News for Friday 113012
By Dave Graichen
State Police is advising residents in the Doyline area to leave their homes and businesses for safety reasons a massive clean-up at Camp Minden. State Police Captain Doug Cain says about a million pounds of improperly stored black powder explosive, though stable, has to be moved. Cain says this evacuation is not mandatory, but residents who choose to evacuate will need to be out by Saturday morning when they begin moving the product. The cleanup could take as long as 48 hours. Schools in Doyline will be closed Monday.
Early voting for the December 8th runoff elections ends tomorrow. Voters are asked to decide a number of local issues, a Supreme Court judgeship and who will be Louisiana's next congressman for District 3. In Alexandria, Two seats on the city council will be decided. Early voting runs today and tomorrow, 8:30 am to 6 pm. The runoff election is next Saturday.
Another active and memorable hurricane season ends today. The 2012 hurricane season, which saw 19 named storms, including Hurricane Isaac, which made landfall near the mouth of the Mississippi River on August 28th. State Climatologist Barry Keim says 2012 goes down as a tie for the third busiest season in recorded history. Keim says this is the third straight hurricane season with 19 named storms. But he says there has not been a U-S landfall of a major hurricane in seven years, which is unprecedented. Keim says Isaac and Hurricane Sandy were very destructive, despite being classified as Category one storms.
The search committee in charge of seeking a new president for Louisiana Tech University has named Doctor Leslie Guice as the sole finalist. Guice is currently the school's executive vice president and V-P for research and development. U-L System board chairman Wayne Parker calls Guice a strong higher education leader. Parker says the University of Louisiana system board will have the final say on whether to appoint Guice as Tech's next president. The U-L system board will consider Guice's appointment next Tuesday.
Former LSU football star Tyrann Mathieu released a statement to ESPN he's turning pro today. Mathieu's stellar career at LSU ended in August after he reportedly failed multiple drug tests. He was also arrested in August on a simple marijuana possession charge. Draft analyst Mike Detillier says teams will be interested in Mathieu, despite his troubles. Detillier says because of Mathieu's off-the field problems, the Honey Badger has gone from a sure-fire second round pick to a fourth or fifth round selection.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries seeks the public's help in locating the person responsible for illegally killing a black bear in Avoyelles Parish.L-D-W-F spokesperson Adam Einck says a hunter found the dead black bear laying on an all-terrain vehicle trail 20 miles northwest of Marksville. A reward of six-thousand dollars is being offered for any information leading to the arrest of the person responsible.
The Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the number of non-fatal workplace injuries and illness cases in Louisiana is ranked second lowest in the nation. Louisiana Workforce Commission Office Workers Compensation Director Wes Hataway says the key component for cost containment in workers
compensation is to make sure employees don't get injured in the first place. He says these improving numbers mean employers are doing a good job of teaching safety in the workplace.
News for Thursday 112912
By Dave Graichen
LSU head coach Les Miles says he's staying in Baton Rouge for as long as he's welcome. Reports surfaced Tuesday that Miles had been offered a deal to coach at Arkansas for a hefty sum. At a press conference yesterday, LSU athletic director Joe Alleva confirmed Miles has agreed to a contract extension with a bump in his base salary. Miles had been making slightly less than $3.9 million a year. No details of his new pay rate have been released yet.
The Twelve Nights of Christmas officially kick off tonight in downtown Alexandria. Today, it’s Holiday Magic Downtown. Activities begin at 5 p.m. in the Alexander Fulton Mini Park and includes the official lighting of downtown and an appearance by Santa Clause. Tonight’s event is free and open to the public.
The trial over the constitutionality of the Jindal school voucher plan is under way in Baton Rouge. The Governor and State Superintendent of Education, John White, claim the plan is perfectly legal. State teacher's unions and a large number of school boards from across the state argue the plan is both illegal and bad for public education. The Baton Rouge Judge hearing the case said Wednesday that he expects to rule this week on a lawsuit. Whatever Judge Kelley rules is expected to be appealed by the losing side.
Dedication ceremonies were held yesterday for a 34.5 acre industrial park adjacent to union tank car off of highway 1 at England air park. The plot of land has been certified by Cleco through it’s “SmartSites” program , the aim of which is to find if there is a red flag out there and get it corrected to make the property more marketable. Local economic development officials are hoping Union Tank Car soon has some company.
State police report a Marksville woman died Tuesday evening in a single-vehicle crash on La. Highway 1 at La. Highway 1195, when she lost control of her vehicle and it ran off the road and overturned. 32 year old Loraine Paul was pronounced dead after the crash. Troopers say she was not wearing a seatbelt.
The Food Bank of Central Louisiana has been forced to reschedule today’ telethon. It will now be held Thursday Dec. 13 from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Those who would like to volunteers can schedule a time to help by calling (318) 445-2773.
Two weeks after BP agreed to plead guilty to charges surrounding the deaths of 11 workers on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, the Environmental Protection Agency says the oil giant is now being
temporarily suspended from new contracts with the US government. They say the suspension is due to BP's lack of "business integrity" surrounding the explosion, spill and response after the disaster.
Three BP employees have been arraigned on criminal charges related to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon rig explosion and the company's response to the ensuing oil spill. BP well site leaders Bob Kaluza and Donald Vidrine are charged with manslaughter. Kaluza and Vidrine are accused of ignoring high pressure readings that indicated trouble with the well before it blew out. Prosecutors say that negligence cost 11 men their lives.
A company that plans to convert seafood waste into a range of commercial products will move into an empty bottling plant in Opelousas, creating 50 new jobs over five years. AgraTech International said Wednesday it will spend $10 million to renovate the old Yoo-Hoo plant. The company will process shrimp, crawfish and crab shells to get chitosan, which is used in everything from water-repellant glass coatings to sunscreen lotion and from dental membranes to nasal sprays to treat nosebleeds. The new jobs will pay an average annual salary of $50,000, plus benefits.
The official start to the flu season began last month and state officials say they're already starting to see cases pop up around Louisiana. DHH Asst. State Health Officer Dr Takeisha Davis says Louisiana has fewer cases right now than the national average which is a good sign. Davis says the flu season in Louisiana runs through April and tends to peak in February. She says they recommend everyone over the age of 6 months get a flu vaccination.
The LSU governing board's decision to merge two of the system's top jobs has raised concerns from the organization that accredits Southern colleges, which is pressing for more details about the changes.
Leaders of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools questioned whether LSU officials are in compliance with accreditation standards. They outlined concerns in emails and a letter to LSU officials, documents that were released to The Associated Press by the university system in response to a public records request. At issue are the appointment of William Jenkins as both interim chancellor of LSU's flagship campus and as interim president of the LSU System and the board's plan to consolidate the two positions. SACS officials said a merger needs approval from its Commission on Colleges before it can be done. They've also asked for more information about Jenkins' role leading both the university system and the flagship school in Baton Rouge, to explain how he avoids conflicts of interest.
After the October 15th explosion on property leased by Explo Systems at Camp Mindin, a search warrant was executed in that area where investigators say they found at least one million pounds of
gunpowder in the open and in other unapproved locations. State police is assessing the situation and say currently this is not an immediate threat to the surrounding area.
The Lafourche Parish coroner's office confirms the body pulled from the Gulf Monday is that of a 28-year-old rig worker; one of two workers blown off the Black Elk Energy oil rig when it exploded on
November 16th. His body was found about 25 miles away from the rig's location.
The Alabama fan who plead guilty to obscenity charges for rubbing his genitals on the head of a passed out LSU fan after the BCS National Championship game will be formally sentenced today. Brian Downing's attorney, Michael Kennedy, says today's proceedings will be simple. In exchange for a guilty plea, the sexual battery charged was dropped against Downing and he will not be required to register as a sex offender. As part of the plea deal, Downing is expected to be sentenced to 2 years in prison, but Kennedy thinks he'll only have to serve 10 months.
Homeowner Sarah Henderson's holiday display on the roof of her home in Denham Springs raised a few eyebrows before she was asked to take it down or face charges of public obscenity. Henderson says the display, featuring a hand in lights with a raised middle finger, was a part of an ongoing dispute with some of her neighbors. The state chapter of the ACLU has jumped in with an open letter to the Denham
Springs Police Department claiming Henderson's constitutional right to free speech was violated. Denham Springs Police Chief Scott Jones denies his department pressured Henderson or made threats against her to coerce her to take down the display. Jones insist the decision to remove the display was made by Henderson on her own.
News for Wednesday 112812
By Dave Graichen
A 20-year-old Reginald Harrison of Colfax faces theft and extortion charges after an investigation by the Grant Parish Sheriff's Office and Colfax Police Department. Authorities were investigating a report of two stolen ATV’s and arrested Harrison after finding the two plus one more ATV in his possession. All of the ATVs have been returned to their rightful owners. Harrison was on probation at the time of his arrest and is being held in the parish jail.
Governor Jindal's new private school vouchers program, known as Act 2 of the 2012 Legislature, goes before a Baton Rouge judge today, as a state teachers union challenges the law. Louisiana Federation of Teachers president Steve Monaghan says the "omnibus" nature of the bill - doing multiple actions within a single instrument - violates the state Constitution. He says the LFT also objects to the law's use of public school funding to pay private and parochial school tuitions.
Have you bought your Powerball ticket yet? Tonight’s estimated jackpot was raised to $500 million earlier today. That puts the cash value at $327.4 million. Also keep in mind Powerball tickets are now $2 as the rules changed earlier this year. By the way, the odds of winning tonight are about one in about 175-million
First time unemployment claims in Louisiana for last week were down from previous weeks; from over 3000 new claims to just over 28-hundred. By comparison, jobless claims for the same week of last year were over 45-hundred. Continuing claims are also down by about a thousand from the previous week.
Rumors are running ramped that Arkansas has an offer of five-years, 27.5 million dollars on the table for Les Miles to become the next head coach of the Razorbacks. Tiger Rag Editor Cody Worsham says Arkansas may be interested in Miles, but Les is likely not interested in Arkansas. Miles is making three-point-eight million dollars and has not received a raise since after the 2007 national championship season. Worsham says Miles could use this offer from Arkansas as leverage.
The Alexandria City Council voted Tuesday to support with up to $50,000 idea from local actress Faith Ford and her director/screenwriter husband Campion Murphy, which the pair said would add a new dimension to their studio and turn their productions into a place where locals can get on-the-job training learning skills needed to work on movie production crews. Ford and Murphy, who live and work here through most of the year now, told the council that they want to provide training to local people. Ford said her ultimate goal is to bring a television series to the area.
A Washington DC think tank says Louisiana tax payers could see their bill go up as much as five-percent if Congress and the President can't pass legislation by the end of the year to avoid the so-called
fiscal cliff. Tax Foundation economist Will MC Bride says tax cuts enacted by Presidents Bush and Obama are set to expire December 31st.
