News for Friday 102017
By Dave Graichen
Pineville Police have made an arrest in the stabbing death of 42-year-old Latish White. A passerby found her body near the Pineville Expressway early Wednesday morning. Deputy Police Chief Darrell Basco says they learned 29-year-old Matthew Sonnier of Pineville was responsible for her death and arrested him in Alexandria. Basco says Sonnier was a known acquaintance of White and the two were together at the time of her death. Sonnier is charged with second degree murder and aggravated flight from an officer. He is in the Rapides Parish Detention Center without bond.
The Louisiana Department of Health believes jambalaya contaminated with salmonella resulted in 49 cases of gastrointestinal illness in Caldwell Parish. Thirty-one people have been hospitalized. Doctor David Holcombe, with the state office of public health, says one person who showed symptoms associated with Salmonella poisoning died, but it’s still unclear if that is the cause of his death. Holcombe says 300 plates of this contaminated jambalaya were served at a charity softball event and more cases are still possible.
Former Louisiana College President Dr. Joe Aguillard has lost his wrongful termination lawsuit against the college. The decision by the 9 Judicial District Court also denied payment of attorney fees, leaving Aguillard owing the LC close to $18 grand to cover arbitration fees. Aguillard and his attorney had argued he was terminated after an improper tenure hearing, but an arbitration panel found Aguillard was given due process.
Organized Greek activities at LSU are not allowed to have alcohol at their functions until at least January. That’s the decision of LSU President F King Alexander, who last week decided to allow Greek organizations to have on-campus social events with alcohol. But after receiving concerning reports, he’s reversed that decision.
NOAA released their winter outlook today and it says La Nina will dictate a warmer and drier winter in Louisiana for a second year in a row. Wetter-than-average conditions are expected across the northern United States. State Climatologist Barry Keim says it’s a similar weather pattern we saw in 2011 when drought conditions crossed the state.
The winter forecast will be revised by NOAA in Mid-November.
Dr. Craig Greene will be sworn in next week as the Public Service Commissioner who will represent the Baton Rouge, Lafayette, and Houma areas. Greene says the biggest challenge facing the P-S-C is getting energy at the cheapest rate possible.
Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise is hopeful that President Trump’s tax reform package will be passed, giving relief to millions of American’s pocketbooks and corporations. The House Majority Whip says the Republicans reform proposal will simplify the tax code. Scalise says their plan would help a somewhat stagnant economy take off.
A man on trial in the death of a New Orleans Police officer was declared incompetent to stand trial Thursday. Travis Boys rubbed feces on his face after entering the courtroom for his jury trial Wednesday. Prosecution experts say it was a stunt for him to avoid trial. The judge ordered Boys to be evaluated and if needed medicated after declaring him incompetent.
An LSU Health Sciences Center doctor says a clinical study of veterans dealing with brain injuries and disorders has shown a reduction in suicides using hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Dr. Paul Harch has been studying the effects of the therapy on 30 veterans since 2008. He knew some symptoms would be reduced, but was surprised at the final results. After treatment, 52-percent of military patients no longer met the criteria for the diagnosis of PTSD. Harch says the therapy helps to increase oxygen levels to treat the disease. It is estimated that 300-thousand military veterans who return from service in Afghanistan or Iraq have PTSD or major depression.
Coming off of two wins, LSU fans are excited to travel to Oxford, Mississippi to watch the Tigers take on the Rebels. LSU Alumni Association Senior Director of Alumni Engagement Sally Stiel says they have a sold out Trip. Kickoff is at 6:15 at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
After losing their season opener in Memphis, the Pelicans hope to turn things aroung tonight when they play host to the Golden State Warriors. It will be a late start 8:30. You can hear the game in Cenla on ESPN 1410 & 93.1 HD3
News for Thursday 101917
By Dave Graichen
Authorities in Rapides Parish are investigating a fire in a ditch off Old Boyce Road where two charred bodies were found. Sheriff’s Office Spokesperson Tommy Carnline says they responded to the scene at around 6:30 Wednesday morning and made the grim discovery. No id’s have been made yet. Anyone with information is asked to contact the RPSO.
In Pineville the body of a woman was found lying in Melrose Street early yesterday morning. Police say upon the arrival of officers and other first responders the victim was pronounced dead. Pineville PD later announced the woman had been murdered and had suffered several knife wounds. The victim was identified as 42 year old Latish White of Alexandria. An autopsy will be conducted to determine the exact cause of death.
More than 4,000 jobs could be saved by a $200 million expansion of the West Rock paper mill in Hodge in Jackson Parish in a deal aided by state incentives. Governor John Bel Edwards is slated to make the announcement at this hour. The plant employs about 450 workers with a $28 million annual payroll, but the mill supports about 3,700 indirect jobs.
In just a few weeks, hundreds of inmates will be released in Louisiana as a result of a criminal justice reform package signed into law by Governor John Bel Edwards. Caddo Parish Sheriff Steve Prator voiced concern that violent criminals will be released early without proper rehabilitation. But Edwards says Prator didn’t have his facts straight and that no violent prisoners will be released. Prator also said it was important to keep “good” prisoners incarcerated, so they can pick up trash, wash cars, and cook for first responders. No word as to the governor’s response to that thought.
It’s expected that The Caddo Parish Commission will vote today to remove the statue of a Confederate soldier outside of the parish courthouse in Shreveport. LSU Shreveport Associate Professor of Political Science Jeffery Sadow says last month the council preliminarily voted to support the removal of the monument. Sadow says when the monument was placed; it was in the location of the last capitol of the Confederacy. Surprisingly, there have been few comments from the public over the potential removal.
Investigators have matched bullets from two fatal shootings to a rifle found inside the home of alleged East Feliciana serial killer Ryan Sharpe, who was arrested last week in those two shootings and two others that have occurred in the Clinton area since July.
Officials said in the warrant that Sharpe confessed to the shootings. All four men were shot outside during the day within 25 miles of each other; two while doing yard work in front of their houses.
The Iberville Parish Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to approve an ordinance to outlaw the desecration of official flags in the parish. The mandate protects the American flag, the Louisiana state flag, and any official flags of Iberville Parish. The ACLU of Louisiana calls the ordinance a violation of the public’s constitutional rights and “unenforceable.”
News for Wednesday 101817
By Dave Graichen
State police report a single vehicle crash claimed the life of a Pollock woman yesterday morning. Troopers say 85 year old Marion Morrison apparently lost control of her vehicle on Highway 165, left the roadway and struck a culvert. Morrison was transported to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead.
A Winnfield man was killed yesterday after his pickup ran off of highway 156 and struck some trees. 50 year old Randall Shell was pronounced dead at the scene.
According to the Tax Foundation’s State Business Tax Climate Index, Louisiana ranks 42nd on tax competitiveness. Senior Policy Analyst Jared Walczak says the Bayou State has one of the nation’s most complex tax structures. The index also reports Louisiana ranks 50th for the state’s sales tax structure. Walczak says Louisiana could benefit greatly if it simplified its tax code.
The first class of the Louisiana Veteran Entrepreneurship Program has started training military vets to run their own business. State Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson says the class helps veterans wanting to go into business, by taking online classes and boot camp training on the LSU campus. They hope to train over 100 participants in the first year with a long term goal of creating 100 new jobs through the businesses created from this program.
A Ruston school was destroyed following a fire. Paul E. Slaton Head Start caught on fire around 6 Tuesday morning. Officials say no one was inside when the fire started. Power lines were damaged, knocking out power to over 30 homes. Investigators are trying to determine the cause of fire.
An 18-month old child is dead following a gruesome murder in New Orleans. Police say the father 45-year-old Mark Hambrick told police “God made him do it.” The exact motive of why Hambrick killed his daughter is unknown. Police Chief Michael Harrison says they are seeking any information about Hambrick that will help them with the investigation. Hambrick is in custody with charges to be filed later.
Open enrollment for the Medicare program is now until December 7th for 2018 plans. State Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon says this is the only time of the year when senior citizens can shop around for their plans and compare prices. He says it’s important to find a plan that goes along with your current doctors.
A Clinton man arrested last week tipped police off himself. The Associated Press says 36-year-old Ryan Sharpe was not a suspect in three murders and one attempted murder in East Feliciana and East Baton Rouge Parishes until he called police and id’ed himself as the suspect. Officers arrested Sharpe after leading them on a high speed chase. The murders started in July and were all in a 15 mile radius…
A tiger who became a roadside attraction in Grosse Tete has died. Tony the Tiger had lived at the Iberville Parish Tiger Truck Stop since 2001. There have been legal battles between Tony’s owner Michael Sandlin and the Animal Legal Defense Fund. Sandlin’s attorney Jennifer Treadway says her client plans to get another tiger and he has a permit to do so. The Animal Legal Defense Fund feels Tony’s death demonstrates how the legal system leaves wildlife vulnerable to exploitation.
Louisiana voters will likely be gearing up for a gubernatorial runoff election in 2019. GOP Chairman Roger Villere says one big name has been mentioned a lot for the election is U.S. Senator John Kennedy. He says he is a formidable candidate for the position. Villiere says many other politicians have voiced interest in running for Governor. Currently Governor Edwards is enjoying a high approval rating.
LSU and Ole Miss will meet for the 106th time this Saturday when the two teams get together for a Saturday night kick-off in Oxford. The Tigers have won 11 of the last 15 against the Rebels dating back to 2002. But it’s been 2011 since LSU’s last win at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. The Rebels are 3-and-3 and won their first SEC game of the year last week as they pounded Vanderbilt 57-45.
The Pelicans tip off a new season tonight in Memphis. With a healthy Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday, along with a full season from DeMarcus Cousins, there’s a belief New Orleans can be one of the eight playoff teams in the difficult Western Conference. You can hear that game tonight beginning at 6:30 or immediately after the game 5 of the American League Championship series on ESPN 1410 and 93.1 HD3
News for Tuesday 101717
By Dave Graichen
Louisiana is once again tops for murders in the country. The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program says the states murder rate was 11.8 per 100,000 persons, with 554 homicides in 2016. New Orleans based Crime analyst Jeff Asher says even if you didn’t count New Orleans, Louisiana would remain tops in the country.
Zachary Police have charged a 33-year-old man with first-degree murder for allegedly shooting, stabbing and beating an 11-month old child. Police Chief David McDavid says they found several weapons in the house and the autopsy shows the baby died of multiple stab and gunshot wounds.
The fire is out at the platform that was the site of an explosion Sunday night on Lake Pontchartrain. Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joe Lopinto says the platform is a storage facility and owned by Clovelly Oil Company. Three victims from of the explosion remain in critical condition and the search for a 44-year-old worker from Katy, Texas continues.
Investigators are piecing together the strange case of a baby born to a 13-year-old girl. Baker Police Chief Carl Dunn says the family wasn’t aware she was pregnant and gave birth in her bedroom. Dunn says the teen decided to drop the newborn off, with the umbilical cord still attached on a school teacher’s front porch. Police suspect the father is also just 13-years-old.
The state Department of Children and Family Services has posted an online mapping tool called Safe Haven Facility Locator in an effort to prevent newborn abandonment. Child Protective Services Program Manager Mona Michelli says a mother can visit Louisiana-safe-haven-dot-com (louisianasafehaven.com) to find a place where they can give up a child less than 60 days old. If a mother or parent is not able to locate a facility, call 911 and an emergency responder can transport the child to a facility. Michelli says it’s important to remember a mother faces no legal recourse if she follows the Safe Haven laws.
Waitr is looking to help feed needy families. Starting this week, when customers order food service from the Lake Charles based app, they can donate between two and ten dollars and Waitr along with participating restaurants will match a customers’ donation. Chief Marketing Officer Sonny Mayugba (MY-ooh-buh) says the “Share Thanksgiving” food drive will be conducted in all 130 markets, including Alexandria.
Detectives in Baton Rouge are investigating a fatal shooting last Sunday that left a 26-year-old dead after a homeowner claims he brandished a firearm and charged at him. BRPD Sgt. Don Coppola says the 36-year-old homeowner told police he was standing in his yard when he shot Clayton Bradford after a verbal altercation. Coppola says the homeowner is cooperating and no arrests have been made as of yet.
State Police say a 4-year-old was killed over the weekend after being struck by a vehicle in Iberia Parish. They say Raylen Jones of New Iberia had wandered outside of his home Saturday night without detection and ended up in the street. The investigation is continuing.
A major story line heading into Saturday’s SEC West matchup between LSU and Ole Miss is the return of head coach Ed Orgeron to Oxford. Orgeron was the Rebels head coach from 2005 to 2007 and won just ten games. During his Monday press conference, Coach O downplayed the trip back to Oxford.
News for Monday 101617
By Dave Graichen
A significant cold front moved through the Bayou State leaving us with some much needed relief. State Climatologist Barry Keim says this front has brought in much cooler and drier Canadian air and pushed out the warm Gulf of Mexico air. He says the afternoon highs will be in the 70s in northern parishes and low 80s in the coastal zone. Keim says this cool weather will stick around all week long. Keim says even as temperatures in the 90s subside, expect a warmer than usual autumn.
After Three days, the trial is over. Antonio Boyd, the so called head of the Triple M Murder Team, took a plea deal during the lunch recess of his trial Friday. The 32 year old Boyd pleaded guilty to racketeering and attempted first-degree murder, receiving sentences at hard labor of 50 years and 35 years, respectively. The sentences were to be served concurrently.
An oil rig exploded in Lake Pontchartrain on Sunday evening (Oct. 15) near St. Charles Parish and north Kenner, according to Kenner Police Department spokesman Sgt. Brian McGregor. Seven people were injured in the explosion, according to Kenner Deputy Chief Administrative Officer Kriss Fortunato, and authorities believe an eighth person is still missing.
Former state Rep. John Schroder, R-Covington, is headed to a Nov. 18 runoff against New Orleans attorney Derrick Edwards to choose Louisiana's next treasurer. Edwards received more votes in the primary, but experts indicated he got into the runoff mostly because he was the only Democrat in the race. Schroder is expected to win a Nov. 18 runoff election and become the next state treasurer of Louisiana.
Louisiana residents voted in favor of three more changes to the state constitution Saturday. Voters decided to prevent ongoing construction from counting toward a property's value for tax purposes. Practically speaking, the change will mostly benefit owners of industrial properties. A property tax exemption was approved for spouses of first responders and a wider swath of law enforcement officers killed while on the job.
Voters also consented to a new restriction on gasoline and fuel taxes. At this point, the restriction is hypothetical since the Louisiana Legislature had refused to implement a new gas or fuel tax in recent years.
City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell and former judge Desiree Charbonnet earned spots in a runoff for New Orleans mayor, guaranteeing the city will elect its first woman mayor in the Nov. 18 runoff.
Police have identified the suspect involved in the shooting death of a New Orleans Police Officer. 30-year-old Darren Bridges, a convicted felon, faces a charge of first degree murder in the shooting death Friday of 29-year-old officer Marcus McNeil. Chief Michael Harrison says they are still investigating what exactly happened.
State health officials are reminding Louisianans it’s time to get your annual flu vaccination. The flu season has begun and doctors are starting to see a small number of cases. The Louisiana Department of Health will host flu vaccination clinics until December in all parts of the state and residents can visit LDH’s website for locations and dates. The flu shot is free for individuals with insurance and 10 dollars for those without insurance.
Sasol announces they have hired their 500th employee to support its new 11 billion dollar ethane cracker and derivatives project in Calcasieu Parish and plans to hire at least 200 new employees over the next two years. Kim Cusimano with Sasol says they’ve been working towards this goal for several years. 93-percent of those hired are Louisiana residents and 83-percent are Calcasieu Parish residents. Sasol partnered with the Louisiana Community and Technical College System and SOWELA Technical Community College in Lake Charles to help fill positions. These careers have an average salary of 80-thousand dollars.
Baton Rouge Republican Congressman Garret Graves authored legislation seeking to protect Cajuns, saying they are endangered, because of coastal land loss. He is pushing for them to be protected under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Graves believes the federal government has been mismanaging the Mississippi River system for years, endangering the Cajun’s way of life. Following discussion on the floor and some good natured jabbing, Graves withdrew his amendment from consideration.
Governor John Bel Edwards says 100 pallets of donated goods will be sent to Puerto Rico. Parishes across the state have been collecting the items for the past couple of weeks. Over 400-thousand packaged items including diapers and baby wipes will be sent to help Hurricane Maria survivors. 300 members of the Louisiana National Guard have been sent to Puerto Rico.
Two Baton Rouge school students are in trouble after a BB gun they allegedly brought to school discharged Friday. Police say the incident happened after students were traveling back to School following a field trip. The male 9th grader who brought the weapon tossed it to a female 9th grade student, that’s when the weapon sischarged striking another student. Both were charged with Negligent Injury and Illegal Carry of a Weapon on school property.
Halloween is only two weeks away and Louisiana residents are rushing to find the hottest costume. Store manager for Halloween Express in Baton Rouge DeMarcus Cox says the most popular costume this year is Pennywise the Clown from the movie It.
The LSU Tigers are once again ranked in the Top 25 polls after their historic come from behind win over Auburn. LSU trailed by 20 points, but roared back to beat their SEC West rival 27-23. The defense held Auburn to 64 yards in the 2nd half. It’s the Tigers largest come from behind win at home since 1949. LSU is now 5-2, 2-1 in the SEC.
The Saints nearly blew a 35-point lead, but an opportunistic Black and Gold defense preserved a 52-38 victory over the Detroit Lions. The Saints defense, which looked very bad at the beginning of the season, forced five turnovers and scored a franchise record three touchdowns in one game. The Saints have won three in a row and for the first time since 2013 they have a winning record at 3-2.
News for Friday 101317
By Dave Graichen
A serial killer in Louisiana? Police have arrested a Clinton man whom they believe is responsible for the deaths of three men and the injuring of yet another in East Feliciana and East Baton Rouge Parishes since July. Police say 36-year-old Ryan Sharpe is expected to be charged with three counts of murder and one count of attempted murder. The big question now is what led Sharp to killing the men and what if anything they have in common other than their age.
Investigators are seeking answers in the death of an eight month old child left in a car for several hours. Tangipahoa Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Dawn Panepinto says the child’s guardian never dropped off the child to a day care center and when they returned to the daycare to pick up the toddler, it was discovered the infant was still in the vehicle. She says the guardian is cooperating with police.
Tomorrow is Election Day in Louisiana and the polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Secretary of State Tom Schedler predicts about a 15-percent turnout statewide. He expects turnout in Orleans Parish to be a little higher, as New Orleans has a big mayoral election. 13 parishes in the state only have the treasurer’s race and three constitutional amendments on the ballot. In Rapides parish, Fire Protection Dists. No. 4 and 7 have 10 year Rededications. In Road Dist. No. 2B (Ward 11) - 10 Mills tax for 10 Years.
With all the destruction due to numerous fires in California, people can become concerned in Louisiana about the threat for wildfires. State Fire Marshal Butch Browning says Caddo, Desoto, Webster and West Carroll Parishes are currently under burn bans with much of the state in moderate danger of fires. He warns if you have to burn, do so only if necessary.
Members of the Louisiana House met Thursday to learn about budget issues. Louisiana faces a fiscal cliff when one-point-38-billion-dollars in temporary revenue ends July 1. Minden Representative Gene Reynolds says they all know what the problem is and they know there are no easy solutions. Alexandria Representative Lance Harris says they had a very positive response from members. Over half of the 103 members attended the meeting.
Former Monroe TV children’s show personality Frank Selas will stand trial on child molestation charges on February 5th. That’s the word from his attorney Mike Small. Selas, also known as Mr. Wonder, allegedly raped a child during a 1979 camping trip in Rapides Parish. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
University of Louisiana at Monroe has made a statement concerning offensive comments made on a private internet group exchange. President Nick Bruno says they have suspended the fraternity Kappa Sigma Pledge for the comments. Bruno says, he is quote “angry and embarrassed that students of the institution chose to conduct themselves in this manner.” He adds that a thorough investigation will be conducted and appropriate actions will be taken.
The Boy Scouts of America have made the decision to allow girls into the organization and allow them to earn the rank of Eagle Scout. Executive Director of the Boy Scouts of Southeast Louisiana Ernesto Carballo says this is a great opportunity for females but isn’t much of a change from what they’ve already been doing. Carballo says many people don’t know that girls are already included in many Boy Scout programs. He says the only change now will be that parents don’t have to run between meetings for their daughters and sons.
With the Louisiana black bear population increasing, the likelihood of bear-versus-human encounters grows. State Department of Wildlife and Fisheries bear expert Maria Davidson says there’s a new website called bear-wise-dot-org, which helps people who have never had to deal with bears before. The black bear was officially moved from the protected list in April of 2016.
Former LSU Head Coach Les Miles says he’s looking forward to his return to Tiger Stadium this weekend as the 10-year-anniversary of the 2007 National Championship team is honored. He says he’ll be honored to stand with that team again. The reunion will be Miles’ first return to Tiger Stadium since his firing in September of last year. The Hat says when LSU called and invited him to be part of the celebration, he immediately said yes. Kickoff for LSU vs. Auburn is scheduled for 2:30pm.
A victory this Sunday over the Detroit Lions will give the Saints a winning record for the first time since the end of the 2013 season. Sunday’s game could be high scoring. Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford has nine touchdown passes, while Brees has thrown for eight.
News for Thursday 101217
By Dave Graichen
The State AG’s office reports two Rapides Parish men have been charged with child pornography offenses. 35 year old Gabriel Gunter of Lecompte and 57 year old Michael Wayne Tipton of Alexandria remain in the Rapides Parish Detention Center after their arrests by the AG's Cyber Crime and Fugitive Apprehension units.
Opening statements were heard yesterday in the trial of Antonio Boyd, the so called head of the Triple M Murder team. Boyd is charged with second-degree murder, racketeering, two counts of attempted first-degree murder and two counts of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. Because of the complexities surrounding the case, it is expected the trial will last more than two weeks.
Louisiana House members will hold a closed door retreat today in order to try to find a fix for a one-billion-dollar plus state budget gap. Alexandria Representative and GOP House Leader Lance Harris says he and Democratic chairman Gene Reynolds thought it would be a good idea to discuss their options. Harris hopes that a bi-partisan plan can be approved. He says this retreat is just one step in what will be many toward a solution. A temporary one-cent sales tax will expire in July 2018, which will leave the state with a budget deficit of over one billion dollars.
Ten current and former LSU students were booked on charges Wedbesday in connection with the suspected hazing death of 18-year-old Maxwell Gruver. All of the individuals are facing a misdemeanor hazing charge and one of them, 18-year-old Matthew Naquin of Texas, also faces a negligent homicide charge
Sean Pennison is one of the ten LSU students arrested as part of the investigation into Max Gruver’s death. His Attorney Franz Borghardt says it’s extremely hard for these students as Max was their friend. He says Pennison is not being charged with Gruver’s death, only hazing. If found guilty of the misdemeanor, Pennison and the others could serve up to 30 days in jail.
Four fraternities at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette have been suspended in the wake of LSU student Maxwell Gruver’s death. ULL Dean of Students Margarita Perez says after Gruver’s death, more students are willing now to come forward and report hazing. ULL suspended the four fraternities for an investigation but no word has been released on what occurred. During the summer, Kappa Sigma, was expelled from the UL-Lafayette campus.
CenturyLink’s next chief executive tells the USA Today Network he will not live in Louisiana, but plans to keep the company’s headquarters in Monroe for now. Jeff Storey takes over as the leader of the Fortune 500 telecommunications company in 2019. The company and the state have a contract that requires Centurylink to remain headquartered in Louisiana through at least 2020. Centurylink employs over 27-hundred people in Louisiana.
The CDC reports Louisiana had the second highest rate of HIV in 2016. Deputy Director for the Louisiana STD/HIV Program Chaquetta Johnson says they are aggressively tackling this epidemic. She says they have partnered with each office of public health and also with community and parish leaders to educate the public on these diseases. Louisiana is ranked second in the country when it comes to the high rates of STDs for the third year in a row.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation has received an additional 60-million-dollars from the federal government for highway projects. Each year, the Federal Highway Administration allocates road repair funds not used by other states or national programs. DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson says the money will be used to fix several bridges
Former Saints and LSU star Tracy Porter has been arrested on drug and domestic battery charges. Sgt. Don Coppola with the Baton Rouge Police Department says the victim visited Porter trying to get her keys back. That’s when an argument started.
Porter was arrested on charges of battery of dating partner, possession of marijuana and distribution of schedule II drugs.
The 2007 LSU championship team will be honored at halftime this Saturday in Death Valley during the game between the Tigers and Auburn. Members of the ’07 squad and former Coach Les Miles are all slated to attend the reunion on the field. About 65-70 former team members have also agreed to come.
The Ragin Cajuns play in front of a national television audience tonight when they host Texas State in a Sun Belt contest. The Bobcats are 1-and-5 and winless in league play. But Louisiana Coach Mark Hudspeth says Texas State has played better than what their record indicates. The Cajuns struggled on defense in their first four games, but looked much better in the win over Idaho last Saturday.
Saints Coach Sean Payton calls the trade of running back Adrian Peterson to the Arizona Cardinals a “win-win” situation. Payton says the emergence rookie running back Alvin Kamara made it difficult to get Peterson the number of snaps he needs to be successful. The Saints will receive a conditional draft pick in next year’s draft from Arizona in exchange for Peterson. Payton says the Saints still have enough running backs on the roster to get through the season. The Saints host the Lions on Sunday.
Thursday night NFL tonight. It’s the Carolina Panthers and The Philadelphia Eagles. Here the game starting at 7 on ESPN 1410 and 93.1 HD3
News for Wednesday 101117
By Dave Graichen
Alexandria Police arrested an employee at Rapides Regional Medical Center for allegedly raping a patient who is suffering from dementia. It’s been reported another employee caught 27-year-old Juantavies White of Alexandria in the act. White has been charged with first-degree rape. The investigation is ongoing.
The Rapides Parish Fair officially gets underway today and will continue through Sunday. As of right now, the weather looks perfect for the entire run. The hours today will be from 4-11, Thursday 3-11, Friday and Saturday the fair will run til 11:30 each evening and until 8pm Sunday.. Discount tickets are still available at the Cenla Broadcasting Studios at 1115 Texas avenue $25 (cash only) for 50 Tickets. That’s 50% off. The hours 9 to 4 today and tomorrow.
The Morning Consult group says that President Donald Trump’s approval ratings have dropped some, but only two percent in Louisiana. U-L-M Political Science professor Dr. Joshua Stockley says the drop from a 59 percent approval in January to 57 percent now is not a big deal… The president’s approval rating in Louisiana is still the fourth highest in the country.
Champion Home Builders announces a manufactured housing production facility will be established in the Vernon Parish town of Leesville. Mayor Rick Allen says these jobs are desperately needed and will provide good wages and benefits to employees. He says the project will create 200 direct jobs and 218 indirect jobs.
As a result of criminal justice reform measures passed in the last legislative session, 14-hundred inmates in Louisiana will be released early from prison in November. Caddo Parish Sheriff Steve Prator said last week that some extremely dangerous criminals could be back on our streets. But Criminal Justice Reform Field Director for the Southern Poverty Law Center John Burkhardt says no one convicted of sex crimes, manslaughter or murder will be released early as a result of the legislation approved earlier this year. He says the new sentencing laws accelerate the release mechanism for inmates on good time parole.
The N-F-L has been more about the National Anthem than the game itself recently. Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a memo to all 32 teams, specifying that all players and coaches quote – “should stand for the National Anthem.” N-F-L analyst Mike Detellier says it’s sad team owners didn’t force the issue prior to Goodell’s memo. Detellier says President Donald Trump’s remarks about the N-F-L helped to keep the controversy alive and has proved to be problematic for the league
Lafayette police say they have arrested a Baton Rouge man in connection with the death of a woman injected with silicone. 23-year-old Brionna Guillory died after allegedly receiving the injections from 33-year-old Vincent Jamal Boles. Lafayette Police Corporal Karl Ratcliff says the silicone traveled throughout Guillory’s body to her heart and lungs.
Monroe-based Flying Tiger Brewery will donate a portion of the revenues from their latest brew, War Hawk, to scholarships through the University of Louisiana Monroe Foundation. Flying Tiger Co-owner Robert Brewer says they want to help ULM because the school doesn’t get the credit it deserves, aside from academics.
High school students from across the state will be designing the new Louisiana Seafood logo. The Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board has partnered with the Louisiana Department of Education to let students design the new logo. Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser says it’s a good way for students to use the creative skills they have learned. Submissions will be accepted through December 15th and is open to all high school students in Louisiana. The winner will be announced in April 2018.
The father for wounded East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Deputy Nick Tullier says his son is making remarkable progress. Tullier was seriously injured during a police ambush in Baton Rouge in July 2016. James Tullier says his son has been moved from a rehab facility in Houston to the Transitional Learning Center in Galveston, Texas, marking an important point in his recovery. James Tullier says his son is continuing to beat the odds so much so that doctor’s predictions on the final outcome have long been surpassed…
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry is alerting parents, guardians and consumers there are several child products that have been recently recalled. Landry has a list on his website. Among the items that are listed…Strollers by Delta, Activity Toys by Manhattan Toy, Children’s Pajamas by Sweet Bamboo and Nightlight Soothers by Skip Hop.
Future Hall of Fame running back Adrian Peterson is no longer a Saint. New Orleans has traded the veteran to Arizona for a conditional draft pick. Peterson had trouble fitting in with the Saints as he only ran the ball 27 times for 81 yards, while the Cardinals have been looking for a running back since losing David Johnson to a wrist injury in the season opener.
News for Tuesday 101017
By Dave Graichen
State Police are investigating a fatal crash on I-10 eastbound near Butte La Rose in St. Martin Parish, where an 18-wheeler was engulfed in flames Monday morning. State Police say the driver of the big rig drove off the interstate into a bridge and traveled down the road before the truck overturned and burst into flames. Master Trooper Brooks David says emergency crews needed several hours to clean up the mess which included a load of potatoes. Officials confirmed the driver of the truck was killed in the crash.
Baton Rouge-area law enforcement are investigating a shooting Monday that killed a camp ranger at the Avondale Scout Reservation in Clinton and its possible link to three other shootings over the last four months. The victim has been identified as 48-year-old Brad DeFrancheschi (De-Fran Chess-Key). Authorities say the man was close to the road when he was shot multiple times in front of his home. The Monday shooting happened on the same road less than 10 miles away from where a Sept. 12 drive-by shooting injured, but didn't kill a 47-year-old man who was exercising near the roadside on his property.
The formation of Tropical Storm Ophelia in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean makes it 15 named storms during this very active Atlantic hurricane season. The good news is, the storm is moving away from the U.S. mainland.
Election Day is less than a week away for the special election to select a new State Treasurer. Political Analyst Bernie Pinsonat says usually we see numerous ads in the days leading up to an election, but this quiet race to remain quiet. The state treasurer’s race features three Republican candidates, who have been able to raise some money. There’s also a Democrat, but he has failed to receive the endorsement of his own party. Pinsonat says none of these candidates have enough money to make a huge push before election day.
Financial help is being provided for the family of a slain Lafayette Police Officer. 44-year-old Corporal Michael Middlebrook was killed last week in the line of. Community Foundation of Acadiana President Raymond Hebert says the support towards the family has been incredible. Donations may be made through the website cfacadiana.org
Former LSU and pro Hall of Fame quarterback, Y.A. Tittle, passed away Sunday night at the age of 90, the school confirmed today. Tittle was a two-time All SEC quarterback when he played for LSU. He enjoyed his greatest team success by leading the Giants to three straight Eastern Conference titles, passing for 86 touchdowns between 1961 and 1963.
The University of Louisiana System has set a goal to graduate 150-thousands students by 2025. U-L System President Jim Henderson says if this can be accomplished by the nine universities in the system, these students will be the most educated generation in Louisiana history. Henderson says it’s time Louisiana started to invest more in its students. He says we need to focus more on the outcomes of investments, rather than what it costs on the front end.
Iberville Parish leaders will discuss a proposed law on October 17th that would prevent an individual from damaging or defacing the nation’s or the state’s flag. Councilman Matthew Jewell says last Veterans Day, a group of people ripped down and burned an American flag. He says the veterans were extremely upset about it so he decided to take action. Jewell says strong penalties would come along with the ordinance.
