News for Friday 032417
By Dave Graichen
Defense attorneys in the Derrick Stafford trial made a major logistical mistake yesterday when they decided to bring a former Marksville police chief to the stand to be a character witness. In doing so, they opened the door to allow the prosecution to bring up a 2011 rape indictment against their client. In realizing their mistake, the Defense asked for a mistrial. The judge said no.. The trial continues today.
The Towntalk report, that two entities have submitted proposals to redevelop the old Weiss and Goldring building downtown. Mayor Jacques Roy says he’s confident in the ability of both parties to deliver on their vision for the project, so much so that he plans for the city to accept the donation of the building this afternoon. The complete story and plans for the historic building can be found at thetowntalk.com
A cold front approaches Louisiana bringing the possibility for severe weather tonight and tomorrow. State Climatologist Barry Keim says most of the state is under the threat of tornadoes, hail and damaging winds. Keim says the storm will start in the Shreveport and Monroe areas late tonight and will shift towards southeastern Louisiana on Saturday.
Keim says the front won’t bring much cold air with it.
Detectives are trying to find out who is responsible for extensive vandalism that took place either late Wednesday night or early Thursday morning at Tioga High School and Tioga Junior high. Captain Tommy Carnline with the Rapides Sheriff’s office says damage was done to offices, trophy cases and other school property.
Authorities say two people and a police dog are dead and a police officer is wounded after a shooting in Crowley last Wednesday night. State Police Trooper Brooks David says police shot and killed a suspect after that person shot the dog and the officer. A second person's body was found at the scene. David says the cause of that person's death was under investigation. Another person was found dead on the other side of town. Police believe the shooter may have been responsible for that death as well. The injured officer was released from the hospital yesterday afternoon..
New census numbers find Louisiana’s population was 4.6 million in 2016, only a slight increase from the previous year. The state also saw a continuing pattern of out migration with nearly 12-thousand more people moving out of the state than coming in. Data also shows more people left New Orleans for other cities around the country than moved in for the first time since Hurricane Katrina. East Baton Rouge, Jefferson and Orleans are the three biggest parishes population wise.
Energy companies are showing more interest in Deepwater drilling, as evidenced by an uptick in bidding for spots in the Gulf. A lease sale in New Orleans drew 163 bids from 28 companies. President of the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association Chris John says though Coastal cities in Louisiana have seen job losses as a result of the slowdown in drilling, he expects to see more job creation as these projects get up and running in the Gulf.
Licenses have been revoked and funding terminated for Kidzone Preschool in Mandeville after a toddler wandered out of the play yard and into traffic. The child was walking toward the highway when a concerned driver picked him up and took him back to the day care. No one at the learning center knew the 3-year-old was missing until the driver brought him back.
The Walker Police Sergeant accused of hanging a noose in the squad room has resigned. Capt. John Sharp says the resignation comes ahead of the city council meeting where the allegations against the officer would be discussed. The noose was discovered on February 24, and the sergeant was later suspended for three days without pay.
The Baton Rouge man accused of killing and dismembering his parents has been indicted by a grand jury in Knoxville. 28-year-old Joel Guy Jr is accused of murdering his mom and dad then trying to dissolve the bodies in acid during a Thanksgiving visit in Tennessee last year. He will be tried there on two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of abusing a corpse, and one count felony murder.
Abita Springs becomes the first Louisiana city to commit to 100 percent renewable energy. Mayor Greg Lemons says renewable energy, in particular solar energy, just makes sense from an economic and environmental standpoint. Lemons says achieving this goal is like eating an elephant, you take one bite at a time. He says it’s the town’s goal to achieve 100 percent renewable energy by 2030.
The 4th ranked LSU Baseball team begins a three-game series against Florida tonight in Gainesville. The Tigers swept Georgia last weekend to begin SEC play, while the 11th ranked Gators were swept by Auburn. Junior right-hander Alex Lange starts on the mound tonight for LSU. You will be able to hear all three games on KSYL 970 & 100.3 HD3 Airtime tonight at 5:30p
The New Orleans Pelicans are on the road tonight in Houston to take on the Rockets. Air time 6:30 on ESPN 1410 & 93.1 HD3
News for Thursday 032317
By Dave Graichen
The defense will present its case today in the Derrick Stafford trial. He’s the former Marksville City Marshal who is accused of fatally shooting a six-year-old autistic boy during a chase in 2015. Jurors heard Wednesday from a ballistics expert who said three of the four bullets in the boy’s body came from Stafford’s issued gun.
Governor John Bel Edwards announces Maj. Kevin Reeves will act as interim superintendent of Louisiana State Police. Reeves says his goal is to earn the trust and confidence of his peers, as well as their public safety partners and the citizens. Reeves has more than 26 years of service at LSP, and he says working for State Police has been his life’s passion. Reeves says he would stay on as the permanent superintendent if the governor asked him to.
A study by LSU finds Louisiana could face huge economic losses if nothing is done to protect our vanishing coast. But researcher Stephen Barnes says if the state follows through with its coastal restoration masterplan, it will create jobs and boost the economy. Without that investment, Louisiana stands to lose $8 billion in wages and consumer spending along with the coast.
The widow of one of the officers killed in the Baton Rouge police ambush last year has given birth to his son. Dechia Gerald was the wife of BRPD Officer Matthew Gerald, and yesterday afternoon she delivered a healthy 6 pound 8 ounce baby named Falyn Matthew Gerald. He’s already taken on his father’s nickname Buttons, as people are calling Falyn Baby Buttons.
A senate committee said no to an Edwards administration plan to close a Medicaid program that provides mental health services to over 47-thousand children. The program was on the chopping block as part of the budget cuts approved in last month’s special session. Baton Rouge Senator Regina Barrow says there must be other ways to cut spending without eliminating such a vital service. With the program now restored, L-D-H still has to make 10-million dollars in cuts.
A bill has been filed for the upcoming legislative session that would require same sex couples to face equal penalties for domestic violence. Author of the measure Marrero Rep. Patrick Connick says Louisiana and South Carolina are the only two states with the opposite sex distinction on the books. He says after speaking with the DA’s it was obvious something had to be done to protect all couples. Homosexuals report domestic abuse at a rate equal to or higher than heterosexuals, according to the 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey.
A little girl with a big heart is spreading love in Bossier Parish with her Geaux Show Love initiative. Ten-year-old Julianna Gouthiere (Go-thee-ay) donated 150 stuffed animals to the Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office so patrol deputies can give them to children coping with traumatic events. Julianna has been collecting stuffed animals for her “Bear Share” for the past four years, and she’s donated over 12-thousand in more than 6 states.
A federal judge in New Orleans has blocked a law which states people must have a birth certificate in order to get married. A suit was filed on behalf of a man who didn’t have proof of birth because he was born in an Indonesian camp, but has lived in Louisiana his entire life. The judge said the mandate denies the man the fundamental right to marry. The proposal was originally brought to crack down on people marrying only to obtain visas.
A measure has been filed for the legislative session that would require driver’s education courses to provide training on how a driver should act when stopped by a police officer. Bossier City Senator Ryan Gatti says says the issue of anxiety when being pulled over is one everyone faces. He says it’s best to know how to properly handle the situation so both the driver and law enforcement officer stay safe. Gatti says the etiquette component would add a few hours to the course.
Monster Moto unveils its new facility in Ruston after the company relocated from Dallas, Texas. CEO Alex Keechle says they wanted to move their assembly plant from overseas and house it at their new headquarters in the US. Keechle says when they started, they made 200 minibikes in a day in the 100-thousand square foot facility, and now those same men and women can make that many by lunchtime. Keechle says they are on track to do more than 70-thousand unit sales this year, and they’re planning to release three new vehicles this year.
A good night last night for LSU Tiger Baseball. They Defeated South Eastern Louisiana By a score of 8 to 2. Up Next.. The Tigers will head to Gainesville, Fla., Friday for a pivotal three-game SEC series versus the Florida Gators.
New LSU men’s basketball coach Will Wade was introduced to the public Thursday and the 34-year-old says he can make the Tigers a consistent winner. Wade says you can expect to see an aggressive style of basketball on the floor next season.
The NFL announces plans to reduce down time during football games. Commissioner Roger Goodell says they’ll ask owners to give their approval to an idea that would have centralized video reviews, no more sideline booth for the referee. Goodell says he’s also working with their TV partners to have fewer commercial breaks, but they would last longer. Instead of five breaks per quarter, having only four.
The Saints have announced the signing of linebacker Mati Te’o (Tay-O) to a two-year deal. NFL analyst Mike Detillier says if Te’o stays healthy, it’s a good signing for the Black and Gold. Te’o starred at Notre Dame and was a runner-up for the 2012 Heisman Trophy.
Robbie Martin stepped down as the Pineville Rebels' coach yesterday after serving over eight years in that capacity and as the school's athletic director. Martin's record was 29-58 with one playoff appearance. Martin simply said "It was time". Pineville assistant Dan Christman has been promoted as interim coach and athletic director while the school searches for a new coach.
News for Wednesday 032217
By Dave Graichen
It was a very good day for our family here at Cenla Broadcasting yesterday at the Louisiana Association of Broadcasters “Prestige Awards”. KRRV received the Large Market Radio station of the year award. Congratulations to Melissa Frost and her crew. Shy and Cathy, the Q93 morning crew took home the trophy for “The State’s Best Radio Team” and Production Manager Rich Joyce won the award for “ The State’s Best Radio Promotion”. While we believe everyone who works at Cenla Broadcasting is a winner, it’s nice when our fellow broadcasters say they agree.
The father of a slain 6-year-old in Marksville boy testified yesterday in the murder trial of former police officer Derrick Stafford, who is accused of fatally shooting 6-year-old Jeremy Mardis after a car chase in 2015. Christopher Few testified that he never heard a warning before officers open fired at his car, where his son was sitting in the front seat. Few was also critically wounded in the shooting. The trial continues today.
The funeral for the slain East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Deputy will be held on Thursday. 43-year-old Sgt. Shawn Anderson was shot and killed while conducting a rape investigation at a barbershop in Baton Rouge. The suspect, 30-year-old Brandon Wiley, who was also shot in the incident, died of his injuries yesterday.
The US Department of Education would face a $9 billion budget reduction under President Trump’s budget proposal and one of the state’s major teacher unions is not happy about it. Les Landon with the Louisiana Federation for Teachers says it would devastate public education. And he says dollars for private and religious schools would increase by $1.4 billion to help pay for vouchers. Landon says under the proposed budget, Louisiana would lose more than $51 million in funds used to recruit, train, support, and pay teachers.
Rental property owners in Louisiana are stepping up to help flood victims struggling to find housing. Governor John Bel Edwards says one in four flood victims are renters. He says federal dollars will be available to help these people get back into rental properties. HUD says 373 flood victims are still living in hotels.
Two suspects are in critical condition after they tried to rob a house in Breaux Bridge and left with gunshot wounds courtesy of the homeowner. Major Ginny Higgins with the St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s Office says the two were also involved in a similar crime a few hours earlier.
Louisiana’s film tax credit program could be on its last reel, as Alexandria Senator Jay Luneau plans to file legislation that would cut the program. Luneau says in these tough budget times, lawmakers need to assess the return on investment of state funded programs. He says a recent study by LSU economist Loren Scott shows that return isn’t there when it comes to film tax credits.
Children who grow out of the foster care system at age 18, are not adequately prepared to enter the real world. That’s a major concern for the Department of Children and Family Services. Manager of the foster care program Toni Buxton says the DCFS is urging legislation to be filed that would increase and extend services up to the age of 21. Buxton says these children who are age out of the foster care system are more likely to face homelessness, drug addiction and incarceration. She says they don’t have the resources to turn to.
Today and tomorrow, LSU will offer the mumps vaccine to all students, faculty, and staff, after the Louisiana Department of Health confirmed at least dozen cases of mumps, several of them on the Baton Rouge campus. Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Fred Lopez with LSU Health New Orleans says two doses of the MMR vaccine can significantly reduce the chances of a major outbreak.
Former Louisiana Congressman John Fleming has found a job within the Trump Administration. Fleming has been hired as deputy assistant secretary for health technology within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Fleming will seek ways to improve how doctors can use technology to practice medicine.
A 16-year-old Benton teen has pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of a 91-year-old family member. The Bossier Parish DA says Donzell Hogan could be in jail until he’s 31. Hogan killed Ludella Scott last July and stole her social security payment after Scott refused to give him 20 dollars.
A teacher at Slaughter Elementary School, in East Feliciana Parish, has reportedly been suspended after a picture of her sleeping in class surfaced on social media. In the photo, Susie Smith can be seen her neck cocked back and eyes closed with students in the background.
New LSU basketball coach Will Wade is on his way to Baton Rouge after agreeing to become the next head coach of the Tigers. It’s been reported Wade agreed to a six-year deal. Tiger Rag Editor Cody Worsham says the Clemson grad has a reputation as someone who eats, sleeps and breathes basketball. Wade led VCU to the NCAA Tournament the last two seasons.
LSU and McNeese will play each other in football in 2021. The two schools are scheduled to play on September 11th in Tiger Stadium. LSU opens that season by playing UCLA in the Rose Bowl.
Southern Football Coach Dawson Odums has signed a contract extension through 2019 and he received a modest pay raise.
News for Tuesday 032117
By Dave Graichen
On the first day of the murder trial for former-Marksville police officer Derrick Stafford, jurors watched the 14 minute long body cam video of the encounter that resulted in the death of a 6-year-old autistic boy. Several jurors were reportedly seen wiping away tears, as the footage showed the shooting that killed the boy and critically wounded his father after a car chase in 2015. Stafford is one of two officers accused in the death of Jeremy Mardis.
The APD issued a warrant for the arrest of 33 year old Daniel Williams in connection with charges that he allegedly illegally charged thousands of dollars to a city credit card, including a ski trip. Williams, turned himself in and was booked in the Rapides Parish Detention Center. Williams has been director of Alexandria's Community Services division for four years.
After years of midyear budget cuts, Jonesboro Senator Jim Fannin has filed a bill for the regular session that seeks to limit the amount of money lawmakers can spend each year. The proposal would limit the budget to only 98-percent of the revenue forecast for that year. Fannin says he expects some opposition. Fannin says Governor Edwards supports the plan.
Forty-four percent of children under 5 in New Orleans are living in poverty, according to the latest census data. Demographer Greg Rigamer says that’s because the median household income is very low. He says improving education could help solve this problem. Rigamer says living in extreme poverty makes it hard for these children to get ahead in life.
State Police announced today that the suspected shooter in the death of East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff’s deputy Shawn Anderson is 30-year-old Brandon Wiley of Baton Rouge. The shooting took place Saturday night at a barber shop and deputies went there to talk with Wiley, because he is a suspect in the rape of a 15-year-old girl. A struggle ensued between Wiley and Anderson. Both men were shot, Wiley remains in critical condition, while Anderson was pronounced dead at a hospital.
Baton Rouge Representative Barry Ivey is once again bringing back his proposal to the legislature that would allow non-felons over the age of 21 to carry a concealed gun without a permit. He says the Constitution guarantees our right to carry guns, and it doesn’t dictate how they should be carried. This is the third time Ivey has proposed similar legislation. Opponents say the bill would eliminate certain safeguards. Ivey adds that prohibited persons like convicted felons would still be barred from carrying under his proposal.
Today is the first full day of Spring and it’s certainly in the air. State Climatologist Barry Keim says it looks to be a hot and wet few months. He says we’ve been in warm conditions throughout the winter, and the rainy spring weather has already started. He says another freeze in Louisiana isn’t likely, but residents can expect an early start to the growing season.
Confirmation hearings are underway for President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court Justice nominee, Neil Gorsuch. U.S. Senator John Kennedy supports the president’s pick and says Gorsuch is especially qualified to be a justice. He says he’s read a number of Gorsuch’s opinions on cases he’s ruled on as a federal appeals judge, and it’s apparent he is extremely intelligent. Democrats are pushing back against Gorsuch because of his conservative stance on social issues and because republicans failed to even consider President O Bama’s pick for the seat.
A state audit examining a missing 22-thousand dollars in student activity funds from West Ridge Middle School in West Monroe has been turned over to law enforcement. Roger Harris with the Legislative Auditor’s Office says over 11-thousand dollars was collected from eighth graders between 2013 and 2014 for a trip to Disney World. That money and another 10-thousand dollars in unaccounted money never made it to the bank.
Tonight, the New Orleans Pelicans play host to the Memphis Grizzlies. You can hear the game on ESPN1410 and 93.1 HD3.
THE LSUA Generals got a last second attempt stolen away last night and that was the end of their season. LSUA fell in the FabFour 65-63. However, their season ends with a 34-1 record. Congratulations..
News for Monday 032017
By Dave Graichen
Opening arguments in the Derrick Stafford trial are set for 9 a.m. in Marksville. The former deputy marshal faces murder and attempted murder charges after he and another officer allegedly shot at a vehicle killing a 6-year-old boy and injuring his father. Loyola University Law Professor Dane Ciolino says the main issue is whether the shooting was justified. The defense is expected to argue there was another shooter involved, possibly with testimony from experts and video simulation. Legal analyst Bryan Jeansonne says how it’s presented will make a difference.
A veteran East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff's deputy who served high-risk warrants and earned accolades in his career became the fourth law enforcement officer to die here in the line of duty over the last eight months after he was fatally shot Saturday night at a strip-mall hair salon while trying to question a rape suspect. 43 year old Sgt. Shawn Thomas Anderson a father of two and an East Baton Rouge Parish deputy for 18 years, died after being rushed to a nearby hospital. The rape suspect, who hasn't been identified, was also shot during the struggle. He remained hospitalized Sunday evening.
A Rapides Parish man will spend 21 months behind bars after authorities say he stole more than $100-thousand in Veterans Affairs benefits. 51-year-old Tracy Marler of Ball withdrew more than $100-thousand from a deceased woman’s account between 2008 and 2014. He was sentenced for one count of theft of government property. The judge also sentenced Marler to two years supervised release and ordered him to pay restitution.
As Gov. John Bel Edwards looks for his next State Police superintendent, his options are limited by a little-known statute that precludes external candidates for the job, requiring that the next chief be chosen "from the ranks of sworn, commissioned State Police officers who have graduated from the State Police training academy." The law has drawn scrutiny in law enforcement and state government circles following Edmonson's announcement last week that he will step down at the end of this week after nine years at the helm of his agency.
As federal lawmakers work to repeal and replace the affordable care act, US Senator John Kennedy says he’ll vote for anything that’s better than Obamacare, even if it’s not perfect. He says one change he’d like to see in the House bill is more healthcare assistance for those that need it. Kennedy says he also wants more flexibility for states to run Medicaid.
Despite a national focus on the individual insurance markets, the Republican health plan being debated in Washington could have far more sweeping impact in Louisiana for other provisions that curb federal spending on Medicaid. That redesign is estimated to come with deep spending cuts. The implications would be major for Louisiana, where more than one-third of residents get health services through the Medicaid program, financed jointly by the state and federal government.
The Office of Community Development is seeking new offers from companies that want to oversee the homeowner assistance program for flood victims. The Governor’s Deputy Chief of Staff, Julie Baxter Payer, says there won’t be any delay in getting assistance to those who need it. She says they’re reopening the bidding process because they weren’t pleased with the initial offers. They expect a contractor to be in place within a month. As of right now, the federal government has yet to give the state access to the federal dollars made available for homeowners, so the only delay is in Washington.
There are 12 confirmed cases of the mumps and it will likely keep rising, according to Dr. Frank Welch with the state Department of Health. He says the viral infection and is spread by saliva. So, kissing, coughing and sneezing are how it is usually spread. He says know the symptoms, such as headache, fever, fatigue, and jaw swelling just below your ear.
Three arrests have been made after a noose was hung at the baseball field of Westminster Christian Academy following an argument between three black boys and three white boys. Maj. Eddie Thibodaux with the St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office says even though it was meant as a joke, a noose is humiliating and hateful. Two juveniles and one 18-year-old are charged with public display of a noose with intent to intimidate. The school says all three students are no longer enrolled at Westminster.
20-year-old Armande Stephen Tart faces four counts of first degree murder. Jefferson Parish investigators believe he’s the man who killed four people at a Metairie apartment complex last week. Three of the victims were fatally shot and the fourth victim was reportedly stabbed over 40 times. Sheriff Newell Normand calls Tart a cold-blooded killer, who murdered these people over drugs.
Prevent Child Abuse Louisiana expands their KIDLINE services to 24 hours a day. The hotline services parents, victims of child abuse, and others who need a listening ear. PCA Louisiana Executive Director Amanda Brunson says a grant from the Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement provided dollars to have counselors available around the clock. Brunson says the KIDLINE also connects families to local counselors and community services. She says that includes help meeting basic needs with resources like food banks and local shelters. The 24 hour hotline is 1-800-CHILDREN
An effort to recall Jefferson Parish President Mike Yenni has unsuccessfully ended. Attorney Robert Evans the Third had six-months to get 90-thousand signatures to force a recall and three weeks before the deadline he only had 55-thousand signatures. Evans sought a recall after Yenni reportedly sent sexually explicit texts to a 17-year-old boy.
A Washington Parish man is behind bars after police say he shot and killed five abandoned puppies. Chief Deputy Mike Haley with the Sheriff’s Office says a concerned citizen contacted the Humane Society after seeing the abandoned puppies on the side of the road.
25-year-old Shawn Jones faces animal cruelty charges.
Governor John Bel Edwards is seeking to give the Louisiana tax system a facelift during the upcoming legislative session. Port Allen Senator Rick Ward supports the effort to repeal many business tax exemptions, so that large companies are paying taxes to the state, instead of getting a big refund. Ward says the plan to eliminate more corporate tax breaks is a much more fair approach. But Shreveport Representative Alan Seabaugh is skeptical. He says if the state cuts exemptions and credits that businesses currently benefit from, then that will hurt economic development efforts.
In a span of three innings Sunday, the LSU baseball team scored six runs on just two hits. The Tigers rode those innings to a 7-6 win against Georgia, clinching a series sweep at Alex Box Stadium. The Tigers have a few days off returning to action on Wednesday against Southeastern Louisiana.
It was a good weekend for the New Orleans Pelicans. Starting with a 128 to 112 whooping of the Houston Rockets on Friday night and finishing up with a 123 to 109 win over the Timberwolves Sunday afternoon. Tomorrow night the Pelicans will face the Memphis Grizzlies a the nest.
LSU women fell 55-52 to Cal in the first round of the NCAA tournament Saturday night ending their season.
News for Friday 031717
By Dave Graichen
All 12 jurors have reportedly been sworn in for the murder trial of Derrick Stafford, which begins Monday in Avoyelles Parish. Stafford is a former Marksville City Marshall accused of fatally shooting a 6-year-old autistic boy during a 2015 traffic stop. It’s been reported that both the prosecution and defense are challenging some of the jury selections, reportedly over race, which is expected to be a big issue in the case of a black cop allegedly shooting white child.
A group commissioned by Governor Edwards has released its recommendations to reduce Louisiana’s highest-in-the-world incarceration rate. Department of Corrections Secretary James Leblanc says they are presenting 26 ideas borrowed from other states that reflect compromise and innovation. The proposals will be debated by lawmakers in the upcoming regular session.
The conservative political advocacy group, Americans for Prosperity, is pushing back against proposals to increase the state’s gasoline tax. State Director John Kay says they stand against any increase on the gasoline tax, no matter how big or small, because Louisiana taxpayers have already seen their taxes go up enough. There’s talk of increasing the state’s gasoline tax between 17 to 23-cents to generate more money to fix Louisiana’s lousy roads.
A new record has been set in the Pelican State for seat belt usage. Based on a study from the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission, 88-percent of drivers and passengers are buckled up, which is up two-percent from the previous year. Usage rates were up in each region of the state, except for the Alexandria and Monroe areas.
Ya gotta wonder, are we taking things a little too far.. A Walker police sergeant has been suspended for three days without pay after hanging a noose in the department’s squad room. Walker Police Capt. John Sharp said it was a piece of twine that had a cookie tied to it. He says there’s a law on the books that prohibits the display of a noose in public to intimidate a person or persons. Chief David Addison requested the Attorney General’s office to investigate.
Federal charges have been filed against an illegal immigrant who is accused of fatally shooting a Baton Rouge teen on his birthday. 49-year-old Octavio Posados was picked up in Lake Charles after allegedly shooting 16-year-old Darius Plummer in his home. The federal complaint is reportedly for possession of a firearm by a prohibited person and illegal reentry into the country by a removed person, Posados is also facing a murder charge in Easton Baton Rouge Parish.
Catholics can eat meat this Friday because it’s St. Patrick’s Day. Fr. Frank Coens says that’s because of the old Irish tradition of eating corned beef and cabbage during the feast of St. Patrick. But he says if you’re going to eat meat, it’s good to find another way to do penance.
He says the exception doesn’t just apply to Irish Catholics.
The Hammond Police Department says a man is behind bars for allegedly beating his grandmother with a hammer. They say 53-year-old Jerome Johnson is also accused of stealing the victim’s vehicle following the assault. 86-year-old Emma Richburg is in critical condition.
The LSU baseball team begins SEC play tonight as they host Georgia, but the Tigers go into league action without its closer. Senior right hander Hunter Newman is out with a bad back and could miss at least a couple of weeks. Coach Paul Mainieri says other pitchers will have to step up. Alex Lange will start on the mound tonight for the Tigers and then Saturday it will be Jared Poche. Hear the game tonight starting at 6:30 on KSYL 970 & 100.3 HD3
After losing to Miami Wednesday night, the pelicans are in the nest tonight playing host to Georgia. Airtime tonight at 6:30 on ESPN 1410 & 93.1 HD3
The LSUA Generals advanced yesterday as they defeated the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma 104-80 win over the Drovers Thursday afternoon in the first round of the 2017 NAIA Division I Men's Basketball National Championship Tournament. The generals will take on Westmont College this afternoon.
The LSU lady Tigers will face California tomorrow evening in the NCAA Tournament. That game can be heard on KSYL 970 and 100.3 HD3. Airtime 7:30
News for Thursday 031617
By Dave Graichen
Yesterday was day three and more tentative jurors were selected for the Derrick Stafford murder trial, bringing the day's total to 11. Both sides must agree on 12 jurors and two alternates before opening statements in the trial can begin. Stafford, a former Marksville Ward 2 deputy marshal accused of fatally shooting 6-year-old Jeremy Mardis and wounding his father in November 2015, also faces a charge of attempted second-degree murder. Jury selection will continue today.
Four people are dead and another critically injured in Metairie, and police are still trying to piece together what happened. Police say three of the deceased victims and one wounded were found with gunshot wounds in an apartment, and another victim with a stab wound to the head was discovered in a different unit in the complex. Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand says it’s too early to speculate about what exactly happened.
Amid investigations into Louisiana State Police’s travel spending, Superintendent Col. Mike Edmonson announces his retirement, effective March 24. Edmonson says he wouldn’t have done anything differently because problems are always going to arise. Edmonson says he will work with the governor and his successor to make the transition as smooth as possible. During his monthly call-in radio show yesterday, Governor John Bel Edwards thanked Edmonson for his more than three and a half decades of service.
The state’s credit rating has been downgraded for the third time since February of last year. The dip comes as a result of continued financial uncertainty, and it will make it more expensive for the state to borrow money for highway construction. Governor Edwards says the downgrade demonstrates the need for structural tax reform in the regular session.
With the legislative session approaching, lawmakers are still working on a bill that would seek to raise the state’s gasoline tax for the first time in 30 years. Democratic Representative Sam Jones of Franklin says lawmakers need to put something on the ballot to improve deteriorating roads and bridges. But he says it’s still unclear how many cents the tax would go up.
Bars on Bourbon Street will not have to close their doors at 3 am. The proposal has been tabled by New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, but he still plans to tighten security in the city. French Quarter Business League president Alex Fein says they are encouraged by the other recommendations to make New Orleans safer.
Former Lafayette Congressman Charles Boustany has a new job. The Republican doctor has joined the Capitol Counsel Washington D-C lobbying firm, which focuses on health care, tax and trade issues. The 61-year served in the U.S. House of Representative for 12 years and had an unsuccessful run for U-S Senate last year.
Former state lawmaker Elbert Guillory has been chosen by the Louisiana Republican Party to lead an outreach effort to bring more minorities to the GOP. Guillory became the first black Republican state senator in 2013 when he switched from the Democratic Party. He says his hope is to convince African-American voters the Republican Party has their interest in mind.
A 33-year-old New Iberia man has pleaded guilty to sending threatening letters to government offices, including one that was sent to Governor John Bel Edwards. Prosecutors say Kyle Dore put white powder in several of the letters and implied the substance was toxic, but tests showed it wasn’t. He’ll be sentenced on June 9th.
Another contractor has been arrested for defrauding flood victims. Baton Rouge Police Sergeant Don Coppola says one of the victims was 70-years-old. Andrew Darian is facing several charges including home improvement fraud.
A Caddo Parish mother has pleaded guilty to all charges related to the wreck that ejected her 5-month-old from her SUV. Cops believe 31-year-old Lindsey Logan was on drugs when she got into a crash that sent her baby through the front windshield of her vehicle. Logan pleaded guilty to 2 counts of first-degree vehicular negligence stemming from the wreck in June 2016 since her 7 year old was also in the vehicle. Both children are recovering.
With March Madness officially kicking off today, a staffing firm finds that nearly one in four companies organize activities tied to sporting events and it actually boosts morale. Office Team District President Brandi Britton says managers who do things like hold a bracket competition tend to have happier employees. Britton said they found only 14 percent of employers felt the tournament was a distraction.
Patriots restricted free agent cornerback Malcolm Butler is set to meet with the Saints today at their headquarters in Metairie. There’s been a lot of talk that New Orleans would like to acquire the 27-year-old who intercepted four passes last season. NFL analyst Mike Detillier says Butler would be a good fit on the Black and Gold.
The first round of the 80th Annual Buffalo Funds NAIA Division I Men's Basketball National Championship Tournament gets underway today with the top seeded LSUA Generals meeting The University of Science and Arts Of Oklahoma. The game will be broadcast beginning at 12:30 on Magic 100.9 and 93.1 HD2.
In a game that no one seemed to want to win, the LSU baseball team left with a loss.
In a 15-inning game, tied for the longest nonconference game LSU’s played since 1989, the Tigers lost to the University of New Orleans, 7-4 last night.. the tigers begin a three game weekend series against Georgia this Friday.
The Pelican’s lost to the Miami Heat last night 120 to 109. The Pels take the night off tonight before meeting the Houston Rockets Friday. ..
News for Wednesday 031517
By Dave Graichen
The trial of James Gilbert Jr the man accused in the armed robbery of an armored truck last year has been continued. Gilbert Jr. was scheduled to go to trial this week, but the trial was continued to July 24. He has pleaded not guilty to one count of armed robbery in connection to a February 2015 robbery of an armored truck outside the Walmart on Coliseum Boulevard in Alexandria.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics finds Louisiana’s unemployment rate has seen little change overall in the past year, but manufacturing and the oil and gas industry continue to see big losses. LSU economist Dr. Loren Scott says Houma lost 6,000 jobs over the year, and Lafayette lost 9,000. Louisiana’s unemployment rate is just under 6-percent statewide.
Governor John Bel Edwards has sent a letter to federal leaders urging them to keep Medicaid expansion, as discussions are ongoing about plans to repeal and replace Obamacare. The governor’s spokesperson Richard Carbo says their biggest concern is that the thousands of Louisianans who gained coverage will lose it. Carbo, says in addition to saving lives, the expansion is good for the state’s economy and budget.
Republican Congressman Ralph Abraham of Richland Parish says federal lawmakers are heading in the right direction of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. He says they can’t leave Obamacare as it is because it’s driving up premiums and people are losing coverage. Abraham says the bill is still in its early form with a long way to go.
The Legislative Auditor has launched an investigation into Louisiana State Police’s travel spending. The probe comes amid inquiries by LSP and the Governor’s Office after four troopers made taxpayer funded side trips on their way to a training conference in California.
There has been a large outbreak of mumps cases in Arkansas and we’re starting to see cases in Louisiana now. Medical Director of the state Immunization Program Dr. Frank Welch says they’ve been able to confirm at least six cases on the LSU campus. He says mumps is relatively mild but can cause some serious complications. He says the disease is spread through saliva, so it’s important to wash your hands, cover your mouth when coughing and avoid sharing utensils.
Arrests are anticipated in the case of a Westminster Christian Academy student who hung a noose at the school’s baseball field. St. Landry Parish Sheriff Bobby Guidroz says three black boys were arguing with three white boys at the ball field last week when things escalated. He says all 6 of the boys are friends who play on the same baseball team, and the argument just got out of hand. Guidroz says fashioning a hangman’s noose is a felony that carries a penalty of a $5-thousand fine and at least a year in jail.
The investigation is ongoing into what may have caused the fire that destroyed the home of Tyler Perry’s father. Authorities say Emmitt Perry reported hearing popping sounds coming from the attic at his home in St. Helena Parish before the fire broke out. The Sheriff’s Office says crews had to let the fire burn itself out because there was nothing they could do.
Rising sea levels are threatening the western side of Louisiana’s coast, according to a Tulane study. Co-author Torbjorn Tornqvist (Tor-bee-on Torn-quist) says they used data from the Coastal Restoration and Protection Authority to determine how fast the sea level is rising.
Tornqvist says if nothing is done, more than 60-percent of the sites they track in the westernmost coast will go under water. He says significant coastal restoration is the only hope. But he says even those efforts might not be enough.
Southeastern Louisiana University revamps its offerings for the summer semester by lowering tuition cost and adding high demanded courses. Director of Marketing and Admissions Mike Rivault says they wanted to have a wider variety of classes available for current students and students home for the summer from other universities. Rivault says with an anticipated net cost of less than 900-dollars for three-credit hour course, Southeastern’s summer semester will provide the highest education value with the lowest cost of four-year colleges in south Louisiana.
UNO’s dream season ended in heartbreaking fashion yesterday in the NCAA Tournament as they lost to the Mount St. Mary Mountaineers 67-66.
The Pelicans came alive last night and defeated the Portland Trailblazers 100 to 77. Tonight the birds are on the road in Miami to play the Heat. Airtime 6p on ESPN1410 & 93.1 HD3
LSU blanked Louisiana College by a score of 13-0 on Tuesday night at Alex Box Stadium.
Freshman right-handed pitcher Zack Hess earned the win for the Tigers, allowing no runs and only one hit, striking out seven in six innings of work. LSU, which has won four straight games, will return to action tonight against New Orleans Airtime 6pm on KSYL 970 & 100.3 HD3
News for Tuesday 031417
By Dave Graichen
Drunk driving is suspected in a crash that claimed the life of a ball man over the weekend.
Troopers responded to the crash around 3:40 a.m. Saturday Morning on LA Hwy 107 north of Marksville. Police say 21-year-old Jonathan Harvey of Cloutierville lost control of the vehicle he was driving, crossing into the northbound lane and colliding with a vehicle driven by Nicholas Stroud. Stroud, who was only 22, died as a result of his injuries. State Police say Harvey is suspected of driving drunk. However, Toxicology tests and charges are pending
Jury selection continues today in the murder trial of Derrick Stafford, a Marksville City Marshal, accused of fatally shooting a six-year-old in 2015. Stafford is one of two officers accused in the shooting. Legal Analyst Tim Meche expects Stafford’s defense attorney to bring up the possibility of a third shooter. Six jurors have been seated and eight more are needed before the trial can begin.
A Baton Rouge Judge yesterday reaffirmed that More than 70,000 Louisiana residents on probation or parole for felony crimes will remain unable to vote. State District Judge Tim Kelley called it unfair to keep thousands of people from voting if they’re working, paying taxes and following the law. But he said Louisiana’s constitution and a four-decades-old state law required him to continue denying the voting rights.
A bill that’s been filed for next month’s regular session calls for a possible prison sentence and-or fine for a student who brings toy gun to school. Bossier Sheriff Julian Whittington says he requested the bill after a scare in his parish last year when students brought a fake and a real gun to school. If the legislation is approved, the penalty would be a 250-dollar fine or as much as six months in jail.
