Ebony Sonnier and she’s facing charges that could result in the death penalty for the murder of Horn and Norris. Pineville Police have upgraded the murder charge of Matthew Sonnier to first-degree murder and now his sister is also facing the same charge for the stabbing death of Latish White.
President Trump’s declaration against the opioid crisis today helps the state choose how they will use future federal funds to fight a problem that increased by 12 percent in 2015 alone. Governor Edwards has sued opioid manufactures and Trump has said he would like to do the same, calling it a national crisis. The declaration will help mobilize additional federal resources for states.
Another fraternity on LSU’s campus has been shut down. The Board of Directors for Lambda Chi (like sky) Alpha voted earlier this week to close the house at LSU, because it was unsafe and didn’t promote a healthy environment. The fraternity was put on probation in May of 2016, because of alleged hazing incidents.
A 191 million dollar Powerball jackpot ticket was sold last night at a gas station in Eunice. Louisiana Lottery Spokesperson Kim Chopin says the last time the Bayou State saw a jackpot winner was in May of 2013. She says in 2008, a player won the second largest jackpot of 97 million dollars. She says if the winner chooses the cash option, they’ll receive $119 million.
Good news for Louisiana’s tourism industry. Nearly 25 percent of the new jobs in the state were related to tourism. Over six-thousand new travel related jobs were created in the last 12 months, based on data from the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics. Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser says not only is the industry creating jobs, but it’s bringing in a large portion of the state’s tax revenue…
The Lafayette Fire Department says a two-year-old died in a morning house fire yesterday. Officials say they attempted to rescue the toddler, but the flames were too intense. Two adults and an infant were able to escape. Investigators believe the deadly blaze started in the living room.
The Board of Regents is requesting 192 million dollars more in state funding for public colleges in 2018. The money would go straight to the four college systems as they suffered budget cuts for years. It’s unlikely the request will be granted by lawmakers or Governor Edwards because the legislature is still looking at how to stop from falling off a 1 billion dollar fiscal cliff.
The University of Louisiana at Monroe now has a Doppler weather radar, helping to bridge a gap in identifying severe storms in northeast Louisiana. ULM received a 3-million-dollar grant through the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness to acquire a radar to assist weather forecasters.
The State Fair of Louisiana kicks off today in Shreveport. Live entertainment includes performances by The Hollow Decks, Pokey Bear, Lenny Cooper, Frank Foster and more. Find out more at statefairoflouisiana.com.
Louisiana is set to get nearly $2 million from a settlement with General Motors. 49 states settled with GM over allegations the automaker concealed safety issues connected to ignition switch related defects.
The World Series resumes tonight in Texas as the Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros face off in game three. The series is tied at one game apiece. The survivors and victims of Hurricane Harvey will be honored before tonight's game. Hear the game starting at 6 on ESPN 1410 and 93.1 HD3
News for Thursday 102617
By Dave Graichen
Legendary New Orleans singer, songwriter, and pianist Fats Domino passed away yesterday at the age of 89. Domino was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986 and was a great influence for many Louisiana performers. New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival producer Quint Davis was a long-time friend of Domino and says the global star never forgot his roots, which was reflected in his music. Domino had 30 top 40 hits including 23 gold singles. There is no word on any pending funeral arrangements.
Grambling State University President Rick Gallot says they are beefing up security, after a gunman killed two 23-year-old men from Farmerville after an altercation in a dorm room. Gallot says he spoke with Governor John Bel Edwards, who offered Grambling additional resources for the upcoming homecoming weekend. Gallot says this was not a random shooting, as Earl Andrews and Monquiarious Caldwell were targeted. He says students should feel safe on campus.
Jason Alden will perform tonight at Champion’s Square in New Orleans at his first outside concert since the horrific Las Vegas shooting that left 58 people dead and 546 injured. General Manager of the Superdome and Champion’s Square Alan Freeman says they are looking at the tragedy as a onetime occurrence but safety is still their number one concern. Alden has told fans he will not let the incident in Vegas stop him from performing.
A lawsuit has been filed by Lambda Legal on behalf of William “Liam” Pierce claiming their client was offered a job by the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office that was later rescinded when they learned Pierce had HIV. Attorney Scott Schoettes (shotis) says that suit is asking for Pierce to be employed as deputy. The Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office says they don’t comment on current litigation.
