News for Tuesday 022117
By Dave Graichen
The clock is ticking on lawmakers finding a resolution to the state’s 304-million dollar midyear budget deficit. The battle is over the use of rainy day dollars. The House proposes using 75-million, while the senate and Governor John Bel Edwards prefers 99-million dollars. Baton Rouge Representative Rick Edmonds says Republicans believe they’ve already compromised enough. Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, Gene Reynolds, says the House Republicans plan to use only 75-million from the Rainy Day Fund is full of budget gimmicks, as it has been in the past. The session must end by midnight on Wednesday.
The 56-year-old woman who tackled a man who was attacking a Baton Rouge Police officer on Sunday morning has been deemed a hero. Vickie Williams-Tillman was driving when she saw 28-year-old Thomas Bennett and a police officer in a physical altercation. Tillman called 911 and proceeded to jump on Bennett’s back and knocked a baton out of his hand which he had taken from the officer. She refused to let good of the man until police arrived.
The search is ongoing for three escaped Avoyelles Parish inmates. Sheriff Doug Anderson says 31-year-old Blake Reine, 23-year-old Joseph James, and 22-year-old Andre Steward escaped from a detention center near Bunkie on Saturday night.
If Louisianans want better roads and bridges, the Department of Transportation will need an additional $700 million a year. That’s according to DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson, who says Louisiana is one of only five states that hasn’t adjusted its transportation revenue stream in nearly 30 years. He says that’s why Louisiana’s roads are the 8th worst in the nation. Wilson says there is an appetite at the capitol to build new roads, but not to pay for them. There’s been talk of raising the gas tax by a few pennies, but Wilson says it wouldn’t be enough to cover the needs around the state. Funding for roads will be discussed during the regular session in April.
Covington Representative Paul Hollis plans to propose a bill for the regular session that would make it easier to remove a politician from office. He says it currently takes signatures from 33-percent of a jurisdiction’s registered voters to recall a politician in Louisiana. Hollis says the current requirement makes it nearly impossible to remove a politician from a large jurisdiction. He says this was evidenced when former St. Tammany coroner Peter Galvan could not be removed, even after he was indicted for using state tax dollars for personal gain. He says that’s why his bill would only affect big districts with 25-thousand qualified voters or more.
State Police is looking into a report by the Advocate newspaper that shows four state troopers made unnecessary stops to the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas while driving to a law enforcement conference in San Diego. L-S-P Superintendent, Colonel Mike Edmonson, says he’ll make sure this kind of behavior doesn’t happen again.
Do you feel politically stressed? A report from the American Psychological Association finds, no matter what party you are, anxiety over political matters is at an all time high. Michelle Many (Main-eee) with the LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans says they mostly see that this is due to constant social and other media viewing, and the best way to calm do is to avoid that type of activity.
LSU is ranked anywhere from second to fifth in the latest college baseball polls after winning three games this past weekend. LSU’s pitchers only allowed two earned runs and the Tigers crossed the plate 25 times. The Tigers are at UNO Tonight. That game is blacked out everywhere but Baton Rouge.
Tonight, it’s LSU Men’s Basketball. Tonight the tigers play host to Auburn Airtime 5:30p on KSYL 970 / 100.3 HD3
The Pelicans have the best front court in the NBA as a result of acquiring Center DeMarcus Cousins from the Sacramento Kings. That’s the opinion of Jake Madison who writes for Bourbon Street Shots. Madison believes Cousins will help the Pelicans make a push for the playoffs this season. New Orleans is currently 2.5 games back of Denver for the 8th and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
News for Monday 022017
By Dave Graichen
There’s three days left in the special session and the big argument continues to be over how much money to use from the rainy day fund to address the $304 million budget shortfall. Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat says Governor John Bel Edwards recommended using $119 million, but House Republicans only support using 75-million in rainy day dollars and deeper cuts to reduce state spending. The Senate approved it’s own version of the budget cut bill last night and it includes 99-million dollars from the rainy day fund. It will likely take a committee made up of House and Senate members to iron out a compromise on the two bills.
The US Department of Housing and Urban Development approved Louisiana’s plan for spending the first 438 million dollars for flood recovery. The governor’s Deputy Chief of Staff Julie Baxter Payer says most of the money will go to low income families who are elderly or disabled but another 1.2 billion dollars was approved to go to other affected homeowners.
The Louisiana House approved a measure that would reduce state spending but 115 million dollars over the next four months. House Appropriations Chairman Cameron Henry says economic downturn has led to lower tax revenues for the state and agencies must make the cuts to reflect what the state can afford.
Louisiana’s Medicaid expansion has reached a new milestone, with more than 400,000 people enrolled for health services through the government financed program that started in July. The Department of Health announced in announcing the figures says the program is driving down Louisiana’s uninsured rate. The agency said more than 58,700 of Medicaid expansion enrollees have received at least one preventive care visit with a health provide
The state Department of Education has changed requirements for the Child Care Assistance Program, which provides federal funds so low income families can pay for child care while going to work or school. Assistant Superintendent of Early Childhood Jenna Conway says
previously, there were very strict regulations where families were required to work at least 30 hours a week to be eligible for childcare assistance. Now, families with special needs children who work at least 15 hours a week are now eligible to receive childcare funds.
The University of Louisiana at Lafayette announces the expansion of their Louisiana Legacy Scholarship. Vice President for Enrollment Management Dr. DeWayne Bowie (BOO-ee) says the scholarship is designed to bring out of state students with Louisiana ties back to the state. He says the scholarship covers out of state fees for these students.
The Department of Children and Family Services is allowing hot food to be bought with SNAP and Disaster food assistance in the seven parishes that were hit hard by tornadoes last week. Affected individuals can buy hot food until March 31st. Hot food is typically not allowed to be purchased with these state food assistance cards.
The Louisiana Office of Tourism has launched a new social media campaign to get Louisianans to promote tourism in our state. Lt Governor Billy Nungesser says the hashtag #OnlyInLouisiana gives residents the chance to be tourism ambassadors for the Bayou State because no one can tell our story better than Louisianans. To sign up to be an ambassador visit LouisianaTravel.com/ambassador.
A 30-day closed season for crabbing begins today in the Bayou State. Crustacean Program Manager for Marine Fisheries at LDWF Jeff Marx says the crab population is down in Louisiana. He says they’re hoping this ban will help boost the crab population. Marx says this is one of the slower periods in the year for crabbing, which is why they chose this time of year to implement the ban.
Coach Paul Mainieri says the opening weekend to the 2017 season could not have gone any better for the 2nd ranked Tigers. On Saturday, LSU swept a doubleheader from Army, highlighted by Jared Poche’s no-hitter. On Sunday, the Tigers took down Air Force 10-3.
LSUA Mens’ Basketball picked up its 40 th straight win at home rolling to a 71-47 win over the Texas College Steers Saturday evening at The Fort. The Generals play at
Southern University at Shreveport tomorrow.
The LSUA Women came one step closer to clinching a spot in the RRAC Postseason Tournament by controlling Texas College and rolling to a 90-72 win over the Steers Saturday afternoon at The Fort.
The winningest coach in Bossier City’s Parkway High School football history has been dismissed and it appears its over comments David Feaster made about Alabama. Feaster said in a radio interview that Alabama coaches have been banned from Parkway, because of the “unethical” recruitment of former quarterback Brandon Harris. Apparently, Parkway administration didn’t like the attention this statement was bringing to their school.
News for Friday 021717
By Dave Graichen
49 year old Stacy Bender, A former Rapides Parish Sheriff's Deputy now has a trial date. Bender, who was arrested in July of last year for soliciting a prostitute multiple times, had been with the RPSO since 1999. Rapides Parish Assistant District Attorney Cheryl Carter said that a plea deal had been offered, but that Bender wanted a trial instead. He’ll get his way, the trial date was set for Aug. 7.
Today the state House will decide how much, if any, of the rainy day fund to use to close a $304 million budget shortfall. New Orleans Representative Walt Leger says lawmakers passed a budget last year describing what they want to accomplish for the people of Louisiana, and it’s the legislature’s responsibility to meet those promises. He says the best way to accomplish that would be to use 119-million dollars from the rainy day fund.
A bill up for debate today on the House floor would use $74 million from the state’s savings account, but Baton Rouge Representative Rick Edmonds co-authored a bill that would use no rainy day dollars to close the budget gap. He says after some investigating, he found areas in state government that can be cut to reduce the shortfall. Edmonds’ bill is also up for debate today on the House floor. He says he understands that no cuts are easy, but lawmakers have a responsibility to balance the budget.
Baton Rouge lawmakers are looking to offer a constitutional amendment that would ask the public if they would be willing to pay an additional 23-cents in gas taxes to fund major highway projects. Representative Steve Carter says the additional revenues from the tax could pay for a new Mississippi River bridge and the widening of I-10. The constitutional amendment would be considered in the regular session that begins in April.
Today is Coach “O” Day in Lafourche Parish to honor LSU’s new head football coach Ed Orgeron. Orgeron is a native of Larose, where an event will be held at the local civic center at 6:00 p.m. During the banquet, Orgeron’s high school football jersey will be retired and fellow members of the 1977 South LaFourche High School football team will be recognized for winning the state championship.
Louisiana State Police is ramping up enforcement in New Orleans for the Carnival season and this weekend’s NBA All-Star Game. Trooper Melissa Matey says they’ll have an additional 165 troopers in the Crescent City. She says they rely also heavily on the public and encourages folks to let an officer know if you see something suspicious.
After much ado at the state capitol over attempts to expel Napoleonville Senator Troy Brown, he said in a press conference it is with great sadness that he resigns from the Senate. Brown said that there was pressure from the Senate body for him to resign. He says he did not go to trial for either of his two domestic violence convictions, instead entering no contest pleas, to spare his family from the ordeal of a trial. He says that’s also why he’s resigning from the Senate.
DeSoto Sheriff Rodney Arbuckle says crews have recovered two bodies from the site of a helicopter crash at Wallace Lake. He says the FAA and other agencies are investigating the circumstances of the crash itself, while his deputies are working on recovering pieces of the chopper. He says the biggest challenge is the two hours it takes to get to the site. The victims are believed to be a married couple from Center, Texas.
Governor John Bel Edwards re-election campaign announces he raised $3.6 million in campaign funds during his first year in office. According to finance reports, the governor ended 2016 with $3.2 million on hand.
The Natchez Democrat is reporting that, for the second time since December, the Police chief of Ferriday has been suspended. Mayor Sherrie Jacobs said the discipline of Arthur Lewis without pay for 30 days is related to administrative issues at the Ferriday Police Department. Jacobs had previous suspended Lewis in December after another incident within the department.
A highly anticipated college baseball season gets underway tonight for the second ranked LSU Tigers as they host Air Force at 7 PM. Coach Paul Mainieri brings back a veteran team that will also feature a few freshmen who are expected to do great things. Mainieri says he can’t wait to get it started. Alex Lange will start on the mound for the Tigers. Airtime 6:30 on KSYL 970 AM and 100.3 HD3.
It is once again NBA All-star weekend in the Big Easy. President and CEO of the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation Jay Cicero says this is the third time in 9 years that New Orleans has hosted an all-star game, which is a record return rate. Cicero says the big game takes place on Sunday in the Smoothie King Center, but there will be plenty of festivities all weekend. You can hear the game starting at 6:30 Sunday evening on ESPN 1410 and 93.1 HD3
The LSU Lady Tigers Beat Texas A&M Last night the final 67 – 63 The ladies are now 18 and 8 on the season.
News for Thursday 021617
By Dave Graichen
The House Appropriations Committee approves legislation that takes only $74 million from the rainy day fund, instead of the $119 million the governor recommended. The vote comes after a heated back and forth between the governor’s chief budget advisor and Republican lawmakers. The budget plan that’s now heading to the House calls for cuts to prisons, colleges, and public schools, areas the governor is seeking to protect.
The APD reports 18-year-old Tevin Landers of Pineville has been arrested and booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center, charged with simple burglary of a dwelling on Alma Street and possession of a controlled dangerous substance. Landers was also wanted on warrants from the Pineville Police Department for simple burglary and criminal trespassing. Police say this is the 17th time Landers has been charged with a crime in the past year.
Alexandria Police report a man has been arrested for allegedly slashing the tire of at least 21 cars in the Martin Park area. 43-year-old Larry Simon Jr was booked into the Rapides Parish Detention center charged with 21 counts of criminal damage to property. His bond was set at $105,000. It’s believed Simon was intoxicated at the time of the incident.
Christopher Martin Glasscock, a former Rapides Parish teacher pleaded guilty on Tuesday to seven counts of prohibited sexual conduct between educator and student. Glasscock, who is 47, pleaded guilty after the charges were reduced to misdemeanors. At the time of his June 2015 arrest, Glasscock was listed as the agriculture teacher at Buckeye High School.
During his 11th monthly call in radio show, Governor John Bel Edwards announced his support for the construction of the Bayou Bridge Pipeline. Edwards says while the pipeline would only create about 12 permanent jobs, it would create more jobs during construction and job retention for others. The proposed pipeline would stretch across 11 parishes from Calcasieu to St. James, and it’s facing fierce opposition from environmental groups.
Triple-A released their annual worst drivers on the road report and what did it find? It confirmed what many people believe, millennials are the worst on the road and the survey finds they’re more reckless than teens. AAA Spokesperson Don Redman says drivers between the ages of 19 to 24 seem to be distracted behind the wheel.
The National Safety Council finds motor vehicle deaths in 2016 rose 6-percent nationally last year and in Louisiana they’ve increased by five-percent since 2014. Ken Kolosh with the NSC says they blame distracted driving for the increase. In Louisiana 661 people died in motor-vehicle deaths in 2016, nationally the number exceeded 40-thousand for the first time since 2007
It was tense on the Senate floor yesterday at the first hearing to expel state senator Troy Brown from office because of two separate convictions regarding domestic violence. A vote on expulsion is scheduled for Monday.
AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety finds through a survey that millennials, 19 to 24-year-olds are more dangerous drivers than teenagers. Local AAA spokesperson Don Redman says their survey found that millennials are more likely to send a text message while driving, exceed the speed limit by 10 to 15 miles per hour and run a red light…
Thanks to an animal rescue group in New Orleans 39 pit bulls in Opelousas were not put to death Wednesday, because Tia Torres of Pit Bulls and Parolees have stepped forward to provide the resources to keep the animals alive. Stacey Alleman with St. Landry Parish Animal Control says they put out a plea for help on social media and it’s been successful.
A former St. John Parish sheriff’s deputy will spend 10 years in prison for spreading HIV to two juveniles. Prosecutors say 33-year-old Barlon Cammon transmitted the virus during multiple encounters, with 15 and 16-year-old boys. Cammon was not a deputy at the time of the incidents.
Bossier City Police are investigating an anti-muslim flier that was pasted onto a sign in front of a mosque. Spokesperson Mark Natale says it reads “Imagine a Muslim-free America. A second flier stuck to a brick sign said “What made American great: Blood and Soil.” Authorities believe the signs are from a white nationalist group called American Vanguard.
Teen mothers are seeing better pregnancy and parenting outcomes thanks to a program by Children’s Coalition for Northeast Louisiana. The Jus4Me program was funded by a $50-thousand grant from United Healthcare Community Plan of Louisiana. CEO Allison Young says 89-percent of the young mothers used the health and referral services at school-based health centers regularly, which had tremendous outcomes for these mothers’ children. Young says 97-percent of the mothers in the program stayed in school both during and after their pregnancies.
News for Wednesday 021517
By Dave Graichen
Legislation that would allow lawmakers to tap into the rainy day fund is heading to the Senate floor. The bill moved out of the Senate Finance Committee yesterday after lawmakers spend much of the day behind closed doors debating how to resolve a $304 million midyear budget deficit. Senate President John Alario says using the fund would reduce the cuts to state agencies, but some republican lawmakers are reluctant to tap into the state’s savings account. The debate is expected to continue Today. Some political insiders are saying the session may end without a solution to the deficit.
FEMA announced yesterday the federal government's flood insurance program has yet to pay out on hundreds of policies on buildings that flooded in August of last year. After the flood, policy holders filed nearly 30,000 claims. Many received some of the money up-front. To receive the total eligible amount, property owners had to receive inspections by claims adjusters and submit "Proof of Loss" forms. According to FEMA There are more than 700 Proof of Loss forms left to process.
The Webster Parish tourism executive director who is accused of broadcasting a 30 minute long private video meant for her husband instead of to her work Instagram account has been fired. Lynn Dorsey was voted to be removed by the board on a 3-2 vote. Her attorney says legal action is possible because Dorsey did have a contract.
Baton Rouge Judge Mike Erwin denies he used racial slurs towards a black woman at the local restaurant Sammy’s Grill. The alleged incident led to Erwin being banned from all of Sammy’s establishments. In a statement, Erwin says he never has and never will utter the language he’s accused of saying. Erwin also says the police report did not find a single witness who heard him use the n-word that night.
Former Saints player Robert Meachem began serving a 30-day jail sentence Monday, having failed to pay nearly $400,000 in child support and alimony owed to his ex-wife. To get out, Meachem needs to cough up at least $100,000 for Andrea Rhodes, with whom he has two children. Otherwise, he will be behind bars until March 15.
Two separate resolutions have been filed regarding Napoleonville Senator Troy Brown, one that seeks to suspend him and another seeking his expulsion after two different domestic abuse convictions. Baton Rouge Senator Yvonne Dorsey’s resolution calls for Brown to be fined 25-hundred dollars or suspended for six weeks, while competing resolution filed by two other senators would expel him.
Two Florida residents have been arrested after repeatedly swiping several access cards to buy large amounts of gift cards at Lowe’s in Baton Rouge. Sgt. L’ Jean McKneely says the pair are charged with multiple counts of fraud and theft. He says authorities believe they are part of a ring.
A new show airs tonight on Investigation Discovery called Murder Chose Me that highlights the murder cases of a former Shreveport Police detective. Rod Demery’s says the show is centered around many of the homicide cases he worked in his 17 years with Shreveport PD but also some elements are woven in about why he became a detective. Murder Chose Me premieres tonight at 9 p.m. central time on ID.
Witness report a highly intoxicated 20 year old Southern Miss student rammed a New Orleans hotel window and fell to his death from 11th story over the weekend. One witness said he rammed the window three times with his shoulder before it broke. He then fell out. Police say their investigation is continuing.
The Louisiana Family Forum presented a family advocate award Tuesday to State Rep. Kenny Havard, St. Francisville, who joked last year in the Legislature about regulating the ages and weights of strippers. Gene Mills, president of the Family Forum, presented the award to Havard at a Ronald Reagan Newsmaker lunch. Havard submitted a written amendment to a human trafficking bill that would mandate dancers at strip clubs be younger than 28 and weigh less than 160 pounds. He ended up withdrawing the amendment. But Havard would not apologize, saying instead that political correctness was "ruining the state."
News for Tuesday 021417
By Dave Graichen
On the opening night of the special session, Governor John Bel Edwards laid out his reasons on why the state legislature should use 119-million dollars from the rainy day fund to address a 304-million dollar shortfall. Edwards says without using it, cuts will likely have to be made to higher education, public schools and social services like foster care. Edwards says the Rainy Day fund was tapped four times during former Governor Bobby Jindal’s administration.
A resolution has been filed for the special session that seeks to expel Napoleonville Senator Troy Brown from the legislature, because of two recent domestic abuse convictions. Slidell Senator Sharon Hewitt filed the measure along with Baton Rouge Senator Dan Claitor. Hewitt says anytime an elected official breaks the law, it erodes the public’s trust in all elected leaders. It will take 26 out of 39 votes to expel the senator.
The APD reports a Bunkie woman has been arrested after she allegedly ran over her companion with a truck and then tried to tell officers that it was a hit and run. The incident occurred late Sunday morning in the 1100 block of MacArthur Drive. 25-year-old Shalynne Johnson has been charged with second-degree murder and remains in the Parish lockup. The name of the male victim has yet to be released.
The APD reports a badly decomposed body was found near the Purple Heart bridge Sunday evening. The body was dressed in men's clothing and appeared to be a male. "However, due to the state of the body, this is not confirmed. Police say an investigation is continuing.
The RPSO reports what appears to have been three pipe bombs were found yesterday morning alongside a road in the Kolin area by an inmate road crew. The sheriff office's bomb squad and Kolin substation detectives responded. Evidence will be sent to the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms for analysis. The investigation is continuing. Anyone with information is asked to call the RPSO.
A school bus overturned in St. Helena Parish Monday morning, sending dozens of children to area hospitals. State Trooper Dustin Dwight says the bus was travelling on LA 43 about to make a left hand turn near Greensburg when it was hit by another vehicle. Dwight says the kids’ injuries range from minor to moderate.
Officials in St. Charles Parish say the fire at a Phillips 66 pipeline is finally out after burning for four days; and the body of the missing worker is slated to be recovered. They say the man is presumed dead at the scene of the blaze; and once the area is completely safe to enter they will begin an investigation.
The Environmental Protection Agency has approved a product called Kaput that could be used to lessen the state’s large wild hog population. But state veterinarian Jim LaCour says there’s a major concern that other non-target animals, especially the Louisiana Black Bear could it eat it and die. LaCour says the bears were recently removed from the federal Endangered Species List. It will take approval from the state department of ag before it’s used in Louisiana.
A new website has launched that seeks to help Louisianans find jobs in the restaurant industry. Wendy Waren with the Louisiana Restaurant Association says they are excited to connect employers with their ProStart program, which helps people without restaurant experience get the training they need to embark on this career path. The site is LouisianaHospitalityJobs.com.
Covington Representative John Schroeder says you can now report wasteful state spending to a website called Stop-Louisiana-waste-dot-com. Schroeder says he will personally view and investigate every entry.
It’s a basketball double header as the LSUA Generals, Men and Women, play host to St. Thomas – Houston at the Rapides Parish Coliseum Thursday evening. It’s the Women first at 5pm followed by the men at 7. Free Tickets for the event are available at the Cenla Broadcasting studios on Texas avenue today from 9 to 4. They are first come, first served.
Quarterback Brandon Harris has announced he’s transferring from LSU. Harris announced his decision on twitter and said he decided to leave LSU after consulting with his family and head coach Ed Orgeron. Harris lost his job as starting quarterback in September after a rough start to the season. The former Parkway star says he’s been given his full release, so he can transfer to any school.
News for Monday 021317
By Dave Graichen
A 10-day special session begins tonight as Governor John Bel Edwards is asking lawmakers to use a combination of cuts and money from the rainy day fund to close a 304-million dollar midyear budget deficit. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne says it’s their recommendation that legislators approve the use of 119-million dollars in rainy day dollars. But, that will still leave 185-million dollars in cuts and shuffling of dollars to close the deficit. Republican House Appropriations Chairman Cameron Henry proposes to cut more than what the governor recommends, because the state faces another significant deficit next fiscal year.
Ask and you shall receive. Late last week Governor John Bel Edwards has sent a 23 page letter to the White House asking for a federal disaster declaration for five parishes following Tuesday’s tornado outbreak. Saturday, he got his request answered. President Donald Trump declared Louisiana a major disaster area freeing up desperately needed emergency federal aid.
6 months ago, the worst disaster to strike the United States in over 4 years hit Louisiana; “The Great Flood of 2016.” So where to things stand now? In Livingston Parish, approximately 80% of residential and commercial structures were damaged by flooding. Parish President Layton Ricks says many residents are back in their homes. Ricks says recovery has moved along much faster than he thought it would, but there’s still a long way to go.
Iberville Parish authorities have arrested a father and son from Florida who were running the largest gas skimmer operation in the state’s history. Sheriff Brett Stassi says they apprehended the duo during a traffic stop. Stassi says in their vehicle they found gas skimmers and equipment to make fake credit cards. Skimmers are placed on card-readers at gas pumps and it gives crooks the ability to steal credit card numbers and PIN information.
Pop-star and Kentwood native Britney Spears is sending out thanks to those who sent out thoughts and prayers for her 8-year-old niece who was injured in a horrible ATV accident in Tangipahoa Parish, but has now been released from the hospital. On Twitter, Spears says prayers were answered for Maddie, and the family appreciates the support more than you’ll ever know.
A federal indictment has been handed down against a Louisiana veterinarian accused of providing trainers of horses with syringes of a drug that would impact the outcome of the race. Kyle James Hebert has clinics in Lake Charles and Sunset and prosecutors say the drug he supplied is known as “frog juice” and it was used on at least four horses.
A Phillips 66 employee remains unaccounted for after a pipeline explosion that took place in St. Charles Parish on Thursday night. The company says six people were working at the site when the blast occurred. Todd Denton with Phillips 66 expressed his sorrow for those involved at a press conference Friday morning. The missing person has not been identified. Denton says regular maintenance was taking place at the time of the explosion.
Former Governor Kathleen Blanco is honored to hear Oscar nominated actress Annette Bening has been cast to portray her in the upcoming FX television series, Katrina: American Crime Story. She says the show will explore the extreme poverty of New Orleans residents before and after the hurricane. Blanco expects there will be about 13 episodes during the season, which is scheduled to air in 2018. She says she would be happy to sit down and talk with Annette Bening to help her play up the character.
News for Friday 021017
By Dave Graichen
It didn’t take a Rapides Parish jury long to decided Thursday that Mark Hayes was guilty on two counts of second-degree murder in the Feb. 13, 2015, shooting deaths of Richard Prenell and Kiasha Clovis in an Alexandria apartment. Hayes showed no emotion as the verdicts were read just about 45 minutes after jurors began deliberating after two days of testimony. Hayes sister, Melissa Hayes, pleaded guilty on Monday to one count of conspiracy to commit second-degree murder. She is scheduled to be sentenced on Monday.
Darren Olagues, president and CEO of Cleco has resigned his position. In December, Olagues was charged in connection to an alleged domestic abuse incident. The charges against him were dropped in January. But, many believed the bad PR would have made it difficult for Olagues to continue in his position. Peggy Scott, Cleco board chair, will serve as interim CEO of Cleco Corporate Holdings, and William Fontenot has been appointed to serve as interim CEO of Cleco Power. Both appointments are effective immediately. The Cleco board says the search for a successor could take up to 12 months.
Margaurette Beard pleaded not guilty on Thursday to two federal counts of theft stemming from her alleged theft of hundreds of thousands of dollars over decades at the Rapides Parish District Attorney's Office. No court dates have been set in the case. She faces two counts of theft from a program receiving federal funds.
The flu season in Louisiana is ramping up and as the Bayou State has surpassed other states with the number of influenza cases. The state’s flu bug expert, Dr. Frank Welch, says five out of 100 visits to the doctor are for flu like symptoms. An elementary and middle school in the Shreveport area are closed for the next two days because of the number of kids absent due to the flu. Welch says the dominate strain of the flu this year is H3N2. And he says the flu can lead to other serious illnesses, namely, Bronchitis and Pneumonia. Welch says this bad flu season will likely last from six to eight weeks.
The U.S. Chemical Safety Board said Thursday that Wednesday’s deadly explosion at Packaging Corporation America in Beauregard Parish occurred as contractors were welding near a tank during a facility shutdown. Three people were killed and one person remains hospitalized.
A Baton Rouge contractor has been arrested amid allegations he defrauded more than dozen homeowners who flooded in August. That’s according to Ascension Sheriff Jeff Wiley who says 39-year-old Matthew Morris would complicate agreements to rack up thousands in claims. Morris faces a number of charges and his bond has been set at 500-thousand dollars.
A UNO statewide poll finds six-out-of-10 Louisiana residents blame former Governor Bobby Jindal for the state’s budget problems. The Louisiana legislature is set to begin a third special session to correct a budget deficit since Jindal left office. UNO political scientist Ed Chervenak says the state’s fiscal troubles started early in Jindal’s term. Chervenak says even though legislators are set to enter another special session where budget cuts will be required, Governor John Bel Edwards continues to have a strong approval rating of 49-percent.
Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon advises tornado victims not to wait to file a claim. He says while it’s important for consumers to know what their coverage is, there won’t be any flood versus wind controversy with this event. The National Weather Service has confirmed that six tornadoes hit Louisiana on Tuesday damaging hundreds of residences.
A survey by insuranceQuotes finds 39-percent of drivers in the U.S. have never shopped around to find cheaper auto insurance. State Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon says an easy way for drivers to save money on auto insurance is to increase your deductible or lower your coverage limits. He says this is considered self-insuring and taking as much risk as a motorist can reasonably afford. The survey also finds over half of drivers haven’t switched auto insurance companies in at least eight years and 6-percent of motorists have stuck with the same provider for over 30 years.
Attorney General office announces the arrest of two women who allegedly received flood disaster relief money from FEMA that they did not qualify for. Both women received money for property they didn’t even own. In one case $30,000
U.S. Representative Clay Higgins urges new Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly to use social media as a way to vet immigrants. Higgins made the comments during a Homeland Security Committee meeting. Higgins believes a good way to prevent a terrorist from entering the U.S. is to review the social media use of immigrants who apply for a visa…
The National Retail Federation finds this Valentine’s Day consumers are expected to spend 18.2 billion dollars. That’s down from 19.7 billion dollars last year. LSU Marketing Professor Dan Rice says the report also finds the number of people who celebrate the holiday has dropped by nearly 10-percent from 2007 to 54-percent this year. But Rice says this is still a big holiday for retailers. Consumers are expected to spend about 85 dollars on their significant other.
Marvel is shooting a TV series in New Orleans. Louisiana Entertainment Executive Director Chris Stelly says television productions last longer and employ more people than movies and there’s the potential a series can be picked up year after year. He says they’ll be filming in New Orleans and likely in other areas of the state as well. Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger will air on the Freeform channel.
The Saints will stay in Louisiana for training camp this season. The NFL team will train at their facilities in Metairie after holding camp in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia the last three seasons. Coach Sean Payton was very complimentary of the setup at the Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia. But the team let the contract expire after three years and three straight non-playoff seasons.
News for Thursday 020917
By Dave Graichen
Tuesday’s tornado that slammed New Orleans east was unfortunately one for the record books. The National Weather Service says the twister that officials say destroyed 300 buildings and seriously damaged another 640 was an EF 3, the first of its kind in Orleans Parish. That means winds were around 140 miles an hour..
The Saints and the Pelicans are stepping up to help those who were impacted by yesterday’s tornado outbreak. Non-perishable food and other tornado-related items can be dropped off at the teams’ training facilities in Metairie.
Just one day after a tornado ravaged the town of Donaldsonville, Mayor Leroy Sullivan says residents have a lot to be thankful for. He says 15 to 20 homes inside the city limits sustained at least moderate damage, while several more were impacted outside the city, but fortunately no one was seriously injured. Mike Steele with the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness says teams are gathering data, so Louisiana can make a case for federal assistance to help those that lost everything and rebuild public infrastructure.
State Police say three people were killed and seven were injured as a result of an explosion that occurred inside a packaging plant near DeRidder. A Lafayette TV station is reporting the explosion may be the result of a welding operation on a tank that contained wood chips.
Governor John Bel Edwards is expected to unveil his tax reform plan today when he meets with the Committee of 100 in Washington, D.C. President of the Council for a Better Louisiana, Barry Erwin, says comprehensive tax reform is needed because many of the taxes raised in last year’s special sessions will expire next year. Erwin says currently the state relies too heavily on the sales tax to bring in revenue, which has caused sales tax rates to climb over the years. Erwin expects the governor will propose lowering the sales tax and raising the income tax, which would provide a more consistent flow of tax revenue.
12 inmates at the Tangipahoa Parish jail are facing murder charges amid allegations they were involved in beating to death a man who was behind bars on a probation violation. The Sheriff’s Office says 40-year-old Tommy Smith was told by inmates that he wasn’t welcome there and he was attacked. The dozen inmates involved in what was described as a “shark feeding frenzy” are charged with second degree murder.
Mardi Gras season is kicking off in Washington D.C. The Mystick Krewe of Louisiana celebrates the carnival season today through Saturday in the nation’s capital. Political Analyst Bernie Pinsonat says Saturday’s ball is considered the hottest ticket in town. The festivities take place at the Washington Hilton.
A state judge in Baton Rouge has been banned from a popular local restaurant chain after he allegedly used a racial slur towards an african-american woman. The woman shared her experience on Facebook that said Judge Erwin called her the “N” word during an argument over a seat at the bar. No charges were filed against the judge and he denies the accusation, but the owners of Sammys say Judge Erwin is no longer allowed at any of their restaurants.
State Police are looking for a father and son from Thibodaux who were allegedly involved in the kidnapping of a Lafayette man. Trooper Jesse Lagrange says the suspects are 45-year-old Jeffery Slack Senior and 20-year-old Jeffery Slack Junior. Four people have already been arrested in the case where the victim was taken to a residence in Thibodaux, restrained and beaten overnight.
LSU’s All-SEC designated hitter Bryce Jordan will miss the rest of the season after tearing his ACL. Coach Paul Mainieri says the injury occurred at practice as Jordan was chasing a foul ball down the left field line and felt his knee buckle. Tiger Rag Associate Editor James Moran says the injury is a blow to the Tigers. The former Barbe standout was expected to bat clean-up after hitting .293 last season.
News for Wednesday 020817
By Dave Graichen
Governor John Bel Edwards has declared yet another state of emergency in the Bayou State, as his office says at least 7 tornadoes touched down in 6 parishes on Tuesday. New Orleans East sustained the most damage, after a massive twister moved through the Crescent City around 11 a.m. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu says they were extremely lucky there was no loss of life. The Governor’s Office estimates at least 20 people in southeast Louisiana sustained injuries, but no deaths were reported as a result of the twisters. Officials say three of the injuries took place in Ascension Parish and another two in Livingston.
About 10-thousand people remain without power in the New Orleans area and Entergy says it could be three to five days before power is restored. The Louisiana National Guard has been called into the area to help prevent looting.
The National Weather Service is working to confirm exactly how many tornadoes touched down in Louisiana and how much damage they caused. Slidell forecaster Mike Efferson says their preliminary estimates are that 60 homes were damaged by a twister in New Orleans. He says they believe it was at least an EF2. Efferson says other twisters touched down in Ascension and St. James parishes, as well as two tornadoes in Livingston Parish. He says one of the twisters went from Killian in Livingston Parish to Madisonville in St. Tammany Parish.
The APD reports the arrest of an Alexandria man after he allegedly robbed a school employee and her young child early Monday morning at Rosenthal Montessori Elementary School on Monroe Street. The victim had been walking from the school's parking lot to the building with her 4-year-old when a man approached and drew a gun, demanding her bag. The man took the bag, shoving the woman and her child to the ground before running away. A short time later, police arrested 23 year old John Matthews Jr. He was charged with two counts of armed robbery, possession of a firearm by a felon, illegal carrying of a firearm in a school zone and resisting an officer.
Officials with Louisiana College held a press conference yesterday to announce the school’s nursing program is expected to be placed on "conditional approval" status by the Louisiana Board of Nursing after passing rates dropped below what's required by the state. Since being notified of the passage rates, officials at the college have been in contact with the state board about remedying factors that potentially led to that. The school's dean Marilyn Cooksey says they have some strategies in place to improve the scores.