A recent survey by State Farm shows an alarming number of people are surfing the internet while driving. Spokesperson Gary Stephenson says in a July 2012 survey of 1000 motorists, nearly half of drivers between 18-29 years old admit to using the internet on their phone while driving. He says that's startling.
Two semi-finalists in the search for Louisiana Tech's new president will be interviewed today by the search committee. Search Committee Chairman and UL System Board Chair Wayne Parker says semi-finalists Dr. Leslie Guice (GICE) and Dr. Duane Hrncir (HUN-ser) are both well-qualified for the job.
State Police and the Webster Parish Sheriff's Office are still trying to figure out what to do with thousands of pounds of improperly stored explosive powder. State Police Lt. Julie Lewis says the explosives were found during a routine inspection of property leased by Explo Systems. Lewis say there is no danger to the public.
The U.S. Coast Guard reports a man's body was recovered from the Gulf of Mexico yesterday, about three miles off the coast of Lafourche Parish. The man was found about 25 miles from the Black
Elk Energy offshore rig which exploded and burned earlier this month. Authorities cannot yet say if the body is that of the missing rig worker, but they say it is possible. A medical examiner will make a positive ID of the remains
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is embarking on an aerial spraying campaign to control an invasive alien water plant called Giant Salvinia. Aerial spraying begins today at
Lake Bistineau and Thursday at Toledo Bend where the invasive plant is becoming a threat. Giant Salvinia was discovered in Lake Bistineau in 2006.
The 2013 talent lineup for the fourth annual Bayou Country Superfest in baton rouge has been revealed. The headliners for the May 25th and 26th shows next year are Lady Antebellum, Zac Brown, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Darius Rucker and The Band Perry.
News for Tuesday 112712
By Dave Graichen
Rough Thanksgiving week on the roads. State Police say in Louisiana last week there were 13 fatal crashes that resulted in 14 deaths. They say 7 of the 14 people killed were not wearing a seat belt and
two of the crashes involved impairment.
The owner of an Alabama company that was paid $100,000 by several Central Louisiana government agencies to film a movie in Cenla, has told an Alabama news website, that while they still plan to film the movie “The Story Of Bonnie & Clyde” here in Cenla starting next year, the company plans to return the Seed Money. Tonya Holly has postponed production several times since summer 2009, when the city of Alexandria gave Cypress Moon $50,000 to film the bulk of the movie here in Central Louisiana. The Alexandria-Pineville Visitors and Convention bureau and the Greater Alexandria Economic Development Authority each put up $25,000.
The cities of Pineville and Leesville as well as Rapides Parish are among 19 jurisdictions that have been released from a 32-year-old consent decree relating to potential discrimination in their police or fire departments. The consent decree, entered in 1980, required defendants in a 1977 lawsuit to take steps to insure they were not doing anything to have an adverse impact on blacks and females applying for police and firefighter positions or looking to advance in those departments.
A federal judge in New Orleans puts a halt on the state's new statewide voucher program and teacher hiring laws in Tangipahoa Parish, because it conflicts with a 47-year-old desegregation case. The judge ruled the new education changes conflict with court orders that require racial diversity. According to the department of education, there are 50 children in Tangipahoa Parish who receive state money to attend a private school. State Superintendent of Education John white says he's optimistic the ruling will be reversed on appeal. Another vouchers lawsuit will be heard Wednesday in a state district court in Baton Rouge. Teacher unions and local school boards filed this suit claiming the statewide voucher program is unconstitutional. It’s expected Monday's decision will not impact that case.
The U-S Supreme Court will not overturn former New Orleans Congressman Bill Jefferson's 13-year prison sentence. Jefferson's lawyers asked the nation's highest court to throw out the corruption
conviction, but the court has refused to hear the case. Jefferson is serving his federal sentence at a low security facility in Beaumont, Texas. He's not eligible for release until August of 2023.
The pilot of a small plane that crashed Sunday near DeRidder is in a Rapides Parish hospital with multiple injuries, but a family member says he's expected to make a full recovery. The pilot, James Murrell, suffered broken bones, facial cuts and a punctured lung. The crash remains under investigation.
If you're holding a Powerball ticket for tomorrow night's $425 million drawing, there's a few things you should know *just in case* you land the top prize. New Orleans CPA Ted Stacey says if you're
buying tickets with a group, keep in mind only one entity can claim the prize. Now the question is do you take the $278.3-million cash option, or the 30-year annuity? Stacey says most everyone opts for the cash. Stacey says the first thing you must do if you find out you're the winner, is contact an attorney and seek legal advice right away..
A report by the Legislative Auditor finds the state Office of Public Health has failed to properly oversee health inspections of restaurants; placing citizens at risk of foodborne illness. Health & Hospitals Secretary Bruce Greenstein says the report will help to improve OPH's inspection program. The Auditor's report says OPH failed to make proper inspections of restaurants, failed to enforce penalties for compliance violations and has issued permits to restaurants that had critical health violations. The report says OPH didn't do annual inspections on 81-percent of high- risk food establishments statewide. It says OPH rarely enforced penalties against eateries found in violation. It also says over 3000
health inspections were never publicly disclosed on OPH's website.
The Shreveport Police Department is investigating the case of an alleged home invasion that's landed a 72-year-old man in the hospital. Witnesses report two men running from the man’s home. Authorities believe robbery could be a motive but the case remains under investigation.
According to the Louisiana Lottery, Wednesday night's $425 million jackpot is the largest in Powerball history and the second largest in the world. Spokesperson Kimberly Chopin says the cash value is
$278.3 million dollars. She says there is always a possibility the jackpot value could get even bigger before the drawing, since the jackpot is based upon sales.
One of the St. John deputies injured in a fatal ambush against officers that left two dead and two others in the hospital, got to go home yesterday. The St. John The Baptist Parish Sheriff's Office says
Deputy Jason Triche is now safe and sound. Deputies Jeremy Triche and Brandon Nielson were killed in the August 16th trailer park shootings. Deputy Jason Triche has been in the hospital ever since.
News for Monday 112612
By Dave Graichen
Pineville police report a 23-year-old Pineville woman died late Saturday afternoon when she was struck by a vehicle while trying to cross Highway 28 East, near red river bank. 23-year-old Asala Nidal Suleiman was taken to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead. 71-year-old Donald Laborde, also of Pineville, was driving the vehicle that struck Suleiman. The accident is under investigation and routine toxicology reports are pending.
Beauregard parish officials report the pilot of a small plane was seriously injured when he crashed just south of DeRidder, Sunday afternoon shortly before 4. FAA officials have been notified of the crash. The cause of which is unknown at this time.
The Louisiana Workforce Commission will hold four orientation sessions Monday at the Central Louisiana Business Incubator in Alexandria for Hostess Brands employees being laid off in the company's liquidation. Commission staff members will familiarize workers with free re-employment services available, as well as to explain unemployment insurance benefits and eligibility. No reservations are required, and employees may attend the session of their choice. The sessions will be at 8:30 a.m., 10:15 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:15 p.m.
Lottery officials say nobody won Saturday's Powerball jackpot and the top prize will now increase to about $425 million for the next drawing, the largest jackpot ever for the game. The next drawing is Wednesday night.
Black Friday and Small Business Saturday are followed by Cyber Monday; the day when many shoppers turn to on-line merchants to fill out their Christmas lists. Byron Henderson with the Louisiana Department of Revenue reminds on-line shoppers that on-line doesn't mean tax-free. The state's consumer use tax is on the honor system, leaving it up to customers to keep up with and pay the tax. On-line vendors who don't have a physical presence in Louisiana are not required by law to charge sales tax. Henderson says the consumer use tax was designed to level the retail playing field.
Early voting is underway in runoff elections and tax ballots across Central Louisiana and will stretch through next Saturday Dec. 1. In Alexandria, two City Council seats are up for grabs. In Boyce, voters will decide if the Mayor can appoint a police chief, or if town residents will continue to elect the chief .Early voting in Rapides Parish will take place in the Registrar of Voters office at the state courthouse on Murray Street. For a list of early voting locations in other parishes, go to geauxvote.com Election Day is Dec. 8.
A Baton Rouge judge will hear arguments starting Wednesday over whether Gov. Bobby Jindal's statewide voucher program and other sweeping education changes were properly created by lawmakers. After months of behind-the-scenes legal haggling since a lawsuit was filed in June, the court hearing is set for Wednesday. District Judge Tim Kelley set aside three days for the case. Two statewide teacher unions and dozens of local school boards say the voucher program that is using tax dollars to send children to private schools and other new education funding plans are unconstitutional.
A free "Head to Toe" clinic for patients with diabetes will be offered from 8 to 11 a.m. Tomorrow in Alexandria. The program, presented by the Rapides Wound Healing Center and Alexandria Eye and Laser, will include eye screenings, foot exams, blood pressure, hemoglobin A1c tests and nutrition education. The program will be at the center at Rapides Regional Medical Center in downtown Alexandria
The program is free, but advance registration is required. To register, call 769-4440.
In New Orleans’s north end, firefighters battled a six-alarm fire Saturday afternoon that destroyed a block of homes and several vehicles. Thirty-four units and 100 fire personnel responded to the blaze. Authorities report no residents or fire personal were injured.
Through the miracle of modern science a much loved pet dog from West Monroe has been cloned. Dr. Clark Cooper says they had tried everything possible through conventional means to have his beloved 13-year-old blue tick hound, Gator, reproduce. But without success. Coopers says then
someone had the wild idea. A pair of researchers in South Korea are the only scientist who have, so
far, succeeded in cloning dogs. Cooper's new 16 week-old puppy came home about a month ago. He says the process is important, not only to preserve his cherished pet, but to preserve a rare blood line.
The cost for the cloned puppy was a staggering 100-thousand dollars.
The Saints had a chance to take control of its playoff destiny, but they ran into really good team on Sunday and lost to the 49ers 31 to 21. It was a rough day for New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees, who was sacked 5 times and threw two interceptions that were returned for touchdowns. The loss drops the Saints record to 5-and-6. They don't have much time to recover from this physical loss. They visit the 10-and-1 Falcons on Thursday night.
The Ragin Cajuns football team is heading back to the New Orleans Bowl. U-L Lafayette accepted an invitation to the bowl game following their 52 to 30 win over South Alabama on Saturday. Coach Mark Hudspeth has led the Cajuns to two consecutive bowl appearances in his two seasons in Lafayette...
News For Wednesday 112112
By Dave Graichen
Hostess Brands Inc. will continue down the path to a full liquidation after a last-ditch mediation session with its striking bakers' union failed to save the baker. The company, which has already shuttered its plants and sent its workers home, will push ahead with its bid to embark on a shutdown that will leave about 18,500 people unemployed, 200 here In Central Louisiaia, and its iconic brands either in the hands of new owners or gone forever. Hostess Chief Executive Gregory Rayburn confirmed the mediation hadn't resulted in a deal. The Irving, Texas-based company now plans to the US bankruptcy court for approval to proceed with a liquidation.
