KSYL Local News Archives for 2013-02

News For Thursday 02/28/13


News for Thursday 022813

By Dave Graichen

 

Governor Bobby Jindal has announced three legislative proposals he plans to get behind in support of Louisiana  Veterans.  Jindal  says he'll  pursue  legislation  that  creates  penalties  for anyone who fraudulently  takes  advantage  of  a  veterans business incentives, protects   veterans'   funerals  by  establishing   a   protest-free perimeter, and ensuring  active  military  and  vets  have  improved access to specialized treatment.

 

Gov. Bobby Jindal wants to take $100 million from the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center to help fund higher education in next year’s state budget. However, with roughly four months left in the current state fiscal year, the convention center has yet to transfer $20 million the governor put into this year’s state budget. The state expects to be $1.3 billion short of the money needed to keep state government services at their current levels in the budget year that begins July 1.

 

A new report shows Louisiana and four other states as the example in how to reduce juvenile confinement. All five states in the Justice Policy Institute study released today had a 50 percent or more reduction in the number of juveniles incarcerated from 2001 to 2010. Other states in the report were Connecticut, Tennessee, Minnesota and Arizona. Louisiana had nearly a 53 percent drop in the number of juvenile confinements going from a rate of 505 youth per 100,000 in 2001 to 239 in 2010.

 

Louisiana is bucking a national trend in a good way. Data  from  the Governors Highway Safety association shows deaths of 16-and-17-year-old drivers increased sharply nationwide in the first six  months  of   2012,  reversing  a  decade-long  trend.  However, Louisiana Highway Safety Commission spokesperson Elaine Rougeau says those numbers did  not rise in .

 

Having a rough time making ends meet? You are not alone. Gas  prices, for one, have  been  on  a  steady  rise  over  the  last few weeks. According to Triple-A, the statewide average for a gallon of regular gasoline  is  $3.66,  which is 45-cents more than a month  ago.  UNO economist Janet Speyrer  (spier)  says  food  prices are also up and rising   medical   costs  are  also  making  it  tougher   on   many consumers. Another problem is that people have less disposable income, because the end of the payroll tax holiday at the start of the year, means less take home pay.

 

Louisiana lawmakers are set to meet today to discuss the investigation  into the company Explo at Camp Minden and 10 millions of pounds of improperly  stored explosives. Bossier City Representative Jeff Thompson is on the  House Committee on Homeland Security. He says they  want to ensure that tax payers aren't footing  the bill for the cost of cleaning up the material. He says they also need to identify the source of the oversight and make sure this never  happens again.

 

The Public Service Commission has pulled the plug on an "energy  efficiency" program that they approved last December. The program would  encourage consumers to become more energy efficient, but it would also  add a line item charge on monthly bills.  PSC Chairman Eric Skrmetta says they will look at ways to improve the  program and bring it back for another vote in four or five months.

 

U.S. Sen. David Vitter filed a comprehensive bill Wednesday to increase offshore oil production revenue sharing with Louisiana and other affected states, to expand offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, and to expedite other permitting for projects such as the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. Vitter, R-La., said the Energy Production and Project Delivery Act is intended to boost domestic energy production and economic development while also helping the “host” states that would share in the increased federal revenues.

 

State Police are investigation the case of two  K-9 officers  who went missing  and  were later found in shelters Tuesday  night. They say  the two dogs disappeared from the Bent Tree area from Marrero. Both were unharmed.

 

18  year  old  Seth Fontenot of Lafayette will not have to face  the death penalty for  the  alleged murder of 15-year-old Austin Rivault and the attempted murders  of  two of Rivault's 15-year-old friends. Court documents indicate the Lafayette  Parish DA agreed to take the death penalty off the table. Fontenot is  accused of opening fire on the three teenagers as they were riding by his home.

 

In efforts to help  the New Orleans Saints get under the salary cap, quarterback Drew Brees  commented  to  WWL  Radio  that  he would be willing  to  consider  anything that would help the team or its  cap situation. But ESPN is reporting  it  wouldn't  matter  because  the wording  of Brees' contract makes it difficult to provide salary cap relief.

 

 

News For Wednesday 02/27/13


News for Wednesday 022713

By Dave Graichen

 

State Police  say  there  are  more  explosives  at Camp Minden than originally estimated. Spokesperson Matt Harris says  they originally estimated  there  were  6  million  pounds  of an improperly  stored military propellant, but now they believe it's closer to 10 million. He  says  authorities  are  still  looking for space  to  house  the remaining 3.5 million pounds of material that's left to be moved but it's been a slow process.

 

A  week  prior  to  the mandatory  budget  cuts,  also  called  the "sequestration" was to  take  effect,  The  Department  of  Homeland Security  released hundreds of illegal aliens from detention centers along the Gulf  Coast--including  here in Louisiana. A spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement  says  he's  uncertain  how many were released in our state.

 

Senator  Mary  Landrieu  has  some  harsh  words  for  Bobby Jindal, accusing  the Republican governor of obstructionism. The  Democratic senator says Jindal's refusal to expand the state's Medicaid program is  tied  to  his  presidential  ambitions,  putting  his  potential political future  ahead  of  the people of Louisiana. Jindal says he disagrees with the growth of the federal government health  care program and  states  should  be  free to design health programs that suit their individual needs.

 

The  Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries say a Marksville man is  behind  bars  for  allegedly killing a Louisiana black bear. They say a lengthy investigation led detectives to 30-year-old Derek Sayer who was arrested for shooting and killing the bear on November 27th in Avoyelles Parish. Louisiana  Black  Bears  have  been on the Federal Threatened and Endangered Species list since 1992.

 

The Presidents of Louisiana's four public college systems want state lawmakers  to  approve legislation  that  would  give  colleges  and universities more  authority in setting their own tuition. Senate  Education   Chairman   Conrad  Appel  says  he'll  introduce legislation that addresses funding for higher education, but he also wants to see schools doing a better  job  in  offering  degrees that will lead to better paying jobs, once the student graduates.

 

Students at the University of Louisiana in Lafayette and Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond will likely see their tuition rise starting this fall. The University of Louisiana Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved a 10 percent tuition hike at all nine of its campuses. Before the increase can take effect, though it also has to be approved by the state Board of Regents higher education policy board.

 

Funeral services will be held today for Paul McIlhenny, the late  chairman of Tabasco pepper sauce. McIlhenny was also an avid outdoorsman  and conservationist, as he was active in coastal restoration efforts,  helping to create the America's Wetland Foundation.  McIhenny, who was the chief executive of Tabasco since 1988, died of an  apparent heart attack on Saturday. He was 68

 

A Metairie lawmaker files legislation that would allow Louisiana  residents to purchase guns that may one day be declared illegal by the  federal government. Representative Joe Lopinto's bill would create intrastate gun trade where gun dealers and manufacturers can get  licensed in Louisiana to sell guns within the state. Lopinto says his proposed bill, called the Louisiana Manufactured  Firearms and Ammunitions Act, would allow for gun manufacturers to apply  for a Louisiana license to make and sell guns within the state, even if  they are prohibited by the federal government.

 

A  Bossier City lawmaker says multiple solutions are in the works so that  homeless  shelters  can  accept  donations  of  deer meat from hunters.  State officials had to destroy over 14-hundred  pounds  of donated venison  which  upset  Hunters  for  Hungry, who donated the food. Representative Jeff Thompson says the issue with the deer meat was over sanitary concerns. Thompson says the Department of Health and Hospitals  agrees  not to destroy any more deer meat until regulations are in place.

 

State Superintendent of Education John White said Tuesday Public school teachers will have a wide array of resources to aid in the launch of tougher academic standards that begin next year,

White also said the resources — called a Classroom Support Toolbox — were crafted by about 150 teachers rather than relying on directives from state education officials. The new academic rules are called common core standards. Louisiana and 44 other states have adopted the guidelines, which are aimed at making students more competitive worldwide and easier state-to-state comparisons on student achievement. The new standards take effect for the 2014-15 school year.

 

An art deco landmark in downtown Baton Rouge, a slice of a St. Tammany Parish psychiatric hospital campus and prime property near the Louisiana Capitol need to be sold within the next year to make Gov. Bobby Jindal’s budget balance. Jindal proposes unloading six tracts of state property around south Louisiana to drum up $47 million, money that he’s using to help pay for public colleges in his budget proposal for the 2013-14 fiscal year that starts July 1. None of the deals are done, and lawmakers have been reticent about making some of the sales, which need legislative approval before “for sale” signs can be planted on the sites.

 

LSU and a state agency paid former coastal researcher Ivor van Heerden $435,000 to settle court claims that his LSU career was destroyed because he alleged engineering mistakes allowed New Orleans to flood during Hurricane Katrina. In his three-year-old lawsuit in Baton Rouge federal court, Van Heerden alleged that some university officials systematically ended his ability to perform hurricane research and eventually refused to renew his contract because they feared he would cost the school federal funds.

 

A  Jefferson  Parish  sheriff's deputy is under arrest for allegedly stealing  stuff  from  the   evidence   locker.  54-year-old  George Hernandez  is  accused  of felony systematic  theft.  Just  WHAT  he reportedly took is being kept under wraps for now.