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agent Tyler Wheeler, who was shot in early January near Monroe, is walking a half-mile daily on a treadmill and is due to finish his rehab in Mississippi and return to Monroe this weekend. Wheeler is expected to return to Shreveport’s University Health at some point for additional treatments. While making what is believed to be a routine traffic stop for a possible impaired driver check, Wheeler was shot five times early Jan. 7
A public meeting will be held tonight in Assumption Parish on the proposed Bayou Bridge Pipeline, which will need a permit from the Department of Natural Resources. The 163-mile oil pipeline would run from Lake Charles through the Atchafalaya Basin to St. James Parish. Anne Rolfes with the Louisiana Bucket Brigade says Energy Transfer Partners is one of the companies involved in the pipeline and they’ve had 35 pipeline accidents in two years.
Supporters of the project say it will create jobs and that moving oil through a pipeline is safer than other transportation means like trains and trucks.
Governor John Bel Edwards travels to Washington D.C. today to push Congress for more federal flood aid. This is the governor’s 6th trip to the nation’s capital since the August flood. Edwards says we’ve received 1.6 billion dollars in grant money so far but another two billion is necessary to get victims back in their homes. Edwards says he will meet with all members of the Louisiana Congressional delegation today to discuss his ideas.
The U.S. Senate has confirmed Betsy DeVos as the U.S Education Secretary. The Louisiana Federtion of Teachers says DeVos lacks experience as an educator. L-F-T spokesperson Les Landon says they would prefer an Education Secretary who is a strong supporter of public schools. But the president of the Louisiana Federation for Children, Ann Duplessis, says DeVos will look to provide educational opportunities for all children, regardless of income.
Both of Louisiana’s U-S Senators, John Kennedy and Bill Cassidy, voted to confirm DeVos.
Lawmakers are looking over the Governor’s proposal to eliminate a $304 million midyear deficit, ahead of next week’s special session to debate the plan. Statewide elected officials would see budget reductions, but higher education would be spared. Alexandria Representative Lance Harris says it’s important no stone is left unturned when it comes to spending reductions, but he doesn’t want students to be impacted again. The governor’s plan also includes using $119 million in the rainy day fund to minimize cuts to state agencies.
FEMA has released new recovery numbers on flood relief and indicates that about $4.7 billion dollars in disaster assistance has moved through the state following the devastating August event.
Superstar actress Annette Bening has been cast to play former Governor Kathleen Blanco in the next American Crime Story which will be about Hurricane Katrina. Producers say the next installment of the Emmy award winning franchise will air in 2018.
News for Tuesday 020717
By Dave Graichen
Governor John Bel Edwards released his deficit elimination plan for lawmakers to approve when they gather for a special session that’s scheduled to start next Monday. The governor’s communications director Richard Carbo says large cut in state spending would occur with the Louisiana Department of Health, but he says vital services for patients and hospitals that provide care for the poor would not be impacted. The plan also calls for the use of 119-million dollars in the rainy day fund, something many republican lawmakers oppose.
A class action lawsuit filed today claims Governor Edwards and the state public defender board are doing a poor job funding public defenders. The suit states Louisiana relies mostly on court fees to fund public defender legal services, which includes a fee assessed against indigent defendants. One of the attorneys for the plaintiffs, Mark Cunningham, says that means public defender offices receive more funding for losing cases than winning.
An Alexandria woman accused with her brother in a 2015 double homicide pleaded guilty on Monday to a lesser charge, conspiracy to commit second-degree murder. Both 26 year old Melissa Hayes and 31 year old Mark Hayes were arrested by the APD in February 2015 in connection to the deaths of 25-year-old Richard Prenell and 18-year-old Kiasha Clovis. Mark Hayes is scheduled to stand trial today.
LSU Student Government believes proposed changes to the TOPS scholarship program made by the Board of Regents will have detrimental effects on students and might force some to attend schools in other states. President Zack Faircloth says one proposed change by the board is to require students to take 30 credit hours a year in order to keep the scholarship.
Faircloth says they’ve written a two-page letter with their concerns to the board that oversees public colleges. The Board of Regents also proposed that freshman on TOPS should only have 80-percent of their tuition paid for by the state, while sophomores receive 90-percent, and juniors and seniors receive 100-percent.
Officials estimate that it will cost more than $62 million and years of work to repair flooded schools in Baton Rouge. The Advocate reported that of the 10 schools that were forced to temporarily relocate because of the August flood, just one has been fully repaired and has reopened. Four administrative centers have also been closed since the flood.
Barksdale Air Force Base and Fort Polk will have more protection from potential troop or mission drawdowns after 5th District Congressman Ralph Abraham’s latest House Armed Services Committee assignments. Abraham was assigned the following House Armed Services subcommittees: Emerging Threats and Capabilities; Seapower and Projection Forces; and Military Personnel. The congressman, himself a veteran, lobbied hard to land a spot on Armed Services and said the subcommittee assignments will add to his influence.
State Senator JP Morrell is again bringing equal pay legislation before lawmakers for the upcoming session. The Democrat from New Orleans authored a similar bill last year that failed to make it out of a House committee. Morrell says one of the changes to this measure is that employers would be given a chance to correct a pay inequality. Morrell says business groups asked him to give companies the benefit of the doubt that if they didn’t know about a pay inequality, they should change it themselves before litigation would be on the table. He says this bill also includes language that says equal pay laws should cover both women and men.
The 55-year-old Terrytown man accused of fatally shooting former NFL player Joe McKnight entered a not guilty plea Monday to a charge of second-degree murder. After the arraignment hearing in Jefferson Parish, Ronald Gasser’s attorney told reporters it was a justifiable homicide. A trial date has not been set.
State Education Superintendent John White says increasing the benchmarks for a school to achieve an A in the state’s rating system is one way to raise expectations and help the state comply with a federal education law. He says currently, students only have to earn the most basic math a literacy test scores for a school receive an A rating.
State Superintendent of Education John White travels to Caddo Parish to host a public meeting tonight to discuss recommendations on improving struggling schools in Shreveport. White says 15 out of 66 schools in the parish have “F” letter grades and 22 have “D” letter grades. He says a plan dealing with the future of these schools will be presented to BESE next month, so White says they want to get the public’s input on how to improve them.
A East baton Rouge High School student has been arrested after deputies say he fired a gun in a school hallway. East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Casey Rayborn Hicks says detectives took the juvenile into custody along with the weapon about 10 minutes after the shooting was reported. Hicks says no one was injured. Closer to home, A Glenmora Elementary School student was cited for allegedly bringing an unworkable pellet pistol to school and threatening another student last week.
The Lafayette Police Department has made an arrest in the case of a man who crashed through the front doors of a church this Monday morning. They believe 47-year-old Christopher Guillot was high on drugs when he struck Fatima Church around 7am, and he’s been charged with driving while intoxicated and Aggravated Criminal Damage to Property.
Pop star Britney Spears is asking for prayers for her eight-year-old niece who was injured Sunday in an ATV accident in Tangipahoa. Officials say Maddie Aldridge is in critical but stable condition. The singer from Louisiana posted a photo of Maddie on Twitter, saying she needs all the wishes and prayers for her niece.
Two men have been sentenced in Cameron Parish for their role in the theft of over 500 alligator eggs. Adam Einck with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says 48–year-old Paul Canik took the eggs illegally, and 25-year-old Christopher Trahan transported them. Trahan was ordered to pay a $293 fine. Canick’s fine is $593 and he’s had his egg collection privileges suspended for 18 months.
The former CEO of Hancock and Whitney banks is taking over the reins of a troubled New Orleans bank. First NBC Bank Holding Co. said Monday that it has named Carl Chaney as CEO, pending regulatory approval. First NBC is selling nine branches and $1.3 billion in loans to the Whitney unit of Hancock after regulators cited credit problems in November.
News for Monday 020617
By Dave Graichen
Governor John Bel Edwards has issued the call for a special session to resolve a $304 million midyear budget deficit. The session begins on Monday, February 13 and must end by midnight on February 22. Lawmakers will not be able to raise taxes during the session, but they could consider increasing fees.
Governor John Bel Edwards is expected to release a detailed plan today on how he would like lawmakers to address a 304-million dollar midyear budget deficit. Edwards says the plan will include cuts and money that’s available in the state’s savings account. If the legislature adopts Edwards proposal to use 119-million dollars from the rainy day fund that means legislators will need to make 185-million dollars in cuts to eliminate the rest of the deficit.
Governor John Bel Edwards has sent a letter to President Donald Trump seeking his support for an additional $2-billion in federal flood aid. Congress has already approved $1.6 billion in federal assistance, but Edwards says another $2-billion is needed for a full, robust recovery. State officials expect the first round of funds will get into the hands of low income flood victims by April or May.
Organizers are saying close to 4,000 people took place in Saturday’s Louisiana Life March. Marchers started off at Louisiana College, making their way through the streets of Pineville and across the Jackson Street bridge before parading through downtown Alexandria. State Attorney General Jeff Landry and 5th District Congressman Ralph Abraham, were the featured speakers at the event, which included a program of religious prayers, music and speeches at Alexandria's amphitheater following the march.
A national shortage of paramedics is also affecting the Bayou State. Justin Cox with Acadian Ambulance says starting paramedics make about $42-thousand a year, and they’re offering signing bonuses for new hires to lure people to the industry. Cox says they’re also recruiting in high schools and offering to pay back tuition for people who come to work.
Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson has reached a settlement with his estranged heirs over removing the shares of the pro teams from trusts that were set up for Benson’s daughter and her two children. Benson released a statement that says he’s pleased that this ordeal his behind them, but details of the settlement have not been released.
Arraignment for the man accused of killing former-NFL player Joe McKnight will be Monday. Legal analyst Chick Foret says 55-year-old Ronald Gasser will enter a plea of not guilty to a charge of second-degree murder. Gasser’s attorneys sent a letter to the AP saying Gasser acted in self-defense because McKnight tried to open his car door. Foret says under Louisiana law, people do have extra protections in their vehicles, but the case won’t be that simple..
The Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office says 133 cats were seized during a meth lab investigation. Authorities say they executed a search warrant at the residence that was suspected of being a clandestine lab. Over the course of several days, deputies reportedly recovered 133 cats from the residence, as well as 7 more that were deceased. According to the Lafourche Parish Animal Shelter, all of the cats had to be euthanized due to their condition. The suspects have since been charged with aggravated cruelty to animals and operation of a clandestine laboratory.
A&E’s “Live PD” will feature the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office in two to three weeks. Spokesperson Capt. Daniel Seuzeneau says given the tensions rising between law enforcement and the public, they hope this show will give people a better idea of what deputies deal with every day. Seuzeneau says “Live PD” is similar to the reality show Cops, but this is live with an 8 minute delay.
Tulane University’s School of Medicine has become a model for new culinary medicine courses that are being taught around the country. Executive Director of the Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine, Dr. Tim Harlan, says healthy eating is important in both preventing illnesses and coping with them, especially in cases of diabetes and heart disease. He says this program helps doctors explain nutrition and how it works in layman’s terms. A 2014 study shows 75-percent of physicians feel undertrained in counseling patients on nutrition and diet.
News for Friday 020317
By Dave Graichen
The Diocese of Alexandria has a new Bishop. 66 year Bishop David Talley formally assumed his new role as the 12th bishop of the Diocese of Alexandria this week. Talley succeeds Ronald Herzog who announced his retirement about three months ago.
A Memorial service was held at the Grant Parish Sheriff’s office yesterday for K-9 officer Turbo who passed away last week at the age of 5 ½. Turbo had received awards from multiple K-9 organizations. He assisted in hundreds of narcotics and other felony arrests and was a member of the office’s SWAT since joining the department in 2013. He also worked in surrounding parishes in various operations, and also participated in several Joint Task Force operations in five parishes. Turbo was a member of the family at the GPSO and he will be misses.
The man accused of fatally shooting former NFL player Joe McKnight in an apparent road rage incident last December in Terrytown has been indicted for second-degree murder by a grand jury. When Ronald Gasser was arrested in December by Jefferson Parish deputies he was booked on a manslaughter charge. If convicted, Gasser would receive a life sentence. A manslaughter conviction carries a maximum sentence of 40 years.
Governor John Bel Edwards is expected to issue the call for a rebalancing the budget special session that would begin February 13th. Jeremy Alford of LaPolitics.com says lawmakers have to address a 304 million dollar budget deficit for the fiscal year ending June 30th and Edwards will push the use of 119 million dollars from Rainy Day Fund to offset that shortfall. Edwards has said he will allow legislators to propose higher taxes and fees during this special session but he will not recommend any himself. He says the other items in the call will allow legislators to make cuts throughout the budget.
Baton Rouge Mayor Sharon Weston Broome laid out new policies today for the Police Department that require officers to try to de-escalate situations before using physical or deadly force. The changes stem from the officer involved shooting of Alton Sterling. Broome says many of these methods are taught to police officers at the academy. One of the new policies is a verbal warning before using lethal force.
New Orleans Police say a mother of 5 young children was gunned down and killed Thursday morning in a hail of bullets at an apartment complex. The 29-year-old victim has not been identified.
FEMA announced yesterday that now a total of about $60 million dollars has been committed to schools in Louisiana damaged by the August flood.
Patterson in St. Mary Parish is the safest city in Louisiana, according to Value Penguin’s 2016 Safest Places in Louisiana. Harahan, St. Gabriel, Mandeville, and Minden round out the top 5 on the list. FBI crime report data was used to grade cities based on how many crimes were reported for a year.
Louisiana Clydesdales will be in a Budweiser Super Bowl Commercial. Clay Harper of Pearl River owns the soon-to-be-famous horses. He says it all started when he got a call from a producer looking for Clydesdales near New Orleans for a commercial. Harper says they filmed the ad several weeks ago in various locations in the Big Easy.
The next time a tropical storm or hurricane approaches the coast the National Hurricane Center says they will issue storm surge watches and warnings. Storm surge specialist Jamie Rhome says the alerts will be tailored to the locations most at risk for storm surge flooding.
A storm surge watch will be issued when there’s the possibility of life-threatening rising water moving inland within 48 hours.
Well, yesterday was Groundhog Day and in New Iberia the nutria rat Pierre C. Shadeaux did not see his shadow, which means a nice spring is coming to Louisiana. That’s a different outcome than Punxsutawney Phil delivered yesterday, but Daily Iberian Publisher Christina Pierce says it’s much more appropriate for Acadiana. Pierce says this is the 19th year the Daily Iberian has celebrated Cajun Groundhog Day.
A Lake Charles doctor has created a new FDA-approved pain relief cream. Dr. Craig Morton has been treating patients at the Center for Orthopedics for years and says many of his patients have been using more than one pain relief cream. He says that’s why he teamed up with chemists to develop Aculeve. The cream is available at his clinic or online at Aculeve.com.
Three players who have strong ties to Louisiana will find out Saturday night if they’ve been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Former Saints kicker Morten Andersen and ex-LSU standouts Alan Faneca and Kevin Mawae (Muh-why) are among the 15 finalists for the Class of 2017. NFL analyst Mike Detillier believes this Andersen’s best chance to get in. Andersen is the NFL’s all-time scoring leader with over 25-hundred points and he’s the only player to lead two franchises in scoring, the Saints and the Atlanta Falcons.
News for Thursday 020217
By Dave Graichen
The owners of Kinetix Technology have purchased the former Chase Bank building with the intention of turning it into a "technology business center." Kinetix Technology Center LLC closed on financing for the $1.5 million purchase Wednesday afternoon. The building at the corner of Murray and Fourth streets will be called Kinetix Technology Center. Kinetix will be the anchor tenant for the building, which has more than 70,000 square feet of space.
Revolution Aluminum LLC was forced into Chapter 11 bankruptcy Wednesday morning after attorneys for its creditors said not one had been paid money they are owed. Alexandria attorney Bradley Drell, representing the creditors, said the next likely step will be to file a motion to appoint a trustee in the case. He also said the property probably will be sold. Revolution Aluminum had planned to open a $1.5 billion production facility on part of the old International Paper site in Pineville.
One of the first bills filed for the 2017 regular legislative session seeks to undo penalties put in place by the Affordable Care Act. Covington Representative Paul Hollis says he filed the legislation on the first day bills could be submitted. He says the proposal would no longer require Louisiana residents to pay a fine for not having health insurance. Hollis says the bill comes in response to President Trump’s executive order that allows state departments to waive any provision of the Affordable Care Act “that would impose a fiscal burden on a state.”
Louisiana leaders are responding to President Donald Trump’s appointment of Neil Gorsuch of Colorado to the Supreme Court. U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy says Judge Gorsuch is an intelligent conservative. But Democratic Congressman Cedric Richmond said Trump’s nominated someone who is hostile to women’s rights and lenient on police brutality.
The state Fire Marshal’s Office believes an unattended stove led to a fatal fire at a Baton Rouge apartment complex that took the life of a 5-year-old girl. Chief Deputy Brant Thompson says an 18-year-old was caring for her sister, Treasure Garner, when she left the apartment with a pot of grease on the stove. Thompson says they are still trying to determine how long the 18-year-old was out of the apartment.
A former Caddo Parish School Board employee has been arrested after police say he misappropriated at least $260-thousand in public funds. Cindy Chadwick with the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office says 32-year-old Brandon Lewis bought car parts and several $40-thousand in VISA gift cards, which he used for himself.
Investigators believe a house fire in Shreveport was caused by a hoverboard. Two adults and six children inside the home were able to get out unharmed. But unfortunately a puppy died in the blaze. A fire department spokesperson says owners of hoverboards should check the make and model numbers to see if it has been recalled, because some are considered a fire hazard.
Louisiana receives a top rating for its highway safety laws by Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. President Jackie Gillan says the Bayou State was one of only five states plus the District of Columbia to earn the highest rating of green, because it has 9 out of 15 recommended traffic safety laws, including a law that requires everyone in a vehicle to buckle up. Gillan says Louisiana also gets a high rating because it requires all motorcycle riders to wear a helmet.
A Bossier City couple is behind bars after their five children tested positive for marijuana and cocaine. Spokesperson Mark Natale says the children’s ages range from six months to ten-years-old. Natale says 35-year-old Shannon Blake and 30-year-old Victoria Blake are charged with cruelty to juveniles
A Causeway Police Officer has been arrested after evidence went missing. That’s according to the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office, who says 44-year-old Sgt. William Jones Jr confessed to stealing seized narcotics and $63-hundred from the department’s evidence room. Jones faces charges of felony theft and malfeasance.
A survey by Accountemps finds six in ten employees believe stress in the workplace has increased over the last five years. The study also found that 55-percent of those surveyed say worker anxiety is on the rise. Rebecca Green, with the employment agency Robert Half in New Orleans, says technology has put more of a burden on workers.
A gay rights activist group has responded to President Donald Trump’s statement that he will not remove President Obama’s executive order protecting the LGBTQ community from workplace discrimination within the federal government. Equality Louisiana President Baylor Boyd says at this point he is cautiously optimistic despite the leaders the President has chosen for his administration.
The Drug Enforcement Administration is warning the public about criminals posing as DEA Special Agents or other law enforcement personnel as part of an international extortion scheme. The criminals call the victims (who in most cases previously purchased drugs over the internet or by telephone) and identify themselves as DEA agents or law enforcement officials from other agencies. The impersonators inform their victims that purchasing drugs over the internet or by telephone is illegal, and that enforcement action will be taken against them unless they pay a fine. In most cases, the impersonators instruct their victims to pay the "fine" via wire transfer to a designated location, usually overseas. It is a scam. Call authorities.
It was an up and down day on the recruiting front for the LSU football team on national signing day. They received some commitments, while losing out on other top prospects. But Tiger Rag Editor Cody Worsham says it’s still a strong class, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
24-7 sports ranks LSU’s class as the seventh best.
News for Wednesday 020117
By Dave Graichen
14 individuals have been arrested after an extensive burglary investigation by the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office. Capt. Tommy Carnline says each time a search warrant was conducted, it led detectives to find more information or the recovery of stolen property. Some of these burglaries started back in the fall, but the bigger break ins took place in January. Carnline says the suspects were part of what seems to be a huge burglary ring. Officials are still looking for three additional suspects.
The Tax Foundation releases data on what each state imposes when it comes to state and local sales taxes, and Louisiana leads the nation with a rate of 9.98-percent. Vice President for State Projects Joe Henchman says having a high rate is okay for states if it’s managed well and residents can afford it. But he says that’s not the case in Louisiana. He says the rate is so high because what the tax applies to is so narrow. Tennessee, Arkansas, Alabama and Washington are ranked behind Louisiana in the top five.
Cardell Hayes, the man convicted of killing former Saints star Will Smith has had his sentencing delayed until March 27th. Prosecutors believe Hayes should be sentenced to prison for 60 years. He was convicted last month of manslaughter and attempted manslaughter; and was originally slated to be sentenced mid-February.
Entergy Louisiana broke ground Tuesday on a new power plant that the company says will save customers one-point-three-billion dollars over the next 30 years, because it will be able to more efficiently produce electricity. Spokesperson Michael Burns says the power station will also produce jobs. Burns says they expect the plant to begin running in 2019.
Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser is currently in France promoting tourism to Louisiana. Nungesser is scheduled to return back to the states on Thursday after visiting Lyon, France. The Lt. Governor says we’ve seen a 37-percent increase in international visitation, as overseas visitors are spending more money and staying longer in Louisiana. The cost of the trip has not been released.
The group, Operation We Care out of St. Tammany Parish, has shipped 300 red, white and blue king cakes to U.S. soldiers overseas to celebrate Mardi Gras. Public Relations Director Colleen Smith says it’s all about putting a smile on the soldiers’ faces. Operation We Care has been sending troops king cakes for 14 years.
State Police Col Mike Edmonson credits a strong awareness campaign as the reason more human trafficking victims than ever are reaching out for help. According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, 104 cases of human trafficking were called in last year, compared to 75 in 2015. Edmonson says getting victims to come forward begins with compassion. Louisiana ranked 20th in the nation for the most human trafficking cases reported in 2016.
A 63-year-old Gailliano man is facing seven counts of attempted murder after deputies say he fired a 22 caliber rifle into a bedroom of a home. The LaFourche Parish Sheriff’s office says there were five children inside that bedroom. No one was injured and Francis Lee was taken into custody outside of the home, after he allegedly threatened to kill everyone inside, as result of a dispute.
It’s national signing day and the LSU Tigers hope to secure a top five recruiting class. Several top recruits have yet to publicly say where they’ll play college football, including Marvin Wilson, the nation’s number one defensive tackle. Sonny Shipp with Geaux 24-7 says Wilson is also very interested in Florida State, but LSU might have an edge over the Seminoles for the Texas product. LSU enters national signing day with the sixth best recruiting class in the country, according to 24-7.
News for Tuesday 013117
By Dave Graichen
Congressional Support in Louisiana for President Donald Trump’s executive order placing travel bans on people from seven Middle Eastern countries is pretty much split along party lines Most if not all Republicans are for with the Democrats against. The Catholic diocese of New Orleans has come out against the executive order as well saying it against the teachings of the church.
Margaurette Beard, the former Rapides Parish District Attorney employee already facing state charges for theft, has been indicted by a federal grand jury. The indictment was handed down last week and charges Beard with two counts of theft from a program receiving federal funds. Beard, of Elmer, was employed as a bookkeeper from October 1988 to October 2015, when she resigned. The two counts point to specific examples of alleged attempts by Beard to cover up thefts by shifting money between funds.
An Alexandria man who is accused of robbing an armored truck outside of the Coliseum Drive Walmart back in 2015 will stand trial March 13th after the window for making a plea deal expired. Police say 59 year old James Gilbert robbed the armored truck of $115,000. But he didn’t get far, he captured after he ran a red light while attempting to escape and struck another vehicle.
President Donald Trump will announce who he plans to nominate for Supreme Court Justice tonight to replace the late Antonin Scalia. LSU Political Science Professor James Stoner expects Trump will appoint someone who will have a strong Republican voice on the nation’s highest court for at least the next couple of decades. Whoever Trump nominates, it will take 51 votes in the Senate to confirm.
President Donald Trump has signed an executive order to reduce regulations on small businesses and the National Federation of Independent Business is eagerly awaiting to see which restrictions are cut. State Director Dawn Starns says this order can only help business owners run and grow their businesses. Starns says she ultimately hopes the cost of compliance for small business drops and the complexity of laws they are required to follow are simplified.
A second person has pleaded guilty to first-degree murder of an off-duty Vermilion Parish Sheriff’s deputy. Prosecutors say 21-year-old Baylon Taylor was one of two men involved in the fatal shooting of Allen Bares who confronted Quintylan Richard and Taylor about a residential burglary in June of 2014.
With a 304 million dollar budget deficit and a special session coming up next month, does that mean more cuts to healthcare services? Angela Lorio, co-founder of Trach Mommas of Louisiana, hopes families of elderly and disabled people are prioritized as they are stressed enough. She says tapping into the rainy day fund is a no-brainer.
A 4-year-old from Metairie was hit and killed while walking with his mother along a busy highway in Jefferson Parish Sunday Night. The state police report the driver of the vehicle has not been cited, since the boy ran into the path of the S-U-V.
Restaurants have teamed up with the Well Ahead initiative to offer healthier options on their menu. Well-Ahead Louisiana director Melissa Martin says the partnership will help restaurant goers make smarter food choices. And She says healthy food can still taste great. To learn more about the initiative visit well-ahead-la.com.
For the first time in the state’s history, Louisiana is willing to partner with private companies in the construction of roads. Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson says over the next two months they’ll talk with firms who can help finance highway projects that would alleviate congestion along the I-10 corridor in Baton Rouge.
The staff at Celtic Studios in Baton Rouge is trying to find the owner of a framed American flag. They believe it was left behind by one of the four-thousand flood victims they sheltered last August. On the front of the shadow box is the name Joseph Zikmund. Anyone who has information should contact Celtic media.
The Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office says a woman is under arrest on animal cruelty charges amid allegations she slammed a pet rabbit against a truck to kill it. They say 19-year-old Kagon Duplantis of Bourg is believed to have been drunk when she killed the rabbit and posted the video on Facebook.
News for Monday 013017
By Dave Graichen
State Police say nearly two million dollars’ worth of drugs are off the streets of Central Louisiana as the result of the arrest of an Alexandria man. Trooper Scott Moreau says earlier this month detectives began investigating 37-year-old Derrick Felton for distribution of methamphetamine and he was taken into custody during a traffic stop. Moreau says the street value of the drugs seized is approximately one-point-seven million dollars. Police also seized over 100-thousand dollars’ worth of cocaine and 67-thousand dollars in cash. Felton was booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center.
Governor John Bel Edwards has called a special session so lawmakers can make cuts to address the state’s 304 million dollar budget shortfall. Edwards says he won’t ask legislators to increases taxes during the 11-day special session but will recommend using 119-million dollars from the Rainy Day Fund. Edwards says he’ll present a budget slashing plan to the legislature by February sixth. The session will start of February 13th.
The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival announces the 2017 line up and Harry Connick Jr, Tom Petty and David Matthews are just a few of the artist who will perform. Jazzfest producer Quint Davis says not only is the Jazzfest wildly popular for it’s amazing musical lineup and arts and crafts, there’s no place else you can get a gourmet meal in a field. Davis says it takes place the last weekend in April and the first weekend in May.
A Louisiana Department of Education study group finds a significant increase in the number of students completing the application for federal financial assistance. The rate of kids completing the FASFA form increased by 24-percent from last year. Educational Technology Consultant Stephanie Marcum attributes this jump to cuts in funding to the TOPS scholarship program.
Marcum says in the past, Louisiana students have been bad about filling out the application and leaving that grant money on the table.
A State Police Trooper was hit by a passing car during a traffic stop in St. Helena Parish. According to police, the trooper was walking around the stopped vehicle when 75-year-old Johnnie Lee of Covington struck the trooper. The trooper was transported to a local hospital with moderate injuries and is expected to make a full recovery. Lee is charged with careless operation.
A report released by High-Speed-Internet.com finds Louisiana is the third most dangerous state for online dating. Website researcher, Kaz Weida, says one factor that makes the Bayou State so dangerous is the extremely high rate of crime. Weida says they are also concerned about Louisiana’s weak policies when it comes to sex education in public schools. Washington D-C and Alaska were ranked ahead of Louisiana.
Former U.S. Sen. David Vitter’s papers from his tenure in Congress will be preserved at Tulane University. The university’s Louisiana Research Collection announced it will house the documents, which include materials Vitter accumulated during his time as a member of the Senate and of the U.S. House. The files include correspondence, briefing books, constituent mail, grant and project requests, daily schedules, news clippings and photographs. Vitter, a Republican from Metairie, served in the House from 1999 to 2005 and in the Senate from 2005 to 2017. The Tulane collection already holds the papers of dozens of Louisiana’s political figures.
Now is your chance to ride in a self-driving automated shuttle, as a demonstration takes place in New Orleans today. Neil Hemenover with Transdev North America says the vehicle was created by EasyMile and is already in use in Europe. He says the technology is available for a self-driving shuttle to follow a set route. Hemenover says about 4-thousand people a day use a self-driving shuttle in France and the Netherlands. Hemenover says Transdev thinks New Orleans is a great place for this technology with the amount of visitors coming into the city
An Ascension Parish woman will spend five years in prison after pleading guilty to driving while intoxicated with her 15-month old child on her lap. At the time of the arrest, deputies said Katherine Summerfield had a blood-alcohol level more than four times the legal limit to drive. Prosecutors say she was so drunk, authorities took her to the hospital.
Mandeville Police have arrested an 18-year-old father for allegedly causing internal bleeding on the brain of his one-month old baby. Chief Gerald Sticker says the infant’s grandmother discovered the toddler’s condition and rushed the small child to the hospital. The child’s father has been charged with second-degree cruelty to a juvenile. Authorities say he violently shook the infant.
Spring practice is underway for the LSU baseball team, who goes into this season with some of the best talent in the country. Opening day for the Tigers is February 17th against Air Force.
News for Friday 012717
By Dave Graichen
A special session to rebalance the state’s budget could become more of a reality today. LaPolitics.com publisher Jeremy Alford anticipates the Edwards administration will present three options to the joint legislative budget on fixing a 304-million dollar shortfall. Alford says what the committee decides, will indicate whether or not another special session will be called before the regular session in April. He says if one is necessary, the Governor will likely call the legislature back in mid-February.
Governor John Bel Edwards’ chief of staff Ben Nevers told state lawmakers today that federal regulations are preventing Louisiana from recovering from two historic floods. Nevers says they’re moving as quickly as possible to get flood aid to the people that need it, but red tape is slowing things down. It could be April or May before the first round of federal dollars gets into the hands of flood victims.
Over 2-thousand Louisiana residents are in Washington D.C. along with hundreds of thousands of Americans for today’s annual March for Life. Executive Director of Louisiana Right to Life Ben Clapper says there is a renewed sense of hope under a Trump administration. On Saturday, there will be a March for Life in Shreveport, where 5-thousand people are expected to be in attendance. Another march is schedules in Alexandria Saturday February 4th.
Former Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Robert Barham told lawmakers a state audit questioning how he spent Gulf oil spill money is the worst Monday morning quarterbacking he’s seen. Barham says allegations of extensive financial problems with the agency he once led couldn’t be further from the truth. Auditors say money intended for fish testing was used on unnecessary items.
President Donald Trump is considering a 20-percent tax on Mexican imports to pay for a wall along the southern border, so what does that mean for Louisiana? LSU economist Loren Scott says if the tax is imposed, Mexico will likely up the price of their exports to the US, which means American consumers will foot the bill. Scott says that would be bad news for the economy because Mexico is America’s number two trading partner behind Canada. He says it’s also likely Mexico will impose a tax on products shipped from the U.S. Scott says anytime a country engages in a trade war with another country, it’s bad for the economy at home. He says trade wars are one of the key reasons we entered the Great Depression in the 1930s
High school principals will vote today on a plan that would reduce the number of state football championships from nine to seven. The vote takes place at the LHSAA convention in Baton Rouge. Iowa (Eye-oh-way) principal Mike Oakley says the proposal will also reduce the number of title games in basketball, baseball and softball. There is no proposal in today’s meeting to reverse the expanded public-private school split that the association voted for last year.
A report from U-Haul finds that Louisiana’s population might have grown during 2016. The Bayou State came in at number eight on U-Haul’s growth report, based on more truck rentals coming into the state than leaving. U-Haul North Louisiana president Warren Iles says they’re opening more truck rental stores and self-storage rooms around the state. He says even if the population isn’t growing, business certainly is, which he says is good news for the state.
A team of LSU engineers is in California testing out a pod that can travel 500 to 600 miles per hour inside a vacuum tube. LSU Civil and Environmental Engineering Assistant Professor Aly-Mousaad Aly is the team’s faculty adviser says they’re eager to see how fast the pod will actually travel. The team is one of 30 participating in a competition for a new high-speed transportation system.
A Go Fund Me page has been set up for Michael Louviere (Lou-v-air), the Westwego police officer who was fatally shot in Marrero. Reese d’Aquin (DAH-can) is a lifelong friend of Louviere and professional film maker who established the page, which features a video of d’Aquin telling the world about his childhood friend. D’Aquin, who now lives in Florida, says he just wanted to do what he could to help. He says the page has already raised more than $50-thousand of the $300-thousand goal.
Federal prosecutors say two owners of psychological service companies have been convicted in an $8.9 million Medicare fraud scheme that billed Medicare for unnecessary or nonexistent tests on nursing home patients in four Gulf Coast states. Rodney Hesson, 47, and his mother, 63-yearold Gertrude Parker, plan to appeal their conspiracy convictions.
A Grand Isle woman who allegedly backed over her husband with a truck killing him, has been charged with DWI and vehicular homicide, according to the Jefferson Parish records. 46-year-old Sherry Pruitt is being held on $26,150 bond.
On his 44th birthday, criminal charges against Robert Jones were dropped, but not before he spent over 20 years in prison for a 1992 French quarter crime spree that included the murder of a British tourist. His attorneys have argued there was no evidence linking Jones to the crimes.
In football recruiting….LSU has been able to get the country’s number one rated inside linebacker to flip from Oklahoma to the Fighting Tigers. Jacob Phillips of Nashville, Tennessee says he’ll sign with LSU on Wednesday. But the state’s top rated running back, Travis Etienne of Jennings, says he’ll sign at Clemson and play at the real “Death Valley.
The LSU men’s basketball team suffered a historic loss Wednesday night to Florida. It was the Tigers worst loss at home since 1963, as the Gators devoured the Tigers 106-71. Tiger Rag Editor Cody Worsham believes Johnny Jones’ days are numbered as head coach. The Tigers are 9-10 overall, 1-7 in the SEC, and have lost six games in a row.
News for Thursday 012617
By Dave Graichen
Louisiana isn’t seeing as many flu cases as we usually do this time of year. That’s according to the state’s flu bug expert, Dr. Frank Welch, who says right now, 4 out of every 100 doctor visits in the state is for the flu. He says there’s several reasons we’re seeing a slower flu season this year. Welch says while the Deep South has seen few cases, other states are seeing an uptick. But he says we aren’t out of the woods yet. He anticipates cases will pick up, once the weather gets colder, which will happen this weekend.
