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A tourist visiting New Orleans remained in critical condition at last report after a brutal beating during a robbery in the French Quarter. NOPD Chief Michael Harrison says the entire incident was caught on video.


"And this is a message to the people that did this," said Harrison. "In just a little while, everybody is going to see you, everybody will know exactly who you are, and we're coming for you."

Investigators are seeking assistance in identifying and locating four suspects wanted in connection with the second degree robbery. Harrison says they are also asking for additional video from the community if it's out there.

"But what we have right now is pretty good," said Harrison. "We're putting that out to the community, and every time we get something new we'll put that out too."

Harrison says there were two victims and they were in town visiting from the Boston area. Harrison said the incident occurred shortly before 9pm Saturday night.

"To our knowledge, they were en route back to their hotel room when this unfortunate incident took place," said Harrison.
 
 
 
 

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The LSU AgCenter receives nearly one million dollars from the USDA for honeybee research. Entomologist Kristen Healy says any given year there’s higher than normal losses in honeybee colonies, and many studies look at what stressors contributes to these losses. One factor they’ll look at is the mite population in the hives.

She says Varroa mites can be devastating to honeybee colonies.

“We’re dividing them up. So some will receive treatments for mites, and some of them won’t. So we can look to see what does the impact of mites have on these colonies,” Healy said.

Healy says it’s important to protect the bee population because one out of every three bites of food we eat relies on bees for pollination. She says the mites also transmit pathogens to the bees, and they’ll study the effects of those diseases, like the deformed wing virus.

“So not only are they impacted by the mites themselves feeding on the immature bees, but they’re also indirectly impacted by the pathogens they’re transmitting as well,” Healy said.

Healy says they also want to study movement as a stressor. She says beekeepers move their colonies around the country for pollination services every year, including almond pollination in California. She says researches will look at stress physiology in the bees after these migrations.

“How does that impact the physiology of the bee itself, so things like its ability to store fat to keep it warm in the winter, for example,” Healy said.

The AgCenter’s $935,000 grant is one of seven handed out to universities to study pollinators.

 
 
 
 
 

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Universities within the UL system will see their lowest fee increase in a decade, as their Board of Supervisors approved a hike of less than three percent for the nine public colleges. Fee increases range from $98 to $212.

UL System president Dr. Jim Henderson says Louisiana still ranks dead last in total resources per student among southern states.

“Our universities operate on about $12,000 per student per year,” Henderson said, “In Alabama and Mississippi it’s a little over $17,000 and Arkansas it’s over $15,000 per student.”

Henderson says because the TOPS award has been decoupled from tuition and fee increases, the taxpayer funded scholarship will not cover the cost of this increase for students. The increase will cost students an average of $108 out of pocket. But he says that’s still less than they paid last year because TOPS is now fully funded.

“When you look at last year when TOPS was funded at 70 percent instead of the full funding for TOPS, most students had to come out of pocket with $1,500 to $2,000,” Henderson said.

Henderson says while any increase in out of pocket costs is significant for students, the hike is necessary to provide classroom resources and compete to retain and recruit faculty. He says compared to other states in the region, Louisiana ranks 7th for tuition and fees per student, but 15th in state support. He hopes with more state support, he can one day announce no fee increases on students.

“We’ve got to find a new balance. We’ve got to figure out how to increase the state investment so that the out of pocket expense for students does not continue to increase,” Henderson said.

Grambling State University and the University of New Orleans are the only two institutions not to increase fees this year.

 
 
 
 
 

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A small insect, commonly referred to as Phragmites or the Roseau Cane Mealy Bug is causing extensive damage to Roseau cane in southern Plaquemines Parish. LSU Ag Center entomologist Rodrigo Diaz says over 100-thousand acres of the cane in the wetlands in the Mississippi River Delta have been affected by this bug.


He says this is a major concern.

“We were really concerned about losing this plant and increasing the rates of erosion, especially along the coast and in Plaquemines Parish.”

The Roseau cane helps to reduce the wave action on the ground and helps to protect the state’s bird foot delta. Diaz says there are different varieties of the plant, some of which are not affected by Phragmites. He says they are hoping to learn why some are resistant to the bug.

“And perhaps use these are a potential tool for revegetation or restoration.”