 

Sports..

 

The LSU men's basketball team can get above the 500 mark in SEC play  with a win tonight at home over Arkansas. The Tigers 5-and-2 in the  month of February after beating Alabama in triple overtime last Saturday. You can hear the game tonight beginning at 6:30 on 970 KSYL.

 

After a big first half, Williams scored 11 of his 33 points in the final 1 minute, 24 seconds, and the Nets held on for a 101-97 victory against a furious comeback by the Hornets. The Hornets play at the Oklahoma City Thunder tonight, the last game of their four meetings this season. Airtime 7pm on espn 1410am

 

The lSU tiger baseball team had no problem squashing UL Lafayette last night 11 to 2. They’ll play brown Friday night at the box.

 

News For Tuesday 02/26/13


News for Tuesday 020613

By Dave Graichen

 

A  4-year-old  child appears to be unharmed after being found in his home sunday with  the bodies of his parents who had been dead for two days. Jennings authorities are  investigating  the  shooting  deaths  of  Charles  and  Katrina Williams.  The couple  were  apparently  killed  Friday  night.  The woman's mother  discovered  them  sunday  and  called police. The child, other than shaken, is reportedly ok.

 

There  was  a bomb threat Monday on the campus of Northwestern  State University  in   Natchitoches.   University  Police  detective  Doug Prescott says the threat was called in to the School of Math,  Science and Arts. He says several  law  enforcement  agencies were called in, to help search the buildings for a possible bomb. To quote Prescott, It was obviously a hoax since nothing went off.  He says investigators are working in tracing the bomb threat call to the guilty party.

 

Someone left a truck  with  several  incendiary  bombs inside parked outside  the  Whitney  Bank  on  Canal Street in New Orleans  Monday. Police used a robot to remove some of the eight devices found in the vehicle. The bank and nearby businesses  were  evacuated during that; traffic on Canal stopped as well. Investigators  are now determining who the abandoned truck belongs to and what the bombs  were doing in it.

 

Numbers from the White House show Louisiana will lose millions of  federal education dollars and about 7,000 department of defense workers  will be furloughed, if a deal to avoid automatic budget cuts is not

reached by Friday.  Sequestration will also result in Louisiana losing 2.5 million dollars  for clean water and air quality initiatives. The state will also lose  grant money that helps over a thousand people with substance abuse  issues.

 

After  a  long  bout  with  cancer,  US  District  Court Judge Frank Polozola  died  Sunday  night.  Polozola was the judge in the 2000 federal trial of former Governor Edwin Edwards. Polozola  sentenced  Edwards  to  10  years  in prison and fined him $250,000 for racketeering and extortion.

 

An Acadiana legislator proposes a tobacco tax increase, with revenues  raised to be protected from political deal-making. Democratic Carencro  Representative Stephen Ortego (OR-tih-go) says most voters support higher taxes on cigarettes, but only if  the money goes to crucial health care needs. Ortego says his bill would let voters have a role in how much the  tobacco tax should be, and where the revenues should be spent. Ortego says he is filing the bill for the coming Legislative session.

 

The  Charenton  man  arrested after allegedly shooting and killing a Chitimacha Tribal police  Sgt., suspected of killing another man and burning down his house and wounding two St. Mary Parish deputies has been sent to a mental facility.  Attorneys  say Wilbert Thibodeaux's new location reinforces earlier assessments  that he may be mentally unfit for trial.

 

The state legislative auditor has released a scathing  review of the 75-million dollar Katrina cottage program in Louisiana.  The federal government provided 75-million dollars, so that the state  can build

homes   to   provide   emergency   housing  for  hurricane  victims. Legislative auditor Daryl Purpera says  it  took  seven years before all 461 cottages constructed were occupied. However, more than half of the cottages were so poorly build residents had to move out within months of moving in. The alternative housing program resulted  in the construction of  homes at 12 sites in Baton Rouge, Lake Charles and New Orleans.

 

Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon urges homeowners not to forget tax  credits and other incentives for doing storm mitigation upgrades to  their homes. Donelon says there is a tax break for retrofitting one's

 home to withstand hurricanes.  For information on the Storm Mitigation Incentives, visit the Insurance

Department website, at "LDI.LA.gov".  Donelon says homeowners can not  only claim a tax credit, but can also get lower property insurance  rates...once the upgrades are complete.

 

The former Jefferson  Parish police jury president  will  spend  nearly  four years  in  federal  prison  for  his conviction on public corruption charges. Aaron Broussard pleaded guilty  last September to accepting

bribes  from  businessmen  and  to  payroll  fraud  for  creating  a supervisory  job for his then-wife--who was not  qualified  for  the position. He's must pay over $200-thousand in restitution.

 

Defensive backs will take the field at the NFL draft combine today, including former LSU star Tyrann Mathieu. The Honey Badger has been in Indianapolis since the weekend, talking with NFL teams about the drug  problems that forced him to miss the 2012 season. Mathieu says the year  off should not hurt his ability on the football field. Mathieu says he doesn't want NFL teams to have any doubt that he is

 committed to turning his life around and being 100% focused on playing  professional football.

 

 

 

 

 

News For Monday 02/25/13


News for Monday 022513

By Dave Graichen

 

Automatic spending cuts at the federal level, or sequestration  (see-kwes-trey-shuhn), could mean some Louisiana airports would have to  close air traffic control facilities. The US Department of  Transportation named 200 sites it would considering closing. On the government's list, Shreveport Downtown, Monroe Regional, Lakefront in New Orleans, Lake Charles Regional and Chennault International also in Lake Charles. Alexandria International did not make the list of airports affected by the cut backs.

 

BP's civil trail, for damages brought about by the 2010 Deepwater  Horizon well explosion and oil spill, begins today in New Orleans.  Loyola University law professor Dane Ciolino says lawyers for the

 plaintiffs will seek to prove that BP was "grossly negligent" in events  leading up to the disaster.

 Ciolino says  a court finding of "gross negligence" could also mean billions more in  fines for BP, for violating the federal Clean Water Act.  BP has already agreed to a $4.5-Billion federal settlement for criminal  charges in the catastrophe.

 

The  state  bond  commission  signs  off on a plan for Louisiana  to borrow  100-million dollars that will be  used  to  resurface  rural roads in desperate need of maintenance. Department of Transportation spokeswoman  Jodi  Conachen says some of the roads that will benefit from this money have not been upgraded in 30 years.

 

Attorney General Buddy Caldwell has some ideas on how to make schools  safer. He says he's recently discussed these ideas with Vice President  Joe Biden and they have nothing to do with gun control. Caldwell  believes things like a button under a teacher's desk to alert  authorities of impending danger need to be placed in classrooms. Caldwell also proposes limiting access to the schools so that a

 potential gunman would have to go through an office that is being  guarded. He says he supports armed security guards but he doesn't  believe teachers should have guns in their classrooms.

 

The White House released  a  statement  Friday stating the President has signed a disaster declaration for Louisiana  so areas  affected  by  massive  storms  and flooding  in the state in January can receive assistance. The funds will pay for emergency response work  and repairs for areas that were damaged between January 8th-17th.

 

For the second time this year, animals have  been killed after being attacked by stray dogs at the Louisiana Purchase  Gardens and Zoo in Monroe. Director Joe Clawson says they believe several dogs attacked three  exotic  antelope. He says zoo staff caught the  dogs  in  the act. Clawson blames these  horrific  animal  attacks on irresponsible pet owners and people who feed feral animals.

 

Several  U-S House members from Louisiana are expressing interest in challenging  Senator  Mary  Landrieu, who is up for re-election next year. Republicans Charles Boustany,  Bill  Cassidy  and John Fleming are potential challengers. U-L Lafayette Political Science Professor Pearson Cross  says at this point, Landrieu is expected to win a 4th term.

 

Paul McIlhenny, chief executive and chairman of the board of the McIlhenny Co. that makes the trademarked line of Tabasco hot pepper sauces sold the world over, has died. The company, based on south Louisiana’s Avery Island, said in a statement that McIlhenny had died Saturday. Other details have not been released. At the time of his death, McIlhenny was also a company director. He was a sixth-generation member of the family to live on Avery Island and among the fourth generation to produce the Tabasco brand sauce on Avery Island, where patriarch Edmund McIlhenny had founded the company in 1868. Paul Mcllhenny was 68.

 

The Louisiana Department of Revenue wants taxpayers to be aware that  many school expenses are eligible for tax breaks. LDR spokesperson Byron  Henderson says tuition, uniforms supplies and other education expenses  paid in 2012 may be eligible for deductions. Henderson says you can

 visit revenue.louisiana.gov for more information.

 

Louisiana  victims  of con men, running a driveway resurfacing scam, will get their lost money back. Attorney General Buddy Caldwell says the  two Texas men, Billy  Densmore  and  Derrick  Johnson,  cheated numerous  people  across the state. He says the men preyed on the elderly and vulnerable.