The state wildlife agent who was shot five times, is scheduled to be released from a Shreveport hospital Today. 25-year-old Tyler Wheeler of Monroe was shot in the temple, jaw, shoulder, arm and back while questioning a motorist last month in Morehouse Parish. LDWF Spokesperson Adam Einck says Wheeler is expected to make a full recovery.
President Donald Trump says he’s asking for a major investigation into voter fraud; specifically probes into whether people are registered in two states, illegal or dead. The Louisiana Office of the Secretary of State says there were no widespread irregularities here or fraud during the 2016 Presidential Election Cycle; as there are several layers of legal protection to prevent any such thing. The Trump Administration believes illegal ballots cost him the popular vote.
The Governor’s Office says a Republican lawmaker’s plan to close a $304 million dollar deficit would cripple public-private-hospitals, lead to the release of 45-hundred inmates and make a historic cut to public schools. Communications Director Richard Carbo says Lance Harris of Alexandria’s proposal would devastate state agencies. Harris released his proposal last week as an example of how the state can close a large midyear deficit without tapping tap into the rainy day fund. But Carbo says it is imperative rainy day dollars are used to ease some of the pain of the cuts. Harris has also said the governor can make the necessary cuts without the need of a special session. But Carbo says without a special session, spending cuts will be focused primarily on health care, higher education and the Department of Corrections.
The American Lung Association says the state is failing to reduce tobacco use in Louisiana. Regional Policy Director Ashley Lyerly says the state is not spending enough on tobacco prevention and could do so by raising tobacco taxes, plus that will reduce the number of smokers. It’s estimated 22-percent of Louisiana adults are smokers.
Louisiana has issued a standing order that makes Naloxone, which is an antidote that reverses an opioid overdose, available at pharmacies without a prescription. The governor says narcotic overdose deaths surpassed homicide deaths in both East Baton Rouge and Orleans parishes by mid-year 2016.
The Baton Rouge Advocate reports that the Edwards administration will likely not increase aid to public schools when they present a budget to lawmakers for next fiscal year. But the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education would like to see a 35-million dollar increase in funding for K-12 schools. Funding for public schools has been relatively stagnant since 2009.
Louisiana’s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education approves more than $1.5 million in funding for teaching residencies. Department of Education Assistant Superintendent of Talent, Hannah Dietsch (HAHN-ah), says beginning in 2018 teacher candidates will be required to complete one year residencies, similar to doctors. She says $1 million of the investment will go to Louisiana universities that will offer the programs. She says part of the funds will provide $2,000 stipends to 233 teaching residents.
The Louisiana Department of Insurance announces they recovered $7.6 million for policy holders last year as a result of efforts by their consumer affairs division who work to resolve consumer complaints. Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon says it’s a significant increase over the previous year. Policyholders can file complaints online at the state insurance department’s website.
Doctors in Shreveport were able to remove a massive facial tumor from a three-year-old girl’s face. Doctor G-E Gahli, chairs the Department of oral and facial surgery at LSU Health Shreveport, and says the little girl from Brazil was on her way to becoming malnourished because of the tumor. Gali says the child will require follow up surgeries, but at least now she has full use of her tongue.
Walker Police are working to identify a female body that was found under an I-12 bridge. Captain John Sharp says employees of Gravity Draining District Five of Livingston Parish were working to clear debris under the bridge when they made the gruesome discovery. Sharp says the woman appears to have been dead for at least a week. He says at this point they have a lot of unanswered questions.
News for Wednesday 012517
By Dave Graichen
The LDWF agent who was shot during a traffic stop in Morehouse Parish is making progress in his recovery. That’s according to a Facebook post from the Louisiana Wildlife Agents Association, which shows a picture of 25-year-old Tyler Wheeler sitting up in his hospital bed. Two Monroe residents are behind bars in connection with the shooting.
President Donald Trump has signed two orders that moves forward with construction on the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines, so what does that mean for Louisiana? Acting President of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association Gifford Briggs says this creates more hope for the construction of the Bayou Bridge Pipeline. Briggs says Trump has made comments about reducing 75-percent of regulations on the oil and gas industry. He says this would open up a lot of opportunities for investment.
The Edwards administration will unveil a proposal on Friday on how to close a 304-million dollar budget deficit for this fiscal year. Lawmakers are split on whether or not to tap into the state’s rainy day fund to close the gap. While there isn’t much of an appetite at the Capitol to raise more taxes, one option would be to broaden the base of the clean penny that was added to the sales tax last year.
Lawmakers are once again proposing more changes to the TOPS scholarship program as budget problems continue to plague the state. Republican State representative Franklin Foil plans to file a bill for the regular legislative session to raise the GPA requirement for TOPS students. Foil says all options need to be considered, so lawmakers can keep the program intact for the future. He says his proposal would make the program more of a merit-based scholarship, like it was intended to be.
Louisiana’s top school board voted Tuesday to create new public charter schools, despite questions about how the state will pay for them amid ongoing litigation that has put financing for more than 30 similar schools in doubt. The uncertainty didn’t slow the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, known as BESE, from authorizing three more of the schools to open in the fall, two in East Baton Rouge Parish and one in Lafayette Parish.
The state’s unemployment rate is at 6-point-1 percent. That’s based on a data from the federal Bureau of Labor statistics who compiled job numbers for December. Another report shows Louisiana added 26-hundred private-sector jobs in December as total employment in the education and health care services has hit an all-time high.
Former Angola Warden Burl Cain has responded to claims in a state legislative auditor’s report that said he may have illegally used public funds for personal reasons. The audit finds state employees worked for Cain, while they were still on the clock. But Cain says, at times, prison employees volunteered to help out at his home, but not while they were working. Cain made the comments yesterday on a Baton Rouge talk show.
Freshman 4th District U.S. Rep. Mike Johnson of Benton was named to both the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security and Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations. This would put Johnson on the forefront of the lines when it comes to policy concerning building a wall on the southern US border.
Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and the Louisiana Family Forum is once again searching for the state’s longest married couple to share their love story. President Gene Mills urges anyone who knows a couple married for longer than 70 years to contact their office. The Top 10 Longest Married Couples will be honored by receiving official recognition and will be entered into the Louisiana Family Forum’s “Marriage Hall of Fame.” Mills says for the past two years, Lawrence and Varrie Player of Benton, have received the honor as the state’s longest known married couple, at 82 years together.
News for Tuesday 012416
By Dave Graichen
Officials are in major cleanup mode in parts of the state that saw tornadoes touchdown over the weekend. Lt. Bill Davis with the Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office says a tornado with 115 mph winds made a 6 mile trek near Plain Dealing. He says about 29 homes were damaged, including three that were a total loss and seven that sustained extensive damage. The National Weather Service believes at least 5 tornadoes touched down in Louisiana on Saturday.
A 66-year-old woman died Sunday after she was hit by a vehicle in Alexandria Saturday evening. The APD reports Shirley Ann Thomas Peace was struck on 6th street shortly before 8pm. The driver of the vehicle has not been ID’s but police do not believe impairment was a factor.
US Senator John Kennedy wants Louisiana Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rebekah Gee to reduce state spending on Medicaid. Kennedy says Medicaid accounts for 41% of this year’s budget, which is why TOPS has been cut, teachers can’t be paid more money, and congestion remains a problem on I-10. Kennedy says the Medicaid budget has increased by 81% in less than a decade. But he says even though the health budget is going up every year, health outcomes aren’t improving. But Gee says the facts in Kennedy’s letter are just plain wrong. She says Medicaid expansion is actually saving the state money. Gee adds that health outcomes can’t be fixed overnight. She says Louisiana ranks at the bottom in the nation for health, but you can’t improve health if people don’t have access to care.
Republican U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy presented a health care plan Monday morning on Capitol Hill that would give states the ability to decide if they want to keep Obamacare. Cassidy says Republicans believe that if you like your health insurance, than you should keep it. Maine Senator Susan Collins is a co-author of the Patient Freedom Act. Cassidy says not only does this legislation return power to the states, it will also increase access and provide affordable health care for states who want a different health care system.
A state audit released today accuses former Angola Warden Burl Cain of using state workers performing work at private home and providing free food and housing for his family on prison property. Cain’s lawyer says the report’s findings of fact and legal conclusions are in error.
New crime prevention measures will be put in place throughout the Crescent City and it calls for big changes on Bourbon Street. The announcement was made by New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who says this $40 million plan will increase the flexibility of police manpower and improve crime deterrence. Landrieu says NOPD is getting 300 more police cruisers for officers to park at home, as a means of crime deterrence. He says much of Bourbon Street will be closed off to vehicle traffic during busy times. Landrieu says security cameras will also be posted in 20 hotspots around the city, as well as a mobile booking center for big events.
Congressman Garret Graves has been named the Chairman of House Water Resources Subcommittee. Graves says this panel has jurisdiction over the Army Corp of Engineers, EPA, and other issues that greatly effect Louisiana. The Baton Rouge Republican says he’ll be in position to speak up for Louisiana during times of natural or manmade disasters. Graves will use this position to push for the construction of flood control projects.
An ROTC teacher at Mandeville High is under arrest amid allegations he had sex multiple times with two different students on campus. Mandeville Police Chief Gerald Sticker says the victims are ages 15 and 16. He says 48-year-old Hosea McGhee is charged with computer solicitation of a minor and felony carnal knowledge of a juvenile.
The state Supreme Court has suspended a Covington attorney’s license for one year after he told a client he would accept marijuana as payment for his legal services. The client reported to police that she had paid James Mecca with cannabis once before. The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office then set up a sting, which led to Mecca pleading guilty to possession of marijuana and losing his license for a year.
News for Monday 012317
By Dave Graichen
The Restore Louisiana Task Force approves a proposal for how to spend $1.2 billion in federal flood aid allocated by Congress. Deputy Chief of Staff for the Governor’s Office, Julie Baxter Payer, says 938-million dollars will go towards rebuilding and repairing flooded homes. This state plan must get approval from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Louisiana is also awaiting HUD’s approval on a 438-million dollar package that will assist the elderly and disabled. Payer says they hope these federal dollars will get in the hands of flood victims by March or April.
Today marks the start of tax season, as Louisiana residents can begin filing federal and state income taxes. Baton Rouge CPA Brandon Lagarde says if you plan to use a tax preparer to file your taxes, make sure you have all your documentation together and organized. Federal returns are due April 18th this year, while state taxes must be filed by May 15th. Lagarde says refunds might take a little longer this year. He says measures to prevent identity theft have been enacted at the state and federal levels, and this can lead to delays.
Before he ultimately killed himself, 32 year old Sylvester Holt went on a rampage that left both his estranged wife and a Westwego policeman dead in Marrero early Friday. It began after Holt found out that she was about two months pregnant with her new boyfriend's baby. After fatally shooting 31 year old Simone Veal, 31, and the 26 year old officer Michael Louviere, Holt took a cab to the Crescent City Connection, Normand said. He persuaded his driver to let him out on the bridge by claiming he felt sick. He then perched on a girder, kicking off a seven-hour standoff with authorities that ended when he shot himself in the chest as night began to fall. Holt was pronounced dead at University Medical Center late Friday.
Authorities say a West Monroe pizza delivery driver, who killed a man who was attempting to rob him last week, will not face charges. Police say the man acted in self-defense. The search continues for a second robbery suspect.
Homelessness in Louisiana is down 68-percent over the last seven years. That’s according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s yearly Point-in-Time count. Louisiana Housing Corporation Executive Director Keith Cunningham credits this decrease to hard work by his agency to help individuals living on the street. The count showed there was just below four-thousand homeless people in the state in 2016, down from 12,500 in 2009.
Many Women from Louisiana were part of a huge gathering in the nation’s capital over the weekend called the Women’s March on Washington. Alyssa Leader of West Monroe says the purpose was to remind the Trump administration they will not be silent on issues of diversity, abortion and climate change. Other large and some small marches took place all across the country over the weekend.
Twenty-three federal inmates from Louisiana had their federal drug sentences reduced in an act performed by Barack Obama in his final hours as President. Three of the individuals were serving a life sentence. LSU New Orleans Public Health Criminologist Peter Scharf says there’s been a push to stop issuing life-sentences for non-violent drug offenders.
Residents in the greater DeRidder area are making a push to get high speed internet in the rural Beauregard Parish town. Beatrice Teague started a petition because she and her neighbors are unable to get broadband connections in their homes. She says they have to use satellite internet, which is expensive and unreliable. Teague says the petition received more than 500 signatures in the first 24 hours alone, and she’s hoping to reach 750 before she brings it before the PSC.
Louisiana environmental groups are gearing up for round two in a battle against a proposed 163mile oil pipeline that would stretch across south Louisiana from Lake Charles through the Atchafalaya Basin and east to St. James, over fears a leak would destroy Louisiana’s Wetlands and water. A public hearing last week for a required U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit drew more than 400 supporters and opponents. A second hearing is set Feb. 8 for a permit needed from the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources.
CC’s Coffee House could be opening a location near you thanks to an aggressive growth plan.
The Louisiana company plans to have 50 locations by the end of the year and triple the size of the company in three to five years. CC’s recently opened shops in Lake Charles, Monroe, Gretna, Harahan and New Orleans. Three locations — in Youngsville, Carencro and Alexandria — are set to open in the next two weeks. Store openings in Covington, Houma and Port Allen aren’t far behind.
For the first time in 18 years, the Atlanta Falcons are back in the Super Bowl -- this after trouncing the Green Bay Packers 44-21 Sunday at the Georgia Dome. Atlanta will now play the winner of the AFC Championship game the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI in Houston, TX
News for Friday 012017
By Dave Graichen
State Police say three people are dead and a child is in serious condition following a crash in Allen Parish. Sgt. James Anderson says around 10am Thursday morning, a vehicle traveling west on Hwy 190 in Kinder crossed the center line. Anderson says there was a young child in the second vehicle who was transported to the Rapides Trauma Center in serious condition. He says they are still trying to figure out how this happened. Impairment is believed to have been a factor in the crash.
The Mayor Of Lecompte, Robert Baxter, and town council members are facing a lawsuit over their use of tax funds. The case is being handled by Rapides Assistant District Attorney Tom Wells, who has been investigating Lecompte's use of sales tax funds generated through a proposition passed in 1989. The petition states it's believed funds that should have gone to the Lecompte Fire Department during the fiscal years ending in 2014 and 2015 instead went to the Lecompte Police Department. The petition alleges it's still happening.
The leader of the state House Republican delegation has offered a plan to reduce state spending by 304-million dollars in order to alleviate a midyear shortfall. Alexandria Representative Lance Harris say Republicans are not proposing any cuts to public colleges. But, Harris’s plan is proposing 147-million dollars in cuts to the health department, also cuts to state prisons, roadwork and K-through-12 education. Seventeen public health units in 16 parishes could be closed in one scenario the Louisiana Department of Health is considering to address looming budget cuts.
The West Monroe High School Rebel Band gets the prestigious honor of performing in the inaugural parade at the nation’s capital today. Band director Robert Freeman says they learned a month ago that they would play in the inaugural parade, and they didn’t have much time to prepare or raise the $240-thousand necessary for the trip. He says students were asked to pay $600 each, and they had to do a lot of fundraising in a short amount of time to pay for the trip.
The Louisiana National Guard’s 773rd Military Police Battalion is in Washington D.C. to assist in security for the 58th Presidential Inauguration today. More than 170 soldiers with the state’s National Guard will conduct security operations along the parade route, accompanied by Guardsmen from Kansas and South Dakota. This is the first time the 773rd has been a part of a presidential inauguration.
Congressman Clay Higgins of Louisiana’s 3rd Congressional District is looking forward to the changes that will come under the new administration. He says his team has been hard at work in Washington, and the freshman Representative says he’s already learned a lot. Higgins says Congress has been meeting with President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence throughout the transition, and he was encouraged by those conversations. He says voters sent a clear message last November and now it’s time to deliver.
LSU announces a timeline for finding a new live mascot and the plan is to have a new tiger before the start of the football season. Ginger Guttner with the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine says they are searching rescue facilities and sanctuaries for a young, male tiger to become Mike VII. But Guttner says the school is ending the decades old tradition of Mike in attendance for LSU football games.
The New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Louisiana Office of Tourism announce the hiring of China-based East West Marketing Corporation — an effort aimed at bringing more Chinese tourists to Louisiana. It includes more support for public relations, consumer marketing and social media promotions. Ultimately Louisiana wants to take advantage of the Chinese travel market.
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu is considered one of the leading Democrats in the state and he weighs in on his feelings about the Trump administration. Landrieu says both Republicans and Democrats like President Trump’s proposal to invest one trillion dollars on infrastructure. But Landrieu says bi-partisan leaders are concerned about the immediate repeal of Obamacare without a replacement. He says while there are some issues with the Affordable Care Act, like increased premiums, they need to be fixed rather than a full repeal.
If you’re struggling to lose weight, LSU Pennington Biomedical Doctor Steven Heymsfield suggests behavioral counseling. Heymsfield says an obese individual must lose 5-8-percent of their weight in one to two years to have successfully completed the program. Heymsfield says many YMCAs offer an affordable high intensity lifestyle treatment, along with commercial companies like Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig.
News for Tuesday 011717
By Dave Graichen
Despite a less than perfect day, weather wise, large crowds filled the streets yesterday to play their respects to the father of civil rights Martin Luther King Jr. Clubs, church groups, politicians and more made their way through the excited parade goers. Most didn’t even notice the on again off again showers..
With Yesterday being Martin Luther King Jr Day, Wallet Hub has issued a report on race relations which indicates Louisiana is among the top 10 for making the most progress. We’re among a handful of other southern states in WalletHub’s rankings of racial progress, and spokeswoman Jill Gonzales says there is a bit of the “nowhere to go but up” factor at play though. She says Louisiana’s biggest improvement areas over time were health care, education and civil engagement.
A Gallup poll finds President-elect Donald Trump has a 42-percent approval rating, the lowest since George W. Bush, who had 59-percent. ULM Political Science Professor Dr. John Sutherlin says Trump will likely come into office and follow through with his agenda, regardless of what polls say. Sutherlin says Trump doesn’t seem like his is bothered by public opinion.
A special session could kick off as early as next month so that lawmakers can decide how to deal with the state’s $313 million dollar budget shortfall. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne says the legislature raised nearly $2 billion in taxes last year, but it just wasn’t enough to balance the budget. Dardenne says they plan to use money from the rainy day fund to close some of the gap, but that still leaves about another 200 million dollars in possible cuts.
More and more LSU students are seeking Sugar Daddies to help pay for their education. That’s according to SeekingArangment.com. Spokesperson Brook Urick says online dating in the sugar lifestyle isn’t much different than regular online dating. She says the main difference is the lifestyle expectations. The average monthly allowance for a Sugar Baby is around $24-hundred. But Urick says not all Sugar Babies get the same allowance from their Sugar Daddies. As the cost of tuition continues to increase while funding for TOPS decreases, Urick says we could see even more Louisiana students turn to the lifestyle for financial assistance.
A recent poll commissioned by Restore the Mississippi River Delta finds over half of Louisianans polled believe coastal land loss is at a crisis, while 96-percent said it needs attention. Jimmy Frederick with the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana says saving the coast isn’t just about protecting coastal cities. He says it’s important for the entire state. The state’s coastal Master plan would cost 50-billion dollars. Frederick says there are federal dollars and money from BP available to get some of the work started and this survey shows Louisiana residents want major coastal projects completed.
If you’re buying items from Amazon in the New Year, you might not pay as much in sales taxes as you thought. It was announced that starting January 1st the online retailer would begin collecting state sales taxes for the first time. But Department of Revenue Secretary, Kimberly Robinson, says the only sales tax collected are on products sold directly by Amazon, LLC. That does not include items purchased through third party vendors on Amazon. Robinson says if you purchase online you are required to pay sales taxes at the end of the year, if the seller did not collect them at the time of purchase. The current plan requires self-reporting and Robinson says participation is low.
AT&T Louisiana has donated $150-thousand to the Louisiana Jobs for America’s Graduates program, which helps young people who face difficult challenges earn a high school diploma, complete college, and find employment. Governor John Bel Edwards says this program is critically important to our state.
A homeowner in Slidell shot and killed a man early Monday morning, according to the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office. The resident told investigators that he was confronted by a subject acting erratically in the front yard of his residence; so he fatally shot the man. No arrests have been made, yet. The investigation is ongoing.
State Police are looking for a vehicle that hit a trooper’s patrol car and injured the officer over the weekend. Trooper Bryan Lee says the suspect sped off immediately after the wreck on Old Hammond Highway in East Baton Rouge Parish. The good news is the trooper suffered only minor injuries.
A Houma high-school that was for black students only during segregation will reopen next month as a museum celebrating African-American history in St. Mary and Terrebonne parishes. Dedication will be held on February 4th for the schoolhouse that was once called The Academy.
LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva fired football coach Les Miles in mid-season, could it happen again, this time with the men’s basketball program? The Tigers are 1-4 in the SEC, they’ve lost three in a row and all three defeats have been by double digits. Glen Guilbeau covers LSU hoops for the USA Today Network and says as the losses mount, Alleva might make a change…
News for Monday 011617
By Dave Graichen
State Police report a Saturday afternoon accident on Highway 71 North of Montgomery killed a man from Natchitoches and injured a man from St. Maurice. The crash involved a vehicle driven by 41 year Michael McKinney of St. Maurice. Troopers say McKinney lost control and left the roadway colliding with several trees. McKinney received moderate injuries. But a passenger in his vehicle, 27 year old Brandon Banks, was killed in the crash. Neither man was wearing a seatbelt.
State legislators will likely be called into a special session next month to deal with a budget deficit. The Revenue Estimating Conference has determined the midyear shortfall is around 313-million dollars. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne says legislative input will be needed to address a budget gap of that magnitude. Governor Edwards released a statement regarding the bad budget news. He says a special session will prevent deep budget cuts in the areas of higher education and health care. He plans to develop a plan with legislative leaders that solves this budget crisis.
Meanwhile the Governor is in Italy where the topic will be the human trafficking epidemic. He’ll be joined by State. Police Colonel Mike Edmonson and a couple of lawmakers and they’ll meet with nuns who want to open a shelter for victims of sex trade. The governor hopes to meet with the pope on Wednesday and he says he’s paying his own way, but taxpayer dollars will pay for his security.
State Senator Troy Brown of Assumption Parish has issued a statement in response for calls to him to resign over his two domestic violence related arrests, and recent “no contest” plea for alleged abuse against his wife. He says while he would respect the wishes of the Senate if they choose to expel him, legal action would follow. Brown apologized but said he doesn’t feel a misdemeanor warrants him being removed.
Crowley Representative Jack Montoucet begins his duties today as the new Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. Montoucet was appointed by Governor Edwards and says his main goal is to ensure Louisiana stays the Sportsman’s Paradise. He plans to try to get more residents involved in outdoor activities, like preservation, hunting and fishing. Montoucet has been the owner of an alligator farm in Acadiana for 30 years.
New Orleans Police report Seven people were injured in five separate shootings across New Orleans between Saturday morning and early Sunday. More people have now been shot in New Orleans in the first 14 days of 2017 than all of January 2016
The entire New Orleans Fair Grounds race track is under a quarantine in an effort to stop the spread of an equine herpes virus. Ag Commissioner Mike Strain. Strain says nine of the two-thousand horses at the track are in isolation.
A local doctor advises parents to limit their children’s screen time each day because too much time looking at a TV, computer or tablet can be bad for a child’s health. Ochsner Health Center Zachary Pediatrician Dr. Myriam Ortiz says when children spend too much time in front of a screen, it limits their outdoor activity time, which leads to higher rates of childhood obesity and diabetes. Ortiz says that’s why parents of children up to age 5 should limit their child’s screen time to one hour per day. She says parents of kids who are older than 6 should keep the media restrictions consistent.
Settlement discussions have failed to bring about a resolution to a federal court case accusing New Orleans criminal court judges of unconstitutionally jailing poor people who cannot afford to pay court fees. The suit was filed in 2015 by six people who said they were locked up for owing court debts. Lawyers are seeking to make it a class action case that could affect hundreds of others.
LSU’s leading receiver this past season Malachi Dupre has decided to enter the NFL draft. Dupre struggled early on during the 2016 campaign and finished with 41 catches for 593 yards and three touchdowns. NFL draft analyst Mike Detillier believes he’ll be selected in either the second or third round. Dupre is the fourth Tiger to turn pro early.
News for Friday 011316
By Dave Graichen
The judge says no bail for Derrick Henderson, the grant parish man accused of bludgeoning he grandparents with a baseball bat. On Thursday, Henderson was in a Grant Parish courtroom for a Gwen's hearing, which determines bond for suspects in domestic violence cases. He is charged with two counts of attempted first-degree murder and home invasion in the Monday incident that seriously wounded his paternal grandparents, both of whom are in their 70s.
State Police report A Florida woman died Wednesday morning in a single-vehicle crash in Grant Parish. 56 year old Carolyn Trissler lost control of her vehicle on Highway 71and ran off the road. The car then hit a culvert and some trees. Trissler was pronounced dead at the scene.
A state judge has denied bond for the two individuals arrested in connection with the shooting of state Wildlife and Fisheries Agent Tyler Wheeler. The judge says Amethyst Baird and Jeremy Gullette are a risk to flee and both pose an imminent danger to the community. Wheeler was shot five times last weekend and at last report was responding well to treatment.
In the past week, Louisiana has seen an increase in the number of flu cases around the state. That’s according to Medical Director for the state Immunization Program Dr. Frank Welch who says four out of every 100 people who visit the doctor have the flu. He says if you got the flu shot, you should be protected. Welch says it’s rare, but if you do contract the flu virus after getting a shot, it’s usually a very mild case. Those who are at the most risk if they catch the flu, pregnant women and the elderly.
We’ll get better idea today whether or not Governor John Bel Edwards intends to call another special session to address looming budget shortfalls. The Revenue Estimating Conference meets today and the panel will determine the exact size of a revenue shortfall for this fiscal year. Edwards says the size of the deficit will determine if a special session is needed.
Edwards estimates a shortfall greater than $300 million would require a special session to resolve.
Louisiana has received 18-million dollars as part of a 4.3 billion dollar Volkswagen settlement in which the car maker admitted to cheating on air emissions tests. DEQ Secretary Chuck Brown says they may use that money to replace diesel engines in school buses with engines that burn cleaner fuels. The money has to be used on an environmental friendly project.
Even after a crazy year of weather in 2016, the crawfish crop seems to be doing just fine. LSU AgCenter Aquaculture Specialist Mark Shirely says the sizes of the mud bugs vary but the harvest is coming along fairly well. Shirely says since it’s early in the season, the price per pound for mud bugs will be more expansive than later in the season. But he says the price will drop depending on supply and demand.
Some state lawmakers are calling for Napoleonville Senator Troy Brown to resign after being convicted of his second domestic violence charge in four months. Senate President John Alario says Brown was suspended from serving on committees when he was arrested in July.
Governor Edwards called for Brown to resign after the arrest, but Brown said he has no plans to leave office.
The Director of the Louisiana State Police Commission has resigned. Cathy Derbonne submitted her resignation this morning amid speculation she may get fired because of controversial political contributions made by former board members. Derbonne served at that post for eight years
Police in Shreveport arrest a 44-year-old man in the death of an 11-month old baby. They said it’s believed that Frederick Clark had been watching the child for an extended period of time before it was discovered the baby was suffering complications that ultimately lead to his death. Clark is charged with second-degree murder and is being held on a million dollars bond.
The criticism is mounting against the LSU men’s basketball program. The Tigers are 1-3 in the SEC and in all three losses, LSU has allowed 90 or more points. LSU hosts Alabama on Saturday and Jones says there’s still plenty of time left in the season to move up the SEC standings.
News for Thursday 011217
By Dave Graichen
An autopsy has been ordered on the body of a man who was found lying alongside Willow Glen Road Monday afternoon. The APD says the, yet to be identified 49 year old man, was found lying face down in the ditch. The initial investigation does not indicate foul play. But the investigation is ongoing. This is the third time in less than a week police have investigated the discovery of a body.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration says the average price of crude oil in 2017 should be 52 dollars per barrel, so what does that mean for Louisiana? Tulane University Energy expert Eric Smith says this is a nine dollar improvement from last year, but not enough to support new deep water activity. Smith says the offshore oil industry needs prices in the low 60s to commit to new projects.
2017 is looking good for construction workers in Louisiana, as the Associated General Contractors of America finds 70-percent of Louisiana contractors anticipate hiring workers this year. Chief Economist with AGC, Ken Simonson, says the strongest category appears to be hospital construction, but the industry is expecting plenty of work in other sectors as well.
Louisiana State Police say a 51year-old trooper has died of a heart attack in Lake Charles
Tracy Morgan collapsed while walking from the parking garage to his office shortly after 1 p.m.
Tuesday. Troopers and medical personnel who worked in the building gave CPR until an ambulance arrived, but were unable to revive Morgan. He had been a state trooper since 1994, and was assigned to the Gaming Division. He also had worked as a crisis negotiator and had extensive investigative experience.
The Natchitoches Parish Sheriff's Office is asking for the public's help in finding a man who hasn’t been seen since New Year's Day. 41 year old Marty Powell is 5 feet, 6 inches tall, weighs 151 pounds and has brown hair and green eyes. Anyone who has seen Powell or has information about him is asked to call the sheriff's office.
January marks the 10 year anniversary of the Louisiana Smoke-Free Air Act, which prohibited smoking in public buildings and places of employment- most significantly restaurants. Director for the Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living, Tonya Moore, says the law has improved public health and it’s been good for the state’s economy. Moore says unfortunately, the ban did not include bars and casinos. But she says the Smoke-Free Air Act approved by the state legislature a decade ago has opened the door for stronger anti-smoking measurers locally.
Napoleonville Senator Troy Brown plead no contest to domestic violence charges. Brown’s 30 day sentence was suspended, and instead he wills spend just 38 hours in jail. Brown will also have to perform 64 hours of community service while on probation for three months.
Baton Rouge Police are looking for a gunman who fatally shot a 27-year-old mother in her doorway Tuesday night as her three children were inside. Sergeant L’Jean McKneely says they believe the woman was targeted. The children were not physically harmed in the shooting.
A Luling man has been arrested in connection with an armed robbery gone wrong. St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne says 31-year-old Jerel Smith encountered the victim, Ryan Dubuc of Metairie, on Monday morning at a gas station, where he got into the victim’s truck.
Champagne says at some point, police believe Smith shot Dubuc multiple times in the head at close range, before dumping his body on the side of the road. Authorities say Dubuc was robbed for about $80. He says Smith faces multiple charges in this case.
Stabilizing the budget, flood recovery, criminal justice reform and coastal restoration are among John Bel Edwards’ goals as he begins his second year in the governor’s office. Edwards says last year he tackled a historic budget deficit with 850-million dollars in cuts and urging the legislature to raise taxes to protect higher education and health care. He says comprehensive tax reform is needed this year. Edwards says he’ll continue to push for adequate funding for healthcare, higher ed, and TOPS.
Louisiana is the third most dangerous state for pedestrians, according to a report by Smart Growth America. Director the National Complete Streets Coalition Emiko (EM-mee-koh) Atherton says this means Louisiana has a lot of work to do to increase pedestrian safety. She says many of these deaths are preventable. Florida and Alabama came in first and second for the most dangerous states for pedestrians.
In a conference before U.S. District Judge Lance Africk, the City of Slidell agreed not to enforce its requirement that panhandlers register with the police pending the court’s ruling on the ordinance’s constitutionality. Based on that promise, the ACLU of Louisiana has agreed that its request for a preliminary injunction can be dismissed as moot. The ALCU is representing panhandlers who in the city who say the ordinance violates the first amendment.
New Roads Police say a teacher at False River Academy turned herself in yesterday amid allegations she was setting up a tryst with a student. They say 23-year-old Skylar Russell was found in the car with the victim before any contact was made. She is charged with attempted carnal knowledge of a juvenile.
Former LSU Coach Les Miles told Stephen A Smith on ESPN’s First Take that he’d be willing to coach at a Group Five School. Western Michigan currently has an opening. Miles says playing for a championship year in and year out is great, but he also likes taking a group of guys and making them better.
New Orleans native Vance Joseph is the new head coach of the Denver Broncos. The former Archbishop Shaw quarterback has agreed to a four-year deal and becomes the franchise’s first African-American permanent head coach.
LSU baseball is ranked number two in Perfect Game USA’s preseason Top 25 poll. TCU is ranked number one, who LSU is scheduled to play March 3rd in Houston. The Ragin Cajuns are ranked 13th in the Perfect Game poll.
News for Wednesday 011117
By Dave Graichen
The Grant Parish Sheriff’s office has arrested a 31-year-old man after he allegedly beat up his grandparents with a baseball bat. Derrick Henderson of Georgetown has been charged with attempted first-degree murder and home invasion. The elderly victims received severe injuries.
Today marks one year in office for Governor John Bel Edwards, and what a year it’s been. After such a tumultuous start, it begs the question as to what the next year will hold. UL-Lafayette political science professor Pearson Cross says like his first year, one of the governor’s biggest challenges in year two is the budget. The Governor’s Monthly call in show is this afternoon at 2p on 970 KSYL
A new political party has been established in the Bayou State, as the official paperwork has been submitted by the Louisiana Independent Party. Party Treasurer Bill Bryan says this is more of a movement than a political action. He says often times, people vote for a party, not a person, and party affiliations can make it difficult for people to have open, honest discussions about candidates. There are currently 56-thousand Independent voters registered in the party. Bryan says the current-two party system doesn’t serve the wide spectrum of views held by voters, as evidenced by the most recent election.
5th District Congressman Ralph Abraham will have a chance to set military policy for the United States as he’s been appointed to the House Armed Services Committee. Abraham says his top priority will be looking out for the men and women who serve our country.
Abraham says it’s critically important for a member of Louisiana’s delegation to sit on the committee because the Bayou State is home to Barksdale Air Force Base, Fort Polk, and the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in New Orleans. He expects Louisiana’s military bases to be vital in the ongoing fight against domestic and international terrorism.
Students who attend poorly performing schools can begin applying for vouchers today. President of the Louisiana Federation for Children, Ann Duplesis says about 10-thousand families apply every year, and students from all over the state can apply. Duplesis says students already enrolled in the program do not need to reapply. 123 schools in 31 school districts around the state participate in the voucher program.
WWE’s WrestleMania is returning to New Orleans next year. Governor John Bel Edwards says when the event came to the Big Easy in 2014, over 75-thousand fans came from around the world, bringing an economic impact of $142 million. Edwards says this is the quickest the event has ever returned to a previous host city.
Small business optimism skyrocketed last month, according to the National Federation for Independent Business. State Director Dawn Starns says it’s because business owners are anticipating better economic conditions under the new administration. The NFIB says small business optimism is at its highest level since 2004.
