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.
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