News for Monday 100917
By Dave Graichen
Early voting for the October 14th election, which ended on Saturday, was very light. Secretary of State Tom Schedler says the turnout for the election this Saturday might be even lower than 20-percent. The ballot includes a special election for state treasurer, a south Louisiana Public Service Commission seat, three constitutional amendments and the general New Orleans mayoral race, where 18 candidates are running.
Hurricane Nate steered east of New Orleans after making a double landfall Saturday night, first in Louisiana near the mouth of the Mississippi River then again nearby just outside Biloxi. The storm's winds never reached the Category 2 strength that forecasters had suggested could happen, and New Orleans was spared the storm's brunt. But, we’re not out of the woods yet. A Tropical disturbance formed Sunday in Atlantic. Forecasters say it has a 70 percent chance of developing.
Now that Hurricane Nate is a memory for Louisiana, what will that mean for gas prices? Oil rigs from Louisiana to Alabama were shut down and the industry hasn’t fully recovered from Hurricane Harvey in August. Don Redman from Triple-A says any increase in prices we see will be short lived. Refineries are also gearing up to switch from the summer blend to winter grade gasoline, which Redman says could affect prices. Despite the storm, Redman says drivers are paying more on average than we have for the past several years.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has identified A body found in Buhlow Lake as that of 62 year old Philip Brandt III of Alexandria. Boaters found Brandt's body around 4:30 p.m. Thursday afternoon. Brandt was pronounced dead at the scene. A red kayak and a paddle that belonged to Brandt were found about 100 yards away from his body. An autopsy is pending to determine the cause of death.
With the decline in diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba, any hope of exporting Louisiana goods is shrinking. A year ago, Governor John Bel Edwards and State Agricultural Commissioner Mike Strain led a delegation from Louisiana to Cuba to strength the relationship between the Bayou State and the island nation. Strain says if the trade embargo with Cuba is lifted it could mean millions of dollars for the state and the ag industry, so he’s hopeful the diplomatic relations can be restored.
The Florida Gators paid tribute to Tom Petty during Saturday's 17-16 home loss to LSU.
Petty's 1989 hit "I Won't Back Down" played over the Ben Hill Griffin Stadium sound system between the third and fourth quarters on Saturday. To the dismay of some Florida fans, that was also the same time the LSU band started playing. Gators fans were not amused. Petty , who died last week, was born and raised in Gainesville, Petty once worked as a groundskeeper at the University of Florida as he tried to make it in the music industry.
After suffering the program’s first loss against a team from the Sun Belt Conference, the LSU Tigers bounced back with a 17-16 win victory over Florida in the Swamp. It was a hard fought victory for the Tigers, who finished with three freshmen on the offensive line because of injuries.
Louisiana Tech also suffered a tough loss on Saturday as UAB blocked a 30-yard field goal with 3 seconds left to preserve a 23-22 win over the Bulldogs. Louisiana Tech was a big favorite to win the game.
The Ragin Cajuns snapped a three-game losing streak by going on the road and beating Idaho 21-16
News for Friday 100617
By Dave Graichen
Nate continues to make its way to the Gulf Coast with Louisiana in its sights. David Zelinsky (Zuh-lin-ski) with the National Hurricane Center says Gulf Coast residents need to remain alert this weekend. The good news is Nate will not be as strong a storm as Harvey, Irma or Maria. This will be the fourth named storm to reach U.S. Landfall this year.
Governor John Bel Edwards held his first briefing on Nate and said they do anticipate that Louisiana will take a direct hit when it makes landfall. He says the state is prepared, but people need to pay attention. Edwards says Nate is expected to impact the area early Sunday morning, as either a strong tropical storm, or category one hurricane. He says that could change at any time, and he encourages residents to monitor the updates, and follow directions you’re given from local authorities. Edwards says he has asked President Donald Trump to declare a pre-landfall state of emergency in Louisiana.
The Grand Isle Mayor has issued a voluntary evacuation order, as the island is expecting 4 to 5 inches of rain; and unusually high tides. Grand Isle schools will be closed Friday and Monday.
Nate is affecting some sports events in Louisiana. The LSU-Florida game is still on in Gainesville, but other games have been affected. Tulane will now play Tulsa at 11am, Nicholls State versus Northwestern State will kick off at 11am in Thibodaux instead of 6:30. And the Southeastern Louisiana-Incarnate Word contest in Hammond begins at 10am…
State Police have arrested a St. Joseph mother for allegedly murdering her newborn and putting him in the dumpster. The one day old boy was found Monday in front of an elementary school. Senior Trooper Michael Reichardt says 21-year-old Alicia Richard is charged with first degree murder. An autopsy has been performed on the infant and the cause of death is ruled to be blunt force trauma. Bond is set at 200-thousand-dollars
Governor John Bel Edwards can’t understand why Congress didn’t include 2016 Louisiana flood victims in legislation that gives this year’s hurricane victims special disaster tax breaks. The bill has five tax relief provisions. Edwards says Congress should not pit storm victims against one another.
Caddo Parish Sheriff Steve Prator says the 192 felons that will be released early from prison next month in Caddo Parish is due to new laws. He says Louisiana does need some reform but. During a news conference in Shreveport today, Prator gave examples of the kind of inmates that will be set free next month as a result of the new laws laws. The Sheriff says he knows of one prisoner who will be let out seven years early who should not be out on the streets.
Former New Orleans Congressman William Jefferson is set to be released from his 13-year prison sentence for taking bribes. A federal judge says seven out of ten counts against Jefferson are now invalid. The feds must now decide if they want to pursue the remaining 3 counts. Loyola University law professor Dane Ciolino says the ruling is based on a U.S. Supreme Court decision involving former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell’s corruption case .Ciolino says Jefferson’s time in prison might be done based on yesterday’s ruling.
New data from InsuranceQuotes finds Louisianans who bundle their auto and home insurance could save an average of nearly 600 dollars a year. Senior insurance analyst Laura Adams says if you own a home and are a driver in the Bayou State, you can save about 19-percent on insurance. Adams says it’s a good idea to shop around with different providers.
The LSU Tigers are ranked as the nation’s fifth most-valuable college football program in a report out of Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus. The analysis, by Ryan Brewer, an associate professor of finance, broke down each team’s available revenue and expenses from 2016. He found that if the Tigers were for sale, they’d be worth about $911 million dollars.
The LSU Tigers take on No. 21 Florida tomorrow on the road, and not many people are giving The Bayou Bengals much of a chance in the Swamp. Associate Tiger Rag Editor James Moran says if LSU wants to start winning games, they are going to have to start playing a lot better. This is the game that was supposed to be played in Baton Rouge, but Hurricane Matthew forced the 2016 contest to be moved from Gainesville.
News for Thursday 100517
By Dave Graichen
Norris Greenhouse Jr. was sentenced to seven and half years Wednesday for his role in the shooting death of 6-year-old Jeremy Mardis. The former Marksville Marshal pleaded guilty to negligent homicide and malfeasance in office. An earlier trial stemming from the incident resulted in Derrick Stafford, another ex-Marshal, being sentenced to 40 years for manslaughter. The shooting victim’s father, Christopher Few says he’s glad there will not be another trial.
The National Hurricane Center is forecasting the development of a hurricane develop in the Gulf of Mexico this weekend. Right now, the system called Tropical Depression 16 is near Central America, but it will head north in the coming days. The current forecast track has what could be Hurricane Nate making landfall as a Category One storm anywhere between the Mississippi-Alabama line to Tampa, Florida.
Authorities in Winn Parish report a huge drug bust . Local and federal authorities have indicted 21 people after a lengthy investigation into drug trafficking in Winn Parish. Eleven of the defendants were indicted on federal charges, and 10 face state charges. All but one of the 21 are in custody.
Rapides Parish School Board employees will receive an extra $297 check on Nov. 17.
The money represents excess collections from a half-cent sales tax passed last year to give school system employees raises. Board members voted Tuesday to distribute the roughly $1.2 million next month ahead of Thanksgiving and the approaching holiday season. School Board employees received a similar excess check in May.
Visitation is today for fallen Lafayette Police Officer Cpl. Michael Middlebrook who was killed during an exchange of gunfire at a convenience store last weekend. Police Chief Toby Aguillard says Middlebrook was born in Thibodeaux and had a stellar nine year career with Lafayette PD. Middlebrook was allegedly shot by 28-year-old Ian Howard who is in jail without bond and charged with first degree murder.
State Police are awaiting autopsy results on an infant that was found dead in a dumpster in Tensas Parish. Media reports say the grisly discovery was made at Tensas Elementary School. Senior Trooper Michael Reichardt says once the autopsy is completed they’ll have a better idea as to what happened.
Allergy sufferers might be suffering a bit due to the hot and humid conditions over the past few weeks. Doctor Sanjay (CAM-BO-JUH) Kamboj, an allergy expert at LSU Health New Orleans says those with allergies should use saline nasal spray twice a day, and follow that with nasal steroids. He also recommends keeping windows and doors closed and running the air conditioner to help filter out allergens.
The LSU fraternity pledge who died last month may have drank an excessive amount of alcohol during a drinking game according to Police records. Legal analyst Tim Meche says although there is Louisiana law to hold someone responsible for causing an overdose by injecting illegal drugs, there is no such law for alcohol. Because of this Meche says the fraternity members involved should avoid felony charges. Max Gruver died after a night of playing the game called “Bible Study” in which pledges had to drink for incorrect answers to questions about the frat.
News for Wednesday 100417
By Dave Graichen
Thoughts and prayers going out to the family of 20 year old Specialist Alexander Missildine, a soldier based at Fort Polk. Missildine was killed and another soldier was injured in Iraq Sunday when an IED detonated near their convoy. Missildine was from Tyler, Texas and was a motor transport operator. He served with 710th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division.
A broad area of low pressure has formed over the southwestern Caribbean Sea and it’s expected to move into the Gulf of Mexico by the weekend. State Climatologist Barry Keim says it has a medium chance of developing into a tropical depression by this weekend. Forecasters are also watching a trough of low pressure over Cuba.
The State Police are investigating an officer involved shooting death during a traffic stop in Ouachita Parish Monday afternoon. The OPSO report says the driver pulled a gun from his waistband and one of two deputies at the scene fired a fatal bullet killing the suspect. A passenger in the vehicle, 35-year-old William Underwood, was later taken into custody and is facing multiple charges.
Saints Coach Sean Payton says current gun laws are flawed and frustrating as he spoke about gun control in light of the massacre that occurred in Las Vegas. In a conference call with beat reporters, Payton says the current system in our country right now is not working and that there has to be a better way. Payton says if people don’t like his position for common sense gun control, that’s tough.
Louisiana is set to receive 55-million dollars in federal grant money to improve the reading and writing skills of struggling students. State department of education spokesperson Sydni Dunn says the state will receive 18.5 million dollars each year for the next three years. State officials say only 36-percent of Louisiana children are able to read and write on grade level by fourth grade. Dunn says this grant will accelerate the learning of all students reading below grade level.
Police reports say the LSU fraternity pledge who died last month may have been forced to drink an excessive amount of alcohol as part of an initiation ritual called “Bible Study.” Phi Delta Theta pledges who gave incorrect answers to questions about the frat were forced to drink. Officials believe 18-year-old Maxwell Gruver’s death is a possible hazing incident.
What Houma natives Holly and Tracy Pitre thought would be an evening of dancing and fun at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas turned into a night of terror. Holly says they are lucky to be at the right place at the right time to avoid being killed or injured as a gunman fired shots from the 32nd floor of the Mandalya Bay hotel. The couple are home safe and sound.
Police arrested a man in his underwear after he allegedly crashed through a fence at the Slidell Municipal Airport and hit utility pole. Slidell Police Detective Daniel Seuzeneau says 43-year-old Kevin Bolton told his authorities he was on his way to see a voodoo doctor. Bolton has been charged with careless operation and hit and run.
Norwegian Cruise Line has announced it’s sending the Norwegian Breakaway to sail from New Orleans beginning in November of next year. This will be the largest cruise vessel ever to sail out of The Big Easy. Port of New Orleans spokesperson Donnell Jackson says this ship is over 1,000 feet and will hold about 4,000 passengers. The Norwegian Breakaway will sail seven, ten and 11 day seasonal cruises.
News for Tuesday 100317
By Dave Graichen
An arrest has been made in Sunday night’s shooting death of a Lafayette police officer at a convenience store. 28 year old, Ian Paul Howard was arrested in connection with the death of Officer Michael Middlebrook. Howard is charged with one count of first degree murder of a police officer. State Trooper Brooks (DAH-VEED) David says two people inside the convenience store sustained non-life threatening injuries. Howard was a nine-year veteran of the police force.
Governor John Bel Edwards has issued a statement in response to the Sunday night killing of a Lafayette police officer as well as the horrific mass shooting that took place at a country music festival Sunday night in Las Vegas. The governor issuing an executive order lowering the Louisiana and American flags over all state public buildings through Friday.
One person died and another person was seriously wounded in a shooting on Interstate-20 in Shreveport shortly after midnight Monday. Shreveport authorities say they believe the victims were shot by someone with a rifle. The driver, 22-year-old Kenyon Frazier, was shot multiple times and doctors say he has life-threatening injuries. The deceased person has not been identified.
A “Save LSU Football” GoFundMe campaign has been set up to buy out Coach Ed Orgeron and Athletic Director Joe Alleva. But Tiger Rag Editor Cody Worsham says getting rid of Coach O would cost the program $12 million dollars and they’re still paying Les Miles $9 million dollars — plus former men’s basketball coach Johnny Jones and his assistants are also getting buyout money. The Tigers football team is off to a disappointed 3-and-2 start.
A self-inflicted gunshot to the head is the cause of death listed on the East Baton Rouge Coroner’s autopsy report for the LSU student whose body was found on Friday evening by hunters. 21 year old, Michael Nickelotte Junior had gone missing on September 18th. The Louisiana State Police Crime Lab used DNA tests to make a positive ID of the remains Monday.
State Police say two of their own troopers have been demoted in rank for the expensive road trip they took to a law enforcement conference in San Diego last year. It was determined the troopers took a side trip to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon, paid for by taxpayers. The trip cost a reported 19-thousand dollars.
A Shreveport TV station is reporting the former mayor of Stanley and current alderwoman of the DeSoto Parish town has died as a result of home explosion that occurred on September 18th. 92-year-old Dwena Henry suffered extensive burns and was at the University Hospital in Shreveport. The home exploded as a result of a natural gas leak.
News for Monday 100217
By Dave Graichen
Former Marksville city deputy marshal Norris Greenhouse Junior agrees to a plea deal and a seven and a half year prison sentence for the 2015 fatal shooting of a six-year-old boy. Authorities say Greenhouse and Derrick Stafford opened fire on Christopher Few’s car, wounding him and killing his son. Stafford received a 40-year sentence on a manslaughter conviction. Legal analyst Tim Meche says the Few family is likely satisified. Greenhouse plead guilty to negligent homicide and malfeasance in office.
Early voting is now under way for the October 14th election. New Orleans has a race for mayor, while south Louisiana voters can vote for candidates for the Public Service Commission. Statewide ballots have three constitutional amendments listed and voters can select from candidates for State Treasurer. Voters can take advantage of early voting until October 7th.
We’re coming towards the end of the Atlantic hurricane season but that doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods just yet. State Climatologist Barry Keim says Louisiana has seen some notable hurricanes in the month of October. He says Hurricane Juan hit our coast in 1985 from October 28th to the 31st. Keim says so far, we’ve had 14 named storms and the Colorado State Forecast Team predicts 16 this season. He says the season technically ends November 30th.
State Climatologist Barry Keim says this is one of the driest September’s on record. He says statewide there’s been less one inch of rainfall this month and we usually see an average of over four inches for September. Keim says a lack of tropical activity explains the abnormally dry month.
Over three-hundred Louisiana National Guardsmen are set deploy to Puerto Rico to assist after the devastation brought by Hurricane Maria. Governor’s office of homeland security and emergency preparedness spokesperson Mike Steele says GOHSEP and the Guard are also sending an 11-person team to help Puerto Rican officials find housing for displaced citizens. A smaller emergency team will go to the U-S Virgin Islands to help their recovery from Hurricane Irma. Steele says the governor is happy to lend this kind of support.
Starting with the freshman class in the fall of 2018, first year LSU students are required to live on campus. Assistant Vice President for Residential Life Steve Waller says they’ve been working towards this goal for a few years because research shows students who live in a dorm their first year of college perform better in school. Waller says many dormitory construction projects are expected to be completed by next fall so there are enough beds to accommodate the increase in freshmen staying on campus.
Students 21 years or older or have medical needs can also be exempt.
The search for the missing LSU student turned up a body that authorities think is 21 year old Michael Nickelotte Junior. The body was discovered by hunters off of Ben Hur road, just south of the campus. Investigators do not suspect foul play at this time. DNA tests will be done for a positive ID of the remains. Michael Nickelotte Junior had last been seen on September 18th at a campus apartment complex.
An LSU political science professor finds that proactive policing may be counter-productive as a deterrent to major crime. Christopher Sullivan studied a specific seven-week period when the New York Police Department halted aggressive policing against minor crimes and the data shows serious criminal activity dropped. The public complaints of major crime declined by three to six percent during the halt on proactive policing.
After starting the season with back-to-back losses, the Saints have put together two consecutive victories. New Orleans dominated the Dolphins 20-0 at London’s Wembley Stadium on Sunday and head into the bye week with a two-and-two record. Miami only had 185 yards of offense. It was the Saints first shutout since 2012 and for the fourth consecutive game, New Orleans did not have a turnover.
LSU’s homecoming celebration was ruined by Troy University, who came into Baton Rouge and upset the once mighty Tigers 24-21. The Trojans took control of the game with a turnover on the first offensive play and then a quick touchdown. At one point, Troy had a 17 point lead. The loss drops LSU’s record to 3-2 and has many fans wondering if this team will be able to qualify for a bowl game.
ULM is 2-0 in the Sun Belt Conference after beating Coastal Carolina 51-43 on Saturday. ULM is now 2-and-2 on the season and 2-0 in the Sun Belt for the first time since the 2014 season. The Warhawks are Texas State next Saturday.
Louisiana Tech beat South Alabama Saturday 34 to 16 Tech is now 3 and 2 on the season.
News for Friday 092917
By Dave Graichen
Early voting begins tomorrow for the October 14th election, but Secretary of State Tom Schedler doesn’t expect a big turnout. Three constitutional amendments, the state treasurer’s race and a few big local elections are on the ballot. However, Schedler says there has not been much publicity. There is also a vacant Public Service Commissioner seat on the ballot for many voters in south Louisiana, as Scott Angelle left his post to work for President Donald Trump. Early voting is from 8:30 am to 6 p.m. and starts Saturday and continues through October 7th, except on Sunday.
Voters should be aware of three constitutional amendments on the October 14thballot. Amendment number one establishes a property tax exemption for construction work in progress. Amendment two would give surviving spouses of first responders who died while on duty a property tax exemption. And amendment three would create a construction subfund of the transportation trust fund that would force any new revenue from any future increase in the state gas tax to go towards road and highway construction projects and nothing else.
The state Department of Transportation’s Motorist Assistance Patrol Program, or MAP program, is headed to Alexandria to help with serious congestion problems in the region. Deidrea Druilhet with DOTD says the goal of introducing the MAP program to this central Louisiana area is to get traffic back to peak capacity by providing free help to drivers. Druilhet says the MAP program has proven successful in Lake Charles, Baton Rouge, Shreveport and New Orleans. She says patrols will be out to assist on local highways, not just I-49.
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was greeted with a roaring ovation yesterday when he returned to the U.S. Capitol for the first time since he was shot by a gunman in the left hip The Metairie native says while it was an evil act, he was able to see the goodness of people. 60 minutes will have a feature on Scalise on Sunday night.
A UNO statewide poll finds a majority of Louisiana voters believe NFL players who do not stand for the national anthem should be punished. But Researcher Tony Licciardi says there was a stark difference between black and white respondents, 70-percent of whites say they should penalized, while only 34-percent of blacks felt the same. He says big racial divides in polling are not uncommon. The survey also found 49-percent approve of President Donald Trump’s job performance, while 45-percent disapprove.
The two suspects wanted in the fatal stabbing of an 82-year-old woman in Shreveport are in a jail in Texas awaiting extradition back to Caddo Parish. Shreveport Police say Roy Narcisse and Kiana Williams of Ville Platte were located in San Angelo, Texas and they were still in possession of the victim’s vehicle.
West Baton Rouge officials say a 5 year old Lafayette boy passed away Thursday from the injuries he sustained in a multi-vehicle crash on Interstate 10 on Tuesday. Xander Cruz clung to life for two days after an 18 wheeler struck three vehicles on Tuesday. His grandmother says the boy’s organs will be donated to others.
One week after multiple Louisiana Sheriff’s Offices announced a lawsuit against several opioid manufacturers, the state Health Department has filed its own lawsuit claiming these drug companies helped fuel a severe opioid epidemic. Legal Analyst Tim Meche says it could be difficult for the plaintiffs in a trial, because opioids are regulated and approved by the FDA and prescribed by doctors.
Parkway High School in Bossier Parish has told students that any school athlete that kneels or disrespects the flag during the national anthem could be kicked off the team. Executive Director of the ACLU of Louisiana Marjorie Esman says the laws of our country do not allow the schools to prohibit students from peacefully protesting in this manner. Esman says they haven’t heard of any other school districts prohibiting students from this type of protest. But she says they issued a statement so other schools thinking of taking similar action know what the law is.
LSU faces Troy for homecoming tomorrow night. After losing the season opener to Boise State, the Trojans have won three in a row. Tiger Rag Associate Editor James Moran says Troy is not a team you can overlook…LSU is coming off an uninspiring victory over Syracuse. Moran says he’ll look for improved play from the offensive line, after they struggled to pass block last week. You can hear the game starting at 4 on 970 KSYL and 96.9 KZMZ.
News for Thursday 092817
By Dave Graichen
Cleco announces a new two year, 130-million dollar project to improve customer service and it will also help stimulate the economy. Spokesperson Jennifer Cahill says they are calling it the START program and it will create 221 jobs, as they will replace Cleco’s core technology of multiple systems with one primary system. She says the START program will improve efficiency and also help the state and local economies.
Crime Stoppers is asking for information on the robbery of the South Circle Pawn shop in Alexandria last Thursday. The APD reports a large quantity on fire arms were taken in the overnight robbery. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 443-7867 or go to rpso.org/crime-stoppers. A reward is being offered and all information is confidential.
Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser says although he’s on an official trip in Europe to promote Louisiana tourism, he’s decided to not attend the Saints Sunday game at Wembley Stadium. This is due to some Saints players failing to stand for the national anthem. Nungesser says he’s worked with people who have lost loved ones in war.
Nungesser says he won’t support anyone who disrespects the national anthem.
Meanwhile, though some lawmakers have called on the state to cut tax benefits to the Saints organization Senate President John Alario says that would be just as un-American as not standing for the anthem. Governor John Bel Edwards says it’s unfortunate to see NFL players not stand for national anthem, but that doesn’t mean the state can end its current agreement with the Saints.
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who was shot at a Republican Congressional Baseball team practice last June, will appear on 60 minutes Sunday to discuss his road to recovery.
St. Bernard Parish authorities say a 56-year-old man attacked his ex-wife with an ax as she left her home for work Wednesday morning, killing her. 48-year-old Kimberly Owens suffered fatal injuries as her mother watched from the home. The sheriff says Kimberly Owens had a restraining order against Mark Owens, who turned himself in.
Shreveport police detectives are trying to determine who fatally stabbed an 82-year-old woman who lived alone. Kathleen Cates was pronounced dead at the scene, suffering from multiple stab wounds. Neighbors say a man and woman performed yard work at the home before she was killed. They are considered persons of interest.
17-year-old Vincent Cummings has been arrested in connection to the death of an 8-month-old girl in Baton Rouge. Sgt. Don Coppola says Cummings admitted to police that 8-month-old Katelyn Carter was acting strange so he picked the child up and squeezed her extremely hard. He is charged with second degree murder and cruelty to a juvenile.
Lake Charles Police have charged a former Angola prison inmate with the fatal shooting of a 10-year-old child and his 17 year old brother who was also injured in the shooting incident. Authorities arrested 50-year-old Felton Thompson in New Orleans overnight. He served 24 years in Angola for armed robbery. A motive for last weekend’s shooting is not known.
Defensive end Cam Jordan was one of the ten Saints players who sat during last Sunday’s playing of the national anthem prior to the victory against Carolina. Jordan says he respects the flag and our troops and he loves everything about our country, but he felt they needed to do something after President Donald Trump said players should be fired for protesting during the anthem. Jordan says the demonstrations are to highlight social injustices that occur in America and they are not trying to create a rift, but they are pushing for unity.
Quarterback Drew Brees says if you’re an American, you should stand with your hand over your hear during the playing of the Star-Spangled Banner. Brees says before this Sunday’s Dolphins game in London, the team plans on being unified during the national anthem.
News for Wednesday 092717
By Dave Graichen
Jury selection will begin on Monday morning in Marksville as scheduled in the trial of Norris Greenhouse Jr. The attorney for Greenhouse asked the 12th district court, due to the extreme media coverage of the story, to move the trial during a hearing on Monday. Yesterday, Judge William Bennett ruled the only way to know if Greenhouse can receive a fair trial in Avoyelles Parish is to question potential jurors. Greenhouse faces charges of attempted second-degree and second-degree murder in the Nov. 3, 2015, shooting of Christopher Few and his son, Jeremy Mardis.
The latest effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Healthcare Act pushed by Senator Bill Cassidy is over for now as the votes are not there in the U.S Senate. However, Cassidy says on a bi-partisan level, lawmakers believe Obamacare is not doing well, so he’s not giving up. Cassidy’s bill would have given block grant health care funding to states for them to decide how to use it.
Now that Senate GOP leaders have decided not to vote on a bill that would repeal Obamacare, Louisiana’s Junior Senator John Kennedy says it’s time for Congress to focus on tax reform. He says cutting taxes is the only thing that will get the economy moving again. Kennedy says citizens are taxed on just about every single thing they do, and over-regulation is strangling the economy. He says his goal is to implement tax cuts, both for middle class Americans and for businesses, by November.
The push back continues over the decision by ten Saints players not to stand for the national anthem prior to Sunday’s game against Carolina. Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser told two media outlets he’s boycotting the team. Nungesser says not standing for the anthem is un-American and offensive to the military.
Another lawmaker has voiced her disapproval of multiple Saints players refusing to stand for the national anthem. Denham Springs Representative Valarie Hodges wants to examine the team’s agreement with Louisiana that contains state subsidies. She’s called for a discussion to take place during next month’s legislative budget meeting.
Hodges says the American flag is not a political symbol for NFL players to use to protest. She says it’s un-American to see players kneel, some with their fists in the air.
It’s been a month since Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas, and gas prices are slowly starting to go down after about 28% of refining capacity was knocked out because of the storm. Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy, says with the switch-over to winter-blend gasoline, demand beginning to slow and Gulf Coast refineries coming back, consumers can expect to see much lower prices at the pump next month.
5th District Congressman Ralph Abraham will hold a listening session on Friday morning at Rayville High School to receive input from farmers and ag leaders on what they want included in the 2018 Farm Bill. Abraham wants to know what is working and what could be improved. State Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain and the Louisiana Farm Bureau President Ronnie Anderson will attend the listening session.
East Baton Rouge authorities found a body underneath a truck early Tuesday morning. Now, Stephen Herbert is charged with DWI and negligent homicide in the death of his brother Kirk Hebert. EBR Sheriff spokesperson Casey Hicks says Stephen Hebert admitted that he and his brother had been drinking. She says that beyond that, the suspect did not remember much.
Lafayette Police say an Oklahoma man broke into a woman’s home, sexually assaulted her and forced her to withdraw money from an ATM. Corporal Karl Ratcliff says 22-year-old Devon Bell had only been in the area for a few days. The victim alerted police after the suspect fled from her vehicle.
An Arcadia Councilwoman faces up to 10 years in prison after she was convicted of stealing water bill payments when she served as the town’s clerk. Louisiana Inspector General Stephen Street says Patricia Hampton used the public’s money for her own personal use. Hampton will be sentenced on November eighth and she’s been automatically suspended from public office, pending an appeal.
Five teenagers are accused of damaging over 50 Christmas trees at the Shady Pond Farm in St. Tammany Parish. Owner Clarke Gernon says 10 trees were destroyed during Labor Day weekend and the perpetrators came back last weekend, but this time the state forestry department set up motion-detection cameras and the vandalism was caught on video. Gernon says damage was in excess of six thousand dollars.
News for Tuesday 092617
By Dave Graichen
A total of six suspects have now been charged in connection with the shooting death of 19-year-old De'Juan Ledet last Wednesday on Duhon lane. Two were charged the day after the shooting, while two more were charged over the weekend. Monday afternoon, the APD announced 17 year old Donerious Roy and 19-year-old Devontae Chism were being booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center on charges of first-degree murder and armed robbery. The department arrested 19-year-old Marcel Jones and an unidentified 16-year-old over the weekend.
A hearing was held yesterday on a change of venue in the case of Norris Greenhouse Jr. Last week, Greenhouse, Jr.'s attorney, George Higgins, filed a motion for a change of venue citing too much pretrial publicity. Greenhouse faces a murder and attempted murder charge for the 2015 death of 6 year old Jeremy Mardis and the shooting of his father, Chris Few. Following the hearing, no decision was made by Judge William Bennett, but a decision could come as soon as today.
Once again Louisiana ranks in the top five for the rate of women who are murdered by men. The Violence Policy Center looked at the latest data available, which is 2015, and found the rate in Louisiana is double the national average and the Bayou State has the third highest rating in the country. Executive director of the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Mariah Wineski, says one factor is inadequate funding for domestic violence services, for those seeking immediate safety. Another factor is easy firearm access for abusers. She says state and federal law prohibit many abusers from possessing firearms, but Louisiana lacks any consistent process for actually implementing these prohibitions.
Ten Saints players sat on the bench during the national anthem prior to the team’s win over Carolina, now a state lawmaker says it’s time for Louisiana to stop giving the professional franchise taxpayer dollars. St. Francisville Representative Kenny Havard says these players have a right to protest, but they should not do it during the anthem.
The Saints receive millions of dollars in tax dollars, exemptions and credits.
Dozens of NFL players didn’t stand during the anthem following comments made by President Donald Trump at a rally in Alabama. Mr. Trump said the NFL should fire players who sit or knee during the anthem. Saints QB Drew Brees disagrees with the President. But Brees wishes the protests for social inequality didn’t involve sitting during the anthem.
A 10-year-old was killed and a teenager was injured in a shooting that happened Sunday night in Lake Charles. Deputy Chief Mark Kraus says this is not a case where two children were playing with a gun and it accidentally discharged. He says someone shot these kids. The 10-year-old child that died is Jaylyn Citizen and the 17-year-old is in stable condition, after undergoing surgery.
State Police say a 7 year old was killed in a single vehicle crash in St. Charles parish. Trooper Melissa Matey says they believe the driver, 32 year old Islam Ezzo was impaired when he ran off of the roadway. State Police say the child was not properly restrained.
Six Winnfield Senior High School students were recognized on the House floor by Congressman Ralph Abraham after serving as pallbearers for a World War II veteran. 93-year-old Thomas Hunter had no close family so the football players stepped up after learning about the situation. Abraham says this is an inspiring story about a community rallying to honor a hero.
There’s yet another reality show with northeast Louisiana ties that is quickly becoming the latest TV craze. Rednecks 4 Hire follows three men who do nasty jobs that nobody else wants to deal with. David Yelton says he and Mike Myers and Kevin Dodd will do almost anything. Yelton says the three of them know each other from church, and decided to work together to help people out. He says everything you see on the show actually happened the exact way it’s presented. Yelton says so far they’ve filmed 6 episodes which air on the CW at 6:30am on Saturdays, and 12:30pm on Sundays. You can also watch the show through their YouTube Channel
25th ranked LSU continues preparations today for its final nonconference game of the year as the Tigers will host Troy on Saturday night. Last week, LSU focused on not committing penalties and they only had three called against in the Syracuse game. Head Coach Ed Orgeron says they look to get more consistent on offense this week.
LSU has announced the game time for the away Florida game on October 7th. The Gators and Tigers will kickoff in The Swamp at 2:30pm central time on CBS.