150-thousand Louisiana residents have signed up for health coverage through the Affordable Care Act Marketplace, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Christen Young with the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services says financial assistance is a key driver, as 82-percent of Louisiana consumers have qualified for tax credits. Young says most people can find a plan for less than $75 per month.
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu is looking into new permanent security measures for Bourbon Street. The proposed $30 million plan would include blocking off the road to vehicles during most hours, setting up a command center to monitor a network of cameras, and taking measures to allow police to respond to emergencies with force more quickly.
The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office says one of their deputies was involved in a shooting with a man apparently trying to kill himself. They say 19-year-old Austin Rackley of Sulphur was located fighting with a family member and he had a gun. They said he refused to put it down when he was ordered to and deputies fired striking him in the neck – injuring him. The investigation is ongoing.
Officials in Alabama say a 20-year-old LSU student has died in Tuscaloosa after being struck by a train. They say Katie Keogh was walking with others after the college title game when she failed to make it across the tracks in time and died at the scene.
A study from LSU Health New Orleans finds a parent’s concern about neighborhood safety will result in less play time outside. Research Professor Dr. Melinda Sothern says they questioned parents in neighborhoods with high crime rates along with graffiti and blighted neighborhoods and found they restricted their children’s outdoor play, which means less physical activity for those children. Sothern says the most intriguing finding was what parents thought of their own communities and if they trusted their neighbors.
News for Tuesday 011017
By Dave Graichen
The Rapides Parish Sheriff’s office arrests two adults after three juveniles in their care tested positive for narcotics. Captain Tommy Carnline says the complaint originally came in from the Department of Children and Family Services in regards in a November incident. Arrested were 19-year-old Stephan Matthews and 22-year-old Kate Bordelon of Pineville are in jail on a charge of second-degree cruelty to juveniles.
Alexandria Senior High's football stadium may soon be named for the school's former coach "Butch" Stoker, who passed away a little over a month ago. School officials will seek approval to rename the stadium at the School Board's Jan.10 meeting.
The Environmental Protection Agency has awarded the Rapides Parish School Board $100,000 to replace five of its school buses with "cleaner," lower-emission models. The Rebates going to some 88 school districts in 27 states are being funded by the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act. Rapides was the only school system in the state identified as a recipient of new buses this year.
The staff of the Louisiana Board of Regents is proposing several changes to the TOPS scholarship program. Higher Ed Commissioner Joe Rallo says the board is reviewing their report, and the final recommendations will be made in February. He says they are looking at a variety of ways to change how the scholarship is awarded, after the state failed to fully fund the program for the first time this year.
Governor John Bel Edwards plans to go back to Washington in February to secure more federal funds for flood recovery. He says Congress has already approved more than $1.5 billion, but that will not cover flood victims who had flood insurance. He says Louisiana is still $2 billion short for a full, robust recovery.
State Police say Wildlife and Fisheries Agent Tyler Wheeler is responding well to treatment after he was shot five times early Saturday morning in Morehouse Parish. Two residents from Monroe have been arrested in connection with the shooting and State Police Colonel Mike Edmonson says more arrests are possible. Edmonson says they are still trying to get a handle on what sparked the shooting.
The clean-up process for Charity Hospital in New Orleans begins today. The historic building has been locked up tight since Hurricane Katrina. LSU Health New Orleans Director of Facility Planning Jerry Jones says the facilities contain asbestos, mold, chemicals, and other hazardous materials and the building is not safe for immediate occupancy. Jones says FEMA will pay for the cleanup to the tune of $6.4 Million Dollars. It’s unclear what will happen with the 78 year old structure once it’s cleaned out.
A Pierre Part man has been arrested after allegedly accidentally texting an Assumption Parish Sheriff’s deputy about a potential drug deal. 39-year-old Dwayne Paul Hebert was met by authorities at a location where he planned to sell crystal meth. Heber was arrested with two firearms along with the drug. He was charged with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, resisting an officer and other charges.
The governor will be in New Orleans today for an announcement that WrestleMania is returning to the Crescent City in 2018.
AAA says the national average price for gas has increased to the highest level since June, but Louisiana is still listed on the top 10 of cheapest markets in the country this week. The statewide average stands at $2.18, up over 12 cents from the prior month.
The race to become the state’s next elected State Treasurer is underway as Covington Representative John Schroder becomes the first person to announce he’s a candidate for the job. The election takes place in October. The other big election is the New Orleans mayoral race, so Political analyst Clancy Dubos says Big Easy voters will play a major role in this race.
Dubos anticipates a lot of candidates running for State Treasurer.
The cold weather over the weekend damaged many plants and it has some wondering what to do next. LSU AgCenter Horticulturist Dan Gill recommends waiting a while to see if the plant is actually dead, even if it appears to have damage.
News for Monday 010917
By Dave Graichen
A Monroe woman was arrested and charged late Saturday night with shooting Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Agent Tyler Wheeler five times after a traffic stop in Morehouse Parish. Wheeler is listed in stable condition at University Health in Shreveport after being shot twice in the head, twice in the arm and once in the shoulder. 31 year old Amethyst Baird of Monroe was charged with attempted first degree murder of a police officer. Police also arrested 34 year old Jeremy Gullette of Monroe and charged him with one count of accessory after the fact to attempted first degree murder.
The Town Talk reports The domestic abuse charge against Cleco CEO Darren Olagues has been dropped at the request of the victim. The Rapides Parish District Attorney's Office announced in a release that it is no longer pursuing the case. Olagues was arrested on Dec. 8 and charged with one count of domestic abuse strangulation, involving his wife. Olagues has been on leave from Cleco since the arrest.
The Transportation Task Force has released their final report on how to improve the state’s transportation infrastructure, and of course, funding is number one. DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson says the state needs to increase its investment in transportation by $700 million a year. But he says they haven’t decided how those dollars will be raised. Wilson says they’re also looking into tolls and public-private partnerships as a means of funding. He says something has to be done to address the $13 billion backlog of transportation projects, as well as address the $16 billion in new projects, like a new Mississippi River Bridge in Baton Rouge.
Gov. John Bel Edwards said Friday he expects a special legislative session to rebalance Louisiana's budget will be needed if a looming midyear deficit reaches $300 million or more, as projected. House Republican leaders, however, hope to avoid a special session. At issue are the constitutional limits on how and where Louisiana's governor and lawmakers can make cuts when a midyear budget gap emerges. The size of the gap will be decided next week by the Revenue Estimating Conference.
Governor John Bel Edwards has sent a letter to Congress urging national leaders not to repeal the Affordable Care Act. But US Senator Bill Cassidy says Obamacare isn’t working for everyone. He says when premiums and deductibles cost thousands of dollars, that’s anything but affordable. But Louisiana Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rebekah Gee urges federal lawmakers not to fix what isn’t broken. While she admits Obamacare is causing premiums to go up nationwide, she is adamant that the Medicaid expansion has been a godsend.
Monroe is a top contender for a new Graphic Packaging facility. Senior Manager of Corporate Communications, Sue Appleyard, says while they are still looking at other potential locations, the company reached a conceptual agreement with the local union to build the facility in the Monroe area. Appleyard expects a final decision to come in the next few months. She says there won’t be any impact on their current paper mill, which employs the bulk of their 400 workers in West Monroe, but the two other facilities would be consolidated. Appleyard says this new 70-million facility will be Graphic Packaging’s first brand new plant in 10 years.
News for Friday 010617
By Dave Graichen
There’s a chance some parts of Louisiana will see winter precipitation today. State climatologist Barry Keim says the region north of the I-10 corridor will likely see a wintry mix.
The annual Quality counts report from Education Week gives Louisiana a D-plus for public education. According to the study, the state performed poorly when it comes to K-12 achievement and funding for public schools. Louisiana finished 46th out of the 50 states.
The Restore Louisiana Task Force meets today to discuss plans to spend federal flood relief dollars. In the weeks after the August flood, the state secured 438-million and then another 1.2 billion was appropriated in December. Pat Forbes, executive director of the State Office of Community Development, says unfortunately, when you’re dealing with federal money – the process of how to secure it takes longer than anyone wants. Once HUD approves the final plan for the first installment, the agency will make the money available to the state; maybe by March.
Trump supporters in Louisiana are helping to drum up support for President-elect Donald Trump’s agenda for his first 100 days in office. Co-chair of the Donald Trump for Louisiana campaign Brian Trascher says they’re organizing post-election activities. He says one of the first orders of business is to make sure Louisiana’s U.S. Senators, Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy, support Mr. Trump’s cabinet picks. Trascher says the team plans to create a special fund that will be used to run ads so that people can get the full story on what the president-elect hopes to do.
Four workers on a Renaissance Offshore platform were forced into the water early Thursday when a fire broke out on the platform. US Coast Guard Petty Officer Travis Magee says they received reports of a fire on a platform 80 miles off the coast of Grand Isle. The workers were reportedly taken to Terrebonne General Medical Center for observation. They say there were no signs of pollution in the area.
The Saints have made major changes with their coaching staff. Five assistant coaches were let go, including long-time assistant head coach Joe Vitt. Vitt and James Willis both coached the linebackers and they were let go. Defensive line coach Bill Johnson will also not be back, and special teams assistant Stan Kwan and special teams coordinator Greg McMahon were also let go.
Several stores are closing their doors for good in the coming months. Sears Holdings announces Kmart locations in Gonzales and Jefferson Parish, as well as Sears in Gretna and Cortana Mall in Baton Rouge will close by this April. The Limited is shutting down nationwide, meaning all 5 stores in Louisiana will lock their doors permanently this Saturday, and the Macys in Kenner is closing in the spring. Company officials say online shopping has had a major negative effect of their businesses. Retail experts say the stores simply haven’t keep up with the times.
Walker and Denham Springs have filed a class action suit against the state and all of the contractors infolved in the I-12 widening project. The Livingston Parish towns claim the concrete barrier wall on the interstate made the flooding worse in August, because it prevented water from draining out.
Many people set New Year’s resolutions to become healthier for 2017 but nutritionists are cautioning people about the dangers of fad diets. Registered Dietitian with the LSU AgCenter Sandra May says she sees the popularity of these name brand diets ramp up at the beginning of each year. She urges consumers to eat a balanced diet. May says the most popular fad diets currently are the Adkins, Zone and Paleo diets. She says juicing or detoxing can be very dangerous, especially if you have a medical condition like diabetes.
News for Thursday 010517
By Dave Graichen
Precipitation moves into Louisiana tonight, and it could change to snow north of I-20. But State climatologist Barry Keim says the chance for wintery precipitation is not very high. Keim says this weather system is expected to move through the state quickly. But he says once it passes over, arctic air pushes in.
Well it is now official. According to the National Weather Service, at least 8 tornadoes hit Louisiana Monday. The twisters damaged parts of Avoyelles, Beauregard, Evangeline, Rapides, and Tangipahoa parishes. The most powerful storm touched down in Beauregard Parish, with winds reaching 110 mph. Ten to 25 homes were damaged.
GLOVIS America announces a new inland distribution center for imported vehicles will be located at the old General Motors plant in Shreveport. It will mean at least 150 new jobs. Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson says Kia and Hyundai vehicles will come from other countries and get equipment and exterior upgrades at the facility. A hiring date has not been set, but he says the average salary is expected to be around $32-thouasnd. The former Shreveport GM plant has been inactive since 2012.
Water systems across Louisiana are increasing fees to help with increased state inspections. State Health Officer Dr. Jimmy Guidry says there’s always been a fee to pay for state inspections, but the legislature and governor agreed to increase the fee by another 75-cents per month starting this month, because health risks are getting higher. Guidry hopes this will prevent another disaster like the poor drinking water currently in St. Joseph.
Drivers can expect to pay more at the pump this year, as GasBuddy forecasts the highest prices in three years. Senior Petroleum Analyst Greg Laskowski says right now the statewide average is $2.16, which is about 40-cents higher than a year ago and a spike is likely later this winter and spring. Laskowski expects prices to peak in May or June and the yearly average is expected to be 36-cents higher.
The state has released its revised coastal protection and restoration masterplan that’s designed to reduce hurricane storm surge and restore Louisiana’s vanishing coastline. Bren Haase with the state’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority says the plan proposes 120 projects. Haase says the worst case scenario for the coast would be about 4-thousand square miles of land loss if they did nothing. Haase says roughly $18 billion has been secured to implement the 50-year plan, which would take $50 billion to fully fund it.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation launches a railroad safety campaign. Based on the latest numbers from the Federal Railroad Administration, Louisiana was fourth in the nation for the number of highway-rail grade crossing fatalities in 2015, with 13 deaths. DOTD Spokesperson Rodney Mallett says the message of their campaign is do not stop on the tracks.
News for Wednesday 010417
By Dave Graichen
At one point over 15,000 Avoyelles Parish CLECO customers were with power after Monday’s storms. After working around the clock, company officials say less than 900 remained with power as of 5pm yesterday. As expected, most of those still without power saw the lights come on over night. CLECO says, those left should see power restored (By Noon) today.
Another cold snap is coming our way, and state climatologist Barry Keim says it will be the coldest one yet. He says a cold front is moving into the state today, which will drastically cool things off in the Bayou State. Keim says it will get progressively colder every day until Sunday. He says a storm forming in the Gulf will increase the chance for wintery precipitation in north and central Louisiana on Friday.
Republican John Kennedy was sworn in as a new U.S. Senator for Louisiana Tuesday. Kennedy occupies the seat once held by David Vitter, who decided not to run for re-election. Kennedy also resigned as state treasurer today. Ron Henson will lead the state agency. Voters will have the opportunity to elect a new treasurer in October.
Two new members of Louisiana’s House delegation also took the oath of office Tuesday as well. Republican Congressman Clay Higgins will represent the third district, which covers southwest Louisiana. And Republican Mike Johnson moves from the state legislature to the seat representing the fourth congressional district.
Louisiana’s congressional delegation is gearing up to tackle some big issues in the 115th United States Congress. Congressman Ralph Abraham was sworn in Monday for his second term representing northeast and central Louisiana. He says a big priority for his district will be creating and protecting jobs in agriculture.
US Representative Cedric Richmond, who represents New Orleans, parts of the River Parishes and Baton Rouge, was sworn in as the new chairman of Congressional Black Caucus yesterday. Richmond says the Caucus plans to affect change. It’s expected that the Caucus will fight many of the policies that will come from the Trump administration. One piece of legislation the two sides could agree on is a funding bill for infrastructure projects.
Workers compensation rates are continuing a downward trajectory in Louisiana, as the Louisiana Department of Insurance announces a statewide rate decrease of nearly 10-percent. Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon says this is good news for Louisiana businesses because it makes competing for jobs easier. Donelon says rates have seen a cumulative drop of 34-percent over the last 10 years and 50-percent over the last 20 years. He says workplace safety is the biggest reason Louisiana’s workers compensation rates continue to decline.
For 10 years, Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan has represented the state’s vision for preventing its bottom third from being consumed by the Gulf of Mexico. That vision got a lot grimmer Tuesday with the release of the 2017 edition of the plan. It predicts that even if everything works as planned, 2,800 square miles of coast still could be lost in the next four decades, and about 27,000 buildings may need to be floodproofed, elevated or bought out, including about 10,000 in communities around New Orleans.
Season two of the cold case series Killing Fields debuted last night on the Discovery Channel. Iberville Parish Sheriff Brett Stassi says the TV show will highlight to work of his deputies who helped solve a 1991 cold case murder and another case that made headlines last spring
The show airs at 9 PM Tuesday nights.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees is partnering with Dunkin Donuts franchisee Vik Patel to develop nearly 70 more donut shops in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Shreveport and Monroe. The first new store is expected to open this year. Five stores are currently open in Louisiana. Brees is also involved in the Jimmy John’s Franchise and co-owns Walk-On’s Enterprises.
News for Tuesday 010317
By Dave Graichen
Yesterday’s forecast called for a good chance of thunderstorms. But, no one expected the storms that rolled through Cenla yesterday around lunch time.. Heavy rain and strong winds caused widespread damage. The worst of which was to the south and east of Alexandria / Pineville. In Avoyelles parish residents say they believe it was a tornado that tore through their neighborhoods. In the town of Cheneyville there were reports of heavy damage as well. Power was knocked out to many residents. Cleco says they hope to have most restored today.
A report released yesterday by the state legislative Auditor’s office was critical of reporting required by the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s office for certain types of crime. The report pointed out two cases of theft within the department, one of which was reported to the Parish DA’s office. The other was resolved internally. A release on Monday from the RPSO said all monies in both incidents had been recovered.
The 10 story downtown Capital One Building has been sold for $1.425 million to a Hammond developer Darryl Smith. According to Rod Noles, who’s company helped to broker the deal to sell the property, Smith who intends to keep the building's current tenants and do significant renovations. The building, a downtown landmark, was built in the last months of World War One, back in 1919.
Information is still forth coming, but the APD reported yesterday morning that the 16 year old parents of a 1-month-old child have been charged in her death. Authorities arrested the, so far unidentified couple, after the little girl died at the hospital early Monday morning. After their arrests, both were put into juvenile detention and charged with second-degree murder. No other information is available at this time.
Vernon Parish authorities are reporting a man who allegedly fatally shot his aunt and another man on New Year's Day in Anacoco, was later was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The two were identified as 48-year-old Norma Ross of Anacoco and 30-year-old Calvin Stubbs of Leesville. Witnesses told deputies that Ross' nephew, 36-year-old Derrick Ross, had shot the pair.
A federal lawsuit claims sheriff's deputies shot and killed a 27-year-old man in his southwest Louisiana home after investigators improperly obtained a warrant to search his residence for drugs. The Dec. 26 lawsuit accuses a Beauregard Parish Sheriff's Office detective of relying on false and uncorroborated statements from an informant and an anonymous caller to get a "no-knock" warrant to search Eric Senegal's home. Deputies told State Police investigators that they fatally shot Senegal after he pointed a .45-caliber pistol at a SWAT team member who raided his Ragley home in January of last year. A third deputy said he shot and killed Senegal's pit bull after the dog attacked them. No drugs were found, however Senegal had drugs in his system at the time of his death.
Today in Washington D.C, John Kennedy will be sworn into the 115th Congress of the United States as Louisiana’s newest Senator. The former state treasurer says he intends to hit the ground running. Kennedy says says one of the biggest things he’s going to try to do for Louisianians is get flood relief here quickly.
The Smoking Cessation Trust is offering tips to help smokers quit for the New Year. CEO Mike Rogers says this is a great resolution for people to push for. He says most people who try to quit cold turkey are unsuccessful but they have a great program to help. Visit smokefreela.org for more info on the program.
2016 was certainly an unusual year for Louisiana politics, so what can we expect in 2017? Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat says next year will be all about the budget. He says we can look forward to another contentious battle over revenue versus spending. He says like last year, we are entering the New Year with a massive budget shortfall.
Saints Coach Sean Payton refused to address rumors on Monday that he could be coaching elsewhere in 2017. He said it would be silly to add fuel to those reports. Quarterback Drew Brees has said that reports of Payton leaving have been completely made up and said it comes with the territory when you don’t make the playoffs. Brees is coming off another great season. The 37-year-old signed a one-year contract extension prior to the start of 2016 season…
News for Monday 010217
By Dave Graichen
An Alexandria man, 25-year-old Keaton Spurlin, Has been charged with vehicular homicide and driving under the influence, after an accident on Wednesday of last Wednesday killed a 18 month old child. Spurlin was booked him into the Rapides Parish Detention Center Friday on the charge. He’s been released on bond.
Governor John Bel Edwards has named State Rep. Jack Montoucet of Crowley as the secretary of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. The governor’s office says Montoucet will take office in mid-January. Former secretary Charles Melancon stepped down after an audit showed problems with his predecessor.
At least 90 homes out of the water tested at 400 residences in the town of St. Joseph were found positive for levels of lead not safe for consumption. State Health Officer Dr. Jimmy Guidry says in many cases, it was found the lead was coming from pipes inside of the home. He says they’re offering more tests to ensure there aren’t other sources of lead in the home that kids could be exposed to.
The state Department of Environmental Quality is urging Louisianans to recycle after the holidays. Jean Kelly with DEQ says more waste is produced in December than any other month. She says almost everything is recyclable in some way.
A Baton Rouge man is facing two counts of first degree murder from a 2015 cold case. Sgt. L’Jean McKneely with Baton Rouge police says it’s believed 26-year-old Johnathan Robertson was also involved in a number of other crimes. McKneely encourages anyone who might be a potential victim to contact police.
A Rayville man is facing one count of negligent homicide after he allegedly shot and killed his cousin when being careless with a gun. They say 34 year old Bryant Silk is accused of pointing the weapon at the victim as a joke when the two were smoking weed and drinking. This is apparently when the gun went off by accident. Bond was set at $25,000 for Silk.
Many people set new fitness resolutions for the New Year, but how do you make sure to keep up with them? Director of the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness Rudy Macklin says it’s always a good idea to get a workout partner. Macklin says a good way to become more active is to do more physical things around the home, like mowing the grass. He says starting a diet or workout regimen with another person helps to keep up the motivation. Macklin advises people who are older or haven’t been active in a while to start out slow.
The New Orleans murder rate climbed last year to 176. That's the highest count since 2012 when 193 people were slain in the city. Murders last year included domestic violence incidents, drug turf wars and high profile cases such as the Nov. 27 mass shooting on Bourbon Street. Chicago led the country in murders in 2016 with 762 homicides. That's more killings than New York and Los Angeles combined.
A newly formed Shreveport environmental activist group has made plans to travel to Baton Rouge to protest an incoming pipeline that many worry would hurt the environment.
The $670 million pipeline project would carry an estimated 280,000 barrels of oil through 11 southern Louisiana parishes. It's backed by Energy Transfer Partners, Inc., the same company behind the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota.
A disease research company will set up a pharmaceutical research and development facility at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s New Iberia Research Center. Gov. John Bel Edwards and Crown Bioscience Inc. CEO Jean-Pierre Wery announced the project. Wery said the project will enable Crown Bioscience to advance treatments for cardiovascular and metabolic disease research. The company will make a $1 million investment and create 10 jobs with an average salary of $70,000.
Baton Rouge Mayor-President-Elect Sharon Weston Broome said she’s started searching for replacements for two top jobs in her administration. Broome said she’s reached out to national organizations to help recruit candidates to fill the roles of Police Chief Carl Dabadie and Chief Administrative Officer William Daniel. She also said that all city-parish department heads were to take on the “interim” title as she tries to fill her administration with people of her choosing.
Broome said she has started soliciting feedback from national groups though no search committees have been formed yet.
The Allstate Sugar Bowl kicks off tonight in the Mercedes Benz Superdome at 7:30 as the Auburn Tigers take on the Oklahoma Sooners. Chief Operating Officer for the bowl, Jeff Hundley, says originally there were some struggles selling tickets but he still expects a big crowd to be in attendance.
Now that the Saints season is over and they’ve once again failed to make the playoffs for a third straight year, can we expect to see many changes in the off season? NFL Analyst Mike Detillier says he doesn’t see many things that need shaking up on the offense. Detililer says what the Saints really need to do in this off season is go out and find a top pass rusher. He also says there has got to be a new special teams coach.
News for Thursday 122216
By Dave Graichen
Next year State Police will begin equipping 700 troopers with a body camera. State Police Colonel Mike Edmonson says each trooper will be equipped with two cameras, and they will automatically turn on if a trooper activates a stun gun. Edmonson hopes these new cameras will improve transparency between police and citizens. Troopers in New Orleans will be the first to get the body cameras and they hope to have them statewide by next summer.
Gov. John Bel Edwards and Venture Global LNG announced Wednesday the company will invest $8.5 billion to develop a natural gas liquefaction facility and export terminal in Plaquemines Parish. They say Plaquemines LNG will create 250 new direct jobs at an average annual salary of $70,000 per year, plus benefits. Full operations are expected to begin in 2022
With Christmas this weekend, there are still thousands of flood victims that are still not in their homes, and Governor John Bel Edwards says they are doing what they can to get them back home as quickly as possible. Congress approved $438 million for flood recovery in September, and an additional $1.2 billion was allocated in December. Edwards says the biggest challenge with getting federal funds into the hands of those that need it, is all the federal red tape. But he says hopefully the wait is almost over for displaced flood victims. Edwards says thanks to the Shelter At Home program, more than 10-thousand families were able to move back into their homes while repairs continue. He says only 400 homes in the program are left to be repaired.
There’s a new report that shows women earn on average 76-percent of the salary men make in Louisiana. Tulane Business Professor Mark Rosa says business owners agree with the concept of equal pay for equal work, but it’s hard to make it a reality when job duties are different. The statistics show women in Louisiana had a median weekly income of $630 to $828 for men.
Louisiana’s population has grown very little, according to the latest census data. Demographer Greg Rigamer says the nation as a whole changed more than 4-percent from 2010 to 2016, while the southern region changed about 6.5-percent. He says Louisiana saw a 3-percent change over the same period. Rigamer says in 2010, Louisiana ranked 25th in the nation for population, and we still rank 25th today. He says job loss could be pushing some working people out of the state. He says while Louisiana saw a small growth, Mississippi’s population decreased slightly.
Some Entergy customers will see a refund on their January bill. The refund is a result of an agreement approved by state regulators regarding a dispute over 140-million dollars in repairs to the Waterford 3 nuclear power plant. The typical refund will be worth about 40-dollars and there will be a small reduction in monthly rates going forward.
Governor John Bel Edwards met with reporters yesterday outlined his goals for 2017. Edwards says addressing long-term structural budget reform, so that Louisiana has a fair and predictable tax structure is a priority. Edwards says his administration also plans on tackling criminal justice reform. The Governor called 2016 a challenging year. Edwards says he entered office and immediately addressed an unprecedented budget deficit by making cuts and raising revenues through tax increases. He say the most difficult day was July 17th, that’s when three police officers were killed in Baton Rouge.
Louisiana wildlife and fisheries secretary Charlie Melancon tells the Associated Press that he’s resigning immediately, because people in the office are making it difficult for him to implement reforms to improve the department’s finances. After clashing with recreational fishermen and employees with L-D-W-F, it was announced that Melancon would leave in February, but he’s decided to step down now.
State wildlife biologists have determined that a picture of an animal taken in Morehouse Parish is that of a cougar. It’s the first time the state has been able to verify a cougar sighting since 2011. Maria Davidson says cougars are known to travel hundreds of miles, so it’s likely the animal is no longer in Louisiana, but they encourage the public to report any physical evidence of cougar sightings.
A Mississippi man has been charged with arson for starting a fire that caused damage to the ULM waterski house. Campus surveillance captured video footage and authorities have determined that 36-year-old Michael Daquilla of Centerville allegedly set fire to the building. Daquilla has no known connections to ULM.
LSU wide receiver Malachi Dupre says he remains undecided on whether he’ll enter the NFL draft after the bowl game. Dupre was expected to have a big junior season, but he started off slow. The former John Curtis star finished the regular season with 34 catches and three touchdown receptions. He says he’s not leaning one way or the other on what he might do…
LSU defensive tackle Davon Godchaux is another Tiger that has yet to decide on whether he’ll stay or go.
As of right now, there is not one Saints player who will play in the NFL pro bowl. Quarterback Drew Brees and defensive end Cam Jordan still might get an invite, depending on injuries and which two teams will play in the Super Bowl.
According to an audit, the ULM football team broke the law and the UL system policy when it played at Hawaii last season. That’s according to a report from the Monroe News Star. University officials says they though the school met state and system guidelines
News for Wednesday 122116
By Dave Graichen
Winter Solstice officially began at 4:44 this morning, according to State climatologist Barry Keim. He says we’ve been experiencing some cold temperatures this week, but the Climate Prediction Center is calling for warmer and drier than normal conditions for the next three months. Keim says the chance of having a white Christmas in Louisiana this year is basically nil, since temps are predicted to be in the 70’s Christmas day.
State department are making cuts to their respective agencies this week, as $277 million has been carved from the state budget. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne says these cuts are being made by not hiring new people to fill vacant positions. Dardenne says we’ll get the full budget picture when the Revenue Estimating Conference meets again in January.
The state’s revenues will likely get a boost with the news that Amazon will begin collecting state and local sales taxes on purchases made by Louisiana consumers, starting January 1st. State Revenue Secretary Kimberly Robinson hopes other online retailers follow Amazon’s new policy. It’s a state law that taxes must be paid on internet purchases, but it’s up to the consumer to self-report.
Governor John Bel Edwards met with Senator-elect John Kennedy, along with Congressmen-elect Mike Johnson and Clay Higgins to discuss flood recovery efforts. Edwards says he’s asked the entire Louisiana Congressional delegation to press the Housing and Urban Development department to publish guidelines on how the second round of federal dollars can be used by the state.
Governor John Bel Edwards is set to meet with reporters today to look back at the challenges and successes Louisiana has seen during 2016. Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat says Edwards inherited an historic budget deficit when he took office on January 11th, which took up most of his time during the first half of the year. Pinsonat says Edwards had some victories in his first year, like getting federal funding for flood victims and raising over 1.5 billion dollars in revenues during two special sessions. A survey last month found that 64-percent approve of the governor’s job performance.
The ACLU of Louisiana has sent a letter to the Grant Parish Police Jury because a Christmas display outside of the courthouse only includes a Nativity scene. The Nativity scene is on display in front of the courthouse "without including other holiday symbols," reads the letter. The letter does not call for the display's removal, but the inclusion of other faiths.
The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit on behalf of three panhandlers in Slidell, over an ordinance that requires them to get a permit in order to beg for money on city streets. Louisiana ACLU executive director Marjorie Esman says the city of Slidell’s requirement violates the panhandlers First Amendment Rights. Slidell has yet to enforce the ordinance, which was passed in October. A spokesperson says they are waiting for the newly elected police chief and mayor to decide how to proceed.
The assistant warden at the Angola State penitentiary has been arrested for rape. 34-year-old Barrett Boeker reportedly faces one count of second degree rape for an alleged incident that occurred on November 30 at his home behind the gates of the prison. Boeker turned himself in shortly after the warrant was issued Tuesday.
Baton Rouge has received funding to start plans for a commuter train between the Capitol City and New Orleans. John Spain with the Southern Rail Commission says the city received quarter of a million dollars to start planning for a new train station in downtown Baton Rouge, and the city has agreed to match the federal investment. Spain says this commuter rail would hopefully be part of a larger route that stretches from Baton Rouge to Orlando, Florida. He says a passenger train used to run that route, but parts of it were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.
A Walker man has been charged with attempted second-degree murder following a road rage incident. Walker Police Capt. John Sharp says 31-year-old Bradley Deville fired a 9mm pistol into the side of 35-year-old Johnny Franz’ vehicle. Sharp says the incident began when Franz tailgated Deville and the two began arguing at an intersection.
CNN will again celebrate New Year’s Eve in New Orleans. The Times-Picayune reported that Don Lemon and Brooke Baldwin will host a Central Time Zone countdown to the new year in the Crescent City. CNN’s New Year’s coverage begins at 7 p.m. on Dec. 31 with “New Year’s Eve Live with Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin” in New York’s Time Square. They will hand off to Lemon and Baldwin from New Orleans at 11:30 p.m.
During a Q-and-A session on twitter, LSU’s Brandon Harris said he plans to be back with the Tigers in 2017. The backup QB seems to be excited about new offensive coordinator Matt Canada.
A couple of other LSU notes, wide receiver Malachi Dupre says he’s not made a decision on whether he’ll turn pro following the Citrus Bowl. It’s been learned linebacker Kendell Beckwith suffered a torn ACL when he left the Florida game with an injury. Beckwith will not participate in the Senior Bowl.
In college baseball…Collegiate Baseball ranks LSU number two in the country. Three other Louisiana schools are ranked in the Top 40, the Cajuns are ranked 14th, Tulane is 34th and Southeastern Louisiana is ranked 36th.
The Saints have placed linebacker Stephone Anthony on injured reserve. The 2015 first-round pick has been slowed by a knee injury and a move to strong side linebacker has not worked out well for him or the Saints. Anthony finishes the season with just 16 tackles.
News for Tuesday 122016
By Dave Graichen
The APD reports an Alexandria man was robbed Saturday afternoon while walking down the street. While that in itself is not so unusual, the fact that as many as nine kids worked together to commit the crime is. The victim told officers that he was walking down the road when as many as nine juveniles surrounded him and went through his pockets, looking for stuff to steal. So far, police have made two arrests in connection with the incident.
A sad story out of Pineville, A family of three lost their home and everything in it to a fire Monday afternoon. A neighbor spotted the fire before 3 p.m. and alerted the woman, who was home alone while her husband was at work and their daughter was at school. Three engines from the Pineville Fire Department were at the scene around 3 p.m. but the house was a total loss. It’s believed the blaze started in the attic of the home.
Not surprisingly, all 8 of Louisiana’s electors cast their votes for President-elect Donald Trump. Chairman of the Republican Party in Louisiana, Roger Villere, says they were not expecting any surprises, and they got what they expected. Villere says several electors received tens of thousands of emails, letters, and phone calls asking them not to vote for Trump. Mr. Trump got 301 electoral votes. Villere says although electors sign an affidavit when they are selected saying they will vote for the nominee, they would not have faced consequences had they voted against Mr. Trump.
Governor John Bel Edwards has said tax reform will be a major item on his 2017 legislative agenda. Louisiana Department of Revenue Secretary, Kimberly Lewis Robinson, sat on a state Tax Task Force that has provided recommendations to provide a fair, simple and stable tax code. She says to simplify the system, they recommend the elimination of some tax exemptions and deductions. Robinson says in order to be competitive, Louisiana needs a 4-percent sales tax, rather than a 5-percent rate, which lawmakers approved earlier this year. She says currently the largest percentage of the budget comes from sales tax collections, which isn’t fair to consumers or businesses.
Governor John Bel Edwards was in Tensas Parish yesterday visiting with residents of St. Joseph after a public health emergency was issued after lead and copper was found during testing of the towns drinking water. Julie Baxter Payer, with the governor’s office, says
construction has started on repairing the town’s drinking neglected water delivery system.
Thirteen parishes in north and central Louisiana have been declared a natural disaster area by the US Department of Agriculture because of drought conditions during 2016. Ag Commissioner Mike Strain says crops were damaged because of the drought, and this declaration could help farmers recover. Strain says these farmers have 8 months from the date of the declaration to apply for assistance.
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu announces that the city has reached settlements totaling 13-million dollars with the families of those involved in fatal police shootings and a fatal police beating that took place right around the time of Hurricane Katrina. The settlements are with 17 plaintiffs.
Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office announces the arrest of three people involved in armed robbery, kidnapping, and rape. Chief Deputy Mike Haley says a woman in her early 50s and her husband were targeted for the heinous crime because of their large gun collection.
More than $2 million in federal funds will go to 11 communities in three southern states to restore and improve passenger rail service. The Southern Rail Commission announced on Monday that the Federal Railroad Administration funding for the communities in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. The cities of Baton Rouge and Gonzales, as well as St. John Parish, will benefit.
The communities will get money for station-area planning and construction projects to improve safety, access and convenience.