Louisiana's unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest rate in over three years. The October jobless rate was 6.6%; down from 7% in September. Louisiana Workforce Commission Executive Director Curt Eysink (I-sink) says the 30-day drop of four-tenths of a percent is remarkable. The national unemployment rate, meanwhile, rose to 7.9-percent for October. Eysink says Louisiana's economy and jobs market continues to outperform the nation's.
More people are expected to travel for Thanksgiving this year. Louisiana AAA's Don Redman says the number of folks traveling this week is expected to rise for the fourth straight year. Redman says just over 43-million Americans are anticipated to travel 50 or more miles for the holiday weekend. By the way, the number of Thanksgiving flyers is down this year, with about 90-percent of folks choosing to drive.
This Thanksgiving Holiday Week-End has stated off deadly. State Police Trooper Stephen Hammons reports there were fatal traffic accidents in the Acadiana region Saturday, Sunday and Monday. He says in two of the cases, the death resulted from the victims not wearing a seatbelt.
The state's second highest elected official expressed interest in one day becoming the governor of Louisiana. Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne announced his political aspirations to the Baton Rouge press club. Hurricane Katrina hero. General Russell Honore has also reported he may run in 2015. Dardenne says it’s too early to start speculating who else may run.
Authorities are trying to track down the person or persons responsible for a recent rash of dolphin killings along the Gulf Coast. Lisa Franzetta with the Animal Legal Defense Fund says at least six dolphins have washed up along the gulf coast in the past 11 months, who have either been killed or mutilated in savage ways. Franzetta says she's not sure who is responsible or why it's happening, but for now they can only speculate fisherman perceive dolphins as competition for fish. A $5000 reward is offered for information that leads to an arrest of the perpetrators.
Tonight's Powerball Jackpot has risen to an estimated $250 million which could hit just in time for Black Friday shopping. Kimberly Chopin with the Louisiana Lottery says this jackpot has an estimated cash option of $166.8 million. She says this is the fifth jackpot that's gotten over $200 million dollars this year.
News For Tuesday 112012
By Dave Graichen
Many are wondering, what next? Hostess Brands Inc. and its second largest union agreed on Monday to go into mediation to try to resolve their differences after a bankruptcy court judge noted that the parties hadn’t gone through the critical step. That means Hostess isn’t out of business yet. The news comes after the company last week moved to liquidate and sell off its assets in bankruptcy court. Hostess cited a crippling strike started on Nov. 9th by a union, that represents about 30 percent of Hostess workers. Hostess, which had been contributing $100 million a year in pension costs for workers, offered workers a new contract that would’ve slashed that to $25 million a year, in addition to wage cuts and a 17 percent reduction in health benefits. The baker’s union rejected the offer and decided to strike. The mediation talks are expected to begin Today, with the liquidation hearing set to resume tomorrow.
Nineteen members of the Louisiana House, nearly all Republicans, are asking the attorney general whether the state's budget uses unconstitutional sources of financing. The request, sent Monday to Attorney General Buddy Caldwell, challenges GOP Gov. Bobby Jindal's continuing use of one-time money not certain to appear each year to pay for continuing programs. A group of conservative House Republicans have criticized the tactic as inappropriate, but they have been unsuccessful in blocking use of the money in legislative sessions. The request for an attorney general's opinion was made by Rep. Kirk Talbot, a Republican from River Ridge who had been a Jindal ally. Talbot's letter says the budget spends money above what was recognized by the state's income estimating panel, and he claims that's a violation of state law.
Under Louisiana's Constitution, any nonpublic school getting state money must be certified as providing a curriculum or specialized course of study at least equal to those required for similar public schools. But it's questionable whether that requirement is being met for the 377 schools in the state voucher program. Under the Constitution and a court ruling, their certification must come from the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. However A public records request to view curricula submitted by nonpublic schools found that neither BESE nor the Department of Education requires them to submit copies of their curricula or copies of the books they use.
A federal judge on Friday temporarily prevented the Obama administration from forcing a Christian publishing company to provide its employees with certain contraceptives under the new health-care law. U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton granted a preliminary injunction sought by Tyndale House Publishers, which doesn't want to provide employees with contraceptives that it equates with abortion. Louisiana College in Pineville has filed a similar lawsuit. The judge's order does not apply to the LC case.
State Police report a 32-year-old Winnsboro man died Monday morning in a single-vehicle crash on La. Highway 8 near Rhinehart. Troopers say Charles Rose lost control and drove off the right side of the road, causing his truck to overturn. Rose was not wearing his seatbelt and was pronounced dead at the scene. Routine toxicology tests are pending.
Pineville PD have two charged local men with committing nine vehicle burglaries in that city over the weekend. Charged were 19 year old Ray Ashlock and 18 year old Jacobe Smalding, both of Pineville. Police report the burglaries took place late Saturday and early Sunday along La. Highway 28 East and Pinehurst Drive. Most of the property was recovered when a deputy found two men sleeping in a vehicle in an Exxon gas station in Tioga.
A Monday morning fire at a mobile home in Krotz Springs has claimed the life of an elderly man who was a double-amputee. State Fire Marshal Butch Browning says 73-year-old Floyd Mason was not able to escape the blaze in time and his remains were found near the exit door. The investigation revealed Mason was a smoker who had been known to smoke while using oxygen. Fire officials also confirmed a space heater was in the living room where they believe the fire started.
Motorists in Louisiana are getting an early holiday gift as the price at the pump continues to fall. According to The American Automobile Association, the price of a gallon of regular today is
$3.21. Patrick DeHaan with Gas Buddy dot com says prices stand at just three cents above where they were last year at the same time. He says plenty of analysts are giving lots of different opinions why the price is falling so quickly but he believes a matter of supply and demand.
Looks like Governor Bobby Jindal is staying out of the 3rd Congressional District battle between Republican's Charles Boustany and Jeff Landry. Apparently Jindal has said he won't endorse a
candidate in the Dec 8th runoff.
A Baton Rouge businessman launches an organization called "Louisiana Truth," which will fact-check Governor Bobby Jindal's comments made to the national media. Joe Traigle says Jindal is not practicing what he says and they have about 30 volunteers who will research the governor's comments to make sure they are accurate. No comment from the Governor's Office on the organization.
State health officials confirm another death from the West Nile virus, bringing this year's total to 16. Secretary of Health & Hospitals Bruce Greenstein says another 15 people were diagnosed with the virus last week, for a total of 371. Of the 371 cases of West Nile in the state, 152 have had the neuro- invasive form of the disease, called West Nile Encephalitis. According to Greenstein, weather conditions have stacked up to make this a bad year for West Nile infections. The good news is, with the arrival of cooler temps, we should also see the end of the west Nile season.
Fire officials are still trying to figure out how exactly a huge chemical fire started in Slaughter causing the temporary evacuations of hundreds of homes. They say it happened around 2am Monday morning at the Monolyte Lab. They say no one was on-site at the time.
The Louisiana Restaurant Association says the trend of people eating out on Thanksgiving continues to rise and now is the time to make your reservations. Spokesperson Erica Papillion says many people still like the convenience of not having to cook a big meal, or clean up afterwards, especially if it’s only two people.
News for Monday 111912
By Dave Graichen
For the 200 employs at the now shuttered Holsum bakery in Alexandria, the question is, what’s next? The employees, some who had worked at the facility for over 20 years, were told Friday their services were no longer needed and that the facility was closing its doors. The closure stems from ongoing financial problems with the parent company and a strike by several unions across the country who felt they had given into enough concessions over the years and the companies multiple bankruptcies. Hostess suspended operations at its 33 plants as part of a planned winding down as it seeks permission to liquidate. A hearing on the liquidation request will take place today in White Plains, N.Y. The company's nearly 18,500 employees would lose their jobs in a liquidation.
Divers hired by the owner of an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico that caught fire recovered a body near the site Saturday evening. Coast Guard spokesman Carlos Vega said late Saturday that the unidentified person was found by divers hired by Houston-based Black Elk Energy who were inspecting the platform. John Hoffman, the president and CEO of Black Elk Energy, said in an email late Saturday that the body is that of one of two crew members missing since an explosion and fire on the oil platform Friday morning. According to the coast guard, they searched a 1400-square-foot area several times and saw no signs of life. They have suspended the search pending any further developments. Four other workers who were severely burned remain hospitalized.
Governor Jindal's budget advisors predict a shortfall of nearly a billion dollars for the fiscal year that starts in July. The Office of Planning and Budget says the deficit is in the neighborhood of $963-million. According to OPB director Barry Dusse, over a third of the shortfall about $355-million - is tied to the drop in federal Medicaid matching funds. $250-million is from loss of one-time dollars that were being used to pay for recurring expenses. State colleges will be targeted to balance the shortfall.
Metairie Congressman Steve Scalise has been elected as the next chairman for the House's Republican conservative caucus. Scalise will lead the Republican Study Committee when the 113th Congress convenes in January. Scalise says he'll lead the effort in the U-S house to pass conservative solutions to the nation’s big problems. The congressman says his goal is to pass legislation that will create economic opportunities for Americans through lower taxes and controlled spending.
A proposal to cut phone rates for prisoners by 25-percent failed to gain passage during last week's Public Service Commission meeting. Several supporters were at the hearing and argued prisoners and their families do not have enough money to pay for the collect calls. Corrections Secretary James LeBlanc says if PSC Commissioner Foster Campbell's plan is adopted, he would have to cut $900,000 from the budget for inmate services. Campbell says the rates are about 15 times what an ordinary collect call costs and that "stinks to high heaven".
Louisiana law enforcement have beefed up patrols of state highways for the Thanksgiving holiday. State Highway Safety Commission director Col. John LeBlanc says federal highway safety grants are being used to fund enhanced police presence now through Sunday. He says they're hoping for zero
fatalities this Thanksgiving weekend. LeBlanc says you may also encounter sobriety and seatbelt checkpoints--especially at night.
The price of your traditional Thanksgiving Meal is taking a big jump this year. Jeanette Tucker with the LSU Ag Center says the 2012 Louisiana Thanksgiving market basket will average $44.35 for 10 people
which is up 13.2 percent from last year. She says, for the most part, you can blame the turkey. Tucker says also increasing is the price of milk, pumpkin pie mix and sweet potatoes. According to the US Department of Energy, gasoline and diesel prices were up by 3.5 percent in 2012 compared to 2011 which Tucker says is also reflective in the higher price at the table.
The Louisiana Federation of Teacher's annual convention is underway in Baton Rouge and the teacher's union receives an update today on lawsuits challenging Governor Jindal's education reform package. LFT President Steve Monaghan says a state judge will hear arguments next week on an attempt to have the statewide voucher program declared unconstitutional. Monaghan says a separate hearing will take place December 17th on the constitutionality of teacher tenure reform legislation that was passed this spring.