 

 

 

News For Friday 02/22/13


News for Friday 022213

By Dave Graichen

 

Governor Bobby Jindal unveils the basics of his executive budget plan  for the fiscal year that starts in July. The Governor says his office's  $24.7-billion plan comes in at over $900-million less than the current year.  Jindal says the budget had to shrink this year, due to Congress slashing  Louisiana's federal Medicaid match rate. The budget cuts 10,000 state jobs--mostly by attrition, but many by moving state hospital workers into public/private partnership  employment.

 

Several  Louisiana military operations could be severely impacted if a deal is not struck in Washington DC by March 1st that would avoid automatic budget cuts. Minden Congressman John Fleming serves on the House Armed  Forces Committee and he's concerned about operations at Fort Polk. He says along  with Fort Polk...Camp Minden, Camp Beauregard and the Louisiana National  Guard  and  reserve units could see a 58-million dollar reduction in funding.

 

Insurance  Commissioner Jim Donelon urges property owners to be sure to claim their rebate for assessments made to help pay off Hurricane Katrina  debt  incurred  by  the  state-run  last  resort  insurance company. Donelon  says  you can get the rebate as a state income tax deduction or in the form of a check or debit card. More information is online at ldi.la.gov.

 

State Superintendent of Education John White  announces a five-point plan that will help improve public schools. He  says  improving  the graduation  rate  among  students  with  disabilities will be one of those priorities along with focusing on reducing  the  number of "F" graded  schools,  helping students earn technical college  associate degrees  and  assisting   teachers   achieve  nationwide  assessment

standards.

 

An Ohio-based glass company's plans are expected to result in the loss of about 200 jobs in Shreveport. Toledo-based Libbey Inc. said Thursday that it plans to end sales of some items and reduce production at Shreveport. Some of that production will be relocated to Toledo and to Monterrey, Mexico. A timetable was not announced

 

Oscar Sunday is just about here and Louisiana has plenty of nominations  to be proud of. Louisiana Office of Entertainment Executive Director  Chris Stelly says he's especially excited about two movies that were  filmed here and nominated for the coveted Best Picture Academy  Award. The 85th Academy Awards ceremony airs Sunday at 6 on ABC.

 

Former LSU Heisman Trophy winner Billy Cannon was discharged from Our Lady of the Lake Hospital on Thursday after suffering a stroke on Tuesday. Family members say Cannon is doing extremely well and is up and walking.

 

A lawsuit filed in federal court claims that former priest Mark Broussard admitted to sexually abusing young boys in 1998.The lawsuit, filed by one of Mark Broussard’s alleged victims, seeks $18 million in damages from the Catholic Church, the Diocese of Lake Charles and the Archdiocese of New Orleans. The plaintiff claims that Broussard molested him during his pre-adolescent years “on a daily basis” from 1985 to 1988 in Broussard’s living quarters at OLQH, as well as other locations.

 

Stunning new data not yet publicly released shows Louisiana losing its battle with rising seas much more quickly than even the most pessimistic studies have predicted to date. When new data on the rate of coastal subsidence is married with updated projections of sea-level rise, the southeast corner of Louisiana looks likely to be under at least 4.3 feet of Gulf water by the end of the century.

 

The first of the Louisiana Soundtrack Experience Concert Series is  happening tomorrow in Shreveport. Lt Governor Jay Dardenne says the  concerts are a part of the 2013 celebration of Louisiana's Music. Saturday's event is called "From Elvis to Hank to Johnny:  Celebrating 65 years of the Louisiana Hayride." The concert kick off at 7pm at the Shreveport Municipal Auditorium.

 

The Louisiana Lottery says we've got a new millionaire in the state. Spokesperson Kimberly Chopin  says  a  woman  from Morgan City is $2 million richer after the February 16th drawing. She says Amy Sturges matched all five white numbers in the drawing,  but  added the Power Play option to her Quick Pick. Chopin  says  the  Sturges family plans to buy a nice travel  camper with some of their winnings.

 

"Select" schools say split playoffs in football violate the LHSAA  Constitution. The association has voted that public schools will compete  against each other in the playoffs, while private and parochial schools will have their own postseason. LHSAA Commissioner Kenny Henderson says their lawyers will look to see if "proposal 18" as its called violates the association's  constitution.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

News For Thursday 02/21/13


News for Thursday 022113

By Dave Graichen

 

The National Weather Service says there's a slight risk of severe  thunderstorms across Louisiana today. State Climatologist Barry Keim  says that means we could see heavy downpours, high winds, hail and there's a possibility of tornadoes.  Keim says this latest rain event continues the trend of the above-normal  precipitation that's been recorded so far this year.

 

Gov. Bobby Jindal’s chief financial adviser says Louisiana has more borrowing capacity available under the state debt limit to keep money flowing for construction work than officials thought. The recalculation provides some relief for the Jindal administration, which was faced with the threat of projects grinding to a halt within months. Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols said Wednesday the state can borrow enough to continue construction spending through June 2014. Previous estimates had the state running out of money in less than half that time. Nichols says an error was discovered in a report from the treasurer’s office.

 

Vernon Parish officials are calling on the Department of the Army to update the information it is using to make decisions about force and operations changes at Fort Polk.  Vernon Parish police jurors  unanimously adopted a resolution urging Army and federal officials to update a Programmatic Environmental Assessment that details options for Fort Polk and 20 other stateside bases. In one option under consideration, the Army would reduce Fort Polk's military and civilian complement by about 50 percent. Another option would add 1,000 personnel to the base's current complement of just under 11,000.

 

A state lawmaker has pre-filed a bill to restrict the use of automated  traffic cameras. State Rep. Paul Hollis says his bill would take a  different approach than the other bills that have failed in the past. He says drivers whose vehicles are registered in areas with no red light  cameras shouldn't have to pay a fine if they're issued a ticket. The representative says unlike their promoted use, red-light and speed-enforcement  cameras have nothing to do with helping keeping Louisiana roads safer and that they are nothing more than a revenue-generating tool.

 

An Amite state lawmaker says he intends to run for Governor in 2015. Democrat  John  Bel Edwards says he's not concerned about the recent struggles of the  state  Democratic  Party. He believes that by 2015 voters will be ready for change. Edwards says he'd prioritize restoring  funding to critical programs that have been cut under the Jindal Administration.  He is currently the head of the House Democratic Caucus.

 

Former New Orleans  Mayor  Ray Nagin pleads not guilty to corruption charges in court yesterday. His  trial  is  set  for  April 29th and was released  on a $100,000 bond. Nagin's travel is also  restricted  to

Louisiana and Texas.

 

There's  a  hubbub  in  Shreveport  over  several hundred pounds  of donated  meat  that was destroyed by state Health  Inspectors.  Deer hunters gave their  extra  venison - over 1500 pounds of it - to the city's  rescue mission for the  hungry  and  homeless.  When  health inspectors  found  the meat, they tossed it in a dumpster and poured bleach on it - saying  it  wasn't  regulated by the USDA. A Haughton meat processor says the venison was  handled  and  packaged properly before delivery and the food was senselessly wasted.

 

According  to  the  Vermont  Complex  Systems  Center,  Louisiana is apparently   the   saddest  state.  The  team  reserved  10  million geo-tagged tweets and  looked  for key emotional words such as love, hope, damn, hate and lied. Based  on  that criteria, The Bayou State is  the saddest in the country followed  by  Mississippi,  Maryland, Delaware and Georgia. The happiest is Hawaii.

 

Sources with  LSU  say  former Heisman Trophy winner Billy Cannon is improving, after suffering  a stroke Tuesday . Cannon is reportedly resting comfortably, and his overall condition is much better.

 

Sports..

 

The 4th ranked LSU baseball team is in action tonight as they are scheduled to play B-Y-U at Alex Box Stadium. But the weather forecast doesn't look good. LSU is set to play BYU tonight, Southeastern Louisiana on Friday night and then BYU again Saturday night. The Tigers are off to a 4-and-0 start. If the game is played, you will be able to hear it on 970 ksyl. Airtime 6pm.

 

L-S-U  releases details of new offensive coordinator  Cam  Cameron's contract. Cameron will earn 600-thousand dollars this coming season, then his  annual  salary  will  increase to $1.3-million in 2014 and $1.5 million in 2015. In comparison, the average pay for an associate professor at LSU is $100,000

News For Tuesday 02/19/13


News for Tuesday 021913

By Dave Graichen

 

Longtime local minister and public servant B.G. Dyess died Monday. Dyess was a former state senator and served as Rapides Parish’s registrar of voters for 24 years. Services are at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Parkview Baptist Church in Alexandria. Visitation is today at Hixson Brothers in Alexandria from 5-9 p.m., and also Wednesday at Parkview from 8:30-11 a.m. B.G. Dyess was 90 years old.

 

Alexandria Mayor Jacques Roy yesterday during his “State Of The City” address said, The city is "fiscally and operationally sound," and that  "The fiscal state of the city bodes well for its future. According to Mayor Roy, Alexandria is now one of the best fiscal responsibility models for municipalities in the state.