NFL analyst Mike Detillier believes Sean Payton will be the head coach of the Saints in 2017, despite a report that said the New Orleans franchise is interested in trading the Super Bowl winning head coach. Two teams already have vacancies and Detillier says the opening in Los Angeles might intrigue Payton, but not enough to force a trade. Many Saints fans are getting frustrating with the team as they are headed for the their third consecutive losing season and might like a change at the top. But Detillier says be careful for what you root for
News for Monday 121916
By Dave Graichen
With budget shortfalls still looming, higher education leaders are looking at more potential changes to the TOPS scholarship program. Higher Ed Commissioner Joe Rallo says one option being discussed is raising the hourly requirement for the scholarship from 24 credits per year to 30. He says the idea is to encourage students to graduate more quickly, as TOPS only covers 8 semesters. Rallo says this is just one of several changes they’re considering to stabilize the program. Lawmakers are hopeful they can find the necessary $89 million to fully fund the program next year, but Rallo says changes will likely come to TOPS whether or not it’s fully funded.
There’s talk around the Capitol about the potential for another special session to address a looming $300 million budget shortfall for this fiscal year. That’s according to La-politics-dot-com, who heard that from a source within the Edwards administration. The Revenue Estimating Committee meets again in January, so lawmakers will have a better idea of how much money is available.
Today, Louisiana’s 8 electors will cast their votes for President-elect Donald Trump. Scott Wilfong is one of those electors. Wilfong says each elector will cast his or her ballot in their respective state capitals today. He says the votes will then be sent to Washington, where the new Congress will read them when they convene in January. Wilfong says he and other electors have received hundreds of phone calls, emails, and letters asking them not to vote for Mr. Trump. But he says it would be a disservice to the people of Louisiana to go against their votes. However, he does expect some electors will be swayed.
David Vitter has just two weeks left in office as a U.S Senator. Vitter says representing and serving the people of Louisiana has been the greatest honor of his professional life. He says he’s most proud of his work in the post-Katrina recovery, as Hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit the coast just months after Vitter was sworn in as a Senator. Vitter served as Louisiana’s 1st Congressional District Representative from 1999 to 2004 and as a US Senator since 2005. Prior to that, Vitter served in Louisiana’s House of Representatives from 1992 to 1999.
Louisiana is no longer the least healthy state in the country, according to the United Health Foundation. State Health Secretary Dr. Rebekah Gee says this is great news, but unfortunately Louisiana still ranks 49th in the nation for overall health. She says the state has high rates of low birth weight, infant mortality, and obesity. Mississippi was the only state found to be less healthy than Louisiana.
Governor John Bel Edwards has issued a public health emergency in St. Joseph after testing found levels of lead and copper in the public water system that has been poorly maintained for years. Bottled water has been sent into the Tensas Parish town as health officials are advising residents to use an alternative source of water to drink, brush their teeth and food preparation.
Louisiana Willdlife and Fisheries Secretary Charlie Melancon tells the Associated Press he’s been forced out from his Cabinet Position. Melancon says he’s not been given a reason why, but he’s had public disagreements with recreational fishermen and has been criticized for his handling of agency changes that have been recommended by state auditors. A spokesperson for the governor says there’s been unnecessary public battles as the agency tries to reform.
Fewer Louisianans are smoking cigarettes, according to the United Health Foundation. The report found 22-percent of Louisiana residents are smokers, compared to 24-percent in 2015. CEO of the Smoking Cessation Trust, Mike Rogers, credits legislation that bans smoking in bars and casinos, like one that was passed in New Orleans last year. Louisiana now ranks 43rd in the country for the rate of smokers, up from 46th last year.
LSU’s Leonard Fournette has decided not to play in the Citrus Bowl, so he can give his injured ankle more time to heal and allow his body to get ready for the NFL draft. Tigers Coach Ed Orgeron supports the decision, but he’ll miss the dynamic running back.
News for Friday 121616
By Dave Graichen
Doctors thought at first he would live the rest of his life in a vegetative state. But, that’s apparently not the case. East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s deputy Nick Tullier (too yay) is making very good progress. That’s what doctors say at a Houston hospital where the wounded deputy continues to recover after getting shot last July during an ambush that killed three others. Doctor Katherine O’ Brien. And they say he can communicate nonverbally and move some parts of his body.
Now this is something you don’t hear every day, A Louisiana State trooper has been arrested and is facing charges after he allegedly entered a Bayou Crossing Drive house on Thursday morning. APD officers were sent to the home after a call claiming a burglar entered the home. The report says when The Burglar was confronted, he left the scene. 43-year-old Jeffrey Covington of Alexandria was charged with aggravated burglary and malfeasance in office.
55 year old Mitchell Casmere, the man who shot a downtown Alexandria Regions Bank employee while robbing the branch back in July pleaded guilty yesterday. Casmere was sentenced to a total of 30 years at hard labor. He originally faced an attempted first-degree murder charge, but it was amended to the battery charge when he agreed to plead guilty.
The House and Senate joint budget committee approved a plan Thursday that will result in a 12-million dollar cut in state funding for public colleges. The cut to higher education was needed to address a 313-million dollar deficit. But Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne warned more cuts are coming, because another 300-million dollar shortfall could be recognized next month.
Three Louisiana cities rank as some of the highest in the US for losing the most jobs. According to 24/7 Wall St, the Lafayette area topped the list having accounted for 9400 losses in the past year. Houma/Thibodaux ranked third highest with an area employment decline of 3.7%, and Shreveport-Bossier came in at No. 4 with a loss of 4200 jobs. LSU Economist Dr. Loren Scott. says the rig count in northwest Louisiana’s Haynesville Shale area has gone from about 140 to around 16, and in the Gulf of Mexico there used to be about 56 rigs online and that’s now down in the teens. He says their forecast shows the job losses in these three areas continuing into 2017, but at a slower rate.
FBI agents raided the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Hammond Police Department. An agency spokesperson says they are carrying out court ordered actions. The investigation reportedly stems from possible mishandling of evidence by a drug task force. The FBI has indicated this is a large scale investigation and there will be more raids.
Louisiana has one of the biggest wage gaps between its richest and poorest residents, according to a report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Director of the Louisiana Budget Project, Jan Moeller isn’t surprised because he says Louisiana has the fourth highest rate of income inequality in the country. Moeller says this large wage gap is a reason why Louisiana’s economy has trouble growing.
According to a report from Bankrate.com, Louisiana is the fourth worst state for drivers. The report says the high number of auto fatalities and longer than average commute times contributed to Louisiana’s ranking. New Mexico, Nevada, Wyoming, and California round out the bottom five states.
U.S. Representative Ralph Abraham’s Office has begun handing out their tickets to President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration and they are a hot commodity. Spokesperson Cole Avery says they had a link on the Congressman’s website for people to request tickets, but they had to take it down because requests were flooding in. He says there were about 300 ticket requests, and they only have about 185 to give away.
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu met with President-elect Donald Trump yesterday in New York. The mayor was invited under his title as vice president of the United States Conference of Mayors. The two were scheduled to discuss public safety and infrastructure.
Tiny beetles resembling ladybugs are swarming homes around Louisiana more than usual this year. Dr. Chris Carlton with LSU’s Entomology Department says it’s the Asian Lady Beetle and it’s not the typical ladybug we normally see, but it’s in the same family. He says while they have been known to bite people, they aren’t really aggressive.
LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center receives a 5.3 million dollar grant to study why some people benefit more or less from exercise. Associate executive director of clinical research and study investigator Dr. Eric Ravussin says everyone knows exercise improves health, but they hope to determine which activity is the most effective on certain people and why. Pennington is one of six clinical centers around the country that will recruit healthy, inactive adults to participate in this exercise study. Ravussin says they hope their efforts will help people reap the maximum benefits from physical activity.
Looks like LSU has locked up a quarterback. Myles Brennan, the 4 star QB out of Mississippi, reaffirmed his commitment to the Tigers hours after meeting with new offensive coordinator Matt Canada. Brennan threw for 3,982 yards and 48 touchdowns this season in high school.
News for Thursday 121516
By Dave Graichen
The APD yesterday arrested 54 year old Daniel Mikkelson and 35 year old Natarsha Meredith in connection with the stabbing death of an Eastwood Blvd resident. Police entered the home to find a body that had been stabbed multiple times. Both Mikkelson and Meredith were booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center on charges of armed robbery and first-degree murder. The name of the victim still has not been released by police.
If you plan on mailing a gift this Christmas, you’re running out of time to ship it. New Orleans Postmaster Matt Connelly says today is the deadline for ground mailing through the US Postal Service. He says other deadlines are also approaching. Connelly says today will be the busiest mailing day, and the busiest delivery day will be December 22.
Governor John Bel Edwards’ executive order preventing LGBT discrimination in state government and businesses who have contracts with the state has been overturned. Attorney General Jeff Landry says he applauds Judge Todd Hernandez’ ruling. He says at the end of the day, this case was about the governor trying to create his own law. Edwards says he plans on appealing the ruling. Sean Sullivan with Forum for Equality Foundation says this ruling is another setback for the LGBT community in Louisiana.
LSU System President F King Alexander is not painting a rosy picture of the school’s future with the potential for more budget cuts to be handed down. Alexander says enrollment is down 3.5 percent for the next semester compared to the previous spring. Alexander says the University of Alabama is in the process of hiring 300 new teachers, while LSU has lost over 500 in the past nine years. Alexander says at some point the state needs to invest in the next generation of students.
LSU made it official today by naming Matt Canada as the Tigers new offensive coordinator. Tiger Rag Associate Editor James Moran believes it’s a good hire and it gives LSU two young and talented coordinators, Canada and defensive coordinator Dave Aranda.
Former US Representative Charlie Melancon has resigned as the state’s wildlife and fisheries secretary. Governor John Bel Edwards issued a statement saying it’s time to take the department in a different direction.
FEMA announces any flood victims awaiting a manufactured housing unit will receive one by January 31st. Deputy Federal Coordinating Officer for FEMA Tito Hernandez says 25-hundred families are currently eligible to live in a mobile home. Currently on average, FEMA is installing 30 trailers each day. Hernandez says a lot of work goes into installing a FEMA home, which is considered a last resort when it comes to temporary housing. He says even given the criticism, they are pleased with their performance.
Lake Charles Police have made an arrest in a homicide that took place in 1987. Lt. Richard Harrell says they re-opened the cold case last spring and put together enough evidence to charge 59-year-old Harry James Richard with armed robbery and first degree murder in the death of 75-year-old Noah Breaux. Harrell says more evidence and witness testimony has since come out, and Breaux’s body was exhumed in August.
The National Cattleman’s Beef Association says consumers could see lower beef prices because of an increase in production. CEO of Cattle Producers of Louisiana, Dave Foster, says the increase in U.S. beef production is due to packagers offering feeders more money for their cattle, which helped the struggling market rebound. The US Department of Agriculture found that November 2016 was the largest beef production month since 2010.
Shreveport police say a 71-year-old shop owner shot an individual who attempted to rob him and his business. Corporal Marcus Hines says the suspect, 36-year-old Michael Kelly, was shot three times. Kelly faces a laundry list of charges, including armed robbery.
Gas prices continue their steady rise as we head into the holidays. The current statewide average is $2.06 up over 6 cents from this time last month.
News for Wednesday 121416
By Dave Graichen
The state’s income forecasting panel has decided to delay the state’s reduced budget outlook for this fiscal year. The income projections were expected to be dismal, and Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne says the delay is irresponsible. The latest estimates show the state is facing a shortfall of more than $600 million. Dardenne says the wait gives agencies less time to deal with inevitable cuts.
In response to Senator-elect John Kennedy’s comment that the governor hasn’t done enough to secure federal flood aid, Governor John Bel Edwards sent a letter to Kennedy, bringing him up to speed. The Governor’s Communications Director Richard Carbo says the first round of aid was approved with unprecedented speed, but they understand Kennedy is new to this.
Carbo says the letter outlined the efforts made by the administration, as well as the process by which federal funds are approved.
Authorities say careless play led to a Baton Rouge man punching his pre-schooler to death. Police say they booked 25-year-old Kristopher Carter into East Baton Rouge Parish prison on negligent homicide charges, amid allegations he caused the death of his 4-year-old son as the two were “play fighting.” Cops say a witness told them Carter was punching the child and encouraging him to punch back.
Public meetings are being held in flood impacted areas of the state to update flood victims on the ongoing recovery efforts. Office of Community Development Executive Director, Pat Forbes says the action plan for allocating the federal funds still has to go through the bureaucratic process. The first round of money will go to low income families who are not in a flood plain and don’t have flood insurance. A meeting was held last night in Lafayette, and more are scheduled in Rapides, Caddo, Ouachita, East Baton Rouge, and Ascension parishes.
Former Governor Edwin Edwards is in the hospital being treated for pneumonia. The 89-year-old frequently suffers from the illness and his wife Trina says hopefully they’ll be able to go home soon. Trina says her husband comes down with pneumonia every year around this time.
President-elect Donald Trump has chosen former-Texas Governor Rick Perry as the Secretary for the Department of Energy. So what does that mean for Louisiana’s oil and gas industry? Acting president of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association, Gifford Briggs, says this nomination and Trump’s other cabinet selections, including Scott Pruitt to run the EPA and Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson as future Secretary of State, give them hope for what the industry could be. He says at this point they are cautiously optimistic.
The mental healthcare reform bill by US Senator Bill Cassidy has been signed into law by the president. The 21st Century Cures Act seeks to give mentally ill individuals more access to treatment, as well as giving family members more access to their loved ones doctors. Cassidy says this new law marks the beginning of serious mental health reform and it will help millions of people affected by mental illness become whole.
Small business optimism has skyrocketed since the election of Donald Trump, according the National Federation of Independent Business’ monthly Index of Small Business Optimism. NFIB state director Dawn Starns says business owners said they are now excited about the future. The survey finds small businesses job creation plans have increased from 9-percent to 23-percent since October. Starns says business owners felt bogged down recently by government regulations.
Louisiana is home to three of the most sinful cities in the country, according to WalletHub. Baton Rouge came in at number 8 on the list, New Orleans is number 10, and Shreveport cracked the top 20. The report found that New Orleans came in second for excessive drinking, while Baton Rouge came in 12. Shreveport ranked 12th for violent crimes per capita, and Baton Rouge landed at number 14 on the list.
Republican U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany of Louisiana has dropped his defamation lawsuit over a book that alleges the he was a client of prostitutes who were later killed. Boustany sued the author and publisher of “Murder in the Bayou” in October, when he was in a tight Senate race competition. Boustany lost the race in November and ended his lawsuit this month. Boustany lawyer Jimmy Faircloth confirmed the lawsuit dismissal Tuesday.
A train collision just north of Hammond killed two people Tuesday afternoon. WWL-TV reports a southbound Amtrak train crashed into a vehicle at a railroad crossing in Natalbany, when both passengers in the vehicle were killed. There were reportedly 68 passengers on the train at the time of the crash, and WWL-TV reports they are all okay.
News for Tuesday 121316
By Dave Graichen
The State Police are investigating a single vehicle accident that claimed the life of a Montgomery woman yesterday morning. Troopers say that 61 year old Mona Litton lost control of her vehicle, left highway 71 and struck a tree. Litton was taken to Winn Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead
The Transportation Task Force will vote today on a recommendation that the budget for roads and bridges be increased by $700 million a year. DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson says the need in Louisiana is great, and in order to address that need, they need an annual infusion of dollars that’s indexed for the Transportation Trust Fund. Wilson says that money could come from toll roads, public-private partnerships, or an increase in the gas tax. He says the state’s 20-cent gas tax that was imposed 30 years ago is only worth half that today. The state still has a $13 billion backlog of road and bridge needs.
Yesterday Governor John Bel Edwards announces that Louisiana will receive nearly 26 million dollars in funding for the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program by FEMA for the devastating March floods. The money could be used to support state and parish projects to help prevent disasters in the future. The state will receive 3 million dollars and 23- million dollars will go to parishes that received a federal disaster deceleration.
Congressman Garret Graves spoke before the Baton Rouge Press Club to express his frustration with the flood recovery and what he hopes to accomplish with President- elect Trump. Graves says he’s been able to talk with President-elect Donald Trump along with vice president-elect Mike Pence about the timeline of FEMA assistance. He says both agreed that the efficiency of getting flood relief dollars to victims was absurd. Graves says the flood didn’t discriminate based on income level and neither should the disaster aid.
Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro says he plans to seek the maximum 60-year sentence for Cardell Hayes following his manslaughter conviction in the death of Will Smith, and attempted manslaughter for injuring Smith’s wife. Cannizzaro says this was the murder of a hero who was just trying to have fun in New Orleans. He says they believe Hayes should get the maximum 60 years.
The funeral of former NFL player and John Curtis Star Joe McKnight was yesterday in New Orleans. McKnight was gunned down in Jefferson Parish in an apparent road rage incident. Ronald Gasser is facing manslaughter charges in the incident.
The Louisiana Department of Health says they’ve been seeing an uptick in mumps cases around college campuses nationwide but more recently a large concentration in Arkansas. Dr. Frank Welch with LDH says Mississippi and Alabama have seen outbreaks, as well as, a fairly large one in Texas so it’s very concerning.
Mike Johnson, won the 4th Congressional District seat being vacated by Congressman John Fleming, said yesterday he believes the Republican wave moving across the nation means that God has given the country another chance. Johnson says he looks forwards to being part of the real reform the Trump Administration is going to bring.
In the 3rd District, Capt. Clay Higgins defeated Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle 56 to 44-percent. Higgins perhaps rode a wave of Donald Trump enthusiasm, as the man who has never held an elected office is heading to Washington to represent more than 760-thousand Louisianans. Higgins says his victory is proof that voters are tired of millionaire career politicians.
New Orleans Representative Helena Moreno has launched a nonprofit organization dedicated to advocating for women’s issues in Louisiana. Moreno says the Ignite Advocacy Network seeks to bring women together to raise awareness, advocate for positive policies, and ignite the network into action. Moreno says Louisiana ranks 49th for wage equality and 49th for women’s overall health, with more women dying of breast and cervical cancer in Louisiana than in many other states.
From the “It’s nice to see everyone working for the betterment of the state” department, the Executive Director of the Louisiana Republican Party told reporters yesterday, The republican victories in all of Louisiana’s federal runoffs proves Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards’ victory in last year’s gubernatorial race was a fluke. Dore says he fully expects the governor to be voted out office in the next election.
According to ESPN, Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin has agreed to become Florida Atlantic’s coach. Kiffin was being pursued by LSU to be offensive coordinator under head coach Ed Orgeron. It’s now reported that LSU’s top choice for OC is Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Matt Canada.
News for Monday 121216
By Dave Graichen
Cardell Hayes has been found guilty of manslaughter in shooting death of ex-Saints star Will Smith. An Orleans Parish jury found Cardell Hayes guilty of manslaughter on Sunday for pumping eight bullets into former New Orleans Saints defensive lineman Will Smith on a late April night. The jury of eight women and four men, deliberating for just short of six hours at the end of a blockbuster week-long trial, also found Hayes guilty of attempted manslaughter for a shot that tore through the legs of Smith's wife, Racquel, in a fracas on the street following a three-car collision.
Now that Republican State Treasurer John Kennedy has been elected as U.S. Senator, he plans to tackle some of Louisiana’s problems in Washington D.C. Kennedy says it’s time for a change and the first thing he will fight for is additional relief for our flood victims. Kennedy says he will fight to bring more jobs to Louisiana. He says we have the third highest unemployment rate in the country. The future U.S. Senator says our economy is in trouble and he’ll work to fix that.
Republican John Kennedy’s victory in the US Senate race gives the GOP a larger majority in the Senate. ULM political science professor Dr. Joshua Stockley says this is an important win for Republicans because it gives them a larger cushion to deal with issues as they arise in the Senate.
In his first bid for public office, Clay Higgins, known as the Cajun John Wayne, defeated political veteran Scott Angelle on Saturday night in the contest to become the 3rd district congressman. Higgins, who ran as a tough-talking outsider, soundly beat Angelle, who was the presumptive front-runner since entering the race, by about 7,000 ballots, or 12 percent of the total vote. He will replace six-term U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany, R-Lafayette, who chose to pursue, unsuccessfully, Louisiana’s open U.S. Senate seat.
In the 4th congressional district runoff, republican Mike Johnson cruised to an easy win over his democratic opponent Marshall Jones, by taking 65% of the vote.
By the way, the official Voter turnout for the Saturday runoff election was just shy of 28%.
FEMA has refused Governor John Bel Edwards’ request to lower the state’s share of disaster response cost for the March flooding that affected the central and northern part of Louisiana down to 10-percent. The state is required to pay 10-percent of the response from the August flooding and 25-percent from the March flooding. Officials with the Edwards’ administration believe the floods should be grouped together because of the destruction.
With the state facing another year of budget problems, Governor John Bel Edwards says it’s time to create a tax structure that’s fair and predictable and able to pay for state services. Lawmakers learned last week that the state has a budget deficit that’s grown to 600-million dollars. Earlier this year the legislature approved 1.5 billion dollars in tax increases to help fill a huge budget gap when Edwards walked into office. But Edwards says that wasn’t enough to prevent cuts to government services.
Two different polls show a majority of Louisiana residents agree with repealing the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. Pollster Ed Chervenak says in a telephone survey conducted by the University of New Orleans Survey Research Center, 66-percent of 776 people polled support the idea. Chervenak says the poll also found men are more interested in the complete repeal of the Affordable Care Act than women.
The number of international visitors has grown in Louisiana, but Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser, who oversees tourism in the state, doesn’t just want these travelers to visit New Orleans. Nungesser says there are direct flights into New Orleans from London, Germany, and Honduras, but he wants to see these tourists get out to the rest of the state. Louisiana saw a 36-percent increase in international tourism from 2014 to 2015, ranking second in the nation for overall growth.
Saints offense sputters for second straight game in crushing 16-11 loss at Tampa Bay. New Orleans now has just one touchdown in the past two weeks.
News for Friday 120916
By Dave Graichen
It’s a chilly day across the Bayou State. Tim Humphrey with the National Weather Service in Lake Charles says it won’t get much warmer as the day goes on. Humphrey says things will start to warm up again early next week, getting into the 50s and 60s around the state.
Tiz the season, as Christmas parades will roll all across Cenla this weekend. Tonight, it’s the Pineville Christmas parade. Starting at 7 the parade will roll up main street from the former Huey P. Long Medical Center and wrap up at the Trotter Center on Military Highway. In Ball it’s Saturday afternoon at 2 and in Glenmora at noon. The Alexandria Christmas Parade begins at 2 p.m. Sunday. The route begins at Metro drive traveling down Jackson street extension, and ends at Alexandria Senior High School. A bit of advice, Dress warm!
You’ve probably seen the video on Facebook and TV, a man stealing Christmas decorations from a home in Alexandria. Yesterday, 36-year-old Michael Cryer of Leesville was arrested and charged with lifting the decorations from three different homes late last month. Cryer was booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center. Police say some of the stolen property was recovered.
President-elect Donald Trump will be in Baton Rouge today to support Republican John Kennedy in the US Senate race. The visit comes after Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence endorsed the State Treasurer. Kennedy says he’s humbled by Mr. Trump’s visit.
Kennedy has been leading in the polls since the primary, but he says he’s not taking anything for granted. He hopes the visit from the President-elect will encourage voters to get out to the polls on Saturday.
Jurors heard important testimony from Kevin O’ Neal during the Will Smith shooting trial Thursday. O’ Neal is a long time friend of Cardell Hayes, who is charged with second-degree murder. O’Neal was in Hayes hummer during the car accident that sparked the shooting. O’Neal says at no time was Hayes the aggressor in the heated situation. O’ Neal also said that the last time he saw the former Saints player alive, his wife was trying to push him away from the dispute.
A low voter turnout is expected for Saturday and Secretary of State Tom Schedler says that’s why he will push the Louisiana legislature to do away with December federal elections. He says not only is turnout low, it’s also hard to find commissioners to work during the holidays.
Schedler says it would make more sense to have the primary in October and then a November run-off.
Out of the three federal races on Saturday’s ballot, it appears the third congressional district race is the most competitive. ULM Political Science Professor John Sutherlin says Republican Clay Higgins is riding a wave of anti-establishment politicians.
An Affordable Housing Expo will be held in Baton Rouge this weekend for flood victims. Mike Steele with GOHSEP says there are people at different stages of recovery, so there will be a variety of housing options on display. He says people can come see manufactured homes, trailers and pre-fab housing. The expo will be open today and tomorrow at Celtic Studios.
Governor John Bel Edwards talked about some of his priorities for 2017 during a speech at the Council for a Better Louisiana annual conference. Edwards says his big goal is to ensure the state uses money from the Transportation Trust Fund in the right places. The governor’s task force on transportation will likely support a higher gasoline tax in order to improve our highways and bridges.
Life expectancy has decreased in the US for the first time in more than 20 years, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. The report found that overall life expectancy dropped by one month from 2014 to 2015. Doctor Ben Springgate with LSU Health New Orleans says
life expectancy has increased in years past, because of medical advances. But he says health outcomes are declining because of people’s lifestyles.
News For Thursday 120816
By Dave Graichen
Strange story out of Avoyelles parish. An entire family from Bunkie has been arrested on bomb making charges. Avoyelles Sheriff Doug Anderson says they executed a warrant on 38-year-old Jenus Juneau, who was accused of stealing $12-thousand worth of household goods, guns, and jewelry on Sunday. Anderson says Juneau’s wife, Kristina, and their two 19-year-old children were also charged with manufacture and possession of a delayed action incendiary device. He says they’re still working to determine why this family was making pipe bombs.
The Town Talk Reports Rapides Parish school employees won't see a pay supplement this Christmas like they have the past four years. School Board members voted earlier in the week 6-3 not to pay stipends They also heard a report from the finance department detailing a roughly $800,000 shortfall faced due to loss of MFP funds from lower enrollment. The full story is in today’s Town Talk.
Cold temperatures are on the way to the Bayou State. That’s according to state climatologist Barry Keim, who says it’s time for Louisianans to break out the winter gear. High temperatures will only be in the 40s today with lows in the upper 20 here in Cenla tonight.
The US House Appropriations Committee has approved a continuing resolution that contains $1.2 billion in Community Development Block Grants for Louisiana flood relief. The Governor’s Communications director Richard Carbo adds that Congress should vote on the proposal by the end of the week, which will also contain dollars to fund other flood repair projects. Carbo says the state will still need federal assistance beyond this and we’ll go back to Washington DC again in April.
Former New Orleans Saints running back Pierre Thomas took the stand Wednesday in the murder trial of Will Smith. Thomas, who had dined with Smith earlier in the evening and later ended up at the scene of the incident, testified during direct examination that Cardell Hayes was the only person who ever had a gun and that he fired shots that killed Smith. The defense is arguing Smith was the aggressor. This comes a day after emotional testimony from Smith’s wife who insists her husband did nothing wrong.
WWL-TV in New Orleans is reporting that the body of slain NFL football player Joe McKnight has been retrieved from the funeral home for more forensic testing. Ronald Gasser has been charged with manslaughter in the shooting death of McKnight.
A landmark mental health reform bill co-authored by Republican U.S Senator Bill Cassidy is on its way to be signed into law by the President. Cassidy says this measure will expand access to resources for those who need treatment for mental illnesses. The Mental Health Reform Act of 2016 also strengthens suicide prevention. And he says the measure will provide more funding for the massive opioid crisis.
A report from American Builders and Contractors ranks Louisiana as the best business climate for construction. Vice President of Governmental Affairs with ABC of Louisiana, John Walters, says that’s due in large part to legislation state lawmakers have passed that benefits the construction industry. Another ABC report ranked Louisiana 8th for year-to-year changes in the construction unemployment rate. Walters says that’s because projects come and go in the Bayou State. But he’s optimistic that this new ranking will persuade more companies to build in Louisiana.
Bond was denied for one of the suspects in the Bourbon Street shooting that left one dead and nine other wounded. Prosecutors say the fight between Jordan Clay and Travon Manuel stemmed from a feud over a woman who is reportedly Clay’s ex-girlfriend and the mother of Manuel’s infant child. After the hearing, Manuel was remanded in custody without bail.
Donald Trump will be in Baton Rouge Friday to support Republican John Kennedy in the US Senate race. UL-Lafayette political science Professor Pearson Cross says the visit isn’t really necessary, as Kennedy has a double digit lead over Democrat Foster Campbell, but it’s a nice gesture. The event begins at noon in the Dow Chemical Hangar at the Baton Rouge Airport.
A Calcasieu Parish cat is missing after authorities say an escaped inmate stole a hearse with the feline inside. Police say 26-year-old Johnathan Alexander stole the hearse used by Pet Angels crematory when the trusty walked off a job. The hearse was found in range, Texas, and Alexander was apprehended in another stolen vehicle. The cat has yet to be found.
LSU releases the details of defensive coordinator Dave Aranda’s contract extension, which runs through 2020, includes a first-year salary of $1.8 million. Tiger Rag Editor Cody Worsham expects whoever is hired as offensive coordinator will receive a similar salary. Aranda is now the highest paid assistant in college football
News for Wednesday 120716
By Dave Graichen
At a budget hearing Tuesday morning at the State Capitol, Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne told lawmakers not only does the state have to address a $313 million deficit for this fiscal year, there’s another $300 million shortfall looming. He says that means state agencies will face more budget cuts. Dardenne says once again higher education and healthcare are on the chopping block.
Some LSU fans are gearing up to head to Orlando for the Citrus Bowl later this month, but so far ticket sales are lagging a bit. That’s according to LSU ticket manager, Brian Broussard, who says so far only about 4-thousand tickets have been sold. The Tigers will face Louisville in the bowl game on December 31. Broussard says they still have over 5-thousand tickets available through their ticket office and you can get a good seat at a good price.
There are reports that President-elect Donald Trump will be in Baton Rouge on Friday afternoon. Mr. Trump will apparently visit the Bayou State to show his support for Treasurer John Kennedy in the U.S. Senate race. Trump visited Baton Rouge earlier this year and over 10-thousand people came to the event at the Baton Rouge River Center.
The man who admitted to shooting former-NFL player Joe McKnight is now behind bars. 54-year-old Robert Gasser has been charged with manslaughter. Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand says they waited to make an arrest, so they can talk with more independent witnesses. Normand says there’s a chance the charge could be upgraded or downgraded based on further evidence.
Saints Quarterback Drew Brees and his wife were among some big names appearing yesterday in the trial of the man who is accused of murdering former New Orleans player Will Smith. Deuce McAllister was a teammate of Smith’s, he got emotional on the stand while talking about the death of his friend. Cardell Hayes faces life in prison if convicted of second degree murder. Defense lawyers assert Hayes acted in self-defense.
Republican U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy announced Tuesday a deal has been struck to steer $1.24 billion more in federal flood aid to Louisiana, about $1 billion less than what the delegation hoped would be secured in the lame-duck session of Congress. The House will likely vote on the measure Thursday followed by Senate action Friday.
Louisiana broke the state’s record for the number of foster children adoptions within a year. 735 children were adopted by 532 families between October of 2015 and September of 2016. Department of Children and Family Services Secretary Marketa Garner Walters says all of the children in state care have a history of either abuse or neglect with a big majority being under the age of five. She says while it’s exciting so many children found foster homes, many are still without a family. For information on adopting a foster child, visit the department of children and family services website.
With people getting ready to hit the road for holiday travels, AAA warns drivers to avoid drowsy driving. According to the AAA Foundation report, you double the chances of getting into a wreck if you only get 5 to 6 hours of sleep, and the risk increases by 11 if you get less than four hours of shut eye. Spokesperson Don Redman says nearly 21-percent of fatal crashes result in people falling asleep behind wheel, resulting in about 75-hundred fatalities nationwide a year.
Fort Polk has moved the first round of horses off their land because there are safety concerns about wild horses roaming the Vernon Parish army base. Fort Polk spokesperson Troy Darr says they sent 50 horses to the Humane Society of North Texas in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. He says they plan to rehome the remaining 650 horses in the same manner. Advocates have expressed concerns that the horses could be sent to kill buyers or unfit owners, and the groups have called on Fort Polk to let the horses stay on their land.
A Monroe woman is facing multiple charges after she was caught shoplifting with her children. Detective Chris Bates with Monroe Police says 33-year-old Shirley Mayes and her 9-year-old and 14-year-old were caught stealing from the Monroe Walmart. Bates says Mayes faces charges of misdemeanor shoplifting, criminal conspiracy, and three counts of contributing to child delinquency.
The Baton Rouge man accused of murdering and dismembering his parents in Tennessee over the Thanksgiving holiday did not waive extradition Tuesday, meaning he will not yet return to Knoxville. 28-year-old Joel Michael Guy Jr.’s lawyers say their client is not the person that Tennessee law enforcement officials want. Another hearing has been scheduled for December 16.
News for Tuesday 120616
By Dave Graichen
Congratulations are in order for the Six Rapides Parish educators who were honored Monday as one of the district's top teachers or principals. This year’s winners Emily Weeks, teacher at Julius Patrick Elementary in Alexandria. Sarah Butler, teacher at Caroline Dormon Junior High in Woodworth. Mary Lee Mattox, teacher at Tioga High School. Deidra Shores, Pineville Elementary principal. Dana Nolan, Pineville Junior High principal and Dewayne Vines, Buckeye High School principal. All Recipients of the Teacher and Principle of the year title are eligible to become nominees for the state title.
The numbers are in and they show only 171-thousand ballots were cast during the early voting period which ended last Saturday. John Couvillion, with JMC Analytics, says the early voting totals were impressive for the November election, but not so much this time for the runoff.
Polls are open this Saturday from 7 AM to 8 PM.
Tulane has published an online survey that found 59-percent of the respondents are supporting Republican John Kennedy in the U.S. Senate run-off. Democrat Foster Campbell, received 40-percent. Tulane political science professor Brian Brox says the survey also found that 31-percent of the residents who voted for Hillary Clinton in the Presidential election, will not vote for Campbell in this runoff.
In a new ad, Governor John Bel Edwards asks residents to vote for Democrat Foster Campbell in Saturday’s US Senate race. In the 30-second spot, Edwards says Campbell could be the deciding vote against substantial cuts to social security and Medicare. ULM political science Professor Dr. Joshua Stockley says as popular as the governor is, this ad likely won’t do much to help Campbell.
New Orleans will now be featured as part of the 2017 Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest. Local Representative for Dick Clark Productions Gary Solomon says this is the first time in the show’s history that there will be another countdown in the Central time zone. He says it’s a real game changer for the Crescent City… Solomon says Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin eve will cut to New Orleans throughout the five and a half hour nationally televised show.
The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office is investigating a drowning in Lake Charles that claimed the life of a 14-year-old boy. They say friends reported the teen slipped and fell into a canal and was swept through a culvert that was about 75 feet long. His body was later located several hundred feet away. The investigation is ongoing.