News for Monday 092517
By Dave Graichen
A hearing is set for today on a motion to change the venue of Norris Greenhouse Jr.’s trial. He and Derrick Stafford, former Marksville City Marshals, are accused in the death of 6-year-old Jeremy Mardis. Stafford was already convicted for attempted manslaughter and manslaughter in Avoyelles Parish. Legal Analyst Tim Meche believes there’s a good chance Greenhouse’s trial will be moved, due to a glut of publicity. Greenhouse is facing charges of attempted second degree murder in the injuring of the father, Christopher Few, and second degree murder for the death of Mardis.
Arizona Senator John McCain has announced he opposes the health care bill that’s co-authored by Louisiana’s senior senator Bill Cassidy. In a statement, McCain says we could do better working together, Republicans and Democrats. D-C observers say McCain’s opposition is a significant setback in Cassidy’s efforts to get the legislation passed this month.
East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore sent an email to local school administrators alerting them police have seen an increase in possession of alcohol and intoxication among high school students at LSU home games. Moore says law enforcement agencies that provide security on LSU game days will increase their presence. The letter comes as the campus is reeling from the death of 18-year-old Max Gruver fraternity pledge.
Meanwhile Governor John Bel Edwards is requesting university officials to review their hazing, drug and alcohol abuse policies, in the wake of the death of 18-year-old Max Gruver at a fraternity. Edwards does not want to see another student die as a result of a possible hazing incident.
The first police report on Gruver’s death was released by LSU-PD and indicates the freshman was found unresponsive at the fraternity house, then later pronounced dead at a hospital.
Southern University announces that the contract for medical marijuana cultivation and production has been awarded to Advanced Biomedics out of Lafayette.
Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser is visiting Germany and the United Kingdom, leading a mission along with 17 tourism partners, to promote Louisiana and the direct flights into New Orleans. Nungesser says so far the international flights have been extremely popular. Nungesser says Germans are required to take 24 days of paid vacation every year, and he wants them to come to Louisiana.
The US Supreme Court is expected today decide today whether to accept a petition
by a New Orleans man who was convicted on a 10-2 vote of murder in 2015.
Louisiana is one of two states where a unanimous decision is not necessary for a
felony. Dale Lambert, who received a mandatory life prison sentence, wants the high
court to hear his challenge of the Louisiana law that allows felony convictions
by a vote of less than 12 jurors.
The Lafayette Police Department says a 25-year-old man allegedly shot and killed his father. The victim is identified as 48-year-old John Adams. The suspect, Damarkus Adams, is under arrest on the charge of Second Degree murder.
A Breaux Bridge Police officer is under arrest for allegedly having sexual interactions with a 16-year-old. 29-year-old Craig David is charged with carnal knowledge of a juvenile, computer aided solicitation of a minor and malfeasance in office.
LSU’s Speech Language Hearing Clinic has a program that allows people with a medical condition like ALS to bank their voice. Speech Language Pathologist Sara Green Mele (me-lee) says individuals with a degenerative disease come to the clinic and record their voice in a sound proof booth using a third party recording software. WAFB news anchor Donna Britt was recently diagnosed with ALS and has banked her voice. The process takes about six to eight hours. Mele says with ALS, even with the loss of voice, a patient’s cognition remains strong.
So does LSU have a quarterback controversy? Starter Danny Etling was 10-of-17 for 188 yards and two touchdowns, but freshman Myles Brennan entered the game in the third and led the Tigers on a touchdown drive, but he also threw an interception. The two quarterbacks did enough good things to help the Tigers beat Syracuse 35-26, as LSU improved to 3-1. Coach Orgeron says it was a good win after losing by 30 points the week before….
The Saints put together one of their better performances in a long time as they defeated NFC South rival Carolina 34-13. Quarterback Drew Brees threw three touchdown passes and the defense forced three turnovers and held a struggling Panthers offense to 288 total yards. Coach Sean Payton says the Black and Gold had a good week of practice and it showed in their performance on Sunday. Carolina came into the game ranked number one in the NFL in total defense.
News for Friday 092217
By Dave Graichen
Alexandria Mayor Jacques Roy made it official yesterday at his weekly briefing, Fire Department Veteran Larry King is now the city’s new Fire Chief. King said he looks forward to the challenge and that he hopes to take the best from the three chiefs he has worked under in his 29 years with the department. Up next for the city, deciding upon a new Police Chief.
Two Alexandria teens have been arrested and charged in connection with a Wednesday night shooting in the city that claimed the life of an unidentified 19 year old. The APD says the shooting took place around 11 p.m. in the area of Richard Avenue and Duhon Lane. The victim was taken to a local hospital, where he died. The 17-year-old has been identified as Brian Booker-Allen of Alexandria. The other accused is a 16-year-old and his name has been withheld.
A new report just released by the USDA shows Louisiana is the second hungriest state in the nation. “Bread for the World” President David Beckmann says the hunger problem in the state is concentrated among African Americans where about 1 out of 3 families may run out of food before the end of month.
Positive state budget news has been difficult to find lately, but at least one recent financial fact is encouraging. Governor John Bel Edwards says Louisiana had a 143-million dollar surplus for the fiscal year that ended June 30th. Edwards thinks it’s a sign the state’s economy is improving.
Governor John Bel Edwards and First Lady Donna Edwards are encouraging schools to participate in the school breakfast challenge to help reduce childhood hunger. Donna Edwards says schools that take action and make sure kids eat breakfast can win up to one-thousand dollars in cash and other great prizes. Edwards says research shows one in four children in Louisiana struggles with hunger. The First Lady knows as a former teacher that if children have a healthy start to their day, it will lead to better results in the classroom. Schools can register online at Louisiana-school-breakfast-dot-org.
In response to the death of fraternity pledge Maxwell Gruver, LSU held a Rally Against Hazing Wednesday afternoon on the steps of the Memorial Tower. LSU Student Government wanted to bring together student organizations, as well as individual students, so the campus can begin “honest and progressive conversations about putting an end to hazing.”
An off-duty Slidell Police Lieutenant riding a motorcycle was killed Wednesday night in a traffic accident. State Police Trooper Dustin Dwight gave details. The driver of the vehicle that turned directly into the path of 52-year-old Ray Dupuy received a citation for improper turning.
Sad story out of Livingston Parish, a five-year-old boy was struck and killed by a vehicle after leaving an ice cream truck. Denham Springs Police spokesperson Amber Fairburn says the driver indicated he did not see the child. As of now, no charges have been filed against the driver.
This is Louisiana Craft Brewers Week, designated to commemorate beers brewed right here in the state, and the people who make it possible. Cary Koch (COKE), Executive Director of the Louisiana Craft Brewers Guild, says when this designation was made by the State Legislature in 2013, there were just 7 breweries that took part, and three brewpubs. Koch says Louisiana now has over 30 breweries and brew pubs — and establishments in every corner of the state are opening up their taps and shelves to carry these locally made beers. He says these brewers make it a priority to use as many Louisiana-made products as possible…:
The state department of transportation is hopeful that the major overlay project on I-20 in Webster Parish will wrap around the Thanksgiving weekend, which would be ahead of schedule. DOTD spokesperson Erin Buchanan says the westbound lanes are complete and contractors are working in the eastbound lanes. Buchanan says once the work is complete, motorists will experience a greatly improved travel experience for this section of I-20…
LSU football Coach Ed Orgeron is promising a better performance on Saturday night when his Tigers host Syracuse. The Bayou Bengals suffered their worst loss ever to Mississippi State last week in a 37-7 drubbing. Orgeron says he’s on a mission for his team to play better. LSU is a 22.5 point favorite to beat Syracuse
The Saints look for their first win of the year on Sunday when they visit Carolina. The Panthers are 2-and-0 and they rank number one in the NFL in total defense, allowing less than 200 yards a game. Frustration level among Saints fans is probably the highest it’s been since Head Coach Sean Payton and Drew Brees arrived.
News for Thursday 092117
By Dave Graichen
The Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office arrests a former inmate accused of stalking a woman who had previously worked at the jail where the suspect was incarcerated. They say 31-year-old Jerome Ferrell of Alexandria allegedly started sending the victim and her family messages when he was released from the Rapides Detention Center and threatened to harm her. Ferrell was arrested on nine counts of Cyberstalking and six counts of stalking.
Governor John Bel Edwards confirmed on his monthly call in radio show that Amazon is set to build a distribution center somewhere in Louisiana, but details are limited at the time. He says either way, it’s great news that the online retail giant is bringing a part of its operation to the state. The state has also said they are very interested in being the home of the second Amazon headquarters which the company said would bring an investment of $5 billion dollars and 50,000 jobs. Edwards says the state is still working with Amazon in order to finalize the site selection…
U.S Senator Bill Cassidy told CNN he is sorry that talk show host Jimmy Kimmel does not understand his health care legislation. Kimmel said on his show Tuesday night that Cassidy lied to his face when it comes to passing a health care bill that protects people with pre-existing conditions and lowers premiums for middle class families. Cassidy says his bill does cover pre-existing conditions and it will lead to more Americans covered by health insurance. However, Insurance experts say pre-existing coverage will be up to the individual states to decide.
Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne announces the state ended up with a 100 million dollar surplus from the fiscal year that ended in June. The surplus is the result of higher than anticipated personal income and sales tax collections. But, he cautions the 100 million surplus will not offset the looming fiscal cliff. That is right at $1 billion.
A former East Baton Rouge Parish Parks Commissioner was found shot to death outside of his home in Pride at around 5:45 Tuesday night. East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office Spokesperson Casey Rayborn Hicks says when police arrived they attempted to resuscitate the man, 66-year-old Carroll Breeden, but he died at the scene. She urges anyone who may have seen something to contact the police.
The State Police are investigating an officer involved in a shooting in Bernice. The L-S-P says Tuesday afternoon the Union Parish Sheriff’s office was sent to a home in response to a disturbance and made contact with a male subject. They say at some point during the incident, the suspect was shot and died at the scene.
After a long wait, the car-sharing service, Uber, is finally available in Monroe, West Monroe and areas governed by Ouachita Parish. Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo says his office has spent the last six months working on a contract with Uber and he knows the city is excited it’s finally official. Mayo says he’s also hoping to work out a deal with Lyft as well.
Louisiana Tech University has set an enrollment record for this fall as nearly 13-thousand students are taking classes this fall, which is 17-percent increase since the fall of 2013. Jim King is the Vice President for Student Advancement says the average ACT score of 24.71 for first-time freshmen is also a university record.
New Orleans attorney Scott Sternberg has concerns with parts of LSU’s suspension of Greek activities in the wake of the death of a fraternity pledge. Sternberg says the students’ first amendment rights are being taken away when not allowed to gather in groups of 10 or more to tailgate and he also questions the prohibition of wearing Greek attire. He says a lawsuit may be pending.
A startling statistic, The state department of children and family services says the number of babies born in Louisiana who are exposed to alcohol and drugs in the womb has tripled from 2008 to 2016. Last year, that number reached nearly 17-hundred.
The Louisiana Workforce Commission is hosting job fairs at 25 locations across the state today for young adults. Executive Director Ava Dejoie says Walmart is one of the companies participating and the national retail giant plans to hire 12-hundred workers in Louisiana for the holiday season. Dejoie says this is a great opportunity for those 18 to 24.
LSU Coach Ed Orgeron says star running back Derrius Guice is very questionable for Saturday’s home game against Syracuse. Guice reportedly has a knee injury. Tiger Rag Associate Editor James Moran believes LSU is being cautious with its best offensive player. Moran says this gives senior Darrell Williams a chance to start. There is some positive injury news. Orgeron says starting defensive end Rashard Lawerence should play against the Orange.
News for Wednesday 092017
By Dave Graichen
The RPSO reports a 16 year old student at Peabody Magnet High was arrested yesterday by a School Resource officer after it was discovered he brought a gun to school. School administrators were the ones who alerted the officer to Tuesday's incident. While the investigation continues, the boy was charged with one count of carrying a firearm or dangerous weapon on school property.
The APD reports three suspects accused in a series of attempted vehicle burglaries early Sunday now face more charges after police were able to determine a wallet found with them had been stolen. All three were charged with simple burglary.
Governor John Bel Edwards released an email poll asking if Louisiana residents support raising the minimum wage. ULM Political Science Professor Dr. Joshua Stockley says this survey is more about fundraising, as many of his supporters already want to increase the state’s minimum wage, which is $7.25. Stockley says this message was also sent out to raise awareness that this is a campaign pledge the governor ran on and he continues to support it. He says Edwards is looking for more public support, as this issue is not gaining traction in the legislature.
The Louisiana Association of Educators says a poll of Louisiana parents finds that 65-percent believe the state places too much emphasis on student testing. L-A-E President Debbie Meaux says parents and their children are not excited about filling out bubbles on a test. The L-A-E survey also found 55-percent of respondents believe a student’s test performance should not play a major role in determining a teacher’s effectiveness. Meaux says tomorrow a new 25-member panel will meet to examine whether public school students are over tested.
Multiple reports say an Adolf Hitler speech was found at the home of Kenneth Gleason, who was booked today in Baton Rouge for the murders of two black men. East Baton Rouge DA Hillar Moore says Gleason could face the death penalty for last week’s fatal shootings. Gleason has also been charged for allegedly shooting up the home of a black family.
Senator Bill Cassidy’s bill to issue block grants to states as an alternative to the Affordable Care Act has support from Louisiana’s junior senator. Republican John Kennedy not only wants to vote for the legislation but he plans to propose an amendment to prevent states from accepting block grants to establish a single payer health insurance system. Kennedy says he would prefer to have private insurance companies provide coverage that could help lower healthcare costs.
Governor John Bel Edwards says he can’t support Senator Cassidy’s legislation, because he says it will lead to the elimination of the Medicaid expansion. Edwards says he’s working with Republican and Democratic governors to promote a solution that makes health insurance more stable and affordable.
The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services has received a grant to increase the number of child welfare workers. DCFS Secretary Marketa Garner Walters says her staff has decreased by 600 employees over the last 10 years and this is an opportunity to address the high turnover rate. Nearly half of the child welfare workers who left DCFS in 2016, had less than three years of service. Walters says there is a direct correlation between the case load and the turnover rate.
A Bawcomville man is facing two counts of aggravated assault after chasing two water meter readers with a golf club. The Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office says 53-year-old Tommy Bouwell was allegedly intoxicated when yelled at the victims accusing them of coming at him with a weapon, and that’s when he returned with a golf club and started swinging.
After LSU’s 30-point loss to Mississippi State last Saturday, some are wondering if Head Coach Ed Orgeron was the right man to choose for the job.
But Tiger Rag Editor Cody Worsham says one thing to keep in mind is that Athletic Director Joe Alleva’s fate lies with the Board of Supervisors. Worsham says right now it’s a little too early to guess if there will be any changes in leadership with the athletic department, as there has only been one SEC game this season. But he says the hire of Coach O was strictly a call made by Alleva, and if things remain bleak there will be consequences.
The dangers of hazing have become an important conversation in the wake of LSU freshman Max Gruver’s death. Gruver was pledging at Phi Delta Theta and high amounts of alcohol were found in his system. Executive Director of HazingPrevention.org Emily Pualwan says hazing has been around for centuries. She says it’s different than bullying. Pualwan says universities can look back and see a pattern of hazing, but only realize the escalation after something as terrible as a death occurs. LSU has temporarily shut down their entire Greek system after Gruver’s death.
News for Tuesday 091917
By Dave Graichen
Four sheriff’s offices in Louisiana have filed lawsuits against drug companies and physicians for allegedly helping to grow the opioid crisis. Attorney David Laborde says the defendants have misrepresented the proper use of opioids which has led to an epidemic and an uptick in crime. Avoyelles, Lafayette, Jefferson Davis and Rapides have filed lawsuits in state courts in their respective parishes. Laborde says the sheriff’s offices are seeking to recoup the money law enforcement has spent on dealing with the opioid epidemic.
The Louisiana Democratic Party opposes U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy’s and three other Republican lawmakers bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Party Spokesperson D’Seante Parks says this legislation would end the Medicaid expansion, which covers more than 430-thousand Louisiana residents. Senator Cassidy’s proposed legislation would give block grant funding to each state if it passes. However, the money would not be dedicated as it is now.
According to the U.S. Census data Louisiana’s uninsured rate is 10.3 percent. These were the numbers of uninsured Louisiana residents in 2016. That’s a small decline from 11.9 percent in 2012. The trend comes after Louisiana’s Medicaid program was expanded by Governor John Bel Edwards to offer government-financed health insurance to over 430 thousand low-income adults.
The LSU AgCenter has finalized its contract with GB Sciences which will grow medical marijuana for Louisiana patients who have specific conditions. The marijuana-based medication made by the company is required to be put in oil based medical products. GB Sciences Louisiana will renovate the production facility and availability to patients is expected by mid-2018.
Pennington Biomedical Research Center has been awarded a 6.7 million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Defense to study military nutrition and metabolism research. Researcher Dr. Jennifer Rood (Rude) says they will focus on how to ensure a healthy and fit military. Rood says this research could change the eating habits of soldiers.
A Baton Rouge man considered a person of interest in the shooting deaths of two black men last week, has bonded out of jail. 23-year-old Kenneth Gleason was arrested over the weekend on drug charges. Baton Rouge Police Sgt. Don Coppola says Gleason has yet to be cleared of the homicides. He says it’s a possibility that these murders were racially motivated.
The national Phi Delta Theta organization has removed the charter from the Beta Chapter at LSU, where a pledge recently died in a possible hazing incident. The organization said it suspended operations based on information in the investigation of the death of 18-year-old Max Gruver which found some chapter members were in violation of the alcohol-free housing policy. No charges have been filed and East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore says that could take a while.
An explosion in a home injured three people Monday including 92 year old Dwena Henry, an alderman for the village of Stanley in DeSoto parish and her daughter Sharon Fletcher who is the mayor. Sheriff Rodney Arbuckle says William Roe, a friend of the family was also injured. Arbuckle says Henry suffered third-degree burns to over 50-percent of her body and is fighting for her life. Reportedly, Henry was cooking when Roe and Fletcher smelled gas.
The White House held a summit with presidents of black colleges today but Grambling State President Rick Gallot was not there. Gallot says that he was not boycotting, but there’s a lot happening on the Grambling campus between the start of the a new semester and football season.
News for Monday 091817
By Dave Graichen
The median household income in Louisiana declined by over 2-percent in 2016, the largest decrease in the nation according to Census Figures. Dr. LSU Economist Loren Scott says this decrease is a result of the struggling oil and gas industry. He says we have three metropolitan areas that are in a recession, Houma, Lafayette and Shreveport. Louisiana looks to be improving as we gained 24,200 nonfarm jobs since August of last year.
Louisiana’s unemployment rate has now declined for four consecutive months according to data released by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. At 5.2%, the current rate is the lowest it’s been since August of 2008. That figure is also 0.9 percentage points lower from a year ago.
Gas prices have started to decline. The current statewide average for a gallon of regular in Louisiana is $2.39.
Attorney General Jeff Landry is alerting consumers to be on the lookout when buying vehicles, as nearly one million vehicles were flooded in Texas and Florida during recent hurricanes. Landry says these flood-damaged vehicles could end up on the streets and sold to unsuspecting car buyers. He advises consumers to obtain a vehicle history report. Landry says if you suspect someone is knowingly selling a flood damaged vehicle, contact your local authorities or call the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection.
East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner Dr. Beau Clark has released preliminary autopsy findings on the body of the 18-year-old LSU student who died in what the university had called a possible hazing incident at his fraternity. Clark says they did not find any internal or external signs of trauma on Maxwell Gruver. Clark says Gruver was driven to the hospital in a private vehicle from the Phi Delta Theta fraternity house and was later pronounced dead. His office will provide a comprehensive toxicology test which takes as long as four weeks to complete.
The state lawmaker who admitted to taking money from his campaign fund to fuel a gambling addiction will have to pay a $37,000 fine to the state treasury under an agreement reached Friday. The Louisiana Board of Ethics also said that Representative Dee Richard will no longer be allowed to draw from his war chest. Richard had said his compulsive gambling was a side effect of medication he was taking for Parkinson’s disease.
Today, Governor John Bel Edwards and DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson are in Washington D.C. to meet with the US Army Corps of Engineers to discuss the long-delayed Comite River Diversion Canal, a flood control project for the Baton Rouge area. Wilson says the state has committed a significant amount of resources for this project, and it’s time for the Corps to do their part.
The principal wanted by Baton Rouge police after allegedly locking a 5-year-old in a closet has turned himself in to authorities. Authorities say 31-year-old Shafeeq Deen has been charged with cruelty to a juvenile and false imprisonment. Other students at Laurel Oaks Charter School are coming forward now claiming Deen punished them in similar ways.
And here’s a bizarre story out of Terrebonne Parish. Houma Police arrested a man and woman who were allegedly caught having sex in a library. Authorities say 33-year-old Elizabeth Jernigan and 35-year-old Rex Jernigan also recorded themselves and uploaded the video to a porn site. Through their investigation, it was determined the couple recorded themselves doing similar activities at other businesses.
Authorities say a prison guard at Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola fatally shot an inmate after first firing a warning shot. The state department of Corrections says 35-year-old Brandon Lizotte was among a group of prisoners being escorted to work when he aggressively ran towards a correctional officer. The officer fired his service weapon striking Lizotte. Lizotte was serving a life sentence for second-degree murder in Tangipahoa Parish in 2006.
“Tell the truth Monday” will not be kind for the LSU Tigers after they were embarrassed 37-7 by Mississippi State. The Tigers were beat at the line of scrimmage, the defense had blown assignments and LSU also committed 9 penalties for 112 yards. LSU is back in Tiger Stadium on Saturday night as they host Syracuse.
For the fourth consecutive year, the Saints have started 0-2 as they dropped a 36-20 decision to the New England Patriots. Quarterback Tom Brady scorched the New Orleans defense for 447 yards and three touchdowns. On offense, the Saints converted just 33% of their third down opportunities. The Saints have now lost 11 of their last 12 games in the month of September. They travel to Carolina this Sunday.
Louisiana Tech rallied back from a 22-13 4th quarter deficit to beat conference rival Western Kentucky 23-22. Jonathan Barnes 22-yard field goal with two seconds left gave the Bulldogs an important win as they look to win the Conference USA western division.
News for Friday 091517
By Dave Graichen
42 year old Kenneth Seth Thomas of Deville, a police officer with the Alexandria Police Department, was arrested yesterday and charged with malfeasance in office, distribution of a controlled dangerous substance, and possession of a firearm in the presence of the drugs. An investigation led by the State Police and the APD revealed Thomas had engaged in illegal activities by having sex with at least one woman, while on-duty, and distributing illegal drugs. He was arrested and booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center. The investigation remains active and ongoing.
State police report Two men died Thursday morning after a head-on collision between a car and an 18 wheeler truck on Louisiana highway 124 near the Winn and LaSalle Parish line. The fatal crash took the lives of 22 year old Logan Franklin from Olla and 26 year old David Lincecum of Grayson. It’s reported both victims were not wearing a seat belt.
The US attorney’s office reports a Georgetown woman will spend two years in prison for counterfeiting $20 bills in Alexandria last year. 20 year old Gena Marie Armstrong was sentenced on Wednesday.
An 18-year-old LSU freshman from Georgia has died in what university officials are calling a possible hazing incident at Phi Delta Fraternity House. LSU System President F King Alexander says the death of Maxwell Gruver is tragic and untimely
Gruver was pronounced dead at a local hospital and Alexander says it is believed alcohol is involved. Phi Delta has been suspended by the school and national organization.
St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Randy Smith says Fire Chief Steve Krentel has been cleared in the murder of his wife Nanette, who was found in burned home with a gunshot wound to the head in July. Smith says Steve Krentel was their initial primary person of interest. Sheriff Smith says they worked this case as a homicide since day one and will continue to do so.
After a both a regular and special legislative session earlier this year, the state still faces a fiscal cliff in July of next year. That’s when a billion dollars in temporary sales taxes expire. Yesterday House Appropriations Chairman Cameron Henry says get ready to hear scare tactics coming from the governor’s office. In a video posted to his Facebook page, the Republican from Metairie says he expects Governor Edwards to start threatening cuts to important programs like TOPS. The governor’s Deputy Chief of Staff, Richard Carbo, says Henry is intent on continuing partisan gridlock in the House.
Starting with tonight’s games, several Louisiana high schools are taking in part in “Touchdowns Against Cancer,” an initiative which directly benefits St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The campaign lets their fans pledge a donation for every touchdown scored. The effort is in support of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and runs through the end of the month.
An arrest has been made in the murder of a St. Martin Parish woman who was eight months pregnant. Major Ginny Higgins says authorities arrested 32-year-old Toni Trimble Thomas and she is charged with one count of first degree murder and one count of first degree feticide. The suspect’s brother was the boyfriend of the victim, 24-year-old Ashley Nicole Meche.
Louisiana Community and Technical College System president Monty Sullivan would like the state to have a scholarship program that would benefit adults who want to attend one of their two-year campuses. Sullivan calls it a wise investment and can help a mother of two who makes eight dollars an hour receive the training that can lead to an 18-dollar an hour job.
Neville High School in Monroe has been named the most beautiful public high school in Louisiana by Architectural Digest. Dana Jefferson, Executive Director of the school’s Alumni Association, says the school has undergone many renovations to preserve the 86-year-old building. Jefferson says Neville is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and that’s something the students and staff are really proud of.
Louisiana Tech jumps into league play tomorrow by facing the defending Conference USA champion Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. W-K-U is led by senior quarterback Mike White, who is considered one of the top quarterbacks in the country. These two teams met twice last year. Tech won at home 55-52 and then lost in the Conference USA title game. It’s the eighth meeting between the two teams and Tech leads the all-time series four to three. You can hear the game beginning at 4:30 on ESPN 1410 & 93.1 HD3.
LSU gets its first test in the SEC tomorrow night when they visit Mississippi State. The voice of the Tigers, Chris Blair, believes this game will be won in the trenches. LSU had success throwing the football down field last week and Blair anticipates the Tigers opening up the playbook even more tomorrow. Hear the game beginning at 4p on 970 KSYL & 96.9 KZMZ.
News for Thursday 091417
By Dave Graichen
Although it doesn’t resolve the issue, a decision by the Rapides Parish police jury to allocate $200,000 to move prisoners from DC1 to other facilities will take the pressure off for now. The Sheriff's Office is under a mandate from the State Fire Marshall's Office to reduce the population of facility to its capacity of 348. Even though the number of prisoners in the DC1 is down from a high of 395 on Monday, the number is still above the max capacity. Sheriff Hilton sent a letter to the Fire Marshall's Office Wednesday detailing plans to reduce the population. He also asked for a temporary increase to the jail's capacity.
Many people in Alexandria are upset over higher than usual electric bills. The City yesterday announced it has been lengthening its billing cycle for residents charged for utilities from about 28 to 40 days. Why? The city says it is short staffed, with 6 of it’s 9 meter reading positions open. According to a press release, contracted workers are expected to be hired soon until the meter reader vacancies are filled.
U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy is a co-author of the last ditch effort by Republicans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Cassidy says the legislation repeals individual and employer mandates, and it gets rid of the medical device tax. The Republican says their proposal also eliminates the inequity in which three states receive 37-percent of Obamacare funds. He says this proposal gives the power back to patients.
House Speaker Taylor Barras has told the Associated Press he believes the House can come up with a plan by January to address the loss of one-billion dollars in tax revenue that expires next summer. Barras says if there’s enough agreement, a special session could be held early next year. There’s been a stalemate between the House and the governor on how to address the fiscal cliff.
Higher Education Commissioner Joe Rallo says the first LaSTEM Advisory Council meeting was successful in discussing how to increase the amount of students who will succeed in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math. Rallo says right now, if we don’t engage, Louisiana will not catch up with neighboring states when it comes to STEM jobs. He says the council agrees STEM education needs to be a pipeline, starting in Kindergarten and continuing through high school.
One month from today is the general election for State Treasurer. Three Republican candidates are raising money. There’s also a Democrat and Libertarian on the ballot. Publisher of La-politics-dot-com, Jeremy Alford, says Columbia Senator Neil Riser has been the most active in tv advertising. Ex state legislator John Schroder and former Commissioner of Administration Angelle Davis are the other Republicans fundraising. But Alford says none of the candidates have enough money to run TV commercials statewide, which will lead to a low voter turnout on October 14th
The Oil and Gas Industry is helping with recovery efforts in Texas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. President of the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association Chris John says when Harvey hit, it knocked out about 12-percent of the refining capacity for this nation. John says they are making progress with getting Texas refineries back on line. He says Louisiana has tried to produce as much product as possible while Texas plants are recovering.
Authorities made an arrest in the homicide investigation of Ashely Nicole Meche. The St. Martin Parish Sheriff department arrested Toni Trimble Thomas of Breaux Bridge. Trimble Thomas is the sister of the victim’s boyfriend. The 24 year old Meche was eight months pregnant at the time she was killed so Trimble Thomas is charged with second degree murder and second degree feticide. It was determined that her boyfriend, Mark Trimble was not present or involved in the homicide.
Louisiana remains one of the most business-friendly states in the nation, ranking No. 5 in Area Development magazine’s annual Top States for Doing Business survey. This is the second year in a row the publication has ranked Louisiana No. 5.
The St. Tammany Parish Coroner has ruled the death of s fire chief’s wife in July, as a homicide. The body of Nanette Krentel, wife of Fire District 12 Chief Stephen Krentel, was discovered in the rubble of the couple’s home which had burned to the ground on July 7th. Coroner Charles Preston said it was determined from the start Mrs. Krentel died from a gunshot wound. But the St. Tammany Sheriff’s Office said in a media advisory that it does not necessarily support the coroner’s conclusion. The sheriff will provide an update on the investigation during a news conference today.
Authorities say they arrested the man shown in a video punching out a student on the LSU Parade Grounds before last Saturday’s football game. He’s been identified as 18 year old Casen Maggio of Prairieville and he been charged with aggravated battery. The official report says several bones in the student’s face were broken.
A homeowner shot and killed an alleged intruder in LaPlace Tuesday night. St. John the Baptist Parish authorities say the homeowner told detectives he heard voices in his yard and went to investigate. When he opened the back door, he was face-to-face with the intruder. No charges have been filed against the homeowner. The whole episode was captured on the home’s video surveillance camera.
The Shreveport City Council has rejected the mayor’s proposal to build a sports complex in the downtown area. The vote was unanimous. Councilman Oliver Jenkins says 30 million of the city’s dollars would be used along with 139 million in private finances. He says they would like to present this project to the public in a different light, because many didn’t know it could bring in a minor league basketball team.
Two weeks into the season and the Ragin Cajuns defense ranks as the third worst out of the 129 F-B-S teams. UL Lafayette has allowed nearly 12-hundred yards. But Head Coach Mark Hudspeth says there’s a great desire to turn things around. The Cajuns gave up 66 points in a loss to Tulsa last week.
News for Wednesday 091317
By Dave Graichen
Pineville PD report rumors of a student making threats to shoot up Pineville High School were unfounded. The student accused of making the threat as well as potential witnesses were interviewed late Monday by Pineville Police, which traced the issue back to social media where rumors of an alleged threat began circulating after school hours.
A 29-member panel meets today in Baton Rouge to discuss ways to get more students interested and improve achievement in the areas of science technology, engineering and math also known as STEM. Slidell Senator Sharon Hewitt is behind this effort to grow STEM programs in schools. Hewitt says major employers, like Amazon who is looking to build a second headquarters, are seeking workers who could perform STEM related jobs.
The Edwards Administration gives the private operator of two state owned north Louisiana hospitals, BRF,45 days to correct alleged violations of a contract. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne says the state spoke with Ochsner Health System, which could help BRF run the hospitals. BRF says they anticipate resolving the contract disagreement without being ousted and they’ll use legal action if removed as operator of University Health in Shreveport and University Health Conway in Monroe.
Hundreds of cancer patients and survivors were in Washington D.C. Tuesday to urge Congress to help with the fight against cancer. Louisiana resident Amber Stevens says they are urging lawmakers to support palliative care and hospice education training. She’d like to see funding for cancer research reach 36 billion dollars, a two billion dollar increase over current spending.
Recovery continues in Calcasieu Parish after Tropical Storm Harvey left major flood damage in some areas. OEP Director Dick Gremillion says in the days before the storm made landfall in Calcasieu, a torrential downpour left nearly 500 houses with some water inside. He says flooding also occurred when the Sabine River came out of its banks. Gremillion says they are still waiting to find out if Calcasieu flood victims will be available for federal assistance.