All three of Louisiana’s US Attorneys have resigned or retired after US Attorney General Jeff Sessions called for mass resignations last week. US Attorney Walt Green of Louisiana’s middle district is the latest to step down. East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore says it’s typical for a new administration to want a change of leadership, but he still sent a letter to President Trump asking him to keep Green in office. Moore is also concerned Green’s departure can slow down the investigation into the fatal police shooting of Alton Sterling.
A spokesperson for the governor’s office calls it just a rumor that the leader of Louisiana State Police, Colonel Mike Edmonson, will step down. Speculation is building Edmonson will resign as several State Troopers are being subpoenaed as part of a federal investigation into illegal campaign contributions and there’s also a probe into taxpayer funded side trips by four state troopers.
The Louisiana Lottery says the drawing show for the Sunday Pick 3 and Pick 4 contained incorrect numbers. A legislative auditor and lottery official verified the official drawing results which were posted on the Lottery’s website. They say for players who rely on the TV show, recheck your Pick 3 and Pick 4 tickets from the March 12th drawing.
Louisiana car insurance rates are on the rise again and one big culprit could be the smartphone. The National Highway Safety Administration finds distracted driving is the cause for 20-percent of crashes in the state. State Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon says the Bayou State’s auto insurance rates have been rising for the last five years with the biggest jump of an 8 percent increase last year. A report by the LSU Highway Safety Group finds from 2011 to 2015, the number of motor vehicle accidents rose by over 12 percent.
Baton Rouge police say a teenage boy is dead after he was fatally shot at an apartment complex on his birthday. The victim is identified as 16-year-old Darius Plummer of Baton Rouge. Authorities say a suspect is behind bars in connection with the shooting. It’s been reported that the unnamed man was picked up on I-10 in Lake Charles, and it’s believed he was trying to flee the state.
A Haughton woman with a fatal pregnancy is making a selfless contribution to science with the help of the Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency. Kirsten Heintz with LOPA says at 18 weeks pregnant, Brittney Walls found out her baby suffers from a fatal disease that causes the brain and skull to be underdeveloped. She says Walls will carry her child to term. Doctors say she may live a few hours or a couple of days, but no more than that. Heintz says Walls’ baby is not eligible to be an organ donor, but with research donation she can help millions of people, instead of just one.
The Louisiana Office of Tourism is promoting the Bayou State to travelers from Germany, as Condor Airlines prepares to offer direct flights to New Orleans this summer. Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser says representatives from his office spent the last week in Berlin promoting Louisiana’s food, culture, and history to the German-speaking market.
A study out of LSU attempts to help solve the problem of childhood obesity. Dr. Amanda Staiano with Pennington Research Center says one in two Louisiana kids struggle with their weight. She says the goal is to learn how much physical activity kids are getting, what they’re eating, and what can be done to improve their health.
The UNO men’s basketball team is in Dayton, Ohio that’s where the Privateers will play Mount St. Mary’s tonight in the first game of the NCAA Tournament. The Privateers are the only Louisiana University to get an invite.
Tonight, the LSU tigers will play host to Louisiana College. The Tigers are feeling good coming off of a three game sweep of Wichita state over the weekend. LSU leads the all-time series with Louisiana College, 20-2. The LSU-Louisiana College game was scheduled after last week’s game between the Tigers and San Diego was rained out. You can hear tonight’s game starting at 6p on KSYL 970 & 100.3 HD3.
The Pelicans are at home tonight playing host to the Portland Trailblazers. Airtime 6:30p on ESPN1410 & 93.1 HD3.
News for Monday 031317
By Dave Graichen
The Orleans Parish Coroner has identified the victims, including children, in a crime that left three dead and one wounded at a home in the Gentilly area of New Orleans early Friday. Authorities report the victims were a 30-year-old woman and her 6 and 10 year old sons. Police Chief Michael Harrison says currently, no one is in custody and urges anyone with information about this crime to come forward.
Jury selection is expected to begin Today in the Derrick Stafford trial. Stafford, a former Marksville ward 2 Marshall’s deputy, faces charges of second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder in the Nov. 3, 2015, shooting death of 6-year-old Jeremy Mardis and the wounding of Christopher Few. Stafford has pleaded not guilty. Norris Greenhouse Jr., Stafford’s partner that fateful night will go on trial on June 12.
A Loyola law professor releases a report on ways Louisiana can reduce its highest-in-the-world incarceration rate. Professor Bill Quigley says the first step is admitting there’s a problem.
He says Louisiana is one of only two states that allows people to be convicted with less than a unanimous jury. He says sentencing reform is needed as well, particularly for repeat offenders.
Quigley says classifying drug offense as victimless crimes is another step Louisiana could take to reduce prison populations. Governor John Bel Edwards has said criminal justice reform will be a key issue in the upcoming regular session.
Gambling addiction has become a growing problem in Louisiana as it affects an estimated 180-thousand people statewide. Executive Director of the Louisiana Association on Compulsive Gambling Janet Miller says directly asking if someone has a problem is the best method to tackle the addition. To raise awareness about Louisiana’s services for those experiencing problems with gambling, Governor John Bel Edwards has declared March, “National Problem Gambling Awareness Month.” Miller advises anyone affected by gambling to contact the Problem Gambler’s Helpline at 1-877-770-STOP for free assistance.
Attorney General Jeff Landry says he’s secured indictments against Ascension Parish President Kenny Matassa on a bribery scheme in which he allegedly tried to have a candidate drop out of a city council race in exchange for political favors. A businessman is also accused along with Matassa of offering a Gonzales City Council candidate money and a government job if he withdrew from the election.
Early voting for the March 25th elections are underway. Four candidates in northwest Louisiana are on the ballot in the District 8 state House race to fill the seat vacated by US Rep Mike Johnson. There are four judicial elections, and Lake Charles will be choosing a new mayor.
The Louisiana State Troopers Association is reportedly the subject of a federal investigation alleging the nonprofit made illegal campaign contributions. That’s according to Louisiana Voice publisher Tom Aswell, who says the association’s board funneled the money through its executive director David Young.
Community leaders around the state are teaming up with Keep Louisiana Beautiful for the fight against litter. Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser says Leaders Against Litter are leading the way to a cleaner Louisiana. He says officials gathered Friday for a statewide litter-a-thon to kick off the campaign. Nungesser says litter costs the state money, hurts communities, and even hurts tourism.
Admitted rapist and former Saints star Darren Sharper’s lawyers are arguing that a judge didn’t properly explain the details of a “global” plea agreement which put their client behind bars 18 years. Sharper plead guilty to drugging and raping women in four states. An appeal was filed Friday.
A 500-acre expansion has been announced for a planned liquefied natural gas plant in Cameron Parish. The Baton Rouge-based company announced in October 2015 that it planned to build an $11 billion LNG plant on 766 acres in Cameron. Once the land for the expansion is secured, the facility will cover 1,266 acres on the west side of the Calcasieu Ship Channel. The company’s president, Thomas Hudson, said last week that construction is expected to start in 2018. He said the first delivery of LNG is expected in late 2022.
The project is expected to generate roughly 3,500 construction jobs and more than 250 permanent jobs.
The Lake Charles founded food delivery platform Waitr is expanding thanks to a $10 million investment from an investor group led by Saints Quarterback Drew Brees. President and CEO Chris Meaux says Waitr is currently in 18 cities in four states, and this new funding will allow them to open 24 new markets this year. Meaux says Alexandria and Monroe are next to get Waitr, and maybe Houma after that. He says they hire a lot of people in the state, which is something that attracted Brees to work with them.
The State Fire Marshal’s Office says a 25-year-old Oakdale man died as a result of injuries suffered in a residential fire earlier this month. They say Joey Hampton Jr sustained third-degree burns to 70% of his body and was being treated at a Lafayette hospital where he died. The cause of the blaze remains under investigation.
Entering this weekend’s series against Wichita State, LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri changed up the top three spots in his order in an attempt to get his offense going.
The early returns were promising as LSU completed a series sweep of the Shockers. Up next, the Tigers Face Louisiana College Tuesday Night.
After 5 seasons, Johnny Jones is no longer the head coach of the LSU men’s basketball team. The Tigers lost a school record 15 in a row in Jones’ final season. All of Jones’ assistants have been fired as well. The coaching search is on for the LSU men’s basketball team and Athletic Director Joe Alleva says he’ll be looking for someone who can put the excitement back into the program.
The Saints have finally made a move with Brandin Cooks. The wide receiver is off to New England as the Saints made a deal with the Patriots for draft picks.
News for Friday 031017
By Dave Graichen
In response to the financial changes facing the state, the Louisiana Community and Technical College System is consolidating eight of their rural campuses. President of the system, Dr. Monty Sullivan, says they want to maintain and sustain the mission of two year colleges.
For example, the Northwest Louisiana Technical College in Natchitoches will become part of the Central Louisiana Technical Community College on July 1st. Sullivan says the mergers will allow them to focus on these rural campuses and ensure their two-year colleges can stay open.
Louisiana is set to benefit from ExxonMobil’s $20 billion investment in the Gulf Coast. Baton Rouge Refinery Manager Mark Northcutt says the Grow the Gulf initiative will strengthen and grow Exxon facilities in the Capitol City. He says Baton Rouge is home to one of the world’s largest refineries, as well as world scale chemical operations.
Today, the Governor’s Office hosts an equal pay summit in downtown Baton Rouge. Co-chair of the summit Aprill Springfield says equal pay is good for families, businesses, and the state. She says women make up about half of Louisiana’s workforce but live in the second highest rate of poverty in the US. Springfield says Louisiana’s wage gap equates to more than $16-thousand a year.
Out of four judicial races in Louisiana this year, every candidate running in the March 25 election is a woman. A Newcomb College Institute of Tulane University study, authored by Sally Kenney, finds even though the Bayou State ranks fairly low when it comes to women in the legislature, on the Bench, some real progress has been made. The study finds that in 2016, 31-percent of judges in the Louisiana were women, up from 27-percent in 2011. Kenney says in three out of the four races, a female candidate will replace a male.
Non-custodial parents who pay child support can now use MoneyGram at retail stores. Director of Child Support Enforcement with DCFS Lydia Scales says parents do need a few things in order to send support to their children through MoneyGram. She says this is a more convenient way for parents who do not have a bank account to pay child support.
The author of the stripper age requirement bill says he plans to present a similar version in the upcoming legislative session. The law was recently blocked by a federal judge in New Orleans for being unconstitutional as written. Johns says he plans to alter the language in the bill so that it’s legal, but keep the intent of requiring strippers to be at least 21-years-old. He’s confident they can find a legal way to accomplish this because other laws impose age restrictions. The bill was originally presented as a means of curbing human trafficking in the state.
The Louisiana Film and Entertainment Association launches a campaign to urge lawmakers to change to the state’s film tax credit program. Board member Jim Hornbeak says the “Fight for Film” effort is all about putting faces to those Louisianans who thrive when a movie is filmed here. To learn more about the campaign, visit FilmLouisiana.com
The mother accused of giving birth and leaving the baby in a New Rhodes Wal-Mart bathroom has been indicted. 34-year-old Kyandrea Thomas is charged with attempted second-degree murder and cruelty to a juvenile by a Pointe Coupee Parish Grand Jury.
The eastbound lanes of Interstate 10 near Sorrento will be closed over the weekend as crews with the state Department of Transportation will remove a damaged bridge. DOTD Spokesperson Rodney Mallet says the two lane closure will begin tonight at 9 and the highway will reopen Monday at 5 a.m.. He recommends checking multiple alternative routes to avoid big delays.
The Pelicans new center, All-Star Demarcus Cousins, has been fined $50,000 by the NBA for cussing at fans during two different games. It happened in the Pels victory over the Lakers on March 5th, then the next night in Utah. Cousins joined New Orleans last month in a huge trade with Sacramento. The Pels are At Houston Saturday Night. You can hear that game on ESPN1410 & 93.1 HD3
The new NFL calendar year officially began at 3 yesterday afternoon and moves are being made all over the place. The Saints have reportedly resigned defensive tackle Nick Fairley to a four year contract worth almost $30 million dollars. Fairley joined New Orleans last season and finished with 6 1/2 sacks and 22 quarterback hits.
It's LSU Baseball this weekend at the Box. Tonight the Tigers kick off a three game weekend series against Wichita State. All three games can be heard on KSYL 970AM / 100.3 HD3FM
News for Thursday 030917
By Dave Graichen
It’s the end of an era. Yesterday the owners of the Town Talk, Gannett, announced that the paper will cut back publication to three days a week, Sunday, Wednesday & Friday beginning April 5. The President of the Town Talk, Judi Terzotis, says many more people are reading the paper on line now, whether it be on the Town Talk website or on their Cell phones and tablets. Terzotis also said, While the frequency of the print edition is changing, their commitment to covering the news, sports, events, and stories that define our community remains a 24/7 priority for our staff and journalists. No word yet as to how many newsroom positions, if any, will be eliminated.
A proposal approved by BESE means K-12 schools in Louisiana won’t be seeing an increase in state funding. Executive Director of the Louisiana School Boards Association, Scott Richard, says federal funding is also in a decline, which leaves local school districts to pick up the lion’s share of the costs. BESE blames budget problems for the lack of funding hikes.
There’s a renewed sense of optimism for the oil industry, according to the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association, who host their annual summit today in Lake Charles. LOGA Vice President Gifford Briggs says 2017 is a critical year for the oil and gas industry. Briggs says that’s because the industry is starting to rebound after a two year recession. Briggs says Exxon’s commitment to make a $20 billion investment in the Gulf and the plans for the Bayou Bridge Pipeline are promising signs for the industry as a whole.
The rate of babies born with syphilis is rising in Louisiana, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC found the rate of congenital syphilis rose by 6-percent nationwide between 2014 and 2015. Director of the Bureau of Infectious Diseases for the Office of Public Health, Dr. DeAnn Gruber, says the problem is even worse in Louisiana than the rest of the country. According to the CDC, nationwide 83 out of every 100-thousand babies born has congenital syphilis.
A recent study shows fewer fat people are trying to lose weight. A report from Georgia Southern University found that overweight people who said they are trying to lose weight fell from 55-percent down to 49-percent. Executive Director of the Louisiana Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness, Rudy Macklin, says people may be getting discouraged because they aren’t seeing results right away. The nationwide study found the obesity rate is highest for black women with 55-percent being obese. Macklin says here in Louisiana, income and family environment play a big role in many of these women’s lives, leaving little time for exercise and cooking healthy meals.
Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Jefferson Parish says the proposal the House GOP has laid out to replace President Barack Obama’s health care law will put patients back in charge of their health care decisions. Representative Ralph Abraham of Richland Parish says Obamacare must be repealed, but significant questions have been raised about the replacement plan.
Governor John Bel Edwards sent a letter to President Donald Trump asking him to cut the red tape so Louisiana can get started on coastal restoration projects. Executive Director of the Coastal Restoration and Protection Authority, Johnny Bradberry, says the projects are part of the coastal restoration masterplan. Bradberry says the projects will be funded through BP’s restoration payments to the state over the next few years. He says the President is looking for projects that are ready to go and having funding methods in place. He says they’re hoping Mr. Trump can help fast track the federal approval process.
A federal judge in New Orleans once again blocks a state law that makes the minimum age to be an exotic dancer 21-years-old. Three strippers filed suit after the state legislature passed the legislation last year. Their attorney, Harry Rosenberg, says the ruling ensures the law will not go into effect until this case goes to trial.
A Baton Rouge homeowner who killed an intruder at his home will not face charges. Police say 40-year-old Anthony Gordon was armed with a gun when he entered the home and was shot by the homeowner. DA Hillar Moore says Louisiana law allows homeowners to use lethal force to defend themselves. Gordon was pronounced dead at the scene.
Officials in Ascension Parish say they are looking for the man seen on surveillance video at a Walgreens crawling his way through a drink cooler in order to steal 11 cartons of cigarettes. Another person is standing watch while the suspect made his way into the fridge then crawled to the storage area in the back to snatch the smokes. Anyone with information on this incident is urged to contact authorities.
Home advantage apparently no advantage last night for the Pelicans as they fell to the Raptors 94 to 87. The Pelicans play next at Houston on Saturday..
The season is over for LSU men’s basketball. The tigers ended a terrible season with barely a whimper as they lost to the Mississippi state Bulldogs last night 79 to 52 in the SEC tournament . It’s expected it was also the last game for Coach Johnny Jones. Officials notice could come as early as today.
Louisiana Tech begins play in the Conference USA Tournament at 5:30 today as the one of the hottest teams in the league. They’ve won eight of their last nine. Bulldogs head coach Eric Konkol believes his young team can win this tournament and receive automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.
NFL teams can begin signing unrestricted free agents this afternoon and for the first time in several years, the Saints have some salary cap space to work with. Sideline reporter on the Saints Radio Network, Kristan Garic, doesn’t anticipate the Black and Gold making a huge splash, but they will look to bolster the offensive line.
News for Wednesday 030817
By Dave Graichen
One year ago today, heavy rains began pouring down on the northern half of the state causing the worst flood the area has seen in hundreds of years. The flood prompted a federal disaster declaration for 37 parishes. Richland Parish Congressman Ralph Abraham says he’s frustrated no state or federal money has been handed out to help flood victims rebuild their homes. He says many flood victims are paying for repairs out of pocket or getting help from other organizations.
Authorities across the state are warning residents of telephone scammers claiming to be the IRS and requesting money. Sgt. Brian Griffith with the Bossier Parish Sheriff’s department says they’ve received multiple reports of phone calls stating a payment needs to be made over the phone or an arrest warrant will be issued for the individual. He says the IRS will never ask for personal information or take payments over the phone. Griffith says anytime someone receives a call from the IRS asking for credit card or banking information, it’s a scam. He advises anyone who receives a similar call to immediately hang up the phone.
US House Republicans have presented their plan for replacing the Affordable Care Act. The new plan scraps fines imposed on taxpayers who do not purchase insurance and instead offers tax credits to those who purchase coverage in the open market. However, Chief Healthcare Economist for Blue Cross Blue Shield Louisiana Mike Bertaut says Under the new proposal, people who let their policy lapse would face penalties, including a potential premium hike of 30-percent for up to a year. Bertaut says under Obamacare, tax credits are based on income. But he says under this new proposal, by 2020 credits will be based on age.
New Orleans city officials are expected to move quickly to take down Confederate monuments around the city, after a court approved their removal. Take Em Down NOLA coordinator Malcolm Suber says they are elated the monuments are coming down. But, it may not be that simple, Pro-monument advocates are exploring new legal options.
It doesn’t look like public schools will see an increase in state funding next fiscal year. The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education says they are ready to approve a three-point-seven billion dollar financing formula, which is the same as this year. Education leaders want more money to cover rising expenses, but BESE says continued state budget problems will make it difficult to receive an increase in state funding.
A Jennings woman is facing additional charges for allegedly lying about how her 4-year-old niece was set on fire. State Fire Marshal’s office spokesman Brant Thompson says 29-year-old Gail Brown is accused of having sex for money at a home while her 6-year-old daughter and the 4-year-old niece were in a vehicle. He says Brown is booked for prostitution, child desertion, and false swearing.
The U.S. Department of the Interior announces they will offer 73 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico up for sale for exploration in the oil and gas industry. Associate Director of the Tulane Energy Institute Eric Smith does not expect energy companies to have much interest. The lease sale includes about 14-thousand blocks in all areas of the Gulf.
A cadet at the Elayn Hunt Correctional Center in St Gabriel was arrested and fired for allegedly trying to smuggle drugs and a cell phone into the prison. The state Department of Corrections says 29-year-old Jomar Jackson had hidden the contraband in Pringles cans in his lunch box. His charge is a felony.
A gorilla at the Audubon zoo in New Orleans threw a large block of wood at a guest and injured a pregnant women according to officials. They are investigating how the incident happened and “will address any necessary concerns.”
Spring football begins Saturday for the LSU Tigers and Head Coach Ed Orgeron said Tuesday there will be an open competition for starting quarterback. Danny Etling is the clear front-runner, after starting 10 games last season. But Orgeron says the other QBs on the roster look good as well. The spring game will be April 22nd at 7pm in Tiger Stadium.
Tonight could be the final game for Johnny Jones as head coach of the LSU Tigers. Tiger-rag-dot-com reports Athletic Director Joe Alleva is expected to hand Jones his pink slip shortly after the Tigers are eliminated from the SEC Tournament. LSU faces Mississippi State in the SEC Tournament tonight. That broadcast can be heard on KSYL 970AM & 100.3 HD3FM Starting at 5:30p
The LSU Tiger baseball game against San Diego was rained out last night. Tonight, the Tigers play host to McNeese. However, That game will not be heard on the radio tonight. As it will be pre-empted by the LSU SEC Basketball game. Friday night, the Tigers begin a 3 game series against Wichita State.
After a tough loss to Utah Monday night, the Pelicans are back in the nest tonight playing host to the Toronto Raptors. You can hear the game beginning at 6:30p on ESPN 1410 & 93.1 HD3
The Sun Belt Men’s basketball tournament begins today in New Orleans. 12th seeded ULM faces Arkansas State this afternoon and then at 5:00 UL Lafayette will take on Little Rock.
News for Tuesday 030717
By Dave Graichen
The RPSO reports a Pineville man who called 911 now faces a murder charge after a woman injured in a domestic violence incident died. The incident occurred on March 2nd. Deputies responded to the call to find an unresponsive woman and the man who made the call. Once deputies began to assess and investigate the situation, it was evident that a crime of domestic violence had occurred. 56-year-old Connie Patterson of Pineville later died of her injuries. 59-year-old Douglas Ponthieux Sr. has now been charged with second-degree murder and second-degree battery. He remains in the Rapides Parish jail.
The APD reports a Boyce woman died alongside Interstate 49 Sunday afternoon after she became trapped under a car on the shoulder that had been hit. The unidentified 48-year-old woman was pronounced dead at the scene. Two injured pedestrians were also taken to local hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries.
Gov. John Bel Edwards is defending his executive order that aimed to protect the rights of LGBT people in state government, saying in an appeal filed Monday that a judge erred in deciding the governor overstepped his legal authority.
Three confederate monuments will be taken down in New Orleans, after a federal appeals court sides with the city. The City Council ordered the removal of statues of Robert e Lee, PGT Beauregard and Jefferson Davis after 9 African Americans were murdered at a South Carolina church, but the Monumental Task Committee filed a suit to block their removal. But after the court’s ruling, the statues are coming down.
A Muslim civil rights group wants the Rapides DA to cancel a law enforcement training seminar today in Alexandria on investigating Jihadi operations in the US. They call it a misuse of taxpayer money, and aren’t happy the man offering the sessions is former FBI agent John Guandolo who they say is a known anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist. But the DA says the training is to talk about the potential of terrorism faced by the nation. The Louisiana Interchurch Conference also on Monday issued a plea to Terrell to postpone the session.
President Donald Trump signed a revised version of the travel ban prohibiting new visas for citizens from six Middle Eastern countries. Congressman Ralph Abraham says America has to be cautious these days. He says he does not support open boarders because we need to protect our country first. But Executive Director of the Louisiana ACLU Marjorie Esman says the president issued an order that indirectly bans Muslims from entering the country. She says keeping members of that religion out of the US is the president’s priority. Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen are included in the ban.
The Tensas Parish town of St. Joseph is finally getting a new water system, as ground was broken Monday to replace the old system that has lead in it. The governor’s deputy chief of staff, Julie Baxter Payer, says they will supply clean drinking water for residents until the project is completed in September. The system will have 12 miles of new pipe and 525 new meters.
Recent state budget cuts to the Department of Agriculture means Louisiana might not have the necessary resources to fight wildfires. That’s according to Ag Commissioner Mike Strain midyear cuts lawmakers levied against the Department of Agriculture are over $1.2 million. He says he only has 53 firefighting teams for the entire state. Strain says those 53 teams are responsible for 14 million acres of forests.
Former Klu Klux Klan leader and Louisiana U.S. Senate candidate David Duke had his twitter account suspended for a brief time Monday. The social media site has taken an active role in recent months to take action against those who use hate speech. They claim Duke did just that.
The American Cancer Society has set a goal of 80-percent of Americans to be screened for colorectal cancer by 2018. That means 417-thousand people in Louisiana need to be screened to reach that number. Tulane Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine Dr. Jordan Karlitz says colorectal cancer is a major health issue in Louisiana. March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Louisiana has one of the highest rates of the development and mortality from colorectal cancer.
Governor John Bel Edwards has proclaimed this week as Severe Weather Awareness Week in Louisiana. GOHSEP urges the public to Get a Game Plan to protect themselves, their families, pets and homes in the event of severe weather.
The contractor who has been arrested for multiple charges of fraud was arrested again after using false receivables as collateral for his bond when he was in the Ascension Parish Jail. Sheriff Jeff Wiley says 39-year-old Matthew Morris, owner of Complete Construction Contractors, was booked back into their jail after detectives discovered issues with Morris’ cash bond. Morris is also facing charges in Baton Rouge, Walker, and Denham Springs in addition to Ascension Parish. Wiley says Morris took advantage of flood victims by inflating fraudulent estimates for home repairs and never completing the job.
The New Orleans Pelicans had a tough night last in Utah. They lost to the Jazz 83 to 88. Up next, the Birds play host to the Raptors Wednesday night.
Weather permitting, the 7th ranked LSU Tigers are set to host San Diego at Alex Box Stadium. It would be the first ever meeting between the two teams. You can hear the game tonight starting at 6p on KSYL 970am and 100.3 HD3fm.
Louisiana Tech is ranked 24th in the USA Today Coaches poll. It’s the first Top 25 ranking for the Bulldogs baseball program in three decades as the team is off the school’s best start at 11-1 under First-year head coach Lane Burroughs. Tonight, Louisiana Tech begins a four-game road trip at Mississippi State.
News for Monday 030617
By Dave Graichen
The budget bill that was passed during the special session has been signed by Governor John Bel Edwards. The governor says they knew closing a $304 million shortfall would be challenging, but lawmakers found a solution that did not adversely impact higher education, public schools, hospitals, or the department of children and family services.
Nearly 300 airmen in the Louisiana National Guard have been deploying to Europe, and a farewell ceremony was held in their honor on Saturday in New Orleans. The airmen will participate in critical training missions during the 90 day deployment. Here in Cenla, more than a dozen Airmen with the Louisiana National Guard bid farewell to their families and friends at the Camp Beauregard in Pineville over the weekend.
With a warmer winter than usual, the mosquito population has exploded in Louisiana. LSU Assistant Professor of Entomology Kristen Healy says temperature plays a lot into mosquito development. Healy says with the increased mosquito population, there is also an increased risk for contacting mosquito borne illnesses. Healy advises everyone to be wary of West Nile Virus and protect yourself with EPA approved repellents. She also recommends reducing standing water in your backyard to ward off infectious mosquitos.
Louisiana is on track to become one of the top states for computer science graduates. State Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson says by using a digital media incentive, Louisiana was able to attract major players in the IT business to the state. He says all corners of the Bayou State are seeing growth in this department. Louisiana has invested over 38 million dollars in the computer science and engineering departments at universities.
Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain will speak before the Baton Rouge Press Club today and continue his push for resuming trade with Cuba. Strain spoke at the Louisiana Agriculture Hall of Distinction and said next year the island nation is going to buy two billion dollars’ worth of food products from somebody, it might as well be Louisiana. Strain says one in three acres of America’s agricultural production is sold offshore, and in Louisiana over $8.3 billion in ag production is sold to a foreign country.
A Baton Rouge woman has been arrested after police say she let her 15-year-old son and his friend hide a stolen Mercedes and golf cart in her garage. Authorities say they executed a search warrant at the home of 38-year-old Erica Bergeron, and that’s when they found the stolen vehicles. Bergeron is booked on charges of contributing to the delinquency of juveniles and accessory after the fact.
An East Baton Rouge Parish motorcycle deputy has been injured after he was struck by another vehicle just after noon Friday. The deputy was taken to a Baton Rouge hospital where he is in stable condition but has a broken shoulder. Authorities have not said whether the other driver will be cited in the incident.
A 29-year-old woman is in custody a month after her 4-year-old niece was critically burned while in her care. Brant Thompson, the Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s chief deputy, said Saturday that Gail Marie Brown was arrested late Friday on five charges including negligent injuring, obstruction of justice and prostitution. Thompson said Brown lied about how the child was burned. The child remains hospitalized at a pediatric burn unit in Galveston.
It was a late west coast game. But, it didn’t seem to slow down the New Orleans Pelicans as they defeated the Lakers last night 105 – 97 The Birds travel to Utah tonight to play the Jazz. Airtime 7:30p on ESPN1410 & 93.1 HD3.
The 2nd ranked LSU baseball team won one, lost two at the Shriners Classic in Houston. The Tigers finished the weekend with a hard fought loss 5-4 defeat to 10th ranked Texas Tech. On Friday, LSU lost to top ranked TCU and beat Baylor on Saturday. Up next, the Tigers play host to San Diego Tuesday Night.
Beginning today, 48 teams vying for 12 state titles are in southwest Louisiana for the 2017 LHSAA boys’ state basketball tournament. Before the split playoffs between select and non-select schools, 28 teams competed for 7 titles. All games will be played at Burton Coliseum.
News for Friday 030317
By Dave Graichen
The Governor was in town yesterday afternoon visiting with local ministers and elected officials. Governor Edwards also made an appearance at Pineville High School and the Cenla Broadcasting studios. The Governor saying, despite budget challenges, he looks to put more money in education, health care, infrastructure. The Governor also said, at some point, we have to stop looking for new and better ways to cut, and start looking to invest in the things that give people opportunities.
President Donald Trump has signed Louisiana Congressman Ralph Abraham’s bill that provides gun rights for certain disabled individuals who receive Social Security. It ends a regulation implemented by the Obama administration that required the Social Security Administration to automatically report any beneficiary who receives assistance managing their finances due to a mental disability.
U.S. Representative Cedric Richmond of New Orleans is receiving criticism for a joke he made about Kellyanne Conway, an advisor to President Donald Trump. Richmond said Conway looked kind of familiar in that position, as he referenced a photo of Conway kneeling on a sofa in the Oval office. Political Analyst Clancy Dubos says Richmond made the statement while trading jokes with a Senator from South Carolina in a very public setting. But the Louisiana Republican Party is not laughing. They believe an apology from the Democratic lawmaker is necessary and Governor John Bel Edwards believes Richmond should apologize as well.
Over 20-thousand Louisiana taxpayers are due a refund from the federal government and time is running out to claim them. I-R-S spokesperson Bill Brunson says these individuals have not received their refund, because they didn’t file a 2013 federal income tax return. The median potential refund is $763. The IRS estimates more than $21 million in unclaimed refunds may be available to Louisiana taxpayers.
A program that covers most of the cost of private and charter school tuition for low income students is growing rapidly, giving students zoned for failing schools an option other than taxpayer funded vouchers. The money to support this tuition program comes from corporations and private donors and it helps pay for a significant portion of a child’s tuition, with parents covering the remaining costs. Another plus, the way the program is set up, local schools do not lose state funding and companies who donate receive rebates, so they lose very little as well.
A Spirit of America Rally will be held on the steps of the State Capitol tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. to show support for President Donald Trump. Similar rallies have taken place throughout the week, leading up to this event. Leader of Gator PAC Col. Rob Maness says Trump supporters will address what they hope will be a large gathering. Tickets are not required to attend. Maness encourages everyone to wear their “Make America Great Again” attire. For more information visit Tea-Party-of-Louisiana-dot-net
A former choir director at Neville High School in Monroe is facing additional charges today related to his arrest on allegations of sexual misconduct with students and providing his victims with marijuana. BESE member Gary Jones says they will attempt to have 25-year-old Christian Amos’ teaching license revoked.
The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office says two people from Leesville are under arrest for allegedly leaving their 2 year old child in a vehicle alone while they went into a casino and gambled. The 23-year-old mother and 30-year-old father were booked with child desertion.
Congressman Clay Higgins visited the I-10 Bridge in Lake Charles to discuss and inspect the structure due to some travelers’ concerns about its safety. The freshman representative met with DOTD engineers to tour the bridge. Higgins says, even though the bridge is sound, he along with DOTD feel it needs a major overhaul. A video of the tour is posted on Higgins’ Facebook page.
Sad story, out of Livingston Parish. A Denham Springs a 15 year old boy died after being hit by a vehicle on his way to school yesterday. The family has identified the victim’s name as Bryce Edling. While the incident is still under investigation, the driver has not been cited.
Tonight, the Pelicans host the top team in the Southwestern Division as they welcome the San Antonio spurs to the nest. You can hear that game on ESPN1410 and 93.1 HD3 starting at 6:30.
LSU gets a chance to face some of the best teams from the Big 12 this weekend when they compete in the Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic at Minute Maid Park. Tonight, LSU faces top ranked TCU, on Saturday it’s undefeated Baylor and Sunday its 21st ranked Texas Tech. You’ll be able to hear tonight’s and Sunday’s games on KSYL 970AM and 100.3 HD3. Tonight’s game starts at 6:30p
This evening, the LSU Alexandria Generals enter RRAC tourney, at the Rapides Parish Coliseum with 29-0 record. LSUA will play at 5:30 p.m. in the first of the two men’s semifinal games. The winners of the two semi’s plays tomorrow afternoon.
Chloe Jackson powered LSU with a double-double of 22 points and a career-high 14 rebounds as LSU advanced to the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament with a 65-49 win over Ole Thursday evening. With the win, LSU improved to 20-10 overall. The Lady Tigers face No. 2 seeded Mississippi State This afternoon at 5 p.m.
News for Thursday 030216
By Dave Graichen
Governor John Bel Edwards plans to present a criminal justice reform plan to lawmakers that looks at reducing minimum sentences for some nonviolent offenses. Edwards says the state is looking at proven strategies that have worked to reduce the prison population in other southern conservative states. Edwards says we have to find a way to lower the state’s incarceration rate, because Louisiana spends $600 million a year on the Department of Corrections, which is a costly number during these tough budget times. It will be a tough sell since many district attorneys across the state oppose reducing minimum sentences.
Sources say Louisiana native Paul Rainwater is one of two candidates to become the next director of the Federal Disaster Management Agency. Rainwater has an extensive background when it comes to disaster recovery from his time as a city administrator in Lake Charles to when he was former Governor Bobby Jindal’s Chief of Staff. The other candidate is reportedly Mark Merritt, a private consultant from Atlanta. A final decision on who Trump will nominate to direct FEMA may not be made until April or May.
Louisiana’s Republican delegation believes President Donald Trump sent the right message in Tuesday night’s address in front of Congress. Mr. Trump laid out his plans to overhaul the nation’s healthcare system, increase military spending and create jobs. Early national polls indicate that a majority of viewers approved of the speech and more optimistic about the future of the country.
Grambling President Rick Gallot is back from his trip to Washington where he met with President Trump on making historically black colleges and universities a priority. Gallot says, from a funding standpoint, it makes a huge difference when the White House has promised to be involved. HBCU Presidents are calling for a $25 billion investment.
A man is dead following an officer involved shooting in Houma on Tuesday night. State Trooper Jesse Lagrange says the Houma Police Department was involved in an incident with a barricaded subject when the shooting occurred. Lagrange says they are not releasing the any details about the deceased man or what led to the incident at this time.
An escaped work release inmate is once again behind bars after a high speed chase in Webster Parish that ended with a vehicle going airborne. Webster Sheriff Gary Sexton says deputies set up a roadblock to catch 18-year-old Kevonte Austin. Sexton says the woman was not hurt, and Austin was apprehended.
A Baton Rouge man convicted of killing his 5-year-old son will spend the rest of his life behind bars. Last month 38-year-old Vernell Day, Jr. was found guilty of second degree murder for beating his son to death in 2014. Police say the child was taken to the hospital after suffering multiple blows, and the child died two days later.