Eighth ranked LSU's wild win over Ole Miss on Saturday in Tiger Stadium was a memorable contest as the Tigers scored 20 points in the fourth quarter to beat the Rebels 41-35. The victory was number 84 for coach Miles at LSU, moving him past Bernie Moore for second most wins in LSU history. The USA Today Top 25 football coaches poll released Sunday, has Notre Dame at # 1, Alabama at #2 and LSU at #7.
News for Friday 111612
By Dave Graichen
Pineville police say a call to their office yesterday morning of a shooting led to the discovery of a dead 29 year old man in a Madison street home. Pineville PD have Id’s the man as Troy Wilson. Police say several people were at the home at the time of the shooting, all were interviewed, but no arrest has been made. The department is waiting for autopsy results to compare with findings at the scene and witness statements.
The Christmas season officially kicks off in Natchitoches this weekend with the 86th annual Festival of Lights. Lisa Cooley is the Main Street Coordinator for the city. She says the lighting ceremony is at 6:30 Saturday night and the lights will be turned at 7pm following a spectacular fireworks show. She says Saturday is a day-long party with activities starting at 8am.
29 year old Tanya LaPrairie of Vidalia was seriously injured yesterday afternoon when she lost control of her vehicle on highway 84 and ran off the road, flipping the vehicle several times. State police say LaPrairie was wearing a seatbelt . the crash remains under investigation.
Governor Jindal is criticizing GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney for claiming he lost the election because of President Barack Obama's "gifts" to minorities and young voters. Romney told donors the President used financial incentives to get people to vote. Jindal appeared with C-N-N's Wolf Blitzer after he was elected as chairman of the Republican Governor's Association. Jindal says the Presidential election showed the republican party that if it wants to win elections on the national stage, it needs to do a better job of showing their policies will benefit every American. Jindal says the republican party needs to look forward and not back after Mitt Romney's loss.
The LSU Board of Supervisors has agreed to redo the vote to merge the positions of president and chancellor. The board voted unanimously October 26th to combine the positions, but the Attorney General’s office has serious concerns that the vote may have violated the state's open meetings law.
Three criminal indictments were announced against BP officials today for their role in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion that killed eleven men. Two BP employees, who were well site leaders, were indicted on manslaughter charges, Robert Kaluza and Donald Vidrine. Assistant US Attorney General Lanny Bruer says a third BP official, David Rainey was charged with obstruction for allegedly lying to Congress about how fast the oil was spilling out of the broken well. BP will settle with federal authorities for $4.5-billion. About half of that will come to Gulf state for coastal rebuilding.
Louisiana's two U.S. Senators react to yesterday's $4.5-billion criminal settlement between the Justice Department and BP. Sen. Vitter wants the Justice Department and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to push for fines against BP via the National Resources Damage Assessment (NeRDA) for violating the federal Clean Water Act. He says mechanisms already in place, like the RESTORE Act passed earlier this year, would send those dollars to coastal states for restoration. Vitter says he hopes Holder didn't trade off potential civil fines and penalties for BP, just to "nail a criminal scalp to the wall". Democrat Senator Mary Landrieu says Mr. Vitter made his statements before Holder's Thursday afternoon press conference started. Holder says negotiations of civil damages for BP continue, but a satisfactory sum hasn't yet been agreed upon. Landrieu says Louisiana and coastal neighbors will get nearly half of BP's $4.5-billion settlement sum for coastal restoration.
The Public service commission split 2-2 with one abstention on Chairman Foster Campbell’s effort to impose new regulations on prison phones and setting a base rate to be used in parish jails and state prisons. After the vote, Campbell said it was “just raw hard Louisiana politics”. Campbell said he believes that the sheriffs’ plan is to delay any vote until January when Field would no longer be on the commission and his replacement, former Department of Natural Resources Secretary Scott Angelle, might be more agreeable to the sheriffs keeping the current rate. The issue is expected to come up again at the PSC meeting in December.
As another area of the state opens up for deer season today, State wildlife officials are urging hunters not to overlook basic tree stand safety. LDWF spokesman John Sturgis says 1/3 of tree stand hunters will fall from a tree stand during their lifetime and require medical treatment
Lawyers for convicted Baton Rouge serial killer Derrick Todd Lee were denied their request for evidence in his trial to be handed over to them. Lee's attorneys wanted the original DNA swabs taken, plus victim Charlotte Murray Pace's blouse and bra from the night she was murdered. They also asked for a telephone cord, used in the murder. The DA's office argued there was no good reason to request those items and defense lawyers hadn't made their reasons clear. Lee's lawyers are appealing his death sentence--trying to get it commuted to a life sentence. They have until February to go over the evidence, but it will remain with the court.
A Lake Charles man accused of killing his grandmother back in 2009 has been declared mentally competent to stand trial. 35-year-old Carl Webb is charged with 1st-degree murder for the death ofthen-75-year-old Helen Webb. Webb claimed to have hallucinations, but psychiatrists say he can tell right from wrong.
Someone shot and killed nearly 20 stray cats at a home in Ethel. The homeowner moved away, leaving the cats to fend for themselves. Concerned citizens had been feeding the cats. They discovered most of them dead or dying of gunshots this week. Sheriff's deputies are seeking the persons responsible.
News for Thursday 111512
By Dave Graichen
Louisiana has been experiencing below-average temperatures the last couple of days and that cool weather is expected to remain in the bayou state for the rest of the week. State Climatologist Barry Keim says expect high temperatures to remain in the 60s for the rest of the week.
The Public Service Commission takes up a call to lower the rates prisoners pay for phone calls. Public Service Commission Chairman Foster Campbell calls it a scam. He says the service provider is allowed to charge 15 times the national rate and the state piles additional charges on top of that. Campbell says local sheriffs and state prisons require prisoners to set up phone accounts with 50 dollars, then charge seven dollars to set up the account. Providers then charge 30 cents a minute, with 70-percent of that going to the prisons. Campbell says communicating with family is important to rehabilitating prisoners, but these high phone charges effectively cut off that communication.
Tigerrag.com is reporting two LSU football players could have violated an NCAA rule by appearing in a promotional video for a party at a Baton Rouge night club. The party took place in March and it celebrated a mixtape release for former LSU star Tyrann Mathieu's rap group. Tiger Rag editor Cody Worsham says the two players in the video are defensive tackle Anthony Johnson and running back Spencer Ware. Worsham says its against NCAA rules for a student-athlete to promote or recommend a commercial product or service of any kind.
According to a just released report from the Center on Budget and Policy and the economic policy institute, Louisiana ranks sixth among states for the size of the income gap separating rich residents from poor residents in recent years. That ranking is based on the difference in income between the 20 percent of people with the highest incomes and the 20 percent with the lowest incomes between 2008 and 2010. The report also showed, Louisiana also had the tenth-largest income gap between the top 20 percent and the middle 20 percent. In Louisiana, the average income of people in the bottom 20 percent increased 1.7 percent, or $282, between the late 1990s and mid 2000s. Those in the top fifth saw their incomes rise an average 17 percent, or $21,967. Average income for those in the middle fifth increased 7.8 percent, or $3,791. Since the late 1970s, income in Louisiana has increased by 61.9 percent for those in the top fifth and 9.6 percent for those in the bottom fifth. Similar trends are apparent in other states.
Remember that Bonnie & Clyde movie that was supposed to be made here in Central Louisiana. Well, we haven’t heard much about it lately. The reason? It has never begun production. Yesterday, Alexandria Mayor Jacques Roy told the Cypress Moon Productions out of Alabama to honor its agreement to film a movie in Central Louisiana or give back the $50,000 the city put up in 2009 for the project. The production company also received $25,000 from the Alexandria Pineville Convention and Visitors Bureau and $25,000 from the Greater Alexandria Economic Development Authority (GAEDA). Tanya Holly the owner of Cypress Moon says filming is set to begin in January.
U.S. Attorney Don Cazayoux says federal charges against the man accused of calling in a bomb threat at LSU in September have been dropped. The campus was evacuated that day, causing traffic lockups all over Baton Rouge. 42-year-old William Bouvay Jr was arrested for the crime. Cazayoux says a conviction on state charges would give Bouvay a stiffer sentence, so he’s letting the state handle the case.
House Speaker Chuck Kleckley, of Lake Charles, is asking the state Ethics Board to waive fines for two Calcasieu school teachers that led an effort to recall him this year. The women were fined $1000 each for failing to file a report on their recall effort on time. Kleckley says that's a lot of money on a school teacher's salary, and he'd like to see them get a break. Kleckley says Angie Bonvillian and Brenda Romero acted in good faith within their rights as Louisiana voters in starting the recall effort, which did fail to get the needed signatures.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved nearly $116 million in individual aid for Louisiana homeowners and renters who experienced damage from Hurricane Isaac. According to a just released FEMA report, nearly 32,000 people have received housing assistance, which totals $95 million. Another $21 million has been provided for other types of individual assistance. Isaac made landfall Aug. 28 and caused significant flooding in southeast Louisiana. Eight FEMA disaster recovery centers are still open, providing aid.
New Orleans has been named the best city in the country to visit by Travel and Leisure Magazine. The top ranked categories for NOLA include fine dining, music, people watching and unique shopping. Kelly Schulz with the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau says this award is a huge marketing tool for not only New Orleans, but for the entire state. The magazine even called The Big Easy "the clear winner" based on a survey of travelers.
Attorney General Buddy Caldwell is hosting a two day training session in New Orleans with law enforcement from around Louisiana on ways to spot, prevent and prosecute cases of human trafficking. Assistant Attorney General Katherine Green says the sessions will feature experts from all across the country. Green says one of the biggest challenges facing law enforcement is the invisible nature of the crime.
News for Wednesday 111412
By Dave Graichen
The Rapides Parish School Board was scheduled to select 10 semifinalists for the position of superintendent at a special meeting Tuesday night, but, as in the past, the board decided to not decide and instead voted to continue accepting applications until May 15, shortly before the end of the school year. The Board discussed the candidates in executive session for about 90 minutes. When the Board returned to open session, member Steve Berry made a motion to extend the search. The board unanimously approved the extension without explanation. Board President Wilton Barrios said no reason could be given for the extension as it was discussed in executive session. Barrios said interim Superintendent Gerald Woodard will remain in his post as long as needed.
They don’t have the money yet, but they are a major step closer to getting it. Louisiana College was granted approval Tuesday from the Louisiana Baptist Convention to ask for $12 million from member churches. LC President Joe Aguillard formally requested permission to make direct appeals to Baptist churches to raise a portion of a capital campaign to renovate facilities Monday night at the LBC annual state meeting. He said the college has grown by 50 percent since 2006 and that the $12 million would go toward improving student housing.