Senator David Vitter gave his farewell speech on the Senate floor Monday, as he will leave the office he’s held since January 2005. Vitter says as a Louisiana state legislator he worked to impose term limits here, as well as authoring the leading term limits measure for Congress. He says that’s why he’s imposing one on himself. The outgoing Senator thanked members of his team, his colleagues, and friends in Washington. But he says he owes the most to his wife, Wendy.
We can expect to see some Louisiana leaders working in the Trump Administration either in the cabinet or administrative positions, according to Public Service Commissioner Eric Skrmetta, who led the Trump campaign in Louisiana. He says federal lawmakers from this state are recommending Louisiana residents to the transition team.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has received 21 whooping cranes from Maryland in the last week, giving the Bayou State a total of 25 large birds that have been delivered to this state this year. LDWF Biologist Sara Zimorski says the Whooping Cranes will be spread out between two facilities. Zimorski says currently, there are released 38 birds in the wild and the new arrivals will be counted into the population in a few weeks. The whooping crane was considered extinct in Louisiana in 1950, but for the last six years the state has been working to restore a solid population of these large birds back into the state.
Officials with the Camping World Independence Bowl in Shreveport are excited about their December 26th contest that pits North Carolina State versus Vanderbilt. Bowl Spokesperson Stefan Nolet says the ACC and SEC matchup marks the second time in three seasons the two conferences have played each other in this bowl. Kick off for the Independence Bowl is at 4 p.m.
LSU running back Leonard Fournette announced Monday that he will enter the NFL draft after the Tiger’s Citrus Bowl game on December 31. The announcement came on twitter, where Fournette also stated that he does plan to play in the game against Louisville, despite an ankle injury. Fournette has 3,755 yards for his career, which is the fourth highest in LSU history. NFL Draft Analyst Mike Detillier believes LSU running back Leonard Fournette will be a top five pick in the 2017 NFL draft.
Louisiana Tech is heading to the Armed Forces Bowl to take on 25th ranked Navy on December 23. Athletic Director Tommy McClelland says they were offered the option to play Army in the Heart of Dallas Bowl or the top 25 team. He says they chose the game that would give players a new experience. McClelland expects between 500 and a thousand students will attend the game.
Officials with the R-and-L Carriers New Orleans Bowl are expecting a big crowd for its bowl game on December 17th in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. On that night, the Ragin Cajuns will face Southern Miss. Jay Cicero, C-E-O of the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation, says they expect 40-to-45-thousand fans for what should be a great game.
News for Monday 120516
By Dave Graichen
Despite nasty weather Saturday, Alexandria officials say they were very happy with this year’s turnout for Alex Winter Fete. The numbers haven’t been crunched yet, but attendance was very good for opening night Thursday and Friday night as well. However Saturday was a different story with heavy rain cancelling the remainder of the festival’s activities early in the day. To the north in Natchitoches, That city’s festival of lights was cancelled as well.
The Louisiana Department of Health reminds the public that December is the start of peak flu season. Dr. Frank Welch with LDH says we’re at a higher risk of catching the flu during the holiday season. Welch advises people to clean frequently used surfaces like door knobs when they have people in their homes. He says it’s not too late to get a flu shot, but keep in mind, the shot takes two weeks to take effect.
Two arrests have been made in the case of the Bourbon Street shooting that left one man dead and 9 others injured. NOPD Chief Michael Harrison says 20-year-olds Jordan Clay and Kavon Manuel of Lafayette have been charged with 2nd degree murder. He says a multi-agency investigation led to the suspects’ arrest. The suspects also face 9 counts of attempted murder.
The jury selection is expected to begin today in the trial of Cardell Hayes, the man accused of killing Former Saints defensive end Will Smith. A judge has determined that the jury will be sequestered for the entire trial. Legal Analyst Chick Foret says it will be hard for potential jurors to leave their families during the holiday season. Jurors will not have access to TV’s or telephones. But Foret says Judge Camille Buras has promised to move the case along quickly and trial testimony will be heard even on weekends.
The Edwards’ family is getting in the holiday spirit as they will spend their first Christmas in the Governor’s Mansion. The family was displaced during the August flooding but are now settling back into life in the mansion. First Lady Donna Edwards has been revamping the mansion since moving back into the home. The basement took on 7 feet of water during the August flood.
Governor John Bel Edwards announces FEMA and the National Flood Insurance Program have extended the deadline for submitting proof of loss for claims resulting from the August flood. Edwards filed for the claim extension last week. The extension means policy holders will have a total of 180 days after the loss to provide proof to providers.
A recent poll from Southern Media and Opinion Research finds Governor John Bel Edwards’ approval rating is at 63-percent. Pollster Bernie Pinsonat says that’s a big improvement over the governor’s approval rating earlier this year. A poll from Morning Consult found Edwards’ approval rating was only 45-percent in the spring, while a UNO poll showed 56-percent of respondents approved of his job performance in October. Pinsonat says Edwards’ response to all the floods, tornadoes, and other issues the state has seen this year may have helped boost his numbers.
Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand held a news conference Friday to update the case surrounding the death of former NFL player Joe McKnight during an apparent road rage incident. Multiple protests are taking place over the fact that the shooter, 54-year-old Ronald Gasser, was released claiming self-defense. According authorities, McKnight exited his car and was shot by Gasser as he approached the shooter’s passenger window. It says Gasser fired 3 rounds from a .40 caliber semiautomatic handgun from the driver’s seat of his car, and three hit McKnight. Normand said Gasser did not stand over McKnight as reports have stated and that there were 3 casings located inside the vehicle. He also says there was no video. Normand says Gasser admitted to shooting McKnight, but has not been charged pending the outcome of the investigation.
Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser extends the France-Louisiana Cooperation Accords for four more years. Nungesser says it’s a program that brings French teachers to teach the French history, culture, and language in Louisiana schools. The agreement extends the mutual agreement until 2020.
Three DOW Chemical plant employees who were being monitored after a chemical leak have been released, after a chlorine leak was reported Friday afternoon. Three employees were reportedly observed at the Plaquemine facility’s onsite health services center, and 16 others drove themselves to local hospitals. All non-essential employees were evacuated after the small chlorine leak reportedly happened when the plant lost power.
The Saints appear to be heading towards another losing season as New Orleans played poorly in a 28-13 loss to the Detroit Lions. The Black and Gold committed 10 penalties and Quarterback Drew Brees threw three interceptions.
The 20th ranked LSU Tigers will get a chance to spend the final week of 2016 in sunny Florida where they'll play 13th ranked Louisville in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl on December 31st. It will be an early start on New Year's eve day as the game will kickoff at 11 AM eastern, 10 AM central time.
News For Friday 120216
By Dave Graichen
The 2nd annual Alex Winter Fête is underway in Alexandria. The three day festival drew almost 30-thousand people in its inaugural year. Director of Community Services, Daniel Williams, says this year will be bigger and better than last year. Tonight, It's fireworks!
Early voting ends tomorrow and turnout has been lower than expected. Secretary of State Tom Schedler says we’re seeing about 22-thousand voters at the polls a day during this early voting week, down 10-thousand a day from the primary. For early voting the polls are open from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The football world is mourning the death of Joe McKnight, who was fatally shot in what authorities believe was a road rage incident in Jefferson Parish. McKnight was one of the top high school football players in the country coming out of John Curtis High School in 2006. McKnight played at USC and was drafted by the New York Jets and also played for the Kansas City Chiefs. Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand says the shooter turned his gun and himself into authorities.
Big news yesterday from Louisiana College. President Rick Brewer announced new academic programs coming to the school. The college plans to launch a Bachelor of Computer Science, Master of Science in Social Work and fully-online Master of Science in Nursing. The new programs still need the approval of SACS, the school’s accrediting body, but school officials expect the new offerings will available in the Fall of next year.
Medicaid enrollment has surpassed the 351,000 mark under the expansion of the program, according to the Louisiana Department of Health. Secretary Rebekah Gee says the Medicaid expansion should lead to better health outcomes for working citizens who were previously uninsured. Gee says they are still unclear with will happen with the expanded Medicaid program when President-elect Trump takes office.
A bill co-authored by US Senator Bill Cassidy that seeks to reform mental healthcare has passed the US House and could receive Senate approval next week. He says the bill should foster more mental health professionals, as well as create more outpatient treatment settings. Cassidy says this legislation is two years in the making, with the goal of making sure patients are not denied care.
Vice President-elect Mike Pence will be in New Orleans tomorrow hosting a get-out-the vote rally to spotlight the U.S. Senate race. Louisiana Republican Party Chairman Roger Villere says Pence will encourage voters to head to the polls on December 10th and cast their ballot for Republican Treasurer John Kennedy.
A new poll from Southern Media and Opinion Research finds Republican John Kennedy still has a strong lead over Democrat Foster Campbell in the US Senate race. Kennedy leads Campbell 52 to 38-percent just over a week before the December 10th runoff.
An extradition hearing yesterday to determine if a man from Baton Rouge will be returned to Tennessee to face charges for his parents’ murder will be rescheduled because the suspect was not ready to make a decision. 28 year old Joel Michael Guy Jr. is facing two counts of first degree murder for allegedly killing and dismembering his parents over the Thanksgiving holiday in Knoxville. The extradition hearing is slated to take place next week.
Bayou Country Superfest has announced the lineup for next year’s festival, which includes headliners Blake Shelton and his ex-wife Miranda Lambert. Other headliners include Thomas Rhett, Brooks & Dunn, Rascal Flatts, and Hank Williams Jr. The three day festival was moved to the Superdome because of renovations to Tiger Stadium. Tickets go on sale next week.
The Cajundome officially reopened last night with a brand new look, after a 22-million dollar renovation. Cajundome Director Greg Davis says the new improvements will help with getting big name acts.
Democratic Congressman Cedric Richmond, who represents New Orleans and parts of the Baton Rouge area, has been elected chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus. Richmond was just elected to a fourth term and he will take over for US Representative G-K Butterfield of North Carolina.
Houston has reportedly contacted former LSU Coach Les Miles about its coaching vacancy. There also reports that Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin is a candidate for that job.
News for Thursday 120116
By Dave Graichen
Governor John Bel Edwards is in Washington DC today to meet with congressional leaders to discuss more federal funding for Louisiana’s flood recovery. Edwards estimates it will take more than $3.7 billion for the state to recover from the two historic floods in March and August. So far, Louisiana has received $438 million in federal assistance.
The Alexandria City Council has accepted the donation of the Weiss & Goldring building Tuesday night. The building, which has been vacant since the early 90’s, was built around 1900 and is one of the few surviving buildings from that period still standing downtown. In a terrible state of disrepair, there is no doubt, the building was facing demolition. The hope is that the city can find a private developer willing to rehabilitate the building, or form a public-private partnership to reuse it.
It is hard to believe that today is the first day of December. It is also the first day of the 12 days of Christmas in Alexandria / Pineville and the first night of Alex Winter Fête. Alexandria Mayor Jacques M. Roy says this year Winter Fête will offers something for people of all ages. The festival begins at 5 p.m tonight. City officials say the event will go on Rain or Shine. Which shouldn’t be an issue Tonight or tomorrow.. However, the weekend may prove to be a different issue as rain is in the forecast.
A Florien teen died Tuesday afternoon after he hit a train at a marked crossing. Kevin Brown was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. The State Police report that Brown failed to yield to a northbound Kansas City Southern train.
OPEC members have made the decision to slow crude oil production by 1.2 million barrels a day starting next year. The announcement led to an eight-percent increase in oil prices as they were trading at around 50-dollars a barrel. Executive Director for LSU’s Center for Energy Studies, David Dismukes, says it’s a nice sign for Louisiana’s oil industry, which has been lagging because of low oil prices. Dismukes says this announcement from OPEC is not enough to jump start drilling in this state.
The Transportation Task Force meets today to further discuss recommendations on how to improve the states’ roads and bridge. Recommendations are expected to be released later this month for the legislature to consider. House Transportation Chairman and State Rep. Kenny Havard anticipates there will be a proposal to increase the state’s gasoline tax, which is currently at 20-cents a gallon
The Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office is investigating an extremely disturbing case of a 51-year-old Air force Veteran who is accused of raping several foster children in his care. They say the investigation began after one of the victims came forward, and during questioning of 51-year-old Terral Parfait, he admitted to everything. Parfait faces many charges including three counts of 1st degree rape of three boys under the age of 12 — and cops fear there are more victims out there. Parfait is also charged with possession and production of child porn.
A Baton Rouge college student has been arrested, accused of murdering and dismembering his parents in Tennessee. Knox County Sheriff Major Michael Maclean says they believe 29-year-old Joel Michael Guy Junior turned violent Thanksgiving weekend during an argument about money. MaClean says the victim’s body parts were placed in acid solution in an attempt to cover up the crime.
Democratic US Senate candidate Foster Campbell announces he’s raised more than $2 million for his campaign in the last month. Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat expects Campbell will use this money to hit the airwaves hard with ads attacking Republican John Kennedy. But he doubts it will be enough for Campbell to win the race.
Democratic US Senate candidate Foster Campbell announces he’s raised more than $2 million for his campaign in the last month. Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat expects Campbell will use this money to hit the airwaves hard with ads attacking Republican John Kennedy. But he doubts it will be enough for Campbell to win the race.
The Feral Hog Management Task Force met Wednesday to discuss ways to control the state’s wild hog population. Louisiana Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries veterinarian Dr. Jim LaCour says the state has dedicated 360-thousand dollars towards the problem. He estimates there are more than half a million feral hogs in the state.
The 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season officially came to an end Yesterday. This was the first above average season since 2012, during which five named storms made landfall in the US this season.
With all the delicious food we eat during the holiday season, it’s easy to pack on a few extra pounds. Exercise Researcher with LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center Dr. Neil Johannsen says watching the food you eat over the next month can help, like eating higher protein foods. He also says at holiday parties avoid overeating. Johannsen says after eating a big meal, try getting a little extra physical activity, instead of sitting on the couch watching football.
News for Wednesday 113016
By Dave Graichen
Gov. John Bel Edwards will be the keynote speaker at this year's Central Louisiana Regional Chamber of Commerce annual meeting. The 103rd Annual Meeting is Wednesday, Dec. 14 at the Holiday Inn Downtown Alexandria. Lunch will be served at 11:00 a.m. and the program will begin at 11:30 a.m. for ticket info contact the chamber.
Lawyers for Louisiana’s governor and attorney general clashed in court Tuesday, in a struggle about the limits of the statewide elected officials’ authority and Gov. John Bel Edwards’ executive order aimed at protecting LGBT rights. Baton Rouge Judge Todd Hernandez heard a full day of witness testimony and legal arguments in the latest in a series of disputes between the Democratic Gov. Edwards and Republican Attorney Jeff Landry. In the end though, the judge made no decision. Instead, Hernandez asked for follow-up written arguments by Friday and said he would make a decision quickly thereafter. The full story is in today’s Town Talk.
Pineville PD have arrested 33 year old Justin Perkins after he allegedly battered a woman and then followed her to another location to continue the abuse. Perkins remains in the Rapides Parish Detention Center on charges of domestic abuse by strangulation, domestic abuse aggravated assault and domestic abuse battery.
Walgreens Pharmacy has made Naloxone, an opioid antidote, available over the counter in Louisiana. LSU Health New Orleans Professor of Psychiatry James Becnel says there is an opioid overdose every 18 hours in Louisiana. He says not only addicts, but anyone who has an opioid prescription for more than two weeks should purchase naloxone. Becnel says the response from EMS is usually not quick enough, so having naloxone on hand could save someone from dying of an overdose.
The AARP Foundation announces one million dollars in donations are being used to assist older individuals impacted by the devastating August flood. Director of AARP Louisiana, Denise Bottcher, says the money went to 16 non-profit organizations who are assisting in the rebuilding efforts. Bottcher says over 74-hundred donors provided money to help older flood victims get back in their homes.
It looks like former Governor Bobby Jindal will not head the Department of Health and Human Services as sources say President-elect Trump has selected Georgia US Representative Tom Price. Jindal was rumored to be on a list of those under consideration for the cabinet position. During his own failed presidential campaign, the former governor made several critical statements of Mr. Trump including calling him a narcissist egomaniac.
The chairman of the Tulane Earth and Environmental Sciences Department says the implications for coastal Louisiana would likely be devastating if President-elect Donald Trump takes the United States out of a climate change agreement. Tor Tornqvist says if the US doesn’t reduce greenhouse gases, sea levels will rise and swallow Louisiana’s coast. Based on previous statements, Mr. Trump has expressed skepticism about global warming caused by humans.
An agreement has been made in a lawsuit accusing Baton Rouge law enforcement of violating the civil rights of people protesting the death of Alton Sterling who was killed during a struggle with officers. The suit said protesters were physically abused and wrongfully arrested. Louisiana ACLU Executive Director Marjorie Esman says they were not seeking monetary damages in this suit. Esman says this agreement simply assures that citizens’ rights are respected moving forward.
LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center is looking for people to take part in a groundbreaking study that looks at ways to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Director for Pennington’s Institute for Dementia Research and Prevention, Jeff Keller, says they are looking at how something like hypertension can cause impairment of brain function. Keller says Alzheimer’s is a complex disease without a cure or any new treatments, and this study aims to figure out which combination of medications and lifestyle changes may help people best avoid the disease.
One person was killed in a crash involving a swamp tour airboat in LaFourche Parish. State wildlife and fisheries spokesperson Adam Einck says the airboat hit a mud boat driver near a bend in the waterway and the mudboat driver was not wearing a life jacket and was killed.
Metal detectors are one possible idea to preventing future fatal shootings on Bourbon Street in New Orleans. Owner of L and R Security Services Inc., Edward Robinson, says it would be tough to do logistically and expensive. He says a lot of planning would need to take place between police and the businesses along the famous street. L and R Security handles checkpoints for various events including Jazz Fest and LSU football games. Robinson says aside from costs, another factor to installing metal detectors is if businesses want to go along with it, as well.
News for Tuesday 112916
By Dave Graichen
Voter turnout was low on the first day of early voting for the runoff, and it doesn’t look like it will improve much by December 10. John Couvillon with JMC Analytics says 27-percent of blacks turned out on the first day of early voting for the presidential race, compared to 19-percent on Saturday. Couvillon expects overall turnout will be between 17 and 35-percent. Early voting continues through Saturday.
Early voting for the December 10th runoff is underway, and Louisiana’s US Senate race is drawing national attention. Democrat Foster Campbell says he has drawn support from all over the US, as the party’s last hope for closing the Republican majority in the Upper Chamber.
Campbell made his comments at the Baton Rouge Press Club. His opponent, Republican Treasurer John Kennedy declined to attend.
Governor John Bel Edwards is hoping the death of former Cuban President Fidel Castro will lead to more trade with the island nation. Edwards, who led a trade mission to Cuba in October, doesn’t expect any changes over night, but hopes Louisiana can return to being a major trade partner. Edwards says if relations with Cuba are restored, it would be good for the state’s rice industry. He says the rice consumption in Cuba per capita is 144 pounds per year.
After a weekend shooting that left one man dead and several others injured on Bourbon Street last weekend, New Orleans officials are exploring ways to make the streets. NOPD Chief Michael Harrison says metal detectors are used on Beale Street in Memphis, and that’s not being ruled out for the Big Easy.
Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser is concerned about tourism dropping in New Orleans after the fatal shooting on Bourbon Street last weekend. Nungesser says every negative story impacts a city because people have to feel safe to come here. Nungesser says there are too many criminals walking around because too often these people are in and out of jail. He says something needs to be done to keep dangerous offenders behind bars.
Two people are dead and several injured following a shootout in Baton Rouge. State Police Col. Mike Edmonson says Sunday night police responded to a shooting. He says 48-year-old Terrell Walker allegedly shot his girlfriend, 30-year-old April Peck, multiple times while sitting in a car and then pushed her out of the vehicle. Edmsonson says Walker was eventually killed during a shootout with East Baton Rouge Sheriff deputies.
A Baton Rouge woman is behind bars after she pulled a knife on her husband and then struck him with a Thanksgiving turkey. Sgt. Don Coppola with Baton Rouge Police says 32-year-old Helen Jackson and her husband were arguing when gave him the bird, literally. Jackson is charged with aggravated assault and domestic abuse battery.
Louisiana ranks number one in the nation for the best anti-trafficking laws, according to the nonprofit organization Shared Hope International. Franklinton Senator Beth Mizell, who serves on the state’s Human Trafficking Study Commission, says while this is a step in the right direction, more needs to be done to help the victims. Mizell says the first thing we have to do is make sure these victims aren’t treated as delinquents and pushed into the criminal justice system.
LSU will find out its bowl game destination on Sunday, but it’s difficult to figure where the Tigers will go. That’s because eight teams in the SEC have either seven or eight wins. Jerry Palm, from on CBS-Sports-dot-com, says his best guest for LSU is either the Outback Bowl in Tampa or the Taxslayer Bowl in Jacksonville. LSU was in the Texas Bowl last year and easily defeated Texas Tech 56-27.
This Saturday, Louisiana Tech plays in the Conference USA Championship game against Western Kentucky. If the Bulldogs win they’ll play in the Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl, a loss will send them to the New Orleans Bowl.
News For Monday 112816
By Dave Graichen
Cenla Broadcasting notes the passing of Joy Nalty Hodges late last week. As well as being active in the business community, Hodges devoted her time to a wide range of philanthropic endeavors. The Junior League of Alexandria, the Alexandria Museum of Art, the United Way of Central Louisiana, the YWCA and the Christus St. Frances Cabrini Foundation, just to name a few.. Funeral services and internment will be in New Orleans Saturday. Locally, Hodges' life will be celebrated Friday at St. Frances Cabrini Church with a 9:30 a.m. visitation and a 10 a.m. mass. Joy Hodges was 86.
Early voting is underway and Election Day is less than two weeks away, so candidates are campaigning in full swing. UL-Lafayette Political Science Professor Pearson Cross says now is the time for a dash to the finish line. But he says the US Senate and two Congressional elections have been relatively quiet. However, Cross says the race for the 3rd Congressional district seat is really heating up between the two Republicans, Scott Angelle and Clay Higgins.
The Louisiana Department of Insurance is urging families to compare rates for auto and homeowners insurance to get the best protection. Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon says a home and car are the biggest investments people make. The “shop your rates tool” on their website will provide people information on the different types of coverage and what is included and what isn’t. He says the tool will determine the cost of your policy by adding up different factors. The website.. L-D-I-dot-L-A-dot-gov (ldi.la.gov)
New stats out are startling. The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services says Louisiana’s rate of newborns born with drugs and alcohol in their system has tripled over the last 8 years. Regional Administrator for Child Welfare, Denise Evans, says more than 15-hundred babies were born exposed to drugs or alcohol in 2015. She says this causes many health problems for the infant. There were just 569 cases of drug addicted newborns in 2008. Evans says they saw the biggest increase in the use of heroin, marijuana, and prescription drugs.
A shooting rampage early Sunday morning In New Orleans left one person dead and nine others injured. The city was packed with party goers intown for the Bayou Classic. The NOPD reports none of the 10 victims appear to be the shooters' intended targets. Of the 10, one man has died; four people are in still hospitalized, but expected to fully recover; five others have been released from the hospital.
Louisiana State Police is reminding hunters to watch where they leave their vehicles or they could be ticketed. LSP says many hunters park their trucks alongside the trees on the side of the highway because it’s easier access to their land but when motorists see cars on the side of the road they often think someone needs help and it becomes a hazard. Parking on the side of a state or federal road is against the law.
The LSU coaching staff is hitting the recruiting trail this week now that they know Ed Orgeron is the permanent head coach. Orgeron says he understands and invites the expectations at LSU and that’s why he wants to build a championship program fast and has a vision to do so.
For Orgeron to be successful, he’ll have to recruit well and he’s already considered one of the best recruiters in college football.
The Saints offense was nearly unstoppable Sunday as New Orleans kept its playoff hopes alive with a 49-21 win over the Los Angeles Rams. The Black and Gold had 555 total yards, 346 through the air, 209 on the ground on 32 rush attempts. Quarterback Drew Brees threw for 310 yards and four touchdowns. Running back Mark Ingram rushed for 146 yards and a touchdown, while rookie receiver Michael Thomas had 9 catches for 108 yards and two touchdowns.
News for Wednesday 112316
By Dave Graichen
State auditors are trying to find out where $25 million in the Attorney General’s escrow fund has gone. AG Jeff Landry blames his predecessor’s poor record keeping for why his office can’t account for 28 transactions. But Beth Davis with the legislative auditor’s office says the transactions took place over the span of two fiscal years, six months of which were under Landry’s administration. Davis says the fund contains money from court settlements, fines, and other penalties.
The December 2 US Senate candidate debate has been cancelled after the two candidates heading to the runoff couldn’t agree whether or not to hold the televised debate in front of a live audience. Republican John Kennedy reportedly did not want a live audience present, while Democrat Foster Campbell did. It looks like voters won’t get to hear from the candidates again before the December 10 runoff.
The Louisiana State University System announced Tuesday their search was over and that Guiyou Huang has been named the next chancellor of LSU of Alexandria. He steps into the new role Jan. 1. The 54 year old Huang currently is the senior vice president for academic affairs, dean of the faculty and professor of English at Norwich University in Northfield, Vermont.
The Thanksgiving 2016 AAA travel projections forecast that 48.7 million Americans will be traveling for the holiday, a nearly 2% increase over last year. AAA Spokesman Don Redman says they haven’t seen numbers this good since Thanksgiving 2007. The Thanksgiving Holiday travel period is defined as today through Sunday.
As Louisiana families prepare to cook their Thanksgiving feasts, Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain has safety tips for home chefs. Strain cooks should make sure the turkey is fully defrosted before it goes in the oven. But he says it’s important not to wash the turkey before cooking. Splashing water can contaminate the kitchen. Strain says it will take 24 hours for every five pounds of weight for a turkey to safely defrost in the refrigerator. If defrosting in cold water, he says people should change the water every 30 minutes. He says the only way to determine if a turkey is fully cooked is with a meat thermometer.
The White House has urged Congress to award Louisiana with a 3.1 billion dollar disaster assistance package to help Louisiana flood victims. Congress will consider the President’s request after the Thanksgiving holiday. U.S. Representative Garret Graves of Baton Rouge says Louisiana’s Congressional delegation continues to lobby federal lawmakers about the need for assistance. Graves says this money is badly needed, because what FEMA has provided so far has been inadequate.
A Monroe couple has donated 90 armored vests to State Police Troop F in Monroe. Bunzy Bryant and his wife Lynn have been friends with the troop for 16 years. Bryant says he considers the troopers family and wants to keep them safe. The high velocity vests even protect against AK-47.
One man is dead and a woman injured after they were hit by an 81-year-old trucker around 1am on I-10 near Henderson. State Police Master Trooper Brooks David says 25-year-old Vineeth Keesara of Lafayette was pushing a disabled U-Haul trailer out of the road when they were struck. Keesara was pronounced dead at the scene.
LSU’s Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity has indefinitely suspended operations amid allegations of sexual assault at an event last weekend. LSU police say a female reported she was sexually assaulted by an unknown male early Saturday morning during the fraternity’s “PIKE’s Peak” event in the back yard of the frat house, and the alleged victim is not an LSU student. No arrests have been reported in the incident.
He was a model officer, or so they thought. The New Orleans Police Department says a 19-year veteran of the force was allegedly a sexual predator for years. Marcellus won an Angel Award for helping underprivileged kids. White faces numerous charges including first degree rape, second degree rap and false imprisonment. His bail has been set for over 2 million dollars.
UL-Lafayette Athletic Director Scott Farmer announced yesterday that he is stepping down from the position he has served for the past 5 years. He will move to a teaching position at the university. Deputy Director of Athletics Dr. Jessica Leger will serve as an interim while the school conducts a national search for a full time AD.
The festivities for the 43rd Annual Bayou Classic are already underway. Grambling State and Southern, who are undefeated in the SWAC , will go head to head this Saturday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Bayou Classic spokesperson Angela Young says today they’ll celebrate in Joe Brown Park in New Orleans. Friday, a Career and College Expo will be held at Hyatt Regency to give students the chance to apply and interview for jobs, before the Greek Show and the Battle of the Bands later that day. Young says tickets are going fast, as they’ve already sold over 40-thousand tickets to the game.
News for Tuesday 112216
By Dave Graichen
Improving race relations was the topic of a roundtable discussion Monday morning in Baton Rouge. Governor John Bel Edwards called the meeting of state and community leaders and says they want to meet with kids in schools to educate youth about interacting with police.
Edwards says they also want to teach people in driver’s ed how to respond if they get pulled over. State Police Col. Mike Edmonson says resolving problems in the communities is about having an open dialogue. He says we need ongoing conversations about ways to improve relations, and that starts with listening. Edmonson says they are also looking at ways to improve police training.
State fire officials say no working smoke detectors were found in the home of a Mansfield man who was killed in an early morning blaze Monday. 49 year old Timothy Lee was found by firefighters after the fire, which caused extensive damage to the home, was extinguished.
The investigation also continues into a fire that destroyed much of a Bunkie church on Sunday. The Blaze started around 10pm. The sanctuary, fellowship hall and kitchen, offices and scout room at David Haas Memorial Methodist were a total loss. The fire is being investigated by the State Fire Marshal’s Office.
State Fire Marshal Butch Browning announces the statewide burn ban has been lifted. Browning thanks residents for their attention to the ban. He says many fires were prevented and thus lives and property saved. The public is still encouraged to use caution when outdoor burning. Browning adds burning will still be subject to state and local laws and regulations. Burn bans in Grant and Avoyelles Parishes continues.
It looks like most people will be doing their Christmas shopping online this year. Executive Director of the Louisiana Retailers Association, Dawn Johnson, says a lot of shoppers go into the store, get information from employees, then order online. The survey found 50-percent of respondents admitted to showrooming
It’s Bayou Classic week and a large crowd is expected for the annual football game between Grambling and Southern, which is played at the Mercedes Benz Superdome. Over 40-thousand tickets have been sold, which is 13-thousand more than last year at this time.
The Humane Society of Louisiana is concerned about the high number of complaints they’re receiving about owners neglecting horses. Director Jeff Dorson says there have been several owners who have been cited for cruelty. Dorson says if you can’t afford to take care of a horse, please don’t get into the business and if you’re in over your head, reach out to the humane society. He says the problem is there is a surplus of horses in rural areas. Dorson says it takes about 15-hundred dollars minimum annually to feed and care for a horse. He urges the public to help with the effort to stop horses from being neglected.
There is a heightened awareness among law enforcement for potential protests once the U.S. Justice Department announces its results of its investigation into the shooting of Alton Sterling. The 37-year-old black man was fatally shot in July after a scuffle with two white Baton Rouge police officers. Police Chief Carl Dabadie says they are working on a plan to deal with protests with as little aggression as possible. After Sterling was shot on July 5th, numerous protests erupted and over 200 people were arrested.
A number of Louisiana Republicans have had their names tossed around as potentially working in President-elect Donald Trump’s administration. Jeremy Alford of LaPolitics.com says Trump’s campaign team in Louisiana is putting names together and sending them to the transition team. Alford says Congressman Charles Boustany’s name has been mentioned to be chief U.S. trade negotiator under the Trump administration. He says there are a lot of positions that need to be filled, but it’s up in the air who will actually be selected to be part of the cabinet..
Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser announces the Beauregard Parish Gothic Jail in DeRidder is now open for tours. The Gothic Jail will be the crown jewel of Louisiana’s Myths and Legends Scenic Byway, which is intended to give visitors a reason to visit some of Louisiana’s back roads. Nungesser says over 40-thousand dollars was raised at the Gothic Jail After Dark Fundraiser on Halloween to complete the renovations. More information about Louisiana’s Myth and Legends Scenic Byway can be found at LouisianaByways.com.
There was widespread shore loss as a result of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, according to a USGS-NASA study. Research oceanographer Elijah Ramsey says this is an important study and should not be a onetime thing. He says the spill also caused wetland fragmentation. The study found that the treatment some areas received after the spill was not helpful.
Ed Orgeron could be coaching his final game for the LSU Tigers this Thursday night against Texas A&M. There’s no doubt the Louisiana native would love to be the head coach for the Tigers for many years to come. But he says his priority is to make sure the team is ready to play the Aggies. LSU is coming off a tough 16-10 loss to Florida and there’s speculation the Tigers will make a push for Florida State Head Coach Jim Fisher, once the Seminoles regular season ends on Saturday night.
After a bye week, Louisiana Tech is ramping up their preparations for the regular season finale on Friday against Southern Miss. Last year, Southern Miss thumped the Bulldogs on their home field, 58-24. Bulldogs wide receiver Trent Taylor says they would like to return the favor and win big in Hattiesburg.
News for Monday 112116
By Dave Graichen
Dale Genius passed away Saturday. Dale was an interesting man of many talents. He was known to many as a newsman. In the early days on KSYL 970. Dale also worked in TV news at both KALB and KLAX. Genius became the director of the Louisiana History Museum in 2004, and he poured himself into preserving Alexandria's history. Visitation will be held at this evening at John Kramer & Son Funeral Home on Masonic Drive in Alexandria, from 4 to 8 p.m. and tomorrow from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. at the funeral home. Dale Genius was 77.
A Rapides Parish judge has denied bail for the former Monroe TV personality, Mr. Wonder due to the severity of his crimes. Frank Selas III fled the state after allegedly sexually assaulting multiple children nearly 40 years ago. The 77-year-old was caught in California in January and extradited back to Louisiana. Selas has been charged with multiple counts of aggravated rape and sexual battery among other charges and he’s pleaded not guilty to all.
Governor John Bel Edwards has delayed an 18-million dollar cut to higher education as part of his plan to eliminate a 313 million dollar budget shortfall. The decision was made by the governor after lawmakers expressed concerns at a budget meeting regarding additional funding cuts to public colleges. Monroe Representative Katrina Jackson asks for another month to determine if there are other ways to cut the budget. The Revenue Estimating Conference meets again December, and there’s a chance the state’s budget shortfall could increase by then. New Orleans Senator JP Morrel says by putting this cut off until next month, the ball is now in the legislature’s court.
The Restore Louisiana Task Force passed a resolution unanimously recommending low income and the disabled be the first to receive the first round of the state’s 438 million dollars of disaster assistance. The task force suggests sending their flood assistance plan to the Department of Housing and Urban Development and HUD could issue spending requirements by as early as next week.
The Louisiana Farm Bureau finds the cost of a Thanksgiving meal will be below the national average this year. The average price for a Thanksgiving dinner in Louisiana $49.79, which is slightly less than the national average.
A survey from a national polling firm on the 2016 runoffs in Louisiana predicts winners. Pollster Robert Cahaly with the Trafalgar Group says Republican John Kennedy leads Foster Campbell in the Trafalgar poll 58 to 35-percent. Cahaly says the 3rd Congressional District race he’s got Higgins leading Angelle 49 to 42-percent.
Governor John Bel Edwards was elected into office one year ago today. Political Analyst Bernie Pinsonat says the governor has had quite the year. He says he’s had some successes, including the approval of higher sales tax that prevented the state from bigger budget cuts.