Two Sulphur residents are dead after a fire broke out in their home early Wednesday morning. Sulphur Fire Chief Dan Selph says the fire was called in by a neighbor and a witness who saw it from the interstate. He says when crews arrived it was evident that entering the home was not an option. The victims were a 58 year old woman and a 68 year old man.
The State Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating the case of a man who died in a house fire in St. Mary Parish on Mardi Gras Day. They say initial indications are that the deadly blaze was caused by an electrical wall outlet in the wood-framed home, and claimed the life of 79-year-old Lionel Bonin Jr. The victim’s wife told investigators that her husband saved her first, then ran back into the residence.
The Department of Corrections and the Louisiana Department of Health are teaming up to get health coverage for newly released inmates. DOC Medical Director Dr. Raman Singh says they are helping incarcerated inmates enroll in Medicaid so that once they are released, they can continue to receive the care they need. Singh says DOC is all about reentry and making sure released offenders succeed in their communities.
The LSU Tigers broke their 15 game losing streak last night with an 99-82 win over Tennessee at the P-Mac. LSU will finish the regular season and try to make it two in a row at Mississippi Saturday afternoon.
Big win for the Pelicans last night as they defeated Detroit 109 to 86. Up next, San Antonio, Friday night.
2017 GEICO Red River Athletic Conference Men's Basketball Tournament officially gets underway today and continues through Saturday at the Rapides Parish Coliseum. The tournament, with a six-team single elimination bracket, has the #1 Ranked LSUA Generals scheduled to play the lowest remaining seed at 5:30 Friday afternoon. Tournament tickets are available, free of charge, first come first served, from 9 to 4 today at the Cenla Broadcasting studios on Texas avenue. Saturday afternoon is the Championship Game starting at 4:30p
Making the rounds on a social media is a claim by Saints running back Mark Ingram that he and several other New Orleans’ players were turned away from a club in London for being, “too urban.” Ingram said they had reservations, but the establishment issued a statement saying they would never dismiss anyone based on race, however they’re an exclusive members club where entry is not guaranteed to anyone.
At the NFL Scouting Combine, former LSU running back Leonard Fournette weighed in at 240 pounds. During his time at LSU, Fournette’s listed weight was 235 pounds. He’ll run the 40 and perform in other skill drills on Friday.
The Saints are reportedly set to release high-priced safety Jairus Byrd. Byrd has three years left on a six-year, 54-million dollar contract. The move will save the Saints a reported three-point-two million dollars in cap space.
News For Wednesday 030117
By Dave Graichen
Another person is calling for State Police Superintendent Col. Mike Edmonson to resign. Lloyd Grafton has recently resigned from the State Police Commission, and in his resignation letter to Governor John Bel Edwards, Grafton says Edmonson does whatever he chooses to do. He says when the commission approved a pay raise for LSP, they believed it would go to the troopers on the ground. But he says instead some of the highest ranking officials received $40-thousand pay increases.
US News and World Report’s finds Louisiana comes in dead last on the new best state’s ranking. Analyst Lindsey Cook says Louisiana did poorly in the areas of economy, government, crime and opportunity. She says education is also a big category and the Bayou State came in 46th.
Bankrate.com ranks Louisiana the fourth worst state for first time home buyers. Analyst Claes Bell says one reason for the low ranking is the tightness of the housing market. He says there are fewer homes on the market in Louisiana because construction isn’t keeping up with demand. Bell says first time buyers in a tight housing market have a hard time competing for a home that has multiple offers, because they tend to put less money down.
The accused drunk driver in the Endymion (En Din Mion) New Orleans parade crash is facing more and more charges and the victim count rises. Neilson Rizzuto has been charged with an additional 22 counts of negligent vehicular injury. Loyola law professor Dane Ciolino says that number could still go up because the victim count is up to 32. The 25-year-old was originally booked on four charges, including two counts of negligent vehicular injury, hit and run causing serious injury, and careless operation. Ciolino expects Rizzuto to be sentenced to at least 10 years behind bars.
It’s Ash Wednesday and that means the start of the Lenten season, so many people will be lining up to get their share of seafood over the next 40 days. Chairman of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board Chalin (Shal-in) DeLaune (De-lawn) says the supply of Louisiana oysters and crawfish is excellent. But DeLaune says unfortunately the crab harvest is struggling in Louisiana, as there is a 30 day closure on commercial crabbing. DeLaune also says shrimp is on the downside in the Bayou State this season, as the size of the prawns are relatively small.
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries agents arrested a man on charges of trafficking children for sex after fishing from an unregistered boat. LDWF says 26-year-old Jean Luc Williams of New Orleans was stopped to be checked for boating regulations and authorities discovered the boat was not registered and Williams had not completed the boating education class. That’s when they discovered Williams the outstanding warrant for his arrest from Orleans Parish.
The Texas agriculture commissioner has approved a poison that farmers and ranchers can use to kill destructive feral hogs, so when will Louisiana get on board? Ag Commissioner Mike Strain says Kaput Feral Hog Lure could become available here in a month or two, but it will only be sold to those individuals who receive proper training. It’s estimated there are 500-thousand feral hogs in Louisiana and they are known for destroying fields and pastures.
A picture has surfaced of a white candidate for the state legislature wearing blackface as part of a Tiger Woods costume. Robert Gatti, a Republican running for Congressman Mike Johnson’s open seat, said it’s a 15 year old photo and he had no idea it was offensive. Gatti apologized and said he feels his opponents are behind the leak.
The Pelicans will look for their first win with All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins in the starting line-up tonight when New Orleans hosts Detroit. Despite all the buzz the trade created, New Orleans is 0-3 since acquiring Cousins from the Sacramento Kings. Head Coach Alvin Gentry is optimistic the victories will come soon. Cousins also feels good about the future of his new team, but it will take time… That game can be heard tonight beginning at 6:30 on ESPN 1410 and 93.1 HD3
News for Friday 022417
By Dave Graichen
It’s a big parade weekend all across Louisiana and it looks like Mother Nature will corporate. Here in Alexandria it all begins this afternoon with the Hixson Classic Cars & College Cheerleaders Parade at 4:30. That will be followed by the Taste Of Mardi Gras in the River Front Center. Saturday it’s the 21st Annual Children's Parade starting at 10am. That will be followed by the Alexandria Zoo’s Mardi Gras Party from 2 to 4. Weekend festivities wrap up with the 24th Annual Krewes Parade Sunday at 2p. The complete schedules and routs can be found at cenlabroadcasting.com. just click on the events tab..
Sad news yesterday for many here in Alexandria with the word that Jeff Phillips, the owner of Tamp and Grind, had died. Phillips opened his unique coffee shop back in 2010, a period where most businesses were either closing or moving out of the downtown area. The shop became not only a popular stop for coffee, but also a hub for cultural and other activities. Funeral services for Jeff Philips are pending.
Shortly before noon yesterday, the APD responded to a report of a shooting in the 4000 block of Lee Street. Upon arrival, police found a man who had been shot in the head, over the next several hours police arrested multiple people in connection with the incident. The condition of the victim and the names of those who were arrested has not been released.
TOPS is not fully funded under the governor’s spending plan for next fiscal year. Officials say it will take more than 80 million additional dollars to pay for the scholarship program. The Board of Regents meets today to discuss possible changes to TOPS. The recommendations will go into a bill by Baton Rouge Senator Sharon Hewitt that will be taken up in the regular session.
In addition to TOPS being funded at 70 percent, » Safety net hospitals across the state saw a cut of $30.5 million or, roughly 6%. Rural hospitals cut were $6 million, there will be no increase for public education and that will Delay the opening of new Acadiana Youth Facility in Bunkie and there will be no merit raises for state employees. Finally, $120 million of $304 million midyear cuts were made permanent.
Governor John Bel Edwards will be in Washington D-C this weekend as he’ll have a chance to meet with President Donald Trump. Edwards and other governors will have a chance to talk with the President on Monday. Before that the governor will visit with FEMA officials and discuss flood and tornado relief. Currently, the state is requesting an additional two billion dollars in assistance.
US Senator Bill Cassidy held another town hall meeting Thursday morning in Thibodaux and the crowd was not as raucous as what the senior senator faced Wednesday in Metairie. Cassidy is one of several Republican Congressional members who has faced furious constituents upset over health care and public education.
Grambling State University is one step closer to reinstating their undergraduate nursing program after it was closed in 2015. University President Rick Gallot says they have the support of the University of Louisiana System Board, and now they need approval from the Board of Regents and the state Board of Nursing. He says their target date to open the new program is fall of 2018.
Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz is seeking more information from FEMA about an 84-year-old Baton Rouge man who died in an overheated mobile home issued by the federal government. Chaffetz says when authorities investigated the M-H-U the temperature inside reached 138-degree even though the air conditioning control unit read 50-degrees.
LSU Health Shreveport will launch a Pediatric Chronic Ventilator Clinic in April to care for children who require mechanical ventilation. Director of the Pediatric Ventilator Unit Dr. Keith Scott says currently, families have to travel 300 miles for a one-hour visit, but the new clinic will be more convenient for patients.
The LSU baseball team begins a three-game series tonight against Maryland, who is a favorite to win the Big 10. The Terrapins are off to 1-2 start as they lost two games to Ball State. But Tigers Coach Paul Mainieri says don’t be fooled by Maryland’s slow start. Maryland has recently appeared in the Super Regionals in both 2014 and 2015. LSU is 3-1 on the season and Mainieri says the Tigers are still a work in progress… you can hear the game tonight starting at 6:30 on KSYL 970 am and 100.3 HD3 fm.
News for Thursday 022317
By Dave Graichen
After 10 days of what became some heated debates, the special session ended with lawmakers agreeing to use $99 million from the rainy day fund to address a $304 million midyear deficit. Governor John Bel Edwards originally asked legislators to use the full $119 million available to minimize cuts to state agencies. But budget cuts are still coming to state agencies. The Department of Health will take the biggest hit with a 36-million dollar cut. Statewide elected officials will have their budget cuts and there will be a reduction in spending on roadwork.
Now that the special session is over, attention turns to the fiscal session that begins in April. The Louisiana Budget Project has released its tax reform blueprint. Senior Policy Analyst Nick Albares says we need a tax system that is fair, adequate, competitive, timely, and sustainable. He says one way to do that is to eliminate the federal income tax deduction, which is a credit only two other states offer. Albares says this credit costs the state nearly $1 billion a year, while only those at the top of the income spectrum benefit from it. He says they’re calling for a reduction in the state sales tax from 5-percent to 4-percent and a broadening of the sales tax base.
The winning ticket for Wednesday's Powerball drawing, worth an estimated $435.3 million, was sold in Indiana yesterday. It's the first time that the jackpot topped $400 million in nearly three months, and it's the seventh largest jackpot win in Powerball history. The numbers drawn Wednesday were 52, 10, 61, 28, and 13. The Powerball is 2
A report from Tulane has found that 17-hundred public school teachers have left their profession since the legislature passed a law in 2012 that made it more difficult for educators to achieve tenure. Co-author of the report, Nathan Barrett, says many of the educators that left were close to retirement and teachers who left under-performing schools rose by 27-percent.
Student achievement became a major factor in a teacher receiving tenure as part of the 2012 law.
With the rising cost of college tuition, many students are looking towards the internet to find ways to pay for school. GoFundMe Spokesperson Bobby Whithorne says nationally over the last three years, they’ve had over 130-thousand campaigns on their website raise over 60 million dollars for kids in college. Whithorne says the majority of the donations come from friends and family, as students share their GoFundMe campaign on Facebook and other social media sites. But he says there are complete strangers who contribute.
The Safety Net for Abused Persons for the greater New Iberia area announce they’re closing because of financial struggles. Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Mariah Wineski says they are working on plans for a new permanent facility. She says last year they provided over 90-thousand shelter nights to domestic violence victims around the state.
How are you planning to spend your tax refund? Well according to a new survey from the National Retail Federation, most people, especially millennials, won’t be spending returns, but instead saving. Denham Springs financial planner Matt Kennedy says younger people saw their parents suffer in the 2008 crash and don’t want to risk it. The survey says of 66-percent of those getting a refund, only 21-percent plan to spend it on everyday expenses.
The LSU School of Veterinary Medicine is reminding pet owners to be vigilant about your animal’s physical and emotional well-being when celebrating Mardi Gras. Dr. Nancy Welborn with the school advises parade goers to leave their pets at home because most dogs and cats aren’t used to those situations. Welborn says be mindful of what you’re feeding your pets. She says king cakes, jambalaya, and fired foods are not pet friendly snacks.
After suffering their first loss of the season Tuesday night against UNO, the LSU Tiger Baseball team Posted an 8-1 Win Over Hofstra last night. Coming up, the tigers face off against Maryland at the box this weekend.
Demarcus Cousins, aka Boogie, was officially introduced Wednesday as one of the newest members of the New Orleans Pelicans. The All-Star comes to The Big Easy from Sacramento and practiced with the Pels for the first time yesterday. Cousins says he’s excited about the opportunity to hit the court with fellow All-Star Anthony Davis. Cousins will suit up with the Pelicans for the first time tonight against Houston in the Smoothie King Center. Airtime 6:30 on ESPN1410 and 93.1 HD3.
News for Wednesday 022217
By Dave Graichen
The City Of Alexandria says is was an equipment failure at the Willow Glen substation that caused a power outage that cut power to a large area of the city yesterday afternoon. The outage knocked out power to both Rapides Regional Medical Center and Christus St. Frances Cabrini Hospital.
23 year old Joseph James, one of the three Avoyelles Parish inmates who escaped late Saturday was caught early yesterday in Lafayette. James was booked into the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center on a hold for Avoyelles Parish. He also was charged with possession of marijuana and possession of a firearm by a felon. James along with two other men, 22 year old Andre Stewart and 31 year old Blake Reine escaped around 10:30 p.m. Saturday from the Avoyelles Parish Detention Center #2 in Bunkie after they broke through a shower wall in their dormitory. James and Steward were serving time for armed robbery, while Reine was serving time for manslaughter.
It’s the final day of the special session and the major sticking point is how much of the rainy day fund to tap to resolve a $304 million midyear deficit. Governor Edwards and the Senate proposes using $99 million from the state’s savings account, but LaPolitics.com publisher Jeremy Alford says House Republicans want the Senate to pass a bill that frees up statutory dedications in future budgets. Alford says it’s a possibility lawmakers will fail to pass a budget cutting plan by midnight. He says if that happens, the governor could call them back for yet another special session.
Tonia Cain, the wife of former Avoyelles Correctional Center warden, Nate Cain, turned herself in to authorities Tuesday. It’s alleged Tonia ordered the destruction of records after 30-thousand dollars from prison concession sales went missing. Cain’s attorney says her client is cooperating with the investigation.
Tonight’s Powerball jackpot has reached a whopping 403 million dollars, with a cash value of 244 million dollars. Louisiana Lottery Spokesperson Kimberly Chopin says the last time the Powerball jackpot was won in Louisiana was in May 2013, where the jackpot was split between two other states.
Restaurant Brands International, which owns Burger King, announces it’s purchasing Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen for one-point-eight billion dollars. Tulane Business Professor Mark Rosa believes Restaurant Brands will aggressively expand Popeyes to get a big return on their investment. Popeyes was founded in New Orleans in 1972.
The state Office of Group Benefits is considering a 50 dollar a month surcharge on health insurance premiums for state employees who use tobacco products. OGB chief executive officer Tommy Teague says individuals who receive health insurance through the state would be required to self-report if they are a smoker. The proposal would need to receive approval from a legislative oversight committee. Teague says this type of surcharge is already being used in the private sector. Teague says they are considering a surcharge because the Office of Group Benefits is facing a shortfall and they don’t want to raise premiums on all employees.
Senate President John Alario announces the special election to fill the District 2 seat vacated by former Senator Troy Brown has been set for April 29th. Brown resigned after some fellow members filed resolutions seeking to expel him over physical violence convictions against a girlfriend and wife. The qualifying period for the special election will be March 15-17.
Governor John Bel Edwards orders a full investigation into trips made by State Police officers, amid a report 4 troopers took side excursions during a business trip on the taxpayer’s dime. The Division of Administration’s auditor will conduct the probe. In response to the allegations, Col Mike Edmonson announced a number of disciplinary actions and policy changes.
A Baton Rouge contractor is now facing a slew of charges in multiple parishes after allegedly scamming dozens of August flood victims. Baton Rouge Police say the owner of Complete Construction, Matthew Morris, was booked on offenses including home improvement fraud, theft of assets of an aged person, and exploitation of the infirmed. Tuesday’s arrest comes less than two weeks after Morris was booked in Ascension Parish amid allegations he scammed 13 flood victims.
The Tigers suffer their first loss of the season to UNO. The final score 11 to 8. LSU returns to action tonight at home against Hofstra. Airtime 6:30p on KSYL 970 / 100.3 HD3
In LSU Basketball, At the P-Mac last night LSU lost to Auburn 98 – 75 They’ll play next at Georgia Saturday Afternoon.
New Pelicans center DeMarcus Cousins has arrived in New Orleans and is expected to begin practicing with his new team today. Jake Madison, who writes for the blog Bourbon Street, says the trade means Anthony Davis can move back to power forward, a position he’s more comfortable with.. The new look Pelicans will host Houston on Thursday night in a game that can be heard on espn1410 & 93.1 HD3. Airtime 6:30p
News for Tuesday 022117
By Dave Graichen
The clock is ticking on lawmakers finding a resolution to the state’s 304-million dollar midyear budget deficit. The battle is over the use of rainy day dollars. The House proposes using 75-million, while the senate and Governor John Bel Edwards prefers 99-million dollars. Baton Rouge Representative Rick Edmonds says Republicans believe they’ve already compromised enough. Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, Gene Reynolds, says the House Republicans plan to use only 75-million from the Rainy Day Fund is full of budget gimmicks, as it has been in the past. The session must end by midnight on Wednesday.
The 56-year-old woman who tackled a man who was attacking a Baton Rouge Police officer on Sunday morning has been deemed a hero. Vickie Williams-Tillman was driving when she saw 28-year-old Thomas Bennett and a police officer in a physical altercation. Tillman called 911 and proceeded to jump on Bennett’s back and knocked a baton out of his hand which he had taken from the officer. She refused to let good of the man until police arrived.
The search is ongoing for three escaped Avoyelles Parish inmates. Sheriff Doug Anderson says 31-year-old Blake Reine, 23-year-old Joseph James, and 22-year-old Andre Steward escaped from a detention center near Bunkie on Saturday night.
If Louisianans want better roads and bridges, the Department of Transportation will need an additional $700 million a year. That’s according to DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson, who says Louisiana is one of only five states that hasn’t adjusted its transportation revenue stream in nearly 30 years. He says that’s why Louisiana’s roads are the 8th worst in the nation. Wilson says there is an appetite at the capitol to build new roads, but not to pay for them. There’s been talk of raising the gas tax by a few pennies, but Wilson says it wouldn’t be enough to cover the needs around the state. Funding for roads will be discussed during the regular session in April.
Covington Representative Paul Hollis plans to propose a bill for the regular session that would make it easier to remove a politician from office. He says it currently takes signatures from 33-percent of a jurisdiction’s registered voters to recall a politician in Louisiana. Hollis says the current requirement makes it nearly impossible to remove a politician from a large jurisdiction. He says this was evidenced when former St. Tammany coroner Peter Galvan could not be removed, even after he was indicted for using state tax dollars for personal gain. He says that’s why his bill would only affect big districts with 25-thousand qualified voters or more.
State Police is looking into a report by the Advocate newspaper that shows four state troopers made unnecessary stops to the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas while driving to a law enforcement conference in San Diego. L-S-P Superintendent, Colonel Mike Edmonson, says he’ll make sure this kind of behavior doesn’t happen again.
Do you feel politically stressed? A report from the American Psychological Association finds, no matter what party you are, anxiety over political matters is at an all time high. Michelle Many (Main-eee) with the LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans says they mostly see that this is due to constant social and other media viewing, and the best way to calm do is to avoid that type of activity.
LSU is ranked anywhere from second to fifth in the latest college baseball polls after winning three games this past weekend. LSU’s pitchers only allowed two earned runs and the Tigers crossed the plate 25 times. The Tigers are at UNO Tonight. That game is blacked out everywhere but Baton Rouge.
Tonight, it’s LSU Men’s Basketball. Tonight the tigers play host to Auburn Airtime 5:30p on KSYL 970 / 100.3 HD3
The Pelicans have the best front court in the NBA as a result of acquiring Center DeMarcus Cousins from the Sacramento Kings. That’s the opinion of Jake Madison who writes for Bourbon Street Shots. Madison believes Cousins will help the Pelicans make a push for the playoffs this season. New Orleans is currently 2.5 games back of Denver for the 8th and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
News for Monday 022017
By Dave Graichen
There’s three days left in the special session and the big argument continues to be over how much money to use from the rainy day fund to address the $304 million budget shortfall. Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat says Governor John Bel Edwards recommended using $119 million, but House Republicans only support using 75-million in rainy day dollars and deeper cuts to reduce state spending. The Senate approved it’s own version of the budget cut bill last night and it includes 99-million dollars from the rainy day fund. It will likely take a committee made up of House and Senate members to iron out a compromise on the two bills.
The US Department of Housing and Urban Development approved Louisiana’s plan for spending the first 438 million dollars for flood recovery. The governor’s Deputy Chief of Staff Julie Baxter Payer says most of the money will go to low income families who are elderly or disabled but another 1.2 billion dollars was approved to go to other affected homeowners.
The Louisiana House approved a measure that would reduce state spending but 115 million dollars over the next four months. House Appropriations Chairman Cameron Henry says economic downturn has led to lower tax revenues for the state and agencies must make the cuts to reflect what the state can afford.
Louisiana’s Medicaid expansion has reached a new milestone, with more than 400,000 people enrolled for health services through the government financed program that started in July. The Department of Health announced in announcing the figures says the program is driving down Louisiana’s uninsured rate. The agency said more than 58,700 of Medicaid expansion enrollees have received at least one preventive care visit with a health provide
The state Department of Education has changed requirements for the Child Care Assistance Program, which provides federal funds so low income families can pay for child care while going to work or school. Assistant Superintendent of Early Childhood Jenna Conway says
previously, there were very strict regulations where families were required to work at least 30 hours a week to be eligible for childcare assistance. Now, families with special needs children who work at least 15 hours a week are now eligible to receive childcare funds.
The University of Louisiana at Lafayette announces the expansion of their Louisiana Legacy Scholarship. Vice President for Enrollment Management Dr. DeWayne Bowie (BOO-ee) says the scholarship is designed to bring out of state students with Louisiana ties back to the state. He says the scholarship covers out of state fees for these students.
The Department of Children and Family Services is allowing hot food to be bought with SNAP and Disaster food assistance in the seven parishes that were hit hard by tornadoes last week. Affected individuals can buy hot food until March 31st. Hot food is typically not allowed to be purchased with these state food assistance cards.
The Louisiana Office of Tourism has launched a new social media campaign to get Louisianans to promote tourism in our state. Lt Governor Billy Nungesser says the hashtag #OnlyInLouisiana gives residents the chance to be tourism ambassadors for the Bayou State because no one can tell our story better than Louisianans. To sign up to be an ambassador visit LouisianaTravel.com/ambassador.
A 30-day closed season for crabbing begins today in the Bayou State. Crustacean Program Manager for Marine Fisheries at LDWF Jeff Marx says the crab population is down in Louisiana. He says they’re hoping this ban will help boost the crab population. Marx says this is one of the slower periods in the year for crabbing, which is why they chose this time of year to implement the ban.
Coach Paul Mainieri says the opening weekend to the 2017 season could not have gone any better for the 2nd ranked Tigers. On Saturday, LSU swept a doubleheader from Army, highlighted by Jared Poche’s no-hitter. On Sunday, the Tigers took down Air Force 10-3.
LSUA Mens’ Basketball picked up its 40 th straight win at home rolling to a 71-47 win over the Texas College Steers Saturday evening at The Fort. The Generals play at
Southern University at Shreveport tomorrow.
The LSUA Women came one step closer to clinching a spot in the RRAC Postseason Tournament by controlling Texas College and rolling to a 90-72 win over the Steers Saturday afternoon at The Fort.
The winningest coach in Bossier City’s Parkway High School football history has been dismissed and it appears its over comments David Feaster made about Alabama. Feaster said in a radio interview that Alabama coaches have been banned from Parkway, because of the “unethical” recruitment of former quarterback Brandon Harris. Apparently, Parkway administration didn’t like the attention this statement was bringing to their school.
News for Friday 021717
By Dave Graichen
49 year old Stacy Bender, A former Rapides Parish Sheriff's Deputy now has a trial date. Bender, who was arrested in July of last year for soliciting a prostitute multiple times, had been with the RPSO since 1999. Rapides Parish Assistant District Attorney Cheryl Carter said that a plea deal had been offered, but that Bender wanted a trial instead. He’ll get his way, the trial date was set for Aug. 7.
Today the state House will decide how much, if any, of the rainy day fund to use to close a $304 million budget shortfall. New Orleans Representative Walt Leger says lawmakers passed a budget last year describing what they want to accomplish for the people of Louisiana, and it’s the legislature’s responsibility to meet those promises. He says the best way to accomplish that would be to use 119-million dollars from the rainy day fund.
A bill up for debate today on the House floor would use $74 million from the state’s savings account, but Baton Rouge Representative Rick Edmonds co-authored a bill that would use no rainy day dollars to close the budget gap. He says after some investigating, he found areas in state government that can be cut to reduce the shortfall. Edmonds’ bill is also up for debate today on the House floor. He says he understands that no cuts are easy, but lawmakers have a responsibility to balance the budget.
Baton Rouge lawmakers are looking to offer a constitutional amendment that would ask the public if they would be willing to pay an additional 23-cents in gas taxes to fund major highway projects. Representative Steve Carter says the additional revenues from the tax could pay for a new Mississippi River bridge and the widening of I-10. The constitutional amendment would be considered in the regular session that begins in April.
Today is Coach “O” Day in Lafourche Parish to honor LSU’s new head football coach Ed Orgeron. Orgeron is a native of Larose, where an event will be held at the local civic center at 6:00 p.m. During the banquet, Orgeron’s high school football jersey will be retired and fellow members of the 1977 South LaFourche High School football team will be recognized for winning the state championship.
Louisiana State Police is ramping up enforcement in New Orleans for the Carnival season and this weekend’s NBA All-Star Game. Trooper Melissa Matey says they’ll have an additional 165 troopers in the Crescent City. She says they rely also heavily on the public and encourages folks to let an officer know if you see something suspicious.
After much ado at the state capitol over attempts to expel Napoleonville Senator Troy Brown, he said in a press conference it is with great sadness that he resigns from the Senate. Brown said that there was pressure from the Senate body for him to resign. He says he did not go to trial for either of his two domestic violence convictions, instead entering no contest pleas, to spare his family from the ordeal of a trial. He says that’s also why he’s resigning from the Senate.
DeSoto Sheriff Rodney Arbuckle says crews have recovered two bodies from the site of a helicopter crash at Wallace Lake. He says the FAA and other agencies are investigating the circumstances of the crash itself, while his deputies are working on recovering pieces of the chopper. He says the biggest challenge is the two hours it takes to get to the site. The victims are believed to be a married couple from Center, Texas.
Governor John Bel Edwards re-election campaign announces he raised $3.6 million in campaign funds during his first year in office. According to finance reports, the governor ended 2016 with $3.2 million on hand.
The Natchez Democrat is reporting that, for the second time since December, the Police chief of Ferriday has been suspended. Mayor Sherrie Jacobs said the discipline of Arthur Lewis without pay for 30 days is related to administrative issues at the Ferriday Police Department. Jacobs had previous suspended Lewis in December after another incident within the department.
A highly anticipated college baseball season gets underway tonight for the second ranked LSU Tigers as they host Air Force at 7 PM. Coach Paul Mainieri brings back a veteran team that will also feature a few freshmen who are expected to do great things. Mainieri says he can’t wait to get it started. Alex Lange will start on the mound for the Tigers. Airtime 6:30 on KSYL 970 AM and 100.3 HD3.
It is once again NBA All-star weekend in the Big Easy. President and CEO of the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation Jay Cicero says this is the third time in 9 years that New Orleans has hosted an all-star game, which is a record return rate. Cicero says the big game takes place on Sunday in the Smoothie King Center, but there will be plenty of festivities all weekend. You can hear the game starting at 6:30 Sunday evening on ESPN 1410 and 93.1 HD3
The LSU Lady Tigers Beat Texas A&M Last night the final 67 – 63 The ladies are now 18 and 8 on the season.
News for Thursday 021617
By Dave Graichen
The House Appropriations Committee approves legislation that takes only $74 million from the rainy day fund, instead of the $119 million the governor recommended. The vote comes after a heated back and forth between the governor’s chief budget advisor and Republican lawmakers. The budget plan that’s now heading to the House calls for cuts to prisons, colleges, and public schools, areas the governor is seeking to protect.
The APD reports 18-year-old Tevin Landers of Pineville has been arrested and booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center, charged with simple burglary of a dwelling on Alma Street and possession of a controlled dangerous substance. Landers was also wanted on warrants from the Pineville Police Department for simple burglary and criminal trespassing. Police say this is the 17th time Landers has been charged with a crime in the past year.
Alexandria Police report a man has been arrested for allegedly slashing the tire of at least 21 cars in the Martin Park area. 43-year-old Larry Simon Jr was booked into the Rapides Parish Detention center charged with 21 counts of criminal damage to property. His bond was set at $105,000. It’s believed Simon was intoxicated at the time of the incident.
Christopher Martin Glasscock, a former Rapides Parish teacher pleaded guilty on Tuesday to seven counts of prohibited sexual conduct between educator and student. Glasscock, who is 47, pleaded guilty after the charges were reduced to misdemeanors. At the time of his June 2015 arrest, Glasscock was listed as the agriculture teacher at Buckeye High School.
During his 11th monthly call in radio show, Governor John Bel Edwards announced his support for the construction of the Bayou Bridge Pipeline. Edwards says while the pipeline would only create about 12 permanent jobs, it would create more jobs during construction and job retention for others. The proposed pipeline would stretch across 11 parishes from Calcasieu to St. James, and it’s facing fierce opposition from environmental groups.
Triple-A released their annual worst drivers on the road report and what did it find? It confirmed what many people believe, millennials are the worst on the road and the survey finds they’re more reckless than teens. AAA Spokesperson Don Redman says drivers between the ages of 19 to 24 seem to be distracted behind the wheel.
The National Safety Council finds motor vehicle deaths in 2016 rose 6-percent nationally last year and in Louisiana they’ve increased by five-percent since 2014. Ken Kolosh with the NSC says they blame distracted driving for the increase. In Louisiana 661 people died in motor-vehicle deaths in 2016, nationally the number exceeded 40-thousand for the first time since 2007
It was tense on the Senate floor yesterday at the first hearing to expel state senator Troy Brown from office because of two separate convictions regarding domestic violence. A vote on expulsion is scheduled for Monday.
AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety finds through a survey that millennials, 19 to 24-year-olds are more dangerous drivers than teenagers. Local AAA spokesperson Don Redman says their survey found that millennials are more likely to send a text message while driving, exceed the speed limit by 10 to 15 miles per hour and run a red light…
Thanks to an animal rescue group in New Orleans 39 pit bulls in Opelousas were not put to death Wednesday, because Tia Torres of Pit Bulls and Parolees have stepped forward to provide the resources to keep the animals alive. Stacey Alleman with St. Landry Parish Animal Control says they put out a plea for help on social media and it’s been successful.
A former St. John Parish sheriff’s deputy will spend 10 years in prison for spreading HIV to two juveniles. Prosecutors say 33-year-old Barlon Cammon transmitted the virus during multiple encounters, with 15 and 16-year-old boys. Cammon was not a deputy at the time of the incidents.
Bossier City Police are investigating an anti-muslim flier that was pasted onto a sign in front of a mosque. Spokesperson Mark Natale says it reads “Imagine a Muslim-free America. A second flier stuck to a brick sign said “What made American great: Blood and Soil.” Authorities believe the signs are from a white nationalist group called American Vanguard.
Teen mothers are seeing better pregnancy and parenting outcomes thanks to a program by Children’s Coalition for Northeast Louisiana. The Jus4Me program was funded by a $50-thousand grant from United Healthcare Community Plan of Louisiana. CEO Allison Young says 89-percent of the young mothers used the health and referral services at school-based health centers regularly, which had tremendous outcomes for these mothers’ children. Young says 97-percent of the mothers in the program stayed in school both during and after their pregnancies.
News for Wednesday 021517
By Dave Graichen
Legislation that would allow lawmakers to tap into the rainy day fund is heading to the Senate floor. The bill moved out of the Senate Finance Committee yesterday after lawmakers spend much of the day behind closed doors debating how to resolve a $304 million midyear budget deficit. Senate President John Alario says using the fund would reduce the cuts to state agencies, but some republican lawmakers are reluctant to tap into the state’s savings account. The debate is expected to continue Today. Some political insiders are saying the session may end without a solution to the deficit.
FEMA announced yesterday the federal government's flood insurance program has yet to pay out on hundreds of policies on buildings that flooded in August of last year. After the flood, policy holders filed nearly 30,000 claims. Many received some of the money up-front. To receive the total eligible amount, property owners had to receive inspections by claims adjusters and submit "Proof of Loss" forms. According to FEMA There are more than 700 Proof of Loss forms left to process.
The Webster Parish tourism executive director who is accused of broadcasting a 30 minute long private video meant for her husband instead of to her work Instagram account has been fired. Lynn Dorsey was voted to be removed by the board on a 3-2 vote. Her attorney says legal action is possible because Dorsey did have a contract.
Baton Rouge Judge Mike Erwin denies he used racial slurs towards a black woman at the local restaurant Sammy’s Grill. The alleged incident led to Erwin being banned from all of Sammy’s establishments. In a statement, Erwin says he never has and never will utter the language he’s accused of saying. Erwin also says the police report did not find a single witness who heard him use the n-word that night.
Former Saints player Robert Meachem began serving a 30-day jail sentence Monday, having failed to pay nearly $400,000 in child support and alimony owed to his ex-wife. To get out, Meachem needs to cough up at least $100,000 for Andrea Rhodes, with whom he has two children. Otherwise, he will be behind bars until March 15.
Two separate resolutions have been filed regarding Napoleonville Senator Troy Brown, one that seeks to suspend him and another seeking his expulsion after two different domestic abuse convictions. Baton Rouge Senator Yvonne Dorsey’s resolution calls for Brown to be fined 25-hundred dollars or suspended for six weeks, while competing resolution filed by two other senators would expel him.
Two Florida residents have been arrested after repeatedly swiping several access cards to buy large amounts of gift cards at Lowe’s in Baton Rouge. Sgt. L’ Jean McKneely says the pair are charged with multiple counts of fraud and theft. He says authorities believe they are part of a ring.
A new show airs tonight on Investigation Discovery called Murder Chose Me that highlights the murder cases of a former Shreveport Police detective. Rod Demery’s says the show is centered around many of the homicide cases he worked in his 17 years with Shreveport PD but also some elements are woven in about why he became a detective. Murder Chose Me premieres tonight at 9 p.m. central time on ID.
Witness report a highly intoxicated 20 year old Southern Miss student rammed a New Orleans hotel window and fell to his death from 11th story over the weekend. One witness said he rammed the window three times with his shoulder before it broke. He then fell out. Police say their investigation is continuing.
The Louisiana Family Forum presented a family advocate award Tuesday to State Rep. Kenny Havard, St. Francisville, who joked last year in the Legislature about regulating the ages and weights of strippers. Gene Mills, president of the Family Forum, presented the award to Havard at a Ronald Reagan Newsmaker lunch. Havard submitted a written amendment to a human trafficking bill that would mandate dancers at strip clubs be younger than 28 and weigh less than 160 pounds. He ended up withdrawing the amendment. But Havard would not apologize, saying instead that political correctness was "ruining the state."