It’s all over but approval from the feds. The Pineville City Council unanimously approved its new reapportioned districts Tuesday, one of the final steps in a process that Rapides Area Planning Commission Executive Director John Miller said was the easiest among local government entities. The new map can be viewed at RAPC's website (www.rapc.info) or at locations including City Hall and Kees Park. The reapportionment plan must still be approved by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Congratulations to Alexandria Senior High. The students and faculty were congratulated yesterday for earning the school's first A rating from the state with its school performance score of 120. ASH was one of five schools in the Rapides Parish school district to receive an A and one of 22 high schools in the state, putting it in the top six percent of high school scores in Louisiana.
Nearly 1,000 rank-and-file state employees have lost their jobs since July, bringing the total to nearly 3,200 since Gov. Bobby Jindal took office in 2008, according to a just released Civil Service report. The State Civil Service on Tuesday reported 967 state employee layoffs for the first four months of the state fiscal year. The number exceeds the 957 employees losing their jobs in all of fiscal year 2010-11, according to the report. The Civil Service totals do not include the announced reduction of 1,500 state employees planned for Jan. 21 throughout the LSU public hospital system. The report only reflects state employees who are in the classified service. They are rank-and-file workers who have Civil Service job protection from political interference. Civil Service does not track layoffs involving unclassified employees, who are subject to hiring and firing at will.
Governor Jindal calls on Republicans to try to reach out to more voters, and to "stop being the stupid party". In a Politico.com interview, Jindal says the image of the GOP being the "party of the rich" needs to go. In the interview with Politico, Jindal says Republicans must speak up when party members make offensive comments like Missouri Rep. Todd Akin's "legitimate rape" comment. Jindal calls on Republicans to NOT be the "party that simply protects the rich, so they get to keep their toys". He calls for the GOP to offer real, detailed policy solutions, rather than criticizing the political opposition. Jindal takes over as head of the Republican Governors Assn this week.
There's been another dip in the price at the pump. As most of Louisiana woke up to temperatures in the 30's this morning, the American Automobile Association's prediction the price would fall as
the temperatures did, is holding up. The current statewide average for a gallon of regular gasoline is $3.25 down from $3.60 just a month ago.
The Rev. Allen Gintz is scheduled to report to prison on Nov. 26, that after a state district judge in Avoyelles Parish has sentenced a preacher to at least five years in prison for sexual molestation of a child. Gintz was pastor of the Abundant Life Church outside Marksville at the time of his Oct. 21, 2010 arrest. He has been under court-ordered home incarceration since then.
It looks like Louisiana can expect a direct response from the White House to a petition asking that the state be allowed to secede from the Union. The President says he'll respond to any petition that
gets over 25-thousand signatures within 30 days. Louisiana's secession petition has gotten over 29-thousand signatures in a week. McNeese State University Politics & Government professor Henry Sirgo
says such a petition will never lead to actual secession. Dr. Sirgo says a two-thirds majority of Congress would have to vote approval of a state leaving the Union, and that, according to Sirgo, is not going to happen.
United States Attorney Stephanie Finley announced today that former Ouachita Parish Sheriff Royce Toney will not have to go to jail for his unauthorized access of a protected computer. Toney plead guilty
to eight counts of fraud and related activity in connection with computers. He was sentenced today to six months home confinement, four years of supervised release and a $15,000 fine.
Police in Broussard says they have found the body of a woman who went missing last Wednesday. 45-year-old Paulette Thibodeaux walked out of her home that day, leaving her car, wallet and cellphone
behind. Her roommate called police Friday, after she was missing for just over a whole day. Thibodeaux was found yesterday in a densely wooded area; dead from an apparently self-inflicted fatal wound.
A state inspector general's report released yesterday says the State Fire Marshal's office failed to report major mechanical problems with a carnival ride where two teenagers were severely injured in St. Helena Parish last year. Inspector General Stephen Street says the inspector should have shut the ride down. the accident happened in May of 2011 in Greensburg. A 13-year-old girl and a 15-year-old boy were severely injured when they were thrown from a ride. The inspector general's report also criticizes State Fire Marshal Butch Browning for failing to include in his report that mechanical defects caused the accident. Browning's supervisor, State Police Colonel Mike Edmonson, says there was no wrong doing by the fire marshal's office.
Louisiana's Department of Children and Family Services has deployed personnel to New Jersey to assist in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. DCFS spokesman Trey Williams says a team is in the Garden State now; helping with sheltering operations. Williams says the federal government has asked DCFS to consult with New Jersey and New York in setting up a disaster food stamp program, like the ones implemented here after recent hurricanes.
The March of Dimes has given Louisiana an "F" grade for number of premature births in the state. A pre-term birth is defined as one occurring before 37 weeks of pregnancy. March of Dimes Spokesperson Karen Moreau says in order to fix this problem, women need to be better educated on ways to reduce the risk of premature birth. DHH Secretary Bruce Greenstein says Louisiana was the first state to accept the March of Dimes' challenge to reduce premature births 8% by 2014. He says its up to ALL Louisianians to make healthy lifestyle changes and bring these numbers down.
State Wildlife & Fisheries agents remind you to be watchful for wild animals in the roadway, after a female black bear was hit by traffic and killed on US 90 in St. Mary Parish. LDWF big predator expert
Maria Davidson, says this is the time of year when there are more animal-vehicle accidents.
Hunters and land managers are reporting an increase in the number of dead deer found in the Florida parishes of Louisiana. Officials say a lot of the deer died from hemorrhagic disease, a virus transmitted by a small biting fly. LSU Ag Center entomologist Lane Foil says hemorrhagic disease can produce local and intense outbreaks. Hemorrhagic (hem-or-rag-ic) disease in deer is recognized as a fall disease. Foil says a more widespread outbreak in the Florida parishes could be the result of Hurricane Isaac and the flooding it produced, which forced a large number of deer into a small area, allowing for an easier transmission by the insects that carry the disease.
News for Tuesday 111312
By Dave Graichen
Authorities have identified a woman who was found murdered at the old AT&T plant, in Shreveport, Saturday morning. The victim was 68-year-old Rose Coleman of Shreveport. Police believe the victim was first kidnapped from El Dorado Casino. The suspect, 28-year-old Stacy Blount, is behind bars accused of carjacking, kidnapping, and the brutal murder after leading police on a high-speed car chase.
State Police are looking for a suspect they say was involved in a fatal accident Sunday morning. They say the crash claimed the life of a 58-year-old man riding his bike on LA 445 in Thangipahoa
Parish. Troopers are now actively searching for the hit and run vehicle believed to be a maroon colored Sedan, possibly a Saturn, with damage to its right front bumper.
There's a happy ending to the story of a New Orleans woman who lost her 11-year-old dog, named Skeeter, during a carjacking. Skeeter is back with her happy owner Meg Hall who says the Chihuahua-Jack Russell Terrier mix was found by a family member near the area where the carjacking occurred. Hall thanks the public for their efforts in trying to find Skeeter. Her SUV was also found in Harvey, but it was trashed. Authorities are still looking for her attacker.
Former Ouachita Parish Sheriff Royce Toney is expected to be sentenced today in a federal court in Monroe. Toney plead guilty to nine misdemeanor counts of unauthorized access of a protected computer on August 2nd. Former U-S Attorney Harry Rosenberg says he expects Toney will spend little or no time in prison. Under the sentencing guidelines, Toney could only serve a maximum of one year in federal prison, plus a fine of up to 100-thousand dollars. Toney was also facing several felony counts, but those charges were dropped as part of a plea deal. Rosenberg says the plea deal was a key to Toney receiving a lighter sentence.
A survey by USAA and Military-dot-com names the Houma-Bayou Cane-Thibodeaux area the top spot in Louisiana for recent and soon-to-be discharged veterans to transition back into civilian
life. The area scored high on the survey for the third year in a row. The survey took into account factors that include job and educational opportunities, quality of life and cost of living.
Following Saturday night's 37-17 victory over then number 22 Mississippi State in Tiger Stadium, LSU has moved up to number 8 in the Associated Press poll. And after then number one Alabama was
defeated by Texas A&M, the Crimson Tide has fallen to number 4 in the AP poll. LSU takes on Ole Miss Saturday afternoon in Tiger Stadium for the last game in Death Valley this season.
Good news for motorists who use I-10 to travel through Baton Rouge. Jodi Conachen with the Department of Transportation and Development says after three years the project to widen almost 8 miles of the I-10 in Baton Rouge between Siegen and the 10/12 split is nearly done. Conachen says the $86 million project should be done late December/early January.
Governor Jindal spent a great deal of time this year out-of-state, campaigning for Republican candidates like Mitt Romney. Now that the election is over, what's next for the Governor? U.L.-Lafayatte political science professor Pearson Cross says Mr. Jindal will focus more attention on Louisiana. Jindal will be leaving office in 2015, but his political ambitions probably won't end there. Cross says Mr. Jindal has no private sector experience on his resume, and that's something important to conservative Republicans. Cross expects he'll seek to remedy that.
The body of an Iraqi war veteran who authorities say jumped off the Audubon Bridge on Nov. 4 was recovered Sunday. Authorities say the body of Dusty Brouillette, from Baton Rouge, was found Sunday afternoon by a child riding a four-wheeler across the levee in Ventress. The 32 year old Brouillette had been missing for a week after his pickup was discovered in the westbound lane of the Audubon Bridge Nov. 4.
News for Monday 111212
By Dave Graichen
The coldest air of the season is moving into Louisiana. State Climatologist Barry Keim says we'll only see high temperatures in the 60s today for most of the state as a result of a strong cold front pushing through Louisiana. Keim says low temperatures for the next few days will range from the mid 30s to low 40s.
State Treasurer John Kennedy is upset over the Citizens Insurance board's decision to give its top executive a 50-thousand dollar raise, while the state-run property insurance company faces a 56-million dollar shortfall. Kennedy says how can you raise Richard Robertson's annual salary to $290,000, while the company is reporting record losses. Kennedy is asking Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon not to approve the pay raise. Kennedy says Citizens board members voted for it, because Robertson hasn't received a pay raise in three years and his salary is lower compared to others who have a similar responsibility. But Kennedy says announcing a 56-million dollar deficit and giving out a hefty raise on the same day is poor judgment.
It’s now official, The University of Louisiana System has named its next System President. She is Sandra Woodley - currently the vice-chancellor for strategic initiative with the University of Texas System. Woodley replaces former ULL System President Randy Moffett, who retired back in September. She'll start her new position right after the holidays. Woodley says she'll put her skills to work; analyzing data and strategizing on how to best move the universities forward, while coping with recent deep state cuts to higher education.