 

Campaign finance  reports filed with the state board of ethics shows Governor Jindal raised  the  most money out of any Louisiana elected official in 2012. He cannot use  that  money  to  run  for  governor again,   but  there  are  other  legal  uses  for  it;  like  buying commercials  to  tout  his  legislative agenda, or to help boost his lagging popularity numbers. The highest funded Democrat in the state is currently New Orleans Mayor  Mitch  Landrieu,  who  has  about  a million  bucks  in  his  warchest. Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat says Landrieu is up for re-election  next year, but he could also be eyeing the governor’s office. Pinsonat  says he expects Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne and State  Treasurer John Kennedy to also run for Governor in 2015.

 

Louisiana's Mary Landrieu is part of an effort in Congress to pass  legislation that would require online businesses to collect sales tax at  the point of purchase. Landrieu says it's unfair for local brick-and- mortar retailers to charge their customers sales tax, while online  businesses do not. Landrieu joined a bipartisan group of 53 senators and representatives  who have introduced the Marketplace Fairness Act. The senator says in Louisiana an estimated  800-million dollars of state sales tax revenue goes uncollected every  year.

 

Gas prices continue their brutal climb. A gallon of regular gasoline in  Louisiana is $3.57 on average and that's about 17 cents more than it was  last week. Don Redman with the American Automobile association says  that's an increase of 42 cents since the start of 2013.  Redman says the price could be as high as $3.80 here by the end of the  month and into March. He says one reason the price is increasing is

because refineries are switching to a summer blend of gas and some are  shut down for maintenance.

 

New  Orleans  has  hosted Super Bowls, final fours, BCS Championship games and now they'll  get their chance to host Wrestlemania 30. The WWE will bring its premiere  event to the Mercedes Benz Superdome on April 6th, 2014. Mayor Mitch Landrieu is ecstatic the city will host this major event. They say Wrestlemania is  expected   to  bring thousands of fans and tourists  to  the  city  as the WWE brings  it premiere pay per view to the Big Easy.

 

A Bossier City lawmaker is leader of a grassroots campaign aimed at  protecting Louisiana's Second Amendment gun rights. Representative Jeff  Thompson calls his movement "Defend LA", and says it's about defending  one's right to protect one's home and family.  Thompson says Defend LA has already gathered over 3000 members. Thompson bill  would assure that the identities of  persons who have, or have applied for, concealed carry weapon permits  remain private.

 

Citing the increased cost of doing business, Entergy Louisiana has asked the state's Public Service Commission to  approve a rate hike for its customers. The increase would come to an  average additional 8 dollars a month for most residences. PSC Chairman  Eric Skrmetta (sker-MET-uh) says the PSC will carefully go over Entergy's rate request,  which is thousands of pages long. He says the review could take up to 12  months to approve--IF it is approved at all.

 

Investigators  aboard  the  Carnival cruise  ship  "Triumph"  say  a leaking fuel line caused the engine fire that left the ship stranded in the middle of the Gulf. Passengers  went  through  over 5 days of limited  power,  no  toilets,  cold  food  and  no  heating  or  air conditioning  before  they  were finally towed to the Port of Mobile last Thursday night. At least  one  passenger  has  filed  a lawsuit seeking unspecified damages.

 

The state Office of Conservation has ordered all of the state’s 34 salt dome operators to show how close their caverns are to the outer edges of the subterranean salt domes containing them and, for caverns closest to the salt edge, also to prove they are structurally sound. The directive is in response to the failure of a Texas Brine Co. cavern in the Napoleonville Dome that is believed to be the cause of an 8.6-acre sinkhole in northern Assumption Parish. Conservation Commissioner James Welsh has given operators until March 18 to submit the information.

 

Sports..

 

The LSU men's basketball team can get past the five-hundred mark in the  SEC with a win tonight at Tennessee. The Fighting Tigers have won 5 of  their last 6, to even their league record at six-and-six. Airtime is 5:30p this afternoon.

 

 

 

News For Monday 02/19/13


News for Monday 021813

By Dave Graichen

 

A statewide poll predicts the 2015 Governor's race could be a close one.  Public Policy Polling surveyed 600 Louisiana voters to see who would win  in a head-to-head match-up between New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and  U-S Senator David Vitter. Each received 43-percent of the vote. The poll also asked voters who they would elect for governor if it was  between Landrieu and Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne. The survey indicated the  democratic mayor would win by a slight margin.

 

Governor Jindal unveils proposed legislation to ease state prison  populations by locking up fewer non-violent offenders. Mr. Jindal says  in Louisiana that's mostly simple drug offenders, who enter prison as 1st-offenders but leave as criminals.  Mr. Jindal says even a little time in prison can affect people's future

earnings and employment potential. He says the proposed reform would  saves millions by lowering inmate numbers, and would be more humane for  1st-time and non-violent offenders. The bill would also allow for  early release & treatment for some current 1st-offense prisoners.

 

A public forum about the changes to laws and policies affecting Louisiana's public school system will be held Tuesday in Pineville. The forum, sponsored by the Louisiana Education Association, will begin at 6 p.m. at Kees Park Community Center. A panel of local education stakeholders and community members will participate in the discussion.. Registration starts at 5:30 p.m. The meeting is open to the public.

 

State police report, A 27-year-old Pineville man was seriously injured Saturday, on highway 28 east near Libuse,  when a pickup truck collided with his motorcycle. Justin Ewing was wearing a helmet, but sustained serious injuries after he was struck by a pickup driven by 18 year old Kevin Burns. Burns was wearing a seatbelt and was not injured. He was charged with failure to yield.

 

A weekend article in the Baton Rouge Advocate reported Governor Bobby Jindal spent almost one day of every four, at least 86 of 365 days, out of the state, mostly campaigning for Republican candidates around the nation and speaking to conservative political groups. Various GOP supporters and campaigns paid for Jindal’s hotel rooms and airfare for the campaign trips. Louisiana taxpayers, however, paid $65,000 to feed, house and, often, fly his security team. During the same time, Louisiana entered its fifth year of budget cuts because the state doesn’t have enough revenues to pay for services.

 

The University of Louisiana System will begin accepting applications  today for its first 100% online collaborative degree. Spokeswoman  Jackie Tisdell says the degree is for a Bachelor of Arts in Organizational leadership. to enter the program, students must be at least  25-years-old and have completed 60 hours of college credit including  general education courses. She says the program is offered in five,  eight week terms each year and costs $325 per credit hour. Tisdell says you can apply online at ulsystem.edu/OL.

 

Travel on Interstate 10 between Baton Rouge and New Orleans should be  less of a headache, as the state Department of Transportation opens a  new, widened stretch through the Capital City. DOTD spokesman Bill Grass  says I-10, from the 10/12 split, to Seigen Lane is now six lanes wide,  instead of four. The $86-million project was part of DOTD's "Geaux Wider" program.

 

Iberia Sheriff's Office deputies found the body of a male victim while recovering an overturned vehicle in a canal Sunday morning. The cause of the crash is still under investigation and the identity of the driver is not being released until notification to the next of kin.

 

Sports..

 

The 3rd ranked LSU Tigers had a successful start to the college baseball season by sweeping Maryland. The Tigers only scored six runs in  the first two games, but the bats came alive on Sunday in a 14-3 win. The Tigers play host to Lamar Tuesday Night.

 

 

 

 

News For Friday 02/15/13


News for Friday 021513

By Dave Graichen

 

Alexandria mayor Jacques Roy’s chief of staff, T.W. Thompson, has turned in his letter of resignation. Thompson holds three important positions in the city. Chief of staff for the mayor, director of the Division of Public Works and that of  Commissioner of Public Safety. Thompson cited personal reasons for his resignation. His last day will be March 29.

 

The city of Leesville and surrounding towns are concerned about the Army's recent assessment of  a possible huge troop reduction at Fort Polk. If implemented, would reduce the post's staffing by about half. Local Officials are asking area residents to pitch in by commenting on the report and contacting their congressmen. Information on the campaign, including sample letters commenting on the report and contact information for key congressmen and other elected officials, can be found on websites for the city of Leesville, the Central Louisiana Chamber of Commerce, England Airpark, the Vernon Parish Police Jury and the Vernon Parish Chamber of Commerce.

 

A  statewide  survey  conducted  by the Public Policy Polling Survey shows Governor Jindal's approval rating  has  hit an all-time low of 37-percent.  The same group conducted  a similar poll two years ago, and Jindal's approval rating was 58-percent.

 

Gov. Bobby Jindal told reporters yesterday, that they don’t have a proposal yet, but everything is on the table as he tries to develop a plan that eliminates personal and corporate income taxes in a “revenue neutral” way. Jindal said he continues to meet with legislators and others to get their ideas before settling on a bill he will ask a legislator to submit for consideration in the legislative session, which begins April 8.

 

A four-month investigation spanning Rapides and Natchitoches parishes into meth manufacturing led to the arrests of eight people and the discovery of multiple drug cooking spots in the Flatwoods and Mora areas. Local authorities say the investigation began in October 2012 after complaints were received.

 

A professor of physics at Louisiana Tech along with NASA predict an  asteroid will fly closer to Earth today than any object of its size has ever before. Dr. Lee Sawyer says the big rock is about 150 feet in

diameter, about half the length of a football field. He  says the asteroid will pass within 17,200 miles of the Earth's  surface which is actually closer than most communications satellites.