News for Tuesday 021417
By Dave Graichen
On the opening night of the special session, Governor John Bel Edwards laid out his reasons on why the state legislature should use 119-million dollars from the rainy day fund to address a 304-million dollar shortfall. Edwards says without using it, cuts will likely have to be made to higher education, public schools and social services like foster care. Edwards says the Rainy Day fund was tapped four times during former Governor Bobby Jindal’s administration.
A resolution has been filed for the special session that seeks to expel Napoleonville Senator Troy Brown from the legislature, because of two recent domestic abuse convictions. Slidell Senator Sharon Hewitt filed the measure along with Baton Rouge Senator Dan Claitor. Hewitt says anytime an elected official breaks the law, it erodes the public’s trust in all elected leaders. It will take 26 out of 39 votes to expel the senator.
The APD reports a Bunkie woman has been arrested after she allegedly ran over her companion with a truck and then tried to tell officers that it was a hit and run. The incident occurred late Sunday morning in the 1100 block of MacArthur Drive. 25-year-old Shalynne Johnson has been charged with second-degree murder and remains in the Parish lockup. The name of the male victim has yet to be released.
The APD reports a badly decomposed body was found near the Purple Heart bridge Sunday evening. The body was dressed in men's clothing and appeared to be a male. "However, due to the state of the body, this is not confirmed. Police say an investigation is continuing.
The RPSO reports what appears to have been three pipe bombs were found yesterday morning alongside a road in the Kolin area by an inmate road crew. The sheriff office's bomb squad and Kolin substation detectives responded. Evidence will be sent to the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms for analysis. The investigation is continuing. Anyone with information is asked to call the RPSO.
A school bus overturned in St. Helena Parish Monday morning, sending dozens of children to area hospitals. State Trooper Dustin Dwight says the bus was travelling on LA 43 about to make a left hand turn near Greensburg when it was hit by another vehicle. Dwight says the kids’ injuries range from minor to moderate.
Officials in St. Charles Parish say the fire at a Phillips 66 pipeline is finally out after burning for four days; and the body of the missing worker is slated to be recovered. They say the man is presumed dead at the scene of the blaze; and once the area is completely safe to enter they will begin an investigation.
The Environmental Protection Agency has approved a product called Kaput that could be used to lessen the state’s large wild hog population. But state veterinarian Jim LaCour says there’s a major concern that other non-target animals, especially the Louisiana Black Bear could it eat it and die. LaCour says the bears were recently removed from the federal Endangered Species List. It will take approval from the state department of ag before it’s used in Louisiana.
A new website has launched that seeks to help Louisianans find jobs in the restaurant industry. Wendy Waren with the Louisiana Restaurant Association says they are excited to connect employers with their ProStart program, which helps people without restaurant experience get the training they need to embark on this career path. The site is LouisianaHospitalityJobs.com.
Covington Representative John Schroeder says you can now report wasteful state spending to a website called Stop-Louisiana-waste-dot-com. Schroeder says he will personally view and investigate every entry.
It’s a basketball double header as the LSUA Generals, Men and Women, play host to St. Thomas – Houston at the Rapides Parish Coliseum Thursday evening. It’s the Women first at 5pm followed by the men at 7. Free Tickets for the event are available at the Cenla Broadcasting studios on Texas avenue today from 9 to 4. They are first come, first served.
Quarterback Brandon Harris has announced he’s transferring from LSU. Harris announced his decision on twitter and said he decided to leave LSU after consulting with his family and head coach Ed Orgeron. Harris lost his job as starting quarterback in September after a rough start to the season. The former Parkway star says he’s been given his full release, so he can transfer to any school.
News for Monday 021317
By Dave Graichen
A 10-day special session begins tonight as Governor John Bel Edwards is asking lawmakers to use a combination of cuts and money from the rainy day fund to close a 304-million dollar midyear budget deficit. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne says it’s their recommendation that legislators approve the use of 119-million dollars in rainy day dollars. But, that will still leave 185-million dollars in cuts and shuffling of dollars to close the deficit. Republican House Appropriations Chairman Cameron Henry proposes to cut more than what the governor recommends, because the state faces another significant deficit next fiscal year.
Ask and you shall receive. Late last week Governor John Bel Edwards has sent a 23 page letter to the White House asking for a federal disaster declaration for five parishes following Tuesday’s tornado outbreak. Saturday, he got his request answered. President Donald Trump declared Louisiana a major disaster area freeing up desperately needed emergency federal aid.
6 months ago, the worst disaster to strike the United States in over 4 years hit Louisiana; “The Great Flood of 2016.” So where to things stand now? In Livingston Parish, approximately 80% of residential and commercial structures were damaged by flooding. Parish President Layton Ricks says many residents are back in their homes. Ricks says recovery has moved along much faster than he thought it would, but there’s still a long way to go.
Iberville Parish authorities have arrested a father and son from Florida who were running the largest gas skimmer operation in the state’s history. Sheriff Brett Stassi says they apprehended the duo during a traffic stop. Stassi says in their vehicle they found gas skimmers and equipment to make fake credit cards. Skimmers are placed on card-readers at gas pumps and it gives crooks the ability to steal credit card numbers and PIN information.
Pop-star and Kentwood native Britney Spears is sending out thanks to those who sent out thoughts and prayers for her 8-year-old niece who was injured in a horrible ATV accident in Tangipahoa Parish, but has now been released from the hospital. On Twitter, Spears says prayers were answered for Maddie, and the family appreciates the support more than you’ll ever know.
A federal indictment has been handed down against a Louisiana veterinarian accused of providing trainers of horses with syringes of a drug that would impact the outcome of the race. Kyle James Hebert has clinics in Lake Charles and Sunset and prosecutors say the drug he supplied is known as “frog juice” and it was used on at least four horses.
A Phillips 66 employee remains unaccounted for after a pipeline explosion that took place in St. Charles Parish on Thursday night. The company says six people were working at the site when the blast occurred. Todd Denton with Phillips 66 expressed his sorrow for those involved at a press conference Friday morning. The missing person has not been identified. Denton says regular maintenance was taking place at the time of the explosion.
Former Governor Kathleen Blanco is honored to hear Oscar nominated actress Annette Bening has been cast to portray her in the upcoming FX television series, Katrina: American Crime Story. She says the show will explore the extreme poverty of New Orleans residents before and after the hurricane. Blanco expects there will be about 13 episodes during the season, which is scheduled to air in 2018. She says she would be happy to sit down and talk with Annette Bening to help her play up the character.
News for Friday 021017
By Dave Graichen
It didn’t take a Rapides Parish jury long to decided Thursday that Mark Hayes was guilty on two counts of second-degree murder in the Feb. 13, 2015, shooting deaths of Richard Prenell and Kiasha Clovis in an Alexandria apartment. Hayes showed no emotion as the verdicts were read just about 45 minutes after jurors began deliberating after two days of testimony. Hayes sister, Melissa Hayes, pleaded guilty on Monday to one count of conspiracy to commit second-degree murder. She is scheduled to be sentenced on Monday.
Darren Olagues, president and CEO of Cleco has resigned his position. In December, Olagues was charged in connection to an alleged domestic abuse incident. The charges against him were dropped in January. But, many believed the bad PR would have made it difficult for Olagues to continue in his position. Peggy Scott, Cleco board chair, will serve as interim CEO of Cleco Corporate Holdings, and William Fontenot has been appointed to serve as interim CEO of Cleco Power. Both appointments are effective immediately. The Cleco board says the search for a successor could take up to 12 months.
Margaurette Beard pleaded not guilty on Thursday to two federal counts of theft stemming from her alleged theft of hundreds of thousands of dollars over decades at the Rapides Parish District Attorney's Office. No court dates have been set in the case. She faces two counts of theft from a program receiving federal funds.
The flu season in Louisiana is ramping up and as the Bayou State has surpassed other states with the number of influenza cases. The state’s flu bug expert, Dr. Frank Welch, says five out of 100 visits to the doctor are for flu like symptoms. An elementary and middle school in the Shreveport area are closed for the next two days because of the number of kids absent due to the flu. Welch says the dominate strain of the flu this year is H3N2. And he says the flu can lead to other serious illnesses, namely, Bronchitis and Pneumonia. Welch says this bad flu season will likely last from six to eight weeks.
The U.S. Chemical Safety Board said Thursday that Wednesday’s deadly explosion at Packaging Corporation America in Beauregard Parish occurred as contractors were welding near a tank during a facility shutdown. Three people were killed and one person remains hospitalized.
A Baton Rouge contractor has been arrested amid allegations he defrauded more than dozen homeowners who flooded in August. That’s according to Ascension Sheriff Jeff Wiley who says 39-year-old Matthew Morris would complicate agreements to rack up thousands in claims. Morris faces a number of charges and his bond has been set at 500-thousand dollars.
A UNO statewide poll finds six-out-of-10 Louisiana residents blame former Governor Bobby Jindal for the state’s budget problems. The Louisiana legislature is set to begin a third special session to correct a budget deficit since Jindal left office. UNO political scientist Ed Chervenak says the state’s fiscal troubles started early in Jindal’s term. Chervenak says even though legislators are set to enter another special session where budget cuts will be required, Governor John Bel Edwards continues to have a strong approval rating of 49-percent.
Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon advises tornado victims not to wait to file a claim. He says while it’s important for consumers to know what their coverage is, there won’t be any flood versus wind controversy with this event. The National Weather Service has confirmed that six tornadoes hit Louisiana on Tuesday damaging hundreds of residences.
A survey by insuranceQuotes finds 39-percent of drivers in the U.S. have never shopped around to find cheaper auto insurance. State Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon says an easy way for drivers to save money on auto insurance is to increase your deductible or lower your coverage limits. He says this is considered self-insuring and taking as much risk as a motorist can reasonably afford. The survey also finds over half of drivers haven’t switched auto insurance companies in at least eight years and 6-percent of motorists have stuck with the same provider for over 30 years.
Attorney General office announces the arrest of two women who allegedly received flood disaster relief money from FEMA that they did not qualify for. Both women received money for property they didn’t even own. In one case $30,000
U.S. Representative Clay Higgins urges new Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly to use social media as a way to vet immigrants. Higgins made the comments during a Homeland Security Committee meeting. Higgins believes a good way to prevent a terrorist from entering the U.S. is to review the social media use of immigrants who apply for a visa…
The National Retail Federation finds this Valentine’s Day consumers are expected to spend 18.2 billion dollars. That’s down from 19.7 billion dollars last year. LSU Marketing Professor Dan Rice says the report also finds the number of people who celebrate the holiday has dropped by nearly 10-percent from 2007 to 54-percent this year. But Rice says this is still a big holiday for retailers. Consumers are expected to spend about 85 dollars on their significant other.
Marvel is shooting a TV series in New Orleans. Louisiana Entertainment Executive Director Chris Stelly says television productions last longer and employ more people than movies and there’s the potential a series can be picked up year after year. He says they’ll be filming in New Orleans and likely in other areas of the state as well. Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger will air on the Freeform channel.
The Saints will stay in Louisiana for training camp this season. The NFL team will train at their facilities in Metairie after holding camp in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia the last three seasons. Coach Sean Payton was very complimentary of the setup at the Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia. But the team let the contract expire after three years and three straight non-playoff seasons.
News for Thursday 020917
By Dave Graichen
Tuesday’s tornado that slammed New Orleans east was unfortunately one for the record books. The National Weather Service says the twister that officials say destroyed 300 buildings and seriously damaged another 640 was an EF 3, the first of its kind in Orleans Parish. That means winds were around 140 miles an hour..
The Saints and the Pelicans are stepping up to help those who were impacted by yesterday’s tornado outbreak. Non-perishable food and other tornado-related items can be dropped off at the teams’ training facilities in Metairie.
Just one day after a tornado ravaged the town of Donaldsonville, Mayor Leroy Sullivan says residents have a lot to be thankful for. He says 15 to 20 homes inside the city limits sustained at least moderate damage, while several more were impacted outside the city, but fortunately no one was seriously injured. Mike Steele with the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness says teams are gathering data, so Louisiana can make a case for federal assistance to help those that lost everything and rebuild public infrastructure.
State Police say three people were killed and seven were injured as a result of an explosion that occurred inside a packaging plant near DeRidder. A Lafayette TV station is reporting the explosion may be the result of a welding operation on a tank that contained wood chips.
Governor John Bel Edwards is expected to unveil his tax reform plan today when he meets with the Committee of 100 in Washington, D.C. President of the Council for a Better Louisiana, Barry Erwin, says comprehensive tax reform is needed because many of the taxes raised in last year’s special sessions will expire next year. Erwin says currently the state relies too heavily on the sales tax to bring in revenue, which has caused sales tax rates to climb over the years. Erwin expects the governor will propose lowering the sales tax and raising the income tax, which would provide a more consistent flow of tax revenue.
12 inmates at the Tangipahoa Parish jail are facing murder charges amid allegations they were involved in beating to death a man who was behind bars on a probation violation. The Sheriff’s Office says 40-year-old Tommy Smith was told by inmates that he wasn’t welcome there and he was attacked. The dozen inmates involved in what was described as a “shark feeding frenzy” are charged with second degree murder.
Mardi Gras season is kicking off in Washington D.C. The Mystick Krewe of Louisiana celebrates the carnival season today through Saturday in the nation’s capital. Political Analyst Bernie Pinsonat says Saturday’s ball is considered the hottest ticket in town. The festivities take place at the Washington Hilton.
A state judge in Baton Rouge has been banned from a popular local restaurant chain after he allegedly used a racial slur towards an african-american woman. The woman shared her experience on Facebook that said Judge Erwin called her the “N” word during an argument over a seat at the bar. No charges were filed against the judge and he denies the accusation, but the owners of Sammys say Judge Erwin is no longer allowed at any of their restaurants.
State Police are looking for a father and son from Thibodaux who were allegedly involved in the kidnapping of a Lafayette man. Trooper Jesse Lagrange says the suspects are 45-year-old Jeffery Slack Senior and 20-year-old Jeffery Slack Junior. Four people have already been arrested in the case where the victim was taken to a residence in Thibodaux, restrained and beaten overnight.
LSU’s All-SEC designated hitter Bryce Jordan will miss the rest of the season after tearing his ACL. Coach Paul Mainieri says the injury occurred at practice as Jordan was chasing a foul ball down the left field line and felt his knee buckle. Tiger Rag Associate Editor James Moran says the injury is a blow to the Tigers. The former Barbe standout was expected to bat clean-up after hitting .293 last season.
News for Wednesday 020817
By Dave Graichen
Governor John Bel Edwards has declared yet another state of emergency in the Bayou State, as his office says at least 7 tornadoes touched down in 6 parishes on Tuesday. New Orleans East sustained the most damage, after a massive twister moved through the Crescent City around 11 a.m. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu says they were extremely lucky there was no loss of life. The Governor’s Office estimates at least 20 people in southeast Louisiana sustained injuries, but no deaths were reported as a result of the twisters. Officials say three of the injuries took place in Ascension Parish and another two in Livingston.
About 10-thousand people remain without power in the New Orleans area and Entergy says it could be three to five days before power is restored. The Louisiana National Guard has been called into the area to help prevent looting.
The National Weather Service is working to confirm exactly how many tornadoes touched down in Louisiana and how much damage they caused. Slidell forecaster Mike Efferson says their preliminary estimates are that 60 homes were damaged by a twister in New Orleans. He says they believe it was at least an EF2. Efferson says other twisters touched down in Ascension and St. James parishes, as well as two tornadoes in Livingston Parish. He says one of the twisters went from Killian in Livingston Parish to Madisonville in St. Tammany Parish.
The APD reports the arrest of an Alexandria man after he allegedly robbed a school employee and her young child early Monday morning at Rosenthal Montessori Elementary School on Monroe Street. The victim had been walking from the school's parking lot to the building with her 4-year-old when a man approached and drew a gun, demanding her bag. The man took the bag, shoving the woman and her child to the ground before running away. A short time later, police arrested 23 year old John Matthews Jr. He was charged with two counts of armed robbery, possession of a firearm by a felon, illegal carrying of a firearm in a school zone and resisting an officer.
Officials with Louisiana College held a press conference yesterday to announce the school’s nursing program is expected to be placed on "conditional approval" status by the Louisiana Board of Nursing after passing rates dropped below what's required by the state. Since being notified of the passage rates, officials at the college have been in contact with the state board about remedying factors that potentially led to that. The school's dean Marilyn Cooksey says they have some strategies in place to improve the scores.
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agent Tyler Wheeler, who was shot in early January near Monroe, is walking a half-mile daily on a treadmill and is due to finish his rehab in Mississippi and return to Monroe this weekend. Wheeler is expected to return to Shreveport’s University Health at some point for additional treatments. While making what is believed to be a routine traffic stop for a possible impaired driver check, Wheeler was shot five times early Jan. 7
A public meeting will be held tonight in Assumption Parish on the proposed Bayou Bridge Pipeline, which will need a permit from the Department of Natural Resources. The 163-mile oil pipeline would run from Lake Charles through the Atchafalaya Basin to St. James Parish. Anne Rolfes with the Louisiana Bucket Brigade says Energy Transfer Partners is one of the companies involved in the pipeline and they’ve had 35 pipeline accidents in two years.
Supporters of the project say it will create jobs and that moving oil through a pipeline is safer than other transportation means like trains and trucks.
Governor John Bel Edwards travels to Washington D.C. today to push Congress for more federal flood aid. This is the governor’s 6th trip to the nation’s capital since the August flood. Edwards says we’ve received 1.6 billion dollars in grant money so far but another two billion is necessary to get victims back in their homes. Edwards says he will meet with all members of the Louisiana Congressional delegation today to discuss his ideas.
The U.S. Senate has confirmed Betsy DeVos as the U.S Education Secretary. The Louisiana Federtion of Teachers says DeVos lacks experience as an educator. L-F-T spokesperson Les Landon says they would prefer an Education Secretary who is a strong supporter of public schools. But the president of the Louisiana Federation for Children, Ann Duplessis, says DeVos will look to provide educational opportunities for all children, regardless of income.
Both of Louisiana’s U-S Senators, John Kennedy and Bill Cassidy, voted to confirm DeVos.
Lawmakers are looking over the Governor’s proposal to eliminate a $304 million midyear deficit, ahead of next week’s special session to debate the plan. Statewide elected officials would see budget reductions, but higher education would be spared. Alexandria Representative Lance Harris says it’s important no stone is left unturned when it comes to spending reductions, but he doesn’t want students to be impacted again. The governor’s plan also includes using $119 million in the rainy day fund to minimize cuts to state agencies.
FEMA has released new recovery numbers on flood relief and indicates that about $4.7 billion dollars in disaster assistance has moved through the state following the devastating August event.
Superstar actress Annette Bening has been cast to play former Governor Kathleen Blanco in the next American Crime Story which will be about Hurricane Katrina. Producers say the next installment of the Emmy award winning franchise will air in 2018.
News for Tuesday 020717
By Dave Graichen
Governor John Bel Edwards released his deficit elimination plan for lawmakers to approve when they gather for a special session that’s scheduled to start next Monday. The governor’s communications director Richard Carbo says large cut in state spending would occur with the Louisiana Department of Health, but he says vital services for patients and hospitals that provide care for the poor would not be impacted. The plan also calls for the use of 119-million dollars in the rainy day fund, something many republican lawmakers oppose.
A class action lawsuit filed today claims Governor Edwards and the state public defender board are doing a poor job funding public defenders. The suit states Louisiana relies mostly on court fees to fund public defender legal services, which includes a fee assessed against indigent defendants. One of the attorneys for the plaintiffs, Mark Cunningham, says that means public defender offices receive more funding for losing cases than winning.
An Alexandria woman accused with her brother in a 2015 double homicide pleaded guilty on Monday to a lesser charge, conspiracy to commit second-degree murder. Both 26 year old Melissa Hayes and 31 year old Mark Hayes were arrested by the APD in February 2015 in connection to the deaths of 25-year-old Richard Prenell and 18-year-old Kiasha Clovis. Mark Hayes is scheduled to stand trial today.
LSU Student Government believes proposed changes to the TOPS scholarship program made by the Board of Regents will have detrimental effects on students and might force some to attend schools in other states. President Zack Faircloth says one proposed change by the board is to require students to take 30 credit hours a year in order to keep the scholarship.
Faircloth says they’ve written a two-page letter with their concerns to the board that oversees public colleges. The Board of Regents also proposed that freshman on TOPS should only have 80-percent of their tuition paid for by the state, while sophomores receive 90-percent, and juniors and seniors receive 100-percent.
Officials estimate that it will cost more than $62 million and years of work to repair flooded schools in Baton Rouge. The Advocate reported that of the 10 schools that were forced to temporarily relocate because of the August flood, just one has been fully repaired and has reopened. Four administrative centers have also been closed since the flood.
Barksdale Air Force Base and Fort Polk will have more protection from potential troop or mission drawdowns after 5th District Congressman Ralph Abraham’s latest House Armed Services Committee assignments. Abraham was assigned the following House Armed Services subcommittees: Emerging Threats and Capabilities; Seapower and Projection Forces; and Military Personnel. The congressman, himself a veteran, lobbied hard to land a spot on Armed Services and said the subcommittee assignments will add to his influence.
State Senator JP Morrell is again bringing equal pay legislation before lawmakers for the upcoming session. The Democrat from New Orleans authored a similar bill last year that failed to make it out of a House committee. Morrell says one of the changes to this measure is that employers would be given a chance to correct a pay inequality. Morrell says business groups asked him to give companies the benefit of the doubt that if they didn’t know about a pay inequality, they should change it themselves before litigation would be on the table. He says this bill also includes language that says equal pay laws should cover both women and men.
The 55-year-old Terrytown man accused of fatally shooting former NFL player Joe McKnight entered a not guilty plea Monday to a charge of second-degree murder. After the arraignment hearing in Jefferson Parish, Ronald Gasser’s attorney told reporters it was a justifiable homicide. A trial date has not been set.
State Education Superintendent John White says increasing the benchmarks for a school to achieve an A in the state’s rating system is one way to raise expectations and help the state comply with a federal education law. He says currently, students only have to earn the most basic math a literacy test scores for a school receive an A rating.
State Superintendent of Education John White travels to Caddo Parish to host a public meeting tonight to discuss recommendations on improving struggling schools in Shreveport. White says 15 out of 66 schools in the parish have “F” letter grades and 22 have “D” letter grades. He says a plan dealing with the future of these schools will be presented to BESE next month, so White says they want to get the public’s input on how to improve them.
A East baton Rouge High School student has been arrested after deputies say he fired a gun in a school hallway. East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Casey Rayborn Hicks says detectives took the juvenile into custody along with the weapon about 10 minutes after the shooting was reported. Hicks says no one was injured. Closer to home, A Glenmora Elementary School student was cited for allegedly bringing an unworkable pellet pistol to school and threatening another student last week.
The Lafayette Police Department has made an arrest in the case of a man who crashed through the front doors of a church this Monday morning. They believe 47-year-old Christopher Guillot was high on drugs when he struck Fatima Church around 7am, and he’s been charged with driving while intoxicated and Aggravated Criminal Damage to Property.
Pop star Britney Spears is asking for prayers for her eight-year-old niece who was injured Sunday in an ATV accident in Tangipahoa. Officials say Maddie Aldridge is in critical but stable condition. The singer from Louisiana posted a photo of Maddie on Twitter, saying she needs all the wishes and prayers for her niece.
Two men have been sentenced in Cameron Parish for their role in the theft of over 500 alligator eggs. Adam Einck with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says 48–year-old Paul Canik took the eggs illegally, and 25-year-old Christopher Trahan transported them. Trahan was ordered to pay a $293 fine. Canick’s fine is $593 and he’s had his egg collection privileges suspended for 18 months.
The former CEO of Hancock and Whitney banks is taking over the reins of a troubled New Orleans bank. First NBC Bank Holding Co. said Monday that it has named Carl Chaney as CEO, pending regulatory approval. First NBC is selling nine branches and $1.3 billion in loans to the Whitney unit of Hancock after regulators cited credit problems in November.
News for Monday 020617
By Dave Graichen
Governor John Bel Edwards has issued the call for a special session to resolve a $304 million midyear budget deficit. The session begins on Monday, February 13 and must end by midnight on February 22. Lawmakers will not be able to raise taxes during the session, but they could consider increasing fees.
Governor John Bel Edwards is expected to release a detailed plan today on how he would like lawmakers to address a 304-million dollar midyear budget deficit. Edwards says the plan will include cuts and money that’s available in the state’s savings account. If the legislature adopts Edwards proposal to use 119-million dollars from the rainy day fund that means legislators will need to make 185-million dollars in cuts to eliminate the rest of the deficit.
Governor John Bel Edwards has sent a letter to President Donald Trump seeking his support for an additional $2-billion in federal flood aid. Congress has already approved $1.6 billion in federal assistance, but Edwards says another $2-billion is needed for a full, robust recovery. State officials expect the first round of funds will get into the hands of low income flood victims by April or May.
Organizers are saying close to 4,000 people took place in Saturday’s Louisiana Life March. Marchers started off at Louisiana College, making their way through the streets of Pineville and across the Jackson Street bridge before parading through downtown Alexandria. State Attorney General Jeff Landry and 5th District Congressman Ralph Abraham, were the featured speakers at the event, which included a program of religious prayers, music and speeches at Alexandria's amphitheater following the march.
A national shortage of paramedics is also affecting the Bayou State. Justin Cox with Acadian Ambulance says starting paramedics make about $42-thousand a year, and they’re offering signing bonuses for new hires to lure people to the industry. Cox says they’re also recruiting in high schools and offering to pay back tuition for people who come to work.
Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson has reached a settlement with his estranged heirs over removing the shares of the pro teams from trusts that were set up for Benson’s daughter and her two children. Benson released a statement that says he’s pleased that this ordeal his behind them, but details of the settlement have not been released.
Arraignment for the man accused of killing former-NFL player Joe McKnight will be Monday. Legal analyst Chick Foret says 55-year-old Ronald Gasser will enter a plea of not guilty to a charge of second-degree murder. Gasser’s attorneys sent a letter to the AP saying Gasser acted in self-defense because McKnight tried to open his car door. Foret says under Louisiana law, people do have extra protections in their vehicles, but the case won’t be that simple..
The Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office says 133 cats were seized during a meth lab investigation. Authorities say they executed a search warrant at the residence that was suspected of being a clandestine lab. Over the course of several days, deputies reportedly recovered 133 cats from the residence, as well as 7 more that were deceased. According to the Lafourche Parish Animal Shelter, all of the cats had to be euthanized due to their condition. The suspects have since been charged with aggravated cruelty to animals and operation of a clandestine laboratory.
A&E’s “Live PD” will feature the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office in two to three weeks. Spokesperson Capt. Daniel Seuzeneau says given the tensions rising between law enforcement and the public, they hope this show will give people a better idea of what deputies deal with every day. Seuzeneau says “Live PD” is similar to the reality show Cops, but this is live with an 8 minute delay.
Tulane University’s School of Medicine has become a model for new culinary medicine courses that are being taught around the country. Executive Director of the Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine, Dr. Tim Harlan, says healthy eating is important in both preventing illnesses and coping with them, especially in cases of diabetes and heart disease. He says this program helps doctors explain nutrition and how it works in layman’s terms. A 2014 study shows 75-percent of physicians feel undertrained in counseling patients on nutrition and diet.
News for Friday 020317
By Dave Graichen
The Diocese of Alexandria has a new Bishop. 66 year Bishop David Talley formally assumed his new role as the 12th bishop of the Diocese of Alexandria this week. Talley succeeds Ronald Herzog who announced his retirement about three months ago.
A Memorial service was held at the Grant Parish Sheriff’s office yesterday for K-9 officer Turbo who passed away last week at the age of 5 ½. Turbo had received awards from multiple K-9 organizations. He assisted in hundreds of narcotics and other felony arrests and was a member of the office’s SWAT since joining the department in 2013. He also worked in surrounding parishes in various operations, and also participated in several Joint Task Force operations in five parishes. Turbo was a member of the family at the GPSO and he will be misses.
The man accused of fatally shooting former NFL player Joe McKnight in an apparent road rage incident last December in Terrytown has been indicted for second-degree murder by a grand jury. When Ronald Gasser was arrested in December by Jefferson Parish deputies he was booked on a manslaughter charge. If convicted, Gasser would receive a life sentence. A manslaughter conviction carries a maximum sentence of 40 years.
Governor John Bel Edwards is expected to issue the call for a rebalancing the budget special session that would begin February 13th. Jeremy Alford of LaPolitics.com says lawmakers have to address a 304 million dollar budget deficit for the fiscal year ending June 30th and Edwards will push the use of 119 million dollars from Rainy Day Fund to offset that shortfall. Edwards has said he will allow legislators to propose higher taxes and fees during this special session but he will not recommend any himself. He says the other items in the call will allow legislators to make cuts throughout the budget.
Baton Rouge Mayor Sharon Weston Broome laid out new policies today for the Police Department that require officers to try to de-escalate situations before using physical or deadly force. The changes stem from the officer involved shooting of Alton Sterling. Broome says many of these methods are taught to police officers at the academy. One of the new policies is a verbal warning before using lethal force.
New Orleans Police say a mother of 5 young children was gunned down and killed Thursday morning in a hail of bullets at an apartment complex. The 29-year-old victim has not been identified.
FEMA announced yesterday that now a total of about $60 million dollars has been committed to schools in Louisiana damaged by the August flood.
Patterson in St. Mary Parish is the safest city in Louisiana, according to Value Penguin’s 2016 Safest Places in Louisiana. Harahan, St. Gabriel, Mandeville, and Minden round out the top 5 on the list. FBI crime report data was used to grade cities based on how many crimes were reported for a year.
Louisiana Clydesdales will be in a Budweiser Super Bowl Commercial. Clay Harper of Pearl River owns the soon-to-be-famous horses. He says it all started when he got a call from a producer looking for Clydesdales near New Orleans for a commercial. Harper says they filmed the ad several weeks ago in various locations in the Big Easy.
The next time a tropical storm or hurricane approaches the coast the National Hurricane Center says they will issue storm surge watches and warnings. Storm surge specialist Jamie Rhome says the alerts will be tailored to the locations most at risk for storm surge flooding.
A storm surge watch will be issued when there’s the possibility of life-threatening rising water moving inland within 48 hours.
Well, yesterday was Groundhog Day and in New Iberia the nutria rat Pierre C. Shadeaux did not see his shadow, which means a nice spring is coming to Louisiana. That’s a different outcome than Punxsutawney Phil delivered yesterday, but Daily Iberian Publisher Christina Pierce says it’s much more appropriate for Acadiana. Pierce says this is the 19th year the Daily Iberian has celebrated Cajun Groundhog Day.
A Lake Charles doctor has created a new FDA-approved pain relief cream. Dr. Craig Morton has been treating patients at the Center for Orthopedics for years and says many of his patients have been using more than one pain relief cream. He says that’s why he teamed up with chemists to develop Aculeve. The cream is available at his clinic or online at Aculeve.com.
Three players who have strong ties to Louisiana will find out Saturday night if they’ve been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Former Saints kicker Morten Andersen and ex-LSU standouts Alan Faneca and Kevin Mawae (Muh-why) are among the 15 finalists for the Class of 2017. NFL analyst Mike Detillier believes this Andersen’s best chance to get in. Andersen is the NFL’s all-time scoring leader with over 25-hundred points and he’s the only player to lead two franchises in scoring, the Saints and the Atlanta Falcons.
News for Thursday 020217
By Dave Graichen
The owners of Kinetix Technology have purchased the former Chase Bank building with the intention of turning it into a "technology business center." Kinetix Technology Center LLC closed on financing for the $1.5 million purchase Wednesday afternoon. The building at the corner of Murray and Fourth streets will be called Kinetix Technology Center. Kinetix will be the anchor tenant for the building, which has more than 70,000 square feet of space.
Revolution Aluminum LLC was forced into Chapter 11 bankruptcy Wednesday morning after attorneys for its creditors said not one had been paid money they are owed. Alexandria attorney Bradley Drell, representing the creditors, said the next likely step will be to file a motion to appoint a trustee in the case. He also said the property probably will be sold. Revolution Aluminum had planned to open a $1.5 billion production facility on part of the old International Paper site in Pineville.
One of the first bills filed for the 2017 regular legislative session seeks to undo penalties put in place by the Affordable Care Act. Covington Representative Paul Hollis says he filed the legislation on the first day bills could be submitted. He says the proposal would no longer require Louisiana residents to pay a fine for not having health insurance. Hollis says the bill comes in response to President Trump’s executive order that allows state departments to waive any provision of the Affordable Care Act “that would impose a fiscal burden on a state.”
Louisiana leaders are responding to President Donald Trump’s appointment of Neil Gorsuch of Colorado to the Supreme Court. U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy says Judge Gorsuch is an intelligent conservative. But Democratic Congressman Cedric Richmond said Trump’s nominated someone who is hostile to women’s rights and lenient on police brutality.
The state Fire Marshal’s Office believes an unattended stove led to a fatal fire at a Baton Rouge apartment complex that took the life of a 5-year-old girl. Chief Deputy Brant Thompson says an 18-year-old was caring for her sister, Treasure Garner, when she left the apartment with a pot of grease on the stove. Thompson says they are still trying to determine how long the 18-year-old was out of the apartment.
A former Caddo Parish School Board employee has been arrested after police say he misappropriated at least $260-thousand in public funds. Cindy Chadwick with the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office says 32-year-old Brandon Lewis bought car parts and several $40-thousand in VISA gift cards, which he used for himself.
Investigators believe a house fire in Shreveport was caused by a hoverboard. Two adults and six children inside the home were able to get out unharmed. But unfortunately a puppy died in the blaze. A fire department spokesperson says owners of hoverboards should check the make and model numbers to see if it has been recalled, because some are considered a fire hazard.
Louisiana receives a top rating for its highway safety laws by Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. President Jackie Gillan says the Bayou State was one of only five states plus the District of Columbia to earn the highest rating of green, because it has 9 out of 15 recommended traffic safety laws, including a law that requires everyone in a vehicle to buckle up. Gillan says Louisiana also gets a high rating because it requires all motorcycle riders to wear a helmet.
A Bossier City couple is behind bars after their five children tested positive for marijuana and cocaine. Spokesperson Mark Natale says the children’s ages range from six months to ten-years-old. Natale says 35-year-old Shannon Blake and 30-year-old Victoria Blake are charged with cruelty to juveniles
A Causeway Police Officer has been arrested after evidence went missing. That’s according to the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office, who says 44-year-old Sgt. William Jones Jr confessed to stealing seized narcotics and $63-hundred from the department’s evidence room. Jones faces charges of felony theft and malfeasance.
A survey by Accountemps finds six in ten employees believe stress in the workplace has increased over the last five years. The study also found that 55-percent of those surveyed say worker anxiety is on the rise. Rebecca Green, with the employment agency Robert Half in New Orleans, says technology has put more of a burden on workers.
A gay rights activist group has responded to President Donald Trump’s statement that he will not remove President Obama’s executive order protecting the LGBTQ community from workplace discrimination within the federal government. Equality Louisiana President Baylor Boyd says at this point he is cautiously optimistic despite the leaders the President has chosen for his administration.
The Drug Enforcement Administration is warning the public about criminals posing as DEA Special Agents or other law enforcement personnel as part of an international extortion scheme. The criminals call the victims (who in most cases previously purchased drugs over the internet or by telephone) and identify themselves as DEA agents or law enforcement officials from other agencies. The impersonators inform their victims that purchasing drugs over the internet or by telephone is illegal, and that enforcement action will be taken against them unless they pay a fine. In most cases, the impersonators instruct their victims to pay the "fine" via wire transfer to a designated location, usually overseas. It is a scam. Call authorities.
It was an up and down day on the recruiting front for the LSU football team on national signing day. They received some commitments, while losing out on other top prospects. But Tiger Rag Editor Cody Worsham says it’s still a strong class, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
24-7 sports ranks LSU’s class as the seventh best.
News for Wednesday 020117
By Dave Graichen
14 individuals have been arrested after an extensive burglary investigation by the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office. Capt. Tommy Carnline says each time a search warrant was conducted, it led detectives to find more information or the recovery of stolen property. Some of these burglaries started back in the fall, but the bigger break ins took place in January. Carnline says the suspects were part of what seems to be a huge burglary ring. Officials are still looking for three additional suspects.