Diaz says usually, insects in crops are controlled using insecticides. He says the problem they run across here is that many of these pest control measures are harmful to aquatic life, so much research has to be done.

“We definitely need to be careful because we need to consider the impacts of this product in other aquatic organisms, for example shrimp and oysters.”
 
 
 
 

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Michelle Southern reporting. 
It'll be an SEC showdown in the College World Series Finals as LSU takes on conference rival Florida in a best-of-three beginning Monday night. The Tigers and Gators have already met in a series this season, with Florida taking two of three in Gainesville.
 
(photo by @SmartestMoran with TigerRag.com)


LSU Shortstop Kramer Robertson says both teams are playing better, and differently now than back in March. 
 
"They had the injury bug when we played them," said Robertson. "And we didn't have the emergence of Zack Watson, Michael Papierski and still didn't have Zack Hess in the bull pen. So both teams have gotten stronger."

Coach Paul Mainieri announced he's going to start fifth-year senior Russell Reynolds of Baton Rouge Monday night. He said he'd go with Jared Poche on the mound Tuesday, and not pitch Alex Lange before Wednesday.

Poche, who picked up his school-record 39th career victory in the win over Florida State last week, says there isn't much you have to guess at this point in the season.

"You hit that stride to where you all just sync up, and the rhythm just gets easier to repeat," said Poche. "Then it's all about trusting those guys behind you."

This is the 6th appearance for LSU in the CWS finals, and The Tigers have won all six times...the last being in 2009. Robertson says this feels like an SEC weekend with more at stake.

"Both teams have great players, great pitchers and great defense," said Robertson. "Both teams are here for a reason and it's going to be about who goes out there and gets the job done."

First pitch is set for 6pm.
 
 
 
 

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Vaping may not be the best way to kick your cigarette habit, according to experts at Our Lady of the Lake in Baton Rouge. Physician assistant with the hospital’s smoking cessation program, Josselin Carter, says vaping can end up being a substitution for the same habit because many juices contain nicotine.

“If we can get patients to work on the physical and the behavioral components, then we stand a better chance at reaching our success,” Carter said.

Carter adds doctors aren’t sure vaping is safer than cigarettes, as there is no long-term data to support that claim. She says there’s some overlap in chemicals from both e-liquids and cigarettes, but there’s other chemicals in the vaping solutions that could potentially be problematic.

“There’s little known about the inhalation effects, like for instance the propylene glycol that is used in the nicotine solution in vaping,” Carter said.

Carter notes e-liquids come in a variety of nicotine concentrations. She says that can make it hard for consumers to know exactly how much nicotine they’re ingesting on a daily basis. She adds there are other factors that affect it as well.

“It can depend on how the user puffs depending on the ventilation of the device they have,” Carter said, “So there’s lots of variables on the amount of nicotine an individual can be in taking.”

To get more information on how to quit smoking, visit SmokingCessationTrust.org.

 
 
 
 
 

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By Jeff Palermo
For the first time since 2009, the LSU Tigers will play in the championship series of the CWS after a dominating 6-1 victory over Oregon State. Caleb Gilbert was terrific on the mound and the Tigers hit three home runs. 


Junior catcher Michael Papierski hit two of those home runs, a three-run shot in the 2nd inning and he also hit a solo blast in the 4th inning.
 
Beau Jordan also hit a solo dinger and that was plenty of offense for Gilbert.
 
In just his fifth start of the season, Gilbert threw 7.1 stellar innings, allowing just two hits and striking out seven. He left the game in the 8th inning after giving up a home run.
 
Zach Hess completed the job, striking out 2 in 1.2 innings of relief.
 
It was also a good day at the plate for senior shortstop Kramer Robertson, who was 3-for-3 with a run scored.  
 
LSU will play either TCU or Florida in the best of three championship series, which will begin Monday night at 6 PM.  
 

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Tulane University’s Upward Bound Program has received a 2.5 million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Education to help high school students who hope to be the first in their family to go to college. Upward Bound is a program aimed at helping prospective college students academically prepare for higher education. Cowen Institute Director Amanda Kruger Hill says low income students grade 9 through 12 can greatly benefit from this grant.

“We work with them through ACT preparation, supplemental academic support and tutoring, provide them with counseling, assistance on financial aid.”

Hill says the program works with students three days a week throughout their four years in high school and supports the students through college. She says this opportunity is so important to at risk youth.