 

Former US Attorney Jim Letten  has  been  hired by Tulane University Law  School.  They  say  Letten  will  be  an  assistant   dean  for "experiential learning" , a newly created position. He is  expected

to start the new job later this month.

 

A federal judge today found Transocean, the company that  owned BP's ill-fated Deepwater Horizon oil rig, guilty of violating the federal Clean Water Act. Transocean will have to pay $400-million in federal

fines and be on probation for 5 years.

 

Police in Bossier say a Shreveport woman robbed a Wal-Mart by hiding about $70 worth of items in her  6-year-old  son's  jacket. When she was confronted she ran through the parking lot, dragging her son who

almost got hit by a car. The 28 year old woman then went back  to  the  same  Wal  Mart  hours  later to pick up a ring she'd dropped off to be sized. She was arrested.

 

Police  in  Maringouin  say  a  school bus went into the bayou there after hitting a house Thursday  morning.  They  say  at  the  time of the accident there were 20 students on the bus and four were taken  to a local hospital complaining about head and back pain. The driver told investigators  he  couldn't turn the bus, and that's when he hit the house.

 

Authorities in Caddo Parish say a Keithville school teacher is under arrest  for  alleged  sexual  contact  with a special needs student. 33-year-old Jeremy Pierce, a teacher at  Port City Christian Academy

in Shreveport, is believed to have had inappropriate  behavior  with the  girl on several occasions, on school grounds.

 

Jeff  Davis  Parish  deputies arrest a Hathaway  teen  for  indecent behavior with a minor  and  other charges. 18-year-old Michael Gotte Jr. was charged   with computer-aided solicitation  of a minor, inappropriate behavior with a juvenile and production of child pornography. The girl was 14.

 

Sports..

 

The 2013 LSU baseball team begins its quest today for Omaha and an  appearance in the College World Series. The Tigers host Maryland at 7:00  tonight in the season opener. Airtime 6:30 on Talk Radio 970 KSYL.

 

 

 

 

News For Thursday 02/14/13


News for Thursday 021413

By Dave Graichen

 

The state department of education is accepting applications from  families who are seeking state aid so their child can attend a private  or parochial school next year. State Superintendent of Education John

White says 134 schools have been approved to take voucher students,  which is up from the 118 that are participating this year.  A state judge ruled in November that Louisiana is violating the  constitution by funding the voucher program with money designated for  public schools. The state supreme court will hear oral arguments on this  issue next month. White says they can continue the voucher program, despite the legal challenge.

 

It's Valentine’s Day, and a Marksville couple married for 82 years will  be recognized today as the state's longest KNOWN married couple.  Louisiana Family Forum Executive Director Gene Mills says Norman and  Norma Burma are the reigning champs, having won the same honor last  year. The Burma’s says the secret to the longevity of their  marriage is they love and respect one another.

 

Health officials have called this year’s influenza outbreak in Louisiana  one of the most severe in years, but finally the number of reported  cases is starting to go down. State immunization director Dr. Frank Welch says this week there's been yet another decrease in flu activity.  Welch says even though we are getting close to the end of the flu season, there have been a couple of reported strains going around so you  should still get a flu shot if you haven't already.

 

CB&I completed its acquisition of The Shaw Group Inc. on Wednesday. CB&I and Shaw shareholders overwhelmingly approved the $3 billion merger in December. The combined company has more than $11 billion in annual revenue and a backlog of work exceeding $28 billion.

 

The sinkhole in Assumption  Parish  has  grown  again.  Swallowing up parts of the bayou the hole has already forced 100 people to evacuate since August. However the latest increase, by roughly 5,000  square feet, is not reportedly going near homes or the highway.

 

The Jefferson Parish Sheriff's office is investigating the case of a three-year-old boy that  was  found  dead  in  his Marrero home as a possible homicide. They say the boy’s mother called  911  to make the

report and deputies had to break in to the home because she couldn't get  out.  Little  Desmond  Brown  was pronounced dead at the scene. Deputies detected a strong gasoline  smell  within  the  home, but a

possible motive is unknown at this time.

 

Mardi  Gras  is  over,  and so begins the 40 days of Lent  for  many Christians. Harlon Pearce,  with the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board says the industry  is  in  pretty good shape for all

those craving delicious Louisiana seafood for Lent. Pearce says the seafood industry  is  slowly  but surely recovering, after both the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in in  2010 and Hurricane Isaac last summer.

 

Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne unveils the state's tourism campaign for 2013;  focusing on Louisiana's music. Dardenne says the new ads include zydeco,  rock, country, swamp pop and jazz music from all corners of the state.  He says the time is right to use homegrown Louisiana music to entice new visitors to the state.

The campaign is a series of TV, radio and print ads touting Louisiana as  "where the music never stops, and where most of it started".

 

Sen. David Vitter filed a slate of immigration-related bills Wednesday, while continuing his opposition to “comprehensive immigration reform” pushed by the Senate’s so-called “Gang of Eight.” Vitter’s proposals range from offering more visas to those who earn doctorates in the U.S. to more extreme changes that would end automatic citizenship for babies born in the country.

 

 

Sports..

 

The LSU men's basketball team is in South Carolina tonight to take on a  struggling Gamecocks team that has lost four in a row. The Tigers head  into the contest with a 13-and-8 overall record, 4-and-6 in the SEC. you can hear the game this evening starting at 5:30 on Talk Radio 970 KSYL.

 

 

 

 

 

News For Wednesday 02/13/13


News for Wednesday 021313

By Dave Graichen

 

An  arrest  has  been  made in the double murder case in  Abbeville. Officials say 24-year-old  Mike  Guidry  and his brother 25 year old Gary Guidry were found dead by a roommate  Tuesday  morning.  No  other details  about  the  suspect  or  exactly  what  happened  are being released  at  this  time. It's being reported the brothers had  just moved into the home they shared with four other people.

 

It has been a long time coming, over 15 years, but today the doors officially open to the new Jena Choctaw Pines Casino. The casino on highway 167 in Grant Parish will be the third Native American-Owned casino in the state and will offer more than 700 gaming devices, a poker room, buffet and sports bar.

 

Members of the Pineville city council were told last night, that it may be time to consider the sale of alcohol within the city limits. City auditor Mark McKay gave the city a clean audit report, but he noted that the numbers clearly indicate Pineville is moving into the red more each year with its budget. McKay's report covered the year ending June 30, 2012. He found no compliance or internal control problems in the audit. What he did find, however, was losses. According to McKay, the city’s sanitation fund has lost over $100,000 a year for the past 5 years. The airport lost $95,000. McKay said the city’s sales tax base is stagnate and  until the city has alcohol sales there will be no national restaurant chains, other than fast food companies.  McKay went on to tell the council, he was not sure the city is ever going to be able to grow the downtown or the riverfront without alcohol sales."

 

A Haughton lawmaker has pre-filed a bill that would require court clerks  to report information about mentally ill citizens to state police and  the FBI -- so they are not able to purchase a gun. Representative Henry  Burns says state and local officials would have 30 days to report when a Louisiana resident has been deemed mentally ill.

 

A settlement has been reached in the wrongful termination suit filed by  coastal  researcher  Ivor  Van Heerden against LSU. Terms of the deal have yet to be released.  Van  Heerden  claims  he lost his job

because he was outspoken about his criticism of the US Army Corps of Engineers  for  how  they  designed  the  levees that failed  during Hurricane Katrina.

 

A new report just released by the federal government show Louisiana has the second-lowest public high school graduation rate in the nation for special education students. The 29% rate in Louisiana is only lower than Mississippi and Nevada, which both have a rate of 23%. South Dakota is tops in the nation at 84 percent. The national average is 58 percent.

 

Natchitoches  Parish  Sheriff's  officials say a Dallas man is under arrest  for filing a fake complaint  with  authorities  in  November alleging he was robbed of several thousand dollar’s worth of valuable coins and  currency. During the course of the investigation deputies discovered that  the  alleged victim, 64-year-old Burton Paul Dupuy, had staged the home invasion which, was actually at his parents’ house,  where he knew there was  about  $350,000  worth  in a safe.  Apparently Dupuy admitted to authorities he has  a  gambling problem.

 

Shreveport  Police  say  they  stormed  into  a house Monday  night  to prevent  a local man from setting it on fire, with  his  grandmother inside. Officers  say the man was caught trying to start a fire with a propane burner and  a  blanket.  He  was  shot  with  a non-lethal device;  a  bean-bag gun, and taken into  custody. The elderly  woman was treated at a nearby hospital for non-life threatening injuries.

 

A state judge is expected to rule tomorrow on whether  the Thibodaux man accused of beheading his disabled son in 2011 is mentally fit to stand  trial. Judge John LeBlanc has heard over 6 days of  testimony in the case  of  Jeremiah  Wright,  who allegedly dismembered the child  while his mother  was away. The ruling is on whether Wright is sane enough to assist in his  own  defense,  NOT whether he was sane when he committed the act.

 

Another check on the fuel gauge  report from the American Automobile Association. The current average statewide  for  a gallon of regular gas is $3.40. A month ago we were paying $3.22.