As part of his campaign to educate the public on the Criminal Justice Reforms going into effect November 1st, Governor John Bel Edwards has released three videos featuring community leaders who were active in passing the legislation. Edwards says he wants to highlight the necessity of criminal justice reform in Louisiana, the reduced cost to taxpayers and the increased safety that will result from this reform for communities across the state.
LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva believes attendance at games in Tiger Stadium would be improved if they started selling beer. Speaking to the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation Quarterback Club, Alleva said they have to do a better job of making the fan experience at LSU games more friendly; and he feels beer would be a good place to start. He says hes continuing to push the SEC to change its alcohol policy.
Tulane University has received a five-year 1.8-million-dollar grant to study a possible link between traumatic stress and alcohol abuse. Researcher Jeff Tasker says humans with post-traumatic stress disorder are more likely to abuse alcohol than the general population and this project will hopefully provide insight into why.
News for Wednesday 102517
By Dave Graichen
A shooting at Grambling State University overnight has left two men dead. Lincoln Parish officials are saying the incident happened during an altercation in a courtyard, the shooter fleeing the scene. KNOE has reported the victims were two 23 year old students from Farmerville.
The Interior Department plans to put nearly 77-million acres in the Gulf of Mexico on sale for energy companies to perform oil and gas development. President of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association Don Briggs hopes energy companies will take advantage of the largest oil and gas lease sale in U-S history. A lease sale last August drew a lukewarm response from energy producers.
Country music superstar George Strait will headline a scaled down 2018 Bayou Country Superfest. The show will be May 27th inside the Mercedes Benz Superdome. Chris Stapleton, Little Big Town, Kacey Musgraves, and Midland will also perform that Sunday.
The family of a 38-year-old mother of four was left heartbroken and confused Tuesday morning after authorities said she was killed by her husband in an apparent murder-suicide in a rural area in the southern part of Livingston Parish. The brother and parents of Sherry Toney said they are at a loss for what could have driven 34-year-old Patrick Toney to shoot his wife of seven years and then turn the gun on himself inside their home Monday night. Police and friends say there were no indications of any abuse in the household.
An 18-year-old and 26-year-old man have been arrested in a shooting that wounded two young girls in Natchitoches. Tyrease Evans and Demario Davis are facing charges of attempted first degree murder. Natchitoches Police spokesperson Kelly Parks says multiple subjects were shooting at each other in the area of Reba Street on Sunday afternoon. The two children are expected to fully recover.
Kenner Representative Julie Stokes says her treatment for breast cancer is going well as she goes through 5-months of chemotherapy treatment, which forced her to drop out of the race for State Treasurer. Stokes says she is now in her second round of treatment, which is more intense, but the results so far are positive. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Stokes says this is a great opportunity to share her story about the disease. One in eight women in the U.S. will develop breast cancer. Stokes says even if you think it’s nothing, get checked, because she’s fighting for her life right now.
Louisiana has earned an A-Plus in a National Small Business Survey. It’s an improvement from the C-plus grade the state got in 2016. The survey group Thumbtack awarded the grade based on the friendliness of businesses, the ease of hiring new employees and several other factors. Louisiana scored better than neighboring states Arkansas and Mississippi, scoring A and A-minus respectively.
The Union Parish Sheriff’s Office says a man was arrested for allegedly stealing a car with a baby inside. They say the suspect reported he did not know the child was in the vehicle at the time; but upon making the discovery he returned the car. The investigation is ongoing.
Forecasters are continuing to monitor a broad area of low pressure in the southwestern Caribbean Sea. The National Hurricane Center says the disturbance has a 50 percent chance of developing into a tropical system over the next five days.
Veterans in southwest Louisiana have a new facility for medical care. The Lake Charles VA Community Outpatient Clinic recently opened a 24-thousand-square-foot office. Director of the Alexandria VA System Pete Dancy says this will expand care for some seven-thousand in the Lake Charles area with 26-hundred vets actively using VA services. The closest outpatient facility prior to the opening was in Jennings.
First year head coach Will Wade is quickly making his mark on the LSU men’s basketball program. In just one season, he’s turned over the roster and is putting together one of the top recruiting classes in the nation for next year. LSU will tip-off its new season on November 10th at home against Alcorn State.
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