“Many of them are the first in the family to go to college, we provide them with the much needed support on applying to college, considering which college really will meet their needs.”

Hill says they work directly with high schools and the educators identify students who would be a perfect fit for the program. She says the Upward Bound staff is completely committed to changing life outcomes for their students.

“Our Upward Bound program has an 88% college completion rate and we’re most proud of the students in the program and the way that they are really turning their lives around.”

 

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A 79-year-old former Secretary of State employee has been arrested for possession of child pornography on his state issued computer. Trooper Michael Reichardt with State Police says they were contacted by the Secretary of State’s Office reporting that Bruce Barron of Farmerville had suspicious activity on his work computer.

“So after we did our examination of the hard drive we were able to locate some child pornography on the computer. Bruce Baron of Farmerville was arrested.”

Reichardt says Barron has been charged with one count of distribution of pornography involving juveniles. He says Barron’s bond was set at $25,000.

“This is an ongoing investigation, further charges are pending of course.”

Reichardt says Barron was booked into the Union Parish Correctional Center. He says the department also took immediate action against Barron. 

“Obviously he was terminated as soon as this was located, so he is no longer an employee of the Secretary of State.”

 
 

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More Louisiana students are graduating high school than ever before. That’s according to state Education Superintendent John White, who says this year’s graduating class maintained record gains made by the class of 2015.

“Nearly 39,000 young people graduated from high school last year. That’s more graduates than any class in the history of Louisiana,” White said, “Twenty-two thousand graduates from that class entered college.”

White says more than 3,500 more students graduated in 2016 than in 2012. He says as a state we’re moving towards greater graduation rates and higher levels of education for students who graduate from high school.

“Between 2014 and 2014 we increased nearly 3 percentage points, a tremendous gain. This year we sustained that gain with a 77 percent graduation rate,” White said.

White says 43 percent of the graduating class earned college credits or industry-based credentials, and 2,500 more graduates qualified for TOPS than the class of 2012. He says these gains are the result of the state’s work to increase the number of graduates and to increase the education levels of those grads.

“In 2012 we put in some fundamental systems requiring the ACT for all students and rewarding advanced placement and duel enrollment college course work in our system,” White said.

 
 
 
 
 

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Eight distinguished athletes will be honored Saturday night as they are inducted into the 2017 Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in Natchitoches. Hall of Fame CEO and President Ronnie Rantz says this is a very diverse class. He says some remarkable people are being honored this weekend, one being LSU’s longtime gymnastics coach.

“It is a fantastic, dynamic group. Of course, everybody loves DD Breaux, 40 years at LSU and then Calvin Borel, the jockey, three time Kentucky Derby winner.”

There were 127 individuals nominated. Rantz says former Southeastern Louisiana basketball star C.A. Core and former LSU and Nicholls State coach Ray Didier are being inducted posthumously. He adds two time first team All American at LSU in 1988 and 1989, David Toms of Monroe is one of the best golfers to come out of Louisiana and is also being inducted.

“Double digit PGA Tour champion and of course won a major in 2001. A PGA Championship, he won the Junior Amateur National Championship when he was younger.”

Rantz says baseball star from Alexandra, Juan Pierre will be welcomed into the Hall of Fame after being a leadoff hitting outfield who played 14 seasons in the majors. He also says NFL and LSU star Eddie Kennison of Lake Charles will be honored along with Ed Reed, who had a 12 year NFL career.

“But I mean he’ll be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame for sure, as well as the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame, so these are big time national Hall of Famers, not just state Hall of Famers.”

 
 

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Angola inmate John Floyd has been set free after spending 36 years behind bars after a U.S. District Court judge tossed his life in prison conviction. Deputy Director and attorney for the Innocence Project New Orleans says Floyd was wrongly convicted of second degree murder in 1982 for the murder of Williams Hines. He says new forensic evidence was found in the case.

“Also that the trial that he had in 1982 was unconstitutional because finger print evidence from the crime scene was not given to him by the police and prosecutors at the time.”

Davis says Floyd plans to spend his days of freedom working on a farm in the Lafayette area with a businessman he met during his time at Angola.

“But his case isn’t over because the prosecutor can still appeal this ruling to the Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.”

Floyd’s case came to the attention of the Innocence Project in New Orleans in the early 2000s. Davis says Floyd’s wrongful conviction comes after he confessed to the crime. But he says Floyd has a severe mental impairment.