 

The town of Homer in Claiborne Parish voted on Monday to disband its police force. The town council moved  to  get  rid  of its 10 member police department, including the chief, effective March 1.

 

The Delta Regional Authority announces they will invest  210-thousand dollars   towards  northeast  Louisiana's  workforce  training   and development   efforts.   The   authority's   co-chairman  says  this

investment will give workers a chance to develop  new  skills to get good paying jobs.

 

 

News For Tuesday 02/12/13


News for Tuesday 021213

By Dave Graichen

 

It's Mardi Gras Day, but revelers will have to celebrate in the rain.  State Climatologist Barry Keim says it's a near certainty the entire  state will see rain today. Flood watches and warnings are posted throughout southeast Louisiana and  along the Mississippi Delta. 

 

Mardi Gras in rural Southwestern Louisiana draws traditions that are  centuries old, and not your average "New Orleans" style parade. Eunice  Chamber of Commerce Executive Dire Francine Hughes says the Courir de  Mardi Gras dates back to when the town was first established in the late  19th century. And yes.. the events today will go on rain or shine. Other Courir de Mardi Gras events will be held today in Ville Platte, Mamou and several other towns across the Cajun Prairie .

 

They may be one of the smallest federally recognized tribes in the US, but, you couldn’t tell that by all the excitement surrounding the opening of the new Jena Choctaw Pines Casino. Media day is today with the opening to the general public tomorrow morning at 10. The 46,000-square-foot Class 2 casino  will offer more than 700 gaming devices, poker tables and a sports bar, as well as entertainment and dining options. The Casino is located on U.S. Highway 167 between Tioga and Prospect, in the speed trap known as Creola.

 

Louisiana's top court next month will hear the state's appeal of a Baton Rouge judge's ruling that Louisiana's expanded voucher program unconstitutionally diverts public funds to private and parochial schools. The state Supreme Court is scheduled to entertain oral arguments March 19 in New Orleans.

 

A truck accident yesterday forced the closure of the North Mac Arthur drive exits on and off of I-49 for about three hours yesterday morning. An 18 wheeler hit and then jumped the guard rail. The driver, 30 year old Charles Jones, received moderate injuries in the crash and was cited for failure to maintain control.

 

Louisiana ranks 38th in the nation for its 4 percent sales tax, according to a report released Monday by the Tax Foundation. But the state has among the highest average sales tax rates charged by local governments. That gives Louisiana the third highest combined local and state sales tax rates in 2013 at 8.87 percent, or nearly 9 cents on every $1 in sales, according to “State and Local Sales Tax Rates in 2013,” published Monday by the Tax Foundation. State taxes could double under a plan by the governor to eliminate the state income and corporate income taxes.

 

President Obama delivers his first state of the union address tonight  since winning a second term in office. Obama's first term nearly ended  with the nation going over the so-called fiscal-cliff. LSU Political

Science Professor Robert Hogan says taxes and spending along with immigration and gun control  will  be the main topics. Hogan says the President will also have to address the looming March

 first deadline for across-the-board spending cuts to the Pentagon and  domestic programs. Live coverage tonight starting at 8p on 970 KSYL.

 

The St. Tammany  Parish Sheriff's office says one man was killed and another hospitalized  after  a  homemade  bomb went off in the Pearl River area. The exact composition of the explosives used has not yet been determined. They say both victims were in their 20s.

 

Gas  prices keep on climbing. The current statewide  average  for  a gallon  of regular today is $3.39. That's up a nickel from this time last week.

 

The Lafayette Police  Department  is  investigating  the  case  of a bizarre  shooting  that  left  a  15-year-old  dead  and  two  other 15-year-olds in the hospital suffering gunshot wounds. Corporal Paul

Mouton  says 18-yaer-old Seth Fontenot of Lafayette was charged with first  degree   murder  and  2  counts  of  attempted  first  degree murder. Mouton says they are not releasing a possible motive just yet.

 

The New  Orleans  Saints  are getting mixed reviews on the hiring of Rob Ryan as their new defensive  coordinator.   Ryan  was fired from the  Dallas  Cowboys staff at the end of last season for  the  teams

poor performance.  NFL analyst Mike Detillier says Ryan is known for being brash and  cocky.   Ryan  believes  in  an attacking style  of defense,   says   Detillier,  much  like  former  Saints   defensive

coordinator Greg Williams.

 

 

 

News For Monday 02/11/13


News for Monday 021113

By Dave Graichen

 

The weather was not in the mood to cooperate yesterday for the Alexandria Mardi Gras parade. The parade was moved up to 10 in the morning to avoid the forecasted heavy rain and strong winds. But, the rain made it appearance shortly after the parade began. Many of the bands and dance groups decided against taking the chance, as did many fans. Organizers say the crowds were down significantly. Parades scheduled around the area today and fat Tuesday could suffer the same fate, since rain is in the forecast thru tomorrow.

 

Austin Dean, 21, of Pineville, has been charged with one count of second-degree murder, after an altercation over the weekend at a Lecompte bar that left an Alexandria man dead. Dean faces charges in the death of 19 year old Nicholas Griffin. It’s believe the incident grew out of a fight in the bar’s parking lot. Other details are forthcoming.

 

Governor Jindal's approval rating is below 50-percent. That's according  to a survey paid for by the Louisiana State Medical Society. The poll  of 600 Louisiana voters resulted in a 46-percent approval rating. The poll also shows voters disagree with the governor's refusal to  expand the Medicaid program in the state. The expansion of Medicaid is  part of the new federal health care law. 51-percent of the poll's

respondents say Louisiana should participate in the Medicaid expansion.

 

A Slidell lawmaker files legislation to ban a dangerous hallucinogenic  designer drug called "25-I", and others like it. Rep. Kevin Pearson says  25-I was linked to at least one death, and three persons made sick, at  last Fall's Voodoo Fest in New Orleans.  "25-I" is often sold in an eye dropper bottle, but is also frequently  put on blotter paper and sold as LSD to unsuspecting drug users.  Governor Jindal has issued a ban of the substance by executive order,  but Pearson says it needs to have the weight of state statute.

 

Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon says the decision of Farmers  Insurance to leave Louisiana shouldn't alarm the company's 23-thousand  customers in the Bayou State. Farmers announced they were pulling out  last week. Donelon says competitors are waiting in the wings to cover  those homes and businesses. Farmers will start sending non-renewal letters  this Spring, and Donelon has this advice to the company's customers, start shopping now..

 

Entergy says they figured out the cause of the infamous 34-minute power  outage during the Super Bowl. The utility company says it was a faulty  electrical relay device. CEO of Entergy New Orleans Charles Rice appeared  before the New Orleans City Council to provide more details.  Rice says the faulty device was removed and they are looking into  purchasing new equipment.

 

Jonesboro Mayor Leslie Thompson is facing three counts of malfeasance in  office. Jackson Parish Sheriff Andy Brown did not go into specifics. But  state legislative auditor Daryl Purpera says his office has not been  able to complete an audit on the town's books since 2007, because they  are so disorganized. Purpera says state law requires all towns to perform an annual audit on  their finances. Purpera says there's no evidence Mayor Thompson stole money, but he says  it's difficult to tell based on the town's financial record keeping.

 

Better pull up your pants in Grambling, because now you can be fined if  they sag. Police Chief Tommy Clark says they're tightening the dress  code in order to maintain the town's image of being clean and desirable.  He says saggy pants are already restricted in Grambling University's  handbook, but non-compliance caused the city to get involved.  Clark says the first offense is a maximum of a $150 fine, 15 days in  jail or 24 hours community service. He says second offense could be as  much as $250 and the third is no more than $500 and up to 60 days in  jail.

 

Senator Mary Landrieu is recommending New Orleans attorney Kenneth Allen  Polite Jr for the US Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana  position. Jim Letten stepped down from the post in December amid an  online scandal involving two of his top prosecutors.

 

News For Thursday 02/07/13


News for Thursday 020713

By Dave Graichen

 

Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame member Johnny “Red” Robertson, who led Ferriday High to four state championships and a state record 54-game streak without a loss, died Tuesday in his adopted hometown of Ferriday. Visitation will be held Thursday from 5-8 p.m. at Ferriday First Baptist Church and funeral services are slated for Friday at 2 p.m. Red Robertson was 88.

 

Louisianans will soon be getting no mail on Saturdays, as the Post  Office announces its latest cost-cutting measure. U.S. Postal Service  spokesman John Friess (freeze) says the decision to eliminate Saturday  letter delivery was all about dollars and cents.  Friess says the USPS will save about $2-billion by ending Saturday  delivery. However, the Post Office will continue to deliver packages and express mail 6 days a week. The delivery cutback goes into effect in early August.

 

A  Bossier City lawmaker pre-files a bill for the Spring legislative session  to  protect  the  privacy  of concealed carry weapon permit holders. Rep. Jeff Thompson says the  names and addresses of the CCP holders are confidential, and his bill  would  help assure they stay that way. Last month, a New York newspaper published a list  of gun owners and CCP holders, which led to several being burglarized  and  their guns stolen.  Thompson says such information in Louisiana is not  subject to public  information requests, and his bill would make in unlawful to release it.