Attorney General Jeff Landry says Louisiana will receive nearly seven million dollars as part of a multi-state settlement with Mylan, which manufacturers EpiPens. Landry says Mylan knowingly overcharged taxpayers for Epipens dispensed to Medicaid beneficiaries.
A new study finds that Louisiana’s lawsuit climate is the worst in the nation, and also showed this ranking is not good when it comes to attracting new businesses. Harold Kim is the executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform. He says the survey found that 85% of company attorneys said a state’s lawsuit climate is likely to impact decision making. Kim says the areas Louisiana ranked poorly were the in the competence and impartiality of its judges, the fairness of its juries and quality of appellate review.
Northwestern State University’s fall enrollment has reached its highest ever in the school’s 133-year history, with 10,572 students. NSU President Dr. Chris Maggio says this is one of the most meaningful milestones in the school’s long history. He credits this achievement to the university’s academics. Also,A number of renovations to dormitories on the main campus have made NSU more appealing to students.
LSU Head Football Coach Ed Orgeron has signed an advertising deal with Baton Rouge-based Raising Cane’s. Orgeron will be featured in commercials, billboards and in-restaurant signage for the fast food restaurant that specializes in chicken fingers. Former LSU Head Coach Les Miles had a similar agreement with Cane’s for eight years.
Louisiana lawmakers are working to free a Shreveport man from a Guatemalan jail after he was arrested in March for bringing hunting ammunition in his luggage. U.S. Representative Mike Johnson and U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy met with the country’s ambassador to discuss the case of Zachary Wilson. Johnson says Wilson suffers from ulcerative colitis. Wilson’s family says it is extremely difficult to ship his medication to Guatemala and he is running out of his prescription. Johnson says they understand Guatemala is a sovereign nation and respect the rule of law but the charges brought against Wilson are not justified.
The Saints spent Tuesday breaking down the tape of Monday night’s 29-19 loss to Minnesota. Head Coach Sean Payton says it was not a fun exercise, because of how poorly the team played. This was the 5th time in 6 years the Saints started off the season with a loss.
A few of LSU’s young wide receivers had a chance to shine in last Saturday’s victory over Chattanooga. Stephen (STEF-ON) Sullivan and JaCoby Stevens each caught their first passes on the college level and Drake Davis was wide open when he caught his first TD Pass. However, after two games, LSU is the most penalized team in the SEC, with 21.
News for Tuesday 091217
By Dave Graichen
The maximum capacity of the Rapides Parish jail is 348. But Friday of last week it was determined the population of the jail was well above that figure. The State Fire Marshall’s office gave the sheriff department until 4pm yesterday to resolve the issue. There were meetings between Sheriff Hilton and the Police Jury, the DA and several judges. But at the end of the day, the jail population was still at 395. According to Sheriff Hilton the department now has seven days to get to or below 348 inmates, or it will be assessed a fine of $500 a day
35 year old Mark Thomas, who was indicted as part of the Triple M Murder Team again tried on Monday to remove his attorney, but was denied for the second time. Thomas now faces a Nov. 6 trial on first-degree murder, armed robbery with a firearm, possession of a firearm by a felon and racketeering charges. He was one of 14 members or associates of the Alexandria-based gang indicted after an investigation that lasted more than two years and involved federal, state and local agencies.
The statistical peak of hurricane season is behind us, and State Climatologist Barry Keim says it’s likely we will exceed earlier predictions. But he says right now, it looks as if things are calming down compared to last week. He says there have already been 11 named storms so far in 2017, and if we doubled that it would rank among the second busiest in history.
The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness is deploying employees and coordinating assistance from other state agencies for Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey response and recovery efforts. GOHSEP spokesman Mike Steele says there is a wide range of needs right now in Florida and Georgia, and ongoing cleanup in Texas, and the state is happy to help. Steele says the state-to-state system was developed after Hurricane Andrew in 1992. He says Louisiana has a lot of experience in what to do after a storm hits.
Kaplan Police Chief Boyd Adams has been arrested on charges of theft and malfeasance in office after an investigation by the Legislative Auditor’s Office. The audit showed the Kaplan Police Recreation Account had not been included in the financial statements for the town, which means it was never audited and that there were no records to support the expenditure of over 19-thousand dollars. The State Police allege Adams used nearly $7000 in funds for himself.
After 9/11 , former Governor Mike Foster started a campaign for Louisianans to raise money to donate new firetrucks to the New York City Fire Department. Enough money was donated to build four firetrucks at the Ferrera Fire Apparatus facility in Livingston Parish. Former owner, Chris Ferrera says 1.2 million dollars was raised and all of the trucks are still in use 16 years later. Ferrera says it’s so amazing that the people of the Bayou State came together and, her says, the legacy continues.
A popular bar for LSU students to attend is apologizing after pictures surfaced on social media that showed a noose hanging from the ceiling and cups with a Blue Confederate flag on them were handed out to patrons. Reggie’s Bar issued a statement that says they apologize to anyone offended.
Thibodaux Police have arrested a man who they found passed out behind the wheel in the drive-through of a restaurant. They say 37-year-old John Sewell Jr allegedly tried to drive off when cops woke him up, but his key had already been removed by officers. The man apparently told detectives he was tired and high. He was booked for Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.
The Saints started out the season on a sour note last night with one in the second column. They were whooped by the Vikings 29 - 19
News for Monday 091117
By Dave Graichen
The Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office is under orders to reduce the parish jail's occupancy by 33 inmates before 4 this afternoon. The jail was found early Friday to have been over occupancy limits for seven days straight, at which point it is violating State Fire Marshal code.
Louisiana utility crews are heading to Georgia to help with any potential power outages from Hurricane Irma. Cleco spokesperson Jennifer Cahill says crews are meeting at the St. Tammany Service Center Today to make the trip to Macon, Georgia. Cahill says Cleco also assisted Georgia Power following Hurricane Matthew.
75 Soldiers from the Louisiana National Guard’s 165th Combat Sustainment and Support Battalion are set to deploy to Afghanistan. Bossier Parish Community College gymnasium will hold a deployment ceremony today for family and friends to bid farewell. Col. Ed Bush says these troops will be overseas for about a year.
Congress approves a measure to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program for the next 90 days, as federal lawmakers work on a long-term solution for the program. US Senator John Kennedy says while this was not his first choice, he’s glad congressional leaders didn’t let the clock run out on the program that expires September 30. Kennedy filed a bill to reauthorize the program for the long term that he says has bipartisan support.
Amazon seeks a location for new corporate headquarters, as the online mega retailer plans to open a second corporate location. State Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson says Louisiana has a lot of strengths to offer should we throw our hat in the ring, and its likely we will. Amazon is reportedly looking for a metropolitan area with more than a million people near an international airport with access to mass transit. New Orleans could be a perfect fit. Pierson says the number one rated LED Fast Start program can also offer skilled employees. Pierson has said a prime location could be between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Amazon’s second headquarters will employ 50-thousand workers.
New Orleans plans to make a bid to host World Cup soccer games if North America is named as a host site for one of the biggest sporting events in the world in 2026. President and CEO of the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation, Jay Cicero, says the Big Easy has so much to offer to international sports fans. US Soccer plans to announce in the fall a list of potential 25 host cities.
The state department of transportation says there’s been an alarming increase in accidents on I-10 from Lafayette to the Atchafalaya Basin, where two rehabilitation and widening projects are ongoing. DOTD spokesperson Deidra Druilhet says motorists need to slow down. Durilhet says they’re also putting a solid line through the construction zone to deter lane changes.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is asking the public to limit the transportation of Roseau cane, as the species is rapidly dying off. The plant helps to protect the Mississippi River delta and the coastal region. LDWF Biologist Manager Vaughn McDonald says the Roseau cane scale, which is a bug, is killing off the beneficial plant life.
The LSU football team is 2-0, but the Tigers still have a lot to work on as they head into this Saturday’s SEC opener versus Mississippi State in Starkville. While kicking field goals have been a problem, quarterback Danny Etling has looked sharp. Through two games, he’s completed 71-percent of his passes for nearly 400 yards, one touchdown and zero interceptions. Coach O says Etling looks like a different player this season.
An intriguing matchup to start the season for the Saints as they visit the Minnesota Vikings to kick-off the 2017 campaign. New Orleans led the NFL in total offense last year, while the Vikings had the league’s third-ranked defense, and return most of their starters from 2016. Saints Quarterback Drew Brees says it’s a tough match-up to start the season. Hear the game this evening on 96.9 KZMZ.
News for Friday 090817
By Dave Graichen
The APD has arrested a suspect in a shooting death that took place over the weekend. 19 year old Braylon Dozier of Alexandria was charged with first degree murder and armed robbery with a firearm for an incident on Beatrice Street Sunday night that left a man dead. Dozier was also charged with two additional counts of armed robbery with a firearm for two other incidents. The victim in the Sunday night shooting has been id as Steven Allen. Family members say he was making a pizza delivery at the time he was shot.
Louisiana has been pretty lucky this hurricane season, even after two tropical storms made landfall in the Bayou State. State climatologist Barry Keim says fortunately neither Cindy nor Harvey did much damage in Louisiana. But Keim says we aren’t out of the woods yet, as three storms are currently churning in the Atlantic. The peak of hurricane season is this Sunday.
In the coming weeks and months, Harvey victims will need help navigating the red tape to getting federal aid, and Louisianans are coming to the rescue. CSRA was enlisted by the feds to establish a call center for helping disaster victims. Spokesperson Mimi Hedgcock says 500 of those call agents will be based in Bossier City. A $95 million grant will fund the temporary call center which will open early next week after the new agents receive the proper training.
The Governor’s Office is holding a statewide blood drive today amid a supply shortage following Hurricane Harvey. Tina Martinez with LifeShare Blood Centers says because of the hurricane’s destruction, many communities have not been able to donate blood to support the medical needs of local patients. Blood drive locations have been set up in all the major Louisiana cities, and donors can also go by any LifeShare location to donate.
Both of Louisiana’s US Senators voted to appropriate 15-billion dollars in disaster aid for victims of Harvey, which nearly doubles what President Donald Trump requested .
The vote was 80-17 in the Senate and now heads to the House for their approval.
High school students in Louisiana did not perform as well on the ACT compared to students in other states. The national average composite score was 21, while Louisiana averaged a 19.5. The Bayou State reportedly ranks 43rd in the country for ACT test scores.
A recent report finds LSU graduates have higher early- and mid-career earnings than graduates of other Louisiana universities. President F. King Alexander notes many of the universities below LSU on the list charge higher tuition and their students have more student debt. LSU grads have early career earnings of more than $52,000 and mid-career earnings of over $100,000.
Governor John Bel Edwards held another roundtable meeting yesterday, this time with business leaders and local officials in the Houma area to gather input on how the state can stabilize the budget for the long-term. Louisiana is facing a looming fiscal cliff, as a over a billion dollars in temporary taxes expire July 1st. Edwards says his meetings with stakeholders have been extremely productive.
Entergy is teaming up with Cleco to build a new transmission line in southeast Louisiana that can withstand winds up to 150 miles per hour. Cleco spokesperson Jennifer Cahill says this is an important project because customers want their power restored immediately after a storm. The project should be complete by fall of next year.
Louisiana Tech is gearing up for a big home game this Saturday as the Bulldogs will host Mississippi State from the SEC. The last time these two teams met in Ruston, Tech defeated State 22-14 in 2008. Coach Skip Holtz says hosting an SEC team is a great opportunity for their football team. You’ll be able to hear that game Saturday afternoon starting at 5 on ESPN 1410 & 93.1 HD3
12th ranked LSU is coming off a dominating performance over BYU and will host Chattanooga Saturday evening at 6:30 in the home opener for the Tigers. You can hear that game on 970 KSYL and 96.9 KZMZ
News for Thursday 090717
By Dave Graichen
Major refineries in Texas are starting to come back online, and gas prices across the nation are finally starting to level off. Patrick Dehaan, Senior Petroleum Analyst with GasBuddy.com, says Louisiana saw a 16 cent increase over the last week. Today’s statewide average is $2.39.
A task force examining all aspects of the TOPS scholarship met for the first time Wednesday at the state capitol. Senate Education Chairman Blade Morrish says the purpose of today’s meeting was to get a general overview of the taxpayer funded scholarship program. The task force will issue a report in February.
Governor John Bel Edwards is urging Congress to clear a road block that has touched thousands of homeowners who flooded in Louisiana over the past year, and could also impact Texans as they recover from Hurricane Harvey. Currently, residents are blocked from using federal assistance money to pay off SBA loans that they take out after disasters. But Edwards says removing that restriction would provide badly needed relief for people rebuilding their lives.
Tomorrow the Louisiana Board of Ethics decides the fate of Thibodaux Representative Dee Richard, who gambled $37-thousand in campaign funds between 2012 and 2015. He says he was never a gambler before he started taking medication for Parkinson’s, and the drug was later linked to gambling addiction. He says he’s prepared to pay back the money, but he’d like to finish out the remaining two years of his last term.
The woman accused of shooting a Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries agent was sentenced to 20 years in prison on separate charges. Amethyst Baird of Monroe got 10 years for possession of stolen items and 10 more for a second methamphetamine possession charge. Baird is also accused of shooting LDWF Agent Tyler Wheeler five times during a traffic stop in January.
Many Louisianans have likely noticed a serious uptick in the amount of lovebugs we’re seeing. LSU-Shreveport Associate professor of Biological Sciences Beverly Burden says the relatively mild summer can be to blame for this. She says these last few months are wetter and cooler than we typically see this time of year. Burden says while the lovebugs are a major nuisance she expects the population to decline in the next 10 to 14 days.
Rural parishes in Louisiana are struggling more than major cities to combat the growing HIV/AIDS epidemic. Linda Meredith is the research and development manager for the advocacy group HEROES. She says rural regions account for 15 percent of the HIV/AIDS cases in the state. Meredith adds the mortality rate is 1.6 times higher in northeast Louisiana than near major cities. Addressing the epidemic has been difficult because funding is tight, especially in the poorest corner of the state. Louisiana ranks first in the country for new HIV infections.
A third sperm whale has been found stranded off the Louisiana coast. State Department of Wildlife and Fisheries biologist Mandy Tumlin says they are working to determine the cause of the increase in dead animals washing onto Louisiana beaches. She says an autopsy will soon be conducted on this mammal found beached on Grand Isle. This latest sperm whale is a female and is one of five of the endangered species found in the northern Gulf of Mexico over the past year.
News for Wednesday 090617
By Dave Graichen
The Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office has arrested six suspects in a ring of burglaries in and near the Kellyland subdivision. The residential burglaries were reported over a period of several weeks. The suspects, juveniles thru 18 years of age, were located and arrested after RPSO personnel received a report of several people carrying flat-screen TVs in the area.
Alexandria City Marshall Terence Grines officially resigned from his job yesterday. The resignation comes on the heels of a criminal investigation where Grines faces a series of felony charges including malfeasance in office, two counts of possession of a controlled dangerous substance II with intent to distribute, resisting an officer with force or violence, and illegal carrying of a weapon.
He is set to be arraigned on Friday.
Alexandria police report a 25-year-old man was fatally shot Sunday evening in the city.
APD officers responded to a report of shots fired in the 1700 block of Beatrice Street at around 10 p.m. Sunday. They found the victim moaning but unresponsive.
He was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Hurricane Irma is a Category 5 storm moving through the Caribbean, but state climatologist Barry Keim says Irma should be Florida’s problem, not Louisiana’s. He says a cold front will move over the state today pushing the storm away. Keim says the storm certainly bears watching, because things can change, but for now Louisiana appears to be in the clear. He says the cold front will bring delightful conditions to the Bayou State that will last through the weekend.
The state department of children and family services is loading up Harvey survivors and sending them home to Texas, as the shelters in Shreveport and Alexandria are closing. Families are the first to head home, and there’s even space on the bus for small pets. Most of the storm victims are from the Orange, Texas area. The move to a shelter in Dallas should be completed Thursday.
State Officials got together yesterday to discuss Louisiana’s response plan should another storm hit us while Texas recovers from Hurricane Harvey. Mike Steele with the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness says we are still in the heart of hurricane season, and resources in Louisiana could be strained. He says as part of the exercise, state agencies and emergency managers were asked to take actions without support from Texas.
Tropical Depression number 13 has formed in the Bay of Campeche. It’s expected to become a tropical storm today, but only impact Mexico. Still, Mike Steele, with the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, says we still need to be prepared.
The state department of corrections is exploring new safeguards to prevent work release inmates from escaping. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Adult Services, Perry Stagg, says they’re looking at a variety of options from more supervision to ankle bracelets. Stagg says the department has seen a decrease in inmates walking off their jobs in recent years, and this is an effort to continue that trend. In 2016, 70 of the more than 5,000 work release participants escaped.
The Lafayette Sheriff’s daughter and babysitter are safe and sound after the two went missing in a canoe overnight. John Mowell with the sheriff’s office says 21-year-old Juliana Brooks and 7-year-old Cora Garber were found near an oil well in the Lake Martin area after an all-night search.
UL-Lafayette’s petroleum engineering department was ranked seventh best in the nation and thirteenth in the world by CEOWORLD magazine. Department Head Dr. Fathi Boukadi says it’s an honor for the program to be ranked among the best in the world, and he hopes to continue to improve the department. Job placement was a key factor in the report, as UL students get lots of hands on experience.
Two Louisiana State Police troopers avoided suspension and received only minor discipline for taking an unauthorized "side trip" last year to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon while driving across the country to attend a law enforcement conference in California. In doing so, they charged taxpayers for thousands of dollars in overtime — as they traveled to San Diego for the annual International Association of Chiefs of Police conference.
News for Tuesday 090517
By Dave Graichen
According to the Louisiana Workforce Commission, 12,000 more people are holding down jobs in the state compared to last year. LSU economist Loren Scott attributes the increase to an industrial boom in Lake Charles and Baton Rouge and improvements in the construction sector. Construction employment is at an all-time high in the state.
Hurricane Irma strengthened overnight but it isn't clear if the storm will threaten Florida. The storm's 145 mph winds are expected to lash the Leeward Islands, the U-S Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico by Wednesday. Forecasters expect the storm to turn north at some point. Where that happens will determine if or where it hits the U-S mainland.
The state Department of Children and Family Services says they’ve decided to open a second mega-shelter for flood victims from Texas, this time in Shreveport. DCFS Secretary Marketa Garner Walters says they’re also taking care of nearly 2000 Lone Star State residents in Alexandria.
I-10 is now open in both directions at the Texas state line, according to State Police. But some other roads remain closed due to flooding, and you can check 511la.org for an up-to-date map of closures around the state.
Louisiana has the fifth highest obesity rate in the country, according to a report from Trust for America’s Health. President and CEO John Auerbach says perhaps even more troubling is the finding that Louisiana ranks fourth in the country for childhood obesity of 10- to 17-year-olds, at 21 percent.
Relief efforts are ongoing amid the devastation left by Hurricane Harvey, and many are asking how they can help those affected. Chairman of the Board for the Greater Baton Rouge Red Cross, Desiree Lemoine says donating money is the easiest way to give because the Red Cross can buy in bulk. She says those who wish to donate can specify what they want their donation to go towards. To donate or volunteer, go online to RedCross.org.
A weekend boating incident in Cameron Parish took the life of a little boy. Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries agents say 11-year-old Griffin LeBlanc and another 11-year-old boy were jumping off a boat on Lake Calcasieu when they jumped into the path of an oncoming vessel. LeBlanc’s body was recovered, and the other boy was taken to a hospital in serious condition.
The Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary is seeking volunteers to clean up the 2.5 mile stretch of beach on Elmer’s Island later this month. Spokesperson Alma Robichaux says the event is in coordination with the international coastal cleanup that happens every September. To sign up, visit b-t-n-e-p.dot-org.
A Monroe-native is launching a new streaming TV network next month. Ro Wright says CONGO TV launches online on October 1. He says the network will be available through a variety of streaming options. Wright says he hopes to help local actors showcase their talent in feature films. He says the network will also feature local program based on where users log in, as well as original films and reality shows.
A Baton Rouge General Doctor is one of the first physicians in the country to perform a successful new stoke prevention procedure. Dr. Vince Weaver says this is a minimally invasive procedure that reverses the blood flow through the brain to divert blood clots and plaque away from the brain to prevent blockage and stroke. Three procedures have already been successful and several more are scheduled. Weaver says the previous procedure for high risk patients involved open surgery, which increases the risk of stroke and heart attack. He says this treatment option is significantly safer.
The 2017 season is off to a good start for the LSU Tigers. The Bayou Bengals blanked BYU 27-0 as the Tigers outgained the Cougars 479-to-97. It’s the first time the Tigers have shutout an opponent since 2014 and first opening game shutout since the 2007 national championship team. Coach O was a happy guy.
News for Friday 090117
By Dave Graichen
Nearly 900 disaster victims from Texas are taking shelter in Louisiana. That’s according to Governor John Bel Edwards, who says the state is prepared to take in 3,000 more of our neighbors, who can be housed at shelters in Lake Charles, here at the evac-center in Alexandria, and in Shreveport
Irma is now a category 3 hurricane in the Atlantic with winds up to 115 miles per hour. Forecasters say Irma will be a major hurricane by the time it reaches the Caribbean early next week. Governor Edwards says while we aren’t sure where the system will go, there is a chance it could head for the Bayou State.
The western half of Calcasieu Parish is under a voluntary evacuation as flooding from the Sabine River is possible. Tom Hoefer with the parish police jury says fewer than one thousand homes and camps are included in the evacuation. He says residents in the area have plenty of time to get out of their homes. The river is extremely swollen after the flood gates were opened at the Toledo Bend Reservoir.
The Department of Agriculture’s mobile pet shelter has been deployed in Lake Charles to help with pet evacuations. Ag Commissioner Mike Strain says they will do whatever they can to ensure pets are safe, while their owners are coping with the disaster. He says currently they have 86 pets in their care and they are preparing for an additional 500 pets in here in Alexandria. He says donations of dog and cat food are welcome. The department is providing 200 soft sided carriers for pets traveling by bus.
Prices at the pump jumped three cents overnight as storm-impacted refineries shut down in Texas. Don Redman with AAA says the statewide average is about $2.22 a gallon, up from $2.14 a week ago. Redman says prices could reach up to $2.40 a gallon in the coming weeks before the refineries reopen. But he says once they do, there’s an ample supply of gasoline for plants to distribute.
This weekend Louisiana hunters can enjoy a tax break on their guns and ammo during the 2nd Amendment sales tax holiday. Byron Henderson with the state department of revenue says eligible items will be fully exempt from local sales taxes and subject to only three percent of the state sales tax. The sales tax holiday runs this Friday through Sunday throughout the state.
The Cajun Navy is hard at work rescuing disaster victims in Texas, and the Cajun Gravy is making sure they are well fed. The Cajun Gravy is serving up Louisiana delicacies like jambalaya to first responders in Orange, Texas. The group consists of cooks from Baton Rouge, Gonzales, and Donaldsonville.
The original owners of the Hodges Garden State Park are taking back the 948-acre recreation area in Sabine Parish because the state department of tourism can’t afford to maintain the facility. The assistant secretary in charge of the state park system, Robert Braham, says the state is transferring Hodges back to the Hodges Foundation, effective the last day of September. The state took over the park in 2007. Barham says there have been issues with upkeep due to continued budget cuts for Louisiana’s state parks. He says in the last 10 years, the department has seen a 40 percent reduction in funding.
A team of 10 Baton Rouge area firefighters are heading to Port Arthur, Texas, to assist with the Harvey relief efforts, as the city is reportedly underwater. Task Force 2 consists of seven firefighters from Baton Rouge, two from Hammond, and one from Zachary. The team of trained rescuers will be in Texas for two weeks.
State Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon is urging Louisiana residents to purchase flood insurance as we’re seeing an uptick of historic flooding events. He says when congress reconvenes next month, he will push for significant changes to the National Flood Insurance Program.
The Jefferson Davis Parish Sheriff’s Office says a high school teacher is under arrest in Jennings for allegedly having an improper relationship with a student. They say deputies received a complaint about 26-year-old Rachel Gillespie, and an investigation led detectives to request a warrant. She was booked for indecent behavior with a juvenile.
The New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau is gearing up for a busy weekend as the LSU-BYU season opener takes at the Mercedes Benz Superdome at 8:30 p.m Saturday. Kristian Sonnier with the CVB says even though the game was relocated last minute due to Harvey, they are expecting a big crowd. He says the Decadence Festival will be underway at the same time. Sonnier expects about 50,000 people will be in the Crescent City for the game that they were not anticipating.
News for Thursday 083117
By Dave Graichen
No Public school Thursday in the following parishes.. Rapides Parish, Vernon Parish, LaSalle Parish & Beauregard Parish. Also closed, Catholic schools in Rapides and Natchitoches parishes. Classes are cancelled at LSUA, all campuses of NSU, Central Louisiana Technical College's Alexandria, Winnfield, Natchitoches, Many, Jena and Leesville campuses &The Learning Center for Rapides Parish.
Classes will resume today in Avoyelles Parish, St. Landry & Grant Parish public schools and at Louisiana College.
The Beauregard Parish Sheriff’s office is strongly advising residents on the western side of the parish to evacuate. That’s because the Sabine River Authority opened all of the flood gates at Toledo Bend Lake by one foot because of rising waters. The authority says they may continue to raise the gates in one-foot increments to provide a controlled release.
Harvey continues to move to the North East, out of the state. State Climatologist Barry Keim says fortunately Louisiana has been spared from much of the flooding seen in Texas. He says that’s because the system ingested dry air. Keim says the greatest rainfall total from Houston is nearly 52 inches, while the Bayou State has topped out at around 30 inches in extreme southwest Louisiana.
High water a problem on I-10. If you’re trying to get to Texas, be advised I-10 Westbound at milepost 4 near the Texas state line is closed due to flooding on the Texas side of the Sabine River.
Louisianans who want to help with the Harvey relief efforts both in Texas and Louisiana can find ways to give at VolunteerLouisiana.gov. Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser says thousands have already signed up to give their time and resources to those in need.
Members of the Louisiana National Guard continue to help with search and rescue efforts in Texas, as flood waters will not recede for some time. Col. Ed Bush says it’s a great feeling to be able to help our neighbors in need. Bush says hundreds of rescues have already been conducted, and many Texans are now in shelters in Lake Charles.
Calcasieu Parish survived Tropical Storm Harvey without any widespread flooding. Sheriff Tony Mancuso says the rural areas on the western side of the parish took on some water, but all things considered, it could have been much worse.
Harvey is finally moving out of Gulf Coast, but forecasters are now keeping an eye on a tropical disturbance near southern Mexico. Andy Tingler with the National Weather Service says there is a low chance this system could develop into a tropical depression or storm over the next five days. There is also Tropical Storm Irma, which is currently gaining strength in the Atlantic and is located off the western coast of Africa. Tingler says there’s a good chance Irma could develop into a hurricane over the next few days.
Congress will be tasked with reauthorizing the National Flood Insurance Program once lawmakers reconvene in September. This has become an even bigger priority as hundreds of thousands of homeowners cope with the flood waters left by Harvey. US Senator John Kennedy says the NFIP is the only option for homeowners to cover homes for flooding. He says the amount of flooding from substantial rainfall has doubled in the past decade. He says virtually no one in the country today is immune from flooding, no matter where you live.
New Orleans received minimal impacts from Harvey and the city is in good shape to host the LSU-BYU football game on Saturday. Ticket sales are underway for the LSU-BYU season opener at the Mercedes Benz Superdome. Fans who purchased tickets for the game in Houston, season ticket holders and students have first priority. LSU Ticket Manager Brian Broussard says the general public can now buying tickets online through Ticketmaster. Ticket prices range from 40-dollars to 250-dollars
News for Wednesday 083017
By Dave Graichen
Public schools in Rapides Parish, Allen, Avoyelles, Beauregard, Grant, Natchitoches, St. Landry and Vernon parishes will be closed Wednesday as tropical storm Harvey moves across the state. Also closed today Catholic schools in Rapides, Avoyelles and Natchitoches parishes, Alpine Christian School , Grace Christian School, University Academy, St. James Episcopal Day School, Montessori Educational Center & Alexandria Country Day School. Louisiana State University of Alexandria, Louisiana College, the Learning Center for Rapides Parish, Northwestern State University campuses and Central Louisiana Technical College's nine campuses are all closed.
Southwest Louisiana will likely see the biggest impact from Tropical Storm Harvey, but the entire state will be affected. In northwest Louisiana, a flash flood watch is in effect through Thursday evening. Lisa May with the National Weather Service in Shreveport expects periods of heavy rainfall through the end of the week. May says the area could also see gusty winds and isolated tornadoes as Harvey treks through the area.
Cleco is ready for Tropical Storm Harvey’s arrival in Louisiana as five of the energy company’s operational regions are in the path of the storm. Jennifer Cahill with Cleco says they are doubling the number of crews available to safely restore power if need be. She says Cleco is reminding customers to stay safe and beware of rising water and downed power lines.
Cameron Parish braced for impact yesterday as Tropical Storm Harvey prepared to make a second landfall and start it’s treks north through the state. Office of Emergency Preparedness Director Danny Lavergne says the biggest threat from the storm is the water, as the parish received about 30 inches of rain in just the last two days. Forecasters are saying the costal parish could see another 10 to 20 inches of rain before the storm moves through.
Governor John Bel Edwards says the Cajun Navy’s work in Texas is receiving praise from local authorities. So how do they do it? Penny Shar with Project We Care Louisiana works in conjunction with the Cajun Navy 2016 and she says they use the Zello Smartphone App to communicate with nearby boats to help find stranded residents. Shar says they will work closely with officials here at home to organize efforts rescue efforts as well.
The Cajun Navy is working hard to assist Texas authorities with ongoing search and rescues. While volunteers work to rescue people in Texas, the North Louisiana Red Cross is giving them a place to stay once they are safe. Executive Director Michelle Davidson says the shelter at Morning Star Baptist Church will house up to 250 individuals.
State Police is investigating the shooting of a Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s deputy. The suspect in the case was fatally shot. Authorities say a deputy was shot while conducting a traffic stop near Simsboro High School. His bullet proof vest deflected the bullet. The state police says the deputy returned fire, killing the suspect.
LSU says fans who bought tickets for the season opener against BYU in Houston will have their money refunded automatically. Athletic Director Joe Alleva says those who had tickets, will get first priority to purchase tickets for the game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, then LSU season ticket holders, students followed by the general public.
News for Tuesday 082917
By Dave Graichen
Harvey has strengthened as it moves over the Gulf along the Texas coast. John Cangialosi with the National Hurricane Center says the biggest concern is the continued rainfall over eastern Texas and western Louisiana with isolated totals reaching 50 inches in some areas. He encourages everyone to stay up to date on advisories issued in their areas.
Governor John Bel Edwards says the worst is yet to come in Louisiana with Tropical Storm Harvey. He says in southwest Louisiana, forecasters say 10-15 inches of additional rain could fall on already saturated grounds through Friday.
The National Guard has mobilized about 60 soldiers to Southwest Louisiana to assist with the possibility of flooding due to Tropical Storm Harvey. High water vehicles and boats are prepositioned in eight of the state’s western parishes.
The Cajun Navy is assisting with the flood response in Texas and additional resources are on the way. Penny Shar is with Project We Care Louisiana, she says about 100 people with boats and high water vehicles left from Baton Rouge, and more are leaving from Lafayette. Forty Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries agents are also in Texas assisting authorities with search and rescue efforts.
Several roads are under water in south Louisiana. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu has told citizens in the Crescent City to stay home today and off the streets.
Three men from St. Tammany Parish are heroes. The had just arrived in Houston to help flood victims when they spotted an elderly woman face-down in the floodwaters brought by Tropical Storm Harvey. Joshua Lincoln said he and fellow "Cajun Navy" members Ricky Berrigan and Donnie Davenport were able to pull the woman, 73-year-old Wilma Ellis, into their boat and get her breathing again in relatively short order. They say it was a case of just being in the right place at the right time.
It’s official, LSU’s season opener against BYU will take place at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Kickoff is set for 8:30, and the game will be televised by ESPN. Tickets and parking passes purchased through LSU’s ticket office will be automatically refunded tomorrow. The LSU ticket office will work to set up a purchasing structure for that event, and fans will be alerted when tickets are available. The game was moved from NRG Stadium in Houston because of epic flooding from Harvey.