Louisiana's energy industry has worries about another four years of Obama Administration oil & gas policies. Don Briggs is president of the Louisiana OIl & Gas Association. He says the Mr. Obama is NOT friendly to the domestic energy industry. Briggs says Obama's Environmental Protection Agency over-reacted to the 2010 BP oil spill and shut down all Gulf drilling for over 6 months. He worries that the EPA will turn similar attention on hydraulic well fracking during the President's 2nd term. The White House says domestic energy exploration has grown during Mr. Obama's first term. Briggs says that IS true, but it's been in spite of the President's energy policies.
Louisiana has once again enacted a rule to ban a deadly synthetic drug --- the latest one is known as "25-I". Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Bruce Greenstein says "25-I" is similar to bath salts and its chemical makeup is highly potent, very toxic and any dose can be dangerous. Slidell Representative Kevin Pearson proposed criminalizing this drug after an Arkansas man died in New Orleans after overdosing on 25-I at Voo Doo Fest. Greenstein says they took swift action to add this drug
to the Louisiana list of Schedule I narcotics. Schedule I legal penalties could mean serving up to 30 years in prison. Greenstein says this year 25-I is responsible for at least five deaths nationwide including the one in Louisiana.
Rival Republican congressmen Charles Boustany and Jeff Landry are prepping for an intense month of campaigning--leading to their December 8th runoff election for "all the marbles". U.L.-Lafayette political science professor Pearson Cross says he expects spending for the runoff to top $5-million. Dr. Cross says both candidates will be in full-blown fundraising mode. Here’s something you may not have known, campaign donors, who had reached the legal limit for contributions prior to the November 6th election, may now contribute to their candidate again.
USA Today names Lake Charles as one of the Top 10 places to spend a winter vacation. That's impressive when you take a look at other places that made the list like Hawaii, Palm Springs, Los Angeles and Puerto Rico. The article boasts the good food, beautiful scenery and marshland exploring at makes the southwest Louisiana city so attractive. The article was in Friday's Travel section of USA today and you can also read it on their website, usatoday.com.
LSU's offense was sharp again on Saturday night in the Tigers 37-17 homecoming win over Mississippi State. The victory improved the Tigers record to 8-and-2. LSU has a chance at playing in a BCS Bowl, if they can win their remaining two games and Florida losses once. LSU hosts Ole Miss this Saturday.
What a game! There is no longer an undefeated team in the NFL after the New Orleans Saints knock off the Atlanta Falcons 31-27. It's the fourth win in five games for the Black and Gold who rushed for 148 yards Sunday with the Saints defense holding Atlanta to just 46 yards.
Congratulations to Louisiana College, who will make its first appearance in the NCAA football playoffs this week when the 8 and 2 Wildcats play at American Southwest Conference rival, undefeated Mary Hardin-Baylor on Saturday. The game will take place in Belton, Texas.
News for Friday 110912
By Dave Graichen
A Rapides Parish teen was killed Wednesday afternoon after being struck by a car. State Police say 15-year-old, Jacob Simpson, was riding his bike in the middle of the inside left lane of Hwy 165 near C. Walters Road when 19-year-old driver Lacey Jordon collided with him. He was not wearing a helmet at the time. The crash investigation continues.
A 15-year-old Shreveport boy is recovering from serious injuries sustained when he was hit, while riding his bike, by a Shreveport police car. Another teen was also hit in the Tuesday night incident, but was not seriously hurt. The matter is under investigation.
The Winnsboro woman who set herself on fire last month then told police that men in hoods attacked her has had her condition upgraded from critical to serious. That's the word from the LSU Hospital in Shreveport, where 20-year-old Sharmika Moffitt is being treated. Police believe Moffitt wrote a racial slur and "KKK" on her own car, then set herself on fire. She's recovering from severe burns.
Louisiana motorists continue to get big breaks at the pump. The current statewide average for a gallon of gas is now $3.29. The American Automobile Association says this is 28 cents less than we were paying last month and the colder it gets, the more the price will fall.
The search committee charged with finding a new president for the University of Louisiana will interview its only finalist today. Sandy Woodley is scheduled to meet with the committee in Baton Rouge. Woodley is currently is the vice chancellor for strategic initiatives for the University of Texas system. In that role, she oversees the offices of strategic management, institutional studies and policy analysis. The University of Louisiana System has more than 92,000 students in nine universities, including Northwestern State in Natchitoches. The system also includes Louisiana Tech in Ruston, which is seeking a president. The Tech search committee will meet at noon today to choose finalists. Nine people have applied so far.
A proposed 80 mile per hour passenger train to run between Shreveport Bossier and Dallas Fort-Worth, is being shopped to the states of Louisiana and Texas by Amtrack. Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne calls the project doable but still wants to see what comes out of a feasibility study due in March of 2013.
A federal prosecutor in New Orleans is demoted for making online comments on a newspaper website. U-S Attorney Jim Letten said today that Jan Mann is no longer serving as First Assistant U-S Attorney and Chief of the Criminal Division. Legal Analyst Chick Foret says Letten's announcement confirms the allegation Mann was posting internet comments. South Louisiana landfill owner Fred Heebe, who is under investigation by federal agencies, accused Mann of posting anonymous and sometimes biting internet comments about the cases she was investigating and filed a defamation lawsuit against her. Mann will remain an assistant U-S Attorney, but Foret says further action could be taken against her.
A military parade will roll through historic New Orleans tomorrow as part of the state's bicentennial celebration. The parade will feature representatives from every branch of the military. Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne says it’s the biggest military parade in the state in 100 years. The previous military parade of this size was in 1912, during the state's centennial observance. Before the parade a wreath will be laid
at the Veterans Memorial Square in Metairie and Dardenne says a special piece of World War Two history will be presented to the museum, a world war two set of dog tags from the beaches of Normandy in France. The bicentennial parade will begin at 3 P-M in the French Quarter.
An organization out of Monroe is pushing for legislation that would legalize recreational marijuana in Louisiana. Similar referendums were passed in Colorado and Washington State after Tuesday's election. Donnie Griffith is the founder of Legalize Louisiana. He says there are many benefits to legalizing marijuana in Louisiana. Griffith says instead of having drug cartels supplying marijuana to users in Louisiana, we could grow our own and tax it. He says now that pot has been legalized in other states, his group hopes to present harder evidence to Louisiana lawmakers showing them there is no harm brought on by the crop.
The state department of health and hospitals says it's close to finalizing cooperative endeavor agreements that would keep a mental hospital open in Mandeville. DHH Deputy Secretary Kathy Kliebert says Meridian Behavioral Health is a private company, interested in taking over in-patient services on the Southeast Louisiana hospital campus. The 60-year-old facility was facing closure as a result of budget cuts.
Two influential members of Louisiana's Congressional delegation have differing views of how to avoid the country's coming "fiscal cliff". Democrat Senator Mary Landrieu says it would seem that raising taxes is
inevitable. But Republican Congressman Steve Scalise, of Metairie, says the federal government shouldn't make taxpayers foot the bill for its own over spending and mismanagement. Numerous tax cuts expire at the end of the year, as automatic spending cuts take effect.
Calling her "sinister and despicable" a Baton Rouge Judge sentenced 25-year-old Charlotte Staggs to 40 years in prison for abusing and neglecting her 20-month-old stepson. In 1009, the boy was brought to
a hospital in ER for swallowing nail polish remover. Doctors observed he was also severely malnourished and dehydrated with numbers scrapes and bruises all over his body.
Ninth ranked LSU faces its fifth straight ranked opponent on Saturday night when they host Mississippi State. The Bulldogs are ranked 22nd, but they've lost their last two. Also, LSU has dominated this series over the last two decades, winning 12 straight over the Bulldogs.
The undefeated Atlanta Falcons will be in the Mercedes Benz Superdome on Sunday to battle the Saints. The Dirty Birds are a perfect 8-and-0
News for Thursday 110812
By Dave Graichen
It was unanimous across the state, Louisiana voters decided Tuesday to limit school board members to three four-year terms. Each individual school district had the local option vote, after legislation to add the measure to Fall ballots was passed last Spring. This means that any school board member elected after January of 2013 will be limited to 12 years in office. Those who've already served for several years will have the limits engage with their next elected term.
Reactions are coming in, from both sides of the political spectrum, to President Obama's win over republican hopeful Mitt Romney . Stephen Handwerk, executive director of the Louisiana democratic
Party, says Mr. Obama's re-election is a sign the American people are happy with the direction the nation is headed. Senator David Vitter also chimed in on last night's election, representing the other side of the aisle. Vitter says he knew there was always a very real possibility President Obama would be re-elected. He says losing seats in the U-S Senate though, was not expected.
Governor Bobby Jindal has issued a statement in response to President Barack Obama being re-elected. He congratulates the Mr. Obama and says that in Louisiana we will continue to do what we have always done...which means doing what we think is right no matter who is President.
The Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Department reports a burglary victim is offering a $5,000 reward for information regarding the theft of cash, jewelry and financial documents from their home earlier this month in the 1700 block of Tumminello Drive in Pineville. The burglary was reported last Sunday, when the victim returned home from an out-of-town trip to find that an outer door had been pried open. The victim offered the reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction in the case.
Alexandria Police report charges are pending against two juveniles after a vehicle pursuit and foot chase Tuesday in the Lakeside Drive area of the city. The case began around with a report of an unauthorized use of a vehicle in the Lee Street area. The vehicle was spotted, but when officers tried to stop it, the driver sped off. The driver and a passenger, both juveniles, later fled the vehicle, but were caught a short time later.
State Police are investigating a crash yesterday morning on highway 71 south of Clarence, where a man struck the back of a farm tractor. According to police a truck, driven by 40-year-old Jerry. Coutee, had been northbound on U.S. 71 when it hit a tractor driven by 53 year old L.D. McDaniel of Natchez. After hitting the tractor, the truck went into a ditch and then hit a tree. Coutee, who wasn't wearing a seat belt, suffered serious injuries and was taken to the LSU Medical Center in Shreveport. McDaniel was not injured.
Voters in Rapides Parish approved a proposal Tuesday to spend $23 million to upgrade and renovate the Rapides Parish Coliseum in Alexandria. But, it will likely take several months to a year to finalize planning and design, take legal steps to structure and sell bonds and go through the permitting and bidding processes, before work can begin. Construction could take up to two years. The anticipated completion date is sometime in 2015. Jimbo Thiels, a member of the Coliseum Authority, says they are working now with ongoing event organizers to find temporary venues for their events while the facility is under construction.
Temperatures are in the low 40s this morning, which is another sign winter is right around the corner. But there's some good news when it comes to home heating costs. Atmos Energy Spokesperson Ann Hayward says natural gas supplies are higher than normal, which should keep natural gas prices relatively low. Hayward says even though natural gas prices are predicted to be low this winter, customers can still do their part to reduce energy bills. She says a programmable thermostat is a wise investment and there's additional tips on the Atmos website. That link can be found in the “You heard it here” at ksyl.com.