“Definitely a case where this happened to John because he was so vulnerable to police pressure and not understanding his rights properly.”

 
 

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The National Safety Council has launched a vehicle recall campaign to allow motorist to enter in their VIN number to determine if a there has been a manufacturer recall on the vehicle. President and CEO of the National Safety Council Deborah Hersman says Louisiana has the third highest rate of open recalls in the country.

“The campaign is called check to protect. Drivers can visit checktoprotect.org to learn more information and access a free tool to check for open recalls.”

One in four vehicles on the road in Louisiana have an open recall. Hersman says many drivers don’t understand the urgency to get a recalled vehicle fixed. She says recalls are not to be taken likely and it’s very easy to check.

“Enter in your vehicle’s VIN number or vehicle identification number, it’s a 17 digit code, you can find it on the driver’s side near the windshield or the door.”

Hersman says cars with open recalls pose an urgent and serious risk to drivers and passengers. She says the Check to Protect website will also give a motorist information on a nearby dealership to receive repairs.

“People need to recognize that all of the recall work is free. Checking the VIN number is free and getting it in to the dealer and having them make the repair, it is all free of charge.”

 
 

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The 67th Annual Ruston Peach Festival begins today at noon. Ruston Lincoln Chamber of Commerce President Judy Copeland says even though the peach harvest wasn’t good this year, visitors can try a large variety of different peach flavored foods.

She says all vendors are required to have a least one item on their menu with peaches.

“You can get some peach tea, peach lemonade, some peach ice cream, some peach fitters. You name it, it’s probably here.”

Copeland says about 23,000 people come to the festival each year and it’s always a success. She says a favorite for festivalgoers is the great music concerts on Friday and Saturday nights.

“We have some local bands playing but we always try to get a big headliner to come in, so Friday night we have The Chee-Weez, they’re coming up and they come on at 10.”

Uncle Kracker is the headliner for Saturday night. Copeland says there are some other events that take place outside the festival that bring in a big crowd.

“Like our rodeo, our bass tournament, our 5K, our tennis tournament, several other events that are happening like our arts and crafts show attract other people as well.”

 
 

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LSU advances in the College World Series following the win against Florida State last night, and now the Tigers must beat No. 1 Oregon State twice in Omaha to make the finals. LSU fell to The Beavers in embarrassing fashion on Monday, but Tiger Rag Associate Editor James Moran says Friday’s contest will be a whole new ballgame with ace Alex Lange on the mound.


"The game on Monday really went downhill because Eric Walker had to leave with a forearm injury after two innings," said Moran. "Then they had to go to some guys you frankly don't plan on pitching in a College World Series setting. But if Lange gives them a good game and they don't avalanche early then I think they have a good chance on Friday."

First pitch tomorrow is set for 2pm. Moran says Saturday will be a taller order when right-hander Caleb Gilbert gets the start.

"You're pitching a guy that hasn't really been a starter against a team that's only lost four times all year," said Moran. "Obviously it's a tough hill to climb, but LSU feels they'll get off to a better start at least."

This is the furthest the Tigers have advanced into the tournament since winning it all back in 2009. The Beavers have only lost 4 games and Moran feels LSU would be the underdog even if they just had to beat OSU once.
 
 

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The Louisiana Nursing Home Association announces 18 facilities in the state have been chosen as a recipient for the Bronze-Commitment to Quality Award. This achievement spotlights providers who have demonstrated commitment to quality care for seniors. Lisa Gardner with CommCare nursing centers says all these facilities have shown a great improvement.

“Show the ability to put a plan in place, process in place that you can duplicate and that addressed the areas that you’ve targeted.”

Gardner says this Bronze achievement points nursing homes in a direction to improve their facilities even more. She says there are three levels of commitment, bronze, silver, and gold.

“We think even though that’s a more difficult step, you have to meet higher criteria, we think that’s achievable. But of course the pinnacle is the gold.”

The 18 facilities that received the achievement are located throughout the state from Bossier City to Houma. Gardner says this shows many facilities in Louisiana are dedicated to improving the lives of our senior citizens. She says the award is not easy to receive.

“In a state where so many times we’re at the top of the bad list and the bottom of the good list, that 18 centers actually applied for this and received this award, that’s remarkable.”