Today marks 12 years since Hurricane Katrina made landfall in Louisiana, and Texans are facing a similar situation now with Harvey. State climatologist Barry Keim says both made landfall as a major hurricane, but Katrina reached Category 5 strength in the Gulf and weakened, while Harvey continued to strengthen until landfall. Keim says the biggest surge from Harvey so far is 6.8 feet, while Katrina caused the biggest surge ever measured in the western hemisphere at 28 feet. Keim says Harvey has been meandering around at about 2 miles per hour. He notes the storm has only moved about 100 miles since last Friday.
Today marks the 12 year anniversary of the landfall of Hurricane Katrina. Over 15-hundred people died in Louisiana from the powerful storm. But, former Governor Kathleen Blanco says it could’ve been a lot worse if they hadn’t of evacuate one million people from New Orleans. Some people decided not to leave. Many of them were casualties of the storm. She says so many Louisiana residents worked feverously to help each other during that difficult time. When asked about the situation in Houston, Blanco said she doesn’t understand why a city the size of Houston has no evacuation plan in place.
News for Monday 082817
By Dave Graichen
Governor John Bel Edwards says Louisiana is not out of the woods yet when it comes to Tropical Storm Harvey. Edwards asks residents to stay vigilant and pay attention to local news reports. State Climatologist Barry Keim says Harvey will eventually move towards Louisiana. Keim says rainfall from Harvey is Louisiana’s biggest threat.
Lake Charles could still see upwards of 12 inches of rain. Here in Central Louisiana 4 to 6 inches and New Orleans up to 8 inches are possible through the end of the week.
As Tropical Storm Harvey delivered a wallop Sunday to Louisiana’s neighbors in Texas, Louisianans remembered the many disasters that have struck home and Texans were always there to help. The Pelican State managed Sunday to avoid most of Harvey’s fury. But around Baton Rouge, Lafayette and other parts of the state, members of the Cajun Navy sprang into action to return the neighborly love. Many who spent last August wading around south Louisiana’s floodwaters in boats packed them up Sunday and headed west to help rescue Texans caught in the floods.
The FAA has announced Houston's Hobby Airport, a key piece of New Orleans' Louis Armstrong Airport and Southwest Airlines' travel schedules, is closed until Wednesday morning at the earliest. Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport, which files to both New Orleans and Baton Rouge's airports, is also closed. The FAA expects that airport might reopen today.
With Louisiana in a state of emergency due to Harvey, the Attorney General’s Office warns consumers to be wary of price gouging. Deputy Director of Public Protection Mike Dupree says once the governor declares a state of emergency, price gouging laws go into effect. Dupree says that does not include price changes like a few cents increase for a gallon of gas, which could go up due to the market. But he says if the price of emergency supplies spikes overnight, consumers should be suspicious. He encourages anyone who suspects a business of price gouging to report it immediately.
The Shreveport City Council will soon consider a proposal to construct a 30-million dollar sports complex in the downtown area. The goal of the complex, which would be right next to a proposed mixed use development site, is to lure the New Orleans Pelicans G-League team to the arena. Local banker Rich Holland says different entities are now gathering their plans for presentation. There is also talk of the facility being used as a practice facility for the New Orleans Saints.
For the second straight preseason game, the Saints defense did not allow an offensive touchdown. The Saints held the Texans to 246 total yards and 13 first downs in a 13-0 victory over Houston on Saturday night.
LSU is scheduled to play BYU this Saturday, but athletic director Joe Alleva doubts it can be played in Houston. Alleva says a number of alternate locations are being considered and a decision should be made early this week.
News for Friday 082517
By Dave Graichen
Hurricane Harvey is expected to reach Category 3 strength by the time the storm makes landfall in Texas. Eric Blake with the National Hurricane Center says the storm isn’t expected to move far inland, as it makes landfall early Saturday morning. Models show Harvey moving east towards Louisiana after making landfall, and Governor John Bel Edwards has already declared a state of emergency in anticipation of the storm. Extensive rainfall is expected, and the governor says citizens should prepare now.
Edwards says the biggest concern is in southwest Louisiana, but the entire state could see high rainfall totals.
More jobs are coming to Union Parish, as Foster Farms announces a $30 million expansion that will result in 50 new direct jobs and 42 indirect jobs. Farmerville Mayor Stein Baughman says this is huge for the parish. The poultry processing facility will also maintain over 1,000 existing jobs.
A southwest Louisiana mother of four is now a millionaire after winning $2 million in the Powerball. The woman works as an assistant manager at the Tiger Mart in Lake Arthur. Store manager April Lemaire says if anyone deserves to win, it’s her. The Tiger Mart will receive a bonus of 20-thousand dollars for selling the ticket. Lemaire says the assistant manager plans to keep working at the convenience store.
The state Department of Education announces a new program has launched that would let experienced teachers statewide get training to become mentors to aspiring educators. They say beginning in the fall and over the next three years, Louisiana will establish at least 2,500 professionals equipped with the necessary skills to help guide a new generation of teachers.
Louisiana is home to the third worse drivers in the nation, according to a report by SmartAsset. Vice President of Financial Education AJ Smith says they looked at vehicle fatalities, insurance rates, and Google searches to determine the rankings. She says the Bayou State did not fare well in any of those categories. Smith says at 86 percent, Louisiana has the 16th lowest rate of insured drivers in the country. Florida and Mississippi were the only states that had worse drivers than Louisiana.
Louisiana customers who use Walmart to conduct money transfers can use a new feature called Express Money Services. The company says instead of filling out paperwork at the store, you can enter the information into the Walmart app. Customers will use a dedicated Express Lane at the store to complete the transaction.
A third relative has been arrested in Webster Parish in the bizarre case of a seven-year-old who shot his aunt twice. The child’s grandmother, 64-year-old Cheryl Lee of Shreveport was booked on obstruction of justice as she allegedly tried to cover up the shooting. The boy’s mother and grandfather are also facing charges.
The East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner’s Office has ruled the death of a 53-year-old man whose body was found in the backyard of a home in an overgrown area, as a homicide. They say Dale Sands had been reported missing by the Sheriff’s Office, and officials say he was shot in the chest and head. Investigators have not yet established a motive or suspect.
The Saints are set to the play the Texans in exhibition game number three. Quarterback Drew Brees is expected to get his first action of the preseason and he’s excited to finally play in a game. Veteran running back Adrian Peterson is expected to make his preseason debut as well. Brees says he’s been impressed with the future Hall of Famer during camp.
News for Thursday 082417
By Dave Graichen
Keeping an eye on Harvey.. Now a tropical storm.. State Climatologist Barry Keim says this system will likely be more of a rainmaker for most of Louisiana, but areas across the coast are looking at more complicated circumstances. Keim says Harvey should make landfall around the central-Texas coast sometime Friday evening. He says once that happens, the system is expected to turn eastward, and slow down. There’s the potential that over 20 inches of rain, with Houston/Galveston being ground zero. Keim says once the storm stalls, it could sit there for a couple of days.
Most of the schools in the Rapides Parish School District are eligible now to participate in a federal program that allows schools to provide free breakfast and lunch to all students. The Community Eligibility Program helps individual schools or entire districts in some cases to feed every student for free without families submitting an application for free or reduced meals. All but 16 of the 49 Rapides Parish schools qualify to participate in the program.
The Pineville PD reports the Dollar General on Main Street in Pineville was held up at gunpoint yesterday afternoon about 5 p.m. Employees told investigators that the unidentified suspect entered the store brandishing a firearm and demanding money from the cash register. They complied. Police are asking anyone with information to please contact them. The robber was described as a black male wearing blue shorts and a dark-colored hoodie. He was last seen running along the railroad tracks on Main Street in the direction of Melrose.
67 year old Walter Smith Sr. of Pineville turned himself into Tuesday following an investigation into complaints about home improvement fraud. Smith was booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center on five counts of home improvement fraud greater than $1,500. He later was released on a $15,000 bond.
Twenty-five years ago today one of the most destructive hurricanes in U.S. history made landfall in Florida and then crossed the Gulf of Mexico and made landfall near Morgan City. Andrew slammed into Louisiana on August 26th, 1992. It left extensive damage in its wake in St. Mary and Iberia Parishes and across a good portion of south Louisiana. Private property damage was estimated at one billion dollars.
LSU quarterback Danny Etling is excited about being named the starter when the Tigers hit the field September 2nd against BYU in Houston.
Confederate monuments should be replaced with statues of Britney Spears according to a Louisiana woman who has thousands of people that agree with her. Rayne native and petition creator, Kassie Thibodeaux, says the Change.org petition has over 4500 signatures and she hopes the governor notices.
A 38-year-old man has been arrested for allegedly assaulting an elderly man in Opelousas in a road rage incident. Police Chief Donald Thompson says they arrested Joshua Babineaux this morning after the public recognized him from surveillance video released to the media. Babineaux is charged with aggravated second degree battery and simple battery of the infirm.
Baton Rouge Police are looking for a man from Ponchatoula accused of shooting and killing a 19-year-old woman. They say 20-year-old James Seymore is believed to have been playing with a hand gun in the back of a vehicle when it accidentally fired striking the victim, Briana Hornsby while she was driving. Seymore fled on foot and remains at large. Hornsby died from her injuries.
Southern Lab High School will have to vacate its 2016 and 2015 state championship football titles, plus its runner-up trophy in 2014 after it was learned the Baton Rouge school violated the LHSAA’s recruiting rules. The school has been banned from postseason play for the next two years and their head coach has been fired and suspended by the LHSAA for one year.
St. Martinville hopes to become “The Pepper City of the World.” Mayor Pro Tem Mike Fuselier says they will ask the state legislature to pass a resolution giving them the prestigious title. He says for nearly a century, St. Martinville has had a pepper industry, like Pepper’s Unlimited. St. Martinville is also known for the company Cajun Chef, which produces 250 different products. Fuselier says they also have been home to a pepper festival for the last 26 years. He says the town is a big tourist attraction and adding this title will only boost visitors.
News for Wednesday 082317
By Dave Graichen
A Leesville man was killed in a two vehicle accident yesterday morning east of Pitkin on LA 10. State police report 54 Year old Timothy Philips was killed when he pulled out into the path of an oncoming vehicle. Philips, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was ejected from the vehicle during the crash. A passenger in Philip’s vehicle was reported to have minor injuries.
People all over Louisiana are rushing to get a Powerball ticket as tonight’s jackpot has reached 700-million dollars, with a cash value of 443 million dollars. Louisiana Lottery Spokesperson Kim Chopin says now that the jackpot is so high, many offices and friends join together to buy a pool of tickets for a better chance to win the prize. She says it’s a good idea to make sure one person is in charge of the tickets. Preferably someone you trust.
Governor John Bel Edwards says state officials are monitoring the disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico named Harvey, and GOHSEP is setting up their crisis action team today. He says the storm could hit Southeast Texas sometime Friday as a Category 1 hurricane, so Southwest Louisiana should be on alert.
A 38-year-old Ruston man has been arrested for allegedly fatally shooting the mother of his children and injuring another woman and a one-year-old. Authorities say Frank Stringfellow is charged with one count of first degree murder. The 54-year-old injured woman and the baby are expected to survive.
Webster Parish Sheriff Gary Sexton says a 7-year-old boy who shot his aunt two times for not feeding him will not be charged with a crime. He says police responded to a home outside of Minden last week and found Amanda Gipson suffering from two gunshot wounds. She claimed it was an accident, but Sexton isn’t buying that. He says the child can’t be charged due to his age. Sexton says this was not an accident and he hopes this 7-year-old gets help.
President Donald Trump stated Monday night that America must fight to win the war in Afghanistan, where U.S. troops have been stationed since 2001. Louisiana GOP Chairman Roger Villere says the United States should’ve never been in this war but he agrees with the president’s sentiments. The president did not say how many additional troops he would send into Afghanistan and seemed to agree with the Pentagon’s suggestion for sending in about 4-thousand soldiers. Villere says it’s time to fix this mess and end the war in Afghanistan.
LSU’s new mascot, Mike VII, appears to be right at home and loving his new habitat on campus since being introduced Monday. Formerly Harvey, the tiger was donated to LSU by the Wild at Heart Wildlife Center in Okeechobee, Florida. Jeremy Hargett is the co-owner of the rescue facility. He says when they re-home big animals like Mike, they pray that they end up in a good, thriving situation. He says now that Harvey has a new home in Baton Rouge surrounded by love and LSU fans, they aren’t worried about him one bit.
News for Tuesday 082217
By Dave Graichen
Alexandria City Marshal Terence Grines is not expected to appear in court Thursday for his arraignment, pending the results of a pre-sentencing investigation requested by the court. However, he is still expected to resign from his job this week as part of a plea deal. Grines was arrested June 23 after a multi-jurisdictional drug investigation.
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Metairie is telling his colleagues that he will wait until his doctors give him the okay, before he returns to the Capitol. A spokesperson for the Republican lawmaker says Scalise was on a conference call with GOP legislators today to discuss spending bills. Scalise was shot in June in the hip and is undergoing inpatient rehabilitation, after undergoing several surgeries.
A report by Caring.com finds Louisiana is the 32nd best state to grow old. Caring.com Vice President Tim Sullivan says Louisiana did not rank anywhere close to the top 10, because of the quality of life in senior care facilities. The study incorporated statistics on senior living community reviews, nursing home costs, in-home care prices and elderly well-being assessments. In case you’re wondering, the report found Utah is the best state to grow old.
Today Governor John Bel Edwards is slated to meet with new FEMA Administrator Brock Long. The governor’s communications director Richard Carbo says Edwards would like to discuss how local, state, and federal authorities can partner to prepare the city of New Orleans for another devastating flood. Of course last year’s flood will also be an issue for the two to discuss. During the floods of 2016, 56 of Louisiana’s 64 parishes were declared federal disaster areas. FEMA was on hand to help with emergency response and the rebuilding.
The Department of Children and Family Services announces over half a million dollars of child support payments have been paid through MoneyGram in the first six months of the year. Child Support Enforcement Director Lydia Scales says they’ve seen an increase in participation after allowing electronic payments. She says it’s made it easier for noncustodial parents, who do not have bank accounts, to pay their child support, because they can now make payments in cash. Payments for the first six months of the year totaled more than $530,000.
A 20-million dollar annual federal grant has been awarded to the state Department of Education to help struggling public schools. Educations officials say schools over the next few weeks will apply for the money and those with the best plans for progress will receive the funds. A struggling school is defined as a school that earned a performance rating of a D or an F for the last three years and currently 225 schools in Louisiana fit this description.
Michael Tyler, better known as Louisiana rapper Mystikal, has turned himself into authorities in Caddo Parish after a warrant for his arrest was issued. Sgt. Paula Farquhar (far-kwar) with the Shreveport Police Department says Tyler along with a 26-year-old Texas man have been charged with first degree rape. Authorities are still searching for 42-year-old Tenichia Wafford, of Texas, who is charged with one count of Accessory after the fact to first degree rape for allegedly trying to convince the victim to drop the charges against the rapper.
Shreveport Representative Thomas Carmody will not bring back a bill seeking to protect Confederate monuments. Carmody attempted to pass a proposed law during the last legislative session to require a public vote, before a military monument could be taken down. It passed the House, but died in a Senate committee. Four Confederate monuments have been removed in New Orleans, but there are still ones standing in Shreveport, Lafayette, Tallulah and here in Alexandria.
Big day on the LSU campus Monday, as classes started and a new live mascot is wandering around in his habitat. The 11-month-old male tiger arrived last week in Baton Rouge and was confined to his night house until his debut yesterday.
There were no winners of Saturday night’s Powerball jackpot drawing, and the big prize now goes to $650 million dollars. The cash value of the Wednesday jackpot is $411.7
An announcement could come as early today as on who will be the Tigers starting quarterback for the season opener against BYU. Senior Danny Etling is expected to get the nod, but offensive coordinator Matt Canada likes what he’s seen from freshman Myles Brennan.
News for Monday 082117
By Dave Graichen
Millions of Americans are getting ready to watch today’s total solar eclipse. LSU astronomy professor Michael Cherry says this is the first time since 1979 a solar eclipse has been visible from the US. He says the total eclipse will be visible in a path about 70 miles wide from Oregon to South Carolina. Cherry says most of Louisiana will see about 80 percent of the sun blocked during the eclipse. He says the best time to view it will be between 1 and 2 p.m.
The Louisiana SPCA advises pet owners to bring their fur babies inside during today’s solar eclipse. Pets don’t normally stare at the sun, but just to be on the safe side, best to leave them indoors. Experts recommend bringing them in 30 minutes before the eclipse begins, and waiting until 30 minutes after it ends to let them back out.
The first ever live broadcast of a solar eclipse from a high-altitude balloon will take place in Illinois by the Louisiana Space Grant Consortium, a NASA based program of LSU students. Professor and Associate Chair of the LSU Physics and Astronomy Department Dr. Dana Browne says by hanging an HD video camera underneath a weather balloon, they will be able to see the shadow of the moon crossing over the earth’s surface. Browne says the video will be sent from the balloon to the ground station through a wireless transmitter and then live streamed.
Louisianan’s unemployment rate is falling. According to the AP, the jobless rate dipped to 5.3 percent in June from 6.2 percent a year ago. One hundred ten thousand people in Louisiana are unemployed, down from 115,000 in July. The Bayou State’s unemployment rate is still the third highest in the country.
It’s expected there will be a big need for industrial plant workers in Baton Rouge through 2018. Greater Baton Rouge Industrial Alliance Executive Director Connie Fabre says the demand for skilled employees will be so high because of all the new facilities that will be coming online over the next couple of years. Fabre says industrial crafts in most demand are things like pipe fitting, welding and electrical and instrument technicians…:
The 96th Cadet Class began the Louisiana State Police Training Academy on Sunday. For about 20 weeks, thirty-six men and women from a variety of backgrounds will undergo an intensive training regimen. Sgt. Jared Sandifer says after graduating, the new troopers will participate in a 10 to 14 week field training program.
Voter registration week begins today, and Secretary of State Tom Schedler is encouraging citizens to take part. He says new voters and those who have just moved back into the state should register. Louisiana will be electing a state treasurer this fall as well as hosting many local elections, propositions and constitutional amendments on the ballot. Schedler says you can register online at sos.la.gov
No more confederate statues will come down in New Orleans, according to Mayor Mitch Landrieu. Landrieu says taking down the statues of Robert E. Lee, P.G.T. Beauregard, and Jefferson Davis were the right thing to do but removing Andrew Jackson is a step too far. Landrieu says the Andrew Jackson statue was put in place for all the right reasons.
The state department of transportation has redesigned the concrete walls on new interstate projects. Secretary Shawn Wilson says two inch tall openings will be put in the walls every so many feet to allow water to flow though. Three projects currently underway will feature the new design.
The homeowner assistance program for flood victims has been expanded by the Restore Louisiana Task Force. Office of Community Development executive director Pat Forbes says this means all homeowners impacted by the flood now qualify for assistance. Members of the board approved the changes recommended by Governor John Bel Edwards without objection.
The Saints defense flexed its muscles last night in 13-7 victory over LA Chargers in Week 2 of the Preseason. Quarterback Drew Brees, defensive end Cameron Jordan and running backs Mark Ingram and Adrian Peterson did not play Sunday night, marking the second straight game.
News for Wednesday 081617
By Dave Graichen
A Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries agent who was shot in the line of duty in Morehouse Parish has returned to work. 25-year-old Tyler Wheeler of Monroe was shot four times while conducting a traffic stop in January. 31-year-old Amethyst Baird and 34-year-old Jeremy Gullette have been charged in the shooting and are awaiting trial. Tuesday was Wheeler’s first day back on patrol duties
The BESE board meets behind closed doors today to discuss the job status of state Education Superintendent John White. Board member Kathy Edmonston of Gonzales says she would like the entire panel to vote to whether or not White stays in the position he’s held since 2012. White makes 270-thousand dollars a year and works month to month, as the board has yet to extend his contract.
A new report by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network finds Louisiana along with 11 other Southern states are slacking when it comes to implementing policies to reduce and prevent tobacco use. The report finds over 24-thousand people in Louisiana will be diagnosed with cancer this year and over 9-thousand will die from it.
A man has been charged in a double homicide after calling the cops on himself. Maj. Steven Williams with the Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office says John Nichols fatally shot Anthony and Rachel Denicola outside their home. He says two juveniles were inside the residence at the time. Nichols called police after the incident to report the shooting.
Governor John Bel Edwards once again met Attorney General Jeff Landry in a court room, as the battle continues over an anti-discrimination executive order. Edwards issued the order in April to protect the LGBT community from workplace discrimination in state offices. A judge ruled the order is unconstitutional, but Edwards appealed the ruling. An appeals court heard arguments yesterday. No word on when a decision may be rendered by the court.
39 year old Raven Desoto was I’d as a suspect in an Aug. 8 the burglary of a Kolin home. Authorities didn’t have to go far to arrest her, she was already in jail on unrelated charges. She was rebooked on charges of criminal trespassing, criminal damage of less than $500 and burglary of an inhabited dwelling.
After peaking over the last couple of weeks, gasoline prices appear to be leveling off, according Patrick DeHaan with GasBuddy. DeHaan expects gas prices may level off for the next few weeks before they really start to drop in mid- to late-September. Louisiana has the ninth lowest gas prices in the country with a statewide average of $2.16 a gallon.
The ACLU of Louisiana has sent a letter to Louisiana State Police Superintendent Col. Kevin Reeves after a man was ticketed for flipping off a state trooper on I-20 near Rayville. Executive Director Marjorie Esman says the man was charged with felony public intimidation. Esman says as rude as it may be, giving someone the finger is a First Amendment right. The charge was dismissed by the state attorney who reviewed the case.
Two arrests have been made in the case of a 22-year-old Houston man who was brought to Louisiana to die. Calcasieu Sheriff Tony Mancuso said Dustin Hammons was last seen with the two suspects, 22-year-old Ashlyn Brown and 45-year-old Boyd “Lurch” Hagood, both of Baytown, Texas. The two are charged with second degree murder. Police are saying the incident was drug related.
The Humane Society of Louisiana is looking for answers after a three-legged dog was shot and killed in Acadia Parish. Director Jeff Dorson says it takes a sick person to take the life of a little three-legged dog who means so much to his family. A $500 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest.
A study out of Harvard Medical School and the University of California finds about 55-percent of people say they are faced with unpleasant and potentially hazardous conditions at work. University of New Orleans Business Professor Mark Rosa says less educated individuals typically face tougher workplace conditions. He says nowadays, to get paid a decent wage, you need a college education.
Saints coach Sean Payton said of the rumors that the team was planning to trade Delvin Breaux, that he would never comment on that kind business. But added it’s normal to discuss players or possible trades during training camp.
Just a day after announcing his departure from LSU, quarterback Lindsey Scott already has a spot on another team. The Zachary High star signed with East Mississippi Community College Tuesday. EMCC has won three junior college national championships under Coach Buddy Stephens.
The New Orleans Pelicans schedule is out and they are slated to play the Warriors and Cavs in their first two home games of the season. The Pels start their season on October 18th on the road against the Memphis Grizzlies, then make their Smoothie King Center debut for 2017-2018 against the NBA Champ Golden State.
News for Tuesday 081517
By Dave Graichen
U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy is still optimistic the Senate can pass a health care bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Cassidy, along with Senators Lindsey Graham and Dean Heller have constructed a measure, which Cassidy says is the only instrument the Republicans have left. He says their solution is to give the power to the states by giving them federal health care dollars through a federal block grant.
Cassidy says right now we have a system that is not working and is not sustainable.
Louisiana Congressman Ralph Abraham said in an interview with the Fox network that he does not stand by any of the comments made by David Duke who was on hand at the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville. Fellow Republican Congressman Tom Garrett of Virginia blamed the violence on outsiders from states like Louisiana, like Duke. Abraham said he’s offended by the comment and that the former KKK grand wizard does not speak for Louisiana.
Members of Louisiana’s Congressional delegation and the governor toured Denham Springs with HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson Monday, and praised him for efforts in cutting red tape during flood recovery. Carson says he is very pleased and impressed with the progress south Louisiana has made since last August. Although he says the money allocated will be well spent for flood recovery, Carson acknowledges regulations could be improved.
LSU has announced that fans will have to wait a little longer to take pictures and get autographs from their favorite players and coaches, as the annual Fan Day has been moved to the spring. Sports Information Director Michael Bonnette said there are many construction projects taking place on campus which just didn’t make Fan Day feasible this fall.
An audit of the state’s foster care program revealed that understaffing has led to increased caseloads for workers at the department of children and family services. DCFS Secretary Marketa Garner Walters says they lost 2,000 workers in the Jindal Administration, which left workers with an average of 16 cases at a time. Karen Leblanc with the legislative auditor’s office says they found not all foster care providers had the required criminal background checks. They either had no check, or they were not completed in a timely manner.
The American Duchess paddle wheeler made her maiden voyage up the Mississippi River Monday, leaving out of the Port of New Orleans and making stops at historic sites and attractions. Port of New Orleans spokesperson Donnell Jackson says it’s a 166-guest ship offering inland cruises. This is the third vessel in the American Queen Steamboat Company’s fleet.
Cable barrier installation is set to begin this week in Caddo and Desoto Parishes along I-49, according to the state department of transportation. Erin Buchanan with DOTD says this is one of the larger cable barrier projects in the district with a total 41 miles to be installed. Most of that will be in Desoto Parish
News for Friday 081117
By Dave Graichen
State Police report a single vehicle crash killed a woman from Trout yesterday morning. Troopers say a pickup, driven by 47 year old Christie Kilgore, was westbound on LA Hwy 500 when Kilgore lost control and exited the left side of the roadway. After exiting the roadway, the vehicle collided with a tree. Kilgore, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was pronounced dead at the scene.
State Police is investigating a fatal ATV crash in Avoyelles Parish that claimed the life of a man, and injured two young children. They believe 30-year-old Jeremy Armand of St. Martinville crossed into an oncoming lane of traffic on a roadway, and collided head on with a van traveling in the other direction. Armand died, and an 8-year-old and three-year-old on the ATV were injured. None of those on the ATV were wearing helmets.
One year ago today, torrential rains began pouring down on south Louisiana. By the time the rain stopped ten days later, 20 parishes had been declared federal disaster areas, and 13 people lost their lives. Livingston Parish was one of the most devastated, with 75 percent of the homes deemed a total loss. Parish President Layton Ricks says the parish is making a good comeback.
Louisiana has moved up two spots to number two in Insure-dot-com’s ranking of states with the most expensive auto insurance rates. The website says Louisiana drivers average annual rate is 19-hundred dollars, 46-percent higher than the national average. Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon says an excessive amount of litigation is one big factor.
The Department of Transportation has found a contractor to widen Interstate 10 from Highland Road in Baton Rouge to LA 73 in Ascension Parish. It will take around two and a half years to widen the interstate by one lane in each direction. The $72 million project is being funded through a combination of state and federal funds.
A man is behind bars in connection with the death of a Tennessee truck driver who was killed in an armed robbery on Tuesday morning. Baton Rouge Police Sgt. L’Jean McKneely says this wasn’t 18-year-old Landry Carter’s first robbery. Carter is charged with four counts of armed robbery and one count of first degree murder.
More flooding is a possibility in New Orleans, as a turbine at a pumping station caught fire last night and heavy rains are in the forecast. Governor John Bel Edwards has signed an emergency declaration for Orleans Parish.
3rd district Louisiana Congressman Clay Higgins is glad President Donald Trump is taking a stand against continued threats from North Korea. Higgins says previous administrations have dealt with aggression from North Korea with a, “kick the can down the road” mentality, but it’s about time to get serious. Higgins believes Mr. Trump is carefully targeting exactly what would needed to hit, and hit hard.
In Livingston Parish, Walker Police are looking for eyewitnesses who saw a 26-year-old woman jump out of a moving pickup truck Wednesday night as it was traveling on an I-12 entrance ramp. Captain John Sharp says 26-year-old Whitney Cotton is in critical condition. Foul play however is not suspected.
An Acadiana High School student is in trouble with the law and the school he attends after he allegedly repeatedly punched a school safety officer. Police say 17-year-old Robert Hebert of Duson got in trouble in the first place, because his hair was dyed red and in violation of the school’s dress code.
As Louisianans gear up to watch the upcoming solar eclipse, doctors remind the public to do so safely. On August 21, a total solar eclipse will pass over the country from Oregon to South Carolina. Executive Director of the Optometry Association of Louisiana Dr. James Sandifer says in Louisiana, only a partial eclipse will be visible, which is why it’s so important for viewers to protect their eyes. Sandifer says the only safe way to view the partial eclipse is with approved eclipse glasses. He says looking directly at the sun can damage or destroy the photoreceptors in the retina. He says that can cause permanent damage to the eye.
The Saints lost their season opener to the Cleveland Browns last night.. the final 20 to 14.
Former LSU Coach Les Miles says he’ll be a member of the media this football season. The mad hatter’s first assignment is with the SEC Network as he’ll serve as a guest analyst on SEC Nation, which will be in Arlington, Texas on September 2nd for the Michigan-Florida game.
LSU’s Kevin Toliver is the likely starting cornerback opposite of Donte Jackson. Coming out of high school in Jacksonville, Florida, Toliver was considered as one of the nation’s top corner prospects. In two seasons at LSU, Toliver has one interception and missed the final four games of last season due to a shoulder injury. Toliver says he’s ready to be an impact player this season.
News for Thursday 081017
By Dave Graichen
Alexandria City Marshal Terence Grines faces arraignment date Aug. 24 on a felony malfeasance in office charge. Grines was arrested on June 23rd outside the Alexandria City Court complex after a multi-jurisdictional investigation. In addition to the malfeasance charge, Grines was charged with two counts of possession of a controlled dangerous substance II with intent to distribute, resisting an officer with force or violence and illegal carrying of a weapon.
NOAA now says there is a 60 percent chance of an above-normal Atlantic Hurricane season, up from May’s prediction of 45 percent. NOAA lead hurricane season forecaster Gerry Bell says wind patterns are conducive for storm development and sea surface temperatures are well above normal. The prediction now calls for 14-19 named storms.
State officials are starting the conversation about how to address the looming fiscal cliff in 2018 when more than a billion dollars in temporary taxes expire. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne has been spreading the word at meetings around the state to bring the issue to the public’s attention. He says if lawmakers decided against replacing the $1.3 billion in revenue that is set to go away in July, the administration would be forced to reduce funding by 20 percent for every area of state government. He says that would be drastic for higher education, healthcare, prisons, and public schools.
Despite a slight decrease in revenue, the Louisiana Lottery reported its third best year ever. Lottery spokesperson Dustin Annison says the corporation brought in nearly $455 million in revenue for the 2017 fiscal year. This year, the lottery saw a $53 million decline in revenue from the previous year. But still, the Louisiana Lottery transferred nearly $160 million to the state treasury this year for public education.
The search continues for the gunman who fatally shot a Tennessee truck driver during a robbery as the victim was changing a tire in a parking lot on Tuesday morning. Sgt. Don Coppola says 49-year-old Keith Odom was shot after he turned over his possessions to the robber. Odom died at a local hospital.
Bossier Parish authorities say three 18-wheelers collided with each other on Highway Two near Plain Dealing Wednesday morning. Deputies say it appears the first 18-wheeler stopped for another vehicle and the other two trucks hit the first one from behind. The truck drivers suffered only minor injuries.
School is back many students, which means school buses are returning to the road. State Farm spokesperson Kip Diggs reminds drivers it is never safe to pass a stopped school bus. Louisiana law requires vehicles to stop 30 feet away when children are getting on or off the bus.
Louisiana’s public schools performed only slightly better on ACT scores compared to last year, but with an average of 19.6 — that’s up from 19.1 since 2013.But, still below the national average. State Superintendent of Education John White says African Americans did better statewide, scoring an average of 17.5 this year. The number of students who qualify for TOPS also grew at every level of the award this year.
Louisiana parents of autistic children have a new resource after the Baton Rouge Area Foundation helped to launch a website full of information about benefits and resources. Director of civic leadership initiatives Lauren Jumonville says they hope to help point parents in the right direction. Jumonville says they went around the state cataloging all the resources that exist for people with disabilities. She says the website La.ExceptionalLives.org offers a variety of resources, including traditional ones like physicians and therapists, as well as others.