As people are spending more time outside enjoying the fall weather, the cases of West Nile in Louisiana continue to be reported. The state confirms six new cases of the virus this week. Department of
Health and Hospitals Chief Medical Officer Takeisha Davis says it does, however, look like the number of cases is starting to decline the colder it gets.
Louisiana appears to be winning the war against auto thefts. The numbers of stolen vehicles statewide has fallen steadily from 15,640 in 2006 to 9,123 in 2011. Commissioner of Insurance Jim Donelon credits the drop to advances in technology. Donelon says the Louisiana Department of Insurance is embarking on a campaign to educate drivers on steps they can take to avoid making their vehicle an attractive target for thieves.
The Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness sent off another team of Louisiana emergency managers to New York state to assist local officials there responding to
Hurricane Sandy. Other GOHSEP staffers have already been working in Pennsylvania and New Jersey to assist emergency managers there.
Nucor Steel is set to start hiring for phase two of it's plant in St. James Parish. Nucor is ending its first round of employee-training and will start hiring Monday. They hope to bring on about 150 workers. The facility is looking to start up in mid-2013.
Two men working a drilling rig in Tensas Parish were seriously burned yesterday, when vapors from the rig were on ignited by the motor of a pumper truck, and a vat of drilling mud nearby caught fire.
Both men were flown to a hospital in Jackson, Mississippi. The men have not been identified yet. Authorities want to inform their families first. The accident happened in the Buckhorn Wildlife Area near St. Joseph.
Lake Charles Police arrest a DeQuincy cop for DWI, reckless operation and hit & run--in a DeQuincy squad car. Officers found the cop car stuck in some woods off the roadway and arrested 30-year-old Matthew Sollay. DeQuincy Police say he was off-duty at the time.
Final Rapides Parish Election Results
U. S. Representative -- 5th Congressional District
Rodney Alexander (R) 80% Rapides Parish, 78% District Wide
Councilman -- District 3, City of Alexandria
Jerry Wayne Jones, Jr. (D) 31% 894
Jules R. Green (D) 28% 809
Councilman at Large -- City of Alexandria
Roosevelt L. Johnson (D) 40% 7556
"Lee" Rubin (O) 32% 6076
PW School District -- Local Option – 12 Year Term Limits For School Board Members
YES 79% 40914
PW Police Jury -- 7.08 Mills - PJ - 10 Yrs. The Library Tax Renewal..
YES 71% 36624
PW PJ (Bond & Mills) -- $23M-Bonds & 1 Mill-PJ-20 Yrs. Rapides Parish Coliseum Renovation & Maintenance
YES 52% 26444
Serv. Area No. 1 of FPD#2 -- 16.31 Mills – PJ
YES 63% 1214
Fire Prot. Dist. No. 2 -- 15.52 Mills – PJ A redirection of the current tax to allow emergency medical services.
YES 68% 9857
Rigolette School Dist. #11 -- 3 Mills - 10 Yrs.
Cotile School Dist. #22A -- 3.04 Mills - SB - 10 Yrs.
Lecompte-Lam-WoodwSD#57 -- 4.82 Mills - SB - 10 Yrs.
YES 59% 1209
Sixth Ward School Dist. #58 -- 12.86 Mills - SB - 10 Yrs.
YES 64% 338
ForChenLecLamWoodCSD#61 -- 4.78 Mills - SB - 10 Yrs.
YES 61% 1923
State Wide.. All Constitutional Amendments Passed with the exception of one.. That being #6 The amendment that gave tax governing authority to New Iberia. The very confusing amendment failed when 57% of the state’s residents said WHAT? Or Nay.
U. S. Representative -- 1st Congressional District "Steve" Scalise (R) easily won with 67% of the vote.
U. S. Representative -- 2nd Congressional District, this is the only district with 55 precincts still not reported.. Cedric Richmond is a head with 50.83% of the vote.. So it is too close to call.
U. S. Representative -- 3rd Congressional District, there will be a runoff between republican challengers Charles Boustany, Jr who had 45% of the vote and "Jeff" Landry 30%
U. S. Representative -- 4th Congressional District, Republican John Fleming was the big winner with 75% of the vote.
U. S. Representative -- 5th Congressional District, as we mentioned earlier Rodney Alexander was the big winner with 78% of the votes
U. S. Representative -- 6th Congressional District, republican William "Bill" Cassidy easily won reelection with 79% of the votes.
News for Tuesday 110612
By Dave Graichen
Today is election day, and Secretary of State Tom Schedler says Louisiana is as ready for it as can be. Schedler says voting machines are in place at precincts across the state, and he urges voters to be prepared for some long lines. Schedler says he anticipates a total voter turnout today of about 70 to
72% of Louisiana's registered voters. He says he bases his expectation on the huge numbers that showed up to early vote for this election. Schedler reminds you only three minutes are allowed in the voting booth, and he recommends you familiarize yourself with the ballot beforehand.
The polls in Louisiana opened at six A-M and will close at eight o' clock tonight. Just a reminder, You can view sample ballot for your voting precinct at cenlabroadcasting.com and ksyl.com. And this programming note, non-stop election coverage begins tonight at 6 on 970am KSYL.
Parish board of election supervisors have been notified that military and overseas ballots will continue be accepted as long as they are received by Wednesday, Nov. 7. Secretary of State Tom Schedler announcing yesterday that Louisiana has extended the deadline by one day for receipt of military and overseas ballots because of conditions in the Northeast caused by Hurricane Sandy. State statute requires the secretary to take all actions reasonably necessary to allow members of the military and U.S. citizens residing overseas to vote during a period of declared emergency. The Federal Voter Assistance Program officially notified Louisiana that military and overseas ballots were delayed due to the closure of JFK Airport in New York after Hurricane Sandy hit the region last week.
The Rapides Parish School Board voted 5-4 Monday night to approve one of three reapportionment plans presented to them last month by John Miller, executive director of the Rapides Area Planning Commission. Miller returned Monday for the board's final vote. Since the board approved a reapportionment plan, that being SB 2010, Miller will continue to work with the Rapides Parish District Attorney's Office to complete the correct paperwork for the Justice Department. According to DA James Downs, no other formal action is required by the board.
Louisiana Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain was in town yesterday speaking to members of the Central Louisiana Chamber of Commerce. His message, demand for quality agricultural products worldwide is going to explode in the coming decades. A fast growing global population and rising income levels in developing countries such as China and India will create the demand. , Strain says It will be up to U.S. producers to meet it.
A Slidell Representative is asking the state House to being crafting a bill to add a new substance to the state's list of scheduled drugs. Kevin Pearson says the new synthetic drug is called "25-I"
and "N-Bomb" may be responsible for the death of one man in New Orleans and the hospitalization of two others after taking the substance. Pearson requested research from House staff earlier this
The "Spirit of Louisiana" is heading back to the northeast. If you recall that's the fire truck the residents of Louisiana paid for to help New York after Nine-Eleven. The New York Fire Department gave
the truck back to Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina, but State Police Colonel Mike Edmonson says it's needed in New York again, because of Hurricane Sandy. The truck was originally built to New York city specifications.
The lack of a new farm bill from Congress is combining with the economic factors to push many Louisiana dairy farmers out of the milk producing business. The last federal farm bill, passed in 2008, expired last September 30th. LSU AgCenter researcher Mike McCormick says that loss is hitting the state's dairy farmers hard. McCormick says rapidly rising feed costs and the lack of price supports could see up to a quarter of the remaining dairy farms in Louisiana go out of business. Louisiana has lost at least half of its dairy farms in the last decade.
A long, contentious campaign between two seated congressmen, each running for the same U.S. House seat, could come to an end today. Voters will decide which of 5 candidates will be Louisiana's next District 3 Congressman. Redistricting in 2011 left the state with one less congressional district, so Charles Boustany and Jeff Landry must compete for re-election.
LSU Faculty Senate President Kevin Cope on Monday accused the LSU Board of Supervisors of knowingly deceiving the public on a vote taken last month that changed the top hierarchy of a university system that includes colleges, professional schools and public hospitals. Cope called for Louisiana Attorney General James “Buddy” Caldwell to investigate whether LSU’s management board violated state open meeting laws on Oct. 26 when members voted to merge the system president and Baton Rouge chancellor positions without telling the public that specific issue would be discussed. Caldwell declined to comment Monday. The LSU board member who called for the vote and a lawyer representing the university denied the allegation.
A 34-year-old Houma man has been named a suspect in the weekend stabbing deaths of a woman and her two young daughters, who were inside an apartment that was then set ablaze. Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre says David Brown invoked his right to counsel when deputies began to question him about the triple homicides. Brown was booked and is being held on $110,000 bond and under an additional hold placed by the Louisiana Department of Probation and Parole. Webre said Monday that the investigation continues into the early Sunday deaths of the woman and her two young children.
Drew Brees threw two touchdown passes, extending his NFL record streak to 51 games, and Patrick Robinson returned an interception 99 yards for a touchdown to lead the New Orleans Saints to a 28-13 victory over Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night football.
News For Monday 110512
By Dave Graichen
Funeral services are today for Jimmy Williams, who passed away Friday. Williams was the former executive director of Kisatchie Delta Regional Planning Authority and former economic development director of England Economic and Industrial Development District. Most recently, he was sports and marketing manager for the Alexandria/Pineville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. In life and in death, Jimmy was the kind of guy who was loved by all he came in contact with. Jimmy Williams, dead at 52.
Authorities in Lafourche Parish said a woman and her two daughters were stabbed to death in their apartment, which was then set on fire. So far, investigators have not arrested anyone in the deaths of 29-year-old Jacqueline Nieves, 20-month-old Isabella Nieves or 6-year-old Gabriella Nieves. Deputies say the woman’s husband is being questioned as a person of interest. Investigators don’t know if more than one attacker was involved.
Long lines for gasoline in New Jersey and New York are not having a negative effect on gas prices in Louisiana. American Automobile Association Fuel Analyst, Don Redman, says a gallon of gasoline is about 25-cents cheaper than a month ago. Redman says the statewide average for a gallon of regular gasoline is $3.35 and he expects that price will dip below $3.25 in the near future. He says it's possible the price of gas will be at or below three-dollars a gallon by the end of the month. When hurricanes impact the Gulf Coast, the price of gas usually rises. But Redman says Superstorm Sandy came at a time when there's a weak demand for gasoline across the country. He says that will allow gas prices to keep falling in Louisiana.
LSU Police arrested at least six people Saturday for scalping tickets on campus before the LSU-Alabama football game, including one man who was banned from LSU’s campus two years ago after he tried to scalp tickets when Alabama played the Tigers in 2010. None of the six people arrested are from Louisiana or Alabama. Three are from Houston, two are from Georgia and one is from Mississippi. All could be fined up to $500 and imprisoned up to 90 days.