 

A Tioga High School teacher facing 11 sex crime charges resigned Tuesday from the Rapides Parish School District. 27 year old Heather Michelle Cooksey, an English teacher, was arrested on Dec. 19 on charges that the Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office said arose from a sexual relationship with a student. She again was arrested Jan. 22 on nine additional charges. Cooksey is free on a $35,000 bond.

 

Two lawmakers want to open more of the Louisiana Governor’s Office to scrutiny, proposing a bill that would limit the expansive public records exemption used by Gov. Bobby Jindal to hide nearly all documents in his office. State Rep. Jerome “Dee” Richard, No Party-Thibodaux, and state Sen. Rick Gallot, D-Ruston, filed the measure this week to be considered in the legislative session that begins in April. Under existing law, most of the documents and emails in the Governor’s Office are shielded from public view, with a broad exemption that hides anything considered part of the governor’s “deliberative process.” The argument is that internal decision-making is protected to allow for the free flow of ideas.

 

The Lafayette  Parish  Sheriff's office is now involved in trying to find the person responsible  for the dog fight shown in a disturbing video that went viral on Facebook  yesterday. An animal organization in Hammond first learned of the post and used social media to spread their outrage. Authorities say they  really  don't know much at this point, and any help from the public is appreciated.

 

The  Tax  Man  Cometh. Governor Jindal's proposal to eliminate state income taxes could mean paying higher sales taxes on most items, but also paying taxes  and fees where they've never been charged before. That could include landscaping,  cable TV, marina services and other services that are currently tax and  fee free. The Governor says his plan to rewrite the tax code will be "revenue neutral".

 

State officials Wednesday announced that they are soliciting bids from school districts and others for pilot projects to overhaul pre-kindergarten classes in Louisiana. The changes stem from a 2012 state law, which assigned details of the do-over to the state Department of Education and the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. The new setup is aimed at revamping what critics call a pre-kindergarten system that features uneven quality, standards and availability. The rate of children entering kindergarten ready to learn is 54 percent. State officials hope to get that number to 70 percent.

 

The  lawyer for the Charenton man who went off the deep end  January 26th and killed a cop and another man has asked for a sanity hearing for his  client.  He  says  Wilbert  Thibodeaux  "exhibited  bizarre behavior" before the shootings that also wounded two St. Mary Parish deputies.

 

A  Lafourche  Parish judge says he will rule today whether or not the Thibodeaux  man   accused  of  beheading his disabled son is competent  for  trial.  The  judge  says  the  question  is  whether 31-year-old Jeremiah Wright can help his attorneys during the trial. The  man  is  charged  with  first-degree murder  in  the  death  of 7-year-old Jori Lirette whose head was left in the yard of the house where he lived with his mother.

 

Shreveport  Police  say  a  1-year-old  child  is  left with serious injuries  after being involved in an alleged drag race.  They  say two drivers  in  separate  cars  were  drag  racing when one of them crashed into a pickup truck, seriously injuring  the  female  driver and   critically  injuring  the infant. Police found no car seat  in the pickup, and the child  was  not restrained.

 

For the fatal crash last year that left an 83-year-old Abbeville man dead  a  Vermillion  Parish  grand  jury  has charged Maurice police officer,   Willis   Thomas,   with  negligent  homicide. Thomas   was responding to a call with his  emergency  lights and siren on when a car driven by Paul Suire pulled from a side  street onto Hwy.167 and was struck by the patrol car.

 

The state Department of Insurance  is investigating claims that some residents near the huge sinkhole in Assumption Parish, who evacuated their homes moths ago, are getting letters of non-renewal from their homeowners insurance. Insurance Commissioner  Jim  Donelon  says his agents are looking into those claims.

 

The Mayor  of  Baton  Rouge  has  abruptly fired the city's Chief of Police, amid spiraling violent crime  in the Capitol City. Mayor Kip Holden's  office  notified  Chief Dwayne White  of  his  termination reportedly by letter. No word on an interim chief as yet.

 

LSU's 2013 recruiting class is receiving great reviews. Rivals.com ranks  the Tigers class as the 5th best in the nation, 24-7 sports and ESPN.com  have LSU's class as the 7th best. Coach Les Miles is very excited about  the 27 new players that are joining the program.

 

 

 

 

 

News For Wednesday 02/06/13


News for Wednesday 020613

By Dave Graichen

 

State Police are investigating the  Hit  & Run death of a pedestrian Monday  night  in  Pineville,  who  was  struck  by   at   least   two vehicles--possibly  three.  Trooper  Scott  Moreau  says 30-year-old Sonnie  Thompson  was hit while walking along Highway 116.  He  says evidence indicates she was killed by the first vehicle, but also hit by other motorists...who all kept going. A fourth driver stopped and called authorities.

 

Rapides Parish deputies arrest two teenage girls for making e-mailed  threats against students and teachers at Tioga High school. Sheriff's  spokesman Lt. Tommy Carnline says school officials called them about the  threats last week.  Carnline says Jessica Winslow and Ti'jeanae (TIE-jen-ay) Harris, both  17, were arrested without incident after an investigation traced the  threatening messages to them.  He says they each face ten counts of terrorizing, and no bond has been set as yet.

 

Pineville PD reports an Alexandria couple has been charged in connection with the theft last month of $18,000 in jewelry the Kmart store in Pineville. 22 year old Ancranette Sword and 45 year old Bobby West were charged with felony theft.  They were booked at the Rapides Parish Detention Center where they are awaiting bond.

 

Alexandria City Council voted Tuesday to remove Michael Ziegler from the Board of Greater Alexandria Economic Development Authority and replace him with Michael Caffery. Alexandria mayor Roy was not happy with the way the matter was handled and accused dist. 3 councilman Jules Green of “good ol’ boyism, after the councilman made the  move to replace Ziegler with Caffery, his former campaign manager. Caffery was appointed to the GAEDA board by Green and confirmed Tuesday by a unanimous vote.

 

LSU Agricultural Center Vice Chancellor Paul Coreil was named Tuesday as interim chancellor of LSU’s Alexandria campus. He will fill the position for eight months starting March 1.Current LSU-A Chancellor David Manuel is expected to leave the university in May to become president of Drury University in Springfield, Mo.

 

The A.P.D.. reports A 24-year-old Alexandria man died Monday night when his car hit a tree on Enterprise Road. Alexandria police responded to the 11:10 p.m. crash in the 1700 block of Enterprise.  There they found A 1989 Mercury driven by Charles Carter had run off the road, hit a mailbox and then a tree near the intersection of Paris Street. An autopsy and toxicology tests are being done.

 

Governor Jindal has released  few  details  of  how  his proposal to raise sales taxes and do away with income taxes will work.  One part would,  reportedly, include a one-dollar per pack tax on cigarettes.

The  legislature   starts   its   regular  session  April  8th,  and anti-tobacco lobbyists will surely  be  there  to  push for a higher cigarette  tax, and to see that it's dedicated to smoking  cessation and prevention programs, or at least to the health care budget.

 

Louisiana State  Police say the driver of an SUV who crashed head-on into a school bus  this  morning  in  Pointe Coupee Parish has died. Trooper Jared Sandifer says fog could have  been  a  factor  in  the

early morning crash, which is now under investigation. 38-year-old  Jody Harris, of Ventress, died from her  injuries.  The bus driver and the nine kids aboard received only minor injuries.

 

While  the  exact  cause of the 34 minute "Super  Blackout"  remains under investigation,  it looks like  a public record shows  Mercedez Benz  Superdome officials were told last  season by The Louisiana Stadium & Exposition  District who released an October  15th  memo Monday  saying  tests  to  the  dome's  electrical  feeders "showed some decay and a chance of failure. Entergy representatives  are  expected  at an emergency meeting  Friday  to  discuss  the  outage  and  provide  additional information as to what exactly happened.

 

The  Louisiana  Conference  of  Catholic  Bishops  asked  the Jindal Administration  to  stop  the  execution  of  Christopher  Sepulvado because  the  lethal  injection is scheduled for Ash Wednedsay.  The Governor reportedly has no plans to intervene. The Desoto Parish Man is scheduled to die for  beating and scalding his 6-year-old stepson two decades ago.

 

A new license  plate  in honor of the state's timber industry is now available. The Louisiana  Forestry  Association  designed the plate, that you can buy at the Office of Motor Vehicles.  A  portion of the proceeds will go to the forestry division of the state Department of Agriculture and Forestry.

 

A  Shreveport  man suspected of two home invasions  and  some  other robberies is behind  bars.  Police  say 41-year-old Anthony McDonald allegedly invaded two homes, and tried  to  rob  a  couple  at a bus stop.  He's  also  accused  of  car  theft. All four of those crimes happened  on  January  28th,  and  all victims  gave  a  description matching McDonald.. He now faces a list of charges.

 

Acadia Parish  Deputies  say  somebody  broke  into the Crowley High school  Ag  Farm late last month and killed a prize  show  pig.  The perpetrator also  cut three other animals. Deputies says the act was not only cruel and  senseless,  it  also  cost  the owners potential sales  at  the  livestock  show.  There's  a $1000 cash  reward  for information that helps catch the bad guy.