South Louisiana authorities are still looking for Lafayette businessman Lawrence Michael Handely, who is wanted in the kidnapping of a woman. Detectives believe two men who drowned when evading West Baton Rouge Parish Deputies were involved in the crime. How all of this connects remains unknown at this time. The Lafayette Police Department has only said that the woman’s abduction stemmed from an ongoing domestic dispute” between her and Handley.
A Lafayette Parish grand jury has indicted a man with murder in connection with the death of Jacqueline “Daisy Lynn” Landry. 22-year-old Malik Davis is accused of second degree murder. Family members and friends still cannot find Daisy Lynn since she was last seen in May. Little else is known about this case, including Davis’ involvement and what may have happened that lead to the murder charge and indictment.
A federal judge has blocked a current state law saying foreign born applicants can’t obtain a marriage license without a birth certificate. A Lafayette man who was born in an Indonesian refugee camp and doesn’t have a birth certificate filed a suit, because he’s unable to marry his fiancée.
The NCAA says Grambling State will not have to vacate its 2011 SWAC Football Championship. An internal investigation determined Grambling’s athletic program used ineligible players in eleven sports from 2010 to 2015, but it has determined that the 2011 championship team didn’t use ineligible players so the title will not be vacated. Grambling went 8-4 that season and beat Alabama A-and-M in the championship game.
News for Wednesday 080917
By Dave Graichen
This school year, some Louisiana teachers will face evaluations that are tied, in part, to student test scores. A poor rating could cost teachers their tenure and even their job. Brigitte Neiland with the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry says the principal will determine which teachers remain in the classroom. About 15,000 of the state’s 50,000 educators will be reviewed by the Value Added Model.
The controversy over how the pumps operated in the city of New Orleans during the weekend flooding event is not over. The city council called a meeting just before Sewerage & Water Board Executive Director Cedric Grant announced his retirement saying he’d learned his staff hadn’t been honest about the event. The board originally said 7 pumps were out of service the night of the storm, but then came back and said 14, including 8 drainage pumps, were not working.
Mandeville Police have arrested a 25-year-old man accused of brutally raping a 53-year-old woman inside her home. Chief Gerald Sticker says they were able to catch up with Ronald Moore Jr. of Lacombe at his home after releasing to the media a photo of him on surveillance video.
West Baton authorities say they are certain the two bodies recovered from the Intracoastal Canal Monday are the suspects wanted in a Lafayette kidnapping. The Sheriff’s department announced yesterday the two males were speeding down the shoulder of I-10 when the interstate was closed. After a chase, their van got stuck, and the two fled on foot, apparently drowning in the canal.
A man in Caddo Parish has been charged with cruelty to animals after allegedly fatally shooting his neighbor’s dachshund, because he thought it was an alligator. Caddo Sheriff’s Office Spokesperson Bobby Herring says the dog was found in the pond with multiple gunshot wounds. Tommy Collinsworth Jr told cops he thought the dog was an alligator.
The state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Coastwide Nutria Control Program is looking for south Louisiana landowners and hunters to help combat the invasive rodent. LDWF Biologist Catherine Normand says these pests can cause serious damage to an already vulnerable coast. Normand says the goal is to reduce Nutria induced marsh damage by removing about 400-thousand rodents per season.
Livingston Parish students and teachers are looking forward to a year of normalcy as they begin classes today just days ahead of the one year anniversary of the August flood. School superintendent Rick Wentzel says crews worked extensively on 8 flood damaged campuses throughout the summer. Three of those are complete, but five in the Denham Springs area will not be fully rebuilt for some time.
Contract details are out for new LSU men’s basketball coach Will Wade. His six year deal will pay him 15 million dollars, that’s two-point-five million a season. The 34-year-old will be one of the highest paid basketball coaches in the SEC. Wade is also eligible for bonuses based on performance on the hardwood and in the classroom. The contract also does not include a buyout.
The Saints did not practice yesterday as they are two days away from the preseason opener against the Cleveland Browns. But a depth chart has been released. Adrian Peterson and Mark Ingram are listed as co-starters at running back. It’s unclear how much they’ll play against the Browns, along with quarterback Drew Brees.
LSU Senior Quarterback Danny Etling likes the progress the Tigers are making during preseason camp. The Bayou Bengals are in training camp mode for the rest of this week and next and then school starts on Monday August 21st. Etling says the goal is to get better every day.
News for Tuesday 080817
By Dave Graichen
Today Governor John Bel Edwards is holding a meeting with business and industry leaders to devise a plan for addressing a looming $1.3 billion fiscal cliff when temporary taxes expire in 2018. Jeremy Alford of LaPolitics.com says the governor is looking to hear from the business community what types of policy changes may be palatable, specifically tax increases. He suspects the governor is looking for a starting point.
New Orleans officials say the roughly 10 inches of rain that fell on Saturday was too much for the city’s pump stations to handle. Executive Director of the Sewerage and Water Board Cedric Grant says the pumps were running at full capacity, despite the rising flood waters. The system is designed to pump out one inch of water in the first hour and half an inch for each subsequent hour.
Authorities in Natchitoches Parish announced yesterday a body found under a Natchitoches Parish bridge Sunday has been tentatively identified as 31-year-old Anthony Rainey. Rainey has been the subject of a missing person’s case in Red River Parish since July 31. Officials now are investigating the death as a homicide.
Small business owners impacted by the 2016 floods are not completing the flood recovery survey as quickly as state officials had hoped. Lasonta Davenport with the Office of Community Development says only 423 businesses have completed the survey that will help shape the small business loan program. The survey is online at restore.la.gov.
Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser says the inaugural Flambeau Fest coming to Ascension Parish is another example of how tourism is alive and well in the Bayou State. He says the October 7 and 8 shows could begin another tradition that one day attracts visitors the way Jazzfest and Bayou Country Superfest do.
LSU will give some members of the faculty and staff a raise in the fall semester. The school is giving each department a 3-percent merit pay raise pool and each department head will determine how the raises will dispersed. University President F. King Alexander said in a letter that this is an effort to keep and attract quality talent to LSU.
West Baton Rouge officials have reportedly recovered a body from the Intracoastal Canal. The body was discovered by kids on a wave board who contacted authorities. Cause of dead has not yet been determined. The male body has not been identified, but the sheriff says it’s possible it could be one of the suspects wanted for an aggravated kidnapping in Lafayette. The kidnapped woman was reportedly found safe in Baton Rouge early yesterday.
A Sabine parish mother facing a murder charge after her two-year-old drowned and then tested positive for methamphetamine. Authorities say 23-year-old Christina Rivers’ son Mason was found in a neighbors Jacuzzi in June. She reportedly told authorities she left her son alone for a brief time, but autopsy confirmed he was in the hot tub for at least an hour.
Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser is hoping to get more tourists to visit the rural areas of the Bayou State. That’s why he’s scheduled meetings in small Louisiana towns to find the best way to promote local attractions. He says these rural areas don’t always have the money or expertise to market their town. Meetings will be held in Tallulah, Opelousas, Houma, and Hammond. Nungesser has already started promoting the rural areas of the state with the Louisiana Trails and Byways, which seeks to motivate travelers to take the backroads and see what the state has to offer. Nungesser says with more direct international flights into New Orleans, they need to find a way to get those visitors out of the big cities and into other parts of the state
Congress has recessed for the summer and many lawmakers are disappointed not much was accomplished. U.S Senator John Kennedy believes some good was done with the approval of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. But he says his biggest disappointment was the failing to repeal and replace Obamacare by one vote. He says in the fall, Congress has a lot of work to accomplish.
LSU made the top 20 in Forbes’ annual list of colleges that dominate athletically and academically. Stanford came in at No. 1.
USA Today has released its 2017 conference projections, and Coach O and LSU are expected to have a great season. The Tigers are picked second in the West, with a projected 10-2 overall record and 6-2 conference record.
Louisiana Tech is picked to win the C-USA West with a 8-4 overall record and 6-2 in conference.
UL-Lafayette got 7th place in the Sun Belt with a projected 5-7 record overall, and 4-4 in conference action.
News for Monday 080717
By Dave Graichen
A 20-year-old Alexandria man has been arrested on charges of second degree murder in connection to the fatal shooting a 29-year-old man Friday. Police say Desmond Harris was found by police at around 7 p.m. Friday, after they responded to a shooting that took place just before 2 in the afternoon. Bond for Harris has been set at $1 million.
Authorities in Natchitoches Parish are working to identify a body that was found under a bridge Sunday afternoon. Authorities say it appears the body had been there for several days.
State police say a DeRidder man had been issued his 4th DWI after he caused a crash while driving with a toddler in his car Saturday on Interstate 210 between Sulphur and Lake Charles. Brandon Fowler, who had his 2-year-old child in the vehicle with him, showed signs of impairment after he side swiped another vehicle.
With some New Orleans neighborhoods seeing 8 to 10 inches of rain falling in just a few hours Saturday the rainfall overwhelmed the ability of the City’s 24 pump stations to keep up, though all were operating, city officials said Sunday. The neighborhoods of Lakeview, Gentilly, Mid City and Treme were hit the hardest. City officials warn of more potential flooding in storms forecasted for today.
Today is the 90th birthday of former four-term Governor Edwin Edwards and he’s still going strong. During an appearance on Talk Louisiana, Edwards credits his long life to good genes, as two of his grandparents lived to be over 100-years-old. The Silver Fox says he’s lived a blessed and wonderful life. A birthday bash for the former governor is planned for August 12th at the Renaissance Hotel in Baton. The Cajun Prince has five children and has been married three times.
The state Department of Health reminding parents to make sure their kids are up to date on their vaccinations as the new school year approaches. LDH Immunization director Doctor Frank Welch says students entering sixth grade also need a meningitis vaccine. Louisiana law requires children age four or older entering kindergarten, pre-k or Head Start programs to receive vaccines for polio, measles, mumps, hepatitis and chicken pox.
More students are getting their education at home instead of traditional classrooms. According to the state department of education, 26,000 students are homeschooled, while 4,000 more are enrolled in online charter schools. About 9,000 more students studied at home in 2016 than in 2010.
Two years from today, candidates will be qualifying for the governor’s race. So who will challenge Governor John Bel Edwards? Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat says Republicans are waiting to see what US Senator John Kennedy will do. Kennedy is 65-years-old and Pinsonat says if Kennedy wants to run for governor, it’s now or never.
If Kennedy doesn’t run, Pinsonat says Edwards’ chances of reelection look better. He says several congressmen, like Garret Graves, could raise plenty of campaign dollars, but he expects the back up front runner for the GOP would be Attorney General Jeff Landry.
President Donald Trump has nominated state Judge Terry Doughty of Rayville and Lafayette attorney Michael Juneau as federal judges in the Western District of Louisiana. There are now four vacancies in that district now that Patricia Minaldi retired to seek treatment for alcoholism.
The state legislative auditor has started an investigation into the East Baton Rouge Mayor-President’s office. There are allegations Sharon Weston-Broome’s administration misused federal grant money for a crime-fighting program. U.S. Senator John Kennedy also wants more information from the mayor’s office on this subject.
The hurricane forecast team at Colorado State increased their storm prediction total by one and now anticipate 11 named storms for the remainder of the season. State Climatologist Barry Keim says the total number of storms has been increased to 16. He says this isn’t a big change but it still shows conditions are conducive for an active season. The forecast says eight of those eleven storms will become hurricanes.
The LSU Athletic Hall of Fame Committee will honor football legend Dr. Billy Cannon with a statue on the Baton Rouge campus. Cannon hopes the statue looks like he did in his glory days, young with a lot of hair. Cannon won the university’s only Heisman in 1959.
News for Friday 080417
By Dave Graichen
The trial of a man accused in a fatal DWI crash last December that killed a child has been set for November. Keaton Spurlin pled not guilty Thursday during a pretrial conference in the 9th Judicial District Court. Spurlin is charged with DWI, vehicular homicide, five counts of vehicular negligent injury, having an open container, careless operation, running a stop sign and not wearing a seat belt. The deadly accident occurred on Dec. 28, 2016, near the intersection of Bayou Rapides Road and Vandenburg Drive. Authorities say Keaton hit the rear of a van carrying six members of a family coming home from church.
Parents stocking up on back-to-school supplies can save a few dollars this weekend during the annual sales tax holiday. Byron Henderson with the state Department of Revenue says most purchases are only subject to three percent of the state sales tax this Friday and Saturday.
National Federation of Independent Business State Director Dawn Starns says she hopes small businesses will see an increase in business but it was more beneficial for retailers when the law allowed for tax free weekend. She says they hope legislators will one day change it back so consumers can have a couple of days to purchase items tax free.
A federal lawsuit filed in Baton Rouge alleges two Orleans Parish inmates were kept in jail for five months after their sentences were served. Attorney Emily Washington with the Macarthur Justice Center says both men, in jail on a first offense, were eligible for release in August 2016, but they stayed in the River Bend Detention Center in Lake Providence until January of this year. Washington says officials knew these men were supposed to be released, but they took no action to do so.
The body of a 7-year-old boy was found in Shreveport yesterday, after he was swept away in a storm drain on Tuesday. The little boy was last seen playing near a ditch just before heavy rains began.
US Senator John Kennedy sent a letter to East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston-Broome about misuse of federal dollars. Kennedy says the BRAVE funds are meant to reduce crime and support police, but instead they’re going to people like Arthur Silky Slim Reed, who recently said justice was served when a gunman killed three police officers. A spokeswoman for Mayor’s Office said the mayor received the letter and “will be in communication with the senator.”
Four teenagers connected to the shooting death of a 61-year-old Walker man are in the Livingston Parish jail today after they were arrested in Texas. Rick McBride was fatally shot in his home when two individuals attempted to steal money and guns from him on July 23rd. A fifth person and possible gunman was also arrested in late July.
Crawfish have been found in Michigan and that state’s Department of Natural Resources is not happy. They say the red swamp crayfish damage earthen structures and compete aggressively for food and habitat, disrupting the food chain for many species in the water. Crawfish are extremely fertile and can lay up to 600 eggs at a time and reproduce twice a year. That means, there could be the chance of a Red Swamp Crayfish population becoming established in Michigan.
News for Thursday 080317
By Dave Graichen
One person is dead and a Red River Parish Sheriff’s deputy was injured during a shootout at a home south of Coushatta Wednesday morning. A state police spokesperson says the deputy was transported to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries, while the male suspect died at the hospital. The deputy visited the home in reference to a welfare concern.
The APD reports a Pineville woman has been arrested after she left a voicemail threatening to kill everyone at a local advocacy group. 74-year-old Charlotte Webb, left a lengthy voicemail with the group's office that included "multiple, profane threats of killing everyone in the office." Webb was booked into the Rapides Parish Detention center, but was later released on a property bond.
The Alexandria Police Department now is asking residents of the Good Earth subdivision to check their vehicles and report anything that might have been stolen.
Police say a homeowner detained a burglary suspect for police after he woke up to find a man inside his truck. The suspect, one of three charged after being captured early Tuesday, later was found to have a suspected stolen gun and ammunition in his backpack.
22-year-old Tyler Alexander of Alexandria was arrested yesterday after he led APD officers on a short chase. Authorities say Alexander was jealous that his girlfriend gave someone a ride and reacted by kidnapped her. Police found Alexander hiding under a shed. Alexander was booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center, charged with disturbing the peace, domestic abuse battery and a long list of other charges.
After posting racial comments on Facebook, the Assistant Police Chief in the Acadia Parish town of Estherwood has resigned. Welsh referred to Muslim women as trash bags and posted racially charged memes.
Membership has been announced for a task force that will examine the 350-million dollar TOPS scholarship program for the first time since it was established 20 years ago. Jennings Senator Blade Morrish will chair the committee. He says the panel consists of an array of lawmakers representing both parties and all corners of the state.
The task force’s first meeting is September 6
Baton Rouge police arrest a 42-year-old man for the stabbing death of his 41-year-old ex-girlfriend. Sara Hernandez was found dead in her Baton Rouge home on Sunday. Sergeant Don Coppola says detectives quickly learned Miquel Angel Lopez was their main suspect and they learned he suffered injuries during the attack. Authorities believe Lopez stayed with Hernandez’s body 10 to 14 hours before fleeing the scene.
Citing money problems, The Salvation Army homeless shelter in Monroe, the only one in the area, will close later this month. Spokesperson Jon Kalahar says church services and weekly prayer meetings will continue, and so will basic social services. About 30 homeless people sleep at the shelter every night.
This year’s “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico is the biggest one yet. LSU scientist Nancy Rabalais says the oxygen-depleted region is about 8,800 square miles, which is about the size of New Jersey. She says many of the stations, especially those close to the shore, were close to no oxygen. Rabalais says the area may actually be even bigger, but they had to stop mapping before reaching the western edge.
U.S District Judge Patricia Minaldi of Lake Charles is retiring. The federal judge took a medical leave in December to receive alcoholism treatment. According to court records, Minaldi’s drinking got so bad that a colleague asked the court to rule she cannot take care of herself. Minaldi said a few months ago that her alcoholism didn’t impact the outcome of her cases.
Officials with the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office say the body of 13-year-old Jarrett Varnado of Franklinton was recovered from Gray’s Creek. Officials say the boy was swimming when he disappeared below the water.
The massive construction project on Bourbon Street is two months behind schedule. New Orleans Public Works Director Mark Jernigan blames a rainy June and the exact location of almost all the utility lines underneath the historic street were either missing or inaccurately depicted on their plans. It might be until Halloween before all of the work is completed.
News for Wednesday 080217
By Dave Graichen
The Town Talk reports a deal should be in place soon to turn over management of the Rapides Parish Coliseum to a private company. The Police Jury voted Tuesday to authorize a group of legal counsel Greg Upton, jurors Craig Smith and Joe Bishop and parish Treasurer Bruce Kelly to negotiate a contract with SMG to manage the Coliseum.
Since the Police Jury recently agreed to the broad strokes of a deal with SMG, a contract is expected to be quickly presented to jurors for final approval. SMG executives hope to officially take over management by Sept. 1.
Louisiana’s domestic abuse laws now include dating partners, as a new law took effect yesterday. Previously these abusers could only be charged with simple battery, but the new law creates the crime of battery of a dating partner.
LSU says they may have found a new live mascot at a sanctuary in Florida. Ginger Guttner with the LSU Vet School says the prospect is a nine-month-old, 160 pound male tiger. Guttner a major renovation project on the school’s Tiger habitat is nearing competition. She says if LSU gets the Tiger, it will be donated by the rescue facility, so no cost to the university.
The resident of the third home to be completed under the Restore Louisiana program is about to be home. Lillie Gumm of Baton Rouge was one of the first people to complete the flood recovery survey at restore.la.gov. She says throughout this ordeal, she’s learned about taking deep breaths. Money from the homeowner assistance program first went to the elderly, disabled and low-income individuals.
The author of the failed gasoline tax increase proposal says the state needs to look at other ways to repair the state’s decrepit roads and bridges. Baton Rouge Representative Steve Carter recommended a 17-cent gas tax hike, but the support was not there in the legislature. Carter says next year’s session is general and no tax bills can be filed. The following year is a fiscal session, but taxes are unlikely to pass during an election year. He says until lawmakers find a way to fund the state’s growing infrastructure needs, the problems will only get worse.
Two Minnesota teens are well on their way to becoming the youngest team to kayak the entire Mississippi River. Matt Rens and Jesse Richard are paddling through the Bayou. The pair has raised a little over 4-thousand dollars to help fund cleaner water in a village in a third world country.
Colorado authorities say a Baton Rouge area fire captain committed suicide in Durango, Colorado. The coroner says 48-year-old Rudi Shoats died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Shoats was wanted in Mississippi for fatally shooting his wife. 45-year-old Khristie Rollins Shoats was found dead in a vehicle outside her in Woodville, Mississippi on Sunday.
More and more women are heading to court, as the American Bar Association finds an uptick in the number of female attorneys. Women account for 35 percent of lawyers in the state, a 7 percent jump since 2004. President of the Louisiana State Bar Association, Dona Renegar (Doh-na, not Donna) credits a more accommodating environment for female attorneys with family responsibilities. Baton Rouge is slightly ahead of the national average with females representing 38 percent of attorneys in the city.
A survey finds most parents’ believe their children are performing better than what their test scores actually show. Nine in 10 parents believe their children are at or above grade level, but data shows the number is really closer to one-third. Public Relations Chair for the Louisiana PTA Stacey Simpson says with the school year about to start, review your student’s test results and to help improve your child’s academic achievement make sure you stay involved. For a full list of the Super 5 Back-to-School Power Moves visit be a learning hero.org
During a question and answer session with season ticket holders, Jets safety and former LSU Tiger Jamal Adams said the football field is a perfect place to die. Adams made the comment after he was asked about player safety. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was part of the Q-and-A session.
LSU Quarterback Danny Etlin says he feels a lot better than he did in the spring. Etling underwent a back procedure earlier this year and the senior from Indiana says he’s close to 100-percent…
News for Tuesday 080117
By Dave Graichen
Six people have been charged with helping an Alexandria man after he escaped from the Rapides Parish Courthouse last week. 37 year old Kenneth Johnson was captured two days later in Lafayette after a traffic stop. All six were charged with being an accessory after the fact, criminal conspiracy and obstruction of justice. Two were also charged with parole violations.
A new law takes effect today that seeks to curb the litter problem in Louisiana. It lowers the fine for littering from $1,000 to $900. Fines for littering were doubled in 2015, which triggered jury trial provisions that made enforcement less likely. However, the new law doubles the amount of community service time for a new offender.
Other laws set to go into effect today…Children can bring sunscreen to school without a doctor’s note. An unmarried minor seeking an abortion will not only need a notarized note from their guardian, but proof of identity as well. And portions of Governor John Bel Edwards’ criminal justice reform package takes effect.
Drivers should no longer receive speeding tickets in the mail from hidden speed cameras thanks to a new law that goes into effect today. New Orleans Senator Troy Carter’s legislation requires signs to be posted ahead of speed enforcement camera in order to collect on the fine. He says if the goal of these cameras is really to stop speeders, municipalities should have no problem posting warning signs.
U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy met with White House officials Monday afternoon to discuss proposals to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Politico reports the Cassidy-Graham proposal would maintain protections for individuals with pre-exisiting conditions, keep most of the taxes connected to the Affordable Care Act, send federal health care funds to states in block grants, but end the requirement all Americans must buy health insurance or pay a tax.
The U.S Environmental Protection Agency has proposed adding the American Creosote Deridder, an environmentally contaminated site in Deridder, to the Superfund National Priorities Site. Greg Langley with the state Department of Environmental Quality says once this Beauregard Parish site is added to the list, it’s in line to receive federal funding that can go towards cleanup efforts. The state currently has 27 other Superfund sites.
Most juvenile killers will no longer be eligible to receive life sentences without the chance for parole, as a new law goes into effect today. Baton Rouge Senator Dan Claitor says the law was needed because the US Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that murderers convicted as juveniles could not be sentenced to life without parole. Claitor notes that just because a lifer is given a chance for parole, it doesn’t mean they will be released.
A former Livingston Parish teacher admits to having a sexual relationship with a teen student. 33-year-old Lynsie Pendarvis was arrested last June when police discovered her relationship with a 15-year-old student at Walker Freshman High School. District Attorney Scott Perrilloux says Pendarvis pleaded guilty to all charges. Pendarvis received a five-year-prison sentence, which was suspended and she must register as a sex offender for 15 years.
It was a deadly weekend in Baton Rouge. Sgt. Don Coppola with the Baton Rouge Police Department says two teens were killed when a drug deal went wrong on Sunday evening. He says a woman was also found stabbed to death in a home on Sunday morning.
A school teacher from the Baton Rouge area and a principal from Acadiana are the Louisiana State Teacher and Principal of the Year, which is awarded annually by the state Department of Education. Kimberly Eckert, a 9th grade English teacher at Brusly High School in West Baton Rouge, received the teacher of the year honor. This fall, Eckert will enter her 10th year of teaching. Tommy Byler, the principal of North Vermilion High School, received the honor of Principal of the Year. Byler has been in education for 26-years.
News for Monday 073117
By Dave Graichen
The investigation is ongoing into the death of a female inmate at the Rapides Parish Detention Center 1 Saturday morning. Authorities say 59 year old Rachel Smith was discovered, shortly before 4am, unresponsive in a cell. Investigating deputies determined Smith was killed as a result of an altercation with 35 year old Nicole Chandler. Chandler was booked for second degree murder.
Here’s an amazing statistic. A gun is stolen from a private owner every 67 minutes in Louisiana, according to the Center for American Progress. The non-profit’s Vice President of Guns and Crime Policy, Chelsea Parsons says data from the FBI finds from 2012 to 2016, 718 guns were stolen from firearms dealers in the state. But, it gets worse. Between 2012 and 2015, 31-thousand guns were stolen from individuals in Louisiana.
Claiborne Parish authorities say a prisoner abducted and fatally stabbed the assistant wardens stepdaughter after walking away from a work assignment last Thursday. Sheriff Ken Bailey says the inmate’s life eventually ended during a standoff on prison property. The prisoner, 39-year-old Deltra Henderson, was serving time for different offenses including aggravated burglary. The victim has been identified as 19-year-old Amanda Carney.
US Senator John Kennedy says a failed vote to repeal Obamacare is a loss for the American people. But the Louisiana Budget Project is relieved because they say it would have jeopardized the healthcare many Louisianans depend on. It’s unclear what direction healthcare discussions will take from here.
Beginning tomorrow, smoking will no longer be permitted at bars in Lafayette, as a ban approved by the city-parish council goes into effect. CEO of the Smoking Cessation Trust Mike Rogers calls the new ordinance a victory. He hopes this will help more people kick their smoking habit. Opponents to the ban call it government overreach. But Rogers says as more and more smoking bans are enacted around the state, they’re seeing more smokers put down their packs. Lafayette is the 11th Louisiana city to ban smoking in bars.
The Mermentau Police Chief has been charged with theft and malfeasance in office after allegedly making illegal withdrawals from the police association’s bank account. State Trooper Brooks David says they will hold Chief Amos Crader accountable for his crimes. Crader was booked into the Acadia Parish Jail on three counts of theft and three counts of malfeasance.
SWEPCO plans to use wind energy to provide power to its customers in northwest and central Louisiana. Company spokesperson Scott McCloud says SWEPCO will own 14-hundred megawatts from a wind farm currently under construction in Oklahoma. He says this project will save all SWEPCO customers more than $5 billion over the 25 year life of the windfarm.
A federal appeals court has ruled a Louisiana inmate can keep his dreadlocks as part of his faith. Christopher Ware, who is serving a 40-year sentence for sexual battery, took a vow not to cut his hair to adhere to the Rastafari religion. A three-judge appellate panel said the department of corrections policies, as applied to Ware, violates federal law.
Another LSU football season is underway as the Tigers have reported for preseason camp and they’ll practice for the first time today. Ed Orgeron is beginning his first full season as the head coach.
News for Friday 072817
By Dave Graichen
Jared Lee Nelson, a Rapides inmate on a work crew who walked away on Wednesday morning in the Sieper area, has been recaptured after a search with helicopters. The RPSO says He was found in a pasture off La. Highway 121.
Over 65-hundred students who took Advanced Placement Tests this year scored well enough to earn college course credit. State Superintendent of Education John White says that’s a 10-percent increase from last year and a 137-percent increase from 2012.. White says black students have made great strides in AP credits, with a 17 percent increase in students who earned college credits. On the down side, only 19 percent of Advanced Placement exams given in Rapides Parish last year earned high enough scores for students to be awarded credit by Louisiana colleges.
The Catholic Diocese of Alexandria announced Thursday the principal of Holy Savior Menard High School in Alexandria has resigned. Joel Desselle, who has served as Menard's principal and head football coach since 2007, has accepted a job as assistant principal at Marksville High School in Avoyelles Parish. Dwayne Lemoine, who was recently hired as assistant principal at Menard, will serve as acting principal during the search for a new leader.
Saints and Pelicans Owners Tom and Gayle Benson are getting into the beer business as they’ve announced the purchase of Dixie Brewing Company. Hurricane Katrina destroyed the brewery that once made Dixie Beer, but the plan is to get the New Orleans brewery up and running again.
UL-Lafayette had a statewide economic impact of $379 million in FY-15, according to a study by the New York-based consulting firm Appleseed. University president Dr. Joseph Savoie says the college offers about a 7 to 1 return on investment for the state.
Savoie hopes this will help higher education leaders make the case for increased state funding during difficult budget times. He says the university contributes to the economy in a variety of ways, from employing nearly two thousand people to buying local.
The Cajun music community is saddened over the death of D.L. Menard who has passed away at the age of 85. Executive Director of the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame, Mike Shepherd, says Menard was known as the Cajun Hank Williams. His hit “The Back Door” has sold over half a million copies.
It will be a fun-filled weekend across the Bayou State, as events are taking place in both north and south Louisiana. In Grand Isle, the Tarpon Rodeo is underway. Event president Barry Kern says it’s the oldest fishing tournament in the country in its 89th year. In north Louisiana, the 54th annual Farmerville Watermelon Festival kicks off.
One teen is dead and another was injured after being struck by a suspected drunk driver while walking on LA 784 in Red River Parish. State Police say 19-year-old Lacy Ross sustained minor injuries, and 17-year-old Rachel Barnette was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver 47-year-old Kenneth Morse was charged in the incident.
Two Capitol Special Agents and three officers from Alexandria, Virginia Police received the Medal of Valor for their bravery during the shooting spree that occurred while House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and others were at a park on June 14th. The Medal of Valor is the highest national award a public safety officer can receive.
New ULM athletics director Nick Floyd laid out his vision for the department Thursday during his introductory press conference. He takes over a program that is known as the lowest funded in the country out of the 128 FBS schools. Floyd says running a program with the highest degree of integrity is his number one priority.
There is a lot of talk this week about a new study which found brain damage in 99 percent of participating former NFL players. The report says CTE occurs after repeated blows to the head, and it causes things like memory loss, depression, and dementia. But Tulane Institute of Sports Medicine director Dr. Greg Stewart believes the report is a stretch. The Tulane Institute of Sports Medicine is one of only four medical facilities in the nation chosen to take care of the physical and mental health of former pro-players. Stewart says one of the things they’ve seen is that once a player leaves the league and isn’t playing anymore, they stop taking care of themselves physically and mentally.
News for Thursday 072717
By Dave Graichen
The Grant Parish Sheriff’s office reports a man and woman were found dead Tuesday in a Montgomery home. It’s believe 61 year old Ray Brown Killed 42 year old Rachel Flanagan and then turned the gun on himself. Officials say autopsies will be performed.
Sammy Truck Auto Plaza and Casino in Bunkie was robbed early Tuesday morning. The FBI reports 4 armed masked men entered the facility just before 3am. Two of them pointed the guns at customers and demanded their wallets the other two kicked and broke a window that separated the casino floor from the teller's cage, making off with most of the money from the cash drawer. The good news is nobody was injured. A reward of up to $5,000 is offered for information leading to arrests and indictments in the case.
Good news regarding House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who was shot in the hip on June 14th. The Congressman, who represents much of southeast Louisiana, has been discharged from MedStar Washington Hospital and he’ll begin a period of intensive inpatient rehabilitation, once completed, he can return to work.
West Nile activity is picking up in Louisiana as the state Office of Public Health says seven individuals have been diagnosed with the mosquito borne disease this month. Three cases have been reported in the Baton Rouge area and the others are in in Bossier, Ouachita, Rapides and Morehouse. Two deaths were reported from the West Nile Virus in 2016 and so far none have been reported this year.
Transgendered people will no longer be able to serve in the military after an announcement from President Trump. Richland Parish Congressman Ralph Abraham says this change makes sense. He says if someone decides to undergo a gender transformation surgery while enlisted, it could hinder their service to the military. But the ACLU of Louisiana says this is clear discrimination.
A Gallup poll finds 51 percent of Louisiana voters approve of the president’s job performance. LSU political science professor Robert Hogan says that’s not surprising since Mr. Trump carried Louisiana in the election with a whopping 58 percent.
A vote from the Public Service Commission means Entergy Louisiana customers will have upgraded meters at their homes by 2021. Entergy spokesperson Greg Guilbeau says customers will be notified when crews will change their meters, but they should not see a noticeable disruption in service. Guilbeau says Entergy will start installing the new meters in 2019. He says this new technology will also help with outage detection. Cleco customers have had the, so called, smart meters for several years.