The Tax Foundation releases data on what each state imposes when it comes to state and local sales taxes, and Louisiana leads the nation with a rate of 9.98-percent. Vice President for State Projects Joe Henchman says having a high rate is okay for states if it’s managed well and residents can afford it. But he says that’s not the case in Louisiana. He says the rate is so high because what the tax applies to is so narrow. Tennessee, Arkansas, Alabama and Washington are ranked behind Louisiana in the top five.
Cardell Hayes, the man convicted of killing former Saints star Will Smith has had his sentencing delayed until March 27th. Prosecutors believe Hayes should be sentenced to prison for 60 years. He was convicted last month of manslaughter and attempted manslaughter; and was originally slated to be sentenced mid-February.
Entergy Louisiana broke ground Tuesday on a new power plant that the company says will save customers one-point-three-billion dollars over the next 30 years, because it will be able to more efficiently produce electricity. Spokesperson Michael Burns says the power station will also produce jobs. Burns says they expect the plant to begin running in 2019.
Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser is currently in France promoting tourism to Louisiana. Nungesser is scheduled to return back to the states on Thursday after visiting Lyon, France. The Lt. Governor says we’ve seen a 37-percent increase in international visitation, as overseas visitors are spending more money and staying longer in Louisiana. The cost of the trip has not been released.
The group, Operation We Care out of St. Tammany Parish, has shipped 300 red, white and blue king cakes to U.S. soldiers overseas to celebrate Mardi Gras. Public Relations Director Colleen Smith says it’s all about putting a smile on the soldiers’ faces. Operation We Care has been sending troops king cakes for 14 years.
State Police Col Mike Edmonson credits a strong awareness campaign as the reason more human trafficking victims than ever are reaching out for help. According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, 104 cases of human trafficking were called in last year, compared to 75 in 2015. Edmonson says getting victims to come forward begins with compassion. Louisiana ranked 20th in the nation for the most human trafficking cases reported in 2016.
A 63-year-old Gailliano man is facing seven counts of attempted murder after deputies say he fired a 22 caliber rifle into a bedroom of a home. The LaFourche Parish Sheriff’s office says there were five children inside that bedroom. No one was injured and Francis Lee was taken into custody outside of the home, after he allegedly threatened to kill everyone inside, as result of a dispute.
It’s national signing day and the LSU Tigers hope to secure a top five recruiting class. Several top recruits have yet to publicly say where they’ll play college football, including Marvin Wilson, the nation’s number one defensive tackle. Sonny Shipp with Geaux 24-7 says Wilson is also very interested in Florida State, but LSU might have an edge over the Seminoles for the Texas product. LSU enters national signing day with the sixth best recruiting class in the country, according to 24-7.
News for Tuesday 013117
By Dave Graichen
Congressional Support in Louisiana for President Donald Trump’s executive order placing travel bans on people from seven Middle Eastern countries is pretty much split along party lines Most if not all Republicans are for with the Democrats against. The Catholic diocese of New Orleans has come out against the executive order as well saying it against the teachings of the church.
Margaurette Beard, the former Rapides Parish District Attorney employee already facing state charges for theft, has been indicted by a federal grand jury. The indictment was handed down last week and charges Beard with two counts of theft from a program receiving federal funds. Beard, of Elmer, was employed as a bookkeeper from October 1988 to October 2015, when she resigned. The two counts point to specific examples of alleged attempts by Beard to cover up thefts by shifting money between funds.
An Alexandria man who is accused of robbing an armored truck outside of the Coliseum Drive Walmart back in 2015 will stand trial March 13th after the window for making a plea deal expired. Police say 59 year old James Gilbert robbed the armored truck of $115,000. But he didn’t get far, he captured after he ran a red light while attempting to escape and struck another vehicle.
President Donald Trump will announce who he plans to nominate for Supreme Court Justice tonight to replace the late Antonin Scalia. LSU Political Science Professor James Stoner expects Trump will appoint someone who will have a strong Republican voice on the nation’s highest court for at least the next couple of decades. Whoever Trump nominates, it will take 51 votes in the Senate to confirm.
President Donald Trump has signed an executive order to reduce regulations on small businesses and the National Federation of Independent Business is eagerly awaiting to see which restrictions are cut. State Director Dawn Starns says this order can only help business owners run and grow their businesses. Starns says she ultimately hopes the cost of compliance for small business drops and the complexity of laws they are required to follow are simplified.
A second person has pleaded guilty to first-degree murder of an off-duty Vermilion Parish Sheriff’s deputy. Prosecutors say 21-year-old Baylon Taylor was one of two men involved in the fatal shooting of Allen Bares who confronted Quintylan Richard and Taylor about a residential burglary in June of 2014.
With a 304 million dollar budget deficit and a special session coming up next month, does that mean more cuts to healthcare services? Angela Lorio, co-founder of Trach Mommas of Louisiana, hopes families of elderly and disabled people are prioritized as they are stressed enough. She says tapping into the rainy day fund is a no-brainer.
A 4-year-old from Metairie was hit and killed while walking with his mother along a busy highway in Jefferson Parish Sunday Night. The state police report the driver of the vehicle has not been cited, since the boy ran into the path of the S-U-V.
Restaurants have teamed up with the Well Ahead initiative to offer healthier options on their menu. Well-Ahead Louisiana director Melissa Martin says the partnership will help restaurant goers make smarter food choices. And She says healthy food can still taste great. To learn more about the initiative visit well-ahead-la.com.
For the first time in the state’s history, Louisiana is willing to partner with private companies in the construction of roads. Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson says over the next two months they’ll talk with firms who can help finance highway projects that would alleviate congestion along the I-10 corridor in Baton Rouge.
The staff at Celtic Studios in Baton Rouge is trying to find the owner of a framed American flag. They believe it was left behind by one of the four-thousand flood victims they sheltered last August. On the front of the shadow box is the name Joseph Zikmund. Anyone who has information should contact Celtic media.
The Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office says a woman is under arrest on animal cruelty charges amid allegations she slammed a pet rabbit against a truck to kill it. They say 19-year-old Kagon Duplantis of Bourg is believed to have been drunk when she killed the rabbit and posted the video on Facebook.
News for Monday 013017
By Dave Graichen
State Police say nearly two million dollars’ worth of drugs are off the streets of Central Louisiana as the result of the arrest of an Alexandria man. Trooper Scott Moreau says earlier this month detectives began investigating 37-year-old Derrick Felton for distribution of methamphetamine and he was taken into custody during a traffic stop. Moreau says the street value of the drugs seized is approximately one-point-seven million dollars. Police also seized over 100-thousand dollars’ worth of cocaine and 67-thousand dollars in cash. Felton was booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center.
Governor John Bel Edwards has called a special session so lawmakers can make cuts to address the state’s 304 million dollar budget shortfall. Edwards says he won’t ask legislators to increases taxes during the 11-day special session but will recommend using 119-million dollars from the Rainy Day Fund. Edwards says he’ll present a budget slashing plan to the legislature by February sixth. The session will start of February 13th.
The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival announces the 2017 line up and Harry Connick Jr, Tom Petty and David Matthews are just a few of the artist who will perform. Jazzfest producer Quint Davis says not only is the Jazzfest wildly popular for it’s amazing musical lineup and arts and crafts, there’s no place else you can get a gourmet meal in a field. Davis says it takes place the last weekend in April and the first weekend in May.
A Louisiana Department of Education study group finds a significant increase in the number of students completing the application for federal financial assistance. The rate of kids completing the FASFA form increased by 24-percent from last year. Educational Technology Consultant Stephanie Marcum attributes this jump to cuts in funding to the TOPS scholarship program.
Marcum says in the past, Louisiana students have been bad about filling out the application and leaving that grant money on the table.
A State Police Trooper was hit by a passing car during a traffic stop in St. Helena Parish. According to police, the trooper was walking around the stopped vehicle when 75-year-old Johnnie Lee of Covington struck the trooper. The trooper was transported to a local hospital with moderate injuries and is expected to make a full recovery. Lee is charged with careless operation.
A report released by High-Speed-Internet.com finds Louisiana is the third most dangerous state for online dating. Website researcher, Kaz Weida, says one factor that makes the Bayou State so dangerous is the extremely high rate of crime. Weida says they are also concerned about Louisiana’s weak policies when it comes to sex education in public schools. Washington D-C and Alaska were ranked ahead of Louisiana.
Former U.S. Sen. David Vitter’s papers from his tenure in Congress will be preserved at Tulane University. The university’s Louisiana Research Collection announced it will house the documents, which include materials Vitter accumulated during his time as a member of the Senate and of the U.S. House. The files include correspondence, briefing books, constituent mail, grant and project requests, daily schedules, news clippings and photographs. Vitter, a Republican from Metairie, served in the House from 1999 to 2005 and in the Senate from 2005 to 2017. The Tulane collection already holds the papers of dozens of Louisiana’s political figures.
Now is your chance to ride in a self-driving automated shuttle, as a demonstration takes place in New Orleans today. Neil Hemenover with Transdev North America says the vehicle was created by EasyMile and is already in use in Europe. He says the technology is available for a self-driving shuttle to follow a set route. Hemenover says about 4-thousand people a day use a self-driving shuttle in France and the Netherlands. Hemenover says Transdev thinks New Orleans is a great place for this technology with the amount of visitors coming into the city
An Ascension Parish woman will spend five years in prison after pleading guilty to driving while intoxicated with her 15-month old child on her lap. At the time of the arrest, deputies said Katherine Summerfield had a blood-alcohol level more than four times the legal limit to drive. Prosecutors say she was so drunk, authorities took her to the hospital.
Mandeville Police have arrested an 18-year-old father for allegedly causing internal bleeding on the brain of his one-month old baby. Chief Gerald Sticker says the infant’s grandmother discovered the toddler’s condition and rushed the small child to the hospital. The child’s father has been charged with second-degree cruelty to a juvenile. Authorities say he violently shook the infant.
Spring practice is underway for the LSU baseball team, who goes into this season with some of the best talent in the country. Opening day for the Tigers is February 17th against Air Force.
News for Friday 012717
By Dave Graichen
A special session to rebalance the state’s budget could become more of a reality today. LaPolitics.com publisher Jeremy Alford anticipates the Edwards administration will present three options to the joint legislative budget on fixing a 304-million dollar shortfall. Alford says what the committee decides, will indicate whether or not another special session will be called before the regular session in April. He says if one is necessary, the Governor will likely call the legislature back in mid-February.
Governor John Bel Edwards’ chief of staff Ben Nevers told state lawmakers today that federal regulations are preventing Louisiana from recovering from two historic floods. Nevers says they’re moving as quickly as possible to get flood aid to the people that need it, but red tape is slowing things down. It could be April or May before the first round of federal dollars gets into the hands of flood victims.
Over 2-thousand Louisiana residents are in Washington D.C. along with hundreds of thousands of Americans for today’s annual March for Life. Executive Director of Louisiana Right to Life Ben Clapper says there is a renewed sense of hope under a Trump administration. On Saturday, there will be a March for Life in Shreveport, where 5-thousand people are expected to be in attendance. Another march is schedules in Alexandria Saturday February 4th.
Former Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Robert Barham told lawmakers a state audit questioning how he spent Gulf oil spill money is the worst Monday morning quarterbacking he’s seen. Barham says allegations of extensive financial problems with the agency he once led couldn’t be further from the truth. Auditors say money intended for fish testing was used on unnecessary items.
President Donald Trump is considering a 20-percent tax on Mexican imports to pay for a wall along the southern border, so what does that mean for Louisiana? LSU economist Loren Scott says if the tax is imposed, Mexico will likely up the price of their exports to the US, which means American consumers will foot the bill. Scott says that would be bad news for the economy because Mexico is America’s number two trading partner behind Canada. He says it’s also likely Mexico will impose a tax on products shipped from the U.S. Scott says anytime a country engages in a trade war with another country, it’s bad for the economy at home. He says trade wars are one of the key reasons we entered the Great Depression in the 1930s
High school principals will vote today on a plan that would reduce the number of state football championships from nine to seven. The vote takes place at the LHSAA convention in Baton Rouge. Iowa (Eye-oh-way) principal Mike Oakley says the proposal will also reduce the number of title games in basketball, baseball and softball. There is no proposal in today’s meeting to reverse the expanded public-private school split that the association voted for last year.
A report from U-Haul finds that Louisiana’s population might have grown during 2016. The Bayou State came in at number eight on U-Haul’s growth report, based on more truck rentals coming into the state than leaving. U-Haul North Louisiana president Warren Iles says they’re opening more truck rental stores and self-storage rooms around the state. He says even if the population isn’t growing, business certainly is, which he says is good news for the state.
A team of LSU engineers is in California testing out a pod that can travel 500 to 600 miles per hour inside a vacuum tube. LSU Civil and Environmental Engineering Assistant Professor Aly-Mousaad Aly is the team’s faculty adviser says they’re eager to see how fast the pod will actually travel. The team is one of 30 participating in a competition for a new high-speed transportation system.
A Go Fund Me page has been set up for Michael Louviere (Lou-v-air), the Westwego police officer who was fatally shot in Marrero. Reese d’Aquin (DAH-can) is a lifelong friend of Louviere and professional film maker who established the page, which features a video of d’Aquin telling the world about his childhood friend. D’Aquin, who now lives in Florida, says he just wanted to do what he could to help. He says the page has already raised more than $50-thousand of the $300-thousand goal.
Federal prosecutors say two owners of psychological service companies have been convicted in an $8.9 million Medicare fraud scheme that billed Medicare for unnecessary or nonexistent tests on nursing home patients in four Gulf Coast states. Rodney Hesson, 47, and his mother, 63-yearold Gertrude Parker, plan to appeal their conspiracy convictions.
A Grand Isle woman who allegedly backed over her husband with a truck killing him, has been charged with DWI and vehicular homicide, according to the Jefferson Parish records. 46-year-old Sherry Pruitt is being held on $26,150 bond.
On his 44th birthday, criminal charges against Robert Jones were dropped, but not before he spent over 20 years in prison for a 1992 French quarter crime spree that included the murder of a British tourist. His attorneys have argued there was no evidence linking Jones to the crimes.
In football recruiting….LSU has been able to get the country’s number one rated inside linebacker to flip from Oklahoma to the Fighting Tigers. Jacob Phillips of Nashville, Tennessee says he’ll sign with LSU on Wednesday. But the state’s top rated running back, Travis Etienne of Jennings, says he’ll sign at Clemson and play at the real “Death Valley.
The LSU men’s basketball team suffered a historic loss Wednesday night to Florida. It was the Tigers worst loss at home since 1963, as the Gators devoured the Tigers 106-71. Tiger Rag Editor Cody Worsham believes Johnny Jones’ days are numbered as head coach. The Tigers are 9-10 overall, 1-7 in the SEC, and have lost six games in a row.
News for Thursday 012617
By Dave Graichen
Louisiana isn’t seeing as many flu cases as we usually do this time of year. That’s according to the state’s flu bug expert, Dr. Frank Welch, who says right now, 4 out of every 100 doctor visits in the state is for the flu. He says there’s several reasons we’re seeing a slower flu season this year. Welch says while the Deep South has seen few cases, other states are seeing an uptick. But he says we aren’t out of the woods yet. He anticipates cases will pick up, once the weather gets colder, which will happen this weekend.
The state wildlife agent who was shot five times, is scheduled to be released from a Shreveport hospital Today. 25-year-old Tyler Wheeler of Monroe was shot in the temple, jaw, shoulder, arm and back while questioning a motorist last month in Morehouse Parish. LDWF Spokesperson Adam Einck says Wheeler is expected to make a full recovery.
President Donald Trump says he’s asking for a major investigation into voter fraud; specifically probes into whether people are registered in two states, illegal or dead. The Louisiana Office of the Secretary of State says there were no widespread irregularities here or fraud during the 2016 Presidential Election Cycle; as there are several layers of legal protection to prevent any such thing. The Trump Administration believes illegal ballots cost him the popular vote.
The Governor’s Office says a Republican lawmaker’s plan to close a $304 million dollar deficit would cripple public-private-hospitals, lead to the release of 45-hundred inmates and make a historic cut to public schools. Communications Director Richard Carbo says Lance Harris of Alexandria’s proposal would devastate state agencies. Harris released his proposal last week as an example of how the state can close a large midyear deficit without tapping tap into the rainy day fund. But Carbo says it is imperative rainy day dollars are used to ease some of the pain of the cuts. Harris has also said the governor can make the necessary cuts without the need of a special session. But Carbo says without a special session, spending cuts will be focused primarily on health care, higher education and the Department of Corrections.
The American Lung Association says the state is failing to reduce tobacco use in Louisiana. Regional Policy Director Ashley Lyerly says the state is not spending enough on tobacco prevention and could do so by raising tobacco taxes, plus that will reduce the number of smokers. It’s estimated 22-percent of Louisiana adults are smokers.
Louisiana has issued a standing order that makes Naloxone, which is an antidote that reverses an opioid overdose, available at pharmacies without a prescription. The governor says narcotic overdose deaths surpassed homicide deaths in both East Baton Rouge and Orleans parishes by mid-year 2016.
The Baton Rouge Advocate reports that the Edwards administration will likely not increase aid to public schools when they present a budget to lawmakers for next fiscal year. But the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education would like to see a 35-million dollar increase in funding for K-12 schools. Funding for public schools has been relatively stagnant since 2009.
Louisiana’s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education approves more than $1.5 million in funding for teaching residencies. Department of Education Assistant Superintendent of Talent, Hannah Dietsch (HAHN-ah), says beginning in 2018 teacher candidates will be required to complete one year residencies, similar to doctors. She says $1 million of the investment will go to Louisiana universities that will offer the programs. She says part of the funds will provide $2,000 stipends to 233 teaching residents.
The Louisiana Department of Insurance announces they recovered $7.6 million for policy holders last year as a result of efforts by their consumer affairs division who work to resolve consumer complaints. Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon says it’s a significant increase over the previous year. Policyholders can file complaints online at the state insurance department’s website.
Doctors in Shreveport were able to remove a massive facial tumor from a three-year-old girl’s face. Doctor G-E Gahli, chairs the Department of oral and facial surgery at LSU Health Shreveport, and says the little girl from Brazil was on her way to becoming malnourished because of the tumor. Gali says the child will require follow up surgeries, but at least now she has full use of her tongue.
Walker Police are working to identify a female body that was found under an I-12 bridge. Captain John Sharp says employees of Gravity Draining District Five of Livingston Parish were working to clear debris under the bridge when they made the gruesome discovery. Sharp says the woman appears to have been dead for at least a week. He says at this point they have a lot of unanswered questions.
News for Wednesday 012517
By Dave Graichen
The LDWF agent who was shot during a traffic stop in Morehouse Parish is making progress in his recovery. That’s according to a Facebook post from the Louisiana Wildlife Agents Association, which shows a picture of 25-year-old Tyler Wheeler sitting up in his hospital bed. Two Monroe residents are behind bars in connection with the shooting.
President Donald Trump has signed two orders that moves forward with construction on the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines, so what does that mean for Louisiana? Acting President of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association Gifford Briggs says this creates more hope for the construction of the Bayou Bridge Pipeline. Briggs says Trump has made comments about reducing 75-percent of regulations on the oil and gas industry. He says this would open up a lot of opportunities for investment.
The Edwards administration will unveil a proposal on Friday on how to close a 304-million dollar budget deficit for this fiscal year. Lawmakers are split on whether or not to tap into the state’s rainy day fund to close the gap. While there isn’t much of an appetite at the Capitol to raise more taxes, one option would be to broaden the base of the clean penny that was added to the sales tax last year.
Lawmakers are once again proposing more changes to the TOPS scholarship program as budget problems continue to plague the state. Republican State representative Franklin Foil plans to file a bill for the regular legislative session to raise the GPA requirement for TOPS students. Foil says all options need to be considered, so lawmakers can keep the program intact for the future. He says his proposal would make the program more of a merit-based scholarship, like it was intended to be.
Louisiana’s top school board voted Tuesday to create new public charter schools, despite questions about how the state will pay for them amid ongoing litigation that has put financing for more than 30 similar schools in doubt. The uncertainty didn’t slow the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, known as BESE, from authorizing three more of the schools to open in the fall, two in East Baton Rouge Parish and one in Lafayette Parish.
The state’s unemployment rate is at 6-point-1 percent. That’s based on a data from the federal Bureau of Labor statistics who compiled job numbers for December. Another report shows Louisiana added 26-hundred private-sector jobs in December as total employment in the education and health care services has hit an all-time high.
Former Angola Warden Burl Cain has responded to claims in a state legislative auditor’s report that said he may have illegally used public funds for personal reasons. The audit finds state employees worked for Cain, while they were still on the clock. But Cain says, at times, prison employees volunteered to help out at his home, but not while they were working. Cain made the comments yesterday on a Baton Rouge talk show.
Freshman 4th District U.S. Rep. Mike Johnson of Benton was named to both the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security and Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations. This would put Johnson on the forefront of the lines when it comes to policy concerning building a wall on the southern US border.
Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and the Louisiana Family Forum is once again searching for the state’s longest married couple to share their love story. President Gene Mills urges anyone who knows a couple married for longer than 70 years to contact their office. The Top 10 Longest Married Couples will be honored by receiving official recognition and will be entered into the Louisiana Family Forum’s “Marriage Hall of Fame.” Mills says for the past two years, Lawrence and Varrie Player of Benton, have received the honor as the state’s longest known married couple, at 82 years together.
News for Tuesday 012416
By Dave Graichen
Officials are in major cleanup mode in parts of the state that saw tornadoes touchdown over the weekend. Lt. Bill Davis with the Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office says a tornado with 115 mph winds made a 6 mile trek near Plain Dealing. He says about 29 homes were damaged, including three that were a total loss and seven that sustained extensive damage. The National Weather Service believes at least 5 tornadoes touched down in Louisiana on Saturday.
A 66-year-old woman died Sunday after she was hit by a vehicle in Alexandria Saturday evening. The APD reports Shirley Ann Thomas Peace was struck on 6th street shortly before 8pm. The driver of the vehicle has not been ID’s but police do not believe impairment was a factor.
US Senator John Kennedy wants Louisiana Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rebekah Gee to reduce state spending on Medicaid. Kennedy says Medicaid accounts for 41% of this year’s budget, which is why TOPS has been cut, teachers can’t be paid more money, and congestion remains a problem on I-10. Kennedy says the Medicaid budget has increased by 81% in less than a decade. But he says even though the health budget is going up every year, health outcomes aren’t improving. But Gee says the facts in Kennedy’s letter are just plain wrong. She says Medicaid expansion is actually saving the state money. Gee adds that health outcomes can’t be fixed overnight. She says Louisiana ranks at the bottom in the nation for health, but you can’t improve health if people don’t have access to care.
Republican U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy presented a health care plan Monday morning on Capitol Hill that would give states the ability to decide if they want to keep Obamacare. Cassidy says Republicans believe that if you like your health insurance, than you should keep it. Maine Senator Susan Collins is a co-author of the Patient Freedom Act. Cassidy says not only does this legislation return power to the states, it will also increase access and provide affordable health care for states who want a different health care system.
A state audit released today accuses former Angola Warden Burl Cain of using state workers performing work at private home and providing free food and housing for his family on prison property. Cain’s lawyer says the report’s findings of fact and legal conclusions are in error.
New crime prevention measures will be put in place throughout the Crescent City and it calls for big changes on Bourbon Street. The announcement was made by New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who says this $40 million plan will increase the flexibility of police manpower and improve crime deterrence. Landrieu says NOPD is getting 300 more police cruisers for officers to park at home, as a means of crime deterrence. He says much of Bourbon Street will be closed off to vehicle traffic during busy times. Landrieu says security cameras will also be posted in 20 hotspots around the city, as well as a mobile booking center for big events.
Congressman Garret Graves has been named the Chairman of House Water Resources Subcommittee. Graves says this panel has jurisdiction over the Army Corp of Engineers, EPA, and other issues that greatly effect Louisiana. The Baton Rouge Republican says he’ll be in position to speak up for Louisiana during times of natural or manmade disasters. Graves will use this position to push for the construction of flood control projects.
An ROTC teacher at Mandeville High is under arrest amid allegations he had sex multiple times with two different students on campus. Mandeville Police Chief Gerald Sticker says the victims are ages 15 and 16. He says 48-year-old Hosea McGhee is charged with computer solicitation of a minor and felony carnal knowledge of a juvenile.
The state Supreme Court has suspended a Covington attorney’s license for one year after he told a client he would accept marijuana as payment for his legal services. The client reported to police that she had paid James Mecca with cannabis once before. The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office then set up a sting, which led to Mecca pleading guilty to possession of marijuana and losing his license for a year.
News for Monday 012317
By Dave Graichen
The Restore Louisiana Task Force approves a proposal for how to spend $1.2 billion in federal flood aid allocated by Congress. Deputy Chief of Staff for the Governor’s Office, Julie Baxter Payer, says 938-million dollars will go towards rebuilding and repairing flooded homes. This state plan must get approval from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Louisiana is also awaiting HUD’s approval on a 438-million dollar package that will assist the elderly and disabled. Payer says they hope these federal dollars will get in the hands of flood victims by March or April.
Today marks the start of tax season, as Louisiana residents can begin filing federal and state income taxes. Baton Rouge CPA Brandon Lagarde says if you plan to use a tax preparer to file your taxes, make sure you have all your documentation together and organized. Federal returns are due April 18th this year, while state taxes must be filed by May 15th. Lagarde says refunds might take a little longer this year. He says measures to prevent identity theft have been enacted at the state and federal levels, and this can lead to delays.
Before he ultimately killed himself, 32 year old Sylvester Holt went on a rampage that left both his estranged wife and a Westwego policeman dead in Marrero early Friday. It began after Holt found out that she was about two months pregnant with her new boyfriend's baby. After fatally shooting 31 year old Simone Veal, 31, and the 26 year old officer Michael Louviere, Holt took a cab to the Crescent City Connection, Normand said. He persuaded his driver to let him out on the bridge by claiming he felt sick. He then perched on a girder, kicking off a seven-hour standoff with authorities that ended when he shot himself in the chest as night began to fall. Holt was pronounced dead at University Medical Center late Friday.
Authorities say a West Monroe pizza delivery driver, who killed a man who was attempting to rob him last week, will not face charges. Police say the man acted in self-defense. The search continues for a second robbery suspect.
Homelessness in Louisiana is down 68-percent over the last seven years. That’s according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s yearly Point-in-Time count. Louisiana Housing Corporation Executive Director Keith Cunningham credits this decrease to hard work by his agency to help individuals living on the street. The count showed there was just below four-thousand homeless people in the state in 2016, down from 12,500 in 2009.
Many Women from Louisiana were part of a huge gathering in the nation’s capital over the weekend called the Women’s March on Washington. Alyssa Leader of West Monroe says the purpose was to remind the Trump administration they will not be silent on issues of diversity, abortion and climate change. Other large and some small marches took place all across the country over the weekend.
Twenty-three federal inmates from Louisiana had their federal drug sentences reduced in an act performed by Barack Obama in his final hours as President. Three of the individuals were serving a life sentence. LSU New Orleans Public Health Criminologist Peter Scharf says there’s been a push to stop issuing life-sentences for non-violent drug offenders.
Residents in the greater DeRidder area are making a push to get high speed internet in the rural Beauregard Parish town. Beatrice Teague started a petition because she and her neighbors are unable to get broadband connections in their homes. She says they have to use satellite internet, which is expensive and unreliable. Teague says the petition received more than 500 signatures in the first 24 hours alone, and she’s hoping to reach 750 before she brings it before the PSC.
Louisiana environmental groups are gearing up for round two in a battle against a proposed 163mile oil pipeline that would stretch across south Louisiana from Lake Charles through the Atchafalaya Basin and east to St. James, over fears a leak would destroy Louisiana’s Wetlands and water. A public hearing last week for a required U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit drew more than 400 supporters and opponents. A second hearing is set Feb. 8 for a permit needed from the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources.
CC’s Coffee House could be opening a location near you thanks to an aggressive growth plan.
The Louisiana company plans to have 50 locations by the end of the year and triple the size of the company in three to five years. CC’s recently opened shops in Lake Charles, Monroe, Gretna, Harahan and New Orleans. Three locations — in Youngsville, Carencro and Alexandria — are set to open in the next two weeks. Store openings in Covington, Houma and Port Allen aren’t far behind.
For the first time in 18 years, the Atlanta Falcons are back in the Super Bowl -- this after trouncing the Green Bay Packers 44-21 Sunday at the Georgia Dome. Atlanta will now play the winner of the AFC Championship game the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI in Houston, TX
News for Friday 012017
By Dave Graichen
State Police say three people are dead and a child is in serious condition following a crash in Allen Parish. Sgt. James Anderson says around 10am Thursday morning, a vehicle traveling west on Hwy 190 in Kinder crossed the center line. Anderson says there was a young child in the second vehicle who was transported to the Rapides Trauma Center in serious condition. He says they are still trying to figure out how this happened. Impairment is believed to have been a factor in the crash.
The Mayor Of Lecompte, Robert Baxter, and town council members are facing a lawsuit over their use of tax funds. The case is being handled by Rapides Assistant District Attorney Tom Wells, who has been investigating Lecompte's use of sales tax funds generated through a proposition passed in 1989. The petition states it's believed funds that should have gone to the Lecompte Fire Department during the fiscal years ending in 2014 and 2015 instead went to the Lecompte Police Department. The petition alleges it's still happening.
The leader of the state House Republican delegation has offered a plan to reduce state spending by 304-million dollars in order to alleviate a midyear shortfall. Alexandria Representative Lance Harris say Republicans are not proposing any cuts to public colleges. But, Harris’s plan is proposing 147-million dollars in cuts to the health department, also cuts to state prisons, roadwork and K-through-12 education. Seventeen public health units in 16 parishes could be closed in one scenario the Louisiana Department of Health is considering to address looming budget cuts.
The West Monroe High School Rebel Band gets the prestigious honor of performing in the inaugural parade at the nation’s capital today. Band director Robert Freeman says they learned a month ago that they would play in the inaugural parade, and they didn’t have much time to prepare or raise the $240-thousand necessary for the trip. He says students were asked to pay $600 each, and they had to do a lot of fundraising in a short amount of time to pay for the trip.
The Louisiana National Guard’s 773rd Military Police Battalion is in Washington D.C. to assist in security for the 58th Presidential Inauguration today. More than 170 soldiers with the state’s National Guard will conduct security operations along the parade route, accompanied by Guardsmen from Kansas and South Dakota. This is the first time the 773rd has been a part of a presidential inauguration.
Congressman Clay Higgins of Louisiana’s 3rd Congressional District is looking forward to the changes that will come under the new administration. He says his team has been hard at work in Washington, and the freshman Representative says he’s already learned a lot. Higgins says Congress has been meeting with President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence throughout the transition, and he was encouraged by those conversations. He says voters sent a clear message last November and now it’s time to deliver.
LSU announces a timeline for finding a new live mascot and the plan is to have a new tiger before the start of the football season. Ginger Guttner with the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine says they are searching rescue facilities and sanctuaries for a young, male tiger to become Mike VII. But Guttner says the school is ending the decades old tradition of Mike in attendance for LSU football games.
The New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Louisiana Office of Tourism announce the hiring of China-based East West Marketing Corporation — an effort aimed at bringing more Chinese tourists to Louisiana. It includes more support for public relations, consumer marketing and social media promotions. Ultimately Louisiana wants to take advantage of the Chinese travel market.
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu is considered one of the leading Democrats in the state and he weighs in on his feelings about the Trump administration. Landrieu says both Republicans and Democrats like President Trump’s proposal to invest one trillion dollars on infrastructure. But Landrieu says bi-partisan leaders are concerned about the immediate repeal of Obamacare without a replacement. He says while there are some issues with the Affordable Care Act, like increased premiums, they need to be fixed rather than a full repeal.
If you’re struggling to lose weight, LSU Pennington Biomedical Doctor Steven Heymsfield suggests behavioral counseling. Heymsfield says an obese individual must lose 5-8-percent of their weight in one to two years to have successfully completed the program. Heymsfield says many YMCAs offer an affordable high intensity lifestyle treatment, along with commercial companies like Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig.
News for Tuesday 011717
By Dave Graichen
Despite a less than perfect day, weather wise, large crowds filled the streets yesterday to play their respects to the father of civil rights Martin Luther King Jr. Clubs, church groups, politicians and more made their way through the excited parade goers. Most didn’t even notice the on again off again showers..
With Yesterday being Martin Luther King Jr Day, Wallet Hub has issued a report on race relations which indicates Louisiana is among the top 10 for making the most progress. We’re among a handful of other southern states in WalletHub’s rankings of racial progress, and spokeswoman Jill Gonzales says there is a bit of the “nowhere to go but up” factor at play though. She says Louisiana’s biggest improvement areas over time were health care, education and civil engagement.
A Gallup poll finds President-elect Donald Trump has a 42-percent approval rating, the lowest since George W. Bush, who had 59-percent. ULM Political Science Professor Dr. John Sutherlin says Trump will likely come into office and follow through with his agenda, regardless of what polls say. Sutherlin says Trump doesn’t seem like his is bothered by public opinion.
A special session could kick off as early as next month so that lawmakers can decide how to deal with the state’s $313 million dollar budget shortfall. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne says the legislature raised nearly $2 billion in taxes last year, but it just wasn’t enough to balance the budget. Dardenne says they plan to use money from the rainy day fund to close some of the gap, but that still leaves about another 200 million dollars in possible cuts.
More and more LSU students are seeking Sugar Daddies to help pay for their education. That’s according to SeekingArangment.com. Spokesperson Brook Urick says online dating in the sugar lifestyle isn’t much different than regular online dating. She says the main difference is the lifestyle expectations. The average monthly allowance for a Sugar Baby is around $24-hundred. But Urick says not all Sugar Babies get the same allowance from their Sugar Daddies. As the cost of tuition continues to increase while funding for TOPS decreases, Urick says we could see even more Louisiana students turn to the lifestyle for financial assistance.
A recent poll commissioned by Restore the Mississippi River Delta finds over half of Louisianans polled believe coastal land loss is at a crisis, while 96-percent said it needs attention. Jimmy Frederick with the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana says saving the coast isn’t just about protecting coastal cities. He says it’s important for the entire state. The state’s coastal Master plan would cost 50-billion dollars. Frederick says there are federal dollars and money from BP available to get some of the work started and this survey shows Louisiana residents want major coastal projects completed.
If you’re buying items from Amazon in the New Year, you might not pay as much in sales taxes as you thought. It was announced that starting January 1st the online retailer would begin collecting state sales taxes for the first time. But Department of Revenue Secretary, Kimberly Robinson, says the only sales tax collected are on products sold directly by Amazon, LLC. That does not include items purchased through third party vendors on Amazon. Robinson says if you purchase online you are required to pay sales taxes at the end of the year, if the seller did not collect them at the time of purchase. The current plan requires self-reporting and Robinson says participation is low.
AT&T Louisiana has donated $150-thousand to the Louisiana Jobs for America’s Graduates program, which helps young people who face difficult challenges earn a high school diploma, complete college, and find employment. Governor John Bel Edwards says this program is critically important to our state.
A homeowner in Slidell shot and killed a man early Monday morning, according to the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office. The resident told investigators that he was confronted by a subject acting erratically in the front yard of his residence; so he fatally shot the man. No arrests have been made, yet. The investigation is ongoing.
State Police are looking for a vehicle that hit a trooper’s patrol car and injured the officer over the weekend. Trooper Bryan Lee says the suspect sped off immediately after the wreck on Old Hammond Highway in East Baton Rouge Parish. The good news is the trooper suffered only minor injuries.
A Houma high-school that was for black students only during segregation will reopen next month as a museum celebrating African-American history in St. Mary and Terrebonne parishes. Dedication will be held on February 4th for the schoolhouse that was once called The Academy.
LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva fired football coach Les Miles in mid-season, could it happen again, this time with the men’s basketball program? The Tigers are 1-4 in the SEC, they’ve lost three in a row and all three defeats have been by double digits. Glen Guilbeau covers LSU hoops for the USA Today Network and says as the losses mount, Alleva might make a change…
News for Monday 011617
By Dave Graichen
State Police report a Saturday afternoon accident on Highway 71 North of Montgomery killed a man from Natchitoches and injured a man from St. Maurice. The crash involved a vehicle driven by 41 year Michael McKinney of St. Maurice. Troopers say McKinney lost control and left the roadway colliding with several trees. McKinney received moderate injuries. But a passenger in his vehicle, 27 year old Brandon Banks, was killed in the crash. Neither man was wearing a seatbelt.
State legislators will likely be called into a special session next month to deal with a budget deficit. The Revenue Estimating Conference has determined the midyear shortfall is around 313-million dollars. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne says legislative input will be needed to address a budget gap of that magnitude. Governor Edwards released a statement regarding the bad budget news. He says a special session will prevent deep budget cuts in the areas of higher education and health care. He plans to develop a plan with legislative leaders that solves this budget crisis.
Meanwhile the Governor is in Italy where the topic will be the human trafficking epidemic. He’ll be joined by State. Police Colonel Mike Edmonson and a couple of lawmakers and they’ll meet with nuns who want to open a shelter for victims of sex trade. The governor hopes to meet with the pope on Wednesday and he says he’s paying his own way, but taxpayer dollars will pay for his security.
State Senator Troy Brown of Assumption Parish has issued a statement in response for calls to him to resign over his two domestic violence related arrests, and recent “no contest” plea for alleged abuse against his wife. He says while he would respect the wishes of the Senate if they choose to expel him, legal action would follow. Brown apologized but said he doesn’t feel a misdemeanor warrants him being removed.
Crowley Representative Jack Montoucet begins his duties today as the new Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. Montoucet was appointed by Governor Edwards and says his main goal is to ensure Louisiana stays the Sportsman’s Paradise. He plans to try to get more residents involved in outdoor activities, like preservation, hunting and fishing. Montoucet has been the owner of an alligator farm in Acadiana for 30 years.
New Orleans Police report Seven people were injured in five separate shootings across New Orleans between Saturday morning and early Sunday. More people have now been shot in New Orleans in the first 14 days of 2017 than all of January 2016
The entire New Orleans Fair Grounds race track is under a quarantine in an effort to stop the spread of an equine herpes virus. Ag Commissioner Mike Strain. Strain says nine of the two-thousand horses at the track are in isolation.
A local doctor advises parents to limit their children’s screen time each day because too much time looking at a TV, computer or tablet can be bad for a child’s health. Ochsner Health Center Zachary Pediatrician Dr. Myriam Ortiz says when children spend too much time in front of a screen, it limits their outdoor activity time, which leads to higher rates of childhood obesity and diabetes. Ortiz says that’s why parents of children up to age 5 should limit their child’s screen time to one hour per day. She says parents of kids who are older than 6 should keep the media restrictions consistent.
Settlement discussions have failed to bring about a resolution to a federal court case accusing New Orleans criminal court judges of unconstitutionally jailing poor people who cannot afford to pay court fees. The suit was filed in 2015 by six people who said they were locked up for owing court debts. Lawyers are seeking to make it a class action case that could affect hundreds of others.
LSU’s leading receiver this past season Malachi Dupre has decided to enter the NFL draft. Dupre struggled early on during the 2016 campaign and finished with 41 catches for 593 yards and three touchdowns. NFL draft analyst Mike Detillier believes he’ll be selected in either the second or third round. Dupre is the fourth Tiger to turn pro early.
News for Friday 011316
By Dave Graichen
The judge says no bail for Derrick Henderson, the grant parish man accused of bludgeoning he grandparents with a baseball bat. On Thursday, Henderson was in a Grant Parish courtroom for a Gwen's hearing, which determines bond for suspects in domestic violence cases. He is charged with two counts of attempted first-degree murder and home invasion in the Monday incident that seriously wounded his paternal grandparents, both of whom are in their 70s.
State Police report A Florida woman died Wednesday morning in a single-vehicle crash in Grant Parish. 56 year old Carolyn Trissler lost control of her vehicle on Highway 71and ran off the road. The car then hit a culvert and some trees. Trissler was pronounced dead at the scene.
A state judge has denied bond for the two individuals arrested in connection with the shooting of state Wildlife and Fisheries Agent Tyler Wheeler. The judge says Amethyst Baird and Jeremy Gullette are a risk to flee and both pose an imminent danger to the community. Wheeler was shot five times last weekend and at last report was responding well to treatment.
In the past week, Louisiana has seen an increase in the number of flu cases around the state. That’s according to Medical Director for the state Immunization Program Dr. Frank Welch who says four out of every 100 people who visit the doctor have the flu. He says if you got the flu shot, you should be protected. Welch says it’s rare, but if you do contract the flu virus after getting a shot, it’s usually a very mild case. Those who are at the most risk if they catch the flu, pregnant women and the elderly.
We’ll get better idea today whether or not Governor John Bel Edwards intends to call another special session to address looming budget shortfalls. The Revenue Estimating Conference meets today and the panel will determine the exact size of a revenue shortfall for this fiscal year. Edwards says the size of the deficit will determine if a special session is needed.
Edwards estimates a shortfall greater than $300 million would require a special session to resolve.
Louisiana has received 18-million dollars as part of a 4.3 billion dollar Volkswagen settlement in which the car maker admitted to cheating on air emissions tests. DEQ Secretary Chuck Brown says they may use that money to replace diesel engines in school buses with engines that burn cleaner fuels. The money has to be used on an environmental friendly project.
Even after a crazy year of weather in 2016, the crawfish crop seems to be doing just fine. LSU AgCenter Aquaculture Specialist Mark Shirely says the sizes of the mud bugs vary but the harvest is coming along fairly well. Shirely says since it’s early in the season, the price per pound for mud bugs will be more expansive than later in the season. But he says the price will drop depending on supply and demand.
Some state lawmakers are calling for Napoleonville Senator Troy Brown to resign after being convicted of his second domestic violence charge in four months. Senate President John Alario says Brown was suspended from serving on committees when he was arrested in July.
Governor Edwards called for Brown to resign after the arrest, but Brown said he has no plans to leave office.
The Director of the Louisiana State Police Commission has resigned. Cathy Derbonne submitted her resignation this morning amid speculation she may get fired because of controversial political contributions made by former board members. Derbonne served at that post for eight years
Police in Shreveport arrest a 44-year-old man in the death of an 11-month old baby. They said it’s believed that Frederick Clark had been watching the child for an extended period of time before it was discovered the baby was suffering complications that ultimately lead to his death. Clark is charged with second-degree murder and is being held on a million dollars bond.
The criticism is mounting against the LSU men’s basketball program. The Tigers are 1-3 in the SEC and in all three losses, LSU has allowed 90 or more points. LSU hosts Alabama on Saturday and Jones says there’s still plenty of time left in the season to move up the SEC standings.
News for Thursday 011217
By Dave Graichen
An autopsy has been ordered on the body of a man who was found lying alongside Willow Glen Road Monday afternoon. The APD says the, yet to be identified 49 year old man, was found lying face down in the ditch. The initial investigation does not indicate foul play. But the investigation is ongoing. This is the third time in less than a week police have investigated the discovery of a body.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration says the average price of crude oil in 2017 should be 52 dollars per barrel, so what does that mean for Louisiana? Tulane University Energy expert Eric Smith says this is a nine dollar improvement from last year, but not enough to support new deep water activity. Smith says the offshore oil industry needs prices in the low 60s to commit to new projects.
2017 is looking good for construction workers in Louisiana, as the Associated General Contractors of America finds 70-percent of Louisiana contractors anticipate hiring workers this year. Chief Economist with AGC, Ken Simonson, says the strongest category appears to be hospital construction, but the industry is expecting plenty of work in other sectors as well.
Louisiana State Police say a 51year-old trooper has died of a heart attack in Lake Charles
Tracy Morgan collapsed while walking from the parking garage to his office shortly after 1 p.m.
Tuesday. Troopers and medical personnel who worked in the building gave CPR until an ambulance arrived, but were unable to revive Morgan. He had been a state trooper since 1994, and was assigned to the Gaming Division. He also had worked as a crisis negotiator and had extensive investigative experience.
The Natchitoches Parish Sheriff's Office is asking for the public's help in finding a man who hasn’t been seen since New Year's Day. 41 year old Marty Powell is 5 feet, 6 inches tall, weighs 151 pounds and has brown hair and green eyes. Anyone who has seen Powell or has information about him is asked to call the sheriff's office.
January marks the 10 year anniversary of the Louisiana Smoke-Free Air Act, which prohibited smoking in public buildings and places of employment- most significantly restaurants. Director for the Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living, Tonya Moore, says the law has improved public health and it’s been good for the state’s economy. Moore says unfortunately, the ban did not include bars and casinos. But she says the Smoke-Free Air Act approved by the state legislature a decade ago has opened the door for stronger anti-smoking measurers locally.
Napoleonville Senator Troy Brown plead no contest to domestic violence charges. Brown’s 30 day sentence was suspended, and instead he wills spend just 38 hours in jail. Brown will also have to perform 64 hours of community service while on probation for three months.
Baton Rouge Police are looking for a gunman who fatally shot a 27-year-old mother in her doorway Tuesday night as her three children were inside. Sergeant L’Jean McKneely says they believe the woman was targeted. The children were not physically harmed in the shooting.
A Luling man has been arrested in connection with an armed robbery gone wrong. St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne says 31-year-old Jerel Smith encountered the victim, Ryan Dubuc of Metairie, on Monday morning at a gas station, where he got into the victim’s truck.
Champagne says at some point, police believe Smith shot Dubuc multiple times in the head at close range, before dumping his body on the side of the road. Authorities say Dubuc was robbed for about $80. He says Smith faces multiple charges in this case.
Stabilizing the budget, flood recovery, criminal justice reform and coastal restoration are among John Bel Edwards’ goals as he begins his second year in the governor’s office. Edwards says last year he tackled a historic budget deficit with 850-million dollars in cuts and urging the legislature to raise taxes to protect higher education and health care. He says comprehensive tax reform is needed this year. Edwards says he’ll continue to push for adequate funding for healthcare, higher ed, and TOPS.
Louisiana is the third most dangerous state for pedestrians, according to a report by Smart Growth America. Director the National Complete Streets Coalition Emiko (EM-mee-koh) Atherton says this means Louisiana has a lot of work to do to increase pedestrian safety. She says many of these deaths are preventable. Florida and Alabama came in first and second for the most dangerous states for pedestrians.
In a conference before U.S. District Judge Lance Africk, the City of Slidell agreed not to enforce its requirement that panhandlers register with the police pending the court’s ruling on the ordinance’s constitutionality. Based on that promise, the ACLU of Louisiana has agreed that its request for a preliminary injunction can be dismissed as moot. The ALCU is representing panhandlers who in the city who say the ordinance violates the first amendment.
New Roads Police say a teacher at False River Academy turned herself in yesterday amid allegations she was setting up a tryst with a student. They say 23-year-old Skylar Russell was found in the car with the victim before any contact was made. She is charged with attempted carnal knowledge of a juvenile.
Former LSU Coach Les Miles told Stephen A Smith on ESPN’s First Take that he’d be willing to coach at a Group Five School. Western Michigan currently has an opening. Miles says playing for a championship year in and year out is great, but he also likes taking a group of guys and making them better.
New Orleans native Vance Joseph is the new head coach of the Denver Broncos. The former Archbishop Shaw quarterback has agreed to a four-year deal and becomes the franchise’s first African-American permanent head coach.
LSU baseball is ranked number two in Perfect Game USA’s preseason Top 25 poll. TCU is ranked number one, who LSU is scheduled to play March 3rd in Houston. The Ragin Cajuns are ranked 13th in the Perfect Game poll.
News for Wednesday 011117
By Dave Graichen
The Grant Parish Sheriff’s office has arrested a 31-year-old man after he allegedly beat up his grandparents with a baseball bat. Derrick Henderson of Georgetown has been charged with attempted first-degree murder and home invasion. The elderly victims received severe injuries.
Today marks one year in office for Governor John Bel Edwards, and what a year it’s been. After such a tumultuous start, it begs the question as to what the next year will hold. UL-Lafayette political science professor Pearson Cross says like his first year, one of the governor’s biggest challenges in year two is the budget. The Governor’s Monthly call in show is this afternoon at 2p on 970 KSYL
A new political party has been established in the Bayou State, as the official paperwork has been submitted by the Louisiana Independent Party. Party Treasurer Bill Bryan says this is more of a movement than a political action. He says often times, people vote for a party, not a person, and party affiliations can make it difficult for people to have open, honest discussions about candidates. There are currently 56-thousand Independent voters registered in the party. Bryan says the current-two party system doesn’t serve the wide spectrum of views held by voters, as evidenced by the most recent election.
5th District Congressman Ralph Abraham will have a chance to set military policy for the United States as he’s been appointed to the House Armed Services Committee. Abraham says his top priority will be looking out for the men and women who serve our country.
Abraham says it’s critically important for a member of Louisiana’s delegation to sit on the committee because the Bayou State is home to Barksdale Air Force Base, Fort Polk, and the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in New Orleans. He expects Louisiana’s military bases to be vital in the ongoing fight against domestic and international terrorism.
Students who attend poorly performing schools can begin applying for vouchers today. President of the Louisiana Federation for Children, Ann Duplesis says about 10-thousand families apply every year, and students from all over the state can apply. Duplesis says students already enrolled in the program do not need to reapply. 123 schools in 31 school districts around the state participate in the voucher program.
WWE’s WrestleMania is returning to New Orleans next year. Governor John Bel Edwards says when the event came to the Big Easy in 2014, over 75-thousand fans came from around the world, bringing an economic impact of $142 million. Edwards says this is the quickest the event has ever returned to a previous host city.
Small business optimism skyrocketed last month, according to the National Federation for Independent Business. State Director Dawn Starns says it’s because business owners are anticipating better economic conditions under the new administration. The NFIB says small business optimism is at its highest level since 2004.
150-thousand Louisiana residents have signed up for health coverage through the Affordable Care Act Marketplace, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Christen Young with the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services says financial assistance is a key driver, as 82-percent of Louisiana consumers have qualified for tax credits. Young says most people can find a plan for less than $75 per month.
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu is looking into new permanent security measures for Bourbon Street. The proposed $30 million plan would include blocking off the road to vehicles during most hours, setting up a command center to monitor a network of cameras, and taking measures to allow police to respond to emergencies with force more quickly.
The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office says one of their deputies was involved in a shooting with a man apparently trying to kill himself. They say 19-year-old Austin Rackley of Sulphur was located fighting with a family member and he had a gun. They said he refused to put it down when he was ordered to and deputies fired striking him in the neck – injuring him. The investigation is ongoing.
Officials in Alabama say a 20-year-old LSU student has died in Tuscaloosa after being struck by a train. They say Katie Keogh was walking with others after the college title game when she failed to make it across the tracks in time and died at the scene.
A study from LSU Health New Orleans finds a parent’s concern about neighborhood safety will result in less play time outside. Research Professor Dr. Melinda Sothern says they questioned parents in neighborhoods with high crime rates along with graffiti and blighted neighborhoods and found they restricted their children’s outdoor play, which means less physical activity for those children. Sothern says the most intriguing finding was what parents thought of their own communities and if they trusted their neighbors.
News for Tuesday 011017
By Dave Graichen
The Rapides Parish Sheriff’s office arrests two adults after three juveniles in their care tested positive for narcotics. Captain Tommy Carnline says the complaint originally came in from the Department of Children and Family Services in regards in a November incident. Arrested were 19-year-old Stephan Matthews and 22-year-old Kate Bordelon of Pineville are in jail on a charge of second-degree cruelty to juveniles.
Alexandria Senior High's football stadium may soon be named for the school's former coach "Butch" Stoker, who passed away a little over a month ago. School officials will seek approval to rename the stadium at the School Board's Jan.10 meeting.
The Environmental Protection Agency has awarded the Rapides Parish School Board $100,000 to replace five of its school buses with "cleaner," lower-emission models. The Rebates going to some 88 school districts in 27 states are being funded by the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act. Rapides was the only school system in the state identified as a recipient of new buses this year.
The staff of the Louisiana Board of Regents is proposing several changes to the TOPS scholarship program. Higher Ed Commissioner Joe Rallo says the board is reviewing their report, and the final recommendations will be made in February. He says they are looking at a variety of ways to change how the scholarship is awarded, after the state failed to fully fund the program for the first time this year.
Governor John Bel Edwards plans to go back to Washington in February to secure more federal funds for flood recovery. He says Congress has already approved more than $1.5 billion, but that will not cover flood victims who had flood insurance. He says Louisiana is still $2 billion short for a full, robust recovery.
State Police say Wildlife and Fisheries Agent Tyler Wheeler is responding well to treatment after he was shot five times early Saturday morning in Morehouse Parish. Two residents from Monroe have been arrested in connection with the shooting and State Police Colonel Mike Edmonson says more arrests are possible. Edmonson says they are still trying to get a handle on what sparked the shooting.
The clean-up process for Charity Hospital in New Orleans begins today. The historic building has been locked up tight since Hurricane Katrina. LSU Health New Orleans Director of Facility Planning Jerry Jones says the facilities contain asbestos, mold, chemicals, and other hazardous materials and the building is not safe for immediate occupancy. Jones says FEMA will pay for the cleanup to the tune of $6.4 Million Dollars. It’s unclear what will happen with the 78 year old structure once it’s cleaned out.
A Pierre Part man has been arrested after allegedly accidentally texting an Assumption Parish Sheriff’s deputy about a potential drug deal. 39-year-old Dwayne Paul Hebert was met by authorities at a location where he planned to sell crystal meth. Heber was arrested with two firearms along with the drug. He was charged with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, resisting an officer and other charges.
The governor will be in New Orleans today for an announcement that WrestleMania is returning to the Crescent City in 2018.
AAA says the national average price for gas has increased to the highest level since June, but Louisiana is still listed on the top 10 of cheapest markets in the country this week. The statewide average stands at $2.18, up over 12 cents from the prior month.
The race to become the state’s next elected State Treasurer is underway as Covington Representative John Schroder becomes the first person to announce he’s a candidate for the job. The election takes place in October. The other big election is the New Orleans mayoral race, so Political analyst Clancy Dubos says Big Easy voters will play a major role in this race.
Dubos anticipates a lot of candidates running for State Treasurer.
The cold weather over the weekend damaged many plants and it has some wondering what to do next. LSU AgCenter Horticulturist Dan Gill recommends waiting a while to see if the plant is actually dead, even if it appears to have damage.
News for Monday 010917
By Dave Graichen
A Monroe woman was arrested and charged late Saturday night with shooting Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Agent Tyler Wheeler five times after a traffic stop in Morehouse Parish. Wheeler is listed in stable condition at University Health in Shreveport after being shot twice in the head, twice in the arm and once in the shoulder. 31 year old Amethyst Baird of Monroe was charged with attempted first degree murder of a police officer. Police also arrested 34 year old Jeremy Gullette of Monroe and charged him with one count of accessory after the fact to attempted first degree murder.
The Town Talk reports The domestic abuse charge against Cleco CEO Darren Olagues has been dropped at the request of the victim. The Rapides Parish District Attorney's Office announced in a release that it is no longer pursuing the case. Olagues was arrested on Dec. 8 and charged with one count of domestic abuse strangulation, involving his wife. Olagues has been on leave from Cleco since the arrest.
The Transportation Task Force has released their final report on how to improve the state’s transportation infrastructure, and of course, funding is number one. DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson says the state needs to increase its investment in transportation by $700 million a year. But he says they haven’t decided how those dollars will be raised. Wilson says they’re also looking into tolls and public-private partnerships as a means of funding. He says something has to be done to address the $13 billion backlog of transportation projects, as well as address the $16 billion in new projects, like a new Mississippi River Bridge in Baton Rouge.
Gov. John Bel Edwards said Friday he expects a special legislative session to rebalance Louisiana's budget will be needed if a looming midyear deficit reaches $300 million or more, as projected. House Republican leaders, however, hope to avoid a special session. At issue are the constitutional limits on how and where Louisiana's governor and lawmakers can make cuts when a midyear budget gap emerges. The size of the gap will be decided next week by the Revenue Estimating Conference.
Governor John Bel Edwards has sent a letter to Congress urging national leaders not to repeal the Affordable Care Act. But US Senator Bill Cassidy says Obamacare isn’t working for everyone. He says when premiums and deductibles cost thousands of dollars, that’s anything but affordable. But Louisiana Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rebekah Gee urges federal lawmakers not to fix what isn’t broken. While she admits Obamacare is causing premiums to go up nationwide, she is adamant that the Medicaid expansion has been a godsend.
Monroe is a top contender for a new Graphic Packaging facility. Senior Manager of Corporate Communications, Sue Appleyard, says while they are still looking at other potential locations, the company reached a conceptual agreement with the local union to build the facility in the Monroe area. Appleyard expects a final decision to come in the next few months. She says there won’t be any impact on their current paper mill, which employs the bulk of their 400 workers in West Monroe, but the two other facilities would be consolidated. Appleyard says this new 70-million facility will be Graphic Packaging’s first brand new plant in 10 years.
News for Friday 010617
By Dave Graichen
There’s a chance some parts of Louisiana will see winter precipitation today. State climatologist Barry Keim says the region north of the I-10 corridor will likely see a wintry mix.
The annual Quality counts report from Education Week gives Louisiana a D-plus for public education. According to the study, the state performed poorly when it comes to K-12 achievement and funding for public schools. Louisiana finished 46th out of the 50 states.
The Restore Louisiana Task Force meets today to discuss plans to spend federal flood relief dollars. In the weeks after the August flood, the state secured 438-million and then another 1.2 billion was appropriated in December. Pat Forbes, executive director of the State Office of Community Development, says unfortunately, when you’re dealing with federal money – the process of how to secure it takes longer than anyone wants. Once HUD approves the final plan for the first installment, the agency will make the money available to the state; maybe by March.
Trump supporters in Louisiana are helping to drum up support for President-elect Donald Trump’s agenda for his first 100 days in office. Co-chair of the Donald Trump for Louisiana campaign Brian Trascher says they’re organizing post-election activities. He says one of the first orders of business is to make sure Louisiana’s U.S. Senators, Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy, support Mr. Trump’s cabinet picks. Trascher says the team plans to create a special fund that will be used to run ads so that people can get the full story on what the president-elect hopes to do.
Four workers on a Renaissance Offshore platform were forced into the water early Thursday when a fire broke out on the platform. US Coast Guard Petty Officer Travis Magee says they received reports of a fire on a platform 80 miles off the coast of Grand Isle. The workers were reportedly taken to Terrebonne General Medical Center for observation. They say there were no signs of pollution in the area.
The Saints have made major changes with their coaching staff. Five assistant coaches were let go, including long-time assistant head coach Joe Vitt. Vitt and James Willis both coached the linebackers and they were let go. Defensive line coach Bill Johnson will also not be back, and special teams assistant Stan Kwan and special teams coordinator Greg McMahon were also let go.
Several stores are closing their doors for good in the coming months. Sears Holdings announces Kmart locations in Gonzales and Jefferson Parish, as well as Sears in Gretna and Cortana Mall in Baton Rouge will close by this April. The Limited is shutting down nationwide, meaning all 5 stores in Louisiana will lock their doors permanently this Saturday, and the Macys in Kenner is closing in the spring. Company officials say online shopping has had a major negative effect of their businesses. Retail experts say the stores simply haven’t keep up with the times.
Walker and Denham Springs have filed a class action suit against the state and all of the contractors infolved in the I-12 widening project. The Livingston Parish towns claim the concrete barrier wall on the interstate made the flooding worse in August, because it prevented water from draining out.
Many people set New Year’s resolutions to become healthier for 2017 but nutritionists are cautioning people about the dangers of fad diets. Registered Dietitian with the LSU AgCenter Sandra May says she sees the popularity of these name brand diets ramp up at the beginning of each year. She urges consumers to eat a balanced diet. May says the most popular fad diets currently are the Adkins, Zone and Paleo diets. She says juicing or detoxing can be very dangerous, especially if you have a medical condition like diabetes.
News for Thursday 010517
By Dave Graichen
Precipitation moves into Louisiana tonight, and it could change to snow north of I-20. But State climatologist Barry Keim says the chance for wintery precipitation is not very high. Keim says this weather system is expected to move through the state quickly. But he says once it passes over, arctic air pushes in.
Well it is now official. According to the National Weather Service, at least 8 tornadoes hit Louisiana Monday. The twisters damaged parts of Avoyelles, Beauregard, Evangeline, Rapides, and Tangipahoa parishes. The most powerful storm touched down in Beauregard Parish, with winds reaching 110 mph. Ten to 25 homes were damaged.
GLOVIS America announces a new inland distribution center for imported vehicles will be located at the old General Motors plant in Shreveport. It will mean at least 150 new jobs. Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson says Kia and Hyundai vehicles will come from other countries and get equipment and exterior upgrades at the facility. A hiring date has not been set, but he says the average salary is expected to be around $32-thouasnd. The former Shreveport GM plant has been inactive since 2012.
Water systems across Louisiana are increasing fees to help with increased state inspections. State Health Officer Dr. Jimmy Guidry says there’s always been a fee to pay for state inspections, but the legislature and governor agreed to increase the fee by another 75-cents per month starting this month, because health risks are getting higher. Guidry hopes this will prevent another disaster like the poor drinking water currently in St. Joseph.
Drivers can expect to pay more at the pump this year, as GasBuddy forecasts the highest prices in three years. Senior Petroleum Analyst Greg Laskowski says right now the statewide average is $2.16, which is about 40-cents higher than a year ago and a spike is likely later this winter and spring. Laskowski expects prices to peak in May or June and the yearly average is expected to be 36-cents higher.
The state has released its revised coastal protection and restoration masterplan that’s designed to reduce hurricane storm surge and restore Louisiana’s vanishing coastline. Bren Haase with the state’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority says the plan proposes 120 projects. Haase says the worst case scenario for the coast would be about 4-thousand square miles of land loss if they did nothing. Haase says roughly $18 billion has been secured to implement the 50-year plan, which would take $50 billion to fully fund it.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation launches a railroad safety campaign. Based on the latest numbers from the Federal Railroad Administration, Louisiana was fourth in the nation for the number of highway-rail grade crossing fatalities in 2015, with 13 deaths. DOTD Spokesperson Rodney Mallett says the message of their campaign is do not stop on the tracks.
News for Wednesday 010417
By Dave Graichen
At one point over 15,000 Avoyelles Parish CLECO customers were with power after Monday’s storms. After working around the clock, company officials say less than 900 remained with power as of 5pm yesterday. As expected, most of those still without power saw the lights come on over night. CLECO says, those left should see power restored (By Noon) today.
Another cold snap is coming our way, and state climatologist Barry Keim says it will be the coldest one yet. He says a cold front is moving into the state today, which will drastically cool things off in the Bayou State. Keim says it will get progressively colder every day until Sunday. He says a storm forming in the Gulf will increase the chance for wintery precipitation in north and central Louisiana on Friday.
Republican John Kennedy was sworn in as a new U.S. Senator for Louisiana Tuesday. Kennedy occupies the seat once held by David Vitter, who decided not to run for re-election. Kennedy also resigned as state treasurer today. Ron Henson will lead the state agency. Voters will have the opportunity to elect a new treasurer in October.
Two new members of Louisiana’s House delegation also took the oath of office Tuesday as well. Republican Congressman Clay Higgins will represent the third district, which covers southwest Louisiana. And Republican Mike Johnson moves from the state legislature to the seat representing the fourth congressional district.
Louisiana’s congressional delegation is gearing up to tackle some big issues in the 115th United States Congress. Congressman Ralph Abraham was sworn in Monday for his second term representing northeast and central Louisiana. He says a big priority for his district will be creating and protecting jobs in agriculture.
US Representative Cedric Richmond, who represents New Orleans, parts of the River Parishes and Baton Rouge, was sworn in as the new chairman of Congressional Black Caucus yesterday. Richmond says the Caucus plans to affect change. It’s expected that the Caucus will fight many of the policies that will come from the Trump administration. One piece of legislation the two sides could agree on is a funding bill for infrastructure projects.
Workers compensation rates are continuing a downward trajectory in Louisiana, as the Louisiana Department of Insurance announces a statewide rate decrease of nearly 10-percent. Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon says this is good news for Louisiana businesses because it makes competing for jobs easier. Donelon says rates have seen a cumulative drop of 34-percent over the last 10 years and 50-percent over the last 20 years. He says workplace safety is the biggest reason Louisiana’s workers compensation rates continue to decline.
For 10 years, Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan has represented the state’s vision for preventing its bottom third from being consumed by the Gulf of Mexico. That vision got a lot grimmer Tuesday with the release of the 2017 edition of the plan. It predicts that even if everything works as planned, 2,800 square miles of coast still could be lost in the next four decades, and about 27,000 buildings may need to be floodproofed, elevated or bought out, including about 10,000 in communities around New Orleans.
Season two of the cold case series Killing Fields debuted last night on the Discovery Channel. Iberville Parish Sheriff Brett Stassi says the TV show will highlight to work of his deputies who helped solve a 1991 cold case murder and another case that made headlines last spring
The show airs at 9 PM Tuesday nights.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees is partnering with Dunkin Donuts franchisee Vik Patel to develop nearly 70 more donut shops in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Shreveport and Monroe. The first new store is expected to open this year. Five stores are currently open in Louisiana. Brees is also involved in the Jimmy John’s Franchise and co-owns Walk-On’s Enterprises.
News for Tuesday 010317
By Dave Graichen
Yesterday’s forecast called for a good chance of thunderstorms. But, no one expected the storms that rolled through Cenla yesterday around lunch time.. Heavy rain and strong winds caused widespread damage. The worst of which was to the south and east of Alexandria / Pineville. In Avoyelles parish residents say they believe it was a tornado that tore through their neighborhoods. In the town of Cheneyville there were reports of heavy damage as well. Power was knocked out to many residents. Cleco says they hope to have most restored today.
A report released yesterday by the state legislative Auditor’s office was critical of reporting required by the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s office for certain types of crime. The report pointed out two cases of theft within the department, one of which was reported to the Parish DA’s office. The other was resolved internally. A release on Monday from the RPSO said all monies in both incidents had been recovered.
The 10 story downtown Capital One Building has been sold for $1.425 million to a Hammond developer Darryl Smith. According to Rod Noles, who’s company helped to broker the deal to sell the property, Smith who intends to keep the building's current tenants and do significant renovations. The building, a downtown landmark, was built in the last months of World War One, back in 1919.
Information is still forth coming, but the APD reported yesterday morning that the 16 year old parents of a 1-month-old child have been charged in her death. Authorities arrested the, so far unidentified couple, after the little girl died at the hospital early Monday morning. After their arrests, both were put into juvenile detention and charged with second-degree murder. No other information is available at this time.
Vernon Parish authorities are reporting a man who allegedly fatally shot his aunt and another man on New Year's Day in Anacoco, was later was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The two were identified as 48-year-old Norma Ross of Anacoco and 30-year-old Calvin Stubbs of Leesville. Witnesses told deputies that Ross' nephew, 36-year-old Derrick Ross, had shot the pair.
A federal lawsuit claims sheriff's deputies shot and killed a 27-year-old man in his southwest Louisiana home after investigators improperly obtained a warrant to search his residence for drugs. The Dec. 26 lawsuit accuses a Beauregard Parish Sheriff's Office detective of relying on false and uncorroborated statements from an informant and an anonymous caller to get a "no-knock" warrant to search Eric Senegal's home. Deputies told State Police investigators that they fatally shot Senegal after he pointed a .45-caliber pistol at a SWAT team member who raided his Ragley home in January of last year. A third deputy said he shot and killed Senegal's pit bull after the dog attacked them. No drugs were found, however Senegal had drugs in his system at the time of his death.
Today in Washington D.C, John Kennedy will be sworn into the 115th Congress of the United States as Louisiana’s newest Senator. The former state treasurer says he intends to hit the ground running. Kennedy says says one of the biggest things he’s going to try to do for Louisianians is get flood relief here quickly.
The Smoking Cessation Trust is offering tips to help smokers quit for the New Year. CEO Mike Rogers says this is a great resolution for people to push for. He says most people who try to quit cold turkey are unsuccessful but they have a great program to help. Visit smokefreela.org for more info on the program.
2016 was certainly an unusual year for Louisiana politics, so what can we expect in 2017? Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat says next year will be all about the budget. He says we can look forward to another contentious battle over revenue versus spending. He says like last year, we are entering the New Year with a massive budget shortfall.
Saints Coach Sean Payton refused to address rumors on Monday that he could be coaching elsewhere in 2017. He said it would be silly to add fuel to those reports. Quarterback Drew Brees has said that reports of Payton leaving have been completely made up and said it comes with the territory when you don’t make the playoffs. Brees is coming off another great season. The 37-year-old signed a one-year contract extension prior to the start of 2016 season…
News for Monday 010217
By Dave Graichen
An Alexandria man, 25-year-old Keaton Spurlin, Has been charged with vehicular homicide and driving under the influence, after an accident on Wednesday of last Wednesday killed a 18 month old child. Spurlin was booked him into the Rapides Parish Detention Center Friday on the charge. He’s been released on bond.
Governor John Bel Edwards has named State Rep. Jack Montoucet of Crowley as the secretary of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. The governor’s office says Montoucet will take office in mid-January. Former secretary Charles Melancon stepped down after an audit showed problems with his predecessor.
At least 90 homes out of the water tested at 400 residences in the town of St. Joseph were found positive for levels of lead not safe for consumption. State Health Officer Dr. Jimmy Guidry says in many cases, it was found the lead was coming from pipes inside of the home. He says they’re offering more tests to ensure there aren’t other sources of lead in the home that kids could be exposed to.
The state Department of Environmental Quality is urging Louisianans to recycle after the holidays. Jean Kelly with DEQ says more waste is produced in December than any other month. She says almost everything is recyclable in some way.
A Baton Rouge man is facing two counts of first degree murder from a 2015 cold case. Sgt. L’Jean McKneely with Baton Rouge police says it’s believed 26-year-old Johnathan Robertson was also involved in a number of other crimes. McKneely encourages anyone who might be a potential victim to contact police.
A Rayville man is facing one count of negligent homicide after he allegedly shot and killed his cousin when being careless with a gun. They say 34 year old Bryant Silk is accused of pointing the weapon at the victim as a joke when the two were smoking weed and drinking. This is apparently when the gun went off by accident. Bond was set at $25,000 for Silk.
Many people set new fitness resolutions for the New Year, but how do you make sure to keep up with them? Director of the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness Rudy Macklin says it’s always a good idea to get a workout partner. Macklin says a good way to become more active is to do more physical things around the home, like mowing the grass. He says starting a diet or workout regimen with another person helps to keep up the motivation. Macklin advises people who are older or haven’t been active in a while to start out slow.
The New Orleans murder rate climbed last year to 176. That's the highest count since 2012 when 193 people were slain in the city. Murders last year included domestic violence incidents, drug turf wars and high profile cases such as the Nov. 27 mass shooting on Bourbon Street. Chicago led the country in murders in 2016 with 762 homicides. That's more killings than New York and Los Angeles combined.
A newly formed Shreveport environmental activist group has made plans to travel to Baton Rouge to protest an incoming pipeline that many worry would hurt the environment.
The $670 million pipeline project would carry an estimated 280,000 barrels of oil through 11 southern Louisiana parishes. It's backed by Energy Transfer Partners, Inc., the same company behind the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota.
A disease research company will set up a pharmaceutical research and development facility at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s New Iberia Research Center. Gov. John Bel Edwards and Crown Bioscience Inc. CEO Jean-Pierre Wery announced the project. Wery said the project will enable Crown Bioscience to advance treatments for cardiovascular and metabolic disease research. The company will make a $1 million investment and create 10 jobs with an average salary of $70,000.