 
 

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State Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson advises residents to take caution while driving today. He says 18 corridors across the southern half of the state have road closures on them because of high water. Wilson says drivers should never cross flooded roadways.

“Turn around, don’t drown because you’re always uncertain about how much water is on the road and what are the conditions under that water,” Wilson said.

Wilson encourages motorists to visit 511la.org for up to date travel information. He says over 37,000 people have visited the site in just 24 hours. He says this is the most central location for information on road closures.

“When you get to that site, you have the opportunity to choose different layers, to see any closure on the road, but more importantly where we have high water,” Wilson said.

 
 
 
 
 

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The Board of Regents has granted a license for ULM to host New York Institute of Technology’s new medical school in northeast Louisiana. ULM President Dr. Nick Bruno says this will give students throughout north Louisiana the opportunity to attend medical school right on the ULM campus.

“We’re optimistic that it will increase our undergraduate population particularly in the health science field that is our major strength,” Bruno said.

Bruno says this is an incredible opportunity that’s been about two years in the making. He says the targeted timeline for enrolling students is fall of 2019. He says it’s exciting to host a medical school at the only publicly funded pharmacy school in the state.

“The addition of a medical school along with our other 11 health sciences begins to define ULM as a health science institution in northeast Louisiana,” Bruno said, “so we’re extremely excited, as is the community.”

Bruno says this new med school could also help to improve the health of the community, which is one of the poorest regions in the country. He adds the economic impact could also be quite significant. He says the Stubbs Hall building on campus could be the future home of the medical school.

“There’s studies being conducted now whether that building can be fully renovated, partially renovated, or demolished and rebuilt new for the med school,” Bruno said.

 
 
 
 
 

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Tropical Storm Cindy has been downgraded to a tropical depression, but heavy rains continue around the state. State Climatologist Barry Keim says Cindy made landfall near the Texas-Louisiana border around 3 o’clock this morning. He says the system is inland and weakening, but it’s still a rainfall threat to Louisiana.

“This rainfall threat is going to remain in place pretty much throughout the day today. We can expect breezy conditions across the state for the rest of the day with periods of heavy rainfall, some of which could be extraordinarily heavy and create some flash flooding,” Keim said.

Keim says the system is inland now and weakening, but we still need to be vigilant. He says northwest Louisiana is likely to get the heaviest rains with potential for up to five inches. He says we aren’t out of the woods yet.

“The storm is clearly winding down. It’s not over with yet. So hang in there for the rest of today through tonight, especially in north Louisiana where this could linger into tonight and even early tomorrow morning,” Keim said.

Flash flood watches remain in effect for much of the state through this evening. Keim says strong winds could also cause problems in some areas.

“The breezy conditions can take down some trees and power lines, and there could be some power outages that still plague the state,” Keim said, “I don’t see it as being widespread, but there certainly could be some isolated areas with complications because of the wind.”

 
 
 
 
 

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Forecasters warn residents to be alert as Tropical Storm Cindy treks across the state today. Stephen Carboni with the National Weather Service in Lake Charles says Cindy still carries the risk of life-threatening flash flooding.

“Southwest Louisiana, we’re looking somewhere in the neighborhood of three to six inches, but depending on where these rain bands set up, those amounts could easily increase up to 8 or 10,” Carboni said.

Carboni says tropical storm force winds will also be a concern. The winds can down tree limbs and power lines, and he warns the public to be aware of that possibility.

“We’ll see those tropical storm force winds start to spread inland, sustained winds probably in the 35 to 45 mph range, and there could be some higher gusts associated with that,” Carboni said.

Alek Krautman with the National Weather Service in New Orleans says the heaviest rains will be on the eastern side of the storm. He says three to 6 inches is possible across the state, with some areas receiving 12 inches or more.

“Extreme southeast Louisiana and the Mississippi Gulf Coast we think will be getting the most rain, but there will be another maximum from the thunderstorms close to the center of Cindy,” Krautman said.

Krautman says along with the strong winds and heavy rains, there’s also an increased risk on the roadways. He advises drivers to take caution if you have to get out in the storm.

“With these heavy tropical downpours, we just encourage folks to be aware of the greatly reduced visibility inside these downpours. If you’re on the road, slow down and drive with extreme caution,” Krautman said.

 
 
 
 
 

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