A 10 and 12 year old are facing charges after they allegedly robbed a wireless store in Shreveport. Corporal Marcus Hines says video shows the youngsters breaking into the store on Monday night and taking phones and they returned again on Tuesday night.
All of the stolen items were recovered.
US Senator John Kennedy has filed amendments to the healthcare bill that would require abled bodied adults without children to work in order to receive Medicaid. The amendment would exclude people under age 19, those who participate in addiction treatment programs, and young adults in school and work training programs.
Today, LSU head football Coach Ed Orgeron told the Baton Rouge Rotary Club quarterback Danny Etling will have to earn the job during preseason camp, which starts next week. He says the other quarterbacks on the roster will have a chance, including incoming freshman Myles Brennan.
Former LSU Tiger Booger McFarland will be seen this fall on ABC as an in-studio analyst. McFarland has been working at the SEC Network since 2014.
Can the Saints return to the playoffs this year? For the last three years, the Black and Gold have finished with a record of 7-and-9. Coach Sean Payton says he likes the additions they’ve made on defense and they are deep in the secondary, which should help out their offense. Payton says there’s a lot of work ahead for this team, because they play in a tough division and the beginning of the schedule is difficult.
News for Wednesday 072617
By Dave Graichen
A seven year old boy was found dead in Winnsboro Monday night after he was apparently electrocuted by his neighbor’s fence. Franklin Parish Sheriff Kevin Cobb says the parents of Brandon McFarland reported him missing after he was last seen playing in his front yard. Authorities say McFarland tried to cross the fence to get his ball and was then electrocuted. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital. It appears the neighbor had electrified the fence because he was trying to prevent his dog from digging underneath it.
As Congress is set to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance program in September, the Natural Resources Defense Council is urging a shift to moving homeowners to a safer area rather than rebuilding properties that repeatedly flood. Rob Moore with the NRDC says they recommend that the National Flood Insurance Program provides homeowners a guaranteed buyout if they no longer want to rebuild. Louisiana leads the country for the number of repeated flooded properties.
The U.S. Senate is gearing up to debate the healthcare plan to replace Obamacare. Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy proposed several amendments to the GOP replacement bill, with little support. UL-Lafayette Political Science Professor Pearson Cross says as a doctor, Cassidy understands the risks of taking away health insurance. Senator John Kennedy has proudly stated he will vote to repeal the ACA even without a replacement.
Alabama Congressman Mo Brooks’ campaign ad using audio from the shooting that injured House Majority Whip Steve Scalise is making waves. Political analyst Silas Lee says Brooks might lose some middle of the road voters from this. The ad touts Brooks’ support for the second amendment. Scalise’s chief of staff tweeted that Brooks’ ad makes his stomach turn.
An LSU study found the NBA All-Star game in February brought nearly 45 million dollars to the state. Co-author of the report Dr. Stephen Barnes says their report shows that local and state government should the necessary resources to attract big events like this to the Bayou State.
More people than ever are lying on resumes to get a job. According to a CareerBuilder survey, 85 percent of employers caught applicants fibbing on their resumes or application, up from just 66 percent five years ago. UNO business professor Mark Rosa blames a competitive job market. Rosa says some applicants may only embellish a little bit, like adding a few years to their experience, while others go as far as to make diplomas from fake universities. But he says employers are getting better at catching them, because most things on a resume are verifiable. Rosa says the internet is helping employers weed out untruthful applicants, which increases the risk of getting caught.
Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand announced his retirement Tuesday and will become a talk show host for WWL Radio in New Orleans. Normand has been a law enforcement officer since 1977 and is excited about his new career. Normand will replace Garland Robinette, who is also retiring.
A new startup out of Lafayette called Short and Fat offers more clothing options to men with a different build. Co-founder Jeff Martin says men who are “vertically challenged and horizontally blessed” have to resort to shopping at big and tall stores. But they often end up trading one solution for more problems, like trying to find a shirt that fits around the neck. Short and Fat has a $15,000 goal on Kickstarter that Martin says will help them launch their own website.
The Saints look to get back to the playoffs this season as they report for training camp. The New Orleans franchise has finished 7-and-9, the last three seasons. And NFL analyst Mike Detillier projects the Saints will once again be solid on offense with Quarterback Drew Brees at the helm. One of the big off-season additions was the signing of future Hall of Fame running back Adrian Peterson. Detillier says hopefully this means head coach Sean Payton will be more committed to the running game this year.
News for Tuesday 072517
By Dave Graichen
Gas prices are about 10 cents higher now than they were this time last year. That’s according to Don Redman with AAA, who says prices will continue to climb as we get closer to Labor Day. He says refineries are struggling to keep up with record high demand. The statewide average is about $2.08 a gallon.
In a move that doesn’t surprise many in the Capital City, Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie has announced his plans to retire immediately. Newly elected Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome promised a new top cop, in the hopes of easing tensions between the community and police following the shooting of Alton Sterling. The Mayor has talked about firing Dabadie since she was elected, but civil service laws prevented her from doing so. Broome named Lt. Johnathan Dunnam as interim and says he is not going to apply for the permanent position.
New Orleans and Baton Rouge are among the most segregated cities in the nation, according to a report from 24/7 Wall Street. New Orleans came in at number six on the list, and Baton Rouge ranked thirteenth. Editor-In-Chief Doug McIntyre says in both Baton Rouge and New Orleans, the black poverty rate is roughly 30 percent, while the white poverty rate is only about 10 percent. In New Orleans, about 43 percent of the black population lives in black neighborhoods, compared to 32 percent in Baton Rouge.
A plane crash in Union Parish has claimed the life of a 73-year-old man from Monroe. Sheriff Dusty Gates says David Lockard’s small, private plane crashed into Lake D’Arbonne yesterday afternoon. The Federal Aviation Administration is one site, trying to determine a cause for the crash.
Calcasieu Parish authorities make an arrest in the 2009 murder of 19-year-old Sierra Bouziard. Her body was found on the side of the road in Moss Bluff. Sheriff Tony Mancuso says 31-year-old Blake Russel was taken into custody today after police work and DNA technology helped connect him to Bouziard’s murder. Russel was charged with second-degree murder.
The Acadia Parish Sheriff’s Office says an arrest has been made in a fatal hit and run crash in Rayne. They say 42-year-old Ivy Roger had been charged with driving while intoxicated five times before, and was booked last night after hitting a bicyclist and fleeing the scene of the crash. The victim, 61-year-old Ricky Joyner, died at the scene.
A veteran New Orleans Police officer has been shot for the third time in his career. Authorities say Christopher Abbott is recovering from a gunshot wound to the leg. He was in uniform working off-duty private security patrol when someone from a dark SUV fired one shot at him. The search is on for the shooter.
USA Today’s Dan Wolken says former LSU head coach Les Miles is extremely interested in the head coaching vacancy at Ole Miss. Miles has reportedly made his interests known to influential Ole Miss boosters.
National watchdog, Stop Animal Exploitation Now, believes the 100-thousand dollar fine against the University of Louisiana at Lafayette for animal abuse at its New Iberia research center does not go far enough. This is the fifth largest fine levied against a laboratory in the U.S. University spokesperson Kathleen Thames released a statement saying these incidents occurred as part of routine housing and care of nonhuman primates. But animal rights experts disagree, as there are multiple occurrences of monkeys being neglected or killed.
The state Department of Environmental Quality will distribute 12 million dollars from the Volkswagen settlement to projects proposed by public agencies that offer long term benefits to the community. Thursday is the last day to submit a proposal.
News for Monday 072417
By Dave Graichen
State Police report a single vehicle crash claimed the lives of two people early Sunday morning on LA 112 when the driver lost control, left the highway and struck some trees. Troopers say the vehicle burst into flames. The identities of both occupants are being withheld, at this time, pending positive identification by DNA analysis. It is unknown, at this time, if seat belts were used by the occupants or if the driver was impaired.
The investigation remains ongoing.
A former Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office lieutenant was officially indicted Friday after a July 2016 arrest for soliciting prostitutes, as well as other charges. An investigation revealed Stacy Bender, likely on duty at the time, had an ongoing relationship with a prostitute. Bender pleaded not guilty Friday to six counts of malfeasance in office, two counts of solicitation of prostitution, two counts of inciting prostitution, two counts of unlawful use of criminal records and one count of obstruction of justice.
More than two thousand soldiers from Fort Polk will complete anti-terrorism operations during a deployment to Iraq this fall. Base spokesperson Kim Reischling says 60 percent of the base will deploy, leaving less than two thousand men and women of the combat team on the base. The 3rd Brigade Team has trained for this deployment for the past year.
Data from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics shows Louisiana has added nearly 21-thousand jobs since June 2016 and the unemployment rate is down to a three-year low. State officials say Lake Charles continues to be the fastest growing job market with an increase in 55-hundred jobs over the last year. Baton Rouge, Monroe and New Orleans also saw job gains over the last year.
Louisiana’s FastStart workforce training program has been named the best in the nation by Business Facilities magazine for a record eight years in a row. Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson says this can help LED bring more companies to the Bayou State. Business Facilities also ranked Louisiana third for infrastructure, seventh for cost of doing business, ninth for exports and economic growth potential, and tenth for industrial electricity rates.
The US has reached an agreement with China that will allow Louisiana and other states to export rice to China for the first time. Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain expects Louisiana farmers will benefit from the new trade agreement. The US Department of Agriculture predicts China will import 5 million tons of rice in 2017 and 2018.
A poll on the State Treasurer’s race finds it to be a wide open contest. The October 14th election features three well-funded Republicans, Angele Davis, Neil Riser and John Schroder. JMC Analytics pollster John Couvillon says the GOP candidates are polling in the high single digits. There is a major Democrat in the race, New Orleans attorney Derrick Edwards. Couvillon says in the horse race portion of the survey, Edwards polled at 18-percent, which is higher than the three GOP candidates. Couvillon says the biggest number from his poll is the undecided, which is at 60-percent…
State Police report two Shreveport business owners have been arrested in connection to a multi-state human trafficking investigation. After receiving a call from the Missouri State Police alerting authorities, the owners the Palm Massage were arrested after police found evidence indicating that Chinese women were trafficked from the east coast to Louisiana and forced to work.
Multiple agencies are investigating a fire in St. Tammany Parish in which a woman’s body was discovered. It was initially believed Nanette Krentel died in the fire, but autopsy shows she actually died of a gunshot wound. The investigation by both the sheriff’s office and the state fire marshal’s office is heating up, as Krentel is the wife of the local fire chief.
The Department of Children and Family Services launches a program aimed at improving the foster care system. On any given day, there are more than 4,000 Louisiana children in foster care. DCFS Secretary Marketa Garner Walters says they want to raise expectations for foster parents and caregivers through the new Quality Parenting Initiative. Walters says this initiative is about allowing foster parents to act more as parents instead of temporary caregivers, while expecting more of those foster parents.
News for Friday 072117
By Dave Graichen
A Vernon pan has been indicted on charges of obstruction of justice and second-degree cruelty to a juvenile. 35 year old Rodney Bailey Jr is believed to be responsible for the death of 2 year old Willow Rain Molina-Renteria whom he was babysitting earlier this year. The child’s mother came home to find her daughter and Bailey, the babysitter, missing. The girl's body was found the next day in a remote area of Beauregard Parish, after Bailey had been taken into custody.
Governor John Bel Edwards has written a letter to House Speaker Taylor Barras that says now is the time to discuss proposals to address the loss of over one-billion dollars in revenue that will expire July 1st, 2018. The governor suggests Barras form a working group of Republicans and Democrats. The governor also says he plans to hold meetings across the state to discuss how to address the fiscal cliff.
Lt. Bruce Simmons is back to work at the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office, just over a year after being shot in the police ambush. Casey Rayborn Hicks with the sheriff’s office says Sheriff Sid Gautreaux welcomed Simmons back by promoting him from sergeant to lieutenant and his fellow deputies gave him a standing ovation.
A lawsuit filed yesterday claims Louisiana prison officials blocked attorneys from investigating "alarming" allegations of inmate abuse, including claims that mentally ill prisoners were forced to kneel or bend down and bark like dogs to get food. The federal suit, filed by the Advocacy Center, said the New Orleans-based nonprofit also has received reports that disabled prisoners at David Wade Correctional Center in Homer have been slapped, punched, kicked, sprayed with mace and bleach and stripped of clothing during the winter. The suit seeks court-ordered access to the prison so attorneys can fully investigate conditions at the facility.
Work began this week on water proofing the first six floors of the exterior of the State Capitol building. Division of Administration spokesperson Jacques Berry says new technology gave engineers a closer look that pieces of limestone were coming loose from the 80-year-old building.
The Jefferson Parish coroner says an elderly woman who died in Metairie was not strangled, but instead died of natural causes. The hunt was on for a suspect and a motive after the coroner said physical findings suggested strangulation. However, the evidence shows 84-year-old Pauline Balloon actually died of natural causes.
A Crime Prevention Research Center report finds more women and minorities are receiving concealed handgun permits compared to white males. Wade Duty, co-owner of Precision Firearms in Baton Rouge says he’s seen the exact same trend in recent years. He credits this spike to the increased awareness of domestic violence issues.
The national report finds permits for men grew 22-percent from 2012 to 2016 and permits for women increased by a whopping 93-percent.
Louisiana elected officials says they are praying for Arizona Senator John McCain’s who has been diagnosed with brain cancer. Neuro-Oncologist Dr. Aaron Mammoser with LSU Health New Orleans says glioblastoma is the most common primary brain tumor doctors see, and unfortunately it’s also the most aggressive. He says there are more than 15,000 of these tumors diagnosed every year in the US. Mammoser says the average survival is somewhere in the 16 to 18 month range. He says McCain will be surrounded by a remarkable medical staff at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale.
A veteran lawman assigned to a New Orleans-based federal drug task force pleaded guilty Thursday to pocketing thousands of dollars seized during drug raids, admitting to significantly reduced charges in a clear indication that he is cooperating with a secretive U.S. Justice Department probe into law enforcement misconduct. Karl Newman was a federally deputized member of a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration task force that has been accused of shaking down informants and stealing and distributing drugs seized during federal narcotics investigations.
Southern University Vice Chancellor Brandon Dumas has been fired following a tumultuous period for the university. But Dumas, who oversees student affairs and enrollment management, will appeal the termination at a hearing before the Southern University Board of Supervisors today. The top Southern administrator was placed on administrative leave on June 23, also without explanation from the university about why officials were taking that step.
News for Thursday 072017
By Dave Graichen
It’s official, almost. A private company will begin running the Rapides Parish Coliseum in September. The Rapides Parish Police Jury agreed to terms with SMG Wednesday. The company, which specializes in managing publicly owned facilities. The terms include a $125,000 yearly management fee for SMG, up to $50,000 a year in performance incentives and a 15 percent commission on advertising and sales. SMG is deferring this year's fees to 2018 and 2019, and kicking in a $100,000 grant for marketing and incentive funds to entice acts to the Coliseum. The Police Jury also voted Wednesday to dissolve the Coliseum Authority on July 31, on the condition that the contract with SMG is finalized.
The Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office is warning residents not to fall for a scam in which callers try to convince people they face fines for missing jury duty. Callers are telling people they can be arrested and prosecuted for not reporting for jury duty in federal and state courts. The callers, of course, tell people they can pay a fine at the federal courthouse in downtown Alexandria to clear up the issue. But the victim then will receive a follow-up phone call with an offer to expedite the issue if the victim buys a Green Dot Visa card. The sheriff's office reminds people that no law enforcement agency would try to collect a fine in this manner, and neither would the courts system.
The National Weather Service in Shreveport has issued a heat advisory for the northern half of the state through 7 PM tonight. Forecasters indicate hot and humid conditions could lead to temperatures that climb into the mid to upper 90s with heat index values up 108 degrees. They urge residents to drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, stay out of the sun, and check up on relatives and neighbors.
Zachary Police say they have made an arrest in the case of a fatal home invasion that occurred Tuesday night. Chief David McDavid says the deceased, 20-year-old Damon Hayes Jr, allegedly broke into an elderly residents home with 20-year-old Jordale Carter and possibly two other suspects. The resident opened fire killing Hayes. Carter was booked on many charges including murder because his accomplice died during a crime. McDavid says two other suspects are still at large.
Three months ahead of the October 14 election, more than half of the races have already been settled. Candidates in 41 races had no opponents, while 16 saw no candidates at all. Secretary of State Tom Schedler says they saw a similar rate just over a year ago when 44 percent of the races were settled before reaching the ballot.
Schedler blames the public’s frustration with government for the disinterest in running for public office. Plus, he says these positions don’t pay much and they come with a lot of stress.
Could state Education Superintendent John White’s job be in jeopardy? Governor Edwards says White was not reconfirmed by the Senate during the session. Over a dozen people filed a lawsuit alleging White needed that confirmation, but a judge dismissed the case. The judge noted few elected officials have the legal authority to file a petition to fire White, and the governor is one of those.
Governor John Bel Edwards is not endorsing Damon Baldone in the public service commissioner race. Edwards appointed Baldone to serve as interim when Scott Angelle vacated the position in June. A longtime Democrat, Baldone qualified in the race as a Republican. Election Day is October 14.
Louisiana’s Congressional delegation is getting behind an effort to reform the National Flood Insurance Program. Congressman Clay Higgins is one of the co-sponsors and the Republican from St. Landry Parish says the proposal would protect policyholders from skyrocketing premiums. The current National Flood Insurance Program expires on September 30th, which is why there is a big push to reauthorize the program for another six years. Higgins says it’s their desire to limit rate increases to no more than 10 percent a year.
Governor John Bel Edwards is pleased with job growth and creation in the Bayou State. On his monthly radio call in show, the governor said several sectors of the economy are improving, especially health care thanks to expansion of the Medicaid program. Edwards says in January of 2016, the state’s unemployment rate was at 6.2-percent and the latest numbers show the unemployment rate in May of 2017 was 5.7-percent and predicts that will drop even lower when the June numbers are released.
Authorities say an 84-year-old woman at a senior living center in Metairie was choked to death and the search is on for suspects and a motive. The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s office says the victim was found dead Tuesday night. Detectives at first thought it was a death by natural causes, but an autopsy revealed the cause of death to be strangulation.
Monroe Police Chief Quentin Holmes announces his plans to retire. Holmes said in a news conference he has been thinking about returning to teaching for quite some time. News outlets had reported that Mayor Jamie Mayo asked for a resignation, but he says that’s absolutely not true. Mayo says Holmes will remain chief until July 30 while his office works to find someone to serve in the interim. Holmes has served as Monroe’s top cop since 2011.
A man rushing his pregnant wife to the hospital missed the birth of his child after being arrested in Rapides Parish. Creola Police Chief Health Landry says one of his officers clocked a vehicle doing 108 in a 55 mph speed zone. He says the officer witnessed more dangerous driving as he attempted to pull over Zak Evans. Landry says the officer radioed ahead to Pineville, where officers set up a road block because Evans would not stop. He says when officers finally pulled over Evans and got him out of the vehicle, he was livid. An ambulance took Evans’ wife Bridget to a local hospital, and Evans was arrested on charges of flight from an office and careless operation, as well as ticketed for speeding.
Female military veterans will have a new support system, as the state Department of Veterans Affairs is set to launch monthly Coffee Conversations in August. Female veterans outreach coordinator Alex Juan says this will offer a safe space for military women to talk about the issues affecting them. She says the discussions will be live streamed and open to all of female veterans in the state. Louisiana is home to more than 32,000 women veterans.
Governor John Bel Edwards announced Wednesday federal funding for flood control projects in the Baton Rouge area. Edwards says 220 million dollars will go to local governments in the Capital region as part of the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.
Edwards says each parish will submit a plan to FEMA before the money will be allocated. He says some of the money will be used to buy back significantly damaged homes from last year’s flood and make it a green space.
News for Wednesday 071917
By Dave Graichen
Tropical Storm Don degenerated to an open wave in the far southeastern Caribbean Sea late Tuesday evening after spreading bands of heavy rain and gusty winds across the Windward Islands Tuesday. Don became the fourth named storm of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season Monday afternoon.
A national poll finds the governor’s approval rating is up to 58 percent. Baton Rouge pollster Bernie Pinsonat says being in the upper 50s is good for any governor, but especially a Democrat in a red state. Edwards’ approval rating was at 54 percent in May.
Yesterday Governor Edwards, along with a bipartisan group of governors, issued a statement recommending a bipartisan approach to improving the nation’s health care system that engages governors across the United States in the process. It indicates that they feel it’s critically important that governors are brought to the table to provide input, and that they stand ready to work with lawmakers in an open, bipartisan way to provide better insurance for all Americans.
According to a WWL-TV report, Efforts by a group of Louisiana State Troopers to have Gov. John Bel Edwards remove State Police Commissioner Calvin Braxton have reignited after the state police said Braxton used his position to ask for special treatment from law enforcement for him and his family. The incident is connected to the arrest of Braxton’s daughter for drunk driving last year in Natchitoches. Braxton reportedly chastised the then Commander of Troop E saying the arresting trooper "should have given his daughter a professional courtesy as well as utilizing discretion in not arresting her."
As the race for State Treasurer is underway, now might be a good time to start the conversation about eliminating the position for good. That’s according Jeremy Alford, the publisher of LaPolitics.com, who says this is the first time in 17 years there has been an open race for the seat. Alford says there are currently 16 states that don’t elect their state treasurer. Alford says many voters have come to view the post of state treasurer as an unofficial watchdog to second guess and review the governor and legislature’s spending.
Three Louisiana cities are among the most stressed in the country, according to a new study from the personal finance website Wallethub. Shreveport came in at number ten on the list. Jill Gonzales with Wallethub says Shreveport did particularly badly in the health category. New Orleans, which came in at number 19, and 21st ranked Baton Rouge are also seeing similar problems related to health and work stress.
A Baton Rouge man turned himself into police after allegedly killing his ex-girlfriend. 52-year-old Robert Antoine is accused of shooting 41-year-old Monique Maxie, who later died because of her injuries. Police believe Antoine fired multiple shots at two people, and Maxie was struck exiting a car. The suspect faces charges of second degree murder, attempted second degree murder, aggravated battery and illegal use of a weapon.
Another court hearing has been set for a Shreveport man accused of killing a police officer. Grover Cannon is accused of shooting Officer Thomas LaValley six times in 2015. The 29-year-old had a hearing with a judge yesterday, and another is set for August 24. His trail is slated to begin in April of 2018.
Tulane University is the latest Louisiana school to trademark its own brew, after partnering with NOLA Brewing Company to release the Green Wave Beer. Brewery president Kirk Coco says the partnership with Tulane Athletics was a no brainer because the school is such a big part of the city, and NOLA Brewing is all about New Orleans.
Baton Rouge Congressman Garret Graves expressed his frustrations over the barrier between lanes of I-12 at a FAST Act hearing in Washington. Graves says the barrier seemed to contribute to flooding in communities north of I-12. He says something has to be done to address drainage concerns on the highway. Graves says there was about a six foot difference in water levels on the north and south sides of the interstate.
The Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation names LSU head gymnastics coach DD Breaux the Most Outstanding Coach in Louisiana. Breaux just completed her 40th season in 2017. She says being recognized by people outside of gymnastics means a lot. LSU finished as the NCAA National Runner-up for the 2nd straight year this past season.
New Orleans has been named the number four city in the US by readers of Travel and Leisure. Kristian Sonnier with the New Orleans CVB says the magazine ranked cities based on six categories, including culture, friendliness, shopping, and overall value
Sonnier says the CVB works around the clock to ensure New Orleans remains at the top of these rankings.
No-frills discount carrier Frontier Airlines is adding direct flights from New Orleans to four U.S. cities as part of a broader expansion that will boost its network to 82 destinations. Starting in October, Frontier will offer nonstop service from Louis Armstrong International Airport to San Antonio and Austin, Texas to Long Island New York and Providence, Rhode Island. For a limited time, Frontier is selling introductory, one-way fares on some flights starting at $39.
The Environmental Defense Fund is suing the Trump Administration for extending the red snapper season. Director of the Gulf of Mexico Oceans program, Robert Jones, says his hope is to get rid of fixed seasons because they do not benefit anglers. He says this suit is a catalyst for change towards more flexible access. The group fears overfishing will hurt the snapper population, but opponents say that shouldn’t be a problem.
News for Tuesday 071817
By Dave Graichen
5th District Congressman Ralph Abraham says the Defense Budget bill passed late last week by the House, can put the US back on the path to military superiority. Abraham, who is Louisiana's only member of the House Armed Services Committee, says Louisiana's federal military bases and troops would thrive under the bill, which he said would stave off any reductions or closures in the state. The bill, passed Friday, still has a long way to go, it still needs to pass the Senate and President Trump must sign it before it becomes law.
It’s been a full year since an out of state shooter gunned down six law enforcement officers in Baton Rouge. Three of those officers lost their lives that day. Sheriff Sid Gautreaux says even a year later, the tragedy has put officers on high alert.
Deputy Brad Garafola, Officer Matthew Gerald, and Cpl. Montrell Jackson were killed in the ambush.
East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Deputy Nick Tullier continues to defy the odds. Nick has made tremendous strides in his recovery after being shot three times by a gunman who ambushed Baton Rouge police officers. His father James says Nick underwent major abdominal surgery last week to help with the infection he’s been battling since the shooting. He says Nick is able to move his arms and legs, and about a month ago he even said the word hello out loud, which are strides Nick was never supposed to make.
Governor John Bel Edwards has launched a new program called Constituent Services on the Geaux to give Louisiana residents a chance to meet face to face with someone from the office to answer questions. Constituent Services receives nearly 1,000 inquiries each week. But, the new program that launches today will take the program on the road. The Governor’s office says they are working with local and statewide elected officials to alert residents in their districts when the program is coming to their town.
This summer’s dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico is expected to be the largest ever and Louisiana aquatic life will suffer most burden of the effects. LSU Professor of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences Nancy Rabalais says an increased load of nitrates were carried by the Mississippi River during the spring leading to the hypoxia, or dead zone. She says this is a lack of oxygen in the water and it is deadly for marine life.
The state’s Cyber Crime Unit has arrested a man on over 100 counts of child pornography. They say 27-year-old Cameron Fairley of Sulphur was booked on 80 counts of sexual abuse images and/or videos of children and 29 additional counts of sexual abuse images and/or videos of children under the age of 13.
State officials are ramping up efforts to boost participation in the flood recovery survey. Pat Forbes with the Office of Community Development says they’re bring the forms to the ground level and going door to door. He says this is the first step for flood victims to get the aid they need. The survey can be found online at restore.la.gov.
According to a recent study, sleep deprivation is costing Americans billions. Dr. Jake Rodi with Ochsner says people are more sleep deprived than ever. He says the biggest medical cause of sleep loss is sleep apnea. The study from Rand Europe finds the US loses over 1 million working days a year to sleep deprivation.
A man is behind bars on an attempted murder charge after a heroin overdose on LSU campus. Police say the 25-year-old was found unresponsive in a bathroom stall with a needle in his arm. 33-year-old Joshua Brian is accused of giving the drug to the victim, and making no attempt to call for help after the overdose. The victim was resuscitated by EMS. Brian also faces a slew of drug-related charges.
A Ouachita Parish man was arrested after allegedly punching a pregnant woman over meth. The victim reportedly told police she fell asleep in the car on the way to 47-year-old William Chapman’s residence. Police say she woke up to Chapman and an unknown woman punching her and yelling at her to return the 36 grams of methamphetamine they believe was stolen from the home. Chapman was booked on one count of simple battery.
The Baton Rouge Police Department is looking for a man they say fatally shot and killed his ex-girlfriend. Sgt. Don Coppola says 52-year-old Robert Antoine is accused of opening fire on two individuals early Saturday morning. He says Antoine should be considered dangerous.
A Kinder man has been arrested after he was caught dumping a load of kittens off on the side of the road. Deputy Christopher Ivey with the Jefferson Davis Parish Sheriff’s Office says they were able to retrieve the kittens from the ditch and all have been adopted.
A St. Helena Parish grand jury has indicted a woman on a murder charge in the death of her sister, whose body was found in a shallow grave. 38-year-old Deborah Palmer of Amite, will face one count of second-degree murder in the death of her sister, 36-year-old Rebecca Blades of Greensburg.
Beginning this month, children with incarcerated parents can get backpacks full of school supplies through the Louisiana Corrections Association’s Kits for Kidz program. Vice President Angela Whittaker says these kids are thrilled when they get their backpack full of goodies. $15-thousand worth of supplies will be handed out this year.
News for Thursday 071317
By Dave Graichen
Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise is once again out of ICU nearly a month after being shot at a Congressional baseball game. Scalise underwent surgery last week for an infection and was readmitted to the intensive care unit, according to MedStar Washington Hospital Center. He remains in serious condition.
The state Department of Education announces 33% of students scored mastery on LEAP tests in 2017, which is the same as last year. But Superintendent John White says more must be done to close gaps between advantaged students and historically disadvantaged students. 45 percent of white students achieved mastery this year compared to 19 percent of black students.
34 year old John Cupp of Dry Prong man is facing drug and other charges after a traffic stop. Cupp was reportedly driving left of center when he was pulled over. Crystal meth was found in the vehicle. Cupp was arrested and charged with possession of crystal meth with intent to distribute, possession of drug paraphernalia, driving left of center and felony probation violation.
A 21-year-old is facing a murder charge after police say she stabbed another female multiple times. Terrebonne Parish authorities say Miranda Gilley was arguing about a man with 24-year-old Jessica McGehee when a fight broke out. That’s when Gilley allegedly stabbed McGehee, who was pronounced dead at the scene.
Three out of four farm recovery grant program meetings are scheduled for today for farmers and ranchers who suffered losses as a result of the March and August 2016 floods. Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Mike Strain says during these meetings, the guidelines and application process for receiving recovery grant money will be discussed. The meetings take place today in Welsh, Crowley and Opelousas and more information can be found on the Department of Agriculture’s website. Strain says meetings in North Louisiana are in the process of being scheduled
The U.S. Geological Survey has found the long term rate of Louisiana wetland loss is slowing. Research Geographer Brady Couvillion says analysis finds rates of land area loss have continued to decrease since the 1970s. He says one possible reason for this is the lack of major hurricane activity over the past 8 years. About half of the country’s wetlands have been lost over the last 200 years, with the greatest losses in Louisiana where an area the size of Delaware has been lost since the 1930s. The report does point out that these findings do not indicate that coastal wetland loss has ceased to be a serious issue
The Waitr app is making its debut in Monroe today. The food delivery service has become wildly popular in south Louisiana and other states after its 2015 launch in Lake Charles and is picking up steam here in Cenla. Co-founder and Launch Director Addison Killebrew says after adding new markets like Baton Rouge, they’re thrilled to put another Waitr location on the map. Killebrew says they’re eager to expand their options in Monroe, and they hope to have over 100 restaurants in the system in the near future.
A Vermilion Parish man will spend 45 days in federal prison and pay a $2500 fine for killing a whooping crane in 2014. Adam Einck with Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says they offered a $10,000 reward for information when the protected bird was found shot, and multiple people reported 21-year-old Lane Thibodeaux.
The August recess for the US Senate has been delayed by two weeks, and Louisiana Senator John Kennedy is glad lawmakers can keep working. He says the Senate hasn’t accomplished much, and he would feel guilty about taking four weeks off work.
Kennedy and others urged Senate leadership to cancel the recess, but he says he’ll settle for meeting halfway.
A one-year-old is in critical condition after being hit by a vehicle in Walker. Authorities say the toddler was transported to an area hospital. The child has been identified as Tavein Parker, and the child’s family says he was struck on private property in Livingston Parish. The investigation is ongoing as police try to piece together what led to this tragic incident.
Former “Sons of Guns” star Will Hayden pleaded no contest to two rape charges in Livingston Parish today. Hayden was sentenced to life in prison for an aggravated rape charge and 10 years for aggravated incest. The new sentences come after Hayden received a life sentence in April for aggravated rape and forcible rape in East Baton Rouge Parish.
News for Wednesday 071217
By Dave Graichen
The APD has charged a 17-year-old in connection with the fatal Friday shooting of another teen in Alexandria. Tykarius Laneheart has been charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of another 17-year-old just after noon Friday in the 70 block of Louisiana Avenue. A warrant was issued for Laneheart, an Alexandria resident, on Monday, and he surrendered to detectives on Tuesday. He was booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center, as was 32-year-old Shondrika Laneheart, also of Alexandria. She was charged with being an accessory after the fact to second-degree murder.