Baton Rouge Mayor-President-Elect Sharon Weston Broome said she’s started searching for replacements for two top jobs in her administration. Broome said she’s reached out to national organizations to help recruit candidates to fill the roles of Police Chief Carl Dabadie and Chief Administrative Officer William Daniel. She also said that all city-parish department heads were to take on the “interim” title as she tries to fill her administration with people of her choosing.
Broome said she has started soliciting feedback from national groups though no search committees have been formed yet.
The Allstate Sugar Bowl kicks off tonight in the Mercedes Benz Superdome at 7:30 as the Auburn Tigers take on the Oklahoma Sooners. Chief Operating Officer for the bowl, Jeff Hundley, says originally there were some struggles selling tickets but he still expects a big crowd to be in attendance.
Now that the Saints season is over and they’ve once again failed to make the playoffs for a third straight year, can we expect to see many changes in the off season? NFL Analyst Mike Detillier says he doesn’t see many things that need shaking up on the offense. Detililer says what the Saints really need to do in this off season is go out and find a top pass rusher. He also says there has got to be a new special teams coach.
News for Thursday 122216
By Dave Graichen
Next year State Police will begin equipping 700 troopers with a body camera. State Police Colonel Mike Edmonson says each trooper will be equipped with two cameras, and they will automatically turn on if a trooper activates a stun gun. Edmonson hopes these new cameras will improve transparency between police and citizens. Troopers in New Orleans will be the first to get the body cameras and they hope to have them statewide by next summer.
Gov. John Bel Edwards and Venture Global LNG announced Wednesday the company will invest $8.5 billion to develop a natural gas liquefaction facility and export terminal in Plaquemines Parish. They say Plaquemines LNG will create 250 new direct jobs at an average annual salary of $70,000 per year, plus benefits. Full operations are expected to begin in 2022
With Christmas this weekend, there are still thousands of flood victims that are still not in their homes, and Governor John Bel Edwards says they are doing what they can to get them back home as quickly as possible. Congress approved $438 million for flood recovery in September, and an additional $1.2 billion was allocated in December. Edwards says the biggest challenge with getting federal funds into the hands of those that need it, is all the federal red tape. But he says hopefully the wait is almost over for displaced flood victims. Edwards says thanks to the Shelter At Home program, more than 10-thousand families were able to move back into their homes while repairs continue. He says only 400 homes in the program are left to be repaired.
There’s a new report that shows women earn on average 76-percent of the salary men make in Louisiana. Tulane Business Professor Mark Rosa says business owners agree with the concept of equal pay for equal work, but it’s hard to make it a reality when job duties are different. The statistics show women in Louisiana had a median weekly income of $630 to $828 for men.
Louisiana’s population has grown very little, according to the latest census data. Demographer Greg Rigamer says the nation as a whole changed more than 4-percent from 2010 to 2016, while the southern region changed about 6.5-percent. He says Louisiana saw a 3-percent change over the same period. Rigamer says in 2010, Louisiana ranked 25th in the nation for population, and we still rank 25th today. He says job loss could be pushing some working people out of the state. He says while Louisiana saw a small growth, Mississippi’s population decreased slightly.
Some Entergy customers will see a refund on their January bill. The refund is a result of an agreement approved by state regulators regarding a dispute over 140-million dollars in repairs to the Waterford 3 nuclear power plant. The typical refund will be worth about 40-dollars and there will be a small reduction in monthly rates going forward.
Governor John Bel Edwards met with reporters yesterday outlined his goals for 2017. Edwards says addressing long-term structural budget reform, so that Louisiana has a fair and predictable tax structure is a priority. Edwards says his administration also plans on tackling criminal justice reform. The Governor called 2016 a challenging year. Edwards says he entered office and immediately addressed an unprecedented budget deficit by making cuts and raising revenues through tax increases. He say the most difficult day was July 17th, that’s when three police officers were killed in Baton Rouge.
Louisiana wildlife and fisheries secretary Charlie Melancon tells the Associated Press that he’s resigning immediately, because people in the office are making it difficult for him to implement reforms to improve the department’s finances. After clashing with recreational fishermen and employees with L-D-W-F, it was announced that Melancon would leave in February, but he’s decided to step down now.
State wildlife biologists have determined that a picture of an animal taken in Morehouse Parish is that of a cougar. It’s the first time the state has been able to verify a cougar sighting since 2011. Maria Davidson says cougars are known to travel hundreds of miles, so it’s likely the animal is no longer in Louisiana, but they encourage the public to report any physical evidence of cougar sightings.
A Mississippi man has been charged with arson for starting a fire that caused damage to the ULM waterski house. Campus surveillance captured video footage and authorities have determined that 36-year-old Michael Daquilla of Centerville allegedly set fire to the building. Daquilla has no known connections to ULM.
LSU wide receiver Malachi Dupre says he remains undecided on whether he’ll enter the NFL draft after the bowl game. Dupre was expected to have a big junior season, but he started off slow. The former John Curtis star finished the regular season with 34 catches and three touchdown receptions. He says he’s not leaning one way or the other on what he might do…
LSU defensive tackle Davon Godchaux is another Tiger that has yet to decide on whether he’ll stay or go.
As of right now, there is not one Saints player who will play in the NFL pro bowl. Quarterback Drew Brees and defensive end Cam Jordan still might get an invite, depending on injuries and which two teams will play in the Super Bowl.
According to an audit, the ULM football team broke the law and the UL system policy when it played at Hawaii last season. That’s according to a report from the Monroe News Star. University officials says they though the school met state and system guidelines
News for Wednesday 122116
By Dave Graichen
Winter Solstice officially began at 4:44 this morning, according to State climatologist Barry Keim. He says we’ve been experiencing some cold temperatures this week, but the Climate Prediction Center is calling for warmer and drier than normal conditions for the next three months. Keim says the chance of having a white Christmas in Louisiana this year is basically nil, since temps are predicted to be in the 70’s Christmas day.
State department are making cuts to their respective agencies this week, as $277 million has been carved from the state budget. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne says these cuts are being made by not hiring new people to fill vacant positions. Dardenne says we’ll get the full budget picture when the Revenue Estimating Conference meets again in January.
The state’s revenues will likely get a boost with the news that Amazon will begin collecting state and local sales taxes on purchases made by Louisiana consumers, starting January 1st. State Revenue Secretary Kimberly Robinson hopes other online retailers follow Amazon’s new policy. It’s a state law that taxes must be paid on internet purchases, but it’s up to the consumer to self-report.
Governor John Bel Edwards met with Senator-elect John Kennedy, along with Congressmen-elect Mike Johnson and Clay Higgins to discuss flood recovery efforts. Edwards says he’s asked the entire Louisiana Congressional delegation to press the Housing and Urban Development department to publish guidelines on how the second round of federal dollars can be used by the state.
Governor John Bel Edwards is set to meet with reporters today to look back at the challenges and successes Louisiana has seen during 2016. Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat says Edwards inherited an historic budget deficit when he took office on January 11th, which took up most of his time during the first half of the year. Pinsonat says Edwards had some victories in his first year, like getting federal funding for flood victims and raising over 1.5 billion dollars in revenues during two special sessions. A survey last month found that 64-percent approve of the governor’s job performance.
The ACLU of Louisiana has sent a letter to the Grant Parish Police Jury because a Christmas display outside of the courthouse only includes a Nativity scene. The Nativity scene is on display in front of the courthouse "without including other holiday symbols," reads the letter. The letter does not call for the display's removal, but the inclusion of other faiths.
The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit on behalf of three panhandlers in Slidell, over an ordinance that requires them to get a permit in order to beg for money on city streets. Louisiana ACLU executive director Marjorie Esman says the city of Slidell’s requirement violates the panhandlers First Amendment Rights. Slidell has yet to enforce the ordinance, which was passed in October. A spokesperson says they are waiting for the newly elected police chief and mayor to decide how to proceed.
The assistant warden at the Angola State penitentiary has been arrested for rape. 34-year-old Barrett Boeker reportedly faces one count of second degree rape for an alleged incident that occurred on November 30 at his home behind the gates of the prison. Boeker turned himself in shortly after the warrant was issued Tuesday.
Baton Rouge has received funding to start plans for a commuter train between the Capitol City and New Orleans. John Spain with the Southern Rail Commission says the city received quarter of a million dollars to start planning for a new train station in downtown Baton Rouge, and the city has agreed to match the federal investment. Spain says this commuter rail would hopefully be part of a larger route that stretches from Baton Rouge to Orlando, Florida. He says a passenger train used to run that route, but parts of it were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.
A Walker man has been charged with attempted second-degree murder following a road rage incident. Walker Police Capt. John Sharp says 31-year-old Bradley Deville fired a 9mm pistol into the side of 35-year-old Johnny Franz’ vehicle. Sharp says the incident began when Franz tailgated Deville and the two began arguing at an intersection.
CNN will again celebrate New Year’s Eve in New Orleans. The Times-Picayune reported that Don Lemon and Brooke Baldwin will host a Central Time Zone countdown to the new year in the Crescent City. CNN’s New Year’s coverage begins at 7 p.m. on Dec. 31 with “New Year’s Eve Live with Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin” in New York’s Time Square. They will hand off to Lemon and Baldwin from New Orleans at 11:30 p.m.
During a Q-and-A session on twitter, LSU’s Brandon Harris said he plans to be back with the Tigers in 2017. The backup QB seems to be excited about new offensive coordinator Matt Canada.
A couple of other LSU notes, wide receiver Malachi Dupre says he’s not made a decision on whether he’ll turn pro following the Citrus Bowl. It’s been learned linebacker Kendell Beckwith suffered a torn ACL when he left the Florida game with an injury. Beckwith will not participate in the Senior Bowl.
In college baseball…Collegiate Baseball ranks LSU number two in the country. Three other Louisiana schools are ranked in the Top 40, the Cajuns are ranked 14th, Tulane is 34th and Southeastern Louisiana is ranked 36th.
The Saints have placed linebacker Stephone Anthony on injured reserve. The 2015 first-round pick has been slowed by a knee injury and a move to strong side linebacker has not worked out well for him or the Saints. Anthony finishes the season with just 16 tackles.
News for Tuesday 122016
By Dave Graichen
The APD reports an Alexandria man was robbed Saturday afternoon while walking down the street. While that in itself is not so unusual, the fact that as many as nine kids worked together to commit the crime is. The victim told officers that he was walking down the road when as many as nine juveniles surrounded him and went through his pockets, looking for stuff to steal. So far, police have made two arrests in connection with the incident.
A sad story out of Pineville, A family of three lost their home and everything in it to a fire Monday afternoon. A neighbor spotted the fire before 3 p.m. and alerted the woman, who was home alone while her husband was at work and their daughter was at school. Three engines from the Pineville Fire Department were at the scene around 3 p.m. but the house was a total loss. It’s believed the blaze started in the attic of the home.
Not surprisingly, all 8 of Louisiana’s electors cast their votes for President-elect Donald Trump. Chairman of the Republican Party in Louisiana, Roger Villere, says they were not expecting any surprises, and they got what they expected. Villere says several electors received tens of thousands of emails, letters, and phone calls asking them not to vote for Trump. Mr. Trump got 301 electoral votes. Villere says although electors sign an affidavit when they are selected saying they will vote for the nominee, they would not have faced consequences had they voted against Mr. Trump.
Governor John Bel Edwards has said tax reform will be a major item on his 2017 legislative agenda. Louisiana Department of Revenue Secretary, Kimberly Lewis Robinson, sat on a state Tax Task Force that has provided recommendations to provide a fair, simple and stable tax code. She says to simplify the system, they recommend the elimination of some tax exemptions and deductions. Robinson says in order to be competitive, Louisiana needs a 4-percent sales tax, rather than a 5-percent rate, which lawmakers approved earlier this year. She says currently the largest percentage of the budget comes from sales tax collections, which isn’t fair to consumers or businesses.
Governor John Bel Edwards was in Tensas Parish yesterday visiting with residents of St. Joseph after a public health emergency was issued after lead and copper was found during testing of the towns drinking water. Julie Baxter Payer, with the governor’s office, says
construction has started on repairing the town’s drinking neglected water delivery system.
Thirteen parishes in north and central Louisiana have been declared a natural disaster area by the US Department of Agriculture because of drought conditions during 2016. Ag Commissioner Mike Strain says crops were damaged because of the drought, and this declaration could help farmers recover. Strain says these farmers have 8 months from the date of the declaration to apply for assistance.
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu announces that the city has reached settlements totaling 13-million dollars with the families of those involved in fatal police shootings and a fatal police beating that took place right around the time of Hurricane Katrina. The settlements are with 17 plaintiffs.
Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office announces the arrest of three people involved in armed robbery, kidnapping, and rape. Chief Deputy Mike Haley says a woman in her early 50s and her husband were targeted for the heinous crime because of their large gun collection.
More than $2 million in federal funds will go to 11 communities in three southern states to restore and improve passenger rail service. The Southern Rail Commission announced on Monday that the Federal Railroad Administration funding for the communities in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. The cities of Baton Rouge and Gonzales, as well as St. John Parish, will benefit.
The communities will get money for station-area planning and construction projects to improve safety, access and convenience.
NFL analyst Mike Detillier believes Sean Payton will be the head coach of the Saints in 2017, despite a report that said the New Orleans franchise is interested in trading the Super Bowl winning head coach. Two teams already have vacancies and Detillier says the opening in Los Angeles might intrigue Payton, but not enough to force a trade. Many Saints fans are getting frustrating with the team as they are headed for the their third consecutive losing season and might like a change at the top. But Detillier says be careful for what you root for
News for Monday 121916
By Dave Graichen
With budget shortfalls still looming, higher education leaders are looking at more potential changes to the TOPS scholarship program. Higher Ed Commissioner Joe Rallo says one option being discussed is raising the hourly requirement for the scholarship from 24 credits per year to 30. He says the idea is to encourage students to graduate more quickly, as TOPS only covers 8 semesters. Rallo says this is just one of several changes they’re considering to stabilize the program. Lawmakers are hopeful they can find the necessary $89 million to fully fund the program next year, but Rallo says changes will likely come to TOPS whether or not it’s fully funded.
There’s talk around the Capitol about the potential for another special session to address a looming $300 million budget shortfall for this fiscal year. That’s according to La-politics-dot-com, who heard that from a source within the Edwards administration. The Revenue Estimating Committee meets again in January, so lawmakers will have a better idea of how much money is available.
Today, Louisiana’s 8 electors will cast their votes for President-elect Donald Trump. Scott Wilfong is one of those electors. Wilfong says each elector will cast his or her ballot in their respective state capitals today. He says the votes will then be sent to Washington, where the new Congress will read them when they convene in January. Wilfong says he and other electors have received hundreds of phone calls, emails, and letters asking them not to vote for Mr. Trump. But he says it would be a disservice to the people of Louisiana to go against their votes. However, he does expect some electors will be swayed.
David Vitter has just two weeks left in office as a U.S Senator. Vitter says representing and serving the people of Louisiana has been the greatest honor of his professional life. He says he’s most proud of his work in the post-Katrina recovery, as Hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit the coast just months after Vitter was sworn in as a Senator. Vitter served as Louisiana’s 1st Congressional District Representative from 1999 to 2004 and as a US Senator since 2005. Prior to that, Vitter served in Louisiana’s House of Representatives from 1992 to 1999.
Louisiana is no longer the least healthy state in the country, according to the United Health Foundation. State Health Secretary Dr. Rebekah Gee says this is great news, but unfortunately Louisiana still ranks 49th in the nation for overall health. She says the state has high rates of low birth weight, infant mortality, and obesity. Mississippi was the only state found to be less healthy than Louisiana.
Governor John Bel Edwards has issued a public health emergency in St. Joseph after testing found levels of lead and copper in the public water system that has been poorly maintained for years. Bottled water has been sent into the Tensas Parish town as health officials are advising residents to use an alternative source of water to drink, brush their teeth and food preparation.
Louisiana Willdlife and Fisheries Secretary Charlie Melancon tells the Associated Press he’s been forced out from his Cabinet Position. Melancon says he’s not been given a reason why, but he’s had public disagreements with recreational fishermen and has been criticized for his handling of agency changes that have been recommended by state auditors. A spokesperson for the governor says there’s been unnecessary public battles as the agency tries to reform.
Fewer Louisianans are smoking cigarettes, according to the United Health Foundation. The report found 22-percent of Louisiana residents are smokers, compared to 24-percent in 2015. CEO of the Smoking Cessation Trust, Mike Rogers, credits legislation that bans smoking in bars and casinos, like one that was passed in New Orleans last year. Louisiana now ranks 43rd in the country for the rate of smokers, up from 46th last year.
LSU’s Leonard Fournette has decided not to play in the Citrus Bowl, so he can give his injured ankle more time to heal and allow his body to get ready for the NFL draft. Tigers Coach Ed Orgeron supports the decision, but he’ll miss the dynamic running back.
News for Friday 121616
By Dave Graichen
Doctors thought at first he would live the rest of his life in a vegetative state. But, that’s apparently not the case. East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s deputy Nick Tullier (too yay) is making very good progress. That’s what doctors say at a Houston hospital where the wounded deputy continues to recover after getting shot last July during an ambush that killed three others. Doctor Katherine O’ Brien. And they say he can communicate nonverbally and move some parts of his body.
Now this is something you don’t hear every day, A Louisiana State trooper has been arrested and is facing charges after he allegedly entered a Bayou Crossing Drive house on Thursday morning. APD officers were sent to the home after a call claiming a burglar entered the home. The report says when The Burglar was confronted, he left the scene. 43-year-old Jeffrey Covington of Alexandria was charged with aggravated burglary and malfeasance in office.
55 year old Mitchell Casmere, the man who shot a downtown Alexandria Regions Bank employee while robbing the branch back in July pleaded guilty yesterday. Casmere was sentenced to a total of 30 years at hard labor. He originally faced an attempted first-degree murder charge, but it was amended to the battery charge when he agreed to plead guilty.
The House and Senate joint budget committee approved a plan Thursday that will result in a 12-million dollar cut in state funding for public colleges. The cut to higher education was needed to address a 313-million dollar deficit. But Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne warned more cuts are coming, because another 300-million dollar shortfall could be recognized next month.
Three Louisiana cities rank as some of the highest in the US for losing the most jobs. According to 24/7 Wall St, the Lafayette area topped the list having accounted for 9400 losses in the past year. Houma/Thibodaux ranked third highest with an area employment decline of 3.7%, and Shreveport-Bossier came in at No. 4 with a loss of 4200 jobs. LSU Economist Dr. Loren Scott. says the rig count in northwest Louisiana’s Haynesville Shale area has gone from about 140 to around 16, and in the Gulf of Mexico there used to be about 56 rigs online and that’s now down in the teens. He says their forecast shows the job losses in these three areas continuing into 2017, but at a slower rate.
FBI agents raided the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Hammond Police Department. An agency spokesperson says they are carrying out court ordered actions. The investigation reportedly stems from possible mishandling of evidence by a drug task force. The FBI has indicated this is a large scale investigation and there will be more raids.
Louisiana has one of the biggest wage gaps between its richest and poorest residents, according to a report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Director of the Louisiana Budget Project, Jan Moeller isn’t surprised because he says Louisiana has the fourth highest rate of income inequality in the country. Moeller says this large wage gap is a reason why Louisiana’s economy has trouble growing.
According to a report from Bankrate.com, Louisiana is the fourth worst state for drivers. The report says the high number of auto fatalities and longer than average commute times contributed to Louisiana’s ranking. New Mexico, Nevada, Wyoming, and California round out the bottom five states.
U.S. Representative Ralph Abraham’s Office has begun handing out their tickets to President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration and they are a hot commodity. Spokesperson Cole Avery says they had a link on the Congressman’s website for people to request tickets, but they had to take it down because requests were flooding in. He says there were about 300 ticket requests, and they only have about 185 to give away.
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu met with President-elect Donald Trump yesterday in New York. The mayor was invited under his title as vice president of the United States Conference of Mayors. The two were scheduled to discuss public safety and infrastructure.
Tiny beetles resembling ladybugs are swarming homes around Louisiana more than usual this year. Dr. Chris Carlton with LSU’s Entomology Department says it’s the Asian Lady Beetle and it’s not the typical ladybug we normally see, but it’s in the same family. He says while they have been known to bite people, they aren’t really aggressive.
LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center receives a 5.3 million dollar grant to study why some people benefit more or less from exercise. Associate executive director of clinical research and study investigator Dr. Eric Ravussin says everyone knows exercise improves health, but they hope to determine which activity is the most effective on certain people and why. Pennington is one of six clinical centers around the country that will recruit healthy, inactive adults to participate in this exercise study. Ravussin says they hope their efforts will help people reap the maximum benefits from physical activity.
Looks like LSU has locked up a quarterback. Myles Brennan, the 4 star QB out of Mississippi, reaffirmed his commitment to the Tigers hours after meeting with new offensive coordinator Matt Canada. Brennan threw for 3,982 yards and 48 touchdowns this season in high school.
News for Thursday 121516
By Dave Graichen
The APD yesterday arrested 54 year old Daniel Mikkelson and 35 year old Natarsha Meredith in connection with the stabbing death of an Eastwood Blvd resident. Police entered the home to find a body that had been stabbed multiple times. Both Mikkelson and Meredith were booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center on charges of armed robbery and first-degree murder. The name of the victim still has not been released by police.
If you plan on mailing a gift this Christmas, you’re running out of time to ship it. New Orleans Postmaster Matt Connelly says today is the deadline for ground mailing through the US Postal Service. He says other deadlines are also approaching. Connelly says today will be the busiest mailing day, and the busiest delivery day will be December 22.
Governor John Bel Edwards’ executive order preventing LGBT discrimination in state government and businesses who have contracts with the state has been overturned. Attorney General Jeff Landry says he applauds Judge Todd Hernandez’ ruling. He says at the end of the day, this case was about the governor trying to create his own law. Edwards says he plans on appealing the ruling. Sean Sullivan with Forum for Equality Foundation says this ruling is another setback for the LGBT community in Louisiana.
LSU System President F King Alexander is not painting a rosy picture of the school’s future with the potential for more budget cuts to be handed down. Alexander says enrollment is down 3.5 percent for the next semester compared to the previous spring. Alexander says the University of Alabama is in the process of hiring 300 new teachers, while LSU has lost over 500 in the past nine years. Alexander says at some point the state needs to invest in the next generation of students.
LSU made it official today by naming Matt Canada as the Tigers new offensive coordinator. Tiger Rag Associate Editor James Moran believes it’s a good hire and it gives LSU two young and talented coordinators, Canada and defensive coordinator Dave Aranda.
Former US Representative Charlie Melancon has resigned as the state’s wildlife and fisheries secretary. Governor John Bel Edwards issued a statement saying it’s time to take the department in a different direction.
FEMA announces any flood victims awaiting a manufactured housing unit will receive one by January 31st. Deputy Federal Coordinating Officer for FEMA Tito Hernandez says 25-hundred families are currently eligible to live in a mobile home. Currently on average, FEMA is installing 30 trailers each day. Hernandez says a lot of work goes into installing a FEMA home, which is considered a last resort when it comes to temporary housing. He says even given the criticism, they are pleased with their performance.
Lake Charles Police have made an arrest in a homicide that took place in 1987. Lt. Richard Harrell says they re-opened the cold case last spring and put together enough evidence to charge 59-year-old Harry James Richard with armed robbery and first degree murder in the death of 75-year-old Noah Breaux. Harrell says more evidence and witness testimony has since come out, and Breaux’s body was exhumed in August.
The National Cattleman’s Beef Association says consumers could see lower beef prices because of an increase in production. CEO of Cattle Producers of Louisiana, Dave Foster, says the increase in U.S. beef production is due to packagers offering feeders more money for their cattle, which helped the struggling market rebound. The US Department of Agriculture found that November 2016 was the largest beef production month since 2010.
Shreveport police say a 71-year-old shop owner shot an individual who attempted to rob him and his business. Corporal Marcus Hines says the suspect, 36-year-old Michael Kelly, was shot three times. Kelly faces a laundry list of charges, including armed robbery.
Gas prices continue their steady rise as we head into the holidays. The current statewide average is $2.06 up over 6 cents from this time last month.
News for Wednesday 121416
By Dave Graichen
The state’s income forecasting panel has decided to delay the state’s reduced budget outlook for this fiscal year. The income projections were expected to be dismal, and Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne says the delay is irresponsible. The latest estimates show the state is facing a shortfall of more than $600 million. Dardenne says the wait gives agencies less time to deal with inevitable cuts.
In response to Senator-elect John Kennedy’s comment that the governor hasn’t done enough to secure federal flood aid, Governor John Bel Edwards sent a letter to Kennedy, bringing him up to speed. The Governor’s Communications Director Richard Carbo says the first round of aid was approved with unprecedented speed, but they understand Kennedy is new to this.
Carbo says the letter outlined the efforts made by the administration, as well as the process by which federal funds are approved.
Authorities say careless play led to a Baton Rouge man punching his pre-schooler to death. Police say they booked 25-year-old Kristopher Carter into East Baton Rouge Parish prison on negligent homicide charges, amid allegations he caused the death of his 4-year-old son as the two were “play fighting.” Cops say a witness told them Carter was punching the child and encouraging him to punch back.
Public meetings are being held in flood impacted areas of the state to update flood victims on the ongoing recovery efforts. Office of Community Development Executive Director, Pat Forbes says the action plan for allocating the federal funds still has to go through the bureaucratic process. The first round of money will go to low income families who are not in a flood plain and don’t have flood insurance. A meeting was held last night in Lafayette, and more are scheduled in Rapides, Caddo, Ouachita, East Baton Rouge, and Ascension parishes.
Former Governor Edwin Edwards is in the hospital being treated for pneumonia. The 89-year-old frequently suffers from the illness and his wife Trina says hopefully they’ll be able to go home soon. Trina says her husband comes down with pneumonia every year around this time.
President-elect Donald Trump has chosen former-Texas Governor Rick Perry as the Secretary for the Department of Energy. So what does that mean for Louisiana’s oil and gas industry? Acting president of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association, Gifford Briggs, says this nomination and Trump’s other cabinet selections, including Scott Pruitt to run the EPA and Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson as future Secretary of State, give them hope for what the industry could be. He says at this point they are cautiously optimistic.
The mental healthcare reform bill by US Senator Bill Cassidy has been signed into law by the president. The 21st Century Cures Act seeks to give mentally ill individuals more access to treatment, as well as giving family members more access to their loved ones doctors. Cassidy says this new law marks the beginning of serious mental health reform and it will help millions of people affected by mental illness become whole.
Small business optimism has skyrocketed since the election of Donald Trump, according the National Federation of Independent Business’ monthly Index of Small Business Optimism. NFIB state director Dawn Starns says business owners said they are now excited about the future. The survey finds small businesses job creation plans have increased from 9-percent to 23-percent since October. Starns says business owners felt bogged down recently by government regulations.
Louisiana is home to three of the most sinful cities in the country, according to WalletHub. Baton Rouge came in at number 8 on the list, New Orleans is number 10, and Shreveport cracked the top 20. The report found that New Orleans came in second for excessive drinking, while Baton Rouge came in 12. Shreveport ranked 12th for violent crimes per capita, and Baton Rouge landed at number 14 on the list.
Republican U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany of Louisiana has dropped his defamation lawsuit over a book that alleges the he was a client of prostitutes who were later killed. Boustany sued the author and publisher of “Murder in the Bayou” in October, when he was in a tight Senate race competition. Boustany lost the race in November and ended his lawsuit this month. Boustany lawyer Jimmy Faircloth confirmed the lawsuit dismissal Tuesday.
A train collision just north of Hammond killed two people Tuesday afternoon. WWL-TV reports a southbound Amtrak train crashed into a vehicle at a railroad crossing in Natalbany, when both passengers in the vehicle were killed. There were reportedly 68 passengers on the train at the time of the crash, and WWL-TV reports they are all okay.
News for Tuesday 121316
By Dave Graichen
The State Police are investigating a single vehicle accident that claimed the life of a Montgomery woman yesterday morning. Troopers say that 61 year old Mona Litton lost control of her vehicle, left highway 71 and struck a tree. Litton was taken to Winn Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead
The Transportation Task Force will vote today on a recommendation that the budget for roads and bridges be increased by $700 million a year. DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson says the need in Louisiana is great, and in order to address that need, they need an annual infusion of dollars that’s indexed for the Transportation Trust Fund. Wilson says that money could come from toll roads, public-private partnerships, or an increase in the gas tax. He says the state’s 20-cent gas tax that was imposed 30 years ago is only worth half that today. The state still has a $13 billion backlog of road and bridge needs.
Yesterday Governor John Bel Edwards announces that Louisiana will receive nearly 26 million dollars in funding for the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program by FEMA for the devastating March floods. The money could be used to support state and parish projects to help prevent disasters in the future. The state will receive 3 million dollars and 23- million dollars will go to parishes that received a federal disaster deceleration.
Congressman Garret Graves spoke before the Baton Rouge Press Club to express his frustration with the flood recovery and what he hopes to accomplish with President- elect Trump. Graves says he’s been able to talk with President-elect Donald Trump along with vice president-elect Mike Pence about the timeline of FEMA assistance. He says both agreed that the efficiency of getting flood relief dollars to victims was absurd. Graves says the flood didn’t discriminate based on income level and neither should the disaster aid.
Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro says he plans to seek the maximum 60-year sentence for Cardell Hayes following his manslaughter conviction in the death of Will Smith, and attempted manslaughter for injuring Smith’s wife. Cannizzaro says this was the murder of a hero who was just trying to have fun in New Orleans. He says they believe Hayes should get the maximum 60 years.
The funeral of former NFL player and John Curtis Star Joe McKnight was yesterday in New Orleans. McKnight was gunned down in Jefferson Parish in an apparent road rage incident. Ronald Gasser is facing manslaughter charges in the incident.
The Louisiana Department of Health says they’ve been seeing an uptick in mumps cases around college campuses nationwide but more recently a large concentration in Arkansas. Dr. Frank Welch with LDH says Mississippi and Alabama have seen outbreaks, as well as, a fairly large one in Texas so it’s very concerning.
Mike Johnson, won the 4th Congressional District seat being vacated by Congressman John Fleming, said yesterday he believes the Republican wave moving across the nation means that God has given the country another chance. Johnson says he looks forwards to being part of the real reform the Trump Administration is going to bring.
In the 3rd District, Capt. Clay Higgins defeated Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle 56 to 44-percent. Higgins perhaps rode a wave of Donald Trump enthusiasm, as the man who has never held an elected office is heading to Washington to represent more than 760-thousand Louisianans. Higgins says his victory is proof that voters are tired of millionaire career politicians.
New Orleans Representative Helena Moreno has launched a nonprofit organization dedicated to advocating for women’s issues in Louisiana. Moreno says the Ignite Advocacy Network seeks to bring women together to raise awareness, advocate for positive policies, and ignite the network into action. Moreno says Louisiana ranks 49th for wage equality and 49th for women’s overall health, with more women dying of breast and cervical cancer in Louisiana than in many other states.
From the “It’s nice to see everyone working for the betterment of the state” department, the Executive Director of the Louisiana Republican Party told reporters yesterday, The republican victories in all of Louisiana’s federal runoffs proves Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards’ victory in last year’s gubernatorial race was a fluke. Dore says he fully expects the governor to be voted out office in the next election.
According to ESPN, Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin has agreed to become Florida Atlantic’s coach. Kiffin was being pursued by LSU to be offensive coordinator under head coach Ed Orgeron. It’s now reported that LSU’s top choice for OC is Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Matt Canada.
News for Monday 121216
By Dave Graichen
Cardell Hayes has been found guilty of manslaughter in shooting death of ex-Saints star Will Smith. An Orleans Parish jury found Cardell Hayes guilty of manslaughter on Sunday for pumping eight bullets into former New Orleans Saints defensive lineman Will Smith on a late April night. The jury of eight women and four men, deliberating for just short of six hours at the end of a blockbuster week-long trial, also found Hayes guilty of attempted manslaughter for a shot that tore through the legs of Smith's wife, Racquel, in a fracas on the street following a three-car collision.
Now that Republican State Treasurer John Kennedy has been elected as U.S. Senator, he plans to tackle some of Louisiana’s problems in Washington D.C. Kennedy says it’s time for a change and the first thing he will fight for is additional relief for our flood victims. Kennedy says he will fight to bring more jobs to Louisiana. He says we have the third highest unemployment rate in the country. The future U.S. Senator says our economy is in trouble and he’ll work to fix that.
Republican John Kennedy’s victory in the US Senate race gives the GOP a larger majority in the Senate. ULM political science professor Dr. Joshua Stockley says this is an important win for Republicans because it gives them a larger cushion to deal with issues as they arise in the Senate.
In his first bid for public office, Clay Higgins, known as the Cajun John Wayne, defeated political veteran Scott Angelle on Saturday night in the contest to become the 3rd district congressman. Higgins, who ran as a tough-talking outsider, soundly beat Angelle, who was the presumptive front-runner since entering the race, by about 7,000 ballots, or 12 percent of the total vote. He will replace six-term U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany, R-Lafayette, who chose to pursue, unsuccessfully, Louisiana’s open U.S. Senate seat.
In the 4th congressional district runoff, republican Mike Johnson cruised to an easy win over his democratic opponent Marshall Jones, by taking 65% of the vote.
By the way, the official Voter turnout for the Saturday runoff election was just shy of 28%.
FEMA has refused Governor John Bel Edwards’ request to lower the state’s share of disaster response cost for the March flooding that affected the central and northern part of Louisiana down to 10-percent. The state is required to pay 10-percent of the response from the August flooding and 25-percent from the March flooding. Officials with the Edwards’ administration believe the floods should be grouped together because of the destruction.
With the state facing another year of budget problems, Governor John Bel Edwards says it’s time to create a tax structure that’s fair and predictable and able to pay for state services. Lawmakers learned last week that the state has a budget deficit that’s grown to 600-million dollars. Earlier this year the legislature approved 1.5 billion dollars in tax increases to help fill a huge budget gap when Edwards walked into office. But Edwards says that wasn’t enough to prevent cuts to government services.
Two different polls show a majority of Louisiana residents agree with repealing the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. Pollster Ed Chervenak says in a telephone survey conducted by the University of New Orleans Survey Research Center, 66-percent of 776 people polled support the idea. Chervenak says the poll also found men are more interested in the complete repeal of the Affordable Care Act than women.
The number of international visitors has grown in Louisiana, but Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser, who oversees tourism in the state, doesn’t just want these travelers to visit New Orleans. Nungesser says there are direct flights into New Orleans from London, Germany, and Honduras, but he wants to see these tourists get out to the rest of the state. Louisiana saw a 36-percent increase in international tourism from 2014 to 2015, ranking second in the nation for overall growth.
Saints offense sputters for second straight game in crushing 16-11 loss at Tampa Bay. New Orleans now has just one touchdown in the past two weeks.
News for Friday 120916
By Dave Graichen
It’s a chilly day across the Bayou State. Tim Humphrey with the National Weather Service in Lake Charles says it won’t get much warmer as the day goes on. Humphrey says things will start to warm up again early next week, getting into the 50s and 60s around the state.
Tiz the season, as Christmas parades will roll all across Cenla this weekend. Tonight, it’s the Pineville Christmas parade. Starting at 7 the parade will roll up main street from the former Huey P. Long Medical Center and wrap up at the Trotter Center on Military Highway. In Ball it’s Saturday afternoon at 2 and in Glenmora at noon. The Alexandria Christmas Parade begins at 2 p.m. Sunday. The route begins at Metro drive traveling down Jackson street extension, and ends at Alexandria Senior High School. A bit of advice, Dress warm!
You’ve probably seen the video on Facebook and TV, a man stealing Christmas decorations from a home in Alexandria. Yesterday, 36-year-old Michael Cryer of Leesville was arrested and charged with lifting the decorations from three different homes late last month. Cryer was booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center. Police say some of the stolen property was recovered.