Pinsonat says Edwards will likely be dealing with budget issues for the remainder of his years in office. He says despite budget problems, civil unrest from a police shooting and devastating flooding, the governor’s approval rating is high
The Louisiana Holiday Trail of Lights is officially underway across Louisiana. Executive Director of the Webster Parish Convention and Visitors Bureau, Lynn Doresy, says multiple festivals are held in Alexandria-Pineville, Monroe-West Monroe, Shreveport-Bossier, Minden and Natchitoches. For more information about festivals throughout north Louisiana, go to HolidayTrailOfLights.com.
LSU scientists have found the first evidence of Deepwater Horizon oil in a land animal—the Seaside Sparrow. LSU School of Renewable Natural Resources Professor Phillip Stouffer says they believe the oil got into the birds’ system, because they are feeding off the marsh and the oil is trapped in the marsh. Researchers also found that the direct exposure to the oil could be damaging the birds’ reproductive systems.
LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva sent out a letter describing what qualities he’s looking for in a new head football coach. Tiger Rag Associate Editor James Moran says Alleva might’ve issued this letter because he’s tired of hearing a lot of misinformation and speculation that’s circling. He says in one week the full blown search for a new coach will be on as LSU’s regular season will be officially over. After a disappointing 16-10 loss to Florida on Saturday, interim head coach Ed Orgeron’s chances of keeping the job on a permanent basis seem to be dwindling.
News for Friday 111816
By Dave Graichen
Get ready for a big change in the weather. State climatologist Barry Keim says a significant cold front is sweeping over the state today, which will usher in much colder air. He says tomorrow is expected to be cool and breezy, with temperatures dropping even more by the end of the weekend. Keim says the kickoff temperature for LSU is expected to be 59 degrees. He says Saturday will be one of coldest days we’ve experienced in quite a while.
Governor John Bel Edwards has released a statement on the state’s $313 million budget shortfall yesterday. The governor says Louisiana is still recovering from years of mismanagement, and unfortunately our options are limited. He says they are working with government agencies to prepare for more cuts. He says if lawmakers can work together in the next session, Louisiana will be in a strong financial position in the future.
Public colleges in Louisiana will have to absorb an 18-million dollar cut in state funding for this fiscal year. It’s part of Governor John Bel Edwards plan to reduce a 315-million dollar deficit. The governor is also proposing to delay 152 million dollars in payments to health care providers who care for Medicaid patients.
There are statewide gains in student achievement, according to the Louisiana Department of Education’s annual school report cards. But Superintendent John White says at the same time there are challenges the school grading system doesn’t reveal. He says the system doesn’t fully reflect the gains made by many schools that are making progress. The report finds the number of schools receiving A grades has increased to 16, up from 10 last year. More Rapides Schools earned A and B letter grades, helping move up the district's overall performance score by several points.
The Restore Louisiana Taskforce meets today to discuss how they will distribute the first round of federal disaster aid for flood victims. Congress approved 438 million dollars worth of assistance for Louisiana. The governor’s deputy chief of staff, Julie Baxter Payer, says unfortunately this first sum of cash from Congress is not enough to help all homeowners and businesses who experienced flood damage. She says the state wants to first provide relief for those, who are most at risk of losing their home due to lack of immediate resources. Payer says they still anticipate that Congress will approve another round of federal aid before the end of the year to help all flood victims.
Republicans in Congress are looking forward to working with President-elect Donald Trump. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Jefferson Parish says one of their top priorities will be to replace the Affordable Care Act. He says GOP leaders in Congress have a bill that takes out provisions from Obamacare that are raising costs and hurting healthcare. Scalise says they also want to work on a strong border security bill, as well as go after radical Islamic terrorists. He says the GOP also wants to work to halt the flood of illegal immigrants into the U.S. because right now there’s no enforcement of the border.
The Baton Rouge Police Department arrested a mother for allegedly trying to kill her 8-year-old son by slitting his throat. Cpl. L’Jean McKneely says 40-year-old Gloria Ross’ two other children and the victim were able to escape and call 911. He says when Ross was questioned she told investigators she had a reason. She told officers Jesus told her to kill the boy.
The victim was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
The West Monroe Robertsons say they are hanging up their reality show Duck Dynasty following this final season and 130 episodes. The family says it was a joint decision by them and A&E.
Surveys by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries find there are over twice as many ducks in Louisiana as there were at this time last year. State waterfowl study leader Larry Reynolds says they really aren’t sure why there are so many more ducks this year.
Reynolds says based on their flyovers, they estimated there’s three-million ducks in the state, which is almost two million more than their November 2016 projection.
Entergy Louisiana says it intends to break ground in August on a new $869 million dollar power station in St. Charles Parish, in an effort to increase power supply for the growing market. The electricity provider has been given the green light by the Public Service Commission to build the natural gas-fired power plant about 30 miles from New Orleans.
There was no Powerball jackpot winner on Wednesday, so the jackpot for Saturday’s drawing has now soared to $320 million dollars with a cash option of $202 million.
News for Thursday 111716
By Dave Graichen
TOPS recipients will be responsible for more than half of their spring tuition, and state leaders are arguing about who’s to blame. House Appropriations Chairman Cameron Henry said the governor was more concerned about funding other priorities, like private-public hospitals. But Governor John Bel Edwards said on his monthly call-in radio show that funding TOPS was and still is a top priority for him. Edwards says when he presents the proposed budget for next fiscal year to legislators in early 2017, the popular scholarship program will be fully funded.
UNO and Northwestern State say they will cover the TOPS shortfall for students at their universities that have been told they’ll have to pay for 60-percent of their tuition next semester. Northwestern president Jim Henderson says many universities are doing what they can to help TOPS students. Henderson says about 21-hundred students at NSU are on TOPS.
The Town Talk Reports the company that owns the property for a proposed aluminum mill in Pineville has agreed to pay its creditors within the next few weeks to resolve a petition in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Attorneys representing Revolution Aluminum LLC and its subsidiary, Revolution Aluminum Propco LLC, and creditors owed several million dollars agreed in Bankruptcy Court Wednesday to dismiss a petition to force Propco into involuntary bankruptcy, provided creditors are paid before a Dec. 14 hearing. The creditors listed in the petition are owed about $6.6 million. The full story is in today’s Town Talk.
Wounded East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Deputy Nick Tullier was transported to a rehab hospital in Texas. Tullier was one of several officers shot during the deadly police ambush in July. He spent nearly four months at Our Lady of the Lake. Based on reports from the family, Tullier can move his toes and hands and open one of his eyes.
The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry along with other organizations will hold a summit in Baton Rouge today on criminal justice reform. LABI President Stephen Waguespack says the goal of the forum is to find ways to reduce Louisiana’s incarceration rate, which is the highest in the world per capita. Waguespack says criminal justice reform can save the state millions of dollars, as well as improve public safety and the lives of those incarcerated after their release. He says they’ll hear from experts on the issue, and they’ll also get ideas from other states that have effectively made similar reforms.
A Minnesota police officer has been charged with second degree manslaughter after shooting Philando Castile. That shooting happened the same week Alton Sterling was killed during a confrontation with two white police officers. Legal analyst Tim Meche says don’t expect the federal investigation into the Sterling case to be resolved anytime soon. He says there is a five year statute of limitations, so they are in no rush to come to a conclusion.
A 23-year-old Baton Rouge mother has been arrested after her one-year-old daughter was accidentally shot in the face by her two-year-old son. Authorities say Crystal Kinchen was charged with second degree cruelty to a juvenile for leaving the children alone in the car. The infant is still hospitalized.
A New Orleans teacher pleads guilty to giving two students pot brownies. Police say they found out when a student became ill and a family member told the school Camille Brennan had given the student a brownie laced with marijuana. Brennan also confessed to asking the students to lie about it and destroying their written statements.
There’s been a lot of reaction on social media to the name change of New Orleans Triple-A baseball team. The New Orleans Zephyrs are now the New Orleans Baby Cakes and the team’s general manager Cookie Rojas is happy the new nickname has drawn a ton of interest.
Rojas adds the King Cake with the baby inside helped them develop the new name.
After a difficult loss to Denver on Sunday, the Saints return to game action tonight with a Thursday night match-up with NFC South rival Carolina. New Orleans Quarterback Drew Brees says it’s a challenge to prepare for a game on a short week, but they are looking to get the bad taste out of their month from last Sunday’s heart breaking loss. The Saints beat Carolina 41-38 earlier this season.
news for Wednesday 111516
By Dave Graichen
LOUISIANA WILL EXPERIENCE SOME ROLLERCOASTER TEMPERATURES THIS WEEK. STATE CLIMATOLOGIST BARRY KEIM SAYS WE’LL SEE HIGH TEMPERATURES IN THE 80S ACROSS THE STATE OVER THE NEXT TWO DAYS BUT A SIGNIFICANT COLD FRONT WILL COME IN ON FRIDAY. KEIM SAYS SATURDAY WILL BE RELATIVELY COOL AND BREEZY, WITH TEMPERATURES IN THE 50S IN THE MORNING AND REACHING THE MID 60S IN THE AFTERNOON.
the alexandria city council yesterday introduced an ordinance that authorizes city officials to research further how much it would cost to assume ownership of the old weise and goldring building downtown. the building at the corner of desoto and 3rd street has been vacant since the early 1990’s. the current owner of the building has been ordered to EITHER DEMOLISH THE BUILDING OR FIX THE ISSUES MAKING IT UNSAFE. he has offered to give the building to the city, but many believe it could be an expensive ACQUISITION for the city.
College students who have TOPS are looking at paying for 60-percent of their tuition for the spring semester. Governor John Bel Edwards expressed his disappointment that young adults are facing this kind of cost to get an education. Edwards says it’s his hope the state can allocate more dollars to the popular scholarship program next year.
Caroline Fayard has endorsed Foster Campbell in the US Senate runoff, but whether or not that will help him win the race remains to be seen. UL-Lafayette political science professor Pearson Cross says even though Louisiana voters elected a Democrat as governor last year, it doesn’t seem likely. Campbell will be on the ballot with Republican John Kennedy on December 10.
FEMA announces they will continue to pay for hotel rooms for displaced flood victims through December 18th. More than 2-thousand families are using this federal assistance to live at a hotel.
SOME LAWMAKERS ARE NOT HAPPY WITH THE OFFICE OF MOTOR VEHICLES DECISION TO STOP ACCEPTING CASH AS A FORM OF PAYMENT. OMV COMMISSIONER KAREN ST. GERMAIN SAYS A MAJOR REASON WHY THE OMV WILL NOT LONGER ACCEPT CASH IS THAT IT will SAVE THE STATE 500-THOUSAND DOLLARS. St. Germain says it COSTS MONEY TO HANDLE and transport the cash. JONESBORO SENATOR JIM FANNIN SAYS MANY SENIOR CITIZENS DO NOT HAVE CREDIT CARDS. he says he has received several complaints.
CSRA HAS OPENED A NEW INTEGRATED TECHNOLOGY CENTER IN BOSSIER CITY, WHICH IS GOOD NEWS FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN NORTHWEST LOUISIANA. LED SECRETARY DON PIERSON SAYS CSRA is A MAJOR INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY COMPANY. PIERSON SAYS the company NOW EMPLOYS 400 PEOPLE IN SHREVEPORT-BOSSIER BUT WILL EXPAND TO 800 BY JUNE 2018. HE SAYS LOUISIANA IS FUNDING A 10-YEAR $14 MILLION HIGHER EDUCATION INITIATIVE WITH COLLEGES IN NORTHWEST LOUISIANA TO HELP THE COMPANY EXPAND ITS WORKFORCE.
It’s been one year since GLO Airlines inaugural flight out of their New Orleans based terminal. Currently, GLO offers daily flights from New Orleans to five destinations in the Gulf South. Founder and CEO Trey Fayard says they’re looking to depart from other Gulf and mid-South cities in the future. GLO recently added flights to Huntsville, Alabama, and Destin.
A 17-year-old boy is continuing to recover after receiving a serious neck injury during a football game on Friday night. Michael Doherty, a junior at St. Paul’s High School in Covington, collided with three players resulting in a major injury to his C5 vertebra. The school’s athletic director, Craig Ketelsen, says Doherty’s condition is still in a holding pattern after undergoing a seven hour surgery on Saturday. He says the love and support Doherty is receiving is amazing.
It’s been more than a year since a production has been filmed at Celtic Studios in Baton Rouge, and Executive Director Patrick Mulhearn says they’re doing what they can to keep their doors open. He says he’s finding other ways to use the facility. Mulhearn is hopeful the film industry will improve when the cap on film tax credits expires in 18 months.
News for Tuesday 111516
By Dave Graichen
This week thousands of college students from across the state will have a difficult decision to make, as they’re reminded they will owe almost 60-perent of their semester’s tuition in January. For the first time in its history, TOPS will not cover a recipient’s entire tuition because the legislature was not able to fully fund the program. The average LSU student will owe more than $2-thousand for the spring tuition, not including fees.
How Louisiana plans to close a 315-million dollar budget deficit will be discussed with state lawmakers on Friday. The budget gap was created when the state closed the books on last fiscal year and ended up spending more than what they took in. State agencies and colleges have been asked to prepare for budget cuts of up to 10-percent.
The Louisiana Policy Institute for Children released a report on how the school readiness tax credits are benefiting the state. Melanie Brofin with L-P-I-C says the incentive helps working families afford and access early care and education for children up to 4 years old. She says
funding has been cut by close to 70-percent. Brofin says more than 20-thousand families who qualify are not getting assistance.
The quarrel between Governor John Bel Edwards and Attorney General Jeff Landry continues, as the governor is asking a Baton Rouge court to define Landry’s role in state government. Publisher of LaPolitics.com, Jeremy Alford, says Landry has interpreted his role to be much further reaching than his predecessors, and the two officials disagree about how much power the AG should have. Edwards is asking the court to rule that the governor prevails when state leaders disagree about legal matters.
The Louisiana Lottery Corp, says no one won the Powerball drawings on Saturday night.
The prize goes to about $293 million for Wednesday.
Northwestern State University has received the 2017 Military Friendly School designation by Victory Media. N-S-U Vice President of Technology Darlene Williams says they have a long history of working with and serving the military with their relationships with Fort Polk and Barksdale Airforce Base. She says they also have a nationally ranked online degree program.
More than 16-hundred schools were considered for the honor. Williams hopes receiving designations like this will bring in more military students to the school.
The National “Move Over” Campaign is this week. State Police Master Trooper Scott Moreau says if there’s a vehicle on the shoulder, move over or slow to a reasonable speed. He says enforcement efforts are increased this week. Moreau says ten officers were killed in crashes on the side of Louisiana roadways last year.
State Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Charlie Melancon orders a complete internal review of his agency after an audit found Gulf oil spill money went to unnecessary iPads, cameras, boats and fishing equipment. He says the mismanagement happened before he got there. The audit scrutinizes the department when it was run by Robert Barham.
Two key endorsements were announced Monday in the state’s runoff elections. Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry has publicly announced his support for State Treasurer John Kennedy for US Senate. Congressman John Fleming has endorsed Republican Mike Johnson in the race for the seat he is leaving after 8 years.
The man accused of killing a Raising Cane’s store manager pleaded not guilty Monday in Jefferson Parish. 24-year-old Joshua Every is charged with first degree murder and armed robbery in connection with the brutal killing of Taylor Friloux at the establishment where she was working in Kenner. Prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty for Every.
UL-Lafayette head football coach Mark Hudspeth publicly apologized for the behavior of four of his players who were recorded in the locker room singing an anti-Donald Trump rap song filled with vulgarities. Hudspeth says these young men have shown remorse for their actions. Hudspeth says the four players in the video have been punished, but did not say how.
News for Monday 111416
By Dave Graichen
Congress reconvenes today, which means Louisiana’s congressional delegation will resume its efforts to get more federal funds appropriated for flood recovery. Baton Rouge Congressman Garrett Graves says right now the state still needs to come up with a plan for spending the $438 million they’ve already received. The Governor’s Office says the Restore Louisiana Task Force has delayed a vote on how to allocate the funds because the money is tied up in red tape. Graves says at this point, they aren’t sure how many payments Louisiana will receive because president-elect Donald Trump’s victory changes the dynamic.
Today is the final day for flood victims to register for Disaster Assistance. Ray Perez with FEMA says approximately 152-thousand individuals have registered for federal aid. To apply for federal disaster aid visit disaster-assistance-dot-gov (disasterassistance.org). Perez says just because registration stops today, does not mean that the work stops. He says FEMA will be in Louisiana for the long term because they’re just getting started.
Gas prices have once again dipped below two dollars. Senior Petroleum Analyst with GasBuddy.com, Gregg Laskoski says the nation is seeing prices five cents lower than a week ago, with Louisiana being four cents lower. He says there is a very good chance we will see these gas prices continuing to decline.
The two candidates in the US Senate runoff have each agreed to participate in two TV debates, but disagree about which two. Democrat Foster Campbell and Republican John Kennedy have each agreed to attend a December 2nd forum planned by WVLA-TV in Baton Rouge. But Kennedy also said he plans to debate on WDSU on November 29th, and Campbell on LBP December first. It’s unclear how the campaigns will resolve the conflict.
Republican Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle is up against fellow GOP contender Capt. Clay Higgins in the runoff for the 3rd Congressional District seat. Higgins is confident he will win soundly, and he says he feels good going into the runoff. He says if elected, he will not be a part of the corruption in Washington. Angelle believes he is in a strong position going into the runoff, as he beat Higgins in the polls by three percent. But he says he’s not taking anything for granted.
The ex wife of Congressional candidate Clay Higgins, aka the Cajun John Wayne, has filed a lawsuit against the former St. Landry Parish deputy for back child support. It’s reported Higgins owes almost $100,000. The lawsuit was filed the day after the election and Higgins’ campaign says the timing is ridiculous.
Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie said all officers will have body cameras by spring.He says they hope to wrap up a body camera pilot program by then and begin rolling out the devices. A decision on how or whether to cover the cost of outfitting the entire department with body cameras will be up to the next mayor and Metro Council.
A Shreveport-based jet maintenance company announces plans to close next year, putting hundreds of jobs at risk. ExpressJet Corporate Communications Director Bobbie Batista issues a statement saying the base is scheduled to close by June 17. ExpressJet currently employs 286 local workers, some of whom have been there for more than a decade.
The Golden Boot Trophy is back in Baton Rouge as a result of LSU’s dominating 38-10 win over Arkansas in Razorback Stadium. It’s the Tigers first win over the Hogs since 2013. Interim Head Coach Ed Orgeron says the players were determined to get a win in Fayetteville
Nine out of 10 LSU fans approve of interim head football coach Ed Orgeron’s job performance, according to a statewide public opinion poll. 72% of fans said LSU should keep Coach “O” permanently.
The Saints lost in a shocking manner on Sunday afternoon in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome as Denver blocks an extra point with 1:22 left in the game and returned it for two points for a 25-23 victory. Will Parks returned the blocked kick for a score. The loss drops New Orleans record to 4-5. Payton says the team will have to bounce back, with Carolina coming up on Thursday.
News for Thursday 111016
By Dave Graichen
US Senator Bill Cassidy is excited about the upcoming Trump Administration, saying now the chains of Congress will be removed and they can start working toward real change. He says a major priority will be repairing the nation’s healthcare system. Cassidy believes Trump will be good for Louisiana’s struggling oil and gas industry as he anticipates the President-elect will look to develop domestic energy resources.
Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards has issued a statement congratulating Trump on the historic victory. Edwards says Louisiana will be a strong partner with President-elect Trump and his new administration.
Former Governor Bobby Jindal has kept a low-profile since leaving the governor’s mansion last January. But the Wall Street Journal reports Trump may consider Jindal to be his Health and Human Services Secretary.
Business leaders in Louisiana are confident a Trump Administration will be good for the state’s economy. Louisiana Association of Business and Industry President Stephen Waguespack says government regulations, like the new overtime pay order and Obamacare, are hurting small businesses. LSU economist Dr. Loren Scott has concerns about the president-elect’s campaign promises about renegotiating trade agreements. He says after NAFTA was established in 1994, the Bayou State did see a significant loss, but it was followed by a tremendous economic boost.
Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential race came as a surprise to many, as Hillary Clinton had a strong lead in the polls heading into Election Day. Political analyst Ron Faucheux of New Orleans says many of the statewide polls were off by at least three points, likely because people were inundated with survey calls. He says this should show polling companies that they should rethink the methodology.
The constitutional amendment that would have allowed colleges to set their own tuition did not pass Tuesdsay. Higher Education Commissioner Joseph Rallo says this was not about raising tuition and believes the final wording approved by the legislature likely concerned voters. He says funding issues will continue to plague higher ed.
There were 24 candidates running for US Senate and now there’s just two. Republican John Kennedy and Democrat Foster Campbell have advanced to the runoff. Analysts predict Kennedy is the favorite to win, but Campbell hopes his position as a non-political insider will resonate with voters. Kennedy says he’s running to protect the taxpayer and get his country back. Kennedy was the top vote getter in last night’s election with 25-percent of the vote, while Campbell had 17-percent, edging out Republican Charles Boustany.
Mike Francis of Crowley has been elected as the Public Service Commissioner for District 4. Clyde Holloway represented the district until his death in October. Francis says he will bring proven business principles to the Public Service Commission. Francis previously served as the state’s Republican Party chairman for six years.
Days are becoming shorter as winter is coming, and Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon warns drivers to steer clear of deer this fall. He says there are 1.5 million deer-related accidents in the US every year. He says the risk of hitting a deer is even greater after daylight savings ends.
LSU will soon have a new facility for students who are currently in the military or served in the armed forces. Coordinator for LSU Veteran and Military Services, Adam Jennings, says the 46-hundred square-foot Military and Veterans Student Center will have study space for groups and individual study, as well as tutors. LSU has contracted with architects to design the building, and construction is set to begin once contractors have been hired. LSU is currently home to nearly 500 veteran students and more than 16-hundred undergraduate dependents.
News for Wednesday 110916
By Dave Graichen
Donald Trump, in a surprise upset, was elected the 45th president of the United States over Hillary Clinton. He took the stage early Wednesday morning before a raucous crowd of supporters in midtown Manhattan saying he had just received a call from Secretary Clinton. Rump said She congratulated him on his victory. And that he that he congratulated her on a hard-fought campaign. He praised Clinton for the hard work she’s done for the country, and told the crowd that “we owe her a major debt of gratitude” for her service to our country.
It was a remarkably conciliatory speech from a candidate who employed had employed more fiery rhetoric his campaign and endured few slights silently. Trump said “The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer,”. Trump pledged to fix our inner cities, rebuild the nation’s infrastructure, and “finally take care of our great veterans.” America “will no longer settle for anything less than the best,” he pledged. The U.S. will double its growth and have the “strongest economy anywhere in the world,” Trump said. And he promised to seek common ground and “not hostility.”
Here at home, in the contest to fill the seat being vacated by US Senator David Vitter, it will come down to a run off between State Treasurer John Kennedy, who had 25% of the vote and Democratic Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell, who had 17%. Coming in third in the Senate race Congressman Charles Boustany with 15% of the vote while the other Democrat in the race Caroline Fayard came in 4th with 12%
When it came to the constitutional amendments on the state ballot, it was an even split, with half of the six winning passage and half not. Amendment #1 that Dealt with the appoint of qualified Registrar of voters passed. As did Amendment #4 that dealt with Homestead exemptions for Surviving Spouses. Amendment #5 also passed, that was the one that would call for the creation of a revenue stabilization fund. One surprise on the list of amendments, was the failure of #2. That would have allowed colleges and universities in the state to control their own tuition as they do in most other states. That was expected to win passage,.
In the 5th congressional district, Congressman Ralph Abraham easily sailed to victory with 82% of the vote. Garret Graves easily won the 6th with 63%. It will be a runoff in the 4th between Democrat Marshall Jones and Republican Mike Johnson. In the 3rd a runoff between Scott Angelle and Clay Higgins. In the second, an easy victory for Cedric Richmond. He pulled down 70% of the vote. And finally in the 1st, a cake walk for Republican Steve Scalise with 75% of the votes.
In the councilman at Large race in Alexandria it was a close one with Joe Fuller winning by 4 percentage points over Lee Rubin. The Council District 3 seat was decided by the exact same margin of 4 Percentage point with Jules Green over Cynthia Perry.
In the 3rd Circuit court of appeals race, Chris Peters beat Van Kyzar by 4 percentage points
In The PSC District 4 race, It will be a runoff between Mike Francis, who brought down 38% of the vote and Mary Werner who had 34%.
Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat says Republican Treasurer John Kennedy is the favorite to win on December 10th, when he will face Democratic Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell in the U.S. Senate runoff. Pinsonat says it’s clear the GOP is strong in the Bayou State, which will make it difficult for a Democrat to pull enough votes.
Pinsonat says it’s unusual for Louisianans not to elect Congressmen into the US Senate, but neither of the Republican Congressmen, Charles Boustany and John Fleming, had enough support to advance to the runoff as they finished 3rd and 5th respectively. He believes it has to do with voters’ attitudes about Washington politics.
Pinsonat says Kennedy, who is serving his fifth term as State Treasurer, had more statewide name recognition than any of the other 23 candidates on the ballot. He says both Boustany and Fleming pulled most of their votes from within their districts.
Democrat Foster Campbell narrowly beat Republican Charles Boustany for the second spot in the U.S. Senate runoff. Campbell beat out Boustany by 2-percent, coming in at 17-percent. The Public Service Commissioner says if elected, he will represent the middle class and Kennedy won’t. Campbell has been endorsed by Governor John Bel Edwards. Campbell says a vote for Kennedy is a vote for current Republican U.S. Senator David Vitter. He says if elected, he will raise the minimum wage.
The third and fourth Congressional District races are headed to a runoff. In the third, two Republicans will square off, Scott Angelle and Clay Higgins and in the 4th district, it will be Democrat Marshall Jones versus Republican Mike Johnson. ULM Political Science Professor Joshua Stockley says no surprises
In the 4th Congressional District, Jones edged Johnson 27-to-25-percent. But Stockley says Johnson, who is a GOP state representative, goes into the runoff as the favorite to win.
In the 3rd Congressional District, Angelle narrowly beat Higgins 28-27 percent. Angelle is on the Public Service Commission, while Higgins has gained famed as a law enforcement officer. Stockley says many voters like Higgins’ message.
Governor John Bel Edwards is traveling to Washington, D.C. today to seek a more comprehensive package for flood recovery in Louisiana. The governor’s spokesperson, Richard Carbo, says this is the first of several trips Edwards will make between now and the end of the year as he tries to get more aid approved. The state has already received 438-million dollars in federal grant money approved by Congress. That was money was approved in September.
News for Tuesday Election Day 110816
By Dave Graichen
It looks like Election Day will be a wet one, as a cold front is crossing Louisiana. State Climatologist Barry Keim expects the front will bring about a half inch of rain in the northern part of the state and 2 inches in southeast Louisiana.
One of the most unusual election cycles we’ve ever seen finally comes to an end tonight. Secretary of State Tom Schedler reminds voters that polls are open from 6 am until 8 pm. He says based on the early voting turnout of 515-thousand people, he’s expecting a huge voter turnout on Election Day. Schedler advises people to cast their ballots during the mid-morning and mid-afternoon hours if possible. But he says as long as you’re in line by 8 pm, you will be able to vote.
There are six constitutional amendments on today’s ballot and one of them will have an impact on how much it will cost to attend college. It’s amendment 2. President of the Public Affairs Research Council Robert Travis Scott says it would give the four higher education boards the ability to raise tuition, without receiving legislative approval. Scott says colleges have wanted to set their own tuition for a long time and it’s become more of an issue because of a decline in state funding
The trial for Derrick Stafford, a Marksville deputy marshal, accused of fatally shooting a 6-year-old boy, has been pushed back until March 13, 2017. His trial was originally November 28th. Stafford along with Norris Greenhouse Jr. has been accused of shooting into a vehicle killing Jeremy Mardis and injuring his father, Chris Few. Police say out of 18 shots fired, 14 of those came from Stafford’s gun.
Alcohol is suspected in the death of a Provencal man last night. The State Police report a truck driven by 67 year old Waymon Dale left LA Hwy 117 and collided with a tree. Troopers say Dale was not wearing at wearing a seat belt and was ejected from the vehicle. He was pronounced dead a short time later at a local hospital.
A Vernon Parish school bus driver has been cited with failure to yield after he collided with an SUV Monday morning on highway 171. Scott Moreau with the State Police says there were 19 children on the bus. Four were transported to local hospitals with minor injuries. However, The driver of the SUV’s injuries were slightly more sever.
A Lake Charles woman, who was allegedly intoxicated with kids in the car, is behind bars following a fiery crash on Highway 165 early Sunday morning. State Trooper Scott Moreau says 29-year-old Kate Davis had a one-year-old, a 2-year-old, a 5-year-old, and an 8-year-old in the vehicle. Miraculously, they all escaped moments before the vehicle burst into flames. Moreau says this is the third time Davis has been charged with driving while intoxicated.
A Baton Rouge Police officer has filed a lawsuit against the Black Lives Matter movement after he was injured during the July protests. Co-founder of group, DeRay McKesson, was also named on the suit. The officer says he was knocked to the ground after being hit in the face with something resembling a rock and suffered injuries to his jaw and brain and lost multiple teeth.
A burn ban is still in effect for much of Louisiana, despite some rain in the forecast. State Fire Marshal Butch Browning says almost every parish in the state is under a burn ban until further notice. Browning says it will take a substantial amount of precipitation to make it safe to burn again. That amount of rain is not on the horizon.
Psychologists say most Americans are experiencing higher than average anxiety because of the election. Dr. Michelle Moore with LSU Health New Orleans says this kind of stress can cause people to become physically ill. The American Psychological Association found that 52-percent of Americans are stressed out by the election, and Moore doesn’t expect people to stop worrying once it’s over.
A 25-year-old is behind bars following the brutal murder of a 64-year-old man. Brennan Matherne with the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office says Cameron Sands beat the victim to death with a cane and a wooden statue. He says the body of Wayne Matherne was discovered hours after the early morning beating. Sands has been charged with second degree murder.
Authorities say three meth labs were found in a Bayou Vista home across the street from a school. Detectives with the St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office found the meth labs, items to make the drug, along with drug paraphernalia.
The Saints recent winning ways have put themselves in position to make a run at a postseason berth during the 2nd half of the season. New Orleans is now 4-and-4, a half-game back of Washington for the final Wild Card spot in the NFC. The Saints host the defending Super Bowl champs this Sunday, the Denver Broncos and then they’ll visit the defending NFC champs, Carolina a week from Thursday.
News for Monday 110716
By Dave Graichen
All the excitement of the unusual 2016 election cycle comes to a head at the polls tomorrow. Meg Casper with the Secretary of State’s Office says they are anticipating a high voter turnout, like they saw with early voting. She says reminds the voters that poll times are different on Tuesday elections. The polls open at 6a and close at 8pm and remember, you are allowed only three minutes in the voting booth..
One of the state’s top political reporters believes the second runoff spot in the US Senate race will be decided by the black vote. LaPolitics-dot-com publisher Jeremy Alford says Republican Treasurer John Kennedy is expected to be the top vote getter tomorrow and he could face one of two Democrats in the run-off, either Foster Campbell or Caroline Fayard, but Alford says if Campbell and Fayard split the African American vote, then neither of them will make the runoff. He says internal polling shows that Republican John Fleming is making a push to surpass fellow GOP Congressman Charles Boustany.
With the end of Daylight Savings Time comes shorter days. Executive Director of the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission, Dr. Katara Williams, says drivers need to take extra precautions, as they’ll now be driving home from work in the dark. She says make sure all the lights on your vehicle work. Williams says just because street lights will be coming on earlier, doesn’t mean kids will head home any sooner. She says motorists need to be on the lookout for pedestrians and children playing outside in residential areas.
For the seventh straight year, Louisiana is in the top 10 for Site Selector’s Best States for Business, coming in at number 7. The report looked at factors that allows a business to thrive in Louisiana, including the tax burden. Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson says this ranking could help bring more national companies to the Bayou State.
Monroe-based CenturyLink announced a deal Friday to sell its data centers to a group of companies for $2.15 billion. The company says it would use the net proceeds from the sale to partly fund its $24 billion acquisition of Level 3 Communications Inc.
Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal has been found not guilty of covering up inmate beatings. The Sheriff was accused of ignoring excessive force used on inmates and suspects during his eight year tenure as sheriff. Ten deputies plead guilty in connection to the beatings, but Ackal’s defense attorney argued the prosecution witnesses were unreliable. The local district attorney reportedly dismissed over 100 criminal cases connected to the officers who entered guilty pleas.
Now that we have set our clocks back, the state Fire Marshal’s Office reminds everyone to check their smoke detectors and make sure the batteries in their fire alarms are working properly. Butch Browning says Louisiana ranks in the top 12 states for home fire deaths.
Browning encourages people to switch to lithium batteries, because non-lithium batteries need to be changed once a year.
Training is underway for the 95th cadet class of the Louisiana State Police Training Academy. 65 men and women are participating in the intensive training regimen. Sgt. Jared Sandifer says these individuals have embarked on a difficult 22 week journey where cadets learn about crash investigations, impaired driving detection, leadership skills and more. This is the first cadet class since December 2015 where 57 Troopers graduated.
You’re starting to see a lot more campaign ads now that we’re just a day away from the election, but are they doing any good? Political Analyst Bernie Pinsonat doesn’t think so. He says the Senate race is certainly not boosting voter turnout for this election. He says most of the political ads he’s seeing in the Senate race are ridiculous and don’t even make sense.
News for Friday 110416
By Dave Graichen
A front is moving through Louisiana today that’s expected to bring more fall-like temperatures. State climatologist Barry Keim says this is welcome news since temperatures have been running 10 degrees above average for the past week. But Keim says what we really need is rainfall, as drought has taken hold of Louisiana. He says there is no significant rain in the forecast for next week either.
Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain urged citizens to use caution as wildfire risk remains elevated due to dry conditions across much of our state. More than a dozen parishes, including Rapides and Grant, have already instituted burn bans as dry weather continues. A cool front is moving through the state bringing lower humidity and increased winds. Strain says that’s a recipe for potentially dangerous wildfires.
Secretary of State Tom Schedler expects a huge voter turnout for next week’s Presidential election. Schedler says 515-thousand residents early voted and we could see an overall voter turnout of around 69-percent. He says about 1.7 million registered voters have yet to vote
Schedler reminds voters to read up on the six constitutional amendments that are on the ballot. He also wants to put all the rumors to rest once again about voting machines being rigged because, he says, it isn’t possible.
Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand has endorsed Republican Charles Boustany in the US Senate race. Political analyst Clancy Dubos says Norman’s endorsement of Governor John Bel Edwards helped him carry Jefferson parish in last year’s gubernatorial race, and it could have similar benefits for Boustany. Dubos says this is one of the more significant endorsements Boustany has gotten.
Northwestern State University has been ranked the most affordable online college in the country by College Choice. N-S-U Vice President for Technology Darlene Williams says this is a wonderful accolade. She says about 65-hundred students take at least one online class through Northwestern.