The public boat launching ramps (operated by the Red River Waterway Commission) located in Grant, Rapides, and Avoyelles Parishes have been closed due to high water caused by heavy rainfall. These include the ramps at the Colfax, Red Bayou, Boyce, Fort Buhlow, Alexandria Levee Park, Poland, Ben Routh, and Brouillette recreation areas. The boat launches will be re-opened as soon as conditions permit the public to utilize the ramps safely. For up-to-the minute information, visit www.redriverwaterway.com
State Troop E has a new man in charge. Jason A. Smith was appointed to the position of Captain over Troop E. on Monday. Prior to his appointment, Captain Smith held the rank of Lieutenant. Troop E is headquartered in Alexandria and serves 10 parishes
The girlfriend of the man who was fatally shot by an Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s deputy has been released from jail after posting $75,000 bond. State Police say 21-year-old Dequince Brown attacked the deputy during the struggle with 27-year-old Dejuan Guillory who was killed in the incident. Brown’s lawyer, Joe Long, says Guillory was begging for his life when he was shot. State Police say they are reviewing dash cam video of the incident.
Qualifying begins today for the October election. Yesterday New Orleans Representative Walt Leger announced he will not run to be the next mayor of the city. He said in an email that, “despite a clear path to victory” he wants to keep his public service focused on working hard and studying issues within the state legislature. New Orleans Senator JP Morrell also said his ongoing work in the capitol will keep him out of City Hall.
Qualifying begins today for the state treasurer race, after John Kennedy vacated the office to become a US Senator. UL-Lafayette political science professor Pearson Cross says this is the first time this post has been open since 2000, so it should be interesting. He says the fact that Kenner Representative Julie Stokes dropped out, could open it up to other contenders. Cross says many politicians see this office as a stepping stone to higher positions, as Kennedy did when he moved to the US Senate.
Small business optimism is declining as federal lawmakers are gridlocked on plans to repeal and replace Obamacare. That’s according to a survey from the National Federation for Independent Business. State director Dawn Starns says businesses can’t plan for the future with all the uncertainty on the federal level.
Louisiana drivers are jerks on the road according to a driving awareness campaign that promotes courteous driving. Speeding up to prevent someone from passing us and failing to use our turn signals puts us 4th worst in the US.
A grand jury handed down a murder indictment against 25-year-old Christopher Landry of Denham Springs, who is accused of killing a sensual massage therapist at his home last month. Landry reportedly told authorities he strangled 24-year-old Kayla Denham because she tried to steal his wallet. Landry is being held in the Livingston Parish Detention Center on a $250-thousand bond.
An Amite Walmart that was set on fire last weekend sustained over a million dollars in damage. That’s according to Sheriff Daniel Edwards, who says much of the damage was to the inventory in the store, not structural damage to the building. He says 45-year-old Larry Schouest of Hammond combined chemicals to start the fire. Edwards says the chemical smoke from the fire ruined all of the contents in the building. Schouest is accused of setting a string of fires in south Louisiana Walmart’s, beginning in Ponchatoula on June 27. From there, Schouest allegedly set fire to the Amite Walmart and one in Hammond on Saturday.
Elio Motors in northwest Louisiana has been fined over half a million dollars by the Louisiana Motor Vehicle Commission who says the three-wheel car making company violated state law. Commission spokesman Keith Marcotte told KEEL in Shreveport that vehicle makers or sellers in Louisiana have to have a manufacturers and dealers license. Elio has yet to produce a vehicle, but they have a pre-purchase program which the commission says is breaking laws against car companies selling directly to consumers. Attorneys for Elio said they view their system as taking reservations for vehicles. The $545,000 fine was handed down Monday.
New Orleans-based Glo Airlines has decided to suspend service beginning Saturday while it searches for a new operator. GLO Founder and CEO Trey Fayard said he will return to its Mid-South cities once the right partner is found.
The Jeanerette Police Department announces one of their officers has been arrested on a Medicaid fraud warrant out of East Baton Rouge by officials with the state Attorney General’s Office. She is identified as 38-year-old Shekeitha Lewis. Lewis has been placed on administrative leave. An Iberia Parish Sheriff’s deputy was booked on the same charges and fired according to reports.
The Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help in locating a 10 foot tall yard giraffe that was stolen from a local storefront. Authorities say the statue weighs 200 pounds and is valued at one thousand dollars. Anyone with information on the missing giraffe is encouraged to contact police.
It looks as though this year will be a good one for the brown shrimp harvest in the Gulf of Mexico. According to NOAA’s annual forecast, the harvest is expected to yield 44.2 million pounds, which is above the predicted value for the last two years.
News for Tuesday 071117
By Dave Graichen
Since 2001, the state’s electorate has become more diverse. That’s according to John Couvillion with JMC Analytics and Polling. He says black voter registration comprised of 29-percent of the electorate at the start of President George W. Bush’s administration and is 31-percent today, but there has been much bigger gains with other racial groups.
Couvillion says his research finds there’s been a decline in white Democrats and a steady gain in registered Republicans and Independents.
Former Governor Bobby Jindal’s ex-budget chief, Angele Davis, joins the pool of candidates running for state treasurer. Republican state senator Neil Riser, Republican former state representative John Schroder and Democratic attorney Derrick Edwards are the others seeking the post vacated by U.S. Senator John Kennedy. Political Analyst Bernie Pinsonat says none of the candidates are known statewide. Qualifying begins tomorrow.
State Police has released more details about last week’s fatal shooting involving an Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Deputy. Authorities says the man who was fatally shot, 27-year-old Dejuan Guillory, allegedly stole a four-wheeler and struck the Deputy in the head during a traffic stop. L-S-P says during a struggle, is when the Deputy fatally shot Guillory.
A 16-year-old has been arrested after allegedly beating an elderly couple with a hammer inside their Kenner home. Police responded after a 70-year-old woman walked to her neighbor’s home covered in blood asking for help for she and her 89-year-old husband. Kenner Police Lt. Brian McGregor says the teen also stole the victims’ vehicle. McGregor says teen was upset that the elderly couple he performed odd jobs for did not allow him to borrow their car.
65% of high school seniors submitted FAFSA paperwork this year compared to 58% last year. Senior Educational Technology consultant with the department of ed, Stephanie Marcum, says the numbers should continue to grow, because it will be a requirement next year for all seniors to complete the forms for federal financial aid..
The U.S. Senate is waiting on Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to make revisions to proposed legislation that would repeal and replace the nation’s health care law. Republican Bill Cassidy says the initial Senate healthcare plan doesn’t have enough support, so he hopes McConnell uses some of the ideas the senior Senator from Louisiana suggested months ago. Cassidy says since there are 52 Republicans in the US Senate, they need to come up with a bill that has the support of some Democrats.
President Trump is urging Congress to pass a health care bill before they leave for the August recess.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana has a new way for its members to make an informed decision when it comes to getting a medical procedure. It’s called Smart Shopper and David Hochheiser (Ho-heiser) says it’s available on the Blue Cross website. Hochheiser says if a customer needs an MRI they can use SmartShopper and they’ll likely notice a wide range in costs for the same medical service.
The Louisiana Department of Health and the Louisiana Workforce Commission will host a series of workforce summits as they seek to hire qualified individuals to work with people with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Executive Management Officer for the Office of Citizens with Developmental Disabilities Tiffany Dickerson says summits are scheduled to take place Thursday in Lafayette and Friday in Alexandria. Dickerson says the outcome of the summits is to streamline and improve the hiring practices of providers, bring down onboarding costs and identify training opportunities.
News for Monday 071017
By Dave Graichen
One of the officers wounded in the deadly ambush on cops in Baton Rouge last year is suing leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement. On July 17th, 2016, 29-year-old Gavin Long killed three officers and wounded three others in a targeted attack. The suit accuses Black Lives Matter of inciting violence. But legal analyst Tim Meche doesn’t see this going far. The lawyer for one of the defendants says Black Lives Matter doesn’t have anything to sue.
Congressman Ralph Abraham has secured a $1.5 million federal grant to boost the CenturyLink-IBM Century Village project in Monroe. The funding would create a new access road that would link Century Village and IBM. Abraham said the grant could stimulate up to $20 million in economic development and create at least 80 new jobs.
Sen. Bill Cassidy says the initial GOP bill to repeal and replace the nation's health law is probably "dead" and President Donald Trump's proposal to just repeal it appears to be a "non-starter". At this point Cassidy says They don't know what the plan is, But Clearly the draft plan is dead. Sen. John McCain said Sunday it may now be time for Republicans to come up with a new proposal with support from Democrats.
Abortions in the Bayou State have decreased by 4-percent from 2015 to 2016, according to numbers by the state Department of Health. Nearly 9-thousand abortions were performed in 2016 down from 93-hundred in 2015 and just over 10-thousand abortions reported in 2014. According to the data, women categorized as “nonwhite” accounted for 70-percent of abortions performed in 2016, 35 were under the age of 15.
The oil and gas industry seems to be coming back slowly but surely. The number of rigs in the US increased by 12 this week to 952, including 2 in Louisiana. Only 440 rigs were active the prior year.
Raising Cane’s has been named the fastest-growing fast food chain in the US by Nation’s Restaurant News. Cane’s has nearly 330 locations, including 50 in Louisiana.
The State Police report a payroll supervisor bilked the Louisiana Supreme Court of $116,000 by setting up an elaborate web of fake judicial appointments and far-flung bank accounts. Authorities say 38 year old Misty Wood embezzled the money in a string of transactions between April 2016 and February 2017. The fraud was discovered after the Louisiana Legislative Auditor's Office conducted a routine audit of pay records.
Four jockeys from Texas have been arrested by State Police for a hazing incident that took place in a locker room at Delta Downs race track in Vinton. Authorities say they shaved off a juvenile male’s eyebrow and threw hot sauce on his genitals. The victim was a race track employee.
The Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office says a volunteer firefighter was killed when responding to a blaze in the Mt. Hermon area. They say 54-year-old Ronda Varnado of Franklinton was in a fully loaded firetruck when it ran off the road then tipped causing the water tank to crash into the cab.
Have you ever thought of your pets as being fat or skinny? A recent State of Pet Health report found Louisiana ranks No. 5 for non-obese dogs, and No.6 for slim cats. But Dr. Nancy Welborn with the LSU School Of Veterinary Medicine says while your pet may not be obese, even an overweight furry friend faces serious health risks. The report found that one in three pets who visited vets in 2016 was overweight or obese.
LSU Football Coach Ed Orgeron returns to SEC Football Media Day today in Hoover, Alabama. Orgeron’s last appearance was in 2007 as the head coach of Ole Miss. The Rebels went 3-9 that year and Orgeron was fired. Tiger Rag Editor Cody Worsham says Coach O will be asked numerous times today how he’s changed as a coach.
There was some hope pitcher Alex Lange would return to LSU for his senior season, because he had yet to sign a professional baseball contract with the Chicago Cubs, who drafted him in the first round. But Lange and the World Champs got a deal done before a 4 PM deadline Friday.
News for Friday 070717
By Dave Graichen
District 79 State Representative Julie Stokes has announced she will no longer make a run for State Treasurer because she has been diagnosed with breast cancer and her doctors have determined she must undergo at least five months of chemotherapy. Qualifying for the race is next week, Republican state legislators John Schroder and Neil Riser are the main candidates.
U.S. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise remains in the hospital in serious condition following surgery Thursday to try to treat infection related to the wounds he sustained in a mass shooting last month. Officials with the MedStar medical center in Washington released a statement yesterday saying the Congressman tolerated the procedure well," adding that further updates would be provided as appropriate. The 51 year old Scalise was readmitted to the intensive care unit at the Washington, D.C. hospital on Wednesday and his condition downgraded from "fair" to "serious."
The Tax Foundation has updated its national review of sales tax rates and Louisiana continues to rank number one with a combined state and local sales tax rate averaging just above 10-percent. Director of state projects for the Tax Foundation, Scott Drenkard, says the Bayou State has high sales taxes, because its property taxes are lower than most states thanks to the Homestead Exemption. Drenkard says when you combine sales, property and income taxes, Louisiana is one of the least tax burdened states in the country.
As we approach the one-year anniversary of the deadly August south Louisiana flood, the head of Louisiana’s Office of Community Development, Pat Forbes, says they are ramping up on spending the federal grant money designed to help flood victims get back in their homes. Forbes says a majority of grants that have been handed out, went to individuals who have finished rebuilding.
Jefferson Parish sheriff's deputies arrested two women and a man participating in a healthcare protest involving about 20 people at U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy's offices in Metairie on Thursday morning. Deputies booked the trio on a count of remaining in a place after being forbidden, a form of criminal trespassing in Louisiana. That offense is a misdemeanor that can carry up to six months in jail as well as a maximum fine of $500.
Louisiana will pay $5.4 million to the federal government to settle a debt tied to former Gov. Bobby Jindal's privatization of the charity hospital system, far less than the $190 million federal officials originally said the state owed, under a settlement released Thursday. The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in 2014 ordered Louisiana to repay the money for pieces of the initial privatization deals that the Medicaid agency, known as CMS, rejected as improper. Louisiana officials have been haggling over repayment terms ever since.
Education leaders are letting teachers and students know what policy changes can be expected when they head back to class in August. Debbie Meaux, Louisiana Association of Educators President, says a new law was recently signed by the governor that would limit testing time, to 2% of a student’s learning time. Meaux also says that teachers and administrators will be engaging with a new accountability system.
A two-year-old Lockport boy is another child who has died in a rash of drownings around Louisiana. Lt. Brennan Matherne with the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office says around noon on the 4th of July deputies responded to a call of a child found unresponsive in the bottom of a pool. He says the family of little Kevin Cortez III was visiting the home. The child was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
An Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Deputy has been injured and one man is dead after an officer involved shooting in Mamou. State Police Trooper Scott Moreau says the deputy was called to investigate an attempted burglary when an altercation took place between the officer and 27-year-old Dejuan Guillory and Guillory was shot and pronounced dead at the scene.
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Agents arrested five boaters for allegedly operating their vessel while intoxicated during their Operation Dry Water Weekend. LDWF Spokesperson Adam Einck says agents were on patrol during the fourth of July holiday with a heightened awareness for impaired boat operators. Those arrested ranged in ages from 21 to 47.
The Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s office announces an arrest in the death of a nine-month-old infant. 28-year-old Benjamin Joseph Carter Senior of Hammond has been charged with second-degree murder. An autopsy shows the toddler died from blunt force trauma.
LSU pitcher Eric Walker will not pitch in 2018 as he needs Tommy John Surgery to repair a damaged ligament in his throwing elbow. Recovery time is usually one year. Tiger Rag Associate Editor James Moran says Walker’s injury means there will be three new weekend starters for the 2018 season. Walker first complained of discomfort in his forearm before the College World Series.
Michael Federico was introduced as ULM’s new head baseball coach today. The former assistant at Southern Miss will have the difficult task of building a program that won just 12 games last season. There are reports that Christian Ostrander is leaving Louisiana Tech to replace Federico as Southern Miss’ pitching coach.
You can add another layer to the fuming rivalry between LSU and Florida on the gridiron. The Gators have announced their homecoming game will be the LSU game on October 6th.
Many running back AJ Carter can’t make his mind on where he wants to play football in college. He originally committed to UCLA, then switched his commitment to LSU and now he’s switched back to UCLA
News for Thursday 070617
By Dave Graichen
Hurricane forecasters at Colorado State University have updated their annual hurricane season predictions, calling for above average activity for the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season. CSU forecasters are calling for 15 named storms, eight of which will become hurricanes. Three of those classified as major.
On the one-year anniversary of Alton Sterling’s death, seven New Black Panther Party members were arrested while protesting outside of the Baton Rouge Police headquarters. Police say members of the party tried to storm the police barricade and one party member allegedly had a Taser in his hand. Those arrested are facing misdemeanor charges.
Minden Representative Gene Reynolds has decided not to step down from his position as the leader of the House Democratic Caucus, saying he will finish out his term as chairman. He says many people from both parties reached out and asked him to stay on and make sure the person who moves into the position knows what all goes on behind the scenes.
It looks as there is a mayoral shift moving through the state as five of Louisiana’s biggest cities have experienced a change in power over the last two years. That’s according to, Jeremy Alford of LaPolitics.com, who says Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Shreveport and soon to be New Orleans have recently seen a change. Alford says the most interesting thing about these elections is only one candidate was able to flip a seat, Republican Nic Hunter replaced Democrat Randy Roach in Lake Charles. He says New Orleans residents will select a new mayor in the fall.
Days after an interview that suggested she was preparing for a last-minute entry into the New Orleans mayor's race, state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson has told supporters she won't be jumping in after all. Peterson posted her decision on social media Wednesday.
Peterson, head of the state Democratic Party and a vice chair of the Democratic National Committee, has long been seen as a potential contender to replace Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who can't run for re-election because of term limits.
Sometimes what’s lost is best lost. The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s office reports a suitcase checked into the lost and found today at Louis Armstrong Int’l airport in New Orleans. Inside, close to 10 pounds of marijuana. Deputies were called to the airport and a short time later arrested 3 people who showed up to came the suitcase.
A two-year-old boy is now the fourth child to die in a rash of drownings in Tangipahoa Parish. The state Department of Children and Family Services is advising parents of water safety during the summer months. Mona Michelli with the DCFS Division of Child Welfare says this is a time to be vigilant. Louisiana had the second highest rate of drownings in the nation from 2013 to 2015 with 71 children dying, according to the state Health Department.
South Louisiana Congressman Clay Higgins has apologized for posting a video inside a gas chamber used by Nazis. In the five-minute video, Higgins said he wanted to use the back drop of a prison camp to show Americans why our military must be invincible. But the director of a global Holocaust research center says making a political statement where thousands of Jews were killed is not appropriate. The video has been taken down.
Louisiana is now on board with Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Utah and Washington, as Governor Edwards signed into law a measure to allow students to bring sunscreen to school. Supporters hope this law brings awareness to the dangers of skin cancer, along with the choice to bring sunscreen to school. School districts across the country have in place a ban on any non-prescription medication being brought to school. This law would make it okay in the case of sunscreen.
Arguments were heard yesterday before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in the case of Christopher Ware, a Rastafarian inmate with dreadlocks, who doesn’t want to cut his hair as prison rules state, because he says it goes against his religious beliefs. ACLU of Louisiana Executive Director Marjorie Esman says religious discrimination against prisoners is prohibited.
LSU pitcher Eric Walker will meet with a physician with the Texas Rangers tomorrow. Walker’s season ended during the College World Series, because of discomfort in his throwing arm. Tiger Rag Associate Editor James Moran says if the injury to Walker keeps him out of the 2018 season or forces him to miss an extended period of time, it opens another spot in the weekend rotation.
In NBA news…free-agent guard Nick Young has signed a one-year deal with the Golden State Warriors. The Pelicans fron office was interested in signing the 32-year-old after he averaged 13 points a game for the Lakers a season ago.
Former Saints Kicker Morten Andersen will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame next month. It was announced today that his son will present his Dad in the Hall.
News for Wednesday 070517
By Dave Graichen
Secretary of State Tom Schedler will not turn over voter identification information as requested by President Donald Trump’s voting commission. Schedler says voter information like Social Security numbers, birth dates and mother’s maiden name should remain private. The Republican calls the request by Trump’s commission an overreach and politically motivated. Schedler says state law allows anyone to purchase limited voter information, which would include names, party registrations, voter histories, but not how a person votes.
A suspect who shot at a sheriff’s deputy in Ouachita Parish has been taken into custody. The shooting happened at about 4:30 Tuesday morning in south Monroe during a traffic stop. A spokesperson with the Sheriff’s Office says the deputy was not hit when two shots were fired.
U.S. Senator John Kennedy is among 10 Senate Republicans calling for the cancellation of the August recess. Kennedy says Congress has three months to extend the National Flood Insurance Program, which expires September 30th. He says a budget and 12 appropriations bills before that date also has to be approved to avoid a government shutdown. No word if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will cancel the August recess.
About 38-thousand state workers will see a pay raise this fiscal year. The higher wages will cost the state an additional 48-million dollars, but state civil service director Byron Decoteau says the raises combat a high turnover rate in state government, which is also costly. Decoteau says prison guards and probation officers are among the state workers that will see an even higher pay on January 2nd.
The state department of transportation is mourning the loss of one its employees who was killed while fixing potholes near New Iberia. DOTD spokesperson Rodney Mallett says 63-year-old Paul Featherston was standing behind a dump truck when he was struck. The State Police are investigating the fatal accident. At this time, no charges have been filed against the 88-year-old driver.
Sgt. Staty Lewis with the St. John Parish Sheriff’s office is lucky to be alive after he was hit by a drunk driver. Sheriff Mike Tregre says 29-year-old Davis McGirt of Baton Rouge was travelling at high speeds when he slammed into the police unit. McGirt is charged with DWI, vehicular negligent injury, and careless operation. Lewis was assisting with an accident on the side of I-10 when he was hit. He was airlifted to an area hospital and treated for head, neck, and back injuries.
A traffic stop by the Grant Parish Sheriff’s led to the arrest of a Pollock man for several drug charges. 36 year old Tillman Terrebonne, Jr was arrested for Possession of C.D.S. crystal meth, Possession of Hydrocodone, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and a Probation Violation.
Public school students will learn to write cursive this year, as a law by Franklinton Senator Beth Mizell has gone into effect. Mizell pushed the bill through last year because she was worried kids won’t be able to sign their names or read cursive writing. The requirement was delayed until this year to give schools time to prepare.
Farmers and ranchers impacted by last year’s floods could be eligible for recovery grants. Ag Commissioner Mike Strain says the state has $10 million to help affected farmers. He says to qualify, you must have had at least $10,000 in uninsured losses.
LSU announces outfielder Antoine Duplantis will wear the jersey number eight next year. That jersey goes to the upperclassman who exemplifies leadership and dedication to the program.
The LSU men’s basketball program recently picked a verbal commitment from one of the top point guards in the country. Ja’Vonte Smart from Scotlandville High School in Baton Rouge has chosen to stay home and play for the Tigers.
News for Friday 063017
By Dave Graichen
Plastipak Packaging announces its adding production lines at its manufacturing facility in Pineville. Plastipak makes plastic containers for food, beverage and consumer products. The state’s economic development office says Plastipak’s 15 million dollar investment will result in over 30 new direct and indirect jobs.
Louisiana ranks ninth in the country for structurally deficient rural bridges, according to the transportation research group TRIP. State Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson says that’s not surprising, as he just had to close a bridge in Vernon Parish.
The report found 15-percent of rural bridges in Louisiana need to be repaired or replaced.
LSU Health New Orleans unveils a plan to reduce cancer deaths over the next five years. Director of the Louisiana Cancer Prevention and Control program Donna Williams says with expanded access to Medicaid more individuals should get screened and they’re also working in communities to reduce factors that contribute to cancer, like obesity and smoking. Louisiana ranks fourth in the nation in cancer deaths.
A jury trial is set for December in the case against a Louisiana private investigator accused of trying to illegally obtain Donald Trump's tax returns before last year's presidential election. Jordan Hamlett's trial is scheduled to start Dec. 4. U.S. District Judge James Brady set that trial date on Thursday. Earlier this month, Brady refused to suppress statements that Hamlett allegedly made to federal agents before his arrest on a charge he misused a Social Security number.
The US has reached a new sugar trade agreement with Mexico. General Manager of the American Sugarcane League Jim Simon says Mexico flooded the US market with subsidized sugar, and this agreement should end Mexico’s illegal dumping practices.
Simon says the market flooding deflated prices, which hurts local farmers.
The state office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control suspends the alcohol permit for Reggie’s Bar, a popular establishment near the LSU campus. On Monday night, Baton Rouge police arrested 37 individuals in a sting operation for underage drinking.
Schools.com ranks the University of Louisiana at Monroe the best four year college in the state. ULM president Dr. Nick Bruno says it is exciting and satisfying to be recognized this way. He says ULM is a small institution that has a very big attitude.
The ratings are based on factors like affordability and variety of degree programs.
East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore will provide more details today on last July’s ambush on police officers in Baton Rouge. Moore has called a 10 AM press conference in which more details will be learned about Gavin Eugene Long, the gunman who ended up killing three officers and injuring three others. Former East Baton Rouge prosecutor Prem Burns says she’s not sure how those details would serve the community. She says she doesn’t understand the need for a media event because the ambush is still painful to many people.
Today a north Louisiana legend is being laid to rest, as funeral services for Johnny Huntsman begin today at 2 p.m. in Oak Grove. Huntsman opened the first Johnny’s Pizza House in 1967 in Monroe, which has grown into an empire spanning several states.
LSU baseball had its most successful season since winning the national championship in 2009 and Tiger Rag Associate Editor James Moran says the pieces are in place to make it to Omaha again next year. Moran says the biggest question is with the starting rotation as the Tigers top two starters, Alex Lange and Jared Poche, are moving on to pro ball.
This year’s College World Series set numerous multi-year total live audience viewership highs, and shattered streaming records over the course of the 10-day, 16-game event, according to LSU. The CWS Finals featuring the Tigers and Florida was the second most watched two-game finals ever, and when LSU lost in game 2, viewership peaked at more than 2.6 million people.
Saints Quarterback Drew Brees is launching a co-ed youth flag football league called Football N America that he says would be an alternative to tackle football. He says flag football is a safe, fun and friendly way to get your kids involved with the sport.
Registration begins today at PlayFNA.com.
News for Thursday 062917
By Dave Graichen
At the request of President Trump, Governor John Bel Edwards has been reappointed to the council of Governors. The Governor made the announcement earlier in the week saying it was a true honor and that he is looking forward to continuing to working alongside other dedicated governors in service to our nation. Edwards said the Republican president once called him "his favorite Democrat," though the governor admitted he didn't know whether the president was joking or not.
The RPSO is reminding people who are planning to shoot off fireworks this holiday weekend, there are a few rules you need to be aware of… Fireworks are prohibited within 25 yards of a public road or any residential sub-division. Fireworks are also prohibited within 50 yards of a church or school. Also, be sure to check with your local laws if you live INSIDE city limits.
The National Safety Council ranks Louisiana the tenth safest state in the country overall, but the state receives an F rating for workplace safety. President and CEO Deborah Hersman says the state has lots of improvement to make in this category. Louisiana earned an A grade for roadway safety and a C for home and community safety and a “C” grade when it comes to safety policies and legislation that can help reduce preventable deaths.
When is a Police Chase not worth the risk… A two-year-old is among the three dead after a car chase ended with a crash in New Orleans east. Louisiana State Police spokesperson, Trooper Melissa Matey, says state police units attempted to stop the vehicle in downtown New Orleans for a stolen license plate. Matey says the driver fled the scene and collided with a truck and ran off the road. Two people were thrown from the vehicle, including the 2-year-old. Both were killed. Matey says a third person took their own life after the crash.
The Louisiana Public Service Commission unanimously approved construction for a new Entergy plant in Westlake. Entergy spokesperson Michael Burns customer savings are expected to exceed the $872 million cost of the plant in less than a decade. Burns says the new plant will also be cleaner and more energy efficient than older natural gas-fired plants. The plant should be up and running by June of 2020
All four suspects in the brutal beating and robbery in New Orleans are behind bars. NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison says it was only a matter of time before these men were tracked down. Footage of the incident went viral, which helped law enforcement identify and locate the suspects. Police records indicate one of the victims suffered a serious brain injury. The other victim is going to be okay.
A Minden woman will spend 40 years in prison for fatally shooting her 22-year-old son while she was intoxicated. Forty-eight-year-old Dora Blake was sentenced Tuesday for shooting her son in the back of the head as he drove her home after she was kicked out of a casino.
Residents of St. John the Baptist Parish could have an increased risk of cancer, as the EPA finds the Denka Performance Elastomer plant in Laplace is releasing carcinogens into the air. Air testing found residents had been subjected to 88 times the concentration of chloroprene the EPA allows. EPA inspectors found 31 valve leaks in the plant, which did not have the proper tools to measure the chemical emissions. Denka officials could face criminal charges if the company is determined to have been negligent.
Baton Rouge Congressman Garret Graves says he’s filed a common-sense approach to reforming the food stamp program that would impact able-bodied adults without dependents. Graves says his bill would connect SNAP recipients with job search and job training programs to help them find work opportunities. Graves says the national debt is more than $20 trillion, and a majority of that is a result of these welfare programs. He says we need to incentivize people to work, not to stay home.
News for Wednesday 062817
By Dave Graichen
The baseball season is over for LSU as they dropped game two of the College World Series Championships to Florida. The final, 6 to 1 . The win, was the first in the in the school’s history. Florida joins Michigan, Ohio State and UCLA as the only schools to have won a national championship in baseball, football and basketball.
Lawyers representing Alton Sterling’s children have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Baton Rouge, it’s police department and police chief and the two white police officers involved in last summer’s fatal shooting of the black man. Attorney Chris Stewart says a culture of racial bias among Baton Rouge cops fueled the shooting
The lawsuit, seeking unspecified damages, was filed in state court. A federal investigation has already determined no criminal charges should be brought against the officers.
Jimmy D. Long Sr. School of Math, Science, and the Arts is the new official name of the Natchitoches high school, as the governor signed the bill adding the name of the late state lawmaker to the school’s title. Delhi Senator Francis Thompson authored the legislation. Thompson says there will be no expense associated with the name change. Long is one of the school’s founding fathers.
For the third year in a row, the overall graduation rate of students in Rapides Parish high schools has improved. The state department of education recently released graduation rates for 2015-16. The data shows 76.7 of parish students graduating in four years from Rapides Parish high schools. The statewide average is 77 percent.
This year’s Fourth of July gas prices are the lowest since 2005. Senior petroleum analyst Patrick Dehaan with GasBuddy.com says prices usually peak around May when refineries finish up maintenance and transition to summer grade gasoline, and we usually see a slight decline after that. The statewide average of $2.06 a gallon is well below the national average of $2.25.
Governor John Bel Edwards vetoes a bill to provide freedom of expression on college campuses. In his veto message, Edwards said the legislation by Alexandria Representative Lance Harris was a solution in search of a problem. But Harris says freedom of speech is under siege on many college campuses around the country. The bill would have created a protocol for Louisiana universities to handle controversial speakers on campus.
Governor John Bel Edwards signs into law measures aimed at keeping both motorists and police officers safe during a traffic stop. The new laws set to go into effect August 1 would require driver’s education courses to teach soon to be drivers about what to do during a traffic stop. The Governor says while police officers receive training on how to conduct the stops, it’s important for us as citizens to react appropriately as well.
Tiger fans will soon have a new brew of their own, as Louisiana’s own Community Coffee gears up to launch an LSU Blend full-bodied special dark roast coffee. Spokesperson Jodi Conachen says the Baton Rouge based company wanted to honor its roots. Conachen says the LSU Blend will be available next month.
Warrants have been issued for the final two suspects in the brutal beating in New Orleans that left one victim with acute brain injury. Two suspects have turned themselves in, and the remaining two are still at large. Police encourage the suspects to come forward.
The state will study what would happen if the legal smoking age was raised to 21. West Monroe Representative Frank Hoffman authored the resolution calling for the study. He knows there will be some pushback but says former smokers will approve. The study will be completed before the start of the next legislative session.
LSU pitcher Jared Poche’s father helped save a Florida fan’s life at Game 1 of the College World Series finals. Dr. Jerry Poche says the 87-year-old man had no pulse when he was alerted by the family. Poche helped perform CPR on the man until medics arrived. The unidentified man is reportedly in good condition.
Authorities in Tangipahoa Parish believe they have found the body of the little 9-year-old girl who went missing in the river Sunday while swimming. They say Gabriell McCoy was recovered about two miles where she was last reported to have been seen. The body was taken to the Tangipahoa Parish Corner’s Office for positive identification.
The Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance and the State Treasurer’s Office launch a new savings program to help people with disabilities. Tyana Dequana with LOSFA says the LA ABLE program enables people with disabilities to put money aside for future expenses. Dequana says people can save up to $14,000 a year without losing those benefits. But once the account reaches $100,000, social security payments would end until the amount goes back under that threshold. She says this comes as a relief to many with disabilities who will finally be able to do something to help themselves for the future.
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