President-elect Donald Trump will be in Baton Rouge today to support Republican John Kennedy in the US Senate race. The visit comes after Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence endorsed the State Treasurer. Kennedy says he’s humbled by Mr. Trump’s visit.
Kennedy has been leading in the polls since the primary, but he says he’s not taking anything for granted. He hopes the visit from the President-elect will encourage voters to get out to the polls on Saturday.
Jurors heard important testimony from Kevin O’ Neal during the Will Smith shooting trial Thursday. O’ Neal is a long time friend of Cardell Hayes, who is charged with second-degree murder. O’Neal was in Hayes hummer during the car accident that sparked the shooting. O’Neal says at no time was Hayes the aggressor in the heated situation. O’ Neal also said that the last time he saw the former Saints player alive, his wife was trying to push him away from the dispute.
A low voter turnout is expected for Saturday and Secretary of State Tom Schedler says that’s why he will push the Louisiana legislature to do away with December federal elections. He says not only is turnout low, it’s also hard to find commissioners to work during the holidays.
Schedler says it would make more sense to have the primary in October and then a November run-off.
Out of the three federal races on Saturday’s ballot, it appears the third congressional district race is the most competitive. ULM Political Science Professor John Sutherlin says Republican Clay Higgins is riding a wave of anti-establishment politicians.
An Affordable Housing Expo will be held in Baton Rouge this weekend for flood victims. Mike Steele with GOHSEP says there are people at different stages of recovery, so there will be a variety of housing options on display. He says people can come see manufactured homes, trailers and pre-fab housing. The expo will be open today and tomorrow at Celtic Studios.
Governor John Bel Edwards talked about some of his priorities for 2017 during a speech at the Council for a Better Louisiana annual conference. Edwards says his big goal is to ensure the state uses money from the Transportation Trust Fund in the right places. The governor’s task force on transportation will likely support a higher gasoline tax in order to improve our highways and bridges.
Life expectancy has decreased in the US for the first time in more than 20 years, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. The report found that overall life expectancy dropped by one month from 2014 to 2015. Doctor Ben Springgate with LSU Health New Orleans says
life expectancy has increased in years past, because of medical advances. But he says health outcomes are declining because of people’s lifestyles.
News For Thursday 120816
By Dave Graichen
Strange story out of Avoyelles parish. An entire family from Bunkie has been arrested on bomb making charges. Avoyelles Sheriff Doug Anderson says they executed a warrant on 38-year-old Jenus Juneau, who was accused of stealing $12-thousand worth of household goods, guns, and jewelry on Sunday. Anderson says Juneau’s wife, Kristina, and their two 19-year-old children were also charged with manufacture and possession of a delayed action incendiary device. He says they’re still working to determine why this family was making pipe bombs.
The Town Talk Reports Rapides Parish school employees won't see a pay supplement this Christmas like they have the past four years. School Board members voted earlier in the week 6-3 not to pay stipends They also heard a report from the finance department detailing a roughly $800,000 shortfall faced due to loss of MFP funds from lower enrollment. The full story is in today’s Town Talk.
Cold temperatures are on the way to the Bayou State. That’s according to state climatologist Barry Keim, who says it’s time for Louisianans to break out the winter gear. High temperatures will only be in the 40s today with lows in the upper 20 here in Cenla tonight.
The US House Appropriations Committee has approved a continuing resolution that contains $1.2 billion in Community Development Block Grants for Louisiana flood relief. The Governor’s Communications director Richard Carbo adds that Congress should vote on the proposal by the end of the week, which will also contain dollars to fund other flood repair projects. Carbo says the state will still need federal assistance beyond this and we’ll go back to Washington DC again in April.
Former New Orleans Saints running back Pierre Thomas took the stand Wednesday in the murder trial of Will Smith. Thomas, who had dined with Smith earlier in the evening and later ended up at the scene of the incident, testified during direct examination that Cardell Hayes was the only person who ever had a gun and that he fired shots that killed Smith. The defense is arguing Smith was the aggressor. This comes a day after emotional testimony from Smith’s wife who insists her husband did nothing wrong.
WWL-TV in New Orleans is reporting that the body of slain NFL football player Joe McKnight has been retrieved from the funeral home for more forensic testing. Ronald Gasser has been charged with manslaughter in the shooting death of McKnight.
A landmark mental health reform bill co-authored by Republican U.S Senator Bill Cassidy is on its way to be signed into law by the President. Cassidy says this measure will expand access to resources for those who need treatment for mental illnesses. The Mental Health Reform Act of 2016 also strengthens suicide prevention. And he says the measure will provide more funding for the massive opioid crisis.
A report from American Builders and Contractors ranks Louisiana as the best business climate for construction. Vice President of Governmental Affairs with ABC of Louisiana, John Walters, says that’s due in large part to legislation state lawmakers have passed that benefits the construction industry. Another ABC report ranked Louisiana 8th for year-to-year changes in the construction unemployment rate. Walters says that’s because projects come and go in the Bayou State. But he’s optimistic that this new ranking will persuade more companies to build in Louisiana.
Bond was denied for one of the suspects in the Bourbon Street shooting that left one dead and nine other wounded. Prosecutors say the fight between Jordan Clay and Travon Manuel stemmed from a feud over a woman who is reportedly Clay’s ex-girlfriend and the mother of Manuel’s infant child. After the hearing, Manuel was remanded in custody without bail.
Donald Trump will be in Baton Rouge Friday to support Republican John Kennedy in the US Senate race. UL-Lafayette political science Professor Pearson Cross says the visit isn’t really necessary, as Kennedy has a double digit lead over Democrat Foster Campbell, but it’s a nice gesture. The event begins at noon in the Dow Chemical Hangar at the Baton Rouge Airport.
A Calcasieu Parish cat is missing after authorities say an escaped inmate stole a hearse with the feline inside. Police say 26-year-old Johnathan Alexander stole the hearse used by Pet Angels crematory when the trusty walked off a job. The hearse was found in range, Texas, and Alexander was apprehended in another stolen vehicle. The cat has yet to be found.
LSU releases the details of defensive coordinator Dave Aranda’s contract extension, which runs through 2020, includes a first-year salary of $1.8 million. Tiger Rag Editor Cody Worsham expects whoever is hired as offensive coordinator will receive a similar salary. Aranda is now the highest paid assistant in college football
News for Wednesday 120716
By Dave Graichen
At a budget hearing Tuesday morning at the State Capitol, Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne told lawmakers not only does the state have to address a $313 million deficit for this fiscal year, there’s another $300 million shortfall looming. He says that means state agencies will face more budget cuts. Dardenne says once again higher education and healthcare are on the chopping block.
Some LSU fans are gearing up to head to Orlando for the Citrus Bowl later this month, but so far ticket sales are lagging a bit. That’s according to LSU ticket manager, Brian Broussard, who says so far only about 4-thousand tickets have been sold. The Tigers will face Louisville in the bowl game on December 31. Broussard says they still have over 5-thousand tickets available through their ticket office and you can get a good seat at a good price.
There are reports that President-elect Donald Trump will be in Baton Rouge on Friday afternoon. Mr. Trump will apparently visit the Bayou State to show his support for Treasurer John Kennedy in the U.S. Senate race. Trump visited Baton Rouge earlier this year and over 10-thousand people came to the event at the Baton Rouge River Center.
The man who admitted to shooting former-NFL player Joe McKnight is now behind bars. 54-year-old Robert Gasser has been charged with manslaughter. Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand says they waited to make an arrest, so they can talk with more independent witnesses. Normand says there’s a chance the charge could be upgraded or downgraded based on further evidence.
Saints Quarterback Drew Brees and his wife were among some big names appearing yesterday in the trial of the man who is accused of murdering former New Orleans player Will Smith. Deuce McAllister was a teammate of Smith’s, he got emotional on the stand while talking about the death of his friend. Cardell Hayes faces life in prison if convicted of second degree murder. Defense lawyers assert Hayes acted in self-defense.
Republican U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy announced Tuesday a deal has been struck to steer $1.24 billion more in federal flood aid to Louisiana, about $1 billion less than what the delegation hoped would be secured in the lame-duck session of Congress. The House will likely vote on the measure Thursday followed by Senate action Friday.
Louisiana broke the state’s record for the number of foster children adoptions within a year. 735 children were adopted by 532 families between October of 2015 and September of 2016. Department of Children and Family Services Secretary Marketa Garner Walters says all of the children in state care have a history of either abuse or neglect with a big majority being under the age of five. She says while it’s exciting so many children found foster homes, many are still without a family. For information on adopting a foster child, visit the department of children and family services website.
With people getting ready to hit the road for holiday travels, AAA warns drivers to avoid drowsy driving. According to the AAA Foundation report, you double the chances of getting into a wreck if you only get 5 to 6 hours of sleep, and the risk increases by 11 if you get less than four hours of shut eye. Spokesperson Don Redman says nearly 21-percent of fatal crashes result in people falling asleep behind wheel, resulting in about 75-hundred fatalities nationwide a year.
Fort Polk has moved the first round of horses off their land because there are safety concerns about wild horses roaming the Vernon Parish army base. Fort Polk spokesperson Troy Darr says they sent 50 horses to the Humane Society of North Texas in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. He says they plan to rehome the remaining 650 horses in the same manner. Advocates have expressed concerns that the horses could be sent to kill buyers or unfit owners, and the groups have called on Fort Polk to let the horses stay on their land.
A Monroe woman is facing multiple charges after she was caught shoplifting with her children. Detective Chris Bates with Monroe Police says 33-year-old Shirley Mayes and her 9-year-old and 14-year-old were caught stealing from the Monroe Walmart. Bates says Mayes faces charges of misdemeanor shoplifting, criminal conspiracy, and three counts of contributing to child delinquency.
The Baton Rouge man accused of murdering and dismembering his parents in Tennessee over the Thanksgiving holiday did not waive extradition Tuesday, meaning he will not yet return to Knoxville. 28-year-old Joel Michael Guy Jr.’s lawyers say their client is not the person that Tennessee law enforcement officials want. Another hearing has been scheduled for December 16.
News for Tuesday 120616
By Dave Graichen
Congratulations are in order for the Six Rapides Parish educators who were honored Monday as one of the district's top teachers or principals. This year’s winners Emily Weeks, teacher at Julius Patrick Elementary in Alexandria. Sarah Butler, teacher at Caroline Dormon Junior High in Woodworth. Mary Lee Mattox, teacher at Tioga High School. Deidra Shores, Pineville Elementary principal. Dana Nolan, Pineville Junior High principal and Dewayne Vines, Buckeye High School principal. All Recipients of the Teacher and Principle of the year title are eligible to become nominees for the state title.
The numbers are in and they show only 171-thousand ballots were cast during the early voting period which ended last Saturday. John Couvillion, with JMC Analytics, says the early voting totals were impressive for the November election, but not so much this time for the runoff.
Polls are open this Saturday from 7 AM to 8 PM.
Tulane has published an online survey that found 59-percent of the respondents are supporting Republican John Kennedy in the U.S. Senate run-off. Democrat Foster Campbell, received 40-percent. Tulane political science professor Brian Brox says the survey also found that 31-percent of the residents who voted for Hillary Clinton in the Presidential election, will not vote for Campbell in this runoff.
In a new ad, Governor John Bel Edwards asks residents to vote for Democrat Foster Campbell in Saturday’s US Senate race. In the 30-second spot, Edwards says Campbell could be the deciding vote against substantial cuts to social security and Medicare. ULM political science Professor Dr. Joshua Stockley says as popular as the governor is, this ad likely won’t do much to help Campbell.
New Orleans will now be featured as part of the 2017 Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest. Local Representative for Dick Clark Productions Gary Solomon says this is the first time in the show’s history that there will be another countdown in the Central time zone. He says it’s a real game changer for the Crescent City… Solomon says Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin eve will cut to New Orleans throughout the five and a half hour nationally televised show.
The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office is investigating a drowning in Lake Charles that claimed the life of a 14-year-old boy. They say friends reported the teen slipped and fell into a canal and was swept through a culvert that was about 75 feet long. His body was later located several hundred feet away. The investigation is ongoing.
Senator David Vitter gave his farewell speech on the Senate floor Monday, as he will leave the office he’s held since January 2005. Vitter says as a Louisiana state legislator he worked to impose term limits here, as well as authoring the leading term limits measure for Congress. He says that’s why he’s imposing one on himself. The outgoing Senator thanked members of his team, his colleagues, and friends in Washington. But he says he owes the most to his wife, Wendy.
We can expect to see some Louisiana leaders working in the Trump Administration either in the cabinet or administrative positions, according to Public Service Commissioner Eric Skrmetta, who led the Trump campaign in Louisiana. He says federal lawmakers from this state are recommending Louisiana residents to the transition team.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has received 21 whooping cranes from Maryland in the last week, giving the Bayou State a total of 25 large birds that have been delivered to this state this year. LDWF Biologist Sara Zimorski says the Whooping Cranes will be spread out between two facilities. Zimorski says currently, there are released 38 birds in the wild and the new arrivals will be counted into the population in a few weeks. The whooping crane was considered extinct in Louisiana in 1950, but for the last six years the state has been working to restore a solid population of these large birds back into the state.
Officials with the Camping World Independence Bowl in Shreveport are excited about their December 26th contest that pits North Carolina State versus Vanderbilt. Bowl Spokesperson Stefan Nolet says the ACC and SEC matchup marks the second time in three seasons the two conferences have played each other in this bowl. Kick off for the Independence Bowl is at 4 p.m.
LSU running back Leonard Fournette announced Monday that he will enter the NFL draft after the Tiger’s Citrus Bowl game on December 31. The announcement came on twitter, where Fournette also stated that he does plan to play in the game against Louisville, despite an ankle injury. Fournette has 3,755 yards for his career, which is the fourth highest in LSU history. NFL Draft Analyst Mike Detillier believes LSU running back Leonard Fournette will be a top five pick in the 2017 NFL draft.
Louisiana Tech is heading to the Armed Forces Bowl to take on 25th ranked Navy on December 23. Athletic Director Tommy McClelland says they were offered the option to play Army in the Heart of Dallas Bowl or the top 25 team. He says they chose the game that would give players a new experience. McClelland expects between 500 and a thousand students will attend the game.
Officials with the R-and-L Carriers New Orleans Bowl are expecting a big crowd for its bowl game on December 17th in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. On that night, the Ragin Cajuns will face Southern Miss. Jay Cicero, C-E-O of the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation, says they expect 40-to-45-thousand fans for what should be a great game.
News for Monday 120516
By Dave Graichen
Despite nasty weather Saturday, Alexandria officials say they were very happy with this year’s turnout for Alex Winter Fete. The numbers haven’t been crunched yet, but attendance was very good for opening night Thursday and Friday night as well. However Saturday was a different story with heavy rain cancelling the remainder of the festival’s activities early in the day. To the north in Natchitoches, That city’s festival of lights was cancelled as well.
The Louisiana Department of Health reminds the public that December is the start of peak flu season. Dr. Frank Welch with LDH says we’re at a higher risk of catching the flu during the holiday season. Welch advises people to clean frequently used surfaces like door knobs when they have people in their homes. He says it’s not too late to get a flu shot, but keep in mind, the shot takes two weeks to take effect.
Two arrests have been made in the case of the Bourbon Street shooting that left one man dead and 9 others injured. NOPD Chief Michael Harrison says 20-year-olds Jordan Clay and Kavon Manuel of Lafayette have been charged with 2nd degree murder. He says a multi-agency investigation led to the suspects’ arrest. The suspects also face 9 counts of attempted murder.
The jury selection is expected to begin today in the trial of Cardell Hayes, the man accused of killing Former Saints defensive end Will Smith. A judge has determined that the jury will be sequestered for the entire trial. Legal Analyst Chick Foret says it will be hard for potential jurors to leave their families during the holiday season. Jurors will not have access to TV’s or telephones. But Foret says Judge Camille Buras has promised to move the case along quickly and trial testimony will be heard even on weekends.
The Edwards’ family is getting in the holiday spirit as they will spend their first Christmas in the Governor’s Mansion. The family was displaced during the August flooding but are now settling back into life in the mansion. First Lady Donna Edwards has been revamping the mansion since moving back into the home. The basement took on 7 feet of water during the August flood.
Governor John Bel Edwards announces FEMA and the National Flood Insurance Program have extended the deadline for submitting proof of loss for claims resulting from the August flood. Edwards filed for the claim extension last week. The extension means policy holders will have a total of 180 days after the loss to provide proof to providers.
A recent poll from Southern Media and Opinion Research finds Governor John Bel Edwards’ approval rating is at 63-percent. Pollster Bernie Pinsonat says that’s a big improvement over the governor’s approval rating earlier this year. A poll from Morning Consult found Edwards’ approval rating was only 45-percent in the spring, while a UNO poll showed 56-percent of respondents approved of his job performance in October. Pinsonat says Edwards’ response to all the floods, tornadoes, and other issues the state has seen this year may have helped boost his numbers.
Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand held a news conference Friday to update the case surrounding the death of former NFL player Joe McKnight during an apparent road rage incident. Multiple protests are taking place over the fact that the shooter, 54-year-old Ronald Gasser, was released claiming self-defense. According authorities, McKnight exited his car and was shot by Gasser as he approached the shooter’s passenger window. It says Gasser fired 3 rounds from a .40 caliber semiautomatic handgun from the driver’s seat of his car, and three hit McKnight. Normand said Gasser did not stand over McKnight as reports have stated and that there were 3 casings located inside the vehicle. He also says there was no video. Normand says Gasser admitted to shooting McKnight, but has not been charged pending the outcome of the investigation.
Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser extends the France-Louisiana Cooperation Accords for four more years. Nungesser says it’s a program that brings French teachers to teach the French history, culture, and language in Louisiana schools. The agreement extends the mutual agreement until 2020.
Three DOW Chemical plant employees who were being monitored after a chemical leak have been released, after a chlorine leak was reported Friday afternoon. Three employees were reportedly observed at the Plaquemine facility’s onsite health services center, and 16 others drove themselves to local hospitals. All non-essential employees were evacuated after the small chlorine leak reportedly happened when the plant lost power.
The Saints appear to be heading towards another losing season as New Orleans played poorly in a 28-13 loss to the Detroit Lions. The Black and Gold committed 10 penalties and Quarterback Drew Brees threw three interceptions.
The 20th ranked LSU Tigers will get a chance to spend the final week of 2016 in sunny Florida where they'll play 13th ranked Louisville in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl on December 31st. It will be an early start on New Year's eve day as the game will kickoff at 11 AM eastern, 10 AM central time.
News For Friday 120216
By Dave Graichen
The 2nd annual Alex Winter Fête is underway in Alexandria. The three day festival drew almost 30-thousand people in its inaugural year. Director of Community Services, Daniel Williams, says this year will be bigger and better than last year. Tonight, It's fireworks!
Early voting ends tomorrow and turnout has been lower than expected. Secretary of State Tom Schedler says we’re seeing about 22-thousand voters at the polls a day during this early voting week, down 10-thousand a day from the primary. For early voting the polls are open from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The football world is mourning the death of Joe McKnight, who was fatally shot in what authorities believe was a road rage incident in Jefferson Parish. McKnight was one of the top high school football players in the country coming out of John Curtis High School in 2006. McKnight played at USC and was drafted by the New York Jets and also played for the Kansas City Chiefs. Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand says the shooter turned his gun and himself into authorities.
Big news yesterday from Louisiana College. President Rick Brewer announced new academic programs coming to the school. The college plans to launch a Bachelor of Computer Science, Master of Science in Social Work and fully-online Master of Science in Nursing. The new programs still need the approval of SACS, the school’s accrediting body, but school officials expect the new offerings will available in the Fall of next year.
Medicaid enrollment has surpassed the 351,000 mark under the expansion of the program, according to the Louisiana Department of Health. Secretary Rebekah Gee says the Medicaid expansion should lead to better health outcomes for working citizens who were previously uninsured. Gee says they are still unclear with will happen with the expanded Medicaid program when President-elect Trump takes office.
A bill co-authored by US Senator Bill Cassidy that seeks to reform mental healthcare has passed the US House and could receive Senate approval next week. He says the bill should foster more mental health professionals, as well as create more outpatient treatment settings. Cassidy says this legislation is two years in the making, with the goal of making sure patients are not denied care.
Vice President-elect Mike Pence will be in New Orleans tomorrow hosting a get-out-the vote rally to spotlight the U.S. Senate race. Louisiana Republican Party Chairman Roger Villere says Pence will encourage voters to head to the polls on December 10th and cast their ballot for Republican Treasurer John Kennedy.
A new poll from Southern Media and Opinion Research finds Republican John Kennedy still has a strong lead over Democrat Foster Campbell in the US Senate race. Kennedy leads Campbell 52 to 38-percent just over a week before the December 10th runoff.
An extradition hearing yesterday to determine if a man from Baton Rouge will be returned to Tennessee to face charges for his parents’ murder will be rescheduled because the suspect was not ready to make a decision. 28 year old Joel Michael Guy Jr. is facing two counts of first degree murder for allegedly killing and dismembering his parents over the Thanksgiving holiday in Knoxville. The extradition hearing is slated to take place next week.
Bayou Country Superfest has announced the lineup for next year’s festival, which includes headliners Blake Shelton and his ex-wife Miranda Lambert. Other headliners include Thomas Rhett, Brooks & Dunn, Rascal Flatts, and Hank Williams Jr. The three day festival was moved to the Superdome because of renovations to Tiger Stadium. Tickets go on sale next week.
The Cajundome officially reopened last night with a brand new look, after a 22-million dollar renovation. Cajundome Director Greg Davis says the new improvements will help with getting big name acts.
Democratic Congressman Cedric Richmond, who represents New Orleans and parts of the Baton Rouge area, has been elected chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus. Richmond was just elected to a fourth term and he will take over for US Representative G-K Butterfield of North Carolina.
Houston has reportedly contacted former LSU Coach Les Miles about its coaching vacancy. There also reports that Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin is a candidate for that job.
News for Thursday 120116
By Dave Graichen
Governor John Bel Edwards is in Washington DC today to meet with congressional leaders to discuss more federal funding for Louisiana’s flood recovery. Edwards estimates it will take more than $3.7 billion for the state to recover from the two historic floods in March and August. So far, Louisiana has received $438 million in federal assistance.
The Alexandria City Council has accepted the donation of the Weiss & Goldring building Tuesday night. The building, which has been vacant since the early 90’s, was built around 1900 and is one of the few surviving buildings from that period still standing downtown. In a terrible state of disrepair, there is no doubt, the building was facing demolition. The hope is that the city can find a private developer willing to rehabilitate the building, or form a public-private partnership to reuse it.
It is hard to believe that today is the first day of December. It is also the first day of the 12 days of Christmas in Alexandria / Pineville and the first night of Alex Winter Fête. Alexandria Mayor Jacques M. Roy says this year Winter Fête will offers something for people of all ages. The festival begins at 5 p.m tonight. City officials say the event will go on Rain or Shine. Which shouldn’t be an issue Tonight or tomorrow.. However, the weekend may prove to be a different issue as rain is in the forecast.
A Florien teen died Tuesday afternoon after he hit a train at a marked crossing. Kevin Brown was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. The State Police report that Brown failed to yield to a northbound Kansas City Southern train.
OPEC members have made the decision to slow crude oil production by 1.2 million barrels a day starting next year. The announcement led to an eight-percent increase in oil prices as they were trading at around 50-dollars a barrel. Executive Director for LSU’s Center for Energy Studies, David Dismukes, says it’s a nice sign for Louisiana’s oil industry, which has been lagging because of low oil prices. Dismukes says this announcement from OPEC is not enough to jump start drilling in this state.
The Transportation Task Force meets today to further discuss recommendations on how to improve the states’ roads and bridge. Recommendations are expected to be released later this month for the legislature to consider. House Transportation Chairman and State Rep. Kenny Havard anticipates there will be a proposal to increase the state’s gasoline tax, which is currently at 20-cents a gallon
The Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office is investigating an extremely disturbing case of a 51-year-old Air force Veteran who is accused of raping several foster children in his care. They say the investigation began after one of the victims came forward, and during questioning of 51-year-old Terral Parfait, he admitted to everything. Parfait faces many charges including three counts of 1st degree rape of three boys under the age of 12 — and cops fear there are more victims out there. Parfait is also charged with possession and production of child porn.
A Baton Rouge college student has been arrested, accused of murdering and dismembering his parents in Tennessee. Knox County Sheriff Major Michael Maclean says they believe 29-year-old Joel Michael Guy Junior turned violent Thanksgiving weekend during an argument about money. MaClean says the victim’s body parts were placed in acid solution in an attempt to cover up the crime.
Democratic US Senate candidate Foster Campbell announces he’s raised more than $2 million for his campaign in the last month. Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat expects Campbell will use this money to hit the airwaves hard with ads attacking Republican John Kennedy. But he doubts it will be enough for Campbell to win the race.
Democratic US Senate candidate Foster Campbell announces he’s raised more than $2 million for his campaign in the last month. Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat expects Campbell will use this money to hit the airwaves hard with ads attacking Republican John Kennedy. But he doubts it will be enough for Campbell to win the race.
The Feral Hog Management Task Force met Wednesday to discuss ways to control the state’s wild hog population. Louisiana Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries veterinarian Dr. Jim LaCour says the state has dedicated 360-thousand dollars towards the problem. He estimates there are more than half a million feral hogs in the state.
The 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season officially came to an end Yesterday. This was the first above average season since 2012, during which five named storms made landfall in the US this season.
With all the delicious food we eat during the holiday season, it’s easy to pack on a few extra pounds. Exercise Researcher with LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center Dr. Neil Johannsen says watching the food you eat over the next month can help, like eating higher protein foods. He also says at holiday parties avoid overeating. Johannsen says after eating a big meal, try getting a little extra physical activity, instead of sitting on the couch watching football.
News for Wednesday 113016
By Dave Graichen
Gov. John Bel Edwards will be the keynote speaker at this year's Central Louisiana Regional Chamber of Commerce annual meeting. The 103rd Annual Meeting is Wednesday, Dec. 14 at the Holiday Inn Downtown Alexandria. Lunch will be served at 11:00 a.m. and the program will begin at 11:30 a.m. for ticket info contact the chamber.
Lawyers for Louisiana’s governor and attorney general clashed in court Tuesday, in a struggle about the limits of the statewide elected officials’ authority and Gov. John Bel Edwards’ executive order aimed at protecting LGBT rights. Baton Rouge Judge Todd Hernandez heard a full day of witness testimony and legal arguments in the latest in a series of disputes between the Democratic Gov. Edwards and Republican Attorney Jeff Landry. In the end though, the judge made no decision. Instead, Hernandez asked for follow-up written arguments by Friday and said he would make a decision quickly thereafter. The full story is in today’s Town Talk.
Pineville PD have arrested 33 year old Justin Perkins after he allegedly battered a woman and then followed her to another location to continue the abuse. Perkins remains in the Rapides Parish Detention Center on charges of domestic abuse by strangulation, domestic abuse aggravated assault and domestic abuse battery.
Walgreens Pharmacy has made Naloxone, an opioid antidote, available over the counter in Louisiana. LSU Health New Orleans Professor of Psychiatry James Becnel says there is an opioid overdose every 18 hours in Louisiana. He says not only addicts, but anyone who has an opioid prescription for more than two weeks should purchase naloxone. Becnel says the response from EMS is usually not quick enough, so having naloxone on hand could save someone from dying of an overdose.
The AARP Foundation announces one million dollars in donations are being used to assist older individuals impacted by the devastating August flood. Director of AARP Louisiana, Denise Bottcher, says the money went to 16 non-profit organizations who are assisting in the rebuilding efforts. Bottcher says over 74-hundred donors provided money to help older flood victims get back in their homes.
It looks like former Governor Bobby Jindal will not head the Department of Health and Human Services as sources say President-elect Trump has selected Georgia US Representative Tom Price. Jindal was rumored to be on a list of those under consideration for the cabinet position. During his own failed presidential campaign, the former governor made several critical statements of Mr. Trump including calling him a narcissist egomaniac.
The chairman of the Tulane Earth and Environmental Sciences Department says the implications for coastal Louisiana would likely be devastating if President-elect Donald Trump takes the United States out of a climate change agreement. Tor Tornqvist says if the US doesn’t reduce greenhouse gases, sea levels will rise and swallow Louisiana’s coast. Based on previous statements, Mr. Trump has expressed skepticism about global warming caused by humans.
An agreement has been made in a lawsuit accusing Baton Rouge law enforcement of violating the civil rights of people protesting the death of Alton Sterling who was killed during a struggle with officers. The suit said protesters were physically abused and wrongfully arrested. Louisiana ACLU Executive Director Marjorie Esman says they were not seeking monetary damages in this suit. Esman says this agreement simply assures that citizens’ rights are respected moving forward.
LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center is looking for people to take part in a groundbreaking study that looks at ways to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Director for Pennington’s Institute for Dementia Research and Prevention, Jeff Keller, says they are looking at how something like hypertension can cause impairment of brain function. Keller says Alzheimer’s is a complex disease without a cure or any new treatments, and this study aims to figure out which combination of medications and lifestyle changes may help people best avoid the disease.
One person was killed in a crash involving a swamp tour airboat in LaFourche Parish. State wildlife and fisheries spokesperson Adam Einck says the airboat hit a mud boat driver near a bend in the waterway and the mudboat driver was not wearing a life jacket and was killed.
Metal detectors are one possible idea to preventing future fatal shootings on Bourbon Street in New Orleans. Owner of L and R Security Services Inc., Edward Robinson, says it would be tough to do logistically and expensive. He says a lot of planning would need to take place between police and the businesses along the famous street. L and R Security handles checkpoints for various events including Jazz Fest and LSU football games. Robinson says aside from costs, another factor to installing metal detectors is if businesses want to go along with it, as well.
News for Tuesday 112916
By Dave Graichen
Voter turnout was low on the first day of early voting for the runoff, and it doesn’t look like it will improve much by December 10. John Couvillon with JMC Analytics says 27-percent of blacks turned out on the first day of early voting for the presidential race, compared to 19-percent on Saturday. Couvillon expects overall turnout will be between 17 and 35-percent. Early voting continues through Saturday.
Early voting for the December 10th runoff is underway, and Louisiana’s US Senate race is drawing national attention. Democrat Foster Campbell says he has drawn support from all over the US, as the party’s last hope for closing the Republican majority in the Upper Chamber.
Campbell made his comments at the Baton Rouge Press Club. His opponent, Republican Treasurer John Kennedy declined to attend.
Governor John Bel Edwards is hoping the death of former Cuban President Fidel Castro will lead to more trade with the island nation. Edwards, who led a trade mission to Cuba in October, doesn’t expect any changes over night, but hopes Louisiana can return to being a major trade partner. Edwards says if relations with Cuba are restored, it would be good for the state’s rice industry. He says the rice consumption in Cuba per capita is 144 pounds per year.
After a weekend shooting that left one man dead and several others injured on Bourbon Street last weekend, New Orleans officials are exploring ways to make the streets. NOPD Chief Michael Harrison says metal detectors are used on Beale Street in Memphis, and that’s not being ruled out for the Big Easy.
Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser is concerned about tourism dropping in New Orleans after the fatal shooting on Bourbon Street last weekend. Nungesser says every negative story impacts a city because people have to feel safe to come here. Nungesser says there are too many criminals walking around because too often these people are in and out of jail. He says something needs to be done to keep dangerous offenders behind bars.
Two people are dead and several injured following a shootout in Baton Rouge. State Police Col. Mike Edmonson says Sunday night police responded to a shooting. He says 48-year-old Terrell Walker allegedly shot his girlfriend, 30-year-old April Peck, multiple times while sitting in a car and then pushed her out of the vehicle. Edmsonson says Walker was eventually killed during a shootout with East Baton Rouge Sheriff deputies.
A Baton Rouge woman is behind bars after she pulled a knife on her husband and then struck him with a Thanksgiving turkey. Sgt. Don Coppola with Baton Rouge Police says 32-year-old Helen Jackson and her husband were arguing when gave him the bird, literally. Jackson is charged with aggravated assault and domestic abuse battery.
Louisiana ranks number one in the nation for the best anti-trafficking laws, according to the nonprofit organization Shared Hope International. Franklinton Senator Beth Mizell, who serves on the state’s Human Trafficking Study Commission, says while this is a step in the right direction, more needs to be done to help the victims. Mizell says the first thing we have to do is make sure these victims aren’t treated as delinquents and pushed into the criminal justice system.
LSU will find out its bowl game destination on Sunday, but it’s difficult to figure where the Tigers will go. That’s because eight teams in the SEC have either seven or eight wins. Jerry Palm, from on CBS-Sports-dot-com, says his best guest for LSU is either the Outback Bowl in Tampa or the Taxslayer Bowl in Jacksonville. LSU was in the Texas Bowl last year and easily defeated Texas Tech 56-27.
This Saturday, Louisiana Tech plays in the Conference USA Championship game against Western Kentucky. If the Bulldogs win they’ll play in the Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl, a loss will send them to the New Orleans Bowl.
News For Monday 112816
By Dave Graichen
Cenla Broadcasting notes the passing of Joy Nalty Hodges late last week. As well as being active in the business community, Hodges devoted her time to a wide range of philanthropic endeavors. The Junior League of Alexandria, the Alexandria Museum of Art, the United Way of Central Louisiana, the YWCA and the Christus St. Frances Cabrini Foundation, just to name a few.. Funeral services and internment will be in New Orleans Saturday. Locally, Hodges' life will be celebrated Friday at St. Frances Cabrini Church with a 9:30 a.m. visitation and a 10 a.m. mass. Joy Hodges was 86.
Early voting is underway and Election Day is less than two weeks away, so candidates are campaigning in full swing. UL-Lafayette Political Science Professor Pearson Cross says now is the time for a dash to the finish line. But he says the US Senate and two Congressional elections have been relatively quiet. However, Cross says the race for the 3rd Congressional district seat is really heating up between the two Republicans, Scott Angelle and Clay Higgins.
The Louisiana Department of Insurance is urging families to compare rates for auto and homeowners insurance to get the best protection. Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon says a home and car are the biggest investments people make. The “shop your rates tool” on their website will provide people information on the different types of coverage and what is included and what isn’t. He says the tool will determine the cost of your policy by adding up different factors. The website.. L-D-I-dot-L-A-dot-gov (ldi.la.gov)
New stats out are startling. The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services says Louisiana’s rate of newborns born with drugs and alcohol in their system has tripled over the last 8 years. Regional Administrator for Child Welfare, Denise Evans, says more than 15-hundred babies were born exposed to drugs or alcohol in 2015. She says this causes many health problems for the infant. There were just 569 cases of drug addicted newborns in 2008. Evans says they saw the biggest increase in the use of heroin, marijuana, and prescription drugs.
A shooting rampage early Sunday morning In New Orleans left one person dead and nine others injured. The city was packed with party goers intown for the Bayou Classic. The NOPD reports none of the 10 victims appear to be the shooters' intended targets. Of the 10, one man has died; four people are in still hospitalized, but expected to fully recover; five others have been released from the hospital.
Louisiana State Police is reminding hunters to watch where they leave their vehicles or they could be ticketed. LSP says many hunters park their trucks alongside the trees on the side of the highway because it’s easier access to their land but when motorists see cars on the side of the road they often think someone needs help and it becomes a hazard. Parking on the side of a state or federal road is against the law.
The LSU coaching staff is hitting the recruiting trail this week now that they know Ed Orgeron is the permanent head coach. Orgeron says he understands and invites the expectations at LSU and that’s why he wants to build a championship program fast and has a vision to do so.
For Orgeron to be successful, he’ll have to recruit well and he’s already considered one of the best recruiters in college football.
The Saints offense was nearly unstoppable Sunday as New Orleans kept its playoff hopes alive with a 49-21 win over the Los Angeles Rams. The Black and Gold had 555 total yards, 346 through the air, 209 on the ground on 32 rush attempts. Quarterback Drew Brees threw for 310 yards and four touchdowns. Running back Mark Ingram rushed for 146 yards and a touchdown, while rookie receiver Michael Thomas had 9 catches for 108 yards and two touchdowns.
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