Louisiana doctors are concerned the deep cuts to LSU public hospitals will force future doctors to train in other states. Governor Jindal cut 300-million dollars from the LSU health care system as a result of a loss in federal Medicaid funding. State Medical Society President Andy Blalock says this will impact training programs for future physicians. As a result of the cuts, Governor Jindal is trying to increase graduate Medical training at private hospitals, but the state doesn't have many contracts in place with private health facilities. But Blalock says a transition like that can't happen overnight. Blalock says if the state can't work out agreements with private hospitals to train medical grads, then LSU will have to cut back and train fewer doctors.
One item voters across most of Louisiana will find on their ballots Tuesday is a local option vote on imposing term limits on school board members. Council for A Better Louisiana president Barry Erwin says this is the result of a law passed last Spring by the Legislature. He says CABL feels it's a good idea. Erwin says numerous public bodies already have term limits. The governor may serve only two. State lawmakers are limited to three terms, as are statewide elected officials. Erwin says without limitations, some public officials can become entrenched, and sometimes even grow stagnate in
Two dozen Louisiana state troopers are on their way to New Jersey to help with the Hurricane Sandy response. State Police Col. Mike Edmonson said Sunday the New Jersey State Police requested help through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, or EMAC, which calls for other states to provide resources during a disaster. For Louisiana, sending troopers to the Sandy-area repays assistance that New Jersey provided after hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.
According to a report by Edmunds.com car buyers in Louisiana are buying electric and hybrid vehicles less than most other states. Louisiana Automobile Dealers Association President Bob Isreal says The report indicates that .5 percent of all new hybrid vehicles sold in the US this year were registered in Louisiana, ranking the state 37th in the nation. The percentage is even lower for electric cars. But Israel says people who own a Hybrid vehicle are very happy with them.
Beginning in January, Louisiana residents may be unable to use their state-issued driver’s licenses or identification cards to take domestic flights or enter federal courthouses and other federally secured buildings. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has set Jan. 15 as the deadline for states to comply with the Real ID Act, a federal law passed in 2005 that has been modified over the years as many states refused or were unable to comply with the original law. The act sets in place security standards for identification cards issued by states and stipulates protocols state agencies must adhere to when residents apply for identification. The state is hoping news rules taking effect next summer will be deemed acceptable.
The Saints hope to play better on national television tonight when they host the Philadelphia Eagles. New Orleans was blown out on N-B-C last Sunday as Denver downed the Saints 34-14. Tonight's opponent, the Eagles, have a 3-and-4 record. But Saints interim coach Joe Vitt says Philadelphia is playing well on defense. Both teams come into this game desperate for a win. Vitt says he knows Philadelphia will be ready and so will the Saints.
LSU's dreams of returning to the SEC title game were shattered Saturday as Alabama put together a last minute drive to win 21-17. The loss ends LSU chances of winning the SEC West. The Tigers can still win ten games this season and play in a New Year's Day Bowl.
News For Friday 110212
By Dave Graichen
After 54 years in operation the C. Paul Phelps Correctional Center in Dequincy has closed its doors for good. Dequincy Mayor Lawrence Henagan says the real economic impact of the closure has yet to be felt. He says the loss of 260 jobs in his town is like a city the size of Lake Charles losing a thousand. Henagan complains he was never contacted by Governor Jindal or anyone from his administration before the decision was handed down.
Authorities in the St. Landry Parish area are searching for the person or persons who reportedly fired several gun shots on the LSU-Eunice campus. There have been no reports of any injuries from the gunfire. Officers stopped a vehicle in a residential neighborhood, but the driver fled on foot. No weapon has been recovered and the suspect is still at large.
The University of Louisiana System Board says they've narrowed their search for a new system president down to one name. Sandra K. Woodley is currently a vice-chancellor with the University of Texas System. She's emerged as the lone candidate among a field of 16. Woodley will have another lengthy interview on the 9th, after which an official announcement may be coming. U.L. System President Randy Moffett retired in September.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's top budget adviser scrapped a legislative vote Thursday on the governor's proposal to outsource a state employee health insurance plan, when it became clear the contract didn't have enough support to win approval. Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols pulled the proposed contract between the Office of Group Benefits and Blue Cross/Blue Shield from consideration after four hours of discussion. Her decision sidetracked an attempt by House opponents to vote on rejecting the proposal outright. Nichols did say the matter will be brought up again at a later date.
The Louisiana Workforce Commission unveils a new web-based tool to help folks find and apply for jobs. LWC executive director Curt Eysink (eye-sink) says you can link to Louisiana Star Jobs from the LWC website "LAWorks.net". He says Louisiana Star Jobs is an intuitive & interactive tool that quickly displays available jobs; searchable by trade, salary level, qualification requirements and other criteria.The web address is the same, but the content is new; online at "laworks.net".
With the arrival of November, State Climatologist Barry Keim says we're pretty much clear of the 2012 Hurricane Season. He says Louisiana has not had a named storm make a November landfall in over 160 years of record-keeping. Keim says the tropics are currently quiet, and he feels our state is safe for the rest of this year
Army Corps of Engineers personnel from New Orleans are now in New York City and New Jersey, to help them with getting the millions of gallons of water pushed inland by Superstorm Sandy OUT. They took with them 25 6-inch and 8-inch heavy duty pumps.
Shreveport Police say one of their officers struck and injured a little girl yesterday morning. The girl was standing in the road, and the officer says he couldn't avoid hitting her. An investigation into WHY she was in the street is underway. The child is in LSU Shreveport Hospital, with serious injuries.
The state Office of Motor Vehicles will host a special event Saturday from 8 to noon to sign up men and women who've served in the military for the state's new Veterans' Driver’s License. The new Veterans DL is the result of legislation passed last Spring. Veterans can swap their existing license for one of the new ones, free of charge.
Deputies in St. Mary Parish have nabbed a man accused of kidnapping & robbing an Amelia woman. Sheriff's spokesperson Traci Landry says 25-year-old Israel Garza forced the female acquaintance into a car, drove her some distance...then beat her, took her cell phone and left her on the Garza was apprehended later at his home. She says he now faces a "laundry list" of criminal charges.
President Barack Obama is the winner in a "mock election" that involved public, private and home school students. About 88-thousand K-through-12 students voted and the President won by a 51-to-49-percent margin over Republican Mitt Romney. The Secretary of State's Office and Cox Communications held the mock election. The President was also successful in getting support of younger voters four years ago.
The architects of a proposed class-action settlement of claims spawned by the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico are confident it won't be derailed by thousands of businesses and individuals opting out of the deal. Thursday is the deadline for claimants to postmark written requests to opt out of the multibillion-dollar pact between BP PLC and a team of plaintiffs' attorneys. Patrick Juneau, administrator of the court-supervised claims process, said roughly 2,300 potential plaintiffs had asked to opt out as of Wednesday. But Juneau said a final number won't be known until early next week.
News For Thursday 110112
By Dave Graichen
As expected, LSUA chancellor Dr. David Manuel has been chosen to be the new President of Drury University in Springfield, Mo. Manuel said he will work with William Jenkins the interim president of the LSU System, and the LSU Board of Supervisors to welcome new leadership at LSUA. Manuel’s last day will be May 31st. He will start his new job the following day.
The Young Professionals Group of Central Louisiana is hosting a debate today between the six candidates vying for an at-large seat on the Alexandria City Council. The debate is from 5:30-7 p.m. at the Coughlin Saunders Performing Arts Center in downtown Alexandria. Doors open at 5 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.
The Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office is searching for a missing girl who last was seen Tuesday at Tioga High School. Cherneva Anderson was last seen at the school around 2:30 p.m., wearing a white polo shirt, khaki pants and red Adidas shoes, deputies said. She may be with a man known only as "Possum." Cherneva stands 5 feet, 8 inches tall, weighs 130 pounds and has black hair and brown eyes.She may be in the Alexandria area, possibly in the Kelleyland subdivision. Anyone who knows anything about Cherneva Anderson or "Possum" is asked to call the office at (318) 473-6700.
The official numbers are in. Early voting for the November 6th election drew record high numbers in
Louisiana. Secretary of State Tom Schedler says a record-high 340,653 voters cast early ballots with more democrats the republicans making it to the polls. Based on early voting, Schedler expects to see a total voter turnout for this election of just over 70-percent.
The state department of education is working on a new letter grading system for all publicly funded pre-K schools and centers. The department plans to phase in the system over the next three years
and have it fully in place by the 2015-2016 school year. State Superintendent of Education John White says the goal is to have 70-percent of all four-year-olds kindergarten ready. White says the
new grading standards would provide tax credits for those day care centers who perform well, while cutting off state aid to low-performing centers. He says this new grading system will be similar to one already in place for public schools. Currently the numbers of kindergarten ready four-year-olds is around 54-percent.
Donnie Lee Roberts Jr., a Natchitoches native convicted in his girlfriend's 2003 slaying in Texas, was executed Wednesday for fatally shooting the woman and taking items from her home to sell or trade to support his drug habit. The 41 year old Roberts became the 12th inmate to be put to death this year in the nation's most active capital punishment state. His lethal injection came after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review his case earlier this week, and no additional appeals were filed to try to block the execution.
Former LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson was released from jail yesterday, after he pleaded "no contest" on a simple battery charge from the infamous Shady's bar fight. As a result of the plea, Jefferson was sentenced to one year probation and ordered to perform 30 hours of community service. The former LSU football player still faces a charge for marijuana possession as a result of his arrest last week.
LSU is advising its fans that are coming to the big game on Saturday to arrive early, because well over 100-thousand people are expected to be on campus. Associate Athletic Director Herb Vincent says fans who sit in the south end should plan on walking into Tiger Stadium earlier than normal. Construction has already started on the expansion of Tiger Stadium and Vincent says it makes it more difficult for those seat holders to get into Death Valley. Vincent also had some other advice, if you are buying tickets be aware of counterfeit tickets and oh ya, carpool if possible.
Now that Halloween is over retailers can put their full attention towards the Christmas shopping season. Retail analyst Jim Rutledge says merchants have been gearing up and consumers have already starting
buying gifts. On-line shopping has been a growing trend for a number of years, and the numbers continue to grow. Rutledge says a number of brick-and-mortar merchants are taking steps to keep pace with the deals offered by on-line sellers.
A special committee meets today to go over applicants to be the next president of the University of Louisiana System. UL System Board chairman Wayne Parker says 14 highly qualified individuals have submitted applications for the position. He says the committee will meet today to discuss each one.
Parker says it's possible the committee could announce the new UL System President at its November 9th meeting.
A Napoleonville man, who lives about 4 miles from the sinkhole near Bayou Corne, says his tap water is flammable. The man says he'd noticed his tap water was more bubbly since the sinkhole developed.
DEQ checked and found increased levels of naturally-occuring methane gas. However, they say it's NOT connected to the sinkhole, but has more to do with where his well was located.
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