Louisiana is ranked number 2 nationally for worker safety in 2015 according to the state workforce commission. They say the Bureau of Labor Statistics survey indicates the rate of work-related injuries and illnesses among Louisiana’s private sector employers improved last year to the best level in 14 years. The numbers showed the state averaged 1.9 incidents per 100 full-time workers, down from 2.0 in 2014.
A Mississippi lawyer is dropping his lawsuit against Popeyes. Paul Newton Junior filed a suit, after he choked on a piece of fried chicken after only receiving a spork, instead of a plastic knife. Newton tells LRN that because of extreme comments directed at him, he will not pursue the matter further, but hopes Popeyes will provide plastic knives to their drive-thru customers.
The Louisiana Psychological Association is working to help flood victims recover and become more resilient. Psychologist Darlyne Nemeth says they are holding workshops, starting this Saturday.
McNeese State visits the top ranked team in the FCS on Saturday, the Sam Houston State Bearcats. The Cowboys defeated Sam Houston in the regular season, but lost to them in the playoffs.
Former LSU basketball star Ben Simmons tells a Showtime documentary that the NCAA is messed up and he shouldn’t have had to play a year of college before going pro. NCAA President Mark Emmert says that rule is the NBA’s and he doesn’t agree with it.
LSU goes into the Alabama game ranked 13th in the college football playoff rankings. So do the Tigers have a chance at being one of the four teams that’s playing for the national championship. Jerry Palm, with C-B-S sports-dot-com says LSU can’t afford another loss. This is the third year of the college football playoff and a two-loss team has yet to make the playoffs. The Tigers already have two losses.
LC Men’s basketball coach Reni Mason announced Thursday the addition of Jasmin Anderson to the basketball staff as director of basketball operations for the Wildcat program. A native of Shreveport, Anderson graduated from Loyola College Prep in 2012.
News for Thursday 110316
By Dave Graichen
Alexandria Officials held a press conference yesterday afternoon to announce details surrounding this year’s Alex Winter Fete. This year the city is adding attractions and going bigger with some of the most successful aspects of last year's festival. Mayor Roy says, the skating rink at Fulton Mini Park will be larger, There will be more Christmas lights, the snow globe for people to take pictures inside will be larger and the fireworks Dec. 2 more impressive.. Returning this year live music, food and shopping vendors. This year's Winter Fête will be Dec. 1-3.
The Town Talk reports The Rapides Parish School Board will consider selling a portion of the land where the J.S. Slocum Learning Center is currently located, months after the Environmental Protection Agency found contaminated soil on the property. The report was brought up at Tuesday’s meeting when the district proposed exploring an offer from the former Colfax Creosote company to purchase an unspecified amount of the land on Crepe Myrtle Street in Pineville. The full story can be found in today’s Town Talk.
Much like the first, the second US Senate debate got heated as candidates had sharp jabs for their opponents. The squabbling started Democratic candidate Caroline Fayard. Who was quick to comment on Republican David Duke’s presence at the debate. John Kennedy fired at Duke, calling him a convicted liar and a convicted felon. The only candidate who didn’t make any jabs at an opponent was Republican Charles Boustany. The Congressman kept his cool throughout the debate, except for a moment in a rebuttal with Fleming about Obamacare.
State lawmakers have received suggestions from Louisiana’s Tax Task Force on how to improve the state’s tax codes. Task Force Chairman Dr. Jim Richardson says they’re recommending lawmakers eliminate some excess deductions and credits, simplify the income and sales taxes, and broaden the tax base. Legislators will consider the suggestions in the 2017 fiscal session, and Richardson says it’s unclear how receptive they will be.
Louisiana once again scores poorly on the report card from the March of Dimes due to the high prevalence of pre-term births in the state. Amy Zapata with the Louisiana Department of Health hopes the expansion of the Medicaid program will help provide care to at risk low-income expecting mothers. The March of Dimes report says 12% of babies born in Louisiana are pre-mature.
Small business uncertainty is at an all-time high less than a week before the election, according to the National Federation for Independent Business. The October Uncertainty Index rose from 86 to 88, which exceeded last August’s record-breaking index. NFIB state director Dawn Starns says this high level of uncertainty makes it hard for small business owners to plan for the future.
The first college football rankings are out, and Alabama is number one and LSU is 13 with a 5-and-2 record. The Tigers and the Tide face off this Saturday night in Tiger Stadium.
A woman who was being held hostage in her home is now safe, thanks to a little help from her son. East Feliciana Sheriff Jeff Travis says 27-year-old Donald Guy was found hiding in a closet of the woman’s home, after her 11-year-old son brought a note to school asking for help.
Travis says the child’s mother was being held against her will, along with the mother and grandmother of the suspect.
State Police announce they’ve been able to reach a resolution in a murder case that is 27-years-old. They say in 1989, Gerald Daigle was found stabbed to death in an apparent robbery at his place of business in Houma. Forensic technology that was not available at that time was used to identify a man who was executed in Texas as the murderer. Bryan Wolfe was convicted of Capital Murder in Beaumont for the killing of a woman during a robbery in 1992. He lived in Houma when Daigle was murdered.
A former guard at Angola faces up to 10 years in prison after he plead guilty in federal court to covering up the beating of an inmate, who was handcuffed and shackled in solitary confinement. Court documents say Scott Kennedy was one of three guards involved in the 2004 incident.
A former deputy testified in the federal trial of Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal that the sheriff told them it was ok to beat whoever you wanted. Ackal faces civil rights charges as part of an investigation that alleges inmate abuse and cover-ups dating back several years ago. Ackal’s attorney says these deputies are trying to win favor with the prosecution as they seek lighter sentences in their cases.
Verizon Wireless and Governor John Bel Edwards are touting the efforts of the company following the south Louisiana flood. Market President Krista Bourne says they invest in their networks so they’re ready for moments like this. She says they’ve put $17 million into the network in Louisiana, which paid off as Verizon customers did not lose service during the disaster. Verizon is donating $75-thousand to the Salvation Army for flood recovery efforts in south Louisiana.
News for Wednesday 110216
By Dave Graichen
Early voting is over and Louisiana saw a record number of voters during the one week period. As of Monday, 427-thousand people went to cast their votes ahead of the actual Election Day. John Couvillon with JMC Analytics says 89-percent of those who voted early, are individuals who normally do vote when there’s an election. But Couvillon says 75-percent of registered voters have yet to vote, so candidates still need to campaign hard and make a favorable last impression, especially with those who have yet to make up their minds.
Six U.S. Senate candidates face off tonight in a televised debate at Dillard University less than a week before Election Day. That includes Republican candidate and former KKK leader David Duke, who will take the stage alongside five opponents at the historically black university. UL-Lafayette Political Science Professor Pearson Cross says Republican Charles Boustany and Democrat Foster Campbell have the most at stake and this debate could decide which candidate makes the runoff with John Kennedy. Cross expects a higher viewership since Duke is in the debate.
The most anticipated SEC matchup of the season is almost here, and fans are scrambling to get their tickets. Chris Leyden with Seat Geek says the average resale price is $372, which is a typical ticket cost when the Crimson Tide comes to Death Valley. He encourages people to look at tickets in different sections because prices vary depending on where you sit. FYI, tickets on the Alabama sideline are 28-percent less than on LSU’s sideline.
The Louisiana National Guard says the final successful burn of 85-thousand pounds of clean burning igniter and 40-thousand pounds of MG propellant stored in a bunker at Camp Minden in Webster Parish took place Tuesday. All in all, it took three burns like yesterday’s to get rid of this explosive material.
A school janitor has been arrested by the St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office for allegedly touching a 14-year-old girl’s genitals at the school’s haunted house. Major Eddie Thibodaux says 57-year-old Olan Bienvenue was charged with Sexual Battery upon a victim under 15. He reminds the public that this type of crime can happen anywhere to anyone and encourages parents to have open conversations with their children. Bienvenue’s bond has been set for 6-thousand dollars.
As of the first of the month, the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles no longer accepts cash. OMV Commissioner Karen St. Germaine hopes this new policy will not inconvenience customers, but she says paying electronically is a much safer way to make a purchase. OMV will now only accept debit and credit cards, checks, and money orders.
Governor John Bel Edwards is asking President Obama to reconsider lessening the state’s share of disaster response for the March flooding event in north and central Louisiana. Currently, Louisiana must pay 25-percent of the cost rather than the requested 10-percent. Deputy Director of Recovery at GOHSEP Mark Riley says a 10-percent cost share would save the state about 28-million dollars.
The EPA proposes to re-designate the five-parish Baton Rouge region as in attainment for the federal ozone standards. Department of Environmental Quality air quality senior scientist, Vivian Aucoin, says the area has worked hard for years to improve air quality in order to lower harmful ozone levels.
Yesterday, a Houma jury gave the death penalty to 38-year old David Brown, who was found guilty of three counts of first-degree murder on Sunday. In 2012, Brown killed of 29-year-old Jacquelin Nieves and her 7 and 1-year-old daughters. Brown sexually assaulted Nieves and her oldest daughter Gabriela then stabbed them to death before lighting the apartment on fire. The infant died of smoke inhalation.
Many Louisiana farmers are benefiting from the lack of rainfall over the last month and a half. LSU Ag Center Economist Kurt Guidry says row crops like corn and soybeans are welcoming the dry conditions. But he says the dry weather is making to hard for ranchers to plant winter forages and harvest good hay. There’s no rain in the forecast.
Two people accused of taking part in the Kenner robbery that lead to the killing of a Raising Cane’s manager in June have entered not guilty pleas. Arianna Runner denies charges of conspiracy to commit armed robbery and obstruction of justice. Gregory J. Donald faces several charges including second-degree murder. Prosecutors have already said they are seeking the death penalty for 23-year-old Joshua Every in the death of 24-year-old Taylor Friloux.
The World Series is going to Game 7 after the Chicago Cubs Tuesday night defeated the Cleveland Indians at Cleveland in a solid 9-3 thumping. Game seven is tonight beginning at 6p on ESPN 1410 & 93.HD3
Alabama Coach Nick Saban considers LSU an “undefeated” team as he gets ready to take the top ranked Crimson Tide into Baton Rouge for a Saturday night SEC matchup in Tiger Stadium. LSU has not lost since Ed Orgeron was named head coach and Saban says the Tigers offense is more “open” and the players are executing the game plan. Alabama has won the last five games in this rivalry.
News for Tuesday 110116
By Dave Graichen
As we mentioned yesterday, most of the state is now in experiencing drought conditions.. with that in mind, the Rapides Parish Police Jury has issued a burn ban. Parish officials say the ban will remain in effect until further notice. Last month was one of the driest Octobers since the last 1800. November does not promise to break that trend.
Today is the last day of early voting and there have already been a record number of voters turning out to the polls. Secretary of State Tom Schedler says as of Saturday, 366-thousand votes have been cast and those numbers are growing. Early voting for the 2016 Presidential Election has broken records from the previous elections in 2008 and 2012. Roughly about 73-thousand people voted each day during the early voting period.
Higher premiums will greet those who sign up for health insurance provided by the federal Affordable Care Act. Open enrollment begins today for coverage in 2017. State Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon says Louisiana families we’ll see an average premium increase of 33-percent, which is above the national average. Donelon says there are good reasons for the higher premiums. He says consumers will see lower deductibles and co-pays and better overall coverage. But the higher premiums are still a tough pill to swallow.
Monroe-based CenturyLink announces they’ve purchased Level 3 Communications for 34-billion dollars. CenturyLink offers internet, TV and phone services to residents and data and IT services to businesses. ULM Economist Robert Eisenstadt says the deal will allow the Fortune 500 company to shore up their market position and product line. Level 3 is based in Colorado and it provides data, video and other communication services to businesses and government agencies. Eisenstadt says in the telecommunications world the only way to succeed is to keep growing.
College students on TOPS are facing a huge price tag in the spring as severe cuts are coming to the scholarship program. The program for students will be funded at just over 40 percent this spring, leaving those students to make up the difference. Higher education leaders do expect to lose students because they won’t be able to afford to fill the gap from the cuts.
According to a pair of recent studies, Louisiana holds some of the top spots in the nation when it comes to bullying problems in schools. WalletHub says the state is ranked six for the percentage of high schoolers who are heckled on campus, and Louisiana leads in the number of older kids who attempted suicide. The website BackgroundChecks.org compiled similar statistics and found that Louisiana is the MOST bullied state in America.
With Halloween over, retailers are gearing up for the holiday shopping season. The National Retail Federation is predicting consumers nationwide will spend about 952 dollars this year. But LSU Marketing Professor Dan Rice says that could be a little different in Louisiana, given the downturn in the oil industry and so many people were impacted by flooding this year.
The state department of health says Louisiana has had it’s first West Nile virus death of the year. To protect the victim’s privacy, health officials are not reporting where the death occurred. There’s also six addition cases of West Nile to bring this year’s total to 36. Twenty-one of the cases were the serious form that lead to brain damage or death.
Election Day is right around the corner and the race for the 2nd Congressional District seat has been quiet between Democrats Baton Rouge Mayor-President Kip Holden and incumbent Cedric Richmond. Congressman Richmond says his track record in office allowed him to spend more time on the presidential campaign trail. Richmond has raised close to 740-thousand dollars and says he is airing multiple radio ads. Holden, who raised over 6-thousand dollars, says he’s ramping up his campaign now.
ESPN’s College GameDay is coming to Baton Rouge this weekend for the LSU-Alabama game. This will be the Tigers’ 26th appearance on the show and GameDay’s 11th time in Death Valley.
News for Monday 103116
By Dave Graichen
The lack of rain during the month of October in Louisiana has caused drought conditions to develop throughout the region. State Climatologist Barry Keim says the US drought monitor shows 73% of the Bayou State is in drought, and the remaining 27% is considered abnormally dry. Keim says this is considered the 5th driest October since 1895, and it doesn’t look like we’ll be getting any more rain this week either.
State Police is giving parents some tips to make sure their trick-or-treaters have a memorable Halloween. Trooper Bryan Lee says it’s a really exciting holiday for kids, so whether you’re taking them out or driving down the roads, it’s important to be vigilant. He says always make sure kids are visible.
Louisiana is facing another round of budget cuts because of last fiscal year’s 313-million-dollar deficit. The state has asked agencies to look where they could make cuts. ULM Political Science Professor Pearson Cross says the oil and gas industry is struggling and a lot of people aren’t spending money. The Edwards’ administration has said they could possibly use the rainy day fund to help offset some of the deficit.
Commissioner of Higher Education Dr. Joe Rallo is visiting north Louisiana this week to engage stakeholders and learn about issues facing that region of Louisiana. Rallo says he will provide an overview and an update on the realities of higher education. He says the upcoming legislative session and how it will impact universities will be a big topic of discussion. Rallo says his message will be that public higher education is an investment, not a cost and hopes people will talk with their legislators to ensure it doesn’t faces more cuts.
51-percent of Louisianians believe the state is heading in the wrong direction. That’s per a University of New Orleans Survey Research poll. UNO Pollster Ed Chervenak says the survey finds 64-percent of Republicans are unhappy with the direction the state is headed compared to only 32-percent of Democrats.
Authorities say a substitute teacher at Pineville High School has been accused of having inappropriate sexual contact with two students. 37-year-old Donnie Woodson of Deville has been charged with two counts of prohibited sexual contact between an educator and student by the Pineville Police Department. An investigation opened after school officials reported the allegations to police. Both incidents were said to have occurred off school grounds.
The U.S. Justice Department has granted Baton Rouge law enforcement agencies with 1 million dollars to help with costs after the July shootings and protests. Overtime reached an all-time high after the death of Alton Sterling, a black man, who was shot by two white officers and then the ambush of three law enforcement officers. BRPD will receive 929-thousand dollars and the EBR Sheriff’s Office will receive 71-thousand dollars. Analysts expect the one million dollars will not cover the total cost of overtime.
A Korean War veteran from Crowley was laid to rest yesterday in his Louisiana hometown. Army Sgt. First Class Lawrence Smith died 65 years ago in a North Korean P-O-W camp. Alex Juan with the state Department of Veteran’s Affairs says they welcomed him home with open arms and hopes this brings his family peace. Smith died when he was 26-years-old.
It will be summer 2018 at the earliest when it comes to the availability of medical marijuana for Louisiana patients. That’s what LSU’s vice president for agriculture Bill Richardson said at a public meeting that was attended by those companies and businesses interested in helping the school grow and distribute medicinal cannabis. No state dollars will be used in the production, so investors are needed.
Monroe TV station K-N-O-E TV is reporting we could get some sort of confirmation next week about a reported merger between Fortune 500 company, Centurylink, which is based in Monroe and Colorado based Level 3 communications. So far both companies and the state are not commenting. It’s not clear what this could mean for CenturyLink in northeast Louisiana.
The HPV vaccine is a great way to limit a child’s chance of future cancer. That’s according to CDC Director of Immunization Services Dr. Melinda Wharton who says during the ages of 11 and 12, children should be receiving the two-shot vaccine. Wharton says the protection received from this vaccine is long lasting and will continue into adulthood. But she says nationally, only about 63-percent of girls have received at least one dose and that number is even lower for boys and the numbers for Louisiana children are similar.
The Saints put together an efficient, hard-fought, 25-20 win over the Seattle Seahawks at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, The win was the Saints' third in their past four games and keeps them in the NFC South race.
News for Friday 102816
By Dave Graichen
A mother has been arrested in the death of her 6-year-old daughter who died in a fire in Jena early Wednesday morning. Chief Deputy Brant Thompson with the State Fire Marshal’s Office says the child’s mother 29-year-old Wendy Blasingame, was not in the camper home when the fire broke out, and it’s unclear how long the child was left alone. He says they have confirmed that the mother was shooting up drugs in an abandoned house while her daughter was in the burning home.
The family of a 6-year-old autistic boy who was killed in an officer-involved shooting in Avoyelles parish is suing the city of Marksville. Jeremy Mardis was killed by police when officers open fired on his father’s vehicle. The suit reportedly claims city officials improperly trained officers to use deadly force, and alleges that the officers did nothing to alleviate the boy’s suffering.
More bad budget news for Louisiana. The books are balanced from last fiscal year and the state ended up with a 313-million dollar deficit. That has resulted in the Edwards administration asking state agencies and colleges to prepare for budget cuts of seven to ten percent. Lagging business tax collections is the reason for the deficit and it’s still not clear how state officials will address this shortfall. Dollars from the the rainy day fund might be used to soften the budget cuts.
Today, Camp Minden officials will begin burning off volatile explosives that are stored in three bunkers at the Louisiana National Guard Facility in Webster Parish. Col. Ed Bush says 200-thousand pounds of explosives are left of the 320-thousand pounds that have been stored at Camp Minden since the company that was storing them improperly went out of business. He says they plan on burning one of the three bunkers today.
The LSU AgCenter will pitch its plan to grow the state’s medical marijuana today at a public meeting that will be attended by potential private investors. LSU Vice President for Agriculture, Dr. Bill Richardson, says they have about 450 people signed up to come to the meeting. LSU and Southern University have agreed to grow medical marijuana in line with the plan that was established by state legislators earlier this year
The Iberville Parish Sheriff’s Office says an arrest has been made in a cold case dating back to 1991. Sheriff Brett Stassi says 61-year-old Tommy Francise of Plaquemine was booked in Lafayette as a fugitive from justice for the murder of a man in 1991 and another in 2002.
Stassi says they believe the two victims had done work for Francise and at some point an altercation led to their deaths.
Jefferson Parish District Attorney Paul Connick announced today that a grand jury has returned an indictment for first-degree murder against Joshua Every for the killing of Raising Canes manager Taylor Friloux in Kenner. He said in a news release that his office has decided to seek the death penalty. Friloux died on June 29th after being stabbed multiple times during an armed robbery of the business.
The Baton Rouge River Center has been renamed the Raising Cane’s River Center. The Baton Rouge based food chain signed a 10-year naming rights deal worth 4 million dollars. CEO and Founder of the chicken finger company Todd Graves hopes the Raising Cane’s River Center will become an even better entertainment venue.
People nationwide have been loading up on seafood, as new stats from NOAA show the average American ate nearly a pound more in 2015 than the prior year. Executive Director of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board, Karen Profita, says Bayou State seafood is in high demand around the country, and people don’t mind paying more for it. NOAA says this is in line with how much fisherman brought in last year — 9.7 billions pounds of fish and shellfish, an increase of 2% from 2014.
The Attorney General’s Office announces the arrest of three Louisiana men on over 550 counts of child pornography. The AG’s Cyber Crime Unit says thousands of computer crimes that victimize children have been investigated by multiple agencies throughout the state.
A new poll from the University of New Orleans shows Republican John Kennedy with a strong lead in the US Senate race at 22-percent. UNO pollster Ed Chervenak says Republican Charles Boustany and Democrat Foster Campbell are tied for second at 15-percent.
Republican John Fleming polled at 11-percent to come in fourth place. Democrat Caroline Fayard polled at 10-percent.
The first World Series Game to be played at Wrigley Field in 71 years takes place tonight. The best-of-seven series between the Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs is tied at a game apiece. The Cubs haven't been in the Fall Classic since 1945, when they lost. They last claimed a Series championship in 1908.
News for Thursday 102716
By Dave Graichen
State police are investigating two separate accidents yesterday that claimed the lives of two Cenla Women. 39 year old Natalie LeBlue of Kinder lost her life when she lost control of her vehicle on Highway 165 in Allen Parish around 1 am and struck a tree. About 15 minutes later 43 year old Cindy Nugent of Trout was killed when her vehicle left LA 8 in LaSalle Parish and also struck a tree. Both women were pronounced dead at the scene.
Early voting for the November 8th election has just started and it’s already breaking records for voter turnout. Secretary of State Tom Schedler says the 2012 election set voting records in the state but Tuesday’s turnout topped that. Schedler says his office is getting record calls from voters concerned the election is rigged, which he says it is not. He blames campaign rhetoric for the outrageous claims. Early voting runs until November 1st, except for Sunday.
A poll from Southern Media and Opinion Research finds Republican John Kennedy is still leading in the U.S. Senate race with 22-percent, and Democrat Foster Campbell came in right behind Kennedy with 16-percent. Pollster Bernie Pinsonat says the number of undecided voters for the senate seat is 15-percent, down from the last poll.
The 110th Louisiana State Fair in Shreveport kicks off today with tons of new and different activities. The fair runs until Sunday November 13th. Fair President and General Manager Chris Giordano says they have changed the days the fair is open to accommodate the festivalgoers and will now only be closed on Mondays. Giordano says they have the largest carnival in Louisiana with 60 rides.
Two former Angola state prison employees have been arrested for theft, according to the West Feliciana Parish Sheriff’s Office. 45-year-old Shirley Whittington of Angola and 51-year-old Deborah Leonard of Amite are accused of stealing 160-thousand dollars from an employee recreation fund. Both women turned themselves in to authorities Wednesday.
A Union parish high school student is suing the LHSAA for not allowing him to play his senior year, because he was held back in the 6th grade. An LHSAA rule states that if a student is held back a year in middle school, he or she can only play three years of high school sports. The student’s attorney, Brian Blackwell, says the LHSAA’s decision violates the American with Disabilities Act, because the student repeated sixth grade because of ADHD. The LHSAA has not issued a statement on the case, but a court hearing is set for Friday.
Governor John Bel Edwards along with local lawmakers begin a two-day tour today where they’ll fly over the Louisiana coast and then visit offshore oil and gas facilities. State Rep. Jerome Zeringue of Houma will be with the governor and says trip’s primary purpose is to help the oil and gas industry and coastal restoration co-exist.
A new poll from Southern Media and Opinion Research shows Republican Donald Trump winning the Presidential race in the Bayou State. Pollster Bernie Pinsonat says neither candidate is well liked. 53-percent of voters have an unfavorable view of Trump, while 60-percent dislike Clinton. The poll also found six in ten voters give Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards a favorable rating.
State Officials have finished a 2-day meeting discussing the importance of coastal restoration in Louisiana before it’s too late. The master plan for restoration needs to be immediately revised and Governor John Bel Edwards thinks the cost of this plan will go up substantially. Officials believe they will have at least 10.7 billion dollars for the first 15 years of the 50 year plan.
A Baton Rouge man has been arrested after setting his wife on fire in September. Sgt. Don Coppola with the Baton Rouge Police Department says 28-year-old John Harleaux got into an argument with his wife and evaded police since the dispute. He says thanks to tips from Crime Stoppers they were able to locate Harleaux and he was booked in the parish prison. The victim suffered 2nd and 3rd degree burns to her arms, shoulder, and back.
The Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office has arrested a man wanted for the shooting death of his ex-wife outside of her home in Hammond. 53-year-old Jerry Williams, Jr. faces multiple charges including Second Degree Murder and a Protection order violation. 50-year-old Linda Williams was pronounced dead at the scene after a neighbor called authorities reporting she saw the woman lying lifeless in the yard and saw Jerry William’s red mustang leaving the scene.
A Baton Rouge high school student is facing felony sex charges for allegedly recording his 14-year old girlfriend performing a sex act on him in a classroom at McKinley High School. 18-year-old Jonathon Moss is in jail on pornography involving juveniles and carnal knowledge of a juvenile charges.
News for Wednesday 102616
By Dave Graichen
There’s talk about building an interstate that would run east and west through central Louisiana. Malcolm Morris of Leesville, who is with the Gulf Coast Strategic Highway Coalition, says they are awaiting for a possible route to receive a federal designation and once a corridor is selected, it will be at least another 10 years from being constructed. He says the plan is for I-14 to run mostly along Highway 28. He says I-14 could help drive economic development in central Louisiana and help Fort Polk as well.
A Pineville man facing trial on armed robbery and bank fraud charges was caught Tuesday after he led police on a chase from Grant Parish into Alexandria. 38 year old Eric Cleveland, was wanted on warrants issued just weeks ago when he failed to show for a court date on two counts of armed robbery and one of bank fraud. He was accused of robbing two Alexandria convenience stores in late 2015.
An Avoyelles Parish judge will hold a hearing on Nov. 7 on a motion filed Friday by the Avoyelles Parish Police Jury that asks him to reconsider his decision allowing their funds to be spent on the defense of Derrick Stafford, one of two men accused in the fatal shooting of a 6-year-old boy. Attorneys representing the jury filed the motion to reconsider on Friday. Jurors declined to foot a bill for more than $4,300 for an accident reconstructionist, whom Stafford’s defense attorneys. hired after 12th Judicial District Judge William Bennett approved their motion for funds. In early August, Bennett approved motions that declared Stafford was indigent and, because of that, he could have access to public funds to hire the reconstructionist.
We’re two weeks away from Election Day, and party leaders on both sides are facing similar struggles. Candidates for US Senate have been going at it with opponents from their own party. Executive Director of the Louisiana Democratic Party Stephen Handwerk says those vicious blows will make it harder for the party to come together after November 8th.
After Senate candidate and former-KKK leader David Duke qualified to participate in next week’s Senate debate, Handwerk and Louisiana GOP executive director Jason Dore agreed that if he polled high enough, he should be included. Oh, by the way, Selfies in the voting booth have been a big topic this election cycle. Both party leaders encourage people to exercise their First Amendment rights and selfie if they like. Dore says social media is a huge part of the world today and sees this as an extension of that.
Louisiana ranks fifth in the country when it comes to the percentage of cancer deaths that are attributable to smoking. The percentage is 33-percent and it’s higher for men. Chronic disease director with the Louisiana Department of Health, Melissa Martin, says the state is doing what it can to decrease exposure of second hand smoke. Martin says the state also offers a free comprehensive quit line at 1-800-QUIT-NOW.
Louisiana flood victims have received over one billion dollars in flood insurance payments in less than three months after the historic flooding. Wayne Berggren (Berg-gren) with the National Flood Insurance Program says they’ve seen over 29-thousand claims submitted for review and payment and of that 48-percent have been closed out. Berggren says the average payment a homeowner covered under the National Flood Insurance Program is about 68,000. He expects when all claims are reviewed, flood victims overall will have received a little over two billion dollars.
The Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center is making donations to community groups assisting with flood relief efforts in south Louisiana. Executive Director Cashauna Hill says $200-thousand dollars from their Baton Rouge Revitalization Fund will be distributed among faith-based and nonprofit organizations.
The LSU-Alabama game is still over a week and a half away and the hype is building. Tigers running back Leonard Fournette appeared on SEC Now with Peter Burns and played a game of “fact or fiction.” Leonard was asked if LSU will beat Alabama this year and Fournette said fact.
A dangerous couple is behind bars following a traffic stop in Covington that led to a disturbing discovery. Capt. Daniel Seuzeneau with the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office says Monroe Myers and his girlfriend, Winter Flowers, were pulled over for a missing taillight. He says detectives discovered methamphetamine, heroin, and paraphernalia, as well as a gun that was disguised as a children’s toy.
A Baton Rouge teacher is under arrest amid allegations he made lewd sexual comments to a student after watching a video of her twerking. The Sheriff’s Office says 32-year-old Christopher Shepard, now on leave from Scotlandville High, was booked on a a misdemeanor charge of prohibited sexual conduct between educator and student.
LSU Health New Orleans is offering free well water testing in areas affected by the historic flooding in August. Assistant Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Adrienne Katner says test kits that could be used to analyze for metals and coliform bacteria will be distributed on Thursday and Friday afternoon. Katner says the main side effect of drinking contaminated water is diarrhea. She says a contaminated well can be cleaned through shock chlorination.
The Shreveport Times reports that workers at the Oscar award-winning animation studio, Moonbot Studios, have been laid off. Co-founder Brandon Oldenburgh has declined to comment, citing a non-disclosure agreement. There’s been speculation that Moonbot Studios was leaving Shreveport. The studio is known for its short films, commercials and mobile apps and they won an Academy Award.
The Cleveland Indians take game one of the World Series against the Chicago Cubs.
The Pelicans tip-off a new season tonight as they host the Denver Nuggets at 7 PM inside the Smoothie King Center.
It will be awhile before the next time the LSU football team plays again. The Tigers next game is November fifth against Alabama. It will be a primetime kickoff as CBS has decided for the sixth consecutive season to air the game at night. In an interview with Peter Burns of the SEC Network, Leonard Fournette played a game of “fact or fiction” and said it’s a fact that LSU will beat Alabama.
The Saints defense has struggled this season, a big reason why New Orleans is 2-and-4 on the year. But maybe they’ll have a good game this Sunday when they host the Seahawks. Seattle has scored 111 points in six games, which is tied with the Chicago Bears for the fewest in the NFL. Kick-off is at noon.
In the Stats FCS Top 25 poll, Grambling has moved up one spot to number 21. McNeese and Southeastern are receiving votes.
In the High School football polls, three new teams are ranked in Four-A, Woodlawn-Shreveport, Rayne and Loranger are ranked 8th, 9th and 10th respectiviely.
The Cleveland Indians take game one of the World Series against the Chicago Cubs.
News for Tuesday 102516
By Dave Graichen
Early voting begins today for the Presidential election. Secretary of State Tom Schedler says polls will be open at their parish Registrar of Voters Office or at other designated locations from 8:30 am until 6 pm everyday but Sunday through November 1. He reminds voters that Election Day is on a Tuesday, so it might be easier for people to early vote. Schedler says there are 220 races statewide involving more than 700 candidates, as well as 6 constitutional amendments and 78 propositions in 38 parishes. Schedler says voters can use the Geaux Vote app to find out where they can cast their ballots. Here in Rapides parish you can early vote at the Registrar Of Voters Office In The Courthouse and in Pineville at the Keys Park Rec Center.
A tragic fire in Vermilion Parish claimed the lives of two young children, aged 1 and 3, and the woman who was trying to save them. State Fire Marshal’s Office spokesman Brant Thompson says the blaze broke out just prior to 5am on Sunday. 3 of the 6 occupants, including the mother of the children, escaped from the home. He says a second adult and close friend of the family, 22-year-old Felicie Cloteaux, did not leave the house when the fire broke out but instead ran to the children’s bedroom. Thompson says Cloteaux’s body was recovered from the home still clutching the two small children in her arms. Investigators suspect an electrical malfunction sparked the blaze. There were no working smoke alarms in the home at the time.
Recent polls show Republican Donald Trump will defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton in Louisiana on November 8th. But Executive Director of the Louisiana Democratic Party, Stephen Handwerk, says they are not throwing in the towel yet. But Executive Director of the Louisiana Republican Party, Jason Dore, believes Louisiana will be dark red on November 8, fully supporting Donald Trump. Dore says Trump is energizing voters. He says they have seen record high participation in the Trump campaign in Louisiana.
Usually competitive elections have their fair share of negative TV commercials, but that’s the not case in the 4th Congressional District race. LSU-Shreveport political science professor Jeffrey Sadow it’s likely the lone Democrat on the ballot, Marshall Jones, will make the run-off and the negative ads will come leading up to the December 10th runoff.
The Pegasus Equine Guardian Association is raising concerns about Fort Polk’s efforts to rehome over 700 horses that roam on the Army base. PEGA President Amy Hanchey says about 150-thousand American horses are sent to slaughter houses each year, and they’re afraid that’s where these horses will end up because the horse market is already flooded.
PEGA suggests heard management techniques and fertility control methods to keep the horses away from training areas and reduce the population. Hanchey says these horses have been roaming this land for nearly a century. Hanchey says they respect that the soldiers need to train, but they feel that in the Kitsatchie National Forest’s 600-thousand acres surrounding Ft. Polk, there should be room for the horses.
Basketball Hall of Famer and former LSU star Shaquille O’ Neal has signed a deal to become the global spokesman for Krispy Kreme’s Orginal Glazed doughnut. He’s also purchased a franchise in Atlanta. If you follow Shaq on social media, you know he’s outspoken for his love of Krispy Kreme doughnuts. You’ll also notice he has put on a few pounds. Coincidence?
Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s office continues to search for a man they believe fatally shot his ex-wife Sunday morning in front of a home in Hammond. If caught, Jerry Williams Junior will be charged with second-degree murder. Linda Williams, was found on the ground, with a gunshot wound to her head. Jerry Williams is considered armed and dangerous.
A 22-year-old New Orleans man has pleaded guilty to the shooting of a Tulane medical student who tried to stop an attempted kidnapping of a woman in the Lower Garden District. Authorities say Euric Cain shot Peter Gold once and tried to shoot him again, but the gun jammed. Cain will be formally sentenced next week to a 50-year prison sentence.
A study by Tulane University finds that women and racial minorities are not widely present in Louisiana’s judicial system. The report shows that while women make up 51-percent of Louisiana’s population, only 30-percent of state judgeships are held by women. Political scientist Sally Kenney with Tulane’s Newcomb College Institute says we need to start conversations about women and minority inclusion.
Louisiana Tech looks to make it five victories in a row when they host the Rice Owls on Saturday. Rice has struggled this year as they just 1-and-6. Rice won its first game of the season last week, as they defeated Prairie View A-and-M 65-44. You’ll be able to hear the Saturday game on ESPN 1410 and 93.1 HD3 starting at 4:30
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