 

 

 

 

News For Tuesday 02/05/13


News for Tuesday 020513

By Dave Graichen

 

The Superintendent of Louisiana  State  Police  believes  local  law enforcement  in  The  Bayou  State  is  ready if there was an active shooter  situation in one of our schools.  Col  Mike  Edmonson  says

there are  over  19-hundred schools in Louisiana and there are plans in place with local  law enforcement if a gunman enters a school. He says there's great cooperation,  which will be a huge benefit in the

time of a crisis.

 

On that note, Students yesterday afternoon alerted faculty to a fifth-grader who was showing off a revolver in his backpack at Horseshoe Drive Elementary School. The weapon was found by the school resource officer and the student was taken into the custody. The officer reported The .22 caliber revolver was not loaded, and no ammunition was found.

 

NFL  Commissioner  Roger  Goodell recapped his thoughts on the Super Bowl Monday morning and indicted  the  power  outage  would  have no effect on New Orleans' chance to host another Championship game.  He says  the  incident was unfortunate and they are still investigating the exact reason  half  the  lights went out in the Superdome in the third quarter. Gooddell said the city of New  Orleans did a spectacular job hosting the big game.

 

However, An  article  in  Forbes magazine is  suggesting that New Orleans not  be allowed to host another Super Bowl  until  it replaces what it calls the  "outdated" Superdome.

 

You've probably noticed by  now  the big recent spike in gas prices. The  American  Automobile Association  says  the  current  statewide average for a gallon  of  regular  is  $3.34 cents which is about 15 cents higher than it was at the start of the year.

 

State health officials say they've seen a drop-off in the number of flu  cases. After the holidays, there were reports doctor offices were  flooded with people suffering from flu-like symptoms. But Department of  Health and Hospitals Immunization Director, Dr. Frank Welch, says a  public awareness campaign to fight the flu bug has helped.  Welch says the state is still reporting widespread flu cases, but  influenza activity has been declining.

 

Governor  Bobby  Jindal's  office  says  a  Houston  based  company, "Genesis Energy" is expanding  its  operations  in  Baton  Rouge and plans to build a pipeline that will connect to the Exxon plant. They

say the planned expansion will create 50 new jobs with an average of $80,000 a year plus benefits.

 

Detectives from the Rapides parish sheriff’s office report when they arrived at a Sieper residence to serve warrants on, they found 20 year old Walter Benoit watching child pornography on his computer.  Benoit  was already wanted on warrants for indecent behavior with a juvenile and sexual battery. He can now add a few charges to that list. Benoit was arrested and charged with two counts of pornography involving juveniles and for the warrants - one count of indecent behavior with juveniles and two counts of sexual battery. Benoit was booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center.

 

Baton  Rouge  businessman Jim Bernhard is apparently a top contender to replace Steven  Chu  as  the  country's  next  Energy  Secretary. Bernhard   is   CEO  of  the  Shaw  Group,  a  Fortune  500  company

headquartered  in   the   Capitol   City.   Northeastern   Louisiana Congressman  Rodney  Alexander  says  Bernhard has proven leadership skills,   and   can   develop  ideas  for  making   America   energy independent. Alexander  hopes  President  Obama  will   give   Bernhard   serious consideration for the Cabinet Post.

 

Police in Monroe are looking for  the person responsible for hitting and killing a pedestrian late Saturday night. They say witnesses saw a white Mitsubishi Galant with white tinted windows struck a man and

flee the scene. The victim was pronounced  dead from his injuries at a local hospital.

 

The Livingston Parish man accused of brutally attacking his pregnant wife and killing their unborn child  had  his  bond revoked in court today. Jeffrey Reynolds, of Walker says he was under  the  influence

of illegal "bath salts" last October, when he attacked his wife. She survived the attack, the baby

did not.

 

The  Oscar-Winning Team at Shreveport's  Moonbot  Studios  now  says they're  working  on  a new project: a video game. Founders Williams Joyce and Branden Olendenburg says the game "Golem" needs pledges of $750,000 by March 26th to be funded.

 

 

News For Monday 02/04/13


News for Monday 020413

By Dave Graichen

 

State police report 47-year-old Kenneth M. Aymond was killed over the weekend  when he apparently lost control of his pickup truck on highway 29 in Avoyelles parish, ran off the road and hit a culvert before overturning. Aymond was pronounced dead at the scene.

 

Visitation for former businessman and Opus broadcasting general manager Kim Jones will be today at Calvary Baptist church in Alexandria from 2 to 4pm and 5 to 7pm and again tomorrow from 5pm until the time of services at 6pm. Jones passed away last Thursday after a long battle with cancer. Kim Jones was 54.

 

State  Treasurer  John Kennedy says the state is looming on the edge of yet another financial  crisis.   Kennedy  says the Capital Outlay Fund is near its debt limit  with no room to borrow  more  for rural road  improvements,  college  facility   upkeep  and other important building projects.  He says the fund could be exhausted  within  the next four months. The Governor's Office  points  at  Kennedy, saying he indicated they had more borrowing headroom than they  actually  had. Kennedy says, yes,  but he gave them that information before state  revenues  were revised downward last Fall.

 

The Ravens were rolling, Beyoncé had just put on a stunning halftime show and then the unprecedented happened: The lights went out in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in the third quarter of Super Bowl XLVII. Usually a beacon on the New Orleans skyline, the Superdome was bathed in darkness when the majority of lights flickered out at 7:36 p.m. The power was off inside the stadium for 34 minutes. The lights started to come back on at 8:02 p.m. and play resumed at 8:10 p.m. The exterior lights flickered on at about 8:20 p.m. and the Superdome took back its place in the New Orleans skyline. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said in a statement issued Sunday night. ”In the coming days, I expect a full after-action report from all parties involved.

 

Now that the Super Bowl is over, the rush at the New Orleans  International Airport is on. Spokeswoman Michelle Wilcut says all  flights are completely booked today. She says they’re anticipating about 42,000  passengers today.

 

The  first  black  chief  justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court has been sworn into office.  Bernette  Johnson replaces the first female justice--Kitty Kimball--who retired  last  month after four years in the position.  Johnson has been sitting on the high court since 1994 and served ten years as a district court judge  before being elected to the supreme court.

 

Cuts to some health care services, brought about by a mid-year revenue  shortfall, have kicked in - affecting low-income mothers, at-risk kids  and others. State Health & Hospitals Secretary Bruce Greenstein says the  cuts are regrettable, but necessary. He says they planned for the lowest negative impacts possible.

 

A Tangipahoa Parish man is being  held  without  bond  today  in the parish   prison   on   charges   of  aggravated  rape  of  children. Authorities say when they served  a  search  warrant  on the home of 50-year old Robert Eugene Swan they found child pornography  on  his computer  which indicated he was also manufacturing and distributing child porn.   They also say they found video evidence of Swan having sex with children as young as 10 and possible one year old.

 

The LSU Board of  Supervisors  has  approved a two year extension of head football coach Les Miles' contract  that keeps him connected to the university through the 2019 season.  Miles  annual  salary  went from  just  over three and a quarter million dollars to 4.3 million. Athletic Director Joe Alleva told the board Miles hadn't had a raise in five years, even though he deserved one.

 

LSU  officials  are  sticking with their timetable of having  a  new university president signed,  sealed  and  delivered within the next four  months.  LSU had a "short list" of about  30  candidates,  but those names  aren't  being released or even guessed at right now and we probably won't know  until  a  finalist  or  finalists are agreed upon.

 

A Baton Rouge businessman is in the running to be the next Secretary of  Energy.   WBRZ TV in Baton Rouge, is  reporting  Jim  Bernard--founder of the Shaw Group--confirmed  to  them  he  is  one  of  the   candidates  being considered.  Bernard recently sold the world wide construction  firm to a Texas company for some three billion dollars.

 

Authorities  say  48-year  old Thomas Allen the Third of Baton Rouge was driving with a blood alcohol  content  of three times the normal level when his car slammed head on into another car, killing 10-year old   Bionna  Scott.   He's  been  charged with vehicular  homicide, second offense DWI, reckless operation  and driving with a suspended license.

 

Confessed killer Brandon Scott Lavergne, who's serving  life for the murders of Lisa Pate in 1999 and Mickey Shunick last year, is asking a  judge  to  release  to him the names of grand jury witnesses  who testified against him and  the  transcript  of  a  secretly recorded meeting with his ex-wife. In December, he requested  his  conviction be  tossed  out,  saying  his  court-appointed lawyers made critical defense errors. Lavergne pleaded  guilty  to  the  two  murders  last August, in order to avoid getting a death sentence.

 

Seafood expert, oyster distributor and state Wildlife & Fisheries  Commission member Mike Voisin (vwah-zan) has passed away. Voisin died  Saturday, about a week after suffering a massive heart attack. Wildlife  & Fisheries Secretary Bob Barham says he was a fierce advocate for the  seafood industry, but always a gentleman...:

 

 

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